Thursday, 30 January 2014

35. Mancunian Lamb

Hello everyone! Hope you're all well. I'm extremely well thank you for asking because yesterday my hero Andy Murray replied to my tweet in a Q and A session. I'm so grateful that he replied and surprisingly, I didn't cry haha! It's brilliant when Andy tweets and I can't believe some of the tabloids thought he was getting married this summer. They don't understand the concept of sarcasm.

Anyway, in my previous post I mentioned that I would be doing a couple of different posts on here and this is the first one. The title of the post may seem like this is a recipe for lamb or that I am pregnant- I can confirm that this post will be neither of those things. I'm sure a fair few of you are familiar with Throwback Thursday/ Flashback Friday and as it is Thursday today (well I suppose it depends when you're reading this but when I posted this it was a Thursday or Friday if you're Australian), I decided to do a mega Throwback Thursday on here. As an only child, it seems like my parents spent a fair bit of their spare time taking photos of me on EVERY occasion they possibly could so here is a bit of a visual timeline showing the transition from Mancunian Lamb to Mancunian Sheep. Most of the photos don't have other people in them except my Mum because I didn't want to spend ages contacting all my friends and family to ask for permission. Enjoy.
Probably the earliest/one of the earliest photos of me that I
could find. It's the Mancunian Lamb woo!

I love this picture because judging by the flowers and our
outfits it was taken on a summer night and my Mum looks pretty
in pink and we both look happy and it is great. The rose looks
lovely also. It was my 1st birthday.
This has to be my  favourite childhood photo. Look how happy I am! I have always
been a keen gardener and when I was younger used to have my
own little plot in the garden where I grew carrots, beans
 and sunflowers :D Reckon my favourite colour was green from an early age

I really like this photo, it might be because our outfits
 co-ordinate so well. I'm probably about 3 years old here. 

GOLD- ALWAYS BELIEVE IN YOUR SOUL! (Sorry, just couldn't help myself).
Here I am on Eid when I was 5. Bet the neighbours got sick of my parents 

taking photos of me so that's why they wanted to move (the for sale sign)
This was taken on one of the Eids when I was 6 years old.
After our big Eid meal, my parents, their best friend (may he rest
in peace and be granted a place in heaven) and I all
 went for a walk to see the swans and ducks.
Here I am at the Blue Planet aquarium in Chester aged 7.
I love the tunnel with moving floor with
sharks swimming above and I remember touching the
stingrays too.

Thoroughly enjoying myself at my 14th. That was probably
the best year of my life so far just because we had so much
fun in Years 9 and 10, it was a successful year too
and we had the house done.
Here I am at my 16th birthday meal. That was a great evening
 with ~15 of my closest friends from
 secondary school and our neighbours too. 

Hope you've liked taking this trip down memory lane with me. Until next time, take care.
Mancunian Sheep x

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

34. Investing in my skin.

Hello everyone! I hope you're well. In my previous post, I mentioned that I was taking the plunge and adopting a proper skin care routine. I chose Clinique because I remember going shopping with a friend several years ago and what a massive difference the products made to her skin. I also like the fact that Clinique products are free of harsh fragrances and that they are tested on a large sample size. Sometimes you see sample sizes of under 100 on TV adverts for brands like L'Oreal, it makes me laugh that they put stuff like "79% of 91 people tested agreed". I think it's wrong to even allow products to reach our shelves with such a small minority of the target market tested. Anyway, I went to my local Boots and was asked to fill out a 5 minute survey at the Clinique counter which you can also do on the Clinique website if you prefer shopping online. My main concerns about my skin are acne and the redness it causes, blackheads, large pores and dark circles beneath my eyes. I'm quite lucky in that I've never had spots on my cheeks and my problem areas are my forehead and chin. My T-zone is quite oily too in the morning but becomes quite dry during the day. Below are some photos that will hopefully be the "before" ones because I'm hoping my new routine will put an end to my skin problems.

The Clinique skin care routine consists of three steps:
  1. Cleanse
  2. Exfoliate
  3. Moisturise
The anti-blemish routine was recommended to me and below are photos of the items I purchased. The consultant told me that I may initially break out with more spots in the first few days after starting the routine but after using the items both last night and this morning, nothing terrible has happened yet. The cleansing foam priced at £15.50, left my face feeling thoroughly clean and this morning I woke up without the usual oily T-zone. The clarifying lotion which was £17.00 is a liquid exfoliator so is great for removing dead skin cells and will hopefully reduce the blackheads on my nose. When I applied it on my face using a cotton wool ball, I was astonished to find how grubby my face was and saw visible black specs on the cotton wool. The clearing moisturiser which cost £18.50 is hopefully going to prevent my skin from becoming too dry but as it is oil free, it won't result in any more spots like my previous moisturisers have. However, my favourite product by far is the all about eyes cream priced at £25.00. The consultant at Clinique told me that the skin around the eyes is twice as thin as the rest of the face and that we should really look after it. You only need a tiny amount but it really does hydrate your skin and leaves it feeling so much smoother. I've noticed a few fine lines below my eyes so hopefully with time, it will take of those too. 

