Posted in Lifestyle

50 Questions to Free your mind

So, yesterday on my long train journey back from Edinburgh, I was browsing through blog posts to keep myself occupied. This has just reminded me I need to put music on my new phone before I travel again… I came across Morgan’s (from The Rose Quartz) blog post 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind, an honestly answered list of 50 questions to get you thinking. As I read Morgan’s answers, I found myself mentally answering them too and so I decided to answer them here for you all to read! It took a long time, and I strongly considered posting them in batches of 10, but I decided to share them all at the one time. Feel free to read some and then return or whatever suits you! If you’ve any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below!

 

  1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
    Does this mean how old do I feel or how old would I chose to be? And if it’s choose an age, if I’ve no concept of how old I am how am I meant to pick an age? Or is it just me that answers this question with more questions? If I could choose an age, I’d choose probably to be 12 again. However, today I feel like I could be in my thirties – tired of monotony and ready for a change. Ask me tomorrow and I could be feeling 6 or 7! I can never decide if I’m old or a child.
  2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
    Personally, I feel failing is worse than never trying. If you don’t try then it doesn’t count as failing, right? However, trying your best and yet being able to fail even after trying your best, at least you know you tried and it isn’t right for you. This is basically the way I’m feeling about my university career. Would I feel better having failed because I didn’t try? Or does knowing that I tried my best but still failed make me feel any better?
  3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
    I don’t know about you but I do so many things I don’t like because that’s what’s expected of me. Whether it’s family or friends, there’s a lot of pressure to do certain things certain ways and therefore we have very little time left to do the things we actually like doing. Unfortunately, to survive in this world, we need money and to get money we need to work, not necessarily working in something we enjoy.
  4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
    I’ll probably have said more than I’ve done – I never shut up!

  5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
    Only one thing? Then I’d change the world to make everyone more accepting of differences. Once equality is a given in society, people won’t start wars over things like money or religion.

  6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
    Either blogging, spending time with friends, playing with the pets, or reading. I love all of these four things and if it was possible to do these for currency (since this blog is a hobby, not for profit) then I’d love to spend all day every day doing this.

  7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
    Currently, I’m attempting to do something I believe in – university. If this doesn’t go well, then I’m afraid I’ll have to settle and do something just to make life easier. I hate the thought of settling but there are times in life we have to suck it up and get on with life.

  8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
    There is absolutely no way I’d have gone to university. Mightn’t have even sat A-Levels! Why spend 17 years of a 40 year life in education? I’d also have tried harder to be happy during the first 21 years of my life. Apart from that, I’d just live life to the fullest.

  9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
    I’ve always had a say in the course my life has taken, but until I moved out for university, it was definitely controlled mostly by my parents. However, they let me choose my secondary school regardless of the distance I would have to travel each day, they always let me explain my reasoning behind decisions and took it into consideration when it was possible, and they tried to be supportive of the choices I made – tried being the main choice of word.

  10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
    Doing things right is how I live my life mostly. If I’m doing the right thing at the same time? Well then that’s a win-win!

    DSC_0786

  11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticising a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?
    Having been in this situation, I subtly hinted towards the fact that I was friends with said person. When these hints weren’t picked up, I suggested that we change the topic as I was uncomfortable hearing them talk about a friend of mine in such a way. I pointed out to them that they probably wouldn’t be comfortable if said person heard their thoughts and opinions, and if the conversation were to continue then I would feel it necessary to inform my friend as to these peoples’ opinions.

  12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
    Live your life for you, no one else. I only realised this important piece of information in the last few months and, trust me, life gets so much easier when you allow yourself to live only for you.

  13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?
    Without a doubt. Unless I’m being investigated by the police for allegedly breaking the law to save a loved one – in that case the answer is no, I would never break the law. I’m a perfect, law abiding citizen…

  14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
    I don’t really understand this question so apologies but I’m going to ignore this one.
  1. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
    Cutting onions. I’m a strange person and apparently slice onions the wrong way. Is there really a right way though? It all ends up the same way.

  2. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
    See above re ‘I’m a strange person’. Sometimes simple things can make me happy, such as seeing a dog out walking or a baby smiling away in a pram. Days when simple things make me happy are great days.

  3. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What’s holding you back?
    Anyone who knows me knows that one thing I really really want to do is have children. What’s holding me back? I’m a single, financially insecure, 20 year old who is in no way ready for that responsibility just yet. Maybe some day.

  4. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
    I suppose you could say that I need to let go of the hurt caused to me by the girls I used to call my friends, however I feel like the pain they caused gave me the inspiration to find people who actually like me for me and treat me with the same loyalty and respect I show them. So while I’m not letting it go, if I bumped into any of them on the street I would thank them for teaching me some important life lessons.

