Saturday, 17 September 2016

When things get a little bit shit...

When life gets on top of you for whatever reason - it's really hard not to curl up into a ball and give up. As much as I would love to just retire to my bed and watch Gilmore Girls whilst the "Are you still watching this?" message pops up on my TV screen for the tenth time, I know that is simply not an option. 

As you can probably tell from the date between my last post and this one, I haven't written on here in a while. A long while. That's because I feel like i've lost my way a little bit - I seem to have forgotten the things that I once enjoyed, and have become settled in a routine of simply being, instead of living. I've become accustomed to making excuses, becoming overwhelmed and wasting time. There's nothing that particularly caused this - what began as a hectic week soon turned into a hectic month - fast-forward a year, and here I am. 

But i'm fed up. I'm bored of it.

While i've been writing this i've began making a plan - well, as much of a plan as I can figure out right now. I used to love nothing more than to browse the beauty counters at my local drugstore, trying out make-up looks and writing on here. I'll admit it was a lot easier whilst I was at university - life does have a nasty habit of getting in the way sometimes. But it was what I loved to do - it was amazing having a passion, and something that occupied my time well. So that's what i've decided i'm going to do. Whether I continue on this platform or have a complete re-design, I don't know. Whether I solely focus on writing or whether I make videos,  I don't know. All I know is that my head feels like it's full of fog - I can't seem to concentrate on the simple things anymore, and for someone who used to be so in control, this is unlike me. 

There's a well-known quote that has graced many a Pinterest board, that says:

"No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up and never give up."

This has really resonated with me, and I hope it does with you too. So, let's sort this out right now. Whatever shit you have going on in your life - every morning just get up and get moving. Make plans: tackle a to-do list, chat to a friend on the phone or go for a walk. Volunteer, attend a class or read that book that's been sitting on your shelf gathering dust since christmas. Just go. As soon as you decide to make the effort, you start taking back control of your life and things will eventually fall into place. For me that's tackling a mountain of washing, actually cooking a decent meal and writing on here again. 

Having said that, this is only day one for me, but I have hope. And really, that's all I can have at this stage.

So yeah, that's it from me for now - but watch this space, i'm sure you'll be hearing much more from me soon :) 

Thursday, 31 December 2015

I'm Going to America - Trek America 2017!

Long time no speak!

It's been a while since i've posted, and I feel terribly guilty about it. I've felt quite uninspired recently, and had quite a few things going on in my personal life that have prevented me from putting my whole heart into my posts. I know I could have thrown things together if I really wanted to, but they wouldn't have been something I was proud of. I'd like to say in 2016 i'll get this blog up and running again, but it's a work in progress and i'll work on it when the time is right.

I do, however, want to write a post as I finally did something that i've wanted to do for six years. I booked a tour across America! Los Angeles to New York, to be exact. I cannot tell you how excited I am for this to happen - anyone who knows me will tell you that i've been playing with the idea since I was 18 and had a gap year in-between college. It started with Camp America, then I planned to do it alone, then with one of my sisters, and i've finally taken the plunge and booked the Trek America Southern BLT with my younger sister for July 2017. We'll be visiting Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Sante Fe, New Mexico, San Angelo, Austin, Louisiana, New Orleans, Nashville, Memphis, Virginia, Washington DC, Philadelphia and New York. Dream!

Why now? To be honest, if I waited any longer I wouldn't have ever gone. You may or may not know that i'm engaged, and i'll be looking to move into a bigger flat in the summer, so there's just expense after expense after expense. Ever since i've started working full-time I haven't really treated myself to anything, so I think now is the right time before I get bulked down with too many adult responsibilities :P

Yes, 2017 does seem a long way away, and I completely agree. But waiting for 18 months is the sensible option as my sister will turn 21 a few days before we leave, and it will give me plenty of time to save the £5k needed. It's going to involve me budgeting and saving like crazy, but I was willing to pay the extra money to sleep comfortably in accommodation instead of camping like many of the treks involve. We'll be going in the height of summer, which isn't very sensible, but it'll be amazing to see America in the sunniest season (the only time i've been to America was in winter and it was difficult to see anything through the snow). Note to self: Bring 100000000 bottles of Factor 50!

