Monday, 19 August 2019

12 THINGS I LEARNT ON MY GAP YEAR

A shot of me crouching in front of street art in Shoreditch by Oliver Rig of a man looking sorrowfully into the distance
With just two weeks left of my gap year, I thought now would be a good time to reflect on the last 12 months and document what I have learnt following a year out of education. 

01. If a situation makes you unhappy, leave.
At the beginning of my gap year, I worked at Mcdonalds as a 'Customer Care Assistant' aka a glorified cleaner. I started working there as a crew member and I was promoted to the customer care role after a year. As my 2nd year of working there approached, I started to feel unhappy. I would often call one of my friends while walking home, to cry down the phone to about how awful the shift had been, customers speak to you like shit when you work at Mcdonald's, I know this is the case in most customer facing roles but the abuse you face from customers while working at Mcdonald's is next level. Or to cry about how nasty a particular shift manager had been that day. I quickly realised that a job that reduces you to tears is not a job worth having. I identified the reasons and the people who were making me feel the way I did and filed a grievence against a certain shift manager and my business manager. I felt relieved. I started applying for new jobs almost immediately and landed a job at ASOS. Within two weeks of filing my grievance, I'd handed in my notice and left. I instantly felt a lot happier. I told myself that from this day, if a job made me unhappy, especially to the point of crying, I would leave. 

02. The grass is NOT always greener 
Remember when I said my first day at ASOS was the best first day ever? I lied. It wasn't bad but I didn't feel how I thought I should feel about a new job. I walked into the office and felt anxious. The fashion world was not my cup of tea. This feeling went on for two weeks and on Sunday, the day before my third working week, I woke up, emailed the relevant person and quit the job with immediate effect. 

03. Your mental health should always come first 
This is pretty self explanatory but nothing should ever come before your mental health. Your mental health can make you or break you, take care of it. 

04. I am privileged
I may not be privileged financially but I am privileged to have a roof over my head, a loving family, a solid group of friends, a job, the ability to walk, talk, feed myself and so on. Every one of us is privileged, to live in a country free of war and dictatorship is a privilege. 

05. Being single really ain't that bad 
With my current level of independance, I can see myself dying single and unmarried and I'm not mad. I used to think marriage was the be all and end all but there's more to life. There's nothing a man can give to me (apart from dick but even then, sex toys) or do for me that I can't give or do myself. Children? I'm happy to adopt. I have found peace with myself. 

06. Food is expensive.
I don't think I will ever step foot in a Waitrose, M&S, Sainsbury's etc again, Lidl and Aldi are the way forward. I can get a pack of 5 Whirlz aka Twister mini dupes from Aldi for 79p vs going to Tesco for a pack of 8 for £2.20. For 17p more, I can buy 3 packs of Whirlz from Aldi.

07. Outgrowing your friends is normal.
I lost a friend in the first few months of my gap year who I had been friends with since the age of 12. I was upset at first but after a few days of letting it digest, I realised that we had outgrown each other and our friendship had served its time and that's okay!

08. Always keep money saved
Do you have a savings account? No? Open one immediately and put whatever you can, weekly or monthly and do NOT touch it unless you're in need. Wanting a new pair of shoes Fran is not a need and does not warrant taking money out of your savings!

09. Take every opportunity you can, especially the ones outside of your comfort zone
At the beginning of this gap year, I was terrified of heights. A friend of mine asked if I would do a skydive with him to raise money for a charity close his heart, I couldn't say no. I did it and conquered my fear of heights, read the full story here 

10. Don't compare your journey 
Over the course of my gap year, I have found myself comparing my journey to those around me, particularly my peers. "So and so just bought a brand new car", "So and so just graduated" "So and so bought their first flat", you are on your own journey, going at your own pace, I will buy my dream car one day, I will graduate even if its years later than my peers and I will buy my own property, when my time comes. 

