Monday, 11 December 2017

EIGHTEEN

It is currently half six on Saturday 2nd December, which means there is 23 days, 5 hours and 30 minutes until midnight Tuesday 26th December, my 18th birthday. Since I have just over 3 weeks left of being 17, I thought this would be a great time to reflect on the past 17 years.

Back when I was 12, I would have never thought that this is where I would be. In 6 years I have mentally and physically developed, lost friendships, started blogging, gained friendships, travelled and visited new places, become educated, fallen in and out of love, conquered anxiety and have truly found myself.

I do not like to dwell on the past but there have been things in my personal life which have forced me to grow and mature well before my time. What I have been through has made me into the current version of myself, a better Fran and hopefully, over the next few years, I will become an even better Fran. I now value my family and the small group of friends that I have a lot more now that I am older. Not only do they listen to my daily rants, but they are my support system and the reason I am able to keep going.

I remember watching Wild Child when I was 8 or 9 and wishing that I would one day have a huge group of friends and for a while, I did have a huge group of friends but unlike the movies, it is not all sleepovers and braiding each other’ hair. Some people are toxic and do not need to be apart of your life, for a while I allowed toxic people to be apart of my life, I defended them and was defensive when people tried to warn me of them. And now, I can honestly say that every single person who I consider a friend, I genuinely want in my life.  

Whilst I am sat writing this post, I am feeling accomplished. I have achieved so much over the past 17 years and I think I deserve a little pat on the back. Just this year alone, I have passed my theory, driving test, been promoted at work, conquered my AS exams, become a student ambassador, got an offer from my first choice university and reached 25,000 total views on FRAN & CO. In my 18th year, I will continue to achieve and hopefully, in a years’ time, I will be here sharing even greater achievements.

As this is my final post of the year, I would like to say a MASSIVE thank you to everyone who follows and reads the blog, even those who are not following, I appreciate your continued support. My slice of the internet may not be a big slice, but it is because of your continued support that I am slowly progressing with my blog and have been motivated to push for its growth and development.

I would also like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I will be back with a new post on January 1st at 6pm GMT and from then onward, I will be posting every two weeks on a Monday at 6pm GMT until June, when my A levels will finally be out the way and I am no longer a student.

Fran
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Monday, 27 November 2017

THE MAKING OF HARRY POTTER

For the longest time EVER, I have wanted to visit the Harry Potter studios. I am a huge Harry Potter fan and according to Buzzfeed I am, 29% Gryffindor, 28% Ravenclaw, 25% Slytherin and 18% Hufflepuff, although I personally think I identify most with Slytherin as I often do what is necessary. 

There is not much more to say other than I had a truly magical experience and for any Harry Potter enthusiasts out there, a trip to the Warner Bros Studios is a MUST!

























Fran
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Monday, 13 November 2017

PHOTO DIARY | THE LAST TWO WEEKS





If my instagram feed had not made it obvious, the last two weeks have been very eventful. The weekend before last, I was in Edinburgh then I returned to sixth form a few hours after I landed and two days later I was off to Brighton for less than 48 hours for a Geography field trip. Due to the cold weather, I needed to recover from a throat so I took the Friday off from sixth form. Saturday, my sister and I headed to Harry Potter world in Watford followed by shopping at INTU and to finish the weekend we headed up to Hitchin Priory gardens on Sunday to watch the fireworks. I have spent alot of money over the last two weeks and I think my bank account needs a year or two to recover. 

Now all the fun is over, I am back to my sixth form, revision, work, eat, sleep and repeat routine until the Christmas holidays.

Fran 
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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

48 HOURS IN EDINBURGH







If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, then you will know that I spent last weekend in Edinburgh. We decided to fly rather than taking a train or driving up as it was only an hour and a half from London Luton Airport. Our flight was at 7am so we headed over to the airport at 5am and dawdled around duty-free to pass time. Conveniently, I ran out of my signature scent, YSL Black Opium, a few days before our trip so I treated myself to a large bottle, the discount was insane.

