Lifestyle: The A-Z of Me (#2)

I had such a lovely response to the first part of this post, I couldn’t wait to get the second installment up!

 photo What Makes Me_zpsncl6cmkv.pngN – Nose

I had a relatively intensive nose operation in Summer 2013 to correct it’s deformed shape and stop me having constant severe sinus infections. The result is a slightly different nose shape and virtually no colds – but the recovery was pretty horrendous. I genuinely can’t see why someone would have their nose done for cosmetic reasons as it was complete agony for weeks.

O – Obviously

I am of the generation that was the perfect age for both Busted and McFly. I love McFly – although their early stuff is so much better. Obviously and All About You are some of my favourite songs even now. I’m hoping to have tickets to see McBusted at a local festival, seeing as I missed out on their tour.

P – Pigeons

I hate the things. I swear the ones in my current town make it their mission to just miss my head each morning.

Q – Quiet

I’m quite a quiet person until I feel really comfortable with people – and that can take a long time. It’s only in the past month I’ve felt able to be myself at work, despite loving it and my team, just because I’m worried people will judge me. Perhaps a resolution for this year should be to be more outgoing?!

 photo 47e5802c-e5ba-4d87-bc53-318aa387807e_zpslrr7dulz.jpgR – Reading

I adore reading, always have. I’d much sooner have my head in a book than watch TV. I love books a little like Jody Picoult’s – though I find hers to be a little predictable. I’ve recently read a few that I just literally couldn’t put down.

S – Switzerland

W’s parents generously took me to Switzerland with them after our A-Level exams and I fell in love with the country. It’s absolutely beautiful, so much to see and do, and you could quite literally sunbathe by the lakes and play in the snow in the mountains on the same day. The day we went to the Jungfrau there was a blizzard on top, and I got sunburnt in the valley.

 photo 2015-02-15 18.30.16_zpsnc4llb2f.jpgT – Tee-J

My gorgeous dog. We adopted him at the age of 13 months way back in 2007, and he was completely and utterly terrifying! Whilst not aggressive in any way, he hadn’t been trained at all. He would playbite (with a full set of adult teeth), and could jump from sitting onto anything. Including the dining room table. He’s calmed down a lot now, we wouldn’t be without him!

 photo 2015-01-24 11.59.31_zpsici62gs8.jpgU – Underwear

Slightly embarrassing, slightly personal. But I do love underwear – a pretty set makes all the difference. Finding out Topshop stock my size was call for a celebration. And a few purchases!

V – Valentine’s

I’m not sure I totally see the point of Valentine’s – I don’t want or need a day to tell W I love him, and I damn well hope he doesn’t either! But it is nice to have a soppy card and a little gift. And a day in the kitchen together!

 photo ArthursSeat1_zps1e89b3f7.jpgW – William

Obviously! I met Will at the start of sixth form, being in his PE, Chemistry and Maths classes. I was failing Chemistry, he was clever and offered to tutor me – and we were together about three weeks into term! I haven’t looked back since…

X – X-Rays

I’ve had an extraordinary amount of x-rays considering I’ve never actually broken anything. I had severe growing pains as a child so was x-rayed to check everything was in place (it was). I got hit by a pushbike and damaged by arm – turns out it was whiplash in my arm. I’ve had my intestines x-rayed as apparently it’s quite useful according to my gastro-consultant. I couldn’t see a lot to be fair. And I had multiple of my face when getting braces and having my nose done (see N).

Y – Yachts

I love the sea, I love swimming in it or being on a boat. So I desperately want my own yacht. I think I’d suit one too… #PrRequest

 photo Meerkat1_zpsfa7467ac.jpgZ – Zoo

Perhaps an obvious choice, but I LOVE zoos. I want to hate them as I don’t like the thought of animals being caged up…so I make a point of visiting ‘nice’ zoos that do a lot of conservation work. My dream is to go on a safari, but I think that’s a long way off right now!

Hope you’ve enjoyed finding out a little more about me! What kind of posts would you like more of here?

