Friday, 2 December 2016

Blogmas #2 | Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

                    My wishes to you this year are simple ones, not materialistic but come from the heart. When I was a little girl I dreamed of the presents I would wake up to on Christmas morning, every year I asked for a new bike, and every year I got one. Whenever there was a new Game Boy out I would ask for it, and surely enough I would get it. The amount of presents mattered to me more than anything, and what the brown boxes and sacks contained was also super important. When I was younger, I was selfish I was a child and an only child at that, of course I was selfish, no one I knew was ill, or suffering with a mental illness or broken. I was just a child.

When my sister came along, I got less and less, I hated that she was spoiled and even though I was just as equally, I felt like I was left out on the sidelines. I had to share my Christmas with her from that point onward, the photographs and videotapes would contain not one smiling child but two, and I hated it. As we grew I resented her even more, for having to share my Christmas Eve and Day, all the traditions all, the surprises were for not one, but two little girls and I despised it. I was just a child.

All those years of being selfish for toys and wanting more presents than my sister and wanting better presents than those in my school finally changed when all of a sudden...I lost my auntie. All of those Christmas mornings wondering what my Auntie Mandy could have possible bought me had come to a stop, when I realised there was one less present under the tree. I was not saddened by the loss of a present, but by the loss of the person who should have given it.

Just like a teenager changes their phase I changed my perspective on Christmas Day, I still marvelled at what lay inside the packages under the tree and began to withdraw into my selfish ways when history repeated itself, I lost my great grandmother. And then after that my uncle. And then a few years later both of my grandfathers were diagnosed with terminal diseases, that would eventually take them away from me too.

When I was younger my letter to you would normally contain lists and lists of presents I wanted and how many I wanted and why I thought I deserved them. Now...my letter to you is quite simple.

Dear St Nicholas, this year I am an adult, I do not wish for presents, I do not wish for other people to get materialistic presents. This year I wish for my family to have a happy Christmas, a loving Christmas, filled with laughter and joy and love and peace. I wish for that one day that Cancer didn't exist, that disease didn't exist and the word terminal didn't exist. I wish to feel the love and presence of all those I have lost, including the pets that I loved so dearly who had to pass over the rainbow bridge. Could you bring them all back, for one day not in physical form but in spirit?
I wish for everyone suffering with these diseases to get one day with their families where they can be pain free and smile. For a disabled child to walk for the first time, for a shelter dog to get a loving home, for the elderly who live alone to be asked to join a family for Christmas dinner. For the world, just for one day - to be free of the cruelties and hardships society has put onto them.

This is the one statement in my letter where I may have to be a little selfish but could you please make it so my Bampi is completely pain free? and not just for Christmas but at all times. He is my rock and he has battled through enough, just let him live without worry of pain, he is a good man and doesn't deserve what he has. He's my Bampi....I'm not a child any more, but I need him.


As the years have gone by I have realised that I need my family more than 'things' -  no matter how big someone's house is they may not have anyone to share it with. At least I can say that spending time with the people I love is more important to me than anything. No matter how much I despised my sister, now I couldn't imagine my life without her, I look at her and I see myself, only a better version of myself and she is the reason I do what I do. 

So Santa, it's your choice but before you say no I would like to say that I would give up everything I had every Christmas if it even meant adding just one more day onto the lives of everyone I may lose. Your choice St Nick. 

Renee x


   
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Thursday, 1 December 2016

Blogmas #1 | Going home for Christmas

Hello everyone!

I hope you are all excited about Christmas as much as I am! It's sort of a shame i'm not staying at uni for Christmas- I would have loved to have decorated my bedroom, since I am not back at Bangor until the 22nd January there isn't much point!

Today has been kind of a dull day, since I haven't been sleeping very much because it wouldn't be university without a little bit of stress and pressure to get some work done. But I won't bore you!
I will be leaving Bangor and jumping on a train to Swansea on the 16th December and spend five weeks with my incredible family!
This will be the first year I haven't been there to help with the decorations and all the festive fun stuff, however my mother has taken it upon herself to go to town on our house and turn it into a winter wonderland!

