My Skincare Routine

I have recently changed up my makeup routine a fair bit, and thought I’d share it with you guys! I’ve been having a few issues in regards to not drinking enough water, changing my diet, hormones, etc, so I have tried to listen to my skin more and have built this routine up from there. For example, I loved the Simple cleansing oil, but although it worked really well, smelt great and made my skin feel smooth, I ended up with clogged pores all over my chin and had to stop using it. So, I’ve taken it back to basics, gone with products that I love and am definitely seeing a difference!

My first step is removing my makeup with the Garnier micellar cleansing water, which I obviously don’t have to do in the mornings though I sometimes do just to freshen up a bit. I squirt a bit of this onto a makeup round and soak my face in it till it’s feeling clean.

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My next step it to cleanse, which I do in the morning at the sink and at night in the shower. I use my Vanity Planet ultimate spa system brush for this, with the Simple Face Wash. I tend to opt for the silicone brush head, but occasionally use the exfoliating one or the general one when my skin is feeling sensitive. I like the silicone one as it doesn’t harbor any bacteria. I will also use the St Ives Green Tea Scrub in place of the Simple wash a couple of times a week to give my skin a proper exfoliate every now and then.

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As soon as I get out of the shower, I tone with Witchazel, which I have decanted into spray bottle to make it easier for me to use. I try to do this immediately, as the sooner you tone after cleansing the better. I’ll then use my acne treatment (clindatech), and then when that has sunk in, I’ll go in with the Simple Light Moisturiser. I used to love using the NUXE oil and I still like it, but I feel it’s a bit heavy on my skin these days, so I’ll only use it occasionally.

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If needed, I’ll do some extra things. If my skin feels particularly disgusting, I’ll use a homemade sugar scrub (see the recipe here), and follow up with a face mask or pore strip. Read about my favourite face masks here! I’ve also really been liking this Kmart branded one with charcoal, jojoba and clay in it recently. Tip: always use a makeup brush to apply a facemask – minimizes wastage, is more hygienic and goes on smoother!

If I go with a pore strip, it will usually be a Biore one.

A love of mine recently has been the Mario Badesco drying lotion, which I apply overnight to dry out spots and it really does work! Buy off beautybay though – shopping for Mario Badesco in Sephora or Mecca in Australia is very expensive.

I’m really bad at remembering, but if I do, I like to put eye cream on at night. Literally any one I have at the time will do!

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Is your skincare routine any different to mine?

Zoe x

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My Skincare Routine

What To Do On Your Commute

Before I moved back to Sydney, I spent over 4 hours on the train each day getting to and from work. This is a lot of time to spend sitting down, so I needed to find out how to make the best use of the time. After some experimentation, I discovered the best way to not go insane was to make my brain work. Sure, I’d have a nap every now and then (okay, okay, every morning), but I refused to let myself just do nothing or play repetitive games on my phone. I needed to make this time work for me and not be a complete waste, so that when I got home I could do the things I couldn’t do while commuting (exercising, cooking, etc), and not focusing on things that could have been done in the two hours I spent sitting down.

My biggest piece of advice when it comes to commuting is a tablet. I know not everyone has one, and you can do most of these things with other devices and the like, but having a small, lightweight device that houses everything made the journey so much better for me. I have  Samsung Galaxy Tab A 🙂

Meditate

Meditation isn’t for everyone, but I for one love the challenges of it. Nothing puts you in a better state of mind before work or winds you down after than giving yourself some perspective, gratitude and forcing yourself to be in the moment. I love the app smiling mind for guided meditations; they have a range of meditation activities that are perfect for commuting.

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Blogging

If you’re reading this, you probably have a blog. So get some of it done on your commute! Without internet, you can’t be distracted by “research”, so more time goes into actually writing than perusing pinterest.

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Learn

One of my favourite ways to spend my time – even with my much shorter commute these days – is learning. I use Ted Talks and Podcasts to expand my knowledge and vocabulary, and set myself up in a good head space for the rest of the day.

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Read

A fairly obvious one, but a long commute is a great time to get a chink of reading done. I use the Amazon Kindle bookstore to get my books on my tablet, and occasionally I use audible to listen to audio books in case I’m not feeling reading for whatever reason.

