Sunday, 12 December 2010

I think one of the reasons why I blog so infrequently is because I want to keep this blog cheerful and full of the good things in my life, and not dwell on the things getting me down like I have done in previous blogs.

However, I've not been feeling in a chipper, happy mood lately.

It feels like I've lost all direction in my life.
I don't think I'm doing the right degree, and I don't know what I want to do when I leave uni.
- I don't think I want to do anything Zoology related as I can't stand the idea of doing research and stats then writing papers for a living, and working with animals is out due to my zero experience and the vast number of applicants per place, even for things like work experience. I'm toying with the idea of being a paramedic, but that means going back to uni, and I don't think I want to do that either... Plus I enjoy doing St John in my spare time, I don't know if I could do that sort of thing every day, and I'd probably end up giving up St John if I did because I wouldn't want to do it as my day job and at weekends too.

I don't know where I want to be in 5 years, let alone 10. Hell, I don't even know where I see myself in a year and a half's time when I graduate.

It's painfully obvious that I don't have close friendships with anyone any more - one friend is really close to the people he lives with, and whenever I'm round there I always feel so awkward because it's almost impossible to fit in with a group so tightly-knit. At least when people aren't that close you can all make conversation, but when they all have their in-jokes and little things all you can really do as an outsider is sit there awkwardly. All my friends from home have drifted away and become close to other people, which was expected, but the fact that I've struggled so much even making casual friends here, and failed to make any close ones, really makes it sting.

I thought I was dealing with my stress levels so much better this term because I haven't felt anywhere near as stressed as I did last year, but as it turns out I think I've just been suppressing it all because now it's decided to manifest itself physically and make me lose my appetite, feel sick all the time and wreak havoc with my insides.

/depressive rant

I'm off home tomorrow so hopefully that will cheer me up, improve my outlook on life and fix my stress-induced ickyness.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Winter is definitely here.

Over the past week I've been greeted rain, rain and yet more rain every time I've stepped out of the house.
However, we did get a beautiful double rainbow last week (only one shows up in the photo, but the second was above it).
Rainbows don't make up for getting drenched though... my walk to the post delivery office the other week in a coat that I thought was waterproof ended up in me being getting soaked through 3 layers of clothes, my feet got soaked today on the way to and from a lecture because I was stupid and decided to wear plimsolls, and tomorrow morning I've got a practical session which involves walking around outside for an hour looking at birds - I'm making sure I'm dressed appropriately for that one (waterproof coat that is actually waterproof, waterproof trousers, walking boots, the works haha)
The days have been getting colder and colder too, and most evenings I find myself sitting in bed under my duvet plus another blanket so I don't freeze while trying to work (or browse the internet...). Because we're all "poor students" the issue of when to turn on the central heating is a hot topic (hah I made a funny), so it looks like most of this winter will be spent wearing as many clothes as is physically possible.

I just bought myself a bat detector on eBay, and I'm rather excited for it to arrive. I've been wanting one for a while, but kinda got put off because they're not cheap. But today when a lecturer said that people who know how to properly use them are pretty much guaranteed a job within a year my enthusiasm was rekindled and I got straight on eBay when I got back haha.
I've gone for a Magenta Bat4 which was £54 with free postage. When I was paying I got a nice surprise when I remembered I still had £15.80 sitting in my Paypal from a bunch of online surveys I did, so only a grand total of £38.20 came out of my bank account. I shouldn't really keep spending money like this, but I'm passing it off as a "birthday present" haha.
It should be here in the next 2 or 3 days, and I'm quite excited about getting to go out and use it. Bats are still a novelty to me as I'd never seen one before I came down here, and I think they're pretty amazing creatures. Plus it's kind of appropriate with Halloween coming up haha.
Yay for being able to buy fun, expensive things and being able to pass them off as educational!

Monday, 18 October 2010

What the.... ? *eye twitches with stress*

This is the statistics program that's highly likely to give me nightmares between now and when the module I need it for finishes in January.

