My Current Philosophy For Inner Happiness

Let me just say, the title of this post is not a great one. It's pretentious and I'm not philosophical. I barely understand what the word means. I honestly just couldn't think of a better way to sum up my latest epiphany.

For a few years now I haven't been sure on exactly who I want to be. The way I used to see it was that I had so many choices on who to be... I could be the Elana who eats clean and cooks from fresh, works out properly several times a week, only drinks water and looks good as a skinnier, less wobbly girl. I could be the Elana who is messy but elegant with it, curvy and fabulous, without a thigh gap, eating whatever she likes, comfortable in her underwear and not ashamed of her fat rolls. I could be a party girl who tells her anxiety to do one, drinks a lot and goes out when she could be studying. I could be the Elana who's always a blogging, beauty queen, pretending to have her life together mega star. I could be naturally pretty and wear next to no makeup and baggy jumpers all the time and be focused on purely academic stuff. I could cake my face in product, do cut creases and use so much highlighter everyday and enjoy expensive lashes. I could spend all my time reading, writing or watching movies or travelling or taking up any hobbies I want. I could be constantly on the go or constantly looking after myself. 

The list of possibilities went on. Although the problem was that, in my mind, I had to pick just one. How could I be happy, but eat what I want at the same time without feeling guilty and fat and all those awful things? How could I have time for cooking, exercise, work, a social life and uni all at once without going insane? How was I supposed to decide who I wanted to be?

So, on another late night of sorting out my life I decided for once and for all just to be everything I want to be, all at once. In pure Camp Rock, Demi Lovato style: 'Why not try everything? Why stop? Reach for any dream'.

I'm gonna be the Elana who can wear any look she wants to and feels amazing. I'm gonna be the Elana who cooks if she wants to, orders takeaway if she fancies it, enjoys party food and birthday cake, drinks alcohol, fizzy drinks or water and enjoys food without the added guilt. I'm gonna be the Elana who works out in the shed with her brother when she can and has fun with it, but doesn't feel bad when she doesn't have time because she's earning some money or working on an essay. I'm gonna be the Elana who pushes herself to go out more and lets herself actually have fun but also has nights in bed with Netflix when she needs it. I'm gonna be the Elana who fake tans when she needs a boost, moisturises when she remembers, is consistent with her skin care and takes her meds every single day. I'm gonna be the Elana who writes about what she wants and gets her work done but lets herself be a stereotypically unorganised student from time to time. 

The bottom line is, the people in my life will love me and stand by me no matter which version of myself I chose to be on which day. I enjoy what I want, when I want, how I want. I'm organised but I'm beginning to allow for spontaneity. I'm finding a balance. I live everyday of my life like I'm the most important person in it and let myself be human. Most importantly, I don't stay up worrying about things anymore because 9 times out of 10, I know they'll sort them selves out by the morning. Tomorrow will always be kinder. And tomorrow is a new opportunity to be whoever I want to be - as long as I'm happy.

All About Brows: Tinting

I know, it sounds terrifying doesn't it? Tinting your own brows, especially for someone as accident prone as me, sounds like a guaranteed disaster. But it really doesn't have to be. 

I hated my brows. I've stopped filling them in and if I feel like I do want to I only draw in the arch a little. They're uneven, they grow in different directions and they always have been so I don't have the patience to make them look like they're sisters let alone twins. I'm embracing the natural brow. Tinting helps to pick up all the little hairs and makes them stand out so much more and make it so much easier. I use the Eyelure Brow Tint.

It's super easy. You have to use vaseline as a barrier cream (hence the oily looking pictures) around your eyes and the skin around your brows, not that the dye would stain that badly if you did accidentally mess it up. Then I mix 1cm of the cream dye with 4 drops of activator in the plastic tray with the stick provided. I scoop it onto a clean spoolie (I bought a pack on 100 for about £1 on eBay) and brush through my brows, coating all the little hairs - even if it looks like they're full of product I put on as much as possible. I usually leave it on for 5 minutes, which the pack says is the maximum you can do and take a wet cotton wool pad and wipe it off. I didn't manage to get very good pictures of this at all because the lighting was awful so you can't see the difference but, it gives me so much confidence.

After I've tinted I usually pluck a few stray hairs but seriously limit myself so I don't end up with an over-plucked 90's nightmare. The brow razor pictured below is useful for getting rid of unwanted hair above the brow but you have to be super careful and light handed. I also use a threading stick to get some hairs, although I mainly use this on my lip.

I cannot recommend brow tinting enough. One pack lasts so long and it's cheaper than paying £15 in a beauticians. I dare you to embrace the natural brow. 

My Skin Story: The Third Installment

I did not time this post well at all. My skin has broken out recently and while I’m okay with that and I know it’s not really in my control for the most part, I should have taken photos at a better time. Ah well, at least I’m honest.

My skin is surprisingly good. There are still breakouts on and under my jaw and under my chin and the occasional cheek breakout but the area around my brows is fairly clear and my forehead is never really a problem. I am so happy with how far I’ve come. To look back at those original photos of it at it’s worst makes me feel so much accomplishment for being so consistent and positive about finally clearing my face. Every time I feel the need to complain about my breakouts or scarring now I look at those pictures and remind myself how painful and embarrassing and time consuming it was when my skin was that bad. It's even so much improvement from the last post, I didn't realise until I had a look back for reference. Check both those here and here.

