5 Tips for Freshers/Freshmen!


Since I’m starting my Master’s at a new University next month (UEA), I was thinking about how daunting facing a new academic adventure is. University (NTU) held some of the best (and worst) times of my life, and your life really is about to change forever. Living away from home and studying something (hopefully) you love will help you to really grow and find yourself. It sounds cliché but though it’s certainly not for everyone, your experience really will be an intensely valuable one, and hopefully will contain some of the best days of your life. I’m genuinely very jealous that you are getting to do it for the first time! 

 Though I am still jittery with nerves and excitement this time around, I know that I can cope. I remember how anxious I was in the weeks leading up to my first day, so as an old Uni veteran now, I thought that I would share with you guys some tips and tricks I picked up in my first year that helped me survive the transition, and some of the things I wish I’d done differently! 

 


 

Ditch that fuckboy!

Starting off with a semi-serious topic, having seen many relationships fall to bits here is my advice to you: If you are not one hundred percent certain that your relationship was built to last, I would seriously advise you to consider entering University single.

The fact is, it is extremely difficult to make a relationship work long distance as it is, without the added burden of being a new student added on. Unless you are very lucky, chances are you will not be able to afford a social life on top of train tickets/fuel to go see your SO every other week unless he is attending the same establishment as you.

Then, from my experience, everyone in Fresher’s week is like a dog in heat. For many singleton’s, it is the ultimate opportunity to meet and *ahem* ‘connect‘ with new people. Even if you don’t think you are a jealous person, if there is even the slightest part of you that is insecure, ‘adulterous’ or jealous, Fresher’s week will probably bring that out in you. Temptation is everywhere, when you aren’t drunk you are probably very hungover and fragile, meaning that emotions will be running extremely high. You quite possibly may find yourself crying in the club bathroom arguing over the fit flatmate you saw in his pictures, even if there is nothing going on. (You have no idea how many girls I had to step over on the bathroom floor!) Sometimes however, you are right to be jealous. I’ve seen both boys and girls sleeping with other people knowing full well they were in a relationship.

Unless you trust them implicitly, please think about whether it’s worth it. Fresher’s week is such an incredible and fun experience for most, and I hate to think that you might spend it sad or jealous over someone who won’t even matter in 5 years time. I know many people who severely regret wasting their time in fruitless relationships that prevented them from experiencing Fresher’s to the full with a clean slate. I’m not saying immediately set out and ditch your partner of 7 years, but definitely talk about it and ensure you’re both on the same page. If this lad/lass is probably not the father/mother of your children, rip the band aid off early and ditch them.

 

Embrace the anxiety

This may sound strange, but anxiety is good. If you weren’t a little nervous, you’d probably be a psychopath. For many, uni/college is the first time they’ve ever lived away from home, let alone with a group of complete strangers. If not, it’s still an entirely different situation. Fortunately, adrenaline is a great confidence booster, and since everyone is probably feeling the exact same way, you will find that conversation starts extremely easily. If your Rep’s do their jobs right, they will get you all together and gently force you to engage with other people outside of your flat, provide ice breakers and drinking games. (My fresher’s reps at NTU were totally amazing and went above and beyond the call of duty. Remember that if you are in trouble you should definitely seek out someone in a Rep shirt and ask them for help. That’s what they are there for!) You will find you have new friends almost immediately, with everyone clinging to everyone and finding great comradery in your new situation! (If you do suffer from anxiety, you can find tips for coping here)!

 

Brace yourself for hangovers!

If your religion or beliefs dictate that you can’t drink, I would definitely recommend joining a club or society for people within your church or at the very least one for people who share similar interests.

If not, brace for impact guys and gals. You will be not just allowed, but encouraged to drink all week long, and to go out every single night. This is because it really does help loosen people up and makes making friends loads easier! This is amazing, but if you’ve ever heard the term “Fresher’s Flu” and thought it was a myth you were wrong. It is very very real. Because you are either drunk or hungover consistently, you will find your voice strained, you’re covered in bruises and probably very emotional and fragile for afterwards. Here are my tried and true livesaver’s for hangovers:

  1. Before you begin your sesh: place a 2L bottle of water, a banana and a glass of water with salt and sugar in it next to your bed every night. Down the glass and eat your banana first thing when you wake up. This sounds insane and gross, but its science. You lose potassium, salt and sugars from being drunk and dehydrated. Putting this back into your system first thing might help you recover quicker. Google it, its a thing. I promise.
  2. After your sesh: if you can stomach it, try and have eggs for breakfast. If you’re vegan or otherwise dislike eggs, oats/porridge contain something called ‘Cysteine’ that helps your liver to break down the toxins.
  3. After your sesh: not trying to turn you all into pill poppers and addicts, but pro-plus or caffiene tablets/coffee could be your saving grace if you feel your energy flagging as the week goes on. See also vodka redbulls/jagerbombs.
  4. After your sesh:  Have a warm shower, then flash it cold to finish. Again, maybe I am mental, but there’s a reason a lot of entrepreneurs swear by a cold shower. Consider athelete’s having an ice bath too. It just really wakes you up and helps to get rid of the brain fog.
  5. After your sesh: make a round of tea and discuss all the hilarity and probable bad decisions you made the night before! Nothing makes a hangover worth it like story time with your new pals.

 

Don’t just stick to people in your flat

Make sure you remember there are people outside your flat that you probably have way more in common with than the weirdo in room 6. If you’re lucky your flatmates will be great, but after a few weeks they will probably get annoying and you will need friends who don’t steal your milk and don’t argue over dishes for 3 weeks straight. I really wish I’d joined a society while I was at uni, or in the very least not been ill all the time so I could have attended more. Make the most of your experience!

 

Leave your door open!

