What’s Going On In My Life?

 

This is going to be a MASSIVE post. #sorrynotsorry

 

It’s been a pretty eventful month- I’m back in Manchester, folks! I was away from mid-December till 25 January, during which I made trips around South Korea with my family and went back home to Singapore for a month. It was good to go home for a bit and see my friends and family, since I was getting really bad winter blues and feeling rather homesick.

The funny thing was that I pretty much brought Manchester weather back with me and it rained the whole time I was in Singapore, with temperatures dropping as low as 20 degrees Celsius. For a tropical country, this is a big deal! I was in long socks and jumpers most of the time.

 

I wish I could say I spent the whole holiday lazing around doing nothing but I had two essays due (6000 words each!) and I was sat at my boyfriend’s house most days, working till 10 everyday and trying to sleep off the cold I caught because of the cold weather (typical ?).

I’ve caught up with most of my friends from university and my previous housemates- and made new ones too. I’ve met this lovely gal off the app Hey!Vina which touts itself as Tinder for girls looking to find other girl(friends)! I tried it last year hoping to get to know the local community better, network with other women and get to know some new friends, but a lot of the conversations petered out pretty quickly.

I managed to meet up with one of them after I got back to Manchester though, and we had a lovely tea at Richmond Tea Rooms. We both got the Alice Tea and we weren’t expecting the scones to be so huge! While ordering, the server told us: “You guys know it is two scones each, right?” and we looked at her like… yes? Problem? ?

And realised our mistake after the cakes, scones and tea arrived. Lesson learnt: always listen to the server ?

She dabbles in photography- check out her Instagram here! Look at this gorgeous picture of our afternoon tea ?

High tea w/ @evangelskies ☕️?

A post shared by Nicole Marie Kitching (نيكي) (@n1kk1e_k92) on

 

with Jade

with Ella

 

So glad to finally meet up with Jade and spend some time with her lovely pets- it’s difficult not seeing her loads this year since we’ve all graduated- she just lives so far away 🙁

Her house is gorgeous though and there’s lots of space for dog walking. It’s not quite the countryside, but it is a lot quieter than central Manchester (and definitely cleaner). We took the train down to Burnley and stayed overnight after the house party.

I am now old and pass out after midnight even without any drinking or dancing.

With dogs.

I count it as a win, because dogs. In a puppy pile. Best way to fall asleep.

 

More Uni updates:

I really like the classes this semester but the strikes have really been affecting our classes- I’m really hoping the schools will come back to the negotiating table and sort proper pensions for all the lecturers so we can get the best learning experience possible.

The new changes mean that university staff pensions will go from being guaranteed pension benefits to depending on investments, and will result in average member lecturer losing £10,000 a year in their retirement. -(UCU site)

If you’d like to find out more about the strikes held at over 60 universities nationwide (along with Manchester, where I’m at), you can read more information here on the Manchester UCU site.

In other academia-related matters, I’ve submitted my dissertation proposal for approval and I’m waiting for the review and for a supervisor to be allocated.

Exciting times!

I’ve chosen to focus my essay on Modernism and Mina Loy– I had such a fun time analysing her Feminist Manifesto at undergraduate level but felt I didn’t properly delve into her life or her other works.

She was so revolutionary and such a ‘mythic’ character but yet has gone largely forgotten in the literary canon- honestly a crying shame. Her feminism was far too radical for her time and it would be controversial even now. She argued against statements saying women were equal to men and instead focused on the differences between gender and their strengths.

I feel like the feminist movement then and even now is too focused with proving women can be just as strong as men– and it’s a criticism Silvia Federici put forth in her “Wages Against Housework” essay. Women have long proven that they can perform the same jobs and excel at them, but yet we don’t give enough value to ‘feminine’ jobs, skills, or traits. It is still shameful to be feminine: you mock someone for crying like a girl, running like a girl, being emotional like a girl. If we recognise the value in these differences, there is no superiority in either.

Yes, I know you are zoning out.

This is just something I’m so passionate in, I tend to get carried away!

