January 28, 2015

Tips For Writing A Thesis/ Dissertation

Tips for writing a thesis or dissertation, things that helped me survive the struggle of writing a dissertation while working a full time job

A University degree is something a lot of us aim for after finishing high school. For some it means leaving to another country, for others moving to another state, but for everyone it means growing up. During the course of your degree, you will face a whole lot of challenges which may be school or life related. From regular homework to essays, presentations, dealing with working in groups, and for some managing school plus work and still having a life. But your biggest challenge will probably be writing your dissertation or thesis; especially if you're working a full time job. It might seem scary at first but don't worry, you'll get through it and you'll be very proud of yourself.

A year has passed since I completed my double degree Master's program, and I though I'd share my experience as well as some tips with you. Hopefully, this post will help you have a smoother writing process that I did.

My experience:

I started working on the title of my thesis/dissertation and the theoretical section while working a full time job which meant the only time I had to write were evenings and weekends. In December, I was able to take a student leave from work and focus on my thesis. I was putting in all I had from 9am till 2am or till I felt like I couldn't anymore {I had breaks here and there}. In January, I returned to work and kept working on my thesis every night. It was hard, very hard. I went through a lot of stress and shed quite a few tears. Some nights, I felt like banging my head in the wall {literally}. Obviously my blog took the back seat in all of this because I just could not find the time nor the mood to sit down and work on posts, but my readers were very supportive and for that I was grateful. 
The saying from Bob Marley that "You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice" is definitely right. Because at the time, it felt absolutely horrible and I didn't think I would pull through. But in the end I was able to push through it, and can now look back at it as one of my accomplishments. 

Tips for getting through the challenge of writing your thesis/ dissertation:

1. Pick a theme you find interesting and/or know something about.

This is the most important tip I have. If you are going to write a thesis, make sure to pick something you find interesting & want to know more about and/or something you already know something about. Picking a totally foreign topic might make it difficult for you to write, and you will find yourself giving excuses for why nothing has been done. 

2. Don't spend too long on picking a precise topic

Don't spend forever trying to decide what the exact topic of your thesis/dissertation is. This can most likely be changed afterwards. Start of with coming up with a rough idea of what you'd like to write about or what you'd like to show with your thesis. Then begin compiling theoretical information on this topic. The precise topic of your thesis will become clear while you are writing. 

3. Start early.

This is a pretty obvious tip, but I would just like to touch upon it as this is one thing we sometimes take for granted. "I'll start tomorrow", then tomorrow becomes next week, and before you realise it, you've lost a whole month of valuable time. Your thesis cannot be written in 1 week, and will very unlikely be ready in 1 month. You will need time to research, work on the theoretical aspect and work on the practical aspect {the practical section can end up taking a lot more time than you estimated}. Not to talk of check ups with your appointed supervisor and having your work or a summary translated if your thesis is written in a language other than the official language of the country you are studying in.

4. Buy/download books to your tablet

If you are working a full time job, you will probably work on your thesis/ dissertation at nights, so going to the library may not always be an option. One thing I found helped me a lot was to purchase the kindle versions of books for my tablet and read them through the amazon kindle app at night since I usually stayed up till about 2am. This for me meant I always had access to them. There will be books you may not be able to find, so you might have to make copies of the chapters you need at the library.

5. Write constantly and prioritize quality over quantity

Sometimes 1 good page is better that 5 horrible pages because you'll have to go back and rewrite it. Set time aside for yourself daily to work on your thesis. If you need to take a break, try not to take very long breaks which for example last 2 weeks. A good approach is to write at least 1 page everyday. Or, if you feel like you have nothing to write, work on something else: research for the next section, the formatting of your document etc.

6. If you feel a flow coming on, write until you get it all out of you

If you're writing about something you find interesting, you will sometimes feel like you have a lot to write, while on other days you might feel drained. On days when the thoughts keep coming, write until you get it all out. This might mean going to sleep at 3am, but you will be grateful for this on days when you're stuck.

7. Make it a priority & push as hard as you can

If you have gotten this far, then make it a priority to finish. You've studied for years to get to where you are now so don't let it all go to waste. Push everything else to priority B or C and focus all your strength on getting the thesis done. This may sometimes mean pulling all nighters while working a full time job, or saying no to that party at your friend's house, but it will be worth it when it is done. Be careful not to overdo it though because your body can only take that much. For me, 4 all nighters in a row while working a full time job was personally my limit before I began having blurred vision and falling asleep as I walked.

