What’s Occuring Wednesday: Before the End of the Year

I can’t quite believe we’re coming to the end of 2014. It’s been a strange year for me, better than 2013, but difficult. I’ve had hopes raised and dashed about my long distance relationship ending (bring on 2016!), and Repetitive Strain Injury meant my exams didn’t go as well as I hope. On the other hand, I’ve gained amazing work experience in the area I want to go into, improved my blogging game dramatically, and become attached to my camera. There’s a few little bits I want to do to finish off the year, so here they are.

And the source of this amazing picture is here.

 

Improve my Blog Design

This has been on my list for months, I’m just not happy with what I’ve got. My lovely boyfriend has been in the process of designing me a custom one, but it’s come to the point of his second year that he hasn’t got time to spend – so some of my Christmas pennies will be going towards this. It will probably be a template for now, and I hope to learn enough to carry on with W’s work later in the year.

Sort through Clothes

The downside of being at university is that I’m managed to gain two full wardrobes. Whilst I’m home for Christmas I’m determined to streamline everything. I always say I’ll ebay items, but I think to make myself get rid they’ll have to go to a charity shop. Likewise with books – having a kindle means my overflowing bookcase is unnecessary. I cheekily stole this picture from my lovely friend Libby’s blog – my wardrobe is in that much of a state I can’t bear to photograph it!

Take some Outfit Photos

I’m horrendously self-conscious about my body and looks – it has been to the point of being scared to go out due to fear of people talking/laughing behind my back. I finally plucked up courage to post an outfit a few weeks ago (it’s just here), and now I want to carry on with this. I have so many clothes (see previous point!) that it’s a waste not to share them!

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I had just got back into running after a very long time when I dropped a cupboard door onto my foot. This was 3.5 weeks ago, and I still can’t get my trainers over the swelling. Its still pretty blue and painful too. As I’m struggling to exercise as I’d like (even my power hill-walk three times a week isn’t happening!) I really need to improve the diet. Its not bad, but I’d like to up the vegetable, increase the water intake, and perhaps half the amount of bread eaten. A little difficult when I’m still ploughing through the chocolates gifted for my birthday last week!

How was 2014 for you? Do you set goals throughout the year? What do you want to achieve in the next few weeks?

Lifestyle: 2014 Resolutions Update

In one of my university interviews I was asked to give an immediate answer as to what the exact mid-point of the year is, and explain it. Not as easy as it sounds (and made harder by suffering from the flu at the time), but it means that, if I remember correctly, today is the right day to be posting this! Way back in January I wrote a post about my New Year’s Resolutions, and now here I am updating you all on my progress. Here goes…

Academic
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Take better notes.
Come up with a better revision plan.
Use my Filofax.
Self-teach Excel.

My notes definitely improved after setting myself the goal – especially ones in the subjects I was less enamoured with! In fact I was really proud of some of my notes, and I definitely found myself remembering more in my exams…maybe I am more of a visual learner than I thought.

I can’t say I came up with a brilliant revision plan, but I did find a few ways of revising that really worked for me. The first was keeping better notes throughout the year, so I just needed to read what was there instead of rewrite. Quite glad of this as even with reduced writing I somehow ended up with quite severe repetitive strain injury which I’m worried affect my exams (I actually find out my results today, so fingers crossed!). At home during my Easter break, I used to go to the local library for 9am. I’d have roughly an hour’s break for lunch at a nearby park, then I’d work until closing time (6pm) before doing another hour in Costa going over what I’d learnt. I stuck to a module a day rather than having to carry a ridiculous amount around, and found this really productive. On a general day I’d go through two or three more difficult topics, and do at least one exam paper, marking and making model solutions. As I say, soon we’ll be able to see whether it worked!

Using my Filofax more is a resolution that so far I have failed miserably at! Neither of my Filofaxes have received much use at all this year, but I’m determined that’s going to change. I’m currently sorting out the best combination of inserts etc for my Industrial Placement, so I shall be using it more in a few weeks.

Finally my last academic resolution was to self-teach Excel. I can’t say I feel I have done this as I’m not at all confident on it, but I have got better and did actually achieve 88% on the piece of coursework using it – so clearly I can do it! I’d like to polish up my skills a little more before starting work though…

Blogging
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Commenting daily.
Keeping to a schedule.
Improve photography.
Developing the blog.