I thought having done an A level statistics module would help me, but oh no, things just couldn't be that simple.

The uni didn't want to spend all of our big juicy tuition fee monies on buying a license so that we can all use the decent, simple software, they decided to torture us with a horrifically complicated open source version instead.

It's not like Excel where you just bung in some numbers, click a few things and get some lovely stats and a pretty graph - there are so many different functions you have to know to even work the ruddy thing, and it's case sensitive so putting t instead of T at the end the first long formula in red in the picture above means that the whole function just fails (as I found out in the lecture earlier when I kept repeating the same fail over and over again. It's the same with ", and I kept missing those out too...)

Still, when I eventually get to grips with this I'll be able to show off my amazing statistical and computing powers, and everyone will be amazed!
(except I'll most likely never use this in my future career and all my time and brain cells will have been wasted, yay).

Saturday, 9 October 2010

101 things in 1001 days

A while back I stumbled across this website, The Day Zero Project, and was inspired to make a list of tasks to complete myself.

I've spent a lot of time mulling over which tasks I wanted to include - some of them were obvious and things that I've been wanting to do for a while, but after those I got a bit stuck and didn't want to include any old meaningless thing just so I'd get to the target of 101 quicker.

After spending ages trawling through the Idea Finder on the site, itching to start on my tasks but not wanting to do so until I'd finished the list, I decided that as much as I didn't want to I might as well start with an incomplete list and hope that ideas for the remaining 9 tasks came to mind along the way.

I started my 1001 days on the 6th of October (my birthday, seemed like a good day to start it on), meaning I'll finish on the 4th of July 2013 (by which point I'll be approaching the age of 23... scary thought!).

I'll be posting with updates on completed tasks/tasks in progress, but I've also added a page (which can be found here or at the top of the left sidebar) to give an overview of my project.

And so, without further ado, here is the list of 92 (hopefully soon to become 101!) tasks I am aiming to complete in the next 1001 days:

  1. Write in a diary every day
  2. Answer the “50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind”
  3. Walk 500 miles
  4. Take a photograph of myself every week
  5. Visit the USA
  6. Pass my driving theory test
  7. Pass my driving practical test
  8. Go diving
  9. Go to Scotland
  10. Visit 5 places north of London
  11. Knit a garment
  12. Sew a garment
  13. Learn the phonetic alphabet
  14. Sell at least one piece of jewellery
  15. Read 101 books
  16. Watch 101 films
  17. Learn to touch-type
  18. Complete my degree
  19. Have a birthday party
  20. Craft in public
  21. Save £5 for every task I complete
  22. Win NaNoWriMo
  23. Give blood
  24. Send a message in a bottle
  25. Host a dinner party
  26. Be a vegetarian for a week
  27. Plant a tree
  28. Write a letter to myself to open at the end of the 1001 days
  29. Make a time capsule
  30. Get properly fitted for a bra
  31. Get a penpal
  32. Go horse riding
  33. Make all my food from scratch for a fortnight
  34. Make a birthday cake for someone
  35. Try 50 new foods
  36. Crochet a granny square blanket
  37. Watch all episodes of a TV series in order
  38. Fill up my change jar
  39. Make a recipe book
  40. Make a new friend
  41. Buy a copy of The Big Issue
  42. Let a balloon go with my contact details attached and see where it ends up
  43. Lose weight
  44. Watch no TV for a week
  45. Do the 200 sit-ups challenge (
  46. Get a pet
  47. Finish a Rubik’s Cube
  48. Take pictures in a photo booth
  49. Learn to cook 10 meals
  50. Make a gingerbread house
  51. Try Geocaching
  52. Finish a 100o+ piece jigsaw without using the picture on the box
  53. Make a list of 101 facts about me
  54. Go camping for a weekend
  55. Take part in a pub quiz
  56. Make a family tree
  57. Make ice cream
  58. Have my fortune tols
  59. Make a stop-motion video
  60. See a dolphin in the wild
  61. See a whale in the wild
  62. Make a list of things I like about myself
  63. Read an autobiography
  64. Take a photo of a place through all four seasons
  65. Write a haiku
  66. Spend a night in a posh hotel
  67. Have a picnic
  68. Spend an afternoon reading outside
  69. Complete at least 100 hours of voluntary work
  70. Swim in the sea
  71. Finish a knitting project
  72. Go for a long bike ride
  73. Give a handmade gift
  74. Spend a day at the beach
  75. Read all of Jane Austen’s novels
  76. Eat at 10 new restaurants
  77. Make a list of my 25 best qualities
  78. Go one week without swearing
  79. Get a job
  80. Find a constellation in the night sky
  81. Enter 10 competitions
  82. List 101 things that make me happy
  83. Go for a walk in a forest
  84. Make a list of 101 of my accomplishments in life
  85. List 25 different species of animal I’ve seen in the wild
  86. Grow a fruit or vegetable
  87. Document one month of my life in photographs
  88. Send 25 postcards via
  89. Write a letter to someone who has changed my life
  90. Pick one random word from a dictionary each week, learn it’s meaning and try to use it in conversation
  91. Don’t say anything negative for a day
  92. Start a new tradition

