Post-Exam Celebrations

Exams are finally over with, I’m free! Although – I feel like the only times as a student you’re ever truly ‘care-free’ is the first weekend immediately post-exams, then the worries about your grades set in and finally, you’re happy briefly once you find out your marks (ideally being good grades) until the next semester begins. All up that amounts to around… 1 week the entire school year. Yay student life!

However, as exams finished on Friday – how did I celebrate my weekend of happiness?

My Fiance and I decided to go on a little mini-break to a beautiful place called Hanmer Springs in New Zealand. It’s our favourite place to go and we’ve managed to get here just about once a year since we started living in Christchurch. As soon as we make that turn off onto Hanmer Springs Road I instantly feel calmer and happier, it’s absolutely breathtaking. It’s in New Zealand but has a wonderful ‘alpine town’ feel about it. There are a lot of activities to do including horse trekking, golf, skiing, hiking and – our favourite, pampering and soaking in the thermal pools and the spa before having dinner at one of the many fantastic restaurants.

This year the trip also coincided with our 5 year anniversary so we went all out and had the most incredible pamper morning at the spa on Saturday. The spa at Hanmer is so relaxing, the service has always been fantastic and I love their attention to the minor details – right down to underfloor heating in the changing room and the comfiest slippers. Our morning started off with a 30-minute steam which was very welcome after a morning that started off at -4 degrees! We then had a 1-hour full body massage followed by a 1-hour facial. I felt so relaxed and radiant afterwards.

After this, we were, obviously, tired and hungry after a hard morning of getting massages so we decided to grab some lunch and head back to the hotel to watch some movies and chill with some whiskey.

Perhaps not the wildest way to celebrate, but relaxation, good food, and good company are my ideal good time so it was perfection to me.

However you celebrate the end of exams/your equivalent – I hope it was wonderful and good luck for those results!

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My hair treat

Today, to distract myself from the horror of exams, I wanted to share something that relates to one of my passions in life – my hair. I have been trying to have long, lush hair since approximately 2006 when in a misguided attempt to be ‘cool’ I cut it all off to about chin length and have deeply regretted this choice ever since.

I don’t ever leave my hair alone, I’m constantly straightening, curling, dying, braiding and playing with it to try and see what I can achieve without the help of an actual hairdresser. Because of this, and due to my serious attachment to all the hair I have – I am constantly worrying about damage and whether my hair is suddenly going to all fall off.

I recently switched hairdressers here in Christchurch as for the last four years I have been hunting for the ever elusive good hair salon with the one hairdresser you click with and can happily trust your tresses to without fearing for the results. I believe I may have found such a place. I’ve been going to Balayage Hair for just about a year now and I love them. My hairdresser Alex unfortunately isn’t taking on any more clients, but every one of their stylists do phenomenal work.

On my first visit there, Alex and I spent a fair amount of time discussing my haircare routine and my main concerns. This prompted her to recommend Olaplex. This white gold of hair care smells amazing, makes my hair feel soft and shiny and also does lots of cool science things to make your hair stronger.

Olaplex itself is actually a hair treatment that is done in the salon when you’re getting colour work or chemical straightening done. Stage 1 and 2 will be done by your hairdresser. What you can buy to take home is ‘stage 3’ which is a hair perfector to top up your olaplex treatment between visits. It’s around $50 a bottle but a little goes a really long way, I use mine once a fortnight and only need around a $2 coins worth to do my ends and mid-lengths. One bottle would usually last me around 6 months depending on usage.

The main benefit of Olaplex (apart from the soft shiny factor) is that it really helps to prevent breakage, which long haired ladies will know is a big deal. It’s not the be all and end all to strong healthy hair, because there are a lot of factors associated with that, but it can go a long way to helping your hair break off less often and therefore enable it to grow longer. I started using it after a pretty dramatic balayage where I went from a deep brown to a warm blonde balayage through majority of the ends of my hair, which is where naturally your hair is the weakest anyway. However, since the Olaplex treatment I’ve noticed hardly any breakage and a significant improvement in the looks of my ends and how they feel. I try to remember to do it once a fortnight, but sometimes I just forget (you have to put it in before you wash your hair and leave it for a while) until I hop out of the shower, see the bottle and thing damn! So sometimes I’ll put it through the ends of my hair and sleep with it in for a really intensive treatment – it smells so nice that doing this does actually help me sleep!

