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Get to Know the Blogger 2017

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So I’ve almost had this blog two years now – which is mad! I still remember my boyfriend helping me come up with the ‘blogger bee’ name! Which obviously I give him massive thanks and all my gratitude because the name really has stuck with me and means so much to me. You can see a lot of change in my personality and such throughout my posts I believe, that honestly I could not identify if you just straight up asked me if I have changed since 2015.

I thought I’d make a little updated post with 10 facts about me – so you can get to know me, the blogger!

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1 – I’m currently studying a BA(Hons) in English Language and Creative Writing – I always loved writing growing up, but drifted away from it massively after high school even though it was my best subject – I’m so glad and do not regret going to do it in University and have pretty much finished my first year and just waiting on my final grades! It was such a good year.

2 – In my second year, I’m going to be doing an assorted pick of modules but have chosen to do a module called UWLP, which is a University Wide Language Programme, and essentially means I am going to be studying a second language for a module throughout the second year! I picked French and I’m honestly so excited but nervous for pushing myself to try to learn a second language!

3 – Since around 14 I’ve also been massively entranced by art & design, mainly focusing and switching between photography, illustration and 3D computer art. When I was picking my GCSE’s in school, I told one of the art teachers I was planning to pick GCSE Art and she actually told me not to and that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. But as of now I passed GCSE Art, I got a DMM in BTEC Level 3 Art and Design during college and did a year in a 3D Game Art apprenticeship!

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4 – You could say I started my working life when I was 16 and started doing volunteer jobs during college which included a volunteer receptionist in a holistic therapy centre in my hometown, cub scouts assistant and a couple of weeks volunteering in an animal shelter near where I live! I’ve had 8 paying jobs over the past few years of my life which have taught me a lot! I’ve worked in shops and a cinema, I’ve even been lucky enough to be part of the lovely Manchester vegan diner V Rev’s team for a while!

5 – I have four tattoos! My tattoos mean a lot to me because they are all things that represent me well, have special meaning to me, make me smile and make me feel more confident with my body! My favourite tattoo is the one on my arm that was done by the amazing Lauren Sutton, the tattoo is a lovely rendition of a sun and moon with the words ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ written inside. I chose it because I believe the sun represents my dad and the moon represents my mum.
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6 – I’ve always wanted to try and help people/organisations in my own way growing up. I’m no saint or massively charitable as I’m still growing up myself and I completely understand that not everyone has the money to regularly give to charity but I always want to try and do something. I adopted a penguin from WWF last year with a monthly donation, for a year I had a monthly donation going to the Cats Protection and right now I have a small monthly donation going to the UK Bumblebee Conservation Trust! I recommend looking into all of them as even if you don’t want to do monthly donations they have lovely shops with great merch where the money paid goes towards the organisation!

7 – I’m part of my University’s wonderful theatre society! I was part of two after school drama clubs in primary school but was very shy onwards up until even now, I’m still naturally a very reserved person – but during the first few weeks of University I was so drawn in by Almost Famous Theatre Company that I couldn’t not join! They put on amazing shows throughout the University year and this year they’ve done 5 brilliant shows! I was lucky enough to be in 3 of them which were the Miscast Variety Show, the summer Variety Show and Company. I massively recommend checking out one of their shows next year!

8 – I have no idea what I want to do ‘when I’m older’ or when I leave University and whenever I’m asked I pull a face and shrug. It doesn’t necessarily scare me anymore as I know a lot of people are in the same boat even people who are older than me. I’m constantly reminding myself that I’m at the building block ages and I’m not meant to have anything set in stone or sorted out yet. However, a lovely job that would be a dream job of mine or something I’d like to achieve one day, is write my own children’s books and illustrate them. Reading is such an important part of childhood that all kids should be able to experience and access. It’s great for teaching so many things including actual academic stuff or morals and things to reflect on in the real world and I’d love to be able to contribute to that with my own art and writing. I actually wrote about my feelings on it once!

