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Monday, 22 December 2014

#100

The story goes that I started LydiaLulu six months back as a creative outlet. I was in at a crossroads in my life. I had left university a couple months prior, was working in retail and was just waiting around for my life to start. It's crazy to think how much has changed since I signed up to Blogger on a whim in early June - I didn't summon the courage to write my first post till about two weeks later. This blog was the perfect escapism. During the Summer, when I spent all my time working, I became addicted to thinking up new posts and trying to write them with the remaining time I had. Equally, it was my little space on the internet that I tried to keep secret. I've never been one to separate my 'professional' blogging life from the 'private'. The topics I write about naturally vary because of what is going on in my life at the time. If I fall in love with an album I'll write about it, if I discover a magic make-up product I'll write about it, and if I break up with my long-term boyfriend then I obviously need to write about it. To commemorate my 100th post, I thought I'd gather some of my favourite posts that have been most significant to me the past six months.


Beauty


Fashion


Music/Movies/Theatre


General Gems


Compiling this list only reminds me of how much has changed since I started this whole process. I'm still the same girl, maybe just a little wiser now! It's fair to say that I've been through a lot... but some things never change. I'll always remain dedicated to my beloved blog. Now it's time to get started on another 100 posts.
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Sunday, 21 December 2014

Sunday Solace.

When it comes to being productive on a Sunday, I will always crash and burn. Sunday was made for lie-ins, long dog walks, and just chilling out. It's the one day of the week where everything seems to slow down and you can just take some quiet time for yourself. Most of the time that is...

Beautiful Battersea Park

Sundays are for catching up with the papers and reading the style supplements. For grabbing a coffee with a friend. For taking a stroll around your local area and capturing its beauty. They're a chance to catch up on some reading. For watching a movie on a lazy afternoon. Or better still, spending the day in bed with a novel and unlimited cups of tea. 
We live in the age of social media and smartphones, where we can't go for ten minutes without that itch to check our phone. It's unsettling really. You can't escape from the world for a bit - the iPhone's 'Do Not Disturb' mode is a godsend but it's pointless having it permanently switched on. Like I wrote a few months back, I have a pretty major Facebook complex. Yes, it's an amazing tool for connecting with people around the world and keeping up to speed friends you may have otherwise lost contact with... but it's also deeply contrived and artificial. It's also extremely addictive. I always find myself mindlessly scrolling through my News Feed. Truth is, I was happier when I quit Facebook for a few months during my last year of school. I felt more at ease and I know that if I didn't need it for keeping up to date with stuff going on at uni then I would definitely go without. It's not all Facebook's fault - there's Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and I get a notification every time a big news story breaks. It can all just get a bit overwhelming sometimes... which is why I find it so important to spend the occasional day away from it all. Being addicted to my phone has cost me a lot of hours, hours that I could have used doing something productive or just spent with friends and family. 
Sundays are for relaxing and recovering in time for the week ahead - for me, that means taking some time for myself. A time to gather my thoughts away from my many buzzing devices. And you know what, I always feel better for it. Sunday Solace is starting to sound like the ideal New Years Resolution...
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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

South Bank Christmas Market Etc.

Sometimes all you need is a best friend, some light shopping, and gorgeous London scenery to cheer you up. Having spent the past three months in Southampton, I woke up today with the desire to do something touristy. Like I mentioned in 'My Favourite Blogging Reads' a couple months back, I adore beauty vloggers and have become increasingly addicted to LilyPebbles' Vlogmas videos. When I watched Lily and a couple other Youtube stars visit the South Bank Christmas Market, I knew that was how I wanted to spend my day... i.e getting in the Christmas mood and eating churros by the River Thames. Ideal.
A five minute walk from Waterloo station, this kitsch little market has everything from Toffee-infused vodka to charming little jewellery stands. Your standard London market really - some weird and wonderful stalls reside next to the crowd-pleasers... who can realistically resist a Baileys hot chocolate?
Having exhausted the Christmas market, my friend Mary (who I somehow managed to rope into this little excursion) wandered down South Bank and stumbled upon a traditional-style book stall. Literally any Literature student's dream come true. After spending what felt like hours admiring the selection of books, ranging from the classics to the ever-so-slightly wacky, I walked out with an edition of D.H Lawrence's 'Women in Love' for only £4 - I know a bargain when I see one!
And then somehow we ended up in Oxford Circus... again... the second time in under a week. It's safe to say that Mary and I are happiest when we're wandering round beauty departments. All was not lost, however, as I concluded our shopping trip with my notoriously-hard-to-buy-for-mother's Christmas present and a real sale snag of a sweatshirt from Whistles. I can't deny it, sometimes all I need is a little retail therapy to lift my spirits. That and some wonderful quality girl time.
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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Healing.

