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things i'm excited to do now i've finished education

If you didn't already know, I finished my a-levels this year so I am officially out of education (for now). I've managed to find myself a new full time job in a hotel as a part of the Front Of House team and I am loving it so far! Even now that I'm working full time, I still have more free time than I ever did whilst at sixth form because I no longer have to go to school or revise for nay exams. So here is a list of things I plan on doing with my spare time now that I couldn't always do whilst doing my a-levels...



blog/photography 
Whilst at sixth form, particularly in my second year, I was unable to focus on my blog as much as I would've liked to and earlier this year I even took a short break as the workload was too much for me. Now I've finished I have so much more time to create blog posts and work on my photography which makes me so so happy!

spend more time with my boyfriend
I've already done more of this throughout the summer, but this is something I definitely want to make a priority. During my a-levels my relationship took a backseat which was not good at all, so now I can't wait to continue making more memories.

scrapbook!
My scrapbook is currently (and has been for the past 6 months) sitting under my bed because I've just had no time to add to it. I have so many things to add to it which I am so excited about because my scrapbook is something I genuinely love looking through and being creative with.

travel
I've already been to 4 new countries this year which I'm super happy about, and in the next year I want to double that! I already have a cruise booked for next summer with my family and I have a few ideas for other trips, so keep an eye out for a few more travel posts ;)


tidy
Okay, I know this one sounds a little bit weird, but hear me out. When I was doing my a levels I neglected so many aspects of my life, including my living space (which made me 10x more stressed!!). Now I have so much more time to make my bedroom a nicer place to be, which I've spoken a lot about in this post, which overall improves my mental health and my stress levels.

draw


watch netflix/films/youtube
Of course, this had to be on my list. I am so excited to watch as many films/series/youtubers as I want without the guilt of a deadline looming in the back of my mind.

guitar (?)
This is one I'm not 100% sure I'll do, but my guitar has been sat in my room for years now and I would love to get back into it. I used to love learning songs off YouTube so I'm hoping to do more of that now I have more time!

gym
Now I have no excuse to not go to the gym, especially with it being so close to me! I'm going to try and get back into fitness slowly, and I've already started going back to my dance classes every week which has been so good for me physically and mentally.

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What do you like to do with your free time? Comment down below!
See you next week!
- Charlotte x


small changes i've made to help save the planet


Last year, it was announced by scientists that we have 12 years to limit a climate change catastrophe

By 2050, there is estimated to be more plastic in the ocean than fish.


As humans, we need to change our habits and behaviours quickly. Of course, living a waste free lifestyle or going vegan overnight would be incredibly difficult for myself and many people, which is why we should all start with small changes.

The smallest changes, when done by the majority, can make a huge difference. Here are a few lifestyle changes I have made in the past 6 months which are simple and effective...

Re-usable bags

Instead of buying plastic bags everytime you do a Tesco shop, why not buy one sustainable bag to use again and again? Or, if you already have plastic bags in your house, keep using them. This will reduce the amount of plastic ending up in our ocean.

Re-usable cotton pads

As you can see in the picture above, I bought some re-usable cotton pads and they are a game changer. You can buy them online, and they are so much better for the environment because all you have to do is wash them to use them again! They are also super soft.

Reduce meat consumption 

The meat industry is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. I haven't gone completely vegetarian (despite a few attempts) but the only meats I really eat now are chicken, ham and the occasional sausage. I also try and use almond milk where I can and other alternatives.

Packaging-free soap

Earlier this year I bought a solid facial cleanser from Lush which had no plastic packaging. Although slightly more expensive than the average face wash, I think if you can afford it is so worth it! It was also great for my skin and I will hopefully be buying another one soon. 

Re-use creatively

Re-using old items and making them into something new is something I've done a lot of this year. For example, if you have a candle that has burnt out, you could clean it out and use it as a pot for your makeup brushes! This is something I've done and it reduces the amount of waste going into landfill.

Shop smarter 

Something I was unaware of is how fast fashion is impacting our planet. For those who don't know, fast fashion refers to retailers producing cheap clothes quickly to keep up with the latest fashion trends. This leads to consumers buying clothes they don't need and will often not wear more than a couple of times, which leads to it being thrown away and ending up in landfill. Buying clothes second hand and only when you really need them is something I've been doing more of, which has saved me money too! Next time you go to buy an item of clothing, ask yourself the following questions:

Do I really need this?
Have I already got something similar?
How many times will I wear this?