Our first day in Edinburgh was jam-packed. We visited Edinburgh Castle, Camera Obscura, Princes Street Gardens, Scottish National Museum, The Hard Rock Café, The Dome, St Giles Cathedral, Victoria Street, Scott Monument, Ross Foundation and Greyfriars Graveyard all within 11 hours before heading back to our hotel, The Marriot, to take full advantage of the hotel spa and unwind.

Sunday was our second and last day in Edinburgh. To start the day, we climbed to the top of Calton Hill which was a lot easier than I had anticipated. Despite being breathless by the time we got to the top, it was completely worth it, the view was incredible.

To pass time before our flights home, we took a tour of Edinburgh Dungeon, ate at a quirky café called Southern Cross near the station and wandered around the Fruit Market Gallery before jumping on a tram back to the airport. 

Fran
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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF CARE

World Mental Health Day is celebrated on the 10th of October every year. The aim of World Mental Health Day is to increase global mental health education, awareness and ‘advocacy against social stigma’.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will know that I am in my final year of compulsory education, year 13. I am sure every student can agree that the pressures of education can take a toll on your mental health. According to mental health research conducted by the National Alliance on mental illness (NAMI), one in four students has a diagnosable illness, 40% do not seek help, 80% feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities and 50% have become so anxious that they have struggled or are struggling academically.

I want to stress the importance of self-care and making sure that you are mentally set up for the rest of the academic year. No matter how many deadlines are coming up, how much work you need to catch up on or pressure to achieve top grades, taking a day off or simply having an hour to yourself every evening, is entirely ok. Education has left students feeling as though our education is the most important thing but your mental health is just as important, if not more important than a few of letters on a sheet at the end of the year. I am not saying that you should completely abandon your responsibilities but know when to step away from your textbooks, switch off your laptop and just have some me time. A time where you can collect your thoughts, relax and do something that you would like to do.

Every week, I set aside time on Wednesday and Sunday evenings to have a pamper evening. I run a bubble bath, set up my laptop on the side of the bathtub to catch up on YouTube videos and sit back for a while. That one or two hours a week, that I have to myself may not seem like a lot but it is what keeps me going and as a blogger, having a valid excuse to regularly top up on Lush and Body Shop products is always a positive.

Fran 
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Monday, 2 October 2017

LIFE LATELY

We are now in October which means there is just two more months left of the year. This month is going to be an endless cycle of eat, sleep, work, repeat.

Currently, I am in the midst of my UCAS application and I completely underestimated the stress that comes with applying to university. From copious personal statement redrafts, driving around the country for laborious open days and narrowing your university options down to just five, I question myself daily as to whether or not it is even worth it. I am applying to study BSc Geography in 2019 after deciding to take a gap year. I am yet to finalise the plans for my gap year but I am sure work and travel will take up the majority of it. There is two hundred and fifty two days between now and the day of my last A Level exam, I know it is a long way away but I am more than ready for an academic break. 

At the end of the month, I will be flying to Edinburgh for a short weekend away with my best friend. If any of you have ever been to Edinburgh and have any recommendations for places we should visit then please leave your suggestions in the comments below or tweet me @franciscarockey

Fran
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Monday, 18 September 2017

READING AND LEEDS 2017

Reading and Leeds is one of the biggest music festivals in the UK, it takes place every year in August over the bank holiday weekend. This year, after years of watching the highlights on tv in awe, I decided to gather a small group of my close friends and head down to Reading. 

On Thursday 24th, my friends and I loaded up my car and set off at 6am, arriving at the festival car park at 8am. By this point, I was knackered from 2 hours of straight driving but little did I know I was about to endure a walk 30-45 minute walk to the campsite with 6 heavy bags. We opted to camp in Green camp as it was quieter than other surroundings camps and close to the toilets, water station, the stages and food trucks. After setting up camp, we went to the fair ground to explore. I am not a fan of heights so I did multiple rounds on the dodgems and one walk around the funhouse. 

After two months of talking online, I finally got to meet Lucy from Forever September whilist at Reading. We took a few cute photos for the gram and of course, I selected my favourite as the image for this post.