My face is the least of my skin care worries because I suffer from bacne or back acne which is pretty bad but I won't share any photos of my back because that would be a bit weird. There are blemishes all over my back and on my shoulders and collarbone too. I did ask the lady at Clinique if they did any stuff for bacne but I think they concentrate on facial skincare products so I went to the Origins counter after my friend recommended them to me. Now I know the Skin Diver shower gel which cost £16.00 says "Origins for men" and I am not a man and that it does look quite grim especially as it is black. It smells really good and you wouldn't even think it a product for males. The lady at the Origins counter also recommended the blemish treatment pads priced at £23.00 which can be used anywhere so even on the face. You receive 60 pads so they should last 1-2 months depending on whether you use them once or twice a day. It is best to use them immediately after having a bath/shower. As I said, my bacne is really bad so I think it will take a bit longer for any noticeable difference but they haven't caused me to break out in any big painful red spots so it's looking good.

I have a follow up check at Clinique in a fortnight so fingers crossed that my face and neck will be looking much clearer by then. I will update you all with the progress my new skin treatments are making in my weekly posts. Keep a look out for some different but interesting posts in upcoming weeks, I won't say too much as I don't want to spoil the surprise. Also, I will be posting on here every weekend to let you all know what the Mancunian Sheep has been up to each week. Until next time, take care.
Mancunian Sheep x

Saturday, 25 January 2014

33. So long January blues!

Hello everyone! Hope you've all been well. You'll be pleased to know that I survived my five exams (just about) and now the dreaded wait for results day begins... Since my last post, most of my time has been spent revising, consuming my body mass in coffee, watching Four in a Bed (love that show) during revision breaks and crying about revision/exams/my lack of sleep/having no life. When I put my pen down yesterday afternoon as my final exam of the semester came to an end, I just felt relieved to have a life again. After the exam, my friend and I met up with our friend who returned from a semester abroad in Tennessee and it was so lovely to be reunited again! I came home and my Mum was cooking and she'd bought me a takeaway too <3 
I've had a rather productive day today and despite having an exam every day for the past 3 days, I'm nowhere near as tired as I thought I would be. This morning I went to the university library to return 9 textbooks and take out the textbooks I need for this semester. On returning, I had a nice relaxing afternoon cleaning. I steam mopped the kitchen floor, washed all the fridge compartments and also changed my bedding and hoovered upstairs.
Whilst I was at the library this morning, I spotted The Compatibility Gene which is a new book written by Daniel Davis, an academic in the faculty. I am taking an Immunology module this semester and as I also like genetics, I thought I would give it a read. I will let you know how it is in a future post. I am also going to finish reading Andy's autobiography. Also for Christmas, my old neighbours got me some book gift cards and I have £40 on them. Are there any books that you would recommend? In About Time, Mary works as a reader for a publisher, that would be my dream job. 
Baking wise I've decided to make Millionaire's Shortbread because I love eating it and no doubt will have as much fun baking it. Going to make a spiced whole orange cake too because I've established that I am Paddington Bear due to my love of marmalade sandwiches and my blue duffle coat. Did you all know that a film about Paddington is set to be released this December and Colin Firth is voicing Paddington! I am so excited :D

Aside from baking and reading, I'm going to watch American Hustle with my friend on Monday. The reviews for it were really bad on the Odeon website which took me by surprise because of all the Oscar nominations and the super talented cast too. Have any of you seen it? If so, what did you make of it? The bad reviews have not put me off from going to watch it as I love Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper and they were amazing in The Silver Linings Playbook so I'm sure this will be just as good, if not better!
Now I did make it through exam season but my skin has never been in such bad condition so I'm going to take the plunge and try out Clinique's products and hopefully they will work. I have a lot of acne scars on my forehead which I don't like and always seem to have really painful spots on my chin too :( Have any of you tried any products from the range and if so, how were they? In other beauty news, like most people, winter always leaves my skin really damaged and my lips incredibly dry. Over the years I've tried lip balms from The Body Shop, Nivea, Vaseline and Burt's Bees but I have finally found THE ONE! It's Carmex and it is the best lip balm I have ever used. As soon as you apply it, it leaves your lips feeling soft and hydrated and not all scaly within 10 minutes or so. It has a slightly tingly sensation which is not painful in the slightest and not like anti-septic stinging. It has a slight vanilla like scent but isn't sickly sweet or anything so I would recommend it to both genders.  Despite my skin looking horrendous, my hair isn't looking too bad these days and I have finally learnt how to do a fishtail braid thanks to this video tutorial by Lauren Conrad off The Hills. Remember The Hills? I feel so old now.