Any suggestions for things to add to my list will be very welcomed, I'm seriously stuck haha.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

On this day 20 years ago...

... I was born (yay me!)

I've gone from this...

To this...

I wonder what the next 20 years have in store...

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The Catch-Up Part 3: New uni house

After months of grief and arguments and waiting, I finally moved into my new student house in mid-September.

(I tried to be clever and failed... my room is really hard to photograph so this makes it look a lot bigger than it actually is!)

The house is... tolerable. There's mildewy bits all over the place, the upstairs bathroom suite is brown (eww), and we're right on a road so I get all the street and traffic noise. It's also never clean and always noisy, but you get that in every single student house so this one doesn't really stick out.
My room is tiny so I can't have as much stuff as I would like and it's really hard to keep tidy, but smallness means cheap rent so I can deal with it. Plus I'm not finding not having all my stuff here as bad as I thought I would - hopefully this will encourage me to de-clutter when I get home haha.

On the plus side, I do have a lovely view over the River Fal estuary, so I can sit on my bed with my laptop and look out at the boats.

(the other side of the view from my window... not quite so pretty haha)

I've only been back a little over 2 weeks, and in that time tensions within the house have been gradually building up. Now all 6 of us are back in the house though things have been building up even further, and today it all kicked off and at one point I had a door slammed in my face when I asked for help to take the recycling to the nearest collection point because we missed the collection from the house last week (it's collected fortnightly) and we'd got to the point where it was overflowing.
Hopefully we'll all at least manage to at least be civil to each other, because another 9 months of this will drive me insane...

Sunday, 3 October 2010

The Catch-Up Part 2: London Aquarium

A week or so before I headed back to uni, my mum and I went on day out to the London Aquarium.

The website said it takes roughly 2 hours to walk round but boy were they wrong; we were there for at least double that time!

It was fascinating watching all the fish just swimming around and getting on with their day-to-day business, I could’ve sat there forever and watched them (although the small children did put me off staying in one place for too long... hearing shouts of “NEMO!!” at every single fish got tiresome after the first 10 minutes, and having the strap of my handbag constantly pulled by children wanting to push their way in front of me made me mad!)

The aquarium has 2 huge tanks in the middle – one reminded me of Finding Nemo with all of it’s colourful tropical fish and a couple of rays, and the other was full of huge sharks (some of which were constantly bearing their teeth which creeped me out a little).

When mum went with one of the people she supports, they saw a diver in one of the big tanks cleaning the glass. Now she keeps pestering me to apply for work experience there so I can do it too, which would be amazing but unlikely (due to the high volume of applicant they no doubt get and the fact that work experience people usually end up being the dogsbody). Who knows though, there’s no harm in asking so I’m in the process of drafting an application letter. Fingers crossed! (and I just applied for a placement at London Zoo so fingers crossed for there too!)

