Posted in Blogmas

Buying presents as a student

 

 

Hello and welcome to Blogmas Day 2! Today’s song on the Christmas countdown is I Believe in Father Christmas – quite an appropriate one given today’s topic! As we now have just over 3 weeks until the big day, and student loans are beginning to look a little low, most of us begin this panic of what to buy everyone. Secret Santa presents need bought, there’s family to think of, and then there are those of you who are lucky enough to have significant others to buy for as well.

 

Do not fear my friends! Below is a list of what you can either buy or make as a present for even the pickiest of people. Of course, there are so many different options that I won’t be able to list them all but hopefully something will come into your head!

 

  1. A photo book. With the app Free Prints, you can order 45 free photos a month, all size 6×4, and only pay postage on them! Then either buy a few cheap frames from your local pound shop, or buy a scrap-book and stick them in with little messages relating to the picture. It’s a really personal present and shows you care. Best part? It can all be done for less than £5! If you give your invite code to family and friends, you gain an extra 5 free prints per month, so if this is something you’re interested in, why not use my code and then share yours? Mine is ‘kburton15’.
  2. Christmas decorations. From snowglobes to Santas, to snowmen and more, you can never have enough Christmas decorations! Again, your local pound shop, or Primark can often have lovely little things you would never have thought of. I personally like scouring the charity shops in my areas as it means I’m donating to a good cause too.

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  3. Homemade potpourri . I actually made this for my aunt and uncle last year and it’s still smelling strong! Just google homemade Christmas potpourri and there are so many to choose from! Pop it inside a sandwich bag and tie with some ribbon, and it becomes the perfect gift. Of course, you can always buy a cheap but nice dish to put it in too. Pictured below is the potpourri I made them this time last year. The picture was taken in August and when I went visiting in November it was still there and smelt incredible!
  4. Gloves. If you’re anything like me, you will constantly be losing at least one of a pair. You can never have enough gloves, and there are often some lovely ones in Primark, Dunnes Stores, and there are even some great bargains in TK Maxx!

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  5. Socks. Again, a bit like gloves, but these are things that no one likes to buy themselves. I don’t know about you but even just one new pair of fluffy socks brighten up my day.
  6. Fudge or shortbread. A quick search online will quickly give you so many recipes for this and you also have the fun of taste testing! Homemade treats always go down well, as it shows you’ve actually spent time on their present rather than just grabbing the first thing you see.

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  7. Personalised calendars. Again, these do cost money but they’re nearly always on sale at this time of year as everyone makes a mad dash to buy them for the start of the new year. Upload pictures for the person, add in any key dates you think they should remember, and Bob’s your uncle!
  8. Hidden compartment book. Okay so if you’re anything like me this idea of this is great but actually creating it may hurt a little. Head to your local charity shop for a hardback book and use this tutorial to make a little hiding spot for anything your recipient may want to hide, whether it be the last chocolate bar, keys or their phone!

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  9. What (Name) Likes canvas. Do you have The Works near you or a similar shop? These places sell canvases that you can paint and decorate. To be honest, I got this idea from a present my amazing flat mates got me for my 21st, although they didn’t make it. Not that that makes it any less great, but this way probably would’ve been a lot cheaper! Pick up a paint sample from your local DIY shop, or you may find you know someone with left over paint in their garage from their recent home decoration. Paint the canvas and allow it to dry before writing in permanent marker ‘What (Name) Likes’ across the middle and then list all the things you know they like in different sizes and directions. They’re sure to love it!
  10. Board Games. Once again, get down to your local charity shops and have a search for their board games. There’s nothing better than sitting down with friends or family to play a board game on either Christmas Day or Boxing Day, and it’s something they can play at any time. A lot of these games probably won’t have even been used!

 

So there you have 10 ideas that you can consider! One thing I would recommend is looking at whatever deals and offers are on. Whether there’s a 3 for 2 offer you can take advantage of, or if something’s half price, any way you can save money is a great idea! Personally, I love looking on Groupon, Living Social, and Wowcher to see what deals there, and one of my friends pointed me in the direction of Wish! Although I would recommend Wish for if you aren’t in a rush for presents as the delivery time can be ages. I placed an order on September 28th and by October 9th still hadn’t had it confirmed!

