Sunday, 11 August 2019

Skincare Routine to Combat and Prevent Problem Skin



Hey guys!

I have been working full-time all summer and am currently a legal intern (the internship of dreams!) so expect posts to be few and far between for now.
I am also going into an intense Masters in September for two years and will most definitely be studying my ass off for the duration of the course!

Either way, I will try to stay as active on Sparkle of Pink and my Instagram as possible but this has always and will  always be a hobby for me, one that I love, and life and education do take precedence!

That being said, I have changed my skincare routine a lot over the past few months to combat and prevent problem skin. During and after exams, followed by the New York City pollution, my skin wasn't great and it was getting me really down. When I came home, I completely changed my skincare routine and since then my skin has been consistently clear, give or take a small breakout or two.

I'm going to share my routine with you guys and hopefully, anyone who is struggling to find a skincare routine like mine finds this useful!

Nivea MicellAIR Professional Micellar Water


If any have any makeup residue on my face before I start the routine or if I'm not just out of the shower (I am lazy enough to use my face scrubs and washes in the shower....) then I clean my face with this micellar water before going on with the rest of my routine.

While it does make my face feel clean, it is shocking at taking off any waterproof mascara (even though it claims to be able to do so!). As a result of this, if you're looking for a makeup remover that can take off your waterproof mascara, I would look elsewhere! I love the Garnier Express 2in1 Eye Makeup Remover.

The Nivea MicellAIR Professional Micellar Water is currently available in Boots for €5.99.


The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution


It's no secret that I love The Ordinary products because I think they're absolutely fantastic for my skin and are incredibly budget friendly! This peeling solution treats your skin by exfoliating the top layer leaving a clearer and brighter complexion, fighting blemishes along the way!

I use the peel twice a week and love the feel of my skin afterwards. I always wait until my skin is dry after using the micellar water and never leave the peel on for more than 10 minutes. Just be sure to warn people that you might be walking around with a red face!

Rinse your skin with warm water after 10 minutes (I use Ulta's makeup removing towel) and continue on with your skincare routine!

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution is available on Beauty Bay for €7.


Formula 10.0.6 So Totally Clean Deep Pore Cleanser


I follow the peeling solution with this cleanser from Formula 10.0.6. This is a liquid cleanser cleans the dirt and grime that may still be on your face from the day (when I don't use the peeling solution, I always use this to fully clean my face) and also contains salicylic acid which fights the dirt and grime that produces spots!

This cleanser doesn't smell fantastic but I love how clean it makes my skin feel and don't forget to bring the cotton pad down your neck while cleansing your face as well!

I would test out this product or any product containing salicylic acid before committing to its use, in case you experience any drying or acid burn.

I bought my cleanser in Ulta but you can now buy the So Totally Clean Deep Pore Cleanser on Beauty Bay for €8.50.


The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution


If I do experience a breakout I topically apply this salicylic acid solution to my spots at night and it really does help. While the salicylic acid concentration is higher in The Ordinary product, I would always be careful to not overuse a product like this as you can experience drying and/or acid burn.

You can buy The Ordinary Salicylic Acid in Arnotts!


Nip+Fab  Dragon's  Blood Fix Plumping Serum


I got this deluxe sample size of the Dragon's Blood Fix Plumping Serum in my Glossybox advent calendar last year and have only recently opened it.

With this serum, a little goes a long way and it is a great extra shot hydration for your skin if you're prone to dry, dehydrated skin, like me. The Dragon's Blood Serum also claims to help your skin look plumper with the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles reduced.

Nip+Fab's Dragon's Blood Fix Plumping Serum is available from the Nip+Fab for €19.95.


The Ordinary Resveratol 3% + Ferulic Acid 


This Ordinary product combines two powerful antioxidants in a considerable high concentration and I always use it after the serum but before heavier creams like my moisturiser.

The Reserveratol 3% + Ferulic Acid helps reverse radical damage and promote healthy,  younger-looking skin. While yes, I am still young, I have read in a few places now that you should start to use anti-ageing products in your early 20s to combat early signs of ageing.

The Ordinary Reserveratol 3% + Ferulic Acid is available on Beauty Bay for €7.


The Ordinary Alpha Lipoic Acid 5%


I only use the alpha lipoic acid once a week at the moment even though they suggest using it 2-3 times a week, albeit sparingly. Another antioxidant formula, this on aims to target ageing skin and works to improve the tone and texture of skin and to improve the appearance of scars, pigmentation and dullness as well as fine lines and wrinkles.

