Monday, 31 January 2011

Birthday Girl Dress

Next Tuesday I turn 22 years old and I am pretty excited! I never see birthdays as a year of getting older. I see it as a way of planning lots of really fun things for a very good reason. Plus, I think '22' looks like two swans :)


My friend Andy's birthday is just after mine and we are planning a night out with all our friends for food and dancing! But of course it's that dilemma again of finding a dress. You might remember last year I had a nightmare trying to find the perfect graduation ball dress. Luckily this time I don't have to be so classy and snazzy because it is just a nightclub I am going to.


But I still need a birthday girl dress. I have found 3 I really like..roll on the contenders. (Just ignore the ridiculously pretty model).


1)


I love that it is two different designs in one and has a quite nautical theme to it. Plus I'm a typical 'pear' shape so the dress comes out at the right angle. But maybe I need a bit more colour?

2)
I just love the colour, any type of green suits me the best because I have green eyes. I am not 100% on the neckline but I love the chiffon material and the way it pleats. My sister says it is a bit too 'loud' for me?

3)
I have always said purple and pink don't suit me (because they don't) but I LOVE how the purple is detailed in. Plus, it is shiny! Also I really like the quirky shoulder straps and the belt would nip me in at the right place :) but is black too safe?

I don't expect you to love them like me but which do you prefer?

I really want a nice birthday girl dress for my birthday celebrations!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

How do you save money?

About a week ago I asked you for ideas on how to save money. My colleague Claire has recently moved in with her boyfriend and the cost of living has left her feeling a little poor. Your response was brilliant. In fact as I was reading your ideas to her she kept saying "Why didn't I think of that?" or "That's so logical!" - safe to say she is feeling much happier now so THANK YOU!

I wanted to do a post dedicated to sharing your ideas and you never know maybe you can integrate them into your lifestyle. Every little helps!

picture via 

1) The majority of the feedback was to buy what you need and not what you want. I think we are ALL guilty of this. Of course it is fine to treat ourselves, we're human but to over indulge means our bank balances get a beating. 

2) Many of you mentioned about having a shopping list and sticking to it, keeping aside a weekly allowance, putting aside some money each month into high interest saving accounts and my favourite one (which I find works best) is try not to use your debit/ATM card all the time. Taking out your cash and seeing yourself hand over money instantly helps you to realise what your spending money on.

3) Scott commented that they get library books out instead of buying new books. So if any of you are bookworms this would be a great saving!

4) Anne talked about the Envelope System. Where you "budget out every pay-check each time. Plan ahead and divide out the cost for car insurance, home insurance, gas, and any other bills you know you're going to have and set that money aside, so when the time comes to pay the bill, the money is there."

5) CrysHouse, Melaine and Mere discussed about menu planning! By planning ahead and knowing what to eat helps save money when buying food at the shops and helps you to resist the temptation of getting take away/eating out. Alex says that making bread instead of buying bread is a great way to save her pennies!

6) My sister Nicola used to go through make up wipes all the time. Yet, here in the UK the make up remover liquid is much cheaper. To save money she bought some white thick cloths/flannels. She cut them into squares and uses them each night then puts them into the wash to reuse them once they're clean. I love this! It stops her having to use make up wipes and the cotton pads. She says it save her around £15/$18 a month!

7) Ruth posted that buying fresh goods from her local grocers than the supermarket saves money. It allows her to buy the quantities she wants and produce is often much cheaper than brands.

8) Coupons/Vouchers - USE THEM! Make use of special offers on products you need not what sounds 'good'! It's only a good deal if you use the product regularly.

9) Kirsten says that meat is often the most expensive item in her monthly shopping. So when she gets paid she buys her meat in bulk and freezes it. She does not buy any other meat products that month and it now saves her around $80 a month for her family.

10) Jon voiced that preparation is key so why not buy next years Christmas decorations, wrapping paper etc in the January sales?! Buying presents for people in advance when they're on offer instead of struggling to find cash at the time of their birthday, wedding, christening etc. I can't promote this idea enough. I have already bought 2 x photo frames that were on special offer for my friends birthdays when they're not until May and July!

