There’s some twisted irony in the fact that at the time of writing this post, my stress levels are at a record high and I have a negligible amount of time remaining to bash out the final few thousand words of my dissertation… HELP.
Anyway, I digress. One of the questions I’m most frequently asked when people find out that I am a full time student as well as a blogger, is ‘how do you manage your time?‘. I usually give a relatively vague answer about knowing when to prioritise one over the other, but as I’m at the very peak of my busiest ever time at university (specifically, the end of my final year) I thought it appropriate to give my time management techniques, both conscious and subconscious, a little more thought. In doing so I hope to both help myself in this final stretch, and help others who are perhaps struggling to manage blogging (or another hobby or flexible job) alongside university, college or school.
Tip #4 – don’t compare your blog to a full time blogger’s blog
Finally I think it’s important to avoid comparing yourself and your work to others generally, but sometimes it is helpful to gauge where you are at in comparison to your peers. This becomes less helpful, however, when you start comparing your blog to a full time blogger’s blog. Blogging is very time consuming, and naturally those who are fortunate enough to call it a career have a lot more time to put into it. Whenever I’m getting a bit stressed about the quality and frequency of my posts, I just remember that many of my friends and others who I admire simply have a lot more hours in the day to dedicate to blogging than I do.
In conclusion, balancing blogging and university is about just that: balance. Sometimes I give university work a little more weight, sometimes I prioritise blogging, and of course don’t forget to add having an actual social life into that mix too. I hope that these tips are helpful or at least in some way cathartic if you’re in the same position as me; don’t stress too much, it’s not that hard and you’re doing great!
Happy International Women’s Day!
Ok, one last ‘resolutions’ post then we can all get on with our lives for another 12 months. As we enter the second full week of 2015, 2014 seems practically prehistoric and I’m keen to collect my plans, ideas and motivations for hannahlouisef in one place.
- Take better photosI’m really, really keen to improve my photography this year. Because my content is predominantly my own outfit photos, I don’t get to take them and so I just don’t get much practice behind the camera as I would like. I bought myself a Canon 700D a few months ago and am definitely getting to grips with it now, but I’m nowhere near confident as I want to be and need a lot of time to play around before I feel even a little satisfied with photos I take. Once I start feeling happier with my own photos, I think I’ll feel happier creating more varied content, which is another goal for 2015!
- Document more of my life
I think this one goes hand in hand with wanting to take better photographs, and is particularly applicable to travel. Despite travelling quite a lot in 2014, I blogged none of it aside from taking advantage of some different locations to shoot outfits in. I think it’s important to take some time off from blogging every now and again and I don’t want to feel pressure to create and record at all times (especially when on holiday), but in hindsight it would have been nice to write a little more about my trips, and I find it much easier to do this when I can illustrate with lovely photographs. If you read my other life resolutions post, you’ll know that I intend to travel more in 2015 – I hope that I can talk about and document this on my blog in the coming 12 months.
I also want to talk more about music, as I discussed here, as it really is quite a defining part of my character and is what I spend much of my free time preoccupied with, but I just don’t think this comes across in any way except for the odd Instagram post from a show. I don’t think my blog is the right place for music journalist style album or live reviews and there are already a plethora of great music magazines and blogs, but I’m busy brainstorming ways to incorporate my own musical preferences into my fashion and lifestyle posts – if you have any ideas, please do let me know in a comment!
This is the most unambiguous of my 2015 blogging goals, in that I will either succeed or fail definitively. If I am going to actually make videos, it’s going to be now or never. I’m still extremely dubious and nervous about this, and have been putting it off throughout 2014 because even the thought of myself on camera makes me cringe. However, as I get more into YouTube as a viewer, I’m feeling more inspired by some of my favourite bloggers who started YouTube in the past year (like Olivia, Amy, and Arabella), and I really want to be able to create videos that I’m not painfully embarrassed by. Watch this space, and please send your words of encouragement (and any specific video requests) if you would actually like to see me on YouTube.