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Watch TV

If all you want to do when you get home from work is veg out to your favourite TV show, why not use your commuting time to get that out of your system? You’re going to be sitting still anyway – make the most of it! I got through a lot of seasons of TWD on my trips – here is a lovely screenshot of when Glenn was still alive #RIP.

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Watch YouTube

In a similar way to TV, I live and breathe chilling out to YouTube videos. So, I got myself YouTube Red so I could save videos offline to watch on the train. Two birds, one stone.

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Get A Start on Your Day

This tends to only apply if you’re a morning commuter, but why not get ahead on your day by starting to sort through your emails while you’ve got time to kill? This obviously is not a relaxing time, but it might help you to feel more organised!

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What are your tips for a successful commute?

 

Zoe x

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What To Do On Your Commute

How To: Get Up Earlier

For my job, I have to commute two hours each way. And do you know what that means? My alarm is set at 5.25am. I have never been an early riser, and I have to admit, when I got the job I was worried. Now? It’s fine. I have my initial freakout when my alarm goes off but as soon as I’m up, it’s all good. So, from one girl who used to get up at 10am on a good day to another, let me help you get up earlier.

This first tip is all about the alarm. We’ve all heard the trick of putting your phone on the other side of the room – but that does not work at all for me. I tend not to use my phone just before bed (more on that later), but it charges next to my bed. So, I got told about this ad – Alarmy – and it is the only reason that getting up at five am is possible. You can customise how to turn off the alarm – doing maths problems or shaking it, but mine is set of taking a picture of a cereal box in my kitchen. So, as soon as it goes off, I roll out of bed, grab my phone and go into the kitchen to take my photo. By the time that’s done, 30 seconds later, I’m completely awake and think “now I’m here, I may as well put the kettle on”. And so, my morning starts, and it’s as easy as that.

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Another thing I do is wind down. Every night, about half an hour before bed, I put my phone on charge and face down. Then, I wind myself down. Have some chammomile tea, brush my teeth, moisturise my body, write in my bullet journal and have a read. Soon enough, I’m sleepy and relaxed, so I’ll do a meditation session and drift off into a good quality sleep (this is very important if you’re getting up early, trust me!).

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I also tend to set everything out for myself in the morning. I mean EVERYTHING. All my skincare, makeup, clothes and food (I meal prep for the week and pack my snacks the night before). In the morning, this is a lifesaver.

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A way I kickstart my day is to skull a heap of water. I try and get down a half litre before I eat anything, to get a load of my water intake out of the way, to help my metabolism and to help me stay hydrated and therefore keep my energy.

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I also love having a good breakfast to look forward too. It makes it a hell of a lot easier to get on with your morning if one of your tasks is to prepare and eat something delicious. I love avocado toast with feta and mint, with a cup of english breakfast tea.

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NB: If I don’t finish my tea, I tip what’s left into my takeaway cup and carry on.

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I hope this helped someone out there! Getting up early isn’t easy, but just remember WHY you’re doing it, and the rest seems to fall into place 🙂

Zoe x

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How To: Get Up Earlier

How To: Be Happy

Being happy is a skill and a mindset. It is not something attained easily, and it certainly isn’t something you can purchase at a store. Although I’m not expert and still have my down days, following these eight things has really helped put everything in perspective for me, and allowed me to live a life I don’t dread waking up to every day.

  1. Say ‘fuck you’ to everything that makes you anxious, angry, frustrated, guilty or sad

If a person, job, place or situation makes you feel any of the above – cut it. You might not be able to completely get rid of the thing, but acknowledge in your mind that you are done with it, and actively search for something better. If your job is horrendous, look for another and put in only the work you have to in order to signify the end to yourself. If a person is making you question yourself, dump them completely out of your life. It may be cliché, but life is way too short to be made to feel insignificant by a person. No one or thing should ever have that kind of power over you.

  1. Learn to be grateful for everything

This is a really tough one to master, but once you do, happiness comes naturally. Keeping track of how grateful you are for the food you eat, your internet connection, a sunny day and the clothes on your back really make the thoughts in your head just seem like what they really are – thoughts.

  1. Surround yourself with people – even if you don’t want to

One of the easiest ways to feel unhappy is to fall into the trap of not socialising. I’ve definitely been guilty of this myself – sometimes you just really would rather do anything else. But, humans are social creatures. In order to be really happy, we need human connection. If this is with one person or fifty, or just your mum, that’s fine. Just nourish the relationships you do have, maybe try and form some more, and immediately life becomes that little bit better.

