Review | L'Oreal Bambi Eye False Lash Mascara

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When I was chosen to try and test the Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir mascara, courtesy of John Lewis and Marc Jacobs themselves, I thought the mascara game peaked.  To my dismay, it dried up like a drought so it was time to invest in a new one.  I couldn't justify spending more than fifteen pounds on a new bottle but found astonishing before and afters regarding the Bambi Eye.  When I rocked up to Boots I noticed only one was remaining and decidedly purchased it.  Although £11 is very steep on a makeup product that will expire/run out quick, impulse took over.  Nonetheless, I am extremely pleased with the results.  Here is a quick post about my experience.  

Formula

The mascara formula itself is mobile and erring on the side of a gel or 'buttercream' like texture.  It does dry quicker than other mascaras I've used in my experience so application should be quick.  However, it isn't difficult to layer up with a second or third coat.  In my opinion, one coat is more than enough for everyday and saves you product!  Adding more layers tends to accentuate the clumpy lash appearance.  Furthermore, over time as the mascara oxidises it has a tendency to crumble on impact such as rubbing your eyes, wearing glasses, etc. so be mindful.  

Application 

Given the short bristles on the symmetrical dome cylinder applicator, you are able to coat each eyelash evenly.  Therefore, the user can get a good grip and layer of mascara at the root of the lashes and glide upwards in one swift motion.  It prevents a clumpy appearance and allows your lashes to look more fluttery, separated, and voluminous.  As mentioned before, due to the nature of the formula, adding coats will produce a spidery/clumpy appearance. 

Price

It's expensive.  Especially in a drugstore setting, this is a higher range mascara.  With that being said, it is extremely comparable to luxury brand labels such as Marc Jacobs, Lancome, and They're Real by Benefit which are pricier.  Thus, though it is expensive and could lead one to believe they should invest in a higher-end brand, the outcome demonstrates that it is actually quite a steal in the mascara market.   

Longevity 

If you do not wash your eye makeup off, this mascara can easily last 2 days with the nearly the same impact.  This mascara can withstand 24 hours as long as one doesn't excessively rub their eyes or have contact with water.   It remained fresh after a 12 hour day.  It certainly gives the appearance of subtle falsies.





** I do not apply mascara to my lower eyelashes regularly as depicted here. **

Overall Thoughts

I do not wear makeup on a daily basis but this is certainly one product that has quickly become a staple in my collection.  If you admire that intense false eyelash appearance without the glue, this is perfect.  I certainly will be repurchasing this product because this is my favourite mascara of the drugstore and high-end luxury brands that I've tried.  

Thank you for reading!

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Masters in Public Health at Imperial | An Overview

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I've recently received quite a few emails and DMs asking about Public Health, what does it entail, the difficulty, and about Imperial as a university in general.  Rather than answering everyone individually, I figured it would be most fruitful if I did a blogpost describing my experience overall.  If you are new, welcome!  In the past I did a walkthrough of second term, and only one post about first term, during my MPh and here are the respective links: 









Studying at Imperial

As Shakespeare once said, 'What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.'  Regardless of what university you attend, it is up to you to gain the ultimate experience.  It is what you take from it; which no one can take from you, irrespective of the university.  I've had readers message me absolutely distraught that they were rejected from Imperial.  Yes it is an excellent university, but it isn't the only excellent university by far.  There are many strong Public/Global Health courses that one can attend.  I was rejected from King's and London School of Tropical Medicine and though I was upset, I couldn't be happier now.  Anyone can bear the fruits of their labour with hard work.  Opportunities are open to everyone as long as you know where to look.  On top of that, the charts state that Imperial is fourth after LSE, Cambridge, and Warwick for MPh courses so choose the university based on the modules and location.

Part of why I wanted to study at Imperial was simply to enjoy the London experience.  As a city girl, this was a dream.  Memories of walking through Hyde park to lectures, driving past the London Eye, walking along the Thames never escape me.  If you aren't a city person, bare this in mind because the hustle and bustle never stops.  Friends of mine claim that it was difficult to 'switch off' so many of them travelled to their home towns in order to study effectively for exams or complete coursework.  Personally, this was less of a struggle for myself because the adrenaline rush of a metropolitan lifestyle acted as motivation. 

I was based at St. Marys near Paddington Station and lived in Little Venice.  It was a gorgeous little area with stunning architecture and asian store galore alongside being situated within walking distance to Oxford Circus.  I had a ten minute walk into university for the most of Term 1 and Term 2 was a mix between St Marys, South Kensington (30-40 minute walk from my house), and occasionally Hammersmith or Charing Cross Hospital which required the tube.  For Term 3, I was predominantly working from home with meetings weekly at St Marys.  

In my experience, Imperial do expect innovation and creative thinking.  The more originality in your courseworks, written pieces, research, etc. the more likely you are to do well.  All of your knowledge is applied; thus, it sticks like glue.  I find myself constantly using my skills from my degree in medical school. 

Nonetheless, they actively trained the public health students to think in this manner.  This correlates with the way the degree classification is set up: your maximum classification is the grade of your dissertation.  For example, if you averaged a distinction (70%+) in all your modules but got 65% (merit) or 55% (pass), then you can only score a merit or pass respectively despite your modules.  Unlike other universities or my undergraduate which was the overall percentage equals overall classification.  In addition, if you are only allowed to get less than 70% or 60% in two modules in order to still be able to get a distinction or merit which can prove difficult in Public Health.  Public health is very multidisciplinary with courses ranging from statistics and coding to economics and anthropology.  Some students may excel in statistics but conceptual or theoretical subjects such as anthropology or politics.   There is more information on the Imperial Website regarding their grading system as I realise this could be poorly explained. 

