Human BEINGs

We are called “human beings”. Not “human doings”. This has been pointed out in at least one movie/TV show I’ve watched, although I cannot remember which, as well as on those kind of accounts on instagram that post inspirational quotes and tell you not to be so hard on yourself, etc etc. It can be kind of annoying, and kind of cliché. But it’s also kind of true.

Who we are is more important than what we do. And that’s easy to forget in a society where, when you meet new people, one of the first questions asked are “so what do you do (for a living)?” This question being asked early in conversation, makes us feel like this is of huge importance. Our answer to this question forms the person’s opinion of us. How stupid is that? People literally form opinions about us based on our answer to the question “what do you do for a living?”. They needn’t know much about us at all, perhaps you were just introduced, you say hi, your name, and they ask “so, what is it you do?” and that can colour their opinion of you forever.

Many people have impressive things to say. I’m a surgeon. I’m a lawyer. I’m working on my PhD in __. Many more people have answers such as hair dresses, mail man, I work in a food shop. These are professions that are essential to society, but they rarely make people go “wow, impressive!” in a conversation. And then there are people like me. I haven’t had to answer that question recently, but for the past six months, I would have had to say nothing. I don’t do anything. I don’t have a job. I’m unemployed. And that doesn’t feel so great.

Just over two years ago, I wrote this post, about how I felt like I’d done nothing all day, and that I needed to give myself more credit for the things I did do, and not beat myself up about all the things I didn’t do. I’m still struggling with this. Since the start of the year, I’ve started to write down almost everything I do in my bullet journal, just so that I don’t feel like I’ve done nothing all day. There’s a huge focus in our world about doing things. My mum will always ask “so what have you been doing today then?” when we talk on the phone. My friends ask it in group chats. They mean nothing bad about it, it’s never anyone’s attention to make me feel bad about not doing anything. But that’s often the focus, the starting point of a conversation, what have we been up to.

But we are called human beings. The first question should therefore be “how are you today?” or “how have you been?”. I try to ask this first, especially when I talk to someone I haven’t spoken to in a while. But “what have you been doing?” or “done anything fun lately?” or questions along those lines quickly follow. It can’t be helped. But as much as I can, I try to focus on the being part over the doing part, because who we are is ultimately so much more important than what we do, for a living or otherwise.

The things I do don’t reflect who I am as a person. What do I do? To mention a few, I read books, I binge watch TV shows, I play video games, I go for walks, I play with makeup. These say very little about who I am as a person – as a daughter, sister, friend, girlfriend, cousin, god-mother, acquaintance, colleague… I am not the things I do to entertain myself. I am not the thing I do to make money, even though that’s nothing at the moment, and I am not that either.

Maybe we should all try to focus a little bit less on everything we’re supposed to be doing, and a little more and just being, in the world, existing, and enjoying it. Maybe we should stop and smell flowers, breathe the fresh air and enjoy the crispness of it that is so typical for this time of year. Maybe we should focus on what we can be, who we can be, and who we can be there for, rather than all the things we think we ought to be doing?

xoxo

Julie

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The rat the cat the dog chased caught died

There’s a sentence I learned in the second class of a course I took the first semester of my second year of studying English in university. The class was called “Theoretical Approaches to English Grammar”.

I don’t remember everything from every lesson in every course I took in uni. I think that applies to most people. But I do remember some things from this class and this course. Among others: It was a hard one. I struggled so hard to pay attention in class, I’d zone out because I couldn’t understand what the professor was talking about, because I struggled with the material, which he would always assume we had read and understood before class, not really explaining anything. I struggled with the assignments, and not being able to understand what I’d done wrong, all I knew was my work wasn’t right. It was also the first course in which I got an A. I couldn’t believe how that had happened. I remember studying in uni with a friend all day before the exam, and I spent the entire evening and night rewriting notes from the main textbook, until about 2am, the exam started at 9, I felt like a nervous zombie, certain I was going to fail.

But we’re getting off topic here now. What I wanted to write about was this sentence, the headline of this entry: The rat the cat the dog chased caught died. Our professor for this class was a rather old man, English, teaching English to mainly Norwegian students at a university in Norway. I disagreed with him on a few things actually. For one, he claimed that as non-native speakers we could not have intuition about the language. He also tried to claim this to a student who was raised bilingual or trilingual with English as one of the languages, without knowing anything about her outside of the fact that she looked very Nordic with her white blonde hair and blue eyes. Another thing we disagreed on was this sentence.

The purpose of this class was to teach us that sentences can be grammatically correct but still make no sense. A very famous example from Noam Chomsky: Colourless green ideas sleep furiously. It doesn’t make any sense. Yet the grammatical structure is completely correct. Adjective, adjective, noun, verb, adverb. The rat the cat the dog chased caught died. Determiner, noun, determiner, noun, determiner, noun, verb, verb, verb. It’s still a grammatical sentence. The only requirements for something to be a sentence is a verb and a subject.  Everything else is optional. There’s really no discussion to be had when it comes to this. What I disagreed with the professor on, was the fact that he said the sentence was nonsensical, but it made sense to me.

It’s not structured like any kind of utterance I would make in conversation, but but I spent a few minutes looking at it, alongside other sentences on a sheet of paper we’d been given for homework. We were supposed to pick out which ones were grammatical, ungrammatical, which ones made sense, and which ones didn’t. There were all sorts of combinations on there. Grammatical and understandable. Grammatical and nonsensical. Ungrammatical and understandable. Ungrammatical and nonsensical. The rat the cat the dog chased caught died, according to my professor, was grammatical but nonsensical, because no one could possibly find any kind of meaning in those words put together in that order. The problem, though, is that I did.

I exchanged about 2 sentences with the professor about this. I’d been taught by him before, he’d given a couple of lectures I attended my first year. He was not the kind of man who would change his mind because a 20-year-old girl told him she disagreed. He told me to just accept it as a nonsensical sentence. I didn’t push any further. But here’s the thing: That was five and a half years ago, and I haven’t forgotten about this sentence since, and as time has gone on, I haven’t changed my mind, either. I can’t put the sentence into a tree structure, the way we were taught to analyse sentences. Not for lack of trying; I tried, multiple times. But it doesn’t work out the way they want the structures to work out. I can put it into my own kind of structure, but it doesn’t look like what they wanted our binary tree structures to look like. But it doesn’t matter, the sentence was never brought up again past this one 10am lecture that particular Friday morning in early September 2013.

I said I haven’t changed my mind. I said the sentence makes sense to me. And now I will attempt to explain it to you. The rat the cat the dog chased caught died.

The sentence has three nouns: rat, cat, dog.

The sentence has three verbs: chased, caught, died.

My proposition to you, is that each of these verbs belongs to a separate noun. And not in any random order: In reverse order. The first noun gets the last verb. The middle noun gets the middle verb. The last noun gets the first verb. The sentence is about three events: a rat dying, a cat catching, and a dog chasing.

The rat died. Which rat? It was the rat that the cat caught. But which cat? It was the cat that the dog was chasing. There was a dog that was chasing a cat which was catching a rat, which died. The rat the cat the dog chased caught died. All this sentence does, is specify which rat, and which cat. Ultimately, the sentence is about what happened to a very specific rat. The rat the cat caught. But maybe there were multiple cats catching rats, at that specific moment. To specify which rat it was that died, we need to specify which cat that was doing the catching. It was the cat that the dog was chasing. And if there was only one dog present in the scenario, then we know which rat that died. The rat that was caught by the cat that was chased by the dog. The rat the cat the dog chased caught died.

Let us go back to Chomsky’s sentence, colourless green ideas sleep furiously; if we google that and go to pictures, we get multiple variations of this:

colourless green ideas sleep furiously

It’s a tree structure that proves that even though the sentence is nonsensical it is, in fact, grammatically correct. If we google the rat the cat the dog chased caught died, we get pictures of cats and dogs and rats, and a fox, and a crocodile (or alligator, I can’t tell them apart). I did, after some scrolling however, come across this:

largepreview

Read the first sentence of the abstract. “Why is it impossible to process The rat the cat the dog chased ate died?” Impossible to process. Impossible. To process. That’s what they say it is. I have no doubt that this is a proper scientific study. I’ve read many of them, just not on this subject. Richard Hudson is a proper linguist. Not one I’ve heard of until now, but still. I’m sure he’s contributed to his field in his 79 years. And he’s not the only one to claim that the sentence is difficult to process, that it doesn’t make sense. But the problem here is that it makes sense to me. It isn’t impossible to process for me. Yes, one of the verbs is different, but I don’t think it makes much difference here; the paper is about self-embedded structures, and my professor used “caught”, not “ate”, and to most people I don’t think the sentence would make much more sense with one verb over the other.

I don’t think I’m anything special. I often put myself down. I’ve been put down by others for as long as I can remember. For my clothes, my body, my looks, my choices regarding makeup, music… and also for my brain, because I was good in school and the teachers liked me. Do I think I am smart? Yes. I’ve been a bookworm my entire life. I love to learn things. Am I, at times, socially inept and awkward (sorry, Amelie, I just love this expression so much, I just had to use it, but you said it first!)? Also yes. But I don’t think there’s anything about me that makes me any more special than anyone else. But I don’t find this sentence impossible to process. If it had been impossible to process, how was I able to make sense of it?