I’m proud to say that commenting on other blogs daily is something I’ve managed to achieve and keep up! Apart from when I was on holiday or stuck revising for exams I know I’ve definitely left a couple of comments each day. As well as it benefitting my own page views, I’d discovered some amazing blogs through reading other’s comments, and also enjoyed getting to know more bloggers!

I’ve also definitely kept to more of a schedule. My What’s Cooking Wednesday post carried on for a while, it did disappear during revision time though – I’ll definitely look to revive it when I’m out on placement but it may be in a slightly different form. In case you haven’t noticed, I try to blog on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays, and my posts are almost always scheduled to go live first thing in the morning.

Photography is something of an ongoing improvement – though I can definitely see that my photos are getting better. I’m also really proud of a couple (yet to be published) so its getting there! I’m asking for a decent (possibly SLR) camera for my twenty-first, so I’d love any recommendations you have!

Developing the blog is something I can say I’ve done – I’m now the owner of ninegrandstudent.co.uk, and between me and my boyfriend we’re working on a custom design. No idea when that will be live, but I’m pleased with the tweaks I’ve made to this new theme at the moment – my blog definitely looks better than it did at the start of the year!

Cooking/Baking
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Save money.
Experiment with tomato-free recipes.
Buy joints of meat.
Expand baking knowledge.

I definitely saved a bit of money in my later weeks at university. I didn’t quite get my weekly budget down to what I wanted (including my start-of-term shops it averaged at £12.72, which was slightly above my £10 target!) but it definitely started going down significantly so I plan to continue this next year even though I’ll be earning. I’m hoping to save a significant amount over my Year in Industry – my rent/bills/travel is so far only working out at £25 a month more, I’ll be earning a monthly salary, have a small amount of student loan coming in and I’ll still be receiving my academic scholarship so fingers crossed!

My experimentation of tomato-free recipes has really kicked off this year, though admittedly only a few have made it to the blog. My Vegetarian Chilli went down very well, as did my Chicken Khari Curry. I want to experiment with a few more curry recipes, and also work on a meaty chilli. By biggest aim – a tomato free BBQ sauce!

The next two resolutions haven’t gone so well. I confess I haven’t bought any joints of meat – although I have been working with cheaper chicken thighs lately and have a fabulous recipe scheduled! I’ve also not done that much baking, certainly no bread making (check out my always crispy Pizza Dough though!). I’m freeing up a little money over my Industrial Placement to do more baking so fingers crossed this will be achieved by the end of the year!

Beauty
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Find the perfect foundation.
Clean makeup brushes.
Try Pixi Glow Tonic
Remove makeup every night.

I’m keeping silent on the foundation front – I’ve recently been trialling a couple of new foundations and there will be a post soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that. Makeup brushes are getting cleaned slightly more often, although not as often as they should. My main aim for the next few months is to clean my foundation brush every week – although I do wipe it with micellar water after ever use!

You may have noticed from my recent Holiday Makeup post that there is a (half empty) bottle of Pixi Glow Tonic in my possession. I’ve been using this since Valentine’s Day, so it seriously lasts for ages, and I’ve noticed a huge improvement in my skin. Blemishes heal quicker and don’t scar, my skin is brighter, and my moisturisers seem to work an awful lot better. Plus the smell is so relaxing at night!

As for removing makeup, generally this is done every night. Apart from the odd night where I was absolutely exhausted or ill (and then I’d hardly be wearing makeup anyway!) my face has been washed with these products. I’ve recently invested in the Camomile Oil from The Bodyshop to do a pre-cleanse with (I plan to be wearing makeup more often when working – air conditioned offices do not agree with my skin!) so I’ll update with my progress on that soon.

Personal

Exercise more.
Learn to knit.

Both of these I can’t say I’ve achieved. I’d like to think I’m slightly fitter than I was in January – I did manage to climb Arthur’s Seat two weeks ago! I’m planning on relearning how to ride a bike over the next month, and soon I will be a year post-op and so able to start swimming again. I can’t explain how excited I am to get back in the pool! As for knitting, I just can’t seem to get the hang of it – if anyone knows of any good books or teachers please do recommend them!

Before I wrote this post I was rather disappointed in myself, but having gone through things I’ve actually achieved quite a lot, considering I’m studying a demanding degree full-time, and travelling to see my boyfriend every other weekend. There’s still quite a bit I want to achieve before the end of the year, but I reckon I’ll get there!

How are your New Year’s Resolutions going?