Memoirs of a 20 year old who’s sick of acne

I have had some form of acne since I was around 12/13, so I am somewhat of an expert. I have tried every method of clearing it from drinking lemon water every day to changing my pillow case every night and yet here I am. And before you ask, as I am triggered by this, for the love of God I do wash my face. I have a myriad of facial exfoliaters, cleansers, toners and moisturisers.

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That’s just a small selection of my products. I can safely say my face is probably cleaner and taken better care of than yours.

Also, do not advise me to not wear makeup. 1) I never wore makeup for years and my acne did not get worse when I started 2) I buy makeup specifically tailored for acne-prone skin (which is more expensive than regular makeup) 3) makeup helps boost my confidence! It helps hides the hideous spots and makes me look super cute!

Sorry if I sounded a little frustrated there however I am so tired of people who have never had acne “helping” me!

When I was just about to turn twenty I did some thinking and realised that I did not want to be in my 20s still with acne. I looked around at my English class, and at my closest friends and realised that I was the very last one to have acne. This realisation made me feel extra insecure, and so I finally got to book an appointment with a dermatologist. That day was today. She confirmed that my skin is very clean and so my acne must be hormonal rather than dietary or bacterial. She gave me some tablets to try out, and I am so excited!

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I will do an update post when I start seeing some changes! But for now here are some gross close ups of my face so we can do a before and after:

 

Comment below if you are suffering with acne, have any tips or generally have a question to ask!

Love from Evie x

‘Pride and Prejudice’ – book of the week

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”

 

’Pride and Prejudice’ (1813) is the absolutely iconic classic novel from the queen of romance herself, Jane Austen. With glamorous balls, family drama and Mr Darcy who could ask for more?

Plot:

It follows the story of Elizabeth Benett, the second eldest sister (out of 5). Her family are invited to a ball where they meet Mr Bingley, who becomes rather smitten with the eldest sister Jane, and his enigmatic and brooding friend Mr Darcy. Mr Darcy is rather a catch as he earns £10,000 a year and is a handsome batchelor! Yet, he is overheard telling his friend that he doesn’t fancy any of the Benett sisters.

Bingley invites Jane to his house, where Darcy is staying as a guest. However, Jane quickly falls ill and is too poorly to leave Bingley’s house for a while, so Elizabeth travels to go be with her sister. Elizabeth and Darcy spend some time together and although on the surface they appear to not be able to stand one another, there is some romantic tension building here.

When Elizabeth and Jane return home they are greeted by Mr Collins, a young clergyman, who proposes to Elizabeth. She declines, hurting his pride.

Some military men are in town, and Elizabeth’s eye is catch by Mr Wickham. He tells Elizabeth that Mr Darcy cheated him out of his inheritance by manipulating his father, and this causes Elizabeth to distrust Darcy even more, despite him being alluring to her.

At the beginning of winter, Bingley and Darcy leave Bingley’s mansion and go to London. A further shock arrives with the news that Mr. Collins has become engaged to Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth’s best friend. Charlotte explains to Elizabeth that she is getting older and needs the match for financial reasons. Charlotte and Mr. Collins get married and Elizabeth promises to visit them at their new home.

Jane decides to visit Bingley in London as she misses him, but he does not turn up to visit her which upsets her.

Darcy and Elizabeth meet again and Darcy tells Elizabeth that the reason Bingley didn’t visit Jane was because Darcy told Bingley that Jane only wanted to be with him because of his money. Darcy then shockingly proposes to Elizabeth, which she quickly rejects and scolds Darcy for his actions.

Elizabeth receives a letter from Darcy apologising for meddling in Bingley and jane’s relationship and claims he only did so as he was looking out for his friend. He also explains that Elizabeth should be weary of Wickham as he eloped with Darcy’s sister when she was only 15 and took advantage of her. This causes Elizabeth to reevaluate her feelings towards Darcy, and she acts coldly towards Wickham.

The Bennett’s are shocked to find out that Elizabeth’s 15 year old sister, Lydia, has eloped with Wickham. Upon hearing the news, Darcy steps in and saves the day.

