13 September 2014

Life after graduation - journey towards your career

Hello beautiful people!

Okay so, I thought I'd share my personal thoughts and experience with you for what life after graduating with an undergraduate degree has been like. Hopefully some of you might find this useful, relatable, or just good to read! Especially for those of you who have just graduated over the summer. 

Naturally, everyone's experiences are different but there is a common theme that often other people and graduates themselves think they're going to 'dive' straight into their perfect job and live happily ever after. 

Erm, hello? Reality check please?!

I never expected to land the perfect job because I didn't intend on paid working straight away. I have a background in Psychology and I want to go onto become a Clinical Psychologist one day. That path to that is not only long, but tough - you are required at least a year's worth of clinical/research experience and then a doctorate degree (DClinPsy or PsyClinD), sometimes also with a Master's degree to improve chances of getting accepted for the clinical training (the doctorate). 

For those of you who still expect that everything will go perfectly, please don't. Of course if it does for you then that's absolutely great, but if it doesn't it's not the end of the world. Finding a job of your choice (yes, emphasis on choice), is not as easy. Think about it - if you realllly want that job, what makes you think others won't too? Obviously that means that getting the job will be competitive, right? It's one thing to just get 'a job'.. but it's another to get a job you love. 

I personally think a career in something you are passionate about is much more fulfilling than a career that just pays the bills. I also think enjoying what you do is necessary to succeed to the best of your ability. So many people that I know have gotten a job they don't even like, purely because they felt they had to have a job. I believe it's better to be using your time and energy doing something that will help to get your dream job, even though that is more difficult. 

This is where the hard part comes in. Experience. As I mentioned earlier, I didn't want to get a paid job straight away, but instead get relevant experience. Why? I can't stress the importance and value employers place on work experience. Especially if it is voluntary - it shows how committed you are to what you want. Having said that, unpaid experience is not always easy to get either (what the hell? I know right!!) as so many other people might also be trying to do the same. So what do you do now? Well, you have your own brain right? So, you use your own initiative and GO GET THOSE OPPORTUNITIES.

I will give you an example of one of my major achievements this year which was inspired through a rejection for an important unpaid role. So I had applied for a role which is highly valuable within my field, and yes I was rejected. Okay so I was disappointed. But, that disappointment gave me a ridiculous amount of motivation and I thought to myself, "My career isn't just 'going to happen'. I need to take things in my own hands". And so, one Sunday evening I sat down, wrote a short concise email (attached with my CV) asking for any requirement (for the same role that I was turned down for) and sent it to about 15 different potential employers. I did this as a safe bet; there was nothing to lose but only to gain. In fact, to be honest I didn't expect any positive replies. But guess what.. I received FIVE offers! All eager to work with me! I was absolutely mind blown and so grateful! As a result, I have been developing my skills and expanding my experience widely, which means that now when I do decide to apply for my chosen job, I will hopefully have a much stronger application. Another point to remember is - it doesn't always matter what you do, but what you learn from it. If you can show your employers what transferable skills you have picked up and how they can benefit the job you're applying for, you're automatically going to be in their good books. For example, you might have previously been a waitress or bartender and are now applying for a teacher's job. You could easily explain that from your waitressing/bartending you improved your communication and/or developed problem-solving skills as a result of dealing with difficult customers. 

So lovelies, don't sit around for life to just happen.. go and carve your own path the way YOU want it. Let your failures be the reason for your success (wow, did I actually just quote something so inspirational?!) Don't take into account what anyone says or expects because it's your life and it's your choice. 


Also, don't forget that you are still growing and actually 'finding yourself' during all this time. You get placed in a lot of different situations which require different levels of responsibility. Especially if you are working. I think this is what takes a lot of adjusting. You spend all your life (almost always continuously) in education living quite care freely, and then BAM.. you're an adult. There's no waking up late or missing lectures because you can't be bothered; no, you're an adult and you live by the rules. But don't let that scare you as with all that there is a great level of satisfaction to know that you are looking ahead to the rest of your life!

