It's the May half-term YAAY! I am also happy to announce that last Thursday was our last day of school and then we're on study leave after the half term - so I may still be busy with a lot of revision but I'll try make my schedule as flexible as possible to fit blogging in the picture!

During half-terms, I usually like to relax and spend a lot of time by myself either catching up on my K-Drama, Once Upon a Time or anime, reading and making art. Since I've recently visited the library (for the first time in years), I decided to share with you some of my borrowed books that I'll read this half term! But I've limited myself to only three books because I'll also need to be focusing on revision as I have a lot more exams to do!





"Everyday Sexism..." by Laura Bates
I found this an interesting book. Everyday Sexism actually started out as a project created by Laura Bates as a way to share untold stories of women who have experienced a series of sexist incidents (such as 'catcalling' and being asked by a random man to be his wife or being raped and sexually harassed). Then, after receiving hundreds and thousands of entries from women across the world, she wrote it all in this book.

It's an interesting book because it talks about how sexism is not considered a form of prejudice because it's been so normalised and women have been accustomed to it that they haven't really noticed it. It also talks about how equality between men and women are not quite there yet due to many women and girls still facing sexual harassment in the streets, sexual and domestic abuse, and rape. 

I absolutely love this book because it shows you another angle to sexism and it confronts you about the realities of this society through the eyes of thousands of women who have shared their stories.


"The Feminine Mystique" by Betty Friedan
As a feminist, I'm interested in reading the works of influential, strong female figures. The Feminine Mystique is one of the early works of feminism. It gives you a lot of insight on what society expected from a woman during the 1950s and 1960s; women had strict social conventions in which they have to conform to what the media wants a woman to be - Friedan called this the 'feminine mystique'. 

The book explores the origins of this feminine mystique and how it impacted on American women during the 1950s-60s. It's a great book that will really change the way you view women. 


"A Private History of Happiness"by George Myerson
This is a great book: it contains extracts from diaries and letters to families and friends, from different parts of the world at different times from thousands of years ago to only forty, which describes a moment of happiness. 

It's a fascinating read because all the stories have different cultures and context because they're all from other countries that are written at different times. Reading a few stories will brighten your day - it's like that warm feeling you get in your stomach after eating a nice warm meal in a cold day. 

These are a few of my May half term reads! If you've read one of these before then tell me about it or if you have any other book recommendations feel free to share them!

Nicole ᵔᴥᵔ

+ p.s Sorry for the horrible quality of the photo; trust me, it's not really like that. I guess it's just blogger.
Whilst browsing through my Pinterest to feed my creativity, I came across this journaling method known as the bullet journal system.

Since exams has started for us, I decided to give this ago to help me stay organised and create headspace so I can focus. And honestly, I never felt so relieved and productive in my life.

To help you feel the same feeling (it is a fairly nice feeling), I'm going to show how you can organise your life with this awesome system.

One of the obvious things you need to do is get a notebook and pen (you can have coloured pens if you prefer). It doesn't have to be an expensive Moleskin real leather notebook, it can be any that suit your taste. I would recommend getting a notebook with dots or squares as it will help you keep you bullets and lists in line and more organised.

For your first page, make a list of the bullets that you're going to use with the fill-ins and marks.



It doesn't have to be exactly like mine - make it yours since it's gonna be your bullet journal!

You will need to use these bullets when you're note-taking to make it easier for you to understand and complete.



To make your life easier, create an index. Doing this will help you find the right page.



From what I saw on Pinterest, the bullet journals were colourful, neat and had lots of illustrations. If that's the style you prefer, then go for it. But, frankly, you don't have to do that. It is your journal so you can make it into whatever would fit your needs. It is not a journal for display so you don't have to illustrate fancy drawings or banner or write in a really fancy font.

For my bullet journal, I simply put the date at the top with a list of Reminders, To dos, inspiring quotes that I find, events/appointments and my thoughts. Occasionally, I would draw a little illustration to make it visually stimulating for me.



And once I completed a task, event or attended an appointment, I simply cross it out.

To help you refer back to something, I placed these sticky notes on the pages that I wanted to mark with tiny icons to show what it is:



To make your life much more productive, you can add a 'Goals' page where you write down what goals you want to achieve whether it's to lose a few pounds, wash more often or make more friends.

