Lifestyle · Things to make you smile

twenty-two at twenty-two;

Hello everyone!

If you don’t follow me on Twitter or Instagram then you might have missed the fact that it was my 22nd birthday on Monday! (Insert party poppers here.)

For many of my teenage years and going into my early-twenties, I’ve completely hated my birthday. No one ever came to parties I hosted, and when they did, it was boring and awkward because I’m TERRIBLE at throwing parties. I always felt pressured to do certain things like spending an evening drinking or hanging out with a huge group of people when that’s not the kind of thing I like to do. So often I let other people plan my birthday for me and it was never stuff I actually wanted to do. Last year I decided enough was enough and I had my first genuinely enjoyable birthday since my 18th because I planned it the way I wanted to.

Today I thought I’d share with you 22 of the things I did to celebrate:

  1. Bought myself an expensive cake. I popped to a bakery just under two weeks before my birthday and ordered myself a five-layer rose and raspberry cake complete with white chocolate, tons of buttercream, edible glitter and macaroons.
  2. Bought myself balloons. My parents aren’t particularly keen on balloons but I always wanted those huge number balloons. Mum and Dad always said no because they thought they were a waste of money, but this year I just bought myself them anyway because I’m an adult with my own money and I can. (It’s crazy how often I forget I can do what I like with my money…)
  3. Took a rose bath. For the past few years, on the evening before my birthday, I like to have the most extravagant bath I can possibly make. This year I had a huge amount of bubbles, rose petals, glitter, cocoa butter, rose oil, and rose-scented soap! It was totally heavenly and I could’ve stayed in that bath forever…
  4. Tried on every perfume I possibly could. I forgot to put on perfume on my birthday before I went out so I went to local Boots and tried on everything. I don’t think I’ve ever smelled more expensive in my life! At least I have ideas for my next bottle of perfume now.
  5. Went out for breakfast with my Mum and Lorna. Going out for breakfast is, without a doubt, my favourite thing to do. I’m very much an early-bird and breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. The earlier I go, the better! Breakfast is even better with friends, family, and cocktails.
  6. Went out for cocktails. After breakfast, Lorna and I migrated to the Slug and Lettuce for an afternoon of gin and prosecco. Plus one of our cocktails came with a candy necklace and it just filled us with so much joy.

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7. Booked time off work. It was really important to me that I didn’t have to go to work near or on my birthday. I work somewhere with only six staff members, including myself and my manager, and because I work part-time, I’m often called in to cover shifts. To avoid an early end to the celebrations, I booked time off so no one from work could call me in!
8. Went bowling with my parents and brother. I used to have bowling parties as a kid all the time so I decided that we should all go bowling for the evening in a moment of nostalgia. I came third and last because I’m terrible at bowling but who cares because we all had fun and we spent some rare time as a family doing something together!
9. Stayed in for a chinese takeaway. I love being home and in bed by 10 because I’m actually very old at heart. Instead of going out for the night, I stayed in with a chinese takeaway and watched friends in my pyjamas. Absolutely heaven.
10. Bought new clothes. I have a personal tradition of buying myself a new dress to wear on my actual birthday day. I did that again this year but then also went out and bought two other dresses as well! (And obviously as soon as I bought summer clothes the weather turned and it’s now grey, rainy, and windy…)
11. Took myself out for breakfast. Again. Yes, I really do love going out for breakfast that much. Two days after my birthday, I continued celebrating by getting up early and finding a restaurant by the sea. This time I went alone with my new camera and spent some quiet time with just me and the fresh air. Plus, this was a personal achievement for me since I have anxiety and I usually hate eating alone in public. Eating alone in public at a restaurant in outside seating is practically a miracle for me but I did it!
12. Took time out to catch up with friends individually. I hate being in large groups of people so I decided to see people individually or text people for a little catch up. It’s much more intimate and it doesn’t leave me as emotionally exhausted.
13. Went to Build-A-Bear. For the first time since I was a child, I went to Build-A-Bear and I got myself a Charmander toy complete with official noises that the Pokemon makes in the show and a lavender-scented disk for an optimum cuddling experience. I loved that I got to indulge in my inner child and that the staff didn’t seem put off by my over-excited enthusiasm.
14. Ate cake for breakfast. Is it even your birthday week if you don’t eat cake for breakfast at least once?
15. Added birthday-related items to my scrapbook. Samples of the wrapping paper from my presents, photographs from the day, gift notes and gift tags…it’s all there in my scrapbook ready for a future me to reminisce.
16. Went for a walk. I love walking and I especially love walking around some of the most beautiful spots in the city. With all the time in the world I took my camera out in the rain and took a gentle stroll.