 

Hopefully I’ve helped even a little bit. If you’ve any suggestions that you think I should’ve included please feel free to mention them in the comments below!

 

Have a great Friday, and try not to murder anyone when doing your Christmas shopping this weekend!

 

Ktkinnes xx

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Posted in Lifestyle

Procrastinating Again

Okay so I started out pretty badly this morning. I completely overslept after being awake talking to Jordanne until well after 3am and so had 30 minutes to get ready for uni today only to end up getting to my tutorial and doing very little as I had no questions to ask about the work that had been set.

 

So of course, me being me, I went onto Twitter and started just scrolling the way we so-called millennials are stereotyped to do. I came across a post (once again I do apologise because I can’t remember who wrote it or what it was even called) all about how 2016 wasn’t going the way they wanted it to so they decided to make a change. This hit home a little and got me thinking. Why do we always set a time to change from? Surely if we want to change, we should just jump in there – 2 feet at the same time.

 

Every year, around this time, we suddenly realise that in just over a month we’ll all be talking New Year’s Resolutions and the likes, and I always set them. I even manage to last maybe a month before I give up! But why should I wait until January 1st to make the changes I feel are necessary? And why do I assume I need to make changes?

 

Over the past 48 hours, I’ve done a lot of thinking about different things, and I got so wound up about some of it when talking to Jordanne last night, and this morning I found myself asking why I let these things build up for so long. I spent the first 8 months of 2016 being a bit of a mess. I decided I wanted to come back to uni and put the effort in and I’m doing that. The majority of the time anyway, yes I’m blogging now instead of studying but I can manage my time the way I want to.

 

I want to make the effort to be consciously happier. But why should I sit and wait for happiness to find me? It’s my responsibility to go out there, grab life in both hands, and make myself enjoy life. I don’t want to sit at the age of 50 and question where my life has gone and why I didn’t do this thing or another thing. This year, I want to travel more and see more places. Even just places in Northern Ireland and Scotland! It’s why going to Edinburgh for the day, or Aberdeen, or even the fact I’m going to Dundee this weekend makes me so excited! This weekend I have Dundee. Next weekend is a friend’s birthday dinner and I get to travel to a different part of Glasgow. Weekend after that, I’ve decided to take a spontaneous trip home – I miss the animals and haven’t seen my parents in ages. Normally that wouldn’t bother me but I just want to go home to a house that’s bigger than the flat for a few days. Anyway, I got distracted there. So I’m home for a while. The weekend after that is our flat Christmas dinner and I can’t wait to cook that and have fun with Mary, Nuala and Jason. The weekend after that? LONDON!!! I cannot wait to see Jordanne and the others and get to spend time with them, all while exploring a new place! The weekend after that, I will be home for my mum’s birthday (so more travelling), the weekend after that is Christmas. After that comes New Year, which I’m hoping to spend in Glasgow or Edinburgh. Weekend after that? Well, that’s the weekend before classes start again and knowing us we’ll have a welcome back party for our friends from halls. So that’s 9 weekends in a row I have at least one thing planned!

 

This has been a very rambley post, and for that I apologise. But I just wanted to update you all on what’s been going through my head recently. It can get a bit messy in there, and I never know how I get from one topic to another. So in conclusion, I’m so excited to be going home for a weekend soon, even if it’s purely to see my furbabies!

 

Hope you’re all well!

 

Ktkinnes xxx

Posted in Lifestyle

My anti-anti-bucket list

And once again we find ourselves looking at a Wednesday morning. Only 3 more hours until we’re officially half way through the working week! The more I think about it, the more I’m ready for the weekend again. With another night out again tonight (and many advance apologies to my snapchat friends) I’m not looking forward to tomorrow morning. 

