Lizzie's Corner: 2019

Saturday, 16 February 2019

A Long Distance Valentines Day*

Being long distance at uni is classically a no go, everyone tells you that the first thing you need to do come A Level results day is let down your boyfriend gently and tell him that the distance is too much, and you don’t think it’s going to work out.

This is perpetuated everywhere you go, with people consistently telling you to ditch your other half in favour of uni ‘fun’.

And I sort of get it, it does sound mega scary, you can’t see your bae every day anymore, and you’re out partying every night of the week, or spending all day asleep, so when can you be bothered to have a facetime catch up?

[us on Valentines Day 2015]

At the end of the day, being in a relationship is work, if you don’t put in the effort to keep contact, you’re gonna drift apart.

I try and speak to my boyfriend on the phone, or facetime, every single day, for about 30 minutes a night. This is good, we get to catch up on our days and have a nice lil chat.

As for seeing him, I try to visit (or he visits me) every other week, but sometimes 3 weeks might pass without seeing each other. I think in the past we might have done 4 or almost 5 when we were really struggling to find the time. 

Obviously, you want to see your other half on Valentines Day, but for so many people it ends up being via facetime rather than face to face. We've been together for 6 years, and I'm not sure if we've actually made it on the actual day every single time. 

This year, National Express got in contact and told me they wanted to help long distance couples see each other over the holiday.

I do usually get the train, which can be a real annoyance sometimes; on my last trip to see him, I ended up crammed in a vestibule with about 20 other people, all packed in like sardines since I'd failed to get a seat booked.

My journey with National Express was much less stressful than my usual train journey. You're guaranteed a seat so there's no chance you'll end up a sardine, or have to elbow your way through the carriage. Your luggage all goes underneath the coach, so there's none of the usual luggage-rack overflow (seriously why is there only ever room for about 4 cases?). My journey was 2 and a half hours, but it went so quick. One of my favourite parts about getting the coach was that you actually get to SEE the country a bit. When my boyfriend picked me up I wouldn't stop going on about all the towns I'd passed through (yes, I'm a bit cringe like that). This was my first coach journey but it definitely won't be my last.

I was actually shocked when I figured out that this was our 7th Valentines Day together, honestly I still sometimes think we've only been together about two years. So we celebrated as any couple would, by making enchiladas and watching Netflix together on the sofa.

[he's so bad at taking photos, i asked him to look happy]

We used to be WAY more extravagant, like last year when had a weekend in Manchester, but this year with him paying a mortgage and me saving for a car, Netflix is about as romantic as we get.

But you know what? It's just as good. When you're in an LDR, you come to realise that it's not about what you do, it's just about getting to see each other. 

How did you spend your Valentines day? 

** This post was sponsored by National Express **

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Confidence: The Key to Life


If I've learned one thing so far in 2019, it’s that confidence is the key to life.

I've always put myself down. I've always ended every sentence I say with 'I think' or 'I don't know', or something like that, the linguist in me would say that I always try to 'soften' the blow of my words, because I'm afraid of being assertive.

And it's true, I am afraid of being assertive. My body cringes up when I have to write an email to someone and my heart races a million miles an hour if my phone rings – extra points if it’s a number I don’t recognise.

But, I've been working on it. I lost a lot of confidence at the start of 2018, which is something I talked about a bit in my look back on 2018 post. I became physically ill, which came hand in hand with my anxiety becoming crazily hard to deal with. This was a major kick in the face after the amazing 2017 I’d had.

My confidence really shot up again towards the end of the year, I restarted my blog in September, not knowing that it would really go anywhere, but I've already gained so much. And I'm not talking money, although I have finally started making some money from my blog (which is CRAZY to me). Just being invited to blogger events, and meeting so many lovely blogger friends, has done me a whole world of good. Just last weekend, I attended an event that the beautiful Shannon Alexandra had set up for us, with Tamper Coffee and the Cupcake Kitchen in Sheffield. I learned a lot that day, and one of the main things I learned was that I need to have more confidence in myself and stop underselling myself.

