Results Day | All The Emotions

It's fair to say that the whole A level results process this year has killed me. I feel physically and emotionally exhausted after this morning. It's been a pretty hard year so far in general, the things I've been through this year certainly added to the challenge of three A levels.

I woke up to find I had been accepted into my firm choice for University. This was a relief because that was obviously the biggest stress for me today; the thought of having to go through the stress of clearing made me feel physically sick. Knowing I needed 280 points to get in, which is luckily pretty realistic for someone like me, was such a comfort. I felt great. I knew that being accepted meant I had passed with B,B,C or higher. Or so I thought...

When I arrived to collect my results, super early and front of the queue, I knew I needed to read them alone. Despite myself I felt optimistic; I hadn't screwed up any of the exams that badly even when the questions were completely unrelated or vague. When I finally opened the piece of paper I felt my heart sink. Disappointed. I'd worked harder in school than ever this year whilst battling mental and physical health problems, work and trying to be a sociable for once. I really thought I'd done well. Don't get me wrong, coming out of results day with B,C,C (the B being the most important subject) is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of but personally, it's just so far off from what I wanted. Having achieved A,B,B last year, being on track for the same this year and surrounded with constant encouragement that I would come out with what I wanted by teachers, friends and family, I really felt like a disappointment. It's stupid because I'm sure many people would read this and think I'm ungrateful; I'm going to my favourite University in my favourite place with my best friends and I'm lucky to have made it this far this year. But it doesn't change the fact that I set high expectations for myself and I failed to meet them. I'm kind of surprised I got accepted now, although I tell myself I'm talented and they want me for my creativity not for my grades. I'm also looking to get one of my papers remarked as I'm not far from the higher grade and I did amazingly well in the coursework. I did the very best I could and that's all anyone can do.

I've spoken to the most important people in my life about it. Everyone says the same thing: you're going to University, don't worry about the grades. It's true and I know it is. I always wonder if I didn't have anxiety, if I was a calm person, would I have reacted in the same way? Probably not. Me without anxiety would tell you that I'm proud of myself and I passed despite all the crap the universe threw at me this year. I like being that girl. 

At the end of the day, tests and exams don't matter. They're only numbers and letters on a piece of paper. You're not made up of numbers and letters, you are made up of all your favourite things and the places you've been, the things you've seen. That's more important. My family will always be proud, my friends are supportive and I'm so thankful for that. So I just want you to know, wether you're collecting your GCSES, A levels, your degree or a test certificate: it's just a number or letter. Be more than that. Have high expectations for yourself but don't feel like a disappointment when you don't quite get there. It's a journey. You can do anything.

My Skin Story: The Next Chapter

This has been a long time coming... Back in February 2015 I posted about my acne, a very sensitive subject for me. (You can find this post here). Since that post has always had the most audience engagement, I guess it's finally time to update the world on my zits, spots and scars. 

Since the last post, where I happily highlighted how much my skin had cleared up, my skin has fluctuated a lot. My pores shrunk, my pores got bigger, I got a lot of blackheads, I cleared my blackheads, I broke out a lot, I scarred. It seems that recently it's unsure what to do. My skin has been a hell of a lot worse; those first photos on that original blog post seriously confuse and shock me so much. My skin is constantly cycling through good stages and bad. I'm okay with it on most days. Some days I hate it.

At the moment, I would give my skin a 7 out of 10 for how well it's doing, 10 being the best I've ever seen it. A week ago, having just got home from the most wonderful holiday in Majorca, my skin was incredibly clear (video above shows difference of two weeks). When I'm in the sun my skin clears up drastically and looks beautiful. But being home a week has broken me out a little anyway; I'm stressing about A Level results on Thursday and I'm back to work and all the unnecessary dramas that simply don't exist on holiday. Don't get me wrong, it could be worse but it's a lot of new breakouts that are generally upsetting me, especially as I'm striving to keep my makeup simpler in preparation for Uni and I struggle to cover my acne unless making the effort with full coverage products. Currently, I also seem to be breaking out in different areas that have usually always been clear, most noticeably my forehead (linked to stress and sleep deprivation) and my jawline/neck even though my acne is primarily hormonal. I'm usually okay with the scarring because I know it's fading and it's not too hard to cover, but anymore possible scars terrify me. I'm comfortable with my oily/combination skin.

