A Look Back At 2015

Wednesday, 30 December 2015
So 2015 is drawing to a close. This makes me feel a little sad as 2015 has been a truly amazing year for me and I've had some amazing experiences with friends I'll never forget. Last year I wrote a post looking back on 2014 and I thought it would be nice to do another for this year. It's been amazing to read back 2014's post and see how much has changed. I bet that before I know it I'll be reading this as 2016 draws to a close!

January - January is generally always a good month for me because my birthday is January 20th. This year I finally turned 18! Being a 17 year old fresher for half the year is not fun. I had a really great flat party with all my friends. It was so much fun. I also started a new job in the pharmacy. I still work there now and it's probably the best job I've ever had.
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February - Edinburgh University hosts an 'innovative learning week' every February. It's basically a week off. I decided to 'learn innovatively' by going to visit my step sister in the lake distict. They're not close so I don't see them often, this was a really lovely trip! I also went and signed the lease for my second year flat which was a major weight off my shoulders.
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March - To be honest, when I think back I'm having to seriously think hard about whether anything exciting happened in March. I've had to had a look back at my Facebook to remember. It appears we had another flat party(resulting in some absolutely beautiful frapes), hung out with my friends a lot whilst in lab coats and visited the amazing Steak on stones. Looks like a great month, even if I struggled to remember it.
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April - April brought in the end of teaching for the semester. Classes were over for my first year of uni and it felt like it came in way too quickly. Over Easter I visited my favourite place on earth with my family: the Isle of Arran. It was an absolutely amazing trip. I just love island life. Cannot wait to return next year. The end of the month also signalled the start of exams. Which was an unwanted stress! And on the last day of the month I opened my Etsy store. What can I say, I like to keep busy!
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May - I look forward to the days where I don't heavily associate May with exams. But it was still a really good month despite all that. My exams went well and I also had quite a lot going on socially too. A few parties to end the semester before I moved back home. I felt quite emotional as I really enjoyed my year at uni and I wasn't looking forward to moving home and not seeing my friends for the summer. However, I did get promoted at work which meant I was doing more hours for the summer in a better position. I also got visited in Edinburgh by the lovely Beth and whilst the visit was brief we packed in so much and it was lovely to meet her.
Most viewed blog post: I've Opened An Etsy 

June - I was officially back home for the summer and whilst I was missing Edinburgh I was also working a lot which was actually such a relief. I went to Go Ape with some of my friends from home and had one of my best days of the summer up in the trees. It was so much fun and would recommend it to anyone who is interested! And we also had a staff night out where we went for dinner and then drinks. It was a lot of fun even if I felt a bit sore headed the next day.
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July - July was quite a hard month for me as I finished a long term relationship. I haven't talked about it much on my blog as I really don't think that's fair to him. Nothing nasty happened, things just fizzled out and I knew my heart wasn't in it anymore. My friends came back to Edinburgh for a quick visit and it was exactly what I needed. We got Chinese food and then climbed Calton Hill to drink cider at sunset. I couldn't help but feel like I was exactly where I was supposed to be in my life, even if I was still working things out.
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August - This month started off with the amazing Scot Blog Meet. It was all organised by my good friend Charlotte from Colours and Carousels and it was truly amazing. I got to meet so many amazing bloggers and also catch up with some others I've known for years! Generally I spent the rest of the month getting ready for my upcoming trip and moving back to Edinburgh. I also read a lot of books this month as shown by my reading wrap up!
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September - This was a very busy month for me. I spent the first four days of the month with my amazing friends in Geneva, Switzerland. It was the best holiday I've ever been on and in such a small space of time we saw some amazing things. Highlight of the trip was visiting CERN which I loved because I'm such a science geek. A few days after returning to Scotland I moved back to Edinburgh for the start of my second year of university. It took some getting used to the early mornings again but it felt great to be back at university again.
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October - October is always one of my favourite months. This year I went to two blogging events in October: Molton Brown and Ted & Muffy. Both were such lovely nights. I got to meet Leda who is an amazing blogger who goes to the same university as me. October can also be thought of as the month that I started dating again. Which had it's good points along with the bad! I also went to Glasgow to hang out with my blogging babes which is always a good idea.
Most viewed blog post: Meeting Bloggers In Person

November - November seemed to be a pretty short month but when I look back on it I actually got quite a lot done. I started the month by going to see some fireworks on Calton Hill with my friends. That week I also went to the Light Show at the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens which was amazing. Unfortunately I didn't take any photos so I never blogged about it! I also wrote my first ever university essay. Which on the whole was an unpleasant experience but essays aren't my strong point so I'm very glad that I did it, and passed!
Most viewed blog post: Ted & Muffy Event