Term 1

Term one consisted of the following subjects:


  • Introduction to Statistics (using STATA/R)
  • Foundations of Public Health  
  • Introduction to Epidemiology
  • Disease Masterclass
  • Health Economics
Statistics
As the name suggests, this subject encompassed statistics from a data analyse.  Not only do you learn the theory, but we utilise a software (STATA for the MPh and R for MSc Epidemiology course) and real-life data which we work through in practical sessions on the computers.  If you have a Mac, then using the free version of STATA provided by the university will prove difficult so you may have to purchase it for one year.  This aided my learning significantly as I didn't need to run Windows to launch the programme.  

Assessments: two exams. 
The first exam was 20% and assessed our use of STATA on the computer.  We were given data to analyse and we had to answer questions based on what were able to find out using STATA.  This required knowledge of coding and interpretation (P values, Confidence Intervals, etc.).  This exam was in late November/December.  I revised for this by revising the practice material and familiarising myself with codes.  I even produced a 'deck of codes' on powerpoint to remember specific parameters.  

The second exam was our final (80%) which in late January.  It was a paper based exam that tested our theory and application of statistics.  You do not need to search beyond the lecture and practical material in order to do well.  We were given two practice papers which were a fair representation of what to expect on the real test.  

Public Health
Unsurprisingly, this was one of my favourite modules.   This highlighted the core values of public health, how to produce project implementation documents, policy change, conduct research in a population, the logistics and stakeholders in projects, as well as an insight to analysis and utilisation of big data.  There were many frameworks involved to suggest methods of behaviour change, improve diagnostics, etc.  It allowed one to experience the managerial and admin side to public health at a local and approachable level.  In addition, we watched an episode of Crisis Command which was certainly the highlight. 

Assessment: One piece of coursework.  

The coursework entailed producing an intervention that would solve a specific issue in any country of your choosing and the steps involved.  Although it seems straight forward, it is a 4000 word 'mini thesis' some would say.  The title of mine was 'Sanchaar: A new intervention to increase infant immunisation coverage using mobile health technology among mothers in rural Hardoi City, Uttar Pradesh, India.'  and my coursework discussed the background, rationale, existing interventions, implementation,  steps in monitoring, and sustainability of the project.   This was the most realistic piece of work I've produced which has given me various skills in data analysis, how to begin and implement a research project, and the steps involved before beginning an intervention.  

Epidemiology
This module was the study of studies: cross-sectional, retrospective, case reports, randomised control trials, etc.  You name it.  We learnt it.  Not only did we gain knowledge of how to conduct trials but what type of information we can extract from them (hazard risk, odds ratio, risk ratio, ..) as not all studies provide information that can satisfy all types of statistical analysis.  On top of this, the module informed us of various types of biases and effect modifiers which is vital when it comes to critical appraisal of research papers and conducting your own research during term 3.  

Assessment: two exams. 

The first exam (10%) was 20 minutes - yes you read that right.  It was a twenty minute long exam which involved answering questions about calculations, biases, and extracting data for a research paper.  By this logic, it shouldn't take you longer than 20 minutes to completely dissect a paper. 

Exam two (90%) was a purely paper based exam similar to statistics.  We had two practice papers which, again, were a fair representation of the real test.  

Disease Masterclass
I must say this is the coolest module title ever.  Disease masterclass is the epidemiology of various diseases such as cardiovascular, dementia, tuberculosis, infectious, and cancer for example.  In addition, we had lectures on optimising current data for change and policy implementation, use of vaccines in respiratory diseases, inequality, and social determinants of health.  Think of 'Foundations of Public Health' and 'Epidemiology' as the trunk, and disease masterclass forms the branches of the MPh tree.  It put in action all that was learnt in the other modules so it tied in well with the rest of the course. 

Assessment: one piece of coursework. 

The coursework entailed critically appraising a research paper (a choice from two).  Last time I checked, this was subject to change and the module will be re-done as it was the first year it was run during 2017/2018. I will do a separate blogpost on how to write academic papers and critically appraise a research paper.  

Health Economics
This is in my top three of favourite modules.  I never fully understood politics or economics.  It was a subject matter that went over my head so I couldn't engage properly in conversation regarding the topic as I had nothing to contribute.  Personally, I didn't know where to start to gain knowledge about health economics.  Now, I feel more confident discussing economics and policy.  It highlighted economy from a general point of view whilst narrowing down into its use in medicine and healthcare.  We learnt about how the government funds the NHS, criteria in determining the funding of drugs or innovations, and private vs public health care.  

Assessment: One coursework and one exam. 

The coursework was an economic evaluation of a specific procedure, technique, or tool that takes place in the context of the NHS. My project was the 'Cost utility analysis of planned vaginal delivery and elective caesarean section for women aged over 40 in England'.  Very specific.  The skills I developed was producing a decision tree which is a very elaborate diagram that illustrates everything that could go wrong and end up costing the NHS money, sensitivity analysis, the importance of considering quality adjusted life years (QALYs) or Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) when making economic decisions.  