On to the next update-

reclaim the night 2018, manchester, women's march, feminism, feminist

This ties in with the next event: I’ve taken part in the Reclaim the Night march in Manchester- it’s the largest it’s ever been with over 2000 participants from all backgrounds! I marched with my friend Ella and her cousin in the women’s block, but there are other blocks for mixed groups and families as well.

This event takes place every year to raise awareness of the amount of street harassment/ assault/ rape of women on the streets of Manchester. The march starts at the Fallowfield campus (UoM) where it is particularly bad for the amount of rape cases.

You can look up the crime in your area on the police website and it is honestly saddening to see how many cases just get closed after a month. Even with evidence, the perpetrator can claim it was consensual and it turns into a “he said she said” gridlock. It frustrates me so much. Everyone deserves to feel safe on the streets.

And before anyone cries misandry and exclusion, Manchester has the highest amount of male rape victims. Clearly something has to be done! It is so important to stamp out stereotypes and let victims feel safe to come forward about the ordeal, to feel like they will be believed.

And that’s why we march.

Everyone was so lovely and united, women, men, children, everyone from all races and backgrounds and ages collectively standing up for something they believe in.

reclaim the night 2018, manchester, women's march, feminism, feminist

when you hungry for justice but also serving lewks

Fashion talk

It’s extremely dangerous for my wallet being back here- shopping is so much cheaper compared to Singapore, and I’ve been updating my wardrobe rather optimistically with spring wear. And obviously I have barely worn any!

The ‘Beast from the East‘ has swept Europe so I don’t know why Primark is stocking bikinis on half of the second floor- you’re not going to get summer weather in Manchester anytime till April at least! I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to warmer weather- we got the first hints of sun last week but of course it’s all gone to shit this week. I’ve stayed in all week since I got back from Mansfield (Nottingham) for Lee’s birthday party.

My favourite is the Escher Knit Wrap Dress in red motif by Maeve on the Anthropologie site. It’s so comfortable and I can see myself wearing it all summer! The sizes run rather large in my opinion, if you are a UK 6-8 you should go for the XS.

I’ve been in mostly comfy knits and my usual trusty black Primark jeans, but I’ve stocked up on off-shoulder tops and comfy coulettes. It’s too cold at the moment, so I’ve been wearing knit tights under and they still look great!

 

 What's in my wardrobe at the moment...


I’ll be making another post with food-related updates and Feb-March Favourites/ Empties that I’ve seen some beauty bloggers doing!

Until next time!

NUS Orientation, good or bad?

A really balanced and well-informed post that does not resort to blaming, pointing fingers, and very clearly lays out the issues surrounding the whole mess.

I probably have no right to comment on the situation, but seeing how my peers have been let down by the blanket ban, and how this topic has been dominating my timeline and my conversations for the whole week- I can’t help but feel oddly involved in it all.

I share the author’s sentiments when she says that she finds some of the more sexual/physical activities uncomfortable. I ended up going to a university overseas instead of a local one, but I know for certain that there will be a line I refuse to cross, whether people regard me as being “conservative” or not, and I will make sure to speak up if I am uncomfortable. Everyone has different limits, and strangely some of the students regard the “ponding” incident to be no big deal, even though they tell us cheerfully that they avoided that camp date so as to not get dirty. Huh. “Whatever floats your boat”, as my boyfriend keeps parroting (driving me to no end of annoyance, honestly).

The blanket ban is a harsh and unfair punishment, but I can guess why they clamped down so hard on it. With the public thirsting for blood and the matter brought to the attention of corporations and foreign news companies alike, it would have seemed too lenient. Every year, we get this sort of news, and every year, the outrage dies out pretty quick. Nothing has been solved, and I hope the “black sheep” that people keep decrying will learn after facing the wrath from their fellow students, and clean up their act next year if they still have the chance.

Though… more ill-will is felt towards the public and the school, rather than the people who went too far. Oh well.

Top 5 Most Useful Things I bought from The Body Shop*

*of course, this is MY list, which means it is relative. Definitely, someone else has bought these product(s) and thought they were terrible and worthy of a long rant like I did here, so please don’t come after me with a rusty axe.