So yeah, this is happening. The next step is to book our flights in July/August (as we're mega keen it's too early to book anything!) and then from there we're able to book our accommodation for before and after (we're planning on staying in New York for a couple of days afterwards) and then get the transport sorted. As i'm a bit of a spreadsheet geek i've already made a two page breakdown of predicted costs and a savings plan :P Can you tell i'm excited?! I think in preparation i'll be doing a series of posts to document the run-up, from budgeting to checklists, as when I was doing my research all of the blog posts and YouTube videos I found were extremely helpful. Is anyone else doing a trek in the near future and have some advice? I'd love to hear from you!

SEE YOU IN 2016.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Post-uni Life Lessons

In honour of Father's Day, here's me and my dad (looking all smart!) at my graduation :) 

So it's been about a year since I left Bournemouth, and to say my life has dramatically changed has been an understatement. While i've seen plenty of my peers enjoy their post-uni freedom by going travelling and taking trips, i've settled into a full-time job and my own place with my other half. Although not envious at all, it's definitely made me reflect on this past year and the thing's i've learned, and some i'm still struggling to wrap my head around:

I've learnt...

That living in a student house isn't the same as living in your own place
Living in student accommodation has the advantage of having someone else taking care of your bills. Yes, you need to pay them, but no one has to deal with meter readings and all that rubbish. Now it's all down to you - from setting up the internet to making sure the direct debits come out on time. It's stressful at first, but when you get the hang of it, there's a sense of responsibility and confidence that's totally new. Is that sad? Quite possibly!

That being broke is just a way of life
When I was practically living in my overdraft I thought of having no money was part and parcel of being a student. It wasn't until I moved away I realised I wasn't exactly going to be swimming in cash after my first 'proper' paycheque. Accumulating savings is hard, and although my parents have been a great help, there comes a point when you can't simply run to mum and dad whenever you need a bit of extra cash. You're an adult now, jeez.

How to cook without using a packet mix
I never used to really bother about eating well during uni as I lived so close to home I would just head to my mums for a good meal when I fancied it. But since they now live 100 miles away, i've learned to make my own comfort food. I now know what foods to make when i'm feeling sad or sick, and i've started actually getting excited when Rob brings home a new kitchen appliance for me to play around with (fresh pasta maker? Yes please!).

How to appreciate the weekends
I actually get two days off in a row now! I never had the luxury of being able to go without a job during uni, so I didn't get to have hangover fry-up's on sunday's at Wetherspoons or go shopping with my friends on a Saturday. So now, I make every weekend count. Sometimes I need the two days to recharge my batteries, but I try to make use of my time by not sleeping in, going on day trips and visiting friends and family whenever I can.

How to make a Netflix series stretch for more than a week.
During the summer between second and third year of uni, I watched nine seasons of Grey's Anatomy. Nine. Oh, those were the days! I've now learned to ration my programmes to give myself something to look forward to when i've had a particularly stressful day at work. Deadlines are a lot less daunting when there's new Pretty Little Liars to look forward to when you get home!

That living with a boy is hard!
During the last two terms of uni, Rob and I were basically living at each other's houses, making me think that living with another person would be a breeze. But be warned: You will argue about the washing, paying the bills and not cleaning up after each other. You don't want to become a nag, but sadly, it's inevitable. But the good definitely outweighs the bad and I couldn't imagine it any differently now :)

How much you need family your family and friends
You lean on your family and friends more than you ever thought you would. When I was at uni, I was still close to my family but I could go a fair few days without making contact. Now, I try to speak to at least one of them every day, and i'm constantly making plans to visit. Living on your own is hard, but living 100 miles away from everyone is even harder. It's important to stay in contact with everybody and ensure that the effort is equal from both parties.

I still need to figure out...

How to separate washing properly
Colour catchers are my new best friends, but yet the thought of turning something pink still terrifies me. I have a red and blue top that's been sat at the bottom of my washing basket for the past 4 months - what do I wash it with?!?!

How to make a bed
There's nothing quite like having your mum make your bed for you. Why are my sheets so creased? Why do they keep pinging off of the mattress? Are my children destined to sleep in crappy, half-made beds as i'm not blessed with the bed-making gene? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

What I even want to do
I thought i'd have it all figured out by the time I graduated. However, I see so many people straying from the traditional path of 'uni, work, house, marriage children' and completely making up their own rules. At 23, i'm incredibly lucky to have the life that I have and for the opportunities that have arisen for me - but it scares me to think where my life could be another year on from now! I suppose it's okay not to have all of the answers, but it makes me nervous all the same.