Monday, 28 September 2015

20 Things I Love About Myself Challenge

After reading MoanyMouse's challenge and her recommendation of me to do the challenge myself, here I am. I am often told by my friends that I'm too hard on myself and never give myself credit when due, so I figured this post might help me realise that maybe I am a better person than I think I am!

Here are the rules...

  1. Write 20 things you love about yourself… (obvi)  It can be physical, emotional, mental, spiritual…um….nonsensical… Whatever!  It’s all about you so do what you want!
  2. Incorporate a selfie somewhere! (if you want)
  3. Tag other bloggers!  
  4. Revel in the self love!

  1. I love that I've changed. What a massive cliche you may be thinking but I believe I have changed since my secondary school years. I'm not the same person I was at the age of 14-16. Obviously. Duh... People change. 
  2. I love my ability to forgive. You could probably break my heart into a million teeny tiny pieces and I would still forgive you. (P.S this doesn't give you reason to break my heart!) I've found after recent events, I forgave a friend for something they couldn't help. Feelings are feelings. Now, if 15 year old me heard me saying that she would slap me round the face. I used to hold grudges and have so much hatred for people.
  3. I love how strong I am. Both physically and mentally. My fitness levels are higher than ever before and I find myself thinking that if I were as fit as I am now back in high school and participating in sports day I would ace every race. Go me. Go being fit and healthy. Mentally, I'm stronger. This post is becoming a "I'm comparing myself at 19 years old to my 15 year old self". I cope with problems that I face and most importantly I cope with my illness.
  4. I love being proud of myself. Feeling proud of tackling diabetes from the age of 17. I learned to grow up before I even became an adult, I had no choice. 
  5. I love that I can cope with being alone. I like eating alone, working alone, watching films alone and having just general time alone. I believe once you've managed to do things in life by yourself and not feeling lonely, you are capable of anything. BTW there's a difference between being alone and feeling lonely.
  6. I love the natural curls of my hair. I spent my entire secondary school life looking at girls with naturally straight hair and wishing I had that. I would straighten my hair every single day without fail, so much so that people rarely ever saw my natural hair. I'd like to apologise to my hair now for all the heat appliances and that I love you very much now. I may never straighten my hair again because I love my curls. I was born with curly hair. Learn to embrace the curls!
  7. I love how confident I am. I can strut through the high street in a fancy skirt and crop top and feel like a supermodel. I can go out with my hair in a messy bun and no make up and I can also go out with red lippy and thick black eyeliner and feel fabulous either way.
  8. I love my ability to work hard. I have goals and ambitions. I'm going to reach them even if it exhausts me. I am determined.
  9. I love how messy I am, somtimes... Not always but I feel like it's part of my personality. My room will never be tidy, it's just me and that's okay if my floor has been renamed a floordrobe.
  10. I love that I can take criticism. If something's not right, if I've done something wrong I'd rather be told and allow room for me to improvement than to get all narky at the person trying to help me. However, constructive criticism is what I mean not the criticism that is just damn right insulting. Tell me/advise me how to improve just don't knock me down.
  11. I love that I can cook and bake and I'm allowed to say I'm good at it because I make banging dinners for myself (Ugh I said banging, bye world!) and making cakes is therapeutic, good for the mind and calories don't matter.
  12. I love that I read. Sometimes I wonder what I'd enjoy if I hadn't found a love for books and literature. I can't imagine a world without books, without losing myself in fiction and falling in love with characters.
  13. I love that I decided to make this blog. Relating to my previous 'love' about confidence, this blog has helped me along the way. I love projecting my voice online. I love writing about how I feel about real life issues. I love the friends I've made (MoanyMouse, I don't even know your name, why isn't it on your blog??? I feel like a bad friend but I like you lots.) 
  14. I love that I'm academic. I love learning, give me all the knowledge about everything pls.
  15. I love the colour of my eyes and the strange probably unusual black dots (Not my pupils) I can't explain unless you've looked closely at my eyes. 
  16. I love my body. This is something I struggle with on a regular basis but I'm accepting myself now. I am me and I'll probably never looked like Kylie Jenner or Taylor Swift because I love cake and bread too much.
  17. I love that I don't judge people too often. Do what you want. Eat what you want. Dress how you want. Be who you want. I don't care, I won't judge you. 
  18. I love that I don't follow the crowds anymore. I used to feel the need to constantly fit in with everyone around me and be in competition with every single girl I knew. I cut my hair short even though I knew you didn't like it because I'm my own person and your opinion shouldn't affect my choices.
  19. I love that I don't care. I don't care what you think of me. I don't care if you stare. I don't care if you don't like me.
  20. Most of all, I love me. I love who I am today and I hope I love who I am in 5 years time.