This is a post in response to my very cheeky post from 2 weeks ago: Top 5 Most Useless Things I bought from The Body Shop in a vain attempt to ensure I’m not sued. These purchases are things I genuinely enjoy and purchase repeatedly. I stockpile them whenever there are sales on, which means always (there is a sale every week and I don’t understand why, but I’m not complaining. The Christmas sales are the best)- so I end up with a lot of these.

Whoops.

***

1. Body Soaps

I prefer bar soaps to liquid soap. There’s something simply satisfying about scrubbing it all over yourself, and I find you feel cleaner and firmer for some reason?? With liquid soaps it feels like you’re rubbing conditioner all over yourself and it doesn’t feel CLEAN. I give up trying to explain this concept because there’s obviously some science-y mumbo-jumbo and mind trickery that I am no good at so you need to try it out for yourself.

My favourite is the Chocomania bar soap. All the UK and Singapore stores have phased it out, unfortunately- but I stockpiled 5 of them last year during the sale because it was going at only £1 (50% off!). What is it with The Body Shop and getting rid of nice things?? Why can’t we ever have nice things? The US stores still sell it but it comes in the shape of a heart. Wish they’d ship it to the UK ffs- I’m running low and need my soap fix asap.
Edit: went to Canada and they don’t stock it either. Looks like the US is hoarding them all.

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The Chocomania soap comes with little gritty bits in them that serve as an exfoliator. Just like how you expect a cookie to be chocolate chip and bite into a raisin cookie instead, the little gritty bits are actually pieces of coconut shell.
Such heresy.
I wanted to bathe in the ruined dreams of broken chocolate bits.

However, if this isn’t a priority on your list and you’re perfectly happy in scrubbing yourself off with coconut shell, these exfoliator thingamajigs are perfect: you can get clean and smooth at the same time. Especially if you’re really lazy. It’s now winter and you don’t need to get your legs out so you can skimp on full-body exfoliation I guess. Though I still have dry scale-y snakeskin on my legs that show no sign of wanting to budge and probably needs some sort of industrial-strength cleaner, it does slough off some of the dead skin and makes it feel soft.

With the Chocomania soap sadly out of stock in stores everywhere here, I would recommend going for the Shea soap if you liked the scent of the Chocomania one, or the Coconut. I would recommend popping into one of the stores to sniff surreptitiously at them like a drug addict and run home to nab one of the “exclusive” and “limited-time” (read: forever ongoing) sales. It is much cheaper than buying the soaps in stores because you can usually get them for 30-60% off with free delivery even. Sales are best from November-January but you need to decide if you want to hold out for the massive Christmas sale around 20-25 December and risk having the items go out of stock, or get them earlier, but at a lower discount.

I sound like such a cheapskate seasoned shopper gosh.

At full price, most of these soaps are £2. Other ranges can go up to £4-6 if I am not wrong (e.g. the hemp one), but I prefer the basic ones.

2. Ginger Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

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I admit I mostly bought this because I’m a huge fan of ginger and ginger tea. I had occasions of dandruff 2-3 years ago whenever I got stressed, nothing major so I didn’t think it was anything I should worry about. To tell the truth I didn’t think this would help much. You know how products promise loads of things and never actually do any? (wow what a cynical b*tch I am)

Surprisingly, it did help, and it smells amazing. The smell doesn’t last as long as the cheap ones you get from the pound store and costs four times as much but a little goes a long way and I promise you, it makes your hair and scalp feel great. It feels really cooling and a little tingly and I don’t know if I should attribute it to this shampoo- but my hair grows out a lot quicker and looks fuller. Most importantly, I don’t have issues with dandruff even though the second year of uni is stressing me out beyond belief. It would be perfect if it could help with oily scalps (the product claims to help dry scalps) but I guess you can’t have it all!

I sometimes mix it with cinnamon powder because it smells amazing together and makes your scalp less oily but make sure to rinse it out properly or you will leave cinnamon powder that looks like gritty brown dandruff everytime you move your head.

