When Things Get Rough



This is a pretty accurate depiction of me before 8am. It’s also a pretty accurate image of me when things get rough, and that’s what I want to write about today.

Recently, things just don’t seem to be going my way. It’s more a matter of timing than anything else, but it is quite frustrating. I’ve had massive unavoidable expenses for a while and that means I’ve been on a fairly strict budget as a result.

Due to budget restrictions, I’ve been unable to use some of my regular coping mechanisms. Especially grabbing breakfast out, retail therapy, and massages. Massages are probably the worst since I’ve got ongoing issues with back and shoulder pain, so going for a massage every six weeks or so has been pretty important in managing my wellbeing. Because when your back and shoulders hurt, it becomes a lot harder to do things like sleep and work… Add to that that I’m currently saving up to have my wisdom teeth removed. So yeah, chronic pain in most of my upper body has been a bit of an issue.

Anyhow, in order to stay motivated and get things done, I normally use a bullet journal. When I’ve completed X number of tasks or made good progress, I normally schedule rewards for myself. When you’re on a very limited budget, it’s kinda hard to reward yourself even when you deserve it. There’s been a fair few “take an extra long shower!” type of rewards happening lately. Because my normal method for getting things done isn’t as efficient as it usually is, it’s been kinda hard to stay on top of everything. This month I fell slightly short of my normal exercise goal, partly due to the pain issue. It’s also one of the reasons I’ve been blogging less lately. I’ve just had so much to do and had no motivation whatsoever.

In order to try to manage everything, I’ve used a few different tricks. The first is to consume heaps of black coffee. Firstly, because it’s the most affordable type of coffee (especially if your office provides free instant coffee). Secondly, because it helps keep the lack of sleep from becoming super obvious. Thirdly, because it curbs hunger sensations quite well.

Another trick I’ve used is to focus on wearing things that make me feel good. It’s not just about things that make you look good, it’s also about wearing a funny t-shirt or a cosy sweater.

The next thing I’ve tried to do a bit more of sounds simple – doing nothing. I’m usually very focused on getting things done and it’s hard for me to take a day off. In order to manage the pain and insomnia, I’ve just had to take things a bit easy. I’ve watched a lot of Netflix, revisited old games, and spent a fair amount of time napping when possible.

It’s kinda working out ok, but today I’m rewarding myself by going to see a friend. I’m bringing cheese, crackers, and blueberries. She’s providing wine. Shared costs, twice the reward. I just hope she doesn’t mind cheap brie.


Cruelty Free K-Beauty Brands

If you’re into K-beauty, it can be kind of difficult to navigate the issue of animal testing. This post is about brands that do not test their products on animals, but it is not a requirement that they are also vegan. If you’re looking at vegan products, you’re probably better off checking the individual ingredients lists for products sold by these brands.

However, regardless of whether you’re an exclusively cruelty free makeup user, or just prefer cruelty free brands, you’ll probably be happy to know that South Korea is working on phasing out animal testing over the next year or two. Another issues is that it is uncertain whether or not some of these brands test on animals in China. The thing is, China requires that products that are physically sold in the country are tested on animals before they can be sold to humans, but the same requirement does not appear to exist for products that can be bought online only.

Furthermore, please be aware that this list might not be perfect since it primarily relies on secondary sources (in English) and that there may be brands out there that are cruelty free but not represented on this list. This list aims to serve as a way for you to narrow it down to a handful of brands that you can then look into further to ensure that they meet your standards for what you consider cruelty free. If you do notice any discrepancies on the list, please let me know.

According to Style Story (an Australian K-beauty site/store), the following brands do not test on animals: Etude House, Hera, Innisfree, IOPE, Klairs, Leaders, Mizon, COSRX, It’s Skin, I Am Sorry Just Cleansing, Thank You Farmer and ISNTree.

There are a few more brands that are dedicated to being cruelty free: RE:P, Aritaum, DR Jart+, Espoir, Laneige, Mamonde, Pony Effect, SanDa Wa (labelled by the Leaping Bunny Standard), and Sulwhasoo. These and other brands are listed by the blog Wildwood and Sage as being cruelty free.

