Ninety Days of Summer: Focus, Plan and Get Things Done

Sunday 21 June 2015
euhnella | Ninety Days of Summer - 90 Days To Focus, Plan and Get Things Done

Remember when I made a vow to get my sh*t together?  Me neither, it was quite a long time ago, and after that post the subject was never brought up again on the blog. At the time, I had become acutely aware that my life wasn't as together as I wanted it to be, but I hadn't quite reached the part where I knew how to go about doing that. How does one go about getting their life together? I continued to float along in my unsatisfied uncertainty until I became so frustrated with my lack of progress that I sat down one evening and came up with a solution: I would only focus on 75 days at a time.


Exactly 65 days ago, as I poured my heart out into my journal, I realised that I was frustrated, overwhelmed and reaching worrying levels of anxiety because I was trying to focus on too many things at one time. I'd just come to the realisation that I needed to stop envisioning a future here in Belgium when deep down I had my heart set on moving back to England, exams were beginning to feel menacingly imminent and I was squaring my shoulders to spend hours studying a subject that I was far from passionate about (Belgian Law and I do not get on), I wasn't happy with my blog and I was still nursing a broken heart back (though luckily I had reached a bearable level of heartache and only belted out 'Someone Like You' on a weekly rather daily basis). 

It felt like there was so much to do and I didn't know where to start unraveling it all. 

So I decided to focus. Looking at my calendar, I picked the 1st July as the figurative date for the start of the Next Chapter of My Life. This gave me 75 days to focus on the things that I needed to do right now to close the Current Chapter of My Life. I wouldn't be moving until after that date, so there was no need to send myself into a spiral of unnecessary worry over whether David Cameron would even let me back into the country or if I'd find a job or a place to stay or if now was really the right time to move out. Since I wasn't planning on getting married and settled down in the next 75 days, my heart ache took a backseat and I promised myself I could go back to binge-watching Pretty Little Liars with a tub of ice cream after the 1st July if that's what I really wanted. 

I had no idea what I wanted to achieve or do when I made this decision, but I knew that I wanted to do my best and I wanted to persist until I reached the end

So I picked out a notebook I had in my ever-growing stash and dedicated myself to writing in that every day. A new page would signal a new day, and at the top I would write the date and how many days were left to go. As the days went along I figured out the areas I wanted to focus on, my daily priorities and the short-term goals I wanted to achieve. I'd write out a schedule for myself nearly every day, and even though most days I failed to stick to it, I still made one for the next day because all that mattered was that I gave my all each day. 

I wasn't after a specific result: I just wanted to stop feeling so aimless, feeling so overwhelmed and feeling like I wasn't giving my all to a life that I had come to realise I am truly blessed to have in the first place.

And 65 days down the line I can say that this is a method that has worked for me. Therefore I wanted to refine it, not only for myself but to be able to share it with others who might benefit from it. 


euhnella | "For every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven."

"For every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven." 
- Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)

When I came across this quote, what I was doing seemed to make more sense. You don't have to be a Christian to appreciate the idea that everything we do in life has a time for it. There are times when your studies will take priorities, there are times when your work has to be a priority, times when your friends and family require your undivided attention and other times when you have to make yourself a priority above everything else. The way your priorities are arranged will always come to change, as surely as the seasons

This inspired me to stop my 75 days just a little bit earlier, and to use the actual seasons as markers for different phases in my life. A season is roughly 90 days long and this appealed to me because:
  • 90 days is three times the time it's said to take to build a habit so any changes I made and stuck to would definitely end up becoming habits.
  • 90 days is long enough to see if something is or isn't working but it's short enough not to feel like an overwhelmingly long time to plan for.
  • Using the seasons means that I can use the weather or certain events to shape my days, so I'm not always lost or unprepared for upcoming events. For example, summer is the time for outdoor activities, autumn has Halloween and things like National Novel Writing Month and winter (obviously) has Christmas. This would be great not only for my personal life, but for my blogging life. 
So how exactly am I planning to go about focusing, planning and getting things done throughout these next 90 days?


Got My Exam Face On

Thursday 11 June 2015

I don't know about you, but I attend a university where there has to be some unwritten rule that everyone always has to look good. I am definitely not at a "wear leggings and Uggs to your lectures" kind of campus, but at a "I woke up like this - flawless" kind of uni, and this rule extends to exams. Currently in my final exams, I think I've mastered the art of looking relatively good without putting on my usual face of make up.

The Flawless Base

For my base I use what I have dubbed: The Body Shop Flawless Trio. After my morning cleanse, I use the Vitamin C Daily Moisturiser SPF 30 which ensures that my skin is bright and protected; I then go in with the Vitamin C Skin Boost a lovely silicone-based serum with tiny flecks light reflecting particles which leaves my skin smooth and glowing; then I finish up with the All-In-One Instablur to smooth out any large pores and the look of my 'I was up all night going over my notes' under eye bags. 