Or was I wrong in stating that it does not make a difference whether the second verb is “caught” or “ate” like the article does? Is that what makes all the difference in whether the sentence is possible to process? Is the rat the cat the dog chased caught died processable, while the rat the cat the dog chased ate died is not, because it is impossible for the cat to eat the rat at the same time as the rat stays alive? My explanation would not work with the verb being “ate”, because if multiple cats were eating rats, you cannot use the dog chasing one of the cats to pinpoint which rat died, because presumably they all did… In which case, does the fault (dear Brutus… no, I won’t get started) lie with my professor, who presented us with a sentence using the incorrect verb in the first place?

So many questions, so few answers! Let’s talk in the comments below!

Xoxo

Julie

Spring

I love a good storm, with thunder and lightning and intense, insane rain. But there’s something about winter turning into spring, the sun feeling warm, flowers appearing in the grass, birds chirping, the smell in the air… It fills me with life in a way that very few other things do.

In writing moment, it is Monday morning and overcast. The temperature is okay though. Someone said we’re expected to have good weather until about mid-week, Thursday or so, so I’m excited to see how this week will be. In the meantime, I want to talk about last week, and the weekend before, which were just amazing.

Let me start from the beginning. Weekend before last, so the weekend before valentine’s, I was in London. A friend from Norway came over, and it was a good weekend away from the stress of unemployment, looking for houses, and generally feeling stressed about the situation I’m currently in. It was very relaxing, to walk around in streets and shops, I visited both Westfield shopping centres, bought some things, ate a lot of good food… It was good. I stayed there until Monday evening one week ago.

I was prepared for the relaxed feeling to leave and the stress to come back, but Tuesday was a very relaxing day for me as well. I watched Grey’s Anatomy and Hawaii Five-0 from the last two and three weeks respectively, did some bullet journaling, and went for a walk because the weather was nice, despite doing a lot of walking Friday-Monday as well. I went to bed thinking surely tomorrow I’ll start to feel more like normal.

Spoiler alert: I did not. The good feeling of happy relaxation, of being content, stayed with me through Wednesday as well. Wednesday was the last day of a Pokemon Go event with double XP for catching and evolving pokemon, so I used a lucky egg to double the doubles, giving me 4x more XP than I normally would, and I’d saved a lot of pokemon to evolve for this purpose, so I got a good amount, which was nice. I was waiting for the evening’s Nintendo Direct, when the pokemon app told me a new event would start that day as well, a one week long valentine’s day event with double candy and increased appearance of pink pokemon. Cool! I love it when they do events back to back like that! Also, the Direct was good, some say one of the best they’ve ever done, others I know didn’t like it at all, but I enjoyed it.

Thursday, February 14th, Valentine’s Day… Not a day I particularly care to celebrate, if I’m being honest with you. I find it commercial, it’s just a way for businesses to guilt couples into spending money on each other, and more so, because it’s the universal day for showing your loved ones that you love them, when you should be doing that every day of the year. I find it stupid. Nevertheless, as I’d been feeling good for nearly a week now, which is unusual for me, I was hoping the feeling would last through this day as well. And surprise surprise, it did! Our shopping was delivered early, and we went for a walk after, the weather was so nice we were out for probably an hour and a half, it was lovely. Spring was definitely in the air by now, with sunshine and blue sky, a little bit of a breeze, flowers poking through the grass, birds singing… it was a really beautiful morning. In the evening we got Chinese take-away, and watched three movies. I also received a letter from a pen pal this day, which was nice, I haven’t heard from her in months, apart from a Christmas card!

Friday morning started off a bit stressful – I suddenly remembered my first student loan bill was due, and I’d forgotten to apply for the extension. Thankfully, it was a quick process, all I needed was to tick the boxes of the months I wanted to extend and confirm, and it was granted within the next half hour. A shower later, and I felt good again. Friday was another beautiful day with sunshine and blue skies, so I went for another walk. I love walking during the day in the spring!

On Saturday, it was Community Day on pokemon go, where one specific, previously announced, pokemon appears more frequently for 3 hours, with shiny versions as well. This month it was Swinub, which I was not particularly excited for, but the double candy event was on and I didn’t want to miss out on my opportunity to get another shiny, and furthermore, the evolution, Piloswine, can now be evolved to Mamoswine with a sinnoh stone! What was more exciting was the possibility of getting 10 sinnoh stones from trainer battles and person v person battles during the three hours as well, which I got, as I was only out for about two of the three hours. It was another super beautiful day though, very sunny, lovely and warm outside!

Sunday – last day of the week, for me, as I count Monday as the first day of the week. It was a little bit less sunny, and our Google Home said it was supposed to be cloudy, but the sun was still out a little, and we did still go for a walk, although a shorter one this time. I’d started the day by helping my friend read through parts of her Master’s thesis, so I spent about 2.5 hours on that, which gave me a headache towards the end – I think it was mainly reading intensely on the computer screen, which I’m not used to doing anymore… Food, a shower, a walk, and more food, neither of which helped, so just before 3pm I laid down and had a  nap. It lasted nearly  two hours, so when I woke up it was time for another meal! I made us vegetarian risotto and halloumi cubes (from ASDA), with salad and string beans, which was delicious although not quite as filling. Thankfully, my headache had gone after the nap, but I felt a bit drowsy for the rest of the evening nevertheless. I didn’t write and schedule a Monday blog post, which is what I’m doing right now, and I didn’t set up the upcoming week in my bullet journal either, which is what I’ll be doing immediately after this. But it was still a good day, apart from the headache!

Today is grey and not very lovely, although it’s not raining and it’s not that cold either, so it could still be nice. I might go for a walk later, or I might take a day off, I’ve been walking every day for 10 days straight now, and from Monday through Sunday I walked something like 28 kilometres, based on Pokemon Go Adventure Sync, where it gives you rewards for walking 5k, 25k, and 50k in one week. This was my first week getting past 25k, and as my reward I got pokeballs, great balls, silver pinapp berries, and stardust. My boyfriend got a 5k egg, but I have no room in my storage so I couldn’t get one. Previously I’ve only ever reached the 5k one, which only gives pokeballs in my experience. I’d love to get to 50k one week, but that would require a lot more walking every day for a week… maybe sometime this spring if the weather is really nice!

Have you been enjoying a nice early spring this February?

xoxo

Julie

Revolution Beauty Order and Free Goodie Bag!

I don’t know about you, but I am one of those people that use online shopping carts as wishlists, I’ll always add a ton of stuff and then never check out. Until recently, I’ve had shopping carts full of makeup and skincare on Revolution Beauty, Superdrug, and Beauty Bay – but last week I purchased the content of my Revolution cart. The reason why? They put up a post on Instagram advertising free goodie bags of stuff worth £25 for purchases over £30!

Now, I’m not stupid. I know shops use goodie bags and “free X if you buy Y” as a way to get rid of stuff that doesn’t sell well, that is going out of stock, or that will expire soon if not purchased. So my expectations weren’t high. However, I’ve yet to be disappointed with anything from Revolution, and as I was buying stuff I wanted to test anyway, as opposed to products I already know and love, I figured why not. This is an opportunity for me to test some new things and get some free makeup and who doesn’t like free makeup?

The Stuff I Ordered

I placed my order and it arrived a day or two later. This was in the middle of my beta test of Anno 1800 (read about that in my previous entry here), so it took a few days before I took the time to test everything. So without any further ado, let me show you what I ordered and what I got for free (I did already post about this on Instagram but that was before testing everything):

My order consisted of 6 things: the conceal and define foundation, the PRO foundation drops, their new cut crease canvas which is a full coverage eyeshadow base, liquid eyeliners in black and white, and the Reloaded Marvellous Mattes eyeshadow palette.

I got the two foundations because they seem quite popular, and my current foundation isn’t working so well with my skin at the moment (and I want to stop supporting brands that test on animals). I’ve watched a lot of people with different skin types on youtube using the different foundations to get their opinions, and I just decided to get both and test them out.

I actually really enjoyed both of these foundations, they both went on my face very well, I’d picked good shades for me (F2, for fair skin with yellow undertones), and they didn’t feel cakey or disappear on my skin which some foundations have done in the past. The application was new for me with both of them, as the drops are obviously in a dropper and that’s how you put them on your face, while the conceal and define has a doe foot applicator, which I’m used to with concealers and liquid lipsticks, but have never tried with a foundation before. I’m used to pumps and squeezy tubes! I found them both to go on my skin nicely and blend out well with a wet sponge (I currently have the Real Techniques miracle complexion sponge), and they definitely both gave me coverage, smoothed out my skin nicely, and looked and felt nice on my face.

I got the black eyeliner because I’m not too big a fan of felt tip pen eyeliners, they dry out too fast, and I used to love a dip eyeliner from Loreal that I had before, except that the tip isn’t very skinny so it’s hard to get a precise line (and Loreal isn’t cruelty free). I found this one a bit hard to use to fill in, but it does draw really sharp lines! And I got the white one because I thought I could use it in artistic ways, or something.

I got the cut crease canvas in white because if I want a more skin colour cut crease I’ll just use concealer (I currently have 3 of the conceal and define concealers so I won’t run out anytime soon). I thought this could be wonderful to use to make those colourful colours really pop and appear true to colour! It’s an old trick, to cover your eyelids in white primer or even smudge white pencil liner all over your lid to make the colours appear more vibrant!

