Why appearance isn’t everything

I think in today’s society we’re far too worried about what we look like. We fuss at ourselves in the mirror trying to achieve perfection. We feel self conscious if we don’t look our absolute best. We judge people based on their clothes, whether they have any makeup on, whether they’ve got their roots showing, or whether they’re covered in dirt. We often don’t know that person’s story. For all ย we know, they might not be wearing any makeup because they’ve ran out and haven’t had chance to pick up anymore, they might be covered in dirt because they’ve been running around after their children in a park, and they might not have got their roots done because they’ve just paid for their son’s new school uniform.

I’m guilty of worrying about my appearance all the time. My job at Next often requires me to go to work in my scruffy clothes when I’m working in the stock room, and as soon as I get on the tram in my ripped jeans and oversized tops, I feel as if all eyes are on me, as if to say, why are you wearing that? When I’m on the shop floor, I have to wear smart clothes, and it’s only then that I feel like I blend in, and that’s not right.

I’m the type of woman who feels like they can’t leave the house without their lipstick, that their shoes have to be perfectly polished, that their hair has to be perfectly tamed. The thought of leaving the house in old clothes fills me with dread.I want to take pride in my appearance but then sometimes I think that I’m over worrying. As long as I’m happy and comfortable… does it really matter?

I think the real issue is that we’re too busy worrying about what everyone else thinks. Often they’re people that we don’t even know and probably will never see again. Even worse, sometimes it’s people we know, people who love us, and we’re worrying about what they’ll be thinking. The truth is, if they love us, then they’ll love us regardless of what we look like.

We’re also too busy worrying about what everyone is doing. If that woman on the bus looks tired and weary, and looks as if she’s forgot to brush her hair, and her makeup’s smudged, then leave her alone. Maybe there’s a reason that she looks like that. And if there’s not, then good for her. She probably doesn’t care about your appearance that much, so why should you be worrying about her’s?

It’s time we stopped mindlessly judging.ย We’re all adults here. Let’s behave like we are.

What do you think?

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Natural hair, no makeup, who cares?

Where have I been?

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This summer is turning out to be a particularly busy one… and I’m loving it. I really feel as if I’m fulfilled, as if I’m getting something out of my life. I’m happy, I’m making the most of things, and yet I don’t stressed, I just feel excited for the future.

I’ve recently taken on a role as News Writer for Kettle magazine, which is an online magazine that promotes student journalism. I’ve been writing for them for the last year, tending to sway towards writing lifestyle pieces, but when an opportunity to write for their news team came up, I put myself forward, as I thought it would be a great opportunity to step away from the norm and to try something new. It’s actually really refreshing to write something different!

In terms of my personal life, I’ve been spending a lot of time with my family and Rich’s family. I’ve been catching up with my parents and my siblings, spending time exploring bits of Manchester and just generally having down time. I’ve also spent a few lovely days with friends, eating delicious foods and doing bits of holiday shopping.

Me and Rich have spent the last couple of weekends down in Birmingham which is where Rich’s parents live, and it’s been great to chill out and relax in the garden on sunny days. Not last weekend, but the weekend before, we went to see Mamma Mia the musical, which was absolutely brilliant. I’m not sure it was exactly Rich’s thing, but I loved it. Last night we went on a pub crawl and then clubbing in Birmingham with friends which was fun, though I feel like a bit of a grandma as I was craving my bed pretty early into the night!

In terms of my blog, I’m definitely going to have some new pieces up in the next two weeks. I’m off to Anglesey on Thursday night through till Sunday for some R and R, so I promise to document the trip and to hopefully take some pictures of the gorgeous scenery. For now, you can click here and check out my latest blog post which is a piece of prose poetry that I’ve been working on.

I hope that you’re all having a lovely summer, whatever it is that you’re doing. Let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments below ๐Ÿ™‚

Love from Beth x

 

The City

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It inhales the early morning air, fresh, tangent with diesel, with petrol, with a sort of smog that fills your lungs. It’s a concrete jungle inhaling the smell of panic and thriving on the worry that seems to infect the rush hour crowd like a plague. It towers, ย it’s waiting to conquer the urban wastelands on the outskirts that have not yet admitted that there’s no escaping the giant beating heart that is engulfing the core. At times it is deceitful, it offers an adrenaline rush to the susceptible, a feeling that at first is warm and inviting, that makes it seem like it is humming, buzzing with excitement. It poses as a metropolis of life, and you can become tricked by this mirage. It’s only as the clock ticks on, when darkness cloaks the skyline, that the cracks of society can be seen. There’s a sense of desolation in the midst of the morning before the city awakes and the cycle repeats itself.