  1. Label your feelings

In a similar way to number two, label what you’re feeling. You’re allowed to feel any emotion, but just name it. If you feel sad, say to yourself ‘I recognise I’m feeling sad’ which will immediately take the sting out of it. Ultimately, the goal is to make these feelings register as thoughts. You have lots of thoughts. Why would you take this one more seriously than the rest?

  1. Think about your insignificance

This might not work for everyone, but the minute I start thinking about all those who came before me, all those who will come after, and the speck my existence will have in history, all the unhappiness swirling round in my head becomes dull.

  1. Be mindful

I have reminders set four times a day for being mindful. This doesn’t mean a full out meditation (although I do highly recommend that), but all I do when I see that alarm is just notice what I’m doing. Am I working? Am I out? What’s happening? What can I smell, see, hear, taste, touch? I simply be in the moment, four times a day at least, which pauses my mind and helps me see clearer.

  1. Do things for accomplishment

Accomplishment is such a rewarding feeling that can outweigh almost anything. That’s why I’m a firm believer in setting realistic, achievable goals, and recording them. Even something as simple as having a to-do list with ‘eat breakfast’ on it can make you feel good when you tick it off after some cereal. Find out what accomplishment looks like for you, and do what you can to feel it often. Immediately your happiness will rise.

  1. Find your purpose

This for me is the most acute reason for my unhappiness. I have the thought ‘well, what’s the point?’ and things slide quickly down from there. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Using methods like ‘Ikigao’ and writing down what values are important to you in the fields of relationships, career, living, etc can help you figure out what is at the core of who you are and what you can do to satisfy yourself. When you’ve established that, things can only get better.

I hope this helped someone out there! Let me know what you thought about my tips on being happy.

Zoe x

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How To: Be Happy

DIY Present Idea – Homemade Candles • Blogmas

Welcome to my Blogmas! I love Christmas so much, and the best way to celebrate is with Christmas related posts every day at 5pm WordPress time until the 25th! Hope you enjoy!

Today is my last – and favourite – DIY gift idea! I think a homemade candle is such a beautiful gift, as you can customise everything from size, scent, colour and packaging, which makes it so unique to the person you’re giving it to! It’s also reasonably inexpensive, quite fun and easy!

You Will Need

-candle wax (I used soy wax, which I got fromt he craft store for $8 a packet)
-candle wicks
-candle wick stands
-microwave, microwave safe bowl, spoon and skewer, scissors
-baking paper
-candle jars
-scents; essential oils, herbs, fruits, flowers
-food colouring

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Method

Measure out how long each wick will need to be, from the bottom of the jar to a couple cm over the top. Trim these down and prepare a plate with a couple of sheets of baking paper on it.
Melt down a bit of the candle wax in the microwave, using low settings and for a small amount of time. My candle wax came with instructions so I followed those.

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Drop your candle wicks into the melted wax and let them soak for a few minutes, then place on baking paper until they are completely dry. Then, thread the ends into the stands. I found doing this when they were dry WAY easier, and snipped the end into a pointer shape to fit in easier.

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Now, measure out how much wax you will need per candle jar. Break up the wax and fill the jar, then add some more. For reference, how much in that mason jar photographed filled only half of that jar. Transfer the wax into your bowl and melt down.

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If you’re going to add food colouring (I chose not to), add that now in tiny amounts, mixing well. That’s the best way to get the wax to adhere to the colouring. Then, add your scents. I went with lavender and rosemary, and lime and mint. Just make sure it’s all mixed well, and rub the herbs between your hands before adding them, to make their scent stand out. I chose to add the bits after filling the jar with candle wax, to make sure they were evenly distributed. Having a skewer on hand is the easiest way to arrange the herbs in the liquid wax.

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Then, place the wick in, and make sure it is sitting upright. I found that just bending over the end of the wick was enough.

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Leave to set, then trim the wick down and decorate as you wish.

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Merry Christmas, come chat!

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DIY Present Idea – Homemade Candles • Blogmas

Celebrating Christmas With Friends • Blogmas

Welcome to my Blogmas! I love Christmas so much, and the best way to celebrate is with Christmas related posts every day at 5pm WordPress time until the 25th! Hope you enjoy!