For me, blogging is a great escapism. An online world full beauty secrets and female camaraderie. Although my writing was all over the place during my first term of university, being home and going through an emotionally stressful period has renewed my love for this online community. I've been reminded of why I started 'LydiaLulu' in the first place. Writing is such a creative outlet, especially when times are tough.
This is my first break-up. I'm in that unsteady in-between phase of hating him and still loving him at the same time. At the moment, it's taking every ounce of self-control not to call him. Pride is holding me back - I'm the victim here, I shouldn't be the one to initiate contact. But then I wonder how he is... what's he's doing and if he misses me at all. It's emotional Russian Roulette.
Under normal circumstances, I'm usually pretty good at taking care of myself. After a stressful day at work I'd have a hot bath, put on a movie, and curl up in bed - it would instantly make me feel better. I'd also have him to rant to, he'd take time to listen and always reassure me that things would get better. Not having that person to always fall back on has been quite an adjustment these past few weeks.
Scientifically speaking, being in love is like being addicted to heroine. Your brain has to readjust to life without that person. You're coming down from a relationship high. In the meantime, I feel pretty stuck. I can feel myself going through the motions - angry, sad, resentful, emotionally drained, and full of regrets. I'm just holding out hope that soon I'll find acceptance and be able to move on.

The interesting thing, however, is the advice I've been getting from the important people in my life. Everyone is quick to write him off as an idiot and he's unknowingly been called every name under the sun. Sometimes it's helpful, I want to think of him as a jerk... but I suspect that underneath his macho-university-lad front, the person I fell in love with still exists. I guess the question that's been taunting me the past few days is whether a person can change so completely and in such a short space of time?
My flatmate said that she dealt best with her break-up by sleeping around. Another advised me to eat my weight in ice-cream. I've been told to take time for myself, go out and party, or pursue a rebound. And so far, nothing has left me feeling any better. I know there is no quick fix to a broken heart... but I can't help wishing for this emotional roller-coaster was over.
For now I'm just trying to blog as much as I can, keep on top of my never-ending pile of work, and spend as much time with the positive, wonderful people in my life. 
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Saturday, 13 December 2014

A Little NARS Indulgence.

Why is it that whenever you're not shopping for yourself you always seem to find that one material item that seems like it was made for you? Well this happened to me, yet again, when I was Christmas shopping in the West End yesterday afternoon. That's right, I'm back in the Big Smoke for Christmas and couldn't resist an immediate trip to Oxford Circus. So there I was, wandering round the Liberty beauty department when I stumbled upon the NARS counter - as if I could resist a quick look. Five minutes later and I was at the check-out with three purchases in tow... at least one was a Christmas present. It was their iconic lip pencils that pulled me in (expect a review in coming days) but once I'm there I can't stop. But hey, I'm going through a break-up so anything is justified... right? It's their 'Roman Holiday' Christmas gift set that has really captured my heart. Like the true nail polish addict that I am, it was their limited edition varnish that had me swooning - the lovely dusty pink lipstick and matching eyeshadow made nice additions to the set.
 
 
 
 
At just £30, this gift set really is a steal. Although on the slightly miniature side, the products are of excellent NARS quality and are freshening up my Winter look. The lipstick is a silky consistency which gives a nice sheen without being overly-pigmented and drying. It's a very wearable, everyday dusty pink which transcends seasons - I can see myself whipping this one out in Spring/Summertime. As for the eyeshadow, this is a funny one. When I was pre-teen first experimenting with make-up, I literally couldn't get enough of eyeshadow. I had every colour under the sun. Blue was a particular favourite, I don't remember why. Nowadays I don't tend to go near the stuff unless it's a really special occasion. I'm much more of a eyeliner girl. But I didn't want this gorgeous shade of pink to go to waste. Instead, I've been using it as a blusher - the winter months leave my skin feeling very lack lustre and so I welcomed this brightening pink into my make-up family. I can tell this is going to take some practice as my first attempt left my cheeks resembling a china doll. Not a great look. Yet once I toned it down a bit, the result was much more subtle and dare I say it, almost natural looking.
Although I didn't go into Liberty to shop for myself, I'm really chuffed with this purchase. NARS has yet to let me down. This gorgeous set makes the perfect pick-me-up for the mid-December blues... or pinks.
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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Heartbroken... yet Hopeful.

