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Some thoughts on birthdays

My birthday was exactly a week ago. I meant to have this post done sooner but I had writer's block and was not in the mood. So yeah, story of my life.

On the day of your birth people usually send you well wishes with the word happy being a central part. On Instagram (I know, I know) you just see people's friends make the day special and everybody just looks so god damn happy.

What if the day of your birth just throws you in a state of sadness cause you realise how little people you actually have in your life. That was me one week ago. Leading up to my birthday I'm always positive and think it's going to be great but I'm always disappointed. Lesson learned, don't have high expectations.

Ok, so the day itself wasn't awful it was just average. Nothing special. It also sucked cause my Mum was in hospital so we couldn't spend the whole day together. It may be childish and superficial but I was also disheartened by the fact I received no gifts, other than the ones I got myself of course. One is currently on its way to me and I can't wait.

Going into next year I should either delete Facebook or just get rid of all my friends cause that's the centre of it. I also need to not caring about external validation. Let's see how well that goes.

I was feeling down most of last week and these feelings have trickled through to this week. I've always been anxious and get sad easily. These feelings will pass, they always do.


Getting out of a Reading Rut

Going back to uni last year affected me in a lot of ways. This included being repelled by the thought of writing or reading anything. Honestly, the readings were ridiculous. 3 or 4 each week with some of them being like 50 pages long. It was also double since I was doing two papers so that was fun. Add that on top of doing a 5,000 word essay and you see why I couldn't face doing it for fun.

With uni being over it's taken me a while to get back into blogging and reading. It's like I've got a hangover I just can't get rid of and it sucks. I do get bursts of motivation, like when I see fellow bloggers heading to cool events or creating amazing content. Getting invited to events isn't my main motivation behind blogging but it's just cool to be thought of with other people liking what I do. 

Ok, on to the reading problem.

I've had the same two books by my bed for at least a year maybe. Every time I look at them I just can't get excited. And then I look over to the piles of books I've yet to read and feel guilty for not creating content for the lovely publishers who send me these amazing books. 

So yesterday I made the decision to just quit with those two books and start one that I actually want to read. It's my birthday tomorrow and be damned if I go through another year of my life forcing myself to do things I don't particularly want to do.

The Fates Divide* is the sequel to Carve the Mark* which I read and loved back in 2017. It follows the story of Cyra & Akos who are part of waring groups but are of course in love. They have to battle which that + her tyrant father, aka all the usual stuff. I'm not sure if it's a trilogy situation, I'm sure I'll figure it out once I've read it.

Ashley xx

*Review copies from HarperCollins NZ

One Line a Day

I've been keeping a diary on and off since I was a child. I start off great but after a while I just can't bring myself to write anything and just scrap the whole thing. I saw someone on the internet had a five-year memory book which piqued my interest so I of course went and ordered one.

So the gist is that each page is a certain date and there are five sections for each year. Each section is only six short lines so it's just a small snapshot of the day which is great for me as the prospect of writing long sections of text repels me (thanks uni).

I will confess there have been a couple of times where I've either forgotten or couldn't be bothered to write in it but I'm trying my best to stick to it. A lot of things can happen in five years and I just think it would be great to have and look back on.

The one thing I don't like is the cover. It's just so plain. The other covers look so cool, I especially like the celestial one cause I have a soft spot for stars. So that's my only negative really.

Here's to the next five years

Work in Progress

It's taken a lot of time for me to build up to this. I feel so out of practice that I just don't know where to start. That's always been a barrier for me, if I don't know how I just never attempt. No sense of purpose is another factor. Uni is finished and once again I'm back in the old repetitive progress of job hunting. It's exhausting and the thought of writing a cover letter actually makes me want to hide in a dark corner. 

Everything is a work in progress

Life, this blog. I needed a change. I'm not set on the logo as yet but I'll play it by ear and see if inspiration strikes. I got photoshop for Christmas and am having fun watching tutorials and playing around. 

Another thing I've recently gotten into is Twitch. All I stream at the moment is Sims 4, which is another thing I've recently dived head first into. I spent an ungodly amount of hours back in the day on Sims 2 and now history is repeating itself. There's just something about being able to control a virtual person's life, guess it's to make up for not being in control of my own.

There's not really a solid point to this post, other than I'm back kind of. I'm not forcing myself into a rigid schedule. And I also am not restricting what exactly gets written and published. So think of this blog as a lucky dip, you never know what's going to appear.

Current Reads: July Edition

With semester one of uni having ended it meant I could dedicate my time to more important things - such as reading. However, me being me I didn't bother to check the semester dates and it turns out semester two started this week. I'm a mess over here people, like actually. So before my life becomes more hectic and stressful I better find more time to read. These are the two books which I'm currently making my way through.

