Travelling with Diabetes

As some of you might know, my boyfriend was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes fairly recently, and whilst he has been getting used to it and learning, so have I. One of the most crucial things I have learned is the importance of being organised.

Needless to say, when you are travelling or going on holiday, planning is key. This is no different to travelling with diabetes. It is so important to be prepared for the worst (not that it’s guaranteed that it is guaranteed to happen!). But, you have to expect it to, incase it does. A couple of weeks ago, we went camping, and to prepare for that and our holiday to Devon, I had been doing some research and reading for people’s tips and tricks for travelling and being organised. Here are some of the important things that I have picked up on. This post is not sponsored, this is mine and Ed’s genuine opinions on what has been useful and products we have found handy in practise!

Supplies:

You need to have enough supplies for the amount of time you are away, and longer. This includes anything that you would use daily, and anything that could help if something goes wrong. For example, a list I made for Ed included:

Needles, insulin, test strips, lancets, spare CGM (Continuous glucose monitoring) sensors.

Other things I found useful to have are any things that you could need if something went wrong. So not only does this include extra supplies (we took double the expected amount) but also ‘non-every-day’ things, such as keytone test strips.

It may seem like overkill, but it is not fun getting to your holiday destination and realising you’ve left something behind – something that would make your holiday more comfortable. For example, Ed left his spare FreeStyle Libre sensor at home and for the weekend he had to step back in time to when he was diagnosed and get the ‘ol finger pricker out again. It wasn’t fun for anyone, least of all him. Planning for these things just makes it more comfortable more than anything.

Hypo supplies:

The dreaded hypoglycaemia. ‘Tis a bitch. Unfortunately, just like 98% of the other problems in day-to-day life, ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. The more you ignore the signs the worse it gets. We took way too much stuff incase of a hypo, especially considering we were only away one night, but I didn’t want to have a situation where a lack of sugar got out of hand. Here’s what was included in our emergency kit:

Glucose juices, glucose tablets and glucose gels. These are good as they are discrete amounts of sugar and can be used to know precisely how much sugar you might need to take and how much you are actually taking. Other things included; Percy Pigs sweets (incase Ed didn’t want glucose tablets, because they are gross and horrible and mean and rank and not enjoyable at all and… you get the picture), full sugar Lucozade (again, see my previous reasoning), Caprisuns and biscuits. The biscuits acted as carbs for when we were camping, as taking a whole loaf of bread with us seemed a bit too Parisian.

These little packets of biscuits are great because they are a controlled amount of carbs! Same with the juice and the tablets!

Hypo supplies are so important, especially if you are going somewhere such as a festival where there might be alcohol, which can have such an impact on your blood sugar levels, causing them to drop rapidly. The earlier you spot a hypo, the quicker you can get the sugar in and the better the outcome. If you didn’t have anything pleasant, for instance you only had a glucose gel, you really don’t want to get to stage of needing to use it. I don’t know first hand because I don’t have T1D but I’ve heard from others that Glucose gel is not pleasant, and to be honest, you don’t want to be in a situation where that is your only option. But if you were, you’d be fine and have to make do! As well as hypo supplies, low carb snacks are also a really good thing to stock up on and take because it can be hard to find something that you can eat without sugar or carbs! Especially if you’re camping or abroad! Ed’s favourites include beef jerky and apple chunks with peanut butter!

Other helpful bits and bobs:

Frio Cooler Pouch

The Frio comes in various sizes including individual wallets and space for 5 pens or 10 cartridges! They also come in funky colours and patterns for younger children (or more attention seeking adults)!

When we went camping it was very, very, very warm and insulin does not like heat. He likes it cold (Shoutout to my boy Will Byers) is true in the case of insulin and we took a Frio cooler, which I will link at the bottom for you. It is a pouch which contains tiny beads that react to water and don’t require refrigeration to keep things cold. This is perfect for something like camping, where you might not have access to a fridge!

Frio Sharps Bin Mini

Here is the mini sharps bin, which comes in either this colour or a bright yellow! You can buy them individually or in packs of three! So useful!

Another product from Frio, is their mini sharps bins. They are super handy for on the go needle disposal, and it they can be emptied into bigger sharps bins once you get home. Trust me, I don’t mind needles floating around in my handbag, until my hand comes out looking like a pin cushion when I go rummaging for god knows what. Still, all jokes aside, these are brilliant and very cheap, well worth investing in one for those moment when you don’t want to carry around a huge yellow bin all the time. When we take the car on holiday, or visit friends and family, we tend to take a normal 1L sharps bin – it’s easier than collecting all the needles up and taking them back loose in the suitcases!

