Sort-Of Resolutions Mid-Year Update

I know that according to my (flexible) new blogging schedule I was supposed to be popping up a beauty blog today, but I wasn’t really inspired by any beauty-related ideas and didn’t have any photos ready anyway, so instead I thought I’d take another look at the “sort-of resolutions” I posted on New Year’s Eve.

This seems like a sensible time to check and update my resolutions, not only because it’s now June, but also because I’ve finished university and am preparing for the next stage in my life – and year.  So it’s time to rethink my goals ready for when I start Teach First and based on what I’ve been enjoying.

  1. Complete at least one reading challenge – most likely the Tea and Books Challenge.
    I’ll be honest, this isn’t going too well.  I haven’t made any progress towards the Tea and Books Challenge, but it’s definitely something I’d still really like to achieve.  Once I’m settled in Bristol I’ll be getting myself to a library to get my hands on the books I need.  And until then I can use my reading time to get back on track with my Goodreads challenge of reading 50 books in 2013 – apparently I’m six books behind schedule!

  2. Sort of following on from 1., set up a bedtime reading habit.  I know, either middle aged or hideously childish, I’m not sure which.  But I want to read more and I enjoy it.  So there!
    This one has been hit and miss – probably the reason I’m behind on my Goodreads challenge.  When I do make time and remember to read before bed I really enjoy it, but I’ve discovered so many great blogs and YouTubers this year that I’m constantly distracted by the internet at bedtime!  The solution to getting this back on track is simple: develop some degree of self-control.  Done.

  3. Sort of following on from 2., start getting up earlier.  I am horrendous at this.  If I get less than 9 hours sleep per night for multiple nights, I become mildly useless.  So it logically follows that in order to get up earlier I must go to sleep earlier (also terrible at this).  From now on, bedtime reading and sleep at a reasonable hour.  At least four nights out of seven.  At least.  We’ll see how that goes.
    As above.  Must develop self-control.  Simple as.  This one is only going to become more important as I start Teach First – no more student lifestyle and lie-ins!

  4. Keep up a sensible amount of uni work.  This semester is, I think, the first since I started high school that I have been happy with.  Of course, it’s not finished yet, I still have two essays and an exam to pass, but I feel like I’ve got enough work done and have been happily (relatively) destressed.  If i can manage another semester of this I might actually stand a chance of getting through Teach First without too many tears!
    This one I actually have managed!  I’m genuinely happy with the amount of work I’ve put in this year, regardless of the result (though obviously I would be a bit gutted if my mark dropped to a 2:2), and I’ve been enjoying my course.  I still feel like I should be more productive and plan my time better to fit in everything I want to do, especially once I start working full time, but at least I have a good base for improvement.

Although it doesn’t seem like I’ve had much overall success, I’m actually pretty happy with how things have been going.  The most important thing for me is always to enjoy what I’m doing, and I’ve definitely managed that.  And there’s still room for improvement for the rest of the year!

Look out for more posts to come on things I want to get involved in or improve on for the rest of the year.  For now though, I’m just going to enjoy my happiness for a while.  How about you?  have you had any luck with your New Year’s Resolutions, or have they changed completely?  Let me know, as always, in the comments.

New Blogging Schedule!

Hello lovely people!

If nothing else, I have learnt something about myself since starting this blog: I am rubbish at just sitting down and writing blog posts.  I have a fair few ideas, and really enjoy writing posts once I get started, but for some reason I just can’t get myself motivated enough to post on a regular basis.

Otter failure

Because of this utter personal failure, I’ve decided to set myself a blogging schedule. I know this has worked for other bloggers and think it’ll be just the thing to get me on track and posting regularly, so I can get my ideas published before they lose steam.  I’m nowhere near ambitious enough (or have enough free time!) to post every day, so I’m going to aim for three posts a week, possibly with a bonus post if I’m feeling particularly chatty.

Since my post ideas usually relate either to books or things generally found on a beauty blog, I’m planning to put up at least one post on each of these topics per week.  Obviously this is totally flexible and I’m not going to berate myself if I don’t manage this, but I do like a good plan.

So, every Sunday I want to pop a beauty/fashion/haul/related post up, giving me the weekend to attempt to take pictures.  Every Wednesday I’m going for a book post – hopefully this will help keep me on track with my reading too, so I have something to write about every week.  Last but not least, I want to get back to writing Friday’s Letters posts at the end of the week (previous examples here and here) because they’re quick and easy posts that I really enjoy writing and that get me to reflect a bit every week – even if that reflection’s only about cake and books!