11) My Mum's most favourite quote when shopping is "Branding does not mean it is best" because it doesn't. The shop's own brand can be just as good particularly with fresh goods! The other day I picked up some Oranges and another lady told me I could save £1.50 if I got the shops own brand. The only difference? Was that the shop's own brand of Oranges were all funny sizes and not symmetrical like the brand name Oranges. They tasted just as nice. Sometimes food really is for thought!

12) Tammy says that making batches of foods like minces, soups etc and freezing them helps. Especially for lunches to take to work that you can reheat. It helps to stop you buying microwave meals or running to the shop in your lunch break (Claire and I are so guilty of this.)

13) My Gran probably mentions this every time we see her. Halve your cleaning products people! Aren't cleaning products like softener, powder, polish and sprays expensive?! Well halve what the product says you need to use. My fabric softener says to use 1 cup for each wash, we use half a cup. My furniture polish says you need to use 2 squirts. We use one. My dishwasher product says we need to use one tablet, we use half. And my furniture, clothes and crockery still come out just as clean!!! Remember companies want you to buy their products again...and the sooner you run out the sooner you'll be needing to buy it.

14) Kristin has a water butt in her garden that harvests rain water. She uses it water her plants and clean her car and patio. It saves money on her water bill and it means she doesn't have to get the hose or power washer out. Also, she puts foil down the back of her radiators she says "that way I use the heat the radiators do lose through convection. It keeps the room warmer for longer. It saves me a fair bit on my heating!"

15) Laura Anne promotes shopping around! Don't be afraid to shop around for clothes, car insurance, house insurance etc. Sometimes it is so much easier to just renew your policies with the same company to 'save hassle' well it doesn't necessarily save you money.

Thank you so much for sharing your ideas. They all produced many more brilliant ideas here. I hope you can resonate with some of the ideas people use. If you have any more money saving tips please let me know!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Blog Secret

I love taking part in anything and everything on other people's blog. It's fun and you meet lots of new people. I really enjoyed taking part in the blog 30 day challenge in November and I loved doing the blog swap with Jordy last month!

So have you ever wanted to write a blog post about something secret? Something you would like the world to know but don’t feel like you can say under your own name? Well now you can! My lovely friend Holly who lives in New Zealand is hosting Blog Secret 2011!


The concept is very simple. You write a blog post about something secret. Something you would like the world to know but don’t feel like you can say on your own blog.


Email your post to Holly at adventuresofholly[at]gmail[dot]com. Please remember to include the name and URL of your blog. Please submit it by February 4th to allow Holly time to put everything together.


On February the 5th-6th she will send you an email with someone else’s post in it. This post will have all names, web addresses and other identifying information removed from it, so even the person posting your secret won’t know it belongs to you. The only person who sees everybody’s submissions will be Holly herself. This email will also tell you which blog you can expect to see your secret on.


On the February 12th, you will copy and paste the secret emailed to you into a blog post and publish on your blog. Feel free to write an introductory message explaining what you are doing, but please leave the actual secret exactly as it is. Please also enable comments on this post so the secret’s author can receive feedback.

I know the whole point of blogging is that you should be able to say whatever you feel but this is simply meant to be fun. It could be a secret from your childhood, it could be something really minor, it could be little list of secrets. No-one will know :)


I hope you take part on February 12th 2011 in Blog Secret!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Struggling

I love my job. I really do. It is the BEST thing I have ever done.

But it has taken a while to settle into the team dynamic and heck just making that transition from student nurse to qualified. At about Christmas time I really started to settle in and felt like I was moving forward. Then it took one shift yesterday for me to feel like I was taking two steps back, again.

The nursing team are VERY close. Some have worked there for years so I knew I couldn't just walk in and be apart of it instantly. It has taken time. The team I work with are amazing. Then yesterday I had a really busy bay of patients. I had 2 dressings to do, medications still to give out, a patient whose drain had just fallen out of their leg (how I have no idea because they are stitched in?!) and he was bleeding on the floor. Then one of my ladies took a turn for the worse and started to become septic and her vital signs were really bad.

I lost complete judgement of the situation and to be honest wanted to go home and cry. I could not cope at all with all this to do. The other nurses had just as busy bays. The nurse in charge asked me what I was going to do about my deteriorating patient and I drew a blank. How scary is that?! So she had to help me and kind of take lead of the situation. I know I shouldn't be afraid to ask for help.

