Wednesday, 27 July 2016

The Graduate Diaries - Chapter 3

An Update

It's been a while since I've done one of these, and let's just say a lot of things have happened since then. In my last blog post, I was sad, feeling really low, worrying about the future and generally feeling rubbish about the whole university system and the lack of experience that I have to enter the working world. 

Well, fast forward a week, and things are looking very very different. 

First up, I had my graduation on Friday. I was definitely worried about the day. The potential of looking like an idiot, falling on stage or my hat coming off gave me nightmares for days. Combine that with the stress of trying to keep the peace between my whole family, and I was a bag of nerves. 

Luckily, the day went off without a hitch. I didn't look too much like a potato (I hope), my family were on their best behavior, I celebrated with all my friends, and although it was absolutely boiling, Ifelt as though I had accomplished a huge achievement. I am now officially a graduate with a 2:1 degree with a BA (with honours) in Sociology. Hooray!
And secondly onto the big news is that I have a job, and it is my absolute dream job! I'm still a little bit in shock! I was expecting to be working in a really boring job for at least a year, but this allows me to kick start my career in the arts, and goodness I am excited! This also means spending the wages that I have not yet earned on new work clothes. Zara, I'm coming for you!

I start after going up to the Edinburgh Fringe for the final time (sob) with my best friends producing our amazing show for the second time. Just planning it all is getting me very very excited. 

I can't believe how much this week has turned around. It is so true that in the matter of a few days, your whole perspective can change. The funk won't last forever. And for those of you who told me not to give up, all I can say is thank you. 

Here's to the next exciting chapter! 


Sunday, 17 July 2016

The Graduate Diaries - Chapter 2

I've now been home a week, and let's just say there have been a lot of ups and downs. The downs being arguments between me and my brother mainly, but they have been absolutely petty, but still not pleasant. Another downside is that my house is like a sauna. I don't think I've had a decent night's sleep since I have been here due to the heat. And I get super grumpy when I am tired and hot! Bring back winter!

The first few days were the hardest. I was tired, angry and clearly didn't want to be at home. But, I did meet up with a friend for coffee and cake which was nice. But apart from that, I haven't really left the house, which also put me in a bad mood.

But, over the last few days, things have got better. I've got my mum eating a lot healthier. No more frozen meals and ready made dinners, but I've cooked her loads of things such as sweet potato fries, bolognase from scratch instead of a jar and even gave her some avacado and toast which she actually ate. Slowly, but surely, we're eating healthier, and that really helps my anxiety. I also went out for a run this morning, and it wasn't that bad! I can't wait to make it a regular thing until I have a job and can afford to go back to a gym!

But, what has tainted this week is the dreaded job search. 

Job hunting is probably the most degrading activity. I spend most of my days browsing all the different websites I can find and trying different keywords, 'marketing jobs' 'marketing assistant' 'events coordinator' 'arts marketing', the list continues. Nothing at all jumps out at me.

But also, all those memes joking about the ridiculous experience criteria are actually true. Jobs that are already a junior or assistant level, and the pay reflects this, also require a year to two years experience.

I don't think I ever realized, when starting university, how hard it would be to find a job that you think you would enjoy, have the requirements to do it, and then be able to get there. Some of the jobs are great, but getting to London, whilst doable, is hugely expensive. I feel like I am at a total dead end, with no real help or guidance. I guess the only thing to do is keep applying for things that look vaguely interesting and useful, and wait.

Maybe I was expecting to find this amazing job that paid well and enjoyed, but I'll have to put those dreams on hold for a little while.

Graduate life is hard. I've already had one too many crying sessions over the last few days! Role on graduation next week! 


Friday, 15 July 2016

'Clean' Eating

Before I dive into the post, a quick disclaimer. In no way am I saying that clean eating, veganism etc is wrong. Just because I don't necessarily agree, doesn't mean I judge those or not like those who are. It works for some people, but not for others. 

The concept of 'clean' eating is all over the internet. I spend a large amount of my time on social media, and especially being exposed to the blogging community, the phrase, is thrown around a lot, as well as 'What I eat in a day' posts and recipe ideas for a healthier, well life life.

II've had issues with my body image a few months ago, and this was at a time when I was staying at my university house by myself and writing my dissertation. I was stressed out to the max, and after a somewhat indulgent Easter, I thought the only way I would feel better was to eat healthier. I cut most carbs from my diet, eating salads for lunch, and vegetable curries for dinner. I was watching workout videos, healthy eating videos and looking on the #cleaneating #healthyeating instagram hashtag. I thought it was going to make me feel and look amazing, but in fact, it just did the opposite. About  two weeks later, I was tired and stressed, so I decided to F*** it basically and started eating like I usually did, but with adding extra vegetables in and cutting down on the chocolate.

