The six month review

Somehow, July is creeping up on us. Half of 2013 is gone already! Where did it go? I guess this means it’s time to look back a bit, look forward a bit, and hope that the forward stuff is an improvement on the back.

Backwards:

The last six months has been the last half of my fifth year at uni. I turned 24, avoided having a crisis over how I’m still in education six years after I supposedly left school, and have somehow emerged from the other side of finals relatively unscathed (potentially scathing results still to come, however).

I got more blog obsessed and decided it was time to try my hand at this again. Ergo, Inner Unicorn. I remain concerned that my various online alter-egos are all rather more girly than anyone who knows me in real life would ever suspect.

The end of my savings account was finally reached. I think the fact that it took five years of uni to get to this point is a minor miracle and that somewhere along the line, some kind of water into wine/ toilet paper into sterling notes event must have occurred to keep this moment at bay for so long.

Forwards!

Firstly, summer! I want to chill out and get my blood pressure back to non-pathological level. De Musset’s sign is not something you want to realise you’re experiencing in the middle of the library. I’m looking forward to hanging out with the boyfriend. Thanks to my parents moving house, I have a new bedroom to set up – my inner interior decorating fiend is gonna come out!

August brings the start of final year, the start of job applications, the start of me having to at least look like I know what I’m doing. I’m starting in a really enthusiastic department, and then 2013 is going to be topped off by an amazing elective.

Yeh, I need to deal with my money situation. Final year means even less contributions from SFE and NHS Bursaries, and the short summer means probably no temporary employment, so I’m turning to eBay to make some extra cash. I’ve got some nice beauty stuff from a Clarins splurge a while back that I’m selling off, and anything I haven’t worn this year is headed that way too.

I always see New Year Resolutions as a bit of a cop-out, as no-one really expects you to make it to February, so I like setting half-year resolutions instead. This half, I’ve making these changes:

  1. My beauty product collection is operating a one-in, one-out policy. The one-out has to come first – I can only replace empties, not buy extras.
  2. However, any money I make from eBay sales can be my little luxury fund for extras.
  3. I’m growing my hair. Every time I’ve tried this before, I cut it off once it reaches my shoulders. Not this time.
  4. Improving my diet. Stop snacking between meals and learn to eat a decent meal instead.

Am I the only one who makes half year resolutions? What changes are you making for the rest of 2013?

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Summer nails & L’Oreal Confetti

My exams are finally over, so I get to break out the nail polish again! I was planning on using Revlon Vixen as a base to try out my new Confetti topcoat, but the exam overran, a few pre-dinner glasses of wine trumped nail-painting, and I went out with bare nails.

The hangover this morning meant laying comatose on the sofa with Wimbledon on the telly (on mute, clearly – I can’t take the noise the girls make normally, nevermind with gin-head…) contemplating my bare nails and deciding that Vixen is so inappropriate for summer and sunshine. Instead, out came 17’s GoGo, my go-to polish to cheer myself up and perfectly bright to match the weather! And my first attempts with confetti….

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L: 17 GoGo
R: L’Oreal Confetti

It’s easier to apply than I expected and a bit of angsty splodging gets it pretty much where you want it. There’s a good mix of large and small dots that give it a more interesting and varied look. My only gripe is that I seem to be getting a lot more black dots than white ones out of it – I’ll give it a good shake and try again another time to see if I can get more of a mix! And I seem to have misplaced my clear topcoat, so it looks a bit rougher than it would normally.

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Bright summer nails

Overall I love this, and I can’t wait to try it out over some other colours! I’ve got a Mavala grey in mind that I think would make an awesome almost-monochrome nail.

Goal setting as a student

I love reading the Plannerisms blog, especially the posts on setting goals and planning to achieve them. My problem is figuring out how to actually fit them into my life. Being at university means living life on an academic year schedule, where my free time is somewhere around summer (I’d be more specific, but I have now been at uni for every single month of the year at some stage in the past few years!), and the rest of the year is a rollercoaster of placements and assignments and other things that mean “I want to achieve X by time Y” is a little bit harder to plan for than in a year-round job.