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17. Bought myself new craft supplies. Thank you Hobbycraft for the free £5 gift you give me every year! You’re keeping me in bullet journal and scrapbooking materials.
18. Got myself some new books. My TBR pile is already huge but I just made it bigger by buying another armful of books. Oh well, at least I don’t have to buy any more for a while!
19. Bought myself a theatre ticket. A few months ago I booked a ticket to see Titanic the Musical as both an early and a belated present to myself. I am clearly the gift that keeps on giving.
20. Went for breakfast with my Dad. This is the last time I’ll mention breakfast, I promise! My Dad’s birthday is two days after mine and since he was working both days, we didn’t get much of a chance to celebrate our days with just the two of us! So this weekend we went for breakfast to do just that.
21. Watched my favourite movie multiple times with no regrets. No, I won’t stop singing Come What May and crying over Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman, please leave me alone.
22. I let myself be me. Most importantly, I didn’t pretend that I wasn’t enthusiastic about the little things, I didn’t let myself be embarrassed by my interests and the things that I wanted to do, and I certainly didn’t force myself to do things that I didn’t want to.

It’s been a pretty good year and a pretty good birthday week so I’m looking forward to the next one!

What are your favourite things to do on your birthday?

Bethany xo

 

 

bullet journal · Lifestyle · Updates

2018 Resolutions;

“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment. Full effort is victory.”

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We’re officially into our second week of 2018 and I hope the year is treating you right so far!

Today I want to talk about New Year’s resolutions. If you made any, how are you getting on with yours? If you didn’t, how come? I’m interested to know!

It’s been a long time since I set up any proper resolutions for myself. The last one I made was years ago and it was, predictably, to lose weight. Obviously, that didn’t happen and I’m awfully glad it didn’t! I’m incredibly happy with who I am now and what I look like. Not only that, but it’s helped me to find a new way to create realistic ambitions for myself every year. Picking one “Word of the Year” is so much more freeing and versatile.

Last year, I lived by the word “Courage.” It led me to book a tattoo appointment (Okay, yes, I didn’t go through with it and I lost my deposit…but at least I booked it and tried!) I also got the courage to face failure at university and subsequently won that battle, I attended my first protest, I grew 10x in self-confidence, and got back into the dating game.

2018 is the first year where I have no idea what’s in store for me. I’ve left full-time educated, I’ve graduated university, I’m tragically single, I have a part-time job, and plenty of free time during weekdays. I have so many options open to me and it’s kind of terrifying to think about.

After spending December thinking about how I want my 2018 to be, I came up with the word “Satisfaction.”

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I don’t know what this year holds for me, but I thought that I should be satisfied with whatever I do. I want to fulfil and achieve my wishes and wants as much as I can and see what comes of it.

My first foray into creating a satisfying year for myself was taking another step towards becoming a teacher. I applied for a diploma course in Early Years teaching. I’m not confident I’ll get in because I don’t have the GCSE Science grade they want, but at least I’ve tried to achieve a dream.

I also have in mind to work further on my novel, connect more with the people I love, take more time to blog, revel in the things that make me happy and appreciate what I have and what I can do.

Thanks for reading today and I hope you’re all having a satisfying year so far too!

Bethany xo

Lifestyle

Lessons from University!

That’s me in the back of both of these photos as a fresh faced, and slightly less fresh faced, fresher…

It’s officially been three years since I started university and graduation is only a month away. Freshers’ is in full swing; new students are creeping around and looking like fetuses (I swear Freshers are getting younger every year…), drinking away their student loans, and avoiding that one person who always seems to be having a breakdown in the kitchen.