 

Anyway, enough about today, and on to today’s post! Anyone who read all of last week’s posts – and if you didn’t, why not? – will know that last week I guest posted on Jade’s blog over at simpleyjadey.co.uk with the topic of My Anti-Bucket list, a list of things I hope not to do in my lifetime. So today, a week later, I thought I would share my bucket list with you! Sounds interesting, right?

 

  1. Become a teacher. It’s all I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember and it’s so close but yet so far!
  2. Go to a Christmas Market on the continent. I don’t overly mind which one, but I’ve heard the Christmas Markets on the mainland of Europe are fantastic and so, being obsessed with the festive season, I really want to go!
  3. Have a holiday home in Ibiza. Yes, my love of Ibiza has spread even to here. When asked why I love it so much, I still can’t give an exact answer. But surely that’s a good thing? If you’ve never been, I definitely recommend Santa Eulalia. Just saying.
  4. Visit Florida. Not really sure why this one either but it seems like a nice place to go!
  5. Go ice skating in New York. Yes, I’ve been to the Big Apple, but I didn’t get to go ice skating. I did, however, go shopping on 5th Avenue but that wasn’t ever on the bucket list.
  6. See Ed Sheeran in concert. I was heartbroken that I couldn’t get tickets for him in Glasgow but was able to get Rachel and a friend tickets for in Belfast while I was stuck in lectures in Glasgow.
  7. Go to Disneyland in America. Having been to the Parisian one, I’m now set on going in the states.
  8. Visit the Harry Potter studios. What Potter fan our age doesn’t want to go??
  9. Go to South Africa to see the penguins. When I told my sister this she looked at me in disbelief but yes there are times of the year when penguins are at the southern-most tip of South Africa!
  10. Visit London’s Winter Wonderland. It sounds magical and it’s Christmassy so who wouldn’t want to go?
  11. Get my tattoo. Have you not heard about my tattoo? The one I want is a turtle but I’ll have to show you it.

 

What would be on your list?

 

Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Lifestyle, Sunday's Summary

Sunday Summary

It’s back! Have you missed it? I can’t decide if I did or not. However, it’s a Sunday morning and here we are, ready to take a look back at the last 7 days. How have you been? Haven’t asked you in a while, how rude of me. I’m actually looking forward to sharing the last few days with you so without further adieu, here’s Sunday’s Summary!

 

Sunday  was a little bit of a lazy day. Well, not lazy as I had so much university work to do… But I stayed in my pyjamas all day and got to be a bit of a slob. I finished up around 7ish and an old friend from first year showed up unexpectedly while Mary was cooking dinner for the two of us, so it was quite nice to have a bit of a chat. Actually, I’ve just remembered I want to ask Mary for her recipe for that chicken… Knew this was helpful!

On Monday, I had my two lectures and my first lab session of the year! Except it wasn’t really a lab. Instead, we discussed estimating things and deriving equations and used a cool app called Kahoot to answer multiple choice questions on the board. We then had to partner up and sign up to our experiments and our literature reports for later in the year. This was the nervous part for me – I know no one in my labs and was so worried about having to find a partner and talk to someone completely new. I hovered by the sign up sheets until a good three quarters of the room had left before approaching 4 girls and a guy standing in a group – there was bound to be someone without a partner! Thankfully, the guy (Will) told me he didn’t have a partner and so now we’re together for the experiments! We’re starting with probably not the best experiment but then at least I’ve done it all before! Next week however is Matlab so please wish me luck with it. It’s a horrible coding course we have to take… Not looking forward to that.

Tuesday came and once again I made it to my lectures, and came home to an empty flat. I phoned home on Tuesday for a bit of a chat, and had a chat with my aunt in Dundee too, and so I passed the time that way. Again, I mainly spent the day writing notes up and making sure I understood what was going on. Of course, I remembered to take part in the GRLPOWR chat on Twitter and it basically ended up being a Christmas chat – at least the bits I saw! Oh, that’s another thing. I woke up with fresher’s flu on Monday and so by Tuesday honestly thought I was dying. Yes, I’m quite a bad sufferer of man-flu. A simple cold was killing me. But I attempted an early night on Tuesday as a result.