This is a strange post for me, please don't think I'm being big headed. (Refer back to the confidence point) I'm not going to tag any other bloggers (Breaking the rules) but if you read and want to do the challenge yourself, feel free. 

Going to end this post with a selfie because the rules say so and we all know I love a good selfie... 

33 Things about Autumn.

It's officially autumn and this year it's becoming my new favourite season. I'm normally a winter girl, that's probably down to the fact I was born in December. This year I'm noticing more about the autumn months and I have a lot more appreciation for the colours, scents and general atmosphere of the season.
  1. Crunchy leaves
  2. Turtlenecks
  3. Crispy mornings
  4. Perfect weather for skirts and jumpers. Not too cold. Not too hot.
  5. The low sun rising in the morning and bouncing off the reflection of windows
  6. Dark lipstick - It's now acceptable to dig out the deep reds and plum purples
  7. Wardrobe colours - Rust, camel, grey, navy
  8. Knitted jumpers
  9. Darker evenings
  10. Apple crumble with custard
  11. Conkers
  12. Hot chocolate with marshmallows (Veggie ones for me though please!)
  13. Trees. You know what I'm talking about. The colours of the leaves
  14. Bonfire night
  15. Hot drinks
  16. New TV seasons begin. I'm talking The Walking Dead and American Horror Story
  17. Fireworks
  18. Halloween
  19. Pumpkin carving
  20. Fluffy socks
  21. Movie nights under blankets that aren't sweating hot like in Summer
  22. Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes
  23. Warm hearty meals e.g. soups, stews, casseroles 
  24. Chelsea boots
  25. Kicking bundles of leaves
  26. Toffee apples
  27. The most incredible sunsets that are always Instagram-able
  28. Mustard coloured clothing. A must
  29. This year have you seen the Starbucks autumn takeaway cups????
  30. Moths
  31. Autumnal candle scents
  32. Layering
  33. The lead up to Christmas officially begins. Santa Claus is coming to town. When is it acceptable to watch Elf? Is September too early? 
What do you enjoy most about autumn?

Friday, 25 September 2015

Mental Health Stigma

With World Mental Health Day approaching on the 10th of October it feels necessary to try and help end the stigma around suffering with mental health problems. Mental health isn't taken as seriously as it should be, people only seem to make awareness and care about the sufferers when something awful has happened due to their mental illness. Normally it's too late to help someone when you find out how much they've been struggling because they've already taken the action towards ending their life. It truly is heartbreaking that the lack of knowledge and lack of believe results in the loss of so many innocent lives a year. Suicide rates show that British men are 3 times more likely to die from suicide attempts than British women.

Now suicide isn't the result of every single diagnosable mental health disorder out there, I'm mainly focusing on depression. I'm a sufferer myself and it's not pleasant. The word depressed is used too commonly as an adjective nowadays "It's raining today, how depressing!"  and it sheds depression in a bad light. The stigma surrounding mental health issues needs to be changed, I'm sick of people assuming that someone suffering with a mental health problem can 'snap out of it'

Depression simply cannot be snapped out of. Symptoms for sufferers are not always identical, one victims experience with depression may be different to the next. 

