A Modern Take On Classics: Showcase

As I explained in a recent post I have fallen back in love with reading, books and all that good stuff. Which is wonderful, of course, but it has resulted in me wanting to buy more books now I’m back in the loop which isn’t so wonderful for my bank balance.

Nonetheless, one of my favourite ways to obtain new books is by getting them secondhand and that’s how I managed to come across these two wonderful pieces I’m about to show you today.

Although I normally try to avoid ‘novelty’ buys when it comes to books, I couldn’t resist when I saw these two.

Featured

Although I totally understand how important classic books are and have enjoyed many that I have read, I do sometimes struggle with them. And because I know they’re going to be a lot of work, I tend to avoid a lot of these kind of books, which results in me missing lots of references.

Although I initially picked these books up as a joke and spent a few minutes by the market stall and in the shop chuckling over the retellings of the stories I had read, I realised that these books could also be quite useful in their own little way.

These two books are wonderful ways to get involved and discover what those of so popular classic books are about, but in a hilarious modern way!

THE SHOWCASE

The first one I picked up is Twitterature, by Alexander Aciman and Emmett Rensin. This, as you can tell from the title, is a retelling of various classic tales through the medium of a twitter feed. The bits I’ve read so far have been hilarious, but I’m not sure yet how I’ll feel about the stories I don’t know.

Twitterature

“The classics are so last century” Guardian

Twitterature 3

Currently my favourite feed, Great Expectations from @piMp

Texts From Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg, is very similar but clearly an older publication. And this one has illustrations! It retells a lot of classic and modern classic tales through text messages between characters and I’ve found myself chuckling at a few already.

(My copy is sadly missing it’s dust jacket hence the similar photos but hey, that’s what happens when you shop secondhand sometimes)

Texts.jpg

do you know who I hate?” “everyone?” “EVERYONE

Texts 2

Texts From Jane Eyre And Other Conversations With Your Favourite Literary Characters

Have you heard of any of these books? Because I was unaware of them until this point. I’m expecting I’ll take my time with them and flick through whenever I need a bit of cheering up, or have failed to understand yet another literature reference!


Do you have any quirky books in your collection? 

I know this was a somewhat unusual post for me, as there’s more images than words, but I fancied showing off these books and wasn’t sure how. I feel like I may do some more showcase posts in the future!

Speak soon,

Rachael

*affiliate links used

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Calling All Freshers: Dealing With Homesickness

It’s that time of year again! Summer is almost over for those of you who are students and it’s time to think about what’s coming up next. I know for a lot of people, university will be at the forefront of your every thought at the moment.

As someone who has literally been there, done that (didn’t get the t-shirt, but I have a couple of hoodies does that count?) I feel like I can actually offer some genuine advice in this area and it’s something I have done a few times.

I find that the best advice comes from someone who has been through the same thing, and can therefore give advice from the other side and the topic I’m going to get into in a minute is something that I’ve had my fair share of experience with.

Homesickness is definitely a major worry for university students, as this is probably the first time in your life you’ll experience living away from home (if that’s something you chose to do. Of course, not everyone chooses to move home for university, and that’s cool- you do you, but I’m talking to the general bunch today) and it can be pretty tough at times. But there are ways to make is easier, tried and tested by yours truly, and that’s what I wanted to share today:

FAMILIAR THINGS

What often makes moving away to university so scary is the fact that everything is so different. You are no longer surrounded by the things you have probably had around you for the majority of your life, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.

Normally before you move away, you’ll buy a ton of new stuff for your new student digs. But when you’re packing everything up, why not include some of your favourite bits from home? Pick out a couple of home ware bits*, like cushions or ornaments, that are in your bedroom at home to put into your new place.

Surrounding yourself with familiar things that you recognise and love will make you feel more at home wherever you are. It’ll make home feel closer so you’ll feel comfortable and able to get stuck in.

* You’ll be warned by your universities to not take anything too valuable to your new accommodation and I’d recommend you take notice of that. At least until you’ve gotten yourself settled in and figured out who you’re living with. Better to be safe than sorry!

PHONE HOME… REGULARLY 

Freshers’ week is such a busy time in the academic calendar, with all of the different events going on, and if you have moved to university the days just seem to fly by regardless of what time of year it is. So it is not uncommon for you to have gone a very long time without actually speaking to anyone from home.

This is okay, of course, but if you’re feeling a little homesick it can make things feel worse. When you’re out of contact with your family/friends/loved ones it can sometimes make you feel more isolated and alone than you really are.

To avoid this make sure you block out some time to call home. Block out a decent amount of time where you can go to your room, or a quiet place, and have a genuine conversation with those on the other end. If you can, try to make this a routine where at the same time every night, or every week, you call home and have a catch up.

It can be hard going from seeing and speaking to the same people every day to not seeing them at all, so try to keep in contact whenever you can. It’ll remind you that those you miss are never too far away and should make things a little easier to handle.

USE SOCIETIES AND ACTIVITIES

There are countless of opportunities to try new things and meet new people at university and one of the easiest ways to do this is to join a society. Every university has a bunch of various societies and clubs that are open for students to join (you’ve probably heard about them on open days) and are normally one of the most common ways friendships are formed.

I can’t really give too much advice on this one, as I was not actually connected to any society while at university. Most of the clubs and societies at my university were linked to a sport and I am so not a sporty person, so that was out of the question for me!

This isn’t the case for all unis however and there are normally clubs and societies to suit any interest. Take a good look during your Freshers’ Fayre and see if there’s anything you fancy. Most societies offer a week or so ‘free trial’ that’ll allow you to try a new sport or hobby without paying anything.

