Sunday, 30 July 2017

25 Week Pregnancy Update

For someone who hasn't even written a pregnancy announcement post, jumping straight into a 25 week update seems a little strange. But I felt like I had left it a little late to do an announcement since I have announced it on social media months ago. But, in case you didn't hear, I am having a baby! As is probably quite clear to see.

Lately, I have been feeling very big. I felt big before but now I have ballooned and I feel like Aunt Marge in that infamous Harry Potter scene. Or Violet Beauregarde from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - minus the purpleness. I can just about still fit into some of my old clothes but I have discovered maternity leggings and there is really no turning back now. If it isn't black and jersey, I won't be wearing it. But for the purposes of having some nice maternity pics to look back on, I occasionally wear floaty dresses and wander through the woods Wuthering Heights style.

In terms of the whole pregnancy thing, I am feeling normal. Worryingly normal. I thought I would be all achey and swollen by now but I am still really active. I love going for walks (I walked 5 miles the other evening to get a Big Mac). I am finding that I am getting tired quicker and I get sleepy a lot earlier but it really is nothing like how I imagined I would be feeling at this stage.

The Little One (yes, that's the official name) moves about a bit after I have eaten or when I am lying down. But she seems to be a little lazy. It is nice to see that she is taking after me already. She also seems to really like cheese and pickle. And I love cheese and pickle. So, that was a good choice of craving on her part. Other than cheese and pickle, I have been really drawn to fresh fruits. Any really juicy fruits like peaches or melon. And, strangely, I get cravings for microwave lasagne around 1am. My husband refuses to get up at 1am to make me lasagne - how unreasonable!

I feel like there isn't much to mention about this part of the pregnancy. The first trimester was exhausting and I felt sick almost all the time but that disappeared when I hit 12 weeks. The last 14 weeks have been a breeze, in all honesty. At one stage, I thought there must have been some mistake and that I wasn't actually pregnant after all. But the baby is definitely still in there and everything is normal - according to the scans and midwives who I keep calling when I am worried. I am pretty certain that I will be wishing to be back at this stage in a few weeks when I get closer to my due date. It feels like the calm before the storm.

For now, I am just relaxing with a block of cheese and looking at cringey baby grows on Etsy (I found one that said 'I just did 9 months inside' on it. I am going to buy it - I have no shame).

Dress - H&M (here)
Sandals - New Look (similar)
Watch - Accurist (similar)

Let me know what kind of pregnancy related posts you'd like to see. I have a first trimester experience post coming up but I'd love to hear some feedback on what you'd like to see.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Life Lessons I Learnt At University

After 3 years of all-nighters in the library, bluffing my way through seminars, and a diet wholly consisting of Lidl bakery goodies, I can officially say that I have a BA in English Literature! I would like to thank my friends, my family, and - most importantly - Wikipedia for its constant support throughout my studies.

To mark the occasion, I wanted to compile a list of things that I learnt during my time at uni other than all the boring, educational stuff.

A sidesway step isn't a backwards step
This is pretty much my dad's mantra but my time at uni really proved the truth in this statement. I originally started my degree intending to do joint honours in English Literature and German with high hopes of going into literary translation. After a year, I dropped the German component to focus solely on English Literature. As much as I love German and especially translation, I struggled to split my time between two fairly different subjects. I have come to realise that despite not getting a degree in German, I really improved in the one year that I did study it and there's a wealth of opportunities to return to studying German (I am hoping to gain the Goethe qualification soon). Altering your path doesn't equate to giving up on your dreams. It may take you longer to get there but as long as you stay focused, nothing can stop you succeeding.  

What you do your degree in doesn't have to be what you do for the rest of your life
 There are so many opportunities out there if you have a degree (and, of course, if you don't!). Graduate schemes often take graduates of any subject onto their training courses and you could end up doing anything from sales to paralegal. My English teacher at college became an accountant after she graduated. My friend, who is currently doing a theology degree, is intending to go into studying medicine. Choosing a degree subject always feels quite final but these years are an opportunity to grow and understand better where your passions lie.

Life is expensive
I think university is the time that everyone comes to realise just how expensive it is just to stay alive. Student finance barely covers rent and leaves you in a situation where you're considering whether selling a kidney on the black market will cover the cost of textbooks. I don't even want to go into the cost of printing and how I had to pay £45 just to hire my graduation robes.