MedAngel Temp. Sensor

Granted, my plastic bag skills need some improvement, and I mean need, but it keeps it dry and working!
Here’s a screenshot from the list of medicines it can work with. As you can see, it is designed for not only insulin, but Epipens and other medical items such as the FreeStyle Libre Sensors. It also has the lists separated by EU and US so you know where to look for your specific medication! You can monitor multiple medications on one sensor, so long as they are all stored together with the sensor!

A really useful product, especially for hot or extremely cold holidays, such as beaches or skiing, is the MedAngel temperature sensor. Ed was bought his as a gift and it has been really useful for the above reasons! This can slip into the Frio pouch, or next to your insulin wherever it is stored, and reads the surrounding temperature, giving you a rough idea of what temperature your insulin is at. It also recognises all the different insulin brands and types as well as knowing their safe ranges, notifying you if they are dangerously hot or cold. With an app available for IOS and Android, it’s a handy gadget to have if you need it. We take a spare battery for this, even though the battery lasts years – better to be safe than sorry. Also, as I discovered only today, it has a GPS tracker, so if you lose your insulin, you can see where it was last and track it down!

As you can see from my picture, we keep it in a makeshift protective plastic bag, so when the Frio is wet, it doesn’t get damaged. If you’re interested on how I’ve done this, just google heat shrinking plastic bag videos, like the ones for keeping carrot sticks in etc. See here! They did a better job than I did! Seriously.

HypoWallet

This comes under a term I like to call ‘Pseudo-hypo supplies’, but the Hypo Wallet is so useful for keeping the juice, tabs and gel all in one case whether you’re putting it in your bag, leaving it in the hotel room, etc., knowing it has everything ready. We keep one in the car, as well as one in my handbag so we always have something with us. The one linked from Amazon is slightly more expensive than what you can find elsewhere, but it gives you an idea of what it contains. We stock up each time we use one of the items in it so we know it is always full. We buy in bulk from Amazon, but there are other places such as online pharmacies that do the same stuff.

Finally, to keep everything together, I put supplies and bulky things in a Frio travel bag, and any food and hypo snacks in a mini cooler lunch bag. The linked Frio is a ready made travel kit, which we have bought before and the bag is really handy. The lunch bag pictured pictured is mine, and is rather girly. But hey, I’m they one carrying it!

https://www.beauandelliot.com/product/dove-lunch-tote/

Thank you for reading and if any of you are interested in these products and want to know more, let me know as I am considering doing a separate post for a couple of the things I listed today. I will be incorporating more posts into my blog about diabetes and how Ed and I are learning new things every day.

Stay posted for more updates and subscribe to get notifications when I post, as well as following my Instagram and Facebook! Thank you!

Also, massive shoutout to Ed who puts up with this everyday and I’m so proud of you!

Here are the linked products from today:

Frio Sharps Bin: https://friouk.com/product/mini-pocket-sharps-bin/

Frio Duo Wallet: https://friouk.com/product/frio-duo/

Hypo Wallet: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/shop/hypowallet

Frio Travel Essentials Kit: https://friouk.com/product/travel-essentials-pack/

MedAngel Sensor: https://shop.medangel.co

FreeStyle Libre: https://www.freestylelibre.co.uk/libre/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwyLDpBRCxARIsAEENsrJS_9dqVH1bNWh25rYrtmdwLe8cxE6QdqsMXu1Yzi4l2eoWqH6hiToaAgXtEALw_wcB

My time on Northcote Road, London

I recently visited London with my boyfriend, and we stayed with some of his family. I L O V E London. I would love to get a job in the city and live there. We visited some friends who live in Battersea, which is home to Northcote Road! This is a haven for not only your everyday stores and restaurants like Oliver Bonas, Franco Manca, Waitrose etc. but small independent stores selling ecologically friendly products and organic healthy foods, including the fabulous Whole Foods.

A couple of my favourites were Hamish Johnston Fine Cheeses, a small store selling so many different types of cheeses! They also sell quirky chutneys and jams, and real honeycomb (which I thought was pretty awesome!). The staff were really friendly and helpful with choosing the cheeses, adding to my knowledge about new and different cheeses!

Something else I thought was pretty cool was The Fish Stall again on Northcote Road. Although the smell was pretty shocking, especially as you don’t expect fresh fish to be on the streets of London, it was so refreshing to see fresh produce being sold.

