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

Stress

Whether you’re currently stressed, or you’re relaxed and ready to take on the week, stress is something that comes for us all at some point and likes to play havoc with our lives – mentally and physically.

 

Right now, while writing this, I feel a tiny bit stressed. I know I have 6 posts to write up today and this is the first of those, so I want to do the best I can with each of them. It’s not like I can just write them, schedule them, and forget about them again! But overall, I’m not too stressed at the minute. If I stop and think about hosting the GRLPOWR chat on Thursday, then yes I will be quite stressed but we’re trying not to think about that right now. My questions are written up and all I can do now is hope you all come join in.

 

Normally, I get stressed over very trivial things. They may seem trivial to you, or even to me now while I’m reasonably relaxed, but in those moments I get so wound up about the tiniest things. For example, and one my friends won’t let me forget for a long time, we barbecued for 24 people and it reached a stage I just wanted food. Dad sent through the freshly cooked sausages and a few minutes later no one had moved but it was one of those situations where family were waiting to let friends go first and friends were waiting to let family go first, and I just didn’t want to be the first to go. So I waited a few minutes and then went through and told everyone that sausages were ready and they should go get them. Except I may have been rather forceful in how I said it… whoops… Ah well, it meant I could eat!

 

I get stressed if I’m running late for something, if I’m travelling, if I’m organising things, and if people don’t do what they were meant to do when they were meant to do it. Normal things like exams stress me out. I got so worked up when I had to go to my first LGBTQ+ event on my own last year that I ended up crying in Nuala’s room before going. Loud noises, big crowds, tight enclosed spaces… Wow I get stressed over quite a lot!

 

I try not to let these things affect my day-to-day life but sometimes it does get the better of me, and I end up a quivering mess feeling paranoid and struggling to breathe normally. Either that, or I just get angry and/or cry. If you remember back in August during my resits? I was so stressed I cried for 3 hours without stopping – not great! Normally during exams I get stressed because I feel I know nothing so spend all day inside revising and doing nothing else, and then when it comes to bedtime I can’t sleep because I feel guilty for not being up and revising. So I get up and continue revision, and start the next day exhausted. And so the new day brings about revision with very little going in due to the lack of sleep and so the endless cycle begins.

 

However, I know I have at least 3 people who can calm me down when I reach that level of stress. Nuala is great at supporting you and being there for you when you need her, even if the rest of the time she doesn’t give off that impression. The number of times I’ve been stressed and ended up going straight to Nuala to help me calm down and gain some perspective. Jason is also pretty good at calming me down, simply because of the number of times he’s had to in the past! The third actually isn’t in the flat (and this is nothing against Mary – she’s great but I haven’t gone to her when I’m properly stressed yet. But yes, Pablo  (again, he asked for this name on the blog so you won’t know him) has a calming quality that I am drawn to when stressed. I don’t know what it is but he would actually be my first point of call if he wasn’t so flipping busy all the time.

 

So, as you may have noticed, those three are all based in Scotland and it very much depends on if they’re around for me to talk to, so what do I do to destress without them? Well, any form of exercise is good. Even if it’s just a walk, getting into a completely different state of mind is good. Either a hot shower or bath also helps, especially if I can play my music as loud as I want and sing along. Of course, I frequently turn to blogging when I’m stressed – I suppose that makes you a part of my ‘who calms me’ part! Reading, knitting, colouring, anything creative just distracts me and I eventually feel better. Surprisingly, watching TV and films doesn’t actually help me unwind – I do them, but they don’t give me that feeling of clarity that the others do. Funny, considering how much time they take out of my day.

 

How about you? What stresses you out and how do you deal with it? Let me know!

 

Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Lifestyle

Uni and Blogging

For so many of us, there’s that constant choice between university stuff and taking time out for our blog. I mean, I planned to have this post written on Sunday so I could focus on university this week, but I spent so long doing university work that I ended up not getting to spend as much time blogging as I would’ve liked. Sound familiar?

 

Everyone makes promises to themselves that as of the new academic year we will do our best with our workload, and try and keep to the blogging pattern we’ve fallen into over the summer. In fact, it may take me another 3 months to figure out how frequently to post! Honestly. Did a blogging challenge last month and had amazing stats (well, amazing for me anyway, I’m no big blogger) and then this week hits and I’ve noticed a decrease. Is it because everyone’s back to university and school now? Or has my writing actually just gone downhill recently? By the way, these are rhetorical questions.

 

Also, I must apologise, my wifi is misbehaving tonight and the GRLPOWR girls and I are trying to organise Christmas on the account – exciting times ahead so make sure you’re following us on @GRLPOWRCHAT!

 

But yes, I’m getting distracted. As is often the case when blogging. It’s a hobby, somewhere to relax and something to do to pass time, which is why – for me – it’s important to keep it up while back at university. But the struggle of balance is hard.

 

It’s important to find that balance. You don’t want to risk grades dropping, nor do you want to lose any followers or stats. I mean, here I am on my 5th day in a row posting and I’ve got a planned break tomorrow, but I couldn’t not post today otherwise I’d have ruined my posting streak. See what I mean?

 

It’s for this reason that blogging is now what I do just before sleep. I’m really trying this year with university, doing all the extra work and making sure I know everything I’m being told. We’ll see if it’s made any difference come Christmas exams. Even today, hungover as I was from the GULGBTQ+ Launch Night last night, I dragged my rather sleepy and nauseous backside to my lectures and I actually felt better having been to them. I wasn’t lying moping in bed. Instead, I got a good walk, I saw friends who really should’ve been equally as hungover as me, and I felt if I had achieved that then I could achieve anything today!

 

So, while this isn’t a great post on how to juggle the two (yet), I hope you understand now why I may disappear every now and again, and if I don’t make a 9am post I will try and get one up asap.

 

But yes, advice. All I can advise is have a bit of a routine when it comes to how many hours of university work you have to do before you can blog, and keep a diary or planner of what’s happening when so that you can try and move things around better if you need to change plans last minute. I also find it helpful to always have one spare post saved as a draft for if I’ve forgotten to write one or haven’t had time to write the planned one for that day.

 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, there are several blogmas posts needing written!

Ktkinnes xx