And lastly, I currently don’t have any singles or palettes with these kinds of bright and colourful colours, which is why I got the new Reloaded Marvellous Mattes eyeshadow palette. I have palettes with yellow and orange, I have some reds, I have some pinks and purple tones, and I have palettes with black and white shadows in them, but what I don’t have at all at the moment is any bright green (the ones I have are more olive toned or sparkly), or any blue shades like the two in this palette (fun fact, the darkest blue is an exact match to my iris). I also don’t think I have a hot pink, and I know I don’t have a bright purple like this one. And it was only £4 for 15 shades, so I thought it was a bargain. I did swatches of all the eyeshadows, but I haven’t been able to test them all on my eyes yet. Anyway, here is a closeup of the palette and the swatches:

I rubbed my finger back and forth twice, so four times across each shadow, and I went over each swatch twice. They feel nice, perhaps a bit powdery, but they’re quite pigmented, and I’d say they’re buildable as well which is good. I don’t mind spending a little bit of time building up a shadow. From the shades I’ve tried, I found that they lasted several hours without any creasing or smudging, which is what I’ve come to expect from Revolution eyeshadows. And I can definitely see myself using these shadows a lot!

The Stuff That Arrived

So that was all the makeup I purchased. Now let me show you everything that actually arrived, including the goodie bag:

So I got four products for free. Two palettes, and two singles. One highlight/contour/bronzer palette, one highlighter palette, a single highlighter, and a single gradient highlighter. A lot of highlighters! My initial thought when unwrapping everything was “I’m never gonna have to buy highlighters again if these are good!”

I wasn’t disappointed with any of these products, there wasn’t any that I saw and thought “oh no not this” because I can honestly say I’ve never really noticed these products in shops before (and Revolution is always the first brand I go to whenever I’m in Superdrug). It was quite nice to receive a powder contour kit, it’s something I’d not usually buy, and I’m definitely happy it was powder and not cream. I got the shade light/medium, which is their medium shade; they have one for fair which is lighter and one for medium/dark skin tones which is darker. I’m definitely more on the fair side, but I think I can use all of these shades regardless. Here’s a closeup of the palette:

The top left shade is a nice colour for under eye brightening and other highlight spots – it’s matte so it can be used as a setting powder too actually. The other shades on the top row are quite warm toned so they’re nice for bronzing. They’re all matte too but will add some colour. I’d definitely use more warm tones on my forehead for example, where the sun hits more naturally.

Along the bottom row, the three brown shades are more cool toned, so I’d use those to contour my cheekbones and jaw line, and if I ever get the hang of nose contour too, I think. The 3rd shade on this row is quite dark – but I can actually use that for my eyebrows if I want to! The 4th shade is another highlighter shade, more like a banana powder in my opinion, and I might be able to use this somehow.

The other palette I got was a highlighter palette called the Strobe Lighting palette, and it contains three shades. To the eye they look white, gold, and pink. All three are light enough in colour for me, which is always my biggest concern with highlighting palettes – there are always shades that are just too dark for me, but in this one that’s not the case. This palette also came with a mirror!

I’m not gonna lie, I had some trouble swatching these shades, specifically in that they did not appear on my skin at all. I struggled to see them with my eye, and I struggled to get them to appear on camera. To show you, I tried multiple different angles, and methods of swatching. Here are some swirls on my dry skin of all three in order, if you can see them. The white shade, which is more of a duochrome shade with green in it, shows up alright, but the gold and the pink are barely visible at all…

I then decided to try and swatch them on wet skin, as that’s a trick many use to get highlighters to show up more. At least now I could see them all on my arm…

If you’re curious, this is what they look like just on my fingers, before swatching. They look a bit dry and powdery to me, but when I drag then down my arm, they definitely look a lot smoother, and not chalky at all. But the white is definitely the most vibrant of these three highlighter shades.

I did also look up one of my favourite youtubers, Sophdoesnails, and she spoke about this palette in this video (at 5:28 if my time stamp doesn’t work). She also said that the duochrome white-green shade is more pigmented while the gold and pink are more subtle, so at least I know now that it’s not just my swatches that are messed up, this is how the palette is made. I did use them all on my skin, but I like a more blinding highlight sometimes and had to use the white over the gold to get the result I wanted, but if you like a more subtle look and gold and pink tones, you’ll probably like this a lot!

The third free product was a large single highlighter, the Skin Kiss highlighter in the shade Ice Kiss. Up close it looks like this:

This is one of the three original Skin Kiss highlighters from Revolution, and it’s described as a white with a hint of gold to it. Soph also made a video about these highlighters, which you can watch here if you’re interested. Personally I’m a bigger fan of a straight up white highlighter or more silver toned than gold toned, like the Limited Edition one from the Imogenation Highlight to the Moon palette with Revolution, so if I were to pick a Skin Kiss I probably would have gone with something more like Frozen Kiss over Ice Kiss, but I can make this work too, it will make me glow! Or sparkle…

I swatched this highlighter both wet and dry as well. Dry, it is quite chunky, a bit powdery and chalky. No joke, when I turned my hand to do the wet swatch, powder fell into my lap from the swatch. Granted, I did kind of pack it on here, but still, it was chalky in the pan too and people have commented this in reviews on the Revolution website. Wet, it looks a lot smoother in my opinion, and the gold comes out more as well.

Others have also said it’s quite glittery, which I can see when Soph applies it to her face in the video as well, so some of you might not like that. When dragging my fingers down my arm instead of swirling around on my hand, this is what the dry highlighter looks like:

I think a little goes a long way, and with how huge this pan is, if this is the kind of highlighter you’re looking for, I think it would last you ages!

The last free product was this gradient peachy toned highlighter, the Revolution Gradient Highlighter Sunlight Mood Lights, and up close it looks like this:

This was probably the product I was more unsure of if and how I would use. When looking at it, it doesn’t look like it’s all that glowy or highlightery, it almost looks more like a blush with a little bit of shimmer in it. Hell, I’ve seen blushes with more shimmer to it than this highlighter has! I can use the lightest part as cheekbone highlight if I want to, for a more natural glow, but the darkest part is definitely too dark for that. What I’m thinking is that the darker part might look quite nice as a blush especially when we get closer to summer and I’ll want more glow to my skin than I do right now (too much shimmer everywhere just makes me look oily/sweaty). Here are some swatches from different parts of the pan, as you can see, it’s a very natural glow, not in-your-face at all.

Believe it or not, that darker shade is from the middle, while the one below is actually from the darkest side of the pan! I definitely think this might be more of a blush-highlight combo for summer if I manage to get a bit of a tan or something, rather than a highlight for me, especially now during winter where my skin is white borderline blue… But it could look really pretty with a nice base and just some eyebrow pencil and mascara for a fresh summery look, don’t you think?

Did the Free Stuff Actually Add Up?

Now, the Instagram post from Revolution said the value of the goodie bag would be £25. So was it really? I went on their website to see if I really got free makeup worth almost as much as my original order and the short answer is yes. When everything is full price, the items add up to £25 exactly, with two products costing £8, one costing £4, and one costing £5:

However, I also discovered something when I was browsing the website searching for the products. Each of the products I received was the only one in its category that wasn’t currently on sale! I took some screenshots to show you:

The Powder Contour: I got the palette in light medium, which is £8, but the fair and medium dark palettes are currently on sale for only £2.40 each, which is70% off. I thought it could be a coincidence but it continues:

There are two gradient highlighters, the sunlight one I got which costs £4, and the peach one which is on sale for £1.20. That one is also 70% off at the moment.

And as if that’s not enough:

ALL of the skin kiss shades EXCEPT for Ice Kiss which is the one I got, are on sale, £2.50 instead of £5, which is 50% off (and a bargain for how much product you get in one pan, just saying – if this is your thing go grab some!).

This COULD all be a coincidence, but it doesn’t really feel like it, when EVERY product in each category is on sale EXCEPT for the ones that were in the goodie bag I got. I’m not complaining, I got free stuff, but still… Are they not on sale because they’re in the goodie bags? Do they want people to buy all the other items that are on sale and receive the items that aren’t in the goodie bags? Or is it simply for people like me who wanted to check if the price of the free items added up, so that we can’t complain we didn’t get the full £25 value that was promised? What do you think?

Have you ever purchased items simply to get free stuff with it? If so, what did you think of the free stuff? Let’s talk in the comment section!

xoxo

Julie

Anno 1800 – Beta test

From January 31st through February 4th, I was lucky enough to get to beta test the game Anno 1800 – a city builder strategy game set in the 19th century. This is a game I came across a few months ago on youtube when watching videos about upcoming city building games, and the trailer was in multiple compilations, and I thought it looked really good and it made me really want to play the game! I did watch a few people play earlier Anno games on youtube as preparation so that I knew a little bit about what I was getting myself into, mainly Anno 1404 but also Anno 2070 and a tiny bit of Anno 2205, which are the three last games to come out in the series. Despite 1404 being the oldest of these 3, I actually liked the look of it better than the futuristic 2070 and 2205, but that might just be because I love history and I didn’t connect with the futuristic buildings in the same way. So I was really excited about 1800 coming out this year, a game set in the past, but with today’s graphics and all. And I was lucky that I got to play the beta for a few days, especially now that the release has been delayed from February to April!