I also found on Pinterest that some people keep track of their habits which I think is a good idea because you can see what kind of perpetual things you do on a daily basis and what habits to change (as what Mike Murdock once said: "You will never change your life until you change something you do daily")

I think it would also be quite important to keep a record of your contacts of family and friends as your backup in case something happened to your cell phone or you account was hacked and whatnot.

What I like to do is write all my thoughts down. I write down whatever's on my mind. I just feel like it lifts the weights that's holding me down and refreshes my mind.

Sometimes, I like to write a 'personal overview' where I write down what went well today, how productive that day was and what else to improve. This introspective constructive criticism helps a lot because then you get a birds eye view of your life and you can see what's standing in your way and how to jump over it.

I hope you find this helpful and inspired you to create your own!

Remember: it doesn't have to be perfect. No one and nothing is perfect :)

If you want further help or guidance to create your own bullet journal, you can inbox me or go here!

Nicole ᵔᴥᵔ


PLEASE READ MY DISCLAIMER!
Friday the 13th was an unlucky day. I'm kidding, it's not. It was actually a pretty fun day because a friend of mine, Samantha, threw a debut (a traditional Filipino coming-of-age birthday party celebrating the 18th - similar to a quinceanera) to commemorate her entering adulthood.

*I pretended to laugh for the sake of this Tumblr-ish photo*

The theme and dress code was Spring Formal so I wore this dusty pink shoulder less [jumpsuit] from Zara with a black mid length skirt from H&M and black court shoes from Select. For the accessories, I simply wore a plain bangle from Pandora, a rose gold watch from NY&Co, a Pandora bow ring and, finally, my plain lucky ring which I picked up from Belgium a while ago.



To match this gorgeous and effortless outfit, which was inspired by what Audrey Hepburn used to wear, I decided to go for a light makeup look: winged eyeliner (Maybelline Master Ink), foundation (I used my Etude House cushion foundation) with no concealer, mascara (Benefit Roller Lash mascara), brown eyeshadow under my lashline and which I used for my contour (Makeup Revolution natural palette), pink blush (Benefit) and a matte lip cream (Sleek 'Matte Me' lip cream in Bittersweet). For my eyebrows I used a black-greyish eyeshadow from No 7 and I set it with the Sleek brow gel.

Sorry if I look pale and ghostly, I wasn't wearing any concealer 
Me and Nina, my partner in crime and Sam's younger sister
Let me know if any of you want me to go through or do a review in any of the products mentioned above! 

Happy 18th birthday Sam!!!! Hope you had an amazing birthday and stay sassy :D

Nicole ᵔᴥᵔ

+ p.s. Over the next few weeks, I will busy and immersed in revision and stress because exam season has started, so my post for next week maybe late or postponed so I will apologise! 

During a discussion with fellow classmates about revision and this upcoming exams (!!!), someone noticed me, for the first time, quietly sitting in the storm of conversation and contently listening.


This (rare) encounter inspired me to write this post. To open my doors and share with you my thoughts about being an introvert because, well, why not?

I used to want to be the confident girl with a charming personality, who always got along with everyone. However, I felt uneasy whenever I tried to pursue this concept.

I never really considered myself an introvert until the beginning of Year 11, during the time when we had to decide where to go after our GCSEs. I took a personality test to help me choose the final career path to take where the results stated that I was an introvert (INTP to be exact). 

Honestly, throughout my early teen years, I always thought that I didn't talk to anyone because I hated everybody. Oftentimes, I would avoid conversations with large groups or certain people because I felt uncomfortable or I felt it was futile as I don't really have much in common with most of my classmates so I didn't really have much to say.

But after reading about introversion, it came to mind that all these things about me fit perfectly in the criteria. I didn't really care at first until I came across the Quiet Revolution - a company established by self-proclaimed introvert, Susan Cain, which provides support and advice to introverts, to tell them they are not alone and to show the world that introverts are not under the glass ceiling. The organisation spreads the message that introverts are often underrated because they don't have the same qualities as extroverts - confidence, savvy social skills and an outgoing, assertive personality.  

