Viva Glasvegas!

On Friday night, me and the rest of the team at work got all dolled up and headed to Alea Casino for Mark’s leaving do. I’d never set foot in a casino before (shocking I know!) so I was really looking forward to hitting the tables and trying my luck. As it turned out, I wisely ended up choosing to spend my money on alcohol instead of gambling but I still had a cracking night!

We started the night with a gorgeous three-course meal in the restaurant – I had deep fried Haggis Bon Bons in a whisky sauce to start, followed by pork loin and then probably one of the best Sticky Toffee Puddings I’ve ever tasted in my life. The food was absolutely delicious and was really good value at only £20 a head. Apparently the restaurant does a really good lunch menu as well so Ill definitely make a point of going back again one day.

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Haggis Bon Bons

003Sticky Toffee Pud!

After dinner, we all headed into the bar and continued the evening with lots of drinking and gambling. I had a great night catching-up with everyone outside of work and by the end of the night,  the four of us who’d stayed to the end were all up dancing the night away. Somehow we managed to stay in the casino until 4am so it was a pretty late one – I was not feeling so fresh the next morning as you can imagine!

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Me, Paola and Claire

At the moment, I’m really enjoying life up in Glasgow. It suddenly feels like everything has clicked and I’m feeling positive about the next few months again which is good 🙂 Worrying to think that though tomorrow marks the start of my final five months – this year really is flying by at the moment.

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Wanderlust.

I’m not sure why but, over the past few days, I seem to be experiencing a fairly strong desire to just go and travel and explore and see the world. I’ve been looking into teaching English abroad and ways in which I could volunteer overseas for a few months but, as attractive as both these options seem, there is no way I’d ever be able to afford the flights. I feel restless at the moment, maybe due to the fact that my life currently seems massively in limbo – I still haven’t heard a single thing from any of my remaining applications or from my Newcastle Interview. I even emailed Reading a week ago to check the status of my application but to no avail. I’m starting to feel really quite impatient now and I’m longing to just hear some news (good or bad!) so I at least know where I stand.

Also, I’ve been starting to feel a little bored of life shall we say. I mean, while I’m still enjoying myself up here and enjoying work etc. I desperately feel like I need some excitement in my life, a change or just something ‘big’ to happen. If I had the money I’d have booked myself on a plane well before now I think, even if only for a small weekend break, just to get away for a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, I get a new flatmate on Saturday which is exciting and should probably alter things one way or another and I’ll be heading home in March, which I think is going to be really really good for me, as I’m sure it’ll make me appreciate my independence and life in Glasgow that bit more. I’ve also just booked tickets for a weekend back in Lancaster, to relive my student days once again, pretend I have no responsibilities and massively let my hair down with the girls. It’s been far too long since I’ve been back to Lancs and I genuinely see it as my second home so I can’t wait to be back, if only for a weekend. However, despite all this, I miss the days when every week seemed to have some sort of adventure or spontaneous happening or just something more exciting than the daily grind. Hopefully, this is just a delayed case of the January Blues – roll on February!

Visitors and Volunteering.

Last weekend, my best friend Sarah braved the 300 mile journey in the snow to come and stay with me which was just lovely 🙂 I hadn’t seen her since I’d left Nottingham so it was so good to finally be reunited and spend some time together. She arrived on the Saturday afternoon and we spent a nice chilled evening in at my flat, catching-up and cringing at Saturday night television. I even managed to rustle up a rather snazzy meal of fresh lemon pepper salmon fillets, garlic potatoes and carrot – SO PROUD.

After a lazy Sunday morning we decided to brave the cold and venture out into the city centre, so I could give Sarah a quick tour of all the sights. We ended up wandering around the Cathedral and Necropolis before heading to The Willow Tea Rooms on Buchanan St so we could warm up with a hot chocolate (and a few cheeky shots of Baileys for myself!). Usually I go to the original tea rooms on Sauchiehall St, so I was not expecting to see the crazy Mackintosh chairs they have there – they have ridiculously high backs so the chair was genuinely taller than me (I’m only 4ft 10 but still!)

