The Reasons Why I Blog.

Hi,

It’s been a good few months since I sat down and wrote a blog post that was more on the chatty side rather than all planned out in my notebook. As this one is a little more personal I thought it would be better to do from the mind > fingers > blog post and speak a bit more from the heart.

I’ve been reflecting lately on the beginnings of my adventures into the blogging world and although it’s not even been one whole year since I began this blog and started taking it seriously, I feel really proud that I’ve kept it going and still love posting.

From the get go, this blog was for me to use as not only a hobby to keep myself busy but as a diary, where I can share my life experiences and have a place to look back on my emotions during that time and how I’ve grown since.

If you’ve followed my blog over the year, you’ll have seen how I have brushed upon my life as a university graduate to becoming a carer for my Mam (I wrote about it here). It’s not been easy, that’s for sure.

To put it straight, I don’t work. Not because I don’t want to. I’d love to be settled in the PR industry by now, which has been my dream since I was in school, but unfortunately for now my career pursuit is placed on hold whilst I look after my Mam. A job nobody truly wants to be faced with but also a role I’d never turn down in a million years.

It can be unbelievably disheartening, seeing all your friends becoming successful and earning proper adult wages but having this small space on the internet to call my own has truly helped to keep my mind focused and my toes in the writing world.

Even more so, the opportunities and support from not only local bloggers but from the online community has been incredible and it’s so nice to be apart of something so positive and uplifting. It can truly be a light in dark times!

I’d love to hear some other stories about why bloggers have created their blogs and what keeps them going. I’m tagging:

Please join in if you’d like to share your blogging story!

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

 

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giffgaff gameplan: Lifegoals Workshop Event

Happy Friday,

I hope you’re all well!

Firstly, before I get into this weeks post, I am THRILLED to announce that after almost three months of being locked out of my Twitter account, I have regained access! (*cue the audience cheers*) Hopefully, this means I’ll be more motivated to get back into the full swing of blogging without feeling completely out of the bloggers loop, like I have been these past months.

Yesterday, I was very kindly invited to another North East blogging event, this time ran by the lovely people of giffgaff: gameplan, at the Hilton Gateshead and I thought I’d give you a little run down of how it went!

You probably know giffgaff as the popular mobile network. However the company have started on another venture into the world of personal financing! The network have launched a saving money website, which allows you to compare energy prices, car insurance, loans and credit card providers. The site also offers a free credit report so you can be on your way to building your dreams and budgeting to keep on top of it all! You can find giffgaff:gameplan website here.

The event revolved around finances and money management, a topic which I think most of us tend to just assume we know enough about to breeze by in life. However, since finishing university and being shoved into the real world, I’ve found that I need to know a lot more than just the basics of how to understand financing. It’s all so adult.

Upon arrival to the event, we were welcomed warmly with a glass of wine and had time to mingle and enjoy the view of the Tyne Bridge before being ushered into our workshops.

WORKSHOP ONE: Everyday Savings

eileenadamson
Eileen Adamson of Yourmoneysorted.co.uk

The first workshop was based on ‘Everyday Savings’ and was ran by the charming Eileen Adamson of Your Money Sorted. Eileen talked about ways of saving on interest through paying just that little more than the minimum on credit cards paybacks and mortgages, meaning you are not only saving yourself a nice bit of money to spend how you like but can pay it off even earlier! I honestly would never even think to pay back more than the minimum, I sort of just go with the flow but I’ll 100% be taking Eileen’s advice on board.

We then enjoyed some interactive activities, including spending habits bingo, Jenga (which encouraged us to mingle and feel more comfortable discussing money), scheduling a meal plan for the month to aid in stopping the need to buy more than the essentials, which I am very guilty of! We then shared websites and apps that would help to both make money and save money, including Plum and Chip, two apps that work with your bank to save a small amount from your current account and build up savings.