Or if societies aren’t your thing, most student unions host events throughout the year. These are normally always free and are a great way to connect with people you mightn’t have encountered otherwise.

Throwing yourself into clubs or activities is a great way to combat homesickness. It’ll encourage you to get out there, meet new people and be busy so you won’t have chance to think about home! Plus, if you’re having a good time and are making new friends you mightn’t feel as homesick as you’re making a new home for yourself.

KEEP OLD ROUTINES

Homesickness usually comes about because everything is so different to what you’re used to when you move away. And although this can be nerve-wracking at first, it is a wonderful opportunity for you to make your own routines and create a lifestyle that works for you.

In the meantime, however, you can stick to some of your old routines that you made at home. The easiest way I can think of doing this is by watching the same TV shows as you did at home. I know it seems a little trivial, but it can be so helpful. Again it’s about making things familiar.

If there’s a certain show you watch on a certain day, take some time out of your routine to sit down and watch it like you would at home. This tip isn’t massively practical during Freshers’ Week, as things are normally so busy around this time and I’d encourage you to socialise and get to know your flatmates first and foremost, but further on down the line it might become more helpful.

BE HONEST AND OPEN UP

Finally, if things are really feel to difficult and you find yourself struggling during university please speak to someone about it.

A good thing to remember at this point is that literally every other person who has moved out is going through the same thing as you, even if they don’t show it. Start a conversation with your friends about it and see if you can help each other. There are also counselling services that are free for students available on campus and I’d urge you to use these if you feel like you need to.

There will be student representatives and plenty of other members of staff around who are trained and understand exactly what you’re going through, so try to find someone to talk about it with.

If none of these seem too appealing for whatever reason, you can also seek support from your GP if needed.

Jack Kornfield


Living away from home while studying at university can be such a wonderful experience, and one I’m definitely grateful for having, but it can also be difficult at times and that’s okay.

I experienced homesickness on and off throughout my three years at university and luckily only experienced it negatively towards the end of my degree.

University is a weird and wonderful time and I know you’re going to have a brilliant time once you get there. I am so proud of you for all of your hard work and I wish you every future success.

If you have any tips for homesickness, or any university experience stories you’d like to share please let me know.

Speak soon,

Rachael.


Materials:

(Past posts on university: newest-oldest)

Here’s What No One Tells You About Finishing University

Freshers’ Week Essentials

Second Year Experience

A Guide to Taking Notes at University

Freshers’ Week: Expectations vs. Reality

Money Saving Tips That Actually Work

This is What They Don’t Tell You On Open Day!

Bloody hell I’ve done a lot!

 

 

 

 

Creating Just For The Hell Of It: Shame, Fear and Self-Care

It may be pretty obvious, as I have this little blog and did I creative degree, but writing is something that I really love. When I was a child, I would spent hours scribbling in notebooks and typing up stories, journal entries and poems. I was never afraid to share my work and on several occasions would hand out copies of my ‘books’ (ie. ten or so pages bound together in a folder) to friends, family and teachers.

And now I’m in a funny period of my life where I’m free from any major commitments, like school, and have a lot time on my hands. I keep thinking about all of these creative projects and things that I’ve wanted to get stuck into for the longest time and sometimes I’m successful (see any recent posts). But at other times I feel like I’m holding myself back.

THE PASSION AND THE PRESSURE 

As I explained in a recent post I have finally gotten myself back into reading and I am now reading a lot of fiction once again. This is something that makes me so happy as I finally feel like I’m pulling bits of myself together again. A bit of a dramatic way to describe reigniting a hobby, I know, but that’s how I feel.

And with reading a lot comes this burning desire to write a lot too. Like I said, this is something I used to do all of the time when I was a kid without any structure or plan. I would just pick up a pen (or open a word document) and get writing.

I didn’t think much then about whether what I was making was good or something people would want to read. I simply just made stuff because I wanted to and I had the time.

I feel like so many people have similar stories from when they were a kid, but then it always seems to fizzle out by the time we hit our teens. It’s so sad.

We suddenly become so aware of everyone else and become fixated on their opinions that it gets in the way and we stop being as creative as we once were. Of course there are other factors, like having less free time and so on, but I think this is the main reason.

THE INSPIRATION AND THE GOAL 

I’ve been re listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast, Magic Lessons, that I’ve mentioned a couple of times on here and I think it’s been a combination of all these aforementioned life things  (the free time, the reading and the podcast) that have got me thinking a lot about this subject.

You already know, if you’ve read any of my past posts, that comparison is a major issue for me and it is a major barrier when I try creating things. And when I think about it now, I get so mad at myself.

For me, writing has always been a passion. It’s been the one thing that I have loved and actually felt like I am quite good at. Yet I still find myself restricting what I do because I’m not good enough or I’m not qualified enough or other people are just way better at it than me.

How frigging daft is that?

I know that we all get like this. I don’t know what your passion is, but I bet you could do it more.

Anyway, I’ve now had a realisation, or I guess I’ve just reconfirmed for myself, that I can just make stuff if and when I feel like it.

Writing non-fiction is something that I have been doing for so long now, what with my journalism degree and this somewhat lifestyle based outlet. It’s something I love and will continue to do, of course, but I now want to give myself permission to start writing other stuff too.

I stopped writing stories and poems when I was back in school, because I knew there were others around me who were better at it and who cared about it more than I did. But now at twenty one, with my degree still fresh from the printers, I want to start getting back into writing whatever I fancy- even if it doesn’t go anywhere.