This makes me super excited to go home, only two weeks and i'm there! My mum has sent me snapchats and camera photos of our living room to give me a sense of what returning home will include! And I love it. Tinsel, a huge Christmas tree decorated beautifully, baubles and pom poms, boxes and stockings its all wonderful and my mother really outdid herself this year! I won't sit here rambling on too much, but my first Blogmas post will consist of a couple of snapshots of our living room to show you how much love and effort my mother has when it comes to Christmas.









Yes I threw in a photo of Belle - it wouldn't be my blog if I didn't!

Do any of you have photographs of you're Christmas decorations? Or do you think it's too soon? haha! If you have some I would love to see them!

Renee x

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Growing as a person

Good morning everyone!

I love crisp winter mornings, the early morning darkness that prevents you from wanting to leave the warmth of your bed. The sound of the frosted leaves crunching beneath the shoes of students outside your window, all of it gets me so excited for Christmas and being able to travel home to spend the holidays with my family.

I have always had a love of Christmas, Autumn and all things Winter. My mother's side of the family have always made Christmas a cherished holiday with plenty of love and excitement. My inner child gets super antsy every year when September hits, knowing that soon it will be a time of giving...and I frigging love buying presents!

I suppose you are wondering what this has to do with the title of my post? Well it does and it doesn't you see, this Christmas is truly different from the years before, for one I do not live at home anymore. Right now I am far away from little Swansea at Bangor studying for a criminology degree, I don't know why I chose to go so far away - all I know is that it has helped me greatly.
Every year I have been with the same people, in the same house, every single day, experiencing the hussle and bussle of Christmas shopping and hiding presents and last minute rushes because you forgot to buy for someone...just me? (Oops). Decorating the tree and pulling the Christmas Decor out of the attic was my favourite thing to do in the world, this year however it is all being done without me and whereas I should be sad, i'm actually pretty relieved.
For the last few weeks I have been at university I have found out a lot about myself, I love being on my own - for someone who hated being lonely I found that I really enjoy my own company, and that's okay. Reading a book with my fairy lights and the scent of lavender spritzed on my pillows, is something I couldn't have done at my own home,  living with your mum, teenage sister and boyfriend it can be challenging to get some alone time! At Bangor I don't have to worry about that - I can prance around naked in my room if I wanted to (Don't worry I wont).



Secondly I have found that being out of my comfort zone and by comfort zone I mean my home, I am pushed to participate in a lot more social activities with newly found friends, at home the only social interaction I really had was date night with Batman. Now I am barely within the walls of my room, going to lectures and then spending time with your flat mates or course mates straight after has become a routine in my life, one I hope doesn't disappear.
These small outings such as library work - Sounds boring but actually we have a right old laugh while doing work! Or a cooked breakfast at 'Mikes Bites' to cure a hangover, has made me more aware of myself, before university I didn't think many people liked me very much. now I know I was degrading myself drastically. I have learned to finally accept that I'm not all that bad!
Honestly this has made me grow so much into my own person as I can finally learn to start believing in myself! I have friends, people do..in fact, like me. I make them laugh and they make me laugh, we eat together, drink together and attend lectures together - and for the first time since I have been here I can see myself graduating with an incredible group of lifelong friends.



Being 23 years old I still felt sort of like a child when I got here, now simple things such as doing my own food shopping, living alone 'technically' paying hall fees and attending lectures even when you're at your most hungover state yet, and even something as simple as buying a train ticket home (I never travel on my own) - have all reassured me and made it clear that I am in fact 100% adult!...okay maybe like 90%.

 I still fool around, I still act like an idiot but I do it with friends and a smile on my face knowing deep down in my heart that I am happy here, I an independent here, I have friends here. This place, this beautiful, quiet, mountainous land called Bangor, has helped me grow, helped me learn to love my flaws, helped me conquer my inner demons and has helped me plan my future here because the way things are going...I may just stay here, even after graduation.

 Happy First of December! I am going to attempt blogmas this year! So after this post is published...a new one will be uploaded!


Renee x







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Monday, 28 November 2016

My weight loss struggles

Hello Everyone!

I have been on my weight loss journey for around 8 weeks now and have lost 16 lbs all together which I think it incredible!

When I first started this I had talked to a few people who have gone through a similar experience, and they made it seem as if weight loss was the easiest thing in the world - however none of them were overweight when they wanted to lose a couple of pounds. They made out as though weight loss was a breeze and that a couple of lbs was piss easy to lose, I dove into this believing that I could be the same, some sit ups here and a salad there and I would be healthy and bikini body ready in no time.

Oh how I was so very wrong...

The thing I remembered after a while was that I started this OVERWEIGHT - not like some of my friends who were already slim at the time, I had more than a couple of pounds to lose.
I have run into so many obstacles, mainly mentally and I am still tying to battle my way through them! So without rambling on any more here are the 5 things that I have been struggling with during my weight loss.

1. Fitspo/Thinspo 

Many times I have been told that looking at Fitspo and Thinspo on Tumblr and instagram would help motivate me to keep up with my exercise and diet - it did the exact opposite!!
Looking at all these posts of the fit girls with the flat stomachs and the plump bootay made me feel worthless, in fact it caused me to start pinching my fat and making lists on everything I hated about my body.
The end result of me looking at these supposedly inspirational posts? Binge eating - yup! I won't deny that these types of inspo may help some people lose weight but for me it made me feel terrible about my self. I manged to conquer this by switching out these images for before and after ones and they worked so well for me! Looking at the progress people have made makes it seem more achievable for me than looking at people who are ALWAYS have been fit and thin.

2. Having full control over food shopping

Right now I currently live 4 hours away from my family at Bangor University and this means I ultimately have full control over my food shopping because no one else is going to be eating these foods except me!
This has also been a struggle and one that I am still learning to deal with, obviously shopping on an empty stomach isn't exactly the best thing in the world - I would find myself picking up snacks and junk food (Vegan of course but it doesn't make it healthy!!!) Picking, choosing and planning meals for the day is something I am still struggling with.
I have next to no idea what kinds of food I should be eating during the day and also no idea how much of it I am eating too - A way in which I hope to gain a bit more control over how much I eat instead of just control over what I can eat is to buy a food diary and document my daily meals and snacks. I know this way I can physically see what I am eating and can start prepping and planning my meals in advance!

3. Late night cravings

One of the main reasons I piled on the weight so quick is because of one simple reason - Binge eating and snacking late at night.
Low self esteem and being ashamed of eating certain foods in front of people would push me to binge eating late at night once everyone had gone to bed, meaning I had full access to cupboards and the fridge. Now since being in uni this has stopped slightly, however sometimes at around 9pm I get the urge for something savoury and it's normally crisps that I crave. Which has led to me a couple of times nipping to the shop for one bag and coming back with five different things and eating it all in one night. This isn't healthy but it is something I am working on - I have taken to buying 20 calorie brown rice cakes that taste of salt and vinegar crisps and whenever I feel a craving I will just eat one of these slowly and normally the cravings subside - if anyone else has any tips on how to stop the snacking then please let me know in the comments because this is an issue I would just like to see gone!

4. Guilt

Kind of ties in with the cravings struggle guilt is something that never really goes away and I think it will be a long time before it does. Now i'm not talking about pigging out all day kind of guilt. i'm talking about me feeling immensely guilty for having a few sips of pop or eating 1 bag of crisps throughout the day etc. I know people can feel guilty sometimes but feeling guilty every day for something teeny has been a huge struggle. Again any advice is appreciated. I feel like I am too hard on myself, that because I have told people I am actually going to drop the weight this time that I have something major to prove to everyone - like one slip up could mean the end of the world and all my progress from the last 8 weeks is lost. Which is ridiculous, you're not going to put 16 lbs back on from one can of diet coke! I feel so much pressure to lose a lot of weight in a very short amount of time and body dis-morphia can definitely be a cause of this when you feel like no matter how much weight you're losing you look the same! Sometimes things take a lot longer to work on and this is the biggest struggle for me yet!!