However the most acknowledged symptoms of depression include:

  • Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Low self-worth
  • Low spirit and enthusiasm for every day life
  • Feeling hopeless/agitated
  • Numbness 
  • Alienating yourself from your loved ones
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Loss of or an increase of appetite
  • Low energy levels
  • Poor concentration
Depression is different to feeling unhappy. You may feel unhappy about a rubbish day at work but someone suffering with depression may have had the best possible day of their lives but feel so completely numb to what is happening. Depression isn't just sadness about typically sad things, it's feeling sad and down for absolutely no reason sometimes. It's not getting out of bed for days at a time because there's no point, you feel like everything in your life is bleak and there is no future or way out which is why it leads to suicide because unless you get the help you need you want out. It's having no care in the world for how you look. There's the guilt you feel for feeling so awful with no real explanation. There's explaining to your manager why you can't get out of bed and them not understanding. It's losing all joy in the activities you once enjoyed, you liked to read? Nope no more. Your bed is your new best friend. It's not having the energy to talk to anybody thus isolating yourself further from the life you once enjoyed. It's knowing you're starving and your belly is rumbling so excessively it's like you haven't eaten in a month but you just don't have the energy to stop hiding under your duvet. It could be insomnia. It could be sleeping all day every day for weeks.

I try to block out the worst parts of my depression from my memory but it should be spoken about. I should not be made to feel ashamed. I should not feel embarrassed. The worst period for me was March-May this year. I saw no future. I had no faith in myself. I had nothing and no one, although I had a room full of people around me. I stopped eating because that's the only thing I could control. Days would go so fast, day in day out spent in bed, alone. Feeling completely alienated from my family. I decided that I didn't care about employment and money, one weekend I just decided that I wasn't going to go back to my job. I stopped turning up to my shifts and never informed my collogues and manager of why. I stopped reading books, I couldn't concentrate on the words in front of me. I couldn't care less about my medication that I was supposed to take. I didn't want to be alive. It broke me into pieces. Constantly feeling numb or feeling extreme happiness and joy for the world or extreme sadness where I thought I'd never be happy again. One day I'd be happy, the next a complete mess and there was nothing for me to identify what I'd be feeling the next day. The worst time for me was around nine consecutive bad days. There was just nothing there, nothing to live for and no one to talk to.

It got better and that's what I want to tell you. If you're feeling anything like I did, or similar feelings you're probably thinking there's no way I'll ever be happy again. Without sounding like a massive cliche, it does get better. I'm not entirely sure how I overcome the worst of it, I'm still not better I have my days where nothing is okay and it never will again but I know now how to control it. 

I keep myself busy, I throw myself into my education, in writing blog posts, into exercising, into laughing, into looking at the beauty around me, in spending time with my friends and family.

I'm thankful I'm here today and I never thought I would be saying this, but over summer some incredible opportunities opened up for me and I have never felt so happy. I passed my AS exams and have entered my second year of A-Levels. I have another job which I enjoy. I have just a small handful of friends who I don't see often but I'm grateful for their presence in my life. I'm back in my happy world of books, I cannot stop reading. I'm reviewing books for an actual company. I have family who care, who make me laugh and make my days more enjoyable. Most importantly I have my mum. My mum is my best friend and I truly believe I wouldn't be here if she hadn't supported me. 

Depression isn't glitter, sunshine and rainbows. It's real. It's a valid reason for not going to work today. Your feelings are always valid. It's possible to get better. 

I didn't intend for this post to get so heartfelt and personal, probably too revealing but I want people to realise it's okay to feel like this and there is a way out. 

Again, sorry for the over shared information but I hope this is informative and as real as can be.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Ellie Goulding at The Roundhouse

Flashback to last week when I received an email telling me I had won tickets for myself and a guest to see Ellie Goulding at the opening night of Apple Music Festival (Was once called The iTunes festival). It's safe to say I freaked out. I entered the competition with no high hopes in winning, but clearly luck is on my side this year because earlier on I also won a domino's pizza. I have liked/loved (Trying not to be a massive fan girl) Ellie since I was about 13 so winning these tickets was a dream come true...

I took my mum along with me. My mum and I are literally best friends and she wouldn't say no to mother/daughter time, especially when it involved a trip to London.