9 – I’m a sucker for learning new stuff but have always had really bad concentration and really bad at sticking to stuff which is a shame and if I could go back in time and give younger me a push to stick to things I would. Growing up I’ve had guitar lessons, keyboard lessons, ice skating lessons, trampolining lessons and even tried out at netball clubs and used to go to drama clubs and dance classes for ballet and tap. I’m really proud of myself for returning to a drama club in University but my last club I was regularly doing was a dance class that I left in 2014! I’d love to maybe try to teach myself something new or join a new class/club one day soon.

10 – Video games have always been a massive part of my life and something that makes me happy. A fond memory of mine is honestly staying over at my eldest sister’s house and playing on the Gamecube or coming home from school and playing games on the family computer. I grew up on the Sims, Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life, SSX Tricky, Mario games, Pikmin and I even remember playin some really lesser known PC games like Spy Fox, Beach Life and The Movies! My current favourite games that I recommend everyone try include Persona 5, Persona 4, Bioshock, Animal Crossing New Leaf, Borderlands 2 and any Pokemon game!

So I hope you enjoyed getting to know me!

Thanks for reading,

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Little Update Regarding Sanitary Donations

Hey guys,

So if you’ve been following my posts, you know a while back I looked into the fact that an increasing number of people in the UK are finding it harder to access sanitary products and that some school children have had to miss days of education or makeshift products just so they can go about their day as they can’t afford or access sanitary products. I also did my own little survey to see what kind of periods people I know go through – how long their cycle is, if they’ve ever had to makeshift or use something that isn’t a sanitary product to clean up/absorb menstruation. Then, from there, I made my own Just Giving page (that is now closed) to raise some money so I could get together lots of products and donate them out to a couple of organisations that I believe are great organisations and causes who are out there trying to get sanitary products, help and comfort to people who cannot access them – especially in this social climate where youth homelessness is on the rise!

So I was going to save this for the big post I was going to make, but I was so grateful that by the end of my Just Giving page closing – we raised £35! I know my target was £100, but anything is so much better than nothing and I can’t thank the people who came forward and donated enough! You are such lovely people.

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So last week, when the money had reached my Paypal, I sat down and split up where the money was going and in the end the four organisations I am giving to is

Monthly Gift MCR

The Booths Centre in Manchester

Every Month MCR

Bloody Good Period

I have linked to their pages, where you can look for yourself in detail about how you can donate and what they do.

So, without spoiling much for the big blog post where I talk about it, I have already gone and sorted out the donations for 3 of these organisations and it was so uplifting sorting it out. Unfortunately, you may have heard about the incident in Manchester the past week. It was absolutely horrible what happened and absolutely heartbreaking to think of the parents who have lost their beautiful children in what happened. It’s been a few days since and I am only now just feeling comfortable about going back into Manchester City Centre and feeling safe – the community of Manchester is definitely what makes you feel safe. Hearing the news about queues at blood banks, queues at tattoo studios for the Manchester tattoo appeal, the amount of donations and money raised, the outcomes for vigils – it’s all so amazing and really shows how close Manchester is and it makes me proud that I was born and raised here.

The last organisation I need to sort out donations for is in Manchester City Centre you see, so I have not yet got the chance or felt up for going into the Arndale and getting all the bits together and taking it to the donation box. Monthly Gift have a lovely pink bin situated in the shop Oklahoma in Northern Quarter and that’s where all the donations will be taken, so because of the fact it’s not something I can do online, that’s the reason for my delay. I know it’s a terrible reason and hopefully this coming week I will be able to go into town.

Once again, I can’t thank everyone enough who donated or shared my Just Giving page – every little helps makes a small difference!

Have a lovely weekend,

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Period Survey Update

Hello guys, sorry it’s been a bit of a delay from my last post where I spoke about looking into the recent reveal of young people not being able to access sanitary products in the UK. In good news I read about how Bodyform are planning to donate 200,000 free sanitary products to people who are unable to access them by 2020. The products will be donated to ‘various charities who support women and girls affected by homelessness, poverty, disabilities, illness and domestic violence’. I read that story not long after I made my post talking about it so it makes me happy to know it is being taken as a serious problem. You can read the article about Bodyform’s plan here!

This’ll be a quick post where I lay out the statistics and data I got from my small survey, which got 62 responses! I’m so happy that people filled it in and wasn’t expecting that many responses so thank you to people who filled it in and took the time.