Paris Dreaming by Katrina Lawrence*
My fascination with Paris has been well documented on the blog and as such I'm always compelled by books which concern the city of lights & love. The book covers different stages of the author's life in which she was in Paris, from visiting with her parents as a child through to escaping there as an adult. Each chapter is a combination of what she got up to while in Paris with a kind of history lesson of French writers and notable figures. There is a bibliography at the end of the book and I know I'm going to want to read everything that's listed.

Each chapter manages to capture significant points in Lawrence's life, whether it be her career or personal relationships. Through the highs of lows of life, there's always Paris.

The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson*
While Paris Dreaming makes you feel all warm inside this book does the exact opposite. It has an uneasy sense to it, mostly due to a group of men who find it amusing to torment and chase a girl all because of her name. Aside from that, the story has a fantasy element to it which always intrigues me. It's set in Ireland and focuses on two opposing groups, each of which has their own mystical talents. Wren is the central character and has to go 'undercover' in enemy territory in order to locate a map which has the locations of spiritually charged structures. Losing these means losing their heritage and abilities.

I'm really enjoying it so far & find myself whizzing through it which is always a good sign. A good distraction from the tedious readings I have to do for uni.

What books are you reading this month?

Ashley xx
*Review Copy

What I Learned from having a skincare routine

The answer to the title of this post may seem obvious but for me, it was a new discovery. I'd never really had a regular skincare routine, the most I'd do was put on some moisturiser and occasionally even use a cleanser. As I've gotten older, and through blogging, I've learned that in order for my skin to look good I actually have to take care of it. Who would have thought? The problem, however, was in finding products which actually worked for me. There are so many skincare brands and products out there to choose from and for me having too many options just becomes daunting. Despite this, I'm always open to trying new things so when I was offered the chance to try out products from Dermaviduals* I took the chance.  

I've already written a post sharing my thoughts on the products and *spoiler alert* I saw improvements in my skin when I used them. Being the lazy person that I am I stopped using them for a couple of days at a time and always saw new breakouts. I'm not the best at maths but I could see that using the products regularly added up to my skin looking better.

I've become more focused on skincare that I have previously. Whenever my face broke out my solution was to cake on makeup in the hopes that it wouldn't be that noticeable. Back then I looked to cover up my skin rather than actually use products which helped my skin. My first years at uni were the worst, especially since there were a lot of food options which weren't generally the healthiest. I also tended to touch my face more often, leaning my face against my hand when I was trying to listen to what the lecturers were saying.

My skin has always been one of my biggest insecurities. I remember having breakouts at intermediate (maybe around 11 or 12 yrs old) and having fellow school kids (mostly boys) feeling the need to comment on my skin. I've always been quiet & shy and having to deal with this just pushed me further into my shell and I just didn't want to talk to anyone. From then on it's been an issue for me. It even got so bad that I went on medication for it.

After 13 or so years of dealing with acne, I'm finally making skincare a priority. Unfortunately, I've finished all the products from Dermaviduals but have just started using some Neutrogena Visibly Clear Spot Proofing products that were sent to me. Hopefully, I'll see an improvement but if not I'll be on the lookout for brands/products to try. If you've got any you swear by let me know.

Ashley xx
*PR Samples

Life Update | What's been happening the last month

It's been a while since I've written something non-academic and to be honest, I'm at a loss as to how to write this. I'm still in the essay mindset, trying to establish an argument and making sure everything is structured and flows well. This has been me for the last month or so. I've never been good at time management (or essays for that matter) so something had to give. Unfortunately, it wasn't the assignments.  

This post is kind of like a catch-up, though it is mostly one way. If you want to let me know what you've been up to though, feel free to. It's currently the mid-semester break and I'm trying to enjoy this time where I don't need to do any readings or assignments. It always feels weird at the start, I have this feeling I should be doing something else but then I remember there is nothing to do. It's weird. I don't have that much time off unfortunately, maybe like two weeks??? I'm doing distance study so the lines are kind of blurred. I think I'm half-way done with the degree I'm doing (I haven't got all my results back so I have no idea whether I've passed the courses) and I've just got two more courses to go, which I'm kind of dreading. They're covering the areas of museums which I'm not so interested in, like management, so I'm gonna have to try to stay on top of everything. Unlike this semester. 

To be honest there's nothing else that's been happening. One of my aims for this year was to starting learning to drive. There has been zero movement on that front and I'm struggling with the confidence to ask the parentals for lessons. Anxiety makes me terrified about everything basically. I'm also trying to be more active (by trying I mean doing nothing at all). Also, it's cold and I just immediately put on my dressing gown and follow my monotonous daily schedule. The only excitement I get is from watching what other people get up to via Instagram. Always a voyager.

So yeah. I'm not sure whether I'll actually get back to a "regular" blogging schedule for a while as I've still got the rest of the year to get through. My intention is just to post whenever I can. I'm more active on Instagram (ashleyruthblog) so you can just follow me on there if you're interested.

Until the next post...

Ashley xx