Get decent and open your door as soon as possible. It makes you way more approachable. At my uni we got told off for propping all the fire doors open but it meant that it became a bizarre sort of hippy community with the whole block of flats. We made friends with most of the block and ended up walking in and out of peoples rooms when we were bored or hungover needing a pal. Harry Potter marathons are necessary in that first week, I’m telling ya. We even ended up pre-drinking to GBBO. No regrets.

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you guys found this post helpful or at the very least entertaining! If you have any questions or want any advice, especially if you’ll be joining the Trent Army in September I would love to hear from you! Either reply in the comments or find me on twitter @quitefranklii ! Be sure to share this with anyone you think would find this useful and i’ll see you guys in my next post! 

Francesca x

 

Toxic Friendships Series | Cleaning Up Your ‘Squad’: Pt. III


Regular readers, since in both my anxiety tips, and my graduate mental health posts, I touched on the importance of cutting ties with toxic individuals, I thought it only fair to share with you my own experiences, and some of the sorts of behaviours you should look out for and try to avoid when trying to lead a positive life. I created this series both as a form of therapy and a means of warning/advising others who may feel like they are in the same boat. I’m making this a series, as it was a little long to include several types of toxic friend in one post. I aim to post at 11am GMT each week until the series is done.

Ps. Please don’t be afraid to walk away if someone is damaging your energy. It does not make you a bad person to walk away from someone who is toxic. You deserve happiness! x


The Fake

The fake, otherwise known as the user, similar to the narcissist but not as malicious or draining, these are the friends that are only there when the sun is shining. The friends that appear when they need you and expect you to bend over backwards to support them but with reluctant or no reciprocation. You will find that they have no interest in really getting to know you, or supporting you and your goals- this is realistically because to them you are just a means to an end, someone to fill an empty slot in their schedule. If your plans don’t revolve around them, or their idea of fun, they will be disinterested and suddenly come up busy. You are their booty-call buddy, a convenient way to pass the time (yet they have are quick to guilt trip you for cancelling on them). They will constantly and consistently bring up other “friends” in conversation, and talk negatively about them, assuming you are too stupid to realise they do the same to you when your back is turned. Common phrases include “Oh my god, have you seen how fat she’s gotten?” and when intimidated by people doing better than they are (my personal favourite): “look how much she loves herself!”

Dear Fake

I don’t have much to say to you, because you were unable to hold my attention for long. You thought you were the next Regina George, but you turned out to be just another entitled loser. I feel sorry for you that you’ve become so insecure and bitter that you feel threatened by other peoples happiness and success. I feel sorry for you because you will never know true friendship while you continue to step on the people that love you to build yourself and fill the voids in your ego. Pulling up screenshots of people in group conversations to comment on their appearance, talking about peoples fluctuations in weight as though the number on the scale defines your value as a human being on this earth. You never learned that real Queens fix one another’s crowns and build each other- and i pity you as you’ve never felt the incredible empowerment that comes from mutual love and genuine support. The real tea is, you aren’t confident enough, funny enough, or witty enough to make Regina George work. Most of all, you are not clever enough. People will always spot you, whether it takes a week or a month, and grow tired of your lack of loyalty.

I’m always reluctant to discuss other women negatively unless I trust you implicitly and they have previously done me severe wrong. Even then, I tend not to think about them. One of my favourite quotes is:

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of harming another; you end up getting burned”.

Realistically, the only person you are harming by holding on to bitterness and resentment is yourself. That crap will bubble and spread inside of you like a toxin, and soon you will find yourself having poisonous thoughts. My hope for you, “friend” that one day you learn to let go of your insecurities, to stop lashing out when you feel threatened or envious, and ultimately, to love and be loved in return.

 


 

Dear Ex-Friend,

I believe everything in life happens for a reason. I believe that soul-mates are not always romantic partners, or “the one”, or even necessarily friends made to last; but they may also be people you meet at a time in your life when you need each other for one reason or another. As they say, some friends come for a lifetime, and others just a season, but to me that’s no reason to say that you can’t cherish the memories you made together. When I was younger, all I ever wanted was to fit in. When I met you, for what ever reason, I did. As we grew, our views on love, friendship and trust began to grow and change- and us with them. If you’re reading this, and you find I’ve left you behind, know that it was never easy for me. For me, when I love someone, I love them loyally and wholeheartedly. No matter what you’ve done, or how time has gnarled us, know that I wish you the best.

Love From,

Frankii x


**DISCLAIMER: This post is not directed at any one in particular, but there may be elements applicable to several people whom, for one reason or another, are no longer a part of my journey.**

The Harry Potter Tag

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As anyone even remotely close to me probably already knows, I am a HUGE Potter fan. I have a themed tattoo on my ass, and my husband and I even went to the Harry Potter Studios in London for our “mini-moon”. Shout out to the gorgeous Britt from over at Alternatively Speaking for nominating me for this tag!!

\o-o/

As I understand it, while there are a number of Harry Potter tags floating around the internet, this one was created by a girly called Cassie at Zombie Goddess Beauty. (You can read her answers here)! She said:

“As it is Harry Potter’s 37th Birthday today. And this year marks the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone book’s release!

So today I’ve collected 18 questions that are floating around the internet. There are other HP tags floating around but I wanted to collect a bunch of the questions together.”

The idea is that you answer this list of Harry Potter themed questions, and then tag some of your fellow Harry Potter lovers! Make sure you provide them with the list of questions you were given so that they too can answer them and pass on the tag!!!

 

 

MY ANSWERS:

What house are you in?

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I’m a true Gryffindor. No matter which test I take I’m always sorted into Gryffindor. The house of courage, bravery and determination, perhaps maybe that means I need to shut my mouth once in a while!