Two to three drops is enough for your whole face and is not for use on sensitive skin (always patch test when it comes to using new skincare products)!

The Ordinary Alpha Lipoic Acid is available from Beauty Bay for €6.75.


Nivea Daily Essentials Rich Moisturising Cream with SPF 15


With dry skin like mine, I start to wrap up my skincare with a moisturiser aimed for dry and sensitive skin. When using any sort of acid on your face, it is SO important to also use a moisturiser that contains SPF as your skin can become more susceptible to damage from the sun.

 In any case, I would recommend using a moisturiser with SPF regardless of whether you use acids or not, in order to protect your skin. I love this Nivea moisturiser because it leaves my skin feeling incredibly soft and hydrated.

Nivea's Daily Essentials Rich Moisturising Cream is currently available from Boots for €3.24.


Kelkin Tea Tree Clear Skin Roller


The final product I always use on my skin before bed is Kelkin's Clear Skin Roller on any spots or potential spots in order to combat them or prevent them from ever appearing.

The roller has a combination of tea tree oil, witch hazel and lavender and smells great when rolling it onto your skin. It really does combat any spots and I love how fast it works.

The Kelkin Clear Skin Roller can be hard to get your hands on (I waited three or four months for my local pharmacy to get it back in stock) but now I buy two or three when I come across is because I love it so much.

I have paid between €4.50 and €4.70 for the roller and it is beyond worth it!


Well, they're all the products I'm using in my skincare routine to combat and prevent problem skin at the moment! 
Do you use any of the same products?
What did you think of them?
Can you recommend any products for my skincare routine?

Let me know in the comments below!

Ciara,
xoxo.
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Facebook: www.facebook.com/sparkleofpink
Snapchat: Ciarakxo







Friday, 5 July 2019

New York Haul


Hey guys!

As promised, here's my haul for NYC. It took me a while to get this up because after New York, I was sick for a good ten days. Then I went to France and I've been working ridiculous hours since I've been home!

I know this haul doesn't look like much but to be honest, I was surprised with the restraint I had while I was in NYC! I knew I didn't need to buy any makeup as I have SO MUCH to get through so I only picked up a few bits I have wanted for ages!


Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream


A cult favourite in America, this cream isn't too widely available in Ireland and after seeing so many people gush about the Bum Bum Cream online, I knew I had to pick it up this time!

I went for the largest tub because I felt like treating myself and I cannot wait to use it. Sol de Janeiro claims that this all over body cream smoothens your skin while leaving it soft and hydrated. My skin can get so dry in the summer months, even though I moisturise and drink lots of water!

I haven't opened the tub yet but I will be sure to let everyone know how I get on with the Bum Bum Cream!

I picked mine up in Sephora for $45.


Urban Decay Born to Run Palette


I know I said I didn't need anymore palettes a while back but I've had UD's Born to Run on my list for a few months now! I love the neutrals in this palette and the shades on the more adventurous side (the jewel shades) really do compliment any neutral look with a gorgeous pop of colour.

Urban Decay's quality never disappoints and these really do last all day! I couldn't say no to purchasing the palette when it was only $29 over Memorial Day Weekend in Sephora!

While it's not on sale anymore, you can pick up the Born to Run palette in Sephora for $49.


Hawaiian Pink Hibiscus PocketBac Hand Sanitiser 


I picked up a small hand sanitiser in Bath & Body Works when I got some candles as well because, lets face it, the NYC Subway is not clean! You need to sanitise your hands after each ride and it is 100% necessary to do so before eating as well!

I chose this one because it's pink and also smells fantastic. I definitely wish I had picked up a few more because they're so handy and smell great!

You can get single sanitisers or a packet from Bath & Body Works.


Sephora Collection Pro Domed Foundation Brush #78


I'll admit that I completely splurged on this brush! I have heard so many people rave about Sephora's brushes and after talking to one of the lovely girls that works there, she suggested the Pro Domed Foundation Brush, having described it as a blending sponge in a brush. 

I swear by the Real Techniques Sponge and having tried this brush a few times now, I definitely agree with the employee's description! My foundation just glides on and it is beyond easy to blend and nothing becomes cakey and there are never any spots on my face that aren't covered!