The exam was a multiple choice exam of 50 questions.  This looked at the theoretical side of microeconomics rather than application though it required a thorough understanding of fundaments and basics in the subject.



Term 2: 

This is where you can pick your stream: Global Health or Health Services.  I decided to pick Global Health because I was intrigued by the Global Health Innovations model and always desired to work on a larger scale in various countries bar my own.

  • Global Health Challenges and Governance
  • Global Health Innovation
  • Health Systems Development  - Optional 
  • Contemporary topics in International Health Policy - Optional 
Other optional units that one can pick is available on the Imperial Website here

Global Health Challenges and Governance
As the title suggests, this subject discussed the governance within global health such as stakeholders, services, and ideas involved.  It is very difficult to explain this module in words given that it was very diverse within itself.  Each lecture looked at a topic such as nutrition, housing, hygiene, transport, climate change, conflict etc. and the inequalities, inequity, health determinants, and how to improve health outcomes.  

Assessment: This module is purely coursework.

-Self reflective weekly video blogs (2): This involved producing a video in whatever way you wish.  Many of my peers produced a powerpoint video similar to a lecture-style recording whereas I preferred speaking into the camera with a whiteboard to explain and elaborate my points.  I discussed diet fads (gluten-free, and senna tea) and impact on nutritional health of the population, and climate change (the Paris Agreement Act as this was topical at the time) but you can choose any topic that is relates to the lectures.  

-One case study of 1000 words:  This was a very mini version of the public health intervention coursework.  However, you will be given a scenario that needs to be improved rather than thinking of one from the ground up yourself. 

-One written article of 500 words: You can choose from a list the type of article you wish to write.  The one I had picked was addressing the link between obesity and depression/anxiety for a magazine.  Thus, this required you to adjust your literary language to one that the general public could understand as this is an important concept in public health.  Many scientists are unable to explain the issue, yet we continue to blame the population for their lack of understanding.  The use of lay mans terms is vital in public health. 

Global Health Innovation
Of everything I have studied in the last 23 years, this continues to be my favourite by miles.  Global health Innovations is as it says on the tin - innovations or inventions that have taken place in global health.  Not only does it talk about existing inventions but the steps involved in creating one.  The overlap with design and technology with policy is what made this enticing.  It concentrated on low and middle income countries though topics such as 'reverse innovation' (technology developed in lower countries first, before being utilised in richer countries) were met and their especial importance in the age of the NHS.  This module overlapped with Global Health Challenges and Governance which enables students to achieve to big picture with regards to Global Health challenges, potential solutions, and how to implement them.  

Assessment:  This module is purely coursework.

-'Minute of Madness' (10%) - if you thought the 20 minute epidemiology exam was short, ten percent of our grade was assessed through a one minute elevator pitch which required us to sell an existing innovation of our choice. 

-Innovation Sandbox Group Presentation (45%) - a presentation in a group setting about an existing innovation, discussing its relevance, importance, and unmet need.  This required overlap with the global health governance module.  

-Case study of 500 words (45%) - a further coursework on an innovation of your choosing which can be the same as your elevator pitch. 

Health Systems Development
Given that I chose the Global Health stream rather than the Health Systems Services (HSS), I wanted to pick a subject that tied in with so I can stick my hands in two pies.  We learnt about how a health system is developed, the governance, challenges, stakeholders, and policies involved during the process, how to ensure its sustainability, Universal Health Coverage, Health Impact Assessment, and optimising health service delivery for example.  Although very important, it was slightly drier than my other subjects though this was more practical and I use even now during my extra curricular projects.

Assessment: This was a purely coursework module.  

-Health Impact Assessment Presentation (30%) that discusses the affect on a population and ways to mitigate negative effects during situations such as building a new runway in an airport, fracking, or hosting the Olympic games.  

-A case study report answering questions about a specific scenario on how to improve a health system effectively.  (70%)

Contemporary topics in International Health Policy
This module provides an introduction to contemporary issues in health policy on a global scale.  The issues that were tackled were adjusted based on 'live issues' such as sustainability of health care systems, regulation of health care markets, trends in health care innovation, economic implication of global health challenges, social wellbeing, health and individual behaviour, social and environmental determinants of health, and roles of different stakeholders in health policy making to name a few.  We covered topics such as alcohol, drug use, obesity, nutrition, and environmental risks. 

Assessment: one coursework and one exam.  

Our coursework was a group work study that discussed a health policy we wish to implement and how we plan to go about doing so.  For example, the target of the policy, how we wish to design it, factors that may act as a hinderance, and key actors.  Our project was 'Out of sight, out of mind - A UK based policy to reduce youth exposure to smoking imagery'.  

The exam was three essay based questions regarding a health issue that was discussing in lectures and creating a way to implement a policy to target this problem, or the impact of existing policies such as Sugar Tax for example.  


Term 3: Research

I discussed my entire research journey in a series of posts linked below.   This will outline, in detail, the ups and downs of my project.  The main difficulty for me was self-teaching R programming.  This was the main obstacle which I will do an in-dept separate post regarding the resources I used to utilise R effectively and with confidence.






The way you choose your research project is by ranking your top three favourite choices and sending in an application (cover letter and CV) to the supervisor explaining why you wish to pursue that particular topic.  They will then decide, either on the basis of your paper application or via a face-to-face interview, if you are selected to work under their wing for your dissertation.  I was lucky enough to get my first choice in vaccinations given that my passion as been immunology and immunisation.  It linked well with my undergraduate thesis which touched on the importance of vaccination.  Some individuals on my course had the opportunity to travel for their thesis, work closely with hospitals, or analyse raw data provided to them, but a majority were systemic reviews or meta analysis of data.  