That’s the plan anyway.  You might get the odd Music Monday, general update or recipe post thrown in as well for good measure, but I’ll see how I go.  For now, look out for a book review scheduled for bright and early tomorrow morning!

PS You may well have noticed that I’ve changed my blog theme.  Again.  I think I’m finally happy with it this time – yay!

Do you have a blogging schedule?  Any tips for any other posts you’d like to see?  Let me know in the comments!

Happy Easter And Some Book Love

Hello lovely people,

Happy Easter!

And welcome to longer days now the clocks have gone forward!

I’m spending this Easter Sunday lounging on the couch and making plans.  I’m sorting out work for my final term at uni, looking forward to light evenings and warmer weather, and planning my spring/summer reading.

I’m a member of the Goodreads “College Students” group, who lead two reading challenges every year – one for spring/summer and one for autumn/winter.  The spring/summer 2013 challenge kicks off tomorrow and runs until August 31st, with 36 different challenges.  It’s really relaxed and fun, and a great way to work through your to-read list without being too structured.  If you’re on Goodreads then you should definitely go and check it out – some of the categories this season are to read a book with an Easter-related cover, and to read something to celebrate ‘Eat an Oreo Day’.

If you fancy a look at my rough plan of books-to-read for this challenge, you can see it here.  As you can see, it’s a work-in-progress, so any suggestions for books I should add would be very welcome!

I especially need suggestions for something by P.G. Wodehouse.  I read a compilation of Wodehouse stories before and said then that I wanted to read some of the original books to get to know the characters more.  There’s one challenge here that is to read a funny/comedic book (June 4th is National Do-Dah Day, or Salute to Silliness), which I thought would be a great opportunity to get back into the Wodehouse!  Any tips on where I should start would be wonderful.

I hope you’re having a wonderfully relaxing long Easter weekend.  Let me know what you’re getting up to, and pretty please leave any book suggestions in the comments!

I’ve joined Bloglovin’!

In a move towards becoming a real proper blogger (if such a thing exists) I’ve joined Bloglovin’, to make it easier to follow my blog if you’re not a WordPress user.  If you don’t already use it, Bloglovin’ is just a way to keep your favourite blogs together, and it’ll let you know when they’re updated.  If you have an account, you have no excuse for not following me!

Just click on this link, or on the button that should hopefully be appearing very soon in my sidebar.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Looking forward to getting chatting with some new followers!

Sort-of resolutions 2013

I am seeing in 2013 by posting my sort-of New Year’s Resolutions.  I am hoping that this is a good omen.  It was either this, or by doing uni work.  I am still hoping this is a good omen.  One of the resolutions will most likely involve uni work, so I still think this counts as starting as you mean to go on.  I had absolutely no plans, so volunteered to babysit for my little brother and sister, hence me sitting home alone watching Julie and Julia with my computer.  Fabulous, and hugely preferable to being immeasurably drunk in an overpriced club with people I barely know.

So … the sort-of resolutions.  I say sort of because I am seriously resolving to do these things, but I hate all the horrible connotations that go with New Year’s Resolutions.  The belief that they are always painful, overreaching ideas, generally unachievable, that stop you doing things you enjoy.  I want mine to be positive changes, that’ll make me feel better about myself.  So.  Here we go.

  1. Complete at least one reading challenge – most likely the Tea and Books Challenge.
  2. Sort of following on from 1., set up a bedtime reading habit.  I know, either middle aged or hideously childish, I’m not sure which.  But I want to read more and I enjoy it.  So there!
  3. Sort of following on from 2., start getting up earlier.  I am horrendous at this.  If I get less than 9 hours sleep per night for multiple nights, I become mildly useless.  So it logically follows that in order to get up earlier I must go to sleep earlier (also terrible at this).  From now on, bedtime reading and sleep at a reasonable hour.  At least four nights out of seven.  At least.  We’ll see how that goes.
  4. Keep up a sensible amount of uni work.  This semester is, I think, the first since I started high school that I have been happy with.  Of course, it’s not finished yet, I still have two essays and an exam to pass, but I feel like I’ve got enough work done and have been happily (relatively) destressed.  If i can manage another semester of this I might actually stand a chance of getting through Teach First without too many tears!