So, what have I been using? Recently, I’ve stuck to what I know and been as gentle as possible. I’ve used coconut oil when I can’t afford a cleanser and when I can I always use a cream cleanser and hot cloth. If I’m going drugstore it’s Soap & Glory’s The Ultimelt but if I can afford Liz Earle my heart will always pine for Cleanse & Polish. More nights out mean more makeup wipes (gasp) because I just want to get into bed but I always make sure they’re moisturising and that I don’t pull too harshly on my skin. If I can afford Pixi Glow Tonic, which I haven’t been able to in a while, I’ll use that, otherwise I’ll double cleanse with Garnier’s Micellar Water.

Occasionally when I need that extra bit of help, I love Soap & Glory’s Fab Pore 2-in-1 Facial Pore Purifying Mask and Origin’s Out of Trouble Mask. Both work wonders. Origins Super Spot Remover still comes in handy for huge angry spots like the ones on my left jaw in the pictures.

To moisturise I am keeping it super simple. It was a desperate purchase when I was poor but Superdrug’s own Vitamin E range is so good at calming down my skin and slowly healing it. It always feels light but moisturising and sits well under makeup if I do wear it. I do believe it’s helped my scarring. The Radiance Moisture Cream and Nourishing Eye Cream are a dream combination for such a good price. I’ll still use my La Roche Possay Effaclar Duo when I can pick it up. If I need something a little more I love using a drop or two of Rehydrating Rose Facial Oil from Neal’s Yard before bed or just before makeup. It’s too oily to wear out alone but it makes my skin feel amazing. I’m pretty sure it’s helped clear my scars too.

We’re getting there… slowly but surely.

For once, I cannot wait for the summer. I wish I could afford to book a holiday just to clear my scarring a little more. The sun is a miracle. Fingers crossed for a fairly sunny English summer. 

All I can recommend is finding something that works for you and remembering that nothing’s instant. My skin has taken years to get to where it is now but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m glad I’ve been on this acne journey because I now understand skin care, makeup and all things beauty. I can help my friends with it. I am proud.

I can safely say that 9 times out of 10 I feel beautiful. The 10% of the time that I don’t, I really don’t. But I now go to work for short shifts without it, I can go shopping without it, I happily facetime without it, I take my train journeys home without it. I’m still finding the courage to go to uni or a 8 hour shift without it when I want to but that will come with time. I still love makeup and love making myself feel more beautiful. I still enjoy putting it on and trying different products and looks so I am truly learning to be happy either way. 

I’m not my acne, my acne is just a part of me.

A Promise To Love Myself

Overthinking is part of my everyday life. More recently than ever, overthinking has controlled me. It's a dangerous combination of self doubt, anxiety and mood swings that make my nights alone so horrible. It's become clear to me that I need to treat myself like I would my best friend, or a daughter - someone I'd love unconditionally. So from here on out, these are the promises I'm going to try and keep in order to love myself.

'I promise to let you be happy. I promise to give you time. I promise to be patient when you are feeling slow. I promise to let you be sad but to tell you when it's enough. I promise I will make you get back up when you've let it all out. I promise to allow you an extra hour in bed on the days your heart feels heavy. I promise to let you buy expensive products every now and then if it will make your hair stronger and skin clearer. I promise to make you say 'yes' to days out and nights at the pub and to seeing old friends. I promise to stop getting upset and mad when you fancy chocolate cake or something salty. I promise that you can enjoy alcohol without needing to cry after. I promise to let you be hungover. I promise to make you sleep when you're being stupid. I promise to let you off when you're so rundown by your thyroid that you can't finish the workout. I promise to push you when you need to write 1000 words for an assignment and can only force out 200 more. I promise I will let you grow as a person. I promise I'll push you to take opportunities. I promise I'll help you through uni. I promise you can let yourself be loved. I promise I'll love you.'

10 Things I'm Realising In My 20th Year

1. Not everyone you meet is going to like you and that's okay
I've realised recently that even if you're a good person and you do all you can to make people like you, some people simply won't get you and that's fine. As long as you don't go out of your way to add to the animosity, then live your life regardless of their opinion on you.

2. Relationships aren't 50/50 all the time
Wether it be a romantic relationship, a friendship or a relative - somedays you gotta give 80 when the other person can only give 20. You can't always give the same effort, sometimes the other person has to pick up the slack.

3. Trains really aren't that scary
Unless you get the wrong one, or lose your ticket, or it gets delayed, or you have five minutes to change or, the train is cancelled or you get lost on the platform...

4. Dry shampooing your hair is a life saver
I used to hate dry shampoo. I'm such a clean freak and used to hate not washing my hair everyday but if I'm honest I just can't go through the week without dry shampooing once now.

5. Nobody at work really cares what you look like without makeup on
Although customers will make comments about how different you look and the odd colleague will ask if you're sick or really tired, nobody really cares so you shouldn't either. Plus it saves so much time.

6. You will never stop procrastinating
As I write this I should be working on my essay that's due in two weeks but inspiration comes little and not often at all so I best get this out while I can.

7. I really can't cook
Like really, can't cook. Or do anything in the kitchen. I honestly struggle to make a cup of tea some times. I can just about boil some pasta but I never get the right amount.

8. You're never too old for fairy lights
When deep cleaning my room yesterday I took all my lights down to repaint the walls and dust everything. I seriously thought about throwing them out for half a second and then realised I can't be without them. Ever.

9. Sleep is always the best option
Ill? Sleep. Tired? Sleep. Overthinking? Sleep. Stressing about something unnecessarily? Just sleep.

10. It's okay not know exactly what you're doing all the time
As a control freak I like to know what I'm doing and what's going on every second of the day. But it's okay not to have everything sorted. I don't have my life plan worked out and I don't have things set in stone. I'm learning to be okay with not always being in control.