four year old Annmarie – Transcript

It took me a while to think of something of mine that was non-digital. The majority of my life is preserved digitally. I have a box, a big box of ‘memories’ anything of mine over the years that I haven’t thrown out that isn’t saved on a USB stick / hard drive / memory card / CD drive … heck I could probably find an old floppy disk somewhere … except I know no one with a floppy disk drive.

One thing I found was my first ever school report from when I was in nursery (age 3-4). So I thought I’d see if the comments still applied nearly 20 years later….twenty years, oh god.

Language Development
‘Annmarie recognises her name and writes it independently’  Still got it!
Annmarie enjoys looking at books and does so regularly being content to look at them alone’  my bank balance agrees too

Scientific Development
‘Annmarie is observant and questioning of her natural environment and enjoys being outside…’ That hasn’t changed
‘…she enjoys digging in the garden and is happy to look for worms’  now I wouldn’t use the word happy…
‘When involved in cooking activities Annmarie uses ingredients and utensils appropriately and follows the recipe well’ What an earth were they making us cook at three years old?

Development in Other Curricular Areas
Especially enjoys using the art technology area – where she uses all resources purposefully and appropriately’ Still very arty farty. I’ve just had flashbacks of the edible play dough that would taste amazing…I think it was edible.
When using the computer Annmarie has good control of all the keys and is familiar with the programs using them independently.’  What little me didn’t know was that my eagerness to use computers would backfire as I’m now on them 24/7.

Physical Development
Annmarie rides the tricycle ably’ Annmarie also face planted the flower bedding on said tricycle one playtime during nursery. It then took her 17 years to transition between tricycle and bicycle.
She is gaining in confidence when using the outside climbing equipment where she is careful and cautious.’ Still terrified of heights twenty years later, I think 24 year old me is more of a wimp than 3-4 year old me!
‘She is able to accurately follow a line when cutting’ I’ve lost that skill somewhere along the line (pardon the pun).

Personal and Social Development
Eats well at lunchtime’ FOOD!! And as I transitioned into infants and juniors I continued to eat seconds/thirds of lunch. Then as a fully functioning  adult I eat my packed lunch hours before lunchtime and have to buy a second lunch.I like lunch…
‘She is a happy and calm person – being open and friendly to all’ Aww, if I could pinch little me’s cheeks I would.

It was really nice to go through my old school report. What surprised me was how I was already at that age moulded into the person I am today, the same core / interests / hobbies / values were noticed by my teacher.

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Move out of the way Mondrian, there’s a new painter in town. (left)

Annmarie xoxo

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University tips: Student housing for second/third/forth year

Over the last three years I think I’ve had probably ever worst-case scenario occur when it comes to student accommodation, from disgustingly unhygienic housemates leading to me leaving the house, useless landlords to money grabbing estate agents. Around this time of the year it’s time to start thinking about where you’re going to be living next year if your university does not provide accommodation throughout your degree. It can be a daunting/confusing/exciting experience, so here’s a few of my tips.

Be careful who you choose to live with.
It’s true when they say you don’t really know a person until you live with them, especially in en suite halls where all their horrid habits remain behind closed doors. Make sure you trust the people you’re living with, when bills and rent come in you don’t want to be chasing someone to pay up, especially if you have a joint tenancy.

Be happy with the place you’re looking at
Only you know if you’ll be happy somewhere. Before you go house hunting sit down as a group and each explain what you’re looking for, do you want a double or single room? A dining table? Somewhere to place your bike, or park your car? Don’t feel pressured into going for the first house you see as you’re worried you won’t find somewhere. You need to see a few first to get an idea of what’s on offer. A friend wanted us to go for the first house we saw….there wasn’t even a door on the oven and a current tenant was suing the landlord – how alarm bells weren’t ringing in his head was beyond me!!

If possible, have the current tenants show you around
Ask them how much they pay for bills each month. What is the landlord like, when something goes wrong are they approachable/do they actually fix things? What are the neighbours like? They might be able to tell you the quickest way they get to Uni / town, or how safe it is living in that area. Are you able to put things on your walls?

Check for these when viewing a place
– Mould / damp, landlords rarely ever bother dealing with it and most of the time blame the current tenants for it. If it’s there now, it’ll reappear when you’re in the house. You don’t want to throw out your own possessions or put your health at risk.
– Smoke alarms
– What furniture / appliances are included?
– Does it need any repair works – peeling paint / things broken. Will these be done before you move in?
– Check to see if there’s any indication of pest…not kidding. I was in a house that was infested with rats and slugs, let’s just say it reflected the type of people I lived with and after two months I told them where to go!
– Is there a gas safety certificate?
– Any agency fees/admin costs?
– Will the deposit be held in a deposit protection scheme?
– Will I need a guarantor?