Bingley and Jane begin courting again and marry, and upon Darcy’s second proposal Elizabeth says yes. Everyone ends up married and happy.

Quotes:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” (The iconic first line)

“Their eyes instantly met, and the cheeks of both were overspread with the deepest blush.” (This one makes me smile)

“What a delightful library you have at Pemberley, Mr Darcy!”

“It ought to be good,” he replied, “it has been the work of many generations” (I like this because he is not talking about the actual library taking generations to build, rather hundreds of years of literature and story telling)

“They walked on, without knowing in what direction. There was to much to be thought, and felt, and said, to attention to any other objects”. (A classic lovely fairy-tale ending to the novel. Again, makes me smile)

Review:

I don’t know if you can tell, but I really love this book. I have read it about 3 times and I always get that fluttery happy feeling when I read about the quaint villages and the exciting character arc of Mr Darcy. It is the perfect book to cosy up to on a cold winters day around Christmas time with a cup of tea. There is a reason this is seen as a classic. The story is pleasant, with just the right amount of drama to keep it exciting. The Benett parents are the perfect injection of comedy into this world. Mr Darcy is the original Edward Cullen and Christian Grey: he’s dark, brooding and oh so intriguing to find out his secret. I think people are put off of reading old classic as perhaps the story will not be gripping or the language will be too complicated, however there is no need to worry about that in this book as it is an intriguing story and the language is easily-understandable and accessible. Austen actually received negative feedback when she published the book as it was seen as low-brow literature! You are immediately transported back into 19th century rural England. The text isn’t terribly long, and I absolutely recommend it to anyone looking for a feel-good classic novel!

Also, if you decide to watch it instead of reading, I 100% recommend the TV show starring Colin Firth. Not only is it the best adaptation as it actually uses a great deal of the dialogue from the book, but having it as a TV show rather than a film allows the story to take its time and not feel rushed. The slower pace fits the genre and time period better, and gives it a more book-feel.

Hope you enjoyed my first ever book review! Comment below what book you’d like me to do next.