Off we headed to Camden. Ever since my first trip to London probably when I was 14 I have loved Camden and still do. I love the hustle and bustle of Camden market, the variety of cuisines (You've probably heard about the bang bang chicken...) the wide diversity of personalities, the sounds of typical London traffic, market hustlers and just the general atmosphere. Even more so on a Saturday evening.

First stop, food.

In the week leading up to the event I was frantically googling and researching suitable places to eat, finding the perfect place for a vegan to eat. Luckily my mum supports me in my food choices and she'll happily eat vegetarian/vegan food also.

I found this place called My Village Cafe, I was weary because I couldn't find much information online, however I was not disappointed. The cafe itself is intimate (Maybe the wrong choice of word but you get my drift) the tables are all quite close together, you really felt like you knew everybody around you. Upon entering, before even sitting down I knew I was going to love it. Inside it was dark but vibrant and that's because of the people inside. None of the interior matched, it was unique. Wooden tables and stools, fairy lights and small picnic like tables with a chessboard style top. Feeling like I had entered a fairy tale setting, I laughed to my mum that I felt as if there should have been a witches cauldron in the middle bubbling away.

Hungry, extremely hungry after working an 8 hour shift beforehand, we sat and gazed at the menu in wonder. The drink selection was incredible, herbal teas, fresh fruit and vegetable juices, milkshakes and coffee's. All available with the option for dairy free (For the coffee's and milkshakes). I had an iced coffee made with soya milk and my mum had a mint and ginger herbal tea. The food menu didn't have a large selection of choice, however the dishes that were on offer supplied at least probably your 10-a-day...


Our starters included a small tub of houmous with fresh warm pitta breads and a soup they call Grandma's Soup which I'm not certain what it contained but it seemed like lentils! Our mains were a massive plate of nutritional goodness of beetroot, falafel, cucumber, pepper, chickpeas, more houmous, kidney beans, salad leaves, a mint dip and probably many other forgotten but yummy ingredients. I highly recommend this cafe, reasonably priced, polite and enthusiastic staff members, great service, yummy food and beautiful surroundings. 

After food we had a wander around Camden until it was time to enter the venue.

The famous Amy Winehouse statue.

I didn't realise there was a branch of the Cereal Killer Cafe in Camden and now I wished I hadn't already eaten a massive plate of food because every cereal looked amazing. The cafe is so aesthetically pleasing. 

Offering a large selection of cereal from across the globe. You have your typically British cereals like Kellogg's, Coco Pops and Shreddies and then the most incredible American cereal range offering Lucky Charms, Froot Loops and Cinnabon. Not only do they supply such global cereals with so many choices, there's the option for various milks too so if you have dietary requirements you are catered for. They stock all dairy free milks. Once you've chosen your cereal and milk, there's the choice of toppings ranging from fruit, nuts and obviously the most unhealthiest toppings (Magic stars, party rings and marshmallows being a few). Their range of pop tarts flavours is incredible, definitely check those out. Seeing as it is breakfast foods toast is available with a variety of spreads including peanut butter and popping candy spread!!!!?

Houses in London are beautiful, right? 

Now for the real reason I was in London. Ellie Goulding.

I've never been in the Roundhouse until last weekend, it was amazing. Modern and easy to navigate yourself around. My mum and I ordered a few alcoholic drinks from the bar, let's not talk about the prices... It probably would have been cheaper to go to the Sainsbury's outside, buy a bottle of vodka and neck it before we went in... That's a joke. I'm classier than that, I promise.

The supporting act was the stunning Andra Day. Originally from California, a singer who begun after being found on Youtube. Her music is soulful and quite jazzy. She rocked it. She reminded me of a mix between Paloma Faith and the late Amy Winehouse.

At the beginning of Ellie's set I was near the back because we decided we wanted drinks during the break between Andra and Ellie and lost our pretty decent places. However as the night progressed I ended up closer to the stage. I could spend the next few paragraphs talking about how absolutely incredible, amazing and talented Ellie is but I'll keep it brief. She never fails to make me smile, especially when she performed my favourite songs Ritual, Lights and now currently her newest single On My Mind which I may add Saturday evening was the first time she played it live. It gives me goosebumps to think how lucky I am. She is so so so wonderful. 