Lifestyle: The A-Z of Me (#1)

I saw this ‘tag’ pop up over on Little Miss Katy (possibly my favourite blog) and just couldn’t resist doing it! I love sharing little bits about me on here – the blogs I love are where the personality of the blogger really comes across.

 photo What Makes Me_zpsncl6cmkv.pngI have so many ideas for my blog right now that I’m not sure where it’s going, so hang on with me! After a few tweaks I’m almosttt happy with my new design too. If only the responsiveness would work reliably! Now, I’m only doing A-M here as otherwise this will be a rather long post, keep an eye out for the rest of it…
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A – Actuary

I’m a huge maths-geek and chose to study Actuarial Science at university. Currently halfway through a year’s placement and I know becoming an actuary is definitely what I want to do…I’m pretty much signing away to no social life and twice-yearly exams for a good while!

B – Boys

Despite being a bit of a girly-girl makeup and dress wise, I’m much more comfortable around guys – which is good given my career choice! I went to a Boy’s school for sixth form and, whilst I love my uni girls to bits, I do miss it hugely!

C – Curls

When I was a toddler my hair was properly curly, it then went straight until I had layers put in. It’s more wavy than curly, extremely thick, and difficult to do much with. A good hairdresser is a must, as is experimenting with products. But I have straightened my hair once in 4.5 years, so I do love it natural!
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D – Dresses

I own two pairs of trousers, both of them jeans (and one pair is a new addition). I’m much more comfortable in dresses and skirts.

E – Eloise

I have a “little” sister called Eloise – a combination of mine and my mum’s middle names. There’s six years between us so she’s still pre-GCSE, but she’s exceptionally clever, and not so little – I think she was 12 when she realised she was taller than me!

F – Fry Ups

I love a good fry-up, I don’t think you can beat it. My ideal is bacon, black pudding, egg and toast – sausage is a bit unnecessary. I don’t think they are necessarily too unhealthy either, so I have a couple a month.
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G – Geese

I’m terrified of geese. I have no idea why, but they scared me so much as a child and that feeling has never quite gone away.

H – Hazelnut

My favourite nut! It started with a love of nutella (give me a spoon and a jar and my evening is made!), but I love snacking on the roasted nuts, drinking hazelnut milk, and adding the syrup to hot drinks. So good!
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I – Ice Cream

Another food item – I’m greedy alright! I’ve enjoyed ice cream my entire life, using family cruises as an excuse to find the best – so far one in Sicily has yet to be beaten.

J – Jigsaws

I used to love doing jigsaws when I was younger, and I kind-of want to buy one of those rolls so I can do some bigger/harder ones now.

K – Knitting

I’ve been trying to learn to knit for well over a year, and it’s not going so well! I keep getting into knots and taking it all apart – it’s so infuriating and I get so grumpy with it! My aim is to try and make a scarf for next winter, fingers crossed! I’ve been using this site for instructions, also where the picture above is from, and I highly recommend it!

L – Leicester

I grew up in Leicestershire, and love the city centre for shopping. It’s definitely my go-to place outside of London if I need anything, a lovely mix of high-street and high-end. Plus the John Lewis is huge, heaven in a shop! The countryside is also pretty beautiful.
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M – Memories

Making memories is really important to me, but more than anything I’m scared of forgetting them. My granddad suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, and it’s one I don’t think has nearly enough effort going towards finding a cure. Because of it I ‘lost’ my granddad nearly four years ago – he’s still alive but hasn’t recognised me or anyone for that long. It’s not just the memories, it’s the change in personality, and the financial costs involved. I know that if it’s in my genes nothing can really help, but I try to eat as healthily as possible, do memory exercises, and also try and write down highlighters of my life – I love my line-a-day diary for this!

Do you like reading more about the blogger behind the blog? Tell me a random fact about yourself!

Personal: Mum In A Million

My mum is awesome, and I was already planning a post on here to tell you all about her especially for Mother’s Day (it’s this Sunday so remember to pick up a card!). It seems as though Parkdean Holidays had the same idea when they asked me to write about why my mum is a ‘mum in a million.’