In a smallish town where I live, or even Oxford when I am around, although there are independent sellers of meats, cheeses, cakes, beauty products etc. etc. it is no where near being on the scale London is on. I described Northcote Road as Oxford on steroids, it has everything that I love about the city, and more.

Going back to Whole Foods, we had their burritos from their cafe/food service area of the Clapham Junction store on Lavender Hill. The burritos were amazing! They were absolutely full to the brim and they had warmed the tortilla up before they begun to construct, so not only did it hold its shape a bit better but it also made the whole experience much warmer and yummier! I would highly recommend popping in to get one if you are passing a store and they offer the service. They can be taken to a local park, or just eaten as you explore the city, although I warn you, they are a little messy!

One more thing I thought was REVOLUTIONARY is The Source Bulk Foods store in Battersea. They are a brand that are all about absolutely zero waste. They sell foods and products in bulk, and you bring your containers/bags/pots etc and you pay for the product you buy. No paying for expensive packaging, and you’re saving the planet too! This place is honestly an incredible idea and I think they would do so well in somewhere like Oxford. They sell almost any dry good you can think of, as well as household cleaning products and shampoo and conditioner! You just take your pot along and you can refill it! This is something I have a good feeling is going to appear across the country (I think lots of brands will start jumping on this band wagon), so expect to start seeing similar concepts near you in the next few years!

So, honestly, I could say so much more about how much I adore London, especially smaller areas outside the city centre, but I will stop here! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my lengthy post about one (amazing, awesome, incredible) road in London, but it means the world that people are reading my content and coming back to read more!

Keep watching this space, as I talk about reusable plastic ideas and how we can reduce how much plastic we use in everyday life over the next couple of weeks. Also, check out my previous post Eat your way to Mindfulness where I tackle the topic of healthy diet and reducing anxiety!

Thank you!!

Imogen ❤

First Christmas Shop

Some people might think mid-November is too early to start your Christmas celebrations, but for me, the excitement is in the build-up to the big day. The fairy lights and tinsel going up, mince pies coming out in stores, Christmas candles and of course, all the best Christmas music. I did a bit of shopping yesterday, and although not all of the products were Xmas themed, the majority of them fit the bill!

I have been buying presents for friends and family and frantically trying to think up ideas for my Secret Santa, but I have also been treating myself to a few things too, so I thought I’d share them with you. I’ll do the non-Christmas bits and bobs first, and save the best for last!

Makeup Organising:

I have been after a makeup organiser for a while now, and I knew I could get my hands on one in Tiger, one of my favourite stores. As I am starting to film more content for YouTube and some of this will be makeup themed, I thought it was about time I organised myself properly. So yesterday I popped in and looked through their collection and saw they had a small one that fits perfectly at the front of my makeup table. This, along with my new vanity box I have recently got, and now I’m quite chuffed with how it has turned out! I think this one was £7, and they had a couple that were either larger or smaller, so they have a good selection to choose from.

No.36 Sea Salt Mist Reed Diffuser: 

A couple of months ago, I bought this candle from good old Primark, but it burnt out within a few uses, so when I went back in to get another one, I spotted this and decided that it was better value for money, not to mention, you lose the danger element aka FIRE. I am really happy with it so far… it claims to last 8 weeks so I will keep an eye out for when the smell dwindles away. It was only £3 whereas a large candle was £5 and it only burned for 60 hours, which sounds like a lot but I’m sure it isn’t 8 weeks worth. So depending on how well this works, I may be sticking to diffusers from now on!

Christmas Fairy Lights:

As somebody asked me the other day; what makes a light a Christmas light? I couldn’t answer apart from saying that some of mine were shaped like snowflakes, even so, they are winter, not Christmas… anyway. I bought two new sets of lights for this season, to go with the other I purchased last year. I am much happier with the new ones, well done Primark, you’ve upped your game! They are much brighter and I love how they are smaller lights on a wire, which makes them more delicate, but they look prettier intertwined with tinsel, which is how I have displayed one of the sets. I have the 40 Copper Wire LED Star lights (£4) and 40 LED Firefly lights (£2.50), which are both 4.35m long, so ample to adorn places in your room like your desk or mirrors. Because they are much lighter weight this year, they are also easier to keep in place, by using small blobs of blue-tac. They take 3 AA batteries, so I keep them turned off when I am not in my room, but they are much brighter, as I mentioned before, and I think this is why.

Festive Slippers:

I couldn’t go another Christmas without some of these, and I saw the perfect pair hanging by the tills on the way to pay in Primark, so I threw them in the basket last minute and I’m glad I did, especially for £3.50! They are the Reindeer Novelty Footlets and they’re super comfy, perfect for popping on when watching a Christmas movie with a hot chocolate and a blanket. Nothing better!