If you’re as hair obsessed as I am then I highly recommend you ask your hairdresser whether Olaplex is right for you, it’s hair-changing, especially if you’re lightening your hair.

olpaplex pic

How to adult?

Hello!

My better half is away off on some soldier type stuff in what I am assuming is an isolated, cold part of the country to be in during Winter – so clearly he’ll be having a wonderful time.

In the meantime, I’m home. By myself.

When he goes away, it’s when I realise that I don’t really know what being an adult and actually looking after myself is. My mum sadly doesn’t live in the same city as me or trust me, I’d just move back in with her for the duration so she could look after me. But not an option.

Simple things like cooking, cleaning or even going to bed just become ten times harder when I have to find the motivation to make myself do it. If I don’t do it… who’s going to know? Who will care? I’ll get round to it at some point but until he’s actually home what is the point? This is the constant mental battle I fight daily. Note: I feel I should just point out I’m not living in some sort of trash heap garbage dump FYI, but maybe I’m not doing dishes or laundry as often as I normally would…

I honestly feel like when I was younger and mum and dad would leave me home alone for the night. It was terrifying. Simple things like checking the doors are locked and turning the lights off before bed have become a mad sprint session around the house to try race to the safety of bed before whatever scary thing I’m imagining somehow manages to get me. Which is ridiculous.

Even cooking. What’s the point in making a meal for just me? I mean sure I could freeze it and be all organised and stuff, but then again, I could just have toast. For every meal. The toast topping options are really limitless and everyone needs carbs. Right?

Don’t even get me started on trying to make a fire, there’s definitely a part of me that tries to avoid doing it no matter how cold it is just because I know once I burn through the wood inside I have to brave the terrifying possibility of spiders in the woodshed to go get more and I’m just not cold enough to be down for that yet. A blanket, 2 dressing gowns, bed socks and a hot water bottle are doing me fine.

I assumed becoming an ‘adult’ would come with some sort of handing down of knowledge about how to be an adult, look after yourself and a house and a car and all the other responsibilities in life. Unfortunately, maybe mine got lost in the mail?

We’re all still figuring this out but please reassure me that I’m not the only adult that probably shouldn’t actually be called a real ‘adult’.

Finding your chill.

Stress.

We all deal with it at some point or another, if you’re a student like me it’s probably your semester long companion. In fact, stress and I are hanging out right now!

I don’t have any fancy studies or research to show you that will give you a magic pill to find out how to calm your farm. But I am going to share what works for me 🙂 Five in fact!

  1. Don’t be hard on yourself. This is a big one for me when I am stressed every tiny little detail of my day down to what I said to someone at 9 this morning gets over-analysed and I tear myself apart for doing stupid things or wasting time or not being more efficient and there’s just no point. I often miss working out when I am stressed because I need more sleep and I simply have to prioritise my time to get things done if it’s stressing me out so much, which leads to a hate spiral of being lazy and not working out meaning I’ll be hideously unattractive and shunned forever. Not only is this not true, it is damaging and it puts you into a negative headspace when you do this, meaning the rest of the day is coloured by how annoyed you are at yourself, which means you’re probably going to take that out on other people. No Bueno when you’re trying to find your zen.
  2. Drinking a cup of tea. I’ve been told numerous times that I am the maestro of tea, I pride on being able to make a brew so good it can chase the stress away. Tea or whatever your ‘cosy’ drink of choice is, can turn a frown upside down. It’s warm, it’s energising, it feels like a worthy excuse to step away from the books and the time it takes to sip away a cup of tea is usually enough peace and quiet for me to put things into perspective and plan a way out. Which leads into the next point:
  3. Plan. Having a plan is SO helpful. If I am feeling overwhelmed or stressed, particularly about workload, I find sitting down and planning out how I can use my time between now and D-Day really helps me to feel calm and make the whole situation seem more manageable. Until I do this my brain comes up with 100’s of possibilities as to why I am never going to complete my work and will be a failure forever, but planning can show my brain that it’s just being silly.
  4. Get enough sleep. Pulling all-nighter or lying awake at night can seem like a tempting option when you’re so stressed sleep feels impossible. But a good nights rest can do wonders for how you feel. If I’m having trouble sleeping I try to do breathing exercises, such as this one. Also, lavender drops on my pillow can really help. Don’t go overboard on this though if you’re going to try it as there is definitely such a thing as too much lavender scent. Trust me.
  5. Go for breaks with friends. Literally get away from your own company! You are your own worst enemy at this point. Go meet with people who can support and uplift you – this is definitely not a waste of your valuable time. No one needs to go through stress alone 🙂