Overall Thoughts

In essence, I absolutely loved my masters.  I would re-live those moments again if I could.  Not only was the subject matter tailored to my interests, but you are working with students of various walks of life.  It is impressive how much you learn in the span of one year.  Never has information stuck like it had during my masters.  The various methods of assessing knowledge (vlogs- can you believe it?),  and the numerous courseworks you produce demonstrate a diverse range of skills that can be applied in various disciplines of work.  I hope this provided insight to one of the best years of my life.  May better years come!

Thank you for reading.  


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The Positivity Tag

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Lately, I've been in a bit of a funk and have been struggling with writers block this year.  This explains the sparse amount of posts on my blog.   Instead of doing a 'where have I been' post, I decided to just gloss over my hiatuses.  To help me, and perhaps even bring a smile on your face, I decided to do the positivity tag! I am surprised this hasn't been done excessively in the past amongst the blogging community but its short, sweet, and simple.  Enjoy!

Name three things in your life that make you feel happy and positive.

Reading is something I thoroughly enjoy.  Mental stimulation of some sort is extremely satisfying which is why I almost always have my nose deep in a novel or textbook.  My favourite fiction authors include Khaled Hosseini, Sophie Kinsella, Jodi Picoult, and Jane Austen.  Non fiction novels include The Health Gap, Pathology of Power, Status Power, Genome, Epigenetics, and Nature vs. Nurture for example. 

Dance is a huge positive adrenaline source for myself.  Whether it be Kathak, Bhangra, or Hip-hop, nothing can lift my mood more than grooving in the privacy of my own room or taking dance lessons.  It injects a huge amount of energy into my system, irrespective of how drained I feel mentally or physically. 

Finally, seva.  Seva, also known as as 'selfless service', is where one acts to help others without expectations.  It can be in the form of volunteering for a charity, making food for the homeless, or being a part of community programmes to benefit others.  It doesn't have to be part of an organisation and can simply be buying a homeless individual a sandwich, helping an individual with their groceries home, or even lending a hand to a friend.  Acts like this nourish the soul.

"Living creatures are nourished by food, and food is nourished by rain; rain itself is the water of life, which comes from selfless worship and service." - Bhagavad Gita, 3.14

What do you do to try and be more positive?

Books ranging from self-help books to Holy text, alongside prayer and meditation enable me to ease any anxiety, tension, or stress.  It doesn't completely erase any negative emotions but in my experience, it provides me strength to deal with the situation with a positive outlook.  In terms of day to day, writing a list of ten things that I am grateful for at the end of the day is a great way to slowly shift your thinking over time.  Positivity needs to be exercised, like a muscle, to grow stronger. 

What do you like to do to relax?

Individuals source relaxation from various sources.  Relaxation comes from spending time with my parents or loved ones.  I love playing cards for example over going to clubs or parties.  Spending time with a small group of people is a great get-away from real life.  On the other hand, practicing kathak diminishes any stress as the padhant/beats of kathak or classical Indian dance is very calming for me.  Finally, as mentioned previously, reading novels and prayers/visiting houses of worship is a fantastic relaxation technique.  

What is your favourite positivity quote?

"You did not get this far to only get this far" 
Whenever life gets difficult, this quote acts as an accelerator to move forward.  Of course, in heightened emotions, all logic is out the window and I'm throwing toys out the pram.  Nonetheless, this quote reminds me that, yes, it has been a long journey, but you've come too far to quit now.  Fail forwards.

Everyone has a part of their body they dislike - say something positive about yours.

At the moment, I love my hair because of it's length.  I spent years constantly chopping it off when it gets to my belly but now it is finally growing out.  The weight of my hair means that it is significantly less frizzy and easier to manage with beachy waves instead of tight curls.  

Who are your positive role models?

Kristin Johns is my biggest motivation as she is unapologetically herself.  Many people have told me that I need to 'grow up', 'mature', and act more 'my age' which fed my insecurities tremendously.  Now,  I wear bows, pearl clips, and overalls because that is the real me.  Life is too short to be anyone else.  

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How to Get Work Experience for Medicine

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It's that time of the year where prospective students for medical school are bright eyed and bushy tailed.  Getting into medical school (or any university degree nowadays) is no simple task.  One of the highest hurdles is gaining enough work experience to demonstrate your interest for the healthcare field but this isn't easy to come by.  A huge flaw is having the mindset that work experience shadowing a doctor is the most fruitful way to illustrate your understanding for the field and desire to learn but this is not the case.  Most medical schools are aware that work experience isn't handed out like candy and thus do not expect hours of shadowing written on your personal statement.  In fact, some of the most competitive students are the ones that haven't shadowed a doctor and went about a different path.  Here are a few ways you can gain appropriate work experience for the medicine course.