By the end of the workshop, I really felt like I’d not only learned new ways to save and find great deals but also felt more confident about discussing money around my peers. I’ve always sort of shied away from the topic completely, when, like Eileen said, we don’t talk about money enough and it should be a more comfortable social discussion. Hey, with my new found confidence I might even try haggling!

buffetWe then stopped for a little buffet break and enjoyed some of the food that Hilton had to offer. This is always the part of any event where I feel like I’ve been so lucky with the opportunities my blog has given me, especially with not even having it a whole year yet! I had a lovely little chat with Yasmina, Kate and Becka about all things rom coms and snacks before making my way to the last workshop of the night.

WORKSHOP TWO: Bad Credit/Credit Score Advice

badcredit
Karyn Fleeting of Miss Thrifty

The second workshop was ran by the expert of credit, Karyn Fleeting of The Miss Thrifty Blog. If I’m being completely truthful, I went into this workshop only know the bare minimum about credit and most of my knowledge came from passing conversations with friends. Being only 22, I thought that credit would only affect me when I get a little bit older but Karyn has put me in a much better relationship with understanding that credit should be given more attention, no matter what age.

Karyn talked us through how to check our credit score, using Experian, Equifax and CallCredit, what each rating would mean for future referencing and the importance of a high credit score when applying for a loan or a mortgage. Karyn then went on to advise us on how to inflate our credit score through paying bills on time and avoiding payday loans, before demonstrating how to repair a credit score if it’s all looking a bit downhill, with a credit rebuild card and a smidge of patience.

As I said previously, I had such a small amount of understanding on what credit truly was and how it would affect the way I spend, loan and prepare for my future. Thankfully, after Karyn’s incredibly helpful workshop, I’ll now be more wary of my credit score and keep top tip on making sure it’s as high as possible. I even checked my score as soon as I got back to the house! Keen bean.

missthrifty

To round up the event, I had a great evening and loved being in the company of other bloggers once more. It’s so nice to feel part of your local blogging community and put real life faces to blog names!

Thanks to the workshop speakers, giffgaff:gameplan, Jennie and Alice for organising the event and inviting me and the staff at the Hilton Gateshead for making us all feel very welcome.

Cheers for reading,

Chanel

x

 

 

 

 

 

Things you might be missing on Netflix

Hi,

At this point, I’m pretty sure almost every man, woman and dog has used Netflix at some part of their life. Whether it’s been for just the free trial or as a dedicated subscriber, the streaming site is a blessing when it comes to avoiding boring Saturday night TV and annoying adverts every 5 minutes.

As we already know, Netflix stream hugely popular television and films from Hollywood production companies such as Breaking Bad, Suits and Peaky Blinders, which all have cult followings. However, Netflix also produce their own content that has proved to be wildly popular and challenges the global broadcasting giants. These shows include Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things and most recently, Queer Eye.

However, as talked about these shows and films are, not all content on Netflix is given the same amount of publicity. I filtered through some of my favourite shows on Netflix that may have gone under the radar but are well worth the watch!

 

The Get Down

get-down

I’m going to start off with my favourite find ever on Netflix…The Get Down. When the show first premiered on Netflix, I believe it had amazing press reviews and still I had no real intention of watching. For no particular reason either. It wasn’t until I realised that the show was the brainchild of Baz Luhrmann aka. the genius behind Moulin Rouge!, The Great Gatsby and Romeo + Juliet, that I thought I’d give it a watch. My god, what a sensational show!

Based in 1970’s South Bronx, the story follows Ezekiel, a young teen with a talent for poetry and words who finds himself in an unlikely friendship with a aspiring DJ and part time criminal, Shaolin Fantastic. The pair begin to produce music together and form ‘The Get Down Brothers’. The show incorporates love, youth, friendship, betrayal and the struggles of the Bronx.

I can’t praise this show enough, the musical talent is insane and the characters are easy to love. I’m devastated they’re not doing another season.

Easy

netflix_easy_cast

Now, here’s a show I bet you’ve either never heard of/heard little about. If you didn’t catch the show on it’s release then there’s a good chance you won’t even know it exists because no one really talks about it!

Easy is one of those, super-easy, stick it on whilst you’re having brekkie kind of programmes. However, it does have quite a bit of nudity so if you have little one’s it’s maybe not the breakfast show for you!

