My HUGE Empties Video – Part 1!

Hi friends,

So after Tuesday’s big post, I wasn’t quite sure how to follow it up and thought I’d lay low for a while. I had actually planned to post something very different that day, but then it didn’t seem appropriate, even in the days following. But I think we’re now all ready to light the mood, and so here is my latest video!

As you may know by now, I have recently turned over a new leaf which involves me not buying things anymore (gasp) and actually using up what I do have (double gasp). I’ve been doing really well restricting my spending, and honestly now I just don’t even want to go shopping. Well, I mean, it’s fun and all, but then I think of my cupboards at home which are literally full to the brim and I just can’t do it. My mission is to use up what I have, or try to at least, before we move in March, and so I’ve warned you to expect a few decluttering videos and posts… and this is one of them!

So sit back, enjoy and Part 2 will be coming your way very soon!

Steph x

This is What Depression Looks Like

Hi friends,

Today started out nicely but turned unfortunately took a very sad turn. This morning I learned about the passing of Robin Williams and it breaks my heart. This is the man that so many of us are familiar with, through his work in film and TV. He is someone that I, for one, feel shaped my childhood and so many others’. He was a comedy genius, an artist with a real gift.

But the thing that really gets me about this tragic event (apart from the suspected way it happened) is the fact that, despite how much happiness and joy Robin Williams gave to the world, he couldn’t necessarily see that. As a kid, I loved Mrs Doubtfire, Jumanji, Aladdin, Hook… the list goes on. He stole the show each and every time, and it really seems like there was this life, this energy to him that was hard to pin down. Obviously someone who can create that much greatness so consistently, is smart, gifted and, for want of a more articulate word, special. It’s true. But the fact that someone who gave so much light could feel so much all-encompassing darkness is an illuminating and perhaps cautionary tale for millions of others.

The thing is, depression doesn’t come out singing and dancing and waving its hands and crying for help. I read that some soap opera fool tweeted that Robin Williams was “selfish” for not thinking about his friends and family which is an absolutely absurd and thoughtless statement. Of course, his family must be heartbroken and it would be an excruciating thing to go through, but I really feel like the focus should be on why someone ever gets to the point where they feel they need to take their own life, instead of pointing the blame toward their potential failures. We don’t know him and to speculate like this is distasteful and not something I am interested in doing.

The reason why I have such an interest in this topic is because it is something close to my heart. Probably about two years ago, I went through what could only be considered clinical depression. For anyone reading this now who is close to me and is concerned, please don’t worry or feel bad: I’m fine. But at the time, it felt (at times) like the world was ending. But it didn’t feel like that all the time. During this period I would be smiling, happy, enjoy myself, but then the majority of the time was spent feeling listless, directionless and pretty much just incapable of anything. It was a real up and down ride, except it was mostly downs.

I have never written about this before because it is something really personal to me that I have only really recently overcome, and I honestly don’t want my family worrying about me. I am a pretty private person, and I would like to keep it that way, despite the shenanigans I get up to on this blog of mine! I take my family and my loved ones very seriously, which is part of the reason why I didn’t really divulge too much to them at the time. Looking back, they probably could have guessed, but I don’t think to the same extent that I was experiencing it. That’s no one’s fault, and I’m glad it happened like that because I wouldn’t want to put that onto my nearest and dearest. But that experience taught me that depression can look like all sorts of things, and sometimes you will find it in the unlikeliest of places.

Robin Williams is someone who had been quite open about his addictions and his demons, and that is something that should be applauded. It is always hard to admit fault with oneself, especially on such a serious, intimate level. Even writing this post sort feels a bit… odd, because it isn’t just some story or silly event that happened to me today: it is my life. And for a while, I really didn’t feel like living it. I never reached the point that Williams sadly has, but at times the numbness could have potentially tricked me into thinking that it could be a viable option. And that is the scary part.

Me, a few years ago

Me, a few years ago

Of course, a lot of my depression came from the hormonal imbalance that I was experiencing at the time, unbeknownst to me. This is a whole other issue for another post, but I will say that my faith in hormonal contraception is now completely nought. The things we don’t understand about the human body are many and varied, and putting these hormones into a holistic organism can bring results that no one would expect – or understand. I will be forever grateful to my amazing bf for sticking with me through this pretty hellish time, and I guess the good thing to come out of it is that I know both how strong I and we are together. I don’t want to get too mushy on here, but the effect that just one person can have on your life is drastic.

The point I am trying to make, as I’m sure many other articles will do today, is that depression can go unrecognised and can hit when you least expect it. Sometimes the smallest acts of kindness make my day, and I try to keep this in mind at all times because really, you never know what someone is going through. When you cut in line at the supermarket or push past someone and don’t acknowledge it, you never know how that will make someone feel. Of course, I am a particularly sensitive flower and it could just be me that cares about these seemingly small things, but I don’t think it is. We are human first and foremost, and what unites us is far greater than what divides us. Depression can look like anyone, or anything, and we can at least validate it by using it to bring us closer together, instead of further apart.

I know this is a rather intense post for today, and I did have something much lighter planned. However, things happen and I just felt like this was the right time to get this off my chest. I hope you guys can relate and I hope this even helps one person feel better. If so, then this will have been a good day.

Thanks for reading, and until next time,

Steph x

My Korean Skincare Routine Revisited

Hi friends!

The most popular post on this website by far is my post earlier this year on my Korean skincare routine. It seems that the whole world wants to know about the secrets behind Korean women’s flawless (and I mean flawless) skin – even if it means putting snail slime on your face. In my case, especially if it means putting snail slime on my face.