Ward Assistant.  A ward assistant is an in-patient care volunteering role that I personally carried out at various hospitals.  The main task is coming in during lunch time to feed patients that are unable to feed themselves for various reasons.  This is your atypical caring role which many universities expect to see. Other tasks include assisting the patient to the bathroom and simply accompanying them given that it can get very lonely in the wards.  I enjoyed this because there were times I would see the patient's health develop and, soon enough, they were able to carry out all these tasks themselves without the help of a third person.  As we know, nurses are in very high demand and having an extra pair of hands on the ward is priceless to them.  You gain a huge appreciation for nurses and understanding of their job role which is crucial when working in healthcare.  Most hospitals are always looking for ward assistants and volunteers so it is worth checking your local hospital's website.  Generally, this is not a highly demanding role which requires a couple hours a week max so it will not intrude or affect your a level studies. Furthermore, the direct patient contact will not only aid in gaining skills but nourishes the soul.  Similarly, one can volunteer in a care home, which I did not do so cannot speak much about it.  Nonetheless, it is  equally as rewarding.

GP Surgeries.  Many GP surgeries are looking for volunteers to man the front desk or help sign post patients to where they need to go.  This is experience I carried out every week during my GCSEs.  It is less likely that smaller GP surgeries will have such opportunities available and this role will not have much direct patient contact.  However, the role does not matter but it is what you take from it.   This role can aid in team working and communication skills as you will be working and communicating with other members of staff and the public, all of which are vital when applying for any medical course. 

Healthcare Assistant.  This is a very common paid role that many graduates in particular tend to lean towards but any student over the age of 16 is able to train and gain the qualifications required to become an HCA. Not only does this involve working with patients but you carry out health checks, monitor vitals, take blood, health promotion, feeding, and washing patients for example. The list is endless.  An HCA will provide clearer insight on how life as a junior doctor will fair (to an extent) as well as how one works in a multi-disciplinary team.  You will work closely with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff.  You can work part time or on 'bank' so, only when required urgently, you will be needed to work and this ensures it does not interfere too much with your school work.  I recommend carrying out the training and preparation over school holidays when there is less educational commitment.  

Summer Internships.  There are various summer internships that enable students to travel to less fortunate countries to work in hospitals or community centres.   Here is a link to one of many programmes available: Projects Abroad. The pros is that you work in professional clinical environments, shadow doctors and nurses, understand healthcare at a global level, and begin to learn essential medical skills that are similar to what HCAs carry out.  Students are sent out to Nepal, Philippines, and Sri Lanka for example and you can choose your destination and dates.  Another pro is that you can choose the length of the trip from one week so that you do not need to block out a huge amount of your summer holidays. If I had the courage and finances to do this, I would in a heart beat.  As someone who is passionate about global health this would be a God-send.  However, with that being said, a common con is the need to finance this trip yourself which can cost anywhere from £1,350 which can be steep for some.  

Anything else. This is a bullet point that I felt is very significant.  Even if you are unable to attain work experience that you are satisfied with, you can pull the necessary skills required of a doctor from other tasks.  For example, working in McDonalds or the Library can teach you discipline, communication, and team work.  You can learn leadership skills if you are designated manager of a project.  My freelance stylist job has enabled me to improve my communication and listening skills and understanding a client's needs.  This will easily translate to talking to patients.  In many jobs, one must be empathetic and compassionate, especially in client or public facing roles.  One can read and even watch Vlogs about medical students or doctors and improve their perception of the job, the pros and cons, and process of becoming a consultant.  There is a wealth of knowledge and information available nowadays and most importantly, a medical school wants to see your passion and effort to know the field.  Do not be discouraged if you're not able to obtain work experience; being honest in your personal statement and interview is important and discussing how you came out of this road block can demonstrate determination.  This is your dream to fight for.

Feel free to check out my LinkedIn here to gain a better understanding of work experience I did throughout the years. 

Thank you for reading and I wish you best of luck for your applications! 
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Autumn Winter 2019/2020 Fashion Trends

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It's my favourite fashion season! The colder seasons never fail to welcome cozy chic which is my motto.  Besides the obvious trends: darker shades, suits, checkered garments, tweed, corduroy, and neutral clothing, I wanted to pick out my favourite trends that I am excited to try to implement.  I am a firm believer in not fixing what isn't broken; however, change can be an exciting concept with regards to your wardrobe! 

Parisian Prep. I've always adored preppy outfits though never managed to find pieces that complimented existing items I owned.  This includes looking put together but not being afraid of layers.  For example, trench coats with a belt tie, berets, lace, pearls, and houndstooth patterns in stunning neutrals.  You don't need to be afraid of colour!  Feel free to go for your favourite shades such as classic reds, baby blues, and soft pinks.  

How can you embrace this trend? Primark! My recent Primark haul featured a lot of atypical Parisian prints and styles that that perfectly emulate Parisian streetwear.  Other shops on the high street include Dorothy Perkins and TopShop.  You don't have to break the bank to look like you stepped out of Champs Elysees. 

Brands: Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney,  Celine, Dior, Valentino 






Bright colours.  I am not one for neon but there is a first for everything.  Easy ways to integrate neon into your wardrobe is through accessories: headbands, handbags, or even as simple as nail polish!  This is the method I would use to have more bright colours in my wardrobe.  Nonetheless, bold is beautiful so do not be afraid to go big or go home.  You will certainly turn heads and have people wishing they had your confidence.  Some other ways of wearing neon is through coats, shoes, or one piece dresses.  

Brands: Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Versace, Nina Ricci




Florals.  Traditionally a spring trend, but it is evidently popping up on the runway.  This is an easier fashion statement to transition from the runway to the street.  I personally love floral dresses as it is a simple and easy way to wear heavy patterns without worrying about finding complimenting pieces.  A twist on this casual movement is dark florals.  Meaning, flowers that have an edge or gothic vibe.  Although may be intimidating at first, it can be a very Victorian-esque appearance that still screams elegance and royalty. For example, Coach do many subtle floral accessories and bags which are more timeless and less youthful than flower dresses you can find on BooHoo.   I noticed that Dorothy Perkins have many floral trousers that I am more than just tempted to purchase, alongside ASOS having a fresh stock of garments to welcome the season.  

Brands: Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Miu Miu, Coach







Office minimalist.  This is my style to a T.  I love wearing outfits that satisfy a working environment but also as everyday 'casual' wear.  I believe it is time I begin to invest more in workwear chic given that I will be finding myself in professional settings more as I get older.  Therefore, this is the trend I am most looking forward to adapting.  The office minimalist is shown through shades of beige, big suits, oversized coats, and lots of collared shirts.  

Brands: Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Tibi, Prada, Hermes








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Fearing Love

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I am filled with pride -one of the infamous seven deadly sins.  Unfortunately, with this, ego usually follows.  Despite being an individual who loves happiness, peace and positivity, I suffer with these two character-killing traits.  These qualities are heightened when afraid to get hurt.  It acts as a guard or wall; built automatically when emotions of adoration or love begin to overwhelm me.  Some argue this occurs because of past pain being emulated in current situations or simply due to insecurities. 

To me, it’s both.

When one experiences circumstances where they’re feeling belittled or second best, it harms their ego.  Like a crack in a cup, no matter how much glue is used, the piece never quite fits like it did before.  The scar of the break is still evident.  Glue can be in the form of compliments, self-help, or keeping busy, but the sensation can relapse.

Growing up, my mother fed me with an analogy to explain the human mind:

Holding up a blank piece of A4, she asks, ‘What do you see?
Nothing- just white paper.
She then puts the tiniest of a dot in the middle of the page, no bigger than the size of a period.  She’ll ask me again, ‘Now, what do you see?’
A black dot.’
See- you’ve forgotten all the whiteness already.  Your attention was on the mere darkness which takes up far less than 0.01% of the whole page.  That’s how humans process negativity – it becomes their prime focus and all the good is overlooked.’ 

This elucidates why past incidents can haunt and affect the present.  It takes that one moment of pessimism to oversee happiness.  I admit that previous feelings towards myself hover in my daily life; thus, resulting in my ego.  I do not have this facade because of superiority.  Rather, it is a defense mechanism.  It’s the anticipation for history to repeat itself.  Hence, I attempt to seem strong when truly undergoing the opposite.  I try to appear resilient but deep down, I want you.  I want to send the first text or ask to meet for coffee. I want to spend time with you in any shape or form. 

But I’m too afraid. 

Or maybe…

I’m too in love. 

It’s a constant tennis game in the head; wondering what will eventually win: the yearning to talk or the fear of eventual rejection. 
There are very few people I can freely speak to first without trepidation of coming across needy, clingy, or like a burden.  Sadly, one of the two categories encompasses family (Neethi didi!) with the other being my best friend (shout out: hey T heyyyy). 

One of the biggest reasons that people fall apart is because one or both parties are too troubled at the idea of being the one that loves more.  It is satisfying to know that someone else has an unfathomable amount of adoration for the other.  Nevertheless, affection should be limitless.  It is easier said than done.  I am a preacher not a follower on this topic.

I always told myself to be a hurricane and not a leaky faucet when it comes to expressing your feelings towards someone.  It could be a best friend, family member or whomever you have a distinct relationship with.  I do try to give every fibre of my being, however, I reach a point where I hit a wall.  Beyond this imaginary fence is a lot more to be felt and evoked.  Nonetheless, my guard is up.  I start to alarm myself at the amount of love I have; causing me to take a step back.  I begin to wait.  The questions sing-song in my head: Am I worthy for a call? Do you want to text me?  Are you thinking about me like I’m thinking about you? 

Every time my phone vibrates; I jolt at the thought that it could be you.  When it begins to light up, I hope you’re ringing.  When I open the door, I want you to be on the other side. 

And when it’s not you, I’m disappointed. 

I miss you more than you think.  But my ego prevents me from expressing it.

I now realize how exhausting it is to have this frontage.  This deprivation of regard stirs more problems than the wall is worth.  It plays out that I do not care, they’re no longer significant, or I’ve forgotten.  Conversely, my intentions are the opposite.  I care too much, you’re too significant, and I can never forget.  Yet I still cannot bring myself to tear down this barrier despite knowing how tiresome it is.  One shouldn’t have this petrified ambiance. 

Do not let the person, who will go through tremendous lengths, ever feel less than their value.  That is a punishment and they’re the last person deserving of it.  Hold on to them.  Remind them of their worth.   Tell them you love them.  Because one day you may not be able to.  They’ll be so drained by trying.  They may give up.  It can come to the conclusion that, ‘I’ve done everything I could, and yet still I can’t get through to her.’  And that is the most painful sensation- for them and for you.  


If you are reading this, I am so sorry I’m so afraid but trust me when I say I love you.  So much so that I surprise myself at the thought that I probably love way more than you think. 
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Primark Haul July 2019

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After doing a closet clean out, I've been wearing the same outfits quite frequently.  Despite loving each piece, I've been keeping my eyes peeled for new garments to add to my wardrobe.  My mom was on the hunt for a denim jacket and we resorted to Primark.  Whilst I was there, I spotted a gorgeous Parisian-chic inspired collection of beiges and browns which complimented my current style to a T.  I am so excited to share these finds with you all!


This is such a staple and basic.  The neutral colour means it can be paired up with various styles. I tend to always lean towards black basics so having tan is a nice mix-up.  It is difficult to find thin and soft jumpers that are not tight fitting or too chunky nowadays.  Therefore, this was a must.  I am very tempted to go back and buy more of these in other colours!


Given my obsession with boucle and tweed, this skirt was going straight into my bag.  Not only is the neutral camel and stone shades perfect for both the office and everyday, the fit was loose enough to not be figure hugging but tight enough to demonstrate it is not a pleated or flare skirt.  Although, it is thinner than my other boucle skirts, I find that with proper care it can last a long time in your wardrobe.  It is lined on the inside so it will not rub against your skin or leggings. 


This may seem dull in the picture but the reason I gravitated towards this was due to the very simple neck line and gorgeous muted pink colour.  A majority of my pink jumpers are barbie or baby pink, thus, having something that was subtle yet still versatile made this garment attractive to me.  


This looks darker in the picture than in person.  The tan/brown patches are actually beige (similar shade to the jumper).  I wanted to pair this up with the jumper or a plain white t shirt for a chic yet still formal appearance.  I don't own enough trousers so felt it necessary to invest in some as they are more practical for the work place.  In addition, ten pounds is cheaper for work pants in comparison to other outlets and stores!  


This looks quite boxy but in real life it synchs at the waist wonderfully.  The belt, in fact, is used for decoration only.  The material is similar to that of boucle and the high neck definitely emphasises on the clean and put-together vibe this gives off.  It's easy to wear on its own or with tights if that is your personal preference.  I can see myself wearing this to formal events such as interviews or work experience, alongside to university or on a day-to-day basis.  




I've been overwearing my black monsoon purse which is significantly smaller than this camera bag.  I love it's simplicity but I regularly find myself struggling to fit anything bar the essentials (keys, card and phone) inside of it.  Given that there is a clear theme of beiges and browns in this haul, I wanted to invest in a slightly bigger day bag.  This will jell perfectly with the rest of the garments and add variation whilst breaking up an otherwise monotone outfit.  It is a camera bag so its slightly chunkier than other purses but it means I can fit my wallet, keys, phone and more without worrying about it looking stuffed! 

And that is everything I purchased!  I know you cannot purchase items from Primark through their website but you can check if your local store carries these items on stock through the links under each picture.  I hope you enjoyed this post and it gave you some summer inspiration! 

Thank you for reading.  

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Beauty Haul 2019

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Recently, I've been reading research papers and blogs by dermatologists to get a better idea about skin care products and their efficacy.   I learnt plenty about the many scams and shams present in the skincare and beauty industry.  To my dismay, my skin has been itchy with bumps after using my atypical skincare products.  This is what sparked my wanting to do read into my products further, and other ones I could potentially try.  In fairness, I've not changed my skincare regime for what feels like over a year.  I can't promise that the products purchased in this haul are perfect for everyone.  In addition, there very well may be ingredients inside them that are not beneficial topically.  I will post an updated skincare routine and thorough review of these items if they prove to do well on me.  Nonetheless, let us get into the haul!

Disclaimer: I am not a dermatologist or a doctor, I am simply imparting the knowledge I have gained through researching skincare ingredients and products.  On top of that, I do not want to influence your decisions.  If you want proper advice, seek a professional such as a dermatologist or your GP before changing your skincare regime or including new products into it.  

Superdrug Classic Care Antidandruff Shampoo 500mL- £2.49

I am someone that suffers with flaky dandruff, especially near my forehead.  I do believe it is due to excessive fungal growth and found that using ketoconazole in Nizoral Anti-dandruff shampoo really helped.  Ketoconazole is an antifungal or fungicide (meaning it kills the fungus or yeast in this case).   However, Nizoral tends to be quite expensive so I decided to purchase this shampoo given that it contains zinc pyrithione which is a common anti-fungal ingredient.  Unfortunately, to be equally as effective as ketoconazole, it requires more frequent and regular use but it is gentle enough for everyday and long-term which is a benefit.  



Pantene Pro-V Superfood Full and Strong Conditioner 400mL - £1.98

Frankly, I purchased this because it is a 400ml bottle for less than £2.  This does contain parfume/fragrance which is frustrating but given that it is a product you wash out, it is less likely, in my opinion to cause harm in the long run.   I plan on posting an in-dept post about the science and anatomy of hair.  However, conditioner works by reducing the appearance (not actually improving hair health) of dead, dry, frizzy, and split ends for example. 




No fragrance! On top of that, the ingredients are very limited in this product so it is less likely to cause irritation or sensitisation of the skin.  I was tempted to try out a new face wash as I've been using the same one by Garnier for some time.  I will continue to use that product as it is a face mask, wash, and scrub in one.  On top of this, I suffer with spots on my forehead which hopefully both the anti-dandruff shampoo and this face wash can work in conjunction to reduce.  Interestingly, this also contains niacinamide which is a common component of many skin brightening creams.  Therefore, it may aid in dark circles and brightening the face in the process. 