The good news! I am going to be a student again! I'm starting a highly competitive Master's degree at an extremely prestigious university!




Lots of happy, motivational love,
Ayesha xxx

11 September 2014

Mint..

Hi lovelies!

My favourite flavour is mint.. This is the sole topic of this post :P

Whether it's chocolate, ice cream, a drink; I LOVE mint flavouring! Peppermint hot chocolate, mojito mocktails, Aero chocolate.. And soooo much more! I'm going to buy some peppermint essence and make my own peppermint hot chocolate! Hehe :) Actually, I might try adding some to cake mix too.. AH SO EXCITING!


Do you like mint? I know it's not a common flavour preference, as hardly anyone I know likes it too. Most of the time people say 'urgh' when I mention it! If you don't like mint, what is your favourite flavour instead?

Love and all that jazz,
Ayesha xxx


7 September 2014

The Body Shop tea tree oil

Hello lovelies!

I get the occasional few hormonal spots on my face, and while I normally do nothing to get rid of them, I decided to try something new this time. When I was younger I tried a few spot creams (which were useless) and tried toothpaste overnight too (which seemed to help), but when I started uni I started to just let them heal naturally. 

I decided to try a more 'natural' remedy and bought TBS tea tree oil as I had heard positive reviews. Well.. it actually did absolutely nothing for my spots. Not going to lie, I would have completely stopped using this product BUT, I decided to try this overnight on my t-zone. I put some onto a cotton pad and gently pressed it on my nose and forehead before I went to sleep. I woke up with a wonderfully matte t-zone! I have TBS seaweed night treatment (review here) which failed do this. I don't have very oily skin at all and the rest of the seaweed range works great with me, so I was a little disappointed. This, however, has been wonderful and I think it has reduced the size of my pores too. 

I don't plan to use this every day, as I think it will balance oil/pores well after a few overnight uses. Plus, I have sensitive skin and as it's not too oily, I don't want to over dry it. I think using it a few nights a week should keep my skin in balance. Also, as the colder weather is approaching my t-zone will start to calm down itself.


I think it is reasonably priced at £7 (10ml), but I guess the value for money depends on what you use it for. If you are to use it every day for the whole face to combat oil, it won't last very long and will seem expensive. If you are just buying it for spots then it's great value. If you are only going to use it occasionally just for your t-zone, it should last a good amount of time.

It doesn't smell great, which is why I would recommend to only really use this overnight. Many people have mentioned they find the nozzle to be impractical; personally I have had no problems at all and quite like it. For spots I would press a cotton bud to the nozzle and get a few drops. Or, I would get a cotton pad and drip some drops on that. Nothing too difficult in my opinion. The nozzle is small but that is GOOD. A larger nozzle would mean more product would come out when it is not needed, wasting the oil.

Do any of you have any tips for how to get rid of spots? Would you discourage using anything? Please share your views!

Love and hugs,
Ayesha xxx

31 August 2014

Burt's Bees Beeswax lip balm

Hello!

Lip balm for me is an essential product. I am never without a lip balm. I rarely use lipstick/lipgloss as I am allergic to most (unfortunately), so a good lip balm is always my companion. I have to be very picky in the lip balm's I choose too, as I have had sensitivity to certain brands before. I do love lipstick, but I prefer the look of natural, healthy, moisturised lips.

The Burt's Bees Beeswax lip balm has been my favourite this year (I have been too scared to try something new!) and it's such a lovely product. It has a minty smell and slightly tingles up on application. It's easily applied and hydrates lips instantly. It helps recover chapped lips - I even use this as a substitute for Vaseline! It leaves my lips super soft! This lip balm was the Winner in the Specialist Skincare category for the Debenhams Beauty Club Awards 2011 too!