What is your patronus?

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I was so excited to do this test again. On an old email account I actually got a Tigress, but this time I got a wolf. I was super pleased with this, as I’ve always felt a strange spiritual connection with wolves (hence my header). I’m sad that J.K hasn’t decided to giv us an explanation of our patronuses yet, so I decided to check out Patronus Analysis like Britt did, and here is what it had to say:

“The wolf is a bit of a darker and mysterious soul, with the strength of a fighter. A person with this patronus has had a lot happen in their life, and do to that they wear a mask over their emotions. They do, however, have a very big heart that is full of both passion and fire. They have a lot of emotion within them that they are willing to give, but only once they completely trust you, and since they have been made cynical over the years this can be difficult. The most common house for a wolf patronus is Gryffindor, the most common signs are Taurus and Sagittarius”

Besides my star sign (For the record I am a Capricorn), this rang incredibly true with me. I love it!

What is your wand?

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According to Pottermore: Hornbeam wood, Unicorn hair core, 13 ¾” in length, Slightly Springy flexibility.

J.K- About the Wood:

“My own wand is made of hornbeam, and so it is with all due modesty that I state that hornbeam selects for its life mate the talented witch or wizard with a single, pure passion, which some might call obsession (though I prefer the term ‘vision’), which will almost always be realised. Hornbeam wands adapt more quickly than almost any other to their owner’s style of magic, and will become so personalised, so quickly, that other people will find them extremely difficult to use even for the most simple of spells. Hornbeam wands likewise absorb their owner’s code of honour, whatever that might be, and will refuse to perform acts – whether for good or ill – that do not tally with their master’s principles. A particularly fine-tuned and sentient wand.

About the Core:

“As a rule, dragon heartstrings produce wands with the most power, and which are capable of the most flamboyant spells. Dragon wands tend to learn more quickly than other types. While they can change allegiance if won from their original master, they always bond strongly with the current owner. The dragon wand tends to be easiest to turn to the Dark Arts, though it will not incline that way of its own accord. It is also the most prone of the three cores to accidents, being somewhat temperamental.”

About the length:

(lol). I guess because I’m taller than average my wand is longer than average.

About the flexibility:

According to Olivander: “Wand flexibility or rigidity denotes the degree of adaptability and willingness to change possessed by the wand-and-owner pair – although, again, this factor ought not to be considered separately from the wand wood, core and length, nor of the owner’s life experience and style of magic, all of which will combine to make the wand in question unique.”

guess, “slightly springy” would hint towards me being open minded- which I am!

What would your boggart be?

This is a tough one…  I really dislike snakes. I wouldn’t want to share a vicinity with one, but I wouldn’t say i’m deathly afraid either. After deliberating for a long while, I realised my biggest fear is probably rejection/dying alone. I think my boggart would probably take the form of Divorce papers.

What position would you play in Quidditch?

I used to love the idea of being a seeker, but I think I’m too competitive and would want to be in the thick of the action- so probably a chaser.

Would you be a pure blood, half blood or muggle born?

According to the theory circling the internet:

Muggles: People who haven’t seen the movies or read the books

Muggle-borns: People who have only seen the movies

Half-bloods: People who have only read the books

Pure Bloods: People who have read the books and seen the movies

Deatheaters: Pure Bloods that look down on Muggle-borns

This would probably make me a death eater! But since I’ve no relationship with my biological father, I like to think I’d be a half-blood.

What job would you want after to have after graduating Hogwarts?

Hmm… I’d love to start a skincare/beauty line one day irl. Perhaps I would experiment with some potions. Taking anti-aging cream to a whole new level! Lipgloss laced with love potion anyone?

Which of the deathly hallows would you choose?

A true introvert, of course I’d pick the invisibility cloak. Imagine the places you could sneak in with that bad boy?? Harry was so unimaginative with it! 😉

Favourite book?

The Goblet of Fire. It was so magical to me!

Least favourite book?

The Order of the Phoenix

Favourite film?

My favourite film is actually probably the first one, because it’s lighter and It’s the one I will throw on time and time again when I’m feeling down. But a close second for me is The Half-Blood Prince. I love Luna’s character and Slughorn’s party. I also think it ties the others together amazingly.

Least favourite film?

Oh god, actually *unpopular opinion* The Prisoner of Azkaban. Not because it’s bad, it’s cinematically gorgeous. I feel like it’s just quite dark and emotional- It’s one that I have to weirdly prepare myself for.

Favourite character?

There’s so many to choose from! Probably Hermione because she taught me that women could be intelligent, whilst also warriors who know how to save themselves. I looked up to her immensely as a child so I will always have a very special place for her in my heart.  But I also love McGonagall in all her sassy glory, Molly who reminds me very much of my own mother. However, I also secretly love Bellatrix. I’m a die hard Helena Bonham-Carter fan and I love her portrayal of Bellatrix.

Least favourite/most hated character?

Dolores. Freaking. Umbridge. Do you know what though, film Ginny sucked too. I hated how they sucked all the sass out of her and portrayed her as this lame simpering little virgin. In the books she was fierce, feisty and popular. I don’t know if it was the casting choice or the acting, but I feel like I have to stop myself rolling my eyes every time she’s on screen. Sorry not sorry. 

Favourite teacher at Hogwarts?

As I just mentioned, I adore McGonagall’s character. She’s fierce, sassy and also fiercely caring. It shows in her arguments with Umbridge and her kindness towards Trelawney when she’s facing job loss. Also, her fight with Snape is honestly one of the most moving scenes to me as you can really feel the pain she feels. She wants to defend the kids but also is mourning the loss of Dumbledore. Maggie Smith gave it perfect life too.

Least favourite teacher at Hogwarts?

