Friday, 24 February 2017

7 Tips For When Life Doesn't Quite Go As Planned...

As you may already know, life lately has been more than a little bit crappy for me.

I've had to take a pretty big paycut during training at my new job, and though I know it's not forever it's still difficult for me at the moment. (Come on, licensing...!)

Me and my boyfriend have been having numerous troubles.

And of course, the big, obvious one - My house purchase fell through over a bloody plant, leaving me temporarily homeless and now living in hilariously overpriced shared accommodation with a godawful housemate who likes to listen to really loud bollywood music at about 3am. (Or rather, he likes the empty lounge to listen to this music, while he goes to his room three doors away and forgets about it. But that's another story)

Despite all of this, I'm not feeling quite as terrible as you may think I would. In fact, the inspiration behind this post was the fact that I had my mid training one on one with my tutor the other day, and got an overall very positive review. The write up she did for me even comments on my current personal issues (because, let's be real, as much as I gloss over it and treat it as an annoying rant rather than anything overly traumatic, the uenxpected homelessness was kindof a big deal) and compliments me for the way that I dealt with it. It explicity states that they tried to send me home a few times so that I'd be able to do and deal with it and sort myself out but that I refused, and that I managed to keep myself in good spirits and joke about it a few times. And I'm actually proud of that, because it's true - I feared the worst, but I coped just fine. I'm particularly proud of this because the Nicola of a few years ago would definitely not have reacted anywhere near as well and would probably have ended up fighting a full on mental breakdown over something far less serious, but here we are. We live, we learn.

And on that note, here's a couple of tips from me for dealing with it when life doesn't quite go as you planned.

001. It's true - sometimes it's a good thing that life didn't go the way you wanted it to, because sometimes things can end up so much better - although different! - than you'd hoped. 
If you'd asked 18 year old me where I thought I'd be ten years later, I'd have probably told you that I'd quite like to be married with perhaps one child, though I wouldn't be entirely certain on the child thing just yet. The irony? I'm still not. And that's okay! So I never quite settled down how I thought I wanted to, but I've also been to more countries than anyone in my main friend groups and am pretty damn good at the solo travel thing. And I enjoy it! I'm actually glad that life took me this way instead of settling down. I look at the lives of my friends who did get into serious relationships very early and I'm happy for them - but it's not for me. I get bored easily. I like constant change. I like to be somewhere that's busy, and clean, and I like to be spontaneous. I always thought I wanted that kind of life, but in retrospect? I'm glad I don't have it.

002. It's okay if you don't actually know what you want to do.
I was so happy when I got onto the university course I really wanted to do - education. I spent years and years doing every bit of work experience I could to get in. And you know what? In all honesty, going to university is one of my biggest regrets. I've majorly changed career several times, from teacher to police officer and now into train driving. You'll change, you'll develop. Maybe you'll love your job, and maybe you won't. It's okay if you don't. You can change career as many times as you want to, and you shouldn't feel bad for it.

003. Find the positive parts about your situation.
So, my rent is hilariously high right now, which is kind of what happens when you had one day to find a flat and move straight into! But, find the good things. Rent is high, but it includes a residents gym and so I make sure I use it. It's on the Thames, and I like walking along it. My commute to work is really short, and that allows me to do all sorts of other things that I enjoy. Why focus on the negative things? You know you've got to put up with them, you know they're only temporary, so ignore them and just enjoy the benefits of the situation too.

004. Make it work.
While the rent being so high isn't quite so terrible for me as I had savings already, it's difficult for my boyfriend who is in the opposite situation and had a lot of debts. So, we make it work, and we don't make it a negative experience. We found that the Tesco a few doors down does ridiculously good deals if you go at exactly the right times, and so we make a game out of it and seeing what we can find. The other day we spent 7p (no really, 7p) on a huge load of broccoli, some jacket potatoes, some really amazing cheesey garlic bread and a bottle of orange juice. It was amazing. Right now, Chris is at work but I've already seen that there are piles of blueberries and I'm going to head back over as soon as I've finished writing this to see if they've gone down anymore, so I can surprise him with the romantic gift of heavily reduced fruit...

