University Diaries: How to self motivate


Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all.


― Nathan W. Morris

University is a big change from high school, and one of the biggest differences is independence. I remember being in high school like it was yesterday – getting homework tasks every week and your teacher getting on your back about it. How things change.

For some people – independence is the best thing about going to university. When I talk about independence it’s not just about living away from home, buying your own groceries or doing your own washing – it’s also about the huge transition from being told what to do to self motivation. For me, as a pupil who didn’t take high school too seriously and, being completely honest, done the bare minimum (spending my free periods chatting and doing not much else), it was a big shock coming to university. You are fully expected to do things yourself. Don’t get me wrong – there is a huge support network. At Edinburgh – all students are assigned personal tutors who you go to with any issues and there is an advice place for all and any types of queries or difficulties.

The biggest difference is not having people tell you what to do. Currently, I in uni 4 days per week, two of the four I am in for one hour. ONE HOUR!!! It would be super easy to just sleep, laze around and do not much (basically my first year, and maybe second) but you will never achieve your goals if you do this. So, how do you self motivate? I have found these tips to be super useful.

  1. Be organised. Have a diary, write down all of your deadlines and make a to do list each day. Even if you don’t get everything done, it is super useful to set yourself tasks which you can tick off as you go along.
  2. Have a schedule. I have found this to always work for me, but I’m super guilty of not following this rule until now. I have found what works for me and although sometimes I might not feel like following it – it works. Currently, I get up at the crack of dawn and go to the gym when it is super quiet. I then come back for about 6:30, if I’m tired I’ll snooze until about half 7 then get up, shower, get ready and make lunch. I then go to the library to do any tasks that need to be done (there is always something to do) and I go to my classes. I try to stay at the library until about 5, then I can come back to my flat and do nothing – and feel no guilt about it since I’ve had a productive day and done what I need to. If you prefer lying in – do that – and work your schedule around it.
  3. Reward yourself. Done everything you planned to? Give yourself a treat. Whether that be having a Jaffa cake (or the whole packet – who can only eat one???) or taking a long hot shower. Do it because you deserve it. Creating habits like this is great in the long term; you know that if you complete tasks you can reward yourself. It can even just be for a couple of weeks, until you have a routine. Then maybe start putting a pound in a jar every good day you have and eventually you can book a nice massage or even a mini break somewhere.
  4. Set long term and short term goals. Want an A in that essay? Start reading for it now. Want a first class degree? Put the effort in now. Setting ourselves both big/long-term and small/short-term goals is essential for being self motivated in all aspects of life. Focus on what you want, and make sure you go out and get it. Imagine yourself 10 years down the line and how regretful you would be if you didn’t at least try your best. Funny story: I hated the first two years of my degree (a story for another blog post), almost dropped out about 300 times but do you know what kept me going? My sister had a graduation photo in the living room and I wanted one too. Literally. Do what works for you.
  5. Tell people your goals. Call your mum, your friend, tell them everything you need to do. Telling someone almost makes us feel responsible to do something. If that feeling of slight responsibility or pressure helps you, then do it.
  6. Be accountable for your failures and your successes. Failed that essay? Don’t blame the prof who marked it. Sometimes we need failure to pick ourselves back up and to get on with it. Aced that essay? Don’t say you got lucky with the question. You put the work in.
  7. Make time for yourself. It is easy to get caught up in the world of studying, especially if you have a job or volunteer. Stop feeling guilty for taking an hour out of your day to read or watch a movie or a day at the weekend to be with your family. If you deserve it, it is the least you can do for yourself.
  8. Own it! We all work in different ways and it certainly isn’t always easy to be on top form. When you do really well, tell people about it. If they aren’t happy for you, please exit their life immediately. You deserve positivity and encouragement.

Just remember, you create your own success.

R x

A week without social media

I deleted all of my social media apps from my phone for a week. The week is over and I have deleted Twitter for good, forgotten about Snapchat, the world of Instagram has been missed but reality checked about and I am definitely not missing Facebook (shocker).

I chose to delete these apps because I realised how distant I had become from the true world. I wanted to be more present in my life, and not staring into a screen for hours a day. This break from social media also made me realise my anxieties surrounding it. I feel present in life, I feel happier and I feel as though I am free from an addiction that was beginning to take over my life.

