Life · Other

New Year’s Resolutions – January update

Hello everyone ^^

The first month of 2018 is gone. Or will be, in a few hours. And it feels strange! This passing month was probably more productive than the entirety of 2017 for me, but on the other hand I still feel like Christmas was literally yesterday, not… 5 weeks ago? Am I the only one feeling like this?

Getting onto the point. This time, like never before, I actually made a long list of New Year’s resolutions. A month has passed, so it’s a good chance to check how I’ve been doing so far – mainly to fuel my motivation (I’ve actually been very successful and I believe realizing that should work as a nice incentive to keep working).

Work out every day

Success! Well, almost. I did skip one day, but besides that – 35+ minutes of workout done every day. My primary goal of exercising was having that one strong point of my daily routine that would keep me disciplined – and that’s working really well. I’m slightly disappointed with the lack of extra benefits from it though – I hoped to fall asleep quicker and earlier and that’s not the case. Either way, I do feel like my body is a little bit stronger and less of an unruly blob, so that’s nice. And I do love the moment of finishing a workout, being exhausted and congratulating myself on staying motivated for yet another day. Sadly, I’m not one of those fitness freaks who can’t wait to start exercising and get hit with endorphins while drowning in their own sweat – it costs me a lot to start a workout and my favourite exercise is the last one. It’s good for me though and it should be worth even more in the long term, so I’m not giving up! I just can’t wait for spring – rollerblading is a kind of workout I genuinely like doing, as opposed to tedious, repetitive exercises I can do at home.

Improve my English

This is by far the most demanding of my resolutions. I wanted to learn all new words from one page of my old, trusty dictionary every day. I’m still motivated and determined to make it happen – every evening I make a list of words to learn the next day. Do I actually go through those words as often as I’d like to? Hmm… maybe not always – I’m not a robot, I’m a human who can be tired or slightly lazy sometimes, but I usually manage to catch up with my learning later on if I have a weaker moment. January list has 1494 words on it. Looks like a lot, sure. Some of the records are indeed new to me, some are there so I use them more, and some are just less common meanings of common words. Do I know all of the January words? No, definitely not, but I try to go back and revise regularly and I definitely remember a lot – vast majority for sure. I said I wanted to learn one page each day, but I actually do two pages – one from each side of the dictionary. That way I have more to learn now, but as the time goes I’ll start seeing more and more words that I’ve already learnt, so I should have a bit less work in the last months of this resolution. Also, seeing each word for the second time should be a nice extra revision.

Read a book each month

I did. I read not one, but two books and I’m now reading the third one, to finish Philip Pullman’s trilogy – His Dark Materials. I have a few books waiting on my list, not sure which one I’ll pick next.

It turned out that learning words from the dictionary and reading books (in English but without paying attention to words I don’t know if I understand the context) work great together – I actually see a lot of the newly learnt words in use in books, much more often than I anticipated. That makes me think that learning them is actually useful and motivates me to keep studying.

Skincare

I’ve been a good girl and used creams every morning and every evening. Proud of myself here!

Get more sleep

This is something I’m most disappointed with. Not because I’m not trying – I do make sure to turn off the lights and put away all electronic devices much earlier than I used to for the last couple of years – around 1-1.5h earlier. And… I hardly ever manage to actually fall asleep when I’d like to. It’s certainly not because I’m not tired enough. I get very little actual sleep Monday to Friday – under 6 hours a day. I do my full time job, work out, learn a lot in my spare time – I’m absolutely knackered when I go to bed. And yet I simply can’t fall asleep for ages. It’s extremely frustrating. I’ve always been a night owl, sure, and I’d gladly switch my daily routine so that I can get up and go to bed later than I do – but that’s not an option. On most days I feel like a zombie, in desperate need of sleep, just to find myself unable to sleep when the time for it comes. I’m going to keep trying, in hopes to make my body and brain used to this new, earlier time of going to bed, but it’s really discouraging to see that even after 4 weeks it simply won’t work. Any advice? 😦

Work on potentially starting a side business in my spare time Learn new things and improve career-wise