Do NOT hand over any money before you have signed something, and check what you’re signing!!!!
If you take anything away from this post, take that sentence. The amount of freshers who have gone to the union because the landlord has given them a horrible contract, but they’ve already signed and given their deposit. Too late, you’ve signed yourself up to 12 months of whatever is on that paper! These aren’t just the same T&Cs you ignore when signing up to a website online, it’s your life for the next year.

Don’t let a landlord bully you into giving your deposit first, if they tell you there are many others who want the house and it’s the only way to secure it – run, just run away in the other direction, you’ve just seen the true colours of that landlord. If you’re interested in a place ask the landlord if you can see the contract. Don’t feel pressured to sign it as soon as it has been handed to you. Go away together, read it through, highlight anything you disagree with or are unsure about. Most student unions have a housing service and are willing to check through your contract and check to see if the landlord has been blacklisted by them. It’s highly recommended that you do this for your own benefit. Only then once you’ve signed the contract give the landlord/agency your deposit, make sure you have a signed copy of your contract as proof of payment/for reference and that you receive a document about your deposit protection scheme.

At the end of the day, if something doesn’t feel right or is too good to be true – then it probably is. Stick with your gut instinct and don’t even feel pressured to do something you’re not comfortable with.

Annmarie xoxo

Ch ch ch ch changes

…For 2015
I didn’t want to ruin the title, as that gem of a song popped into my head!

Now I know in a very recent post I said New Years resolutions are pointless, and I still stand by that. I’m not going to start a new fad or vow to remove xyz from my life, just because it’s a new calendar year – there’s no actual motivation behind that, at least for me personally.

However I do feel you can’t completely grow without having goals in mind. That’s what I plan to do in 2015, either continue to grow premature habits or bring back things that recently I’ve noticed are missing in my life. All in the name of self care / CBT homework!

1. Complete 5 year Q&A diary.
First of all, who’s the idiot that left the book 100miles away? It’s something I saw when buying a new journal. I really want to fill it out to see how my mentality changes over the 5 years. To look back and reflect upon.20141231-235645-862053622

2. Read 23 books…without spending any money.
Unfortunately I didn’t meet my Goodreads target for this year (probably didn’t help that I set it up in May) but want to actually achieve it next year. I found I was either given books or bought many this year that I haven’t gotten around to reading. I hope that by challenging myself to achieve that number without spending money will mean I can get through that list. But also, more importantly save money because I’m a poor student! Why 23? Because that’s how old I’ll be at the end of 2015 (oh god, I’m getting closer to 30).

IMG_07653. Meditate more often / have more me time!
Over the last few months I’ve realised that I always put myself last, even if it means sacrificing time to help others out I’d do it, because that was how I was raised. The sad thing is I’ve realised those around me do the opposite, and then I wonder why I’m so behind compared to others, or look back at friendships and realise I was just a doormat. So this year I’ve decided to make time for myself, even if it’s just to relax and put my wellbeing first.20141231-235642-862027244. Increase emotional awareness
I’ve always been pretty pessimistic, but more and more over the past year I’ve realised how much of a drain this has been. How my own thoughts have held me back. For the last few weeks whenever I’ve had a negative thought I’ve written it down and made it into an origami heart. The idea is everytime I fill a jar I burn it…or recycle it.

Happy new year!
Annmarie xoxo

2014 in photos

I thought a nice way of summarising the year would be to do so in photographs!

January – Winning drunk bowling…please drink responsibly…
February – Day trip to Blickling Hall, North Norfolk with housemates
March – Creating a toad fence at Cranwich and having a photo of myself in the EDP / Norfolk County Council website.
April – Revisiting Hickling Broad, I love The Broads one of my favourite parts of Norfolk.
May – Buying my first bike and learning how to ride it.
June – Royal Norfolk Show, first country show I’ve ever been to and certainly want to return again this year.
July – Visiting Holme Nature reserves and chilling on the wide stretches of beaches with hardly anyone else being there.
August – Having a rest back home after being on my placement year for the last 12 months.
September – Ireland fieldcourse as part of my degree, saw a lot of cool rocks…and had a 24 hour journey from Norwich to Western Ireland.
October – Halloween! First time I was able to carve a pumpkin, (tradition for my mum to do it)
November – Norwich big boom! Bonfire night is the best occasion after Christmas.
December – Spending waaaaay too much time in front of a computer wanting to bang my head against a wall whilst trying to complete my dissertation!

Looking back, I really want to do the photo 365 challenge, but then I would actually have to have a life!

Hope you’ve had a great 2014!

Annmarie xoxo

Another year older

Since Monday I’ve been 22! Do I feel any older? Not particularly. (Note to self change about me page).

When I was a teenager I always looked up to people in their twenties assuming they had their lives figured out and it was always one big episode of Friends. Well I now know the former isn’t true, and regardless of age most people don’t have their lives figured out, which is always great to think about when you’re faced with looking for your first job of your ‘career’.

There are some negatives of being a Christmas baby, *ahem ‘birthday’ Santa visited me this year*

20141227-175711-64631186.jpgbut one positive is that my birthday is so close to the end of a Georgian year, that a year of my life is the same as a calendar year. Here’s a few things I’ve learnt in reflection over the last year.