It sounds dramatic (if you have read my About Me, I did warn you), I know, but it honestly feels liberating. I missed Instagram the most, I must admit, but I realise that this app is perhaps the one that is most toxic to my life. I spent my time on Instagram scrolling and scrolling, only being interested in about 5% of my feed. Because I only stay in touch with 5% of the people I follow. I remember my first ever post when I was 16, in a red dress on my birthday and not caring about much then. As I got older, I began to care about likes, about when the best time to post was, about editing. I used to base my self worth on the amount of likes I would receive, taking hundreds of pictures before a night out or on a trip hoping that one of them would be ‘Insta-worthy’. In hindsight, it is absolutely ridiculous but I know I was not the only teen living in this false reality. For me, it wasn’t posting memories or fun times which I wanted to have a place for. It was a vain, self-obsessed portal for my insecurities. It was not outfit repeating because then it couldn’t go on Instagram. It was being sad because my life wasn’t as exciting as some of my friends. It was caring about who liked what and why.

I am not going to delete my Instagram account because I have genuinely forgotten my password and do not have Facebook to reset it, and I want to have it to look back on when I’m a bit older, perhaps to laugh at my fake smiles or horrific attempts at pouting. But I will not use my personal Instagram for a while – I am promising myself that much. I have my Instagram account associated with this blog (onlythegoodskin) for photography, for skincare etc. which I only have people who share interests with me who I do not know or I only have the people who I actually stay in touch with and don’t judge my lifestyle or how many likes I receive. I will keep this account because I’m not obsessed with it or how I appear on it, and that is what is important.

Twitter got deleted because I only spent my time pointlessly scrolling for the occasionally funny tweet. I realise it didn’t add much to my life at all, and if I do Twitter again, it would be for the purposes of this blog or my career. I no longer wish to dote on the people I once knew. Knowing somebody on social media is so much different to knowing them in real life. And I know this because behind some of my smiles were difficult times.

Snapchat was another app I used mostly to occasionally stalk (not literally follow just have a nosey) on people on ‘Snap Maps’ (you’re lying if you have never done that out of boredom, distrust or to find your flatmate) and posting mostly pointless stories for 24 hours. There’s too many memories on there to delete it completely but I am not going to use it, because after a week without it, I realise it’s kind of a waste of time.

Deleting Facebook wasn’t that life changing, but I also deleted Facebook Messenger and this was rather eye opening. It was my main contact for almost everybody and removing myself from it made me realise who I actually stayed in touch with, who texted or kept in touch despite me not having messenger and who I texted and stayed in touch with. A blessing to see who actually cares, really.

I would urge anybody reading this to try and delete social media for a week. Read a book. Read the news. Meet people and be present. Make actual memories, not digital ones. And if you do choose to go back to social media, unfollow people who make you feel bad about yourself and make a conscious effort to use it less. It is kind of life changing.

R x

Book Review: Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton

Looking for a new read? Seriously, pick up this book.

For a long time I wasn’t interested in books, reading the first couple of pages and getting bored almost immediately. I hadn’t picked up a book (by choice) for the majority of 2018 until I went on holiday, where I finished two in the week I was away. I got back and didn’t read again.

Until Everything I Know About Love. A book that beautifully captures the complexity of growing up, getting older and experiencing different love along the way. But it is not all that it may seem. This book is embedded in the true love between female friendships. Whilst I can imagine most 20 something year old women to be able to relate to this book in some way, shape or form (we all had our cherished MSN days) I can guarantee it will have you almost crying with laughter, and at times sadness, and will make you cringe on behalf of the author herself. Alderton truly opens up about all aspects of her life growing up – from going to boarding school, being obsessed with MSN and the complexity of the male population, to making friends with old men in pubs and her best friend getting engaged at 25.

Everything I Know About Love is about feeling inadequate, not good enough. It’s about disastrous dates, bad parties, breakups and having the best and worst times of your life. It’s about finding out who you are and coming to realise that you are good enough. It’s about losing, loving and accepting. And, bonus, it has some amazing recipes (Hangover Mac and Cheese I’m coming for you) and hilarious email renditions that, quite frankly, make me dread and be excited about growing older all in one.

I fear that after this book I will not be able to read another book in the next couple of weeks. It was truly amazing – I couldn’t put this book down and I never wanted it to end. I am lending this book to everyone I know, messaging everyone (slight exaggeration) about how it MUST be a book they read this year. It will have a permanent place on my bookshelf (who am I kidding) in my drawer for whenever I need to refer back to it. It is my new handbook on life. The only bad thing about this book was that it made me feel as though my life was rather boring but I have another 9 years left of my twenties and I’m sure I’ll pick some memories along the way. But if this book taught me something; I will never, ever have a Rod Stewart party.

