Goodbye 2020.

Instead of getting the things I wanted I was grateful for the things I got.

2020 was a peculiar year. January saw my first holiday in years when I took a trip to Oslo. Doing minimal research beforehand so I could live in the moment there saw me visit sculpture parks, cat museums and pinball arcades. It was amazing, and finding myself in a situation to travel only made my hunger for it grow. I was set to interview for a job in Japan starting in September, it would see me in one of my most sought after countries but would limit me there for at least a year whilst I worked. So I planned to travel to a different country each month each month this year, or each month till September if I was successful.

February I travelled to Belgium for literally a day, it was my only day off and all I had money for, but it didn’t stop me. I took in a brewery tour, visited Bruges and Ghent and realised that 24 hours is a long time, having one day off a week did not have to be limiting, the only limits were myself and my own restrictions. I planned a week holiday to Poland in March with my longest and closest friends, I opted to go a day earlier than everyone else, flying on my own, staying in a hostel for a night and doing things I wanted to do for that first day alone, it wouldn’t be easy, but I wanted to challenge myself. That’s when things started to change.

I woke up swimming in sweat but freezing cold, migraines and coughing for hours. people were getting ill in China, but that was a million miles away, I don’t know what I had, but i have never been that ill in my life. International travel was banned and trips were being cancelled, literally the week of our trip. Friends for 15-28 years and our first trip cancelled. Although I was grateful we weren’t trapped out there I was heartbroken. I visited my mum that week, it was the weekend of Mother’s Day so tied in perfectly, we had an amazing weekend but I couldn’t hide my disappointment.

Reluctantly I got back in my car and travelled south, I remember hearing Italy was in a two week lockdown. “A free two week holiday, sign me up!” Oh how we were naive. I headed to work and immediately was told I had to go home, I wasn’t allowed in the building but no one had informed me, I was to work from home, and that week was when the first lockdown was announced.

I tried to carry on, but things weren’t the same for anyone, I realised my life wasn’t headed in the direction I wanted it to be. I knew I needed some time to figure this out. I needed a clear separation between work and personal life, to figure out who I was and what I wanted. Throughout all of this I just wanted to make it through, I’d spent years scared to leave the house, trapped in my bedroom, and now, more than ever I felt comfortable enough to be outside and was being told I couldn’t be, it was a lot, but at least I found little comfort in knowing everyone was going through this.

Throughout this time I was reached out to by someone I’d barely worked with before but they were looking for staff to produce and edit videos for new products, I think myself and my current job had both reached a mutual ending so I took it up, in a time where millions were loosing work I was incredibly greatful to find a new one, something exciting, something I was good at and something people trusted me to do and do well.

After accepting my new job I found out I was actually successful at getting a job in Japan, I accepted the once in a lifetime opportunity but knew it wouldn’t be easy, I’d settled into a job I absolutely loved, something I studied for, and had to work hard to prove I could do well. Do I sacrifice a fully funded year somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, creating stories I would remember forever, for a job that yes, is in my dream industry, but are more common and easy to get into? I accepted, only later to be told it would be deferred by a year anyway due to the pandemic, I guess that’s a job for 2021.

The last few months of the year were simple, but what I needed, I felt so incredibly lucky to be safe, healthy and unencumbered by worries of money. I had a roof over my head, the ability to provide for myself both necessities and the occasional treat and I’d built good relationships with colleagues who I now wholly consider friends ( something which is incredibly hard to naturally achieve as an adult)

2021 may not start how I want, it may not even end how I want. 12 countries in 12 months? That clearly isn’t going to happen but who says it needs to be January to January? I’ve been lucky enough to get what I need to start new hobbies I’ve been interested in for a while, 2021 will be my year of self motivation, saving and learning. I think it’s important to concentrate on self-development and I think 2020 is the skeleton of my self-development, I’ve set myself up nicely for my future, I have equipped myself with the tools I need to learn new skills and to become the person I’ve been restricted of being for so long.

2020 hasn’t been easy for anyone, but there are silver linings in even the darkest clouds, don’t let it get you to a point where hope has cheated you, because there is so much more out there, and this is just a blip we all have to live through.

What was a surprisingly happy moment of your 2020?

What are your hopes and goals for 2021?

Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings of this year, stay safe, and adventure when you can.

BOOHOO Beauty Advent Caledar – Review

For those of you who don’t know, this year I treat myself to Boohoo’s beauty advent calendar. One of two beauty calendars I received this year. This first was my 24 days of Korean skincare which I opened pre-December to give you a full review, this one however was a little treat to myself and I wanted the full experience, so I opened it daily over on my instagram @OhSoViki to get me through December.

Retailing at £40 (£32 at the time with discount code) with an advertised RRP of £149 worth of products inside I did little research before hitting the purchase button because frankly, what’s the point of a surprise if it isn’t a surprise at all!

Was it worth it? Will I be purchasing it next year? Let’s find out!

