What I’ve learnt so far as a female “adult”

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I don’t know about you but I love reading articles written by women, for other women, on what they’ve learnt by being a woman. Little life lessons we should all take on board to make it through the day/week/month/year. To remind us we’re doing okay, everybody’s doing okay, and that we can achieve/overcome anything. And that eating all that chocolate is also totally okay. So I thought I’d have a go with my own life lessons learnt. I’m not even 22 yet, so it’s exciting/terrifying to think how these can change over time, and that I’ve got quite a few more life lessons waiting for me *gulp*

But for now, these I feel could help anyone else of the female persuasion (or anyone who wants to take them or leave them). Warning, I get a little…personal. But the internet needs more people talking about private fluids.

Don’t be ashamed to take selfies

Sure, some people go a little overboard and their snapchats/instagrams are kinda a vanity project. But hey, if it makes them feel good who am I to judge. If you’re feeling particularly on point, you deserve to take that selfie and flaunt yourself. If you’re feeling a little off point, you deserve to take that selfie to remind yourself you still look good.

Have a (or a few) close circle of friends

As opposed to casual acquaintances you can get drunk with but not much else. Which was fun during freshers year at uni, but really it’s more fulfilling having a handful of friends you know have your back, and you have theirs.

Out of all the SATC characters: Be like Samantha

I won’t lie, I find the other main Sex and the City girls kinda annoying, and maybe not the best role models. Carrie’s an awful human being, Charlotte needs to get a grip, and Miranda needs to lighten up. But Samantha was smart, ambitious, and unapologetically herself. She saw what she wanted, and she got it.

Pee After Sex

Cystitis does not sound fun, always have a wee after to avoid.

Don’t use the Pull Out Method

So many young women seem to use this method. You can get pregnant on pre cum alone, it’s really not worth the risk. There are plenty of contraceptive options out there to find what best suits you, even if it’s not what the doctor gave you when you were 17 or whatever. Know your body, and what works for it.

 

Don’t put more effort than you get out

For too long I used to invest more time and effort into friendships than what I was given in return. It’s more stress than it’s worth, if someone wants to see you they’ll make the effort. Don’t waste your time on people who take you for granted, save it for the people you appreciate and who appreciate you.

He’s Just Not That Into You

Have you ever seen that film? It’s terrible BUT does give an important lesson. Rather than overanalysing every little thing a guy says/does, its easier to accept his lack of effort is a lack of interest, and you can move on and not waste precious time/kisses. Sure, it’s a little one dimensional to assume that if a guy is interested, he will make an effort and not mess about, but there’s no point being hung up on a guy when you should be enjoying dating!

Always discuss periods, body hair and contraception with friends

And any other “taboo” subjects. Women should never be ashamed to talk about these things with one another, hell, we should be able to help one another with these things.

Compliment your friends as much as possible

Everyone likes a compliment, and who deserves it more than those lovelies who are our friends? Never be shy to dole one out, and make someones day!

 

Heartbreak isn’t easy, but it makes you stronger

At the time it could feel like nothing is worth anything, and that you’ll never recover. You will, and you will feel like you’ve become a better person for it. And it’s a great feeling realising you’re truly happy again on your own, even more so than when you were with someone.

Don’t arrange your life around someone else

I once read a brilliant article by someone who stated they were too young to be someones “other half” – they wanted to be wholly themselves. And we really should be that, even if we’re committed. I once nearly made a drastic move for a relationship, and when it didn’t work out I felt completely lost and isolated. But I picked myself up and ended up doing something I much preferred. Always live your own life on your own terms.

 

Life’s too short to be embarrassed by your underwear

If you have a pair you would never want to be caught dead (or y’know, undressed) in, bin them and buy yourself some nice new pairs. But also remember no other person is going to care what your underwear is like.

Don’t Play Games

Be coy, be playful, but seriously, don’t mess someone around if you would hate to be treated the same way. We’re all human, with pride and egos that are easily bruised by insecurities.

Say Sorry

Never let your pride get in the way of your relationship with someone you care for. Sometimes it’s easier to say sorry and move on.