002 (2)Willow Tea Rooms

003Sarah next to one of the chairs! 

It was so nice to just have a relaxing weekend for a change and just spend some actual quality time with one of my nearest and dearest and I do have to admit I was rather sad to see her go. Of course, seeing people from home makes me realise just how much I miss everyone and does in a way make me long to go back, although only very temporarily! Luckily though, I’m headed back to Nottingham for nine beautiful days at the beginning of March which I simply cannot wait for – my diary is already starting to look pretty full with various plans which is exciting.

Talking of plans, I’ve realised over the past few weeks that I’m definitely someone who needs to be on the go all the time or, at the very least, trying to juggle a few different projects here and there. At university I juggled academic work with a weekend job, being on the exec of a society and a rather hectic social life. At the moment, I only really have work going on so I feel like I have far too much spare time on my hands. Consequently, I’ve decided to apply for some more volunteering opportunities that I can do after work or on my days off as a way of gaining yet more experience to help with my postgraduate plans. I was fortunate enough to stumble across a great opportunity for a communication support volunteer with the Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS Trust which also involves direct training with a qualified Speech and Language Therapist. I’ve been offered an interview but unfortunately I can’t make the date due to work so hopefully we can reschedule and get the ball rolling sooner rather than later. I’m also applying to be a befriender or mentor with the Autism Society as this was something I wanted to do back at home but didn’t get chance to because of me moving up here. I’m considering doing this as an e-bfriender (so over email etc) as I admit I may struggle to fit everything around my shift patterns but hopefully I can still get a good level of involvement in the scheme.  Between all these various things and trying to see as much of Glasgow and Scotland as possible, I have a feeling I’m going to be quite a busy bee over the next few months!

The Third Month.

Tomorrow marks my third month in Glasgow and, rather shockingly, means I am now already a quarter of the way through my placement – literally insane how quickly the past few months have gone.

I feel like I’ve spent the majority of the month filling out numerous postgraduate applications, with varying degrees of success. Unfortunately I’ve had rejections from both UCL and Sheffield University. I’m particularly gutted about Sheffield because that was my second favourite, due to the excellent reputation of the course and the proximity to home (it’s about 45 minutes on the train). However, as always, it’s not all bad! I did manage to bag myself an interview for Newcastle University which I am so so pleased about as that was another of my top three choices. The interview is a group affair and sounds pretty gruelling, we’re there all day and have to prepare a five-minute presentation which we’ll also have to answer questions on, but I’m excited to take a trip down there and give it my all. As much as I hate rejection and as upset as I was yesterday (I was crying down the phone to my stepdad, bless him!) it has definitely been a much needed wake-up call. I’ve realised that there is a very real possibility that I may not get onto a course at all next year and I may have to have another year out to re-apply and gain some more experience. Equally, it’s also made me even more determined to work as hard as I can to do well at the opportunity I do have, as I would absolutely love to go to Newcastle!

I’m still waiting for replies from Reading, City University in London, QMU in Edinburgh and Essex so hopefully I’ll get offered another interview somewhere along the way – in fact, City actually don’t interview so I may even get offered a place outright (although I highly doubt it!) If all else fails, I can also apply to Greenwich University for entry in January 2014 so it’s definitely not over yet. As a wise person kindly told me the other day, while rejection may be discouraging it only takes one offer to change everything 🙂

Aside from all this postgraduate hassle (how can I be stressed before the course even starts?!) I’ve had a great month. The festive season is now in full swing and I’m feeling pretty smug about the fact that the majority of my shopping is done and wrapped and even delivered  or well on its way at least! We had the staff Christmas lunch at work this week where I was very very spoilt – I received a pair of festive pyjamas and a tartan scarf from my secret Santa, as well as a tin of shortbread and a tin of Miniature Heroes from work and a £50 shopping voucher from Head Office. Actually cannot believe how generous everyone is here – it really is a great placement and a fantastic charity to be involved with.Also, tomorrow night is the staff Christmas party -we’re headed to Celtic Park for a three-course dinner-dance which should be pretty good. I’m so excited to get all dressed up (I’ve treated myself to a shiny new frock for the occasion!) and let my hair down and, quite frankly, get absolutely steaming for the first time in far too long!

