Tuesday, 20 January 2015

18 RESOLUTIONS FOR MY 18TH BIRTHDAY

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This Thursday I turn 18, and considering this year I didn't do my typical 'New Years Resolutions' post, I decided to combine the two, and create 18 resolutions for my 18th year!
1. Quality over quantity
I've been thinking about this for a while now, but I'd quite like to create a more 'capsule wardrobe' as so often I buy pretty clothes that frankly, don't go with anything. I'm also an absolute killer when it comes to seasonal shopping. 90% of my wardrobe in floral skirts I don't get any use of outside of the month of July. I'd like to save more money buying less 'trend' and seasonal pieces, and use that money to buy a few really high quality pieces. (Even thought I got a £220 Jaeger dress for £7.20 yesterday - who said January sales were a bust?)
2. Read more
I've improved a lot in terms of reading more history books, partially because of my seemingly endless EPQ on Chinese culture and population demographics. I'm making a commitment to buying more books of all kinds! I bought the famous 'Gone Girl' over Christmas which I'm excited to read!
3. Put more effort in to cooking
I'm getting better at this, buying better quality, more exotic ingredients and spend more time making meals out of them. I've become obsessed with South American food at the moment (gracias a mis Argentinian and Colombian friends for that one!) and I'd love to learn how to cook more oriental dishes, especially as I'll be living in China as early as next year!
4. Don't go overboard on the drinking.
I get that you're 18, but drinking at 18 isn't much different to drinking at 17, Rachael.
5. Learn to drive (maybe)
I was initially very excited to start driving at age 17 up until I got realistic and realized paying thousands of pounds to start driving wasn't exactly logical considering I'll be living inner-city and abroad for the next couple of years, although its something I'd still like to do If I had the money lying about.
6. Pick a sport
Any sport.
7. Continue with my other languages
I've lost a few languages over the years, and as I go to university, It's likely I'l lose my French and Spanish as I don't have formal lessons it in anymore. It's going to take a lot of effort to maintain my European languages while living in Asia too.
8. Walk more
When I was in high school I was obsessed with walking. I'm pretty blessed that I live in the middle of several valleys, and right on the cusp of the Yorkshire Dales and not too far from the Pennines or the Lake District either. I'd like to make more use out of it before I move inner city, as its something I've always really enjoyed, and it can be rather beneficial for the health too!
9. Try an entirely fresh diet for a period of time
I'm quite keen on eating as much fresh food as possible (and admittedly force feeding my guy friends fresh tomatoes at every given opportunity, who said I wasn't maternal?) not necessarily because its healthier, but because I feel a lot more clean and productive when I eat fresh. There's something a bit about fresh berries that makes me feel a bit more 'alive', as opposed to frozen berries.

10. Get up earlier
Once of a time I hated everything about getting up at 6am everyday, although I'm learning to love it. I feel so much more productive. I'd like to make sure I always get up early on weekends too.
11. Try more foods
I'll admit I'm not the bravest person. Stick a quince in my face and I'll probably squeal. To say I've been on this planet 18 years there are far too many foods I haven't tried before.
12. Travel a lot more
Probably the most exciting thing about being 18 for me is finally being able to book my own flights, instead of having to rely on my parents and 18 year old friends. I'm off on my first no parents, no teachers, friends holiday abroad in July, and I've got plenty of other trips planned. I'll make it my goal to always have at least 2 upcoming trips and any one time!
13. Get to an 'ideal' body weight.
My idea of an 'ideal' body weight is always changing. It's silly to give myself goals too high so I prefer smaller goals. In the past sixth month I've allowed myself to put on 5.1% body weight, which now means I'm in the 'Normal' BMI bracket for the first time since being a toddler!
14. Run for charity
I've always wanted to do things like mud runs, colour runs ect. but my weight had prohibited me in the past. As my weight increased as my body gets healthier I'd love to give as many charity runs as possible a go! 
15. Volunteer more
I've enjoyed being a children's volunteer at a local library, organizing events and learning programmes for under 13's. I think any kind of volunteering always has a positive effect.
16. Be more friendly
It would be fair to say I haven't always been the most welcoming face at times (resting bitch face is a serious condition) and as you get older, keeping yourself to yourself only isolates you more as you don't get the same opportunities to sit with your friends in class ect.
17. Value sleep more
enough said!
18. Appreciate everything, even the small things
or especially the small things! Sometimes my expectations and my standards become too high, for myself and for others. Sometimes I need to remember to be thankful for the things I have and the privileged country I live in. 
What would your birthday goals be?

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Oxford & Cambridge Open Days (ft. Touristy Rachael)

(so apparently I forgot to publish this, all those many months ago!)
So if you follow me on Instagram, you'll know in July I went through the entire Oxford and Cambridge open days process, it was tiring to say the least. I'd visited Oxford several times before and always enjoy it, Cambridge I can only say was an experience. Sometimes you don't quite realize the differences between the North and the South until you find yourself part of a group of 60 Northern 17 year olds conferring "its so flat, the ground, its so flat" "is that the sea? oh no its just the horizon" god knows how I'll cope not living in the Northern countryside. 
Although the trip was mainly educational, we did fit in a few touristy things - even if they were of a nerdy nature. On our way back from a lecture at the Oriental Institute, me and a friend (who will be studying Japanese, as I am Chinese) bobbed in at the Ashmolean Museum for research purposes. 
Quite a few of my teachers at Sixth Form were Oxford & Cambridge educated, so in the evenings they took us on guided tours around the city and all the sites of importance. On several occasions, we ended us at G&Ds ice cream bar, which I'm told is pretty infamous among students. Although I didn't take any photos, my rural, Northern taste buds were introduced to a few 'delicacies', one of which included an 8am lemon sorbet, lemonade concoction. Being allergic to citrus fruit, its a wonder I made it back up North alive.

(Jan 2014 update: I didn't end up applying to either Oxford or Cambridge, although many of my friends got interviews at both Universities, and some also got places (very proud!)