This gets me throughout the entire day and I don't have to worry about signing of my exam paper with foundation fingerprints (I tend to scratch my face during exams for some reason). When my skin begins to look a little shiny throughout the day I just use the Kleenex Shine Absorbing Sheets to dab away any excess shine and I'm good to go. 

The Eyes & Brows

As a glasses-wearer, filling in my eyebrows is definitely the best way to define my face. I'm currently using the Eyelure Ink Brow in Dark Brown, and despite having a love-hate relationship with it, it's definitely looking well loved. I keep those in place with the e.l.f. Essential Wet Gloss Clear Brow & Lash and it's a good thing it does its job well because scratching my brows seems to be another one of my nervous ticks. Mascara also helps to make me look a little more awake, and I love my Yves Rocher Volume Elixer Mascara as it adds both volume and length for pretty, natural looking lashes. As you can never know when late spring showers are going to hit, I then seal it in with the Kiko False Lashes Concentrate Waterproof Top Coat Mascara, which is a clear gel-like mascara that makes any mascara you own waterproof.

The Lips

Nerves seem to leave me with dehydrated lips (I must subconsciously chew them) so I need all the moisture I can get. My current go-to lip balm is the Carmex Cherry Lip Tube which tastes like cherry drops and has a cooling menthol zing to it. I also find that lipglosses keep my lips moisturised for longer whilst adding some colour to my lips so I'm currently loving wearing my Yves Rocher Sexy Pulp Volume Gloss in Coral. I love the colour pay off of this, as well as the smooth texture and it'll definitely last through a three hour paper. Alternatively I like these e.l.f Luscious Liquid Lipsticks in the shades Brownie Points (a pretty nude) and Cherry Tart (more on the berry side) though they are more on the sticky side, or this Hema Pretty Lips Lipgloss SPf 15 in Spicy Brown. 

The Nails

Having my nails done makes me feel that much more put together, but experience has taught me that dark nail colours are a bad idea as I've yet to find a top coat that stops them from leaving a dark crayon-like line across my exam paper if I accidentally scratch my nail across it. That's why during exam time I prefer to stick to neutral shades such as the Nails Inc Bleinhem Terrace, a pretty pale coral with slight shimmers, Nails Inc. Oakley Street which is a gorgeous mustard tone that really complements my skin tone or Maybelline Color Show Love This Sweater which sold me on the name alone but also happens to be a really pretty pale nude. 

Do you wear makeup during exams?

Stop Doing Things Because You Should

Sunday 7 June 2015

Growing up the phrase 'I can't' got a lot of hate. I think "There is no such thing as can't" was the never-ending refrain of my primary school teachers. I'm not saying they were wrong, especially when faced with a pouty seven-year old who just doesn't want to figure out her fractions and lumps it into the category of Can't. By the time I reached the end of my secondary school education, their words had evolved to more philosophical phrases such as "Where there is a will, there's a way" or "the only obstacle to success is the one in your mind" but the gist of it was the same: stop saying you can't and just do your bloody work. 

I wish the concept of "should" would have gotten the same hate.

I've already taken issues with the concept of "try" in a previous Thoughts on Sunday where I agreed with Master Yoda (despite never having seen Star Wars): do or do not, there is no try.  Similarly, you want to or you don't - there is no should. Should is some weird in-between concept that is often ladened with guilt, loaded with expectations and doesn't actually do anyone any good. 

If you should be doing it, why aren't you doing it?

More often than not, when you start thinking that you "should" be doing something, it's because someone other than yourself thinks it's a good idea, but deep down you don't actually really agree and you don't want to do it. Sitting for hours contemplating that thing you should be doing, or doing the things you feel you should be doing whilst remaining unsatisfied (and usually unhappy) seems like an odd way to live. Yet we all do it.

Yes, there are things that we technically "should" be doing like paying the bills, keeping our surroundings clean, gaining some sort of education or life experience to prepare us for life within our respective societies and being decent human beings, but my argument is that all these things? Wanting to do them feels so much better.

Do it because you want to do it.

Over the past year, I've been delving deeper into personal development, and one of the common consensus amongst the authors I've come across is that life is better when you are proactive. Carpe diem isn't all about living a typically adventurous life, backpacking across Europe and jumping from buildings or what have you - it's also about making a conscious decision about the little things you do throughout the day.

You wake up early because there are tasks that you want to get done during the day. You exercise regularly because you want to feel healthier from within, and you change your eating habits to help with that. You study because you want to learn more about a subject or because you want to work in a field that requires that knowledge. You pay the bills because you want to live in a house that has electricity and running water. You vote because you want a say in which politicians make seemingly terrible decisions. You are a decent human being because you want the world to be filled with decent human beings so you're going to start by being the change in the world.