Ah Wednesday… The highlight of my week. If you have me on snapchat, then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about and I’d like to apologise for my rambling so much about going to bed instead of actually getting up and going to bed. But we’ll get to that point in a minute. I woke up on Wednesday feeling slightly better and was happy to go to class. I came back, did some work, and then made a chilli. Except there were 5 portions of chilli… I don’t know if I’ve just reduced my portion sizes or what as I purposefully only bought enough meat to make 2 portions so I’m not sure how that developed into 5? Anyway. I then got ready to go to LGBTQ+ which was having it’s official Launch Night event to raise money for the year. Drinks were £1 for a single and £2 for doubles, beers and ciders. There were also raffle tickets on sale so naturally I spent £10 on tickets and didn’t win anything. Some of my old friends from last year showed up and it was a great night, resulting in me going to Polo – the LGBTQ+ club in Glasgow City Centre. Suffice to say I spent a small fortune on drinks overall, made it home just after 3am, and was still snapchat vlogging at 4am… Sorry! No wonder I was so hungover on Thursday…

Thursday morning was painful. I woke up and spent the first hour trying not to throw up, before throwing on whatever clothes I could find and going to my lectures. Warm lecture theatres, lots of people, and being hungover was not a fantastic combination but I survived! Came home, went to have a bit of a nap but couldn’t due to noise, and so just got on with some work. Mary and I got Chinese as she had been out with the football girls and was feeling equally as rough as me. We then curled up on the sofa to watch The Apprentice. Anyone else delighted that it’s back? There were some fabulous comments and one-liners! Unfortunately I missed the chat for GRLPOWR but I think it was a good one! I then went to bed and wrote up a few blog posts while discussing the GRLPOWR Christmas plans. Yes it’s early but the fact that it’s already the 9th of October is a sign that time is going to fly!

Friday was a bit of a mixed day. I woke up thinking ‘Wow, Mary’s up early, I don’t normally see her before lectures…’. I rolled over and looked at my phone – 11:08am. My first lecture of the day had started 3 minutes earlier and there I was still in bed. There went my ‘attend every lecture’ goal! I did, however, manage to shower, dry my hair, have breakfast, and look semi decent all in the 40 minutes I had before my next lecture – not too bad in my opinion! On my way home, an old friend bumped into me and followed me home… Not that I don’t like him but just he ditched us for over a year because he had a girlfriend and now that they’ve broken up he’s come crawling back. I wouldn’t care but he expected me to just continue as if no time had passed. The afternoon was spent talking on the phone to Mum, and writing my post for Tuesday next week. Trust me when I say I was writing it from 4:30 until well after 9, and I didn’t even stop for dinner. So at 10pm I curled up in bed with doritos, netflix, and the GRLPOWR group chat to have a relaxed night.

Finally, Saturday was spent tidying my room, organising shopping lists and actually doing the shopping. I caught up on some uni work, spoke to one of my grannies, and cooked dinner for Jason, Mary and myself. Then Saturday night was once again spent blogging and chatting to friends! Haha, what happened to my social life?

 

So that’s you up to date! What did you get up to this week? Any fun stories to share?

 

Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Life

An open letter to my mum

I felt the need, especially after talking to Sarah of Writing & Rambling briefly during the #beechat today run by the brilliant Charlene McElhinney – you should really check out both of their blogs by the way, great reads. 
My mum and I have one of those relationships where we live each other but there’s so much I feel I could never say to her, and so there’s always been a distance between us. Now I know she’ll never read this but I felt it necessary to write it in the hope that getting it off my chest will make things easier between us.
Mum,

The number of memories we have, some good and others not so good will always come to mind when I’m talking about you with friends. The fights we’ve had over stupid things and the fact that even when I’m at university you still want to chat every day, both make it clear that even through our slightly disfunctional relationship we do care about each other. And that’s why I’m writing this – there are some things I need to get off my chest, starting with the elephant in the room.