December - December is a bit of a weird month as for the most part it starts off with AHHH EXAMS and then moves onto AHHHH CHRISTMAS. I was quite worried about my exams as I've found this semester to be a real big step up but when I was actually sitting the exams I felt quite confident with the questions. That being said I don't want to jinx myself! When they were over I came home and have been enjoying the festive period with my family. I've also been updating my blog design, I hope you all like it!
Most viewed blog post: Christmas Haul

All in all, 2015 was an amazing year. It was hard at times but there were so many amazing things going on as well. I grew and developed a lot as a person and I'm so grateful for all the wonderful people in my life and all the amazing opportunities that have came my say. 2016, you have a lot to live up to but I'm sure you'll be even better. 

I hope you all have a lovely new years! 

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell

Pinterest Round Up: Christmas Leftovers

Saturday, 26 December 2015
Hello everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Unfortunately I'm working today but I know that some of you will still be at home, lounging around and eating all day. That's my plan for when I get home from work! A Christmas dinner isn't actually my favourite meal. I don't like gravy so I'm not a fan of roasts in general but I find turkey in general to be a really dry meat that I don't really enjoy. So when it comes down to it, I often enjoy the leftover creations more than I enjoy the actual meal! With the help of Pinterest, I've found some awesome recipes for using up Christmas leftovers and organised them here in this handy blog post. I'm going to be trying a few of these over the next few days and I hope you all spot something you like the look of too! I'd love it if you'd join me on Pinterest by following me here!

Admittedly smoked salmon isn't something I usually have at Christmas but I do enjoy it the rest of the year. This smoked salmon pizza tart looks absolutely delicious and is something a little bit different. Much tastier than a boring old sandwich I'd say!

I'm usually a big fan of sausage rolls and love to make them myself. I don't need to be persuaded very much to try out a new recipe. These leftover turkey, stuffing and cranberry sausage rolls look absolutely delicious. And I love cranberry sauce even more when it's warm. 

So pizza is great at all times of the year. And I've already confessed a love for cranberry sauce. So a turkey and cranberry sauce pizza sounds right up my street. Plus if you have a cheese board(if you aren't please evaluate your life) you probably have some nice cheeses you could use to top this as well.

Normally when I think of Christmas leftovers it's traditionally British food. Maybe the occasional boxing day curry. But these turkey ramen bowls are taking things east. Ramen is such a feel good food and I think these would be delicious.

Something sweet to mix things up! Cranberry sauce scones sound delicious. I think I would even add some white chocolate to the scones or even make a white chocolate sauce to serve over the top. Or cream. Ok, now I'm getting ahead of myself. 

Do you like the look of any of these recipes? I think I'll be trying the sausage rolls first!

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell


Things I Love About Christmas

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

  • The smell of a real Christmas tree. I do love our plastic one but the smell of a real one can't be beaten. 
  • Tacky Christmas jumpers. Sequins? Check. Sparkles? Check. Plays music? Even better.
  • Hilarious attempts at wrapping oddly shaped presents.
  • Having the excuse to eat lots of cheese.
  • Spending time with family.
  • Taking the dog out on a walk and delivering Christmas cards.
  • Fairytale of New York. Ultimate Christmas song. 
  • Edinburgh's Christmas market. 
  • Really cute wrapping paper. Extra points if it features dogs, penguins or really cute illustrations.
  • Brie and cranberry toasties(although I do enjoy these all year round).
  • Old Christmas decorations that are old and boring, but no one can bear to chuck out. 
  • ELF.
  • Michael Buble's Christmas album.
  • When someone buys you a present that is 'so you' that you realise just how well that they know you.
  • Not crying at any of the Christmas adverts ever because I'm cold hearted. 
  • Driving around town with my mum to see all the houses that go all out on their Christmas lights.
  • Snuggling with Batdog.
  • Christmas candles.
  • Getting a massive food baby and then lounging on the sofa after dinner. Drifting off into naps. I mean.... I nap nearly every day. But it feels much better with a full and happy stomach.
  • Mince pies.
  • Visiting family.
  • Hanging tinsel in every possible place.
  • Bailey's hot chocolate. 
  • Being so excited for someone to open their present because you know it's something that they're going to absolutely love!
  • Not being able to sleep on Christmas Eve like a child. 
What is your favourite thing about Christmas? Leave a comment and let me know! This will be my last blog post before Christmas. I'll be back on Boxing Day with some recipe ideas for using Christmas leftovers. I hope you all have a very happy holidays! 

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End of Semester Update

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Gift sets at Molton Brown // JellyBear // Glasgow
Batdug the red nosed dug // Lush Bath! // Exam treats
My hometown // Blackforrest hot chocolate // Edinburgh's Christmas market

Hello, it's me. I was wondering if after all this time you'd like to read one of my blog posts? BLOODY HELL. This semester has been hard going. I'm now halfway through my second year of university and whilst I am totally in love with my degree choice it comes with a lot of work. I have a lot of contact hours. And when I say that a lot of people say 'oh yes but students with less contact hours have lots of work to do outside class too'. Which is true. But I've got my fair share of work to do too! I actually don't think there was a time this semester where I ever sat down with absolutely no work to do. There was always something! I've just finished my exams and I am now sitting with some freedom. I had Materials Chemistry on Monday, Chemical Pharmacology on Thursday and Chemistry on Saturday. Materials and Pharmacology were ok, I definitely have done enough to pass I'm just not entirely sure I really enjoy those areas as subjects. Chemistry, despite being a Saturday morning exam, was really good. I don't want to jinx myself but I can't remember the last time I felt so confident in an exam. I'm hoping that all my hard work this semester shows up in my grades but it will probably be another month or so before I get any of them. 

Socially this semester has also been really busy. There's been a lot of socials, nights out, parties etc. Even just things like firework night involved seeing friends which was so nice as I feel like I really missed out on a lot this time last year because a lot of my time was taken up with a job I hated! I've also started dating again which I don't want to discuss too much but it's been a lot of fun. Starting to see other people has confirmed to me that I really wasn't happy in the relationship I finished this summer which has really made me happy as I realised that I definitely made the right decision. Whilst I feel bad that socialising/uni/work has gotten in the way of blogging I don't regret it and if I could do the semester over again I wouldn't change it. Blogging is a big part of my life and probably my main hobby but I don't want to look back on things and think 'oh if I'd not written that blog post and instead revised a bit more I would have gotten a better grade' or 'I could have spent that time with my friends'. I want to blog about my life but I don't want to ever feel like blogging is getting in the way of me going out and living. 

I don't really know if there's much else to update you on! My Etsy store had a few sales in the run up to Christmas but not as many as I would have hoped. I didn't really take the time to advertise it as much as I should have and I definitely left things too late. I'm going to try and sell the things I have currently to people I know in person before Christmas but if not everything will be put up on my store on Boxing Day on a bit of a sale. I do have a few elephants so keep your eyes peeled if there's anything you fancy! In the new year I think I'm going to focus on designing my own crochet patterns and selling those instead. The majority of my Etsy traffic is from my basket pattern and not actually the physical things I'm selling. Hopefully I can boost it a bit now I'm off for Christmas. I'm also hoping to boost my blog over the break, schedule lots of posts and maybe get a new design. We shall see!

Let me know how you're doing too! I've missed you guys.

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell


November Reading Wrap Up

Friday, 4 December 2015
Erm. Oops. Fair to say that I got a little distracted in November and didn't read very much. I've been pretty busy with lots of uni work. The semester ends this week but after that I have my revision break and then my exams. I have three coming up and my last one is the 19th of December(an exam on a Saturday?!). That's also why I've not really been blogging. Hopefully when my exams are over I'll have much more time to get back into the swing of things. Unfortunately I was also not able to finish the #sassybooks read for November. I will hopefully read it this month and review the two at the end of December, but we haven't decided on a book for December. I read two books this month. Which isn't great but better than nothing! 

One by Sarah Crossan - This is a really interesting book. It's written from the perspective of a conjoined twin. And the whole book is written in verse. As it's in verse it was a really quick read. I really enjoyed the book but I felt at times it lacked a certain depth with the characters and the plot. I think this may have actually worked better as a proper book! I still really enjoyed it and I'm now really interested to read some more of her work. I gave this book 4/5 stars originally but on second thought I'm moving down to 3.

The Rest Of Us Just Live Here - I was so excited for this book and honestly I felt so let down. Patrick Ness is one of my favourite authors and I find it hard to believe this what written by the same author. It's about some teenagers who are about to finish high school and move on with their lives. It contains some science fiction aspects that weren't very well explained. Overall the whole book seemed messy and I didn't enjoy it. This book has gained 2/5 stars from me, I wasn't impressed!

What books did you read this month?

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