I’ve learned a lot in three years, not all of it strictly related to my course subject. Here’s my guide on surviving uni if you’re starting or returning this year:

  1. Get all of your partying and slacking off out of your system in the first year. The first year grades hardly ever count towards your actual degree grade so you can afford to goof off…but it does determine whether or not you can go on to do your second year. Proceed with caution on this one.
  2. It’s better to attend all of your lectures BUT…most lectures these days are audio recorded. Most lecture slides are uploaded online on your university website too. If your university is one of those that uploads class resources online then it doesn’t matter if you miss a lecture or two. Don’t rely on catching up online most of the time though – some lecturers are tardy with uploading resources (accidentally and on purpose.) It’s better to attend lectures so you can ask any questions you need to and join in discussions to help you better understand the content.
  3. Email your lecturer BEFORE class if you can’t/don’t want to attend. You don’t have to tell them you can’t be bothered today, you can lie and say you’re sick if you don’t want to go…just as long as you email them! When attendance makes up some of your grade, doing this is crucial because you might find that your lecturer will mark you as present anyway for explaining your absence before class.
  4. Write up your lecture notes after class. I didn’t do this in my first year and it left me with hurriedly written notes that didn’t make any sense, that I couldn’t read, and just didn’t understand. By the time I went back to my notes weeks/months later when I needed them, I had forgotten what any of it meant. 12750374_1689349431320753_867068295_nWriting your notes up after class means the subject is fresh in your mind, you have neater, more thorough, and far more helpful notes for when you need to go back to them for essays.
  5. Make your written notes fun. Write jokes in them, use colour, use sticky notes, use stickers, use anything that will make them more interesting to look at as you read them back. Plus colour and decoration is more likely to help you remember a piece of information as you write it. Just don’t sacrifice the quality of your notes for decoration.
  6. Second year is so boring! The partying days of first year are over but the importance of third year isn’t upon you yet. It’s a comfortable middle ground with new topics to learn and new experiences are coming your way…but on the whole it can be so dull! Do what you can to make it more interesting without letting yourself fall behind in class.
  7. Don’t leave all your coursework and revision two weeks before it’s due. Just don’t do it…I’m having horror flashbacks to second year just thinking about it…
  8. Schedule regular one-to-one meetings with your lecturers and tutors. Especially in the weeks before you hand in coursework or take an exam, and after you receive grades/feedback from said coursework and exams. It’s a good opportunity to get advice on what you can do better and go through parts of the module you’re struggling with. Since it’s on a more personal and tailored session than what you can get in lectures and seminars, it’s more likely to help you. When I started making and attending one-to-one sessions, I went from getting 2:2 and 2:1 grades for my work (which were brilliant) to getting firsts – which was even better! I seriously urge you to make these appointments because lecturers and tutors don’t want to see you fail or fall short of your abilities as much as you don’t, so they will be more than willing to have these sessions with you.
  9. Writing your dissertation doesn’t have to be stressful…as long as you don’t let it. Pick a topic you enjoy and know plenty about/know there are many academic texts about for research, start planning early, and make a schedule to arrange your time effectively. Writing something you’re passionate will always make things easier and more fun. 16124109_1240018016051742_8550685690495500288_nGet the relevant support from your lecturers, tutors, and friends and never spend an all-nighter trying to write it. As explained with number 8 on this list, tutor support is invaluable, meanwhile sleep aids in concentration. Stuck on an element? Rest, go to bed, ignore it. Come back to it fresh-faced and you’ll find it easier to tackle your essay. Brainstorm your ideas so you know how to link each section to the next. DON’T LEAVE IT UNTIL THE FINAL FEW WEEKS BEFORE THE DUE DATE. Writing my dissertation was the most fun I had in the whole three years because I enjoyed it and I kept on top of it – I was surprised by how easy I actually found it, even if it was daunting to begin with.
  10. You’re going to love the whole experience. I didn’t think I’d like university, let alone love it. In the weeks and days leading up to my first day I was having panic attacks every day and I would’ve done anything not to go. When I came home on that first day, I wanted to drop out – I was so sure that university life wasn’t for me. Quickly I began to love it, I enjoyed every moment, I made fantastic friends, and I never wanted to leave. It’s the most fun three years I’ve ever had and I wish I could go back and do it all over again. Enjoy it and embrace it.

