SOCIAL MEDIA

Saturday, 8 December 2018

My Skin Care Routine For Clear and Glowing Skin (5 Easy Steps)


Skin care products


Looking after your skin is important – no matter how old you are. Overtime, through trials and experiments, I have come up with an optimal skin care routine for clearer skin. Of course, there are always new products coming out and lifestyle changes that can be made. Anyways, this is my current skin care routine for clear and glowing skin.

For context – my skin is combination. Sometimes it gets dry, sometimes it gets oily. I am especially affected by hormone changes (chin spots are the worst!)

Can you believe it, I had no clue what my skin type was, until few months ago? I visited a spa for the first time in Shoreditch for a facial, the spa lady told me that I had a combination skin type. After consulting with this lady, I have also started focusing on the ingredients that work on my skin – mainly salicylic, glycolic, lactic acids.  I used to get products for the sake of having something to put on my face. Now I bother to read the ingredients label and see whether a product would be suitable for my skin. 

CLEANSING

If I’m wearing any makeup, I first use a cotton pad with some micellar water to remove any makeup. Then I cleanse my face using Cucumber Herbal Conditioning Cleanser from Kiehl’s. It’s a very light, foaming gel cleanser. I like that it makes my face feel clean, but without that horrible feeling of tight skin. 

Kiehl's Cucumber Herbal Conditioning Cleanser

MASKS

I have a few masks on the go, masks are essential for pamper days. I use masks to clean and exfoliate my skin. Instead of using an additional exfoliating product, I tend to focus on acid masks and types of masks that you can scrub away.

Mask of Magnaminty from Lush – The most wonderful, mint smelling mask. It’s great to put in the morning to refresh dull, tired skin. The mask has peppermint, marigold oil and chlorophyllin. It’s also fantastic for exfoliation, there’s primrose seeds and aduki beans for that. This mask makes my skin feel really clean.

AHA 30% + BHA 2% peeling solution from The Ordinary – This has to be the best skincare product I have ever tried. It may look scary in the bottle, but it’s so great for the skin. The product has a load of AHA and BHA acids. Basically, AHA acids are for glow and BHA acids are for clearing your skin and pores. This product is affordable, so I highly recommend it. If you have sensitive skin, test the solution on your hand first!


Lush Mask of Magnaminty


The Ordinary AHA 30% BHA 2% Peeling Solution

SERUMS

I never used serums. I thought that face serums are for older individuals. Oh, I was wrong. Serums can really make a difference and give you clearer skin.

After cleansing my face, I put few drops of Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% from The Ordinary on my face. This serum is perfect for reducing congestion and control sebum. No sebum build-up = no spots. 


The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%


SPECIAL TREATMENTS

When I’m having a bad skin, when my spots and pores are out of control, I use a little bit of 2% Salicylic Acid Solution from The Ordinary. I tried so many products for reducing texture on my cheeks and minimizing spots, none of them worked as well as this solution! This product is perfect for clearing pesky spots! Salicylic Acid is a must if you want clearer skin!

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution

CREAMS

I use few creams to moisturize my skin. Moisturize your skin! Even when your skin is oily. Especially in the winter, cold weather is horrible for the skin.  

Vitamin E moisture cream from The Body Shop – Fantastic, light-weight cream. Apparently, vitamin E helps to reduce UV damage and helps to reduce appearance of scars. I use this cream when my skin is quite dry.  

Seaweed Oil-Control Lotion SPF 15 – This gel-based cream helps to reduce excess sebum and control shine. It also has SPF 15, which is a great bonus! Using acid products tends to increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so sun protection is a must.  


The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream



That’s it, these are all the products that I use to get clearer skin and glowing skin. Effective skin care products don’t have to cost a fortune. The most important thing is getting to know your skin – what works for others, may not work for you. Talk to professionals, find out what your skin type is. Then target your skin care routine by choosing well-researched ingredients. What is your favourite skin care product for clearer skin?




Saturday, 24 November 2018

The Art of Making Friendships






My partner once told me that friends do not have to match you perfectly. Hearing this made me reflect about the art of making friendships, how over the years I have learned that adjusting your expectations is one step away from loneliness.