Friday, 1 October 2010

The Catch-Up Part 1: My first finished knitting project!

I’m so bad at finishing craft projects that take longer than half an hour, but this time I actually ended up with a finished product, hooray!

For Christmas Alan got the game Little Big Planet for his PS3, and in a moment of madness one day shortly afterwards I said “I know, I’ll knit you a Sackboy”. For those not up to date on video games (which would include me if Alan didn’t talk about them non-stop), Sackboy is the main character from the game; he is literally made out of a hessian sack material, and in the game you run him around completing levels by avoiding obstacles and running and jumping all over the place.

A quick Google search led me to a pattern, and luckily I didn’t have to hunt high and low for the correct wool as the wool shop in Falmouth had the exact brand and shade recommended in the pattern.

I bought the wool possibly sometime around February and made a start, but something was going wrong with my increase stitches and I ended up with a horribly tight mess that I physically couldn’t do any more stitches on. Becoming disheartened, I shoved all the materials in a bag and gave up.

Procrastination took over, but Alan kept pestering me and asking me how much I’d done and my feeling of guilt was growing. So when I came home for the summer I picked up my needles again and made a proper start on Sackboy. I got one of my mum’s friends to show me the correct way to increase, and then I was off! The pattern wasn’t actually as complicated as I had imagined it to be (although mum told me afterwards that her friend didn’t think I would be able to do something that complicated as a beginner!), and I eventually finished it after a couple of weeks.

And so, I am proud to present...


Wednesday, 1 September 2010

I curled my hair!

Yay / nay?

(for the record, my "everyday hair" is this...)

(Better photo possibly to come later when I find my camera lead which has currently gone awol)

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Oh how the time flies...

I have finally returned from Devon, where I seem to have spent far too much time this month.

I spent the first week in and around Teignmouth with Chris and his family. It was my first experience of a proper "holiday park" holiday - one where you hardly have to leave the site because everything's all in one place (shop, bar/pub, evening entertainment, swimming pool, restaurant etc.). Not really my cup of tea, I'd rather get out and see what's around rather than just staying in one place that's been completely built for tourists. I did have fun though, and got slightly addicted to bingo by the end of the week (fueled by my winnings of £25 one night, I felt such a sense of achievement haha).
We managed to cram quite a lot into the week -
Kent's Cavern,
Paignton Zoo (where we got attacked by a crazed seagull),
Go Ape (which is SO MUCH FUN, I didn't want to go at first but once I actually got into the swing of it I had a blast. If you haven't been (and don't mind heights!) I highly recommend it),
Bygones (a museum of old-time life I suppose you could call it, I could've spent forever in there looking at all the old packaging and everyday household objects),
a nice long walk at Becky Falls,
fishing for mackerel at sea (I caught 2 but had to throw them back, boo) then cooking and eating our catch,
playing endless games of Solitaire Showdown
and going crab fishing but catching fish instead (I managed to catch a shanny which was pretty creepy looking - it had spiny fins, bulging eyes and a set of very human-like teeth).

After being home for 4 days, I headed back to the Westcountry, the land I can't seem to escape from these days, for my long stint in Devon with Alan.
We managed to cram a lot into this holiday too...
Bees in a postbox at Quince Honey Farm. Makes my skin crawl just thinking about it!

(sorry for the picture spam, but I figured I can get away with it after being gone for a month!)

I've officially fallen in love with Clovelly (the place that holds the cobbled streets and the harbour in the photos above). It's so picturesque, captured how it was at the start of the 20th century. There are no cars in the town, everything goes down the cobbled hill into the town on sledges! All the houses are so quaint and interesting, it's the kind of place I would love to live. Although having said that, I probably wouldn't love it in reality - completely dead and isolated in winter, heaving with tourists in the summer. But hey, a girl can dream, right?

Now I'm back to the nothingness that has become my life since finishing exams. Possibly going to Calais with Chris for a day trip (oooh, aren't we classy. Hah.) on Wednesday, but other than that I've got nothing planned and the thought of heading back to Falmouth and the house in less than a month's time. Oh joy.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

One year ago today...