Love from Evie x

A beginner’s guide to BDSM: Being Depressed So Much

For as long as I can remember, I have had issues dealing with stress and anxiety disorder. Recently, a friend told me that I was “such a chill and laid back person” and I almost choked on my soy milk cappuccino because I am literally the most tightly wound person in England, and quite possibly the entire world. I believe it started when I was in the cub scouts, and I vowed “to always be prepared”. A promise which I have evidently taken too literally as I have developed an anxiety disorder which forces me to plan out every single possible scenario in my head.
So was it a shock to me when my doctor spun round and told me I had developed depression? No, because as I have stated previously, I have an anxiety disorder which forces me to plan out every single possible scenario in my head. Keep up.
How did I know I had depression? Well, I felt sad (shocker). But for real, whenever I was alone I felt this overwhelming feeling of sadness. While anxiety disorder pulsates adrenaline through your veins and sends my mind into thinking 100 thoughts a second, depression has the opposite effect. Suddenly my world had the sepia filter on. I took of my 3D-glasses to find everything flat and blurry. Flowers resisted blooming, the sun hid behind clouds, and I felt like Chandler in that episode of Friends where Joey forces him into a box with only a little peep-hole to see into the outside world (edit: season 4, episode 8).
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I find it really hard to enjoy things that I used to enjoy, and sometimes getting out of bed and doing some work makes me feel like I deserve some kind of award. It can be incredibly difficult to focus and do work as my brain will not stop telling me how shit my essay is. Depression is constantly doubting yourself and needing validation that what I am doing or who I am is okay. It is really hard to admit this, even just typing it on my laptop is making me realise how deep this issue is.
I used to not want to open up to people without depression, I thought they just wouldn’t understand. I tend to put on a bubbly, happy-go-lucky front, and I did not want people to view me differently. Or worse: pity me. However, one day I decided maybe I shouldn’t be discriminatory towards the happy-inclined and started slowly opening up to friends and family (and now the internet).
Am I fully recovered? No. Am I close to being cured of depression? No. But I am here to tell you guys that I am on my way. It might be something that I am never totally cured of, and so I guess I’ll have to get used to it sticking around. Like that weird smell that has lingered in the flat ever since your flatmate opened their bottle of 5 months expired milk.
From one sad bean to another, I do have a few tips. Or as I like to call it- A beginner’s guide to BDSM: Being Depressed So Much
1. talk to someone. It sounds really basic but if you can find one single person to talk to then 100% go for it. Hopefully they won’t judge you and they’ll help you work out what the next plan of action is. If you don’t have anyone you can talk to, here’s a link to a forum you can join: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums
2. Do some research! You have to be careful what sites you visit as the information may not be totally correct, but I recommend the NHS website as they’re pretty legit.
3. Know that you aren’t alone in your disorder. I know it’s obvious as depression is a leading mental health issue, but I know how isolating it can feel. Again, use the forum if you want to talk to someone with the same issue as you. It can feel really nice to share experiences and realise any similarities you have.
4. I actually recommend listening to a podcast/youtube series called ‘Adult Sh1t’. It’s free on Spotify, YouTube and iTunes. It’s rude and all but Kate and Kelsey talk about mental health and are real with it and they’re so funny. I just find it really encouraging. There are of course many more you can try out, but that is just my current favourite.
5. Practise self care. Whether going to the gym or having a hot bubble bath, do things for yourself that make you happy. Be a little selfish, be a little erratic. You know what’s best for you and if it helps alleviate depression, even for just 5 minutes, then it’s totally worth it (I like baking, Animal Crossing and shopping to cheer myself up)
6. I know this sounds scary but if you are feeling at all suicidal or want to hurt yourself, then contact someone ASAP. Either a family member or a friend or call 116 123 (Samaritans, they’re open 24/7 and I have heard are super nice)
7. And if you haven’t had it officially diagnosed yet- go to a doctor! Your GP will listen and give you all the help you need. You can even go see a therapist if that helps? Sussex uni has counselling for mental health (the building is hidden right behind the mini doctors on campus)
I know I’ve been pretty lighthearted and jokey during this article, and that’s mainly a self-defence mechanism. My goal isn’t to trigger you and make you feel worse; it’s to show you that you aren’t alone, and you can and should laugh in the face of adversity. If I have made even one person’s life a little easier, then I feel like writing this was a success.

Heeey Macaron-a!

What was I suppose to do? He was out of town, and these macarons were sooo fine.

Macarons are a classic Parisian treat. I find that they are absolutely scrumptious and they go perfectly with tea parties or coffee mornings. Macarons are actually a lot easier to make than people realise! I have included some extra pictures to this piece which I hope help. I will add that I stupidly did not add enough food colouring (as I got a little distracted) and this is why they are only tinted blue rather than a stunning bright blue. This recipe should make around 24 macarons (or 48 halves) depending what size you make them. Let’s jump right in!

Ingredients for meringue:

100g icing sugar

100 grams grounded almonds

2 egg whites

55g castor sugar

pinch of salt

2 tbsp food colouring

Ingredients for filling:

75g icing sugar

150g room-temperature butter

1 tbsp food colouring

1 tbsp vanilla essence (optional)

Method:

  1. sieve the grounded almonds and icing sugar into a large bowl and mix.

IMG_E4750.JPG2. in a different bowl, whisk the egg whites and sugar together until soft peaks are formed. This should take just a few minutes with an electric whisk. Then bit by bit, add the castor sugar until it is all blended and the mix is glossy and thick.

IMG_E4751.JPG3. combine the wet mix and the dry mix and stir well. You’ll know it’s well mixed as you could hold the bowl upside down and the mix will not fall out. This is where you should add any colourings or flavourings.

4.use a piping bag to pipe out your desired sized macarons onto baking paper.

IMG_E4755.JPG5. Remember to keep enough room between each macaron as they do rise and spread! Knock the tray so the air in the macarons goes out, this will leave the shell nice and smooth. Leave to set for 20 mins. In this time you may want to preheat the oven to 140C.