But I felt like a failure. I panicked, even though I have experience with critically ill patients and dressings and medications. I failed.

I have a day off today and I can't stop playing back what happened and how it occurred so suddenly. I want to do my best but not even that feels like it is keeping me above water.

One the downsides of nursing is that your accountable for everything. If something goes wrong and it isn't documented the right way or handled to 'perfection' then your called up to the nursing board for evaluation of your registration. It can be done so easily.

The best thing to do is to think and learn from it which I have. Yet, it doesn't take away this really crap feeling at the moment. The pressure sometimes is awful. I love my job. I don't want to be super nurse but it sure does feel that if I'm not super nurse then I'm not a very good one :(.

I just needed to vent today.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Bright Ideas Please.

Bright ideas needed please, in any way, shape or form :)

One of the Nurses I work with, Claire, recently moved in with her partner and she was saying that the cost of living is insane. I for one can agree with her and I bet I don't have half the outgoings she has now she owns a house. Everything just seems so expensive lately! Claire was voicing her anxieties in our break today and she desperately wants to save money. It just runs like water at the moment. We were talking of ways to try and save cash anywhere like food, cleaning, shopping etc.

So I want to ask you guys for advice on top money saving tips. What do you do to save your pennies? Is there anything you do more less/more of so you don't overspend?

I would love to go into work next week and have a compiled list of things that have worked for you to give to Claire. Plus, I will do a post next week of all yours ideas as a way of sharing your tips :).

I'll start off. Ever since I was little my parents have always bought the HUGE boxes washing/soap powder. And when putting a wash on they use half the cap recommend. Our clothes always come out really clean and it almost triples the amount of washes we can get out of a box. We never buy the washing tablets, even if on special offer, because they never last as long and are more often than not more pricey!

Please share your ideas :)

Monday, 10 January 2011

Baby Boom.

One of my many reflections of 2010 for me was the year of the crazy baby boom! I think it is one of the many things I am looking forward to this year. Since turning 21 and getting older a lot of my friends are getting engaged to their sweethearts and meeting new people. However, this year it was a total new ball game because a lot of people I know are having babies. You know when people say to you (maybe not?) "I seem to know someone who is pregnant or had a baby at the moment?" well up until recently I have never experienced that. Well at least not with the people I know very well.

So I want to savour this moment of excitement I have for my friends who have let me share their beautiful baby's or are going to become parents very soon. 

On October 31st 2010 (10 days early!) my old school friend Lacy gave birth to a beautiful 5lb 8oz little girl. I met her briefly when she was on the postnatal ward and my heart melted at how tiny she was.

Lacy's labour was text book. She was SO nervous about the labour because of the pain but she literally had a few contractions around midnight and then at 5am she went to the hospital expecting to still be in the early stages. She was 8cm dilated! Then within the next hour Grace Evelyn was born. 

You might remember in 2009 I announced my old holiday pal Charlotte give birth to baby Jack. Well in November 2010 they became a family of 4! Charlotte never hid her desire for more children and wants her children to be close in age. On November 19th after an 8 hour labour and only being 1 day overdue she gave birth to baby George. Jack ADORES his new little brother!!!


I shared a couple of weeks back that one of my best friend's Sacha and her fiancĂ© Kevin are due with baby Caitlin or baby Luke on July 14th next year. She is 14 weeks now and the sickness has started to dwindle. Also, her baby bump is starting to show. I still cant believe one of my best friend's is going to become a Mummy - I really cannot wait to meet baby Muckle!


And just last week this ridiculously cute couple are expecting their own little baby. I went to college and university with Kaylee but she moved to London with her partner Jimmy *sniff* last summer. I am going to be on holiday when she is due so I have told her she cannot go into labour until I am home hehe. Kaylee is just born to be a Mum! She has a real knack with kids and is a brilliant Aunt to Mia. 

Jimmy and Kaylee are just ecstatic. It was a surprise baby because Kaylee was on the oral contraceptive but she has fallen in the tiny percentage of it not working even though she has taken it religiously. They really will make great parents!!!

Baby Headdon will make his/her appearance late June 2011!

