Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Creative Hobbies To Take Up

With the new year well under way, some of you may be looking for a new hobby to take up. Well, this post is for those of you looking for a more creative option. We all know that I fall in love with just about anything with even the slightest creative element, and I have many different hobbies that I like to do when I'm feeling a bit stressed. 
Colouring // I love that adult colouring books are having their time in the spotlight. I used to love colouring books as a child, but there obviously became a time where colouring in Disney princesses or Bob The Builder became a bit too easy. But the world of adult colouring books is ever expanding, with more challenging and complex designs being released every day. And for those of you who like to be more up to date, there are hundreds of apps on the market so you don't even have to carry around a book and pencils any more!

Calligraphy // Recently I have been enjoying experimenting with calligraphy. I'm pretty rubbish at the moment, but practice is practice! Last summer I picked up the Nib and Ink workbook and the Windsor and Newton calligraphy set, and now I have another hobby for when I don't quite feel like colouring!

Reading // Although reading may not seem as creative as some of the other hobbies mentioned here, losing yourself in a good book can hit refresh on your creativity button. Switch of the TV and pick up any book and see how far you get. You may be surprised at how relaxed you feel after even 20 minutes. 

Photography // You don't have to own fancy cameras and equipment to enjoy photography. Even a little point and shoot digital camera, or even a cheap disposable camera can fuel a love for photography. Go for a walk round your neighbourhood and photograph your route. You may have some beautiful images by the end of it, and you've even squeezed in a bit of exercise at the same time!

Knitting // Okay okay I know you're all thinking 'granny alert', but there is something fun about knitting. My grandma showed me the basics as a child, and I enjoyed it for a while, but I am in desperate need of a refresher course as I have pretty much forgotten everything she taught me. My youngest sister really enjoys knitting, and has made many scarves over the last few years. I remember once she was having so much fun, and she ended up knitting a 5m long scarf because she didn't want to stop! Ha!

Baking // I loooooove baking. Always have, always will. It's probably one of the only hobbies that I have always loved. I love nothing more than whipping something up in the kitchen on a weekend. Scones. Cake. Biscuits. Bread. Plus there is something so rewarding about eating something you've made yourself!

Scrapbooking // Over the summer I spent a ridiculous amount of time sorting and printing all my photos and arranging them into photo albums. It was one of those jobs that I had been putting off doing for months, but I finally sat myself down and got it all done and out of the way. I found it incredible relaxing and therapeutic. Plus getting to look through thousands of old photos was hilarious! Why not try printing some photos out and starting a little scrapbook? It doesn't have to be as major as my project, but it will help fill up some of your time!

What do you like to do in your free time?

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Wednesday, 4 January 2017

An Updated Reading List

It's been a while since I last wrote about the books I've been planning to read, I know. I must admit that I've picked up these books in September, but haven't even opened them yet as I meant to put this post up a while ago. But with returning to university, life got a bit in the way. I've also just realised that I usually feature more books than this at once, but a girl can't spend all her time sat reading now can she? ~ Even though one might wish she could ~

Little Women - Louisa May Alcott // I thought I'd read this when I was younger, but I'm not sure I did since picking up a copy. My mum always used to tell me about how she read it as a child, and so it finally made it's way into my shopping basket. I really look forward to reading this over the coming weeks, but I do hope it's going to be an easy read! Even if it turns out that I have read it before, I don't have a copy of it lying around anywhere!

The Man Who Couldn't Stop: The Truth About OCD - David Adam //  You know when it's 2am and you're browsing Amazon for something and end up getting totally lost in your recommended items list? (Just me?) Well, every once in awhile, alongside the garden tools and the disposable razors, you find a hidden jem. In this particular instance the hidden jem was this amazing book from David Adam. I clicked on it, out of curiosity more than anything else, and it seemed right up my street. I saw that Matt Haig (author of Reasons To Stay Alive) had given it a good review, and it went into my basket immediately. And I mean immediately. I'm super excited to get into this because I've just finished my mental health module at uni, and I'm already missing the 'proper' psychology. As soon as I've finished my current book ('The Little Book of Hygge' by Meik Wiking FYI), I'll be popping this into my bag to read on the train!

Eat Pray Love - Elizabeth Gilbert // I feel as though every young woman should read this book. It's like a rite of passage into adulthood. I've seen the film more times than I'd care to admit, but there is something about the storyline that appeals to me and so I picked up a copy in the hopes that it may take me on some sort of journey (lol) with the start of the new year. 

The Graduate - Charles Webb // To be completely honest I have no idea why I wanted to read this, and I admit that I may have been persuaded by the aesthetically pleasing front cover. I think most people have seen the film adaptation starring Dustin Hoffman, or at least heard of the book from the various pop culture references floating around. I must say that I'm probably the least excited to read this book out of the ones I have bought, but I will let you know how I get on with it!

What are you currently reading?


Sunday, 1 January 2017

A Reflection: 2016

Well, we did it! We made it through yet another year. And keeping with tradition, I'd like to take this opportunity to reflect on the passing year. 2016, for me, was one of those years where everything unexpected seemed to happen. Where every time I made a plan or set myself a goal, something decided to come along and ruin it. All in all, I'm pretty happy with how 2016 turned out, but it was a really tough year for many reasons so I'm pretty glad to be seeing the back of it. 

As you will probably know, 2016 was a big year for my health. I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my ankle and have been in constant pain for the last 6 months. I spent the year being prodded and poked by numerous doctors. Having scans, x-rays, and blood tests. Along with weekly physiotherapy sessions that leave me feeling exhausted and achy. Obviously, like any right-minded person, I would have liked to be in perfect health for my entire life, but clearly things weren't meant to be. And, although I would do anything to wish the pain away, or to be able to do anything a normal 20 year old can do, I am thankful for what has come out of this bad situation. 

Surprisingly it has done wonders for my mental health. It has allowed me to focus on the smaller things that most people take for granted (like walking to the kitchen to make a cuppa), and concentrate on the things in life I do have and not what I don't (the Gucci Soho Disco bag for instance). And, although other people may not be able to notice a change in me, I certainly can. I am so much happier than I was this time last year, and I feel so much more confident in myself. 

This change allowed me to do something that shocked even me. I've never been happy with my weight, and it's something I'm really self-conscious about. So joining Slimming World in October was a really big deal for me. And although it's pretty pricey, investing more in myself has been one of the best things I have done in my entire life. I've lost around 1½st (9.5kg) so far, and I've gained a bucketful of confidence along the way. I'm currently at my lowest weight in years, and I couldn't be happier. 

2016 was also the year that I was unsuccessful with my teacher training application. Being a teacher is something I have dreamed of my whole life, and having to put my dream on hold is daunting. 2017 is going to be the year of big changes for me. And even though it's only the beginning of January I am both excited and terrified of what it's going to bring. My year is not at all planned, and is definitely going to be a year of me 'going with the flow'. 

2017 is the year that I graduate from university with a degree in Psychology. The year that, after 17 straight years of education, I am no longer a student. 2017 is the year that I leave education and enter the "real world" and get a "proper job". And 2017 is the year that I turn 21 years of age.

So I am excited to see what 2017 brings me, and I hope that it brings you as much happiness as you deserve.

How did your 2016 go, and how do you feel about 2017?

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