I ❤ Makeup Molten Lip, Skinny Tan Choc Instant Tan, Glamourise Eyelashes, Velvotan Mitt, Fluffy Bow headband, I heart Revolution Mini Palette, Mini Tanologist Tanning Drops, Soothing 2 pack Face Masks, Cuticle Set, Bubble T Grape Bath Pearls, I Heart Revolution Eyeliner, Rose Gold lash applicator, Carmel Lip Balm, Sleek Shattered Glass Lip Topper, Beauty Blender, Sunkissed Easy Brow, Sleek Highlighter Palette, Barry M Nail Varnish, Eyelure Enchanted Eyelashes, Jade Roller, Oh K! Face Mask, Eyelash Curlers.

The first couple of days yielded poor results, at first I got the I ❤ makeup Molten Lip, which wouldn’t work, followed by lashes that were really poor quality and had a lot of strays that gave you no shape and a frankly sample sized tan drops that you put into your own moisturiser. I knew there were better things to come though! Day 4 gave me the fluffy bow headband which honestly is so simple but adorable and it started picking up from there!

The calendar definitely gives you a massive variety of make-up, beauty, tools and a good mix of brands you’ve heard of, fan favourites, new brands to try and maybe fall in love with!

There was definitely a Chocolate theme with these, which probably goes hand in hand for most people, but I’m not a massive fan of chocolate fragranced beauty products. I eventually got the Molten Lip to work and it’s not a colour I expected at all, it’s very sickly pink that isn’t quite a gloss or lipstick it’s inbetween in one of those ways where it doesn’t quite adhere to your lip properly for a while, and if you have dry lips (who doesn’t in winter) it shows up everything that’s wrong! But when it does it leaves a fairly nice stained colour – I received a lot of compliments on the colour and think i’ll be using it again as long as I have the foresight of putting it on a couple of hours before I head out. I love The Chocolate Orange eye palette has my everyday colours in it and it’s a handy travel size and sturdy casing so I can see this becoming a staple. I have no idea what to expect of the tan, you do get a tanning mitt and the booster drops too so I think for a while I’ll be stepping away from my vampire chic aesthetic.

Some of my most exciting products were the eyelash applicator and Jade Roller! Even though I put a poll on my instagram story on whether they work and an overwhelming 82% said no I’m still excited to try these out, but all of the ‘tools’ that came in the calendar really were let down by poor packaging, The beauty blender is as basic as they come and really a pound shop present, throw it in a travel case or holder and you’d be onto a winner there for not a lot more cost to the retailer. The amount of plastic packaging too seems so wasteful although I guess they’re thinking about the fact they need to be ‘hygenically’ sent to us.

So the left hand side are the lashes that seem to have no structure to them with random strays, these were opened on day two so left me a little disappointed, the Eyelure ones were day 22 and I was so impressed, I think they’re one of the most high-end pieces of the entire calendar considering they also include a mini applicator in themselves, which you could say would make the others redundant but it never hurts to have a travel-sized pair for touch ups!

I’ve got to say this is definitely aimed to a more younger demographic, with multiple ‘I heart’ and sleek products, which don’t get me wrong can be great but I see them as drugstore, first time friendly products.

My stand-outs!

  • Sheet masks (although I don’t need 2 from one calendar)
  • Jade roller
  • Eyelure set and applicator
  • Bow headband – so soft and a cute design.

Happy to have – Wouldn’t purchase
The nail set is great, honestly the cuticle pen is a lifesaver but a wooden emery board? No thanks! Glass all the way, never use wooden as it causes more splints.
Tanning cream is always fun to play around with because i’ve never found one that works for me so rather than purchasing it to realise it doesn’t work i’m happy for it to come as an addition in this box.

Let downs

  • Pink unicorn eyeliner (one too many I heart products and this one seems like the opacity over eyeshadow won’t be great).
  • Spider-leg eyelashes.
  • The sample sized tanning drops
  • The two animal tested products that I won’t even name, it’s 2020, there’s no need for it.

Overall thoughts

There’s definitely more than £40 worth of products in here at standard retail price and the added thought of it being in a calendar will always come at a premium but I’ve purchased plenty of £30-40 beauty boxes that come with way more value in them. I think there was little thought in the contents, with 2 sets of polish, eyelashes, tan and face masks (which I could manage if they were on par with each other but in each case one is vastly superior to the other) but I do think there is really an astonishing amount of variety in this calendar and after the initial few days of let downs I was seriously excited daily to see what I was going to get.

I also think this is massively targeted to 16 year olds, there are so many ‘young’ brands in here but not even young in a 18-24 way, Considering the model on the photos selling this is literally in underwear I think the products barring the Eyelure and Jade Roller are really for first timers, like I said, it’s not that these brands are bad, but there’s a ‘cheap’ and ‘young’ demographic to them rather than seeing say a NYX Product (or something on par) thrown in a little bit more.

It was a fun experience, I really did enjoy opening up something new each day and I know I’ll get good use out of 99% of these products, I think it was fairly priced for the £32 I paid, but I think the products are not as expensive as they’re making out, Getting a Latest in Beauty box for example is going to give me genuinely higher market items for around £30-40. I think doing little research into it was fun so it was a genuine surprise but next year I need to find a fully cruelty free one without spoiling the contents, if it wasn’t for that sole fact I actually would consider this next year despite the few blips because with 24 products at the price I paid odds are you won’t like everything but it did good overall and gave me a good little treat each day of December!

Did you get a different type of advent calendar this year?

Will you be getting one next year?

Let me know your stories in the comments below!