Hello all of you amazing people!! What’s up?
How terrifying is it that we’ve nearly reached the end of 2020 already?? I mean, wasn’t it March only two seconds ago? Yet I look at my calendar over my desk, and December is right around the corner, which means we are a hop, skip, Christmas dinner and New Year’s eve drink away from 2021. How on earth has this happened?
This year has been so interesting, and realising that it’s almost over is making my head spin because it’s crazy to think that so much has happened in this one year, and yet because of everything that’s happened, it feels like I’ve done nothing. The few months of lockdown and the fact that the world has sort of shut down because of COVID has given me the feeling that not a lot has happened, and yet so much has changed.
These last two months have been a complete whirlwind, but it could not have been more fun and exciting. And scary. There were definitely lots of nerves and astronomical spikes in stress. But hey I’m still alive and very much coping – my first term of uni is drawing to a close, and that made me think of doing a reflection post, going back over my favourite moments, and a few of the exciting things that have happened. I’ve always loved the idea of doing a post reflecting back on the previous month because you get to look back at everything you’ve learnt, all you’ve achieved and remember some really special memories. So today I’m going to be sharing some of my favourites of the last two months with this big, beautiful blogging community – YOU!!
Surprise Birthday Party
This year was the first time celebrating my birthday without my family, and it happened to be in the first month of university in a new country, so let’s just say it was a little different this year. However, my flat really made it such a fantastic day – they decorated our kitchen the night before. They threw me a really sweet birthday party. It felt really weird being far away from my family, and not being able to do our usual traditions, but my fantastic flatmates truly made it the best possible way I could have spent my 20th birthday away from home.
So many special societies
A quote that has really stuck with me is something that my college principal told us during our matriculation dinner – ‘don’t let your degree get in the way of your education’. Sure, working hard at your degree and prioritising education is important, but there is so much more to do at uni besides academics, and I’ve loved it! I’ve joined the creative writing society, the Hedgehog Friendly Campus volunteering group, the Education Society and the Enviro School Club volunteer group and my college book club.
The creative writing society is literally the highlight of my week – it is so much fun, and I get to chat to amazing, literature-loving people who love writing too. It’s really been helping me grow as a writer and deal with my own insecurities about writing. I’m also so excited and happy about the two volunteer groups I’ve joined, because they are about wildlife conservation, helping to make the world a little more sustainable and helping kids. Sadly covid meant that we couldn’t do too much, but even from the few sessions we’ve had, it has been so much fun. By the way, be on the lookout for some hedgehog and sustainable Christmas related posts during Blogmas!
Going a little greener
Linked up with the volunteering groups I’ve joined, I’ve really taken the opportunity to go a little greener with my lifestyle. Saving the earth, going green and wildlife conservation are really close to my heart, so I’m always trying to do my part. Thankfully, being in the UK has made that a little easier. Apart from getting the bus to and from the massive supermarket twice for some big buys, I’ve made a point of walking everywhere. In our flat we recycle, my one flatmate and I go grocery shopping once a week, and we avoid plastic as much as we can. We also did some litter picking, which was one of the campaigns being run by Hedgehog Friendly Campus. Next year I’m going to try and make some more eco-friendly changes, but I’m happy I at least got to maintain these small changes. I’m always a big believer in everyone just doing what we can to try and save the earth, and it’s little things like not using plastic bags, switching the lights off and walking/taking the bus that can help us save our planet.
Durham restaurant ratings
I always love trying out restaurants in new places. I mean, any excuse to eat food and I’m there. Plus, going out for a cup of coffee, another type of drink, or a bite to eat is always a fun way to get to know the place you’re staying and have a fun outing with your friends. So of course, one of the things that my flatmates and I tried to do (within the covid restrictions obviously, and before lockdown 2.0). Sadly we could only try out a few of the many awesome-looking restaurants in Durham (I mean, two of my friends and I definitely plan on visiting every cafe and tearoom at least once when they’re all open again) but the ones we got to were fantastic. I may have become addicted to the bubble tea from the one Asian supermarket in town, and while I still think Nandos in South Africa is the best, there is a delicious flavour called coconut and lemon that I got to try and that was pretty tasty. I’ll definitely need to up my gym hours next term though when restaurants are open again, especially if we’re taste-testing all the cakes in Durham.
So much baking and cooking
In case eating loads of delicious food in restaurants in Durham wasn’t enough, I’ve also done lots of baking and cooking in my flat kitchen. My one flatmate and I made a huge chicken pie and lasagna together. Tomorrow we are making a ‘mini’ Christmas dinner (although I’m not quite sure how mini it will be with all the food we’re cooking). I’ve tried out a lot of new recipes here (some definitely more successful than others) and having a flat who loves sampling, I’ve had an excuse to do some baking. For those who missed my earlier post, I made pumpkin pasties and spooky gingerbread for Halloween (you can check out the recipe here), lots of cookies and a special new, mouthwatering recipe that I will share with you during Blogmas so be sure to stay tuned for it!
New books I’ve read
Surprise surprise – I haven’t been reading a lot since I came to university. Who saw that coming? Technically I have been reading a lot, but more in the form of several textbook chapters and academic journal articles a week and sadly not the works of fiction I prefer to read in my spare time. Still, I have been able to squeeze in a chapter or two every few days, and because finishing a good book is always a highlight for me, I thought I’d share which books I’ve been able to read.
- How hard can love be? By Holly Bourne
- What’s a girl gotta do? By Holly Bourne
- The Replacement Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts
- Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett (I’m only two chapters into this book, but I love it so far, same with all of Jenn Bennett’s books so I can’t wait to see how it ends).
Would any of you be interested in a book review of any of these in the new year?? Let me know in the comments section!
Soooo there we go. This barely captures all of the fantastic moments of the last two months, but these were some of the highlights. Obviously, a big part of it has been starting university, which has been an adventure and a half, especially with the impacts of corona. However, I am so thankful that I’ve been able to come to university here, and was lucky enough to have some genuinely fantastic flatmates (even one or two that I could call new best friends). On that note, I would also like to extend my deepest gratitude to all of you readers for the constant love and support you have given me every step of the way of my blogging journey. I definitely would not be here without you all so thank you!!
Thank you all so much for reading Tall Blonde Tales, and today’s blog post!
If you enjoyed today’s post, please don’t forget to like, share, comment and subscribe to the blog, and also let me know in the comments what were your favourites this month or last month? Lastly, thank you all to everyone who has sent in a post for Blogmas – I seriously appreciate it your posts are all fantastic and I can’t wait to share them. For anyone who is still interested, the deadline was for today, but I am going to extend it to Monday the 30th so two more extra days for anyone who still wants to send something in. If you do still plan to send something in, please let me know in the comments section!!
Thanks so much again, everyone. I hope you’re all excited for Blogmas (which is starting on Tuesday, can you believe it??). I’ve been doing lots of work to try and make it amazing, so I hope you all enjoy it. 2020 is almost over, so let’s go out with a bang this Christmas, shall we? (Well not a literal bang. 2020 has brought a lot of not so pleasant surprises so let’s hope we end the year on a positive note, without any new, crazy surprises).
Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx