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My 2019 Blogging Goals

2018 is over and done with and now it's time to think ahead to the new year. I wasn't initially going to give myself a list of goals this year - not making goals or resolutions is perfectly okay - but I decided to do one relating to my blog instead. 

Before we delve into the new goals, I wanna go over the ones I made for 2018 (if you want to read through the post, you can do so here!). I'd give myself an A+ for effort, but execution is going to have to be a B because I didn't really manage to get everything done that I aimed to.

Firstly, I did manage to learn to drive! My dad and cousins all grouped together to teach me to drive and even though I was so excited to give it a go, initially it was much harder than I thought. Reversing and parking are my biggest worries, but everything else to do with a car is now under my belt and I'm so happy about it! Driving gives me such a new sense of freedom and happiness and I can't wait until I can buy my own car!

Secondly, I also managed to learn a new language. I went from learning Korean to Chinese and now that I'm studying in China, I have no choice but to learn Chinese! Chinese is such a dynamic language that has really beautiful words and figuring out how they all connect together is so much fun! I'll be studying Chinese for the next 6 months, which is perfect time for my skills to grow. 

I also managed to fulfill my goal of being more present. From meditation to practising daily gratitude, I think I was okay in this area and I've seen some real improvements like being calmer in stressful situations. Definitely something to carry into 2019.

Unfortunately, I didn't reach my goal of reading 12 books last year. Towards the end, things got real stressful what with moving and starting school, but I'm so proud of what I did manage. 9 books isn't too shabby for someone who didn't read in the first place.

Being healthy was great for the first half of 2018 but by the end, again, I didn't do too well. This is something I want to turn around this year. 

Finally, I did managed to grow my blog and I even managed to work with some brands! My numbers definitely aren't as big as other bloggers out there, but for me and what I envisioned for my blog, I'm happy and that's all that counts.

And now for 2019!

In one year, I managed to reach 1000+ followers on my Twitter and 970+ on my Instagram, which is something I never thought I'd be able to say. I'm so grateful for all of you who decided to click on the follow button, it means so much to me!

Unfortunately for me, I had to start using a VPN once I moved to China, so my following has now decreased. I was even locked out of my Twitter account because of it, and so I had to make a new one (check that out here, and my Insta over here). This year I want to double my following from last year, so wish me luck!

I used to post 3 times a week and it worked for me until we moved to Zambia. Then I was lucky if I posted even once a month. Now, I want to get back to a 3 day a week schedule. This winter break is the perfect opportunity for me to write as many posts as possible and once school starts I won't be stressed out about what to post!

90% of the photos I use on this blog are stock photos, and I'm not ashamed of it; I want the images I use to be beautiful and professional and I currently can't mange that with my smartphone. That's why when I use photos, 99% of those come from Kaboompics (thank you!).

All that being said, I really want my photography skills to improve so I can proudly show them off, but until then, I'll be using stock imagery.

Those are my goals for this year! Only 3 but the smaller they are, the easier it'll be to get cracking on them. Some goals obviously go without saying, like working with more brands and increasing my page views, but these 3 are doing to be the main focus until December 2019.

I hope all of you achieve everything you set out to and I'll see you in the next one! 

Photos: Unsplash

What I Learned In My First Semester Of Uni

I was so excited to start university and now that my finals are done with, I figured I'd share what I learned during my first semester. From September to January, I had class starting at 8am every morning and often had so much work to do afterwards I often thought I'd never see the finish line. That's all over and done with now, because all I have to look forward to now is catching up with some TV shows and travelling around the city with my friends!

The first thing I've learned is that people are all different. This is something you grow up knowing but it doesn't become a fact in your head until you get to uni. I've been surrounded by people who didn't grow up like me; from the food they eat, to the way they speak, to the way they choose to clean (or not clean in my case!) and no shade but it still becomes really stressful to this day.

I don't believe there is one right way of growing up, or one right way cultures do things but having all these differences thrown at me at once puts my own life into perspective.

On the bright side, I now know what I want in life and what I value. Seeing how other people their lives is such an important eye opener and such a great way of promoting personal growth. But as I said, the way I grew up isn't the "perfect" way and vice versa. It's great seeing how cultures influence people's lives and opinions, and it's great to learn from that.

The next thing I've learned is that I work really well under pressure. Like too well, so well I can leave assignments to a week before the due date and still come out with a good grade!

The day I'm writing this was my results day, and in both exams I got such amazing results, which I am undoubtedly grateful for. I started revising the week before and thought back to my sixth form days, where I started studying for Government and Politics 2 whole months beforehand.

Uni has so many things going on that studying sometimes takes a backseat (which I realised was wrong, leading to my social media detox) and realising that I work well under pressure is great for future reference, but I will definitely try to be much more organised with my time.

The third thing I've learned is that meal prep is key! It's so exhausting having to think of what to eat all the time, and since the dorm kitchen and canteen both close at 10pm, if I get hungry any later I'll have to rely on whatever is in my room.

I started meal prep last week and it has made things so much easier for me. I cook twice a week and have enough to eat for lunch and dinner all throughout (breakfast is always a cup of tea and bowl of porridge). I just store everything in the fridge and when I'm hungry either head to the kitchen before they close or use my portable cooker in my room and I have a hot meal ready!

It's so much cheaper to meal prep, and it's healthier too. The canteen is full of amazing food (I mean, c'mon it's China) but all the oil they use is not good for my digestion, so I decided to just start cooking more and it's been a great decision so far!

I've been all over YouTube looking at meal prep recipes for inspiration, and I reckon it's gonna be a Pinterest board soon too!

The next thing I've learned is that proper time management will save your life. Before exam season (let's face it, exam season is always gonna be hectic) I was on top of everything. I was using the time blocking method and managed to get so much done in my day. My morning and evening routines were working well for me (blog posts coming soon!) and my time after class was productive and I could still squeeze in some travelling around the city and a TV episode too!