005. Don't dwell on it.
While of course, making a plan on how you're going to fix the situation is a great idea - don't overdo it. Dwelling on something is never good, and it'll just make you feel bad in the meantime.

006. But - do positively plan!
Me and Chris are currently on opposite schedules. He gets home from work at around midnight. I get up for work at around 6am. If I happen to leave early and he happens to start a bit late, we have a brief situation where we run into each other at the train station. And that's about it. But, we know it's going to happen and we work around it. Even if that is just leaving a surprise broccoli bouquet in the fridge for the other person, and pencilling in dinner with each other.

007. Find the humour.
No one wants to be around a moaner. Everyone knows your situation sucks, and they do feel bad for you - but it's awkward for them if you're down about it all the time. If people approach you and talk about it genuinely to you, then of course, go ahead and tell them your feelings and rant all you want. But outside of that? Make it funny. The people in my training class don't want to hear me moan unprompted and it doesn't make anyone feel good - make a joke about your situation and they'll be much more on your side, and you'll feel better for it too.

That's some advice from me - what's worked for you?


Friday, 17 February 2017

10 Travel Outtakes; OR, How I Fail At Travelling

I'm quite well known within my circle of friends as someone who goes travelling a lot. And I do, it is one of my favourite things to do by far. However, I've noticed my friends are often under the impression that since I do it so frequently, I'm the master of travelling without things going wrong. This couldn't be further than the truth, at least three things manage to go wrong on every single trip - here are ten of my most frequent travel misshaps!

001. The best views don't want me to see them
That time that we drove the entire length of the coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles to see the beautiful ocean views and the pretty beaches? Yeah. The above photo was our view, THE ENTIRE WAY. Our view of the Golden Gate Bridge was exactly the same - we saw about a quarter of it for a period of about three minutes, and even then I think that was a fluke. All the famous volcanoes in places like Ecuador, Iceland, the Galapagos Islands? Never seen them. They're ALWAYS behind a layer of cloud. I am just not supposed to see any of these famous views!

002. I have a habit of going to places on public holidays
I once managed to book a very late flight home from Nairobi, thinking that that would give me an extra day in the city since I hadn't scheduled much time there. WRONG. It was a holiday. Everything was closed. I ended up getting to the airport a grand total of 9 hours early because there just wasn't anything to do and I figured at least the airport would have some shops or cafes I could sit in. WRONG. Everything there was closed too. In fact, they wouldn't even let me through security at that time, so I was literally sitting on the floor for about 6 hours of that time. I also consistently manage to visit Muslim countries during Ramadan, and always when I am at my most hungry.

003. Money exchange rarely works for me
When we booked our road trip across the west coast, I decided to just place deposits on all the hotels and pay in full when we were there. WRONG. Of course, the British pound tanked and I ended up paying literally hundreds more than I would have done if I had just paid the damn money at the time I booked it all. Particularly when I travel across multiple countries that use different currencies, it always works out that the money has changed to be against me and I always end up massively going overbudget despite always being extremely pessimistic when I make the budget in the first place!

004. The SatNav is the devil
Particularly in America, the SatNav is there to get you into trouble. On our way to Death Valley, it decided that it wanted to take us across a tiny airport, on a dirt road where all the sign posts had bullet holes, past a few brothels and then into completely the wrong entrance of Death Valley than we'd wanted to be going to so we ended up having to skip my poor little rare fish that I'd really wanted to see because they were now completely the wrong side of the park and we didn't have time. It also nearly caused us to run out of petrol when driving down the coast after it assured us that we definitely did not have to pay the ludicrous $8 per gallon for petrol as there were plenty that were coming up. WRONG, there were not, and we very very nearly ended up running out of petrol and had to instead pay $20 per gallon out of sheer desperation.