I then watched Grace Victory's documentary 'Clean Eating's Dirty Secrets' on BB3 yesterday. I absolutely urge you all to watch it as it was eye opening. Her interviews with a trained government approved dietitian showed that these diets that are promoted so often aren't actually healthy or good for you. Interestingly too, none of the bloggers/youtubers are trained dietitians and have no formal training into what is right and wrong. Grace actually bought a license to be a nutritionist for £30 online, which took about 20 hours of 'work'. That is so scary, that it can be done so easily by anyone. The documentary also bought up the amount of influence that bloggers and youtubers have on people. I think this too is quite a scary thought.

I don't know where I stand on the whole clean eating thing. I know that it is definitely not for me. I know what works with my body, and that's making a few small changes and going to the gym. I do this because I want to, and that's the main thing. Clean eating may work for some people, but is it really that healthy?

But I think there needs to be a lot more information about it, exposing the good and bad, as well as information into ensuring that all essential nutrition is being obtained and that this information is regulated. The stories of people who have seen and followed these clean eating blogs who have had eating disorders is terrifying, as well as a clinic in London saying that they have many clean eating bloggers actually attending the clinic for body image or eating problems. Even though I did not experience it on the extreme at all, it's so easy to be swept up into the idea and lifestyle, so much so that it can and has taken over the lives of many. Is this healthy?

I don't know, of course I'm not trained to say. But as a 21 year old woman, exposed to all of these clean eating advocates, I'm sorry, but I can't do it. Hand me the white bread and chocolate.


Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Instagram Lately

I love Instagram, but find that it is definitely the hardest to get any growth on. After setting up my separate blog Instagram in January, I have loved taking pictures of my favourite products, what I am reading or mainly what I am eating! I'm actually quite proud of my Instagram feed, but take a look for yourself!

If you like what you see and fancy giving me a little follow, you can do that HERE! 

1. The first day my pale legs saw the world this year! It was a beautiful sunny day and I had just finished my exams, so we spent the day lying in the park and reading. 
2. From the same day as before, but look at the perfectly blue sky! 
3. I had done a cheeky book order from Amazon ready for my summer goal of reading again for pleasure! Check out that post here 
4. Soap and Glory's Righteous butter is my favourite summer product, perfect for making you feel a million dollars (check out a review here)
5. Treating ourselves to a subway 2 days before my last exam
6. Because if you don't instagram your revision, did you really revise at all?
7. A classic avacado on toast. I was clearly running out of things to instagram! 
8. I love using postcards from Paperchase as instagram photos or blog photo props. Once I've used them, I then send them to my friends! 
9. I like to think I am a world class toasty maker. This particular one had chicken, pesto, sundried tomatoes and brie! 

10. These homemade American pancakes, made by my besties, were perfect! Nutella plus some heated up berries! 
11. I lost my Five Guys virginity in Birmingham and ordered an Oreo Milkshake. Although it tasted like a liquidized version of a Mcflurry, the excitement was real. 
12. After an intense cheese and wine night, we took a walk around my university town and I found this beautiful house and I couldn't help but picture it! 
13. The view from our walk. I loved that you could see the whole town! 
14. We had to stand on our chairs to get this shot of our breakfast that we ate whilst watching Tony Awards Videos
15. Of course, an instagram shot of food on a duvet cover
16. Possibly another day at the park!
17. I was actually so happy with this photo! I tend to bake when I am bored, and this was the result. Check out the recipe here
18. I tried to practice curling my hair. Instead, it fell out within half an hour and it took me ages to brush out the hairspray. Damn you thick hair! 

19. Sweet Potato Fries are my favourite thing in the world, and I finally perfected the recipe to make them crispy and yummy. Check it out here
20. I've been trying out a kind of bullet journal. It's not very detailed and used mainly for my to do lists, but I thought I would jazz them up with some washi tape! 
21. I recently did a review of La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo. If you're interested, check it out here
22. Another Paperchase postcard!
23. My attempt at a bullet journal. Although mine will never be as pretty as the ones I see on Instagram, I will get there one day! 
24. I went boating in Stratford Upon Avon with my friends and it was a beautiful day! 
25. I bought my flatmate a label maker for her birthday, and it actually worked really well! We had loads of fun labelling everything! 
26. I mentioned this in my summer reading list and finished it on the way to London a few weeks ago. 
29. This was on a train to London for a job interview. I was clearly very bored, but I quite like the blurryness! 


