Friday, 14 October 2016

Four Friday Reads

I'm off to Nottingham today to see some of my favourites from home so this week has been incredibly full what with lectures, work and me trying to get ahead with next week's reading because there is no way that any work is being done this weekend! This all meant I hadn't had time to put together a post for this week. So instead I thought today I'd share four things I think you should read this Friday to set you up for the weekend. I hope you find something interesting to glance at and that you all have wonderful weekends! Aaaand now I'll stop rambling and actually get on with it...

1 // Oh Comely - Oh Comely is the most beautiful magazine I think I've ever seen. I discovered it a few months ago and have since subscribed to it because the joy flicking through its pages brings me is something that's definitely worth investing in. It's an incredibly well-curated magazine and one I'd really recommend picking up if you're on the hunt for a new magazine this weekend - the latest issue has only just been released!

2 // Meg Fee 'On eating disorders and the physicality of depression and one's own ever-after' - Meg always writes the most stunning pieces and this is no exception. This one especially is a must-read in my eyes.

3 // Blog Socks - Blog Socks was recently set up by the lovely Charlotte and features a range of fabulous bloggers. Trying to find new blogs to spend hours getting lost in instead of doing work peruse isn't the easiest anymore and, by featuring bloggers by asking them some fun questions, Charlotte has made sure that it's so much easier. There are some real gems being showcased over there at the moment and my own little blog will be sometime soon as well which is very exciting so definitely check it out!

4 // Anne T. Donahue: That's What She Said 'On Being Liked' - Anne's newsletter is one of my absolute favourites but this particular edition, on being liked, I haven't been able to stop thinking about since it popped in my inbox a couple of weeks ago. She completely hits the nail on the head and you simply MUST read this.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

S T R E S S & How To Deal With It

Last week I wrote that I was feeling pretty on top of everything. But this week not so much. It just goes to show how quickly you can go from feeling on top of the world to rock bottom. What I find difficult to remember when I feel incredibly stressed is that those feelings work both ways - just as I've gone from feeling great to stressed and anxious within the space of a few days, tomorrow I could go back to feeling on top of everything. Life is never constant and, while that can be frustrating, it's also what makes it so exciting.

Deep down I know that the things I'm anxious about at the moment won't matter all that much in the scheme of things. I think I'm still just getting settled into a new routine and, because I'm so tired and run down from getting used to everything (side note: why are colds a thing?!), it all seems much more stressful than I'm sure I'll find it in a few months.

I had a straw that breaks the camel's back moment at the weekend when my phone broke. I'd been on the phone to my insurance company for what felt like an age only to get cut off and then be told I'd have to pay money I don't have for them to fork out what I'd already paid for in my insurance contract, for them to finally give in, send me a replacement and for me to then make a cock up which meant I had to go into town and sort it out. Wow, even that sentence stresses me out. Needless to say it was far too much adulting on top of the things I already had to deal with for me and I was a bit of an emotional wreck as a result.

I'll be the first person to throw my hands up and admit that that is a hugely first world problem and I do know how lucky I am to have so many things I need to do as the result of all the privilege I have. But, hey, you have what you have right? And in that moment, it felt a bit too much. I felt like I didn't have time to deal with any of those things. And, I don't know about you, but for me I feel at my most stressed and anxious when I suddenly feel like there is just NO TIME and I need to do everything at once.

Of course, these is time, everything will be ok and the *worst* thing you can do is try to do everything at once. One of the defining moments last week for me oddly enough took place in the EE shop. I had been told I had to wait in the shop and couldn't leave while they sorted out my phone but, because I'd rushed to the shops panicking I didn't have enough time for everything, I hadn't got anything in my bag to look at/do while I waited. Essentially, I was stuck with my own thoughts and nothing else to do for fifteen minutes.

Those fifteen minutes forced me to just be. To internally calm myself down, gain some perspective and, most importantly, realise that the world was not going to end because I took those fifteen minutes to do nothing despite the fact that I had a lot of things I needed to do. Turns out, the world keeps on turning whether you tick off your to do list when you want to or not. And those fifteen minutes did me the world of good.

I'm still stressed and anxious but I'm trying to keep in mind the thoughts I had in that EE shop. I'm taking time every day to just think and breathe. Essentially I've unintentionally jumped on the mindfulness wagon. It's unbelievable living in a world that never seems to stop how everything can seem stressful, even just staying on top of my Instagram and Twitter feeds. So taking time out and putting all technology away even just for a few minutes is my biggest piece of advice on how to feel less stressed and anxious.

If you're feeling similarly to me then please know that you're not alone, we all feel like this at times and the most important thing is to look after yourself - and that means taking time for yourself even when you don't think you have it.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

On My Happy List #08

So I'm a week into lectures and slowly getting back into the swing of things (things being having responsibilities and assignments once again) and so I thought, while I'm in a rare state of feeling like I'm vaguely on top of everything, I'd spread a bit of positivity and let you know what's been making me happy as of late! Let's get straight to it...

1 // Making my new room feel like home - Being a student who lives away from home inevitably means that you end up moving around quite a lot in a short space of time so it can be a bit hard to feel settled in one house. Because of that, there's really nothing like adding homely touches to your student room and, having put up some fairy lights, photos and having made other changes which make my new room feel familiar has really made a world of difference! The photo above is the wall above my desk and one of my favourite parts of the room although I've still got a few more photos I want to put up there. I might share some more photos at some point once I'm completely happy with it if you'd be interested in seeing that!