8. Make sure to eat, drink and have some time off

Even though tip 7 says you'll sometimes have to say no to social events, organise your time so you have some days off because you need it. Also, make sure you're eating and drinking enough water. This was one aspect I struggled with especially when I realized I'm running out of time, but my family was very supportive with the cooking and other household chores. 

9. Have someone to rant to and tell you everything will be fine

Having someone to just rant to when it gets tough is important because sometimes it gets so frustrating you just want to quit and extend your thesis submission till next year. Don't do it! Go talk to someone you know will increase your confidence and motivation. For me, it was talking to my mum in the evenings. I really don't know what I would have done without her.

10. Don't quit

Like I mentioned in point 9, there will be days when you will feel like giving up. I had loads of those days. The worst one being 2 weeks before my final submission and my work was only about 60-70% ready. I was sure I wasn't going to make it and was ready to just throw in the towel. But my program director gave me the kick in the butt I needed. She helped me understand that I've got all the research I need so all that's left to do is write, and that if I just put in a few extra nights everything will be fine. I did as she suggested and was ready to hand in my work {last minute, but I did it}.

Those are some tips I believe will help anyone working on their thesis, dissertation or any  other big project you have at University. If you have any more tips, please leave them in the comments below as they might help someone.

January 26, 2015

Review: Astor Deluxe Bronzer

Astor Deluxe BronzerAstor Deluxe Bronzer in Summer Seduction
Astor Deluxe Bronzer in 102 Summer Seduction
Swatch of the Astor Deluxe Bronzer in 102 Summer Seduction

Since moving to Barcelona I've gotten to know of and see more of certain brands; one of which is Astor. Prior to this, I had never heard of Astor or seen any of their products in the stores I visited, so once I got to know about them, I was obviously very interested in trying out their products to see what they have to offer. As I was in search of a bronzer at the time, I decided to start of with that and got the Astor Deluxe Bronzer. I've used it on and off for a few months now and I just am not impressed.

The Astor Deluxe Bronzer comes in your standard packaging: a plastic circular container without a mirror or what so ever. Honestly, there isn't much to say here except I was slightly glad it came without a mirror because things didn't end very well for my last 2 bronzers. This way, I'm not as worried about it falling and breaking because the only thing that'll break is the bronzer itself.

I got the bronzer in shade 102 Summer Seduction. The product is divided in 3 different tones and range from a lighter colour to a darker. You are then left to decide if you would like to swirl all 3 shades or pick a specific one which fits you better. I like the fineness of the powder which is easy to apply and blend but the shades aren't very pigmented so you'll need to go in a couple of times if you'd like a more contoured look. Colour-wise, I think the bronzer is a bit too orange.  So I have been using it on days when I'm running some errands or out a few hours. I'm hoping I'd be able to use it more in the summer when I have a tan because if not, it'll just be a waste. So overall, it seems like a nice product but is just too orange.

Overall Summary
Price - 11.95 {23g}.
Likes - price, packaging.
Dislikes - not very prigmented, too orange.
Verdict - not repurchasing.
Available - Druni {Spain}, Fragrance Direct.

Have you tried the Astor Deluxe Bronzer or another Astor product? What do you think?

January 24, 2015

Review: Tigi Bed Head Foxy Curls Contour Cream

Tigi Bed Head Foxy Curls Contour Cream
Tigi Bed Head Foxy Curls Contour Cream Review
Tigi Bed Head Foxy Curls

My hair is naturally curly, and even though I chemically straighten it at the moment, it is never bones straight. I am always left with a lot of texture and can switch between being curly and straighter hair. Recently, I was given the opportunity to work with Hairtrade again. The last time I worked with them, I reviewed a must have hair tool: the tangle teezer. This time around, I'm trying out the Tigi Bed Head Foxy Curls Contour Cream*.

The Tigi Bed Head Foxy Curls Contour Cream is a hair product which defines curls, fights frizz and holds the curls in place without making it seem like you've put a million different products into your hair. I've been using this product lately and I love it because usually it takes a lot of different products plus gel in order to get my curls to be properly defined and stay in place all day. Now, I can do it all with just 1 product {well 2, since I always end my hair routine with an oil}.

The product comes in a lovely purple bottle with a pump which makes application very easy. While my hair is damp, I divide it into 4 sections and then apply the product on each section. After which I finger comb my hair so I don't take out all the curls, apply some oil to lock in the product and add some more shine, then leave it to air dry. The Foxy Curls Contour Cream has an amazing smell which I absolutely love and cannot get enough of.

If you are a curly girl like me, I would definitely recommend you try this product. You get 200ml of product for £7.50 which I think is pretty decent and well worth the money.