Easy is a series that covers all sorts of relationships and their issues, whether romantically or sexual. Each episode brings a new scenario with new people, with a select handful of couples making a return for the second series. Definitely worth a watch!

 

GLOW

Screen_Shot_2017_08_11_at_09.58.34.0

Although I’ve seen quite a lot of advertisement for GLOW, I’ve not seen many people raving about it, which I don’t understand because it’s fantastic.

GLOW, Glamorous Ladies of Wrestling, is a TV series based in the 80s which features a bunch of struggling, aspiring actresses who join the cast of a brand new TV programme where women wrestle. A popular concept or the era.

I found it so easy to get attached to the characters and the second series is just as enjoyable as the first. Girl Power!

 

Santa Clarita Diet

santa-clarita-diet

If you’re into weird, out there programmes, then this one is for you!

Drew Barrymore plays a happy go lucky, real estate agent who lives a peaceful, simple life until one day contracts a disease which transforms her into a flesh-eating zombie. The show follows how her character finds human food, by help from her devoted husband and daughter, all whilst trying to find a cure.

The show is quite strange and gruesome, but the light-hearted humour makes the story enjoyable and hilarious.

 

That’s all from me,

Thanks,

Chanel

x

ABQ London- Breaking Bad Bar Experience

Hello,

If you’re a TV show fan like myself then you would have definitely seen or if not, heard of the television king that is Breaking Bad. A show all about a chemistry professor on his mission to pay for his own cancer treatment through the production and distribution of crystal meth, which leads to some… interesting scenarios.

I watched the show about 3 years ago and was completely blown away with the quality of the production, script writing and the performances by the actors on the show. Who doesn’t love Bryan Cranston?

As me and my best friend, Ellen, are both huge fans of the show we decided that whilst we were in London for a short break, we’d visit the Breaking Bad bar which we’d seen a friend post photos of a few years ago.

The bar is located in Cambridge Heath, close to the Cambridge Heath overground. Although we found it easier to just hop on the tube, get off at Bethnal Green and do the 10-15 minute walk to the bar. Make sure you leave plenty of time to get to the bar, we ended up having to run in 21 degree heat to make our time slot!

Once we arrived, we found the infamous RV, which was already blasting music and were greeted by energetic staff who were hyping the energy up. After we clambered inside our yellow jumpsuits and felt like true cooks, we stepped inside the RV to be greeted by insane decor. A array of little tables with metal drums to sit on, a massive Heisenberg wall feature, mood lighting and scientific apparatus. Fitting in about 25 people into one RV, they made fantastic use of the space they had.

On arrival, we were met by Z and Becks who, along with the rest of the staff were always in character and helped us feel at ease and made sure we were making our drinks correctly.

We were given two Mojito’s with an extra twist as a welcome drink as the drink list and mixing were explained. We then got a choice of what drink we wanted to make for ourselves first. Being prosecco lovers, the Wendy Martini was a certain pick for us.

With the Wendy Martini, we first had to infuse the alcohol through funnels and beakers. Possibly the most fun/tastiest part of the whole night was then creating white chocolate bubbles by blowing into a beaker filled with a concoction of food science goodness. After, we served up the drinks and maybe overdid it with the amount of bubbles we scooped on!

By this point we were already pretty tipsy (hence the bad photography, I’m sorry im incapable of using my camera at the best of times and a few drinks don’t help).

Our second choice of drink experiment was ‘Blow’. We asked which drink was the strongest and that’s how we came to pick this particular mix. When the ingredients arrived, Ellen and I gave each other a suspicious look…we were definitely in a Breaking Bad bar. But don’t worry it’s just sugar and all part of the fun.

Once we’d finished our drinks, we took a few pictures, had a quick chat to the staff and the lovely couple we were sat opposite too before taking off our jumpsuits and heading off into the night (onto another bar…and then another…and then my head was down the toilet bowl).

We had an absolutely fantastic time at ABQ London and I’d highly, HIGHLY recommend the experience, especially if you’re a fan of the show! Great atmosphere, lovely staff and a whole lot of fun making the drinks. It’s definitely amazing value for money!

You can find the link to their site and more information here.