You can watch the gamescom trailer for Anno 1800 here, and the trailer for the beta that I got to play here!

I haven’t played any of the other Anno games before, this was a series I hadn’t heard of until I saw the trailer for 1800. I also don’t self-identify as a “gamer”, I just like playing some games from time to time, and I can get sucked in and get addicted and play a game non stop for hours or even days, which is exactly what happened over the few days I got to play this game. Having never played an Anno game before, I prepared by watching a few youtube videos, and there are people out there who have been making videos while playing the beta as well. I particularly like League of Ungentlemanly Warfare, but I also know Geekism has been playing it, and others as well, you can just search for “Anno 1800 beta” on youtube and you’ll find them! I also had to start over a few times, as I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing and I tried and failed a little, but ultimately I’m very happy I got to play this free beta and test out the game, so I know for a fact I will want to buy it when the game comes out!

Bottom line is, I really enjoyed playing Anno 1800. I enjoyed learning how the game works, working my way up from farmers to workers and eventually to artisans, which was the top upgrade level in the beta, although I know there will be more in the full game. I enjoyed learning how to set up trade routes and using multiple islands to maximise the space and potential of each – for example, I ended up moving all my animal farms to separate farming islands as my city grew, and the majority of my food farms as well, although those are dependant on finding islands with the right fertility.

I started playing single player to learn the basics of the game, and then my boyfriend and I started a multiplayer game together. We then started another multiplayer game with a third person, and I got really far into that! I also had a second single player game at this point, but I liked the three person multiplayer game better as I’d gotten a lot further over 2 days of playing it. On the last day, I actually started from scratch in a 3rd single player game, and I plated on full speed for about 11 hours. I got very far into the game, but I could not get my expedition ships to find the new world. Every time, it turned into a zoological expedition or I lost the ship or it returned early. So I didn’t get to discover the new world and I was unable to provide my artisans with all their needs and wants. However, I got very good at playing the old world, in my own opinion, and these are skills I will take with me into the full version of the game when it releases. Hopefully I’ll be able to reach the new world then!

Between now and then, I want to go back and watch as much beta play by others as I can, to try and learn from their skills, ideas, and mistakes (because we all make them, there’s no denying that). Specifically, I want to focus on city layouts, and learn from what they do, and also how they utilise the parks and other decor to make their cities pretty. I also want to learn how the use the different beaches to maximise functionality as well as beautification – because I want to be able to create functional islands, as well as beautiful ones. And any other tips and tricks I can pick up as well…

I want to leave you with a little slideshow of pictures I took from the main island of my last single player game, to show what I was able to do. I know it’s not the best, that things aren’t even, and that I have a lot to learn, but I’m really happy with this and how it turned out! Also, can we just appreciate how beautiful the details of this game are? The textures, the colours, the fact that when it rains you can see splashback in the mud, and if you zoom in on the sea you can see the fish, and the movement of the fountains and the trees and aaah just everything, this game is so beautiful! Enjoy!

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Are you looking forward to this game?

xoxo

Julie

February and 2019 in my bullet journal

I have to admit, I’m not always the greatest at inventing headlines. This blog post is pretty self-explanatory: I just wanted to show off the bullet journal pages I’m currently creating and using, what I love and what works for me!

So firstly: Back to Basics in 2019. My “back to basics” pretty much just means I have gone back to using just a notebook and a pen, although I am staying in the same notebook as before. This is a Nuuna L, in the style Milky Way. I started this book with the month of July 2018, as I had 4 pages left in my old one when June was over. Since I’m continuing in the same book, there weren’t a lot of spreads I needed to recreate when 2019 started, as I make fewer monthly pages and more long-term lists and trackers, as I like to see things over time. I did post about my January pages over on my Instagram account (fearless20_12, go follow me!), but this is the first time I’m blogging about bullet journaling in a while. If you want to read my previous bujo entries, there will be links at the bottom of this entry, or you can go to the category “bujo” and read them there.

The future log I’m using is the same as from my first bujo, which you can see if you scroll down a little on this entry here, the 4th and 5th picture in that entry show what I consider my perfect future log as it suits my needs perfectly and have done since I started in 2017.

I want to start with February, as that’s where we’re currently at in the year. I don’t make elaborate cover pages or anything like that, just some headlines that make it clear to me when flicking through my journal that this is a new month. I like faux calligraphy, and I sketch in pencil first, then go over with pen. For February I just made a title across the page and a calendar showing the layout of the month.

I don’t like my monthly overview to be in calendar form, I prefer a list like you can see on the right-hand side here. Sometimes I’ll draw lines across the page to see which days belong together in a week, I did that for January as I didn’t have a calendar next to it, but I didn’t feel the need for it for this February Overview.

Flip the page, and I like to have a place to write down notes and to-dos for the month. This kind of works as my goals page as well, so if I have something specific I want to accomplish for this month this is where I will write it down

Next to it, I like to have my habit tracker, or focus areas, as I like to call them. They’re not as much things I want to make a habit out of doing every day, but more like things I want to make sure I focus on doing. These are both important things, such as working on my housing and job situation, and what one might consider less important things, such as playing games (board, card, PC, console) and reading. I have them in this order as it kind of reminds me of the food pyramid, where the most important and heavy things are at the bottom, and the lighter things that are less vital are at the top. And because of that, the goal is to have more circles around the dates at the bottom calendars, and fewer the higher up we get, while still also focusing on doing those. That’s not to say that that’s always how it’ll turn out, but it’s a nice idea. The top things might not be essential for life, but they’re things that are essential to me on a mental and emotional level, they’re important for my well-being!

And then I jump straight into weeklies! In January, I really liked the column style with vertical writing space, so I’m continuing this for February. This means each thing I write down takes up more lines, but I’m okay with that as I haven’t always got a lot of things going on at the moment and therefore it fills out the days a bit more. I’m also trying to remember to write down smaller things, even in retrospect, so that I document my days a bit more. This can be things like I found a new TV show I want to watch, or I watched a movie, or I did my nails or tested a new makeup product.

The goal, for me, is to underline and show off to myself that I have a life and that I do things, even when at the end of the day I feel like today has been the kind of day where I haven’t really done anything at all. I started doing this almost two years ago, when I got an extension for my MA thesis, because I was so stressed and struggled a lot with anxiety, and day after day I felt like I was doing nothing, so I started to write down everything I did in bullet points, and it really helped me to see that even though I hadn’t been productive working on my thesis, I had done other things and they are important too – laundry is important so that I have clean clothes to wear, a walk is important for my mental and physical health, and so on.

Usually I have Saturday and Sunday in the same column, but seeing as there were only 3 days at the end of this week, they got a full column each.

And the blank page… It fit there. I was thinking I want to use it to write down some notes and thoughts over this weekend, as I’m beta testing the game Anno 1800, which was supposed to come out at the end of this month but has been delayed until April now. I have a separate sheet of notes of bugs I’ve encountered in the game, but I’m thinking it’ll be nice to write down notes about actually playing the game, strategy, things I come across that are useful and that I want to remember for when the full game comes out, and it’ll be nice to have it in my bujo as I’m more likely not to lose the notes here!

And that’s it for February! The rest of the month will just be pages of columns as the ones I made above. But now I want to talk a little bit about the collections I’m currently using.

Firstly, my most recent one (and yes we’re kinda moving backwards in time, so we’ll end with the first collection in my book). When January started, I wanted to start getting back into blogging more regularly; I’d done some posts last autumn, but it wasn’t consistent. I set myself a goal of posting once per week, which I kept. I want to continue that for February, and hopefully eventually increase to maybe two posts a week, or one post consistently and extra posts when I feel extra inspired to write.

I also discovered I have a lot of drafts, some that are nearly complete blog posts, others that are just a headline and some bullet point notes. Most of them are good, and I want to keep working on them and eventually post them to my blog for you all to read. So I wanted to make a spread to keep track of the status of these entries, and this is what I came up with. I dedicated two pages, and I have some columns on each page. The first one is for the idea for the blog post, or the working title. Next is D for Draft, S for Scheduled, and L for live. This way, I can easily look at all my posts at once and see if I want to work on any of them for the upcoming week or so! I’ve already nearly filled up the left page just from my drafts…

Next up is my social calendar – this is a spread I needed to remake for 2019, as my test run only ran from July through December of 2018. This is less of a calendar and more of a tracker, I mostly fill in things in retrospect, unless I know something is set in stone, but I really liked how my first one turned out, and I wanted to continue this into 2019. What I’ve done here is give colour codes to people or a group of people, and made a list of abbreviations: call, snapchat, video chat, message, and stream. Then draw a dot, write the initial of the person if multiple people have the same colour, and then write the abbreviation next to it so see what kind of social I was with that person on that day.

When it’s all filled out, it looks like this. It’s a bit messy, but I really like it! I don’t fill out everything, for example there are a couple of people I snapchat or message every single day, but then there are others that I almost never talk to, and when we do talk I do write it down and what kind of interaction we had.