It was really hard to think of specific reasons, because my mum just is great. I was the girl in secondary school who didn’t mind going for a girly shopping day with mum – and actually some of my friends used to come along too. My mum was actually given crown as the coolest mum in my group of friends, and not just cos she makes an awesome lasagne (sob, damn allergy!). But here’s just some of the reasons why she’s a mum in a million…
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She Knows Exactly What’s Best For Me

Just over five years ago I was in the processing of looking at A-Level subjects, and thinking about whether I wanted to move schools. There was a very good sixth form at the local Boy’s school but I was adamant I didn’t want to apply, I didn’t stand a chance of getting  in etc. A good few arguments later and I sulked my way to the open evening. Loved the school on the spot, was devastated when I just missed out on the place, then cried when I successfully appealed. Not only did I get a chance to study the exact subjects I wanted to, taught by some of the best teachers, I found my confidence again. And without being made to consider this school, I wouldn’t have met Will. So yep, Mum’s always know best!

She Makes Me Mould Myself Into A Better Person

Without being pushed I wouldn’t have gone to university, I wouldn’t have done the course I loved (but thought was too difficult for me). I would have taken the ‘easier’ option of a placement alongside one of my best friends rather than going it alone. She reads through my CV to improve it, despite not really understanding what I do.

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She Arranged a Fab 21st Birthday For Me

Not only did she manage to arrange something so utterly perfect for me (read about it here), but she and the rest of the family managed to keep it secret until the night before. Even then it was my nan that spilled it..I spent a lot of my time off work over my birthday with my mum, it was so lovely to have some quality time!

She’d Do Virtually Anything for Her Daughters

I’d been at university for two weeks when she drove to Kent from the midlands to see me, then drove me all the way back and an hour further on to be reunited with Will. All because she wanted to see me smile. I’m so grateful for that day, and for everything else she’s done!

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She’s NOT Sympathetic

Anyone who knows my mum will agree with this. A complaint of a headache will result in a packet of painkillers being thrown in our direction, a cry about exams will get me a chat: “we go through this every year, and every year you do amazingly.”

Yet having said that, she is sympathetic when she needs to be. She looked after me after my nose operation, including sitting on my feet when my hallucinations made me feel like my legs were floating. And after my last A-Level maths exam (which really didn’t go as well as it should have done), when I burst into tears in the middle of town, she bought me chocolate and let me be miserable for an evening.

She Knows What Suits Me

My mum is the only person who I would trust to buy me makeup (she did well on her last trip through duty-free, picking me up MAC Craving which I’ve loved ever since). I would also trust her to pick me up clothes, she instinctively knows if I will love something and what size I will need. Not only that, she shares the same taste in music – we’re desperate to see Bon Jovi, and saw Tom Jones last summer too.

She Would Always Write A Note for PE

Well, not always. But if it was that time of the month, or if I’d had a bad night’s sleep I’d know I could always get out of it. Particularly handy when it came to the football lessons each year – it just wasn’t my thing!

Disclaimer: I was asked to write this post advertising Parkdean Holiday’s Mother’s Day competition, which you can find and enter here. I was sent some goodies to compensate for my time, but no money exchanged hands… 

…And, obviously, all opinions are my own. Because my mum is awesome and definitely one in a million! Why is your mum the best?

Lifestyle: Getting To Know Me

I just fancied writing a chatty post. I’ve got a really busy week at work. I’m training on new software and I’m at a crucial stage in a project. I needed to write aimlessly, so that’s what I’m doing. A post to remind myself about all the things I love, what makes me ‘me’ – before all work and no play turns me into a very dull girl.

So, X Number of Things About Me…

(image from Pinterest)

1 – My hair is the bane of my life. It constantly looks messy, takes forever to wash and dry, and I have no idea what to do with it. I can’t put it up, I struggle to style in. Hot rollers are the only thing that have so far worked for me.

2 – I went to a Boy’s School, and had 8 “prom dates.” Granted, the majority had girlfriends, and obviously I had W! I managed to get into the local and very good Boy’s School for Sixth For, with only a handful of other girls. Turned out that despite going to the Girls School for five years, boys were hell of a lot nicer. I made some great friends, and I speak to far more of my guy friends than those ‘besties’ I was at school with. My multiple dates happened as the school was reluctant to allow external people to prom…and our group were all going to Legoland the next day!