Living in the UK, the weather can be quite unpredictable but for the entire 5 days, it was 25 degrees or more and there were no clouds in sight. Over the weekend I saw: Young Fume, Fekky, Anne Marie, Lethal Bizzle, Bastille, Migos, Major Lazer, Eminem, Lotto Boys, Young T and Bugsey, JHUS, Blossoms, Liam Gallagher, Halsey and Haim. Incase any of you are wondering, yes I was there when Giggs brought out Drake and Lethal Bizzle brought out Skepta and Stormzy. 

A little side note for anyone thinking of going to Reading next year, everything is expensive. If you do plan on buying food, drink or going to the fair, you will need quite a lot of money.

I throughly enjoyed the 5 days I spent at Reading. I had never camped before and I felt a bit uncomfortable at the thought of not showering for 5 days especially since I am such a germa phobe and clean freak but I managed it and I am ready to do it all again next year!  

Fran

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Monday, 4 September 2017

NEW IN: JELLY & GELATO


A few weeks ago, Zoella brought out a new lifestyle and beauty range. I know, I am a bit late to the bandwagon but I will be honest with you, I have never been eager to buy any of her previous lifestyle or beauty releases until the Jelly & Gelato and new Zoella Lifestyle ranges were announced. Currently, Superdrug are doing 3 for 2 on all Zoella products and of course I had to take advantage of their offer.

Let's start with the cermiac ring holder. I think this is my favourite item from Zoella's new lifestyle range, it is bright, colourful and practical. Before, I used to store my rings in the boxes from the stores I had bought them from but finally, I can have them out on display on my dressing table along with my other everyday jewllery pieces. 

Please can we take a moment to appreciate the packaging of both the Shower Shake and Shower Sauce it is clear that a lot of effort went into the design for this range and I am absoultely in love with it. For someone who loves to smell good, a shower gel with a lasting scent is essential for me. The Shower Shake is moisturising body wash so not only does it leave your body feeling moisturised but the extracts of Elderflower and Pomergrante will ensure that you go the whole day smelling fantastic. The Shower Sauce is standard body wash with a sweet, cirtus scent and a cracking forumla, it only takes a small drop for it to lather up really well on your loofah.

Overall, I am greatly impressed by what I have tried from Zoella's new ranges. I am already planning on popping into Superdrug again tomorrow and picking up more items from both of the new ranges before the offer ends. 

Have you tried either of Zoe's new ranges? If so, what would you recommend?

Fran
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Monday, 14 August 2017

BOOBS, BOOBS AND MORE BOOBS









Welcome to the first post in my collaboration with Lucy from Forever September. Today, if you had not noticed from the title, we will be discussing the topic of boobs.

I started puberty at the age of 8 or 9. I remember having no boobs, no leg hair, no hips and suddenly one day, I got back from school and my Mum had bought me a set of training bras, little did I know I would be wearing bras for the rest of my life. From that day onward, my body changed dramatically. With my 28 triples A’s, I can distinctly remember seeing girls in the upper years with big boobs and wishing that I would one day have the same. 10 years later and my wish is now a reality.

Lucy and I have different boobs, I have big boobs whilst Lucy has small boobs. Of course, I have days where I wish I had smaller boobs and Lucy wishes she had bigger boobs. I personally would have preferred smaller boobs when I was growing up as I feel that I was sexualized because of the my size. While a few of my peers could wear spaghetti strap tops with shorts on a summer non uniform day, spaghetti strap tops were a no go zone for me, unless I wanted my male peers peering down my top. But now I am older, I really do not give a shit, if I want to wear a strappy top, I will. I used to try to cover them up as much as possible because I was self conscious about them but at the end of the day, boobs are just sacks of fat which I will need in the future to breastfeed and if people are offended by my cleavage then that is their own personal problem.

With 30FF boobs comes back pain, scars from where my underwire is digging into my skin, underboob sweat during the summer and looks from pervy middle aged men when I wear a low cut top. I used to hate the size of my boobs but I have really grown to love them although I would really appreciate if they would stop growing as I cannot afford to hold these babies down. If any of you have DD+ boobs and you’re looking for reasonable priced bras, I would recommend M&S and Boux Avenue.

