A Female Dr Who? About chuffing time…

For anyone who has been living under a rock: Jodie Whittaker is the next Dr Who. Although many have taken to social media feeds criticising this, many have also praised it- and I am about to join their ranks.

This isn’t going to be a long post, but I just needed to say this: my generation grew up with brilliant female companions (I was a huge Billie Piper fan), but they were never the main focus. I grew up never being able to play the hero if we were playing Dr Who. I could be the bad guy or a companion maybe (the former was more fun), but come on, I wanted to be The Doctor sometimes.

Even though shows like GoT have overtaken Dr Who for my viewing of choice, I still have a soft spot for the show. I remember watching Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and a bit of Matt Smith, and when Dr Who was one of the highlights of my day. In the past little boys have always played the hero, and the girls the one being saved. I think the fact that we now have Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and Whittaker as Doctor Who is revolutionary, and its about time little girls grew up with amazing role models on the screen. The show is about discovery, and so it needs to be continually moving forwards, pushing viewers to discover new things too. Continue reading “A Female Dr Who? About chuffing time…”

My University Experience: went for the degree, found a home.

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I’m on the left, and Hannah and Ellie are two of my best friends

I don’t know where three years have gone, but I have finished my English Literature with Creative Writing degree at Newcastle University- and I would go back and do it all over again tomorrow without a second thought. My title is no joke: reading numerous books, writing on them, and writing poetry for three years straight in a beautiful city was absolute paradise. I love my family, but Newcastle definitely provided me with a sense of being at home that I have never had before- I think because I chose it for myself and built what I would go as far as to call my ideal life there. When I finally settle in one place, I plan on it being Newcastle.  Obviously if you have found this post you are probably considering going to university, or you have applied and been offered a place. Congratulations if you have (especially if you’re headed to Ncl). You’re in for what could potentially be some of the best years of your life. My own degree is what I’m focusing on here, as I know a few universities offer it, and I am of course a huge advocate for Newcastle, as one of their alumni. I’m certain that I’m going to forget something in this post, because how do I cram three years into one piece of writing? I’ve tried to cover some of the bits I think you’ll want to know, but if you have any more questions please do contact me via the form filling in thing on this blog, and I’ll get back to you right away. Continue reading “My University Experience: went for the degree, found a home.”

Creative Constipation. Yes, you read that right.

I know I have a few people who read this blog that love reading, writing, and all things creative. And so I want to talk about something that plagues pretty much all of us creatives from time to time. I am going to call it creative constipation. Its not writer’s block, its different. Just to clarify. I might ‘TM’ it.

Creative constipation is when you have an idea that doesn’t want to come out. It is there. It is ready to be introduced to the world- but you can’t get it out. And it becomes uncomfortable carrying it around all day every day. Sometimes it is downright frustrating and even painful. Other ideas build up behind it, but also can’t get out. You stop wanting to write or be creative because of all of the shit building up (pardon the pun). Do you get why I’m calling it this now? This is literally the only way to describe it. Writer’s block is, for me, when you simply can’t think of an idea. This is much more frustrating, and it does get me down from time to time.

Right now, having moved back to Bradford from Newcastle, I have lost my creative writing circle. One I’ve had due to my degree for three whole years, and I’m struggling to find a replacement back home. Yes, they’re on the end of messenger, but it isn’t the same and believe it or not I have an aversion to being social on “social” media. Face to face is best for writing support, I think. Changes like this can often feel a bit stifling, because the ideas are still there, but you don’t really have anyone else to talk them through with. My family don’t want to hear me rambling on about poetry. My friends back home aren’t into poetry, though they will patiently listen to be try and explain an idea for something I want to write, bless them. A lot of them love prose however, and so if I can translate an idea for a poetry collection into a prose-y sounding synopsis, its much easier to explain and they manage to fill me with enthusiasm and ideas.