There's better things to come
At the start of my second year of university, I went through something unthinkable. For almost that whole year, I was a complete mess and ended up in counselling. I failed several modules and it put a huge strain on my relationship with my husband (who was then my boyfriend). If someone told me then that I would graduate and end up being this happy, I wouldn't have believed them. But there is light at the end of the tunnel and, if you keep trying to push forward, one day you will look back and feel proud of how far you have come.

Nights in are the absolute best
Nights out are good but I prefer activities that involve wearing PJs, eating takeaway pizza, and having a gossip with friends. I'd go as far as saying nights in top nights out. Or maybe I am just getting old. 

Asking for help doesn't make you weak
What we, as a society, believe makes someone 'strong' is problematic. Bottling up emotions doesn't make you a strong person. Asking for help when you are struggling doesn't make you weak. A strong person has bad days but gets up the next day and tries to make it better than the last. It takes strength to tell people that you need their help. Your loved ones are there to help and support you. Trust me, it helps to talk about things. It helps to have people around you who know what is going on. Whether it is emotional support, something you didn't understand in class, finance, boy troubles, or whatever else, talking to someone will help and it won't make them think less of you.

Lebanese food is the champion of all takeaways
OK, there is strong competition in the forms of curry and Chinese but nothing beats Lebanese food. The sheer amount of food you get for so little is amazing. I always get a lamb kofte with rice, salad, naan bread, and garlic dip. I pretty much lived off of this whilst at uni (which may explain my lack of funds). Also fattoush salad anyone? Yum.

Hospitality and retail workers aren't given enough credit
Whilst at uni, I worked in multiple part time jobs. These ranged from being an early morning cleaner to working night shifts in a fried chicken shop. These jobs taught me that workers in retail, hospitality, and housekeeping really don't get much respect. I mean, I have seen people throw food at one of my previous managers on several occasions just because he wouldn't change store rules for them. Also drunk people are the absolute worst.

I hope you enjoyed this post. I'd love to hear the best life lessons you have learnt in the last few years. Also my email and Twitter DMs are always open if anyone needs a chat.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Escaping The Cycle Of Throwaway Fashion

If I calculated the amount I spend on clothes in a year, I think it'd make me turn green in the face. The problem is that I'm addicted to throwaway fashion. I love a bargain. I buy something knowing that in a couple of months it'll probably be heading towards the charity shop. But, in the long run, I end up spending more replacing these items. It seems my wardrobe has revolving doors. 

But sometimes I manage to hold onto a couple of items. Items that I still love but can't really compete with the shiny, new things in my wardrobe. But I want to change that. I don't want to keep buying clothes then replacing them. Sure, I love to shop but I want to start investing in quality pieces. Pieces that will last and I will still love a month later. So, I wanted to share with you my main tips for how to escape the cycle of throwaway fashion. 

Be willing to pay more for a quality item 

This may seem counterproductive as a way to spend less money but hear me out. If an item is well made, it'll last longer and it'll still look good months later. An example of this is my favourite (faux)  leather jacket. I spent around £50 on it in Topshop and it still looks like new. I'm not saying you should hit up Gucci but shopping in places like Topshop, Zara, River Island, and ASOS will ensure your new items last that little bit longer. 

Know your style 

I am the worst at this. I know what I like but something changes in me when I'm inside those clothes shops. My style is quite casual and consists of a lot of black but somehow I leave the shops with a bag full of pink and sequins and ruffles. Of course it is good to experiment but make sure you're buying things that you actually like rather than just going with the trend. 

Avoid the old dieting line 

We've all said it - 'I'm buying it to wear once I've lost weight'. Your diet may be a success and you may reach your goal weight but how do you know where the weight will come off? Will it fit you right once your body is a different shape? Will you still like it then? Buy clothes for the body you have now. 

Experiment with what you already have 

It's easy to get tired of the same t-shirt and jeans combo and feel the need to hit the shops. But first try pairing the clothes you have differently. That shirt dress you have could look awesome worn unbuttoned as a jacket over jeans and a t-shirt. Try pairing your cropped jumper with a bodycon dress. Some combos may seem weird but it can actually work when it is on. 

What tips do you have?
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