005. Wherever I go, elephants chase me
It's true, they do. In Zimbabwe, a giant elephant in the middle of the street was already clearly in quite a bad mood, but when it saw me decided to run at me. ON MY FIRST DAY IN THE COUNTRY. A few weeks later in Kenya, a playful baby elephant ran into me and managed to knock me down. And then in Thailand, a big mama elephant also decided to run at me. Always just me. My rate for this is now literally 100% - every time I am in a country where I encounter elephants, at least one of them will chase me.

006. I either disconnect, or over connect.
I used to always refuse to take a phone or anything else with me when I was travelling, as I actually really like the disconnect. I like being at one with the place I am visiting and just having the time to get to know the other people I am with rather than be staring down at my phone all the time. More recently, people have been getting a bit fed up with that and so I've ended up taking my phone along with me. I'm usually good at still leaving it at the hotel but it definitely still ruins the evening. Part of my way around this is to say that I will only use the internet if it's at the hotel and it's included as that way it stops me from ruining the day, but I do find I'll still be short on dinner so that I can spend the evening catching up on everything instead.

007. Most of the time, I don't actually like taking my camera out.
I have a wonderful DSLR that takes fantastic pictures, and I NEVER take it out anymore. I always regret it too - I look back at the photos it takes and they are brilliant. I have the blogger love camera of the Olympus Pen, and sure it's good and it's more convenient but it's nowhere near as good as my DSLR is. I hate carrying a backpack or any sort of bag when I'm on holiday, particularly if it's too a hot place, so the DSLR rarely makes an appearance anymore even though it's so much better. I am also a terrible blogger because I always see an area that I think would make a really good picture, but I still don't actually get my camera out of my bag as I don't want to ruin the moment.

008. But I DO take pictures at the restaurants, and feel like an idiot.
I will always take photos of food, but I often feel very stupid doing it. I am the person who very quickly whips the camera out in a bakery and returns it all within approximately 1.2 seconds. I wish I could be that person who goes and takes amazing dessert pictures or takes in all of the options, but alas, I cannot be.

009. The weather is always the opposite to how it's supposed to be.
When we went to Florida, it was absolutely freezing at a time of the year when it definitely wasn't supposed to be. The news even reported every day while we were there about how freakishly cold it was. I hadn't taken ANYTHING warm with me, except the jeans I'd worn on the plane and a really light cardigan. BUT, by the end of the week we were glad it had been this way as about half way through the sun did come out afterall and it was so mindblowingly hot we suddenly failed at getting anything done. Every time I have been to Majorca there has been torrential rain the entire time I'm there. And I mean the ENTIRE TIME, no breaks in the pouring.

010. I can't take a selfie.
I look stupid in pictures. I also probably look stupid in real life, but I think I look PARTICULARLY stupid in pictures. I've tried taking selfies before ad they are all awful, every single last one of them. You will very rarely see a photo of me with any sort of beautiful backdrop, not because I don't want to but because every single last one of them will be awful.

What are your travel outtakes?

Monday, 13 February 2017

A Review of The Body Shop's Colour Crush Nail Polishes - Winter Colours!

The Body Shop Colour Crush nail polishes - Winter Trend
As most of you will already know by now, I started a new job about a month ago. Now being out of the police comes with the unexpected benefit that I can FINALLY, for the first time in four years, wear nail polish again!

This perhaps seems like a silly thing to get excited about to many of you as nail polish is such an ordinary thing, however it's something that I really missed. I'm often far too lazy to spend time doing make up at all, but nail polish is something that I can do once and will last me about a week until I get bored with it and decide to redo it. And even more than that, I am a compulsive nail picker. I don't even realise I am doing it most of the time. You can tell whenever I am stressed or fed up with anything as you'll look down and all my nails have vanished again (definitely happening a lot frequently with all this moving stuff..) but having them painted manages to greatly hinder me from doing that as I don't want to ruin them when they're looking so pretty and the brighter colours mean I'm more likely to notice what I'm doing! I was therefore very pleased when I realised I could start wearing the stuff again and so very quickly headed over to The Body Shop to give some of their colours a go.

The Body Shop Colour Crush nail polishes - Winter Trend
 I chose these colours as they were nice, darker Wintery ones. It seems silly, but wearing something bright and neon which would have always been my taste before just didn't seem quite appropriate - I wanted something that better represented the seasons, and these really ticked that box. Plus, even better - at the time I purchased these they were all on sale, so were just £2.50 each!

The Body Shop Colour Crush nail polishes - Winter Trend
 I was a little worried about purchasing these as the reviews I read about the nail varnishes really weren't all that positive for the most part. There were a lot of complaints about the products requiring a lot of layers to dry and not being long lasting at all. I decided to go for it anyway - I own quite a few Body Shop products and I don't have a single complaint about any of them, and so figured I'd at least give them a shot.

The Body Shop Colour Crush nail polishes - Winter Trend

The Body Shop Colour Crush nail polishes - Winter Trend
From left to right, we have Caring Caramel, Mad About Blue, Minty Amour (which, by the way, is pretty much the nicest colour in the world. I LOVE the colour of this. If you're inspired to go and buy just one colour from the range, make it this one!) Big Smoke and Blue Abyss. As the name of Blue Abyss may suggest to you, it doesn't come out quite as black as it looks in this photo. It IS a very dark colour, but when it's on your fingers you can see the blue highlights to it.

The Body Shop Colour Crush nail polishes - Caring Caramel
As stated above, Minty Amour is an incredibly beautiful colour which I wear at every chance I get, but I'm pretty pleased with all of the colours that I purchased. I will say that I find Caring Caramel is not all that great to apply - this is the only one that I will say genuinely does take quite a few layers before the colour looks right, and even then I'm not all that fond of it.

The Body Shop Colour Crush nail polishes - Blue Abyss
 In terms of how good the quality is, I would say that the reviews were far more negative than they needed to be. The brushes aren't as good as other brushes I've used in the past (which I suppose DOES say a lot when you consider it really has been about four years since I've been able to wear the stuff) but this isn't a real problem to me though of course it would be nice if they were easier to apply. In terms of how long the colours last, I've actually been really pleased with them and found that for the most part they don't chip all that easily at all although Mad About Blue and Blue Abyss are definitely the fastest to go.

The Body Shop Colour Crush nail polishes - Winter Trend
Overall, these polishes are by no means perfect but I would still definitely recommend them - particularly, of course, Minty Amour. It's nice to see a range of winter colours that manage to remain so pretty and varied, and I'll definitely be trying some of the other colours next season too. The colours are currently all £5 and can be bought online through the Body Shop website!

Friday, 10 February 2017

February's Blog Spotlight Post

It's time for another roundup of all of the blog posts that I Enjoyed reading the most over the last month! As these blog posts were all posted in January, it will probably come as absolutely no surprise to you whatsoever that there was a very heavy theme of looking back over 2016 as well as predicting the trends that will take place in 2017. However, I've still managed to find a good variety of posts to share with you this month, and as ever I hope you're able to find a new read from this list or a new blogger to subscribe to!
001. Cat wrote a post all about how she hopes blogging will change in 2017. Some of the topics she chose may be a little bit controversial in the blogging world such as the desire for there to be less twitter chats - but, actually, I fully agree with them! How about you?

002. Milly wrote all about her honest views of Miami, and what to do there. It's somewhere we were thinking of going later this year after a quick trip to Disney World, so came at a very good time!

003. Charlotte gave some suggestions for some creative hobbies to take up. I'm pretty untalented at all things creative, but I wish I could manage some of these!

004. This is the first of a few posts I'm including from Carrie this month - take a look at her beautiful wedding photos!

005. Immy went to Centerparcs, and took some adorable pictures!

006. Amanda went on a solo cruise and posted all about it. Doing a cruise solo is something I've always been intrigued by, especially ever since Norwegian started specifically designing some of their cruises around the solo traveler!

007. Amber is my most featured blogger in this roundup - and the first post I'm including from her is some of her blog goals for 2017!

008. Another one from Carrie, with some of her bridal beauty tips!

009. Jordan posted a review of Beauty Pie, a brand that I'm suddenly seeing everywhere!

010. Angie posted a very useful travel post, looking at the best destinations to go for each month of the year!

011. In another one from Amber, she took a look at how accurate her blogging predictions for 2016 had been, and posted some of her suggestions for 2017 too.

12. Ionanna showed off some of her beautiful Papergang boxes - the little dogs are so cute!

13. Josie posted some of her unexpected highlights of 2016.

14. Yet more blogging predictions for 2017 - this time, from Hayley!

15. A final post from Amber, this time giving some suggestions of places to promote your blog and posts.

16. And finally this month, Hayley posted some tips all about how to master the Instagram flatlay!

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Another Little Life Update; or, How a Plant Tried to Make me Homeless

I know that it wasn't so long ago that I made a little life update, but, well, a lot of things have happened since then and I thought that rather than repeatedly post nonsensical twitter updates that don't mean anything unless you know the whole story, I'd just type them all up here instead.

Life lately... where can I start?!

In my last life update, I mentioned that I was having some problems with the mortgage on my new flat taking forever. However, my solicitor became optimistic that we would be able to get everything completed and complete the following week as she was now only waiting on one document to turn up, and so I officially signed over my flat to a new tenant for the end of the following week as my rent was due then anyway.

So, for context. This phone call all happened last Wednesday. I figured a move in date of Friday (as in tomorrow) would be perfect as I have the day off anyway, and my flat officially gets signed over to the new tenant on Sunday so that gave me a couple of days to sort things out if it all took longer than expected. I have a friend who doesn't live too far from me who has a spare bedroom and was happy to have me stay for a few days if anything did go wrong, so as far as I was concerned I had everything worked out.

However alas, it was not to be. On Thursday I was called by my solicitor again, who informed me that there was now a problem. There was a case of Japanese Knotweed that had somehow escaped all the reports up until that day, and as such the property wasn't going ahead. I didn't know anything about this plant before this whole fiasco started, but apparently it is an invasive species with really strong roots that are capable of doing damage to all sorts of things and banks are really hesitant to give you a mortgage of the bush is there. The solicitor even sent me over a lovely diagram of the property including a star where the bush is alongside a photograph of it. I had to laugh.

Unfortunately, this also meant that I was officially homeless the weekend after. I had gone from my beautiful flat, to going through a whole lot of drama to buy a new one, and would be homeless the following week with all the fees I spent on the solicitor and everything else gone. I dealt with a few moral issues as on a technicality I hadn't fully signed over the property to the new tenancy and I could still withdraw it. I thought about it, but it wasn't his fault and he shouldn't have to suffer for it.

On Friday I called my solicitor again, as she had stated that if the plant was receiving treatment then the banks were likely to be more forgiving about it, and as such I called her for an update. She didn't have one. And that is the start of the story as to how on Friday night I found myself walking around a park in the dark and in the rain using a torch and a map to go and find the location of a plant. No really. The results were mixed; sadly, the plant was very definitely there. But, the plant is not actually in the grounds of the property. So, in short, the apartment I'm trying to buy is in a set of three apartments that have a big shared residents garden to the back, and then a fence which backs off onto a park. My flat is the one at the very front, the park is at the very back. The plant in question is not actually in the areas of the development, it's in the park but near to the fence. Apparently, this was still a problem.

Last time I had to find a flat short notice, it really didn't work out. It took me nearly a month and I was at the point of being willing to accept literally anything that came up - luckily, I did get my Stratford flat and I love it very very much so it all worked out in the end.

To my relief, this time around it was actually easier. I found a flat near Canary Wharf that was willing to let me move in three days later, which tied in perfectly with when I would need to move anyway. I looked at three flats, and two of them were significantly nicer and also cheaper, HOWEVER the flat I ended up choosing had the very siginifcant bonus of a 30 day rolling contract. Unfortunately the price tag reflects this and is very very high, however the flat is big and the 30 day contract is perfect for me. This means that if the flat I'm purchasing DOES come through I can just arrange it to all be done at the same time. If it doesn't, then if I like it I'll just deal with the cost and if I don't then I've got plenty of time to find a replacement flat without having to rush and risk being homeless.