But what can we do to relieve creative constipation if you don’t have any creative lifelines? (its okay, you can laugh. I’m absolutely wetting myself on this side of the screen). Well, you do what you do with normal constipation. For that you increase the amount of fruit and veg and fibre and water you intake (can you tell I’m also into #health?). For creative constipation you need to look for things that might link to your creative idea that you haven’t been doing, and might help push it out onto paper. For example, I’m looking at working tattoos into the next batch of poems I want to write, so these are things I can do:

  • Find a photography book of poems if possible, for some inspiration
  • Sketch tattoos characters would wear and consider why?
  • Visit art galleries- what would I want to recreate on my body?
  • Speak to one of my friends who is covered in amazing tattoos, about the process and how it feels
  • Get a tattoo (might put that on hold until financially viable)
  • Pinterest! Instagram!
  • I have to dream up the characters and the world of my poems, so look around at different cultures, movies, books etc. and different styles and methods of tattooing
  • People watch.
  • Consider people’s reactions to tattoos

This list could go on and on and on. Not all these tasks are going to produce things that make it into the poems, but they might just inadvertently trigger the release of those ideas that have built up. Think of these things as the fibre that will release that constipation. If the things you think may help don’t work, then take the laxative: force yourself to go to a creative writing class. Even if it looks like an awful one. Even if you end up listening to Betty telling you about the collection of short stories she’s writing about her cat Tiddles, its sure to produce a reaction that gets your idea onto the page as your brain goes into spasm. However painful.

So what do you think? Are any of you feeling creatively constipated?

April Goals Evaluation 2017- Finding employment & Getting a massage…

Looking back I actually got a hell of a lot done over April…it was a pretty productive month. As with all goals, some have been more important than others, and this month I chose to focus on uni and taking care of myself. Let me know how you’re doing as we enter month no.5 of reaching for 2017 goals – are you sticking with your goals? Have they changed slightly, as you learn more about what you really want? Have you dropped some in order to focus on others? Comment below, and also let me know: what has been your biggest achievement of April?

FOCUS GOALS OF THE MONTH:

Self

(This is where I am rolling all of these into one: Relax; Be more adventurous/ accept fear & uncertainty; Enjoy; Expand my mind and enrich my life)

  • On the expanding my mind front…
    • Podcasts listened to: 9.
    • Documentaries watched: 1.
    • GOT Season 6: Completed (documentaries come second to this. Always.)
    • TED Talks watched: 16.
    • Books/ short stories (any everything in-between) read- 4.
  • One of my biggest goals for the month was to read up on British politics and read into current affairs more (this also played into the final research for my file of original work- see below). I found a document on the history of British politics and read many articles on the Trump-Putin situation, which naturally did lead to reading up on North Korea too. So a bit of a learning curve here, to put it mildly.
  • I completed a 30 Days of Minimalism Challenge, and loved it. I feel I have a lot less clutter, and am still finding things to de-clutter now. I’ll be repeating the challenge a bit more ruthlessly, and in a shorter space of time, just before I leave Newcastle to move home (obviously I won’t fit everything I own into one room).
  • I got a massage! Major self-care points earned here, and it is 100% something I’ll be doing again.
  • I cut my hair even shorter, and its now hovering in ‘bobbed’ territory. I’ve also kept it that one shade darker, and I am LOVING it. Apparently, for the first time in my life, I look my age!
  • I also took a week off of list-making and just went with the flow. This meant that when I came back to lists I managed to really slim-line my To-Do’s. I also learnt to be more flexible and just take some time off full stop. The last week of my Easter break I let myself relax, and felt a lot better for it.
  • I tried four new fear foods (yaaay!!)- but then I also began binge eating again for some reason I am still trying to figure out. Possibly it is due to the immense amount of change just on the horizon, as I finish uni and have to leave Newcastle, which is more my home than home is, because I chose to live here.  You can read about this here, but obviously its a very upsetting thing for me to have binge eating re-emerge. However, I can and will get past it, and May will mean spending a lot of time on this.

STATUS: A mixed month. I did some great self-care activities, I tried some fear foods, completed a challenge, learnt loads- but also did have a bit of a dip in recovering from ED, and this month exposed a few issues I thought were no longer in existence. I also didn’t live up to my goal of replying to texts etc. more rapidly, though I did manage to meet a lot of friends in person.

Uni:

  • Handed in my biggest piece of work, which the past three years of learning has been building up to: my portfolio of original work. For anyone who is new here: that’s a collection of twenty poems, plus an essay explaining my creative process, research, and decisions, plus a bibliography detailing nearly a year’s research into my chosen topic.
  • I’d planned on completing my final two essays (due in May) during April. Didn’t happen. The above was, and had to be, my focus. So now (May) I am cracking down on these final two pieces of work, for which I did begin my research. I would like to highlight though that I could’ve really relaxed a bit more over Easter break. Our lecturers actually told us to put these essays on the back-burner, and I didn’t listen, wanting to just get them out of the way. Though the research I did was useful, I could definitely have taken it a bit easier.
  • Buying my graduation gown didn’t happen. Its on the list for next month. I really have no excuse for not finding time to do this. Buying lecturer gifts/cards hasn’t happened yet either, purely because I’ve realised it’s still slightly too early.

