Sunday, 31 August 2014

Deciding Whether Or Not To Go To University At Eighteen

Of the many life lessons university taught me there was one that was highly ironic: You do not have to go to university straight away. It now seems the social norm to enter straight into higher education after sixth form or college at the age of eighteen. Picking a very specific field of study, a new home and going off on the adventure that is student life for the next three years. And that was exactly what I did. While it was very much my decision and I wouldn't go back and change it, my perspective on making such a choice has definitely changed. At eighteen it felt like if I didn't go to university, what on earth would I do?! I would have failed through the eyes of my younger self. 

And wrongly so.  

University is not simply a means to an end, but an experience. And a difficult one at that. One where I learnt what it meant to feel true loneliness, to hate cheap noodles, to become content and happy with myself, to see the stark contrast in the differences between cultural and religious (or non) groups, to work hard but to also allow yourself to play hard and celebrate your triumphs. 

A lot of our lives are spent figuring things out. Planning for the future and missing the now. I definitely haven't adopted the YOLO mentality. (For a short while I actually used the phrase ironically to cringe people out, definitely secretly enjoyed it ;) #guiltypleasure) And that is something I want to change slightly. Even though I love planning out my schedule, these crazy long spontaneous uni summer holidays have been some the my most exciting and fulfilling parts of my uni experience. 

There has been a massively significant week in my life in July. Three major events happened, yet it took me until the last one to actually contemplate on all of these things and revel in them. That's one reason why I enjoy writing this blog! It makes me stop and reflect on all these incredible experiences I get to have!   

Sometimes it is ok to be selfish. 

I have two younger sisters and when I have a family of my own I hope to share these thoughts with them. To tell them not to be too stressed. That their whole life does not ride on this one decision right now. University will always be there. Student loans will always be there. If you want to backpack across Europe, I will support you. If you want to go straight to university, I will support you. If you want to go to work, I will support you. If you want to figure out who you are, I will support you. If you want to go volunteer, I will support you. If you want to serve a full time mission for the church, I will support you. Regardless I will always love you.

Friday, 8 August 2014

July Favourites

Statement Necklace | Primark £6
Primark is always a little hit and miss with me, however their statement necklaces are killing it right now! While other highstreet stores charge anywhere between £20-£30 for a beautiful statement necklace, Primark are offering a wide range for under £10. If you follow me on instagram you'll have seen that I've bought two recently. I was captivated by the pastel tones and subtle nod towards art deco.  

Wonder by RJ Palacio | Asda £3.85
Now that university is finished I really wanted to get back into reading for leisure and picked up this book really cheaply in Asda on a  whim. At first I read it while half asleep at crazy o'clock at night and didn't find it very captivating. I later took it on holiday with me and spent a good few solid hours just sitting my sunburnt self on the comfy bed reading. And it was so good! While it still wasn't the most riveting of reads, I became emotionally attached to the characters and welled up towards the end. It truly is a beautifully story about coping with the differences in our lives and growing into the people we need to be. You know it was good when you feel sad that it's over.

Paper Straws | Tesco £1.50
I bought these for my birthday celebrations and I freaking love them so much! It's such a novelty product that makes me feel so pinterest and just brings an element of 'special' to any drink (especially as I don't drink alcohol). At first Bernard was very skeptical whether or not paper would work successfully as a straw, but surprisingly they hold their own pretty well! Even after leaving them in a drink for a lonnnggg while. 

Hair Scrunchies | Pink, CreamPatterned (similar)  |  Miss Selfridge £4.50 each
I found a fiver pretty pricy for one hair scrunchie but these Miss Selfridge ones are completely worth it. They are so thick and wonderful. I bought a pack of 3 black ones for £1 in Primark a while ago and they are just so tiny once I had them on my head. However these ones are so voluptuousness!! I enjoy wearing them so much. I tend to go for the 'half up, half down' hair style and love feeling all hipster #wannabe. Bernard was so kind and surprised me by buying the pink and aztec patterned one for my birthday as apart of my gift. Unfortunately I could only find an orange version of the pattered one online but hopefully the pink version will still be in store if anyone is interested. :) 

Eyeshadow Pallets | Smoky & Nudes | H&M £3.99 each
With so much time on my hands I decided to dabble in areas I've never been that indulged in before. I have always seen make up as a luxury item and tend to wear it pretty simply on a day to day basis. My younger sister studies Beauty Therapy and has a lot of make up and the like, so I've had the opportunity to experiment without spending any money! I love the looks people create on youtube but it's often using high end products such as ten mac eyeshadows which is really not ideal for someone like me. So these little pallets have been perfect! I even found a couple youtube tutorials using just them and not all the crazy expensive stuff! *yay*   

Reese's Miniatures | Asda £2
American food used to be so pricey here in the UK due to importation costs and what were probably quite high profit margins, yet due to demand they have slowly become more available and prices driven down. Bigger Asda stores have a small section in the confectionary aisle selling a range of Hershey's and Reese's, and even Tesco Expresses are starting to sell things like Lucky Charms! (Still at the hefty price of £4 but hey it's a lot better than the £7 they used to be.) I find mini sweets have way better flavour ratios! For example Mini Cadbury Creme Eggs: more chocolate, less creme. The same with Mini Oreos: less biscuit, more filling! And now these Reese's cups: more chocolate, less peanut butter stuff! I cannot stop eating the little treasures.     

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

My 21st Birthday Part Two | Afternoon Tea

 Haha I love the last one of mine and Bernard's completely different expressions!

Read Part One here

Being one of those people who spends countless hours on pinterest I decided I wanted to do something low key for my actual celebrations and drew inspiration from the beautiful, crafty at home spreads for special occasions. Something simple, delicious food and a few people. It was a flurry of activity and luckily most people were pretty late (as expected aha). My friend Naomi was so lovely and generous, putting in so much work and letting us hold it at her place.  

My family travelled the five hours to see me graduate from university the following day and so were able to take part in the event! I was so happy to have them there. Birthdays just aren't the same without family. (My little sisters are such a matching hoodie crew!) And Bernard was of course there for the occasion. 

I wanted it to be loosely 'afternoon tea' themed. My initial idea was to go somewhere in Manchester and simply pay for afternoon tea e.g. an array of delectably tiny cakes, triangle sandwiches, some form of tea alternative, and the like. After plenty of research I found some lovely places but pinterest allured me into putting on my own spread! It would of also been quite difficult to transport everyone and less people would be able to come because of bookings, etc. However it is still my dream to experience a proper afternoon tea! Anyone have any suggestions of where to go?

Ironically my sixteenth birthday was also based on tea parties as I held a Mad Hatter Tea Party and encouraged everyone to wear hats or a fascinator. It was a day full of incredible food and teacups, not to mention an inflatable flamingo. Now two of my significant birthdays carry the mark of the 'tea party', I clearly have a soft spot for quaint British Tradition.

I was so overwhelmed by all the love, support, gifts and kindness shown. (I know it was my birthday, but still!) So much has happened in such a short space of time in my little life and it's wonderful that I have so many people to share it with. I am super sad to be leaving all of my university friends and everyone in I have met in my university city, but I know they'll all do wonderfully.
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