Photo 15-11-2017, 21 34 22

Yankee Candles:

I have always loved Yankee Candles and last Christmas my mum bought me one, so when I finished it the other day, I knew I wanted some new ones. I went into the store in town and bought a couple of mini ones for £1.99 each, or £10 for 12 (for a limited time only). I purchased Sparkling Snow and Snow In Love in the ‘votive’ size. Sparkling Snow is described on the website as having Top Notes of Sweet Orange, Pine Needles, Crisp Mint, Mid Notes of Evergreens, Blue Spruce, White Pine, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Bay Leaf, Juniper Berry and Base Notes of Frosted White Musk, Fir Balsam, Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Patchouli. The Snow In Love is described as having Top Notes of Citrus, Mid Notes of Spicy, Floral, Jasmine and Base Notes of Oriental, Woody, Patchouli, Sandalwood. If you can imagine what any of that smells like, I applaud your knowledge of scents, because all I know is they smell lovely.

Photo 15-11-2017, 21 59 10

The Body Shop Bath Bombs and Bubbles:

The final thing I’m sharing today is The Body Shops new range of Bath Bombs and Bubbles. I’m not going to say too much because I am planning a review of these soon! They come in 8 scents, five of which are Bath Bombs (Mango, Strawberry, Candied Plum, Vanilla and Green Tea) and the other three are Bath Bubbles (Coconut, Moringa and Pink Grapefruit). I was able to get my hands on 5 of these and I am very excited to share with you guys my thoughts on them, so keep an eye out for the upcoming blog post!

Photo 15-11-2017, 22 06 31

So there you have it! Everything from the first shop of the year that truly felt Christmassy! Keep a watch for the new ‘Christmas’ tab in the menus for all exclusive Christmas content!

Good luck to anybody sending off UCAS applications in the near future and I hope it all goes smoothly! Need any help with the dreaded process? Go and watch my video I uploaded recently with some tips and tricks along with a run through of the full application to help you on your way.

Thank you for reading and have a lovely weekend!

Imogen S.

The Liebster Award

Hello everyone! I have been nominated by the lovely Sophia Lo for the Liebster Award. Sophia writes an amazing blog about anything fashion and beauty, and I particularly enjoyed her Rainy Day Haul post (and would certainly recommend MAC’s, Velvet Teddy!).

The idea of The Liebster Award is to find out new things about blogs you follow and to discover new, upcoming blogs, so I am thrilled to have been nominated!

Rules:

You must answer the 11 questions that the person that nominated you have asked.

You then create your own set of 11 questions and nominate your favourite bloggers for the award.

Tag your bloggers and wait for answers!

So here are the questions Sophia asked and I’ll try and answer as best as I can!

What is your favourite season?

I always tell people my favourite seasons are Autumn and Winter because I love being all wrapped up, snug as a bug, with a fire in the living room, a hot chocolate piled with whipped cream and marshmallows and a Christmas movie. That’s another reason… I love Christmas, it’s my favourite time of the year by far.

What is your favourite high-end makeup brand?

I have delved into the world of Nars this year, and my love for the brand has slowly been growing. My most recommended products would have to be the Nars Sheer Glow foundation and the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer. I use them both every time I do my makeup and they stay on all day. A definite must in my collection!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Wow… I haven’t been asked that enough in my A2 year! But seriously, I don’t know for certain where I would like to go with my life, but I want to continue learning new things, discovering more and developing new skills. A realistic goal and the one I am headed for now? A career incorporating the Psychology degree I hope to gain at university. A dream job would be continuing to write my blog, start filming YouTube videos and turn my passion for makeup into a business with my own brand! One can dream!

If you could hop on a plane tomorrow where would you go?

This follows on from my previous answer of my dream job, as I would jet off to America or Australia, set myself up in a city with a job to pay rent and start my own brand. I have never been to either of those countries, but it is definitely on my list of things to do!

Fruit or Vegetables?

What an odd question! I like fruit because its often sweeter and some fruits can make really good smoothies, but… it is definitely easier for me to incorporate vegetables into my diet.

What is your favourite scary movie?

I’m going to cheat a little and name a TV series instead, but hands down it has got to be American Horror Story. I have seen every season, including Cult, which is out now! Some of the seasons I had to come back to, like Asylum, because the first episode freaked me out so much I didn’t want to watch anymore, so I skipped to Coven. But, I am glad I went back because they are all incredible.

Who do you look up to?

Nobody, in particular, inspires me, but I do respect people who work amazingly hard to go far and achieve their aspirations in life. They’re the kind of people I aspire to be.

Coffee or Tea?

LOVE my morning coffee, and nothing can beat a Soy Caramel Latte, but I do love a cup of tea in the evening when I’m writing my blog or doing some work for college.

What is your favourite thing to blog about?

I really enjoy writing about beauty and makeup, as this is something I am always learning about and I like to share that with you. However, I also enjoy sharing my university/A-level experiences and giving advice on things I think could be useful! On that note, I’m going to Oxford tomorrow for another Open Day and I’m very excited!

What is your favourite book?

Can I be a cliche and say The Fault in Our Stars by John Green? I like it so much, I am currently writing my English coursework around the novel and I remember why it’s my favourite. Another of my favourites is A Year Without Autumn by Liz Kessler, which I read in secondary school in roughly two days and thought it was absolutely amazing. I haven’t read it again since, but I might go ahead and do that now!

If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Perhaps, and this is slightly controversial, Katie Hopkins, because although some of what she says is outrageous, I still think she is brilliant. If not her, definitely Leonardo DiCaprio, because, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t?!

Right, the easy bit is over and now I’m going to leave my 11 questions for the following bloggers to answer:

Glitter Hearts and Fire Eyes

Life According To Jade

Mackmarie

Coffee and Coats

Daily Life of a Student

My questions for you guys are here!

  1.  Out of all your travel destinations, abroad or locally, which has been your favourite?
  2. What is your favourite thing to do on a Sunday, with family, friends or on your own?
  3. What is one of the biggest things you have worried about this week, that you now realise is going to be okay?
  4. Dogs or Cats?
  5. Where is your favourite place to write your blog?
  6. Would you rather live underwater or in outer space?
  7. What is your go-to song right now?
  8. Would you rather never be able to tell the truth, or never be able to tell a lie?
  9. What advice do you follow and can share when you have writer’s block?
  10. If you knew one celebrity was reading your blog, who would you hope it to be?
  11. If you could live in a movie or TV series, which would it be?

Thank you all for reading and I hope you have enjoyed finding out some new little facts about me. Definitely, go and check out the blogs I have nominated and don’t forget to tag me in your answers nominees!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Imogen S.

Results Days

The 17th and 24th of August are important days for a lot of people this year… the dreaded days of results. I got my AS results today and I know friends who got A2 results, as well as next Thursday, friends who are getting GCSE results.

Before today, the most popular question I got was; ‘Are you nervous or worried?’ I think I mainly answered ‘No.’ This was usually met with a strange look or more questions about why I wasn’t having sleepless nights about ‘the day that’s the beginning of the end’.

My views on results days ( A-Level or GCSE) are nice and simple; once you have sat the exam (or handed in the coursework etc.) there is nothing that can be changed. Although that might be daunting if you think you’ve done badly, it also raises the question of why would you worry about something you can’t change?

If you got your results today; I hope you’ve done well and you are pleased with your grades. Congratulations if you have been given your place at the universities of choice, and if you haven’t, remember that A-Levels are not the be-all and end-all. If you don’t do as well as you hoped, don’t spend the next few weeks drinking the rest of your holidays away. You should research what your next options are. Are there other courses, at possibly different levels, that you can apply for? Can you go through clearing and get a place somewhere else? If you are truly passionate about the subject you want to study, I am sure there is a place available somewhere. There is no point hiding that you got lower grades than you wanted because otherwise, you wouldn’t be in clearing, so try and describe to universities how much you want to study your chosen subject and how much it would mean to be given another opportunity.

For GCSE students, it’s a similar story but instead of a university place, its college and sixth form offering you your next steps in education. I remember my GCSE results last year, and whilst I was happy with my grades as I had done quite well, I think I was expecting higher. I now look back and realize that the grades I got were a true reflection on how hard I worked. You honestly do only get out however much work you put in. I was fortunate to have teachers who really cared about their pupils and subjects, so I was at an advantage of good quality teaching. But, as I was at an independent school, the pressure it puts you under to achieve higher than average grades is huge, especially with many people around you with academic scholarships.

I am now at college studying A-Levels, and I am really enjoying myself. The thing that really hits hard in your first few months of college is; GCSE’s are just a ‘stepping stone’ (excuse the cliché) to your next choice. So, if you don’t get the grades, don’t worry about it! Because a D in geography at GCSE is NOT going to stop you getting anywhere in life, trust me on this. It is now one year since my GCSE results, and I can’t even remember what I got. That’s not just my terrible memory either. Multiple people, I have asked can’t even remember the subjects they studied.