Rachel wrongly told you in November that I’m bisexual. I’m sorry that she did this, to be fair to her my version of coming out to her was me sobbing outside Co-op because I couldn’t cope any longer with the fact my friends had ditched me after coming out to them as liking girls. I was 15 at the time, she was 12. Now before you ask questions, I know I “had a boyfriend” for a while but really that was just me trying to pretend to myself that I liked boys and he seemed the easiest to like. He was kind and easy to talk to, something I needed when you and dad were going through rough patches and none of my other friends seemed to understand me. I was hurt when I told you about my first real date this year and your response was “I can’t talk about this, I won’t talk about this.” I was disappointed you couldn’t even pretend to be okay with me dating a girl, the way dad could, and I think I may have let that influence the way the date went in the end. I’m not blaming that part on you, just to be clear – that part is fully me. I used to blame you for my failings but I realise now how childish that was.

I do, however, blame you for my issues with confrontation, the real reason I’m writing an open letter to you. From the first time I was fully aware of you and dad arguing, you made it your job to inform me of how terrible he was and constantly said that you were only still married to him because of me and Rachel. If it wasn’t for us, you would’ve left him years ago and you would’ve been happy. That’s not something any 10 year old needs to hear. That’s not even something a 20 year old needs to hear. You can’t blame your children for your unhappiness in life. 

I know that what he did all those years ago was wrong, and last year was even worse, but at both times you were free to walk away and Rachel and I would’ve understood when we were told the full story, when we were old enough to hear it. 

It wasn’t until recently, however, that I remembered some of your arguing in Forfar. You’d had a horrible argument over something before the two of you were meant to go out for dinner. It was a Friday night, Rachel and I had been fed and were watching You’ve Been Framed before Pamela, the babysitter, got there. Dad sent me upstairs to ask you something, but you were still so angry at him that you didn’t care what it was I had to say. You lifted me under the arms and dropped me at the top of the stairs in such a way that I fell down them and hit my head off the wall at the bottom. I didn’t know what I’d done to make you so angry with me, but I was too shocked to cry at the pain. And that’s my earliest memory of you. Did you know that? 

But all that’s in the past. I’m trying to move on from that, and try and get to know you as you are now. You still try to involve me in your arguments, you never let things go, and you stand firmly in your beliefs. But you’re my mum and I still love you, even if there’s a part of me that you can’t love. 

Tomorrow’s the anniversary of Tom’s death. You’ve no idea how much I want to be at home with you right now. I don’t want to be alone in the flat thinking about it, or about how you were the one who had to make that horrible decision to turn off the machines – I certainly don’t envy you that. When we came to pick you up from the hospital afterwards and you took the keys from me to allow me time to register everything that had happened. How we got home and I went outside to be alone while crying, and you came out and just hugged me close. I need that right now. I try to pretend I’m grown up and don’t need you but right now I do. 
I was terrified to tell you that I’d failed my exams this year and would have to resit and most likely wouldn’t get back into university. I felt like the world’s biggest disappointment to you. However, you instantly told me everything would be okay, that you’d support me no matter what happened, and that you knew I wouldn’t move home even if I failed. That last part, I could see it hurt you. But you were accepting of the fact that I’m (mostly) ready to enter this world as a responsible adult. You talked me through my options, and you made me feel like there was hope.
So the start of this letter was to talk through the things I can’t say to you out of risk that we’d fall out and not speak again. But I just wanted you to know that I’ll happily keep that locked away inside, forgiven and forgotten, as long as you stay the strong person you always have been. I love you, always have and always will.

Love, your little girl.

xx

Posted in Lifestyle

Two for Tuesday


Two for Tuesday is my new plan for a Tuesday night – share 2 things about myself in order for you to get to know me better! Feel free to let me know if you don’t like these new themed posts and instead preferred my random sporadic postings – @kvburton657 or katiekinnes@msn.com!
If you want to read back through my original 10 facts, they can be found on my post called Can’t Sleep Won’t Sleep. Now, while I can’t guarantee that these facts will be interesting or something you don’t already know, I can tell you that I enjoy being able to share with you.