THE SELF-CARE EFFECTS

Making stuff just for the hell of it is a wonderful and freeing experience. I know I talk about self care a lot on this blog, but this really is relevant to that conversation as well.

Allowing yourself to get involved with hobbies or activities that excite you is definitely an act of self-care in my book.

You’re being kind to yourself, you’re taking time out for yourself and you’re no doubt learning a little bit as well, whether that’s about who you are or about the craft.

So if you’re considering doing something creative, even if it’s something that you feel like you have no knowledge on or you think it won’t work out or whatever, I urge you to try it. Allow yourself to have a bit of fun and don’t put so much pressure on yourself!

It’s only art after all.

Please come and join me in this journey of making stuff just because we can and because we love it. I can’t wait to see what I get up to now I’m allowing myself and I’m so excited for you too!

Elizabeth Gilbert


I’d love it if you’d like to share some of your creative bits or even those that inspire you!

Best of luck and happy making.

Speak soon,

Rachael.


Materials:

Big Magic: Elizabeth Gilbert*

Brene Brown on ‘Big Strong Magic’

Your elusive creative genius: Elizabeth Gilbert (TED)

Am I Qualified To Be Creative? itswaypastmybedtime

Am I A People Pleaser? Ninkcompoop

 

Finally giving a fuck: justkissmyfrog

*(affiliate link used)

How To Get Out Of A Reading Slump

I love reading. It’s been a hobby of mine for as long as I can remember and I love nothing more than getting lost in another world built by someone’s words. It’s something I even talk about occasionally on here too.

If you’re also a lover of books then you’ll understand the upset and torment I feel when I find myself in a reading slump. It’s such an awful feeling to have suddenly lost the joy from one of your favourite pastimes and is, unfortunately, something that happens more often than I’d like.

However, fortunately for this blog, because I have experienced the reading slump regularly (n fact just pulled myself out of one recently!) I feel like I can actually be of some help to those of you who might be struggling!

Here are the ways I work to pull myself out of a draught and bring myself back to where I want to be – reading:

  • STOP READING WHAT CAUSED IT

Abandoning a book can be a difficult thing if you love reading. Trust me I get it. For some reason you feel guilty, because you know that someone somewhere spent hours, days, weeks on that book and the least you could do would be to see it through to the end.

But then I finally saw sense. What’s the point in carrying on reading something that isn’t bringing you joy? There are so many other books out there!

If you’re in a reading slump, chances are it was brought on by something you’ve been reading. That doesn’t mean to say it isn’t a good book or even something that you won’t enjoy eventually, but right now it isn’t working so you might as well stop.

Put the book away and forget about it for now- you can always return later when the time is right. Allow yourself the chance to find something better.

  • FIND A GENRE THAT SAVES YOU

Whenever I’m in a reading slump, I tend to reach for chick-lit because somehow it saves me every time. This is something I only realised recently, but those feel-good, quick reads pull me out of a draught and helps me fall back in love with books again.

Now maybe chick-lit isn’t your thing, but there’s bound to be a genre out there that you love and that you know you enjoy every time. It could be memoir, fantasy, self-help and so on. The list is endless!

Next time you find yourself in a slump, reach for something that’s in your genre of choice and see if it helps. Reading something familiar, that’s still a brand new story, is sure to help you get back on track.

  • TAKE A BREAK

Some reading slumps are so deep that nothing will pull you out in a hurry. So why not listen to yourself and stop reading for a bit?

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that, so take a break. Leave your books on the shelf and dive into another hobby for the time being. Hopefully after some time away you’ll feel fresh and inspired to begin reading once again!

  • WATCH BOOKTUBE

Booktube is the YouTube community dedicated to reading, with countless of creators making content based on their love of books. I personally think it’s a wonderful space on the internet and is one that has helped me from time to time.

When you’re in a slump have a browse through the various vloggers and bloggers out there who are dedicated to books. Their passion and pure joy for the hobby is sure to inspire you.

They’ll show you what you’ve been missing and you’ll begin to see things in a better light, all of which such get you back into reading once more.

Check out the materials at the end for my favourite booktubers who have helped me.

  • RE-READ AN OLD FAVOURITE

Similarly to finding a favourite genre, returning to a once loved book can really help you get back into the hobby again.

For me, I will always return to Jacqueline Wilson who was my favourite author growing up. Sure the books are a little young for me now, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy them any less! Returning back into these stories that meant so much to me years ago reminds me how much I actually enjoy reading and motivates me to do it more.

When you can’t seem to find anything new to grab your attention, I urge you to seek out your out favourites and try them once again.

  • TRY AUDIO BOOKS

Now, I have to be honest here and say this one isn’t something I have much experience with but I do understand how helpful it can be. Personally, audio books aren’t really my thing (yet!) but if you’re just not into reading at the moment, listening to someone read is a wonderful way to still be engaged in the hobby without doing any of the work!

You could even listen to books you’ve already read previously and see if they feel any different in this format. Audio books may also be a great opportunity for you to discover new stories that you mightn’t have even considered before, as things can be more easily understood if someone else is explaining it to you.

Either way I know audio books have been very helpful to others in the past and they may just work the same for you.

Stephen King


Do you have any tips for getting out of a reading slump? Also, what’s your favourite book?

I feel like I kind of went back into my original type of content today and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Let me know if any of these tips were helpful to you, if you fancy.

Speak soon,

Rachael.