Her set list included her feature tracks Powerful (Major Lazer), Outside (Calvin Harris) and her cover of Elton John's Your Song and also the track that featured on this years release of 50 Shades of Grey 'Love Me Like You Do'. 

If you follow me on Instagram you would have already seen a couple of these photos. My outfit for the night was this stunning Topshop skirt that I brought a few days before on Depop, my style doesn't normally include midi skirts because I've always thought they don't suit me as I'm quite short, however this skirt has changed my life. So swish and floaty and sparkling, I felt bloody great. Crop top is from Missguided, purchased just before Christmas last year and this was only it's 2nd outing, I clearly don't go out enough to wear glamorous booby pieces of clothing. I paired it with a pair of chunky black platform boots.

I had the loveliest day, Ellie Goulding reminded me why I love her, the food I ate was delicious and the mother/daughter time was the best.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Summer Book Haul

I'm fully aware that we're halfway through September and summer is well and truly over. However, I'm back at college now and I've been super busy writing essays, sleeping, working weekends at stupid hours, eating lots and working out so trying to sit down and write a blog post has been hard. I can only apologize, it's only been 6 days since my last post but it feels like decades. 

Over the summer I read a decent amount of books and my goal for this year is to read 40 books, I'm currently on the 30th book as we speak. This post is a summary of the books I read this summer with a brief plot explanation (No spoilers this time!!!) 

Listed from my least favourite to my favourite.

1. Astonishing the Gods - Ben Okri
A tale of a man seeking invisibility on an island, full of fantasy and strange happenings. So surreal I felt like I was in some twisted unexpected fairytale. A quick, short, easy read that I would recommend if you're not a massive reader and have a short attention span.
Not a piece of fiction I enjoyed unfortunately, that doesn't make it a bad novel I simply just didn't like it. 

2. Lolita - Vladmir Nabokov 
A well known, well acknowledged classic telling the story of Humbert who's deep fascination with underage girls ends him up in prison. Definitely not a light hearted read but an interesting piece of fiction. Considering its contents and forbidden nature I loved it, it was a slow read that demanded my full attention and I recommend reading it.
If you haven't already seen I've written a full review of this novel already, link here.

3. A Gift to Remember - Melissa Hill
Set in New York at Christmas (Dreamy location) I absolutely loved this novel. Following Darcy, a woman living a mediocre life in New York City working at a bookstore when one morning she's involved in an accident. Although unharmed, the man she collided with ends up in hospital with memory loss. Darcy takes it upon herself to help the man remember who he is, Darcy has read many books where the protagonist goes on adventure and believes the naivety of fiction. She feels obliged to help the man because she feels so guilty about colliding with him.
A book of Christmas chaos, a large dog, books and strong wanderlust for NYC.
I connected with Darcy and her love of literature and bookstores.

4.Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage - Haruki Murakami
My opinion is most certainly bias as I'm in love with Murakami's style of writing. This novel tells the story of protagonist Tsukuru and his friendship group and how they all suddenly dropped Tsukuru from their circle like he didn't even exist anymore. Tsukuru as an adult makes it his mission to discover why they abandoned him.
A tale of true friendship, growing up and unconditional love.

5.Norwegian Wood - Haruki Murakami
Another one of Murakami fabulously written novels that I adored. Although I think this story is one of Murakami's most praised novels, it's my favourite. The tale of Toru going through college education and being swooned by females. He's in love with a girl called Naoko and the book explores the person she is now in the present day, struggling with mental health after the deaths of her boyfriend Kizuki and her older sister. Toru takes a journey to visiting Naoko in the institution she's staying at, in the middle of pretty much nowhere it's a place of retreat and calm. He meets several very different personalities throughout the book, documenting his own mental health and his feelings and emotions towards the opposite gender.
I will most definitely read this again.

I still have a good few books to get through in the last 3 months of 2015 to reach my goal but I'm determined to do it. Last year I read 27 and this year I'm on my 30th so I'm beating that record.