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So for example the first two questions where I asked how many tampons do people go through in one period and how many pads and I noticed a majority of people in the 62 responses don’t actually use tampons and when it comes to pads, majority use 11+ sanitary pads in one period. But still even in the tampons question a good 22.58% of people use 11+ tampons. I feel this starting data proves why not being able to access sanitary products is a bigger problem for young people than others may think. Most basic packs of sanitary pads have around 14 pads in them, so a lot of people would need at least 1 or 2 packs of pads a month.

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The next question is looking at the average of how long periods last to put it into perspective why people need 11+ tampons or pads in one period. Only 3.23% of 62 people have very short periods. So this starting data is all very basic but if I was to go through with an idea of donating products to a charity or saving up for some it gives everyone a brief idea of how many products each person may want for one period.

Other data we look at is putting into perspective how real the problem is, even when you are luckier than most. Out of 62 people only 1 person has never had the ordeal of having to make shift something to replicate a pad when bleeding. A lot of the open answers discussed having to use toilet paper or making a ‘pad’ out of toilet paper when they couldn’t get a pad or tampon. I feel this data shows us maybe making pads/tampons accessible in toilets, schools and work a lot easier when people are not carrying the products or have the time/money to go and buy some.

Another depressing statistic is that 16.13% of my responses said they have had to skip school because of lack of sanitary products. Majority of respondents felt like their school didn’t do enough to provide sanitary products.

From reading all the respondent’s answers to each question (again, very grateful to everyone who took time out to answer), I feel it opens up the reality of the situation and what it’s like growing up and requiring sanitary products. I’ve been a bit busy the past week but hopefully this week, using this data and having a look at what suitable charities and donation boxes there are in my area I will then type up what my plan is to try and do my own contribution! I’m thinking of maybe setting up a small donation/sponsors page so I can get sponsors if I was to make period packs or buy bulk sanitary products to donate to charities!

Thanks for reading, I’ll keep you updated!

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Teenagers in UK not being able to access sanitary products?

Despite the on and off stigma of periods and talking about them that you grow up with if you are a vagina bearer, periods are still a thing that half of the population get and cannot just turn off at the switch of a button. Everybody’s periods are different – they can range in how long they’re around for, how heavy they are, different intensity of period cramps, different period symptoms/PMS to go alongside it and the time between them can be different too. But almost every person with a menstrual cycle invests in some sort of sanitary product. Whether it’s towels, tampons, reusable cloth pads, menstrual cups etc. etc. It’s a necessity to bring comfort, hygiene and peace of mind to the person on their period. So how come access to sanitary products is starting to become harder for school girls in Leeds?

It’s not the first people have heard of teenagers missing out on education or school because of their body’s natural cycle. In rural Uganda girls miss around eight days of school due to lack of resources, in Garissa, Kenya 86% report missing school due to periods and in India 23% of girls drop out when they start menstruating. Isn’t that crazy? Girls/young people with vaginas should not miss out on getting an education just because of how their body works. Nobody chooses to have a period, right? This kind of problem is slowly creeping up on our doorstep! It’s been reported recently that in Britain, specifically Leeds, students are relying on their teachers to provide sanitary products or not coming to school at all during their period. Some of the students approached in this research explained they come from families maybe with a single parent or multiple siblings and when short on money it can be hard to get the sanitary products needed when they are on their periods.

I found this news quite sad because like I mentioned, nobody chooses to have a period and it must be quite upsetting to get into trouble for attendance when it’s just your body doing what it’s meant to do! So I decided I wanted to do something, even if it’s just blog posts to raise awareness, or get people talking more about periods and sanitary products, or try and raise some money to send off products to charities that specialize in providing people who have limited or no access to products with said products!

Today I put up a survey on my Facebook asking people to fill in a couple of questions that cover how many products you use on one period, have you ever found yourself in a place where you’ve had to makeshift something when you’re bleeding and can’t access a product, what age did you start requiring them and such. I got such a good response back, I’m so unbelievably happy and surprised! I hope to write a blogpost tomorrow, properly going over the numbers but so far I’ve noticed one common pattern – everybody agrees people should have access to free sanitary products and almost everyone feels like their high school didn’t do much to provide access to products/feel comfortable asking. Which made me kind of sad but more determined to start a discussion.