I noticed that in this case I didn’t put my purpose in words the way I meant it, although I wasn’t far off. I want to move abroad and the main goal here is to be financially secure as well as competitive in the jobs market, able to find something soon after moving. I split this whole resolution into two overlapping parts – creating things that I can sell and working on my portfolio, which won’t get me money but should make it easier to find a job. I’ve been creating some bits and bobs to try and list on Etsy in a few months time (that certainly won’t generate much of an income, but if I can potentially make some pocket money doing something I like to do in my free time anyway, I believe it’s worth a try). I’ve also been learning 3D modelling – something that seems to be a natural course for someone who loves creative arts and crafts and also happens to be a programmer. 3D modelling is something I’d like to focus on this year, mainly cause I can kill two birds with one stone there – do it as a side freelance work in my spare time and also potentially use it in my actual career in the future. The last thing is building my portfolio and learning new stuff from the industry I work in at the moment. I managed to find an extra purpose in it and decided to create an app for my English vocabulary training – I have a basic version of it done and I already use it to revise my words in a much better and more convenient way than just reading the dictionary. I’m going to extend and improve it in the next months, using some of the most commonly used technologies – that way I should be more efficient in my vocabulary learning, and the app itself should serve as a nice proof of me being able to use quite a few programming tools.

Extras

Something I haven’t said out loud, but I wanted to do anyway – trying something new, something fun, something I’ve wanted to do for a long time or just indulging myself every now and then, especially with experiences. In all this hectic, filled to the top, ambitious routine, I wanted to stay sane and make it all more of a purposeful pleasure rather than a burden. I found time to cook and bake, I found time for some arts and crafts (whether to potentially monetize it in the future or to simply have fun), I found time to watch sports on TV along with my family and I idled some time away doing nothing, like everyone does sometimes. All in a healthy balance.

Focus on myself

One of my resolutions was to focus on myself and my self-development. If you’ve read previous paragraphs, you can probably tell that I’ve been quite successful. I stepped into 2018 with my heart shattered to a million pieces, so taking a step back and avoiding getting involved in any sort of social relations was a natural move anyway – but I’m glad I managed to turn all the negativity into an insane dose of motivation.

Have you made any resolutions? How are they going so far? 🙂

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DIY · Other

Watercolours

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I came across some watercolour painting tutorials channel on YouTube the other day and instantly thought how weird it was that I still hadn’t tried that popular technique! Feeling inspired, the next day I bought a set of watercolours and some paper.

My little pictures are far from masterpiece level of art, but I had a lot of fun painting them anyway! Seeing colours spread in the water, living their own lives and creating that nice kind of gradient is extremely relaxing. I can’t believe it took me so long to get some watercolours and try them out but I definitely have lots of joyful hours with watercolour painting ahead of me, I just need to watch or read some tutorials and get the hang of it ^^

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Sweet

Marzipan-cherry-orange tart recipe

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Tart pastry:
  • 200g plain flour
  • 110g unsalted butter, cold
  • 60g icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • sprinkle of salt

Put the flour and butter into a bowl. Cut with a knife until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the rest of ingredients, stir until the dough holds together.

Press the dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a ∅23cm tart pan (grease the pan with butter first). Refrigerate for an hour.

Using a fork, pierce the dough in numerous places before baking and cover the pan with tin foil.

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C. Bake the dough for ~22 minutes.

While it’s baking, prepare marzipan filling:

  • 200g marzipan
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 85g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 25g plain flour

Using an electric mixer, mix all ingredients.

  • 300g cherries, fresh of frozen, pits removed
  • ~1 cup of orange jam

If you’re using frozen cherries, make sure to defrost them in a colander to let all the excess water out. In case the fruits are still soaking wet, gently press them between paper towels.

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Once the crust is baked, remove it from the oven. Spread a layer of orange jam on the crust. Put marzipan filling on top of it and cherries on top of the marzipan, gently pressing them into the filling. Put back into the oven and bake for 30 minutes in 190°C.

Once the tart has cooled down, spread the rest of orange jam on top of it. Enjoy! 🙂

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Life · Other

Book of the month – January – Northern Lights

Hello 🙂

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to read (at least) one book each month. The book I chose for January is Northern Lights by Philip Pullman, the first book of His Dark Materials trilogy. This is not the first time I’m reading it, but it is the first time in a very long time.