2 // Trying new things and having them pay off - I mentioned in my currently post a couple of weeks ago that I was a bit unsure whether to try some new things this year at uni but, since I said then that I would because I realised I had nothing to lose, I decided to give them a go. I'm now trying out Korfball for the first time and have volunteered for a few societies that I never got around to doing last year. And do you know what? I'm really glad that I did! I've only had two Korfball sessions but I'm starting to enjoy it a lot and have met some really nice people through it already. It just goes to show that stepping outside of your comfort zone isn't always the worst thing in the world and I should probably go ahead and do it more often!

3 // Enjoying the reading for my modules - I know, tragic right? But I have to say, apart from a couple of pieces of reading I had to do on Monday night that I couldn't for the life of me get to grips with, I've been finding the reading so far this term genuinely interesting. Module reading will always be a bit of a tedious task but it makes it so much nicer if you find it engaging so it's actually one for the happy list at the moment!

4 // Making the most of the weekend - This last weekend was pretty great. I had the best night out I've had in a long time with my friend Ellie on the Friday, a lie in on the Saturday followed by a cinema trip to see Bridget Jones' Baby (which I loved!), dinner out with my housemates and bowling and then a very lazy Sunday that involved a lot of module reading but also catching up on tv and relaxing. It's so easy for the weekend to go by without you even realising it so getting out and actually doing stuff at least for part of it makes me super happy.

5 // Looking back at photos from the Summer - When I was deciding what photos to put up in my room (a very difficult job when you have a ridiculous number of photos from the past few years!) I ended up taking a flick through all of my new ones from this Summer that I had printed just before coming back to uni. It was so nice to spend a bit of time looking through them all and realising what an incredible Summer it was. Good memories are the best and being able to go through them all made me feel very happy indeed!

What's been making you happy as of late?

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

A City Break Guide | My Top Tips

Summer may be pretty much over for us Brits (and, to be honest, I'm secretly quite excited for Autumn), but whatever time of year it is, a city break makes the perfect holiday. As you'll probably already know because I've been banging on about it basically non-stop, I was lucky enough this Summer to travel to and explore five European cities. It taught me a lot about the best things to do to prepare for a city break and what's really useful to know/have when you're there. So, just in case you're thinking of planning one anytime soon, I thought today I'd throw together my top five tips to help you make the most of your city break.

1 // Book to stay in a central location - Being a student, I planned my holidays this Summer to be as inexpensive as possible and tried to save money wherever I could. One thing I think is definitely worth the extra cost though is booking an Airbnb, hotel or hostel that's in a great location relative to the sights of the city you're going to visit. It makes everything so much easier when you're there; you don't have to worry about getting home if you're out late, you'll have more time to fit things in because you won't have to spend time getting into the centre and out again, and you'll probably even save money as you won't have to fork out as much on public transport or cabs getting to places. All in all, this is the one place I'd recommend spending a bit more money as there are so many pros to being in a good location.

2 // Research what you want to do/see before going - City breaks are typically short and no more than a long weekend, so you'll want to spend as much time as possible out and exploring. To make sure you have the maximum time to do this, I'd really suggest at the very least having a list of some things you know you definitely want to do before you get there. I'm a planner by nature so I like to make a rough itinerary as soon as I arrive in a city but I always make sure I've put together a list of things I know would be fun to do before going there, meaning I can just look up the logistics of them when I get there rather than having no idea beforehand. I've got into the habit of bookmarking travel blog posts of places I think I might want to go and I can't tell you how handy they've been this Summer. Real people's recommendations are the ones that I've found are the most trustworthy and I've so far never been let down when following ones from blogs I read.

3 // Look up articles for restaurant suggestions, don't just rely on Trip Advisor - Knowing which restaurants are going to be good and affordable just by looking from the outside can be one of the hardest things to judge in a completely foreign city. The best way of finding some real gems that I've found is looking up articles completely devoted to the best budget restaurants of a certain city. This was a complete life-saver in Verona, Venice and Paris for me with the following articles one, two and three and I honestly had some of the best food I've ever tasted because of these recommendations. On the times I tried using Trip Advisor to find places to eat, I struggled to have much luck and found that articles like the ones above were much more clear and offered a range of options.

4 // Eat in when you can or have picnics - Of course, one of the best parts of going abroad is trying the local cuisine and treating yourself to meals out. However, if you're trying to save your pennies a great way of doing that is to eat in for the majority of your stay if you're in self-catered accommodation and to just eat out a few times as a treat. Alternatively, you can really save money by having picnic rather than restaurant lunches. When my friend Rosie and I were in Paris we had an amazing picnic which included salami and brie baguettes, fresh fruit and chocolate in the Jardin du Luxembourg and it was my favourite lunch there. The food was great (picnic-y lunches are my favourite) and we got to look around the beautiful gardens - a real win-win and definitely something I'd suggest if you stumble upon somewhere that would make a good picnic spot.

5 // If you can afford it, pay for mobile data to use maps - Completely inessential but something that makes life a bit easier when you have no idea where you're going (or just a truly terrible sense of direction like me), being able to use Google Maps abroad is incredibly useful. It can be really fun to get lost in new cities and eventually find your way to wherever you were looking for but to have the ease of knowing you can just open a maps app should you get lost to help you find your way is great and something I'd say is worth investing in if your network provider has a good deal!

So those are my top five tips to get the most out of your city break! If you've got any planned please go ahead and let me know where you're going - I love hearing about other people's travels and adding to my very long list of places I want to see!