My survey is here to fill in! It’s only 10 questions and any response is useful! 

So what do I plan to try and do? Well tomorrow/Monday I will write up properly my findings on it! As well as that I’m trying to contact some local organisations that take in donations of pads/sanitary products for tips on raising awareness! Watch this space!
Thank you for reading,

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2017 Wishes: January

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Hello it’s me! Long time, no blog!

Happy New Year to everyone, I have a feeling this year will be better than the last. Last year had it’s ups and downs, it felt more of a year of downs in general but I hope this year will be a lot more positive for everyone I love.

A lot of cynics will take the new year resolution tradition as a ‘pointless gimmick’ but I’ve always liked the idea of making goals and resolutions at the beginning of the year, admittedly I never stick to them but it’s nice to sort out your priorities and know what you want by the end of the year. Admittedly I’m terrible at sticking to one idea at a time and always change my mind every month let alone year. I’m very impulsive and get inspired easily which is both a weakness of mine and a strength. So I thought this year I’d start off by making ‘wishes’ or goals for the first month of January – not the whole year. I want to take one month at a time to try and get to where I want to be.

Photo 02-01-2017, 21 19 38.jpgSo where am I starting? Of course, I want to get back into my vegetarian lifestyle. I am massively inspired by the cause Veganuary, in which people go vegan for just a month but as I am living back at home for the first month, it’s a bit harder when my parents buy the food and I’m very against turning away food. It’s a lot easier on me and my family to request to be vegetarian for the first month of 2017, plus hopefully if I succeed at this, I can transition to a more vegan lifestyle later in the year! As well as a more healthy, meat-free diet, I would love to incorporate a nice exercise routine into my every day life. I’ve always been rubbish at having an exercise routine but swimming has always been appealing to me. If I can build up the guts to visit my local leisure centre or the one at my University, I think swimming laps in the pool a couple of times week for just an hour a day would be a great health benefit.

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For Christmas my parents got me this beautiful Paperchase Planner as seen on the left and a cute dainty little bee-themed (spot on, mum) notepad with a bee pen and it’s inspired me to keep a lot more organised and jot down as much things as possible to keep me up to date with my own life. I was the most unorganised person last year and obviously it hasn’t changed over night (I mean I did wake up at 1pm today), so I hope to start using my planner to start making baby steps to a more sorted life. This planner has a pages for my diary, budget planner, meal planner, shopping list and notes. My lovely little C3PO is attached to it as well to give it my own personal touch!

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Organised work ethics are something I aspire to have this month as well. I’ve got my first University exam coming up, as well as revising for a performance in the drama society I love being a part of and I’ll be going back to work and generally throwing myself back into a busy bee lifestyle, after a good two weeks of napping more than usual and eating my own body weight in chocolates and leftovers. If I can go an entire month without accidentally napping through rehearsals or having 100% attendance at my classes I’d be so proud of myself. I know I can do it, I just need a good kick up the arse.

And finally as you can see, I want to write more blog posts. Last year whenever I heard people say they’ve read my post or they like reading what I write or even accompanying my writing/blogging to me, it’d give me such a warm feeling inside. I really enjoy my writing and I’ve missed it so much in the past few months and I’m sad I got so overwhelmed that I’d push my blog away from me and avoid trying to write. I hope this month I get a good few posts done.

Oh and of course, I started Mass Effect 3 and I want to finish it, wee!

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Happy New Year my lovelies!

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#WorldAnimalDay and what you can do as an animal lover!