STATUS: Final two essays due in 9 days. Final lectures and seminars have been attended. Absolutely devastated that its over, but I’m focusing on just enjoying the final few days I have left in higher education.

MINOR GOALS OF THE MONTH:

Start to establish my career path

  • I HAVE A JOB!! I’m honestly still in a bit of shock regarding this. In September I’ll be taking up a position as a marketing executive for a social media management company dealing in food, drink, and tourism. I’ll be meeting clients, brainstorming campaign ideas, copywriting, and maybe even taking some photos for social media. I am incredibly grateful to be going into a job I love straight from uni. I kind of had to just do what I could with this in April, and then sit back and let what would be, be. I know that a lot of hard work over the years has gone into my getting this, including 6 months of relentlessly searching, and it feels good to be able to say that. I don’t believe in false modesty in women (in anyone, though we are more conditioned to adopt this attitude), and I’m going to say it: what with blogging, work experience, exams through high school and my degree, I have worked my arse off to get this and I am coming around to giving myself a pat on the back.

STATUS: Awaiting my contract to arrive, so I can sign my life away. I just have to keep my creative juices flowing, as my role will involve a lot of creativity, and so obviously I don’t want to be getting rusty. Continue reading “April Goals Evaluation 2017- Finding employment & Getting a massage…”

March Goals Evaluation 2017

I have NO IDEA where March went. However, I feel that I’ve made a lot of progress this month in terms of goals. You may remember that I decided to make a couple of goals a focus each month, to make them more manageable during the final few months of my time at uni. This doesn’t mean that I am “dropping” any goals, it simply means that I’m appreciating that I have 12 months in a year, and that gives me space to pick and choose. That plan made this month a hell of a lot easier.

FOCUS GOALS OF THE MONTH:

Self

(This is where I am rolling all of these into one: Relax; Be more adventurous/ accept fear & uncertainty; Enjoy; Expand my mind and enrich my life)

  • So, I watched 3 documentaries, listened to 4 podcasts, read 3 books, saw 1 Shakespeare play, tried 1 new fear food, and watched/ listened to (wait for it) a whopping 29 TED Talks. I am LOVING TED Talks. I watch one while I eat breakfast each morning, and I am learning so much from them.
  • I established more of an evening routine, which has been helping me sleep much better so far
  • I attended 2 workshops at the place I attend counselling for sorting out the last few ED issues I’m experiencing, plus my actual sessions (4 of them). I feel like I am making real headway with this. I only tried one fear food this month, but I’ve also realised that I need to address some scary eating situations (e.g. spontaneity). More on this though when I update you on my “final bits of mental recovery progress”. I will say though: I feel at a place where I am getting pretty comfortable around food and my body.
  • I tried a new gym class, and also accepted that I didn’t have time for the 1 hour 30 workouts I was doing- so I’ve shortened the workouts and been experimenting with new moves. For me this was both a massive act of self-love- appreciating I have better things to do- and also challenging a fear of my health and fitness backsliding if I shortened all of my workouts (hint: it didn’t. In fact, it improved).
  • Still gratitude-listing every morning, but journaling in general has been a massive part of my month. Its something I’ve fallen back in love with. Myself and my journal go get coffee and just…write.
  • Also, been much more creative this month, and so I feel my creative writing efforts have been on point.
  • Took the time to actually sit down and watch one of my favourite films: Spirited Away. Small thing, but I usually put off watching films in order to do work.

STATUS: Some things I wanted to do I simply didn’t get chance, such as a solo cinema trip, watching GOT season 6, and experimenting with clothes. These are things I really fancy ticking off next month. I also want to eat some more fear foods; as it was a busy month I didn’t have room to deal with the anxiety. As I’m on holiday for Easter I have a bit more breathing space. Finally: answering my bloody phone. I love alone-time, but I also love my friends. Though I do make the effort to see them in person, I am a legend when it comes to not replying to texts/messenger/fb/WhatsApp. I just hate doing it. I’m going to make the effort to try and check messages once a day, though I can’t promise I will, because I really do hate texting.