Have an ultimate healthy dish, and an ultimate comfort dish

And be able to prepare both easily. Mines a iron rich salad of spinach, walnuts, chickpeas, feta, and salmon. The others corned beef hash. Nom.

If buying that thing sends you into your overdraft, don’t buy it

Whether it’s a dress, shoes, bag, or cocktail shaker. Whatever it is, it’s really not worth it if you don’t have the actual money. Be careful with your money and it’ll pay off in the long term.

Embrace Solitary Moments

Don’t be afraid to go for a coffee, shopping, cinema trip or even holiday solo. Sometimes you’ve just gotta have alone time to switch off.

Be Safe

It sucks that it has to be us to make sure we’re not harmed, whereas we should be able to walk down streets feeling safe. But it’s the real world, so never take that dodgy shortcut home. If you’re alone and uncomfortable on a bus, hop off. Ask a male friend to walk you home. Look after yourself.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

We are the worst judges of ourselves. Just because someone seems to have it together, would you be happy with their life? Sure I feel nervous not being in a graduate job, but it’s not what I want right now. Do your own thing, because there’ll be someone jealous and comparing themselves to you. Probably the person you compare yourself to.

Love the Way You Look – Imperfections and all

We’re never going to be literally flawless, but we’re pretty damn close. And it’s more fun having quirks (personally I get creeped out by people who are too gorgeous, like who are you.) Embrace what makes you, you, and work it.

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Rainy Street in Madrid

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I didn’t take many photos of the weekend I spent in Madrid, but this was my favourite. I also liked how the black and white edit came out when I was messing around with the photo on Instagram. Couldn’t decide which I preferred so here, have both 😉

Tips on Becoming an English Teacher

Last summer I made countless applications before I won, what I feel like was the best option available. Burgos was a big enough city, but small enough to not feel overwhelmed, it wasn’t too touristy but I could get by on my basic knowledge of Spanish. Plus a bonus was that there were so many more native speakers than I expected!

 

There are loads of options for working as a native speaker abroad. Not just in Spain of course, but all over the world. Here are a few tips of mine to help you when in the middle of applying for an English teaching job. Things that I found useful and learnt whilst I was sending out CVs and doing so many interviews with so many different companies.

 

Explore all Options

When I was looking for ESL jobs, I was using the tefl.org job page, the EURES website (where I eventually found my Burgos gig), and a couple of others. It’s also worth looking through the British Council and the country you’re looking at’s Ministry for Education, as many work through their scheme. At the start I focused too long on just tefl.org, but when I expanded my search I suddenly came across lots and lots of other teaching positions at schools and private English schools all over Spain.

 

Get TEFL Certified

Or another form of ESL certification, but TEFL tends to be the most recognisable. You can either study for the qualification online, as I did, or through a class. They also advertise offers and discounts throughout the year which are useful to get a more valuable certificate than just the standard cheapest. This will boost your CV and your chances of finding a placement. Some companies that place their native speakers in school demand the 120 hour certificate, or make you undertake it with them (I have the 100 hour so for one company I nearly had to redo it). It’s a worthwhile investment, plus it’s very useful if you haven’t worked as an English teacher before!

 

Relearn Grammar

With my TEFL certificate, I chose the option that also included a grammar course. This I found to be a life saver, as I could barely remember grammar from my school days, but of course students of English need to study this a lot! I was asked about grammar a lot in interviews, and of course in class I had to help with grammar (and sometimes drew an embarrassing blank…) It’ll make you stand out in interviews if you know what you’re talking about, and its a subject that’s not so hard to revise.

 

Apply to all Positions

When I was sending applications to Spain I was applying to places in small villages, and places in cities. Naturally I was hoping to get a city rather than a tiny village of about 20,000 inhabitants, but I also wanted a job! Even if you are less than enthusiastic about a certain placement, it won’t do any harm to apply because any interview is good interview practice! And who knows, even if you don’t get what you expect it could still turn out to be one of the best experiences of your life! It’s the old trick of not putting your eggs in one basket: be slutty with your CV, and you’re more likely to get results!