Student Guide: Why it’s important to think before you choose your university course

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I think a lot of seventeen year olds out there feel like they HAVE to go to university. As soon as you’re in year 12 you’re told you have to start filling out UCAS forms, that you need to start spending every weekend travelling up and down the country visiting universities, and that you need to decide what it is that you want to do for the rest of your life. You start to feel really pressured, and you lend up deciding something that you might lend up regretting two years later.

Sometimes that’s how I feel. As many of you know, I’m an undergraduate at the University of Chester and I study BA English Literature and Creative Writing. I chose to study my subject as I’ve always loved to read, ever since my dad read Harry Potter to me when I was a little girl. I spent the majority of my childhood scouring car boot sales for books, persuading my parents to just get me books for Christmas, and spending hours holed up in my bedroom devouring words. Therefore, when it got to the time where I had to decide what I wanted to study, I thought English Literature would be the perfect course for me.

Two years later, I wouldn’t neccessarily agree. Although I do enjoy the majority of my course, I don’t enjoy all of it. Sometimes I feel unmotivated by some of my modules, and I find reading to become tedious. This happened to me so much so in my first year of uni, that I no longer read for pleasure anymore. Luckily my second year modules excited me much more, and I now read ALL the time again. It’s rare you’ll find me going anywhere without a book in hand. My third year modules don’t excite me quite as much, but this year I’m determined that I’m not going to let it get me down.

I think the problem for me ย is that I chose my course too soon. I don’t think I fully read up on what it would entail. Sometimes I sit in my lectures, and find that the majority of my peers seem so much more knowledgeable about English theory than myself. They know about Marxist theories, they’re strong feminists, and they really seem to relate to nineteenth century characters in a way that I just can’t. I do, however, really enjoy my Creative Writing modules. I love writing poetry, I’ve really enjoyed a module I took on an insight into the publishing world, and I’m excited to try out life writing in the upcoming year. I’ve also chosen my dissertation topic, which is to be an indepth discovery into folklore and legends, and their evolution through literature.

I think if I’d have been choosing my university course now, I would go down a different path. I know now that I want a career in marketing, and I think I would have chosen a marketing degree. At the time I was choosing, I really felt that I didn’t get much advice from my tutors at my college. I felt rushed and I felt I had to choose something that I’d studied before. I guess there’s nothing familiar in the unknown.

I think my advice to sixth form students getting ready to choose their university courses in the upcoming months is to find something that you enjoy, but also to look at possible career paths afterwards. Try and speak to people who have done similar degrees. And if you’ve already started your course and you’re already hating it, then think about making a switch. Don’t spend three years doing something that you don’t love.

Monday blues

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Hi all, I first of all want to address the issue of my infrequent posting the last two weeks, I feel as if I’ve really neglected my blog and of course all of you guys. I think my main reason has been simply down to lack of time, and also the fact that I seem to have hit a bit of a writer’s block. Do any of you out there ever feel like that?

Maybe it’s because it’s a Monday, which has always been my least favourite day of the week, and the fact that the skies outside my window are no longer blue, but I feel a bit of a case of hitting a slump. I’m feeling unmotivated to write, and unmotivated to express myself. I’m by no means unhappy, in fact I feel content… and I’m starting to think that’s why I’m feeling this way.

I’m starting to realise that my best posts, my posts which you guys enjoy, are when there’s genuine emotion behind them and excitement, and I’ve been reluctant to post anything which hasn’t been to that standard. I want my words to dance on the page, I want them to stick with you, to make you think, for them to challenge your train of thought. I don’t want you to get bored halfway through or to feel as if you’ve lost interest of the things I have to say.

I think I can see a light at the end of the tunnel though, so don’t worry, I’ll be back to writing soon, but I just wanted to keep you all informed on the lack of recent posts.

As always, thank you for sticking with me, and I hope you enjoy the posts that I’m sure will spring to mind very soon. If you have any ideas of how I can get out of my slump quicker, or if there are any posts that you would ย particularly like to see, then do let me know as it would be a great help!

Love from Beth x

Student guide: What to take to university

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I know it’s that time of year where a lot of you out there will be getting ready to move out to university for the first time. As you prepare to go off to university for the first time, it can be a very daunting process. I should know, as that was me just two years ago! You have all of your friends and family trying to convince you that you need everything from a torch to a lifetime’s supply of pegs, but in truth, those are the items that are going to either sit in boxes underneath your bed for the entire year, or they’ll be sat in a corner, taking up what little space there already is in your tiny room.