As a teenager, I was ridden with judgement. To the point where I avoided to be friends with people, if they did not match my ideal. I was worried about my own self-image, therefore I kept away from people I classed as “rebels”. I kept away from the people who drank alcohol because at the time, I believed that drinking was bad. I kept away from those who could not hold an intelligent conversation, not thinking that everyone is worthy of a conversation. People are good at different things – the teenage me was too judgemental to figure that out. Where did this judgement lead? - 




To  me being the worst at making friends. I used to hang out with few people, but most of the time I spent in the library. I think people felt my judgement, maybe I was a disingenuous friend. At least, time is a healer, both of the heart and the brain. 

Things changed as a got older, meeting new people at college and university made me realise that everyone is different. 

People are too complex to fit the “ideal” mould. In order to make friends, one should appreciate the complexity of each individual – from their best qualities to their negative quirks. At the end of the day, I am far from ideal, so why should I judge people based on my high expectations?

Another thing that I have realised is that not everyone will be your support. You should not expect people to always listen to your troubles. Some people will be empathetic, others will be there when you want to have fun. People are people – not just shoulders to cry on. 

You must be proactive yourself and listen to your friends. If someone seeks for help but does not offer it, it means that they are not a great friend. Although, no one has the energy to help everyone. Be realistic, stick to helping others while also caring for yourself as well. The first step of every friendship revolves around building the bond to establish trust. Trust is the catalyst for unconditional support. 
  

You can have friends for different occasions, some friends can be there in times of trouble. Others may be more suited for a chilled evening with a cup of coffee. 

The art of making friends rests on finding things in common and that can be one thing or more. Friends are there to help you explore different parts of yourself. Being friends with people who do not perfectly match your idealistic expectations means that you can learn different things.  

Making friends is an art that’s difficult to master, it has taken me many years. I am grateful for people such as my partner, who guide me away from close-mindedness.

The moral of this long-winded reflection is that everyone deserves getting known. Furthermore, first impressions are often wrong. Every person has their story, they need to be given a chance. Avoiding others for the sake of idealistic expectations is foolish.  

That’s it for this one. I hope that from my experience you have learned something as well. Making friendships should be fun, not daunting. Separate judgement and start to get to know people from the heart. Spark conversations with people, even when they don’t seem to be “like you”. Who knows, maybe those who seem the most different, will become your closest friends.  What do you think about the topic of making friends? Do you find it easy or hard? What tips would you share?
Thanks for reading and take care! 






Saturday, 10 November 2018

How Much is My Face Worth? Quick Everyday Makeup Look



Hello, greetings, how are you doing today?  

I thought I will do something fun and see how much my 'everyday face' costs. Let's face it (AHH LOVE ACCIDENTAL PUNS), I don't wear makeup that often. Most of the time, I don't have time for it - I'm either rushing to work or to university.  Creating makeup looks is so much fun, it let's you to express yourself, enhance your features. On the day that I was putting this look that I'm about to show you, I had a driving lesson, went into town to do some errands and had a lovely red velvet cake with my friend. But enough rambling, let's do this! 

Application 

While I didn't get  the chance to take photographs of the things I have used to apply makeup on my face - I will still mention it. It was:
1. FINGERS! (Grand total of £0)  


So it's me with nothing on my face. I have already cleansed, exfoliated, moisturised. I won't include skin care into the overall price of my face, but if you would like a skin care routine, let me know. My skin care is quite basic anyway :) 

Face 

Sometimes I wear foundation, sometimes I don't. On this day, I thought meh, concealer will do. So the first step in making myself look half-decent was applying concealer all over my face like so: 



The concealer that I used was Naked Concealer by Urban Decay (£19.50) . I have mentioned about this concealer in my July Favourites post. It's still going strong! The only thing I'd say, I'm having problems with makeup creasing on my nose. It drives me mad! I tend to avoid putting lots and lots of product on my nose, because flaking look is not attractive. Not blaming this concealer though! 

I usually apply my concealer with a Real Techniques Blender, but this time I used my fingers because I couldn't be bothered to wash my sponge.