One of the things that I've struggled with the most since restarting my blog is the niggling thoughts in the back of my mind that tell me that everyone I know in real life thinks I'm a fake, that all of my posts are being screenshotted by girls I knew at school who pick on my every word and laugh at my pictures. And you know what, it might be happening. My anxious brain for sure tells me that. But whether it is or not, why would it matter to me what people who don't like me think? 

I think this is one of the hardest parts about growing up. I need to get out of that secondary school mind-set where everyone is talking about each other behind their backs, because it just does not matter anymore. I have got to remember that I am an independent person now who doesn’t rely on the thoughts of other people to build myself up.

I’m really interested in what other bloggers might think of this. Do you worry about what people you used to know think? It seems to silly but yet it’s so difficult to me.



Tuesday, 22 January 2019

You Don't Seem Like You Have Anxiety

Hello again gang,

Today i'm talking about something i've wanted to talk on the blog about for ages, but i didn't want to offend anyone. And now i'm thinking, why didn't i just write this post? It won't hurt! 

[Do i look like i have anxiety?]

A little while back, someone made a comment to me, about how i didn't seem like i had anxiety. and they found it hard to believe i have anxiety because of the things i do. The things they gave as examples were : having my own blog, starting my own university society, going to manchester alone for 2 weeks for work experience, going to different countries on holiday. 

And. It sort of crushed me a bit. Because i felt like a fake, i thought, maybe they're right! Maybe i am faking this whole anxiety thing. When you look objectively at what i've achieved, it IS hard to believe that i struggle daily with my head. 

Their comment is something that's stuck with me since. which, ironically, is a classic anxiety-move, to over think a little comment like that. Nonetheless, every time i felt vulnerable, or tried to explain to someone that maybe i didn't want to do something that day because i felt particularly nervous or that my brain was beating me up, i felt like a liar. 

But, i've been diagnosed. And i've had professional counselling, and cognitive behavioural therapy. And yet i still feel like a liar thanks to one little comment. Maybe i should've taken it as a compliment, that i'm good at hiding how scared i am of what i might say in almost every conversation i have. Maybe i should take up acting? but, for real, i probably would be too anxious to do that. 

I guess, the point i want to make here is that most people don't 'seem' or 'look' like they have anxiety, but you never know what's going on in someone's head, or how they act when no one's around, how they lay awake at night staring at the ceiling with their thoughts racing almost as fast as their heartbeat. 

I worry for days before anything big, i make myself ill, and i become agitated and angry, and i might well have a panic attack a couple hours before. But you best believe whatever the event you'll never know. And does that make me a liar? No. I don't think so anyway. It means that i'm struggling, but i'm trying to keep it under control. And i'm trying and trying every day. and sometimes it's easier and sometimes it's harder. but i'm learning.



Sunday, 20 January 2019

Thoughts On My Final Semester At University

Hi gang,

It's me. Back again. Ready to ramble on for a bit again, and you're welcome to join.

So, uh, I just started my final semester at university. 

And you might think, but liz, don't you have a summer semester? I mean, no, because I do a degree course that doesn't have any final exams, which means all I have to do in summer is hand in work, which we do electronically, which means I'll be leaving birmingham at the end of this semester. 

And I thought I'd write this post when I first moved back, but it's actually been about a week since I came back after Christmas. It took a lot to get me back here, I had a bit of a wobble last week whilst my brain prepared itself for fending for myself. But now that i'm back, it's like I never left.

And it's also like I never left because I sort of never stopped working, I had a tonne of stuff to do over Christmas, making my Christmas 'break' possibly the most stressful 4 weeks of my life. I handed in 3 massive assignments this week, and there is no time for relaxing in third year, so I'm straight back in the library.

Third year kind of sucks, because you have so much to do, you never relax, then when you do relax you feel guilty. 

Until this point, I've dealt quite well with university stress. I plan out my days, my weeks, my semesters, and I give myself ample time to complete everything with a little bit of leeway for a break at the end. But this semester I don't have a clue what I'm doing, none of the assignments make sense and every conversation you have with a course mate is probably about how much you all want to cry. It's sort of a mood dampener.