I’ve got a lot to look forward to over the next few weeks – I’ve finally finished  all my applications so I can fully concentrate on getting into the festive spirit! Next week I’m finishing off my Christmas shopping and then I’m headed to Edinburgh to meet up with my friend Hannah, which I am so excited for. We’re planning to spend an afternoon round the Christmas markets, drinking mulled wine, which will be absolutely lovely! Then it’s Christmas which I’m excited for (although I’ll miss home a ridiculous amount), followed by a day round the January Sales to spend my gift vouchers, before making yet another trip to Edinburgh for Hogmanay! Cannot actually wait!

The Second Month

Today marks my two-month anniversary of starting the Glasgow adventure – it seems like only yesterday I was writing about the end of my first month, let alone my second! I definitely feel very settled into a routine now and, consequently, I suppose I’ve lost that initial sense of excitement. While I still love the city (and work in general) everything has become quite static, not boring but not necessarily that exciting either. I feel like I’ve established a life for myself up here and it does in a weird sense feel like home, for now at least.

I’ve been feeling really homesick this past week (although thankfully it’s finally starting to pass now) and I did even consider packing it all in and going back to Nottingham permanently. I would never actually do that, I’m enjoying myself too much, but being so far away from home and suddenly finding myself in a full-time job and having to be a grown-up has actually been really difficult for me. For the last three years I’ve had very little routine, no real sense of responsibility and, basically, I’ve just been doing pretty much whatever I want whenever. I mean don’t get me wrong, I worked very hard for my degree but, equally, I played even harder. Suddenly my whole student lifestyle has gone and now I’m very much living in the real,adult world and its just crazy. I miss being a student so much it is actually ridiculous and I think it’s only started to dawn on me this month that I’ll never have quite the same sense of freedom again and it’s a weird transition in my life. It doesn’t help that the last couple of weeks have seem to be all work and no play as I’m currently trying to juggle applying for my masters while also working full-time.

However, the last month hasn’t been all bad, far from it in fact! I had a lovely visit from one of my closest friends from uni and this kicked started an excellent week of birthday celebrations –  I was spoilt rotten by all my lovely friends and family and everyone at work as well which was a lovely surprise! Then I had all the fun of bonfire night, started to get fully in the festive spirit and generally just had a great time with everyone up here, seeing more and more of the city.

The next week, while very busy, is going to be fab – the Glasgow Christmas market opens this weekend and I am SO excited to have my first mulled wine and go shopping for some cute presents for the friends and just generally be even more festive! Plus I have not one but two visitors joining me over the next week  – a friend of mine Emily happens to be in the Glasgow area on Monday and then next weekend my friend Nicole is coming up to visit which will be great. So excited to show them both the delights of Glasgow! I predict lots of cake and cocktails. On top of this I obviously have work and I need to finally get round to finishing my application for Newcastle uni before then starting my application for Reading. However, once December hits I have a ridiculous amount to look forward to – my parents are coming to visit, there are lots of Christmas celebrations at work, actual Christmas and then Hogmanay in Edinburgh!! Maybe adult life isn’t so bad after all 🙂

Postgraduate Woes.