... I was heading off to Honduras.

One year ago, I was heading off on an adventure in which I would...

... fly for the first time (my first flight was a 10-hour long haul to Houston... talk about throwing myself in at the deep end!)

... trek through a cloud forest

... view breathtaking scenery across two countries (Honduras and Guatemala)

... try new food (yes, that is a banana, just wild one with giant black pips)

... discover a whole host of wild and exotic creatures

... climb an insanely tall tree

... make new friends (Chepe!)

... sleep in a hammock

... a hammock over a river!

... learn to scuba dive

... experience a new culture

... discover that McDonalds is literally EVERYWHERE

Looking back at these pictures now makes me desperate to go back there. The brief 2 and a half weeks I spent there do not seem like long enough, and if I ever get the chance to return I will jump at it. Any reservations I had about the trip before I went turned out to be completely unjustified, and I can honestly say I it was the best experience of my life. It really opened my eyes, and it's made me long to get out and discover the world.

I still can't quite believe it's been a whole year, the time has just flown by. Makes me wonder where I'll be and what I'll be doing this time next year...

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Goodbye Glasney

My poor empty room :(

After moving everything into the new house on the 1st of July, all that was left was for me to get everything out of my room and head home.
On the 2nd of July, after many, MANY trips up and down the countless stairs from my flat to the car and much squishing and rearranging of boxes to make everything fit (which it did, just) the car was packed up and we were ready to leave.

My room looked so horrible and empty with all my stuff gone :(. Even though I felt like I didn't enjoy most of the year, I was still sad to leave somewhere where I lived for 9 months. Knowing that I'll never set foot in that room or that building ever again is a really bizarre feeling, and it makes me feel strange and a bit choked up whenever I think of it. That's probably a bit of an overreaction, but I've never experienced something like this before so I don't really know how to deal with it. But it's going to be exactly the same at the end of next year, and even worse the year after that when I finish uni, so I guess I just have to man up haha.

Mum and I then headed off to Devon to see Alan for a few days, in which the glorious weather of the previous couple of weeks disappeared almost completely and we were left with the typical British rain. Didn't stop me cramming in as many Hocking's ice creams as possible though!

I think this is one of those "the picture says it all" moments...After pulling out bags of clothes from the very stuffed car when we arrived in Devon, saying we had trouble getting everything back in again would be an understatement. The puzzled expressions on the faces of Dinny, mum and I are priceless, all of us wondering how on Earth all of my junk was ever going to fit and the car still be drivable. But we managed (phew!), and we made it home in one piece (after getting the car stuck on a huge rock when we pulled over to let someone pass on the lane... it took the 3 of us in the photo plus another neighbour to move this huge rock far enough away from the car for us to be able to move again, argh!).

Lessons learnt:
1) Don't own so much crap
2) Don't try and fit all of said crap into the back of a car. Endless headaches will be caused.

Going back to lesson number 1, I've been home for 9 days now and said crap is still swallowing my bedroom floor because I'm too lazy to unpack. *sigh*. I really need to downsize...

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Ashford hits the headlines!

Photo from The Independent
Info below from The Telegraph

Armed robbery at Barclays bank on Ashford High Street, about half a mile from home! This made it as 'breaking news' on Sky News, and there were reports being given every 5 or 10 minutes on the situation.

It is believed he entered the bank at 4pm brandishing a sawn-off shotgun then handcuffed the staff and customers using plastic cable ties and made them put on white boiler suits. One of the hostages said he ordered them to blackout the windows of the bank using spray paint.
When police responded to the scene and told the suspect to surrender he is understood to have shouted to them that he had “dynamite” with him inside.

Thankfully he came out and was arrested before anyone was seriously hurt. The whole thing did drag on for 3 hours though, it must have been unbelievably horrible for the poor people trapped inside.

You hear about things like this all the time on TV, yet it really hits you and feels so much worse when it's so close to home.