The first is that my dog, Baron, is the reason I come home so often. Baron will be 14 years old in a few weeks but he’s still my puppy. He’s a golden cocker spaniel (well, more grey now) and he got knocked down as a puppy.

Baron as a puppy
 As a result of his accident, he broke his 2 hind legs and had to have a toe removed. I’m also pretty sure he got brain damage but this has never been confirmed or denied by a vet. Either way, I still love him to bits and miss him every time I’m away.

Me with Baron back in 2013
My second fact is that I love playing piano. From the age of 6, my dad’s Uncle Tom taught me basic songs on his keyboard until we finally persuaded Mum and Dad to get a real piano for me to learn on. Soon after this, I started attending weekly lessons. My favourite piece to play (and I know it off by heart) is My Heart Will Go On, also known as the love theme from Titanic. While I love this song, I was learning to play it when 2 of my very close relatives died and so I couldn’t bring myself to play it for a few weeks. Even now I can’t play it without it stirring up memories and emotions. 

However, I no longer let it stop me from playing it. Instead I find myself remembering the happy memories and enjoying the fact that they got to see me doing something I loved.

I hope you enjoyed tonight’s post, and remember – all feedback is welcome! I’ll let you know about today’s interview as soon as I know. Remember to come by tomorrow for the second installment of Wishful Wednesday!
Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Lifestyle

Secret thoughts shared

Good evening fellow bloggers and anyone else popping by to have a nosy at my blog 😊 I suppose it’s well and truly night time but then when am I ever following a schedule? My aim tonight had been to talk to you about tonight’s Twitter chat theme (writer’s block) however I missed the chat and so didn’t get to experience it. So instead tonight, I thought I’d share something slightly more personal with you all.
Last year, I gradually came out to my uni friends and while I’ve generally no memory of it I count this as a blessing. Everyone was relaxed about it, as you’d expect in a group of 17-21 year olds at uni! However a lot of the time, my sexuality bothers me a lot. For example, when in Paris I downloaded Tinder just to have a browse through the girls. Our waitress came over to give Jason his cheesecake and she happened to glance at my phone, leaving me feeling mortified that she’d seen what I was doing. Surely that isn’t normal?
Moving on to what I mainly wanted to say though, I have always dreamt of having kids. The idea of being a mum sounds perfect to me, heck I already know I would opt to be a stay at home mum if the opportunity was there. Now I know that it’s well and truly possible for me to have kids regardless of relationships, I still sometimes feel like the opportunity isn’t as open as it could be. Now before I go any further, this isn’t me saying I want kids now. I’m happy at uni and being young, I’m just talking about in the future. 
There’s fostering and there’s adopting of course, these are the most obvious options. However, here in the UK I’m more likely to be allowed to adopt as a single woman than I am if I was in a same sex relationship. A bit unfair, am I right? So then there’s the IVF option, which costs a mini fortune. Plus there’s the added stress of picking a number to be your kid’s biological dad. This is where my story really begins – it’s a brief one, promise!
A few weeks ago, I was sitting drinking with a few friends in our flat. It was a casual afternoon or evening and we were chatting about who knows what and somehow we ended up on the topic of me having kids and how I wasn’t sure if I’d ever actually have them even though I would love to. At this point, my two friends (both male) decided to announce they’d be happy to help with the IVF process by removing the picking a total stranger aspect. It sounds stupid but since then this idea has sort of stuck a bit. Not necessarily either of the two from that conversation but someone I know and trusted. Both guys said they’d be happy to have no part in the child’s life or whatever (I wouldn’t do that though, they’d be involved as much or as little as they wanted) and it’s just been in the back of my mind ever since. I know that right now I definitely couldn’t have a child. Couldn’t even think of it, even though so many people are getting engaged/married/pregnant at the minute! I even found myself trying to figure out how I’d bring the topic up with them again in 10 years or so if it came to that… From a lot of thinking, I know which of the two I would prefer (nothing against the other) but let’s face it, a lot can change in 10 years. All I know is I’m abnormally broody and felt I had to share it with someone!
Ktkinnes xx