Overall Summary
Price - £7.50 {for 200ml}.
Likes - smells amazing, defines and holds curls in place as well as tames frizz.
Dislikes - None atm.
Verdict - most likely repurchasing.
Available - Hairtrade.

Have you tried the Tigi Bed Head Foxy Curls Contour Cream? Any other Tigi Bed Head products you would recommend?

January 17, 2015

Review: Flormar Matte Mono Eyeshadow in Chocolate Brown

Flormar Matte Mono Eyeshadow in chocolate brown
Flormar Matte Mono Eyeshadow
Review of Flormar Matte Mono Eyeshadow in M07 Chocolate Brown
Flormar Matte Mono Eyeshadow Swatch

I hope you are all having a great weekend. I am currently getting ready for a friend's birthday. And I would like to share with you a product I have been using almost every day while doing my makeup. It is the Flormar Matte Mono Eyeshadow in M07 Chocolate Brown. Prior to buying this product, I've never had a flormar eyeshadow. I guess primarily because this product wasn't available at the drugstore where I usually did my makeup shopping while in Latvia. Now that I've tried this product, it might just be one which I will keep repurchasing.

The product comes in a compact circular case and contains the eyeshadow plus a small semi-circlar mirror. I think the mirror is pretty handy for application and I tend to use it sometimes even though I have a makeup mirror. It is a pressed deep brown powder with swirl designs. The eyeshadow is a lovely brown colour which I like to apply to my crease for my everyday makeup. I've also used it to fill in my brows on a couple of occasions. 

The Flormar Matte Mono Eyeshadow is very pigmented and I like that it is also very blendable making it easy to create either a deep or subtle look. When using the product I didn't experience a lot of fall out or have any other problems with it. Overall I think the product is great and I am definitely glad I got it. I would really like to try out their glitter eyeshadows and baked bronzers & blushers as they look absolutely gorgeous.

Overall Summary
Price - <4 {for 4g}.
Likes - pigmented, blends well and little to no fall out.
Dislikes - None atm.
Verdict - most likely repurchasing.
Available - Flormar stores.

Have you tried a Matte Mono Eyeshadow from Flormar? What other products would you suggest?

January 14, 2015

Review: Confume Argan Gold Treatment

Confume Argan Gold Treatment
Review of Confume Argan Gold Hair Treatment from Wishtrend
Argan oil hair conditioner

Hello beauties. Following my last haircare post about the Confume Argan Treatment Oil, I also got the Confume Argan Gold Treatment* with the same order from Wishtrend. I like to pamper my hair, a lot! Because when you have extremely dry hair like me, you're constantly on the search for products which will moisturize your hair and leave it looking healthy. So I decided to try this Argan Gold Treatment.

The Argan Gold Treatment comes in a huge tube of 200ml and is pale yellow in colour. Honestly, this is the first hair treatment I've had that comes in a tube and I'm not very happy with it. Somehow I mishandled it in the shower and now the cap won't close. This is not a huge problem as the product isn't leaking out, but I just feel the packaging should be stronger.

The Argan Gold treatment contains argan oil, almond oil and coconut oil, all of which are great for your hair. Argan oil is said to contain Vitamin E which helps hair growth and it absorbs easily into your hair leaving it moisturized. It treats split ends, dry scalp, controls frizz and adds shine leaving your hair looking and feeling great to the touch.

I have been using the Argan Gold Treatment for over a month now. At the moment, I am using it once a week after washing my hair, in place of a conditioner. I apply the product on my clean hair, leave it in for about 10-30 minutes and then wash it off. It is non greasy, and leaves my hair feeling soft and smooth. It doesn't weigh down my hair or anything like that. I'm not too sure how it will work if you have very thin hair, but I assume you would just use less product and it should leave your hair looking gorgeous.

I love argan oil products because they are great for dry hair, so if you have any suggestions on which other products to try, be sure to leave them in the comments.

Overall Summary
Price - $9.99.
Likes - smells great, adds moisture to your hair and leaves it soft.
Dislikes - packaging.
Verdict - I will be looking into other brands.
Available - Wishtrend.

Have you tried the Confume Argan Treatment Oil or purchased anything from Wishtrend? 