And all of that feels much better because you're doing it because you want to, not because you should. Wanting to do all those things gives you control over your life, gives you power over how you experience your life. You're doing things because you want to do them, and you know why you want to do them. You're not doing them because someone or some standard somewhere has decided you should.

Should is just one massive guilt-trip. Let's stop saying it.

Should implies so many things, and none of them, to me, seem positive. Should implies that there is something out there that other people who are clearly better than you are doing but you aren't doing it. Should implies that you aren't living up to some standard. Should implies that what you do or don't want to do is not as valid as whatever what you "should" be doing. Should places the responsibility elsewhere and allows you to never stop and seriously contemplate why you do things because hey - you're doing what you should be doing so you must be doing it right...right? Should is not pro-active. Should is not the key to carpe diem-ing the crap out of your life.

I think it'd be beneficial to erase "should" from our daily vocabulary just as much as "I can't" and "I'll try". Do things because you want to do them and acknowledge when you simply don't want to do something. Interrogate yourself on the why behind your actions. Don't do things simply because you feel you "should". Do things because you want to.

What do you think of the concept of should?

Empties #1

Thursday 4 June 2015
Since I started beauty blogging I've noticed that I have a tendency to hold on to empties longer than the average person would with the good intention of putting together a good old 'Empties' post at the end of the month. I currently average at holding on to empties for 3-5 months or so before I realise that it's either time to throw everything out or write the post. I chose to write the post. 

B. Energised Eye Cream: I liked this. It's a gel eye cream that feels cooling and after a few weeks of use I noticed that my under eye area seemed brighter, smooth and so much less puffy. It was a sad moment when I squeezed out the last drop as it's from Superdrug and they don't do international delivery. This was the eye cream that made me fall in love with using eye creams. Recommend.

Philip Kingsley Daily Damage Defense Conditioning Spray: I used to be the type of person to scoff at the idea of 'you get what you pay for' until I learned the hard way with my skincare, and have also since realised that it's the same with hair care. After using this, leave-in conditioning sprays are one product I'll definitely be willing to splurge on. This smells gorgeous and leaves my hair super soft (and protected). Highly recommend.

The Body Shop Almond Hand & Nail Cream (full review here); This has been my favourite hand cream to use to date, and I really need to pick up another tube. I loved the style of the tube (reminded me of Aesop), the cream itself was lightweight yet moisturising and I saw an improvement in the condition of both my hands and nails. I definitely had less hang nails thanks to this. Highly recommend.

Yves Rocher Cocoa & Orange Moisturising Hand Cream: I believe this is one of their signature winter scents, and I was expecting great things from the scent combination, but it just didn't deliver. The cream itself was quite thin and too lightweight to feel very moisturising. 

Yves Rocher Sébo Vegetal Purifying Cleansing Gel (full review of the entire range here): I really like the products from this range, and having used their cleansers from other ranges, I can tell you that Yves Rocher knows how to do gel cleansers. This keeps my oiliness under control and gives that nice "cleansed but not stripped" feeling all cleansers strive for. This was a repurchase, and the only reason I'm not currently going through another tube is because I fell for The Body Shop Aloe Vera Foaming Cleanser instead. I can't resist the foam. Recommend

Evoluderm Rose Water Hydrating Toner: I like my toners to be natural - I use either rose or camomile toners (camomile more in the summer when my skin is freaking out that the sun has come out). This particular toner isn't quite as natural as I'd have liked it to be, but at 500ml it was great value for money and has lasted me absolute ages (I picked it up in October according to this post!)

Kiko Milano Make Up Fixer (full review here): I absolutely loved this product - I was quite sad when it gave its last spritz. This really showed me what a difference a setting spray can do to your make up (and that Youtubers aren't just trying to sell us Mac Prep + Prime Fix + for the lulz) and did the job nicely (and for a decent price too!). I do think that with some powder products it can give a bit of a cakey finish, but that could be my heavy-handed powdering and/or Collection 2000 Sheer Loose Powder not being as great as I think it is. Recommend

Sanex Natur Protect Deodorant for Sensitive Skin: Before I switched from shaving to epilating, my underarms were really sensitive and reacted badly to most deodorants. This was the first one where they didn't, and it probably has to do with the fact that it's free from a lot of the chemical elements in deodorants that can irritate your skin. As great as it was for my sensitive skin, I wasn't entirely convinced by its capacity as a deodorant. It smells great though. 