The next thing was, setting this concealer in place. I used the good old Stay Matte powder by Rimmel (£3.99). Then I went with some bronzer to warm up my moon face. The bronzer I used was the L'Oreal Paris Back To Bronze Bronzing Powder (£8.99) . I love this bronzer because it's matte and buildable. After this, I put on a bit of blush -  Crush on Blush Powder Blush by CYO in the shade Strong Words (£4.00). Last but not least, was highlighter. My favourite highlighter palette that I own is the Revolution Soph X Highlighter Palette (£8.00). Eight blinding highlighter shades for £8 - that's a bargain!. I dabbed a bit of the second shade from the top row with my fingers. I was going for a subtle look ;) 

Eyes 

Here comes filling gaps in brows. I used so many eyebrow products, one of my favourites is the Micro Brow Pencil from NYX. Alas, I used it all up! 
So, as an alternative I applied the shade Rosewood from Revolution Soph X Eyeshadow Palette (£10) with an angled brush. It's not as neat as using tiny pencils but it still works. I 'cleaned up' the eyebrows using some concealer. I used the same eye shadow palette on my eyes.



1. I applied the shade pancakes all over the lid.
2. Then I went with penguin on the brow bone.
3. I put the shade Peaches in the crease and the lower lash line.
4. I added some Strawberry Sweets in crease.
5. I dabbed a little bit of Danger in the outer corner.
BLEND BLEND BLEND!
6. I applied some Pink Champagne on the lid with my finger.
BLEND BLEND BLEND!

I used Miss Baby Roll by L'Oreal (£7.99) for my mascara. It's buildable, and gives some great volume!  

Lips 

I used the bubblegum lip scrub from Lush (£6.50) . Dry lips begone! Then I just dabbed a bit of lipstick with my fingers. The lipstick that I used was Color Sensational Mattes by Maybelline in the shade Burgundy Blush (£6.99). The thing with this lipstick - you can apply it all over the lips and make it super intense and autumnal, or you can make it subtle.  

Final Look 

My final look came to a grand total of: 

£116.93

Not too bad, but still expensive. The cost of makeup really does add up. 

Here's the final look! Pink and subtle :) 









I really enjoyed writing this post, I hope that you have enjoyed reading it as well.  
Let me know how much your everyday makeup face 'costs'. 
Until next time peeps, have a nice time, stay warm and safe. 



















Sunday, 4 November 2018

Thoughts on Blogging: The Dark Side of Consistency




It’s likely that if you are a blogger, interested in blogging or social media in general, you have come across the phrase ‘consistency is key’. Consistency is the building block that leads to more views, success and recognition. Consistent creators build trust of their audiences, this trust may manifest in returning readers or high levels of affiliate sales. While success can determine whether creators are doing well in their work, I wonder whether strict consistency is worth it. In this post, I will be discussing my thoughts on blogging and consistency.

Take care of your mental health

The mental health epidemic has swept the nation in the last millennia. More and more people are plagued by negative thoughts and problems. Part of the increasing mental health conditions could be due to improvements in diagnostic procedures, however another contributing factor may be unrealistic expectations given to oneself. Consistency involves planning your life around a tight schedule. Imagine constantly forcing yourself to be consistent because you must be consistent – not because you want to be. Would that lead to happiness?

The balance between quality and consistency

Consistently uploading a set number of blog posts a week requires efficiency, however obsessing over consistency is detrimental to work quality. How well something is written should be more important than how often someone writes. It is possible for quality and consistency to be balanced, but I think that the balance comes with experience. There is a difference between uploading consistently good and consistently bad posts. Half-baked posts may lack creativity and deeper meaning.

Life is difficult to predict

It’s difficult to be consistent regularly, because life is unpredictable. Life gets in the way, it’s difficult to have perfectly organised schedule where everything falls into pieces whenever we want. Stress may also arise from other areas of life such as relationships, work (if you are not a full-time blogger), studies, etc. When life gets difficult to handle, the first thing that a blogger should do is take care of themselves – not stare at their computer screen, trying to write blog posts. 