Re-usable water bottle 

Similar to plastic bags - buying one durable water bottle and refilling it is so much more eco-friendly than buying single-use plastic bottles! I've got a Chilly's one, and although this is slightly more expensive, you can get cheap ones in places like Wilkos and Morrisons.

Living a more minimalistic lifestyle

This is a change I've made in my life in the past couple of months and it is one of the best things I've done. I spoke about it in more detail in this post.

Spreading the word about the issue at hand

Talk about climate change. Spread the word. Protest. Tell your family and friends and anyone you possibly can about what we can do to make a difference. 

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If you have any more suggestions please comment them down below! It's so important that everyone makes changes to their lives no matter how big or small, so hopefully this post will give a little inspiration.
- Charlotte x

my journey towards a minimalistic lifestyle


Hi guys!
This post is about a new lifestyle I'm trying to adopt and my journey towards achieving it, and that lifestyle is minimalism. This is just the first post of many and I am going to post more updates as the weeks go on, using this blog as a sort of diary for it! So the first question many of you might have is...

What is minimalism?

A minimalistic lifestyle is living with fewer physical possessions, to put it simply. It's living with less items to be able to focus on the more important things in life. We live in a consumerist society and many people believe that to be happy we must be wealthy and own lots of things, when this is definitely not the case. Minimalism is about finding happiness within yourself and not your physical possessions.

Why minimalism?

Getting a new bed (which I am in love with) was my motivation for this lifestyle. I went from a single bed to a small double (pictured above) which takes up more room in my bedroom. This means I have a lot less space around my bed and so I want to make sure I own a lot less to free up some space. A lot of the things in my room I don't use and I feel like I'm wasting so many possessions that someone else could potentially love and use!

Another main factor in my decision was stress. I find that when my bedroom is messy with things cluttered everywhere, my mind is impacted. The way I see it is, the less items I own, the less items there are to create a mess! I want to be able to come home from a stressful day at work to a tidy, de-cluttered bedroom.

I've been following the blog Becoming Minimalist for a while now and seeing their posts really inspired me to adopt a similar lifestyle. Another huge inspiration is Kyra Ann on Youtube, who lives a very minimalistic lifestyle and makes very insightful and helpful videos on it. My good friend Gina who I went to school with is also someone who inspired me to 'live simpler'.

What I've done so far

The first thing I did was simply throw out things I don't need. I didn't do this with all my stuff, only a small amount, but already I can see a difference! For example, I had many cardboard boxes from items I had bought, such as the box my old camera came in, which I still had for some reason! So I recycled all of those and already I had much more room for items I actually need.

A lot of the things I want to get rid of I don't want to just throw away because I know someone else could make good use of them. So I got a storage box from Ikea and I gathered everything I either wanted to give away or sell so it was all in one place, meaning I could gradually sort through it.

I've also started using up items that I've got a lot of and not buying any more of that item until I've used it all up. For example, I have so many creams and moisturisers that I've collected as gifts which I am currently using up. This also saves me money as I'm not wasting it on items that I already have!

One part of my room that was particularly cluttered was my wardrobe. It still isn't completely de-cluttered, but I've been working on it! I basically took all of my clothes out and put them into two piles: clothes to keep and clothes to give away. I managed to get rid of around a third of my clothes and my wardrobe looks so much more neat and tidy now!

I didn't manage to take a before photo, but this is what it looks like now! I feel so much happier with what I've got and from now on I will only buy clothes that I know I'm going to make good use of.

Challenges I've faced

One thing I've struggled with so far is being ruthless with items I no longer need. Some items, especially sentimental ones, I have found very hard to get rid of.
Another thing I've realised whilst embarking on this journey is that it is not an overnight process, which I guess frustrated me at first. However I've now accepted the fact that it will probably take weeks or months to achieve what I want to achieve, and actually the process is quite theraputic!

See you next week!
- Charlotte x

august/september reads

Since starting year 13, my life revolved around revising for my a levels, which included English Literature (which I spoke more about in this post). Therefore, the only books I read were the ones I had to study and annotate in great detail. This meant that when I did have spare time I didn't even feel like reading for pleasure, however what I did keep on doing was buying books and promising myself I would 'get round to reading them'... and I finally have! Here are a few short book reviews (similar to this post I wrote last August) on books that I've read since finishing sixth form...