Do you have any book recommendations? 

Friday, 4 September 2015

London Photo Set

It's a ritual for my mum and I to take a trip to London on one of the last days of the summer holidays. This year my little sister came along and we enjoyed a lot of yummy food, including sweet potato and chickpea burgers from Borough Market and pizza and garlic bread from our favourite affordable restaurant in London called Garfunkels. 

I live reasonably close to London, a brief 22 miles away so I find myself in the city quite often. There's always something new to see or a place you've never explored before, for instance Covent Garden this summer has an exhibition of balloons. It's weird but fascinating and a marvel to look at and obviously, completely Instagram worthy. 

The Harry Pottoer store at Kings Cross station is one of my favourite places in the city. Being the big Harry Potter fan I am, I absolutely love all the merchandise and the beauty of the set and props. Kings Cross is the famous station regarding HP fans as it's where platform 9 and 3/4 is situated. I like to pretend it's real. Honestly guys, it exists. Not only is there a gift shop but there's also the opportunity to pretend you're crashing through the wall with your trolley and have your photo taken. My sister purchased the Bertie Bott's jelly beans that are so typically a feature on The Hogwarts Express and on a pit stop to Starbucks we dived in, in both fear and excitement over the strange flavours. I happened to pick one which was soap flavoured and for the rest of the day I could taste washing up liquid. There's a vomit flavoured one (Yes, gross. My only question is, how did they get it to taste of vomit? Who's vomit is it? It is Daniel Radcliffe's?) 

Recently opened in the last few months is a 3 floored Lush store on Oxford Street. I've heard a lot of bloggers raving about this store and oh my, it's beautiful. Not only does it smell absolutely incredible, it's vibrant, spacious and full of the friendliest staff members who are always on hand to help. This branch of Lush has limited edition products, products that you might not find in your nearest local Lush. Browsing the three floors of beauty goodness, I couldn't decide what to buy so unfortunately I didn't purchase anything (I now regret that!). However, with the revamp of this Lush store I am so so SO gutted that my favourite bath bomb Space Girl has been discontinued. Not ending on a sad note, if you happen to find yourself in London, take a trip to Oxford Street, have a browse in the magnificent store and inhale the mixture of citrus, floral and sweet smells. 

Every time I travel to London the architecture never fails to amaze me. I could spends hours walking round the city lusting over the buildings, I mean just look at the ceiling of Kings Cross station. Mesmerisingly beautiful. 

What are you favourite things to do in London? Sights? And favourite foody heavens? 

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

What I Ate Wednesday | | Food Post

This is my first What I Ate Wednesday and I'm pretty excited, I love love LOVE food and making meals for myself. I don't have the perfect diet, I mean does anyone? I've seen a couple of bloggers/youtubers doing this post and I thought I'd join in. I'm currently still on my summer holidays so it enables me to have a more homemade lunch rather than a quickly made sandwich and some fruit. Being at home means I can make more meals that take time and that's one thing I'm going to miss when I go back to college next week. My meals are quite repetitive because I get obsessed with a certain meal and decide to have it 24/7 so I probably won't do these posts every week because you will get bored. 

Breakfast - Chocolate porridge with peanut butter
A couple of months back I discovered the magic of overnight oats and ever since I've been having them every single day. Before I go to bed, 50g of plain rolled oats, 200ml of almond milk (or your preferred milk) and 7g of cocoa powder left overnight for the oats to soften and then in the morning, heat it up, add a spoonful of peanut butter and your porridge is SO creamy and soft.

Lunch - Scrambled egg and spinach with wholemeal toast and avocado

If you know me, you know I have an extreme obsession with both avocado and peanut butter (Not together, that might be weird) so you should probably expect to see those frequently. Lunch today was scrambled egg made with 2 egg whites and 1 yolk and fresh spinach. Chuck it all in a shallow pan or saucepan and continuously stir otherwise you'll have an omelette instead of scrambled. One slice of a wholemeal bloomer loaf toasted with around half an avocado/50g of mashed avocado spread on with a sprinkling of pepper. I'm loving this meal at the minute and I've been having it every lunch time with no regrets. 

