Dear me-in-10-years-time-or-so,

I wonder what you're feeling right now reading this. I feel like you're probably cringing at the way your past self has written, like what I've always done in all my past writing. 

How are you doing? I hope you're living in New York staying in a small studio apartment in the East Village or SoHo, or in Paris or Japan where I've always wanted to live in and doing something I love that is creating art and writing. I hope you're still running the zine, Knives & Daisies, and have turned it into a big and international publication! I hope you have nice new friends and keep in touch with old friends, laughing about how weird we were back then at 17 and how much we complained about school and GCSE's and A-Levels and all the teachers that were too pushy or too mean. 

How's your romantic life? Have you found anyone special? For someone like me with a weird and reserved personality and at this awkward age, it's hard to find that one person to truly connect with. If you have found a partner, perhaps married with children, then I hope you're happy with the life that you're sharing with them. If not, then please don't change yourself for the sake of it and stay positive because there will be someone one day. Just keeping moving forward because there are so many goals I'd love to see achieved in the future.

What was it like transitioning into the American life - joining the last year of high school, getting a job there and finding a home? I'd imagine life would be slightly better there than the UK, with so much more opportunities and new people and places to discover and new ways to develop and grow as a person. At the moment, I'm not sure about whether I should go to University so I'd also like to know whether you went and, if you did, what did you study, what was it like, was it difficult, etc. 

Are you still blogging? I hope you are. I'd like this blog to grow as I'm growing and I hope in 10-years-time-or-so this blog will bloom into something successful. Don't ever give up something that you've started, so don't give up blogging, don't give up the zine and please don't give up the dreams that I've dreamt - you are limitless.

To the me-in-10-years-time-or-so, you're likely to be reading this in a cat cafe or a Starbucks sipping a chai latte and eating a salmon sandwich by yourself in a rainy morning half an hour before going to work, but I hope you still have time to take notes or perhaps write a full letter writing back to the past me. Reminding yourself of how much you've grown, are growing and will grow into someone hopefully amazing who's travelled everywhere, met cool people and have somewhat changed the world. 

I also hope you're still grateful, humble and content. 

From 17-year-old Nicole ᵔᴥᵔ


Alone and still,
like a bonsai tree,
she sits and draws bees
and pretty daisies.
Expressing herself with
lines and curves on paper
of ideas that could be detrimental
to ones behaviour.

Like a butterfly,
she flaps her wings in silence,
attracted to the flowers
with the brightest colours.
Fragile and delicate,
she is short-lived,
but the light she once radiated
will always live.

A mini expressive poem I wrote that is very personal to me. I hope you like it as much as I do!

- Nicole ᵔᴥᵔ


Whilst browsing through YouTube on one boring day, I came across a video by Nikkie Tutorials that read "ENDING MAKEUP SHAMING". Watching the video, I couldn't help but feel slightly exasperated that, not only Nikkie but quite a lot of people I know on the Internet, are overdramatising what I think is very trivial.

As an artist and the girly-girl I am, I love makeup. I love wearing it, experimenting with different colours and techniques and changing the way I look and I often never leave the house without doing my foundation, eyebrows and sometimes that pop of colour on the lips. It is, no doubt, similar to one of my favourite methods of fine art - painting. 

Yes, makeup is art. It is a way to change yourself and empower confidence by expressing yourself. But, if that truly is the case then I don't understand why people are complaining and making "makeup shaming" a real thing.

I understand it's hurtful to hear brutal comments that target people's insecurities such as "you wear it because you're insecure" or "you wear it to impress boys", but those comments are those people's problems and it's their fault for not living in the 21st century and being extremely narrow minded. Letting that get into your head would ruin the tagline of makeup that it empowers beauty and confidence because if makeup really does empower confidence then there shouldn't be makeup gurus complaining about other's useless opinions on their makeup. There's nothing wrong with people posting about it and raising awareness that makeup is for oneself only and not something to impress people, but I'm not a big fan of this idea being emphasised as a 'social issue' because I believe it's not and it shouldn't be. 

In my view, the entire idea of makeup shaming is one of the elements that define our culture and society today. Everything relating to how we choose to present ourselves have become common topics of discussion, showing that people nowadays prioritise looks. Of course I am not against people expressing themselves through appearance but, since we are in 2017 and with the world slowly falling apart, I don't think it should be something that's trending. To be brutally blunt, in 50 years time we will look back and see ourselves now as the narcissistic generation.

It's so unfortunate we live in a society with a mould that people need to shape themselves in for conformity and these expectations in appearances greatly affect, as well as recently shift, the social hierarchy amongst us, in particular the generation I'm in. People wearing a specific style of makeup deemed 'acceptable' are praised for their "amazing makeup skills", people with perfectly clear skin without makeup looked up to like 'gods' of some sort, people with thin lips sometimes stereotyped as white people and mocked for it and men who do makeup look down upon by other men because they find it 'gay' as it's too 'feminine'. It's amazing to see how looks determine power.

To add more, despite makeup being a form of art and expression I honestly think, with all the weird and ridiculous makeup trends on YouTube and Instagram, makeup is slowly losing its creative flare. I see a lot of videos that show the same routine, where they put foundation and concealer on, do their eyebrows in that same arched shape, apply the darkest colour here and that there and so on and there is just nothing new anymore. I feel like most makeup gurus always take a short-lived trend and twist it into their own and although that is creative, again it is nothing new - it's expected since I feel a lot of makeup gurus do that. An example would be that contour craze where people would contour their faces using objects you wouldn't typically use, or contouring in henna patterns, vice versa. But I'm NGL there are so many other artists who do crazy and really weird looks.
The short-lived clown contouring.
Additionally, with this particular style of makeup being the most popular all over social media it sets beauty standards. The ubiquitousness of these makeup rituals and its results that I fore mentioned, and that's still growing on the Internet, is the one creating these moulds. Because of its popularity, it's deemed as the acceptable and lauded way of presenting yourself: the high cheekbones achieved by contour and highlight, the winged liner, the fluttery false lashes, the plump and over-lined lips along with that strong arch in the eyebrows, etc. There are many people out there who physically change their natural features so it's much easier for them to fit the mould without too much makeup, such as getting lip-fillers (which are very common amongst public figures like Kylie Jenner and Dove Cameron). I know it's completely their personal choice, but I still believe they change their looks to feel a sense of belonging in a world that idolises perfection. 

Overall, I don't think makeup shaming is real, I think that those comments that I mentioned before is bullying. Comments like "your foundation looks cakey", "you have too much highlighter on" or "your eyebrows are too dark" are simply criticisms. Everyone has different views of what beauty is to them so, like any other art, makeup is ambiguous - you should accept those criticisms, otherwise you wouldn't be a true artist. 

Also, despite loving makeup myself, makeup is brutal and it is one of the factors that has one of the biggest impacts to our perceptions, feelings and society as a whole. But as someone who doesn't give a shit about appearance, I believe makeup is not important. It shouldn't be something that someone overthinks about on a daily basis and spends hours in front of the mirror as well as constructing this social hierarchy. However, I find it interesting how the idea of painting yourself can not only affect you but an entire society. 

I'd like to know your thoughts, whether you agree with me that makeup is not and should not be important or whether you think otherwise!

Nicole ᵔᴥᵔ


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