If you're looking for a new foundation brush, I would definitely recommend this one!

You can get the Sephora Pro Domed Founation Brush in stores and online for $36.


Colourpop Cosmetics Yes, Please! Palette


 I love Colourpop and have used their single pressed shadows for years now. I didn't see any palettes in stock in the Ulta I went to last year so couldn't resist buying one when I saw the stand was fully stocked this year!

For $16 this palette is a steal and it just screams gorgeous, sunkissed glowing looks to me. The warm neutrals paired with the metallic shades are the perfect combination for any evening or summer session looks!

If you're in NYC, the Ulta nearest to The MET has a Colourpop stand and it is well worth the visit.

Otherwise, the palette is available from Ulta's website for $16.


Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder


This powder is hands down my favourite purchase from the whole trip! A lot of you won't know this but I was super close to my granny, Kitty, before she passed away when I was younger. We both loved pink and I was literally called Mini Kitty but a lot of people who knew the two of us. I chose Kitty as my confirmation name when I was 12 and always use it now, hence CiaraKittyK!

If I was to describe what Kitty smelt like, it would literally be this powder so I knew I had to purchase it on this trip to New York. I haven't opened it yet and don't plan on doing so anytime soon but I love being able to just take it off my shelf and smell it.

The CVS website is not available outside of the US so I can't access the page or how much it was but this loose powder is available from CVS Pharmacy!


Sephora Insider Kat Von D Birthday Gift 2019


I have a Sephora Insider card and the staff in one of the stores was kind enough to give me my birthday gift for this year when I said I was visiting from Ireland and I chose the Kat Von D birthday gift.

The gift includes a mini Tattoo Liner, a mini Lock It powder and small samples of the Studded Kiss line. I have wanted to try the liner and powder for a while now so it was a no-brainer when I was asked which gift I would like.

If you're in the US on a J1 or just a visit, it's totally worth getting an Insider card and asking for your birthday gift before you come home!


Well, there you guys have it! A rundown of all of the makeup related products I bought this time around in New York! There were definitely a lot of products I wanted but knew I didn't need at all so this haul isn't huge but I am definitely happy with everything I bought!

Have you just returned from America?
What kind of products did you buy?
Let me know in the comments below!

Ciara,
xoxo.
Snapchat: Ciarakxo






Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Why I Took A Break From Blogging


Hey guys!

So it has been almost four months since I last posted on Sparkle of Pink. While I remained kind of active on social media, I really just focused on final semester and was also working through some life setbacks over the past few months.

I needed to take some time to focus on myself and what I see myself doing in the future.

As many of you guys know, I have aspired to be a solicitor (lawyer) since my early teens and even though my undergraduate degree is in Economics, Politics and International Relations, my career aspirations firmly remained in the legal profession over the past few years.

Last summer I was on an internship in The CAMPUS in Portugal so this summer I decided to go for internships in law firms, but only applied to one or two in Dublin. What I learnt very quickly is that your Leaving Certificate results still count when going for internships like this but also that I seriously needed to invest in some office attire!

When I didn't get an internship in the law firm I really wanted to be in, I was crushed. I knew I had to pick myself up and move on but the interview feedback really stumped me. I was hearing feedback  that baffled me and I couldn't understand how the impression I gave off was completely opposite to what I will achieve in life. I was essentially told to look at different fields because law was not for me and to hear that was like the end of the world for me.

It took me a few weeks to digest the feedback and quite a lot of tears fell but looking back now, I needed a wake-up call like that. I have since secured an internship in a law firm this summer and hope to gain some invaluable experience during my month there!

I've also finished my undergraduate degree (with final results coming this Friday!) and have been provisionally accepted to a Masters course in UCD. It took a lot of thought and research but as I still want to pursue a legal career, I have decided to study for a Masters of Common Law (MCL) in UCD for the next two years, beginning in September 2019!

I needed to take a break to fully figure out what it is I see myself doing with the rest of my life and if further study was what I needed in order to achieve this. I do plan on continuing with Sparkle of Pink throughout the summer and over the next two years but I will take some time off every now and then to focus on my studies as well as my general well-being.


My attitude completely changed after some of the feedback I received after interviews and I am more determined than ever to go out there and get what I know I want. I may not have gotten 600+ points in a series of memory-focused exams three years ago (I still don't even understand why my Leaving Cert points would have any relevance post-college degree...) nor is Law my primary degree but give me the knowledge and starting point and I will excel in any situation I am placed in. 

