Managing Overwhelming Expectations – You Cannot Come and Kill Yourself

Hi guys! It has been a while, a long while, too long… But as I am sure you can relate, life has gotten on top of me! Deadlines and dissertations have been overwhelming and while the first two terms of this masters course have caused me great pain, I am channelling this pain into entertainment for you – this really is my form of self-care. Today’s post is all about what to do when life gets on top of you!

Okay, despite this very spiffy opening paragraph, my answer for what to do when life gets on top of you is… who the heck knows. Yes, that is my big reveal. A little anti-climatic maybe, but on the whole largely accurate. Sometimes things are overwhelming and that is okay. Sometimes it feels like you can’t do everything you think you need to and you want to give up. That’s okay too. I understand the pressure to be perfect and to seem like you always have everything together. I understand what it is like to feel the weight of expectation on your shoulders. One thing I have realised and want to share with you is: I can’t come and kill myself. Seriously. Thinking of the bigger picture always helps to ground me. I always try to do everything and all at once and honestly? It’s not healthy and is o b v i o u s l y going to be overwhelming. As a chronic worrier, however, I’m not going to pretend to be cool, calm and collected about the mountain of work that is sitting behind my laptop screen as I procrastinate by writing this post… So stick with me!


Okay, so priorities – I feel like prioritisation often comes up on posts about feeling overwhelmed, probably because it’s quite helpful. Now, when I say prioritise, I mean your mental health and wellbeing as well as the order in which you tackle your work. Again, you cannot come and kill yourself.

The past few weeks have been incredibly stressful with many deadlines and much preparation for my dissertation fieldwork trip (post pending!). I was getting very irritable, snappy and sometimes generally unpleasant. I knew this was because I wasn’t eating well or sleeping properly trying to get everything done on time and to a standard I was happy with. One night, I said to hell with it. I’m miserable, I’ve not been very kind to my friends and family and my work hasn’t been that good, I need to sleep. I slept for about 14 hours. It was glorious. When I woke up, I ate well too. Of course, this didn’t stop my mind worrying about the roughly 16 hours of time I had “wasted” that I could have been working. Reading back on the utter garbage I had written though, I knew that prioritising sleep and lowering my stress levels meant that I’d probably be more focused and able to write a better essay. It is okay to need a break, in fact, it is necessary. DO NOT listen to the lecturer who tells you that you only need two hours sleep (yes he really did say that).


I would also say on the front of expectations, I prioritised myself again. It is incredibly anxiety-inducing to feel like you’re not meeting the high expectations others have for you. While this spurs some people on, it has the tendency to make me crumble under the pressure. Once again, I cannot come and kill myself. I knew that bowing to expectations (cough, cough applying for a DPhil/PhD) would make miserable. It takes a lot of courage to tell people to stick their expectations or at least back off a bit because they’re making you stressy, but it is important. It only adds to feeling overwhelmed. I definitely don’t have all the answers (or any of the answers) for this one. Expectations and how people respond to them are very individual and nuanced and it is okay for them not to spur you on but rather make you feel overwhelmed.

Also, I found that a lot of the expectations I thought people had for me were self-projections. For example, the week just past was littered with deadlines. I just took it as a given that these deadlines were rigid. Another student, much braver – and more sensible than me, simply emailed the lecturer and asked for class-wide extension as we all had several deadlines that week. Our lecturer actually said yes! (God bless the student who shall not be named, you are an angel). This reminds me of the saying ‘if you never ask, the answer is always no’ or maybe it was the scripture ‘ask and ye shall receive’*. Either way, the sentiment is the same, a problem shared can sometimes be a problem halved – even if it’s just a chat with a loved one about what’s on your mind.

Life overwhelming? You cannot come and kill yourself

To conclude this long and rather rambling post that I may delete in the near future, it is very much okay to find things overwhelming or to feel that life is getting on top of you. Everyone feels this way sometimes, even when they appear to be perfect and put together. I have shared some tactics for how I manage feeling overwhelmed, feel free to ignore them as, as I’ve said – no one has the answers! One thing I do know though is that you cannot come and kill yourself with stress (especially not academic stress)!