 

Big Up Any Experience with Kids

If you’ve worked with kids before in a school or anything, then brilliant. If like me you never had, you can still use any experience you have. This can include babysitting, or perhaps looking after younger siblings. Anything that involves responsibility towards youngsters can be used to make you sound as impressive as possible!

 

Prep for Questions

An interview tip for any job really! The questions are often just a repetition of what all schools ask so you eventually rehearse answers, but they can sometimes differ. In some interviews they tested me on my grammar knowledge, in others they were more interested in how I would give a class (so make sure you have a few fun ideas in your head- TEFL courses help with this!). Some, who were looking for someone as quickly as possible were more interested in how soon could I fly out. Just make sure you present yourself with a friendly and bubbly personality, with a good knowledge of the language, and of course ENTHUSIASM.

 

Show an Interest in the Country

Of course you pick a country because there is something that draws you to it. But it’s good to show this in the interview (they might even ask you). Everybody loves it when a foreigner is interested int their country and culture (I LOVE explaining weird Britishness to anyone who’ll listen), so a little bit of flattery and genuine interest will certainly help you make a good impression. For me, explaining how I wanted to work on my Spanish, and talking about my previous visits to Spain helped with keeping the conversation flowing in interviews.

 

So there you go! I hope this helps anyone thinking of teaching English abroad. Trust me – it’s a lot of fun! The interviews aren’t so bad either, they’re done over Skype (so make sure your internet isn’t playing up!), and as long as you come across friendly and fun you can’t do wrong!

Budget Beauty Buys

Did ya like the alliteration? I haven’t a degree in literature for nothing…

Anyway my blog – which is an accurate representation of my mind: messy, all over the place, filled with mentions of tea – is not a blog for those interested in beauty blogging. Because truth be told, I’m kinda useless at that stuff. My make up collection is very basic (and with travelling a lot I’ve cut down to the essentials: bronzer? highlighter? No time/space), I am still trying to find the perfect hair product (coconut oil, olive oil, the entire range at Superdrug, even splurged out on Aveda once. All tried and tested, all relatively useless for my mane). The closest I get to styling my hair is a plait.

But saying all that, I do like to take care of my appearance of course, and I also like to do it as cheaply as possible. Do I still have a smokey eye palette I bought from Primark ages ago? Yes… and it’s pretty good. It’s fun to own fancy, relatively expensive beauty products for when you want to make an extra special effort, but I’m a 21 year old who’s about to become a student again. I know my (money) limits, and I also know what beauty essentials can be bought on the cheap.

 

Nivea Hand Cream (£3.20 – Boots)

I’ve used Soap & Glory hand cream before, and I’ve used Clarins testers before. These are amazingly good and leave my hands feeling soft straight away – but they cost a hell of a lot more than good ol’ Nivea. And Nivea is always reliable. I use a hydrating hand cream bought in Brazil a year ago when I was badly suffering from dry hands, and straight away it sorted it out. I couldn’t find the same product in the UK, so I’ve been using one with nut oil, and it’s kept my hands in perfect condition throughout the year. Even in Burgos, with the cold wind, rain, snow and hail! Not to mention Nivea lip balm is my favourite for treating chapped lips.

 

Garnier Ultimate Blends Shampoo and Conditioner (£2.79 each – Boots)

I’ve been using the Sleek Restorer – a mix of coconut oil and cocoa butter . Now, as mentioned above I find hair products pretty useless on my hair. Annoying because I have frizzy hair that is neither straight nor curly, and SO MUCH FUN in humid conditions. However, this one I have found to be one of the most effective to use at home. My hair is still frizzy and a little out of control, but after the first use I noticed it was softer and smoother feeling, and so generally it seems to help the condition of my hair. Another shampoo and conditioner collection that does what it says on the bottle is L’Oreals Elvive Nutri-Gloss. It definitely makes your hair shinier because when I was using it my Granddad noticed and complimented my shinier hair. What a win.