  5. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
    Hands down, no questions asked. It’s warm, sunny, and there are people there I class as family. Also, you can sit on a beach at 4 in the morning in a dress and not feel at all cold while looking up at the multitude of stars overhead.

  6. Do you push the lift button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the lift faster?
    It’ll come when it comes. If you’re in that much of a hurry, take the stairs.
    img_0123

  7. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
    Well since I worry a lot anyway, I’d pick being a worried genius. Plus, who’s to say you can’t be joyful whilst being a worried genius?

 

  1. Why are you, you?
    Partly because this is the way I was brought up to be, partly because this is the way I want to be. I’m not going to continue to blame my faults on other people, but I can say that certain faults weren’t helped by certain people. I’m my own person and no one can change that.

  2. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
    I would like to hope so. If you know anyone who thinks differently, send them my way so I can learn how to be a better friend!

  3. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
    I think it would be worse to lose touch with a good friend who lives right near you. I had one friend in secondary school who made an effort to stay in touch with me, but only when I made an effort to stay in touch with her. She used to live really close to me but now with me practically living in Scotland it made it easier for us to drift apart. Yeah, it hurts, but that’s life. If we were meant to still be friends then we would be. Is that harsh?

  4. What are you most grateful for?
    The people I’ve met here in Glasgow and the friendships I’ve developed. There are 4 people I owe a lot to and they (hopefully) know who they are.

  5. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
    There are some memories I would love to forget. But then, there are some that I’ll hold with me forever. If I kept all my old memories and was never able to make any new ones, I think I’d be happy.

  6. Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
    The science student in me says no. A theory is only true as long as you can’t find the exception that disproves it. Don’t accept anything at face value. Take what you’re told or shown and question it in your own way, make up your own mind about what is or isn’t the truth.

  7. Has your greatest fear ever come true?
    My greatest fear is for something to happen to someone or for me to never get the chance to say goodbye to those people who are important to me. My dad’s aunt, my Papa, my granda, my dad’s uncle, a family friend, they all died without me getting to say goodbye or tell them how much I loved them. It hurt the most with dad’s uncle as I had the opportunity to go see him in hospital the day before he died but instead I chose to go into work and he died during the night before I could see him. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself for that.

  8. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Does it really matter now?
    Unfortunately, yes. But only because it helped shape me into the person I am today. Without that night, I wouldn’t have had the courage to move away from home and meet completely different people. And I certainly wouldn’t have started a blog where I came to share things I should’ve been sharing with my friends.

  9. What is your happiest childhood memory? What makes it so special?
    This is a really tough one as a lot of my childhood memories are all rolled into one. Basically, any of the memories from when I lived in Forfar, Scotland. I was young, naïve, and had no worries – of course I was happiest at that stage.

    78
    Rachel and Me (year unknown)

  10. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
    Sunday July 31st. It may sound pathetic to you big-time bloggers but I got 59 views on my blog, for simply sharing what was going through my head. I was inspired to continue, impassioned to write as much as I can and share everything I feel is worth sharing. 59 views might not seem like that many, but I felt alive and like someone actually cared about what I had to say.

  11. If not now, then when?
    I’m definitely more of a night-time person than a daytime person.

  12. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
    The illusion that I could achieve it if I tried to. If it hasn’t happened yet, there’s still the possibility that it might and that’s a lot easier to deal with than the possibility of trying to achieve it and failing miserably.

  13. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
    A couple of times. One person from back home had the ability to have that sort of a day with me. Someone I met in Ibiza had that effect (he couldn’t really speak much English and my Spanish is pathetic). A few people here in Glasgow. If you’re feeling down, just spend a day with them or in their company and you’re sure to feel amazing even after just 10 minutes of being with them without conversation.

  14. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
    There’s a fine line between love and hate. Sometimes the love of your religion can cause you to hate the possibility of other religions or ideas. If your religion teaches love, this love isn’t only meant to extend to people of the same religion as you. I was raised in a protestant family, hearing about The Troubles in Northern Ireland and the fact that Christians were fighting Christians over small, insignificant things. I was taught that it doesn’t matter what someone’s religion is, the religion my parents and sister believe in teaches to love everyone equally, even if you feel they don’t deserve your love.

  15. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
    No

  16. If you just won a million pounds, would you quit your job?
    That involves getting a job first to be able to quit it, right? I think I would use the money to help me set up a business/company to help others and then take a back seat, almost like a silent partner in the business. That way I’d have the best of both worlds. Queue for a song anyone?

  17. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy?
    More work that I enjoy. If it’s something I love, I’d happily dedicate all my time and resources to that job.