Thanks for reading!


*Matthew 7:7-8


Introspection, Self-Discipline and Preventing Procrastination

Hello loves! It’s the beginning of September and that means a new academic year and for some of us, the beginning of our working lives. Whatever your season, this is the season to work on preventing procrastination. Unlike my other post tackling revision, this one won’t be comprised of neat bullet points and hacks. Procrastination and its effects are much more nuanced than that. Join me on my journey of introspection and self-discipline, I hope my efforts to tackle procrastination inspire your own.

Introspection and Planning

I have inherited many good things from my father but an unfortunate trait I was also given is a proclivity for procrastination. It’s a very bad habit that has caused me to put off some very important tasks, miss out on opportunities and not update this blog in three months. As part of my journey to find the joie de vivre and revel in it, I noted that I had to kick this bad habit. In order to do this, I had to identify why I procrastinate.

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail”

I am a perfectionist, I have made no secret of this. I only want to do things exceptionally well and while in itself, this is not bad, it can be an enemy of progress! For me, it is a crutch. Either I take the aforementioned quote too literally and plan for every conceivable eventuality and never end up actualising my goals. Or, I leave everything to the last minute and the quote haunts me. Using the planning stage of achieving your goals as a way to prevent any possible failures is a fool’s game. Life has taught me that nothing is smooth or linear. In order to succeed, you must be willing to fail and learn. On the other hand, planning can be a fantastic tool in preventing procrastination.

Planning can be a motivator to know that your goals have structure and a path of progression. A goal without some sort of plan is a dream and no means of getting there. My experience has been to sketch out a flexible plan and do! Your plan doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be coherent and thoughtful – you can add the rest as you go along gaining experience and knowledge.

Self-discipline and Motivation

Introspection and planning are the relatively easy parts, preventing procrastination requires action. There are many things that get in the way of translating our plans into action such as poor health or unexpected events. These are okay, as I mentioned, plans ought to be flexible and only you can decide what to prioritise. Procrastination becomes problematic when you are the only thing holding you back. There have been many times when I couldn’t be bothered or leisure time would bleed over into productivity time. This is the hard part.

No one can make you want to achieve your goals

Eliminating procrastination will only happen when you want it to. There is no easy way to prevent procrastination, it requires willpower. Realising your goals takes discipline, it requires you to recognise that your goals will demand sacrifice and you must decide that they are worth it. It also requires you to renew this decision every day. In other words, motivation is key. My friend Bleggy has a blog named Business with Bleggs where she documents her business journey and shares her insights with all of us. Her post on motivation provides a five-point plan on preventing procrastination.

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained”

Perhaps the best thing I have realised is that procrastination robs you not only of time but also of your future. Procrastination can prevent you from giving your very best effort leaving you with regrets and what-ifs. Procrastination can also mean you never get started in the first place. We are on this earth for such a short time that every moment not spent enriching our lives is wasted. Go out and do, go out and live!

I hope that sharing my journey with procrastination, a journey that is very much still in progress, is helpful to someone. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for procrastination. It requires self-reflection and motivation and no one can do that for you but you!





Back and Better? Revelling in the Art of Living

Hello everyone! I am back! It’s been a long and stressful start to the year with essays, exams and the end of my degree. Things that I love and that have given me joy, like writing, have fallen by the wayside. This break has given me time to reflect. I’ve been exploring, experiencing and changing. These three things have brought me right back here with a new lease of life. I am back and I am better.

I’ve reflected on myself as a person. I wanted to define the way in which I will live my life and plan accordingly. Having taken time to think on these questions, I realised that posing these questions is exactly my problem. I am a standard perfectionist. I want everything to be done just right or not at all. I want everything to be compartmentalised and neat and orderly. Life is not neat and orderly. It’s messy, it’s vibrant, it’s spontaneous and whimsical and I’m allowed to be too. That being said, I’ll always err on the side of order. That’s my comfort zone. The immensely stressful last term of my third year followed by an abrupt lack of activity, however, forced me to realise that I cannot plan my way into living, I must simply do it or risk spending a lifetime waiting for ‘life’ to begin. I’m taking the conscious decision to revel in the art of living. Here and now.