The reason (in part) why I've been away for so long

The chaos you see behind me is what's left of my uni room. Most of it's hidden under the desk though, but the quantity of stuff is pretty horrific. I never knew I owned so much stuff!

For the past week or so I've been busy packing up my life ready to move out of here and back home for the summer. Some of my stuff (kitchen stuff, duvet etc.) needs to be moved into the new house (and left in a corner while as someone else will be occupying my room), but the vast majority of it is coming back to Ashford with me.

To anyone who reads this blog, I'm sorry I've been absent. I'll be back soon, I promise.
(Also, why don't you leave a comment and say hello? I don't bite :P)

Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Sending off the first year.

Saturday night was our end of year uni garden party. Much fun was had, including childish games of hook-a-duck, blowing bubbles, a bit too much Pimms, fireworks, and dancing. The good weather held out (just - it was miserable yesterday and has rained non-stop today, typical Britain), making the garden part of the evening lovely and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I even enjoyed the Stannary party too, possibly because of the consumption of a bit too much alcohol, but also possibly because of the relief of one year being over and done with.

It still seems so surreal that I'm 1/3rd of the way towards completing my degree - I still feel so young and like university should be far away in the distant future, yet it's now and I've already completed a full year.
My inner child also isn't helping me come to terms with the fact that I'm less than 4 months away from hitting the big 2-0 and no longer being a teenager. Yikes!
Here's to this year, my 15th year in education, and to all the things the next two years will bring!

Friday, 4 June 2010

As I was going to St. Ives...

... I met a man with seven wives
Each wife had seven sacks
Each sack had seven cats
Each cat had seven kits
Kits, cat, sacks, wives
How many were going to St. Ives?

Now that exams are over I've got four months of doing whatever I please before uni starts again, so as the sun has been shining for the past few days I decided to take a trip to St. Ives yesterday. The train journey there was beautiful, miles of countryside alive in vibrant greens, pinks, yellows, reds, blues... just the way summer should be. As it's half term St. Ives was packed with families who flocked to the beaches, and I assumed that squealing kids and swarms of people would ruin the day slightly by making it impossible to get anywhere. Thankfully that wasn't the case, as a lot of people had set up camp on the main beaches leaving the small beaches and the shopping streets at a bearable crowd level.

I started off my day by having a wander round the shops. As well as the usual chain shops and shops selling touristy things there are lots of little gems of shops tucked away in side streets which would be easy to miss if you weren't looking out for them.
There's a fabulous shop selling handcrafted Russian items, including some beautiful matryoshkas. I may have to go back and treat myself to one if I've done well in my exams!
I found a knitting shop which also sold bear-making kits, and I bought myself a kit to make a little 7cm tall bear.
After a bit of searching I also found a bead shop (I can never go somewhere new without knowing if there's a bead shop nearby! haha). The shop's called GJ Beads and they have a huge selection of seed beads as well as other beads, and they're all sorted by colour turning the shop into a beautiful rainbow. Make sure you have a look if you're ever in town! I bought a kumihimo kit from them which I'm going to try out once I've finished this post - from simply looking at the instructions it looks a bit daunting, but hopefully, as I often find, doing it will be a lot simpler than looking at a bunch of words on paper.
After I'd finished looking round the shops I was feeling a bit peckish so bought myself a pot of crab meat. I love it and would eat it more often if it wasn't so expensive, so for now it'll just have to stay as a holiday treat. Then I went to an ice-cream parlour and got some mango sorbet in a cone (which was absolutely delicious) and took a stroll along the beach while eating it. I managed to avoid getting attacked by seagulls who were after my food, even though some swooped down scarily close to my head!
I had such a lovely day, even though I did spend it by myself. I was able to take things at my own pace, and there were no arguments or insults like those that seem to have become custom when I'm out with "friends". It made a refreshing change to go somewhere other than Falmouth of Truro, especially as it was somewhere beautiful and picturesque. I'll definitely be seeing a lot more of St. Ives this summer!