Tag Archives: student

I did it (my way)

I did it.
I graduated.
In the words of my mum, I “did it my way.”
In 2006, in my final year of school, I made the decision that I wasn’t going to university.  My school was horrified.  Not go to university?  This would reflect badly upon them.  They did not care about me, about how it was not right for me to go to university.  If I had gone to uni when I finished school, at just eighteen, I am confident I would not have finished.
I hated my last two years at school.  I did terribly in my A Levels, because I felt everything was forced upon me.  That style of learning was not for me.  The stifling atmosphere, where pristine uniforms were the main concern, and subject choices were limited to academic topics that did not interest me remotely.
So I left school with rubbish qualifications and went to college for a year.  Less pressure and rules must have helped, because I finished the one-year course with a distinction.  I got a job in a children’s daycare, “for now”.  Two years later, I was still there.  Sure, I had been given the responsibility of a supervisory role, but I was slowly going brain dead.  Don’t get me wrong here – it was a good job, but it was not for me.  My brain needs space to be creative and be challenged.  I wasn’t getting that with the standard routine that childcare demands.
So, after considering a few options, I decided to apply for university, just as all my friends from school were graduating.  I was really nervous that I was getting myself into a crazy amount of debt, committing to three years of full-time study and moving to a different country, just because I felt itchy to change something.  What if I hated the course, or worse, what if I wasn’t capable of the work?  It was all a huge risk.  I loved writing and everything about books, but what if this was all a stupid idea and I just had no talent?
Turns out, it was worth it.
On Saturday I graduated with First Class Honours in Creative Writing with English.
Sure, I won’t walk away from this course and straight into a job.  That’s not the kind of degree I have.  But I have learned so much, it was undoubtedly the right course for me to take.

Some people know what they want to do with their lives, and some don’t.  Some go to university right after school, some go to college, some go into employment, some have children, some go travelling, and some don’t know what to do.  And that is okay.  It is much better to take the time to work out what is right for you, than feel pressured to rush into something totally wrong for you.  It only took me three years to figure the start of my path out, for some it may take longer, or for some it may not take any time at all, but just do what is right for you.  Don’t let someone tell you what they think you should do, just because they are older than you, or don’t want to ruin their sparkling school-leaver records.  It’s your life, not theirs.
And this is the beginning of the next stage of mine.

Thank you to my wonderful parents for encouraging me to do this my way.


It is doubly sweet to graduate alongside the person you love :)

I’m not sure where this quote originates, but it sums this all up extremely neatly for me right now:


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Grape and Apple Pasta Salad [Recipe]

Recently I’ve been loving a little sweetness in my salads and pasta.
This recipe is really easy and quick, and best of all, it’s great to take to work in a little tub to have on my break :)

1. Cook up some pasta, drain and set aside.
2. Cut up some cherry tomatoes, cucumber and red grapes

3. Grate half an apple.  This part doesn’t look too good, therefore I took no photos of smooshy apple.
4. Put everything together in a bowl, add some black pepper and mayonnaise

(see what I mean about the grated apple?)

5. Mixy mixy.
6. Transfer to a nice little tub (or eat straightaway straight from the dish)

Yum yum.
P.S. This is really, really good with chunks of brie in it too.

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More excuses.

Here I go, apologising for another long break from blogging.
I moved out of my shared house, into a lovely wee apartment with Jay.  It is really really lovely, and we even have a pool/gym/sauna in the building.  Snazzy.
Anyway, despite all its loveliness, we have no Internet or TV.  The TV I can live without no problem, but the Internet is another story.  I am struggling, friends.
I am currently sitting in The Slug & Lettuce (where Jay works) trying to make my cup of coffee last as long as possible while I use the free WiFi to download some programmes on iPlayer, get some more music on Spotify, check my email, and blog.
I forgot to bring my memory card to edit photos, so all I have to share are my latest Instagrams.

While packing up to move, I found every copy of The Demon (my university’s newspaper) that I’ve written for (and been News Editor of).  When I took the photo it seemed like a lot less than it looked like in person, but either way, that’s a lot of work right there.

The view from our new apartment.

A rainy morning after a late night at work, so the only answer was coffee in bed.

I finally got around to starting this book.

Tomato and mozzarella stacks I made for our mini-flatwarming.

Preparing a brie & grape salad.  Yum yum.

Grape & apple pasta salad.  I will be posting my recipe for this soon.  I also started a new hashtag with this photo – #adventuresinweightloss – to try and be more accountable for what I eat.  I post so many photos of food in Instagram, so I’m hoping to use this hashtag to encourage myself (and others) to be honest about what I’m eating.  I need a swift kick to get back into healthy eating!  Feel free to join me with using this hashtag :)

Canal boats on the Soar River.  One of my favourite things :)

Not bad for having ‘nothing in the fridge’.

Happy Tuesday!

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As promised.

Me and my dissertation.
That’s it, uni is over…

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Two beautiful things.