Materials:

(Favourite Booktubers)

booksandquills

cozyteareads

justkissmyfrog

Ariel Bissett 

Reaching Goals: A [Pretty Late] Mid-Year Update

I know it’s so cliche to say, and I swear its something I say almost every post, but how fast is this year going? I can’t believe that we’re already in August. On a personal level, it’s insane to think that I have now been a graduate for almost a month!

Anyway, it’s clear that time isn’t going to go any slower, despite my many pleas, so I might as well be productive and see where I’m at.

2017 was the first time I documented my New Years’ Resolutions publicly, an act that has it’s pros and cons. The pros are now that I can actually remember my resolutions (surely I’m not the only one who forgets a month down the line?) and can hopefully keep on track that way. But the cons are now that people know what I wanted to do and if I fail it could be a little embarrassing.

But what’s the point in being embarrassed when your keeping a personal blog, eh?

So now, let’s have a look at what my goals were at the start of 2017 and see how I’ve been getting on.

(You can read my original post here)

  • Travel More

In 2016 I managed to travel more that I think I ever had before and that was something I wanted to continue. I was going to render this one a total fail, but thinking about it I have been lucky enough to go on a couple of trips already this year, although to no where new.

For my birthday I spent a weekend in Whitby; I organised a night in Edinburgh with my two girlfriends and then just at the beginning of my summer, my family organised a little break to Blackpool which was wonderful as I hadn’t been there in over a decade! (Oh, I sound so old!)

I have also been travelling between my university home, my home home and my boyfriend’s house if we want to count that too, although none of these take me out of the North East!

VERDICT: This was a refreshing look back actually, I genuinely thought I’d failed big time here. I’m not sure how much more I’ll be travelling for the rest of the year, but I would like to continue to explore and hopefully seem some new places eventually.

  • Be More Spontaneous

I’m not quite sure where I was going with this one actually, but is New Years even New Years unless you vow to change something major about yourself?

I am a worrier and I like to have a plan. Not knowing what’s happening makes me feel nervous and uncomfortable, so it’s kind of odd that I’d put that kind of pressure on myself. Instead of trying to be more ‘spontaneous’ I think I’m going to flip this resolution on it’s head and learn to say yes more.

VERDICT: Well since I’ve changed the resolution to saying yes more, I’m going to judge myself on that and if I’m being totally honest I haven’t done too well here either. It will be something I will continue to aim for moving forward.

  • Blogging Focus

Oh, this one makes me sad because I was so motivated and naive back in January! I really wanted to work my socks off with this blog and create regular content, as it’s something I genuinely love, but university understandably took priority.

It took almost everything I have to get through my final year, including a lot of creative energy into my dissertation, which meant I didn’t have much left for blogging. Now I’ve finished university I’ve still been struggling to get back on track with various things, including producing content. I think I didn’t expect things to be so difficult after I’d finished and naively assumed I’d bounce back immediately.

Still, I’m making major efforts to get back on track and reorganise myself so hopefully things will improve from here.

VERDICT: This one is definitely a fail, as university was my main priority this year. Nonetheless, I am so happy I put my everything into my degree as it’s something I’ve worked towards for so long, and I came out with a grade better than I’d even dreamed! Now my life is settling back down a bit, I’m hoping I can get back on it.

  • Buy Less, Use More

I’m not sure how I’d consider this one. It’s something I have had some success with, but then I’ve also fallen off the bandwagon quite a bit! I am trying to use up all of my makeup and bath products, and could really go for ages without buying anything new, but every so often I slip up. And once I slip up, that’s it. I’m one of those people who can’t stop spending once they’ve started, which is tragic for my bank balance!

I discovered that, despite my initial interest, minimalism is definitely not for me but I do need to keep track of where my money’s going. I have recently made the decision to try to save as much money as I can once I return to work, and I really hope I succeed!

VERDICT: Despite some major fails, I have been successful at times with this one and I am trying to bring this goal back to myself!

  • Calm Down

This is a goal that I think I will have for the rest of my life! Like I’ve already said, I’m a worrier and that takes up so much of my energy on a daily basis. Yet, unfortunately I don’t see this changing anytime soon.

However, I did do quite well at university and managed to get a lot of my work done ahead of deadlines, allowing me to have a pretty stress-free last few months. This seems to be an unusual feat and I’m definitively proud of myself for this!

VERDICT: I don’t think I’ll ever be a calm person, as it’s just not in my nature, but I can manage my nerves and stress when necessary. Even when times are really tough I manage to get through it every time. My biggest success is surviving my final year at university!

  • See More Live Shows

I was very lucky in 2016 and managed to go to the theatre quite often, or at least on a more regular basis than I’d previously experienced. However, now my student days are behind me and my priorities have changed drastically since January.

I no longer have the finances to be able to go the theatre as often as I would like, although there are some shows and gigs coming up that I would love to see. I’m hoping that once I get back into work and have a regular pay check again, I can reignite my love for theatre but at the moment it’s just not a priority.

VERDICT: A lot of things can happen in eight months and that’s what this resolution has taught me. I no longer have the same goals I did have at the beginning of the year, even though this is definitely a lovely one, and there’s no point beating myself up about it.

  • Self-Loving

I am hoping that this is a goal that will just continue to grow and grow. Although I wouldn’t say there is a massive progress here, as I genuinely feel the same most of the time, there is definitely an improvement overall.

My major goal for this now is to really try to look after myself, like eating some vegetables and moving a bit more. I find this surprisingly difficult with my lifestyle at the moment, but as with the majority of these goals, I’m hoping it will improve when I get into a decent routine.

VERDICT: I will continue to have good days and bad days in terms of my relationship with myself and I need to continue to be kinder to myself and appreciate the good days.