6. Pop them in the oven for 8 minutes. Then open the oven door to let the steam out, and cook for a further 7 minutes.

7. Whisk together the butter and icing sugar and combine with any food colouring you may fancy. Once the macarons are completely cooled you may pipe icing onto one, and then sandwich it to another. And now all there is left to do is enjoy!IMG_4757.JPG

I really hope you enjoyed this recipe and I explained it all okay! Macarons have a bad reputation as being difficult to make however I am sure that you guys will do really well and have fantastic results!

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Lots of love, Evie x

You Can Scone Your Own Way

Alternative titles: -Since You’ve Been Scone, Scone with the wind, Like a Rolling Scone, Dead and Scone, Bridget Scone’s Diary. I’m here all week.

Whether you pronounce it SCone or scONe, we can all agree that scones are a massive part of British culture. The very first scones were triangular, yet we Brits today now enjoy that iconic golden-brown rounder shape. There is great controversy as to whether scones are meant to be enjoyed jam before cream, or cream before jam. However, I think we can all agree that people who put the two halves of scones and eat them like a sandwich are absolute freaks. Scones are really super easy to make! I like coconut in mine, however you can replace this with currents or anything else you fancy.

Ingredients:

350g self-raising flour

85g butter

pinch of salt

1tsp baking powder

150ml milk

1tsp vanilla essence (optional- replace with Elderflower cordial or lemon juice)

1 cup desiccated coconut (optional- replace with 1 cup currents)

1 egg

Jam

Clotted Cream

Method:

  1. Add the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and mix.
  2. Add the room-temperature butter to the mixture and rub in with fingers until it looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
  3. Combine the milk, vanilla essence and coconut. Bit by bit add and mix it into the dry mixture.
  4. Scatter a work surface with flour and knead//fold the mix. It should be flattened out to around 4cm thick.
  5. Use some kind of cutter (around 5cm) and cut out the scones. Add to baking tray.
  6. Whisk the egg and then brush it onto the scones. This will give them a lovely shiny look.
  7. Bake in an oven at 200C for around 10-12 minutes. Serve with jam and clotted cream and enjoy!

I really do hope you like this recipe. Feel free to experiment with different flavours in order to find your perfect scone!

Lots of love, Evie x

On Being A Londoner In Brighton

I have lived in Brighton on and off for two years now as I am a student at Sussex University. During this time I have noticed a few key differences between London and London-by-the-Sea. Today’s post is supposed to be light-hearted and give people an idea about what life is like at our sister city. I will write a more thorough post at a later date about the wonderful Brighton Lanes. Enjoy!

1. The traffic lights are silent???
Are you telling me that I have to look up from watching snap stories for up to 30 seconds to see when the man turns green and it is safe to cross? I feel like this is an attack on millennials.
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2. I’m sorry, I’m going to say what we are all thinking: Brightoners don’t walk- they shuffle.

When it isn’t the entire population of Italy having a day out to the Pier rudely in your way, it’s the elderly. Sorry, Mr and Mrs Cute-Old-Couple but I have a 25X bus to Catch! If I miss that I have to get the 25, which is a whopping 7 minutes longer (an inexcusable amount of time to waste as an unemployed student).

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3. Brighton has a better selection of doggos.

The stresses of living in the capital mean that Londoners arm themselves with Rottweilers and Staffs, which are frankly more like weapons than man’s best friend. However, the sea air appears to calm Brightoners, and they opt for little bundles of fluffy joy. Pugs, Pomeranians and Poodles galore!
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4. Southern Rail is absolute sh*t.
Raise your hand if you have been personally victimised by Southern Rail. Every day I thank the Lord that I do not have to rely on it to get to uni. However, the few amounts of time I have used it left me reminiscing about the good ol’ days of being at stations like Victoria and Charring Cross. Southern Rail charges you a ridiculously high price just to be cancelled on.
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5. The beach is an absolute God send during heatwaves.
The hustle and bustle of the capital, and not to mention the pollution makes 27 degrees feel like 270. How many times have you tried and failed to find a nice spot in St James’ Park? Well, on Brighton beach there is room for all! The great atmosphere of students getting their first dose of vitamin D and fending off the rickets. Yes, there may be a slight whiff of weed in the air (it is always the guy in the Che Guevara top) but feel that sea breeze! Bring some cans, have a laugh with your mates. This is what Brighton is all about.
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I hope you enjoyed this little post!
Lots of love, Evie x

Ski you later! – Spilling the Anxie-Tea

I was diagnosed years ago with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and more recently with moderate Depression, and I believe I will be posting a great deal about these on this blog as I have adopted the belief that being open about it is the best policy. With that in mind, I will jump right into my first Mental Health post.