I don’t want to set numerical goals based on stats, I just want to become a better creator; vary my content whilst refining my skills, and try to encapsulate and represent myself in a more well-rounded manner. Do you share any of these blogging resolutions? Have a wonderful year everyone!
I have never actually made a new year’s resolution in my life (aside from trying to con my way out of vegetables as a child – ‘no mum I can’t eat broccoli it’s my new year’s resolution’), but this year the change in the calendar seems to have coincided with a general feeling of personal evolution for me. 2015 is inevitably going to be a year of quite vast change; right now I’m half way through my final year of university meaning that, provided all goes to plan, I will be graduating this summer. I almost feel that writing this now, in January, is premature, because little will change for me in the next 5 or 6 months, but with the new year coming in one can’t help but get a bit swept up in resolutions and dramatic life change proposals and all those other rather silly things.
Anyway I digress, the main point is that 2015 will be the first year in my living memory that I won’t be in education, which is frankly terrifying. I will certainly be sad to leave university but I am looking forward to finishing my degree (I have considered post-graduate study, I think I’m going to at least have a year off first), however I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to (or even what I want to) do come the summer. This combined with being consciously aware that I am changing and evolving as a person at the moment is just the strangest feeling, and I think writing this post is a way for me to get my head around that, and to have some evidence of how I thought or hoped my year might go to look back on come the end of it. I also hope it might give some of you some ideas or inspiration, if you’re feeling a little stuck in limbo like I am! Here are my life resolutions for 2015:
TravelI’m starting with this because it’s all I’ve been thinking about as of late. I’m not sure I’ll get the opportunity to travel until the summer (although fingers crossed a European trip around spring could be on the cards), but I just want to experience as many different places as I possibly can whilst still young and lacking in responsibilities. I was incredibly lucky with travel in 2014; in May I had a weekend in Belgium seeing Title Fight and visiting Antwerp and Brussels, I went to France (specifically Paris and Lyon) and briefly Switzerland (a day in Geneva before flying home) with my family, to Florida for Fest with my friends in October/November, and then back to Paris again at the end of November. 2014 has cemented the idea that travelling isn’t as big a deal as I had previously thought. Before visiting the US alone (I was with friends not entirely by myself, but by this I mean that I was in a position of responsibility when travelling whereas previously I had left everything to my parents) I built it up to be a much bigger and scarier thing than it really is. A long flight isn’t exactly fun, but it really isn’t that bad either, and flying alone (we all flew alone due to having other things going on both at home and in America) is actually quite pleasant. By the end of 2015 I’m hoping to have done at least one European trip and gone back to the US twice: I have rough plans to travel around it (or at least the east coast) for as long as I can afford to as soon as I finish my exams in the summer; and my friends and I will almost certainly go back to Florida in October/November for Fest as we honestly had the best time.
Stop eating meatThis is an easy one – I have been eating ‘less’ meat for some weeks now, but as of a few days after Christmas I haven’t eaten any, and so I guess it’s an obvious thing to ‘resolve’ to continue with throughout 2015. I’ve never really made a commitment like this before, but it is something I’ve been thinking about for a while. The majority of my friends are either vegetarian or vegan, and there’s no question in my mind that they (particularly those who are vegan) are the ones who are morally in the right both with regards to animal rights and the planet in general, I’ve just never had the inclination or selflessness to make steps towards that myself. I hope I can keep this up!
- Read more for fun
Another relatively straightforward and more typical new years resolution – save for a few books read on holidays, I’ve hardly read for fun since school and that is really sad. I’d mainly like to explore more classic authors (of all kinds – novels, short stories and poetry) because I have read shamefully few. I think this one is quite achievable, and alongside it I’m going to make a conscious effort to improve my writing too (perhaps with some more posts of this nature, rather than a constant stream of ‘I like this outfit because it is nice’).