Hi I’m Lucy and I’m part of the itty bitty titty committee. I remember getting my first bra when I was around 11. I thought I was so cool and grown up wearing a bra but in hindsight I really did not need to be wearing one. As I entered secondary school, I noticed how most of my friends actually had boobs, and were wearing ‘proper’ bras. Then there was little old me, waiting for the moment my boobs wanted to make an appearance. But to be honest, it never really came. I was wearing an A cup well into year 8/9. Then finally, I upped to a B cup and that is where I have stayed ever since.

I remember being called ‘flat chested’ and stupid other nicknames and hating it. I felt so embarrassed and quite unattractive, which is so sad. But over the years, I have learnt to love my small boobs, and just take them for what they are. I can wear pretty bralettes, I do not get back aches (I feel for you bigger breasted ladies) but in all seriousness, it does not matter whether you have big boobs or small boobs, all boobs are great. Just love what you have because they are part of you and you have gotta embrace them!

Fran
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Thursday, 27 July 2017

My Driving Experience

On Tuesday 27th June, a month ago today, I passed my driving test. I thought it would be helpful to share my driving experience with those of you who are thinking of learning to drive and would like to know what the process entails. 

Before you can start learning to drive, you have to apply for a provisional license (£34) which you can do either at your local post office or online at https://www.gov.uk/apply-first-provisional-driving-licence. If you are 16, you can apply for your provisional license up to 3 months before your 17th birthday. 

Once you recieve your provisonal license, providing you are 17 and over, you can legally start learning to drive. Most people learn with an instructor, lessons are typically £20-25 an hour if you are learning in a manual but prices are slightly higher if you learn in an automatic. I would recommend learning in a manual just because once you pass you can drive both manual and automatic cars whereas if you pass in an automatic, you will only be able to drive automatic cars. Every person is different so make a decision based on which gearbox you think would work best for you. 

After a few months of learning, your instructor will usually let you know that you have reached test standard and you are ready for your test. Before you can book your driving test, you have to pass your theory test. The theory test is split into two parts. The first part is multiple choice on basic road knowledge and the second is a hazard perception video test. To pass, you must answer 43 out of 50 questions in the first part correctly and 44 out of 75 questions on the hazard perception. The best way to pass your theory first time is to revise consistently in the weeks leading up to it. I found that the offical DVSA theory test kit CD was really effective for revision, it costs around £14.99 and feautres all the possible questions you might be asked in the real thing.

Lastly, the driving test. The driving test is £62 to book including a fee of around £50 to use your instructors car for the duration of your test. The point of the driving test is to show the examiner that you are safe and ready to face the roads alone without an instructor. My best advice is to keep calm and to tell as few people as possible to reduce the pressure. I failed my driving test first time on the Wednesday 31st May and proceeded to pass on my second time round, 3 weeks later.

A few words of advice from another fellow teen blogger, Abigail Jessica, who has also recently passed: "Keep practicing, do not give up. If you can, get some extra practice outside of lessons with either your parent or guardian, practicing at different times will make it a lot more realistic to what driving will be like after you have passed. And finally, believe in yourself and you will succeed!".

Although, learning to drive is a costly and time consuming process, deciding to learn was honestly one of the best decisions I have ever made. Driving has given me a lot more freedom to do what I want and to go where I need to go at my own accord without having to rely on public transport and lifts from family members.


Fran
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Monday, 5 June 2017

Unedited Photo Diary: ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Last Thursday, my family and I decided to head down to Whipsnade Zoo for a nice afternoon in the sun. The animals seemed also be enjoying the weather and were out of hiding. As a blogger, I could not pass up the opportunity to capture a few photos throughout the day to document here on my blog. 












Fran
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Monday, 17 April 2017

18 Things Before 18












Currently, it is 22:30 on Thursday 13th and I am bundled up in bed with a runny nose, feeling sorry for myself as I will be working over the 4 day Easter weekend. Since I am unable to sleep, I have pulled out my laptop and started writing. In 8 months, I will be turning 18 which means I will officially be an adult and I have compiled a list of a few things I would like to achieve by 26/12/17.

