Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Pressure


Yesterday was one of those days, in which it's 5pm before you've even remembered to sit down because you are just so busy. It was a day consumed with meetings, testing participants, planning presentations, lectures.. I was the headless chicken running around campus! It was also a day in which we were given some results back for last semester; a day I always dread. 

Fortunately, I did well. Really well. In fact, I almost cried with relief because I was completely overwhelmed by it but then I realised I was so overwhelmed because of the amount of pressure I put on myself to succeed. I tried my best, I worked my arse off ridiculously hard, and in this instance, my best was good enough. But what if it wasn't? You always hear 'as long as you did your best, that's all that matters'. Well, actually sometimes it's not. Sometimes your best doesn't get the result you want, the job you applied for, the finish line of the marathon you trained for.. and as a woman in the 21st century, I don't feel equipped to cope with my best not actually being good enough. 

Previously, my only way of coping was to compare. As long as I did better than everyone else, well it's marginally better? But to be honest, I don't even get any satisfaction out of that any more. So what if I did better than someone else? It has absolutely NO impact on my result. What other people do or don't do has no reflection on my life, so what is the point?

I know I'm not alone in the fact that when I don't reach my own standards/expectations, I beat myself up. You're rubbish, a let down, you should have worked harder, done this, that or the other.. are probably words that you are or have been familiar with. But before we go into this whole beat ourselves up until we feel awful and miserable, and want to curl up into a ball and do nothing but hibernate and eat chocolate state, I want to know if you'd be telling your child, sister, best friend that they should have worked harder and longer, that they are no good, a let down, a failure.. ?

Chances are you wouldn't dream of it. You'd probably yell at them for being so hard on themselves,. Yet why is it OK to beat ourselves up?

I think the answer is, it's not. We are the only person we are with 24/7 - we have to be with our own company ALL of the time, so really, we should learn to like and get along with ourselves, compliment ourselves and be kind to ourselves. It is after all, the most important relationship you'll ever have. Otherwise, it's a hell of a long time being miserable, isn't it? We live in a world where self criticism is more socially accepted, and to stand up and say I like myself is actually quite rare. But to me, that's really sad.

I'm not sure where I'm really going with this, but I think what yesterday taught me was that sometimes your best isn't enough, but that doesn't mean it's acceptable to beat yourself up. And when it is enough, it's perfectly acceptable to be proud of yourself, dance all the way home and parade around your house with a beaming smile on your face. A little self care never hurt anyone.

So ease up on the pressure Samantha, you're doing ok..


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Sunday, 25 January 2015

Life Lately | #2



This week was my first week back at Uni, so has been a shock to the system! Early mornings, no more waking up to constant milk in the fridge or fresh laundry, and walking everywhere. However, I get one day off how generous tomorrow, and I plan on doing nothing ;)

I'm reading | The State We're In - Adele Parkes. I freebie from Amazon.. can't say no really!


I bought | I am on a fashion spending ban but one thing I cannot live without is a burning candle in my bedroom. As I returned to Uni last weekend, I bought a Yankee Candle from their newest set of scents, Red Raspberry. I love all the fruity, chocolately, sickly sweet scents and this ticks the box perfectly!

I went | Back to uni! I have so much work to do until now and May, I genuinely feel sick thinking about it all. However, you rarely hear of people giving up in their last term, and certainly shan't be breaking the norm!


I loved | The Theory Of Everything - I watching this film the other day, and it is just beautiful! I never buy DVD's but I will absolutely, 100% be purchasing this one!


How was your week?
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Friday, 23 January 2015

9 Things that third year undergraduates don't want to hear


Just a few things us third year undergraduates don't wanna hear..

1. 'So how many days until your dissertation is due?' Don't remind me. Don't mention the D word. The answer is NOT ENOUGH

2. 'I am so stressed right now' Oh really? I'll swap you my lectures, 8 deadlines and part time job for your...? Yeah, didn't think so.

3. 'What are your plans for after Uni?' Do I look like I have time to think about after Uni? I don't have time think about what I'm doing at Uni right now!

4. 'Don't you think you've consumed enough caffeine?' Err, how else am I going to fuel my 20 all nighters?

5. 'So what did you get in your assignment?' If I did well, I'd be jumping up and down in your face, shouting about it. If you have to ask, you know the answer and no, I don't wanna talk about it!