11. Take time out.
A day, a week, a month, a year or a few years, it's good for the soul.

12. It's not bullshit, you find yourself.
365 days, 525600 minutes, 8760 hours... a year is a long time! I am not the same person I was at the beginning of this journey and in a month's time, I won't be the same person who is writing this. You learn new things, bump into new people, overcome hurdles, conquer old fears and develop new ones. You're on a constant journey to discovering your full capabilities and the true purpose of your life.

Fran
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Monday, 12 August 2019

PHOTO DIARY | THE LAST TWO WEEKS

A collage of the my last 6 instagram posts: a vegan meatball sub, cafe interior, flocking in a field, street art of a turtle, shot of Brighton pier and a plate of Bella Italia prawn spaghetti Bolognese
In the last two weeks, I have started posting on Instagram again. Instagram is my least favourite platform, it's so easy to get consumed by the number of likes your content is getting, how many followers you have or popular trends, you lose yourself trying to compete with other creators. I started to lose myself so I stopped posting. Up until the beginning of August, I hadn't posted on Instagram since May, I deleted the app and abanonded the support/family I had built on there but now I'm back with a new mindset and fresh ideas.

I started the month with a trip to the cinema to see the new Lion King, it was amazing! On the same day, I tripped and fell into the tattoo shop and booked in to get a new tattoo, something to commemorate the end of my gap year. I took a trip to the seaside with Emmanuela, that's one thing on my summer bucketlist ticked off and I should've been heading to Cornwall last Thursday but Boardmasters got cancelled due to a severe weather warning. I've spent the last 5 days in bed doing absolutely nothing. I could've planned a mini trip somewhere but after working 14 days in a row up until the day before what was supposed to be Boardmasters, I needed this time to relax.

You may have noticed an increase in food posts on my Instagram feed, I think food blogging might be my calling so expect to see a lot more food shots on the gram. 

What have you been up in the last two weeks? 

Fran
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Monday, 5 August 2019

AUGUST TO DO LIST

August. Summer is coming to an end, my gap year is nearly over, my tan is fading and I'm itching for Autumn to arrive. You know the drill by now, a new month calls for a new to-do list.

01. SEND OFF MY CITIZENSHIP APPLICATION
I'm putting this at the top of my to-do list because it is my top priority this month. 

02. START POSTING ON INSTAGRAM AGAIN
I stopped posting regularly on Instagram a few months ago and put my time and energy into building my online presence on other platforms and producing more quality blog posts.

03. CREATE A BUDGETING SPREADSHEET WITH MY STUDENT LOAN
My student loan is going to be my main source of income at university and if I don't account for my regular monthly outgoings, sports team membership etc then I will be broke within the first month and eating pot noodles until the next loan comes through. I don't even like pot noodles.

04. FINISH PACKING FOR UNI
I hate packing and I'm so tempted to leave it until the night before so then I'm forced to pack.

05. READ MORE
I won an Amazon gift card from a competition that I entered a while back. I wasn't sure how to spend it but I haven't read a new book in a while so I guess I'm buying some new books, any recommendations?

06. FIND MY FLATMATES
So far, I've found two of them and I'm hoping to find all 5 before move-in day. Wish me luck!

07. PUT A DEPOSIT DOWN FOR OUR GIRL'S HOLIDAY
Most of my friendship group and I are turning 21 next year and we've decided to celebrate with a big holiday. We're still very undecided on which country to visit, where would you go to celebrate your 21st birthday?

08. PREWRITE SEPTEMBER BLOG CONTENT
If all goes to plan then I will have all my September blog content written and scheduled before fresher's week so I can jump straight into the madness without having to worry about sitting down to write blog posts.

Posts you may have missed from last month:
JULY TO DO LIST
EXPLORING LONDON WITH KEETOO | #AD
YOUR GUIDE TO APPLYING FOR UNIVERSITY
A WEEK IN MY GAP YEAR
MY SUMMER BUCKET LIST 

What's on your to-do list for the month of August?

