This Year I Will…Oh, Not Again!

I’ve made resolutions every year for a long time and now, sitting here in bed at lunchtime on a Saturday, I can’t actually recall one I’ve kept. Not long term. Not for real. That’s the problem with New Years Resolutions though, isn’t it? Just a group of people standing still as the clock strikes twelve, the first day of a new year, the first day of a new you. And we feel inspired (and probably drunk). We feel invigorated. We feel like we can do anything. Flash forward a few weeks and those 20 resolutions are pretty far from your mind. And the thing is, the father into the year you get the less realistic your goals seem. The less impetus you have to actually complete or continue or work towards or start. To think the start of a new year is it, this is the one, this time I will is just dangerous. And kinda deflating.

2018 had some glorious moments. I went on more holidays than I ever have in a year before. I worked hard and I spent pretty much everything on exploring new places and trying new things. I don’t regret any of it. I saw beautiful, brilliant places and everywhere I went I fell in love. I was selected to attend the Penguin Random House WriteNow 2018 conference in Nottingham. I wasn’t prepared for the emotions that would be elicited, the passion and inspiration I would feel afterwards. I wasn’t prepared for the confidence it instilled in me whenever I look at my own work now. I wasn’t selected as a winner by PRH. But in my head I think I’ve won, something at least. I won the chance to hear real life publishers and editors and agents say to me “your book sounds so good” and “that’s the kind of book I love pitching to publishers” and “your writing is so wonderfully atmospheric”. These are all direct quotes. I have remembered them. I have written them down and inscribed them on my brain, I have cradled them and hugged them and pressed them close to my chest in moments of self-doubt and loneliness and fear. They have comforted me and driven me and inspired me. They have taught me not to give up, to stand strong, to finish this book and every book after it and to send them into the world. It was the best day of my rather short life so far. I imagine it will be the best day of my life for quite some time to come.

2018 also had some harrowing moments. I have felt adrift for a long time now. I think I’m in a bad place, and I’ve now made peace with the fact that I need to do something about it. I want to both tether myself to safety and float off into the clouds. I want to live bigger and brighter and freer and at the same time it’d be great if I could just stop. Just for a while. Just long enough to free myself of the fog that has engulfed me for longer than I care to admit to, longer, I fear, than I can remember. If the world could stop spinning for a minute or hour or day or week. If I could just stand still and stop for a month or a year, would it make it better? Would I emerge from hibernation a free woman? Would I know who I am, what I want, what I need? Or would I have wasted precious time just lying in the fog?

This year I’m not making resolutions. Not in the tradition sense. I don’t want more goals that I will never achieve hanging over my head. Instead, I have chosen an aim for the year, just one, and a list of objectives that will help me reach it. My aim is to end 2019 in a better place than when I started. I know, I know. So much for not being too ambitious, huh? How will I do this? By hopefully having more self control and motivation to complete some of the objectives than I ever had to complete resolutions.

Objectives for 2019

  1. To figure out who I am. Let’s start with the biggie, amirite? I want to spend more time learning who I am and what I want, and improving the parts of me I want to improve. I want to blog more, maybe start journalling, write more, do more art. Express myself spiritually. Maybe do some yoga or something. I want to exercise more and care more about what I put into my body. I want to learn to care for myself more than I do now. It’ll be a long slog. I don’t expect to be perfect on the 31st of December. But I want to be better. I want to feel better.
  2. To explore the world outside my home. 2018 was a great year for travel and experiences. This year I want  to continue to broaden my horizons and see new things. And not just travelling abroad – I want to see more of Edinburgh, my city, and of Scotland and the UK. I want to go to more book talks. I want to join a book club and an am-dram society and maybe a writing club. I want to go on long walks and listen to music and podcasts and audiobooks. I want to take a book with me wherever I go, and sit in new cafes and new parks and read. I want to visit all the museums and bookshops and galleries I can find, and soak myself in art and culture and shows and freedom. And I want to travel. Everywhere. Anywhere.  To establish a little corner of the world just for me.
  3. I want to be happy (or at least happier) in a job/career sense. I want to find a place where I don’t feel sick whenever I’m at work. Maybe it doesn’t have to be a forever career. Not yet. I’m only 23. I have time. But I spend so much of my life at work. I want to be somewhere I can enjoy rather than tolerate, somewhere that doesn’t make me sick with stress and anxiety and crushing sadness.
  4. I want to write more. Sounds simple for a writer. But in a more specific sense, I aim to have the WIP I took to WriteNow 2018 finished and READY TO SUBMIT TO AGENTS/PUBLISHERS by the one year anniversary of that day. So September. I have 3/4 of a year. I can do this. I also want to start writing other things. Short stories, some screenplays, little drabbles about my characters, fanfiction, everything. And I want to enter some writing competitions. Hone my skills. Make some moneys. Show myself that a career as a writer might actually be possible (hah, when I’m like 60  and have a body of work as long as 20 buses maybe). If I enter my work into things I have a shot at being published before the year is out. If I don’t enter anything, I do not. It’s just that simple really, isn’t it?

 

I want to leave it there. I’m not going to overwhelm myself. And I’ll try not to beat myself up if it gets to the end of February and then March and then April and I’m still sad and stuck and struggling. It’s a process. It’s a long one. But by focusing on the one thing I want (to be happy) and the four general steps (okay, four general leaps) I can take to get there, maybe I’ll end this year in a bit of a better place. Even marginally. That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. Whether you stick to resolutions or not, don’t get yourself down. All that matters is we’ve all survived another year, and fingers crossed when we look back we can still see some good for the bad.