Plus, Callie is expecting her baby boy in March and Brittney is expecting her little girl in April. I have followed their blogs for a while and I know how much falling pregnant and the chance of becoming parents means to them. I CANNOT WAIT to 'meet' your little ones!!!

I wish all this baby madness has made me broody but I am far from it. I am more than happy to see parenthood happen to other people I know for a while. Baby boom it certainly is!




Friday, 7 January 2011

Project 365 Sept ~ Dec

The months of September to December were some days I would never forget. In fact, they were almost the first days of the rest of my life.


September
Sept 8th 2010 - This was my "well done" holiday to myself for qualifying. It was a brilliant trip to Portugal! I went para-sailing, swam with Dolphins and saw some amazing scenery. I loved every second and was a great way to unwind a little!

Sept 19th 2010 - Seeing and celebrating my Gran turn 80 years old was such a blessing. She has been through a lot since losing my Granddad and suffering ill-health. To celebrate something positive is something I will never forget.

Sept 28th 2010 - I left my weekend job in preparation for starting my nursing career. It was SO SAD! I received some lovely cards and presents. I still visit all my lovely elderly friends, they're a huge part of my life! By leaving this job made me realise how grown up I was actually becoming and how far I had come.

October
Oct 14th 2010 - I have always loved seeing musicals and as a treat from my friend James he took me to see Sister Act. AMAZING!!!

Oct 17th 2010 - Watching my brother turn 18 was a bitter-sweet event. I remember the day he was born and to see him blowing out his 18th birthday candles was strange. He had a lovely day (and cake).

Oct 18th 2010 - The first day of the rest of my life. Out went the white student uniforms and on went the stripy blue uniform. I'm qualified. My first day....of the rest of my career! It was a pretty surreal day.

November
Nov 3rd 2010 - November was a fun month. I got my first pay check and I decided to treat myself to a brand new car! I got a new Vauxhall Corsa and her name is Ruby. I feel so proud to be able to save and afford something like this.

Nov 26th 2010 - This beautiful couple are expecting their first baby! Sacha is one of my dearest friends and has been trying for a baby for quite some time. I busted into tears when she told me. I really cannot wait!!!

Nov 30th 2010 - And the snow came back...Winter has hit us and it just made me realise how quickly that year had gone!

December
Dec 10th 2010 - Christmas planning was in full swing in the Lobb household. I was really in the mood to celebrate this year. Compared to other years I was really bogged down with university work and clinicals. This year I could afford presents and nice presents for people. I knew I could afford to do more things...it made it a lot more fun and festive!



Dec 24th 2010 - This day was an over-joyous day for my whole family. After ten years together my older sister and her partner got engaged!!! This was the custom made ring he bought her. It just made Christmas just that extra bit more special to celebrate. They plan to marry in 2012!


Dec 31st 2010 - I CANNOT believe a year has gone! I celebrated with a group of people I literally idolise and cherish. 2010 - what a year I had and I loved every second. I could seriously cry at how fun and special and hard it was all at the same time. 

What have I learnt from doing Project Life?

If there was one element from doing project 365 I have learnt the most is to cherish the smaller moments. There are some pictures where there are momentous occasions like my holidays, nursing qualification and birthdays. Don't get me wrong I am so HAPPY I have photographs of such specials times I will NEVER forget. But the ones I really adore are the ones that make up my everyday life. Such as the evenings hanging out with my friends, the snow, the mornings after the night befores, the travels to different places and so on. I love looking back and having those little moments documented as well.

Jan 28th 2010 - To some this may just be a snap of me holding a tin of cupcakes. But these cupcakes were made for my birthday by my friend Theresa. She spent her whole evening off work making these for me and I am so thankful for it. I am grateful that even though these cupcakes have seen satisfyingly digested I have it documented. I have a place where I can one day see what a lovely thing someone did for me and that is why I have loved doing this project!

Life does not have to be full of big gestures, big occasions and/or big experiences. It just has to be fulfilled and enjoyed. One day, if you can, participate in project 365. I know you'll love doing it just as much as I did.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Project 365 May ~ August

The summer months May - August are probably my favourite moments from the year.


May

May 6th 2010 - It was a big month in terms of politics for the country. I voted and the results were a coalition government. I wasn't very happy about it but it meant change and the government have made BIG changes to the running of this country.

May 13th 2010 - I started sponsoring a child from Ecuador. Wilson is a huge blessing to me and it has taught me the importance of serving for others. The reward is amazing.

May 28th 2010 - We also had some changes to our house. We had the lounge re-decorated. New stairs, new walls, furniture and sofa. It is much more chilled and relaxing :)

June
June 9th 2010 -  I handed in my dissertation!!! For 5 months I cried, slaved over and procrastinated from doing this. It felt so momentous finally handing it in. I got my social life back!

June 21st 2010 - I finally did it. I joined the gym and it was probably one of the best decisions I made that year. I feel much fitter and less tired!

June 28th 2010 - June signified the BBQ season. I had so many BBQ's this month I probably started to look like char-grilled food.

July
July 2nd 2010 - July was a month of slowing down and enjoying the company of my friends. If you go through my July pictures you'll notice that there are a lot of 'people' pictures. It was because I was spending more time socialising. I was far happier!


July 23rd 2010 - The graduation ball!!! Probably my favourite memory from 2010 altogether. 

July 24th 2010 - July was the biggest month for celebrating 21st birthdays. I had 4 to celebrate. This was Jay's 21st birthday BBQ!

August
August 5th 2010 - Qualification day! I found out I had passed my degree in Nursing. I was officially qualified. It was a very bitter-sweet day. I had achieved something I have always wanted but it meant leaving a great place of education and friends. I still miss it terribly!

August 19th 2010 - August signified the month of going to Spain to see Oli and have a holiday. It was so nice to relax and chill out!!!! I needed it!

August 25th 2010 - more relaxing!

The summer months were about finishing my degree, qualifying and spending more time with people. It made gearing up for the end of the year more exciting!


Monday, 3 January 2011

Project 365 Jan ~ March

Hope you all had a lovely beginning to 2011! I had a lovely time seeing the new year in with my friends. It was a lot more chilled out to previous years. I had some friends over and we ordered food in, played games and lit fireworks. It was really lovely!




2011 does signify something else for me though. Project 365 is over. It sure feels weird not taking a picture everyday. I'm not doing project 365 this year. I chose to do it last year because 2010 was a big year for me in terms of holidays, achievements and things I didn't even expect. I want to take a chance to look back over some of my project 365 moments during this week. I'm starting with January to March 2010!


January

Jan 6th 2010 - This is my favourite picture from the whole year. The UK was hit with really heavy snow and I made my own snowman. It was just a great snow day!

Jan 18th 2010 - It signified the start of my dissertation which I had been dreading the whole 3 years of my nurse training! January was the month of the planning stages.

Jan 22nd 2010 - This month was also a little sad as my close friend Lou Lou emigrated to Barbados with her new husband. It was really weird not seeing her every week but she is very happy!

February

Feb 8th 2010 - I turned 21 and was spoilt rotten. I had a personal video made for me, was given a Links of London bracelet, had an amazing cake and a lovely time!

Feb 13th 2010 - I finally got to see Hairspray the musical. I had been waiting a couple of years to see this and it did not disappoint. It was the best night in February!

Feb 18th 2010 - I went and saw Kelly Clarkson and Lady GaGa at Wembley stadium, London. One of the best concerts I have EVER been to!

March

1st March 2010 - started seeing sunnier skies and spring was on it's way. March started off quite quietly!

March 18th 2010 - March was a big month in terms of getting offered my first job for when I qualify! It certainly made the idea of becoming a nurse more real.

March 30th 2010 - Lotte and I went to Disneyland Paris for a break over the Easter holidays. We had SO MUCH fun!!!

April
April 1st 2010 - We said goodbye to the Disney Castle and back home to more dissertation work (which I was halfway through) :(

April 17th 2010 - We celebrated Lotte turning 21! I loved this night because these girlies and I do not see each other much. It was so lovely to be under one roof for the night :)

April 29th 2010 - April was an important month for my favourite food. A new noodle restaurant opened up near me! We don't have a lot of Chinese places near me so I was SO excited to go there and I have been so many times since!

So the first part of the year was about starting my dissertation, getting my clinical hours done for my nursing degree. sorting out a job, taking small breaks and waiting for summer to appear!

I will post about May to August in a couple of days. The rest of my project 365 pictures are here.
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