This Is Going To Hurt - Adam Kay

My drama teacher recommended this book to me and so I went ahead and bought it, and after months of it sat on my bookcase I've finally read it. This book took me a while to get in to, but like most of the books I find hard to get into initially, it turned out to be one of my favourite books. Ever. I lost count of the amount of times it genuinely made me laugh out loud (which never happens when I read books). On holiday I was reading this book whilst my family were watching TV and I was laughing so much that my dad had to remind me that he was watching a film (in other words he wanted me to be quiet). Some parts even made my eyes fill with tears. It gave such a good insight as to what it is like to work for the NHS and is brutally honest, and is a real eye opener. If you choose to read any books this year, read this one.

Angels - Marian Keyes

Marian Keyes is an author I only discovered last year but one I absolutely love. I wrote about another one of her books that I read last year in this post, and this book I also enjoyed. I really loved the way the plot was structured, and how more was revealed about the protagonist as the plot unravelled further. I also liked the LA setting as I've never read a book from an American setting. Overall a great read and I am super excited to read more of her books.

Unfiltered - Lily Collins 

I finished this book whilst in Gran Canaria, sitting by the pool in the sun (take me back!!). I've loved Lily Collins ever since I watched Love, Rosie for the first time and so I was very excited to read her book. I love how personal and honest it is and I found it interesting learning about her struggles and life experiences. I definitely think this is a book all young people, particularly girls, need to read as she covers so many issues such as eating disorders and abusive relationships. There was also a section of the book about her tattoos and it has made me really want to book an appointment for one!!



What I am currently reading: The Diary Of A Bookseller - Shaun Byhell

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Have you ever read any of these books or do you have any other recommendations for me? (Not like I have enough books waiting to be read already....) If so, let me know in the comments.
See you next week :)
- Charlotte x

my a-level results!



On August 15th I got my a-level results, a moment that seemed to take forever to arrive. Although it's almost a month later, I thought I'd share my results with you guys in this blog post!

The build up to results day was nerve-wracking, but I actually didn't find it to intense. It was something I didn't think about too much and put to the back of my mind, and every time I thought about it my stomach did a flip. I definitely found that I felt less pressure for my a-level results than my GCSE results because I needed my GCSE results to actually get into sixth form. However, I also knew that there was a bigger possibility of getting lower grades in my a-levels as they are so difficult! 

On the actual day I did feel very nervous and sick, and when I eventually opened the results I cried.

My Results

Drama: C
English Literature: B
Psychology: B
Extended Project Qualification (EPQ): B


I was so so shocked and happy with my results as I was not expected them at all! I had prepared myself for the worst, but I also know that I do deserve these grades as I put so much work in and revised for so many hours leading up to the exams.

In terms of what I plan on doing with my results, I'm having them as back up (I went into more detail in my post What Next?). My results add up to 128 UCAS points altogether which is more than enough to get into university if I ever want to or even an apprenticeship. I'm so pleased I have these grades now because I have a lot more flexibility in terms of further education.

Was the stress worth it? Definitely.
Would I do it all again? Probably not haha!


I'm super excited to create more content for this blog and I'm now planning for the next few months.
See you soon.
- Charlotte x

what next?


My A-Levels are over, and the one question I get asked almost every single day is:

'What are your next plans?'

The truth is, I don't know. 
A lot of people my age are heading off to university in September, starting apprenticeships, fully planned gap years. I always thought I knew what I wanted to do, but then I realised that I don't really have a clue. I have a vague idea, but I don't know how to get there.

It's crazy to me how many people assume I must be going to university. In fact, when I was in sixth form I was sat in an English class when I heard a girl respond to someone else with 'you can get a job without a degree, just not a very good one'. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not going to university, so why is there this idea that if you don't get a degree, you're a failure? I've barely been out of sixth form 5 minutes and this is how I'm feeling. 

I currently have a summer job as a lifeguard supervisor which I have worked incredibly hard for, but in September I need to find a full time job somewhere else. Even though people aren't that impressed when I respond to their question with 'full-time work', I'm actually looking forward to properly saving and getting some new experience, meeting new people.

I feel like there is so much pressure on young people to know exactly what they want to do in life and have a detailed five year plan. In reality, a lot of us have no idea, including me - and that is completely okay, even if it is scary and stressful.

See you soon!
-Charlotte x