I used this as a platform to create a positive and productive path that will help me achieve my goals and lead me to a more happy lifestyle!

Also, this helped me gradually embrace my introverted persona and pushed me to do more, achievable things - like acting. I thought I would give it a go and took drama for my GCSEs. Some of you may be thinking that an 'introverted actor' sounds contradictory since, you know, actors tend to be charismatic and outgoing people with a lot of confidence. But the term 'introverted actor' genuinely isn't contradictory. Introverts can have the ability to accomplish things that extroverts can. If you've read about introversion in depth, you probably know that introverts aren't necessarily scared of the external environment but much rather they prefer not to be externally exposed and they are still able to socialise and be confident - just like extroverts. 



As an introvert (and teen), probably one of the most frustrating thing is being misunderstood. People sometimes mistake my quietness for shyness or that I just hate everybody (that may be understadable though because I have the cold, resting bitch face). 

But what I do is ignore them (block those haters!) and converse my mind into my inner world where I feel free and comfortable. Because exam season is just around the corner, I try to converse my mind into positivity so I feel more motivated into doing well! 

For some people, not socializing and staying indoors most of the time may seem odd and uncommon but I enjoy it. I enjoy staying inside reading or drawing or painting or listening to music alone. I enjoy sitting by myself, thinking introspectively. It keeps me energized and content. 

Remember to embrace your personality, whether you're an introvert, extrovert or ambivert! If you ever feel you will never achieve your goals because you're not confident or socially savvy like extroverts, you are wrong. All you have to do is follow the right path and, with patience, you will eventually reach your dreams.

Thank you for reading this personal post and I hope I have inspired any introverts out there!

Nicole ᵔᴥᵔ
After weeks of pouring out every last bit of my creativity into my final art project, the feelings stress and anxiety have finally been released today. The last day. Of. Art. And I feel relieved but also proud of my hard work and effort I put into this last exam!

Tree of Nicole's Life
Above is the second final piece I did in the 10 hours (four days, 2 and a half hours each). When I first came in the exam, I literally had no plan. My mind was a bit disorganised because the day before we started I also had my drama exam in which rehearsals were the whole day, so I missed the art lesson, and we stayed in school until 9pm to perform (and I was nervous like hell) so I was too tired to prepare afterwards.

Despite my recklessness and disorganisation (I came with nothing. Legit) I managed to come up with an idea of a tree composition - I paint a tree and within the leaves and branches I blend in my other studies so it looks like they're part of the tree (as seen above).

I honestly had no idea why I painted that portrait (I had no idea what I was doing) but I feel like it adds a bit of enigma to the painting which I really like.



Above are some of my Dawn Clements inspired landscape composition paintings. I was thinking of turning them into a graphics piece by adding some text to make it Martin Wilner style, but I unfortunately ran out of time :c

I've also done some landscape photography which I used as my source material:





I didn't manage to take photos of all my work from the project, these are the only ones I managed to take but I hope you enjoy them!

Nicole ᵔᴥᵔ

Please read my disclaimer.
Recently, I've been working on my final project which is 'diary'. The project is mainly about the 'tree of life' which reiterates what trees symbolise by linking it with my life in a form of different type of diaries: from accordion books to pieces of paper stuck together to form a surreal and elongated composition.

'Journey across Dunorlan' - Dawn Clements inspired watercolour painting

Our final project ends with a 10 hour exam (like this one and this) where we create a final response to the topic question 'Diary' by producing our second final design.

My first final piece still needs some finishing and retouching and once I've completely finished it, I'll update as soon as I can! The image above is one of developmental study of one of my experimental landscape photography:






To create these weird effects, I simply tried out this bizarre, avant-garde way of taking the landscape photographs - I turned my camera settings to panorama and rolled down the hill! It sounds weird, but the photographs I took turned out eccentric!

I hope you enjoy these and I'll update my project's progression as often as I can and upload more photos of my work! When I (hopefully) finish my final design in the exam, I'll post it on a seperate post! The last day of the project is May 4th, so I'll try and post my completed project around that time!

Nicole ᵔᴥᵔ


Please read my disclaimer.

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