Enjoy every second of it because the book will be finished before you know it. It is also half price in Waterstones right now. You’re welcome.

R x

New Years Resolutions

I don’t make new years resolutions generally because they always fail two weeks in, but I really do need to find a consistent blogging routine and actually follow through with it.

My last post was October, shocking I know, but after I blogged I was hit with three very long essays for university and all my time and attention went to them. Not a very good excuse, I know, but I am promising myself and making a digital copy of this promise to blog far more frequently. I actually enjoy writing all these practically irrelevant things; so it shouldn’t be too hard to do. Although, on reading back at my first ever post, I realise I am not as interested in beauty etc. as I had thought, as I cannot think of much I could write about. So instead, I am going to write about whatever interests me. I hope somebody out there in the big wide world finds it interesting too.

New years resolutions, who made them?

On the first of January, yesterday, I took my dog for a walk and there were an abundance of people. The most I think I have ever seen out walking or jogging, and I walk my dog pretty much every time I am at home. I said to my parents ‘give it two weeks and the amount of people out at this time will have halved’. I cannot wait to return in two weeks to see if my thesis is correct.

I was always guilty of making new years resolutions, past examples have been as follows;

  1. Lose weight
  2. Jog more
  3. Eat healthier

All rubbish in my eyes and in hindsight. None of these would make me happier, just feel guilt about not doing them. Just because it is a new year does not mean I need to fill my belly with salad every day and run off every donut I eat. No thank you. The only thing I want to achieve this year is to make myself proud, do things that scare me and challenge me and most importantly, be happy. I wanted to read more books; I didn’t make it a resolution about it, but went to Waterstones on the 31st of December because I wanted to. Not because I thought it was what I should do, but because I forgot what it was like to get lost in a book. I’m two days into January and I am very close to finishing ‘Everything I know about love’ by Dolly Alderton. I would highly recommend and plan on doing a book review this week on it.

Are you making new years resolutions? My advice to you is that if you are going to make a resolution, make it nothing to do with your appearance. Make it to do with your experiences, your mind, your health. Do things that make you happy, make resolutions to better yourself; not to weigh yourself. Gain experience, happiness and gratefulness.

Happy 2019. I know it’s going to be a good one.

R x

The LVL guide

If you’re a short-lashed, fair-haired gal, this guide is for you!

If you are thinking about going for an LVL lash treatment, but you don’t know if it is

  1. Worth the money
  2. If it will work on your lashes
  3. If it hurts or will make all your eyelashes fall out

I hear you!

I have a terrible habit of googling just about anything before I get it done (embarrassing confession: I have actually googled 10 things your hairdresser wants you to know before you go to the hairdresser) and LVL was definitely no exception (tip: do not google a Hollywood wax before you go for one, or you won’t go).

I am blonde, and my eyelashes are blonder than my natural hair colour, as well as very stubby and short. I apply about 10 coats of mascara and I don’t mind a clumpy look. I have tried about 30 different mascaras, and sometimes leave the house in a rush with one eyelash as a desperate attempt to make them look like they actually exist. So why wouldn’t I want LVL?

LVL (length volume lift) is a relatively new treatment that people are going crazy about. It is ‘your lashes, but better’. Who doesn’t want that?

What does it consist of?

LVL straightens your natural lash at the root and also tints them. It makes your lashes appear thicker, fuller and basically better without mascara. For my honest opinion on this statement, keep reading..

It takes about 45 minutes, about half an hour of which you are lying with a shield on your eyelids, rather uncomfortably, unable to open your eyes as your lashes are manipulated into a new position. But don’t let that put you off, I’m just being completely honest. Maybe if you have 4 kids or you’re a busy person with hardly any time to yourself, you will love this 45 mins of peace and quiet.

I got my first LVL treatment about a year and half ago, before I went on holiday. I got my first Hollywood wax right after so can’t actually remember the experience that much.

I got my second last week, when a colleague of mine got training in LVL. As she spoke about it I thought, I want this again. She was offering a great price of £30 (depending on where you go it can go up to about £60 but £40 is average) and throwing in a much needed brow tint too, so I thought why not?

GET A PATCH TEST BEFORE YOU GO! If they don’t offer this then find a new lash technician!