I wish everyone the best of luck with their GCSE results next week, try not to panic too much and remember it will all be okay, whatever your grades are. If you’re off to university next month, good luck! I hope everyone has an amazing time. And if you are now looking at a different route to what you originally planned, don’t worry about it, because it will work itself out and if it’s meant to be, it will happen.

Thank you for reading this, especially today with everything else on your mind, and I hope I’ve reassured some people on next week. Once again, good luck!

Imogen ❤

Boardmasters 2017

I just got back from Boardmasters Festival in Cornwall with some friends from college, and it was absolutely incredible! I had such an amazing time and I made so many new friends; I can’t wait until next year.

It was my first festival, and I had been really excited about it for months. I spent months listening to the artists on the lineup and buying everything I would need for the 5 days I would spend there. The artists I was most looking forward to were Two Door Cinema Club, Alt-J, Becky Hill and Youngr. Somehow, I still managed to forget things that I really wish I had taken, so I am going to write a kind-of survival list of things that I would recommend taking. Just the basics though, because the list is endless!

Clothes:

Make sure you have something that not only will be cool if it’s really sunny and beautiful weather but if the weather turns nasty, you need clothes to keep you warm and dry. You might think that shorts and a crop top will be fine with a rain coat on top, but bitter winds coupled with cold rain is not nice on bare legs. I recommend a pack-a-mac and a jumper, long trousers, like jeans, and long sleeved t-shirts. Just generally, something that will keep you warm and things you can layer together.

Shoes are the same, but I wouldn’t recommend taking summery sandals or anything similar, as it can get pretty muddy even if it isn’t raining, so trainers and wellies are my staple festival footwear choice. To add some luxury, add wellie boot socks that will act as an extra layer of warmth on your legs!

Makeup & Toiletries:

I took minimal makeup, so no foundation, concealer, contour etc. I took plenty of highlight and glitter, in fact probably enough glitter for the whole campsite, but you can never have enough! I also took things like colored eyeliner from NYX.

For skin care, I took moisturizer, face wipes, extra sensitive baby wipes, deodorant, hand sanitizer and dry shampoo. I didn’t shower whilst there because the queues are crazy long and they are probably more dirty than clean! A baby wipe and deodorant is perfectly acceptable at a festival because everyone is the same, so don’t worry! And of course, I also took 50+ sun cream, but somehow managed to burn myself anyway so I would say to take after sun just in case.

Comfort & Sleeping:

My biggest lesson learned from this experience; take a tent that is designed for more people that you are putting in it. I was in a two man tent with two of us, and our luggage and it just did not work. Luckily there was a backup plan, but it would have been uncomfortable otherwise. I took a self-inflating matt rather than an air bed, as then I didn’t need a pump, a sleeping bag, and a blanket which I doubled as a pillow at night. Another huge regret? I didn’t take a chair, so I either sat on someone else’s whilst they queued for an hour for the portaloos or I sat on the floor, which was no fun at night or in the rain! It might seem a hassle to lug around a camping chair, but it will be your best friend by the end of the weekend!

Food & Drink:

This has to be one of the things I struggled with packing the most because I wasn’t sure what I would feel like eating. I took cereal bars, rice cakes, and pringles. It doesn’t sound appealing, but when I had had a few drinks, that’s all I really fancied. My friend also brought Chocolate Soya Milk and Coco Pops so we could all have a half-decent breakfast and I’ve never been so excited to eat cereal out of a cup with a plastic spoon!  There are so many different foods stands there too, and yes it might be slightly more expensive than a McDonalds, but it’s hot food. When it’s raining and cold, a greasy burger is heaven. They even had a halloumi stand and I fell in love with the veggie burgers they were selling too.

I drank a lot of water (and maybe a little alcohol too!) but I made sure to stay hydrated in general, mainly because I didn’t want to ruin my weekend with headaches and sickness. It’s obviously up to you how much you drink, and whatever else you do, but just remember that there is the morning after and all you have is a portaloo and maybe a dirty shower to help your hangover!

I don’t think you can ever plan perfectly for these things first time, so mistakes are bound to happen, but preparation is key and I was really glad about the things I did remember to take. Make a list the week before, and make sure you have everything you need from the shops etc. and you don’t leave it to the last minute.

Mainly though, have fun and go to artists you might not normally listen to because I can guarantee you’ll enjoy yourself even if you don’t know who they are! It was honestly one of the best weekends of my life and I can’t wait until next summer when I do it all again! I hope every body that went had an amazing time too, and I might get to see some of you there next year!