Who doesn’t hate Umbridge? But to be honest I found Lockheart deplorably irritating too.

Do you have any unpopular opinions about the series?

Not unpopular, but why wasn’t Peeves in the films more!? But, yes. I have a few…

My first one, although I adore Alan Rickman and his portrayal (I once dreamt I met him and cried because it wasn’t real, and he was the first celebrity death I really shed a tear for) but I have issues with Snape as a character. I understand the power behind “Always”, but his love (or actually even creepy obsession) for Lily does not excuse the fact he bullied kids like Neville to the point that he became his actual boggart.

As I’ve already mentioned, I think film Ginny was a bad casting choice with bad writing.

The last one I can think of is that I loved Draco’s character. I thought they gave it a really good depth, it wasn’t black and white like a lot of the others, but he really was ‘grey’. I felt like he was very much a victim of circumstance, like an innocent child born into the KKK. For this I also 110% recommend going to watch The Cursed Child too. I. LOVED. IT.

If you could save one character from the finale battle who would you save?

Ugh, I know it was to prove a point or whatever, but Fred’s death really cut me up. If not, it would be Tonks so that Teddy would have a mother- however, I know that life would be very hard on her without Remus. They were soul mates and I’d hate to see her have to live without him.

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I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading my answers! For this tag I would like the lovely:

  1. Amy @ kissesfromamy
  2. Kate @ girlmasked
  3. Kerry @ stepintime
  4. Becca @ becxblogs
  5. Lisa @ lisabritton
  6. Sophie @ trafotoz
  7. Emily @ thatweirdgirllife
  8. Hannah @ hannahdarley
  9. Geek of All @ geekofall
  10. Sassy Wyatt @ thinkingoutloud

 

 


 

 

 

THE QUESTIONS ARE AS FOLLOWS:

  1. What house are you in?
  2. What is your patronus?
  3. What is your wand?
  4. What would your boggart be?
  5. What position would you play in Quidditch?
  6. Would you be a pure blood, half blood or muggle born?
  7. What job would you want after to have after graduating Hogwarts?
  8. Which of the deathly hallows would you choose?
  9. Favourite book?
  10. Least favourite book?
  11. Favourite film?
  12. Least favourite film?
  13. Favourite character?
  14. Least favourite/most hated character?
  15. Favourite teacher at Hogwarts?
  16. Least favorite teacher at Hogwarts?
  17. Do you have any unpopular opinions about the series?
  18. If you could save one character from the finale battle who would you save?

 


 

I really hope you enjoyed reading my answers! With my constant hair dye I like to think of myself as the Gryffindor version of Tonks! I can’t wait to read everyone else’s answers please remember to tag me in them so I can read them when you’re done!!
Francesca x

 

Toxic Friendships Series | Cleaning Up Your ‘Squad’: Pt. II


Regular readers, since in both my anxiety tips, and my graduate mental health posts, I touched on the importance of cutting ties with toxic individuals, I thought it only fair to share with you my own experiences, and some of the sorts of behaviours you should look out for and try to avoid when trying to lead a positive life. I created this series both as a form of therapy and a means of warning/advising others who may feel like they are in the same boat. I’m making this a series, as it was a little long to include several types of toxic friend in one post. I aim to post at 11am GMT each week until the series is done.

Ps. Please don’t be afraid to walk away if someone is damaging your energy. It does not make you a bad person to walk away from someone who is toxic. You deserve happiness! x


The Limpet

A “Limpet”, based on a crustacean that lives clinging tightly to rocks, this is my term for those insecure clingy friends. These are the friends who will bombard your phone/social media when they don’t hear from you for a while; send you on guilt trips every time you can’t hang out or need space; chastise you for having other friends, and require constant and consistent reassurance.

Dear Limpet, 

I’m sorry that life has been so unkind that you’ve ended up insecure. I’m sorry that you asked me if you were annoying so many times that it got annoying. I’m sorry that I couldn’t be happy for you when you entered new relationships, because I knew how your insecure attachment style made you think everyone who smiled at you was ‘the one’.

I loved you for your sweetness and your unyeilding loyalty, but soon I felt that you were becoming less and less yourself. First I felt you adopting my hobbies and interests, though never having experienced them before. Then I felt you adopting my mannerisms and opinions- never one to disagree or challenge what I had to say. I wanted to know you, and I thrive on intellectual discussions. I silently willed you to disagree with me even once, but it never came. I wanted to know you and grow with you, but I soon realised it is hard to be friends with a reflection.

The truth is, as a true introvert, we were never a friendship built to last. I need my own space, I crave it for energy. To me, my own company is like a cool breeze on a stifling summers day. To you, with a predisposed fear of abandonment saw this as a slight. Friend, though you were kind and constant, I could not sustain the amount of emotional energy your friendship required me to give. I found myself needing more and more time alone, time with friends who knew themselves well enough to trust that I would always return after a day or so to myself.

I hope that one day you find yourself and grow. I hope that you find opinions and interests that are authentic and your own. I hope that you stop trying to be everyone except yourself, because until then you will always feel insecure and unaccepted- since the person you are presenting isn’t the real you trapped inside anyway. I hope that one day you understand that I didn’t “abandon” you or “cut you off”. I hope that you can learn to put your insecurities aside in order to walk in my shoes and not feel betrayed by my absence. Perhaps one day when you know yourself we will meet again- and I won’t feel harassed or pressured every time I see your name pop up on my phone. x

 


Dear Ex-Friend,

I believe everything in life happens for a reason. I believe that soul-mates are not always romantic partners, or “the one”, or even necessarily friends made to last; but they may also be people you meet at a time in your life when you need each other for one reason or another. As they say, some friends come for a lifetime, and others just a season, but to me that’s no reason to say that you can’t cherish the memories you made together. When I was younger, all I ever wanted was to fit in. When I met you, for what ever reason, I did. As we grew, our views on love, friendship and trust began to grow and change- and us with them. If you’re reading this, and you find I’ve left you behind, know that it was never easy for me. For me, when I love someone, I love them loyally and wholeheartedly. No matter what you’ve done, or how time has gnarled us, know that I wish you the best.