Theodore Roosevelt. 2


Do you believe in New Years Resolutions? How are you getting on with yours?

Here’s to making the most out of the rest of the year! We’ve got this.

Speak soon,

Rachael


Materials:

Am I Reaching My Goals?booksandquills (This was my inspiration behind this post)

How To Slay The Next Six MonthsMuchelle B

 

 

Here’s What No One Tells You About Finishing University

The time has finally come: I have finished my three year degree. I am no longer a student; I will no longer be attending university.

Life has been pretty crazy for the past few months (read: past year) and I always imagined that as soon as university was over, my life would get back on track and everything would be exactly how I wanted it. Oh bless past, naive me!

Don’t get me wrong, I am constantly flooded with relief now that everything is finished and handed in, but I didn’t account for the continuing stress, worry and general sense of unsure that’s still there. And that’s the thing- no one seems to tell you what it’s like finishing university. Sure, we’ve all heard the success stories and probably witnessed the glorious pride that third year students have when they’ve finished, but there’s loads of other things that I’m experiencing right now that I did not expect.

So allow me today to be the person to heed a word of warning. Finishing university is an amazing achievement and this is a time of totally celebration and relaxation, but there’s also a lot of weird stuff that goes on too.

THE MOURNING PERIOD

The past three years have passed by in what feels like a blur. Everything has been going at like a hundred miles an hour since I clicked that ‘accept offer’ button on UCAS three years ago. I actually can’t believe that I have finished my degree and will (hopefully!) be graduating next month! All of those years of hard work, stress and tears have come to a close and will hopefully all be worth it in the end.

As everything has just flown by, I can’t seem to reflect properly on my experience over these past three years and that’s making it hard for me to accept that it’s over. One minute I was working my arse off and living on my own and now I’m back in my family home with literally nothing to do. It’s a very strange situation and I know I should be taking full advantage of this chill time, but I can’t help but feel a little unsettled.

All of the routines I created for myself through my life at university have suddenly dissolved and no longer exist; I am trying to settle into living at home with my parents, after having my own freedom and independence for so long and although I know I have nothing to do, I can’t shake the feeling that I should be doing something productive instead of binging on daytime TV.

It’s taken me a long time to realise that I actually need a little time to kind of mourn the fact that I am no longer a student; that this part of my life, that has been such a major part of it for so long, is no longer there. I will no longer have that kind of lifestyle that you grow so used to over the course of your degree and that is a hard thing to accept and then try to change.

BURSTING THE BUBBLE

One major thing I have realised since moving home and being surrounded by people who actually have normal lives (read: have jobs/careers/families to care for, etc) is that university is such a bubble. The life you live when you’re at university is so far away from what ‘real life’ actually is.

Of course, moving out and living on your own can teach you some important lessons that will be valuable when you enter ‘real life’, but at university you’re surrounded by people of a similar age and everyone is in the same boat. When everyone behaves and acts the same, or in a very similar manner, it is very hard to see that this isn’t actually the norm. That’s what university is. It’s a total bubble and I for one got so caught up in it for three years that I almost couldn’t imagine life outside of it.

So when I left, the bubble burst pretty hard and it’s hit me that the life I’ve made for myself over the course of my degree isn’t really fit for purpose, or something I can continue now I’m no longer in that space.

I now need to build new routines and new attitudes and basically have to construct the structure of my life once again, from scratch. I’m finding this pretty difficult at the moment, if I’m being totally honest, as I get very rooted in my routines and find them very hard to break. But I’m hoping that now I’ve addressed the issue (mourning my past life as a student and learning that what I experienced in this time wasn’t ‘real life’) I can start to move forward and get back on track.

IT CONTINUES

Even though I no longer have any deadlines or commitments, I can’t seem to shake the horrible feeling that I have something to do that’s constantly hanging over my head. Of course I have hobbies and little projects (like this blog!) that I want to get on with, but those are things I want to do for fun for now and have no real deadline or consequence.

The feeling of having something to do is something that all students will recognise and is something that we’ve had over us for years and years. No wonder I’m having a difficult time adjusting to the fact I literally have nothing to do anymore! But I just wish that it wasn’t getting in the way of things right now.

It seems that all of the stress, anxiety and just general worry that I’ve gotten so used to experiencing is still present, even though my lifestyle has totally changed! It’s kind of annoying, more than anything, as now is is the first time in what feels like forever that I can actually just chill out and take some time for myself, but I still feel guilty for doing so.

I know that, as with everything, it’s an adjustment period and things won’t always be like this. I just need to be patient and allow myself some time to get through it. I feel bad for being so unproductive, but I need to stop being so hard on myself. Major changes take time to adjust to and so I need to allow myself some time to do just that.

Nelson Mandela


So this was kind of a little update on where I’m at right now. Hopefully it may help some of you who are also in the same boat, or maybe it’ll allow you to prepare yourself for when the time comes for you. I am hoping to take some more time for blogging now that I’m free, but as always bare with me a little bit.

If you have any experience with finishing university (or any kind of education) and have some tips for me, please let me know! I’d love to hear your input. If you’re currently still studying, I wish you all luck with everything!

Speak soon,

Rachael.


Materials: (Relevant/University Posts)

Who Do You Want To Be?

For some reason recently I’ve been all about self-reflection and just reflecting in general.

Maybe it’s because spring is coming, and that’s all about fresh starts and new beginnings, or maybe it’s because I’m getting (scarily) near the end of my university degree so things are changing so fast for me and I have a lot of things to consider. Either way I think it’s a good thing. I’m thinking a lot about the person I’m becoming and the lessons it took to get me here.

