So Resolutions, Huh?

Like I said in my new years resolutions post – you can find it here – I’m pretty bad at keeping on track. I thought I might have an easier time staying on the straight and narrow if I checked in with myself occasionally to see how things are going. This probably isn’t going to be a monthly thing, but I’ll try to check in regularly and see if it helps. Feel free to use the comments as your own checking in page! How are you getting along? Have you broken any resolutions? Changed any? Are you smashing through them like the gods/goddesses you are? Let’s chat in the comments, and spur each other on!

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We’ve Changed Our Name!

So this blog has been Secrets of the Student Life since its conception. And that name fit for a while. It fit when I was a broke student trying to make sense of the world. But now I’m a broke graduate trying to make sense of the world. A broke professional. A woman with a job that I go to every week, Monday to Friday. And, well, Secrets of the Student Life just doesn’t really fit anymore, does it? Because I’m not living the student life anymore.

SO. I’ve decided to change the name of the blog. I thought about for a while, what I want to convey with the name. Names are important. Names are cool and fun and I love them. So who do I want to be in this blog? Who do I want you to see? I settled on Blank Pages Vivid Dreams. I rather like the sound and the flow of it, it lilts nicely and when I say it the name rolls off my tongue. And it really embodies my life. I have vivid dreams both in and out of sleep, and blank pages are the basis of my life. They are the canvas on which I spill my words, the foundations of my life and world. And they go together nicely, don’t they? Pages and dreams. Who doesn’t talk about the most interesting dreams they have? I’ve had many weird and wacky ideas come to me in dreams, and it’s always a rush to write them down when I awake before they skitter off into the ether never to return.

I’m not really changing anything else. I’m still writing about the same things, and the URL will stay the same until I’ve figured out how to change it (or have the money to!). I’ve just changed the name on the front of the blog to better reflect me. And I’m pretty happy with it for now.

2018 Goals and Resolutions

Happy New Year! And yes, I’m aware that it’s pretty beyond the new year now, but I was in Valencia and this is the first time I’ve sat down this year! 2018! I sometimes find New Years Resolutions to be a waste of time. Who actually sticks to them, eh? Certainly not me. But there are things I want to do this year and I’m (hopefully) a bit more determined to see them through. I’ve also kept these resolutions as a note on my phone, and may write them into my 2018 day planner/diary so that I’m reminded of them more often. There’s no point in a resolution if you forget about it until November and then say “ahh well, too late now”!

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Why Am I Always So Behind on Goodreads?

My Goodreads profile is always a long way behind my actual reading. I like my short Goodreads reviews to compliment my more in depth reviews here on my blog, which means I tend to write them at the same time. But…I’ll be the first to admit that I’m pretty useless at keeping up. I even have a column on my reading spreadsheet reminding me to write reviews, but I still manage to fall behind. It’s just not that easy to write a long, detailed review when life gets in the way, and that means I don’t update my Goodreads either. I’ve been having some struggles recently (and not so recently) that have thrown me way off base, and I’m struggling to know what to do next. I still read but my reading is marred by reality’s ugly head, and having the time and mental energy to review has seemed impossible. While I can think all to well about what I want to say, when it comes down to actually getting it done and dusted I seem stuck. And that blows. A lot.

Just today I moved 6 books from my current list to my read list. I still haven’t reviewed them, but my head seems clearer today than it has in a long time so maybe I can blast some out and get back on track. Just putting a rating and “review to follow” on my books has allowed me to shift them off the current list, and it means I’m catching up to my Goodreads target again. Now I just need to start writing before I actually forget what I thought of the books. For this very reason, I keep rough notes on my phone as I read, so that I can build on them more, but still, it can be hard to remember weeks later what you planned on saying.

We all have our ups and downs, and for the most part reading helps me through mine. I like to review my books so that, later on, I can look back and remember why I enjoyed it (or didn’t), so that I can see whether it’s worth it to reread. It would be nice if my reviews introduced people to books they’d never read too, though reading is so subjective and I always think that it’s better to read and form your own opinion on a book instead of avoiding it because others didn’t like it (or worse, feeling as though you have to enjoy it just because everyone else thinks it’s the best book in the world). Most of the time, writing a review is just part of the reading process to me. It helps me slow down and consider what I’ve just read, rather than running from one book to the next without breath, without remembering what I’ve read or how it made me feel. In these times though, when life itself seems such a chore, reviewing can seem almost impossible. I’m trying though. I hope it picks up. I hope I can get some done before the next wave hits. And maybe this time I won’t fall so far behind.

I’m Back!

Sooooo…it’s been a while, huh? Almost half a year if we want to be specific. I’ve been so busy and stressed the past few months, but now that everything has died down for a while, I realised just how much I miss blogging. It’s been so long but now I’m back and (hopefully) I’ll be around for a very long time yet.

So what’s happened since I last posted? I went to London for a few days (which was amazing), my birthday was in February (which was also amazing) and I had my end of year exams (which were…exams). I bought myself a new camera for my birthday – a Nikon D3300 – which I’ve been getting to grips with. It’s my baby and I love it so much. I think I’m getting rather good too!

This summer’s exam period was one of the worst, most stressful I’ve ever been through – makes sense seeing as the stakes are getting steadily higher. I really hope I’ve done well though – I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

And now for the most exciting news of my year – I’M GOING TO PARIS!!! On Friday, actually. I’ve never been to Paris before (in fact, I’ve never been to France unless you count docking at Calais on a school coach trip to Germany) and I could not be more excited. I’m going with one of my best friends, and we’re spending the weekend at the Bite Me I’m Famous convention in Paris, for the TV show The Vampire Diaries. Then we have until Wednesday to sightsee. We want to go to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, and the Notre Dame cathedral. I want to go to the Shakespeare and Co bookshop and the graveyard where Oscar Wilde is buried, and my friend wants to go to the huge department store. It’s going to be so exciting!!

I leave you now with promises that I will return shortly, and a plea for help. I’ve compiled a little list of cheap-to-cheapish cafes and restaurants that we can eat in when we’re in Paris, but if any of you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them!! Comment below with suggestions. Speak soon!

Do you use YouTube?

Recently, I’ve been getting into YouTube videos A LOT. YT has always been a take-it-or-leave-it thing for me – I can go months without even thinking about it, and then spend 4 hours straight watching fridge tours. It’s kinda insane. I have a YT channel to subscribe to people and comment on videos I like. Nothing else. I tried making my own videos but I was just so ridiculously awkward in front of the camera, and I REALLY don’t like my voice recorded. Plus I’m a writer, not a performer. Give me this blog any day thanks very much. But I do love watching other people’s videos, and recently I’ve caught myself watching more than ever.

I follow crazy amounts of beauty YouTubers, and a LOT of Booktubers. They’re my main fix. But recently I’ve subscribed to a lot of lifestyle vloggers too, and for some reason I’ve found most of these to be vegan. Now, I’m not vegan. I’m a pescatarian but I don’t drink dairy milk and I’ve drastically cut down on other dairy products because they don’t make me feel good. I’m far from vegan though. But for some reason I just can’t get enough of the vegan fridge/pantry tours, food hauls and what I eat videos. I love them. In fact, I think I watch them more than beauty videos at the moment.

But BookTube is, and has always been, my favourite part of YT. I devour reviews, hauls, tags, collabs and anything and everything else that probably a good 70-80% of the BookTube community churns out. I love blogs, I do. But I love YT too. Having started this blog I can appreciate how hard it is to keep up a blog, and I have the greatest of respect for everyone else who does it. I can only imagine how much effort it is to film and edit videos – blog posts are bad enough!! They’re brilliant fun though, and it’s very rewarding to see your hard work pay off. I have you lot to thank for that!

Do any of you watch YouTube videos? Or BookTube? Who’s your favourite YouTubers?