Love From,

Frankii x

 


**DISCLAIMER: This post is not directed at any one in particular, but there may be elements applicable to several people whom, for one reason or another, are no longer a part of my journey.**

Arbonne || FC5 Skincare Review

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Hey guys! Today I’m going to be doing a little review about some skincare I trialled for 3 days. So, recently I came across a nice lass on Facebook, who mentioned that she had some skincare products available to trial for free. Free? I thought, yeah right.

I was curious because she mentioned it was a cruelty free, vegan brand. I am not a vegan myself- but I am definitely looking to make my whole beauty collection cruelty free in the future. (It’s a process when you’re broke!). However, I was mistaken! She offered me a free 3 day trial of one of three kits: normal/dry, normal/ageing, or very sensitive. I chose the normal to dry option, as I’m not terribly concerned with ageing yet at 22.

As readers who have been with me a while and saw my post on micellar water, you’ll know that until very recently I had next to no skincare regime. So I was excited to be able to trial something before buying so that I wasn’t wasting money on things that don’t work for me or my skin. This is an excellent marketing strategy of the product works- as it lets people see the benefits of the products before purchasing. I hoped that I would trial something I couldn’t live without!

When I received the package it came zipped in a handy little bag (seen above) and inside was one little tube containing oil for rough skin such as elbows/knees/cuticles; a cleanser/toner; a moisturiser and a mattifying powder for use after the moituriser as it can leave your face a little bit greasy. I liked that they admitted that early on.

I started with the cleanser, then applied the moisturiser. The first thing I noticed when applying both products is the smell. As it is a ‘natural’ brand I expected a nice scent, and I wasn’t disappointed. It was citrusy, uplifting and pleasant. Again, with both, a little product can really go a very long way. I felt like these products could last me a really long time, even with regular use.

I would just like to say at this point, I was genuinely blown away by the cleanser. I’m not sure if it’s the fact I’ve never owned or used a cleanser before to compare the effects to it, but my skin felt amazing. After use I was left feeling refreshed, clean, firm and my pores looked visibly smaller.

Trying the moisturiser was fun, again, I felt really pampered and the smell was great. It felt super moisturising and hydrating, but without feeling heavy or dense like a lot of moisturisers can. I didn’t feel at all like using this every day would clog my pores or do anything crazy. This product does take a long while to dry down to matte, and I was left a little shiny for a while (I wanted to test for you guys without using the powder first).

The powder worked efficiently to mattify any shininess left over so that the moisturiser can continue to do its job. It was a nice consistency and didn’t feel heavy or unpleasant in any way.

I used the oil on my elbows, knees and feet and found that the product smelt nice, and was extremely moisturising. I don’t struggle too badly with extreme dry skin, besides the occasion bought of stress induced eczema- but I definitely noticed a difference.

FC5 Arbonne without case

The products retail separately as follows-

Purifying Cleanser/Toner: £23

Oil Absorbing Day-Lotion (SPF 20): £36

Mattifying Powder: £22

(Or together in a set for £73) 

Skin Conditioning Oil: £15

 

In conclusion: overall, I loved these products. I would seriously recommend them to anyone, especially those suffering from dry skin, and those who are vegan or wishing to go cruelty free like myself. For me personally, I decided the only product I would purchase (for now) was the cleanser/toner. This is in no way because the other products weren’t effective- my skin was left feeling fresher, younger and blemish free. Probably more so than it had in a very long time. The only reason I decided against buying the full set (retailing at £73 for the “complexion perfecting” set along with £15 for the addition of the oil) is due to financial reasons, and because the moisturiser/powder combo probably would have been impractical for everyday use in my case. This would be something I would happily do while at home when my skin needed a pick-me-up, but applying makeup over the top of powder is something we should all avoid (especially for you full coverage gals out there like myself!). As for the oil, this simply wasn’t something I personally really need. My only issue with this product is that the oil comes out quite fast from the tube, perhaps the brand may think about reviewing the packaging- but if you are less clumsy than myself this probably isn’t an issue. Finally, the price point isn’t cheap, but it isn’t extortionate either- in my opinion when it comes to skincare you really get what you pay for, and in this case the results were incredible.

I hope to be purchasing my cleanser in the near future, as I really believe it will make a fantastic addition to my morning routine!

 

If you enjoyed this review please give it a like or comment below with any questions or thoughts, as always, I love hearing from you. 

Francesca x

Toxic Friendships Series | Cleaning Up Your ‘Squad’: Pt. I


Regular readers, since in both my anxiety tips, and my graduate mental health posts, I touched on the importance of cutting ties with toxic individuals, I thought it only fair to share with you my own experiences, and some of the sorts of behaviours you should look out for and try to avoid when trying to lead a positive life. I created this series both as a form of therapy and a means of warning/advising others who may feel like they are in the same boat. I’m making this a series, as it was a little long to include several types of toxic friend in one post. I aim to post at 11am GMT each week until the series is done.