Bloggers are individuals

Another key issue of consistency is individual style of working. Bloggers should be aware that everyone has their own writing pace. Rules exist, proclaiming that the more posts are published per week – the better. Forcing these rules on yourself is not wise if your writing pace is slower than another blogger’s that you are comparing yourself to. Every blogger should post as much as their abilities and personal circumstances allow

Competition and consistency pressures

I think the key reason for pushing to be consistent is competition. As creators, we need to be heard. For some bloggers, their writing is what helps them to survive, pay the bills and of course do the things that make them happy. Others who are do not have the full-time blogger status yet, are pressured to be consistent. Consistency is relevancy. Nevertheless, tough competition takes the fun out from blogging itself.

Final Thoughts  

Consistency is a funny one. Being consistent takes a lot of patience and determination – jumping through hoops in life and sticking to a tight schedule without losing your sanity. Finding the right balance between publishing content that represents the best of your abilities and posting on consistent days  - that’s tough. I know that there are so many posts about “how to be consistent” and “why you need to be consistent”. But please, don’t ruin blogging for yourself. If you don’t feel like writing – don’t. If you feel like taking a break – take a break. After all, your mental health comes first. Recharge your batteries!


Anyways, here are my thoughts on consistency in blogging. What do you think? Should bloggers keep pushing towards perfect consistency – do the positive effects of consistency outweigh the negatives?

If you have enjoyed this post, share it around x
You can also follow me for more thoughts, advice and lifestyle posts x













Friday, 12 October 2018

September Favourites and Thoughts



September Thoughts 


Hello, I know what you are thinking – Laura it’s almost the end of October, where have you been? Why haven’t you done September favourites earlier? Well, I will explain. 

I moved into my new spacious flat on 7th of September, then shortly after my Masters course started. Days melted away as I was either working in a residential care home or at university. I have also started my driving lessons at last (it’s terrifying). I feel proud yet so tired.
Anyways, I still wanted to share a couple of things (and people) that I have loved this month.

Favourite Songs this Month

Here’s a Spotify playlist of my favourite tracks:


Favourite Bloggers of The Month

The Star Jar  - Ellen is a lovely girl, I found her on a Blogging Buddies page (more on that later) and then we started chatting on Facebook. Eventually, we had an incredible coffee meeting. Both of us being socially anxious individuals, I’m amazed how easy conversing with her was. She is mainly blogs about books, check her out!

Little White Socks – Aycan’s blog astound me, it’s pink, it’s colourful in the right ways. She has an incredible ‘brand’. Everything on her blog seems to have a purpose. I visit her blog for creative inspiration. In her blog there is something for everyone – from beauty to craft. Browse her blog!

Jenny in Neverland – Jenny is a professional, smart and honest blogger. She works so hard and always has wise thoughts to share. She posts high quality content consistently and an active communicator in the blogger community. Give Jenny some love!

Beauty

Maybelline Superstay 24 hour foundation (£9.99) – I have seen Sophdoesnails rave about this foundation on YouTube and it intrigued me to get it. After all, my combination skin was crying for more coverage. I don’t tend to like matte foundations, however this Maybelline product surprised me. I only need two little pumps to cover my blemishes and it does not feel heavy at all. There is also 17 shades available, quite good for drugstore!



L’Oreal Color Riche Matte Lipstick (Moka Chic) (£6.99) – This is my favourite nude lipstick shade. The colour is just right, your lips but better sort of thing. I think it smells great and feels comfortable on the lips.




Mac Matte Lipstick (Diva) (£17.50) – Autumn has arrived, meaning that it’s finally time for those autumnal purple and burgundy lips. I have been loving the ‘vampy’ look lately. MAC lipsticks are iconic.



Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Perfume (£52 for 30ml) – I got this perfume for my birthday back in April. I love it, it has such a mysterious scent with vivid notes of coffee and vanilla.  When I’m wearing this perfume, it makes me feel like a grown-up.


Favourite Places

Roti House – An incredible, affordable restaurant serving delicious Indian cuisine in Hatfield. The staff there provide great service and the food is top quality.