Fran
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Monday, 29 July 2019

MY SUMMER BUCKET LIST

A shot of a pink building in Notting Hill, London
Summer is the one time a year where I feel like I have to make plans and keep busy. With so much free time and the good weather, you sort of have to take advantage of it. There is just over a month left of summer and I thought now would be a good time to write a mini summer bucket list to complete before I head off to uni.
My Summer Bucket List

1. Hire a Santander bike and cycle around London, I've always wanted to do this!

2. Take a trip to the seaside. Brighton? Southend? Blackpool?  - 03/08

3. Host an end of summer party. The perfect opportunity to get my friends and family together in one place

4. Get a tattoo. Something to commemorate the end of my gap year and new beginnings

5. A day trip to a new city. Any suggestions?

6. See another Westend show. I'm hoping to see Joseph and the amazing technicolour dreamcoat

Usually, I write a summer bucket list and never update you guys on what I've managed to complete so this year, I'm going to write a post each time I tick something off.

What would you like to do this summer?

Fran
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Thursday, 25 July 2019

A WEEK IN MY GAP YEAR

As you may or may not know, I have been on a gap year for the last 12 months. I took a gap year spontaneously and you can read about why I took a gap year here. There are still a few more weeks left of my gap year and I plan on writing an entire post about what I got up to at the end of August but in the meantime, here's what an average week in my gap year looks like:

Wednesday 17th July
I woke up at 8am, took my pill, scrolled through twitter, jumped into the shower and ate breakfast. Ahead of moving to York for university in September, I have decided to sell my car and the buyer is picking it up today. Once my car was collected and documents were exchanged, I jumped back into bed, watched Matilda and took a nap. After my nap, I used my new burst of energy to start packing for university.

In the evening, I cooked dinner, watched Love Island, did my skincare routine and went to bed. Until Love Island finishes, this is my everyday night routine.

Thursday 18th July
I woke up at my usual time and did the same morning routine as yesterday. I'm off work again and I should be using my day to be productive but my period has started and it's too hot to do anything. So, I'm spending the day in bed, watching throwback movies (Matilda, HSM, She's the Man) while eating ice lollies instead of cooking proper meals. 

Friday 19th July
The usual morning routine and I'm working from 11:00 until 17:00 today, a nice easy shift to end the week. The live-action of Lion King releases in the UK and I'm hoping to go and watch it this evening. 

Update: My friend cancelled and I have a migraine, dinner and an early night for me!

Saturday 20th July 
I'm working from 08:30 until 17:00 with no plans for the evening other than to sleep earlier than the night before. 

Sunday 21st July 
I'm working again from 08:30 until 16:00. Same deal as yesterday, no plans but Love Island is on at 21:00 giving me something to look forward to. 

Update: I got promoted at work and I am about to be the first black, female manager. 

Monday 22nd July 
I start work at 11:00 and finish at 17:00 but before that, I need to go to the post office to post some eBay sales. No plans for the evening other than Love Island.

Tuesday 23rd July 
I'm off and heading out to meet fellow blogger, Emmanuela to shoot content for both our platforms. It's 30 something degrees, we're inhaling Calippo's between every shot and have just booked a trip to Brighton for next Saturday to shoot more content.

The usual evening routine.

Wednesday 24th July
A restless nights sleep due to the thunderstorm. My period has ended, the sun is still shining and spirits are high. One of the other managers has been signed off work for personal reasons and so, I've had to step up and now I'm doing my first management shift this evening. Wish me luck! I start at 16:00 giving me a few hours to write tomorrow's blog post and gather questions from my Twitter followers for a podcast Q&A. 

Update: I only had to manage for an hour before having to close the entire building due to a security breach. 

Another evening spent in bed, catching up on Youtube videos and waiting until 9pm for Love Island.

This is the reality of being on a gap year when you aren't travelling. Each week of my gap year is different, some weeks are unexciting and other week's my schedule is full and I get invited to blog events, visit friends at uni, explore a new city etc.