I cannot stress how important it is to get yourself a routine from the get-go because the habits you build during your first few weeks at uni will be with you long after.

Time blocking has been so effective for me and it leaves so much time to do the things you want to do too, not just what you need to get done.

Finally, the fifth thing I've learned is that working smart is better than working hard.

I had imagined myself before uni to be spending all day in the library, working for hours on end, but this does not result in you getting good grades! Working for so long can be detrimental and actually do more harm than good.

It's much more effective to just spend your time wisely, rather than spending a lot of time on one thing. That's why with time blocking, the 80/20 rule (blog post about that right here!) and the pomodoro technique, I've been able to achieve everything I wanted to with half the effort.

I can't believe my first 5 months in China have already come to an end! It feels like I've been here forever though, and since I'm improving in the language day by day, life is definitely getting easier and easier.

I'd seriously love to hear what you have all learned in your time in uni! Do leave them down below!

I'll see you all in the next one! 

Photos: Unsplash

Happy 2019! | An Update on Blogging, Life, and School

Hey everyone, long time no blog! I know I uploaded an update post a few months ago but things are different again, so I have to get another update post published before anything else!

It's been a crazy last few months and I'm only now getting used to how my life is now, what with starting university and moving to CHINA! Yep, if you follow my Instagram, you'd know that I've been living in China since September and I'll be here (God willing) for the next six years. It sounds like such a long time, but day-to-day, it feels like I've been here for a year already.

China is amazing! The food, first of all, is everything I wanted it to be and more. I'd eaten enough Chinese takeaway in the UK to have an idea of that it would be like when I got here but the food here blows your local takeaway out of the water! Each province in China has its own distinct flavor, and in Hunan the food is hot and spicy. I'm building up a tolerance for spicy food, and good thing too because it's too good to resist!

China is also huge; walking anywhere is a struggle and I want to take the bus or subway everywhere. At least all the running around I do to not miss my bus is a good way to keep fit for free (sort of!).

Onto the reason I'm here; I started university in October, and my first semester finishes in a couple of weeks after I have my final exams (eek!). After being out of school for two years after A-Levels, it took me a long time to get my mindset back into school mode, and I'm still getting used to it! It's amazing being in school and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be here and receive an education. It's definitely something I won't ever take for granted because I know so many people my age, younger than me, and older than me don't have this chance.

At the moment I'm studying Chinese language before beginning my major which is Medicine. After speaking to some seniors about medicine, I'm choosing to focus on my year learning Chinese before worrying about that's in the future! Being told one year of Chinese is equal to 3% of what I'll learn in my first year of medicine isn't really good for lifting my spirits!

A part of university life I didn't count on was the loneliness and imposter syndrome I've been feeling alongside the awesome stuff. It's strange; one great moment can be quickly overshadowed by this nagging and limiting belief that I'm not as smart as I think I am, or that I don't have “enough friends”. This is a blog post I definitely want to go into depth with because I feel like it affects a lot more people than we think.

University is always painted as “the best time of your life” and sometimes it's true, like when you're out with your mates and you feel like nothing can bother you, when you get a great grade after studying a ton, when you wake up and realise that yeah this whole new life is real and not a dream. But we definitely have to talk about the nasty stuff that comes with university, and make it more known and open! Anyway, like I said definitely another a post for another time!

Being this far away from home and my friends and everything I've ever known isn't easy, especially when you factor in the time difference. I'm 6 hours ahead of Zambia, and 8 hours ahead of the UK, so when I'm waking up everyone is asleep and when I'm asleep, everyone is up! Communication is tricky, and it's been hard keeping up with social media, especially Twitter.

In China, you can't access sites like Instagram, Facebook, anything to do with Google, and a lot more so I have to use VPN to connect to anything. It's annoying but I'm now at the point where I immediately turn my VPN on whenever I need to use my phone. Because of VPN, I've been locked out of my original Twitter account and I have no way of getting it back! *Insert a thousand crying emojis*.

So, that being said, please follow me on my new account @elliekblog!

That's all that's been going on with me for the last few months! It's another amazing chapter in my life that I'm so grateful, happy, and excited to be on.

I don't want to promise you all a blogging schedule because I don't have a laptop, and I'm using my phone to upload this, so the next post will come when it's ready! If that paragraph that has been made centerised annoys you just as much as it annoys me, you see how blogging from my phone is a pain!

I hope you all have a wonderful day or evening, and that you all enjoyed this post! I hope your 2019 is everything you want it to be! Whether you want to travel more, see new people, be more grounded or anything else, I wish you all the success and happiness the world has to offer.

I'll see you in the next one!

How To Have A Successful School Year | Back To School Tips 2018

Hello everyone!

After a long summer break, I’m sure the last thing most of you want to do is think about going back to school (or college, or university!). However, since I’m going to university this September, I thought a blog post about how to prepare yourself during the back to school season would be appropriate!

Getting Your Life Back On Track | Travel Reset Routine

Hello everyone and welcome back to another blog post!

Today’s post is going to be all about how to get back into the swing of things after you’ve been travelling. Whether it was a weekend get-away, a holiday abroad, or just a regular road trip, we all know how strenuous travelling can be.

Life Update; Where I've Been & Where I'm Going

Hello everyone! It’s been so long since I last posted (let alone even wrote) a blog post and I have so much to tell you! The last couple of months have been intense and jam-packed; I don’t even know where to begin!

I hope you’ve all been well and enjoying the warm weather (most of my readers are from the UK, and I know the weather has been glorious there lately). I hope you all haven’t forgotten me, and this update will explain where I’ve been, where I’m going, and everything in between!