Expand my blog and IG

  • Didn’t manage to find any blogging events taking place nearby to book into-  #disappointing. Let me know if you know of any food/fitness blogging events in Yorkshire/Newcastle.
  • Created a massive planning document to keep track of posts and when they need to be done by, to aid me in continuing to post during essay time.
  • I’ve been posting to Campus Society! I’m working on replying to comments more often, but you can now find me on there!
  • Updated my ‘About’ page, and I’m considering doing an updated “50 facts” post now
  • I gained 14 new followers on WordPress- thank you and welcome aboard newbies! Comments went up, which is wonderful because I LOVE  chatting to you when I get chance to sit down and read comments. Likes and views went down slightly but I haven’t had much time to post this month so I’m assuming this explains it. It’ll be this way until I finish my essays and complete my third year. Which, in exchange for a degree, I can deal with.

STATUS: Going swimmingly.

Start to establish my career path

  • Applied for another few jobs: I have an interview for my DREAM JOB in mid-April, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed, keeping schtum on where it is at present, and  suddenly, much as I want a job doing something I LOVE, I’m also okay with moving home and getting a non-life-fulfilling job whilst applying for one that fits that description. I’ll take it as it comes, because right now my priority is completing my degree.
  • I did create a brainstorm, and then a flow chart (this is so me), of all of my options. And it made me feel like I had my shit together, and also let me work out a couple of alternative plans.
  • Attended a “creative careers” day that my uni throws every year, and got a lot of helpful advice and tips.

STATUS: Keeping an eye out for jobs, but waiting until after my interview to commit to anything major.

 

MINOR GOALS OF THE MONTH:

Travel more often & explore

Continue reading “March Goals Evaluation 2017”

February’s Goal Evaluation 2017

Okay, February…not going to lie, this has been one difficult month. I reached the penultimate week of February, looked at everything I had wanted to get done, and realised I was feeling overwhelmed with how much I had set myself to do. I like being pushed- but more and more I am understanding that ‘challenged’ and ‘overwhelmed’ are two different things. And I wasn’t feeling challenged, I was feeling overwhelmed.

This is probably the point I would have, at one point, given up. However, I went back to the drawing board and something very important occurred to me: I have a whole 12 months- now 10. But still, I have the whole year. So, why not choose a couple of my main goals to be my focus each month? And plan ahead which I will be focusing on? And so, for the last two weeks of the month I focused on a couple of chosen goals, and began making some headway. This, I am now thinking, will be my battle plan when it comes to goals. If that doesn’t work, then I will cut a couple of goals and simply keep them for 2018. I have little time on my hands from now until May, as I have my final year of uni to complete. After that…I may have more time to pick up learning French , and learning to drive, put it that way.

This month I want you to know: don’t worry if you don’t make the progress you want to each month. I certainly haven’t made the progress I wanted to. Goals are great, but sometimes you’ve just got to let something slacken in order to focus on what’s more important at the time. I’ll be carrying this lesson into March for sure. With that said: to the evaluation!

Learn the basics of another language

  • Okay, I have made literally no headway on this one. I didn’t have the money floating around to buy a CGP book, and I’ve not really had the time to cram in learning due to two essays back to back. As this year is double-weighted, and I wasn’t going to sacrifice my essays to learn how to ask for the best croissant in the bakery in perfect French.

STATUS: No progress; next step remains the same, which is buying a CGP book. This may not happen until the end of May though, which I just have to accept.

Expand my blog and IG

  • Here is one I can say went well! I totalled up my stats for the month, and I’ve seen a 189 person increase in visitors, a views increase of 478 views, and an increase of 10 followers- and so I am absolutely chuffed that people are loving reading my recipes and getting something from the blog!
  • I made the big step of sharing a bit more about the current status of my ED this month, speaking about fear foods and how I’m conquering them as my final hurdle. Some of you chatted to me about this in the comments, or DM-ed me over IG, and I was thrilled that my post had given some of you a bit of a courage boost- keep going guys.
  • I wanted to begin posting to Campus Society this month, but though I kept up with my own blog posts, I didn’t manage this. However, in March I am making this a “next step” in my blogging plan.

STATUS: Still going pretty well. I want to post a bit more about overcoming ED, creating superset workouts, and get some great recipes up in March. I’m looking to post to Campus Society once a week, and I’m searching for some blogging events to meet more fellow bloggers (so let me know if you know of any!).