It is going to take me a year longer than any undergraduate law student to get to the FE1s but I will get there and this year's setback will really be the platform for my future career.

As always, leave a comment below if you've ever experienced a setback like this yourself!
I'll be posting my NYC haul in the coming weeks and after that, maybe a haul from Cannes, as I'm going there next week!

Ciara,
xoxo.
Snapchat: Ciarakxo

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Shopping My Stash - January 2019


Hey guys!

So I know my January post on shopping my stash is a little late, but with all the work in my final semester, as well as trying to figure out what I'll be doing next year, I honestly couldn't find the time to sit down and write this.

I was so good in January, I didn't buy any new makeup or skincare at home but when I went to Portugal, I couldn't resist buying an egg themed, three-step skincare routine. I haven't used them yet but I will soon and I'll keep you updated with how I'm getting on with them!

Skincare

I have a whole shelf dedicated to skincare in my room, along with a box on my desk with everything I'm currently using. I 100% panic-purchased a lot of The Ordinary products when they temporary shut down so I have quite a few things to get through.

My skin wasn't too bad in January so I stuck to a simple routine of face wash, cleansing pads and a moisturiser. 



I bought a new face wash going to Portugal, along with the current one I was using when I left and the new one came home, unopened. Since then it was just sitting on my shelf because I had some at home that I felt the need to use first. For January, I decided to use and am still using, L'Oréal's Fine Flowers Gel-Cream Face Wash.

My skin can get pretty sensitive so the fact that this doesn't have a scent is a bonus for me! I am that lazy person who washes their face when they're in the shower so I use this every second day and it leaves my skin feeling clean and refreshed.

I am a self-proclaimed Nip+Fab lover but when I saw Superdrug brought out their own version of the glycolic pads, I had to buy them! Seen as they were always out of stock when I tried to order them, I ordered a few when I could finally get my hands on them.

I started using them after taking a week's break from the Nip+Fab pads and to be honest, I really don't see a difference between the two brands. The Superdrug pads are more affordable and leave my skin feeling just as good as the higher-end pads. 

The only way I'll be reverting back to the Nip+Fab pads now is if they have their fabulous €6 sale on again soon!


I don't even want to admit how long this has been on my shelf...  that's how old it is! However I never actually opened it so it was totally fine to use and I completely forgot why I loved it so much in the first place.

As you guys know, my face can get seriously dry and it's hard to find a moisturiser that actually works for me. I used this daily in 5th and 6th year but completely forgot I had bought more of it before it was discontinued. 

I cannot fault this product at all. It dries into your skin and doesn't flake off as all of the goodness is absorbed by my dry, tired forehead and if you need extra moisture, leaving a thick layer on your skin will mean it's been absorbed by the time morning comes!

Makeup 

With makeup, it is beyond obvious I own too much. While I have stopped buying eyeshadow palettes, there are things like powder, foundation (maybe not so much..) and concealer that I will always need to buy more of, as I use them all  the time.

Last month, I used up powders I had stocked up on (don't ask me why I decided to stock up on powder, I couldn't tell you why), a new mascara because mine ran out, as well as using concealers that I could only use when tanned. Other than that, I continued using everything I would normally use in my routine as I had enough product to last me the month and hate unnecessarily opening new makeup when you have an unfinished open product that is similar if not the same.


I am a Stay Matte fanatic. I have used this powder since I started doing makeup and no other product has convinced me to leave it behind. I normally use the powder in translucent but when I saw a Clear Complexion Translucent on a trip to London, I bought four or five of them.
Again, I don't know why I thought stockpiling was a good idea, but this isn't the only occasion I've done it either.

I crushed the powder and put it into an old loose powder container because I find it the best way to apply the product and have been doing this for almost a year now. For me, this product is the exact same as the regular translucent powder and while it does say it can clear your skin, I haven't seen any difference in my skin as a result of this powder.


This mascara came out in 2017 and I'm fairly sure I bought it in early 2018. I am so bad at buying mini mascaras and I always forget I have about five or six full-size products just sitting in a drawer, waiting to be used.