I used to believe that you had to ‘find yourself’. That in order to discover who you really are you needed to go on some sort of quest to find the true being inside of you. Now I know that it’s more of a question of ‘creating’ yourself. Sure there are elements of your personality that are inherently you and that you may not be able to change. But overall, you get to decide who you want to be.

This can be a hard thing to understand at first as many of us are not in the position to just suddenly become this amazing person we all want to be. Some of us may not even believe that we have the capabilities to do such a giant task in the first place.

Annoyingly, learning things about yourself is something that takes time and gets easier as you grow. It’s through every experience, every mistake and every choice you make that things begin to shift in the person you are and, understandably, these things take time.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t start making a difference now, wherever you are. Every day the decisions you make, the way you interact with others and the people you have around you help shape the person you are.

‘Creating’ yourself seems like such a big task on the surface, but really it’s these little things we do every day that contribute to it.

INSPIRATION OR COMPARISON? 

It’s really easy to get caught up in other people and think “why can’t I be like that?” But here’s the thing- you can be like that. You can get inspired and work on those features that you admire so much. If you want to be more productive, then work on it. If you want to be kind, then work on it.

The key is to not get so focused on other people so that you forget about yourself. You should always be your number one. It sounds selfish and like something we’ve been told to never do, but it’s so important that you shift that focus onto yourself. Especially if you’re trying to work on who you are in the first place.

I personally want to become more positive. For most of my life I have been a ‘glass half empty’ kind of girl- which, for the record, is totally okay- but after a while it started to weigh down on me. I found that as I got older, being bored and unsatisfied with everything just wasn’t the done thing anymore despite how trendy it was at school. I found myself feeling down and unable to pick myself back up again because of how negative every reaction I had was.

Being positive is something I am still striving for now but I can say that it’s gotten easier. The hardest part is realising the problems you have inside you and recognising that you need to change. That being said, starting the change is pretty difficult too! It takes a lot of patience (something I often lack) and self-reflection. You need to take time out to focus on the way you react to things, to the way you behave and call yourself out whenever you catch yourself doing it in a negative way.

You need to make a commitment to yourself that you’ll take this time to constantly work on building your character. This isn’t a one-time deal that’ll be over with soon. It’s something we need to work on persistently and something that will continue as long as we live.

Because who we are is built on the things we do, expect for change to happen within yourself. You were never meant to be just one thing; a being that can be pigeon-holed easily. We are complicated yet wonderful people who, once we are open to the idea of change and working hard, can only get better as time goes on.

My journey towards being a more positive person is still going strong. I struggle sometimes, as we all do, but the fact that I am trying is enough. I want to be someone who is kind and approachable. Basically I want to be the kind of person I’d be friends with.

I have accepted who I was and who I am now and I’m looking forward to all the changes, all the growth and all the learning that is coming my way.

Ask yourself, what do you want to be known for? What kind of person will you be? And just how hard are you going to work to get there?


Materials (Learning From Other People):


 

*affiliate links used

Speak soon,

Rachael.

Regaining Control: How To Reach Your Goals

There’s been a lot of things going on recently in my life. From turning 21, to dealing with the last handful of university deadlines as well as the usual trying-to-keep-on-top-of-life stuff it’s safe to say that things have taken a toll a little bit.

Last week was a total write off. If you know me personally, you know this is something I say basically every week- but this time it was for real. I was poorly and generally lacked all motivation to get my shit together.

But over the past few days I’ve been reconsidering my goals and attempting to make new ones. I’m constantly working on transforming my mindset and becoming more positive, in order to be more productive. I am generally aiming to be a better and happier me.

So I thought I’d share some simple steps that I am taking to help you and I reach our goals and how to get back on track when things have slowed down:

  • Make your to-do list the night before

Literally write every single thing down that you need to get done, either for the next day or for the following week. I’m talking the obvious stuff, like assignments and work bits, but also things like chores, calling your parents, doing a face mask, making dinner and so on. Although the list may look a little intimidating at first, once you start doing the basic stuff and ticking off your progress you’re going to feel more motivated to tackle the bigger things.

Plus, by writing things down and getting them out of your head means you’re going to have more room in there, which will come in handy when dealing with said tasks!

  • Figure out why 

Why is it you want to do all of these things? Why do you feel like you’ve lost control? Take some time to either write it down or talk about the reasons why you suddenly want to change your routine, work harder, exercise or whatever it is your planning on doing.

By figuring out the ultimate motive behind your work (to feel accomplished, to feel better) you’re going to find it easier to actually do the thing. Working out what you want and more specifically why you want it, gives you something to turn to when you’re needing inspiration or motivation. It should get your excited about your progress and make you feel like you’re doing the right thing. If it doesn’t, then maybe you should reconsider your goals.

  • Start early

It’s a new week, which means a new start. So why don’t you start now? But don’t use the fact you’ve missed the beginning of the week to let the rest go to waste. You can literally make changes whenever you want, but I’d suggest starting early to give yourself a head-start.

I know that not everyone is a morning person, and that’s totally cool (you do you) so you don’t have to take this literally. Early here doesn’t have to mean early in the morning, but rather as early as possible in your own routine. Instead of wasting time procrastinating or thinking about all of the things you need to do, just force yourself to get on with it as soon as possible. It’ll make the world of difference and once you’ve started you’ll realise it’s easier to just keep going!

  • Get inspired

Without comparing yourself, look to other people to see how they’re getting on and use it to fuel your own work. I have some links in the end of this post that have helped me but try to use other people’s advice, stories and experiences to push you to make the most of yours. Look for inspirational quotes, YouTube videos on how-to or even look to your friends and see how they do it.