It’s been a while since I wrote that post, so I thought today I would update you on exactly what I am using to keep my skin supple, smooth and moist (or at least I think). As I have mentioned before, I do think good skin comes from a number of factors (less stress, healthy eating, sleep, water… all the obvious ones that actually work), but a Korean skincare routine definitely provides a superior level of cleansing and moisturising that you just can’t get in the West… yet.

Without further ado, let’s delve into my current collection and I’ll give you my thoughts on each product as we go. Strap yourselves in!

Nature Republic's (discontinued( France Mud, Plant Kingdom's The Snow Foam and Tony Moly's amazing Floria Essence

Nature Republic’s (discontinued( France Mud, Plant Kingdom’s The Snow Foam and Tony Moly’s amazing Floria Essence

The first step in any good Korean skincare routine worth its salt is a cleansing cream or oil. Of course, recently cleansing oils have taken the world/blogosphere by storm, and a lot of people have been espousing the benefits of The Body Shop’s Chamomile Cleansing Oil. I’m sure this is a lovely product (and I love The Body Shop as a general rule of thumb) but I can’t help but feel that Asia – and Korea in particular – are light years ahead and have been doing this for a loooong time. Well, much longer than the rest of us, anyway. This step is one of the key differences in the Asian/Korean skincare routine and that which we “follow” in the West (a general term that I am bandying about to refer to Australia, America and other sort of colonised Americanised countries…? I’m not quite sure), which usually consists of cleanse, tone and moisturise. That just won’t fly in Asia, son!

So, getting back to the task at hand, the product I am currently using as a cleansing cream to first remove my makeup is the Nature Republic France Mud Cleansing & Massage Cream. As you may have spied in the caption above, this product has been discontinued, which isn’t such a rarity in the fast-paced world of Korean cosmetics. Blink and you’ll miss ‘em! I bought this last year and at first I felt like my skin reacted to it, so I stopped using it. However, I kept it hanging around because I quite like the idea of massaging French mud into my face (who wouldn’t?) and it appears to be getting on much better with my skin. This is a nice creamy step to remoe the makeup of the day, and my first foray into cleansing creams (but not the last, I should think!).

Next up is 식물나라 (Plant Kingdom)’s The Rich Snow Foam (please keep in mind I have taken the liberty of translating the Korean and this may not necessarily be their English name!). I received this in a Memebox, and although I wouldn’t say I love it, it does get the job done in a fun way. It’s a cleansing foam, and it is serious about the whole foaming thing! Foam foam everywhere. Gav once thought I was trying to shave my face with this, which was quite hilarious and wouldn’t necessarily be wrong per se, but it would certainly be troublesome. Regrowth etc. Anyway – decent cleanser, would not buy again!

After I have cleansed with these two products, I dry me noggin, spray Nature Republic’s Argan 20 Essential Toner all over my face and bask in its misty glory. This is a night lightweight toner, yet it feels strangely moisturising. It’s a good summer option, as it does feel lighter than the Nature Republic Bee Venom Toner I previously used, and I do love the smell of this line. However, toward the end of my time with the Bee Venom one, I got strangely attached and may considering repurchasing that in the future (if I ever end my spending ban!).

Nature Republic's Argan 20 Toner (swoon), Muji's Face Cream and a sample of Nature Republic's Snail Solution Emulsion (double swoon)

Nature Republic’s Argan 20 Toner (swoon), Muji’s Face Cream and a sample of Nature Republic’s Snail Solution Emulsion (double swoon) 

In both of the above photos you can probably see a beautiful vessel featuring some capsules suspended in liquid. No, this is not an art piece, it is instead Tony Moly’s Floria Whitening Capsule Essence. I just featured this in my July Favourites video (filmed today, coming soon!) and really, this deserves a post all of its own. Apart from looking beautiful (which it does really, really well), this essence is also lightweight, moisturising and not too sticky. Win.

So we are almost done with the moisturising part of this evening, except WAIT! You’re forgetting the most obvious one… emulsion! This bizarre-sounding step is the light, milky moisturiser (pretty much a lotion) that comes before your cream. I actually don’t have a full sized emulsion on the go right now; instead, I am working through my 20394839 samples of Nature Republic’s Snail Solution 80 Emulsion. I love this line and everything it stands for. It’s moisturising, it smells great, it’s calming and it’s made from snail slime. All signs of greatness.

Lastly, the cream. I have recently started a new one, Muji’s Moisturising Cream. That’s its name. For any of y’all unfamiliar with Muji, it’s a very “Japanese” Japanese brand, in that its simple, simple, simple. Zen and stuff. I really like this ethos, as it is basically everything I’m not and everything I aspire to be. This cream is probably a tad rich for summer, but in the evening I spread it on very lightly and it protects me from the blast of our air con. It feels luxurious and you don’t need to use much!

In addition to these daily wonders, I have also been getting back into sheet masks. Especially after Krabi, I felt that my skin could do with a bit of extra conditioning, and I forgot just how cooling and amazing Korean sheet masks are. They are just so great! A notable mention is Nature Republic’s Snail Solution 1,000 Hydrogel Mask Sheet… just for a change!

And that brings me to the end of my current skincare routine! I will try to stay on top of this, so when I switch around a few products I’ll post another update. I obviously am trying to cut down on buying products, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have enough stashed away for a good few lifetimes switch-ups. If you would like any more information on any of these products, let me know in the comments below and I may feature them in their own posts. Obviously the Floria essence is getting its own post because, I mean, just look at that. It’s practically got its own modelling contract, it’s beauty incarnate!

Thanks for reading, and until next time,

Steph x