So, I won't lie, I'm feeling very apprehensive.
But there's 10 more weeks until teaching ends, and I think about 16 until it's properly over. So, I just have to keep swimming I guess.

If you have any tips/tricks for lifting my mood they will be gratefully received!!

Until then,


Monday, 7 January 2019

Saving Money as a Student - No Meal Deals in 2019

Today we're talking about something EVERY student asks about, how to save money

Did you know apparently the average office worker spends £2.83 every day on lunch?

I reckon i could top that at uni. 

So you live on your own, it's free reign. there's no one about to judge you for never taking a pack up. you go to tescos on your own, choose your £3 meal, then you eat it alone in the library. no one knows.

God, I'm starting to sound like a secret eater (have I ever mentioned that 'Secret Eaters' that used to be on Channel 4 is like, the best show ever?). 

You've not got to have a degree to know taking a pack up is cheaper than splurging on meal deals, subways and snacks every day - and i've almost blummin' got one. 

It's not even just food, I love a cup of tea so i get one - sometimes two - every day. and i tell myself, 'well they're only £1.50!'. But uh, when i get two a day, five days a week, that's £15 on tea. That I could get for free at home. 

So i am hailing the start of NO MEAL DEALS IN 2019. 

To be honest, I was getting sick of that tesco chicken and stuffing sandwich with mars bar and diet coke anyway. Yes - I'm that predictable. 

But i never plan lunch. then have to walk past tesco on my way in and think 'ooh!'.

WELL IT'S OVER TESCO. I'm dumping you. 
It's not me, it's you. 
I'm chopping my clubcard in half. 

That money could be better spent! On like, ASOS, or whatever.

So here's the plan.

My mum bought me this amazing travel cup * that you can fold down for easy handbag storage as one of my Christmas presents. It's MEGA cool. milk is free at uni anyway, and so is hot water. So i basically just need to stash teabags in my purse and i'll be well away. I might even have 3 cups a day if they're going free!

And here's the hard part. PACKED LUNCH. 

I've had an ongoing battle with packed lunch my entire life. I always used to force my sandwiches down in primary school so the dinner ladies would let me eat my mini rolls. In secondary school, i pretty much ditched lunch altogether in favour of a few biscuits throughout the day to stop me flagging.

By sixth form, I started to need lunch. mainly taking pasta or rice. But then some days ditching it if someone was driving us all to mcdonalds, or getting 2 chocolate bars from the vending machine if I was particularly stressed out (which is always, you know me).

You might be able to tell, I place a lot of weight on my mood. Unless i'm feeling super happy and content, I'll use any old excuse to ditch the lunch in favour of something sugary. 
And let's face it, I'm always stressed out when i'm at uni. I may, in fact, be stressed out for the rest of my life at this rate.

but i've scoured the net, and compiled this list of packed lunches that i'm going to try this year. the hot ones are going to be put in my AMAZING thermos food flask *, keeps food hot for ages, has a spoon inside it too. couldn't recommend it more. 

I'm really really really going to try to prepare lunch every day this year. No more treats. No more train station Cornish pasties - did you know I bought a pasty at Birmingham New Street station last week that cost me a fiver?! 

But uh, my intention is not just to buy 39p pasties and heat them up every morning before uni. I might - if I have to. That would still be sticking to my resolution. As this is more about money than any sort of 'health' or 'weight loss' scheme (although both would be welcome with open arms).

So here's the deal. When future lizzie wants to get herself a subway, she can come back to this post and i'm telling her NO. I'm leaving a list below of meals ideas I'm intending to make this semester to save me some sweet sweet cash. 

  • broccoli and pesto pasta
  • chicken and mushroom pasta
  • burrito bowl
  • spicy rice
  • chicken and bacon salad
  • mozzerella and tomato ciabatta
  • chilli con carne
  • turkey and avocado sandwich
  • ham salad pitta
  • hummus and pitta
  • soup and bread
  • noodles stir fry 
  • mixed bean salad
I will be doing an update post on this to see how I'm getting on and how i'm budgeting food!

lizzie x


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