I think that’s about enough to be honest… wouldn’t want to overstretch myself now!  I am by no means averse to adding resolutions in the middle of the year – I’ve actually been working on most of these for a while already, but now is the perfect opportunity to really make myself get going with them every single day.  Let’s see how I go, and more may yet be added to the list.

So, for now, a very happy new year to you all, hoping that you all have a wonderful 2013!

Book Love: Updates, Updates

Things have been going on, honestly, they just haven’t quite made it onto the blog.  But suffice to say that I’ve been having a wonderfully busy, but somehow still relaxed, final year of uni.  I’m loving being back in Bath (especially after having such a rubbish time in Italy), am living with two amazing housemates, and am genuinely enjoying my degree – does it get better than that?!

Oh, and I might have kinda sorta got a graduate job with Teach First for next year… no doubt there’ll be plenty more to come on that!  I’m still a bit in shock.

I’ve been getting through a few books slowly but surely, some for uni and some just for fun, including J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy.  I absolutely adore Harry Potter, so it’s no surprise that I ordered this pretty much immediately.  I know some people seemed a bit disappointed, but I really enjoyed it and the story’s still stuck in my mind.  I think I found it particularly relevant given that my mind’s stuck on Teach First, which works in schools with difficult kids – if you’ve read The Casual Vacancy I’m sure you’ll know what I mean.  My favourite thing, though, was that J.K. Rowling still managed to create a whole world that made Harry Potter so successful – I was totally drawn in.  More please!

At the moment I’m about halfway through The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, but I can’t quite decide what I think about it.  I quite like the story and the structure, but the characters are just all horrible and so crude.  I’ve heard people say that this is just representing real life, but my life is certainly nothing like this.  Think I need a bit more time to make up my mind.

I’m also reading That Woman, the autobiography of Wallis Simpson by Anne Sebba, but I left it in Bath while I came home for Christmas, so it’s on hold for a while.  I’m quite enjoying autobiographies and there are quite a few on my to-read list – new trend inspired by reading Killing Pablo for a uni presentation I did.  It’s Mark Bowden’s brilliant telling of the story of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar and the havoc he wreaked before finally being tracked down and shot.  I found it totally fascinating, but I’d probably only recommend it to people with a bit of background knowledge/interest in Latin America and/or the USA’s war on drugs.  I am interested in both – so I thought it was great!

Now to plan for next year – bring on the resolutions (sort of)…

Calming manatees

At the risk of making the blog a touch random, I want to share something which has both cheered me up and calmed me down today.  I, personally, think it is marvellous.  I hope you do too.

Fingers crossed, it will also stop you thinking I am entirely lacking a sense of humour, after I’ve failed to properly appreciate both Douglas Adams and P.G.Wodehouse (oh the shame…).

Enjoy!

http://calmingmanatee.com/

Book Love: I am useless, but trying to be better

I have been a bit useless at the blog recently.  I have a nasty habit (which I really am trying to kick) of making a wonderful start on a project, then forgetting all about it and never quite getting round to carrying on.  This isn’t because I didn’t enjoy whatever the project happened to be, rather because, as I say, I can be a bit useless.  This attitude has left behind a long list of casualties including, but not limited to, cross-stitch, daily stretching, baking, and keeping a journal.

I am determined that blogging (and the reading project that makes it possible) will not join this list.

This is partly because, having proved hopeless at keeping a journal, I really want a record of this part of my life for the future, but mostly because I’ve heard from other bloggers that there are marvellous people out there on t’internet and I’ve already had some really lovely responses on the few posts I’ve put out there.

So I’m back for round 2!  And I have some catching up to do.  This is the other thing that tends to make me abandon ideas – I forget all about them, get behind schedule, and the prospect of catching up becomes far too daunting.  However, as a solution I’ve decided to try and let go of my perfectionist attitude (I said try, but make no promises!) and just get down what I can remember.  So while the following posts may not be the greatest book reviews in the world, they will at least exist!  Which is more than can be said for them at this present moment, as they are currently loitering in my brain, losing details at quite a rate of knots.

Yes, that’s right!  Despite my writing failure, the reading part of my challenge has continued apace.  Well, more apace than last year, anyway.  Apace by my standards.

Anticipating that this situation is relatively likely to reoccur in the future, I’ve created a brand spanking new page for the blog listing all the books I’ve been reading.  Hopefully this will mean that, even if I don’t make it to reviewing a book, there will still be a record of it.  Feel free to take a look for a sneak preview of what’s to come, or you could just wait with bated breath for the posts to come.  I’m sure everyone’s excited…