I want to say, this idea wasn’t completely my own – I did take inspiration from a post I found online somewhere; unfortunately, I only have a screenshot of the person’s picture and not their name or username or even what platform it was from, so I cannot give them credit…

I know some people make goodbye and hello pages in between every month. I am not one of those people. I usually just jump straight into the next month with my calendar and overview, simply because I can’t be bothered to do it. However, I felt the need to separate 2018 and 2019 a bit, and just made a very simple transition that looks like this. This actually took me a really long time to draw out, the goodbye/hello spread, the new social calendar, and the word “January” for last month’s monthly page was the length of the entire “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” film! I hate drawing the number 2, it’s so hard to get even!

Sometime last year, a few days into September I think it was, I decided I wanted to get better at posting on my Instagram and WordPress again, and I made this post tracker. It’s kind of like a year in pixels, where I just fill in the square on the days that I’ve posted. The Instagram one is looking a lot better than the WordPress one so far, but hopefully that’ll change over the course of the next few months! And I just have a little sticky note tab at the top so that I can easily find this page. I always make and keep up an Index but I hardly ever go back to it, I mostly just flick through the book until I find what I’m looking for…

You know those movies or franchises you always say you’re gonna watch because “everyone” knows these films, but then you never get around to it? I decided I want to get around to it. So I made this list, I set aside 2 spreads for it, so 4 pages, and wrote down everything I could think of, including all of Star Wars, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And some stand-alones and trilogies, too… Some of these I’ve seen before, most I have not, but hopefully, now that I have them all written down, the urge to fill out the square and complete the spread is there and I will want to continue and actually watch all of these films…

Okay so. Hair washing. I feel like this has become more socially acceptable than it was when I was a teenager, where you were “gross” if you didn’t wash your hair every day and also your hair got greasy if you didn’t wash it every day because you were washing it every day. I managed to push it back up to every other day in the last half of my teen years, which was still within acceptable I think, but never beyond that. Dry shampoo wasn’t as widely available to me, and everyone said you could only use it if you had blonde hair otherwise your hair would look white or grey (which btw it doesn’t if you use it correctly, in my experience with multiple shades of brown from light golden to dark almost black. And you can get coloured dry shampoo too now).

For me, I was 19 when I was finally able to push my hair washing days further, and the only reason I could do it is because I went to Africa and got my hair braided. I had the braids in for about 3 weeks (they kept sliding out of my hair…), and during that time I was not able to wash my natural hair at all. Or I tried, but it didn’t go very well. When I took them out and washed my hair, I found that I didn’t need to wash it as often, as my scalp wasn’t producing as much oil. In the beginning, I only washed my hair about once a week, but now I mostly go 3-4 days between. I find I have to wash it more frequently in the winter than I do in the summer, and summer 2017 I got to a point where I suddenly realised I had no idea when I washed my hair last. At one point I think it was about 8 days. I had a lot going on in my life emotionally especially, with the extension of my thesis and my grandfather being ill and passing away that August, and also being home alone taking care of the house and being at work all summer… So that’s when I started this tracker.

In my first bujo, I had different colours for BedHead, Lush, purple products, deep conditioning and others that I can’t remember; for this one I kept it a little more simple, but the setup is the same. I colour in what product, what date, and whether it’s morning or night (for early afternoons I put it kind of in the middle). And as you can see, I haven’t washed my hair two days in a row since early July, and the only reason for it then is because I had a school reunion on the 7th and people were drinking and I felt gross the next morning and I’m pretty sure someone spilled beer in my hair, so I washed it again. For the most part, I’m happy if I can put 3 or 4 non-wash days between the days when I do wash it though! Oh and the reason I’ve chosen to do this is that my hair is very thin and fine, it damages easily, and extensive washing is one of the things that damages my hair – I’ve also completely stopped using hair dryers, curling irons, and flat irons, except for rare occasions a few times a year at most. Plus I’m lazy and not having to wash my hair every day is so nice! And I save money on products as well, that’s another bonus.

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THE LAST ONE! The first page I have in my bullet journal after my future log, which you can kind of see through the paper, is a measurement page! I don’t count the number of dots, I count the number of “squares” if I were to connect the line between the dots. I reference this page every time I make a new spread, to know where to put my lines, approximately, so it’s very useful to me. So across each page I have 40 spaces or squares, and I’ve also measured 1/2 of that, 1/3, 1/4, and 1/5. I very rarely need anything more than this. And it’s the same down the page as well – 56 spaces or squares, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, and 1/5 for good measure (this 1/5 going each way is the one I use the least). Sometimes I’ve needed even more measurements, like when I drew a weekly calendar sideways on one page, but this happens so rarely that I didn’t bother drawing it out on this page. And the little heart shaped paperclip is just to mark where my future log ends and my collections begin, as I had quite a few at the beginning of the book before the first month, some of which I use and have shown you, and some that didn’t work out.

When it comes to making new collections in my bullet journal, I usually just flip the page and use the next available one, or I’ll make it at the end of a month before the next month. As I only use weeklies or a daily/weekly hybrid, whatever you want to call it, where I have the week drawn out at once over two pages, I know exactly how much space I will need for the future, as opposed to if I were to do dailies where I give as much space as necessary to each day and each day is different and I wouldn’t be sure how much space I’d need until the end of the week.

Do you bullet journal? What’s your favourite or most useful spread that you have in your book? Let’s talk in the comments down below!

xoxo

Julie

Related posts: My First Bullet Journal // The Bujo Cateogory

SleepTown App

Another week, another app post for you all (I say this like I do it all the time when in reality I’ve done like one…)! Sleep Town is developed by the same people who developed Forest: Stay Focused, which I’ve written about before, and which I use daily. Sleep Town is an app I discovered and started using back in October last year, and have been using almost nightly since then!

Like Forest, Sleep Town is designed to keep you off of your phone in order to do other things. While Forest aims to keep you focused on the tasks you need to do during the day, Sleep Town aims to keep you off your phone during the night in order to create and maintain healthy sleep cycles (which again will help you focus during the day).

When you’ve been using the app for a while, this is what a Sleep Town looks like. I think you can create multiple towns, but I don’t know why I would do that, because I like seeing the town grow, and even though I have some duplicates of for example banks and schools, that’s realistic even for a real city, so it doesn’t bother me that much.

When you open the app, this is what it looks like (picture below). You set your bedtime and wake-up goals, as you can see mine are 1am and 9am. The reason for this is that you can put your town to sleep for up to 2 hours before your set bedtime goal, and you can wake up your town for up to 2 hours before your wake-up time goal. So I can start my town anywhere from 11pm until 1am, and wake it up anywhere between 7am and 9am, which are realistic times for me in my current situation, for both weekends and weekdays. You can reset the goals at any time, but you will lose your building streak by doing so – because the goal is to set and maintain a healthy sleep cycle, which means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.

That is not to say that you cannot wake up earlier than this though! You can set the in-app alarm clock to whatever time you want. For example, I had to get up before 6am one morning as I was going away and would have to leave at 7.15, so I set the alarm to 5.45am, was able to turn it off, but the building for the night was still being built, so I left my phone alone until just after 7, hit the wake-up button, and then saw my building for the day and could use my phone as normal!

One more thing worth mentioning about this app at the beginning, is that if you want to leave the app and stop the building after it has started, you physically have to choose “yes” when asked the question “do you want to demolish your building and leave the app”, and then you will have a demolished building in your town forever!! …unless you use your coins to delete it, like I’ve done once, hahah. If you try to leave the app without demolishing your building, it will go back to the app in a fraction of a second, and the time seems to get shorter and shorter every time, as I tried to do it once, to get into my audiobook app after I’d put my town to sleep, which I was eventually able to do, but I had to do it in very slow steps and it took me about 7 times to get what I wanted as SleepTown kept reopening faster and faster each time I exited it (I achieved my sleep goal AND was able to listen to my audio book, but it’s not how this app is supposed to work). This app also does not have a whitelist function like Forest does, but if you want to put on music or an audiobook on a timer before you start the construction of your building, I’ve never had any issues with that at all.

You can see your weekly town by clicking on the button “town” in the menu, and scroll through your weeks to see what you built and when. The weekly towns will look like the pictures below, which are two consecutive weeks in my town from this month. You see the times when your phone was asleep in the diagram below it, and you can click on each individual night to see what building was constructed that night.

When you click on “the big town”, you can see all the buildings you’ve constructed over time in that town! If you’ve noticed the picture below being slightly different from the first picture of this blog post, it’s because the buildings move around every night, so your town is constantly changing.

Let’s talk about what we see on the right hand side of this picture. The top box, that says 589, that’s how many coins I get for completing my sleep goal every night. Each building collects revenue, from 1 to 20, of the buildings I’ve constructed, and all together my buildings add up to 589 coins per night. And the +85%? That’s a bonus for keeping up my streak for the past 85 days. So I get an additional 85% of the 589 coins for the next night! And of course, these numbers change every night as you complete another night and add another building with a new value (compare to the top image of this post where I had 549 coins per night and a 76 day streak). The box below it that says 114, that’s just the number of buildings I have in my town, so I’ve achieved my sleep goals for a total of 114 nights since I started using the app, but only the past 85 have been consecutive, meaning I either did not start construction of a building before 1am, or I demolished a building after I’d started it, 86 days ago. At the bottom you can see my current coin count, which is 46,985. We’ll get back to how we can spend the coins in a little bit.