Fran
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Monday, 15 July 2019

YOUR GUIDE TO APPLYING FOR UNIVERSITY

A shot of me walking through a field holding a Nottingham Trent open day tote
It's that time of the year again where university open day adverts are being shoved down your throat and back to school emails with discount codes are flooding your inbox. Whether you're going into year 13, a student on a gap year or a mature student, applying for university can be stressful and there's not much information online to guide you through the entire process from start to finish.

CHOOSING WHAT AND WHERE TO STUDY
The first thing you should ask yourself before applying to university is which subject do you have a passion for and can see yourself studying and enjoying for 3+ years? Forget what course is more employable or what your parents want you to study. 

In year 12, I wanted to do nursing or digital marketing and by the time it got round to applying for university in year 13, I realised that my passions lied in geography and it was something that I could genuinely see myself studying further and potentially having a career in so I applied for geography and environmental science.

As for where to study, here are 5 questions that you should ask yourself:
1. Which universities offer your course?
2. How much contact time are you hoping for? Does the course suit your needs?
3. Would you prefer to live in a town or city?
4. How far away from home do you want to study? Close to home and easy to commute to or as far away as possible so your parents don't pay you a surprise visit 
5. Take a virtual tour of the student accommodation, can you see yourself living here?

Once you've figured out which universities you're interested in, go to open days or take virtual tours around each university. You have 5 choices, use them wisely!

HOW TO WRITE A PERSONAL STATEMENT 
A personal statement is basically a 4000 character essay attached to your UCAS application telling universities and colleges why you want to study a particular course or subject. This is your chance to "show off", why are you passionate about maths? when did your passions start? what would you like to achieve through studying sociology? How have your studies up until now got you here? Are you a well-rounded person? e.g. charity work, part-time work, volunteering, wider reading on your subject, your hobbies etc. What can you bring to the university?

A checklist for writing your personal statement:
- Have you mentioned the course you want to study and why?
- How are your other A level subjects or experiences going to aid your studies?
- What do you do outside of being a student? E.g. sports, part-time work
- How did you get to where you are today? E.g. did participating in NCS make you a more well-rounded person? Did a certain article, book or quote inspire you to continue studying?
-  Why are you suitable to study at this university? What are you bringing to the table? 
- Don't forget to round off e.g. I look forward to studying with other aspiring geographers

Here's a snippet from my 2017 personal statement:
A snippet from my 2018 personal statement
AFTER APPLYING
Once you've picked your 5 choices, written your personal statement and your application has been received by UCAS, you'll be able to use the online system TRACK to check the progress of your application. You can also alter your application through track e.g. change your email address, add to your 5 choices or swap one of your 5 choices for another university or if you've changed your mind about going to university, cancel your whole application. 

TUITION FEES AND MAINTENANCE LOAN
If you're a British citizen, you've been living in the UK for 3 years before starting your course and/or have 'settled status' e.g. hold indefinite leave to remain visa, you're eligible for full tuition fees. At the moment, tuition fees are £9250 a year, this is loaned to you by the government for the duration of your degree and will only be paid back once you've graduated and you're earning over the threshold of £25,000.

Your maintenance loan is based on your household income and will depend on how much your parents earned in the previous tax year.

Find out how to apply for student finance here 

RESULTS AND CLEARING 
On results day, your UCAS will be updated to let you know whether or not you have got into your firm or insurance choice. But what happens if you get into neither but you still want to go to university? or if you're no longer interested in your firm or insurance and want to go elsewhere or do a different course? Clearing and adjustment. 

If you don't get into your firm or insurance, you're automatically put into clearing. The only other way you'll be put into clearing is if you contact your firm or insurance via email to release your application. Clearing is how universities fill courses with empty spaces. If at last minute you decide you want to go to university, you can apply through clearing. 

If you've done better than expected, you can use UCAS adjustment to find alternative courses at a different university. If you try adjustment but don't find anything, you keep the course you gained on results day.