Thank you!

Hello!

I just really wanted to say to everyone that since my ANZAC day post and my post about social media and how I feel about sharing my thoughts online to the public, that the feedback I got was so overwhelming in a lovely way! I had old friends, people I hadn’t heard from in years, new friends, colleagues, people at school all telling me their thoughts or what they thought of my blog. Thankfully all positive!

It was genuinely so amazing. I always hoped people would enjoy what I had written but it was never the be all and end all, and I assumed people would have other stuff to do and not really care about my opinion enough to give me five minutes of their day. It makes me feel so happy to know people have been giving me their time and reading my thoughts! Thank you so so much 🙂

There will be a longer post for ‘how was your week’ on Sunday but I really wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you. It definitely means a lot and I love that people feel comfortable contacting me to let me know what they think – it made my day!

Ellie x

To my mum,

Today is mothers day in New Zealand. A day when I frantically hope the card and letter I posted has arrived on time, and try to make sure I send my mum a text and facebook message to ensure she’s aware that on this one day, I make sure to say I love you and thank you for supporting me.

Which is bizarre really. I feel the same way about mothers day as I do about fathers day and valentines day. Which is that it is so strange to wait all year to say these things when really they deserve to be said every single day. But I don’t. I doubt many people do actually say ‘thanks, mum, you’re doing great and I love you.’ on a daily basis.

I hope it’s one of those things that don’t need to be said. That even when she doesn’t hear from me, or I don’t text her, or we haven’t skyped that week or we’ve had an argument or at any time, I hope that my mum knows that I will always love her. I wouldn’t be who I am today without my family and particularly the support of my mum. I also would probably have a completely different family who would no doubt not be as awesome without my mum.

So, even though I’ve done what I do every year and waited until Mothers day to say it – thanks mum. Thanks for listening to me after traumatic trips to the dentist, for coming to my house and basically looking after me even though you’re the guest, for always loving me still even when I’m being unreasonable and obnoxiously so, for understanding me when it doesn’t feel like anyone else does, for speaking your mind even if it’s hard for me to hear, for letting me chase all my crazy dreams and ideas and for always sharing in my successes as if they were yours too. In a way, they all are because you’re very much a part of how I can achieve them.

I do miss living in the same town as you, and I can’t wait to see you in England in a few months. I hope you have a wonderful day today and that Dad can make you cups of tea and take you out for breakfast in my place. You have done and are doing a good job at being a mum and I hope today you can appreciate yourself as much as I do.

It’s a bit soppy but, love you mum, thanks for not ditching me after my first (of many) tantrums. You’re awesome xmothers day.png

Letting go

Hello Loves,

This is more of a conversational post because I thought it would be nice to share some of my views on social media and my experience with it.

I’m part of a generation who grew up with dial-up internet and having to yell at your sister to get off the phone so you could go online to one of the five websites that existed at the time. Social media and the online world has changed so much, even in my short lifetime and the way I relate to it has changed also.

I am very comfortable with friends on social media, however publishing thoughts and blogging online has been a dream and a fear for a large part of my life. If I had to count up all the random blogs I’ve started over the years and abandoned because I was too scared to actually share them we would literally be here forever.