6. 'The printer's not working' OMG ARE YOU SERIOUS?!

7. 'Maybe you should get dressed this week?' Maybe you shouldn't? It's kinda comfy..

8. 'Your final assignment is a group presentation' Great. My final assignment (degree!) will be fucked messed up by group members who never do anything and never turn up. Another assignment I'll be doing on my own then..

9. 'Only 102 days until the end of Uni!' Shit. Only 102 days until I have to submit everything, get a job and become an adult. 

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Monday, 19 January 2015

The Miniaturist




It's 1896, and Petronella Oortman (Nella) arrives in Amsterdam to begin her new life as a merchant trader's wife. She arrives at her new home, where she lives with her mostly absent husband, his sharp tongued sister and their servants. Nella is given a beautiful miniature house from her husband, Johannes Brandt, which is what leads Nella to the Miniaturist - the individual who is asked to furnish this gift. However, each piece that Nella receives appears to resemble the dark, hidden secrets which live within the household.

Nella becomes increasingly frustrated and impatient with the Miniaturist - Who is this individual? How do they know what happens in this house? 

I guess if you want to know the answer, you'll have to read the book! 

Initially, I really disliked this book and didn't want to finish. Yet, after 100 pages I know that I couldn't put it down, and when I wasn't reading it, I wanted to be! It's beautifully written, mysterious, powerful and fascinating, and really does manage to consume your mind. It covers sex, love, obsession, secrets and death, so whilst it's an intriguing read, it's also very complex. Apart from quite a slow start, the book is paced well enough, meaning you're likely to finish quite quickly. It's like nothing I've really read before, but it's a book I definitely recommend. From what I have heard, this book is like Marmite.. you'll either love it or hate it.
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Saturday, 17 January 2015

10 Things I couldn't care less about


Slightly negative, but there really are some things I don't care about!

1 | Your fad diet. Please, just go take your lettuce leaf and be miserable somewhere else.

2 | Following the crowd. I ain't got time to let others dictate how I'm going to live my life. You wanna go right? Ok cool, but I wanna go left..

3 | Having immaculate hair and make up 100% of the time. I'm nipping to the shop for 5 minutes.. I'm not putting a full face of make up on, just to come home and take it off again!

4 | Being 'cool'. Yes, I would rather revise for that upcoming Uni exam that's going to make sure I do well, leading to a good degree.. good job.. good wage. So yeah, we'll see who is 'cool' then!

5 | Being in my pyjamas when the postman rings the doorbell with a parcel. It's my day off so I'll laze around for as long as I want, thank you!

6 | How warm you are. More for us students out there.. It's winter and yes we are FREEZING because heating costs a fortune. I've often shown my housemates my breath so no, I don't want to see your snugly, warm fire!

7 | Celebrity gossip. I could think of a million and one things that are more exciting than the name of Lil' Kim's baby or the size of Kim Kardashian's behind. Not gonna lie, I probably don't know half of the 'celebs' out there these days.

8 | Being drunk. Call me a Grandma, but I am really not bothered about going out and getting smashed. I get cold, I resent spending money when I'm going to spend the next day hungover with my head in the toilet, and to be honest, sometimes corrie with my housemates is better.

9 | A thigh gap. Can someone remind me why this is even hot? Stand with your legs 20cm apart - thigh gap sorted. 

10 | Being popular. I would take one friend who I know and love inside out, over one hundred acquaintances any day. Those people are rare to find.



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Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Life Lately | #1



I've seen a few of these features running recently, so as I'm lacking inspiration, thought I'd jump on board and document what I've been doing this week!

I bought | This selfie stick! This was before the spending ban but it only arrived yesterday because it was shipped from China, but I absolutely love it. I think this will be perfect for capturing a shot with the Statue of Liberty probably alone as my Mum will run off in embarrassment

I read | I haven't finished yet, but I'm currently reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. I'm not going to lie though, it's not living up to it's hype for me. Maybe it will when I've finished?

I went | NOWHERE. On Monday I think I managed to complete a first draft of my dissertation introduction, so I am having the rest of the week off before returning to work and uni next week :-)

I loved | Celebrity Big Brother.. I usually absolutely loathe the show but this time I can't stop watching it! 