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I’m Free!!!

Well that’s it. Another term finished and another train to catch. I’m on my way home for Christmas and the train is pretty quiet, everyone wrapped up in their own lives. I’m carting a load of presents for my parents and dogs and I’m feeling pretty good. The train is warm, the weather is dreary and soon I’ll be seeing my family and friends once more. I’ve never been homesick, it’s only really when I’m on my way back that I remember that, actually, I do miss Staffordshire and the people I left behind.

 

My last exam was on Thursday so I’ve been celebrating this weekend. I think I’ve done pretty well in my Psych and Archaeology, and maybe not quite so well in the Linguistics but we shall see. There’s nothing I can do now, so why let it ruin my trip?

 

I’m very excited about my trip to London in January. My friends and I might be going to Harry Potter world, and we’re definitely going to see a West End show and visit the Globe Theatre. I want to see the Tower as well. It’ll be a brilliant trip, and we can’t wait.

 

I’m only spending 10 days at home this time, but I’ll get to see my family and friends, and my best friend is coming back to Edinburgh with me for New Years! Woo! I’ll be back in time for an escape themed party on New Year’s Eve, and it’ll be great fun. Hopefully the start of a great year.

 

What are your plans for Christmas? Are you visiting family, going home for the holidays, making your own Christmas? Whatever you do, I hope you have a lovely time!

The Weeks that Pass Quick

I’ve been back home in Staffordshire for a week now, and it seems like there’s been a whirlwind of activity even though I haven’t done very much at all.  I’ve been catching up with friends and spending time with my parents (and my dogs). It’s hard to believe I’ve finished the first year of uni. 3 more to go!!

Much as I’m happy to be back here, I really do miss Edinburgh and the people I left there. I’m so looking forward to moving into my new flat with my new flatmates. This will be my first “real” flat, and the second year of independence. 

So I just wanted to give you all a quick update – I got home safely, and I have more book and food reviews lined up for you, as well as a couple of easy recipes. You’ll be hearing plenty from me over the summer – and hopefully no more of these long gaps!! Until tomorrow xx

Unleashing Our Creative Potential

Hey everyone! I had a brilliant day today – I managed to catch up with a very good friend whom I haven’t seen since last summer! Almost a year! We had a lovely time wandering around some shops close to home, eating jacket potatoes (our tradition everytime we see each other) and watching Home (it was brilliant but we both bawled our eyes out!) And we decided to unlock our creative potential and travel back to our youth (now that we’re both the ripe old age of 19) by buying some painting by numbers! I got elephants and she got horses, and we both got the tiger one. Now, none of them will look even remotely like they’re supposed to, and we’ll probably fail miserably at this very basic task but it’ll be fun and frustrating and it takes us back so it’s worth it!  

   

Breakfast! Scrambled egg, bacon and Scottish oatcakes

Hey everyone! One of the main, regular features of this blog will be recipe ideas and meals that I, a poor broke student, actually eat. The idea is to keep all the meal ideas I like in the same place for easy use, while also helping anyone out there who needs some cheap and easy recipe ideas that are delicious to eat and quick to make. So let’s get started!

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The main ingredients you need for this are:
2 eggs
3 rashers of bacon
3 Scottish oatcakes (or whatever other savoury, breakfast biscuit type thing is local to you).

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First, you need to hear a little bit of oil in a frying pan. I used olive oil but any oil or Fry Lite will do. Put the heat up to the highest setting and make sure the oil is hot enough to slide around the pan and coat the bottom.

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Then of course comes the actual cooking. I did the bacon first because that takes the longest to cook. Turn the heat down to a medium setting, then place your bacon rashers down. REMEMBER to wash your hands after this and before doing anything else – please don’t give yourselves food poisoning! Leave the bacon to cook away until it’s completely opaque and then flip.
I also cracked my eggs into a bowl because I’m always worried about shell getting into the frying pan. If you’re better at cracking eggs than me, you can just skip this bit.

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Now, when I woke up his morning I was planning to do fried eggs but I got to the kitchen, opened the fridge and realised I needed to use my milk up. SO I went for scrambled egg instead. Really, any kind will go with this. I drink soya milk but, again, any milk is good; splash a little into the bowl and mix with a fork until all the egg and milk is combined.

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Now, I like a little cheese when I’m doing scrambled egg, so I chopped a little Wensleydale with cranberries…mostly because that’s the only cheese I have right now. Tastes good though! You can skip this step if you want, but I just think the cheese adds a little extra taste.

Then, take your bacon out of the pan and place it on some kitchen towel, just to drain off any oil or fat.

Pour the scrambled egg into the pan, and don’t forget to keep stirring it with a spatula or wooden spoon – otherwise you’ll get an omelette instead! Keep stirring until it’s turned solid and there’s no liquids left. I’m always of the mindset that it’s better to slightly overcook than undercook, especially where eggs and meat are concerned.

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Then, when the egg was cooked through, I just turned off the heat and mixed my cheese into the egg.

Then just put the bacon, egg and biscuits onto your plate.

That’s it! It took around 20 minutes, and it’s VERY good to eat. Best of all, you can adapt it to use up anything. Got some tomatoes that need eating? Put them in your egg too! Forgotten about that turkey you bought a few days ago? Have that instead of bacon!
It’s really simple, really delicious and really quick! And that’s all I need in a breakfast. Hope you enjoyed this post and, if you give this idea a whirl, let me know what you think! Did you like it? Did you modify it? See you soon!

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