Balans Soho Society – Café, restaurant and a bar in one. They serve great coffee, cocktails and amazing food. I had their Classic Club sandwich and it was heavenly. The atmosphere was chill there as well. I highly recommend this place! They are open in quite a few places in London.  


Favourite Home Bits

Moth Plate (I forgot the price sorry!) – I got this incredible plate to store miscellaneous things (probably jewellery) in the Halloween section of Tkmaxx. As soon as I found it in the shop, I grabbed it immediately.


Favourite Entertainment and Random Bits

Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008) – I was never into musicals, so when my boyfriend insisted for me to watch this one, I was kind of meh, yeah maybe. Surprisingly, this film is great! It’s a horror, sci-fi musical starring Alexa Vega from Spy Kids as the main protagonist and there are few scenes with Paris Hilton (she is not that bad). The soundtrack is AMAZING! This is the film description:

"In the year 2056 - the not so distant future - an epidemic organ failures devastates the planet. Out of this tragedy, a saviour emerges: GeneCo, a biotech company that offers organ transplants, for a price. Those who miss their payments are scheduled for repossession and hunted by villainous Repo Men. In a world where surgery addicts are hooked on painkilling drugs and murder is sanctioned by law, a sheltered young girl searches for the cure to her own rare disease as well as information about her family's mysterious history. After being sucked into the haunting world of GeneCo, she is unable to turn back, as all of her questions will be answered at the wildly anticipated spectacular event:
The Genetic Opera"

PinterestPinterest is one of these sites that you don’t ever fully understand. I mean at least for me, it comes across this way. However, it’s an incredible resource for inspiration. It’s like a treasure chest full of everything. I’m always learning how to best approach Pinterest, my boards are organised around different areas of at the moment – Life Inspiration, Art Inspiration, Blogging Inspiration and more. You can find me on Pinterest here

Blogging Buddies Facebook Page – Last but not least, I have to mention this Facebook page made by Ruth (Ruthinrevolt) for bloggers to connect. She describes this group as “place to meet other bloggers and make some pals” I think that this group is incredible, there is no judgement and no you must do this to be a proper blogger. Currently, as I’m writing this post, Blogging Buddies has 635 members, but I’m sure we can get more! 😉

These are all of my late September favourite things and people. I hope you have enjoyed reading and found at least one thing that made you go “Oooooh, I want to try it!”. What have you been loving in September, and how is your life currently?
My apologies for being so slow with the blogging side of things. Keeping up to date with life is tough. I hate being an adult!






Sunday, 30 September 2018

The Journey of Self-Worth - 11 Habits for Feeling Good Within Yourself




Self-worth is a topic worth discussing.

The lack of self-worth (self-esteem) leads to self-hatred, unhappiness and despair. Therefore, this means that mastering the journey of self-worth is crucial. Some people learn about self-worth naturally through their life experiences. Others struggle to feel a sense of self-worth.

Self-worth could be defined as:


 The feeling that you have good qualities and have achieved good things


As a concept, self-worth is highly subjective as it is based on feeling good within yourself. Hill (2015) found that self-esteem was linked with higher subjective happiness scores and overall life satisfaction. Whereas, Judge et al (2001) demonstrated that higher high levels of self-esteem in employees predicted their job satisfaction and improved work performance.

Research is clear – A person needs a sense of self-worth to be content in life. In this post, I will be discussing 11 habits that you should adopt for feeling good within yourself. Through simple practice of these habits, you will master your journey towards self-worth.

 1. Accept critique, don’t take things personally

The key to maturation is not taking things personally. It’s difficult to learn from mistakes or poor behaviours when you are not aware of them. You should accept critique and use it for bettering your own character. Remember that there is a difference between critique and criticism – one is a careful judgment, another is more like a disapproving attack. 

2. Compare yourself with your past self

The only person you should compare yourself with is your past self. When you are feeling worthless think about what you have achieved. How do you compare with your past self? Have you improved, grown, learned new things? Live your own life, do not let the rosy lives of other people let you down. 

3. Accept responsibility and learn from your mistakes

The key person that is responsible for your life, how you behave and how you feel is YOU. Learn to remember that you are an active agent in control of your life. Learn from your mistakes and be a better person. Accepting responsibility is a facet of empowerment. 