Enjoy lifeI guess this is the big one. I think that travel is part and parcel of this and is the main means by which I intend to enjoy myself this year, but I don’t really want to ‘go travelling’ in the *gap yah* sense for months on end and so I would like to enjoy myself when at home too. Thus, I am very concerned with not spending my time fretting about what to do with my life. As you may or may not know prior to reading this post, my degree is in law, and whilst I absolutely have not written off a career in that field as it is still one that interests me deeply, I want to focus on my blog and the more fashion and writing related sphere of my interests whilst I am still mildly relevant (ha). On a side-note, I’m in the process of writing a (less feels-y, you might be pleased to hear) ‘blogging resolutions’ post in which I’ll talk more specifically about what I’m hoping to do with my blog this year! In summary, once I’ve finished university I want to spend some time learning and doing for the pure fun of it, not because I have to or because I’m working towards another goal, or because it will look good on my CV. If I can successfully balance the practical need to earn money with this in 2015, then I think I will be happy.
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I want to write more about music on my blog but I’m in an awkward position where (I imagine that) almost no-one who reads my blog cares what music I’m into, and almost no-one who is involved in the same sort of music scene as I am cares what I think about it. Nevertheless, inspired a little by Zoe and Lily‘s ‘soundtrack to my life’ YouTube tag, I’ve decided to do it anyway as it is what I spend around half my life preoccupied with. Now, it is very difficult to write about a show/gig/concert/etc, without sounding embarrassing, so I’m going to try to keep each little section short and sweet and keep my adjective usage to the bare minimum. I hope this interests at least a few of you, and please let me know if you’d like to see similar in the future!
One thing that 2014 lacked in for me has been hardcore shows. I enjoyed Twitching Tongues early on in the year, and I did see Turnstile again in the summer. I also saw Stick Together, Take Offense and Cold World at Outbreak Fest – none of which were mind-blowingly great, but pretty cool nonetheless. Fingers crossed for some better things in 2015!
Other honourable mentions of the year were Merchandise (incredible band but oddly hardly anybody went), Headroom‘s first show, Citizen, Nothing, Taking Back Sunday, Balance and Composure, Seahaven, Diamond Youth, Nai Harvest, Walleater and last but by absolutely no means least One Direction(!!!!) (VIP courtesy of BooHoo!), which was a truly excellent experience. There were other bands too, who I’ve either forgotten about or just weren’t quite worthy of a mention. Next year I’m already looking forward to American Football, Mineral (again), Alvvays (oh somebody sell me a ticket for Manchester in January, please?), and hopefully some better hardcore shows. Bands I’m gutted I missed this year include Lust For Youth, Iceage, Slowdive (what is up with bands who only play in London??).
The absolute worst band I saw was Bam Margera’s Fuckface Unstoppable, a somewhat spontaneous evening thanks to a hookup by a friend, and an absolute assault on my ears, but I met Bam Margera so it was all worth it for my 14 year old self.
So all in all, 2014 hasn’t been a year in which I’ve been to many particularly ~cool shows, but one during which I have thoroughly relived my youth (a phrase which sounds ridiculous coming from a 21 year old, but you know what I mean) and also had some musical experiences I never thought would be possible thanks to the magic that is 90s bands being short on cash. Were you at any of these? I’ve linked to the Bandcamp or Lastfm pages of some of the more current bands I’ve mentioned here, do go and check them out. I wanna talk about music, so please let me know your thoughts on this post!
I find writing up a Christmas list for myself far harder than buying for others, much to the annoyance of my loved ones, and I already have a LOT of stuff. So, what do you buy for the girl who has (almost) everything? I’ve knocked up a few ideas of things I would love to receive this Christmas (and a few things I already have) at a variety of price points, to help you to treat a similar girl in your life (or yourself, of course).
One can never have too much lingerie or loungewear, so something special from Fleur Of England or a cute PJ set or onesie would be ideal – don’t forget you can get 20% off a OnePiece onesie with my code ‘HANNAHLOUISEF’ until this Friday (December 12th).
A little bit of luxury is always a great idea too – if you’re seriously splashing out I am absolutely head over heels with the Saint Laurent bag, but a nice high end wallet (like the Kate Spade or Michael Kors ones above) is a more affordable but still special alternative.