Spending time at Christmas with friends is just as important as family. These are the people you have chosen to be around you all year, and you want to make sure their love and support of you is realised. In some cases, families aren’t even as close as friendships are. Still, we have a commitment to spend Christmas Day with our family, but that just means you can get creative when celebrating with your friends! Here are my ideas.

Friendmas

Never discount the idea of doing a full blown Christmas lunch with your friends. Although this doesn’t have to be on Christmas Day, you can get dressed up, bring presents and a plate of food, and stuff yourselves while watching Christmas movies and playing board games. If you can all get together before or after Christmas, why not go all out?

Adventure Time

By the time this post goes up, I would have run an entire Amazing Race for my best friend. She loves the show, so I thought, why the hell not? I picked a day we were free, and spent my time organising, creating challenges, writing out clues and setting up the finish mat with all her presents on it. This way, we can spend time together while doing something fun and also getting presents. Win win!

Christmas Markets

If you and your friends lead particularly busy lives, why not try and hit up a Christmas Market? You can get a cup of mulled wine, peruse the gifts for sale and spend quality time together while feeling all festive.

Christmas Picnic

Having all your friends bring a plate of Christmas food is easy, so why not make them bring it to a picnic? Picnic parties are inexpensive, as they can be done in local parks or even in your backyard. You could even get everyone to come over earlier and help cook the food and set up! It just takes a bit of time to get decorated if you’re going all tumblr, but the results will be worth it. Go to town on the fairy lights if you’re doing it in the evening, it is Christmas after all!

Secret Santa

This is a classic friends-on-Christmas thing, but why not make it a bit different? Instead of just drawing names out of a hat, play the Secret Santa game, or pass the parcel, or set yourself a limit with a goal, i.e. the most ridiculous present that you can find. Just remember to put a ban on chocolates and alcohol – you don’t want all the presents to be easily found and not creative!

Christmas Eve

In Australia at least, it seems to be tradition that Christmas Eve is reserved for going out with your mates and getting pretty smashed. Why not keep up the tradition? My only advice would be to stick to places that you know they aren’t going to rip you off at because it’s Christmas – so stay within pubs and casual bars rather than fancy nightclubs.

How are you spending Christmas with your friends?

 

Merry Christmas, come chat!

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Celebrating Christmas With Friends • Blogmas

Dealing With A Split Family Over Christmas • Blogmas

Welcome to my Blogmas! I love Christmas so much, and the best way to celebrate is with Christmas related posts every day at 5pm WordPress time until the 25th! Hope you enjoy!

I come from a split family myself, and I have first-hand experience with how difficult it can be to please everyone during the holiday time. My own family split when I was around 16, so I’ve had a couple years to get used to travelling on Christmas day. Usually, it sucks. I have my mum’s family, my dad’s family, my step-mum’s family and my step-dad’s family (which include halves and steps of their own), so Christmas becomes a bit of a clusterfuck of where I’m going to be and who is going to be mad if they don’t see me. Honestly, I’m glad I don’t have a boyfriend right now to add to that! So, I thought I’d share my tips on dealing with the situation!

1.Say ‘fuck you’ to pressure

I myself and a lot of my friends in this situation find that pressure to be with certain people/in certain places/for a certain time is inescapable at this time. But to that I say a loud and wholehearted ‘fuck you’. You need to go to the places that make you happy and keep you sane over the silly season. Don’t just go to places because you ‘went there last year’ or because of family drama. Pick a place/places to be on Christmas and stick to it.

2. Be in a central location

If you are planning on travelling on Christmas Day, make sure that you have based yourself in a central place that makes travel time easier. Don’t expect to be able to travel 5 hours on Christmas Day and not be pissed that you lost all that time at the end of it. Plan in advance.

3. Try and be reasonable & flexible

Most of the time, our family misses us and that’s why they want to see us. Although I said before that you need to do what you need to do, make sure you aren’t blanketing things out. If it doesn’t hurt anyone, go and have breakfast here, lunch there, dinner in another place to see people you want to see. Remember Christmas Eve and Boxing Day are great times to see family as well. If both of your parents want to see you and you can physically get to both of them, try to. Being reasonable about it will only make the situation easier to handle.

Merry Christmas, come chat!

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Dealing With A Split Family Over Christmas • Blogmas