I used to go skiing every February half term with my family, including my cousins and grandparents. It became a tradition for all 12 of us to take over a chalet and have a great time. The kids would spend the morning going to Ski School following an instructor and then the afternoon with the family skiing. I loved it. The fresh air, the amazing views and the thrilling sensation of whizzing down a black run and making it out alive in one piece at the bottom! However, this happiness when skiing was only around when I was in Ski School. The second I was out of the safe hands of an instructor and into the hands of my family I felt very differently about skiing. I remember being around 14 or 15 and genuinely crying to myself while going down the run as I was suddenly so terrified. Over the edges of the ski run was just a giant drop, and I felt so scared about accidentally slipping over the edge. People would push past me and make me feel like I was on the motorway on a bicycle: slower and more vulnerable than the other skiers. I would absolutely dread when it came around to our skiing week and could not wait to get home safe.

One particularly terrifying day that still haunts my dreams was when we went up to Eagle Rock and there was a whiteout. What this means is that everything around you is white: the sky, the snow, everything. I could not see even a meter in front of my face. It was a red run, which means it is challenging and steep even with good visibility. We had no choice but to ski down as it was not possible to walk. I could not keep my heart rate under control as I struggled to keep close to my granddad so I would not go off course. Knowing there is a steep and sudden edge without being able to see where it is terrified me. I felt my body seize up and refused to move properly. My breathing was so fast yet shallow, and the lack of oxygen made me feel dizzy. I could not understand why people would voluntarily pay hundreds of pounds to do this.

My family did not understand why I did not like skiing. I recall my dad on several occasions calling me “lazy” and “unfit” because I refused to go down certain runs with them. I overheard various family members joke about how perhaps I was just embarrassed because  I was a bad skier. This made me feel pretty rubbish as I did attempt to explain that actually I am a good skier when I am with the Ski School, and that it was incontrollable and unfathomable fear that stopped me skiing with them.

I finally plucked up the courage last year to tell my family that I will not be able to go skiing with them as my Anxiety has gotten just too bad. They fortunately agreed and brought on a different family member to take my place. I was so relieved as I genuinely thought they would try and force me to go, or accuse me of being spoilt for not going. The thing is, I do like skiing and I would want to go again, just never with my family. I love my family, but I think I just feel way too pressured when skiing with them, and it triggers my anxiety. My cousins are a lot more talented and confident at skiing than myself and my brothers are as they have gone a lot more than us, and this does not exactly help as they do not understand that I need a little more time to do this.

Anyway, as I have said, this is my first mental health post and so I would adore feedback. Is it too long? Too short? Not informative enough? What would you like me to talk about in the future?

Thank you for reading, and have a wonderful day!

Lots of love, Evie x

The Winner Cakes It All – Lemon and Elderflower Cake recipe

Who didn’t enjoy the Royal Wedding on the 19th May this year? It was big, elegant and full of our favourite celebs! The best moment had to be when Harry first lifted Meghan’s veil and she just beamed at him- iconic. Lemon and Elderflower cake was the cake of choice for the wedding, and to commemorate it I made it for my brother’s 18th birthday (on the same day as the wedding!). It was surprisingly easy to make. I do often find that cake can be very stodgy and dry, however I did feel that this one was light and moist. The Elderflower gives it a fresh feel, and the Lemon gives it a nice zingy kick.

Ingredients:

Cake:

200g butter

200g caster sugar

200g self raising flour

4 large eggs

2 tbsp Lemon juice

2 tbsp Elderflower cordial

Syrup:

Juice of 1 Lemon

1 tbs Elderflower cordial

45g granulated sugar

Buttercream:

100g butter

200g icing sugar

1 tbs Elderflower cordial

Method:

1. Combine your castor sugar and butter in a bowl until it is nice and creamy.

2. Add your eggs, flour, lemon juice and tbs of Elderflower cordial and mix. Remember not to overmix your cake mix as it can make it stodgy.