  18. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?
    But I’m trying to change that. Take each day as a new day and treat it as such, who knows where you’ll end up.

  19. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?
    I’m not sure to be honest, I rarely act on ideas. I think it’s most likely to be the night I decided to start my blog. Over 2 years ago. Wow, I don’t really do ‘follow your heart’ stuff do I?
    DSC_0005

  20. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?
    Referring back to my biggest fear being not getting to say goodbye to people I care about, this would honestly kill me. Do I gather as many of my friends and family in one place to say goodbyes all around? Or do I pick the ones who are most important to me? Can I die in this situation too? That wouldn’t be as bad I think…

  21. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
    Life’s too short and why would you ever want to be famous? And since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, being attractive is subjective.

  22. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
    I’m currently alive. I’m breathing, eating, coping. Truly living is enjoying life to the max. Doing what makes you happy, regardless of what tomorrow may bring. I think most of us are alive rather than living, which in itself is sad. We work in jobs we hate to earn pitiful amounts of money to buy things we neither need or want to impress people we don’t even particularly like. I want to live, not be alive.

  23. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?
    Whenever you feel strongly about it. The minute you start considering whether it’s worth the risk, your mind is made up that you want to do it. Don’t let your fear control you.

  24. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
    Because we’re taught that mistakes are wrong and embarrassing. You thought that man you randomly hugged was your dad? Everyone laughs at how silly you were. If you weren’t embarrassed enough at your lack of awareness, you’re suddenly the punchline to a joke. We hate it happening to ourselves and so enjoy when it’s someone else who’s made the mistake. But mistakes are okay, as the question says – we learn from them. Coming to university might have been a mistake for me, however if I hadn’t moved away and tried it then I would never have learnt all the lessons the last 2 years have taught me. Embrace your mistakes and don’t let anyone put you down for making them. At least they were your mistakes and not the mistakes of others that you’re learning second hand!

  25. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
    I think I would’ve come out to my friends and family a lot sooner if nobody was going to judge me. However, when you live in Northern Ireland, which is essentially like travelling back in time by at least 100 years, you learn quickly that if you’re ‘different’ people won’t accept you.

  26. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
    I always notice the sound of my own breathing. I’m a heavy breather. The last time I was properly aware of it though was our last night in Ibiza when I was sharing the bed with 2 other people and trying to pretend to be asleep.


  1. What do you love? Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
    I love blogging and being with friends. Hopefully my new dedication to the blog is proof enough of this, and my willingness to drop everything for my friends should be testament enough to this.

  2. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday? What about the day before that? Or the day before that?
    I’d like to think that I’d remember the time I accidentally ended up at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival! If not, I always have my blog to look back at, or TImehop will be there to remind me of how embarrassing I am.

  3. Decisions are being made right now. The question is: Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?
    As of Monday morning, I made the decision that my decisions are going to be the ones that matter. I’ll accept people’s thoughts or suggestions but I want to start deciding things by myself for myself.

    img_0519

 

Ktkinnes xx

Advertisements
Posted in Lifestyle

Sister’s 18th Birthday

Rachel, if you are reading this, stop reading now! 

Otherwise you’ll ruin your surprise!

 

 

This September (2016) my younger sister turns 18 and I have never felt so old. Anyone who’s been reading this blog for a while knows of my love-hate relationship with Rachel but they also know I’d do anything for her. And now she’s turning 18, a legal adult. What on earth does that make me?!

 

A person’s 18th birthday is one they will remember for years to come. It’s special and so needs to be celebrated in such a way. My 18th birthday didn’t go the way I expected it to however it was one I will remember for a long long time, even if only for the wonderful cake Rachel baked me!

20130909_174607
Rachel with me on my 18th and the delicious cake she baked!

So, as I will be back in Glasgow for university (hopefully) on the day of her birthday and therefore won’t be baking her a cake, I have decided to go to town on her birthday present this year.

 

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I wanted to do an ’18 for 18′ themed present, i.e. 18 presents for her 18th; mainly 17 smaller presents and 1 main present. Now, Rachel used to be really easy to buy for. Even as children, I set myself a budget and tried to buy her as many things as possible that I knew she would like. This year, for some reason, it was more difficult. Finally, I settled on her 18 presents:

  1. A scrapbook of pictures and memories, something she can look back on for years to come.
  2. A book – Adulting: How To Become A Grown-up In 168 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown.A lot of people recommended ‘Oh! The Places You’ll Go’ by Dr Seuss but I wasn’t too sure whether or not this would be a good idea.
  3. A C.D. – I’m going to make her a C.D. of 18 songs that mean either something to the 2 of us or to her. This way, she can put it on her phone or something and listen to it. Unfortunately, the car we borrow from our mum is that old there is still a cassette tape slot in place of a C.D. player, otherwise she could’ve put it in the car.
  4. A smuggle your booze umbrella. Pretty self-explainitory, every teenager loves alcohol and so this way she can take some with her pretty much anywhere!
  5. Alcohol – to go with the above. I’m thinking of getting her bacardi as I know she drinks it but should I buy her something different?
  6. Sweets. I saw recently a retro jar of sweets that I can customise the label on and so I’ll get them for her.
  7. Portable charger. Having been stuck walking home alone in the early hours of the morning through Glasgow city centre with no charge on my phone, I know how important these can be. Hopefully she’ll never have to experience a 2 hour walk home at negative 4 degrees Celcius in only a t-shirt!
  8. Soap and Glory Birthday Washes gift set. This holds a travel size shower gel and body lotion – perfect for present number 18! As she likes it and doesn’t use anything else, hopefully she’ll appreciate it.
  9. Pyjamas – a set to again go with present 18. Something cute and comfortable, that she’ll wear frequently.
  10. Earrings. Every 18 year old gets jewellery and, as it’s something I always buy her anyway, I want to get her a nice set of earrings that she’ll always have to remind her of her 18th birthday.
  11. Compulsory ’18th’ wine glass. While she doesn’t really drink wine, this is something I’ve always planned on buying her.
  12. A bikini – again, all will make sense with present 18. Also, everyone likes having a new bikini for the next holiday.
  13. A birthday survival kit in a tin. You can get these online and they look really cool! When it arrives I’ll post a picture of it.
  14. 18 pairs of either pants or socks. Something light and jokey for the lead up to the final presents.
  15. A passport wallet. I always envied anyone who had a passport wallet and so I’m going to buy one for Rachel.
  16. A holiday document wallet. This will have to match the passport wallet as usually the two are given together. It holds your boarding passes, extra money for at the airport, travel insurance etc. I recently got one because as a single traveller it’s always useful to have somewhere safe to keep everything together.
  17. A leather hand luggage bag. Now this is something she actually asked for and believe me it was difficult to trace. Well, not difficult to trace but they’re flipping expensive! So to find one that wasn’t over the top in price but still real leather and looking lovely. I found one on ebay for £35 and it looks great! I’ll post pictures of it with the final collection of presents.

 

My final present to Rachel will be tucked inside her birthday card, which she’ll of course be made to open last (Mum and Dad will be given that instruction). I have booked for the 2 of us to go on holiday to Lanzarote for 3 nights in March when she’s off school for half term. It’s an all inclusive weekend in the sun for the 2 of us to relax and enjoy ourselves. I’ll be flying back here to Northern Ireland for a night before we fly to Lanzarote for 3 nights and then back to school and lectures the next day. Do you think she’ll like it?

 

 

Let me know what you think, would you appreciate this sort of present?

 

Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Lifestyle, Sunday's Summary

Sporty Sunday

Hello one and all, once again it’s Sunday and I’ve actually been doing things this week! I’ve a few blog post ideas today so please be patient and I’ll be posting them throughout the day. Maybe I’ll be back to my normal blogging routine soon…

To start with, we have the usual Sunday Summary of the week. Monday, which was also Baron’s birthday, involved a trip into town and the start of Operation Rachel 18th Birthday. Dad and I had a visit from Granny B and my Aunt and we spent almost 2 hours trying to fix problems they had with their e-tickets for an upcoming trip to England. Somehow,  my uncle had spelt the names wrong on the tickets and had forgotten to add luggage and special assistance that was required and so that took up the majority of our morning. When we finally finished that, Dad and I took a drive into Lisburn City Centre. I left him to do his own thing while I bought a candle for my cousin and a few bits and pieces for my bedroom. I’m hoping when I get back from Glasgow to make my room more ‘me’ and a few other things I have in mind but more about that later. We then spent the rest of the day around the house, me revising and Dad cleaning and gardening. That night we got a phone call from a rather homesick Rachel. We’d been keeping up to date with the Habitat team in Romania through the blog the teachers had set up, which can be found here for anyone who’s interested, and so knew some of what they’d been doing but of course you can never be fully prepared for some of the poverty seen and so Rachel was quite upset. Finally, we watched Brief Encounters on ITV at 9pm. It was a great first episode and I really can’t recommend it enough! It’s light and different and definitely worth watching.

Tuesday brought about a morning for going through my summer holiday clothes and deciding what I was taking in case it needed washed. That took up the majority of my morning somehow and so in the afternoon I did some revision before ironing clothes and heading to a barbeque at my granny’s fold. It was a pleasant night and I had a few good chats with some of the other people living there. Overall, Tuesday was a dull day.