Dinner - 'Chicken' and couscous

I'm unsure what to call this dish, it's simply just a few ingredients thrown together because there's not much in my house at the moment. Quorn chicken pieces, sweetcorn, courgette and spinach drenched in soy sauce laid on a bed of couscous. A simple meal to make, taking me around 20 minutes to put together, includes some of your 5-a-day and is super yummy. 

That's all I'll probably eat today because I've had quite a stationary day lounging around watching films. I hope you like this new post and seeing what I eat! 

Comment below if you've like me to do this often. 

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Back to School

It's officially September, that both means it's (kinda) autumn and unfortunately back to education for many people. Whether that be school, college or university I'm going to compile a few tips for surviving the upcoming year and to persuade you to buy some cute stationery.

  1. Don't panic. Easier said than done, but if you're entering a new year of education I know for a fact it makes me anxious and I can't speak for everyone. Be prepared for your first day back and remember that a lot of students also feel anxious. 
  2. Plan ahead. Don't leave it to last minute, eg the day before you return back to learning to buy everything you need whether that's uniform or stationery. To help with this point, buy a planner to record deadlines, meetings, inset days, holidays, appointments and everything that may cause you stress if you forget. I've never done this before because I always felt like I was organized (I was wrong.) so this year as I'm entering my second year of A-Levels I'm going to be buying a planner to organize my workload. I'm all for supporting independent artists and shops so Etsy is a given when online shopping for stationery. Here, here (especially this one, it's super cute and reasonably priced) and most importantly here for a Harry Potter themed planner!!!
  3. Buy cute stationery. A new academic year gives you the excuse to buy a whole new haul of stationery. I think it also gives you some motivation, if your stationery is looking cute then you're going to want to use it! Paperchase is one of my stationery heavens, full of fun looking animal prints, unicorns, glitter, fairies and accessories with food on. I mean who doesn't want erasers that are shaped like ponies? Recently discovered is Sticker Stack with a range of absolutely adorable stationery items including notebooks, planners, pencil cases and stickers with animals on because we all need those sourced from Japan and Korea. 
  4. Make sure you have a bag that will hold everything you need on a daily basis. This includes textbooks (If you're somebody who has to carry around several heavy books, I recommend getting a more heavy duty bag. You don't want your books falling on the floor in a school corridor, this isn't an American high school movie and a cute boy probably won't help you pick it all up) notebooks, stationery, books for your own leisure reading, food (!!) and drinks (!!), make up/hair products and perhaps space for clothing items, eg coats and scarves.
  5. Fresh starts. So maybe last year you didn't do as well as you wanted to on that assignment or your attendance wasn't brilliant, a new academic year is a perfect chance to start new. Forget last year (Don't forget what you learned though, that might be important this year. Hahaha.) and start new, make amends with people (Teachers, I know that sometimes they can be scary and intimidating) and work hard.
Now for when you've actually returned to education.
  1. Breakfast. Eating a good healthy breakfast before your day boosts your concentration and prevents a mid morning dip. 
  2. Hydration. Water, don't forget to take a bottle of water with you on your day. 
  3. Time. Give yourself enough time in the morning to get up, get ready, eat breakfast and then make your journey to school/college/university. The last thing you want is to be late on your first day! Make a good impression for the first week and then if it all goes down hill further in the year, it's okay... No, I'm kidding. 
  4. Notes. I don't know about you but I'm an efficient learner when I take pages and pages of notes, it's when I take in the most information. Find out what kind of learner you are. 
  5. Take time for yourself and friends. Education is important yes, but give yourself time for the activities you like to do outside of studying. Have coffee with your friends. Watch your favourite TV show. Just don't forget about what you need to do to pass your exams/tests/assignments. Allow yourself relaxation time. 
(Credit due to Pinterest)

I hope these tips are useful for you and if you're not actually in education anymore that doesn't mean you can't buy any new stationery. 

Where do you buy your stationery from? Any online stores to recommend? Independent sellers?

Also, what are your top tips for a new academic year?