Ps. Please don’t be afraid to walk away if someone is damaging your energy. It does not make you a bad person to walk away from someone who is toxic. You deserve happiness! x


The Narcissist

Deceptively charming, these are the friends who genuinely lack the ability to care for anyone except themselves. You may think I’m being dramatic, in which case I’d suggest that you are just lucky enough to have never met a true narc. There is a difference between self love/confidence and narcissism. A narcissist will only “care” about you when you have something they want or need. If you cannot be used to inflate their ego in some way, you are an irrelevant afterthought. The issue with a narc is that they are some of the best actors out there. They will make you feel like your bond is unbreakable, but they are ruthless and remorseless. Their ego will always outweigh any affection they have for you. They are the eternal martyr, always wronged but never wrong, they make you feel special by saying awful things about everyone in their lives “except you”, all the while listening to and saving your weaknesses for later. Your harmony lasts until you stand up to them, or in their way.

Dear Narcissist,

I remember you most for the summer that I needed to laugh. Boy, did we laugh. I was your go to for fun, nothing serious, and in part, I knew that. I didn’t reject it because I needed it too. I could never have trusted you, because I’d seen the way you abused the trust of others. But we had fun. I knew then you could never really love me, because you were too consumed with yourself. You post pictures where everyone looked awful, spare you, then let your conceit grow into thinking you were always the best looking in the room. You had an excuse for every bad thing you’d ever done, and acted as though the world was against you when you felt the consequences of the negative energy you’d fed into the world.

Even though you knew I was bruised from being cheated on numerous times, you insisted on tarnishing my belief in humans even further, and I found myself lying to partners for you out of love. Innocent people who loved you. People you would later claim were ‘crazy’, or terrible when they stood up for themselves or realised they were worth more. I found myself saying words I promised myself I would never say. I hate to lie, but I did for you. “No, she’s not cheating on you! She would never!“, “No! Of course he hasn’t been flirting with me, or telling me he wished you were ‘more like me”! That would be awful!” I coached you through your grief when your best friend died. I stayed up to talk to you every night you were struggling, while you told your [ex]-girlfriend was some crazy stalker. The same way you talked about her, even when you shared her bed.

I accepted all your flaws, and told family who hated you that they misunderstood you, because we had too much fun. Because you made me feel special. Before long, I realised that all conversation between us had one common ground- you. I became tired of treading on egg-shells, and for being berated for standing up for myself or giving you advice. I became tired of listening to you talk about the things you had been bought by lovers, and family you admitted to caring little for. Tired of you belittling my relationships based on the material value of yours compared to mine. Carefully and subtly reminding me that I was less. I only realised what you were because suddenly when the sun wasn’t shining you weren’t there. When I needed you most, you were absent, because you couldn’t feed from my energy.

But then I realised. I didn’t need you. I never did. I found myself, and did it when I was far away from you. I realised I was not less. I am beautiful. My soul will always be a breath of fresh air compared to your toxic radiation cloud. My relationships, though few, are healthy and whole- and that makes me the richest woman in the world. My friend, I met you in the summer and we had a blast, but when the winter came you were nowhere to be seen. I hope one day you become as wealthy as I am.

Dear Ex-Friend,

I believe everything in life happens for a reason. I believe that soul-mates are not always romantic partners, or “the one”, or even necessarily friends made to last; but they may also be people you meet at a time in your life when you need each other for one reason or another. As they say, some friends come for a lifetime, and others just a season, but to me that’s no reason to say that you can’t cherish the memories you made together. When I was younger, all I ever wanted was to fit in. When I met you, for what ever reason, I did. As we grew, our views on love, friendship and trust began to grow and change- and us with them. If you’re reading this, and you find I’ve left you behind, know that it was never easy for me. For me, when I love someone, I love them loyally and wholeheartedly. No matter what you’ve done, or how time has gnarled us, know that I wish you the best.

Love From,

Frankii x

 


 

**DISCLAIMER: This post is not directed at any one in particular, but there may be elements applicable to several people whom, for one reason or another, are no longer a part of my journey.**

Mental Health: The Graduate Crisis

Set up by Sophie over at One Unique, Huddle and Cuddle is a campaign to help raise awareness of mental health issues buy using the means of social media. Influencers have teamed up to help this campaign and to spread the word, allowing people to never feel alone by sharing their experiences with you. Huddle and Cuddle wants people to get involved by talking to people, whether it be an influencer, family member or a helpline about their thoughts and challenges they may come across. (See the end for links!)

Until getting in contact with the lovely Sophie, i’d started this post and had it sitting in my drafts for the longest time. As a new lifestyle and beauty blogger, I was concerned that talking about mental health would detract from what I intended my blog to be about. However, about a month ago now, I wrote a blog tips for managing your anxietyand was actually really surprised by how much love and support that post received. I actually even received a few private messages from people thanking me for talking about my struggles, and sharing their experiences with me. It’s so important to talk about mental health, and that’s why when the lovely Jess (Queen Sapphire UK) suggested that I wrote a piece for the huddle and cuddle campaign, that I decided to stop worrying about what people would think and do it. Mental health is something that affects hundreds and thousands of people every day, and it should be talked about candidly, as though it was just another part of everyday life. Because, it is! 

What I’d like to discuss with you guys today is the issue of mental health surrounding graduate life and my experiences with anxiety and depression; as I feel that this is an issue that’s becoming very real, and very common in today’s social climate.

When I was younger I had always been a “gifted and talented” child. If you don’t know what that means, in some UK schools they have special groups or classes to recognise those with the highest academic potential/achievements. This was great, though when it came to high school and trying to fit in with a peer group who weren’t yet old enough to view smart as sexy – it meant mostly that I was viewed as different. Kids don’t always like different. Since I had already been bullied quite heavily in primary school (so much so I was moved schools), I started to resent this, and rebelled. I turned my back on my studies so that the other children wouldn’t tease me for being a nerd. Unfortunately, I was a very tall girl, with glasses, enormous eyebrows and a tiny top lip. Now, I still joke with Mum that sending me to high school without introducing me to tweezers and a razor was basically child abuse.