After I got a light perm 3 months ago I found that this isn’t enough to moisturise my hair, so I’ve been using argan oil (pure argan oil from my old workplace, not the one TBS is selling) and a conditioner from the Rainforest range.

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I usually get the jumbo-sized 400ml ones and I bought far too much last Christmas (three bottles). It’s Christmas again soon and I’m STILL on my first bottle. Huh. Admittedly if you’re buying it for your family it’ll go down quicker, but it is still impressive nonetheless.

Get the 250ml at £4.50 or the 400ml at £6.50.

3. Absinthe Purifying Hand Cream

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This baby is NOT cheap and I would highly recommend going in-store to make sure whatever hand cream you’re getting is something you like the smell of/ works for you. I like the smell of this as it is very fresh and wakes me up but it still needed some getting used to. One of my best friends absolutely loathes the smell though.

I like this one because it’s light enough to not leave an oily film on your hands yet moisturising enough (more than the rose one). I only switch this out for the hemp hand cream (which smells even worse) for heavy-duty moisturising during winter. I even apply it to my nose if it’s feeling really dry and I don’t have any face moisturiser on hand. It’s so light it doesn’t break me out.

In terms of how heavy the different hand creams are,  from what I’ve tried: (heaviest to lightest)

Hemp > Almond > Absinthe > Wild Rose (SPF 15)

They’ve launched a whole bunch of fruit ones but I’ve not tried those yet.

My boyfriend got this for me nearly two years ago (the 100ml one) and it’s still around, though very squashed and crinkled. I’m not sure what I feel about these tubes because they look very pretty, but they don’t bounce back to shape and I’m definitely going to cut the tube to scoop out the remaining hand cream hiding in the cracks I couldn’t smooth out.

Get the 30ml at £5 or the 100ml at £11. I find the 100ml a lot more difficult to misplace, lasts longer, is more bang for your buck and still compact enough to fit in the small pockets of your bag.

 

4. Madagascan Vanilla Perfume Oil (15ml)

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This perfume oil is from the Scents of the World range, which is pretty popular in Asia but is apparently being phased out of a lot of western stores for some reason. I have huge issues with this. The Body Shop discontinued their original, wildly popular vanilla perfume oil to huge outcry and I was glad they brought it back in the form of this perfume oil. However… it seems like this is going the way of the Dodo again. I don’t understand it, they must not want to earn money. Stop wasting money marketing new ranges and please bring back all the good things!

Maybe it’s time to start hoarding bottles when I fly back to Singapore in June.

This perfume oil lasts for ages and is not overly cloying. Standard spray-on perfumes tend to overwhelm upon initial application and fade quickly, but this stays on for hours and hours consistently, which I love.

I often layer this with my Chloé perfume because that doesn’t last long, and I like the additional musk. Often, vanilla-based perfumes have the tendency to make you smell like a bakery but this manages to keep the vanilla note without making you out to be a breathing, living cupcake.

If vanilla isn’t quite your thing, you can check out the other scents in this range. They also come in other forms, like a body mist, shower gel, and body lotion. I bought it for $22.50 SGD if I’m not wrong, which is probably around £10-11. I’m not quite sure if you can buy it still but you could try scouring eBay.

5. Vitamin E Moisture Cream

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This is one of the best moisturisers I’ve used and it cleared up my acne for the first 2 months of usage. After that the acne bacteria probably got used to it and developed some sort of immunity? I have zero clue about how this works please don’t lecture me about it thanks #badscience

I got it before they started offering the larger 100ml size but it was a bit cheaper then, £11 compared to £12 (they’ve changed the packaging now to a very patriotic British flag design). I got it during a sale, 50% off so I got it at £5.50. I probably wouldn’t buy it at full price (why is my whole blog post about me talking about discounts? I’m so Singaporean) when there are much cheaper alternatives, but if you’re extremely frustrated with your skin and would like to try a cream that is suitable for combination skin, I would recommend giving this a go.