However, now, I’ve realised I’m heading myself up for a life of ‘what ifs?’. What is the worst that can happen from sharing my thoughts in a little corner of the internet? That people might see them? Is that not the point? Art is meant to be seen and enjoyed and writing is my art form. It’s something I have always loved to do and have always felt would be a large part of my life.

This blog is a way for me to take back control of my writing and actually let myself write about whatever I happen to be thinking about at the time, as opposed to writing about whatever legal principle I’ve been assigned that week.

I feel like the internet is an amazing and terrifying place all at the same time. Last night, going over twitter (@ellieolivia 🙂 ) and tweeting some of my most inspirational heroes and mentors and having them reply was surreal. It really got me thinking about how social media brings us so close to those we most admire in a way that we’ve never been able to do before. This is incredible! Yet it also brings us closer to people we don’t know, who will judge us on a post, or a picture or a layout. Or even the way we do our makeup. This is very scary.

The thing that has held me back the most is, sadly, the thoughts of people I do know. A stranger disliking my writing is easy to deal with because I’ll never know. My friends and family judging me for what I write is much harder to ignore and is much more concerning for me. But, I think at 23 it’s now or never to decide you don’t care and ‘you just gonna do you’. If people don’t like what I do here, I appreciate that they gave it a chance and moved on. If they do then that’s obviously even better!

But at the end of the day, I no longer want to live a life in fear of what everyone else will think of me. So I’m going to do it now, for me.

Let me know your own thoughts on the internet and social media! I would love to hear them,

Love,

Ellie x

How was your week?

This week has had some really enjoyable times! It started off with a bang on ANZAC day and even had some traumatic drama on Friday morning (so much for FriYAY!).

ANZAC, as you may have gathered from my post on the subject (if you haven’t check it out Lest we forget), is a very important day in the calendar of an Army girlfriend. It involves getting up early and assisting with uniform prep, going to the dawn service and appreciating the organisation your partner works for. I always really appreciate it when partners and families of serving soldiers are acknowledged, as it definitely affects both parties.

After that the boys went off around the RSA’s drinking while I went and hung out with some friends – we made breakfast together and hung out before joining the boys at the RSA later. It was such a relaxing fun day. Also very tiring thanks to that early morning!

Even though I didn’t do anything, Monday also signified the start of the Tone It Up Bikini series! This is a challenge run by trainers Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott where for 8 weeks every meal and workout are planned and you just need to stick to it for the best results. I really enjoy this, it’s always that burst of motivation I need to get through the winter slump. I’ve really bought into the whole Tone It Up lifestyle, I think their vibe and message are so positive and motivating. (If you’re interested in seeing what they’re about check them out here.) So every day this week I’ve been getting up, doing my tone it up bootycall (always makes me laugh) and dutifully posting it on social media in the hopes of winning the prize of a free holiday to Turks and Caicos, who doesn’t love that??

Friday morning I had to go to the dentist for a filling repair. Now, I don’t think of myself as a particularly anxious person or someone who suffers from panic attacks. In fact, I am happily normal! But I have a legit phobia of injections. Knowing I was going to receive a local anaesthetic for this procedure was awful, it kept me awake the night before and the whole drive to the dentist it was all I could think about. As soon as I walked into the surgery and got in that chair I could already feel the choking, hot sensation of panicking and began tensing and clenching my fists in response. Now, the dentist was already well aware of my fears – I had been very honest at my checkup about my response to needles. Yet he decided the best way to deal with my now crying (in my defence it was just silent tears slipping out my eyes not a major sobfest) panicked state was to tell me to calm down or the whole experience would be made even worse. Was that the best thing to say? Spoiler alert! no.

Panic increased tenfold and I now also felt very much out of control because the dentist had effectively told me off. I also felt so ashamed. So I had to close my eyes, try to focus on breathing and keeping my hands still but the whole time I was crying and shaking like a leaf. Afterwards, I felt so rude but without saying anything I literally grabbed my bag and just had to run out to my car where I just sat and cried while shaking for around 20 minutes or so.