However, no matter how much I pretended, the damage had already been done. I’ve seen memes about the internet that say something along the lines of:

“Raise your hand if you were a gifted/talented child who grew up to be an anxious adult with fragile self esteem and a perfectionist streak that makes you abandon things if you’re not good at them.”

I think the fact that I’ve seen this shared several times suggests to me that putting this sort of pressure on people so young has a really lasting effect. No matter how much I fought I always would put immense pressure on myself to excel at everything I do. This is both a blessing and a curse, as though it means I am very hard working, it also means I am very reluctant to try and do anything new or fun if there is a chance that I will be bad at it. Throughout my whole life it was a case of “you did good, but you should be doing the best”, “I just think you’re capable of more”. At one point, on receiving a B in Maths (despite this being my worst subject by far, and on top of that having meningitis during my GCSE’s and missing half my school year) my Grandad smiled at me, and said “Why wasn’t it an A?” I knew he was joking, but it was something that stayed with me for longer than it should have. Because of this, I have always been anxious and jittery about school and my academic prowess. Good is never good enough. 

When it came to university, I couldn’t wait to escape my small town and the small town mentality that comes with living in rural Norfolk.  (It isn’t stereotyped as being full of inbreds for no reason!) I wanted to get OUT. 

University was sold to me like it was the only logical path of progression for someone of my caliber. I would make friends, finally find people on my wavelength and be guaranteed a great graduate job when I graduated.

For me, since I hadn’t had a gap year like most of my new friends, I spent my entire first year partying, because I knew the grades didn’t count. The best part about being naturally intelligent is that (admittedly somewhat conceitedly) I knew that I wouldn’t even have to try just to pass. I was out in the clubs 3-5x most weeks, and saw this as my equivalent to a gap year. However, I knew that when I went back the following year I would have to seriously step up my game.

In the end when I graduated I walked away with a 2.1. 2% off a 1st Class Honours. I tried not to think about that 2%, and focused on achieving a great grade despite battling quite severe depression and agoraphobia in my second year. Then, I didn’t go to my graduation over a misunderstanding with my mother- who meant to express concern about my self-esteem, but that I shouldn’t go because I’d put on weight and I’d hate the pictures. I also, subconsciously felt like no one wanted to go because of that 2%. I didn’t get the highest grade, so why would anyone want to watch me go up on stage?

In retrospect, I was worried about going on stage. Deep down, I’m about as introverted as they come, and I did (and still do sometimes) despise my post-depression body. I was worried about all those things, but I secretly wanted someone just to be so proud of me that they would convince me to change my mind. Of course, since they didn’t realise anything was wrong, and they just thought that it was an extension of my introversion, no one did. I didn’t go- and between you and me, I spent my graduation day alone, and cried myself to sleep.

Missing out on graduation I think made it a bit difficult to really feel like a ‘graduate’. It was a few months before I even applied for my first job, because on top of this, in all honesty, i’d never really given myself a chance to get over my mental health and experience life feeling like myself again. (On top of this, I was busy planning my marriage after a whirlwind romance with my husband). However, when I did start applying for jobs, I had one choice word.

“shit.”

On top of all the stress I went though at university etc. graduate life left me feeling useless, stupid, lonely and unmotivated. I had never even felt like I was average before (academically), and now I was feeling lost, confused and betrayed. I wondered what life would have been like had I never gone to university. I wondered if I would have been better off just stacking shelves at 16 rather than spending so long in education when I clearly wasn’t employable. I felt so horrendously alone, and no one really seemed to understand what I was going through. At times I felt as though I genuinely was unworthy of oxygen. As I replied to 27 jobs in a month, I only heard back from one. Out of TWENTY-SEVEN! I was called to an interview, an hours commute away. I was offered a job on the spot, and was asked to come in the next day to shadow someone else. However, though it paid well, the position had been grossly mis-advertised. It was in sales. I had applied for digital marketing. Something I was well versed in already. When I inquired about this, I was told that that was a position I would have to work up to, and that I would be starting off handing out leaflets and making sales. Handing. Out. Leaflets. Had I REALLY just done 3 hard years at university to be told that I’m only good enough to hand out leaflets!? B*llocks. I thought, and politely and professionally told them to shove their leaflets up their arse.

After that, I became very, very low. This is a situation that’s becoming more and more familiar with this generation. The fact is, that so many people have degrees now compared to years ago, that there are just simply no graduate jobs. The ones that do appear, especially in small rural areas like mine, end up going to older people, or people with my whole lifetimes worth of experience. This is because people move to areas like mine for two reasons: to have children, or to retire. “Graduate” jobs are being given to parents and/or more… ‘seasoned’ professionals.

This means that I, and many graduates just like me are essentially left high and dry. I don’t want this post to be too political, but in this economic and political climate, (shout out to George Osbourne for adding further interest onto my already huge student loan) many of us feel alone, broke, and betrayed by an older generation that constantly tries to call us entitled when we are just trying to get by in the world THEY left us.

Now, this post has already been a lot longer than I ever intended, but I wanted to speak candidly about my own experiences. The whole point of this post was to chat to you guys about the methods I have/still use to cope. So, with no further ado, here it is!

 


 

5 THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT LIFE POST-UNIVERSITY

 

1. “Life is not a race. It’s a journey.”

This is one that I still struggle with to this day. As I mentioned, it is a constant internal battle sometimes for me just to be ok with not being “the best” at everything. However, it’s so so important to listen to your heart, your body and your soul and to appreciate that everyone’s journey is different, and everyone’s journey happens at different speeds. It’s OK not to have your sh*t completely together in your early 20’s.