Brands with no info available according to Korean Beauty Blog: Clio, Holika Holika, SkinFood, Nature Republic, The Saem, TonyMoly.

6 Things I’d Love to See from K-Beauty Brands


I love Korean Beauty products and brands in general, but there are some things I’d like to see change or added. This is not calling out any specific brand or hating on the K-beauty industry, just more of a wish list.

  1. More shades
    Korean cushions are some of the best things you can use on your face, and they’re a godsend if you’re an extremely pale person. However, it’s not uncommon for brands to release maybe 2 shades or so. I’d like to see a wider range of skin colours and undertones represented in K-beauty. Even if you only look at Korean people, there are more than two or so skin colours/shades found in the population. It would hopefully boost these brands internationally and provide more options for consumers all over the world.


2. More creative hand creams
I love hand creams and have a pretty decent collection of them. K-beauty brands like TonyMoly, SkinFood, and The Saem all come up with amazing hand creams in cute packaging. I’d like to see more of that in the industry. I’m waiting for a rose scented hand cream to be released in rose shaped packaging, space inspired hand creams released inside planets, or even a whole candy themed collection. You’re good at it, so please keep on doing it!

3. Caffeinated Skin & Body Care
Coffee scrubs are commonplace these days. There’s some limited research to suggest that caffeine might have a soothing and anti-inflammatory effect on the skin when exposed to UV rays, leading me to think that researching caffeine as an ingredient in SPF focused products may be worthwhile. Although I must say I don’t know much about the research in this area, caffeine is sometimes used in products targeting dark and puffy under-eye areas. Plus, I’ll buy a coffee scented anything, so if you sell something that smells like coffee, I’ll happily hand over my money. There’s plenty of cafe themed collections and PR photos, so this one shouldn’t be too much of a stretch.

4. Moving Away From Animal Testing
There’s a very logical reason as to why a lot of Korean brands test on animals – Chinese law requires that beauty products sold in the country is tested on animals. However, a few brands do their best to avoid animal testing, including SanDaWha (which has some awesome skin care products). I’d just like to see a greater move away from animal testing even if all brands don’t follow suit. I don’t exclusively use cruelty free brands, but more brands getting on board would make it a lot easier for people to access cruelty free products and open the market up for a group of consumers that are currently hesitant about the entire industry. Plus, moving away from animal testing in general is something I believe is a good idea now that other forms of testing are equally good.

5. Eyeshadow Tints
Lip tints are lightweight, blendable, and come in a range of colours. I would like to see that technology/technique adapted into eyeshadows. It would be easily applied with your fingers or a sponge applicator. If you wait a few seconds before applying it, it might be less prone to transferring than many other forms of eyeshadows. Moreover, it would enable a more gradient look for eyeshadows that can be achieved even by people like me who suck at blending.

6. Accompanying Candles
Skincare and makeup collections by Korean brands are often themed according to their active ingredients. You’ll have a whole collection themed around green tea or grapes. Where appropriate, I’d love to see more scented candles accompanying those collections, maybe to be included when you buy a set of something.




Let’s Talk About Books


I read a lot as a kid. I easily finished books designed to last for weeks in 1-2 lessons for school and typically read things not intended for children. I did read some things intended for a younger audience, the Harry Potter series and the Artemis Fowl books were some of my favourites.

My interest in reading was probably born out of necessity. I lived in a rural area with absolutely nothing to do for entertainment. Furthermore, this was when the internet was a thing you used sparingly and that didn’t do all that much. So, books and video games were my primary forms of entertainment.

As an adult, I don’t read for pleasure that often. Or at least I didn’t until I started making a conscious effort a few months ago. The thing is, I have to read a lot of really heavy material for uni. It didn’t exactly decrease when I went from undergrad to post-grad. So, I spend a lot of my time reading things that are really dense. So why did I attempt to change that?