Several times I believe I’ve tried to engrave into my blog and writing that I sometimes struggle sticking with lifestyles such as vegan or even sometimes vegetarian. If I could switch off all my cravings, comfort food, deficiencies, illnesses and have a steady income I would definitely go vegan but sometimes for me and others it’s not always easy to 100% switch to a lifestyle and for some people it’s harder than others. I’ve always been a firm believer that vegans, vegetarians or meat eaters/omnivores shouldn’t force each other’s ‘beliefs’ down each others throats as it is counterproductive and doesn’t always spread the education and facts that people need to hear and instead becomes an ableist, stereotypical mess of joking and narrow-mindedness. Every human being is different underneath the surface and it does more harm than good to angrily assume why someone does the things they do. It’s better to ask questions and discuss than to yell words like ‘murderer’ or ‘hippie’ at each other without actually making any sort of productive change. Regarding my view on that, it means I’m very serious about making sure I never push my boundaries when discussing my views on being vegan or vegetarian and be as honest as possible; an example could be that I’ll admit, yes, sometimes I mess up and eat meat on some days or I’ll eat a chocolate/sweet gift from someone not regarding the dairy in it but at the same time I buy non-dairy milk in a carton for when I make myself tea or food that requires milk so that I reduce my dairy intake/purchases.

Today is ‘World Animal Day’ according to Twitter and obviously it is trending because we share our planet with these creatures. People love all sorts of animals when growing up whether it just be a domesticated pet or even wildlife creatures. Children are taught about these beautiful creatures growing up and it tends to be one of the core things humans relate to; you meet someone and you might ask what their favourite of something is and that could be the question ‘oh, what is your favourite animal?’. Unfortunately growing up you’re never really taught what can happen to the creatures we share our planets with and adults tip toe around the discussion with children because I think most adults don’t want to admit to the knowledge of it either. Nevertheless, it’s there and it doesn’t start or end with say, farm animals, it’s also wildlife, sealife, domestic pets and the list probably goes on in more detail. I think it should be discussed with teenagers and young adults what stuff you can start doing when growing up that has less of a negative impact on animals, much like we are taught to walk instead of drive places or switch the lights off in a room after using it to reduce our carbon footprint. I’d like to see ‘little things to help animals’ promoted a lot more and in more detail than just sending off small donations to charities and that’s that.

#1: Choose one day a week to go meat-free.

I will sympathise only slightly with people who declare ‘I couldn’t go vegetarian, I love meat too much!’, when told they should stop eating meat. It can be relatively easy to stop eating meat products when you put your mind to it. A great idea, inspired by the movement ‘Meatless Monday’, is to pick one day a week that you pledge to just not eat, purchase or consume meat products all day. It doesn’t have to be a Monday it could be any day you prefer, but it’s a great start in reducing your meat intake.

#2: Buy Cruelty-Free beauty dupes.

Unfortunately a lot of beauty companies still get away with animal testing and using ingredients that are derived from animals. Some well-known names include L’Oreal, Benefit, MAC, Maybelline, Revlon, Clearasil and Herbal Essences. I’m definitely not saying if you own any products from these brands to run screaming to the nearest bin and chuck them all in as that is wasting a product and the packaging. The best thing to do is when you finally run out or get rid of said product to look for a dupe in a cruelty-free brand. Some really easy finds include Superdrug’s own brand, Barry M, B. by Superdrug, BH Cosmetics, Lush and Kat Von D. If you are ever unsure of something, look for the little ‘Cruelty Free’ rabbit on the packaging or give it a quick google search as there are so many useful blogs and pages from the company ready to help you. If a company’s stance on cruelty-free practice ever seems dodgy to you, just go with your instinct.

#3: Support adopting pets.

Obviously this idea can only really come into play if you are planning on getting a pet anytime soon. There is plenty of benefits to adopting a pet that include giving a pet that could no longer have a home with it’s old family a new life and home, some pets in adoption shelters may have been taken from a cruel past and you are giving it a chance to experience love and comfort which is such a lovely thought. Always look at chances to help out people who may have had an unexpected litter come into their lives – you know when someone you used to go to high school with advertises on facebook that their cat just had lots of kittens and they need a new home? Definitely support that, it means that the young kittens can grow up in a home with care instead of being separated from it’s litter and put in a home with tons of other cats. Unfortunately in that scenario, if the owner needs to get people to adopt the litter cause they can’t look after them all, both ways the kitten will be separated from it’s mum/litter, but I think it’d be a much better chance for you and the kitten than the hassle of it being put in a shelter and having to wait to be adopted.

#4: Find your local vegan/vegetarian cafe.