It’s a young adult fantasy novel from 1995. The main reason why I’m reading this trilogy from the 90s now (besides the fact that I simply love it, of course) is that last October, 20 years after the release of the original trilogy, a new book set in the same universum came out and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

The trilogy is full of magic and fantastic creatures, features a battle between the good and the evil over an original and rather difficult subject (which makes the book more suitable for young adults+ than kids, despite the seemingly fairy tale-ish feel, at least at first glance) and shows the main characters struggle with hard, often heartbreaking choices and decisions. It’s an absolute masterpiece in the world of young adult fiction and I can’t recommend it enough. I don’t want to spoil the plot, so this description has to be enough.

Now a little rant regarding this trilogy… there was a film made, based on the first book from the trilogy. A horrible, shallow film, which completely ignores the deeper meaning behind the story. It also looks like its creators had known how bad it was going to turn out before they even started working on it; the last scene in the book brings an explanation to some events as well as a cliffhanger to make the reader eager to jump into the sequel. And the film completely ignores it – the entire scene is cut out from the story which, as a result, ends prematurely. Wow. In contemporary cinematography not using the chance to indicate that there’s something more to await clearly means that even the creators know that no one’s going to fund filming the sequel. I’ve always preferred books over films, and this title is one of those stories that were ruined in their movie versions the most. It’s even more surprising and disappointing when we look at the cast. So many prominent, famous, acclaimed actors – Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman, Ian McKellen and Christopher Lee are only some of them – and they managed to produce such a flop! That deserves some kind of a medal, almost.

Anyway, I’m going to enjoy this winter afternoon with a lovely book, some hot chocolate with marshmallows and Christmas gingerbread biscuits (have I made too many? it’s the end of January… hmmm…) 🙂

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Beauty

Little makeup&beauty haul

Hello, I hope everyone’s having a nice day 🙂

I popped into a drugstore yesterday and picked a few makeup&beauty items:

Rimmel Wake me up foundation

I usually use Rimmel foundations – mainly Lasting Finish, but this time I decided to pick the Wake me up one. I’ve had it before and it works well for me, especially on warmer days (I’ll keep it for spring, it’ll be perfect then).

Miss Sporty Studio Lash mascara

I’ve been using this mascara pretty much ever since I started using makeup, alternately with Maybelline Lash Sensational. It’s super cheap yet works perfectly fine, a lot better than many of the more pricey mascaras that I’ve tried.

Alterra handcream

My absolute favourite handcream ever! Smells great and is made from natural ingredients. Alterra is an own brand of a German chain of drugstores, Rossmann, which also has its stores in a few countries outside Germany – including mine. I’ve seen the brand on Amazon too though, so even if you don’t have Rossmann stores in your country, you should still be able to get this cream if you’d like to.

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L’Oréal Casting Creme Gloss 412

I’ve been dying my hair for over 7 years now, always using Casting Créme Gloss by L’Oréal. I don’t always use the same dye, I just stick to cool toned brown shades – this time I picked number 412,  Iced Cocoa.

Batiste dry shampoo

One of the products I can’t live without. I use Batiste every morning, so every time I pop into a drugstore I come out with at least one new dry shampoo. This time I picked a scent I haven’t had before so I’m excited to use it 😀

Farmona Green tea normalizing face cream

As I wrote in my New Year’s resolutions post, I promised to take better care of my skin, so I decided to treat myself with a new cream. I don’t really know this brand and I’ve never used this cream before, but I liked the ingredient list and it was on sale, so I decided to give it a go. I used it yesterday in the evening – so far, so good. I like its texture, it’s very thin, almost watery – I know that a lot of you would say it’s a disadvantage, but I really hate thick, heavy creams on my face. This one didn’t feel uncomfortable yet left my skin moisturized, and that’s all I really need.

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Beauty · Life · Other

Favourites 2017

So I wanted to write a post on my current makeup favourites but I realized that nothing has changed since my last makeup favourites post, so instead I decided to mention all kinds of things I enjoyed in the past year or so. Let’s get started!

Original source shower gels

Yep, I know, they’re known and loved by so many people and I joined that already overcrowded club. I fell in love with the lime scented one in summer and now in winter I’m loving the vanilla&raspberry one.