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

x

 

 

 

Viking Digital Photography Masterclass with Elouisa Georgiou

Hello,

In a week full of firsts: England winning their first ever penalty shootout at a World Cup, the first ever successful double hand transplant in the UK and the first time Georgia had her heartbroken on national TV show, Love Island (we love you gal!). I attended my first ever blogging event!

With only starting my blog at the beginning of the year, I was absolutely overjoyed when I received an email inviting me to a bloggers event in Newcastle. Me? Little Nel? Getting an invite to mingle with other bloggers and learn useful tips? I’m there!

I’m not going to lie…I was bricking it. I spent the week running up to the event worrying about feeling the odd one out, panicking that no one would like me and the biggie, I knew no one on a personal/friendly level. However, when I arrived at the venue, I bumped into Ruby and Helena, who were more than lovely and allowed me to tag along with them.

The lovely team at Viking teamed up with professional photographer Elouisa Georgiou to create a Digital Photography Masterclass at The Botanist. A gorgeous venue, that was ideal for us bloggers who love a good picturesque environment! The masterclass was based around teaching us how to look more carefully at camera settings, lighting and the ways we can alter aspects of a set up to get the prime shot.

Firstly, as we all sat with complimentary prosecco in hand (massive brownie points to the genius behind the free booze), Elouisa talked us through some of the basics of manual photography, an area that was completely alien to me as I usually just stick my camera on auto and hope for the best. Talking about ISO, aperture and shutter speed, it allowed us to get a sense of how to change our settings depending on the light, the motion of the subject and shooting products in the foreground and background.

After the talk, we were encouraged to try some of the things we’d been taught for ourselves. Chatting to fellow bloggers Niamh, Rachael, and Cat, we soon found out that none of us really had any idea how to use our cameras or where to even begin.

The first task we had were flatlays. I think most bloggers dream of having dreamy flat lays of beautiful products and food but the reality is, it’s a faff if you don’t know what you’re doing and can’t get a nice result. Elouise really helped with understanding how to frame the photos and how to use my camera to increase the quality of the shot. I’ll definitely be giving flatlays for of a go with my newfound flatlaying confidence!

We also played about with bounce boards and prisms to manipulate light and eradicate shadows. I’d honestly never thought about adding different textures and light flares to my images to make them more interesting, but after having seeing some of the other bloggers photography with the use of prisms, I’ll be trying it out!

Once we’d had our fun, we all sat down for some delicious food and a cocktail on the house whilst our photos were being printed for Elouisa to judge. I loved hearing all the different conversations of how varied people’s lives are but we all found our way to blogging as a hobby and outlet.

Elouisa then chose her winner of the photography competition, it was time to say goodbye! We were all given a tips and tricks sheet running over everything that had been said so we could practise at home and we even got given a tripod as a pressie!

Thank you to Viking and Elouisa for the invite and being so welcoming.

I had the best night with lovely people in a gorgeous surrounding and learned so much about photography and camera settings that I hope and pray can help me improve my photos. Watch this space!

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Struggling with Adult Acne

Hello everyone,

It’s been such a long time since I’ve written on my blog. I explained in my last post that I wouldn’t be posting until I had my Twitter account unlocked as it is my main blogging tool. However, I’ve been pining to get back to writing and the fact of the matter is, I can’t wait any longer! So here I am to talk about something that has affected me since I hit my late teens/adult years.

During my teenage years, when acne is present amongst pretty much everyone your age, I really didn’t have too much trouble with my skin. I was very lucky and only had the occasional spot with nothing too worrying. For a long time, I was insanely grateful to my skin as not only am I a redhead, I also wear glasses and the thought of acne in my teen years turned me into the typical bully victim we all know and love depicted on screen and in books.

It wasn’t until I turned 19, where I started noticing my skin wasn’t cooperating with me as much as it previously had done. The one place where I seemed to be getting recurring spots was my chin. At first, I thought it was the makeup I was using as I had recently changed my beauty routine. My mother thought it might be because I was using too much skincare, which she still blames today.