4. Dedicate life for self-improvement

Dedicate life for self-improvement. Whether it’s education, reading books, watching documentaries or trying a creative hobby. The more you learn – the more you grow and the more you grow - the more worth you feel.  


5. Do something about your problems

This one comes from my own experience. Nothing will ever improve if you fail to do anything about your problems. Instead of complaining about how you feel – do something different. Whether it’s mentioning to your friend or doctor about your mental health, taking yourself away from a negative environment or keeping yourself busy. Do something about your problems do not let them control you. 

6. Observe your body language

To have a sense of self-worth you need to behave like a powerful person. If you don’t feel any sense of power, start from pretending. Head up, shoulders back, smile. Presenting yourself to others as a ball of shame does not help. Believe in yourself and the good things will come from there. 

7. Take care of your physical health

Take care of your physical health – whether it’s walking more, taking the stairs instead of the lift or seeing your health professionals when you need to. Have enough sleep, do not force yourself to work when you don’t feel a 100%. Your physical health is closely related to your mental health. Jade Marie has written a fantastic post about practising self-care on low energy days, go check it out! 


8.  Live in the present moment

Live in the present moment, pay attention to your senses. You can’t turn back the time, unfortunately real life is not like Back in The Future. Do not worry about what ifs, do what you love in the present. 

9.  Restructure your negative thoughts

This one needs its own separate post. I learned about cognitive restructuring in a group CBT session. You need to fight your negative thoughts with alternatives. Reconstructing your perception of self and life is super important for self-worth. Notice when your negative thoughts lack accuracy.


10.  Express daily gratitude

Spend few minutes in each day expressing gratitude. You could do it in your head or keep a fancy gratitude journal. What are you grateful about?


11. Learn to truly be yourself

No one is ever truly ‘good’. People are complex and full of flaws. You should learn to accept yourself. It is through acceptance that we learn to feel whole. Life is not black and white, people are not either.


Here are the 11 habits that you should follow for feeling good within yourself and mastering the complex journey of self-worth. Do you have any tips for improving one’s sense of self-worth? I wish you all the best, keep your head up.




Monday, 17 September 2018

20 Ultimate Food Staples for Quick and Tasty Meals







Apologies for not blogging as frequently, I have just moved into my own flat with my boyfriend, It was such a hassle. 

Are you new to cooking? Worried about starting university and not knowing what to stock in your cupboards? Would you like to take a break from pot noodles?  I’m here to help!

In this post, I will be discussing about my ultimate food staples, the things that always end up on my shopping list. Fingers crossed this will inspire you and make a change in your cooking habits.

The main point to note is that creating delicious dishes requires practice. Experiment with different flavours, ingredients, spices that you have never tried before. Don’t worry about failing when it comes to food, failures always turn into lessons.  


20 Ultimate Food Staples for Quick and Tasty Meals 


1. Garlic


Garlic may be the enemy of vampires, but it will be your best friend in cooking. Crush it, chop it, toss it in stir fries and stews. You can make fantastic marinates with garlic, whether you are marinating meat or roasting vegetables. I tend to put some garlic in water when I’m boiling pasta or rice as it helps to give some kick to simple ingredients. I know that peeling garlic can sometimes be a little bit of a nightmare, that’s why there are ingredients like this to save some time.

2. Tinned Tomatoes


Tinned tomatoes should be a staple in every person’s cupboard. Why spend a fortune on pre-made sauces when you can make your own! Spaghetti bolognaise is quick to make, you can even freeze it in bulk to save some money. Tinned tomatoes could also be used to make soup, combine it with pasta and butter beans. Perfect for those lazy autumn evenings. 


3.  Lentils


Lentils can be a great alternative to pasta and rice. Great to use as a base for stews or soups (I tend to combine lentils with tinned tomatoes) Red lentils are your best bet as they cook quicker than dark. 

4. Oats


A bag of supermarket own brand oats costs around £0.70. Don’t be fooled, oats are not only great for porridge. To make delicious breakfast bars, you could combine oats with some nuts or a cheap trail mix and honey (agave syrup if you are vegan). Wrap the breakfast bars in some tin foil and put them in a leftover box. They are fantastic to grab when you are in the rush for lectures or work. 