Every 7 days you successfully achieve your sleep goal and build a building, you get a ticket (this is not dependent on a streak, so even if you break the streak every couple of nights you’ll still get this when you’ve built 7 buildings, it doesn’t have to 7 days in a row). When you redeem the ticket, you get a higher chance of getting a rare building the following night. I use mine as soon as I get them, as there are no bonuses to saving them up (other than, I guess, if you want to spend a week trying to build rarer houses in one go, but even then, the ticket doesn’t guarantee a rare building, it just increases your chances of getting one).

Like with Forest, there are achievements in this game; the screenshot below shows off a few. Some of them, like the bus stop, cake shop, and water park, are ones you just have to be patient and wait for, as there is no way to actively make these appear. Then you have the streak ones, which are 7, 30, and 100 days; for those you just have to actively achieve your bedtime and wake-up goals, and not fail or miss out on days. And obviously, the more you use the app, the more buildings you will get and the more coins you will get, which are the achievements at the bottom, the last of which I am currently working towards reaching, while simultaneously working on reaching 100 days in a row of successful building – just 15 more days to go, woooh!

Speaking of streaks – it is possible to give yourself 1 or 2 nights off per week, where you can fail to meet your goals, but not lose your streak! I’ve set mine to Friday and Saturday, meaning Friday evening I don’t have to start constructing a building before 1am, and same Saturday night, and it doesn’t affect my streak. It’s pretty nice for if you’re going out or something and you don’t want to have to put your phone to sleep when you might need to use it later! You can change these days later, but that again will reset your streak to 0.

I mentioned earlier about getting back to how you can spend the money your town earns every night, and that time is now: you can spend your hard earned coins on choosing your next building! However, there is a catch: you can only choose the buildings which already exist in your town. So when you keep building random buildings, the new ones will get added to your buildex, eventually, which you can see in the app, and it looks like the pictures below. The coloured buildings are the ones I have in my town, and the grey shadows are buildings which I don’t yet have.

On any given night, I can choose whether I want my phone to construct a random building, or if I want to redeem a ticket (which as I said earlier I always do as soon as I get them), or if I want to pick a building to be built, so that it’s not a surprise when I wake up to see what has been constructed. By clicking the little pointy finger in the picture below, I am taken to a screen where I can scroll through the options for buildings I can choose, and see how much they cost. The more revenue a building will get me once successfully constructed, the more coins it costs me to choose that building to construct. So you can use it as a way to continue to earn more money per night, but personally I’ve only tried it a couple of times to see how it works. I prefer to use the random option, as one of the things that makes this app so addictive is the fact that I want to get all the buildings into the buildex! And that won’t happen unless I continue to construct random buildings. Even though, sometimes, it feels like there are buildings I’m just never supposed to get! But hopefully, we’ll get there in the end… hopefully by the end of this year! To set a goal that should be achievable, even though I have no control over it…

There is one more feature to this app that I’ve not yet talked about, which was added only towards the end of last year: The Circle. The Circle works in the way that you gather friends who have the app (they will need to have paid for premium, I believe, which is about £2 or something like that), and then you sort of challenge each other to achieve your sleep goals! When you succeed, you contribute with “energy” which helps construct Wonders of the World. The ongoing progress of constructing a Wonder looks something like this (it’s different for each one) – which is my 2nd wonder, as I don’t have any progress pictures for my first one:

As time goes on, and you continue to achieve your sleep goals, you will get closer and closer to the finished Wonder of the World. The more people are in the circle, the faster the Wonder will build, but it is possible to get there with fewer people too. As you can see, I am in a circle with just one other person, and it took us a few weeks to construct the first wonder, as each successful night only gave us 100 energy each, and we needed 10,000, and we didn’t both complete our sleep goals every night, so it took us a while. On this second one, however, we’re getting 250 energy per successful night, so it’s going a lot quicker. Plus, leftover energy from the previous Wonder transfers to the next one! Which is why, even though we both have achieved our sleep goals every night since starting this Wonder, one person has contributed with 100 more energy than the other.

Little by little, it all comes together and voila! Our first Wonder of the World was the Taj Mahal! I’m excited to see what the next one will be – this one took us over 50 nights to build, but the next one should only take 20, and we’re 100 energy away from being halfway there!

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This will probably be the last app review / tutorial I write for a while. I mostly use my phone for social media, and these are the two apps that I have found for time management  that I really enjoy, because they don’t block stuff off your phone / create a blacklist, but you’re actually rewarded in the form of a house or a tree, which to me is the reason I want to keep using the apps. You can read my previous entries about Forest by clicking the links below:

2018 in trees
A Very Satisfying Forest

Thank you for reading! Let’s talk in the comments – let me know if you find your phone distracting, if you’ve used any apps or programs to keep you from using your phone or specific websites or apps, and how you found them!

xoxo

Julie

 

7 Days of Extra Spice

I have loved makeup for as long as I can remember. Once, when I was very young, I found a red lipstick belonging to my mum, and decided to colour with in on the wall and the door of the wardrobe. I’m pretty sure I got yelled at for doing so… but that’s my earliest memory of makeup. When I was in primary school, my mother decorated a shoe box with purple wrapping paper for me, so I could store all my playtime makeup in it – I had several of those kids’ makeup sets, and my mum gave me some of her old stuff from the late 80s/early 90s to play with as well, and also samples she got that she didn’t like. I still had makeup in this box into my early teens when I started wearing makeup to school. At first, a friend would let me borrow her eyeliner and mascara, and I’d hurry to take it off at home before my parents could see me. I was a few months into my 13th year of life when my mum took me to buy my own makeup for the first time – I’d received a black pencil eyeliner from a friend for Christmas, and mum took me to an H&M in the city when I had a dentist appointment and I got my first mascara (not counting the old dried out one in the set of stuff my mum gave me to play with). I had plenty of lip glosses that had come in all those different magazines, and that’s basically what I wore. I gradually got some more things, and started to spend some of my pocket money on makeup as well, throughout my teen years.

I’m not a teenager anymore. I’m 26. I’ve gone through all of school (13 years), a year of photo school, and 6 years of university studies. But I’ve continued to love makeup throughout these different stages of my life. I’ve always watched tutorials on youtube, and followed people like Tati Westbrook (glamlifeguru) and Marlena Stell (Make Up Geek). The threshold for being a makeup youtuber has changed a lot over the year, there are a lot of makeup enthusiasts and lovers on the platform now, some really talented, in addition to people who have gone to school to become makeup artists. And in the world we live in today, where Influencer is a profession, a lot of these people have released their own products, either through starting their own companies, or working with makeup brands. One of these people, is Sophie from Sophdoesnails, who has collaborated with Revolution (Makeup Revolution), and has released two eye shadow palettes, a highlighter palette, and three lipsticks with them. I have everything except the highlighter palette (simply because I can’t imagine needing all 8 different shades in there, and because I am in love with different products at the moment), and my most recent acquisition was her 2nd palette, the Extra Spice palette, which looks like this:

Tati from Glamlifeguru said in a video not long ago, that in addition to doing first impression videos of products, she also enjoys playing around with them before filming, and really  “getting to know a palette”. I think this is a really good idea, to explore the potential of the palette you’ve just bought, and not just do one or two different looks using the same shades over and over. Of course, there are some shades that will be used more than others, for example for me, a light brown transition shade is in almost all my looks, whereas a black shadow is something I hardly ever use. However, I wanted to put this palette to the test and really see what it can do, because it has a lot of potential. So here is what I did:

I created 7 different eye shadow looks, over 7 different days, and throughout this week I’ve dipped into every. single. shade. in the Soph x Revolution Extra Spice eye shadow palette.

Of course, these are not the only looks you can do, and there are almost infinite amounts of ways you can combine these shadows to create looks, depending on how many different shades you use in one look and what sort of colours you put together. But these are 7 looks that I either came up with on my own or took inspiration from other people for. Some are very “me”, others are quite far out of my comfort zone. I’ve written a little bit about each look, which shadows I used and where, and I hope you enjoy this post!

Also: I decided to include pictures both with and without glasses, as I wear glasses on a daily basis, but I CAN also wear contacts if I want to. I have myopia (I am near-sighted), which means that my eyes through the glasses look smaller than they actually are, which again means that for makeup to really show up I need to make it more dramatic without glasses for it to look the way I want when I wear glasses, so I just thought I’d show you the comparison of these shadows with and without glasses on!

Also also: None of these pictures are edited in any way. I took them using the selfie camera on my OnePlus 6, uploaded them to a cloud server, and added them to this entry from that server, and that’s all. I tried to use as much natural light as possible, standing by the window when doing my makeup and also using the window light when taking the pictures.

The first thing I did with this palette, naturally, was swatch it. Using my fingers and my arm, just rubbing the shadow on in a back and forth motion, this is what the shadows look like:

Picture 1, from the top: Dreams, Cookie Dough, Cheesecake, Infinity, Running Late, Everyday

Picture 2, from the top: Lakes, Enchanted, Romance, Twenty One, Sweet n Sour, Vitamin C

Picture 3, from the top: Reputation, Aurora, LA sun, Mulled Wine, Chocolate Orange, Brownies.

If you want to see the video Sophie made talking about the palette, shade names, and her own swatches, you can click this link here!