Bourjois Extreme Protection Deodorant - Waterproof formula: I really enjoyed this. It has a nice fresh scent to it, and provided excellent protection. Not so great for sensitive pits but I really like the Bourjois range of deodorants in general. I'm currently using Bourjois Tenderness Deodorant which was formulated for sensitive skin and have had no problems with it so far. Recommend

Corine De Farme Micellar Purity Water: This was my first foray into micellar waters. I don't think it removed make up effectively and my skin most definitely was not a fan (surprising since it's aimed at people with sensitive skin). I really think I should just shell out for Bioderma, and if that doesn't work for me, accept that I'm not a micellar water kinda person. 

The Body Shop Vitamin E Intense Moisture Cream: I love this during the winter, even as a day cream, as I find it puts up a really good fight against the harsh winter weather. I usually prefer this as a night cream though alternating it with the Vitamin E oil when that gets a little too heavy for my skin. Recommend (especially in winter)

The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter: I liked this but I didn't like this. I think I enjoyed the act of using a cloth to remove my makeup rather than using the product its and I didn't feel it could tackle my eye make up (which The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil can). It just irritated them. Some people love this product, others don't. I'm in the second category. 

The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-In-Oil: I love this. This is my second bottle, and I'll be repurchasing. I have oily skin and I feel that this balances out the stripping effect of some of the mattifying products I use without clogging up my pores. I wake up with clear, smooth and surprisingly matte skin. Until I can afford to get my hands on the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery this will be my go-to oil. Highly recommend.

The Body Shop Vitamin E SP15 Moisture Lotion: This was the first SPF face cream that I used religiously and this is my third tube...? Would be on my fourth if I hadn't decided to try the Vitamin C SPF 30 one from The Body Shop. They say it's a good idea to use SPF all year round, and I feel like this is a product that can carry you through all the season as it's so lightweight yet deep moisturising. Definitely suitable for all skin tones. Highly recommend

Have you used any of these products? Did you have a different experience than I did? 

Protect, Brighten and Smooth

Tuesday 2 June 2015

If you've been reading my blog over the past couple of weeks, you might have noticed these two products cropping up time and time again so I thought it was about time that they got their own post. 

Protect & Brighten

The Body Shop Vitamin C Daily Moisturiser SPF 30 has become my daily moisturiser. I think that if I had to choose between this and the Vitamin E Daily SPF15 Moisturiser, I'd be more inclined to go with the Vitamin E one, purely because the texture is lighter on my oil-prone skin. Otherwise, the Vitamin C Daily Moisturiser does its job: it leaves my skin with visibly hydrated, slightly brighter and I know that I'm protected by a higher SPF whenever head out of the door. Depending on the day, the scent can be a little too tangy for me, and I have to be really careful not to apply too generously or I end up looking like a lovely little ball of shine, but if you have dry/normal skin that is in need of a little brightening boost then definitely give this a try. I can't say for sure if my skin looks much brighter than usual, but it's certainly never dull these days.

Brighten & Smooth

The piece de resistance in this duo is definite The Body Shop Skin Boost (or Skin Reviver, depending on what's available in your local BS). The difference in my skin when I use or don't use this is instantly noticeable. There are no words as to how much I love this. On its own, it instantly smooths my skin, giving it that perfect dewy glow that most of us are after this time of year thanks to light-reflective particles (basically tiny bits of glitter) and the smoothing silicone-elements which is really handy for keeping me more on the matte side. Paired with The Body Shop All-In-One Instablur and I no longer need foundation: I have smooth, matte(ish), bright skin that stays that way for a surprisingly long time - especially with a fixing spray. Great for those summer days where the thought of your foundation melting off your face by the end of the day gives you nightmares ha.

The New Additions

I couldn't finish this post without raving about the new additions to The Body Shop Vitamin C range. Of course they've been added to my rapidly growing The Body Shop wishlist because from a purely aesthetic point of view, the orange and black packaging would look great on my bathroom shelf! 

Even though I prefer something with an SPF this time of year The Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser has me intrigued for one reason: it's a gel cream. Gel creams always promise to be lighter on the skin which is great, if like me, you have oily sensitive-prone skin, as gel creams are less likely to clog your pores and more likely to soothe any irritations all whilst restoring any moisture that oil-balancing products may suck out of. For example, if you use the The Body Shop Tea Tree Facial Wash, I'd recommend using this to keep your face moisturised and matte rather than combining it with the Tea Tree Skin Clearing Lotion which might end up stripping your skin (I know it does mine).

I'm intrigued by The Vitamin C Glow Enhancer as it sounds like the Skin Boost but...with a bit of colour? I'm yet to try this in-store but I'm definitely intrigued by what a "fresh, rosy tint" will look like on my skin tone. Reviews of this seem to suggest that the hint of colour is more on the orange side which would complement my warm undertones, but we'll see!

Have you tried anything from The Body Shop Vitamin C range?