Sunday, 10 July 2016

The Graduate Diaries - Chapter 1

I am no longer a student! My library card has expired and I only have until October to get my NUS extra discounts (let's be honest, I am very very sad about this!).

But before I get into the sad things about leaving my university house for the last time, let's start with the good. I got a 2:1 in my degree! All I can say is thank goodness. Spending all my Easter holidays in the Library, plus all the tears and stress really were worth it. I ended up getting a 65 in my Dissertation which I was incredibly happy with when you take into consideration that I thought I was going to get something in the region of 55! I graduate on the 22nd July and I am so excited to have a last minute celebration before leaving my university career behind.

And now onto the sadder parts of finishing uni. I've now packed up my university room and have moved back home. I always knew this would come as I can't afford to move out, but it still didn't make it any easier.

Moving home for holidays is always a bittersweet moment. I am close to my family and like being able to relax, but I don't have a my independence and freedom. I also don't have many friends at home either which is making this whole unemployment thing even worse. I'm not especially looking forward to graduate life at the moment, but I am hoping that once I get a job, things will get a lot easier. Hopefully I will get some of my freedom back and be able to save enough money to eventually move out.

But in slightly better news, I do have an interview next week, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to look forward too!

Let's see what the next chapter of life brings!


Thursday, 7 July 2016

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries Recipe

I don't think I could ever get sick of these sweet potato fries. So much healthier than normal fries (and so much nicer too), these are the perfect to add to any meal.

It has taken me a while to perfect the recipe so that they aren't too soggy. These however are the perfect crispness, and full of flavour. 

- Sweet potato 
- Oil (vegetable or oil is fine)
- Salt
- Pepper
- Plain flour
- Mixed Herbs
- Powdered Garlic (Fresh garlic would also work) 

1. Cut the sweet potato into small chip shapes. Try to make them all the same size if possible so they cook more easily. 

2. Put them into a large bowl and sprinkle with a tea spoon of plain flower and mix. Seriously, trust me on this one. 

3. Add two tablespoons of oil (dependent on how much sweet potato you have used) and mix to coat the fries.

4. Add generous amounts of salt, pepper, garlic and mixed herbs and mix. 

5. Add a pinch more of flour and mix. 

6. Put onto baking tray, spread out easily and cook on a high temperature (I usually do Gas Mark 7/8) for 30-40 minutes, but keep an eye on them as you want them crispy, not burnt. 

Voila! The perfect sweet potato fries that taste amazing. I've also heard that soaking the raw fries in water for 40 minutes also promotes crispiness, but who has time for that?! I think flour is the secret ingredient, and they taste just like  you can get in restaurants. 

Have you joined the sweet potato revolution?! 


Monday, 4 July 2016

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+ Review

My skin is a disaster. I never got spots during secondary school, but as soon as I hit my second year of uni, my skin has got worse. I went to the doctors about it a very long time ago, and they cleared up for a while, but came back with a vengeance - and I don't think I have had clear skin since. Please tell me I can't be the only 21 year old going through this! If skincare has taught me anything, it's that a product cannot be a miracle worker, which sucks for people like me who expect to start using a new product and your face be clear the next day.

I mainly turn to beauty blogs to see what the latest product is to try. One product that came up a lot was the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+ with some bloggers claiming it got rid of their adult acne. I ordered a tube from Boots and decided to have a go. 

I've been using this for about a month and have almost finished the tube. For me, this is not a miracle product. When I started using it, it made my spots that I thought were now just scars, reactivate, and I have had some of the sorest and largest red spots on my face. I hoped that this would decrease slightly, and whilst it has, I still have extremely red and painful spots on my chin on a daily basis. 

The product also says it is for sensitive skin. I have never usually had sensitive skin, but this burned and stung when I put it on the first few times, something I definitely wasn't expecting. I didn't use this on my whole face for that reason, just on my chin and around my nose. 

Now, for the results. As I said, I have had some of the largest spots since using this, and whilst I don't know if it is this product, hormones, stress or lifestyle factors, I'm not sure this has made a huge amount of progress, especially when some of the reviews say it has been successful over a few days. I do think that some of my scars, those who didn't reactivate, are beginning to fade, but nothing amazingly noticeable. 

I'm still unsure about whether to buy another tube and see how things go. Because it was such a wonder product for others, I kind of want to keep going. That said, do I want to spend another £10+ on something that I don't know will ever work? 

Have you tried La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo +? 

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