I started January using a mini Nars Audacious mascara but I hated it! I had heard so many great things about the mascara but I found flakes all over my face and under my eyes an hour or two after application. I used it a few more times to see if my application was the issue but I kept on getting horrible flakes everywhere. I tossed the product and moved straight onto L'Oréal's Miss Baby Roll and I am in love!

The formula does not flake, which was a nice turnaround from my previous mascara and I got curl, length and volume, all from the one mascara! For added volume, I apple two to three coats and with this mascara, there's no clumping. My lashes stay curled all day and I am so happy I decided to try this mascara out!


I was gifted the Physician's Formula Super BB Concealer a while ago and never used it because it was far too dark for my skin. I used fake tan a few times in January because of birthdays and my trip to Portugal so I decided to put this product to the test.

I was completely unimpressed. While the shade was fine for when I had tan on, the coverage this concealer has it shocking. I found myself putting a layer on before and after foundation and still having to use a different concealer afterwards if I had a blemish because this just wouldn't cover it up!

The formula is creamy and if you're looking for a lightweight concealer and you only need a little coverage, this is for you. However, if like me, you enjoy high coverage from any concealer you use then I'd give this one a skip!

Haircare

My mum usually buys my shampoo and conditioner for me and I always forget that I have some in the hot press and usually end up buying some myself without thinking there's some at home. I actually put a note up in my room this month reminding me that there was some in the hot press so I wouldn't go out and buy more!

So, when my shampoo ran out I started using a Head and Shoulders shampoo as well as using up the remainder of a hair mask I had bought in Portugal and just left and the end of the bath for months!


I love Head and Shoulders as my scalp can get dry sometimes and their formula really helps get rid of any dryness in a few washes. The full and strong version that I started using has also really helped any breakages I was having before Christmas (this always seems to happen when I get stressed) and left my hair feeling strong and nourished.

If you're looking for a good shampoo, it is so important to note that Head and Shoulders isn't just for people with dandruff and their range is expanding all the time, they definitely have a shampoo that suits every hair issue!

Another product I picked up and forgot about was this mask from L'Oréal's Dream Lengths. I have bought and do intend on using the shampoo and conditioner but I have been using the no cut cream since June and it has really helped the condition of the ends of my hair!

I bought the mask while I was in Portugal because I noticed the heat was having an effect on my hair health and thought this would help. For one, it smells fantastic and secondly, it left my hair feeling soft and smooth until the next wash.

When I came home, I left it on the end of my bath and pretty much forgot it existed so when I was doing a clear out in January, I started to use it again. At the moment, I'm using it on a weekly basis because it is an intense treatment but if you leave it in the lengths of your hair for up to five minutes, your hair will feel absolutely fantastic until the next wash!


I loved shopping my stash this month and was pleasantly surprised that I didn't buy that much makeup or skincare over the few weeks. 

Have you been shopping your stash like me?
What products have you come across?

If not, did this give you any inspiration to save some money and use what you already own?

Let me know in the comments below!

Ciara,
xoxo.
Snapchat: Ciarakxo





Wednesday, 30 January 2019

How to Make the Most of Your Weekends


Hey guys!

I am working on my 'Shopping My Stash' for January but I'm also on such a productive buzz at the moment that I decided to share what I do on the weekends to make the most of my time.

I balance a part-time job on top of final year college work so I have to plan my weekends in advance so I can get everything done, while having downtime as well.

I love planning. I don't know why but it's one of my best assets along with my organisation skills. If you read my previous post on my tips and tricks for semester two, you'll know my weekly planner is one of my favourite things to do ahead of a busy week.

Plan Ahead


No surprise here! If you feel like a brunch with the girls on Sunday, or a movie night on Saturday, make sure to solidify these plans before you change your mind.

I get my roster for the following week every Friday evening. When I get it, I make sure to plan my downtime before I do anything else. Whether it's casual drinks on Friday night or a night out on Saturday, if I don't make plans the week before, I'm more than likely not going to go out.

After I plan my downtime, I start to look at what readings I still have to do for the upcoming week and what might be due soon. Fitting an hour or two of reading into your weekend plans shouldn't be difficult. On top of that, study time is a must!

Planning ahead (not everything has to be set in stone), gives you an idea of what needs to be done, along with what free time you have, should an opportunity to go out pop up during the week.


Don't Stretch Yourself Thin


Do not leave everything to the weekend. If you've readings, set aside an hour every evening to ensure you stay on top of things. If you commute, bring some readings on the bus (I only started doing this recently and it has been so helpful!).