5. Workouts

I have taken a great liking to the gym - I love working out and I find it de-stresses me a lot. There are however some days where while working out....I get so frustrated...I actually cry.
Yes sometimes I cry during my workouts, I will be all fine running on a treadmill when I feel super out of breathe and need to stop - but the girl next to me is still going, shes slim and toned and not out of breathe at all. So I try and run a little more, but I run 10 more seconds and I need to stop quickly! This frustrates me so much that I cry, I compare myself to others so much that I forget this is all a learning experience. The same with home exercises such as sit ups, plank, press ups ect. I get incredibly upset when I do a sit up and my belly is like a mountain as I crunch, and the result is crying sit ups. I get super sad when I see how much I have let myself go and wonder what I was thinking to ever let myself get this unhealthy and overweight. But this is why I am doing this now, so I wont have to feel like this anymore.


If you are like me and have a lot of weight to lose - if someone tells you its super easy please don't get upset if you feel like it's not. I learnt that some people find it easy and others find it difficult and they experience their own problems along the way. There is always a way to get through it and push through the mentality of 'I can't do this'. YOU CAN! No matter what anyone tells you, you can do anything you set your mind to. I know that one day I will look back on this blog post and laugh to myself of how I managed to overcome every struggle I have listed.

It takes time - but this date next year you will be so glad you started. Also I am thinking of starting a YouTube channel to document my weight loss so please let me know if you would like to see that! I am planing it a soon as this blog post has uploaded!



Have a great day!

Renee x




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Saturday, 19 November 2016

My experience at Voltaire

Good morning everyone!

I hope you are all having a good weekend so far, mine has been pretty quiet but lovely!

While I was vegetarian I always knew there were lots of food options for me at various restaurants so I never really had to worry about eating out with friends. However, recently turning vegan made me realise that if I was to have lunch with friends outside of the flat I would have to find a place that catered for the vegan lifestyle.
After some searching I found the Bangor University Vegetarian and Vegan society, naturally I joined and a small restaurant was mentioned that was strictly vegan with some vegetarian options.
After organising a dinner date with two of my friends, we decided on a little restaurant called Voltaire.

Upon entering the restaurant, we noticed a peaceful ambience about the place. Dimmed lights and jazz music made this small place super cosy and welcoming.

One of the things I really enjoyed were the little quotes written on the chalkboard wall.


This wall also had some information such as which celebrities were vegan and also included which past known or famous people were vegan too, the board covered in just overall cute little quotes that made the experience even more enjoyable!


The single bulbs hanging from the ceiling above each table made for an overall calming experience, me and my friends couldn't stop smiling at how homely it felt to be in Voltaire. 
The rest of the walls were covered in skateboards, and artwork finished off with the 'Day of the Dead' decorations to really give it that rustic feel. The tables were lined with candles and if anyone knows me they know a good candle will always brighten my mood! 





Now onto the food! 

The menu was incredible! From burgers to burritos, hummus and curry, anything that would tickle your fancy would be provided for you but without the horrible animal products included! Me and my friend Hannah ordered the 'Desperado burger' which was a burger topped with five bean chilli, jalapenos and tortillas with a side of chips and salad. The burger itself cost £10 BUT for the size it was and what it came with it was a pretty reasonable price and none of us were complaining! Chris ordered the 'Bangor's Best Bangers and Mash' which was a large serving (Made him very happy). 



The portion sizes were amazing and the food itself was super tasty, out of all the veggie burgers I have tried this one by far takes the top! I was full half way through, but it taste so good that I had to soldier on and finish this bad boy!



The staff were super helpful and very friendly, they made the experience of Voltaire very pleasant and I thank them for their outstanding customer service! 

I think overall Voltaire will be one restaurant I will eat at maybe once a week! Everything about it was so comfortable and welcoming, with some relaxing jazz music in the background our little friend date was an extremely enjoyable time! 

Both of the people who came with me to Voltaire are not vegetarian nor vegan, however they cleared their plates and thought the food was incredible, even they have asked to go again. 
If you ever visit Bangor and are looking for a vegan restaurant, please take the time to visit Voltaire - You will not be disappointed!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend lovelies! 

Renee x




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Thursday, 17 November 2016

What I eat in a day

Hello everyone!

So as I mentioned in my previous post I have been vegan for about 4-5 days now so I thought it would be a good idea to share a 'what I eat in a day' blog post since my eating habits have changed slightly.

If any vegans out there have any meals or recipes they can share, it would be really helpful to me if you commented below so I can get some ideas! Without babbling on any more lets get straight to it!

Breakfast

Breakfast was 2 pieces of wholegrain avocado toast - topped with veggies. One had cucumber and mushroom and the other had mushroom and spinach. Both had half an avocado mashed onto it and seasoned with salt and pepper. I also drank 1 litre of water with this breakfast as I have tried to do every morning.
The lighting is bad in this photo I know it was gloomy out and it was relatively early! Sorry.



Dinner

Dinner was simple - I picked up a wholegrain protein and pumpkin seed role from morrisons and mashed some home made guacamole on one of the slices and topped it with veggies to make a sandwich and I also made a fairly large salad with sweet chilly dressing. The salad contained Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, red onions and cucumber. I also added the rest of the guacamole on top.



Snacks

Throughout the day I mainly snacked on fruit so the first thing I had was a punnet of strawberries and I demolished the entire thing! Secondly I had two chopped up apples with organic peanut butter drizzled on top and it was honestly super super tasty!



So that is everything I ate in a day and it gives you an idea of what my diet is going to be like now that I am vegan. Honestly it may not seem like much but this day's worth of food kept me full and satisfied all day and I didn't get any sort of cravings that I normally have that would lead me to binge eat. 
Let me know in the comments what sort of things you eat and if you happen to be vegan hit me up and maybe you can give me some tips haha!

Renee x


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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Vegan transition??

Hello everyone!

Is anyone else getting super excited for Christmas? EEEEEEE!


Today I wanted to talk about my decision to adopt a vegan lifestyle.

(Don't worry I am not going to shove my opinion down your throat - I am simply just telling my story)


Now for a VERY LOOOOOONG time I have been vegetarian and have always thought that it was enough for me to help the planet and contribute towards the saving the animals. There has always been some part of me that wanted to go vegan but, I wasn't very educated and didn't really know what I was doing so I just stayed in my comfort zone of being vegetarian.
Recently I have been watching 'what I eat in a day' videos and I came across a channel belonging to someone called 'Kate Flowers' and began browsing her videos. She is in fact a Raw vegan so if anyone is interested definitely check out her channel, I will link her name for you.

Anyway she suggested that if anyone is considering going vegan to watch 3 documentaries:

1) forks over knives - About how a plant based diet can considerably make you healthier
2) Cowspiracy - About how animal agriculture is the number one contributor to the worlds problems
3)Earthlings - About having compassion for the animals (Upsetting footage).

Me being bored decided to watch the above documentaries in one night and I was so interested I managed to find facts, statistics and did my own research on animal agriculture and found out some disturbing information that upset me quite a bit. The fact that 91% of deforestation is caused by animal agriculture was deeply unsettling, and I found it hard to believe that I have been told all these years that if I recycle I will help the planet and such - When in fact it isn't really making a difference.

After researching I found a youtube clip of a man named 'Gary Yourofsky' who is an animal rights activist and has in fact been banned from many countries because of his protests. However - after watching a speech he gave about why we should be vegan I instantly changed my whole perception of the world and decided that night that I was going to adopt a 100% vegan lifestyle.

It has only been 4 days of me being vegan but I can already see a change happening within myself, I have more energy and I feel like I am a lot happier within myself.
This is just a short summary of how I transitioned from vegetarian to vegan but I will post an update on some of the facts I learned while researching - again I am not going to be one of those vegans who force my opinions at you or slap a burger out of your hand but I do believe that now I have the info I missed I can share it with people who are willing to read.

Renee x

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Sunday, 23 October 2016

Bangor University

If you had told me 3 years ago I would be studying a criminology degree at university - I would have laughed right in your face and told you to stop making such bad jokes.
I always thought you needed to be young to be at university, like fresh out of college and straight into the uni life, I was so wrong! 

Being an 'older' person at university scared the hell out of me so initially when I applied I guess half of me wanted to be rejected because being the oldest person in a block of flats just didn't sit right with me - in fact it made me a little uncomfortable. 
However after being accepted the excitement did begin to kick in a little, but the nerves were still there, I wanted to know if my age was going to be a problem in making friends, I was terrified they wouldn't see me on the same level as them, you know like would they really class me as a friend? Or more as "that 23 year old who lives with us"? - Little did I know I really didn't have anything to worry about.