2. Don’t doubt yourself.

No matter how many times you are rejected in your relentless pursuit for a job, please don’t let it knock your self-esteem like I did. The fact is, sometimes maybe it is something beyond our control. If one place turns you down, there might be another one far more suited to you right around the corner. You know the old saying! “When one door closes another opens”. Honestly, you have as long as you need to peak behind all the doors you want!

3. Do something productive with your extra energy

GURL. This one is SO important. I spent so long being miserable about my circumstances that every day I could literally feel my creativity being siphoned away. Then one day someone suggested for about the hundredth time that I should start a blog. So I did. Honestly, it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

4. Don’t be afraid to take time off

Though it may be tempting to jump straight into the first job you are offered to feed your bank account, remember that this isn’t likely to be a job that also feeds your soul. For me I was forced between the choice between money and leading a the life I wanted to, and when it came down to it there was no question. Depending just how money orientated you are- you may want to think twice about a job handing out leaflets that would probably mean you were told to f*ck off approximately 100x per day.

5. Surround yourself with great people. 

I know I said this in my post about anxiety too, but it’s genuinely so important. When you are going through tough, life-changing periods of your life you want people around you who will love and support you no matter what. You need people around you who want to help you, to build you up and to listen to you when you’ve just been to your 5th crappy interview in a week. Honestly,  you need friends who understand and just get you. You’d be better off with no one to talk to than you would with that chick you used to party with in high school. You know the one, the one who feigns interest so that she can run to your other small town friends and talk about the fact you’ve still not got a job. (Never mind the fact she failed out of her degree and lives off her daddy’s money!)

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Thank you to Sophie from One Unique for giving me the chance to feature on a campaign as meaningful as #huddleandcuddle. PLEASE head over to www.huddleandcuddle.com and check out more pieces from some great people about their experiences with MH. Also, feel free to follow @huddleandcuddle over on twitter for regular updates.

 

So there it is you guys! I’m sorry if this post felt super long, but I hope it was honest and detailed enough for some of you to be able to relate to this post! Let me know in the comments if you liked this post, if you have any similar experiences, or even if you found this post too long! You guys know I always love to hear from you! 

Love, Francesca! x 

Estée Lauder – Double Wear || Foundation Review

Estee Lauder

Double Wear
Stay-in-Place Makeup SPF 10

As my friends in the blogging community will know, I have been hunting for a decent full coverage foundation for the longest time. After years of neglecting my skincare, and two years of using high street foundations that weren’t even my colour- I finally decided to splash out and find a good foundation.

The most common issue I have is that I am olive toned. This means I am neither warm or cool toned, but sometimes it means that neutral tones don’t quite look right either. This has been even more difficult recently, as my lifestyle means that I haven’t had much time outside in the sun. At best, I am the palest I have ever been. This is an issue because when people think of ‘olive’ toned skin, they assume that means I am also tanned. Not at the moment though. In the past i’ve been given some awful colour matches- I won’t say by whom… (MAC *cough*), who took one look at my skin and threw me a bottle of orange paint. So, determined not to make the same mistake again, and to spend money I don’t have on something I will never wear- I started researching.

I decided to go with an Estée Lauder foundation, as I remembered being a fan of double-wear way back when I was 15/16 (I received my first one as a present from my grandmother I think in a not-so-subtle attempt to get me to stop caking on dream-matte mousse!) I had been worrying for ages when I was going to make the time to go over to Norwich (about 1hr drive) to get colour matched, but last week I went with my husband as he went on base to attend a commanders call. Afterwards I wanted to have a little look around the shop, and I discovered that up until that point he had expertly escorted me around a giant make-up section, a section that included brands from the U.S! RUDE. Not only that, but as it was later, there was no one attending the stalls, and so I didn’t have someone else tell me what colour I was or pressure me into buying something I didn’t need. No people. My favourite.

 So, I got to leisurely sample testers until I found one I was happiest with! Last time, when my skin had seen the sun for longer than 10 minutes a year, I was in the shade 4N1- Shell Beige. To give you an idea of why I was struggling so hard to colour match myself, I recently picked up a 2N1- Desert Beige. Also, since my skin has changed a little since I was 14, I was nervous about the effects a new product would have on my skin. I am fairly lucky with my skin, as it is fairly normal. I never really suffer from breakouts, bar the occasional hormonal spot, and sometimes some blackheads in the T-Zone. However, sometimes some products can cause my skin to look dry, and consequently cakey. However, here is the finished look that I created when I got home!!

 

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The first thing I notice with any product is the packaging. I’ve always loved Estée Lauder for it’s consistent, classy looking products. The packaging feels sturdy and luxury for the price point. The only qualm I have is the lack of pump on the bottle… It makes it so much more difficult to gauge how much product I am using. (GURL. FIX THIS ALREADY!)

As with all foundations, I applied with a damp beauty blender over a clean, primed face. It went on smoothly, blended wonderfully with my concealer and didn’t feel drying or cakey at all. It dries quickly to matte, which I love, because I’m too addicted to highlighter for a dewy foundation. Most of all it felt so much more lightweight than the high street foundations I’d been wearing that only provided half the coverage. It provides full, skin-like coverage that I adored. FurthermoreIt is long-wearing and required few touch ups throughout the day.

Overall, I was left feeling great. I couldn’t believe I’d been denying myself a perfect base for 5+ years. Besides the product not coming with a pump, my only issue is that sadly after purchasing this, I discovered that Estée Lauder is now no longer a cruelty-free brand. Why!? Why would you go backwards like that? This irritated me immensely, as more recently I have been really trying to make my make-up routine cruelty free, as I genuinely believe that animal testing is an unnecessary evil.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post! If you know of any great cruelty-free options please feel free to let me know in the comments below! 

 

Francesca x