As the spots became more frequent, they also began to change in appearance. From little red marking to huge cystic under the skin boils which would be extremely painful and have left me scarred as a result.

Over the last few years, I’ve used multiple products claiming to aid in the fight against acne. I honestly can’t explain how many scrubs, face masks, serums, moisturisers, oils, strips, I’ve been through. I’ve used EVERYTHING. For the most part nothing has really helped.

Last year, I decided to take things to the GP. The option I had been dreading. I don’t like treating my body with medicine unless it is absolutely necessary and would much rather try and find a more natural remedy.

The GP explained that acne on the chin is caused by an imbalance of hormones that occured in a great deal of women and that using a hormone balancing drug would help my skin return to normal.

She put me on Limecycline, a huge sized tablet that I couldn’t take. I’m terrible at taking tablets to begin with and this was my worst nightmare. I cried for a good 45 minutes before hopping onto google and searching if there were any alternatives.

Instead of taking the medication, I found a natural oil, Evening Primrose Oil. The tablets came in different sizes and were all from an organic source. I purchased some from Holland & Barrett and started taking them immediately.

It took a little while before I began to see any results but there were differences to my skin. The cystic spots were smaller and smaller each time my skin flared up. I stayed on Evening Primrose Oil for a good 10 months before deciding that I wanted to give my body a break and see what would happen to my skin.

Mistake.

The acne came back. At this point, I was so fed up that I went to see my GP again and she instead put me on an antibiotic cream. I used the cream when I seen my skin was flaring up and it definitely helped.

Now I’m at a place where I’m not 100% happy with my skin, I still have the odd flare up and I have a lot of texture/scarring on my skin but I don’t get cystic boils anymore and that’s good enough for me.

My confidence is still controlled by how my skin looks though and I’m working my way to feeling more comfortable in myself and realising that I’m not the only one with skin concerns which is a more complicated concept to believe than you may think.

I try not to use as many products on my skin now. If I feel like my skin is flaring up, I’ll use a little tea tree oil and hope for the best.

This post was inspired by Joe Sugg’s video on his adult acne which he posted a few months ago on his Youtube Channel that has made me think ever since about how I look at my own skin journey. You can watch the video here.

I decided to talk about my struggle with acne as I want to hopefully find a permanent solution to my skin concerns and when I do, I’ll be writing about everything I’ve tried during the process.

If you’re reading this and also struggle with acne of any type, you’re not alone and there will be a solution out there for you. It might take a little while to find it and it’s hard not to be impatient when you’re trying so many different products and routines and watching thousands of Youtube videos! Trust me, I’ve been there!

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

x

 

A Trip to Bergen, Norway.

Hello!

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter then you’ll probably know that I’ve been on a cruise around the Norwegian Fjords. It was my first time out of the country in almost two years and the Fjords were a little area of the world that my Mam had always talked about visiting. In our mission to make as many memories as possible, we booked a cruise from Newcastle to Norway as soon as we had positive news on the progression of her treatment.

Our first port of call was the beautiful city of Bergen on the west-coast of Norway. The city is surrounded by seven mountains and it honestly feels like you’re in some elaborate film set, it’s surreal.

DSC01013

I’d googled online prior to our travels to see just what the city had to offer. What stood out immediately was that the main tourist attraction of Bergen was the World Cultural Heritage Site, Bryggen. Bryggen, sits proudly on the dock of Bergen showing a display of Hanseatic wooden buildings which date back to the 14th Century and were used by merchants and traders to share their goods. Although the buildings have been victim to several fires over the centuries, reconstruction has allowed merchants to carry on the tradition of selling commercial goods. If you’re not too bothered about the historical content then you’ll definitely enjoy the wooden village and all the pretty colours.

We walked around the city centre for a while, visiting the park and gardens, looking at statues of Norwegian Fishermen and admiring how even McDonald’s and Starbucks were in most gorgeous buildings. There is the option to travel by cable car to the top of the mountains but unfortunately we felt that there wasn’t enough time for us to fit everything into a few hours.