But don’t worry, I have you covered. Follow this list carefully, and you’ll find moving out for the first time to be a breeze.

The boring (but important!) stuff

– Passport

– Driving licence (or provisional)

– University acceptance, course acceptance letter and details of your accomodation

– National Insurance number

– Passport photos

– Bank details (and bank cards!)

– Student loan details

Technology and electricals

– Laptop and charger

– Phone and charger (possibly take a spare just in case)

– Headphones

– Memory stick

– Hair straighteners

– Plug socket

– Desk lamp

Stationary

– Files

– Notebooks

– Pens

– Pencils

– Planner

– Stapler

– Hole punch

– Desk organiser

Kitchen (applicable even if you’re living in catered halls)

– A recipe book (preferably one with quick and easy meal ideas)

– A supply of food (tins, pasta, crisps and snacks etc)

– Cordial

– A supply of tea and coffee

– Frying pan

– Saucepan

– Cutlery

– Glasses

– Scissors

– Sharp knife

– Mugs

Bedroom

– Bed sheets (and spares)

– Duvet set with pillowcases (and spares)

– Decorations (e.g an ornament, candles, plant, photos)

– Mattress protector

– Clothes horse

– Washing basket

– Clothes hangers

– Door stop

Bathroom

– Towels

– Paracetamol/ Ibuprofen

– Cold remedies

– Shampoo

– Conditioner

– Flip flops (in the case of a shared bathroom)

– Shower gels

– Body lotions

– Tampons (in the case of females)

– Plasters

– A toilet roll

– Hand wash

Other bits and piecesย 

– Clothes (post on this to follow)

– Alcohol

– Bottle opener

– Books

– DVDs

– Fancy dress costume

Hopefully this has been helpful to all of you new students out there. Best of luck, and happy moving ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m feeling at peace

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For the first time in months, I finally feel at peace. I think that’s because the last six months or so have been a blur of coursework, exams, train journeys, job interviews and a tonne of stress. However this week, I’m finally feeling a bit more settled with my life and where things are going. It seems to help that I’m filling my life with as much positivity as possible whether that’s in terms of work, in terms of family, and in terms of my social life. ย Me and Rich also renewed the tenancy on our flat for another year last month, so it’s nice to know that that’s all sorted out too.

I’ve settled into my new job and am finding myself enjoying the routine of it all. I’ve been training in the stock room and on the sales floor which has meant having to learn lots of new things, and also has had me pushing myself out of my comfort zone as I’ve been meeting lots of new people and getting used to a new environment. I was pretty worried about how often I would be working etc, but I’ve been lucky in that my contract means ย I don’t have to work weekends, something which is really important to me, as Rich works full time in the week, and the weekend tends to be the time where we spend some time together whether that’s visiting a new place, visiting family, or just relaxing at home.

I’ve also had great news as I’ve passed my second year of uni! I don’t know what my overall grade for the year is yet, but I know I’ve managed to achieve a 1:1 in my Publishing module, and 2:1’s in my Poetry and Work Based Learning modules which I’m really proud of. Uni has had me feeling quite unsettled this year, as at the end of my first year I didn’t do as well as I hoped and even considered giving it up. Now I’ve reached the end of this year, I’m so glad that I didn’t. Commuting to uni has really helped me to focus on what’s important in terms of my studies and I’m grateful for that as I want to give myself the best start in life possible.

A couple of weeks ago you guys might have read my post on driving lessons. That post was written at a time when I was feeling really down about my lessons and was even considering giving them up altogether. After a lot of consideration, I decided that I needed to make a change, and in my case, that change was switching driving instructors… for the third time. Okay, so I know it seems ridiculous, but I just wasn’t gelling with my second instructor. I was feeling stressed and angry after every lesson as I felt that I wasn’t really making any progress, and it struck me as strange that as a learner with over forty hours of driving experience under my belt, I was still driving around quiet side streets. Therefore, I switched for the third (and hopefully final) time. This time I think I’ve struck lucky, as after only three hours of tuition with my new instructor, he’s advised me to book my driving test, which I have! It turns out I’m not a terrible driver after all. We’ve been working on roundabouts, driving on country roads, hill starts and manoeuvres, so hopefully by the end of this year I’ll finally have my own car…. hopefully.

So there you go. That’s why I’m finally starting to feel a bit more at peace with everything. How are you finding your peace?