Bangor University have done it right when it comes down to allowing students to get to know their flat mates before moving in day and Freshers week!

Group Chats 

Facebook groups were set up by second and third year students of the university, for each person's particular block of flats. For example within my group chat there were the students living in 'Adda' Halls in my village, each person had their name and their flat number so everyone could work out where they lived - and ultimately who in the chat they would be living with. 
This is where I met one of my flat mates Hannah - and right now I can easily say she is one of my closest friends, and the sole reason I have been able to cope with university life so far. Not at all discouraged from the fact I am 5 years older than her, more focused on spending time together - prinking and becoming amazing friends. 



Peer Guides

Aside from the group chat - Bangor university also put in place Peer Guides, students who help the freshers find their feet and also can be used as a student's support system if they are having problems. I have contacted my peer guide several times and she has been a huge help in directing me on the right path for various problems I have faced - Thank you Sian!!

Welcome Week Pack

I would also like to point out the fact that having a Welcome Week pack sent to my house before I arrived was a huge help! It gave me a change to organise nights out and events with the flat mates I hadn't even met yet - and also to see exactly what would be going on during Welcome Week so I wouldn't feel so disorganised. 

The University 

As you can see I have rambled on from the topic at hand "my age" and honestly I shouldn't have worried about anything - everyone at the university has been super supportive and very kind and when it comes down to it - age is literally just a number. I have had no problems in feeling 'too old' in fact it's been nice to feel younger again!

The university itself it simply beautiful - like a castle out of a story book its magnificent structures and views make me incredibly happy to walk through the hallways and truly proud to be apart of this little welsh university (Being welsh myself makes me even more proud). 





All in all I couldn't have asked for a better university to be studying my criminology degree! Anyone who is looking at universities - make sure you keep Bangor in mind! 
I will be uploading blog posts about various things within the university to make sure you subscribe to my blog for more posts!

Have a wonderful Day

Renee x


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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

What I ate today

To start off with my weight loss series I thought it only right to post a "What I ate today" post - I am in no way a nutritionist or fitness guru (Clearly not right?) 
-
I would like to point out that I don't even know if this way of eating is going to help me lose weight - it's the first day after all so we shall see how it goes! 
-
Enjoy!
-
Renee 
x


Breakfast - 8:30am

Wholemeal Toast x2 & Peanut butter
1 Banana 
1 cup of lemon & cucumber water
(Yes it's a plastic cup = Student life)


Snack - 2pm 

1 banana & Peanut butter 
I enjoyed this while planning out a few blog posts in my journal!


Dinner - 5pm

Homemade veggie chilli and wholegrain rice - Lush for cold nights!
Also with 1 tortilla wrap.


(Let me know if you want some vegetarian recipe posts!)

Late snacks - After 6pm

I enjoyed a few spoonfuls of some fat free blueberry and elderberry yogurt & half a cup of orange juice - Sorry about the photos I was with flat mates. 


Thanks for reading and have a fab evening!
x




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Thursday, 18 February 2016

10 Reasons why you should NEVER own a boxer


Loyalty, playful, devoted, friendly, calm and brave. I suppose these are some of the words to describe the clown breed of the dog word...Boxers. In life I believe a person has never experienced true love, if they have never owned a boxer. Dopey, slobbery, affectionate and playful, BUT do not be fooled, below these funny looking animals is a dark side, and so I give to you, 10 reasons why you should never own a boxer!


1. They are NOT cute    


2.No seriously...Not cute at all


3. They only care about themselves


4. They hate going to the park



5. They will never make you laugh



6. They hate selfies 



7. Boxers hate sharing


8. They never give kisses 

9. They hate the holidays

10. They will steal your heart

Even after their gone...



These are just the few reasons you should never own a boxer...The most, loyal, devoted and lovable breed of dog. Seriously, if you don't want unconditional love, or a permanent broken heart after their gone...Don't get one. 






















  
                                          
                                                                                           







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