I dropped by a bookstore to kill some time and realised that one of my favourite authors had released a new book. You know, three years earlier. The feeling that I’d just so completely lost touch with something I truly enjoyed was a bit of a wakeup call for me. I naturally decided to buy the book in question and ended up truly enjoying it. Maybe it’s something so simple as good old ‘fear of missing out’ kicking in, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d missed out on a lot of enjoyable stories.

So I decided to put in a bit of effort. I’ve started creating ‘to read’ lists and try to read at least one book a month. I’ve also started enjoying shorter stories, think Sherlock Holmes, which was something I never enjoyed when I was younger.

I’ve also noticed that my preferences have changed a bit. I was convinced I would love HP Lovecraft, but I’ve been working on The Mountains of Madness for weeks and find it borderline impossible to enjoy. I can tell that I would have loved it when I was younger, but the dense language reminds me too much of academic writing. It just feels more like work rather than pleasure.

Currently, I’m still working on getting through The Mountains of Madness. But more enjoyably, I’m also reading Steppenwolf and have a copy of 1984 waiting for me. I genuinely enjoyed Animal Farm, so I’ve got high hopes for 1984. I’m also planning to fit in another Sherlock Holmes story in August. Also in August, the author that got me back into reading is releasing a new book, so I’m really keen for that. In general, I find myself drawn to classics these days and I’m not really sure why.

I do struggle to find new books and it’s difficult to find tailored recommendations, which does make it a bit difficult to add new things to my ‘to read’ list. So if you know of good ways to find new things to read, please let me know!


Some of My Favourite Things 3/5

41. Space – it’s pretty cool
42. The West Wing – Possibly the greatest thing ever put on the small screen.

43. Black Lace – one of the few things that can look delicate and badass at the same time.

44. Fish Sauce – Don’t judge me, everyone likes at least one type of weird food.

45. Sushi

46. Pinball – super addictive and wholesome fun.

47. Halloween

48. Goats – search for fainting goats on youtube and I promise you you’re in for a treat

49. Quirky makeup

50. Coke Zero

51. Post-workout endorphins – sometimes your  body rewards itself for hard work.

52. Pointless quizzes – sometimes you just need to know which pizza you are based on how you’d design a bedroom.

53. Dragon Age

54. Moleskin Journals – stationary luxury in a nutshell

55. Salmon – tastiest fish out there

56. Tapirs – Like goats, but weirder

57. Pineapple

58. Poached eggs – used to hate eggs, but poached eggs have converted me.

59. Henley shirts – they’re just almost universally flattering

60. Long coats – also almost universally flattering

Sucking at Self-Care


I’m not very good at taking time off and often sneak practical and productive things into my activities on days off.  Today I tried taking a day off.

I haven’t written a word, but you bet I’ve been mentally constructing a case for an upcoming debate my kids might be in. I cancelled the hike I’d scheduled for 7am (because even I genuinely think getting up before 6 am on a Saturday for productivity purposes is really stupid), but made sure to go for a long walk that at least my fitbit counted as exercise. I bought a book with Lovecraft stories today and discovered that I was getting annoyed with myself for not having finished the first story yet.

I simply don’t like doing things where I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing anything. Numbers, now that’s something I do like. Going for a walk is less satisfying than walking on a treadmill, because treadmills have all sorts of wonderful numbers for me to keep track of. I have two separate fitness apps on my phone, a built in one and the one that accompanies the fitbit I got the other day. I’ve started a bullet journal that I keep at my desk in the office.

I love being productive, but man do I hate deadlines. It’s pretty evident that I use work as some form of self-medication and I like to be able to control that dose. Deadlines, especially when they gain up on you, tend to hinder productivity and ensure that I get less actual work done. I like completing tasks, I don’t like hearing the ticking of the clock.

I recently had to say no to paid work due to other obligations and found it outright upsetting to do so. I have to genuinely stop myself from scrolling through job adds out of curiosity and a desire to do more.

I do pay the price for my inability to relax and just live like a normal person. Flirting with burnout is a bit of a hobby and I’m pretty sure it’s not helping my sleep issues. Balance is not my greatest strength, but I’ll have to improve if I’m going to be able to keep this up in the long run.

A Brief Fandom Tag

Stumbled across this online, thought it would be a fun thing to do for a casual post.

1. What’s your definition of a fandom?
My definition is pretty casual. If you enjoy something and occasionally indulge in going beyond experiencing the original medium (like listening to an album), you’re probably a fan. I think the whole group aspect of it is fairly creepy to be perfectly honest.

2. What was your first fandom?
Probably something like Harry Potter

3. List all of your fandoms!
Star Trek (mainly Voyager), Dragon Age, Final Fantasy, The West Wing.

4. On a scale from 1-10 how nerdy/crazy are you?
Maybe about a 6.
5. What is your favorite character to cosplay?
I don’t really cosplay, but I’d give Rogue from X-Men a go.

6. Fanfictions? Yes or No
Generally, no. I don’t mind fan fictions that explore what happens ‘between’ scenes or someone’s backstory, but they too often turn away from staying faithful to the source material for my taste.

7. What is the most recent thing you watched/read?
Got Star Trek Voyager open on Netflix in a different tab.

8. If you could choose ONE mystical place to go where would you go?
Gosh that’s a tough one. Probably Thedas if we’re basing it on places from fandoms.

9. Do you have a Tumblr?
Used to have one dedicated to coffee.

100 of My Favourite Things 2/5

Here’s part two of my 100 Favourite Things List. Literally just a list of things I really enjoy.

21. Lipstick
There’s a reason I collect these. Firstly, they’re a really easy type of makeup to use. Secondly, they can change an entire look. Thirdly, I’ll remain a staunch advocate for traditional lipstick when everyone is obsessed with the (in my opinion) overrated liquid lipsticks. Fourthly, you always look like you’ve made an effort if you’re wearing red lipstick.

22. Nail Art
It’s like regular nail polish but more fun. This is one I made years ago, obviously before the nails were cleaned up.

23. Scented Candles
I know they’re super basic, but man are they great for making you feel at home. There’s also something about just having candles around that makes you feel warmer in winter, even if the tiny flame does nothing to actually provide warmth. Plus, some of them have really creative designs. Coffee and vanilla make for a great combo.

24. Board Games
There’s apparently a Star Trek themed version of Catan out there and I want it so badly.

25. Productivity Tools
I’m a bit of a workaholic. Feeling productive and getting shit done is one of the best feelings in the world to me. Thus, anything that helps me be or at least feel like I’m being more productive is a plus in my book. I’ve recently started a bullet journal, have a whiteboard that is awesome for to-do lists, use a fitness app to track my steps and exercise, and I found Habitica really helpful during honours when I had similar things that had to be done each day.

26. Rieslings
I’m really boring when it comes to wine. I like rieslings, ideally with a low alcohol content and a good, balanced taste.

27. Tattoos
They are an amazing form of art, enhanced by being on a moving canvas. I’m super happy with most of mine and there’s only one I want removed (original artist butchered it and no amount of trying to fix it has been able to improve it much).

28. Blueberries.
Seriously the best type of berry out there.

29. Pinterest
Perfect for dreaming about things you can’t have, do inspiration boards, and come across ideas for projects.

30. Star Trek
It’s one of the shows that got me interested in politics. It also encourages intellectual and actual exploration far better than other shows I’ve seen. Furthermore, it’s not afraid to be what it is. It’s a sci-fi series and has fun with it. My personal favourite is Voyager, followed by TNG.

31. SkinFood
How this brand hasn’t taken the west by storm yet is a mystery. It has some awesome skincare products and some pretty cool makeup products. I love their hand creams, this one smells of dark chocolate and makes for a fun little keepsake on my desk.

32. True Crime Youtube
I’ve always been into things that are a bit creepy and weird. The reason why I watch a fair number of true crime youtubers is that I find they’re often more respectful to the victims than many ‘documentaries’ that are designed for shock value. I’m especially fond of Rob Dyke and Cayleigh Elise’s works.

33. The X Files
It’s a good show. Kinda wish I’d gotten into it when I was younger, but it was always on super late. Well worth watching even if the technology dates the show quite a bit.