5. Lemon


Salads tend to be lacklustre without any dressing on them, however putting sauce from the bottle on your salad leaves can ruin the healthy element of your meal. Lemon juice with some salt and pepper makes a delicious salad dressing. It also works well in marinates.  

6. Cream cheese


Another great staple when it comes to sauce. I love combining cream cheese, onions and pasta for quick and tasty meal when I don’t have the time for complicated cooking. 

7. Sweet potatoes


Sweet potatoes are the royals of the potato world – a healthier alternative to normal potato wedges and mash. I love rubbing sweet potatoes with paprika and baking them in the oven with tomatoes and chickpeas. You could also make an easy soup with sweet potatoes and carrots. Here’s a great recipe.




8. Courgette


Courgette is an underrated vegetable. You could use it in stews and stir-fries, use it instead of pasta sheets in a lasagne, you could even make a stuffed courgette. This vegetable can be a great addition to a vegetarian/vegan curry!

9. Cauliflower


Cauliflower and rice makes a delicious pair, plus it’s one of those vegetables that is quite filling. I mean, you can even make a pizza base using cauliflower, how cool is that!


10. Leeks


Leeks go well with beef in stir fries and of course for students, leek and potato soup is a fantastic, budget friendly meal to make. 



11.  Kidney beans


Stock up on tinned kidney beans, they are only around £0.30. Kidney beans are a staple in tasty chillies, filling salads and a wonderful protein source. 

12. Chickpeas


Chickpeas are cheap and easy to throw into meals. Oven roasted chickpeas are delicious. Furthermore, chickpeas can be used to make a curry. You could also make your own hummus using tinned chickpeas. 

13. Stock cubes


You can’t really eat a stock cube (I mean you could try, but I don’t recommend it) BUT, stock is that secret ingredient to improved taste of food. Add a stock cube to boiling water when you are cooking your rice or pasta. Stock is also crucial ingredient of soups. Plain flavour begone! 

14.  Breadcrumbs


Breadcrumbs could be used to make pasta bakes or crispy steaks. They could also be used in making chicken kievs. You could also use breadcrumbs to thicken stews. 

15. Frozen vegetables


Let’s face it, vegetables are great, but they have a short shelf life. To avoid a fridge filled with spoiled vegetables, make sure you are stocked on frozen vegetables in the freezer. When I was a busy undergraduate student, I used to cook frozen vegetables with potato waffles (I know, chef goals) 

16.  Soy sauce


Make your own Chinese takeaway with the help of soy sauce. Soy sauce makes a delicious meat marinade, especially for chicken. Add some soy sauce to casseroles or a little dash to noodles. 




17.  Spinach


I am obsessed with spinach. Boiled spinach, fresh spinach, stir-fried spinach – the possibilities are endless. Spinach has amazing health benefits, it is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, folic acid and other nutritional super-heroes for your body. 

18. Sweetcorn


Tuna and sweetcorn, sweetcorn in curries, sweetcorn in stir-fries, sweetcorn as a side dish or sweetcorn mixed with rice and peas. Clearly, sweetcorn could be used in many different dishes.

19.  Feta cheese 


Greeks love their feta cheese and no wonder why - it’s delicious. Add some feta cheese to spinach, tomatoes and cucumber for a quick and tasty salad. You could also stuff peppers or pastry with feta cheese. 



20.  Coconut milk


Have some tinned coconut milk in your cupboard for making delicious curries or coconut rice. Coconut milk could also make a tasty noodle soup.


That’s it, the 20 ultimate food staples for quick and tasty meals. I hope this list has inspired you when it comes to cooking and creating your food shop list. Cooking doesn’t have to be a student enemy or the enemy of your wallet. Having staples in the cupboard, the fridge and freezer ensures that tasty meals can be made more efficiently. What are your food staples? Let me know in the comments!  




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Sunday, 2 September 2018

Nobody's perfect: 7 ways to becoming more authentic on social media



Authenticity

(Adj) Of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine.