Number one…

My completed dissertation.  (Not all pages fit in the screenshot)
Not yet printed or bound, but it’s finished.  Phew.
(You know I will share a photo of it once it’s ready to submit, with me grinning in the background)

Number two…

Finally, brighter skies, after days and days of rain.

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Peach Cobbler (Recipe)

I’ll start this post off with a confession.
I have no idea what peach cobbler is.
I’ve heard of it a few times, and always think it sounds like it would be nice, but I’ve never tried to make it, or even find out what exactly it is.
This recipe is basically what I imagine peach cobbler to be like.

1. Tip a can of peaches into a small casserole dish.

2. Weigh out 40g of oats

3. Mix the oats with one tablespoon of flour (doesn’t need to be self-raising, but that’s all I had), and spread evenly over the peaches.

4. Sprinkle over a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a teaspoon of sugar.

5. Bake in a moderate oven for about ten minutes, then mix it all up so that the oaty bits on top get a chance to soak with the lovely peach juice.  Bake for another ten minutes, then it’s probably good to go.

6. Serve it up, and if you are me, take a rubbish photo of it that does no justice at all to how delicious and comforting it is

I think a good scoop of ice cream would be really nice with this.  I had a few spoonfuls of natural yogurt on top of mine, and it was delicious (and more healthy).


What photo editors have you been using since Picnik shut down?  I’ve been using PicMonkey, which is good, but the filters mainly make my photos look like I’ve Instagrammed them.  I love Instagram, but I don’t want my ‘proper’ photos to look like that, you know?

Note: I have just Googled ‘peach cobbler’ and discovered that it’s pretty much the same idea, only different.  The peaches and cinnamon were right…


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Uh Huh Her.

We went to see Uh Huh Her in Nottingham on Friday night.
They were a-maz-ing.

At the end of the show, they announced that they’d be signing stuff at the merchandise table on the balcony.  Well, we had been watching the whole gig from beside the merchandise table (Jay is a shorty, so we choose to stand on the balcony so she could actually see the stage, haha).  Normally I wouldn’t bother to queue for signings, but seeing as we were inadvertently at the front of the queue, we stayed.


Very cool.
Plus, it ended earlier than we expected, so we caught the last train home, and didn’t have to navigate several buses and wait-overs throughout the night.

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A little photo catch up.

1. Jay, me and Reece in the park (during our mini heatwave)  2. Working on my dissertation in Costa Coffee  3. Mine, Kat’s and Becky’s bags for Conference  4. Me feeding Jessie the lamb.

5. Breakfast at Conference  6. Shopping bags from the new Cath Kidston store in Belfast  7. The amazing cake Nicky and Ruth made  8. Inside the Cath Kidston store.

9. A sneak peak at my ‘new’ bicycle  10. More park days  11. Coffee in Avoca with Mum, Steph and Suzie  12. Vintage teashop in Ahoghill (I seem to spend a lot of time in coffee shops…)

13. Flowers in the vintage teashop  14. Lunch in a brown paper bag  15. ‘View’ from my hotel window at Conference  16. Me wearing a dress for the gala awards at Conference (a rather rare occurrence).

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Sorry for my quiteness around here lately.
I’ve been at my parents’ house, feeding lambs.

That’s my sister Steph, and Jessie the lamb.

Back soon.

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Overnight Oats

I’ve been seeing Overnight Oats all over Pinterest, and really wanted to give it a go.
Problem is, it’s always American bloggers explaining how they do it, so I had no idea what ‘steel cut oats’ were (Wikipedia cleared that one up for me).  I also don’t have any ‘small mouth Mason jars’, so unfortunately mine doesn’t look as nice as the ones flying around the Internet.  I’m sure the finished product tastes just the same (actually, I’m not sure if that’s true, I reckon eating it from a Mason jar would definitely make it taste better).

Here’s what to do.  Measure 30g of oats (or porridge as it’s known here), add milk as you normally would, then add a tablespoon of natural yogurt and a teaspoon (or two) of honey.  Mix them all together, seal up your container, and stick it in the fridge.  Leave it overnight, so when you wake up in the morning your breakfast is already made. Easy peasy.

So, you’re thinking that cold porridge sounds disgusting.  And I can see why you’d think that (because I thought it too).  But it’s really not.  It is nothing like ordinary, hot porridge.  Because it is left to soak up the liquid on its own, it is really smooth and creamy, and the coolness complements that very well.

Add whatever toppings you like.  Apparently peanut butter is great, but not so healthy.  In fact, I’ve seen one or two ‘recipes’ where people make the porridge in an almost-empty peanut butter jar.  That, my friends, is clever.

I added Craisins, which were delicious.  Strawberries, raspberries, banana, blueberries, jam, honey, syrup, granola, whatever you want, it will go well with it.

Healthy and tasty, but more importantly, ready and waiting for you in the morning :)

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