What are you loving lately?
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Sunday, 11 January 2015

Dress Sizes

I'm not going to lie, the thought of having to buy an item of clothing in a different size to one I am currently, makes me feel awful. Most of you think will probably think I'm referring to a bigger dress size, but actually any other dress size leads towards the same feeling. Truth is, I don't want to have to buy a smaller or bigger size! (I'm not writing this because I've recently had to do this.. more inspired by the January diet bulsh*t).

But why? Logically, I know that clothes sizes differ in shops. Shops provide for target audiences, therefore a 12 in one shop will fit differently because it is designed for a younger body with smaller hips, whilst other shops cater for older women who have possibly had children. I am not insulting older women - our bodies do change as we age. It is a part of life and I really do think it should be embraced rather than nipping and tucking here, there and everywhere (but that's another topic..). I am also well aware that if I walk into a shop and try something on, and then walk over the road to another shop but I'm now a different size, my body has not changed. I am still the same, constant person who has not increased in size within the space of 2 seconds.

Despite not liking changing size, what I despise more is that I (we?) give so much meaning to a number. How ridiculous is it to let a number dictate how I feel about myself? It's absolutely stupid. I don't include myself here, but most people feel so much better when they fit into a smaller size but why?! It doesn't make you a better person. Your ability to do math, write a story or read a book hasn't changed, and neither should your self worth. Similarly, (myself included) if we go up a size, it's the end of the world! It's obviously not because time is still ticking, the world is still spinning and the sun is still shining unless you are in Britain, but again, why?! This number shouldn't define how we feel and it should most certainly not be the measure of our self worth. Going up a size doesn't mean we are less of a person - it simply means the piece of clothing fits better!

Something I have been thinking about recently though, is whether we should be the same size in every item and/or shop, and maybe the answer is no. We all have different bodies, so the idea that a certain number of sizes should fit us all, is actually quite stupid. I could line up 100 size 12's, yet their body shapes would be completely different but they are still expected to by the same size. And when I put it like that, it seems rather crazy to think that we should mould ourselves to fit a generic set of sizes, eh?

Source

I'm not saying it's easy, but I do think we should be less hard on ourselves when we don't 'fit' into a certain size. After all, it's just a measly number which shouldn't be responsible for your self worth or defining you as a person. I don't know about you, but I'm absolutely awful at guessing other people's sizes, so no one else knows half of the time anyway!



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Friday, 9 January 2015

Balance

I am writing this after a very long week, which has seen me complete my final ever Uni exam, travel to both Manchester and Liverpool, with the rest of my time being either spent at work (by day) or completing uni work (by night). I'd love to be able to sit here and write about I have a weekend free to myself, but this is the real world after all.

I am actually someone who embraces being busy. If I have too much time to myself, I over think or become stir crazy within a matter of days. I need a purpose; something to be doing, someone to see. I don't like the idea of wasting my life, stuck indoors with nothing to do. However, even I must admit that sometimes I need a break. The Christmas break that I was actually looking forward to is almost over, and although I have spent time with my family and it has been enjoyable, it has most definitely not been a break for me. I have spent many hours revising along with far too many hours at work, which is beginning to take it's toll. I'm certain I could sleep for the next 24 hours if I could.

I also think that when you're tired, the little things that normally don't bother you, do. I've found myself feeling guilty for working when I have uni work to do, or anxious about the final semester that is rapidly approaching, despite being the most organised and stress-free person I know. However, I do know that after Sunday, I can embrace a few days off, work from the comfort of my own sofa, and balance will be restored.

Until then, I aim to enjoy this weekend at work. Hopefully, it will be my last ever weekend working at my home store because once I finish uni, I will be living in a new area with new opportunities to seek out. Therefore, it could be a very bittersweet few days - I'll be saying goodbye to colleagues I've worked with for almost 4 years but I'll also be looking ahead towards the next chapter of my life.

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Thursday, 8 January 2015

Buy Less Choose Well

So, you may or may not know that as soon as I finish Uni, I am jetting off to New York for a week! As exciting as it all is, and believe me I cannot wait to hand my dissertation in along with every other assignment before going, I'm gonna need some dollar to spend when I'm there! As far as the trip is concerned, it is paid for because I spent my Christmas week practically living the shop I work in I'll get over it soon. However, as I'm sure most of you would agree, a girl has to go to New York with an empty suitcase, and return with a full one, right? Thought so!