No perfume again! We are on a roll.  CereVe has gained a lot of recognition as a medicated skin care despite being an over the counter product.  It is said to be beneficial for dry to very dry skin due to the inclusion of ceramides.  Ceramides are lipids which helps to restore the skin's natural barrier against pollution, irritants, and aids in retaining moisture or hydration.  There is no point drinking 2 litres of water if you don't have a proper barrier! I am excited to try this given that I was loyal to my Nivea Soft tube cream for over two years - it was about time to move on.  On the whole, I have dry skin - I tend attain dry patches on my cheeks, despite having a relatively oily T zone.   



That is everything I purchased! I know it was only four products but I am very excited to up my skincare game.  Simplicity is key.  You do not need to exfoliate, use masks every day, and tone your skin.  Much of it is a gimmick by the beauty industry and influencers.  Trends do not equate to need.    It's time I use my science degree more often.  Nevertheless, I hope this post inspired you guys to take a closer look at your products.

Thank you for reading!

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Tag | Closet Confidential

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This post is certainly different to what I usually discuss but one of my favourite topics, without a doubt, is fashion!  Thus, I couldn't pass up this tag because they're a quick insight to my wardrobe.  Let's dive right in!  

What is the oldest item in your wardrobe/closet?

I recently threw out a majority of my clothes - one of which is a dress I've had for nearly 8 years that I bought at Next during Black Friday.  Hence, up until recently, that was my oldest item which I regularly wore.  Now, the oldest item I own has to be an anarkali my parents gifted me in America when I was sixteen which was seven years ago.  

What is the newest item?

The newest item arrived yesterday! It is another anarkali from Sareeka which took 2 months to arrive.  Given that I have moved to an area that is significantly more diverse, I have been submerging myself in a lot more cultural/south asian events.  Thus, I realised my wardrobe lacked ethnic wear. 


What is the most expensive item?


The anarkali, the oldest item I own, costed $500 USD at the time of purchasing it. 




What was the biggest bargain?

A Ralph Lauren dress!  It was second hand and was only $44.50 despite having the tag.  This is a little over 70% off (original price was $155 USD) which is fantastic for the quality, fit, and colour.  

On top of that, Andaaz for their asian wear given that it is such an amazing deal for the quality in comparison to brick and mortars that charge a much greater amount for tailored garments. 

What was the biggest waste of money?

I use to bulk buy from cheap websites such as SheIn for example.  I got shopping-happy which translates to spending a considerable amount in one go. The biggest lesson I learnt the hard way is to be very critical of what you are buying.  75% of my closet was rendered useless and had to be cleared out due to having so many pieces that couldn't be worn.



What is the most affordable/cheapest item (that you use a lot)?

Any of my shoes from Dorothy Perkins.  Dorothy Perkins frequently holds sales where prices drop considerably from the original price.  A majority of my footwear comes from Dorothy Perkins and were not purchased for more than £15 - this includes heels, my loafers which I wear nearly every day, and ballet flats which are perfect for interviews. 



What are your 3 favorite items right now?

1. Embroidered dress by ASOS


Unfortunately it is sold out now, however, ASOS have a huge collection of similar embroidered dresses I recommend checking out! 

2. My black pleated mini skirt from Dorothy Perkins


3. My denim two-toned jacket from Dorothy Perkins. 


This, too, has sold out on the website but keep your eyes peeled for any similar ones if you are interested!



What is your favorite piece that you’ve gotten as a gift?

I have to pick two things: my masters graduation anarkali which was from Sareeka and my burgundy adidas gazelles which was also an undergraduate graduation present! 



What is the most comfortable item?

Easily my haram pants from Thailand.  Haram pants are the best for working out, dance, pyjamas, etc.  They are so versatile and honestly, I am confident wearing them outside paired with a simple solid colour top. 


What is the most outrageous/colorful item in your closet (that you absolutely love)?

I have a fair share of outrageously colourful Adidas sweatshirts or T-shirts that are considered marmite: love it or hate it.  Pictured below is one of these infamous T shirts in my wardrobe. 




What is the most uncomfortable item (but you would take the pain because you love it)?

This is easy.  My beautiful rose gold heels from New Look that make me look like Cinderella, but feel like her evil step-sister who desperately tries to fit her foot into the glass slipper.  




Where do you shop the most at?

A majority of my high street clothes are TopShop and Dorothy Perkins.  As for high end, my favourites are Ted Baker, Kate Spade, and Ralph Lauren.   


Pick your favorite black item and your favorite white item.

My favourite black item is a black corduroy pinafore dress from TopShop.  It was perfect during the colder winter months as a layering piece and adds a touch of sweetness to every look. Unfortunately, it is now sold out.  There are many similar ones in the market.

  

As for white, it has to be a white turtle neck from Zaful that has scalloped edging.  I've been lusting over a white simple white turtle neck that wasn't knitted or too thick.  They are staples in every wardrobe and it took me 22 years to find the perfect one for me.  It's incredibly soft, comfortable, and feels like high quality so I am thoroughly impressed. 





Something you love but everyone else hates?

This is a toughy because a majority of my wardrobe is monotoned or staple pieces.  I prefer to keep it simple nowadays. One garment that comes to mind, which some individuals may find too over the top, is my Ted Baker Bow Sleeved Jumper.  Personally, it is my favourite jumper that I do over-wear.  Others could find it sickly sweet due to the excessive bows and baby pink shade. 




Something that you’re excited to wear soon?

It has to be my Sareeka anarkali because there is something so regal about dressing in south asian wear.  Can someone hold a ball or get married please?


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