1. Pass my driving test: I had my first driving lesson on December 28th last year, two days after turning 17 and in a few weeks, I will be taking my test. I want to pass my test before June 30th as that is my last day at sixth form before the summer break. 

2. Go to Reading Festival: Since I was 16 and in high school, I have wanted to go to Reading Festival and this year is the year. I am going the entire weekend with a small group of my close friends and of course, I will be documenting my experience. 

3. Dye my hair: I feel like I have been saying this for years but I have dark brown hair and for the longest time, I have wanted to dye it jet black. 2017 IS THE YEAR!

4. Get a car: This goes hand in hand with number 1. Once I pass my test, I will probably be eager to get on the road with my pink license at hand. 

5. Get a new piercing: Every year since 2011, aside from 2012, I have got a new piercing. Currently, I have 7 piercings and would some day like to have 10. I am undecided as to whether to get a navel piercing or a third lobe in my right ear to match the left. 

6. Meet another internet friend: Over the years, I have made quite a few friends online from all over the world. I have met a few of them in the past year and this year, I would like to meet another.

7. Join the gym: I went for a day trial at 'The Gym' and I have decided that once exams are over, I am going to upgrade my membership, go at least twice a week and start being more active. 

8. Explore a new city: In October, I am planning a trip to Edinburgh. Providing everything goes to plan, I will finally get to explore more of Scotland.

9. Buy a designer purse: Recently, my 5 year old Primark purse gave in and the clasp broke which means I am now unable to close it. Instead of buying a cheap on to replace it, I am currently saving to make my first designer purchase at the end of the year. Justified as a eighteenth birthday treat to myself. 

10. Go camping: I have always wanted to go camping and in August, I will be camping for 5 days at Reading.

11. Say "Yes" to something that scares you: I have a massive fear of heights and often avoid rollercoasters or any rides above house height. This should be interesting.

12. Apply to university: In September, I will be entering my final year of compulsory education and applying to university somewhere up north. 

13. Take a social media detox: I have wanted to do this for a while and have even contemplated deleting all my social media accounts at some point. I need to learn to appreciate the world that's not on the internet. 

14. Get drunk: I am not one to drink to get drunk but everyone has to experience a regretful hangover at least once, right?

15. Get contact lenses: I have already had a contact lenses assessment at Specsavers but it has been 2 months and I still haven't bothered to book a teach me session.
 
16. Go to a blogger event: Providing I get invited to one 

17. Go to a throwback concert: If the rumours are true and N-Dubz get back together, I am expecting a reunion tour.

18. Visit the Saatchi gallery: I love galleries and the Saatchi in London is another that has been on my list for a while that I am yet to visit. 

Fran
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Monday, 20 February 2017

Unedited Photo Diary: January – February

At the beginning of the year, I told myself that I was going to stick to a blogging schedule and upload every two weeks on a Monday at 6PM GMT. Six weeks have passed and here I am, finally getting around to writing my second post of the year.

I have had a lot of time to think and I would really like to make something of my blog, perhaps a career. I love that I can write freely about things I love and abhor and although viewers can comment their opinions, which I may disagree with, it is always constructive to here other people’s thoughts and opinions on products, books or my lifestyle choices.
Usually photo diary posts are beautifully edited and thought through collections of the best moments of a month, holiday or part of a year. I wanted to share my last two months through my eyes, as I have experienced it, unedited, raw and straight from my photo gallery.

Last month, I passed my theory on the 3rd of January, I also booked my driving test. I did my first AS mocks, which I did not do as well as I wanted to in but I have another round of mocks coming up in March, so hopefully I will improve. I went to the Victoria and Albert museum in London to watch a private screening of Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth for English Literature students. I also went to pizza hut for the first time in years and a new dessert place opened in Bedford called Dessert Island, of course I had to test it out. 

So far, February has been quite hectic. Filled with copious amounts of driving lessons, class tests, assignments, birthdays, concerts, buying new glasses and Five Guys. Currently, my bank account is looking a little bit worse for wear but I am working on it, from now through to July, I am putting myself on a spending ban!