The general consensus is that a goal isn’t a goal without being SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. I say so long as it’s attainable and you can put a tick in a box when it’s recognisably done, it’s a goal. I often have goals that have very flexible end points, or no set time frame at all. If you have to put a goal to one side because uni has put you in a position where you can’t work on it, that’s fine, just come back to it when you can, if it’s still relevant then. Taking time out from that goal doesn’t mean failing to achieve it, it’s just refocusing your life on what’s important right now. And things like exams generally mean that everything else goes out the window – that diet you were on, that project you wanted to complete, that skincare routine you were gonna stick to; it just turns into days of eating cereal for dinner and leftover pasta for breakfast, doing nothing but laying in bed holding a textbook (revision by osmosis, honest) and occasionally swiping at your face with wipes and putting on sunnies to leave the house because your eyebrows have taken over your face. Or that might just be me…

An awesome example of goal setting! (Source: Google Images)

I think people get hung up on meeting their goals and forget that they’re kind of arbitrary things that you set yourself, so if you want to change your mind and discard a goal then that’s fine. Just remember why you set it in the first place – if that’s still relevant to you, figure out where you can fit it into your life. Things like reading more books come a lot easier when you’re not tackling a uni reading list at the  same time (and are so much more enjoyable on a sunbed with a jug of Pimms to hand), so save it for summer. If it’s not relevant any more, why continue?

It’s a good idea to reassess your long term goals and your progress towards them on a regular basis, and this is the one thing an academic calendar is good for – the end of term is perfect for looking at what you achieved, thinking over what went well and what didn’t, and how to improve on it next term or next year. It’s my end of term this week, so I’ll be looking over what I achieved this year and what I didn’t get round to, and drawing up my goals for next year and the rest of this ‘normal’ year (by which I mean 2013!). I’m definitely going to avoid scheduling other projects in exam season next year, and work on building up one of the weaker areas of my CV, and this time I do have a very fixed deadline because it’s out of my hands: job applications are coming up!

Did you have goals for the last academic year? How are you gonna change them for the next year?

Boots Haul: Vitamin E creams, Good Things toner, L’Oreal Confetti & Collection concealer

Having the BlogLovin app on my phone means I’m reading so many more blogs than I used to, and picking up loads of great ideas and product recommendations. I think these must have been subconsciously still in my head when I popped into Boots today!

First I picked up Boots’ own Vitamin E moisturise lotion. It’s supposed to be a face thing, but I was recommended it by a friend who swore by it as an everywhere moisturiser. It’s got an SPF of 15 so fab for lightweight protection without that stereotypical smell or feel of suncream.

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Boots Vitamin E moisture lotion and night cream

It was on 2 for £4 so I picked up the Vitamin E night cream as well. I’ve never been a night cream person, but reading about so many extensive beauty routines involving night cream made me decide to try it out. First impressions – nice unobtrusive smell, thick but smooth texture, and it soaked in well. My face feels moist but not greasy.

I was reading about toners over at The Black Pearl this morning so got myself one to try. It’s Good Things Deep Pore Anti-Blemish Lotion with fig and wild strawberry, and it’s a combo cleanser/toner. I love my Good Things Stay Clear cleanser so was really excited to try this! It smells fruity but not overpowering and it’s a decent sized bottle for the price – I paid £3 for 200ml. I put it on in the evening after my L’Oreal exfoliating face wash, got it across most of my face before starting to think “mmm, that’s a bit tingly”, and then “actually, ouch!”. No idea if it was just my neglected skin acting a bit shocked at getting more proper attention, or the strength of the toner. I checked the ingredients and it’s got witch hazel, alcohol, and salicylic acid, and I think it’s the witch hazel that’s a bit sting-y, because I’ve had a similar reaction to that ingredient in other products. I know it’s super against spots though, so I’m willing to put up with a momentary bit of discomfort!

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Good Things Deep Pore Cleanser/Toner

I also ventured into the make-up section, knowing Boots were doing a ‘buy 1 get 1 half price’ deal, and ended up leaving with L’Oreal Confetti nail topcoat and Collection Lasting Perfection concealer. Both of these I’ve seen mentioned on so many blogs recently and I’ve been dying to try Confetti! Sadly it’s OSCE (practical exam) week so my nails are bare – I don’t even dare wear polish in the days leading up to the exam as any leftover hints of colour staining can count against me – but I’ll be putting this on for our first post-exam night out! I’ve read rave reviews about the concealer and with my skin in it’s current state I decided it was time to give it a try. I’ve never tried a liquid concealer so I’m intrigued to see what the staying power is like.

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L’Oreal Confetti & Collection Lasting Perfection in Light

That’s all for this haul…

My Inner Unicorn is back!

Exams are (nearly) over, so I’m back in blogging action.

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I love reading other peoples’ blogs about all sorts of topics from make up and food to organisation and student life, so I want my blog to be everything I want to read. So, I’ve got lots of posts lined up for the next few weeks, from beauty reviews to studenty stuff and some deeper chat about life. Let me know in the comments section if there’s anything else you want to hear about from me!

Hiatus – back soon!

If it’s possible to take a hiatus from a less-than-active blog, I’m doing so. My finals start in a week and the amount of revision I need to do is overwhelming right now (note that the amount of revision I’m doing is not overwhelming, which may be the underlying problem…), so I don’t have the time to update properly here.

I’ll be back in a few weeks, so check back for a bit of a revamp then! x