 

Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Hair Milk (£4.99 – Amazon)

I know, I know – I say I don’t know decent hair products then I go and recommend two. This is why I’m not a beauty blogger. But anyways, this is something I bought by accident. I thought it was coconut oil, but then I saw on the bottle it was coconut milk and I was a little “hmm…” But it is one of the best things I’ve ever accidentally bought. After washing your hair, you only need a small amount to comb through, and I find it is the best thing I’ve ever used to help give me curls when my hair dries. And because you only need a tiny amount, it lasts ages. Annoying because I cracked the bottle and want to buy a new one but I still have half left. Bonus: it smells AMAZING. Like creamy coconut yoghurt, I generally wanted to eat some when I first opened it.

 

Maybelline Colour Sensational Lipstick (£6.99 – Boots)

Maybelline is my favourite make up brand (yes, definitely not Primark), and it’s more affordable than many others available on the high street. In particular I am obsessed with the lipsticks – I find them easy to apply (I have a beautiful plum lipstick by Rimmel that tends to end up all over my face, and a red Barry M lippy that needs multiple applications to be close to anything fierce looking). They’re long lasting, and don’t dry out my lips or anything annoying like that. I love a good lipstick, and Maybelline provide!

 

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water (£4.99 – Boots)

Micellar became one of the latest trends about a year ago. Usually I avoid trends that are one minute the best thing in existence and will change your life, making you more flawless that Beyonce – until they are suddenly forgotten about. However I was intrigued by this as it is very natural, and I am cautious about using too many products on my face because nobody wants to end up with bad, wrinkly skin. This product is basically water that removes make up really efficiently – better than the face wipes I am prone to use! I chose Garnier because after some hunting around it was the best value for money, and the using the micellar water doesn’t even require rinsing! Perfect for lazy people like me.

 

What budget products do you like to use? Any of these you’d try? Any you hate?!

Hasta Luego Burgos

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Yep, I am writing this in the UK. It’s grey, my daily tea intake has already gone up, and I cannot wait to go to the pub (currently off alcohol for now so that has to wait…). Although the school year is nearly over, I had to return a month earlier than planned because my recent lupus diagnosis and all the medication I have to take has caused some less than fun side effects. I couldn’t return to work so now I’m home being spoilt by family!

If any one is ever contemplating the idea of spending a year abroad to work as an English language assistant, all I can say is yes yes yes – go for it! It can be tiring work – dealing with less than enthusiastic teenagers, screaming kids and crying infants; travelling between schools after a hurried lunch and trying to keep your energy levels up and enthusiastic at all times (and dealing with undiagnosed lupus and its fatigue sometimes meant I’d return home and fall asleep for the whole evening and night…). I was sneezed on, lost my voice having to shout a few times, and once jabbed very hard with a very sharp pencil to get my attention. But really the worst parts weren’t that bad at all!

I really liked the school I spent most of my hours at. I was working with all ages, from 3-18 years old, with all different levels of English spoken. I was quizzed persistently about my love life and my opinion of Spanish food, given some wonderful (and some ‘abstract’) drawings, and received lots of hugs. I invented games, became obsessed with story books and singing songs, and had to ‘help’ in p.e. lessons. I described bizarre British culture, and learnt about bizarre Spanish culture. I also got to see great teachers at work, appreciating the profession more than ever before. I worked with many, so I could see different techniques for different kids in action. They work hard! Although teaching is something I’m open to, but not actively pursuing as a career, it’s a great experience to have a go at. I like to think I did an adequate job… Some days are better than others, but when you make the kids really enjoy the lesson it feels great.

And Burgos: cold, historical, full of friendly people. Going from London to Burgos is quite a dramatic change. Although I do prefer big, vibrant, cosmopolitan cities, I really enjoyed a more laid back year in Burgos. Being able to walk into the centre for a cafe con leche and a quiet read, or for wine and tapas with friends was idyllic. I loved walking under the funny shaped trees in Burgos and along the river, and in the evenings the families and friends would gather in the plazas and everyone would be in high spirits. Involving myself with the local Amnesty International group was an experience – I was confused a lot of the time but they welcomed me and my basic Spanish skills, and I loved seeing a section of my favourite NGO in action. I went on marches through the city centre with them, which was always electrifying! And sure the city was cold, (although a mild Burgos winter!), but for a while it was home and being there filled me with happiness.