34. Disney Songs
Want a mood booster? Try Disney. There’s also several good metal covers of Disney songs out there and I absolutely adore it when those two genres are combined well. It’s Disney, you’re meant to have fun with it.

35. Fairy Lights
They’re just really pretty. Got a battery driven string of fairy lights in a jar in the office, makes going in to work on weekends feel a bit more cheerful when you switch that thing on.

36. Johnny Cash
I don’t just listen to metal and Disney songs. Sometimes, I like things that are a bit more old fashioned. That really is how I like to assess the quality of music, if it’s still good years later despite the change in trends and wider social patterns.

37. Equestrian Sports
Far more challenging (mentally and physically) than they’re given credit for. Similar to dancing – it only looks easy if you’re really good at it. Similar to swimming, you get out what you put into it. Sure, you can splash around in the water without breaking a sweat and you can go on a quiet trail ride without much effort. Put some effort in and you’ve got a hell of a workout going. Add to that the fact that horses are sentient beings who sometimes decide to give you a hell of a workout even when you don’t want to.

38. Cheese
This should really be a food group of its own. No matter if it’s just shredded cheese over noodles, or a high-quality cheese platter, I’m a fan.

39. Wrap dresses
It’s essentially a bathrobe that is super comfortable and flattering as hell. Not to mention acceptable to wear in public. These really need more appreciation.

40. Lounge pants
Lounge pants and an old t-shirt are my favourite things to wear when I’m at home not doing anything. Think Geek have some amazing lounge pants, just make sure to buy the unisex model and not the men’s version (unless you’re into having a hole in the front of your pants).

100 of My Favourite Things 1/5

So the idea of listing things you enjoy isn’t exactly new, but I did steal this format from the wonderful YouTuber Toxic Tears. Because this post would be massive if I did all 100 things at once, I’ll be splitting it into 5 parts. Oh and these aren’t ranked.

1. Coffee
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Coffee is love, coffee is life. It’s the finest organic suspension ever devised.

2. The Tony Hill & Carol Jordan series by Val McDermidwp-1494841600167.jpg
I have to do so much heavy reading for my thesis and every now and then it’s just great to have a break and read something light. It’s a series of psychological thrillers with flawed but relatable characters.

3. Mushroom Soup
Anything with sautéed mushrooms is a big win for me and mushroom soup is essentially that flavour taken to the max. It’s the perfect winter treat when you’re feeling a bit crook or down.

4. Geeky Kitchen Gadgets
If you can make something functional and funny or geeky, then chances are I’ll like it. My tea pot is a Tardis, most of my mugs change design when hot or have some geeky slogan on them, some of my dishes have planet prints on them. It just makes life a little bit better to have things like that around.

5. Fire places
Want atmosphere? Get a fireplace.

6.  Dogs
They are happiness on legs. There are few things that instantly put a smile on my face, but dogs absolutely have that effect. I currently can’t have my own dog but even just seeing one walk past outside does make my day a bit better.

7. Fluffy Socks
Nothing says comfort like a pair of fluffy socks. I wear them when writing or just relaxing after a long day. It’s just one of those small things that helps brighten your day.

8. Smashed Avo on Toast
Apparently this is why I can’t buy a house.

9. Good Wifi
Do I really need to explain why I like good wifi more than bad?

10. The theme for Where On Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?
Holy crap is that a catchy theme tune. As far as themes for kids’ shows go, this is one of the best.

11. Batman.
Batman is one of my childhood heroes (thank you Batman: The Animated Series). Actually, scrap the ‘childhood’ part. Batman is one of my heroes.

12. Swimming
It’s one of the few forms of exercise where you can’t actually feel like you’re sweating – at least most of the time. It’s also just a nice thing to do when it’s hot outside.

13. Sunscreen
See point 12. It’s also the best skin care item there is.

14. Personal Styles
I love it when people manage to develop their own personal badass and flattering style rather than following trends.

15. Jeggings
I don’t care what you say, but with the right fabric they can look amazing. Not to mention that they’re super comfortable.