3. Add to a preheated oven at 160C for around 30 mins or until the top is nice and golden brown.

4. Create your syrup by combining the ingredients into a saucepan at a high heat. You’ll know when they are combined as they will become a whiteish thick liquid and the sugar will be dissolved.

5. Once your cake is cooked remove it form the oven and use a chopstick to poke a few holes into it. Pour the syrup into the holes and over the cake. Let dry before removing the cake from the tin. The syrup should soak into the sponge making it nice and moist and yummy!

6. While the cake is cooling make the cream. Combine your icing sugar, softened butter and Elderflower cordial until it is super fluffy. Add to the cake (once it’s totally cooled) however you like. I prefer to use a piping bag to make some cute shapes!

7. Cut up and enjoy!I hope you enjoy this recipe. It is super easy to make and the cake is honestly so fluffy and moist.

Love from Evie x

You Can’t Curry Love – Low Calorie Butter Chicken

Mmm… butter chicken. This recipe is a low calorie butter chicken curry- guilt free and delicious! Who can ask for more from a fakeaway? I made this last week when I had my granny over from France as she is trying to lose weight and she adored it! Curry is a great dish to make when you have a whole load of people eating at different times as they can just serve themselves when they feel hungry/have time to eat. Tuesday nights are exceptionally busy for us as Dad has his running club and Mum has her ‘All Stars fitness’ group, so they can’t all eat at the same time.

Ingredients (serves 5-6):

6 chicken breasts

2 tins chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp garlic paste

1 tin drained chickpeas

1 diced onion

1 chopped red pepper

1 chopped chilli

6 chopped tomatoes

6 tbsp fat free Greek yoghurt

1tsp Paprika, Garam Masala, turmeric, cumin, chilli powder

Fresh coriander

6 cups of rice

Method:

1. Chop up the chicken into little chunks and pop them in the slow cooker. Also put in your chopped onion, chopped carrot, seasonings, chopped pepper, diced tomatoes, Greek yoghurt and chopped chilli.

2. Chop up the fresh coriander and add, leave a little left for garnishing.

3. Put the slow cooker on high for 3 hours or low for 6.

4. Serve with rice and garnish with coriander!

Perfectly easy and not too spicy (for the wusses out there). Play around with the seasonings and add more/less to get the desired taste. I hope you enjoy!

Love from Evie x

Let It Be(ef Ragu)

I probably could have taken a better picture but I ate it so damn fast! Welcome to my slow cooker Beef Ragu recipe (also, my very first recipe post). I first tried Beef Ragu around two years ago at Bella Italia. It was served with ravioli, however I am a massive fan of linguine as you can slurp it up! Beef Ragu is just a meaty sauce that is more beefy than it is tomatoey! Super yummy, and a favourite of my brothers. This recipe is so simple, cheap, and perfect to just pop in the slow cooker and forget about for a few hours.

Ingredients (serves 5-6):

500g beef chunks or mince

1 onion

1 carrot

2 tins of chopped tomatos

500ml beef stock

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 tbsp beef gravy granules (optional)

oregano, basil, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic

1 pack spaghetti

Grated cheese (optional)

Method:

  1. braise your beef if you have chunks (don’t worry about this if you have mince) and pop it into the slow cooker. Add you tinned tomatoes, diced onion, diced carrot, tomato puree, beef stock, and seasonings. I find that Paprika or Chayenne Pepper adds a little kick, however feel free to leave these out if it is not for you. I’d recommend a good teaspoon or two of each seasoning as there will be a lot of sauce!
  2. put the slow cooker on High for 4 1/2 hours or Low for 9 hours to allow the sauce to really thicken a little and get all that juicy flavour. Stir halfway and add your gravy granules for extra flavour and thickness!
  3. cook your spaghetti and serve with grated cheese! It really is that easy and I promise you whole family will love it!

I really hope you enjoy this recipe and that my instructions are nice and clear for you. I will be adding more recipes soon!

Love from Evie x