Imogen ❤

Engineer Work Experience @CoolConcernsLtd.

What have I been up to this week?

During this week, I’ve been doing a City and Guilds RAC Service and Maintenance course including an F-Gas assessment at Cool Concerns Ltd. Basically, what that means is; I am learning to work with refrigerants, i.e. the stuff that goes in our fridges and air conditioning systems to keep them cool, and learning other bits alongside, like how to test pressures, test for leaks of refrigerants and charging and evacuating a system. Everything on the course is designed to prepare you to go out into the field and work on a system to complete repairs, check for faults etc.

I haven’t got any plans as to what I would like to do as a career, so I am trying out a variety of things over the next few years and keeping my options open. This means I can broaden my knowledge in a wide range of areas and gain experience in things I might never have thought of, like the F-Gas qualification I am completing now.

I decided to complete the qualification because it gives me an insight into what a ‘hands on’ job is like, whether I would be any good in an engineering role, and on my CV it shows I am keeping my options open, as I mentioned before.

I have really enjoyed my week so far, and have to complete an assessment on Friday to pass the course and gain the Level 2 F-Gas qualification. It consists of an online theory test and a practical assessment where I have to show a certain level of competence with the system I have in front of me, which in my case, is a small air conditioning rig composed of a compressor, condenser, evaporator, receiver, and expansion valve, among other components, or, a ‘simple’ AC system.

This obviously doesn’t qualify me to come and fix your fridges when they stop working, but it has been really interesting. This is a more practical learning style but also links to classroom lessons, like in ‘traditional’ education, as there is a fair amount of theory to accompany it too.

I would really recommend getting a variety of work experience whilst you have a little free time, and don’t have to worry about university, working, kids running around etc.! If you are heading towards, or are currently completing, your A-Levels, try and find an opportunity to do something different to the subjects you are studying. Or, if you know which direction you want to go, get some experience in those areas too! I know friends who are doing work experience in areas such as; caring for the elderly, teacher training and accountancy, as well as what I am doing in engineering. There really are such a wide range of things to choose from so have an investigate, and don’t worry if you don’t get paid for it! The experience is worth it, and who knows, you might discover something you really enjoy doing!

This post has been a bit different to my regular ones, but I hope it has given a little insight into what I’m up to and some ideas for the future!

Thank you to Cool Concerns Ltd. who is the company I am completing the course with.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I’ll keep you posted as to other bits and bobs I will be doing!

Imogen ❤

 

Top Tips to Exam Success!

So my exam season is OVER thank goodness. But, I know lots of you aren’t even halfway through. I know first hand how stressful exams can get, even though in the end I always look back and wonder why I ever worried so much! There were a few little things that helped me get through the two weeks from hell, and they aren’t the normal; revise lots, do exercise, cliché nonsense. These are just a few bits and bobs I’ll do to just take my mind off the looming events of the next day and just make some time for myself.