Anyway, all this talk of books has made me want to go to bed and finish off Andy's book so I hope you've all made it through the January blues and for those of you that had exams, I hope they went well! Here's to February- yay pancakes!
Mancunian Sheep x

Thursday, 9 January 2014

32. A little gift for you all.

Hello everyone! Hope you're all doing well. December is the month of giving gifts and it's great wrapping up presents to spoil and surprise your loved ones and be spoilt too. Sadly, in January, reality hits home when we're all back at school/uni/work and it's freezing cold and dark outside. I thought I'd treat you all with this little gem that I came across on YouTube whilst revising and listening to the Arctic monkeys. Hope you enjoy it.
This will probably be my last post for the next fortnight so take care and I will update you all post exams, if I survive that is. #prayforShazia
Mancunian Sheep

Sunday, 5 January 2014

31. How can I possibly be turning 20 this year?

Hello everyone and a Happy New Year to you all! May 2014 bring you all happiness, good health and success. I hope 2014 has got off to a great start for you. Have any of you made any New Year's Resolutions? Are they the usual ones like lose weight, drink more water, swear less? If any of you have made any unusual resolutions then comment below because I'd love to know! I haven't made any resolutions because I never stick to them! How did you all bring in 2014? Did you attend your local fireworks display or go to/have a party with friends and family? In an ideal world if I didn't have five exams in January, I would have loved to have attended the Harvey Nichols NYE party. The theme was "The Beautiful and the Damned". I was gutted when I found out because it would have been the perfect excuse to buy and wear a flapper dress! :'( Anyway, I decided to relive one of the great moments of 2013 by watching the Wimbledon final on NYE with my Mum, Peggy, Jenny, Arg Miles and Calvin. It's the first time I'd watched it since the actual final in July and the most surprising part is that I still cried when he won it which I hadn't expected because I obviously knew what was going to happen. Now I'm wondering how many times I will have to watch it until I stop crying. I didn't cry for too long however because I was laughing when Andy forgot to hug Judy! Silly Andy :P The London fireworks looked spectacular and I had no idea they had banana flavoured confetti. I bet the banana was the horrible artificial flavour like they have in some of those foam banana sweets.

I am looking forward to 2014 for many reasons this year but there's one thing that scares me and that is the title of this post- I am going to be 20 in July. That sounds disgusting. I can't believe that potentially a quarter of my life has passed (based on average female UK life expectancy) and I feel like I've not done much with it because I've spent almost 85% of it in education. What terrifies me is that I am about to start the most life changing decade of my life. During the next 10 years, I will hopefully graduate, have a job, buy a car, buy a house, get married and have a child(ren) and I'm honestly not ready for all this change.I really want to travel the world in the next decade too. I was watching Sir David Attenborough's documentary on the giant egg and have decided that I want my honeymoon to be in Madagascar :D The transition from teenager/adult has jumped up on me like a kangaroo and nobody warned me.I cannot believe that 10 years ago I was in primary school and my biggest worry was my SATs tests. Well that's a lie, I suppose it was what was happening to my Mum because that's when her Parkinson's symptoms first appeared. On a happier note, I am glad that it's 2014 because this year I am going to see Miranda and Jack Whitehall in March and I might be going to Wimbledon too. Before that though, I will be writing my dissertation on Parkinson's Disease and Deep Brain Stimulation so I need to get stuck into that once these sodding exams are over. Also this summer, I am going to start a vlog and we might be getting the kitchen done which means B&Q trips woo! I am also going to make sure I post on here weekly or at the very least, fortnightly. Hopefully, I might end up buying a car too so that's one thing ticked off my adult to-do list :)

Aside from being an emotional wreck whilst watching a DVD, I have been busy with endocrinolgy and organismal genetics revision and spending lots of quality time with my good friends, Mr Kettle and Mademoiselle Cafetiere. I love tea and I've got two good excuses to drink tea: 1) I'm British, 2) I'm Pakistani and both groups are well known for their love of a good cuppa. It's great for warming my hands up too. My cafetiere also arrived on Monday, I only ordered it from M&S on Saturday night. That's brilliant customer service right there! I volunteered at Oxfam for ~5 months in 2011 and whilst working there, I used to sort out the Fairtrade food. They sold lots of varieties of coffee and Cafe Direct's medium roast was a best seller. I have discovered some gorgeous coffees from Asda's Extra Special range. Left below is the Brazillian coffee freeze dried instant and it's the best instant coffee I've ever had. It is miles better than Kenco and Nescafe and I've been drinking it for almost 2 years. All of our house guests who have tried it always ask me about it too. It just has this full flavour without being too strong or leaving a bitter aftertaste and because it is medium strength, it won't  keep you up all night either unless you have it in the evening that is. On the right we have my new favourite. This is the first ground coffee I've tried at home and it is amazing. Asda's claims of hints of caramel are spot on because this is like having a less naughty Starbucks Caramel Macchiato. It doesn't need any sugar and there's not much need for milk either and I am trying hard to not have more than one mug a day because it is stronger than the freeze dried instant. You can definitely notice the increase in strength because I had two cups on Monday because I was excited to use my new cafetiere and could not sleep until 4am despite having the coffee at midday!

Anyway, I'd better get back to revising the pituitary and adrenal glands and their respective hormones. Hope you all have a great week and to those of you who have made New Year's resolutions, best of luck with them! Take care.

Mancunian Sheep