I Love Cosmetics bath & shower creams

I accidentally came across the I Love Cosmetics brand during a big sale in one of our drugstores and instantly fell in love. Their scents (marshmallow, chocolate fudge or ice cream) are sooo yummy! I wish they were edible 😦 I’m currently using a Minty Choc Chip scented one and trust me, the entire bathroom smells like After Eight chocolates when I’m taking a bath.

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Wibo eyeshadow palette

Unfortunately, most likely not accessible in other countries.  This eyeshadow palette by a Polish brand instantly became so popular that you need a miracle to come by it (still, after months since its release). I don’t know how, but my sister made that miracle happen and got me this palette for Christmas. I’ve only been using it for a few weeks (one of them was in 2017, so it qualifies for 2017 favourites! :D) but it’s enough to decide that it’s the best eyeshadow palette I’ve ever had. The packaging is absolutely amazing (the photo doesn’t do it justice), the colours are lovely and – thanks to some pink/red/orange-ish shades – very different to the most popular affordable palettes which are usually around nude browns. And most importantly, they stay on forever and don’t roll in the crease at all! And that’s incredibly hard to achieve with my oily eyelids. No eyeshadow primer needed!

Maybelline Master Graphic eyeliner

A totally underrated product by Maybelline. Another item I came across during some gigantic sales, I think I got it for like £1.5. Tried it out at home and… returned to the store to get one more, just in case I couldn’t find it anywhere in the future 😀 I never had patience for eyeliners but somehow this marker makes it super easy to draw perfect lines. I’ve been wearing eyeliner literally every day for the last few months, let that speak for itself.

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Eyebrow pomades

I’d tried dozens of eyebrow products but none seemed to fit my needs – they’d smudge, look awfully unnatural or simply behave super weird during application. And then I tried a pomade and my makeup life changed! I find them ridiculously easy to apply, they stay on – intact – forever, and one little jar lasts… well, I don’t know that yet, but by the look of it it’s gonna last a few years, unless it dries up before I reach the bottom.

Evree Magic Rose facial toner

I found myself really enjoying rose water; I never really liked the scent of artificial roses in makeup products or perfumes, but rose water smells different and I really, really love it! I don’t actually know if it benefits our skin as well as it’s described on products’ labels, but… it smells lovely and I almost feel like I’m slightly addicted to that fragrance.

Euphoria by Calvin Klein

After years of trying to find my fragrance I believe I finally did!

Stranger Things

Ah… I don’t watch films or series too often. In fact, in the last few years I only watched 2 full series. Stranger Things is the perfect show for me. I have to admit I secretly wish I was born like 20 years earlier – not that I don’t love the bliss all the modern technology we have nowadays, but the 80s vibe is something I absolutely love. Obviously, as a person born in the 90s I don’t remember those times myself, but Stranger Things has everything I imagine the 80s to be. Combined with my love for spooky fantasy sci-fi stories… I binge-watched both seasons. No regrets.

Queen concert

In November I got to see one of my favourite music groups of all times live. The first row under the scene was mine! And despite going there with major back problems, I enjoyed every single second of that show. Definitely one of the best evenings. Not just in 2017, one of the best evenings of my life!

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Salted caramel ice cream

To finish the list I wanna mention the one food I’ve been absolutely obsessed with since last summer – salted caramel. Mostly in an ice cream form, but I definitely don’t mind having it in other products. Has it always been a thing? I feel like salted caramel appeared a few months ago and since then it’s been everywhere. And I’m loving it!

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DIY · Life · Other

Stress relief – colouring books for adults

Good afternoon, I hope everyone’s having a great day (even though it’s Monday :D)

I decided to tidy up my desk the other day and found my old colouring books that I’d completely forgotten… and now I’m hooked on colouring again. It’s said to be a great stress relief, which is surprising, cause I’d imagine it should be easy to get frustrated with all those teeny tiny details. I have to admit I never tried to use those books for that purpose (when stressed out I’m not able to do anything, I don’t even think about things like colouring books), but I do like to fill them in my spare time to relax – it’s good to let your brain shut down for a while whilst doing simple, mindless tasks after a long and hectic day.

I’m interested to hear if anyone actually uses this method as stress relief and if so, does it actually work?

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