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!

Love,

Vonique

 

Follow:

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).

Love,

Vonique

*Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

Follow:

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.

Revision

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

Follow:

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!
msc3
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!
masc-1
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.

masc-2
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!

Vonique

Follow:

Travel Time: Portugal with the Portugyaldem

This summer I headed to Algarve in Southern Portugal with two of my friends to relax, refresh and recoup. We had a week full of sun, sand (oh so much sand but we’ll talk about that later) and sea.

So what did we do all day?

Sleep. No seriously. I am notorious for being able to fall asleep anytime and anywhere and I’m sure that if I wasn’t in the company of early risers I’d sleep all day. It’s a good thing too, there was so much to see!

The Old Town

p5As the name suggests, the Old Town is the hub of the Albufeira’s culture and history and it is so beautiful too – white homes set against the backdrop of a sandy beach. It’s a great place to grab a cocktail, watch live street entertainment and visit historic monuments all at the same time!

Praia Da Oura

We were very lucky in that our hotel was a very short walk from the Praia Da Oura beach. The beach is relatively quiet with a few bars on the waterfrp2ont – definitely a place of relaxation. I really enjoy swimming and the very choppy waters made battling the waves exciting… until they were 10 metres high… and there were no life guards… and I nearly died. Please exercise caution! I would say I’m a relatively strong swimmer and still ended up half drowning with a mouth, ears and a *ahem* crack full of sand.

Full English Breakfast on Tour

We spent a significant amount of time p7eating. Everything from Caldo Verde (Apotato, kale and spicy sausage traditional Portuguese dish) to a Chinese takeaway but my favourite has to be the all day Full English Breakfast. At €4.00 it was the biggest and best bargain I found in Portugal. You can take the girl out of South London but you cannot take South London out of the girl!

Slide and Splash!

One of the first thing we noticed when looking for day activities was the sheer number of water parks. After much deliberation, we chose Slide and Splash. It’s the oldest water park in the region and we definitely got to see why it was still running after 30 years. Like its name suggests, it’s largely made up of water slides and has something for everyone.

8I made the mistake of listening to Leanne and going on the mother of all slides – the Big Wave. My legs started trembling before we’d made it half way up the concrete stairs. Seeing a couple almost fly off the ride had me ready to march back down the stairs too. But nope, Leanne is a sadist and wouldn’t let me. After saying a few Hail Mary’s, I grabbed onto the inflatable, held my breath and we were off. In all fairness, the ride wasn’t that awful… until I slammed my neck into the back of the ride and hobbled off in excruciating pain. The first aiders at Slide and Splash were incredibly helpful and took good care of me at no charge. I almost have full rotation in my neck now… almost. Despite almost being decapitated I would definitely recommend!

And in the night…

The Albufeira Strip

p9We were very lucky that our hotel was only a five minute walk from the Strip. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that there were very few people being loud and lairy in the street and families frequented the restaurants well into the night. If you’re looking for a ladies’ or lads’ holiday full of drugs, drunkenness and debauchery, Albufeira might not be for you. That being said, there were great happy hour offers and there was a range of club nights. They ranged from 80s and cheese to pop to dancehall and reggaeton, there really was something for everyone. With a plethora of fast food outlets and pancake and churros stands to end your night.

p6
All in all, my trip to Portugal with the portugyaldem was good fun. We managed to get in some culture while topping up our vitamin D levels and sampling the party scene. I would definitely recommend the trip!

Vonique xo

P.P.S. The images in this post were taken by me and I reserve all rights to them. If you would like to use these images please contact me using the details in the contact page. Thank you.

Follow: