Tuesday, 25 October 2016

The battle I have with my skin

Half-way through 2015 I noticed I was starting to go grey. By this I mean I saw that I had grey hairs. they may have been there longer, who knows. I started trying to hide them, cut them out, pull them out. Resistance is futile when it comes to greying follicles. 

Now I am 25 and I have quite the collection of grey hairs and up until very recently I had acne too. It was a laughable situation really, teenage acne and grey hairs, had it not been for that fact that it was making me quite miserable. I am prone to the odd blemish now and again. My oily skin becomes congested and I get black heads that make me want to steam my face for days. But I was getting big, red angry spots. The sort that resist all known anti-spot remedies. These were hormonal, almost cyst-like in structure. 

I had up until a week ago been using the Garnier Micellar water as a method of removing my make up in the evenings. I have been using the range for a couple of months now, since the back end of July and had been very happy with it. What is worth noting at this point is that my skin can be a pain in the ass sometimes. 

Case in point: I purchased the L'Oreal Fibrology shampoo and conditioner to boost my lifeless locks. I've used L'Oreal hair products before and had no issues. I was very happy with the shampoo and the results, so when the first bottle ran out I bought another. My skin, it turns out, had changed its mind. after starting the second bottle of shampoo and using it a handful of times my skin became itchy and irritated. My scalp was red and angry and I was upset. I genuinely thought I had head lice at one point. I promptly went out and purchased some Aussie products and basked in the sweet relief that the change in shampoo provided. I gave away the almost full bottle of L'Oreal. 

So, back to the original story. following several weeks of teenage spotty skin, on a Friday night last week I reached for the face wipes. The horror. In my head nothing I could do would make my skin any worse, so for that lazy Friday night plonked in front of the TV I chose to forgo my usual skincare routine. Two face wipes later and a smear of my current favourite Good Things moisturiser I went to bed. That night I didn't sleep very well and when I woke up I had some delightful dark circles and bags under my eyes. But my skin. Okay, it was not perfect, but it was clearer than it had been in weeks. I had no new spots. Red angry spots had turned to dark blotches on my cheeks. my nose, was not dry and oily at the same time. 

What I'm trying to say is that although we often swear by a good skincare routine, sometimes we need to listen to what our skin is telling us. It's been a week and my skin is so much better. I think it's too easy to apply product after to product to combat skin issues, when sometimes all you need is to cut back to basics and let your skin have a few days off. 

I'll be going to boots soon to check out something new for my skin. I'll probably try something new. In a familiar cycle where I purchase something to see how much my skin will tolerate it. It laborious, but unfortunately necessary. For now though, I'll be keeping those face wipes handy! 

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

An Ode to Autumn

An Ode to autumn.

Warning; this post contains a lot of adjectives.

I am about to wax lyrical about autumn. For me there is a sumptuousness surrounding autumn that cements it to the number one spot out of all the seasons. Don’t get me wrong, summer is great, there’s something to be said for lounging, bare skinned, on exposed roof terraces sipping crisp rosé wines, or eating fresh lobster salad and knocking back fruit cocktails until the wee hours.

Summer for me depicts a sensual break to the year, a time for gallivanting off on breaks in Europe, warm tanned skin, and summer barbecues and campfires, chatting late into the night and the early morning.

Autumn and winter on the other hand have a rich warmth, a depth to them. Autumn is about scurrying home before dark falls, reaching for thick winter knits, musty after months languishing in drawers and wardrobes. Autumn is about wrapping up, whether in tactical layers of coats and scarves, or slow Sunday spend under the blanket in the lounge, hours passing by below grey skies, the soft pitter patter of rain against the windows, as hearty dinners bubble away in the oven.

On a few occasions now I have heard autumn described as sofa season, a time to spend with loved ones, watching gripping dramas and dark box sets. But I also dream of crisp mornings, frosty walks to the local pub, an hour spent in front of a roaring fire, sipping mulled cider and rich red wines. Before donning winter woollies once more and trudging home, to warm soup and crusty bread, thick with butter.

During winter I become overly excited about clothes. Summer is unpredictable, a warm spell of 27 degrees can quickly give way to grey skies and storms. Light dresses become useless as winds pick up and temperatures drop. Evenings in London become sticky, a heavy humid feeling hangs in the air, pressing clothes against the skin in a way that makes us want to shower every half an hour. But winter; autumn and winter are cold, in either a wet, condensation kind of way, warm breath clinging to wool scarves, or in a numbing, frozen to the bone kind of feeling. When fingers without gloves become useless for texting, faces are chapped, noses are red. Winter is for boots, a long coat that traps in heat. Getting dressed for winter makes one feel as though you are about to embark on an adventure.

Autumn is about fire, not in a barbecue sense, but big bonfires, wood burning stoves heating homes, logs crackling in grand fireplaces. Not to mention the fireworks, they usually start at the end of November and then can often run through to New Year, a glittering celebration in the midst of dark winter.

And let’s not forget Christmas. The parties and frivolity, sequins and jewel toned dresses, party food and finger buffets signalling the start of an all-out feast. Christmas really is all about the socialising. Traipsing round several family members’ homes for drinks, laughing and singing and being joyous, before doing it all again the next day.

Autumn is for the senses, if it isn’t water pale sunsets in the early evening catching my eye, it’s the crunch of frost bitten leaves underfoot. Or, the smell of stews, a welcome warmth upon entering homes with the heating on.

For me the cold isn’t a bad thing, it’s a chance to get wrapped up, bunker down. Yes the mornings are dark and the evenings are chilly, but that is something to be celebrated, because the sweet sticky heat of summer will soon be back. 

Monday, 10 October 2016

Thoughts on Mental Health

Today it was World Mental Health Awareness Day.
A day that is extremely important for many reasons.

Mental Health isn't like physical health, but you don't need me to tell you that. Mental health issues often go unnoticed for a long time. We tend not to share emotional pain or mental health issues with others, it's a taboo. Which is a shame.

Too often we sit at work, we sit at home, feeling unease. For me, a person who doesn't identify as having any mental health disorder, I know how some days it can all get too much. There have been days where I haven't wanted to get out of bed, to go to work, to face people. There has been days where I have wanted to break down in tears, there has been days where I have broken down in tears, in meeting rooms with understanding team leaders, on my own in a secluded part of the office building.

You could say I have a minor form of social anxiety. I would be inclined to agree with you. Some days I feel so anxious and panicked at work that my chest is tight and there is a lump in throat. I haven't yet been to the doctor. Although I did go this time last year because I was feeling on the verge of a breakdown. The doctor at the time chalked it down to stress. I am a worrier. I will freely admit that.

What I do find useful though, is talking to others about how I'm feeling. Family, friends. three out of the five people I spoke to recently told me that at some point they had felt the same. I was not alone in my 'odd' behaviour. My feeling of blue was familiar to them. They identified with my need to get through life as a series of hurdles. A number of unpleasant events, rewarded by nice things; a day off, drinks after work, a shopping trip.

What I did take away from today, from all the wonderful things said on social media, was that it always helps to talk. Mental health issues although difficult to admit to are felt by many. And often it is just good to talk.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Learning to blog

I tell myself no less than 270 times a year that I will get into blogging. My internal monologue is constantly on the go so why not share my creative vision (random musings) with the world. 

One of the issues I face is my brand, in that it is non-existent. I don't have a brand, I don't have a hook, a thing, a PSP. I enjoy writing though and I want to begin writing things that I feel I can share with the public, but also I want to write for me. 

So, armed with a little knowledge about a lot, I will attempt to blog.