Support your local vegan and vegetarian establishments! You’ll be able to discover new food and meals that don’t cost the earth and help work towards encouraging the trend of vegan cooking in the industry. I’ve noticed in the past few years more restaurants and cafes introducing different types of non-dairy milk or even non-dairy cheese in meals. A good example is the vegan stuff restaurant Zizzi is starting to bring into their menu! I believe it all comes down to supporting independent animal-loving businesses, they are the heart of the vegan/vegetarian food industry and should be encouraged so that the word of supporting animals and the environment gets even more out there.

Is there anything else you guys think should be included on the list? I’m also going to leave here some interesting petitions you guys might be interested in signing on World Animal Day.

Ban antifreeze preparations that are putting our pets and children’s lives at stakehttps://www.change.org/p/uk-eu-parliaments-law-defra-ban-all-antifreeze-preparations-unless-they-contain-a-bitterant
Tell the Arts Council of Ireland to stop funding circuseshttps://www.change.org/p/arts-council-of-ireland-stop-funding-animal-circuses#response-4321
Tell British Airways to stop sponsoring Seaworld: https://www.change.org/p/british-airways-stop-selling-trips-to-seaworld-end-your-support-for-these-cruel-orca-circuses
Make a donation and recieve a Bee Saver kit: https://www.foe.co.uk/page/get-your-bee-saver-kit

Thanks for reading,

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Sources:
Information about Meatless Monday – http://www.meatlessmonday.com/
Information about non-cruelty free brands – http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/companies-that-test-on-animals/
Cruelty-free Dupes – https://twitter.com/crueltyfreemu
Benefits of adopting – https://www.animalfriends.co.uk/blog/10-benefits-of-adopting-a-pet/
Zizzi’s vegan menu – https://www.zizzi.co.uk/data/menus/static_menus/1/pdf/Allergen-Information-June-2016.pdf
Vegan/Vegetarian food in the UK – http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/travel/19-of-the-best-vegan-restaurants-in-the-uk-a3266876.html#gallery

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It’s almost August and I don’t know where the year went?

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Honestly by this point I need a kick up the arse really don’t I? In regards to blogging and writing, I have been so terrible lately and procrastinating every day. It’s not that there isn’t ideas for posts in the back of my mind constantly, every week there’s normally some things that make a little voice just go ‘oooh! ooh! write about that!!” in my brain, however I never get round to doing it and by the time I sit down and remember it feels too late. Admittedly since this is my personal blog, I guess there’s no deadlines, no obligations and I run this blog myself single-handedly, so I can organise the posts when I want them to be; however I really wish I could get into a habit of doing them reguarly. I hold this blog really close to my heart and my confidence gain over the past year so I want to dedicate more of my time to it. So please, someone give me a kick up the arse!

To give you an update on what’s been going on with my life, if you are interested – I am still loving my new job at my favourite cafe. I’ve been able to try a lot more vegan snacks and meals and I may try and write another post about there soon as I am so proud and grateful to be a part of the team there. I start University in T-minus 1 month and 23 days, counting from this post, and I’m so excited but nervous! It’s going to be so weird going back into an education/scheduled system after almost 4 years. I’m also eager to get back into writing constantly for essays and such. If I get into the right mindset, I can really put a lot of energy into an essay; especially if I enjoy what I’m writing about.
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So my life at the moment is mostly working day-to-day at the cafe and preparing for University! I really cannot believe it’s already pretty much August, I feel like moving out for University is going to hit me like a rocket. I might do a ‘University Wishlist’ post of cute, quirky items I’d like (and probably won’t, because you know, money) to take to university for my room, in the future. I am also going to attempt to plan some future posts to queue up for you guys to have a read! Including some book reviews as I recently finished an amazing book and I am close to finishing a book called ‘We are All Completely Beside Ourselves’ – which I am also loving a lot right now. I also plan to hopefully go and catch the new Star Trek: Beyond film, Ghostbusters and maybe Suicide Squad, so I might review them. As well as that, obviously if anybody has any suggestions of stuff they’d like to see me write about or review – just leave me a comment!

Keep your eyes peeled for more posts!

Thanks for reading,

signaturejuly16