January 12, 2015

Review: Dr. Jart Pore Medic Pore Minish Cleansing Bubble

Dr. Jart+ Pore Medic Pore Minish Cleansing Bubble
Dr.Jart+ Pore Medic Pore Minish Cleansing Bubble Review
Dr.Jart+ Pore Medic Facial Cleanser for oily and acne prone skin

Hello lovelies. How was your weekend? Mine was a lot of fun as I finally got myself a new camera and spent all weekend playing around with it. Now it's time to talk a bit about skincare and today I have a facial wash. I'm constantly looking to try new products which cater to acne-prone skin because I just haven't found the ones that fit my skin perfectly. Ofcourse, I have my holygrail product which saves me in horrible time and that is Neo Medrol. I know this is a prescription product and not everyone can get it, but if you have cyctic acne then I would honestly suggest talking to your doctor about it.

I was contacted by the lovely team at Dr. Jart and given the opportunity to try a few of their products. The first one I've been using for about the last 6 weeks is the Pore Medic Pore Minish Cleansing Bubble*. I use this facial wash on my face morning and night after taking off my makeup. And I honestly feel like it makes a difference.

The product comes in a bottle with a pump which I think is great as the application is easy. Just put one pump of the product in your palm, rub your palms together to work the bubbles up a little and apply it on your face. After massaging it on your face for a bit, wash it off with warm water. Your skin will instantly feel clean and oil free but not dry, which is important when you have oily skin.

The Pore Medic facial wash is misty in colour. It contains Dynalift which tightens, improves elasticity and firms the skin, Evermat which controls excess oil, whichhazel, eucalyptus and grapefruit which calm, brighten and soothe irritated skin, as well as other ingredients. The Pore Medic Pore Minish Cleansing Bubble is free from parabens, sulfates and phthalates. It is hypoallergenic and cruelty free. Which I personally think are great qualities for a facial cleanser.

I think this product is great for those with oily skin and acne prone skin as it unclogs and tightens your pores as well as reduces oiliness without leaving your face dry. While using this product, I found that I've had a lot less breakouts and my skin looks and feels a lot better. The only thing I don't like is that it keeps foaming up at the top {it always has a bit of foam coming out the pump and from the pipe that leads to the pump} which looks a bit messy. Which honestly isn't a problem, I just like all my products to look clean and pretty. Overall, I am very impressed with the product and will recommend giving it a try.

Overall Summary
Price - $32.
Likes - Unclogs pores and controls excess oil.
Dislikes - foams at the top.
Verdict - I will keep this in my list of good facial washes and will be trying out a few more products from Dr. Jart.
Available - Sephora.

Have you tried any Dr.Jart+ products? Let me know about your experience.

January 7, 2015

Top 5 Posts in 2014

Hello beauties. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. Some of you may have had vacation others may not, but all the same I hope you got to spend the official days off with your family and friends. I've been thinking about all the blogging I did in 2014 and decided to check out the most visited posts. I was quite surprised to see the results and thought I'd share them with you in case you missed any of them.

Here are the top 5 visited posts in 2014.

The Mane n Tail Deep Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner are great products which can be used on animals as well as people. They are said to help with hair growth, which is a great plus for me. I will be trying out a different version of these products later this year and will let you know how I get on.

Mane n Tail Deep Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner

This is a gorgeous highlighter which I still have and use everyday under my eyebrows. I still tend to stay away from applying it on other areas of my face as it makes me look even oiler and with my skin type, I have enough of that already. It is a great product for an amazing prize and I would honestly recommend you to try it out.

Catrice Prime and Fine Highlighting Powder

Struggling with acne can really weigh down your self confidence. I know it isn't easy and even the strongest of us can sometimes feel defeated. The Neo Medrol Acne Lotion is a holy grail product for me. Yes, I know it is by prescription, but it does work. In December, I had a Christmas event to go to and about 5 days before the event I had major breakouts of cystic acne. I was desperate to at least get rid of the bumps, as you can always conceal and use foundation to cover up the scars. I ran for my bottle of Neo Medrol and used it overnight for about 3-4 days. And ended up going to the party looking stunning {if I say so myself}.

Neo Medrol Acne Lotion

Fashion events are a lot of fun and I have been lucky enough to be invited to a few collection previews. You get to see the new collection to hit the stores, try them on and already decide if you want anything. The H&M Isabel Marant Collection preview was stunning, and I see a few styles now incorporated in the regular collections of other brands. You can check out my video of the event. I really look forward to events this year as it is a great place to meet other bloggers and connect with brands.

H&M Isabel Marant Collection Preview

The Nanshy Luxury Makeup Brush Set is absolutely amazing. It contains both face and eye brushes which covers all your basic needs when applying makeup. I use a minimum of 1 of the brushes from this set everyday. They are soft, comfortable to use and great quality. I would definitely recommend you try them out.

Nanshy Luxury Makeup Brush Set

Have you tried any of the products mentioned? What did you think?
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