Can I just say I feel very strongly that no matter what induces these panicked feelings in you no person, doctor or professional of any kind has any right to make you feel ashamed. Your reactions to a stressful situation are 100% valid and should be supported. In hindsight, I wish I had been more organised and arranged for my partner to get the morning off work to come with me, or arranged a friend to come and support me as I know that would’ve made me feel calmer. I am well aware I am in no danger at the dentist, I haven’t ever really experienced anything traumatic in my life at a dentist’s office. But that does not mean my fear of the pain of a needle is stupid or silly. So while this is somewhat of a tangent in a ‘how was your week’ post I just really want to put it out there that all of those people who like me have ‘irrational’ fears – we are not irrational! We are normal, our feelings are valid and you do not need to be ashamed. We can try to learn from every experience and find ways to help ourselves cope with these situations, but only because that’s better for us, not because our feelings are ‘silly’.

My week definitely finished off on a high note with meeting someone new and interesting over coffee, a hilarious evening with the work colleagues and an amazing dinner at a friends house on Saturday.

Today (Sunday) I am attempting a 20km run having realised my half marathon is in 2 weeks and I literally have done nothing so please wish me luck!!! I will need it!!!!

Let me know how your week went 🙂

love

ellie x

 

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Lesson #1

Hello,

Welcome back to ellieslightblog.

Now as I mentioned in my last post, I have attempted to start my lightjourney. I have already had my first lesson.

1. Do not start too early.

Yes, there is such a thing is being too eager beaver. Basically, where I am Autumn begins in March. So mid-February inspiration struck and I constructed my low-cost autumn capsule wardrobe (proper post on this to follow). However, mid-February it’s still summer. It’s hot. So the whole thing hasn’t really worked out how I hoped.

I’ve constantly had to go get my summer gear out of the storage box which has been a pain and I’ve then had to mingle it in with my capsule wardrobe just to save me the trips to the garage every five minutes.

So, I’ve put my journey on hold till March, which thankfully is only about a week away. Right now is when I should’ve designed my wardrobe! But hey, at least it’s done, I’ve  got it in my ‘Stylebook’ app (get it guys this thing is incredible!) ready to go when it’s actually autumn. But it would’ve been nice to have been able to get into it a bit sooner!

 

So there you go guys, lesson one. Learn from my mistake!

Now, I’m off for a cuppa

xxx

Hello, it’s me

Hi!

Welcome to Ellie’s Light Journey. This is as much a new environment for me as it is for you, so feel free to take a look around (and let me know if you find anything wrong!) and get to know the place.

Me

I’m new to blogging, but I thought i’d give you what I consider the key facts about me:

  1. I’m 23
  2. I love tea, my blood is 70% earl grey
  3. Coffee is a close runner up
  4. I would rather have tea and a good book than a night raging on the town
  5. I also love food. I’m a stomach oriented person.
  6. I am a student
  7. I live in a beautiful country and I adore it.
  8. I’m a hoarder
  9. I am not a blogger, or a fashion critic or a photographer. I’m new to this and so I will make mistakes and/or take terrible photos. But hey, it’s part of the fun right?

What is Ellie’s Light Journey? 

Ellie’s lightjourney is my way of documenting the trials and pitfalls (and hopefully the successes) of my lifestyle – including my goal this year of having a capsule wardrobe!

The Basics of capsule wardrobe life

Basically, the magic number is 37. 37 items in your wardrobe total, not including your old trackpants, gym clothes, pyjamas etc. Just your everyday wearing clothes. This breaks down into:

  •  2 dresses
  • 2 Jackets
  • 9 ‘bottoms’
  • 15 tops
  • 9 shoes

So the ‘game’ if you will, is that there are four seasons (spring, summer, autumn and winter) and in the last two weeks of a season you think about your style and what your look for the next season will be, plan and budget for it, shop for it and then wear only those clothes for the entire next season. As in no clothes shopping. Zero. Nada. Wtf.

So.. I’ve had a go at paring down the wardrobe the other day. There’s already been some tantrums!

Anyway, welcome to my space it’s lovely to have you. I’d love to sit down and have a cuppa tea with you!

Byebye!

Ellie