Wednesday, I headed to Kesh for a couple of nights at my cousin’s. With everything that’s been going on here recently, I was dying to escape the house and the people in it and so, as getting to Kesh is cheaper than Glasgow, I chose to visit my family. I got down to Omagh around lunchtime and spent a couple of hours shopping with my cousin before going on to her house in Kesh. We had lunch before organising her back room into a spare room, something she’d been trying to do for a while now but needed help to move the furniture. That night we got a chinese and chatted while watching Pretty Little Liars – I love it! I’ll have to watch it before Ibiza next week….

Thursday morning, we went to Castle Archdale in Fermanagh to walk the dogs and get some fresh air. My uncle came down to see us and of course he and my cousin argued the whole way around so it wasn’t exactly fun. However we then went out for lunch and then onto his friend’s house where we chatted together for a while and actually managed to have everyone being pleasant for a while. That night, we watched more Pretty Little Liars and moved some more furniture around before attempting to have an early night.

On Friday, I came home again and went to visit Granny H to help her with her new phone and some other technology problems she’s been having. We finished the night by watching tennis and having a barbeque in the garden.

Yesterday, we went to St George’s Market – an indoor market in Belfast City Centre. It was good fun to have a look around the stalls while listening to a traditional Irish band, but it was nothing compared to the markets you get abroad – another reason to be excited for our holiday! We did a bit of shopping around the city centre before having lunch out, and then came home where we watched yet more tennis.

 

Today is the final day of Wimbledon and so I’m about to go watch TV – hopefully see Andy Murray win! I’d better actually get going now as they’re about to start the game. Enjoy your Sunday and I’ll hopefully get talking later!

 

 

Ktkinnes xxx

Posted in Films, Lifestyle, TV

Looking back

Once again, another month is over. Today I’m travelling back to the oh so delightful land of Northern Ireland where the only exciting thing will be seeing the animals again (Baron and Maisie).

20140701-162645-59205124.jpg
Baron looking pensive

IMG_4590
Maisie holding my finger
I cannot wait to see these two fluff balls again tonight! Travel is always boring and so today I have made sure to have my dvd player and a few dvds handy to watch – The Lady in the Van, and season 1 of Scandal. Mary keeps recommending Scandal so I thought I should give it a go, plus this way I can get Mum to watch it with me since it’s a dvd and she can keep it if I finish it!


 Just thought, the last 2 summers have been spent watching 24 but now that we’ve finished it I have no idea what we can watch as a family… Will have to think about that and find something different that everyone will enjoy!

The main reason I’m posting now is to give you a chance to look back at the goals for May before tomorrow’s post includes new goals for June! This can be found here – Another month goes by. Still can’t believe we’re actually so close to half way through the year. Soon it’ll be my 21st birthday then Rachel’s 18th! Still thinking of her birthday present… Is a holiday away together a bad idea?

 

Speak soon! I’ll let you know what I think of my new dvds when I get them watched.

 

Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Lifestyle

Travel in the land of Bread, Wine and Cheese

Bonjour mes amis! Firstly, if there’s anyone French or from a French speaking country – I would like to apologise if that first sentence is spelt wrong in any way. I keep just making up phrases in my head without knowing if they’re grammatically correct.

Here’s the long promised update on our trip to Paris, more specifically Disneyland Paris! I’m still coming down from the high from being there.

 

Tuesday morning had us all awake early and ready to leave the flat by 9am. Our taxi driver was great, full of life and willing to have a conversation with us. Don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much at a conversation! When we got to the airport, Jason and Nuala were ready for their second breakfasts of the day and so we sat in Frankie and Benny’s until our gate was announced.

13256123_10209098270591001_247313251442051649_n
I promise Nuala was happy and excited…

While we ate and had a laugh at Jason’s money belt that he had bought en route to the airport, our gate was announced but we were going to be delayed. Not my idea of fun but it seems I can’t fly anywhere without there being some sort of delay! Eventually we got to board the plane and we were off!

Almost an hour and a half later than expected, we got to the hotel and stood in awe for a second before we walked in. Called the Vienna House Dream Castle, it certainly was a dream castle!

332207_986_485_FSImage_1_Dream_Castle_facade3
Doesn’t it look so pretty?

And that was only from the outside. We went and got checked in before snapping a few pictures of the reception area. Mary got some better photos and hasn’t sent us them yet otherwise I would share them but for now, here’s Jason and Nuala having a bit of fun.

13241177_10209105761018257_4359194845089342708_n
King Nuala, looking pensive, and Queen Jason, being dramatic as ever.

