What terrible skin has taught me

Acne turns perfectly nice skin into a daily preoccupation.

You can go from waking up in the morning and maybe putting some make up on of you feel like it, to waking up to angry looking painful feeling skin that (if you’re anything like me) must be tortured with spot products then slathered in the make up equivalent of paint. Ah acne.
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Over the last year I’ve gone from looking like an unfinished game of join the dots to having skin that’s clear most of the time and, AND… I’m comfortable going outside without make up on (gasp).

Here’s what I’ve learned (and what I’ve used)

1. I’m quite vain. Not painfully so but dear lord did I not feel like myself. I’ve never really been wildly into make up but ask me about foundation and concealer now and I’ll have the information that you seek.

2. Hormones are a bitch. My acne was stress induced. Stress did a complete number on me, seriously. It knocked my hormones off to hell. I’m not going to recommend yoga or meditation here because screw that, I was STRESSED (note: it probably would have helped) act on your stress before it gets out of hand. Just do what you’ve got to do, but I will say, if acne has sprung out of nowhere get yourself to the doctor. But…

3. Prescribed acne cream is the devil. It’s horrendous. I got some on the carpet and I kid you not, it bleached it white. I was given ‘acnecide’ and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

4. I will squeeze spots. I will regret it every time.

5. Learning to enjoy taking make up off properly makes this whole thing a lot easier.

6. Moisturiser is a blessing. Just make it unscented.

7. Time will pass whether you’re helping your skin or not. So you may as well help it. Drink water, ditch some of the food that you know is bad for you. Check if dairy inflames your skin. Don’t torture it with drying products. Change your pillow covers often. If you have long hair wear it up at night.

8. Don’t use cliniques spot fighting line, it’s expensive and will make your face as dry as the desert. If the desert had spots and a fear of mirrors.

9. Find some products that work for you, and stick to them. For me it’s:

Ocean salt scrub – Lush
Midnight recovery concentrate – Keihls
Facial radiance pads – first aid beauty

Then fragrance free washes, moisturisers etc (the joys of having awful sensitive skin too)

Not all at once, not all everyday but they’re pretty solid products in my book that I’d not be without now.

10. When the spots are gone you still have crap to deal with. Red marks… Tiny dimples… Discolouration! This is annoying because you’ve already done your time! Just stay the course, exfoliate and moisturise. Exfoliate and moisturise. That’s the mantra.

Overall the whole process sucks. It’s frustrating and time consuming. It’s a preoccupation and a worry. It will, however, go away. It will!

I’ve no pictures to show you a before and after because if you’d come near me with a camera when my skin was bad I would have bitten you.

Forcibly sharing momentsĀ 

The other day I was out on the usual morning walk with the Mad Dog and the BF and we came across this beauty of a sunrise.

I dragged the pair of them down to the harbour to soak it all in before I had to head to work.

Mad Dog found some suitably disgusting seaweed to play with and the BF… Probably thought about the bed I’d also dragged him out of.
Ahh… The beauty of being the most annoying and persistent one in the house!

Happiness in The Versions of Us

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He stands for a moment before opening the studio door, looking down at the beach, flooded with a disorienting happiness; and he savours it, drinks it in, because he is old enough now to know happiness for what it is: brief and fleeting, not a state to strive for, to seek to live in, but to catch when it comes and to hold on to for as long as you can.

– The Versions of Us, Laura Barrett

Feck ‘new year, new you’

You don’t need a new you! You are just fine right now. As am I. So is everyone else who embarks on a life changing beginning to January.

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This year I’m going incredibly broad with my New Year’s resolution and am simply going to make more of an effort. That’s it, across the board. The aim? To do more with my time.

There is no end goal here, it’s horrendously non specific and I’ll probably have no idea next year whether I’ve succeeded or not.

Basically, I like lots of things and I’m beginning to get the fear that I’m not getting stuck into enough of them for the lazy reason that I just don’t bother.

What a waste!

So there we are, come on 2016 I’ve got lots to do with you!

Is anyone else thinking along the same line this year?

Keeping a journal is a great idea

Dear diary,

Prepare for all of the bat-shit thoughts that are too weird to say out loud, with possibly, a brief look at what I’ve been up to in the last day/week/fortnight… however long it’s been since I last picked you up.

Keeping a diary or a journal, whichever you prefer, is a good habit to have. I’ve still got one from across one summer holiday when I was half way through primary school which cracks me up every time I delve into it. Eight year old’s are ridiculous, and this is a joyous thing to have concrete proof of.

Now I am technically an adult and for the last five months I’ve been keeping a diary again. It was an idea born out of sheer boredom and continued because I’m absolutely certain it’s good for me. Plus, I like stationery.

Why? You may ask…

  1. It means you don’t forget the small hilarious moments, dramas, excitements and dilemma that are essential in life but don’t tend to stand the test of time, memory-wise.
  2. It’s the perfect arena to debate with yourself if you’re not too keen on wondering the streets mumbling away and frightening small children. This in my case has ranged between how short to go for my next haircut to the big life stuff that you just can’t quite get your head around!
  3. If you like to write and don’t write for a living it’s perfect! If you do write for a living, a diary doesn’t require redrafting, spell checking or being run past anyone for ‘feedback’.
  4. You can tell it shit and it’s not going anywhere with that information.
  5. It keeps your handwriting semi-legible (unless you truly write like a maniac)
  6. If you’re the crafty type you can make it look beautiful – something I don’t do but each to their own!
  7. You get to buy a notebook AND get the satisfaction of finally filling one up.

It’s something I would recommend to everyone, think of it like getting the mental goodness of yoga without having to do any of the actual yoga.

Also, must remember to actually do some yoga.

Get out of the reading slump

Picture this, you know you love to read but you also know that you cannot be bothered to turn a single page and can’t seem to find anything that catches your attention.

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As far as problems go, it’s not even on the scale. During my slump I mainly just watched The Vampire Diaries and Parks and Recreation – the horror.

All in all, I had a fab time in my reading hiatus – which has also included being back to working full time and planning all sorts of exciting adventures for the upcoming months!

I am now back, and it’s down to giving up on trying to read ‘clever books’. I’m talking about classics or sciency things. I’ve also done away with attempting to read anything that I cannot lift comfortably for at least a few minutes. Also, if I can’t look into the middle distance of my life and picture myself turning the final page, then I’m not going to start it, Simple as!

It was the Silver Linings Playbook author Matthew Quick who won me back round. He’s got the same honesty and fantastic characterisation that I adore in David Nicholls’ writing but with a decided bent towards mental health. I will have my eyes opened to issues other people face, through fiction, dammit. I flew through Silver Linings Playbook and The Good Luck of Right Now and am on the market for more of his novels.

Still Alice is another one I’ve read recently that ended up being a wonderful, heart wrenching, thinker of a book. It takes dementia and makes it make sense to those who aren’t clued up on the technical ins and outs of mental health ie me and pretty much everyone else.

So to keep it simple, the best thing you can do is just do what you want. Read the books that speak to you when you come across them and feck what seems like the ‘right’ thing.