A little honestly goes a long way and I would like to see this cream in a pump dispenser, which will be more convenient and infinitely more hygienic than repeatedly dipping my fingers that have touched every surface possible- even if I washed my hands before application, exposure to air/dust etc isn’t very good either. I used a tiny spatula that was originally used for ice-cream to apply it, but it was a hassle half the time.

The original price for the 50ml is £12. The 100ml is £18 (admittedly the better deal).

BONUSBody butters

This post cannot be complete without the product that probably made The Body Shop so well-known all over the world- body butter!

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Before they started marketing it as such, other brands called moisturisers, moisturisers. Now, every brand is coming up with their own version of body butter in various fruity scents. Sounds fancier, I guess.

In high school, we weren’t allowed to use perfume so the girls would apply these body butters after P.E. (gym) to smell nice. Everyone had their own ‘signature scent’ and when someone happened to buy the same scent there would be inevitable bitching in class with snide remarks (ahh, how immature we were). The class would always smell like a bloody fruit salad after P.E.

Still, at least it masked how bad the guys smelt.

My favourites have got to be the Papaya (limited edition, OOS), the Raspberry, and the Shea (which I have never owned but have always wanted to). These tubs never seem to run out and I have only managed to finish one. I have 6 unfinished ones, because The Body Shop keeps sending me free tubs along with their sales, or I pick up some because they are 60% off or something and I couldn’t resist.

***

I hope this post didn’t end up being a shameless plug for products. These are things I have honestly tried and loved and they worked for me. Of course, I would recommend visiting a store to try them out (the staff members are usually very generous with samples) and please, please, do patch tests for stuff you put on your face especially if you have sensitive skin. I would recommend waiting for sales and purchasing the products online, unless money isn’t an issue and you can’t be bothered with deals and sales.

The Body Shop is definitely more expensive than drugstore alternatives like Nivea, but I like the extra care they put into packaging and their various campaigns to help the environment and people in need. Plus, if you wait for the sales, some of their soaps and moisturisers can be cheaper than the drugstore alternatives too.

Read my other post where I lambast useless Body Shop products here (fairly, of course)!

Olay Total Effects 7-In-1 Day Cream (SPF 15) and Night Moisturiser

I’ve been using this product for about three months now, and I’d like to blog a little about it.

I ran out of my trusty The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream, and I didn’t want to buy it again at full price without any sales being on. I came across this range by Olay on Amazon (I honestly spend too much time on there) that was going at a discounted price of £13.50 for both the Day and Night cream, and I jumped at the chance since I’ve heard great reviews about it.

Olay claims that the cream is unscented- though I find the day cream does have the strong smell of sunblock to it (sniff it at a sample counter and you will know what I mean)

I like the night moisturiser a lot more because it’s lighter on the skin- the day cream leaves my face feeling very sticky and oily, which I guess is due to the fact I’m not used to wearing makeup or product on my face.

The day cream is good under foundation and I find it does help to even out skintone. It stings a little when I get really bad hormonal acne during the time of the month.

I found that with regular application of the day/night cream, my acne subsided somewhat for 4~5 weeks, which was quite a pleasant surprise for me as it’s not really something that the product is advertise to help with.

The acne was back with a vengeance after that, though (and also partly due to stress and my itchy fingers), so I would say it helps with acne for the first few weeks of application.

It will not help with hormonal acne, though, but it does leave your skin feeling moisturised and refreshed. I much prefer the night cream and confess to skipping the day cream on hot days even though I know I should have something with SPF on!

ba3a7-tumblr_inline_mi7t0pdd4v1qdlkygLikes:

tumblr_inline_mpl4nskDvl1qz4rgp Moisturising effect

tumblr_inline_mpl4nskDvl1qz4rgp Helps with acne for first few weeks

Dislikes:

tumblr_inline_mpl4np1jA61qz4rgp Strong chemical smell (day cream)

tumblr_inline_mpl4np1jA61qz4rgp Oily and sticky feeling (day cream)

Overall Rating (3.5/5)

3 and half