13256072_10209105760418242_802299985669175575_n

We got some directions from two members of staff as to how to get in towards the city centre and the tourist destinations, forgetting just how big Paris is and expecting to be able to get around the main things you think of when someone says they’re going to Paris. In the end, we settled for heading towards Chatalet-Les Halles so we could see the Notre Dame across the water and maybe have some good food since by now we were all starving – it was 5pm before we knew it! The hotel ran a shuttle bus to Disneyland and the train station beside it and so we jumped aboard with all the lucky people going into the land of dreams. Leaving those fortunate people, we walked into what was possibly the biggest train station I remember ever having been in! Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure hte stations I was in in London are bigger but this one felt massive. Especially with it being my first time abroad without an appropriate adult, this time I was the responsible adult – scary stuff! At this stage, Nuala took charge and managed to lead us to a ticket desk and onto the train, she actually seemed to know where to go!

13256375_10209105761578271_397399943289286047_n
We made it onto a train!

Jumping onto a train, we were all delighted with ourselves for actually getting this far. The only thing was, travel is very tiring. At this time, I’d like to say that Mary was actually there, I just don’t have any pictures of her until later in the trip. Oh, before I forget, did you know that French trains have 3 floors?? You get on and can either go up stairs or down to get seats, it was so confusing and yet brilliant at the same time. Just think how many more people could fit on our trains if we did this! It didn’t take long for Jason and Nuala to start trying to nap on our journey.

After almost an hour on the train, we arrived at our destination, not really sure of where we were, how we got there or even how to get out of the train station! Following the crowds, we found a M&S Simply Food and then sussed out an exit that took us into a big shopping centre with a cinema and swimming pool. Looking at a map, we now know we arrived in the Nelson Mandela Gardens and set off in the hunt for food and somewhere that would actually be able to feed Nuala – being a coeliac in Paris doesn’t seem like that fun an adventure. However, we did find a bakery that sold gluten free cakes and cookies – look at how happy Nuala was!13256148_10209105763258313_8175723479031669590_n

After a while, we gave up finding somewhere with gluten free meals and settled for somewhere Nuala could have a salad and the rest of us could eat for a reasonable price, and boy did we find it! Three courses for 30 euros? Yes please! We tried our first ever snails, drank good cheap wine, ate a load of cheese and finally were satisfied. 13237703_10209105763818327_2723826117319200322_n

After dinner, we found a bar serving cocktails for 5.50 euros and they were that strong even Jason had difficulty drinking them quickly! Two drinks later, we decided we should start heading back so as not to be completely drunk and lost in a new city. As expected, the journey home was a lot more simple than the journey there. That night, we all got into bed and crashed as quickly as you could imagine.

 

Wow that was a lot longer than I anticipated, maybe I should stop here and give you all a break… Yes, that’s what I’ll do. Come back later for the news and pictures of Disneyland, Walt Disney Studios and our journey home!

 

 

Ktkinnes xxx

Posted in Lifestyle

Too much to do

Success in life is a matter not so much of talent or opportunity as of concentration and perseverance. – C. W. Wendte          

Today I woke up feeling like I could lie in bed forever, but here’s why I can’t. 

  • I’ve still to unpack from Paris. I am the world’s laziest traveller. Most of the time, everything ends up back in the laundry basket so I can have a few more days of doing nothing. But this time I’ve to unpack so I can repack to return to Northern Ireland. Great…
  • I need to wash my hair. It hasn’t been washed since Wednesday night and looks a state right now, so I’ve tied it up in the hope I can leave it until tomorrow.
  • My Paris blog post needs to be written. Except I’m waiting until my external hard drive arrives so I can save all my photos to it before writing the post. 
  • I need to start packing for going home. Normally packing takes me 3 weeks, now I’ve to condense it to 2 days!
  • Dinner needs cooked at some stage…
  • My bedroom is a mess and the kitchen needs sorted
  • I’ve too much food and no idea if it’ll freeze or not.
  • Shopping needs done since I’ve got parts of meals but not actual meals

And probably so much more that I can’t think of right now! The first step will be getting out of bed. Wish me luck!
Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Lifestyle

University Challenge Part 2

img_4921

Yesterday, you may have seen my blog post University Challenge (if not, here it is!), in which I asked Rach, one of my all time favourite bloggers whose blog can be found here, 10 questions for advice on University life. Hopefully these questions will be helpful to anyone at any stage of their university career!

In return, I was asked 10 questions and am here now to answer them – so hello to anyone who’s come looking for the answers! My 10 questions to answer were:

1. What would you advise when choosing a university location? 

2. What is your one essential item that you would recommend any student to take to university?

3. Do you think it’s important to do extra things on top of your degree?

4. What would you advise when making friends at uni? 

5. What advice would you give to anyone choosing a course at university? 

6. What advice would you give to anyone worrying about the costs of going to uni? 

7. How would you advice on keeping track of money through uni?

8. Do you think it’s important to move into a student house instead of uni accommodation? 

9. What was your favourite experience of uni? 

10. If you could offer one overall piece of advice, what would it be? 

So here goes answering them!