Two things I want to say about these shades: They are pigmented, and they are buildable! These swatches are of dry colours on dry skin, so if you think they don’t show up well, such as Everyday and Dreams, remember how you would put them on your eye: probably on top of primer, or concealer, wet or powdered, and maybe even using a brush sprayed with some setting spray, and not just straight onto skin that has nothing on it already.

My most memorable moment from these swatches was after the black shade, the last one I swatched. It went on my arm SO black, and my finger was still completely black too, it looked like when I’d been drawing with charcoal in art class in school! So I was really impressed by that shade, but also quite intimidated, which is why I didn’t use it until my 7th and last look of this experiment.

Day 1: Burgundy Silver

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For my first look, I wanted to use shades that were COMPLETELY different from the shades in Soph’s first palette, which I’ve had since August 2018, and I was immediately drawn to the burgundy purple shades. For this look, I used Mulled Wine in the crease, deepened the colour with Enchanted, cut the crease, used Infinity on the lid, and for my lower lash line I went back to Mulled Wine and Enchanted, and also added a tiny bit of Romance although I don’t think it shows in the pictures, and also Infinity on the lower inner corner. A bit of white eyeliner on my waterline and mascara, and this is the finished look! I also used Soph’s lipstick in the shade Cake for this!

Oh and I actually forgot to take pictures with my glasses on for this look… but I have them for every other look!

Day 2: Subtle Daytime

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Warm tones have been “in” for quite some time now, and Soph is quite into warm toned looks herself, as she has said multiple times on her channel, so these shades were no surprise to this palette. For this more simple, faster, wearable daytime look, which really just adds some colour and dimension to your face, I started off with Running Late all over my eyelid and into my crease. To deepen it a little bit, I then used Sweet n Sour on the outer corner, blending it inwards. I used both shades on my lower lash line as well. Then I added a tiny bit of Everyday to the centre of my eyelid, and the inner part of my lower lash line, as well as on my brow bone. Also wearing Soph’s lipstick in Syrup with this look. And I remembered to take pictures with my glasses on!

Day 3: Dramatic Sunset

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This look is a little more out of my comfort zone than the previous two, and I think the main reason for that is that sunset looks have been SO popular lately and it’s very easy to  get intimidated by the immensely beautiful looks created by both professionals and amateur makeup artists out there. For this look I started out with Vitamin C in the crease, and I was a bit disappointed at first, but as I kept blending and building I did get the colour to be what I wanted it to be. I alternated between adding Vitamin C and Running Late over and over, and then deepened with Sweet n Sour, and then Twenty One on the centre and outer part of my mobile lid. Used all the same colours on my lower lash line as well, and also added some LA Sun to my inner corner instead of a highlighter shade, as I thought it went well with this look. For this look, I think you can really see how much difference the glasses make for my look, the shadows are a lot more intense and in-your-face without my glasses on. Lipstick is Soph’s in the shade Fudge.

Day 4: Smokey Brown

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On the 4th day, I actually decided to pick my lipstick first and match my eye shadow to it, instead of the other way around. I was going out for a meal in the evening, and I wanted to wear MAC Ruby Woo which is a retro matte formula that I know stays put through food and drinks. A more smokey brown look would go well with this lip colour, I thought, and therefore my choices fell on Cookie dough for my crease, Cheesecake to deepen it, a tiny bit of Brownies just on the outer corner and along my lower lash line (smoked out with the other colours), and then I also added a bit of Dreams to the inner part of my eyelid for some shimmer to this otherwise very matte look. This was much more within my comfort zone, and more like the eye looks I would do when working in the reception at a museum when I lived in Trondheim!

Day 5: Lakes and Aurora

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Staying more within my comfort zone still, I did another smokey look for day 5, but this time using green tones. I have done similar looks using other palettes before, including Soph’s original palette, and Jordan Lipscombe’s Trooper palette, but I wanted to see what these shadows could do. I believe I used Cookie Dough in my crease again first, before using a lot of Lakes across my crease and also on the outer and inner corners of my eye. I didn’t want to do a cut crease, but I used Aurora wet on the centre of my eyelid for this look; not cutting the crease made the colours blend into each other more, and the Aurora shade doesn’t stand out as much as it would have if I’d cut the crease, which I could have done, but I don’t know, I just didn’t feel like it on this day I guess. The highlighter around my inner corner was whatever I used on my face that day (so, not an eye shadow from this palette) and I used the Fudge lipstick again for this look.

Day 6: Pop the Blue

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I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like all of these looks have made my eyes pop and look extra blue. Or maybe it’s the lighting? Hard to say. However, according to the colour wheel, orange is the opposite of blue. When I was a teenager, I read in a magazine that most people wouldn’t put orange eye shadow on their eyes however, and it recommended brown tones. In this look, I’ve used a little bit of everything that’s supposed to make blue eyes pop: orange, yellow, and brown shades. I started with Chocolate Orange  creating the outer V, and into the crease, and used Sweet n Sour to soften it up.Then I used three different shades on my lid, starting from the outer corner with Brownies, then Vitamin C on the inner corner, and Running late to kind of blend them together without making the yellow muddy in the middle. On the inner corner of my bottom lash line I added some LA sun for some shimmer as well. I was trying to kind of recreate a look I saw once on youtube for this, but I don’t remember who made the look or if I recreated it correctly, as I wasn’t actively following the tutorial for this look, I just went off memory. And for my lips, yes, you guessed it: Soph’s lipstick in Fudge again today!

Day 7: Silver and Black for Prom

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By day 7, there was only one shade left to use, and it was the one that scared me the most: Reputation, the deep charcoal black shadow that emo me would have loved back when I couldn’t find a black shade that was black enough. For this look, I tried to recreate a look Soph did herself (video here), using browns, black, and silver to create a dramatic look that would look good with any dress colour for prom, for example. I used Cookie Dough and Brownies in the crease first, before going in with Reputation to create that black to brown transition. I cut my crease for this one, and used Infinity on top of the wet concealer across my lid, and went back with Reputation and Brownies again to smooth out the edges. Mine and Soph’s looks are different, her cut crease is a lot neater than mine, and I think there is less of the brown and black visible above after she does the cut crease, and more on the outer corner, but she does makeup for a living and I just wanted to try this look which is something I normally wouldn’t do at all, at least not anymore. A few years ago, yes. I also used a black kohl liner in my waterline, which is something I used to do a few years ago when I did a lot of silver/grey/black eye makeup, as well as when I first started out with makeup which was 10+ years ago! #2009v2019 right? Actually, that was more like 2006-2008, now that I think about it… Anyway! On my lips I wore a L’Oreal matte lipstick in the shade Mon Jules with this look.

So there we have it! 7 Days of wearing the Extra Spice palette from Soph x Revolution! I did a final count, to make sure I definitely had used all the shades, and this is how it looked:

Everyday: used in 1 look
Running Late: used in 3 looks
Infinity: used in 2 looks
Cheesecake: used in 1 look
Cookie Dough: used in 3 looks
Dreams: used in 1 look
Vitamin C: used in 2 looks
Sweet n Sour: used in 3 looks
Twenty One: used in 1 look
Romance: used in 1 look (barely, but it was used!)
Enchanted: used in 1 look
Lakes: used in 1 look
Brownies: used in 3 looks
Chocolate Orange: used in 1 look
Mulled Wine: used in 1 look
LA Sun: used in 2 looks
Aurora: used in 1 look
Reputation: used in 1 look

Final thoughts: I love this palette! I will definitely keep using this palette to do similar looks and different looks, and I want to mix this palette with Soph’s original palette as well. And also, these shadows stay put! I have a MAC duo shadow which I wore not long ago, just the two shades, and I’d done the rest of my makeup as usual, and in less than 5 hours, the shadows had creased and my eyelids were streaky with the colour. It was a horrible surprise to see it in the mirror on my way out the door. The black and silver look, however, which I did this weekend, was done around noon, and I wore it until bedtime, which was after midnight, and I didn’t see any creases on my eyelids at all when I went to take my makeup off for the night! If you want good drug store eye shadows, I definitely recommend both of Soph’s palettes with Revolution! I haven’t tried any other palettes from Revolution, but I can with certainty say that these to palettes are DEFINITELY WORTH IT (they’re only £10. How are they only £10?! I don’t even mind that Extra Spice has “only” 18 shadows and each shadow is 0.8g while her other palette has 1.1g per shadow and 24 of them – they’re just that good!)!

Question for you: You’ve made it to the end of this post! So can I assume you enjoyed this type of a blog post that’s more of a project I worked on over time? If you enjoyed this, would you like to see more posts like this, where I challenge myself to create multiple different looks using the same palette? I have Soph’s original palette, I have all 3 of Jordan Lipscombe’s palettes with Beauty Bay (swatches and thoughts in this entry here), I have two of Urban Decay’s Naked palettes (3 and Heat)… Let me know down below if you have any requests!

xoxo

Julie

Fields

A few weeks ago, actually it was over two months ago now, I wrote a blog post about passion where I mentioned photography being one of mine. In that entry, I also mentioned that I wanted to post some pictures on this blog, something I then never got around to doing. Until today. Today is the day! Bit dramatic, aren’t I…

My hometown consists of a large portion of fields. There is the actual town with a street of shops and a shopping centre and the schools and the church, and there is the air force base, but there are also a lot of fields. Before the air force  base, fishing and farming was what people did where I’m from. Of course, that was decades before my time. I’ve only ever known the time of the air force base being a corner stone in our community. My father is a major in the RNoAF, which I’ve also mentioned before. The fields was my playground as a child though. We had some very close to my house, not ones that grew grain, although there were those too, but the ones in which we played hide and seek and made imaginary houses, those were mainly just grass and straw and weeds. I can’t imagine moving back there to live full time. I love my family, and the place has grown on me after moving away from it and just being back in the summers and for weekends and such. It is quite lovely, actually. Just not where I want to live. You know? You can love a place but not imagine living there.