Today I finally got my act together and started the process of applying for my postgraduate course. Although I knew it wouldn’t be particularly easy, I’d conveniently forgotten just how difficult it is to write a decent personal statement. Actually I haven’t even got that far.  I spent most of the day researching the course for UCL, researching the application process, desperately emailing my tutors for academic references and then collating all my notes from the little bits of shadowing experience I have and also from this brilliant study day I went to at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. Obviously all this experience will look great for my application and for interviews (if I even get to that stage!) and it was actually really useful to go back over my notes and re-write then out in such a way that will help me explain what I’ve learnt from observation – but it didn’t half take longer than expected! I think I’d forgotten just how thoroughly I like to do things and how prepared I like to be before I actually sit down and write anything, even just a rough first draft. I was the same at uni and while I always did quite well at coursework (so it’s a tried and tested method!)  it also meant I could never get away with starting an essay just two days before the deadline or whatever. It also means I often end up making more work for myself than is probably necessary but I suppose if it works, it’ll all be worth it. My first deadline is now just 13 days away and I have a LOT to do before then – aka the whole application including the personal statement – but I’m sure once I get into it I’ll be fine. Rather ironically, after spending most my last 6 months of uni desperately trying to get out of the library, today I voluntarily spent the whole afternoon there and actually quite enjoyed being sat in the silent reading room, pretending to be a student once more!

This week is looking ridiculously busy. I have my application to complete, I’m in work Monday-Friday and it’s also my birthday on Tuesday 🙂 One of my closest friends from uni is up visiting me tomorrow and Monday which will be simply wonderful and then, on my actual birthday, I’m just going out for a nice meal with my flatmate which should be good. I’m actually starting to get quite excited for the big two-two, mainly because all my friends have been absolute sweethearts and sent me lots of exciting cards and packages which I cannot wait to open. Unfortunately though, I also have my six week review with my line manager and the regional CSV manager that morning and the outcome of this meeting decides whether my placement want me for the whole year or not. No pressure then.

Procrastination Station.

When I graduated I thought I’d left all thoughts of procrastination behind and would become a full-functioning, productive working adult. Apparently this is not the case.

I have a quite a lot to do over the next month –  I work full-time hours (shift work of various lengths and times), I have to start applying for my postgraduate course (there are 2 deadlines in November, with the rest in early December) and I’ve just been accepted onto a distance learning course which requires me to complete two units of work and two assignments before 16th November. In between all this I also have a few social arrangements here and there and a training course in Edinburgh. Thus, I’m going to be quite a busy bee, especially with my master’s applications, as I intend to do a lot of  reading about the subject to refresh my brain and get myself back into the academic mode and provide yet more material to help me write a mind-blowing amazing personal statement (I wish!) Obviously once I’ve written one personal statement I should be alright as I can just tweak the others as necessary which shouldn’t take too long, fingers crossed!

However I’m aware that, as soon as start thinking about deadlines, I start slipping back into my naughty student ways. This happened all the time at university and often ended up with me napping a lot more, having a really clean bathroom and putting on weight. Nothing has changed.

Today I did a cheeky 8-2.30pm shift which was absolutely great. As we were short-staffed I was really busy this morning and finally felt like a fully-fledged member of staff, instead of just an extra pair of hands. I then got to go out for a spot of shopping and lunch at Pizza Hut with two of our service users and another support worker, which was a really nice afternoon. I’ve had to spend a lot of the time in the house the past month, instead of out on ‘daycare’, probably because I’m obviously still the new girl. However, bit by bit I’m allowed out more and more and, instead of just simply shadowing, I’m supporting people 1:1 which is a great feeling.

Anyway I digress (as always!). After my shift I planned to do my washing, tidy my bedroom and bathroom fully before completing the first unit of my course. Instead, I spent a lot of time on my bed watching telly, before making a to-do list (a key procrastination tool) and the promptly falling asleep for over two hours. Now I’m sat here blogging and watching the Big Bang Theory. After this I’ll eat, watch more Big Bang and then watch a documentary on BBC Three. At no point will I even think about doing my coursework. Of course, I’ve set my alarm for tomorrow nice and early so I can quickly get ready and smash through the first part of the workbook before I start work at 3pm. In all probability, instead of waking up at nine and starting work for ten, I’ll be lucky if I’ve even managed breakfast before half ten.

The work will get done by the allocated deadline. Heck, it’ll probably be done a few days before each deadline. It just won’t get done tonight. Or tomorrow.

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