1. What would you advise when choosing a university location? 

The main thing I would advise would be to not restrict yourself in any way. A lot of my friends from school chose to apply to our 2 universities in Northern Ireland simply because they didn’t want to have larger tuition fees or face the prospect of fully moving away from the support system they had in their family and friendship group. Secondly, and I can’t stress this enough, have a good proper look at the university and its surrounding areas. I personally feel I hit the jackpot with University of Glasgow. We’re close enough to the city centre that I can be there in 10 minutes if I feel like a day in town, but I also live 5 minutes away from the Botanical Gardens. Location means a lot to different people. The final thing I factored into my choices 3 years ago (wow I feel old thinking its been 3 years since I started looking at universities…) was how easy would it be to get home if there was some reason to rush. Whilst I loved the look of some universities in England, and their courses looked fantastic, I realised just how long it would take me to get back if ever I was needed home quickly.

2. What is your one essential item that you would recommend any student to take to university?

This one is tricky, I can’t think of just the one! First thing that came into my head was speakers. No matter who you are or what your hobbies are, having a set of speakers (even cheap ones from the pound shop) will be a great thing to remember when packing. All those flat parties you’ll be having during fresher’s week will need some background music, not to mention when exam time comes and you need to blast those revision playlists that will get you through the torture that is university study leave. 

I would also strongly recommend bringing one decent sized pot/pan to cook a large meal in. It became quite a common thing to find me in the kitchen, cooking enough food to feed a small army. It sometimes works out cheaper to buy in bulk and so it made sense to cook it and freeze what I didn’t want immediately.

Finally, I would recommend a warm dressing gown or onesie. Fire alarms will go off at any stage and you don’t want to find yourself standing outside in the snow at 3am on a Saturday morning in January because some idiot thought it would be a good idea to allow their friends to smoke in their room. Not that I had any experience of this last year, of course not… But these are also great if you’re in a student flat where the likelihood is you will be freezing the majority of the time. Unless you’re super rich. In which case, please be my best friend!

3. Do you think it’s important to do extra things on top of your degree?

Last year, I didn’t. I was in a great set of halls and knew at least 20 people so never had the need to be out meeting new people or doing something different. But this year I signed up to whatever I could, having missed the society fair during fresher’s week. Clubs and societies are a great way to make new friends (so cliché I know but stay with me) and they’re also good to help you find out what it is you actually enjoy doing. If clubs and societies aren’t your sort of thing, and you hate the idea of anything sporty so avoid the gym like the plague, then I still recommend finding something to do on top of your degree. All work and no play makes life dull and you’ll probably end up regretting this when your dissertation is done and you’ve got one exam left to sit. 

4. What would you advise when making friends at uni? 

Like above, I would advise clubs and societies. The first friend I made in halls, I stopped speaking to a month later. But she introduced me to kitchen 14 and the wonderful people who were assigned there. Be yourself as much as you can be. It’s a whole new experience and if someone doesn’t like you for you then you don’t have to know them! This was one fact I forgot when I first started to open up to people but now it’s the mantra I hold on to when I meet new people. Be honest with yourself and talk to as many or as few people as you want, someone somewhere along the line will introduce you to more and more people and bam! You end up on a group chat with 29 other people and a chat name that no one remembers creating but you don’t want to change it. 

5. What advice would you give to anyone choosing a course at university? 

This is tough, simply because I don’t enjoy my course. Which actually leads me to the first and most important point of this question and answer – pick something you actually enjoy and want to spend your time doing! Yes, it might cross your mind to consider life after university but jobs these days are mainly looking for those transferable skills. Employers don’t care if you did Physics or Archaeology, all they want to know is whether you can work in a team to solve problems in the workplace. So yeas, consider job prospects but don’t let it cloud your judgement. Before finally deciding on the course you think you want, have a look around at the syllabus for the course in different universities. This will give you an idea of what is actually involved in your course and what it is you’ll be doing for the next 3+ years of your life.