You’ll notice everyone has their own struggles and everyone is just trying to get on with things the best they can.

  • Break it up

Like I mentioned previously, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you have a huge list of things to do. If you break everything up into manageable chunks, it’ll not only make the task easier to start but also easier to finish as  your progress will be clearer to see this way.

For example, if you have an essay to write instead of just writing down ‘do essay’ break it up into separate tasks. So that could be ‘get books from library’, ‘research this area on the internet’, ‘write introduction’ and so on. Once you start ticking off tasks and getting somewhere with your goal, you’re more likely to feel motivated to get it done. Or you’ll at least feel pleased with your progress which will encourage you with other tasks.

  • Do it your own way

It’s all well and good me offering you advice on how to reach your goals and complete that to-do list, but I know that what works for me mightn’t work for you. We’re all different and we all have our own way of doing things. And while I do think the advice in this post may help (or at least encourage you), you may need to tailor things to suit your circumstances.

A simple example of this is to-do lists. I have to admit, I am someone that can appreciate a to do list. But I prefer to keep my simple, handwritten and often on a post-it that can be thrown away when everything is done. Some people like to make theirs online, in bullet journals, on their phone or some people don’t like to make them at all and can keep track of everything in their head (if this is you, I totally salute you!).

What I’m trying to say is you know yourself best, and although it can sometimes feel like you’re not doing things right because your progress doesn’t look like anyone else’s, you should make something that works for you. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else and make sure you’re doing the best for you to reach your goals.


Materials:


 

If you have something to say to can tweet me, comment below or contact me.

You can follow me on bloglovin’ or Instagram if you fancy.

Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

 

Twenty-One Things I’ve Learnt In 21 Years

This is something I’ve seen going around a lot and I think it’s lovely to hear people’s insights, see some changes and generally just try to better yourself.

Now I’m a 21 year-old I’ve been reflecting a lot on the past (as well as looking forward to the future!) and even though it might not feel like it sometimes, I’ve done so much and grown loads. Here are some key things I’ve learnt over the years that may be beneficial to you.

1. Practising pays off, even though it can be really tedious and annoying.

For me a key area I learnt this was makeup, and after many years of messing about with the stuff for fun I’m finally getting okay at it. This also applies to other, non-superficial areas too! Just keep showing up and pushing and you’ll get there.

2. No one knows what they’re doing. Literally no one.

Not even that girl who looks like she has it all together. I know this because I pretend to be her and I still haven’t got a clue. I thought that by 21 I’d have everything figured out, but every day is still a learning curve. It’s totally okay, we’ll figure it out one day- maybe.

3. Always be yourself. Do what feels right for you at all times.

Any other action or behaviour will come across awkward, weird and uncomfortable for everyone, especially you! Listen to yourself and try to not focus on what other people might think. You have to live with yourself everyday and that is something you should honour.

4. Don’t be afraid to change it up.

A lot of people go through this stage of altering their appearance, friendships and values when they’re a young teen but I think it’s something that we should constantly do. Experiment with different versions of yourself and try new things to figure out what you like. It’s how you often find that you have always been exactly how you were meant to be.

5. Being girly isn’t a weakness.

Feminism! This one took me far to long to grasp. Liking pink, wearing ‘feminine’ fashion, being interested in beauty… The list is endless. None of the things are a bad or should be thought of with guilt. You are never just one thing so why pigeon-hole yourself?

6. It’s better to not have been the popular one at school.

It gives you an opportunity to grow, change and focus on what is really important right now. School may be considered the ‘best years of your life’ by adults, but trust me it’s not. You have so much wonder to come and luckily you haven’t peaked too early!

7. It takes time to find the right contraception.

 You need to educate yourself, try things and listen to your body. The first method you try might not be your last.

8. There are no deadlines on milestones.

You’re going through life at your own pace so it’s pointless to compare what you’re doing with other people’s experiences. (See: sex, first kisses, getting drunk, education, getting married, etc.)

9. Creating a safe place for yourself is the best act of self care. 

Whether that place is outside or in your house, take time to figure out where you feel the safest and make that space exactly how you want it. This will be your sanctuary for the days when things seem to be a much and a place for you to chill out whenever necessary.

10. Just because your life and/or choices look different to other people doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

“Comparison is the thief of joy”

You know yourself best, so just do what’s right for you even if it’s difficult or doesn’t match up to others. You should be your number one and this takes time to understand and accept. I promise you- you’re doing fine.

11. Be grateful for your parents/guardians/friends. They do so much for you.

This can be hard to see sometimes but be grateful for those around you who care because one day they may not be around. Gratitude is a wonderful thing to practice and can change your outlook and the way you handle so many different situations.

12. Time doesn’t have to be an important factor in friendships.

You don’t have to stay friends with someone just because you always have been and alternatively you can become brilliant friends with someone you’ve just met. Time isn’t really an important factor, or at least it doesn’t have to be. Sometime you just need to go with your gut and heart to find the right people.

13. Try to save some of your money for a rainy day. Having something behind you can make the world of difference. 

Try to budget and keep bits of money back in case you ever need it. If not, it’ll come in handy for that trip you want to do or that bag you’ve wanted for ages. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

14. Don’t feel bad about feeling bad.

Whether you’re feeling bad right now, or you’re annoyed at past you, we need these times to grow and get to a better place. Everything is valid.