If there is one thing to say about Norway, it’s that….it is expensive. We spent the equivalent of £30 on three meals at Burger King which was a bit of a shock to the purse. We also heard by a fellow passenger on the cruise that she had asked for a glass of prosecco from a bar in Bergen centre and they had charged her £29 for one glass. Safe to say she probably needed a stronger drink after that! However, we knew that all of the Scandinavian countries have a higher wage and therefore we were aware things could get a tad pricey.

All in all, if you’ve never visited Norway then I highly recommend you do at least once in your life. From the gorgeous wooden buildings to the breathtaking Fjords, Norwegian culture is everywhere and does not disappoint.

If you want to read my previous blog post you can find it here

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

x

Pin Up, Gal! – Old English Company Pins + Competition

Hi!

If you’re like me and love customising the things you wear to show off your personality, then you’ve probably at one point used pins to do so. Whether that’s jazzing up an old denim jacket with band related merch or a backpack with cute badges that make life just a bit more interesting!

If you’re looking to spice up your wardrobe then Old English Company have your back! The Stamford-based company specialise in unique hand lettered products, including the most gorgeous enamel pins.

These are just a few of my favourites from their collection:

Links:

‘Start Somewhere’ Enamel Pin

‘She Believed She Could So She Did’ Enamel Pin

Grow Through What You Go Through’ Enamel Pin

‘HeartBreaker’ Enamel Pin

Inspiring and motivational slogans are always eye catching to me and I love the vintage feel of the ‘heart breaker’ pin, its very reminiscent of all the 80s chick flicks I adore! Old English Company have a bunch of beautifully designed pins all made in England so each product has a place of pride.

Already stars in the stationary and accessory market, Old English Company are constantly growing in popularity and you might even spot their products in stores such as Waterstones and Paperchase!

Now for the part you’re all waiting for… the competition details!

*Competition*

Old English Company are giving away a set of their enamel pins to one lucky winner! All you have to do is click on this link ( https://oldenglishprints.com/pages/enamel-pin-competition-win-a-set-of-enamel-pins ) and follow the instructions to enter!  

Make sure you’re quick as the winner will be picked on the 30th May 2018!

If you want to have a peek on their store you can find their entire enamel pin collection here

Thanks for reading and good luck!

Chanel

x

 

Legally Blonde The Musical UK Review

Hello!

The sun was absolutely glorious in the UK this weekend and we got all of three days to enjoy it before the clouds have made their return. Typical.

This weekend I went to see Legally Blonde The Musical at Sunderland Empire on their UK Tour. I’ve been a fan of the musical for going on six years now and was massively excited when my friend bought me tickets for my birthday.

First of all, I’m a big fan of theatre. Musicals especially, so my expectations for this show were a little higher than it probably should have been after years of watching the poor quality video on Youtube and screeching along to the soundtrack.

One thing I must say about this show is that, for a travelling musical, the stage set up and quality of the performance was top notch. I’ve been to a few touring musicals and the show never has the same magic as a proper West End production but Legally Blonde blew me away!

Lucie Jones, who I saw many moons ago on the X Factor tour, played Elle Woods and she did an absolutely fantastic job! As well as insanely great vocals, Jones quirky approach to Elle’s character played out perfectly alongside the ups and downs of Little Miss Woods, Elle’s time at Harvard. Although, Laura Bell Bundy, the original Broadway Elle is a firm favourite, Lucie really lived up to the role and made the show very special.

My favourite character in the musical is Paulette, the beautician with dreams of finding the perfect Irish man. Played by Eastenders actress, Rita Simons, Paulette’s husky tones and loud personality were definitely recognised on stage, especially during the performance of Ireland which was one of my highlights of the entire show!

Of course, all of the cast were amazing and you can really tell they have a close bond not only as colleagues but as friends which comes across in making the performance the best they possibly can.

My highlight of the production, which I’m sure is loved by all audiences, has to be ‘There! Right There! which is both hilarious and wildly impressive. I also still can’t get over the Whipped into Shape routine, how on Earth Helen Petrovna skipped like that and still carried top vocals is beyond me!

Overall, if you’re going to see Legally Blonde in the next few months then you are in for a treat! I’d definitely go and see it for a second time!