Deciding to revel in the art of living is not easy. I’m a contradiction – a procrastinating perfectionist and an organised sloth. This irritated me for a long time. I would either work, work, work myself to the bone or I would procrastinate myself into anxiety. Accepting these conflicting parts of myself has lifted a heavy weight. I can lounge and I can labour, I just have to be careful not to do too much of either. This is where my love of planning comes in! Creating a guideline for life’s journey is just fine, as long as there’s for movement. For example, this blog was created as a lifestyle blog and it will remain so. My issue is that I fashioned it after the lifestyle blogs of so many of the other bloggers I adore, it lost a lot of me and my lifestyle. The ‘African politics’ fanaticism is completely absent from this blog because it was “off brand”. But for whom is the brand? I largely write this blog for myself. I don’t aspire to fame or fortune with this blog, just to share my art of living with whomever wishes to consume it. Finding the art in living, for me, requires me to also find the flexibility to amalgamate my interests in ways I hadn’t considered. It also demands that I find joy in the little things and celebrate the large ones for ‘there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves’.* And I plan to start today, with my first love, writing (this very blog post).



*Ecclesiastes 3:12-13


Revision Remedies

Hello my lovelies, It’s exam season soon and revision time!

GCSE, A-Levels, IB and University, whatever level you’re at, exams can be stressful, I should know, I’m writing this post instead of writing my dissertation! But as they say ‘Do as I say and not as I do’. I have some great revision tips that have helped me ace my exams and keep focus and I’m lovely enough to share them with you!

Pre – Revision

Ready, Set…

  1. Do the work through the year – homework, coursework, seminar reading, extra reading. I know it’s a pain but teachers set it for a reason. It’s so much easier to revise if all you have to do is refresh your memory and all the information is there! Which brings me to my next point.
  2. Take Notes – Any little brainwaves you get; your opinions; negative, positive, unsure – write it down. It’s your little insights and your quirks that will get you marks for originality and creativity!
  3. Ask Questions – Anything you don’t understand or if you need further clarification, ASK. That’s what your teachers/lecturers/seminar tutors are there for!
  4. Wikipedia is Wicked – In more ways than one! Wikipedia is a beacon of knowledge but it’s not good academic practice to cite it so a fantastic tip that someone gave me and which I’m giving to you is utilise Wikipedia’s footnotes. This here is a lifesaver.
  5. Record Your Lectures/Lessons – It’s great if you miss something or cannot take notes fast enough. You’ll never miss a thing again! If you own an apple device, Simple Recorder is fab. If not, check Amazon.


The nitty-gritty! Okay this is where I get hypocritical but remember ‘Do as I say, not as I do’.

  1. Procrastination is the Thief of Time – Do not do it! Ten minutes turns into an hour which turns into two weeks. Did that escalate quickly? Yeah, so does procrastination. On the other hand…
  2. Schedule Breaks – Timetabling works really well for me, it tells me what I’m meant to be doing when and also allows me guilt-free planned chill time as I know I’ve revised, very different from procrastination. Take walks and get some fresh air, see your friends, enjoy some retail therapy (okay that’s me again). Here’s a great timetable generator
  3. What Kind of Learner? – It’s pointless to sit and read if that doesn’t work for you! People are general auditory, kinetic or visual learners. Find out which you are here and tailor your revision to it. Some people like to rewrite succinct colour coded notes, I like to draw big A3 posters. Stick your notes and posters in places you pass each day and perhaps start up a ritual, e.g. while moisturising, go over the Calvin Cycle. Some like to listen to podcasts or their lecture recordings. Others just like to read, highlight and read again.
  4. Practice Makes Perfect – This is true. Do some past papers, take your mocks seriously. Do them under exam conditions and then get someone else to mark them or try your best to be harsh. It helps to get you used to the exam procedure and also to see if you’re revision is working.
  5. Feed Your Mind – Literally and figuratively! Eat some brain food like fruit, vegetables, salmon, nuts and white meats. SLEEP, wait let me say that again, SLEEP. Revising all night will not help you, in fact it’s counterintuitive, sleep commits facts into memory.