15. Worrying can destroy everything you care about. 

Try to switch off and get out of your head a bit because worrying and overthinking will ruin your relationships, friendships and experiences. Take a walk, open up to someone close or write it down. You need to find a way to get these things out of your head so you can be more open to the important, and present, things.

16. The internet doesn’t need to know everything you’re up to.

You don’t have to post it to prove that it happened and it doesn’t have to be an instant thing either. Don’t let sharing stuff get in the way of your experiences. It’s brilliant to share and show off what you’ve been up to, where you’ve been and who you’ve seen but remember to enjoy the moment a bit first.

17. Metal actually does explode in the microwave.

I found this out the hard way. It can also catch fire too so be careful and stay aware!

18. Learn how to be on your own.

It might become the best lesson you’ll ever learn. You need to rely on yourself totally and be your own best friend because at the end of the day, you are the only guarantee in life.

19. A good bra will change your life.

It’ll make you look and feel amazing, trust me. It might even be worth spending that little bit more money in order to feel this way. Comfort and confidence are the key to any fashion experience.

20. You can trust places like you trust people.

It can be an instant feeling when you get there; you’re definitely going to like it here. I’ve experienced this only a handful of times in my life but it’s often a great factor when making major decisions (see: choosing a university, moving away, work)

21. The loudest people often don’t have anything to shout about.

Whether they’re bragging about sex, drinking, their love life or success you never get to see what actually goes on behind closed doors so take everything with a pinch of salt. Try not to get too caught up in what other people are doing, because they’re not you and everyone experiences things differently.


Happy Birthday Me!

I’m expecting this year to be full of growth, change, joy and fear and I am so buzzing for it. Although things may get tough I’m so proud of myself for everything I’ve done to get here and I love that I’m only going to continue to learn more.

Thank you so much for reading this post. I’m so grateful for you being here. Let’s hope this blog continues for many more birthdays!


Speak soon,

Rachael.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s The Deal With Porn: Sex, Education & Reality

When you think about it, the fact that there’s an industry dedicated to watching other people have sex seems a little mad doesn’t it? But porn is a massive player in our current society and it’s been something that has caused many debates over the years.

I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with porn. I’ll just put that out there right now. At the end of the day porn is just sex and as long as consent is present, then there is nothing wrong with it. It’s only natural.

But porn isn’t just sex, is it? I don’t know whether it has ever been that simple. Porn does not represent what most people would recognise as sex in any sense of the word. It’s all false and fabricated, which is of course the point.

Porn represents a fantasy of what sex could be, but only if you’re a man. At most times a straight man, regardless of what kind of porn you’re watching. It’s such a small market yet that’s obviously where the money comes from.

There is nothing wrong with making a product and aiming it at a specific audience. But nowadays when sex education is lacking and the act is everywhere in our media and daily lives, we need to start thinking about everyone who is watching porn.

Despite what you may think, anyone can watch porn. But unless, as mentioned, you’re a (possibly straight) man you’re probably going to feel a bit disappointed by what you see.

In porn everything is tailored for the male viewer, or the male gaze if you want to get technical with it. The length of the video, the setting, the props and the models are all tailored to attract the male audience. And fair does. But for the rest of us watching, it’s a bit shit. We’re obviously excluded from the situation and that’s not fair.

If these materials are going to be out there, and are going to be so accessible too, then allow other people to have a look in and be represented.

The fact that porn is tailored the men causes problems within the content. For most women watching, porn can seem pretty degrading and in many cases fairly violent. There is often no representation of consent nor any basic respect or interest for the women involved. In the media women are often used as props and in porn this is no different. The women here are simply something to look at and use, without any consideration for their wants or desires.

Again, porn is a fantasy and for some people this may work for them. But for the many young people relying on this industry to educate them on the things their school has missed out, it’s so dangerous. These young people will learn behaviours from the porn they see and expect their sex to be similar to what they see online.

This lack of respect, care or consent is then considered normal within this group and will be replicated throughout their lives.

That’s not okay. Sex requires consent in order to be sex. Without consent, any act is rape.

Consent (verb) 

  • give permission for something to happen.

This obviously causes many issues and it upsets me so much that this is what people have to rely on as there is materials to educate. (Check out the materials at the end for some good educational tools I have found)

The sex in porn is not normal sex. It is not what sex between most people looks like. It is a glossy, practiced and acted performance that is used to entertain.

Sex in real life can be awkward, funny, messy, hairy, fast, slow, loud, quiet; whatever you want it to be. But chances are it won’t replicate what you’ve seen online. For the record, no one looks that good for the entire time they’re having sex and no one looks that good after sex either.

The sex in porn is so false it’s actually pretty annoying. The poses, the noises, the faces. Everything has been constructed to look good on screen, because that’s what it’s for. But no matter how aware you are of this fact it’s not hard to internalise some of the things you’ve seen online and feel shit about what’s going on in your own life.

There are some wonderful companies attempting to make porn for women and plenty of campaigns are fighting for a better representation in this industry. However, for the time being we’ve got to deal with what we have. By opening up the conversation about how false it is and explaining that this isn’t normal sex, the kind that we will experience, can ensure that although it remains we can alter how problematic it is.

Sex and porn aren’t things to be ashamed of and the sooner we accept this and allow people to be free in their sexuality, the better things will become.


Materials:

Laci Green (Related: Sexual Objectification)

Hannah Witton (Related: Behind The Scenes of An Erotic Film)

How To Be A Woman Caitlin Moran* (chapters dedicated to Porn & Sex)

Banging Book Club (Podcast & Twitter)

Let’s Talk About Sex Sarah Rae Vargas


*affiliate link used

Speak soon,

Rachael