My current skin care routine is as follows: Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish and Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser in the morning. I use these products at night also but I use Pixi Glow Tonic before moisturising. I'll occasionally use Vitamin E oil as a substitute for moisturiser as I have noticed a huge difference in the fading of my scars using it. I wipe down all my products and my hands with a sanitising makeup wipe when doing my makeup. Twice a week (usually on a Wednesday and Sunday) I use Origins Out of Trouble 10 Minute Mask which is seriously amazing for my skin. I still swear by Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream for literally anything on the face. I use it every time I find a spot that will be hard to cover, to heal it slightly.

A long list of what I've tried since the last post: Coconut Oil (made a difference to the oils of my skin and worked wonders on my pores), Baby Oil (when I'm desperate for cleanser and I'm broke. I don't recommend it, at all, huge mistake, save it for the makeup brushes) Garnier Micellar Water (still love this stuff, will always chose this over a makeup wipe), Makeup Wipes (honestly just don't use them on your face), Essential Oils Rosehip, Thyme, Orange Sweet, Bergamot (when I want to give myself a mini facial. I've also found that thyme oil is also great at clearing up individual break outs), Tea Tree Oil (doesn't do much for me anymore, too much of an irritant even when diluted), Origins Super Spot Remover (brings out the spot early so good if you need to clear something quickly but not ideal for the whole face) Biore Self Heating Masks (these really cleared my blackheads and are really quick and easy and I still use these to really pull all the crap out of my face when I'm too poor to buy the Origins Mask). 

Makeup wise, I always want to look like I have perfect skin. I have had comments from people that say they would have no idea I had awful skin because I cover it so well; I'm proud of that. Primer wise, I tried using the Nivea Men's Post Shave Balm and it worked for a while and I think seriously toned down my redness but I have since thrown it out because of concerns it was doing more damage than good to my skin. NYX Angel Veil has always been great and so has Max Factor Facefinity so I switch between these two on the daily. Foundation wise I've always loved Nars Sheer Glow, Mac Studio Fix Fluid (despite it being super heavy) and YSL Touche Eclat. However my absolute favourite foundation ever has to be Makeup Forever Ultra HD Foundation. It covers almost everything, is lightweight, can be built up, has no flashback, has never broken me out, doesn't oxidise and has a great range of shades. I actually love the way my skin looks with this on. I also use Mac Fix+ a lot to give my skin more moisture and to keep me from looking cakey. My favourite acne coverage concealers are Mac Pro Longwear, Rimmel Match Perfection and Collection Lasting Perfection. There is an endless list of things I want to try, cult classics that other people claim to be holy grail but I just haven't got round to it. And I'm poor.

My biggest issues with my skin at the moment are the new breakouts which I need to clear and my scaring. I'm cutting down my dairy intake drastically at the moment to see if it makes any difference to my overall skin. I drink rice milk now, which isn't actually as bad as it sounds because I hate the taste of almond milk. I struggle to contour over my acne because of the raised skin and am yet to find the perfect way around it. I'm trying to shorten my routine to save myself time when I have to drive to Uni. I also hate being told I wear too much makeup, that I don't need it and that I'd look better without it. It's not easy to pull of a minimal look when I have no eyelashes from my alopecia and bad, textured skin. I still get asked, 'why do you wear so much makeup if you have acne? Aren't you making it worse?' No I'm not. I know what works, I know which products break me out and I'm incredibly careful with what I put on my face. At the end of the day, my skin is exactly that, MINE, and I know what works for me and doesn't. I'm proud of the journey I'm on and I urge everyone who feels bad about their skin problems to talk about it. I don't need telling that I'm beautiful with and without makeup and no matter how many obnoxious comments I get about my makeup, my skin and the way I look: I got this.