  1. Have a bath. Obviously make sure you are keeping your personal hygiene up, because trust me, there is nothing worse than sitting next to somebody in an exam that smells a bit pongy. Take an hour to just relax in the bath, maybe buy a bath bomb, or light a few candles and just relax for a bit. Don’t forget, nothing is more important than making sure you are ok yourself.
  2. Try to get some fresh air. True, this can be tricky with the English weather like it is, but maybe try to sit in the garden for a bit, walk your dogs (if you have any!) or simply sit in your room with a window open. Fresh air helps me be more relaxed, and I know for sure that if I am getting stressy at college, the best thing is for me to take a walk to the Greggs round the corner.
  3. Listen to a playlist that gets you in the mood for studying. Yes, I know it sucks that you have to actually study, but when you do, if music is something that helps you concentrate, then go for it. Everyone is different so this is a personal one, but if it’s something that works then try choosing something less ‘rock’ and more ‘relax’.
  4. Get up in the morning with plenty of time to make yourself feel ready for the day. If that means getting out of bed 15 minutes earlier so you wash your hair, then try and do it. I know at the time of 6 AM it doesn’t feel like it will be worth it, but just take a few extra minutes in the morning to make yourself feel beautiful. Feeling a natural day? Wear no makeup! Feeling a little more self-conscious? Go all out and use all your makeup skills to sculpt your face until it’s chiseled to the bone! I try to wash my hair every morning because it just makes me feel more ready for the day ahead, and one less thing to worry about halfway through the hot and sticky afternoon, but if I don’t have time I tend to double braid my hair and get it up and out the way.
  5. Pack your bag the night before, making sure you have everything you could possibly need. People that know me, know that I carry practically everything with me. I’ve been called a walking pharmacy! Take rainbow highlighters, and glitter gel pens and funky Post-It Notes. When you’ve been forced to write with a boring black biro for hours, a sparkly pen can really liven things up a bit. (Not in your exam though!)
  6. If you are that way inclined, why not go for a run? I know, it’s not for everybody, but if you know exercise takes your mind off things, get up off your ass and go for a 20-minute jog, if you can’t face a half marathon right that second!
  7. If you have a job, don’t take time off! I know that sounds backwards, but I found that working gave me something to take my mind off things and let me relax for a bit, (even if it was 30 degrees and I was standing in-front of an oven for a good 6 hours!) If you obviously don’t have enough time to work and revise, then do take some time out, but really think whether you need the time off or whether you just aren’t time-managing very well.
  8. Talking about time management, take a few hours out of a busy day to get together with some friends for lunch or a coffee. Just have a catch-up, and if you are feeling really guilty for not studying, then talk about revision over your lunch. Test each other and see how well each of you know areas of the subjects you take. Make it ‘fun’, if that’s possible, so you are truly having a break from the books.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a list of rules you should follow for success in your exams (whatever the title says), but I do find these little things just made my exams a bit less worrying. The most important thing is to make sure you are having time to yourself, and however you do that is your choice, but make sure you fit it into the schedule because revision 24/7 is draining and won’t help at the end of the day.

I wish everyone luck in their remaining exams and I’ll hopefully be back soon with some ideas on kick-starting your summer!

Thanks for reading!

Imogen ❤

Your Own Winter Wonderland

Winter is almost upon us, and I am certainly starting to feel the change. The clocks went back, the temperatures have dropped and cold’s are everywhere. There are two kinds of people in the world; those that hate winter, and then those that love winter. I have to admit, I am the latter of the two and therefore am going to have so much to share with you over the next few months, so keep an eye out for new posts.

Today’s post though, I think it’s safe to say that most people associate winter with Christmas, and you know when Christmas is coming because everybody slowly starts getting more and more festive. The John Lewis advert is released, songs suddenly start popping up on the radio and you stumble across the decorations from last year, somehow managing to avoid them for the past 11 months. On this note, I would like to quickly mention that I have already started the run up to Christmas, and am very excited for December to arrive so I can start celebrating without getting strange glances from all the people that wait until December 1st!

I thought I would share with you 4 little changes you can make to your bedroom, to make yourself feel just that little bit more festive, ready for December 25th.

  1. Buying a Christmas themed duvet set is always a brilliant way to start, as often your bed is the main feature in the room, so festivising, yes, I made that up, will be a small change but will make a big difference!

I bought this duvet set last year, and have one other with beige tones throughout and a reindeer pattern. The one above is reversible so one day I might prefer the red, others I might prefer the white. It has a really thick feel to it, and paired with a winter duvet, snuggling up when it’s bitterly cold outside is no problem. And the best part is, I bought it for only £14 in Primark! Even though this is from last year, I am still going to have a cheeky look for another one, as I love them!

2. The next step, as you might have already picked up on, is to buy multiple Christmas throws to go on top of your bed. Not only do they look super festive, but they keep you warm if your heating breaks down, you want to lounge around the house or perhaps it is just especially cold. I have two, one from my beloved Primark from last year, which is the white one, and then the other is from Tesco and is available in red or blue.

3. Next, lights! By lights I mean little strings of Christmas fairy lights, that you can hang, scattered, cluster and everything else you could possibly think of doing with them! When it gets to December, and I fully decorate my room, I use Christmas tree lights and wrapped them around the feet of my bed. You could use white, arctic blue or even multi-colored lights and it just adds something more to the room. The lights I have up now are two sets of 20 from Primark at £5 a box. I have a set of blue stars, and a set of white snowflakes and I put them along my bookshelves and around the edge of my mirror.

4. My last thing (until December) is scented candles, which I place around my room in groups or just large ones alone. My candles are not Christmas scented, but yours could be! I like mine because they add a beautiful glow to corners in my room, and the scents on them smell gorgeous! My favorite two that I have are ‘Coastal Walk’ from M&S for £15 and ‘Honey & Chocolate’ from Glade for £2. I will be investing in Christmas scented candles soon!

Thank you for reading my latest post and as I mentioned earlier, I love the festive season, so be expecting much more to come!

Imogen ❤