 

Expand my mind and enrich my life

  • Again, this fell away slightly this month, due to lack of free time. When I did have free time, I just needed to chill. However, I did manage to watch two documentaries, read two books, listen to three podcasts, watch one TED Talk, and read one new poem.
  • It also occurred to me: I get a lot of this done on my university course, which (for some reason) I completely forgot about! The books and poems have both been for uni modules, and although it didn’t happen this month, sometimes podcasts have relevance too. On top of this, I read a lot of literary criticism, which though I’m not including here, is definitely a mind expander…

STATUS: I didn’t get around to visiting the theatre, an art gallery, or any where like that this month- however, I have managed to get my hands on a ticket to see The Tempest with a friend in March, and there’s an exhibition coming up at an art gallery we’re also planning to go see. This next month I’m just planning on carrying on with the documentaries and podcasts as and when I can, though I think I’ll be getting more into TED Talks next month.

Travel more often & explore

  • Again, not going great. My mum and I discussed a 50th/21st girls holiday somewhere in Europe, but a) the car needs fixing, which costs money b) due to family ill health I’m not sure my mum wants to be out of the country, just in case c) we need to fork out to renew our passports d) as I’m unsure what my financial situation will be post-uni, travelling alone isn’t really an option. So it’s a bit up in the air.
  • HOWEVER, I am looking at organising us a weekend in London, which would be good enough for me.
  • Exploring the local area (Newcastle, as I live there most often), is going okay though- I’ve tried two new restaurants this month, which I count as exploring.

STATUS: Up in the air. Other than more localised exploring, this one is on hold.

Continue reading “February’s Goal Evaluation 2017”

16 Lessons I’ve Learnt From IG & Blogging

Since I was very kindly nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award, and had to give two pieces of advice to new bloggers, I’ve been turning over in my head what my blogging and IG (my other primary platform) pearls of wisdom actually are. Turns out I have 16 of them. Some of them are funny, some of the are serious- I guarantee all of them are useful…

Her butt probably isn’t that big

Ahh the world of filters and facial readjustment on phones (which, yes, some people use on their butts apparently). Through blogging and IG I have learnt to look at every image with a bit more scrutiny, and appreciate that it isn’t real life. Take everything with a pinch of salt.

However big/small her butt is, it is fine the way it is

To the BO-PO movement! One of the most reassuring lessons learnt: every body is fine. You do you.

Don’t respond to comments that aren’t quite haters- but are basically out to ruin your day

Yep, had a few of these. Everyone has different opinions, but I have a hell of a lot more respect for people who actually message me, and speak to me like a human being if they have a problem- rather than wanting to pick a fight on my IG feed. If I’ve learnt anything it’s not to engage with people who want to cause an outright scene. Sometimes people forget that I’m a human sat behind the screen; call me out if you feel I’ve done something wrong, but have the respect to treat me as one such human. Oh, and use proper grammar.

Persistence pays off

I’ve been doing this for 4 years now. And only in the past 6-12 months has my blog and IG been noticed, and have people started to read my posts. If you really want to blog, then just do it! Enjoy doing it for the sake of it, and if you’re persistent, others will end up enjoying your work too.

There’s a massive community out there, so join in

I joined Blogger originally, but WordPress is now my home (read about my move here). WordPress has a much more active blogging community, and it’s always lovely to hear from fellow bloggers, or discover a new blog. Alternatively, I’ve met some bloggers in real life, and they weren’t too keen to chat- compared to them, I am in all honesty unheard of, so I can see why. So, the flipside of this lesson is to appreciate that not everyone is going to want to be your friend.

Keep a schedule…

Keep a master-list of posts and a week by week timetable of when they need to be prepared and going up by. I aim for 3-4 posts a week, and this method allows me to ensure I have a range of content going up- as well as meaning I don’t forget any important dates or ideas.

…But keep it flexible

This has been a massive learning curve during my third year of uni. Some weeks I am horrendously busy with essays, study groups, seminars, lectures, trying to have a social life, freelancing, and reading course materials (approx. 3 books, 6 extra readings, and sometimes compulsory extra readings – per week). Oh, I have to sleep too, and in winter, when it’s dark a lot of the time, I have to work around when the lighting is best. I have to consider if I can afford certain ingredients at times. Another factor is my flatmates: I can’t go whapping out the blender at 7am when they’re in bed. My blogging schedule has plenty of tipex on it, from where I’ve swapped posts around. My master-posts list means I can simply find a post that does fit in, and get swapping. Some weeks I may not get 4 posts up, but 2 or 3- and that’s fine. Quality over quantity, and try to remain consistent as far as possible. Continue reading “16 Lessons I’ve Learnt From IG & Blogging”