Social media and blogging is a match made in heaven, it improves blogger success in the competitive industry and allows creators to be seen. There are hundreds of educational courses aimed at developing the effectiveness of social media use. It is evident that without social media, online creative work would not be the same.

On the other hand, social media could lead to an unhealthy self-focus, where we take ourselves too seriously. In the virtual reality environment, you can be whoever you want to be. This means that hiding behind the mask becomes an easy option.

It’s difficult to be careless about what people think when you rely on your audience. Nevertheless, there should be a balance between making what you like and making things in the way that result in others liking you. This poses few questions:    

1. What steps should creators take for maintaining authenticity in a virtual environment?
      2. What steps should be taken to reduce narcissistic egoism?


7 ways to becoming more authentic on social media


1  1. THINK ABOUT YOUR MOTIVATIONS AND GOALS


The first thing that anyone planning to become a creator online should do is think about their motivations and goals. There should be a clear reason, beyond shallow explanations such as “I want to be popular” or “I want to earn lots of money” or “I want to be better than anyone else”. Work driven on a selfish motivation becomes an exhibition of narcissism. Have an open mind, stop seeing yourself as the centre of the world.

2.  MONITOR YOUR IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT


Impression management is defined as “the selective disclosure of personal details designed to present an idealized self” (Hogan, 2010). Social media allows for strategic presentation of self-identity which may be beneficial for content creators.
It is unlikely that social media could be free from impression management since it is a natural part of any communication. However, creators should monitor the extent of their impression management to avoid getting lost in the façade of perfection. 
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     3. SHARE YOUR ABILITIES AND SKILLS AND NOT JUST YOURSELF


In the online world of selfies and influencers sharing your abilities and skills becomes a responsibility. Creators should move beyond the simple “look this is who I am” and practice the “look this what I do” more.
Your brand is more than your hair colour, subculture or the type of lipstick that you choose to wear. Start with exploring your interests and then move from there.
On social media your brand is more than your hair colour, subculture or the type of lipstick that you choose to wear. 


4.  PRACTICE ACCEPTING YOUR FLAWS


Begin practising a habit that celebrates authenticity and aids your mental health. Instead of hiding your flaws and imperfections, start to accept them. Put the mask aside for once, you are a person and not a pick and mix section where you can avoid dreadful sweets (like liquorice). We are all made up of strengths and flaws, let’s stop denying that.
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     5.  THINK ABOUT THE USE OF FILTERS AND EDITING


Filters can be a wonderful outlet of artistic expression in photography. Nonetheless, unhealthy use of editing could make your audience feel inadequate.
The release of Facetune in 2013 has allowed anyone to enhance and retouch their features. Being your idealized self is now easier than ever before, but this is a blessing and a curse. Filtering out imperfections cannot improve your self-esteem and the way that you feel about your appearance.

       You should start accepting your flaws, it will help you to feel more authentic and whole. You are a person, not a pick and mix section where you can avoid what you don't like. 

     6.  STOP TRYING TO MAKE OTHERS LIKE YOU


Chasing validation is a waste of time. The reality is, there will always be people who don’t like you, no matter what you do. Everyone has an opinion about what is good and what is bad, so stay true to yourself instead of trying to make others like you.

     7.  TAKE A BREAK FROM THE SOCIAL MEDIA BUBBLE 


Sometimes social media can be like a leech sucking your self-worth and motivation out of you.
In the virtual environment it is easier to forget that at the end of the day, behind filters, flat lays and beautiful photographs we are all just people. Take a break from the social media bubble and get grounded in reality.






These are the 7 steps that you should take for being more authentic in a virtual environment.
Authenticity is a personal concept, being authentic depends on your own perception of authenticity. To an extent everyone is a performer in all aspects of life. The most important thing is not losing your true self in the performance. What are your thoughts on the topic of authenticity on social media? Are bloggers lost in the façade of perfection or are we worrying about an issue that does not matter? Let me know in the comments.


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References

Hogan, B. (2010). The presentation of self in the age of social media: distinguishing performances and exhibitions online. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society, 30(6), 377-386