Unfortunately, as you may expect from places that offer short term contracts and let me move in so quickly, this hasn't been short of stress either. The price has raised twice already, as has the time that we are able to move in from. It's all been a bit chaotic. I think it's finally sorted, which means I had better pack tomorrow as we're moving the day after. I hope. I'm still not convinced, and I may be posting another little life update soon telling you it all fell apart again, but let's hope this is it for now....!

Friday, 3 February 2017

21 Fashion Favourites; February 2017!

After my happiness of how many amazing fashion pieces I found last month, perhaps I just came in too optimistic this month as I was really struggling for items to feature and was actually thinking I may have to abandon this topic this month as there just wasn't enough that I wanted to include. Activewear is very much the name of the game this month around, and unfortunately I'm just not feeling very inspired by any of it - most of it is just very bland and not at all my style. However, Quiz managed to come in this month and well and truly steal the show with a huge variety of beautiful dresses - so Quiz will most definitely be the first store I'm heading into come pay day this month! Take a look at my favourite findings and see which ones you like the most.

First up, we have Quiz with some lovely evening dresses that are SO much cheaper than you'd expect them to be.These are beautiful, mature pieces that will be perfect for an evening out when you need something classy without being too over the top. My personal favourite is the one on the right, though all three are very tempting.

QUIZ: Rio Print Courts £29.99
QUIZ: Cream And Pink Floral Bubble Midi Dress £24.99
QUIZ: Cream Floral Print Crossover Hem Top £22.99

For my next selection of Quiz goodies, I've gone for those that are a little bit brighter. First up we have a lovely Rio print pair of shoes, followed by a beautiful dress and top. The dress is absolutely gorgeous and I wanted to go straight out to buy my own - unfortunately, it doesn't come in my size :-( If it did, I'd already be holding one!

QUIZ: Cream Floral Print High Neck Dress £59.99
RIVER ISLAND: Nude Ruched Wrap Bardot Crop Top £24
RIVER ISLAND: Black Floral Print Frill Wrap Top £30

The final Quiz piece is another pretty dress that I think is a bit more versatile than the others. It's also the most expensive item I've featured this time around and a little bit over my normal price budget of £50, but I thought this one was pretty enough that it was still worth being included. This is followed by two River Island tops!

ACCESSORIZE: Cactus Pendant Necklace £6
ACCESSORIZE: Charmy Stretch Bracelet Pack £8
ACCESSORIZE: Bird Trinket Tray £8

Moving on to Accessorize next, here's my three accessory picks for the month. I think this little cactus necklace is adorable - I love necklaces with more unusual characters to them, my dinosaur necklace is the one I wear the most followed by my cupcake one, and I think this one will make a neat little addition. The trinket tray at the end isn't quite fashion, though you could use it to keep some of your favourite earrings on.

APRICOT: Navy & Stone Stripe Print Double Layered Long Sleeved Top £23
APRICOT: White Floral Embroidered Shoulder T-Shirt £20
APRICOT: Stone Crochet Butterfly Fine Knit Jumper £30

Apricot have LOADS of lovely tops this month, but I've narrowed it down to these three. If they aren't quite your style I'd still recommend taking a look, particularly if you like longer shirts or layered shirts as they have loads in different colours. However, the middle top is my favourite as I don't own many clothes that are casual but a little bit simpler, and I think this top could really do the trick.

NEW LOOK: Black Floral Print Short Sleeve Dress £14.99
NEW LOOK: Blue Floral Embroidered Mom Jeans £29.99
OASIS: Essential Striped Knit £35

Finally this month, we've got two from New Look and one from Oasis. I really like the Oasis jumper - I'm a big fan of stripes and colours and I really don't own enough jumpers, so this is a great pick for me!