Burt's Bees use all natural ingredients in their products, and in this case, the hero is beeswax. Now before you start wondering what beeswax is, let me tell you:

"A natural wax made by bees in the cell walls of honeycombs, this substance is a natural emulsifier used in cosmetics. It adds a wonderful natural smell and colour to products and helps to seal and protect the skin when used in moisturizing formulas"



When I apply this, my lips stay moisturised for about 4 hours and I don't need to reapply straight away either. The stick/tube lasts forever, I still haven't finished mine and I've been using it everyday for almost a year. It is also available in a tin if you prefer that to a stick/tube. They have other variations available too (see them here), and are all priced at £3.69. They have tinted versions too (see them here) which I'm contemplating trying - these are £5.99. If you have used the tinted ones then please let me know!

What are your favourite lip balms that you would recommend? Please share below - I am forever on the lookout for a new trustable lip balm!

Lots of buzzzzzing love! (I'm not sorry for this pun! Hehe)
Ayesha xxx


25 August 2014

Mindful Mental Matter: Feelings of anxiety/anger/stress and simple techniques

Hello! 

Quick note: this post is not about generalised anxiety disorder as a clinical issue, but is about feelings of anxiety (and anger and stress) and simple ways to try and manage this.

Alright, so feelings of anxiety/anger/stress are natural responses that we all go through, but not all of us can get out of those feelings easily. Some people have anxiety so bad that they can experience a panic attack.

Such feelings are a result of what we go through in our mind. But, when our mind experiences something, our body likes to work in parallel, producing a physical response. You'll notice your heart beat faster, feel hot and sweaty, get a burst of energy, feel tense, breathe heavier.. and so on. That is because your body is releasing adrenaline and cortisol in preparation for the evolutionary fight or flight response

What's that? Back in the day our ancestors would have to try harder to survive and may come across many different life threatening situations, for example, a wild bear. So what do they do? They get stressed/anxious about the situation and their body would respond to allow them to: fight the bear OR run away from the bear (flight). Of course, in the modern age we don't have many adaptive functions for this response as we typically don't fight or run away from our problems. For example, if you are stressed about an exam.. you can't fight it or run away from it (strictly speaking - I mean you could run out the exam hall if you really wanted to..)


http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/8347
Due to this, our stress response can seem like it lingers on and make us feel worse - because we aren't making use of our physical response the way evolution intended it to be done. This is why we might do stupid things in the heat of the moment. For example, making the rash decision to start an argument with someone, hurt someone's feelings, quit a job, throw things at a wall.. etc.
So, what can we do about this physical reaction our body is producing without being harmful for anyone? We can try to de-stress and calm down. Not only do we need to calm down in our mind, but our body too (which will automatically calm down your mind). They both work in sync, if you calm one the other will respond similarly.

Three de-stressing techniques:

1) Breathing activity (helps clear your head and relax you):
Inhale from your nose for five seconds, and exhale from your mouth for ten seconds. Do this about three times and you’ll notice a great relief. You can also do this while picturing a relaxing scene in your mind (e.g. a quiet beach). You can especially do this when you feel extremely angry to help prevent you from making any hasty decisions. Doing this in other situations like before going into an exam, doing a presentation or going to a social event (if you face social anxiety) can help calm the nerves too.

2) Chocolate:
Have you ever heard the saying “chocolate makes you happy”? Well it’s true! Eating chocolate releases endorphins (a happy hormone) which elevate the mood. Therefore, eating some chocolate can also de-stress you. It’s one of the reasons people comfort eat! BUT, don’t use that as an excuse to binge out on chocolate! As with everything else, chocolate needs to be consumed within moderation (unfortunately).

3) Exercise:
There are other ways to release endorphins too, with one of them being exercise. Have you ever noticed how energetic and optimistic you feel after a work out? That is of course when you haven’t worked out to your maximum potential and feel drained! You’ll be surprised at the mental wellbeing benefits that exercise has, with de-stressing being one of them. You don't need to have a full training session at the gym; going for a quick jog or having a rave to music in your room is great. Just get your heart racing and feel yourself cheer up!

Long-term stress can suppress our immune system, so try to de-stress as often as you can. Remember that these feelings are in our heads.. meaning we are in control of them. If we learn to pick up on when we think we're going to reach our limit, we will be able to learn to counteract this and prevent ourselves from going through the nasty experience. Hope this helps any of you to relax those nerves!

Stay chilled like an ice-cube (yes, yes, I actually just said that),
Ayesha xxx

21 August 2014

Tips for starting university!

Hello!

So September/October is approaching and lots of you will be starting UNIVERSITY! Eeek!!
Being a fairly recent graduate (wow, don't I feel old!) I felt sharing some tips for freshers would be good. Adjusting to a new city, place and people can be overwhelming, exciting and daunting all at the same time. Hopefully, some of my tips can prove useful for you!

Just a quick point, these are only my opinion and many tips are targeted for those who are moving out. 

1) Create a packing/shopping list.
This is very important.. you will surprised at how much you will be taking and what things you'll need that you didn't think you would. The key to this is planning; if you plan before hand it will save any possible crisis when you get there ("Oh no, I forgot my towels"). Also, not all places have the same things (e.g. a toaster, iron), so check by contacting your accommodation. This might be different if you are living in catered halls. You may also need a few passport photos (for your student ID etc) and relative documents (just in case), e.g. your UCAS letter.

2) Don't be afraid to make friends!
I cannot stress the importance of this. Remember, pretty much everyone is in the same boat as you.. it will be a new environment for everyone. Everyone will want to make friends, so don't be afraid to go out there and strike up a conversation with 'that person on my course'.

3) Make peace with your flatmates. 
This carries on with the previous point. If you are living in halls or any accommodation with new people, it will be best for everyone involved to get on with each other, especially if you're in shared bathrooms. Flat mate troubles can be very problematic, so if you have a good understanding and are friendly from the start, your first year living with them will go much more smoothly. You might even find your flat mates become your main friends during uni; even friends for life. Mine certainly did!

4) Join societies and/or sports clubs.
This is a fantastic way of meeting new people and making friends. Some of the people you'll meet there might turn out to be friends for life. It's also a great way of keeping busy, and who knows.. learning a new skill! You could even take up a sport you've always wanted to do. Try something new, something you wouldn't even think you'd be good at. It'll also give you a break from studying and any other stress you might have. Live the uni experience to the full by doing things that develop you as a person.

5) Eat well.
I can understand that fast-food can be very appealing, especially if you don't like cooking. But, not only is all that pizza and those chicken wings unhealthy, they are very costly too (in the long-term). Think about how much you could be saving. Also, don't be shocked if you put on a ridiculous amount of weight if all you eat is a burger every day. Be smart with your food choices, you'll need the energy to stay active and.. study (yes, you'll have to study).

6) Sleep at appropriate times.
Don't miss your lectures because you didn't sleep when you should have. You need your sleep, but at the right times. And you also need to attend your classes. Constant sleep deprivation will only slow you down in the long term.

7) Learn to budget.
Money doesn't grow on trees and neither does your student loan. Just because you have a healthy account balance when your student loan comes in doesn't give you the right to freely spend it on ridiculous things. That money is there to last you for a number of months, not weeks. Learn to budget and write down your spending to get an estimate of how much you use per week, and how to reduce unecessary buying. Remember, you need money for food, so maybe forget that Topshop dress you saw. Also, not everyone gets a grant/bursary (I certainly did NOT!!) so look after your money! You will probably have to fit in accommodation fees too!

8) Label your items/food.
Somebody is BOUND to steal some your milk in the fridge, as with your cutlery. Make sure you label anything that is put in a communal area. Yes you can't label cutlery, but keep them in a locked draw and put them away soon after washing up. People do steal and of course won't admit to it. Similarly, don't use other peoples stuff without their permission!

9) Sign up to your local surgery/doctors! 
Fresher's flu is a lot more common than you think. And you don't even know when you might get ill, so make sure you are registered!

10) Trust wisely.
Making friends with everyone you know is fine, but, don't trust everyone. The company you are in can affect your decisions largely, so BE WISE. Don't forget your morals and what you believe in. Spontaneity is good, but don't make decisions that you know you'll regret later. 