Post – Revision

CHILLAX, you deserve it!

I hope it helps! I’m off to incorporate these tips into my own life – le sigh.

Lots of Love,

Vonique xo


Autumn Loves: Mad about Mascara

Hi loves! Autumn is my very favourite time of year. It’s not too cold but it’s not too warm, autumn colours are gorgeous and the harvest means warm pies and long nights. Best of all, Christmas is close and Hallowe’en is around the corner! I’ll be sharing some  of my favourite dupes, tips and money saving hacks during my favourite season, starting with mascara.

Maybelline Mascaras

2377288I have always been a Maybelline Mascara girl. Every girl’s first mascara in my school was Great Lash and we swore it was God’s gift to our lashes! The wand was simple and I had lots of very fine lashes. It did just what I wanted at 14 years old – made me look like I actually had lashes. Great Lash is a staple and is great for beginners with the £4.99 price tag.
Recommended for: Beginners, Day time looks


falsiesWhen it comes to the drugstore, I’m still a fan of Maybelline and have been trying out Maybelline’s The Falsies Push Up Drama. This is a great thickening mascara and really makes the most of my thin lashes. At first, there’s a lot of formula on the wand – I would recommend wiping some off. I love this mascara… for the first two weeks, after that it dries out considerably and makes my eyelashes look short and stubby. If only it could stay at peak greatness, it would be one of my faves. It retails at £7.99 which is fairly average for a drugstore mascara. Boots is currently running a promotion on Maybelline products, buy one get one half price!
Recommended for: Fine lashes looking for volume.

L’Oréal’s Miss Manga

msc4I had never really tried L’Oréal mascaras before my favourite YouTuber Jackie Aina recommended L’Oréal Miss Manga. Anyone that watches Jackie knows that she has the most amazing lashes so I thought I would try it out and OMG I fell in love. msc5

At first I was little annoyed as the wand has a little bendy connection point thing on it which makes application a little tricky. That odd contraption aside, the mascara, lengthens, volumises and thickens my lashes and is the perfect mascara for me. It completes my daytime looks and with a few extra coats it looks like I’m wearing false lashes! I’ve had it for a month now and it hasn’t dried out and is most definitely my go to mascara. It is £7.99 at Boots!
Recommended for: All Rounder; lengthening; volumising; separation – dramatic daytime or nighttime looks.

Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara

they-re-real-mascara-by-benefit-cosmetics-62992_w1000Benefit’s They’re Real was my very first ‘high end’ mascara and I was absolutely in love with it! The spiked wand gave me really separated lashes and allowed me to really work the wand from root to tip. This would be great for people with lashes on the shorter side who really want a lengthening mascara. The little ball at the tip is great for lower lashes too.
Like Maybelline’s Falsies Push Up Drama, I feel like this mascara loses its potency just a little too soon! It’s a little pricey at £19.50 but it I think it’s a great mascara for both day and night time looks.

Recommended for: Shorter lashes looking for length, separation, day and night looks

YSL’s Luxurious Shocking Volume

My friend has been ranting and raving about how amazing this mascara is for the longest and on our trip to Portugal I just had to pick one up at Duty Free! ysl-2

The first thing I noticed about YSL’s Luxurious Shocking Volume was that it smells amazing (YSL take the opportunity to bottle that scent and sell it!). This formula gave me thick, separated lashes that were long and lasted all day without smudging underneath my eye. I have heard from some people that it can crumble so I wouldn’t apply too much and would stick to two coats. I would highly recommend this mascara for everyone but especially people with thin lashes like mine or short ones.

As you would imagine from a high end mascara, it’s quite pricy at £25 from Harrods and I think that Miss Manga does a similar job for a much lower price point. Save your coins! This is definitely my special occasion mascara.miss-manga
Recommended for: All Rounder, especially good for thickening and separation.

Those are my mascara favourites this autumn. I hope you find these helpful when looking for your next purchase and join me next time as we delve into mascara technique and hacks!

Until next time!