Hey, remember me? The girl who spent five months writing nearly every day and declaring her love for blogging only to disappear from the face of the earth when she went to university? Yeah that's me - and I really have no excuse. I've really just enjoyed being a Fresher and studying some amazing texts and going out and socialising. But then something happened last week that made me realise that blogging is now part of who I am.
Jonny and I broke up and it's safe to say that I'm completely devastated. Equally, it had been a long time coming. I went to university last year and was therefore pretty prepared for what this new chapter in my life would have in store. Jonny didn't - he took a gap year and moved out of London. He was away from his friends and in a completely new environment. At times, it felt like I was all he had. I felt so needed and loved. We were both at a cross-roads in our lives; I was unhappy at a university for six months and then made the decision to leave and work in retail while he was studying for his exams and was uncertain of the future. Despite all the curveballs life kept throwing at us, we were so happy and secure in our love.

Nothing could have prepared me for the past few months. Having survived one tough year of being on opposite ends of the country, there was no doubt in my mind that we would get through university together. Especially as I'm at Southampton while he's in Portsmouth - a mere forty minutes on the train in comparison to the eight hour journeys we were embarking on this time last year. At first, it was perfect and we made the most of being so close. He came down on my first weekend and was even my date to my Freshers Ball. Looking back on it, that night was a real turning point in our relationship. That was the last time he felt like my Jonny. That was the last time he really spent any time in Southampton with me.
After the Ball, the dynamics changed. For reasons I'll never understand the boy I fell so madly in love with changed beyond recognition. He didn't understand me anymore and was more concerned with his new friends. I took the blame - I had told him to throw himself into university life... but I didn't realise that meant throwing away our relationship. Everything about him was different; his demeanour, his voice, even his appearance to a certain extent. He no longer bothered putting in any effort - for him, his life is in Portsmouth and that's all that matters. It was a struggle. I tried everything to fix what we had - I wanted to fight for us. I was going down to Portsmouth weekly, one time I even went twice. The more he pulled away from me and came increasingly absorbed in his university bubble, the more I clung to him for dear life. When the situation really upset me, I would ask for space and go out and try to forget about him. It was only then that he would talk to me like he used to - he would say he loved me and I actually believed it. In those final desperate weeks, I did everything I could think of to salvage what we once had. I invited him to visit my grandparents, I read a relationship book, I wrote him a letter telling him how I thought we could fix it, and I spent even more time in Portsmouth. From my perspective, he did nothing except expect it to get better on it's own.
The relationship ended last Monday night over the phone. I had gone home that weekend because I needed some motherly advice and some time to think. I hated my flatmates seeing me upset. I had decided to wait till Christmas and see if the situation improved, I believed that he would see sense. He had told me that he would come on Tuesday night and that we'd spend all of Wednesday together trying to figure out our relationship and go see the latest 'Hunger Games' instalment. I had faith that we would work it out - but when he called to say that he wanted to come Wednesday morning and leave later that day, I knew it was over. I couldn't keep killing myself trying to make a relationship work when he didn't care enough to spend any real time with me. He started a new chapter in his life and there simply wasn't room for me in it.
The boy I fell in love with doesn't exist anymore. He's been replaced by a stranger. A guy whose life revolves around his lads and is unconcerned with the girl who gave him everything she could. He's not the person I spent those wonderful 18 months with. The new Jonny came to collect his stuff on Sunday and the way he acted was appalling. He put on this laughable macho front, brought his friend with him, tried to leave after ten minutes, and confirmed my fears that he had gotten with another girl a mere two days after we had broken up. The way he acted was disrespectful to the wonderful time we did have together - I wanted to tell him he was being an idiot but didn't want to descend into name-calling. I just hope one day he figures it out for himself.
I decided to write this as a way of putting it all behind me. Seeing him on Sunday forced me to acknowledge what he's become but it didn't help the pain of losing what we once had. The past week has been incredibly painful - I even scrolled through old soppy Whatsapp messages yesterday. As hard as it is, I need to stop dwelling on what we once had. It's not my fault we lost that - it's his. For now, I have no choice but to look ahead to the future and hope for bigger and better things.
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