Being independent does not mean you can’t ask for help
I’ve always been stubborn when it comes to asking for help. I’ve always seen myself as being independent, not wanting to rely on others to get things done, to try and overcome hurdles myself to prove that I was strong. I saw asking for help from others to be a sign of weakness.

It wasn’t until this year I really grew up. Realised how ridiculous that notion was. If people are willing to help you, it shows how much they care about you and they also want you to succeed.

Distancing yourself from loved ones doesn’t help
When things get tough, it’s very easy to distance yourself from everything to help you cope. But pushing yourself away from others only adds to the list of your problems once the previous one has been solved. Having others there to lend an ear, to help with problems, be your coach or to distract you entirely are key.

New Years resolutions are pointless
When I was a teenager I would write a New Years resolution list, seal it in an envelope and open it the next year to see how many of those things I had achieved. Who wants to guess how many of those I had actually completed? The last couple of years I’ve abandoned New Years resolutions, and chosen to make changes because I’ve wanted to. Because I’ve felt the need to make them regardless of when it has been during the year, and have not given myself a timeframe to complete them. The previous times I’ve made those resolutions had been when I wasn’t committed to the change.

Be yourself
I’ve found that the most cliché phrase to be true. I made some great friends over the year, by being myself completely. The cheeky sense of humour, the crazy curly hair and painted nails. The creative, passionate and caring person. If it meant that some people didn’t like me, then their loss not mine. I’ve given up caring whether someone would like me or not, helps to free your mind for other tasks.

Hope everyone has had a lovely Christmas holiday!
What epiphanies have you had this year?
Annmarie xoxo

when I grow up, I want to be [x]

You know when you were a kid, people would always ask what you wanted to be? I don’t recall ever having an answer (maybe musician was the closest thing). Even throughout school I never really had that end goal in mind, a part from going to University and getting the hell away from my old life. Now I’m coming to the end of University I feel like I’m supposed to have figured it all out.

I’ve yet to have that day job that makes waking up in the morning a pleasant thing, in fact the only time I’ve ever been excited to wake up early was on Christmas Day or when my parents would take us to LEGOLAND (of course trying to keep it a secret, except little me was a smart cookie and knew every time we were driving through Kew we’d be on our way out to Windsor).

I did try to think of what I’d like in a career a couple of weeks ago, but I wouldn’t say I was any further into it now. I mean I love reading and watching TV, except when doing a science degree it feels as though that’s something to be ashamed of? I love being creative, I can’t help it. I like helping people. I hate the dog eat dog culture or cut throat nature that is associated with being successful (I like watching The Apprentice, but if I ever had to work in an environment like that, I’d rather starve). I love exercise, especially that sore have-to-crawl-up-or-down-the-stairs-its-the-only-way feeling after a good workout, or when your team wins a game. I like food and cooking. I love travelling, being in beautiful environments, both natural and built up, wandering through the unknown. I enjoy writing. I know I’ll never be an author or journalist. But there’s something about putting ink to paper / fingers to keys. I like to make people smile, or laugh. Although this tends to be at my own expense, what can I say I’m altruistic. I’m always willing to learn and grow. Put myself into uncomfortable situations and slowly prove I can do it.

Hopefully in the next few months I’ll find an answer.

Annmarie xoxo

behold the snotty tissues

Sorry to disappoint anyone who thought they’d see snotty tissues.

I know you can’t catch a cold from just being cold, but I’d love to blame standing outside in the freezing cold as Hurricane Gonzalo had it’s fun in just a jumper frozen to the bone (I was planning to run home and get something warm on, but the cordon due to a fire didn’t give me time!!). It’s funny because when I was a kid I LOVED being ill, a chance to be off school, watch Cartoon Network the whole day and have mum take care of me. Except when you’re in the 20s, the world continues and taking the whole day off to watch cartoons isn’t really the responsible thing to do. 😦 She writes whilst listening to noughties and 90s playlists reminiscing on the good olde days.

This week we had a careers fair, has that led me to have the needed epiphany to work out what I want to do with the rest of my life? Nope. In fact it has led to more doors becoming open. The great thing about it? It has reaffirmed that doing a Year in Industry was the best decision I have made over the course of my degree. However, all is not lost, there’s a few things I’ve figured out that I want from my ‘career’:

  • To be happy, most of all.
  • To be challenged, to grow and grow constantly.
  • Variety, zipping from project to project. Not stuck in a rut for months on end.
  • See the world, be it local (there’s so many things we take for granted just on our footstep) or global.

That’s not asking for much is it?

Now as I sit here prepping for my job interview this week, it has caused me to reflect on my life for the past three years. It’s had it’s ups and downs (doesn’t everything?) but without every single experience I wouldn’t be the person I am now. Rule of thumb – stick to your instincts. Question is how do I condense that into a 3 min presentation?

Annmarie xoxo