11) Stay true to yourself.
Be yourself. Don't change who you are to please others or fit in. At uni, there is a chance you WILL find someone who'll want to be your friend, so don't waste your time on people who don't appreciate you. There are so many people that it's impossible to not make friends! After all, uni is about developing you, not changing you. It's a chance to grow and understand who you are better than ever.

12) Accept that people change.
This is something you won't realise till a little later, but you should be aware of the fact that PEOPLE DO CHANGE. Maybe it's not more of them 'changing', but more of them 'revealing their true selves'. So, like I said earlier, trust wisely. Who you thought is your best friend might actually not be after all. That is a harsh truth - you'll learn that yourselves.

13) STUDY!
Yes, you WILL have to study. Don't forget why you are at university in the first place. Be lenient with yourself, that's fine, but don't compromise your education. Make sure you don't leave your work to the last minute because IT WILL COME BACK AND BITE YOU. There's no point in having all the fun in the world if you're geared towards a fail.

Just imagine yourself on your graduation day, receiving your degree, and how much you want to work to achieve that.. the hard work will then come automatically! During my final exams I just kept that goal in mind and didn't think of anything else.. then I just worked and worked and worked like there was no tomorrow!

14) Stay positive

Please remember that there is always help available if you need it. If you are feeling low/sad/anxious, make sure you tell someone about it. Things will get better. Talk to your personal tutor or someone you can trust, help is always available.

15) MOST IMPORTANTLY! HAVE FUN!
University can be the best time of your life. I can only begin to express how much I miss everything during that time. There will be ups and downs but it will be a great learning experience. You'll discover yourself in many ways and grow as an individual. Make sure you're having fun, staying safe and appreciating your time there. Those years of your youthful life won't come back, so live it to its fullest. Do things you wouldn't do otherwise and respect every moment. Make sure your uni life is something you want to remember for the rest of your life!

My BSc graduation! Proud moment!
Hope you can take something on board with these tips! The uni experience is different for everyone, these were just a number of starting points I touched on. If things get too tough for you, don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help (whether it is emotional, academic or financial). There are always options available. Your life is what you make it. Don't be nervous and be ready for the time of your life!

Stay happy,
Ayesha xxx


18 August 2014

Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet EDT fragrance

Hello beautiful people!

I'm not someone who gets excited easily by a perfume; even when given a choice, I always opt for my signature scent, which is the divine ChloƩ EDP. Still to date there is no fragrance that has beaten it. But, occasionally there comes a perfume which I like enough to consider purchasing to wear as an alternative...

This is one of those times! I initially received a sample vial of the Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet EDT fragrance and I eagerly tried it on my wrist. Oh my! It was so beautiful! After wanting it for some time, I eventually gave in and got the 50ml bottle.

The bottle is super elegant and the liquid is light pink (not that clearly visible in photo) which is so pretty! It is not a cheap fragrance, but who am I kidding, no good perfumes are ever cheap. At Boots, 50ml retails at £54.50, linked here. It's not that strong and quite light - so it doesn't last too well, but it is an eau de toilette, so that is expected. I do wish it would have been an EDP so it could last longer.




Notes include - Sicilian Orange Essence, Pink Peony, Damascus Rose, White Musks.
One thing to remember is that perfumes smell a little different on everyone, as it depends on how it interacts with your body chemistry. Sometimes some notes are more prominent on others than they are on you! On me, it's definitely very fresh on first application. Then it settles down to a more warm fruity floral, which settles down with hints of soft musk.

 
I have previously owned the Miss Dior (Cherie - as it used to be called, before it was reformulated) EDP, which was very lovely and gorgeous too. However, I found it to be too strong and way too sweet. This edition is a much 'calmer' and 'relaxed' version, in my opinion. It's very gentle and I think this can be worn day or night. Season wise, I think it would be best suited for spring/summer, but, I never tend to bias my perfumes by the weather. I would wear this all year round. I am definitely making this my 'going out' scent during autumn.

Have you tried this fragrance, or any of the 'Miss Dior' line? What's your opinion?

Stay smelling lovely!
Ayesha xxx