Fran
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Monday, 2 January 2017

Chapter 16

“If life was a book; every day would be a new page, every month would be a new chapter, and every year would be a new series.” 
I say this every year but an entire year has gone by and yesterday was be the beginning of a new chapter of our lives. A complete clean slate, a chance to redeem ourselves, a fresh start. Whatever went wrong last year, 2017 is the year to put it all right. Enter the year with a positive attitude and you will have a positive year.

Despite everything that happened globally over the course of 2016, it was another year of personal progress. January through to June were pretty standard, I was glued to my desk revising for hours on end waiting for my GCSE exams to arrive and pass so I could enjoy the 12 week summer break. Nothing bad happened but nothing particularly exciting happened either.  Then came July. 

In July, I took part in the national citizen service. If you are unaware of what NCS is, I documented my experience here | Why I Said Yes To NCS – I spent 4 weeks away from home and which forced me out of my comfort zone as I had to live with and make friends with people I did not know but were from Bedfordshire and surrounding areas.

August through to December were pretty hectic. At the beginning of August, I was offered and accepted a new job. I previously worked at Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe and after a while of being unhappy and needing a pay increase, I decided that after a year of working there it was time to find a new job, which was both closer to home and paid more. So for a while, I was working two jobs and my time at the sweet shop came to an end of August 27th. On August 25th, I received my GCSE results again if you would like to know how I did, I documented it here | So… What’s Next? – Before the month was up, I took a trip down to London and met Dalal Tahira from Monochrome Daisies in the flesh, I must say her skin is even more radiant in real life as it is online. Again, I documented it here if you are eager to see the photos I managed to snap of our day out in the city | Meeting Internet Friends

Let’s fast forward to September 12th, my first day at sixth form. I hated high school, I never really felt comfortable there so when it came to picking where to go to sixth form, I chose to go to a sixth form in a new town so that I could have a fresh start and be happy. My God was this the best decision I ever made. 3 months on and I absolutely love it. Nothing can prepare you for the work load that comes with A levels but once you get swing of things and learn how to manage your time appropriately, it’s a piece of cake | Surviving A Levels 

November 15th, I went to London to see Catfish and the Bottlemen live at Wembley Arena, I promised in my 2015 yearly round up that I would document all my adventures on my blog and I think this is the only thing that happened last year that I did not share. I had planned to but completely forgot to take blog worthy photos and I may or may not have fainted in a mosh pit. Well at least I gained a story to tell my future grandchildren.

Let’s fast forward again to December, on the 16th I successfully made it to the end of term 1 of Year 12, what a term it has been. The first term was a lot to take it in and the next few terms leading to exams will be even more intense but I’m ready for whatever A levels have to throw at me. Lastly, on December 26th, I turned 17. At last, I can learn to drive and donate blood. I had my first driving lesson on the 28th and it went really well, I will update you later in the year as to how they are going and when I eventually pass my practical, I plan on writing post offering tips and advice from personal experience for those of you who are thinking of learning but are unsure, be sure to leave a comment down below if you are interested. 

It is time to start thinking of things I would like to achieve and do in 2017. Firstly, I will make more time for friends and family. Sometimes I forget that I am only human and need a break so I am going to book a day off work every once in a while to do something non work or revision related. I have compiled a list of things I would like to do over the course of this year, which I will be documenting as I go through the year so keep your eyes peeled for all the fantastic opportunities I have planned.

Next year I will continue to be organised. This is something I did quite a lot in 2016 and next year this will be a even more crucial as I have my AS exams starting in May. I want to make sure I am fully organised so I can avoid unwanted stress and achieve the best possible grades as these will form my predicted grades which will aid my UCAS application later in the year. So that I have regular posts during the next few months, I will be continuing my 2016 blogging schedule into 2017 with a new post every two weeks on a Monday at 18:00 GMT. 

I will also be more adventurous and embark on new experiences and adventures. I have already booked a few experiences already; Two Door Cinema Club concert, Lion King in theatre, University open days, Reading Festival and I am also planning a weekend away for October half term which I cannot wait to blog about.

And lastly, this year I will to be content and appreciate the things I have and also the people in my life as 2016 taught us that tomorrow is never promised.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions and Goals for 2016?

Fran
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