One of my favourite bloggers Josie, has recently restarted her 'The Curated Closet Challenge', which really is a bit of spending ban. She has adapted it slightly, and because we both know that we're rubbish at sticking to spending bans, I'm actually going to join her properly this time, in hope that we can encourage each other! 

I have enough clothes to last me a lifetime, I have enough shoes and I can accessorize practically every outfit so I do not need anything really! However, like most of us females, I love to shop so here are Josie's rules, which I am also going to stick to.
  1. I'll allow myself one thing per month. Going cold turkey just isn't realistic, is it?!

  2. Basics count. A white/black t-shirt can't be excused as not clothes shopping!

  3. Accessories count. Yeah, that's shoes, jewellery, hats, scarves and sunglasses!

Basically, everything counts. Yesterday, I got all of my shopping out of my system with a cheeky trip to the Trafford centre so that means no buys until February. I'm probably picking the worst ever time to do this. I am a third year and stress levels can often go through the roof, so there's nothing like an online shopping spree to cheer you up but I do aim to be strict! If I succeed, I will most definitely thank myself when I'm in New York!

If you think you'd like to join me and Josie, do tweet us! We need all the encouragement we can get ;)
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Sunday, 4 January 2015

Wholeness


I think it is widely accepted in today's society, that people are always searching for new ways to be happy. Whether it be The Happiness Project, 100 Happy Days, 5 Things That Make Me Happy or any other variation, are all attempts at reminding yourself that you have something to be happy about or are used as a way of cheering yourself up. Now, as much as I (and all of us perhaps?) dislike being upset, sad, depressed, in pain etc, I don't think that as humans we are entitled to feel happy at all times. Nor do I think that aiming for 100% happiness is a particularly good idea, in fact I believe it can be quite dangerous - humans are beginning to fear being unhappy.

We are being taught that the concept of happiness is always achievable, yet what happens when you aren't happy? Well, some believe they are failures, incapable of constructing this perfect, happy life but in reality, it does not exist. Things do go wrong in life - we lose a loved one, fail an exam, over sleep and are consequently late for work - no matter how trivial, life isn't always full of roses. Expectations have become so high, that when they aren't achieved, individuals spiral into this world of self destruction, where happiness is now even further out of reach.

I read something recently, and was reminded that wholeness is what we should be aiming for. The notion that life should include both happiness and sadness. We need to experience pain, for during these times, we grow the most. We learn about ourselves and develop coping mechanisms, which ultimately help us cope during future sadness. We also need to experience pain so that we appreciate happiness! If we were happy all of the time, I doubt whether we would be good people. We would have no feelings of empathy or gratitude, which in my opinion, make for very self-obsessed human beings. I also question whether we'd recognise what happiness actually was? 

So instead of striving for the unachievable, next time you are feeling unhappy, remember that this is much more likely to make a better contribution to you as a whole human being. After all, it is ok to not be ok

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Thursday, 1 January 2015

Hello, 2015


Hello 2015,

I am still in disbelief that you have arrived, as it only feels like yesterday that I was starting high school, yet it happens to be 10 years ago well done on making yourself feel old, Samantha. I am actually quite grateful to see you, especially as sometimes I do consider myself lucky to be alive, but we don't need to think about that road now.

You started off quite productively actually - I have done a lot of Uni work today and my blog now has it's own domain. Considering that I have the technical skills of a goldfish, I'm actually rather pleased! Anyway, onto a more serious note..

I was sat in a cafe yesterday (the final day of 2014), discussing mental illness with a dear friend, yet I found that I nothing to say about myself. It was an extremely odd moment, as I felt as though I should be updating this person on how I was doing, when in actual fact, I was bored.  I've dedicated the past 3 years of my life to destruction but I genuinely think that's over. I am usually the first person to bring up how I am or make a joke out of it, but I had and currently don't have any desire to. I wanted to talk about what I did for Christmas, how rubbish working in retail is, how my dissertation is coming along.. normal stuff, y'know?

And thinking about it, this conversation has confirmed to me that you have the potential to be a wonderfully free year. It will be a year of experience and change; you will be home to the SClub Reunion tour that I'll see with my housemates, my trip to New York, my graduation, a new house and a new job hopefully. And yes, sometimes change can be scary but y'know what's more scary? Regret - and I for one, am through regretting not living my life. 

So, 2015.. I look forward to what you have to offer
Love Sam 


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