I took some makeup-less pics before I went to compare. I do remember having a vague disappointment when I first got them done so knew I needed some pics to see that there was a difference. I went in, filled out a form and lied down. The process begins by them cleaning your eyes to make sure there’s no product still there (go without any eye makeup on) and apply shields to your eyelids. There are different shapes of shields, small ones for a more uplifted curl and large shields if you want something more subtle (or if your eyelashes are already petty long). Be sure to ask what shield they are using before you begin, although most trained lash technician should ask you first. They basically stick your lashes up with a perming type lotion (that stinks) and leave them for 15 mins. I found it quite uncomfortable and I’m a contact lens wearer, but this is quite normal. There are a few other gels put on and some more waiting, then a tint.

I am quite impatient and 15 mins felt like quite a long time. But it was worth it in my opinion.

The result..

If you are blonde, and have fairly short lashes, I’m going to be honest, when you first see them you may be disappointed. My lashes are definitely more curled, but I remember the first time I went in I thought I’d come out the salon with what looked like false lashes. This will not happen.

After your LVL you cannot get your lashes wet for 24 hours (preferably 48) and you cannot wear mascara for 24 hours (this is hard for me). Once you are able to put mascara on, you will love them! It takes one coat of mascara, 2 if you are like me and like a bolder lash look, your lashes are good to go. I didn’t find myself wanting to wear eyeliner or anything because I loved the way my lashes looked. But I do still feel the need to wear mascara every day.

So to answer your questions..

  1. Is it worth the money? I would like to start this by saying if you need to go and buy groceries but are struggling to afford raspberries (I understand, no judgement here) don’t get it. Save for it. If you are financially stable and can afford raspberries and you struggle with your eyelashes, then go for it. Just go in realising that you’re natural lashes will not look like fake ones if you have fair hair and short eyelashes. If you have long, dark lashes, LVL will make them look like falsies. Anybody will be able to see a difference in comparison with their natural lashes.
  2. If it will work on your lashes? As previously mentioned, you may be disappointed if your lashes are a struggle to start with. But they work on all lashes and lash types, as long as you have no reaction to the patch tests.
  3. If it hurts or will make all your eyelashes fall out? It does not hurt, only stings a tiny bit at first (this is normal) and can be slightly uncomfortable. It is also not terrible for your lashes, of course nothing that is not natural isn’t brilliant for them but it doesn’t do much harm. Your lashes have a natural cycle anyway where they fall out and grow back in, so they will return back to normal after about 6-8 weeks, when you should give them a lil break before doing anything else with your lashes

If you want some pics and a detailed description of Nouveau lashes; in the frow done a great post on what to expect. It is a paid advertorial but has some great pointers! (The link is here: https://www.inthefrow.com/2017/06/expect-lvl-lash-lift-step-step.html).

I will let you all know how long it lasts for me. Next I want to try lash extensions. What do we think?

R x

And so it begins

I truly believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Cheesy, I know, but if you knew just how much us insecure civilians spent on cosmetic procedures and enhancements, you would (perhaps) be shocked. Millions of pounds across the world are spent in result of brands taking advantage of our insecurities. Don’t get me wrong (let’s not have a bad start already), I believe if you want cosmetic surgery, go for it, 100%. If you had known the amount I had thought about getting lip fillers, had a conversation with my friends about how a boob job would be number one on our list of procedures you would wonder why on earth I am writing all this.

To answer your question, if there is anybody out there stumbling across my page by accident and has got this far, firstly thank you and hello and secondly, my interests began to grow in regards to social pressures and social actions as a result of my studies in social policy and sociology. I am currently a student at Edinburgh uni, working part time for a brilliant skincare brand and crying about the workload I have to do whilst watching terrible movies on Netflix, scrolling through Instagram and eating Maltesers (they are just so addictive).

It’s not until recently when I joined the gym, got a bit more involved in different societies at uni after changing degree (that is a whole other blogpost) that I felt inspired to start a blog. I have always been interested in beauty, which you wouldn’t have guessed looking at my brows at the age of 15 (not what you think, they were non-existent, not a good look paired with a smoky eye) but as I began working for big brands in the beauty industry I thought why not?? I always love a good opinion and beauty review, glued to YouTube whilst I’m procrastinating and Netflix haven’t uploaded anything to my interest (Bridesmaids is in my top 5 if you’re wondering). Zoella is my guilty pleasure. There, I said it. VLOGMAS I AM READY FOR YOU.

So, in summary, keep popping back for a new insight; whether that be something (relatively) intellectual around my studies, a beauty review about products or something completely irrelevant to either of these (I am indecisive).

Hopefully some of all 0 of you right now will be able to relate in some shape or form.

R x