If you’re interested in buying tickets then the link for the tour is here

My last blog post can be found here

Thanks for reading, see you soon!

Chanel

x

Dealing with Trauma whilst at University

Hi!

I hope you have all been well and are looking forward to the warmer weather ahead which we have had a teaser of over the last few days!

As my post ‘The “C” Word: Talking about Cancer’ was received so well, I decided to write more about my experiences with the disease and hopefully help people who may be going through a similar situation.

My Experience:

When my Mam was first diagnosed with cancer, I was in Semester One of my final and most important year of university. I immediately moved back home to support my family and decided that I couldn’t continue living in a different city whilst my loved ones were going through the heartbreak. As I studied at Sheffield Hallam University which meant I lived a 2 hour train journey from my home in Newcastle, the idea of commuting was a) not affordable and b) inefficient.

At first I was ready to drop out, forget my education and focus on what was happening at home, but my parents wanted me to continue with my study and I also couldn’t let all my hard work in the last two years go to waste.

I emailed my tutor to explain how I was unsure of what to do and was passed onto the student advisors of my university department. The advisors were incredibly helpful and understanding of my decision to attempt studying from home, although I was warned the inability to attend lectures and seminars may affect my grade.

The extenuating circumstances benefits differ from university to university, some may get special consideration of grading and other offer extensions. I was hoping that my university may offer some sort of compassion consideration when grading my papers as I was not really in the right mindset to continue writing essays at the same standard as I was producing whilst studying in Sheffield. However, I was grateful for the extensions as it gave me more time to balance my time.

I continued writing and submitting essays which I hoped were to my best ability and was rewarded with great grades despite only having the support of the online powerpoints and the fantastic help of my coursemates who I wouldn’t have been able to complete my degree without, as some of my lecturers were not exactly cooperative. One even went as far as to say I wouldn’t achieve my potential at home, which when I passed with the exact grade I wanted made me a very smug graduate.

Although I studied from home, I worked really hard and tried to be as involved as I possibly could to make sure I had an equal chance of achieving the best grade under the circumstances.

My Top Tips

University is an incredibly stressful time and the additional pressure of trauma or upset can cause an array of issues both mentally and educationally. I’ve compiled some tips of how to go about studying through difficult times:

  • Communicate: Talk! Talk to your tutor, talk to student advisors, talk to the support team, talk to anyone that will listen! Part of getting through the struggle is sharing your problems with people who can give you advice and understand just how hard it is. Most universities offer student wellbeing plans which allow you to meet with specialists and talking therapies who may be able to help find ways around obstructions in your study. If you have any issues with assignments or exams then talk to your tutors, they’re there to support you and in most cases will provide further explanations with anything you might find difficult.
  • Apply for study benefits: As discussed earlier, extenuating circumstances can give you more time with your assignments, easier examination environments and support with disability and welfare limitations. Applying for these benefits may lift some weight off your shoulders that could make your life just that little bit easier.
  • Find Resources: If you’re working from home it’s likely that you’ll become lazier with finding resources, mostly because you aren’t in short distance of the university library. However, resources and references are what makes essays reach the top grades as it proves that you’ve researched the subject and allows you to present a better understanding. If you are living away from your university but are in reach of another university, you can apply for day or visitor passes for most uni ran libraries. E-books are also a lifesaver, especially for dissertation work.
  • Work Hard: If you’re determined to get your degree then I’m sure this tip is a given. It is true that the more effort you put into your work, the more reward you will get out of it. Also, it’ll feel so good walking across the stage at graduation knowing you did you best.
  • Have breaks: Finally, don’t forget that you’re going through a rough time and you need time to relax, spend time with your mates and step out of the study circle for a few hours. It’ll not only keep you from bursting from stress but it’ll do you the world of good stepping away from the screen or the books for a little while and then reassessing everything through fresh eyes when you come back to it.

I hope this has been interesting and if you’re struggling through a hard time at the moment just remember that you’re only human and as long as you’re doing your best then you can be proud of what you achieve. Please remember to talk to who you need to to get the help which will provide you with the best chance of reaching your full potential. You can do this!

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

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