Oh, I did actually purchase that picture, but I can’t find the actual copy to scan in so there’s the marked version. Fab photographers!

 photo 2014-12-03141311_zps8d7c69ab.jpg3 – I love scaring the hell out of myself with ‘extreme activities’ but hate sport. I’ve tried high-ropes courses, zorbing (amazing!), abseiling down a cliff, indoor caving…and next on my list is rafting. Oh, curling is amazing too. But going to badminton with work terrifies me so much I just can’t go!

4 – Currently trying desperately to be healthier. I’m dieting without dieting, and trying my best to squeeze more exercise in. You can read more here.

5 – I have a worsening obsession with lipsticks. I’ve added six MAC ones to my collection since July. One for each pay packet. Not sure where the extra one sneaked in…I’d give anything for the Nars lip pencils too!

 photo 10464251_10201833358628057_7137741447011300528_n_zpsda2dc99f.jpg6 – I fell in love young. I met W when I started sixth form, and we were together within a month. Nearly 4.5 years on, still going strong. Whilst I wouldn’t advise setting out to find your soulmate at that age, I have no regrets!

7 – I still have cooking disasters. I made a toad-in-the-hole this time last year that was basically liquid. Yum…

Revision photo 2014-05-09174200_zpse9b3f7a5.jpg8 – I’m a math’s geek. I’ve loved it forever, and I’m studying Actuarial Science at university. My placement year has confirmed that an actuary is what I want to be, so I’m currently psyching myself up for years worth of exams…

9 – A beach is my favourite place to be. I hardly ever get to go, but I love watching the waves. I can never resist a paddle either. I remember full-on swimming on New Year’s day in Cornwall several years running. And I never wore a wetsuit.

 photo 2014-07-18212135_zpse2324295.jpg photo 2014-07-19124219_zps70610d2d.jpg photo 2014-12-25142812_zps4dda63c2.jpg10 – My dog(s) mean the world to me. My first ‘best friend’ was my grandparents dog (weirdly also a William), and I adored him. Tee-J is also very much adored, definitely the baby of the family. I would sacrifice anything for my dogs!

11 – I’m extremely socially insecure. I occasionally have mini panic attacks when in public, and will constantly relay situations over in my head to see how I could have done ‘better.’ I’m definitely improving – it’s been a while since I cancelled plans due to feeling too insecure!

12 – I have at best Irritable Bowel Syndrome, with other digestive orders currently being ruled out. I’m highly sensitive to changes in water (Kent = worst…give me Switzerland anyday!), and I have to watch what I eat. The hospital appointments are most attractive…

13 – I LOVE cheap hair products. ASDA conditioner has been my go-to for years, and I adore Boots Pink Curl Cream.

14 – I can never remember my postcode. I think it comes from moving around so much with university. I’ve used five over the past two years, and its a nightmare when it comes to medical appointments as for some reason addresses aren’t synchronized.

15 – I still get ID-d for a lottery ticket. Yet not for alcohol. In the same shopping trip. Yep, I don’t understand Sainsbury’s logic either…

16 – Spiders terrify the life out of me. To the point I can be physically sick. I will never live alone for this reason.

 photo 2014-12-02222543_zps88be2c50.jpg17 – I would love to be able to celebrate my half birthday. Mainly because I am desperate for a birthday BBQ, and that won’t be happening anytime soon in July.

18 – I’ve already planned myself three weddings on Pinterest. At least I’ll be prepared when the time comes!

 photo a3d817b8-6871-484c-ace3-c0e984adc0b8_zps75fc13b0.jpg19 – I’m addicted to tea. I can’t function without one in the morning, and I usually have at least three a day. And that’s a considerable cut back!

20 – I can’t throw away books. It’s a major problem, I fear for my floorboards. No matter how many times I have read them, something stops me. I really need to have a clear out though so they all fit on one bookcase again. Especially as I have a much-used Kindle!

I loved writing that post – it was so much fun to think about all little bits that make up my personality. Let me know if you want more chatty posts like this! Now, tell me one random thing about yourself…

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!

 photo b263b0ed-4ac2-4037-962a-4f5b64ce031e_zps53da36d5.jpg photo 9503e468-b958-4156-800a-7d70491997bf_zpsa81b1024.jpgKickstart a Healthier Routine

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…

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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…

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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, 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!

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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!

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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.


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?