And of course, it allowed me to explore Spain more than I ever have. Before, my experience of Spain was limited. A couple of holidays in the touristy south (plus day trips to Alicante and Valencia), and a trip to Toledo and Segovia once. This past year I visited Valladolid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Santander, San Sebastian, Valencia, Seville, Cordoba, Granada and Madrid. Each city had its own charm, character and history. It’s impossible to be disappointed by a Spanish city! There is still a lot for me to explore, I cannot wait to get stuck back in! (Fingers crossed!)

But the best part is the friends for life I made there. We bonded over wine, travelling, and they were the most amazing support whilst I was in hospital and recovering after. Everybody has to go through crap at different points in their life, but having friends with good hearts makes everything so much more bearable! I could never thank them, or friends and family elsewhere, enough for keeping me sane whilst my mind processed everything going wrong with my sickly self.

So, spending a year abroad. It opens your mind of course. Immersing yourself in another culture, not just by travelling but by living the experience for a prolonged period of time helps you understand people better than before. For a while you breathe their culture, history, language, habits and opinions. You have to leave behind your old self- my shy British awkwardness was always present but I was welcomed with open arms by Spaniards, and I felt myself opening up more and becoming a warmer person. The Spanish are ridiculously helpful and kind, and this is a habit I hope to adopt and keep for life. They are fun loving and all about enjoying life with family and friends, which is important for everyone. They are also loud, and not afraid to give their opinion. Also a worthwhile habit to pick up: don’t be afraid to voice your mind.

Te quiero España. Fue un año fantástico. No es adios, pero hasta luego ❤

Movie Quotes about Life

Sometimes you’re watching a film, and a character says something that just sticks with you for a long time after the film has finished. I find this happens when films I love give a little wisdom about life – sometimes uplifting but other times humbling. So here are a few examples, the films are also definitely worth watching if you haven’t seen!

 

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Kill Bill 2 – Nothing quite like true love than delivering an insult, right? The Disney idealism of finding a Prince Charming is long dead. Instead we are happy to embrace that the person who becomes your favourite will still be as deeply irritating as every other human being, but you still adore them. I think human beings are bored by perfectionism, it’s not interesting and it has a sense of unrealness to it. We seek imperfections because those are what make us human. (Also deeply suspicious of anything that seems “too good to be true”).

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Juno – Another quote about love, and similarly to Kill Bill it shows love isn’t about perfection, but about loving someone flaws and all. Because without said flaws, they wouldn’t be who they are.

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Garden State – This quote struck me, because after I left home for university my dad got the place all done up, and when I next returned it almost felt like entering someone else’s house. Although I have no plans to settle anywhere permanently for the time being, which is extremely liberating, I do sometimes miss being able to have a stable ‘home’ setting where I can bury my head and pretend I’m not an adult.

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Obvious Child – This Indie Rom-Com is great because it brings the too often ignored subject of abortion to light, and shows to the audience that yes, abortions happen. Although in this scene the mum is (for the time being) distant and authoritative about the main characters recent break up, this line is refreshing to hear because it applies to everyone. No point getting too hung up over drama, otherwise we’ll never be happy. Life is challenging so it’s better to take it on the chin and embrace the difficulties.

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Synecdoche, New York – This film is a bizarre, mind twisting experience, but I found it to be quite powerful in examining people’s dissatisfaction with life and themselves. At least, that’s what I took from it. This speech, given by a vicar at a funeral, is definitely designed to make you sit up and take notice. I like its point: that everything is connected, but only by little links that are fragile and easily altered. We are more in control of our lives and destinies than we think. And that we, as humans, wait too long to do anything, and that we’re all too self-focused. Harsh life lessons.