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

20 Things I Miss About Being A Kid

  1. Not having a phone. I know that sounds strange in a way, but I MISS it. We talked properly, we weren't always being distracted by what was going on in our pockets, and we certainly didn't give a damn about our internet presence or what people may be saying about us online!
  2. Being optimistic about the future. Life certainly didn't turn out all bad, but it was definitely much easier in my head when I was still under the impression I could be anything I wanted to be and that everything would work out alright just so long as I completed my homework and passed the right exams!
  3. Eating like crap. Maybe that's a bad thing? I was a picky eater as a kid, probably almost purely because my mum gave up trying to fight me on it quite early. Which meant I ate absolute rubbish all the time. It was really good, not gonna lie.
  4. Being able to hang out with my friends all day - of course!
  5. Having an imagination. Me and my friends would just basically roleplay all day long, it was awesome. Couldn't do that if I wanted to now!
  6. Getting SO EXCITED about looking through the Argos catalogue when Christmas was coming up.
  7. I'm not even slightly creative now, but I loved all the opportunities I had for getting crafty back then. Glitter on everything! And, most importantly, someone giving me the inspiration that I most definitely lack now.
  8. Wasn't life going to be great when I grew up? Obviously I was going to be a vet. And I'd have the best boyfriend, and we'd be married and I'd have kids by the time I was 25. It was all going to be so straightforward and logical. And then I grew up and discovered that actually, I didn't really like the idea of being a vet, and I'd go through numerous relationships, and the idea of having a kid even now is something that fills me with a great deal of anxiety.
  9. Having basically an endless amount of time to read. And well stocked libraries to do it in!
  10. And on that note - having the time and the ability to learn about things that actually interested me, before I got to the age where I had to stop focusing on those and start reading up on things I really didn't care about purely because they were the more useful skills or topics to learn about.
  11. Neopets. Neopets were amazing. I was basically a very important businessman on there. I had one of the biggest shops and dedicated WAY too much time to maintaining that. Every time I consider the fact that maybe I might want to open up a shop one day, I totally blame Neopets.
  12. And Petz. Especially my Dogz and my Catz, but Oddballz were cool too. And Creatures. Did anyone else play Creatures?!
  13. Those make up sets for kids, that were basically just a massive box of EVERYTHING YOU COULD EVER NEED. They were so colourful and beautiful, and the sets were generally really well made and looked pretty decent. I would lust over this one in particular that I'd seen in Argos where the eyeshadows were all laid out like a butterfly, and I basically felt like I'd made it when I finally got my hands on it.
  14. Going to my friends houses all the time and going on adventures - because the internet wasn't really a thing, and the TV was generally rubbish once you hit 6pm, and so you'd go and get up to all sorts of cool and active things instead.
  15. Those indoor adventure parks with all the soft play and assorted madness. They were the best. I want someone to make an adult version, except as already mentioned, I'm nowhere near as creative OR FUN as I used to be and I would probably just walk around it in sad confusion.
  16. Getting to go to the newsagents once a week to pick out what treat I was going to get. It was generally milky bar buttons. Sometimes Malteasers. Either way, it was basically the highlight of my week.
  17. Magazines used to be really good! I loved Girl Talk and Mizz, they were the best. I learnt all sorts of neat hair tricks and got to feel like whatever was going on in my life wasn't QUITE as bad as I thought it was when I would read the embarassing stories pages. I also learned all those things I wanted to know but was too afraid to ask about sex, including all sorts of things I would never have even known to ask about.
  18. I really liked doing projects at school. I liked having the freedom to go and research more or less whatever I wanted and make it beautiful. I distinctly remember doing a project about tigers, which is funny to me as they're not one of my favourite animals at all anymore but I absolutely LOVED doing that project.
  19. School plays! They were great. I was never a lead, and I never wanted to be - I was way too shy. But I was in awe of those who went and took lead roles, or did musical productions in our annual events. I just wanted to be those girls who were so cool and confident and amazing!
  20. That childhood gossip that is nowhere near as personal and horrible as it got as you got older. I just wanted to gossip about boys with my friends!

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