Try not to plan every minute of the weekend. Leave a few hours free each day and don't overdo the studying or working. This won't be beneficial for your mental or physical health because you can be heightening your stress levels unnecessarily and draining yourself for the week ahead, before it even begins.

While I do work weekends, I work a short shift on Saturday (four or five hours) and a full day on Sunday. Not every workplace can do this, but if you talk to a manager, this could be great for you. For me, it means I can have Saturday afternoon/evenings to myself but a full day on Sunday means I still have a nice wage the following week.

While it can be good to stretch yourself some weeks, doing it every weekend won't be good for you in the long haul!


Don't Forget to Exercise!


It's all well and good to say you exercise during the week but even a Sunday stroll is better than nothing at the weekend! I don't know how many times I've complained about a headache and my parents tell me to go for a walk in the fresh air.

While I usually snap back at them... I hate to admit that they're actually right. A brisk five or ten minute walk can clear your head and even though it is bitterly cold at the moment, the fresh air will actually do some good.


Ignore Sunday Night Blues


I don't mind going to college but does the prospect of actually having to leave my warm bed on a Monday morning to get onto a busy bus ruin my mood a little? Yes! 

One way to combat the Sunday night blues is to have something to look forward to on a Sunday evening! For me it's usually watching Hawaii Five-O with my parents, sometimes with a glass of wine, otherwise it's hot chocolate. Knowing I will be spending my evening doing something I enjoy, helps to keep my blues at bay!


How do you spend your weekends?
Do you like to make the most of them like me?

Let me know in the comments below!

Ciara,
xoxo.
Snapchat: Ciarakxo


Monday, 21 January 2019

Semester Two Tips and Tricks


Hey guys!

Semester Two has started for me this week and it's kind of bittersweet because it is the beginning of my last semester in UCD. 

As of today, I have twelve weeks left as a college undergrad and I'm not going to lie, it is daunting. I've got some major decisions to make about my future over the next few weeks. I have to send applications in, hope for the best and also just plan for the future.

It is something I am very excited for but at the same time, I can't help but feel like I'm leaving the best few years of my life behind. I have loved college and know I've made friends for life over the course of the last two and a half years.

I've become more confident as a person and am so glad to have put secondary school behind me. As a senior (I couldn't help it, if freshers can be called freshers, I can call myself a senior), I like to think I have some knowledge to pass onto my underclassmen as well as seniors who find themselves struggling in the final semester.

I have compiled a list of tips and tricks that I stick by, and know help, during the last twelve weeks of the year. They have helped me over the past few years and if they help one other person, I'll be very happy!


Stay on Top of Your Readings!


This one seems so simple, but you would be surprised with the amount of students who say they have fallen behind on readings by week two. I know the initial reading list of any module may seem daunting but setting aside a half hour, to an hour, every evening and sitting down to read a chapter or two will stand to you during midterms and finals.

Start as you mean to go on. Print off your readings lists and when it is available online, perfect. If not, check the library before you go out to buy a book. It'll save you money and it's always good to familiarise yourself with the library as well!


Highlighters are Your Best Friend.


Making notes is so important for any class. If you find yourself going through readings, if you own the book, highlight the important sections or parts you want to remember. However, if you don't own the book, writing out short notes on the section is a great way to study later on, and highlight the key words so you can  recall more from the buzzword! 

Do not be afraid of highlighters. Even in a lecture, if your lecturer heavily hints something or says something is important, highlight it within your notes! Using a highlighter as a subtle reminder to yourself is one of the best ways to revise in the future.

Don't however, highlight an entire paragraph or page. If your page is more colour than print, you need to put the highlighter down and reevaluate the page before you continue on with your revision!


Balance is Key.


Finding a balance in college is one of the most important life skills you will learn throughout your degree. Finding a balance between studies, social life and work is easier to do during the first few weeks of the semesters because it will be too overwhelming to consider during the last few weeks of term.

If you have a part-time job, like me, then your weekends are pretty much set aside for the job. It's not all bad though because at the end of the day you have money to spend or save, while still having the evenings for friends and family.

Incorporating health and fitness into your routine is a must. Whether it is a short walk every evening or a gym session during the day, exercise is one of the most important parts of your day. Meditation or keeping a journal could help your stress levels too.