Are you a Fresher or a returning student? What are you looking forward to most or what have you enjoyed the most so far? Let me know and I wish you all luck over the next few years!

Bethany xo

 

Updates

Nine months of silence.

Hello again!

It’s been nine months since I was last on the blogging scene and that’s because Life got very busy very quickly, but also because I forgot the login details of my last blog! (Oops.)

Here’s a quick over-view of the last 9 months:

  1. I finished university!

Three years went by far too quickly for my liking. I’ve met some amazing people who I hope will be in my life for a long time to come – they made my university experience something I’ll never forget!

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Not only have I met these two gorgeous people in the photo above, but after a lot of hard work, tears, and a gratuitous amount of cheap booze, I managed to write a first class dissertation. Then I pushed my overall degree into a BA with first class honours with my other two portfolios – a feat I never thought I’d achieve at my emotional rock bottom three years ago!

2. I turned 21

Now, I’m not usually one for birthdays. If I’m totally honest, my birthday usually fills me with dread because there’s so much pressure to have a good time. This year, I was determined to do what I wanted to, not what I thought I should be doing.

I don’t like parties, I don’t like going to clubs, I don’t like a lot of things if we’re totally honest. But this year, I did all the things I do like doing.

I sank myself into a pink, rose-scented bath, I went to a french restaurant for breakfast, I wore a dress way too over-the-top with lots of tulle and sequins and I went to the garden centre with my parents. We watched TV, ordered a takeaway for dinner and watched my favourite film. The only thing slightly out of the ordinary and unexpected was the surprise visit from my wonderfully eclectic Aunt.

Low-key suits me just fine and I think I’m going to stick with that philosophy!

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3. Started going to the gym.

Admittedly, I don’t go as often as I want to and I haven’t been this summer because of other commitments that I’ll get to in a minute. But I do go to the gym.

I would like to lose weight in the hope that my health conditions will improve – not because I’m unhappy with the way I look. In fact, I got most of my confidence from being fat and I embrace that completely, but if I can make my health problems better and keep my self-confidence then that will be a huge win!

Weirdly, I love going to the gym too! There’s something incredibly attractive about being up with/before the sun and spending some time moving, on your own, with plenty of space and time to be with your own thoughts and ideas.

Here’s to a future healthier me!

4. Began taking some online courses

For a long time now I’ve wanted to be a teacher. So now I’m taking a level 3 CPD course in being a teaching assistant! Weirdly, I’ve missed studying so this is something I’m really enjoying doing in my own time.

I’m also taking a course in British Sign Language which is both interesting and fun to learn – I’m hoping it will make me look more appealing to future schools who might need SEN teachers.

5. I’m working on a novel

As I mentioned earlier, my dissertation was awarded a first-class grade with the comment that my work was “close to the standards of professional publications in the field,” which spurred me further to turn my dissertation into a full length novel!

It’s a mystery-drama novel with supernatural elements and a fairly complicated plot and structure (at least for my type of writing it is!) So this novel is certainly going to be a labour of love. That being said, I can’t wait for the day I finish it and can share the final version with the world, whether it’s from self-publishing or through a publishing house.

I’ll take whatever opportunities come my way!

6. I found a job!

After two years of searching and applying, going to interviews and being rejected, I finally have a job! It’s not glamorous – aprons, hairnets, and baseball caps isn’t my best look, I admit. It’s not overly impressive – making and serving pretzels and cleaning isn’t what I wanted to do after getting my English degree, but it’s a job. It gives me the money and the time to be able to train to do what I want to and that is enough for me right now.

Now I just need to learn to stop burning myself on the oven…

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So far, I really like the people that I work with and that makes things a little better, even if my heart isn’t fully into the job.

I haven’t been in this job long and so far I’ve been training, but starting next week I go part time so I can focus on the projects I mentioned before. Which also means I’ll have more time to focus on blogging too! I can’t wait to get back into the blogging circle and I hope you’ll enjoy what I write!

Happy Autumn everyone, I hope you have a blessed season and I’ll see you all next week 😀

Bethany xo