16. Sabaton
Gotta love a band that uses history as an inspiration for some pretty epic metal songs.

17. Sheet Masks
They’re just super convenient and a good way to look after your skin. Not to mention that they’re super cheap compared to most other alternatives.

18. Dark Green
It just happens to be my favourite colour.

19. Comfortable high heels
Finding a pair of comfortable heels that fit just right is absolutely amazing. Plus, they make you taller – which is helpful since you can look over other people’s heads in crowds and know where things are.

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Hidden Gems

This post is about brands and products that I think are underrated, underestimated, or just not as well known as they should be. They’re not necessarily small indie brands and this is not a hipster post. It’s just about things I think you should look into. Last thing to consider is that products and brands may be well known in one part of the world but not in another.

The first brand I’d like to draw some attention to is Palmer’s. It’s a brand you can find in most drugstores in Australia and they specialise in skin care. It’s not necessarily unknown, but I almost never hear people talk about it. The cocoa body butter included in the photo above is wonderful, smells nice, and is really moisturising. In terms of affordable skincare, look into Palmer’s the next time you’re considering a purchase. I use their exfoliator, body butter, and they used to make the best lightweight moisturiser I’ve ever tried.

Geek Chic Cosmetics is one of my all-time favourite indie brands. Their solid perfumes are some of the very few perfumes I actually like. They’re not overpowering and they don’t stink up the entire house. Furthermore, they make my favourite powder foundation. It’s in the shade Kahlan and I’ll have to re-purchase it soon. They’ve also got a great body lotion that references Silence of the Lambs, which is amazing. They’re mostly known for their eyeshadows, which come in geek themed collections. As a bonus, the brand is cruelty free and at least mostly vegan.

SkinFood is a great Korean brand that never seems to get much attention in the west. They make my favourite eyebrow powder, the gummibear shaped hand cremes I rave about, and some truly awesome skincare products. If you love cute packaging, high quality products, and like brands that try new things – then SkinFood is for you.

TonyMoly – this is a brand you’ve probably heard of. However, it seems to be underestimated by most people I’ve chatted to. This brand makes a mind-blowingly good liquid eyeliner for like 10 dollars. Their steam balm in their egg pore series is one of the best products I’ve tried when it comes to fighting blackheads. Furthermore, their Pokémon themed collaboration that you can still find in a lot of online k beauty retailers was really good. The Psyduck cheese firming cream contains gruyere (seriously) and can be used on your body and face. I typically use it on my legs after shaving and it has been really helpful.

Innisfree – Innisfree is my holy grail skincare brand. If I was only allowed to use one brand for all of my skincare, then it would be Innisfree. They are famous for combining natural ingredients with scientific innovation and the result is gorgeous. In addition to their skincare they also have innovative products in haircare and some really solid makeup products. Their no sebum compact powders are perfect in humid climates.

Guerlain – You’ve probably heard of this brand. However, very few people seem to actually purchase things from them. Out of all the luxury brands, Guerlain is the one given the least attention in comparison to how good the brand really is. I’ve been a fan of their Rogue G de Guerlain lipsticks for years and currently use a light-medium coverage foundation from them. I’ve never tried a Guerlain product that I found lacking in quality, the only time a product hasn’t worked for me was when it was made with a pink undertone in mind.

Paint – I’ve only ever seen this brand in one Terry White’s. It’s honestly on par with OPI in terms of quality even though their range is a bit smaller. I remember buying 5 bottles of nail polish for 10 dollars and not a single one of them disappointed me. The shade I’m showing in the photo above was simply called ‘red’. This means that it’s hard to search for the brand online since both the brand name and shade names are really generic. If you have a Terry White Chemist near you, see if they carry this brand.

BH Cosmetics Galaxy Palette – I don’t know enough about BH Cosmetics to be able to recommend the brand as a whole. However, their galaxy themed palette is heaps of fun. It’s great for creating unusual looks and the colours can be used both wet and dry. If you’re looking for a fun palette that’s really affordable, check this one out.