6. What advice would you give to anyone worrying about the costs of going to uni? 

Simply: don’t. I know it’s easier said than done but worrying is just going to make the whole experience worse for you. We all know the faults of the loan systems – judged on parental income, rarely covers rent never mind actually living, and the overall problem of paying it all back when you eventually leave (forever student anyone?). Many universities now have hardship bursaries that you don’t have to pay back, along with other bursaries, grants, scholarships and incentives. I know of a girl on my course who got £250 for being one of the best in the year! If you find yourself short of cash, there will always be somewhere hiring students, even if only over summer months. Make yourself a clear budget plan and stick to it, even if it does mean turning down that invite out to the new cool club night happening. There will be other nights, and your bank account will be very grateful. The final bit of advice towards money and costs of uni would be to not blow your student loan the day it comes in. It’s so tempting when you see it sitting there to start buying everything around you, heck I used mine to book a trip to Paris! But you will seriously regret it when you check your balance and find yourself with £30 left for the rest of the month. 

7. How would you advice on keeping track of money through uni?

Budgeting is key. At the beginning of the year, I sit down and figure out how much money I have and what it has to cover before I consider food etc. Firstly subtract rent for whatever months you need to pay. Remember to include any bills in this too! For example, if in September you have£3000 to last you until January 18th, the likelihood is you have 4 months of rent to pay using that money. Remember to include the bills for these months too, so we’ll estimate that you have roughly £1200 left. Divide this by the number of weeks this has to last you, taking at least £100 out for travelling home for Christmas. On average, this would mean you have £60 a week (rounding down). My technique this year was to lift that £60 out of the bank on a Sunday morning before my food shop and then I wasn’t allowed to use my card the rest of the week. If I used it, I had to take the cash out of my purse and lodge it into the bank on a Saturday. It’s so much easier to keep track of what you’re spending if you have to physically hand over money every time you go to a shop. 

To help your budget out during the week, I would recommend meal plans, even if only rough ones. Make a list of what you need to buy and stick to your list. Don’t let the lovely snacks and offers tempt you, unless you’re willing to sacrifice something else that week. Head to the shops later in the day, that’s when the stuff begins to be reduced and the majority of it can be shoved in the freezer! Mary managed to buy a lasagne down from £3.50 to 69p the other night on her way home from work. You can’t even make a lasagne that cheap if you’re making it yourself!

8. Do you think it’s important to move into a student house instead of uni accommodation? 

For first year, I would strongly recommend university accommodation. It’s the easiest way to meet people and you actually end up looking forward to hunting for a flat. However, after first year I fully believe it’s your own decision what you want to do. The majority of the time, a student house is going to work out cheaper than staying in uni halls. However, most contracts are 12 months long and you end up paying for months you aren’t living there. Another thing to remember is that it’s important to get along with the people you move in with if you plan on going into a student house. This way you know if you’ll have any problems and you can address them up front – Mary and Nuala sat Jason and me down to discuss their thoughts on if they shared with us, just small things like cleaning rotas and the likes. University accommodation means you might not get this option of vetting the other people and so you may have problems. Personally, moving into a student flat was great for me. With fewer people around, I actually got work done this year and didn’t just sit in a kitchen, eating and drinking.

9. What was your favourite experience of uni? 

I’m not sure! From this year, I would definitely have to say my flat Christmas dinner. I started cooking at 10am and so decided it was a good idea to start drinking at the same time. By the time I served the starter at 5pm, I was quite drunk and in a great mood! We exchanged Secret Santa presents at the table and played games between courses, finally going to bed at midnight after 5 or 6 courses of food. That was the night I realised just how lucky I was in finding these 3 flatmates and for that reason alone I will always look back on that night as one of my favourite experiences at uni. Plus, who else can say they cooked a turkey almost perfectly on their first try in an oven that can’t even cook a pizza easily?!

10. If you could offer one overall piece of advice, what would it be? 

My one piece of advice… Hmm… I would definitely have to say – be yourself and enjoy the experience. Forget about any money problems, they’ll sort themselves. Disagreements and falling outs will happen, but they’ll be patched up again quickly if they’re meant to be. But don’t let anyone make you feel bad for being yourself. We only have a short amount of time to truly figure out who we are and what it is we enjoy while being independent, before the world starts to turn faster and we have to become responsible adults. Two of my 4 years at university are over, the time has flown by. So go to lectures, make friends, explore your freedom and, most importantly, don’t ever regret the way your life is planning out – we’re young. We’re meant to make mistakes. Let’s make them now while we’re still young enough to fix them!

I hope this has answered some of the questions you may find yourself asking during the whole university thing. Remember to check out thelifeofaonesiewearer.wordpress.com for the answers to my questions! Once they’re posted, I’ll combing all 20 questions and answers in the one post for anyone who wants to read through them.

Hope you’re all well! My summary of the week will be live soon, before I say good bye to you all while I’m in Paris! Follow me on Twitter (@kvburton657), Instagram (ktkinnes), or add me on Snapchat (katiekinnes) to keep up to date while I’m away in the land of cheese, bread and wine, not to mention Disneyland Paris!

Ktkinnes xx