Finding balance can be difficult but remember to have time for your studies, your friends and family and for you.


Weekly Planners Save Time.

Weekly Planners are something I cannot live without now. Every weekend, I take about 10 minutes, to write out my rough plan for the week, so I know what I'll be doing and where I need to be, each day of the week.

It is easier to use when I'm in college and I always include a rough evening plan to incorporate readings, revision, health and down time. 

I bought mine (pictured above) in Dealz and there are 52 sheets on it so it will definitely last you the year!


Due Dates/Midterms are Always Closer Than You Think!

If you're that person who doesn't put a due date/midterm date into their phone or planner and just say 'Ah sure it's in week x', YOU NEED TO STOP! Due dates/Midterms are always closer than you think. If you don't get your act together until week three/four, you're already behind.

Midterms or essays are usually between week five and seven of the semester which means you have to be on top of things from the get go! Once you know when a midterm will be or when an essay is due, put it into your phone/planner and make sure you regularly check the calendar.

Someone once told me, if you need an extension, look in your calendar, two weeks before something is due, write 'ESSAY DUE TODAY' into the diary and boom, there's your extension! Don't panic with how close due dates may seem but do not neglect the fact that they do exist and you need to be aware of them.


Go to Office Hours!


Every semester starts with the lecturer saying when their office hours are and it almost instantly goes to the back of countless minds in the room. Speaking from experience, office hours or subject help centres are profoundly useful. 

Not only does it give you the opportunity to build a relationship with your lecturer (this can help you when looking for references in the future) but also the chance to discuss something that intrigues you or something you don't quite understand, with someone who can guide you in the right direction and provide another insight into a particular topic.

If you have any queries or would just like assignment advice from your lecturer, going to their office hours is ALWAYS better than sending them an email.


Make Notes on a Weekly/Chapter Basis.


I cannot stress this tip enough! In first year, I had a nasty habit of leaving my note-making until the last minute (two or three days before the exam) and my stress levels were self-imposed and too high. 

Over the past couple years I've started to make notes on a chapter or topic basis in each module I'm taking. I left this until the weekend as a topic was usually finished during the last lecture of the week. Sometimes, it took longer than a week to cover a topic so sticking to the weekly target was unrealistic in that sense.

Setting aside an hour per module over the weekend (Thankfully, I have a three day weekend this semester!), to write out your notes can save time when it comes to midterms or finals and well as reducing your overall stress levels because you feel more relaxed and prepared when exam season comes around.


Make the Most of Breaks!


UCD's mid-semester break is in March this year so Semester 2 is broken into seven and five teaching weeks for me. The break is technically a 'fieldwork/study period' but two weeks is a long time.

I hope to go away for a few days over the two weeks because I can't say no to a city break and I don't plan on splitting my two weeks between college work and my part-time job. I think of it as a little spring break with college work built-in.

Taking some time for yourself, even if it's just a day or two of tv catch-up at home, is essential for any break in college. 

Don't get bogged down by the work due after your time off, set aside some time for everything. Most importantly, refresh yourself for the remainder of the semester!


Refreshers' Day.


If you missed the opportunity to join a society or club at the start of the year, or you're an exchange/Erasmus student who wants to get more involved in uni life, refreshers' day is definitely for you!

Each society/club should have a stand which gives you another opportunity to join a society or club that you didn't get the chance to previously. If you're still sceptical about some societies, don't be afraid to ask them questions! Having been on both sides of the table, I know how daunting it can be to ask questions to committees but we also love to answer your questions/welcome new members when we get the opportunity to!

Check out your SU's website for when Refreshers' Day is for you! In UCD, it is January 30th this year!


Support is There For You!


If you ever feel overwhelmed or just need somebody to talk to, there is always somebody there to help.

Your friends and family will prove an invaluable asset during your college years and spending some time with them can really help you through difficult times. If you need additional/further support, always get in touch with your SU for help and guidance.

If you need support with a specific module, your lecturer or tutor is there to help! Office hours are your friend and even if you haven't attended everything you were supposed to, your lecturer will still be there should you need them.

Never feel alone and always reach out to someone if you're going through a difficult time, whether it is in college or life. You are never alone. Someone is always there to help and guide you through difficult situations.


Good luck to everyone heading into their second semester and if it's your final semester, make the most of it! I know I will be!

Ciara,
xoxo.
Snapchat: Ciarakxo