One day last summer, I felt really bad. I was not in a good place mentally or emotionally, I felt like I was really close to having a breakdown, I didn’t want to around my parents, and it was a lovely evening with what looked like it would be a beautiful sunset. I told my mum I’m going for a walk, I took my camera and phone and headphones, and I listened to music, and I took pictures until my memory card ran out. That was my bad, for not bringing another or using a bigger one, which I have, but that’s okay. I got some really nice shots. Pictures are worth more than words, and I’ve written many. Now I just want to leave you with some shots from my hometown and hope you like them. Let me know below if you like posts like this, I can do many more, I have lots of pictures!

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Thank you for reading my 100th post on this blog! Hope to see you soon,

xoxo

Julie

Related posts: Regarding Passion // Photography Category Here

2018 in trees

2018 was the year I really got into using the app Forest: Stay Focused. You can read about it on their website here, but I’m also going to tell you what this app is about and how I have been using it over the past year.

The whole point of the app, as evident from the name, is to keep you off your phone so you can do your work, and rewarding you with trees and money to buy more trees, so you can grow a forest. It’s good for anyone who needs to do anything in life really, but I particularly found it good as a student who needed to stay off my phone, away from facebook and twitter and instagram, and focus on my course work. It’s also good for people working who want or need to stay off their phones for the same reason, or people struggling with phone addictions. I’ve used it to stay off my phone during movies, during lectures, and also to time things like laundry and other chores around the house. I’ll get back to this later, with pictures, so I can show you.

Firstly, how Forest works, is you set a timer, anywhere between 10 minutes and 2 hours, and then you don’t touch your phone in that time, and it grows a tree or a bush for you. If you exit the app or try to use your phone to go on other apps, your bush or tree dies. Bushes grow when you set the time to 10, 15, or 20 minutes, while trees grow when you set the time to anything longer than that. Up to 55 minutes, you grow one tree. At 1 hour, you grow two trees. At 90 minutes, you grow three trees, and at the longest time setting of 2 hours, you grow four trees, each one a little more advanced and fancy looking than the previous one.

When you start out, you have one tree and one bush available. As you continue to grow trees, you get coins that you can use in the shop and buy different types of bushes and trees. The first one you buy costs 500 coins, the next 600, then 700, 800, 900, and 1000, but once you reach that, every other tree or bush remains 1000 coins as well. Use the “watch ad to double coins” feature to earn coins faster. For 2 hours, you get 43 coins, so 86 if you watch an ad and double it. If you buy the premium version, you can unlock achievements that give you more coins, you can turn off the ad feature, or you can choose to keep it on to keep earning more coins. You can also donate your coins, meaning you use them to plant a real tree in the world, it costs 2500 coins. Personally I have not done this, but I’m planning to do so as I’ve now saved up a lot of coins and there are no more trees, bushes, or sounds for me to buy in the shop at this moment. Oh yes, you can also choose to have sounds, such as forest rain, cafe noises, thunder storm, times square, and beach waves, if you like these kinds of sound in the background when working.

 

The picture above shows the whole forest I grew in 2018, with a graph. 3858 living trees and bushes, 60 that I’ve had to kill because I needed my phone for some reason. 1929 hours, that’s about 80.3 days, so that’s something like 2.5 months of time that I’ve spent growing my forest over the course of one year!

So, I didn’t really get into using the app in January, at all. I had used it before, for a few days one month in 2017, because someone told me about it, but as you can see, I kind of forgot the app existed.

In February, I started using the app in the last half of the month. This was a time period where I went to visit my boyfriend in England, and I used the trees when we were watching things together to stay off my phone, and the sunflower which was probably the first bush I spent money on, was from me reading a book that was kind of boring and slow to read, so I did 20 minutes at a time and tried to get through as much as possible. But this was my beginning!

In March, things started to pick up. At the beginning, I was just using random trees and planting whatever I felt like, but later on in the month I realised I could use different trees for different things, and I started colour coding, or should I say tree coding, my subjects. I gave my different subjects a tree each, so 4 trees for 4 classes, and I started growing trees during lectures to stay off my phone, and used the same codes for when I was studying the different subjects outside of class as well.

I changed up my codes once, I believe, and I added more trees as well. I had the four trees for my classes, but I also had a tree for free time/me time, and I kept buying bushes and using them for shorter things, like when I needed a timer for 10 minutes or having a shower, those kinds of things.

I’m not entirely sure why I planted less trees in May than I did in April, to be honest. It doesn’t make sense, because I had exams for the majority of the month – home exams and school exams. You can see that one of the classes was majorly prioritised, and I think that was because I had a home exam stretching 2.5 weeks, then one day of break, a school exam, one day break, another school exam, and on that same day, another one week home exam starting as well.

June has less trees because I finished my studies at the university this month. I finished up my exams in the beginning of the year, and the green trees are me having free time and me time, and I also started growing trees when I went to bed. This was when I started to get annoyed that you could only grow them for 2 hours max, because I’d usually sleep 7-8, and would have liked to have grown trees the whole night. How hard would it be to extend the focus time from 2 hours to 6 hours right? And you’d get 12 trees out of it? Would also be good for anyone not allowed their phone at work, or during an exam… My school exams were 4 hours long, but I have had 6 hour ones in the past, and I did grow trees during the exams this spring, but as with the sleeping trees, I could only plant that one 2-hour tree, which was a bit annoying. It’s safe to say I was getting a bit addicted to growing trees by this point, I’d grow one for anything I could think of.

By June, the cherry trees changed function for me. While they’d previously been for one of my classes, I changed it for work during my summer job. We weren’t allowed phones, had to leave them in our lockers, and because we had specific break times I’d calculate the time so I could use my phone on my lunch break, so I grew trees before and after.

Not much changed for me during the summer, I kept using Forest in the same way throughout July and August as well.

In August, my summer job finished and on the 23rd I moved, which is why I have less trees grown towards the end of the month, only really the night time trees, maybe a few for some movies.

In September, I went ahead and bought all the remaining trees and bushes. A few new ones were released throughout the autumn months as well. I even bought AND USED one I never thought I would – the cotton candy tree. That was for my birthday. Other than that, I grew lemon trees during the day, and the blue night sky and space ship trees at night, just to give my forest some variation. As you can see from the time, I started using the app more, and that’s not because I was using my phone less. By this time, I was no longer a student, and no longer working my summer job, I had no need to stay off my phone to focus, so I started taking advantage of the whitelisting feature the app offers. Basically, you can select apps you want to be able to use without killing your tree, and I’ve selected some, like google, twitter, and instagram, while kept others blacklisted, like facebook, which annoys me to pieces. I had no need to grow trees at this point, but it almost turned into a game of trying to see how many trees I can grow in a day, how big can I grow my forest. It’s satisfying, and it’s addictive.

For October, I changed the colours again. Now I wanted to go for a more autumnal theme. I had red and yellow trees, and I wanted to use both, and since November is also a mostly autumnal month, I went with yellow for October, and red for November, as you can see below, and also switched my night time tree to a new one they brought out, with a moon and a sleeping bunny. Oh and the ghost bush came out for halloween, I barely remembered it, so I only have a few that I grew really late on the 31st, which is why they show up in both months. Previously, when you started growing a tree before midnight, it would only appear in that day’s forest, even if it was past midnight when it finished. This was changed in the autumn, and now, if a 2 hour tree is started even just 5 minutes before midnight, all four trees show up on both days.

For December, Forest brought out a Christmas theme. Basically, this was something you could turn on in your settings, and you’d get a white ground, snow across the screen, and all the trees and bushes were decorated for the holidays. From the graph of the first picture, you can see that December was my best month for growing trees. This was largely because I wanted to make sure I grew every single type of tree and bush during the month, which you can see from the picture. For the first half of the month I only grew the different pine and spruce trees, because they are very Christmassy, but then I started to grow other trees on travel days and the days I spent with my family over the holidays. On one day, I grew only bushes, all the bushes, three times each. Candy trees for Christmas and New Year’s Eve…. and on some days I tried to stick to themes or shapes, so for example “only the round looking trees” or “only the oddly shaped ones” or “only the colourful ones” or “only green ones”. I made it through all of the trees and bushes. And the theme stayed on, so even though the month is over, when I go back to December on my phone those trees are still in Christmas mode.

So that was my year in growing trees in 2018! I hope you enjoyed this entry, I might blog more about this app in the future, or similar apps. I definitely recommend trying it, it’s very easy to use and highly addictive – it sounds contradictory, but being addicted to an app that keeps you off your phone can’t be a bad thing surely?

xoxo

Julie

Similar posts: A Very Satisfying Forest