Are you thinking of applying for university this year?

Fran
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Monday, 8 July 2019 / London, UK

EXPLORING LONDON WITH KEETOO | #AD

A shot of the app on my phone in black and white
This post is in collaboration with Keetoo
You would think that after (nearly) 20 years in the city, I would've seen a great deal of what London has to offer but I haven't. It's not often that I get the chance to explore London through the eyes of a tourist so when Keetoo reached out to Jasmine and me, I had to take the opportunity! 

So... what is Keetoo
Keeto is a new 'travel companion' that allows you to explore London from new heights. Using the app, you're able to buy 'credits', these credits are your ticket into select London attractions at a discounted price and for the food lovers out there, you can claim a free starter or dessert at a select few restaurants e.g. The Rainforest Cafe.

Jasmine and I were gifted two adult daytripper passes which gave us entry to two attractions. We chose the Chelsea physic gardens (£11 for an adult ticket) and the original London tour from Victoria (£32.50 for an adult pass).
Chelsea Physic Garden
The entrance of the gardens
A close up shot of orange flowers in the garden
Using the app at each attraction is simple. You click on the attraction and a code will appear on the screen which you give to the person at the ticket desk and then you're free to run wild. 

The gardens were so beautiful! The atmosphere was so calming, I could've easily spent an entire day here just sitting on a bench, book in hand taking in my surroundings. If your Instagram is lacking candid shots surrounded by nature, this is the place to be!

Before heading to our next attraction, we popped into the onsite cafe and shared a plate of baked camembert. 
The Original Tour
A shot of the Victoria stop for the bus tour
I've never been on a London bus tour before but I assumed, you would be guided through each area by a tour guide, I was wrong. We were given a pair of headphones which you plugged into the front of your seat and as we approached a new area e.g. Hyde Park, you were given a history lesson about the area, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The bus tours are 'hop on and hop off' so you can 'hop off' at a stop, explore the area further and 'hop on' at another stop to go to a new area. Just remember to keep your ticket!

We hopped off the tour at Piccadilly and headed to the Rainforest Cafe to claim our free starter and dessert. We went for the house nachos to start which without the app would've cost £11.45. I was disappointed with my main but the dessert made up for it, we shared a warm chocolate brownie, priced at £6-7 on the menu. 

Would I recommend it?
100% - If like myself and Jasmine, you like to explore on the cheap and enjoy free food, you need to download Keetoo and get yourself to London!

Download the app here and give it a go!

Fran
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Monday, 1 July 2019

JULY TO DO LIST

A Polaroid style shot of me sitting on a bench next to a cartoon character
How satisfying is it that July starts on a Monday? I feel as though this is a sign that July is going to be a good month! 

01. SWITCH MY CURRENT ACCOUNT TO A STUDENT ACCOUNT
I have until September to get this done but I'd rather get it out of the way ASAP. In fact, I'm going to book an appointment for tomorrow right now! 

02. PAY MY ACCOMMODATION DEPOSIT
I made an application for student accommodation months ago and I've been counting down the days until I can pay the deposit. I'm hoping that it will make going to university and moving to a new city, feel more real.

03. START PACKING 
Not that I'm counting but I have 74 days until I move to York and only 1 box packed. I know it sounds like I have a lot of time but I work 5 days a week, approximately 50 of those days will be spent at work, leaving me with 24 days to buy the rest of what I need, take unwanted items to charity and pack.

04. CREATE A SUMMER BUCKET LIST
Any excuse to write a list. I do this every year to ensure I make the most out of my summer. Would you like to see what's on my summer bucket list for summer 2019?

05. GET NEW PASSPORT PHOTOS 
I can kill two birds with one stone and get this done before or after my appointment at Santander! 

06. REGISTER FOR GLASTONBURY 2020
I want to attend Glastonbury at least once in my lifetime. Unlike most festivals, you have to register in order to be able to buy tickets and even then, you aren't guaranteed a ticket. 

07. PACK AND PREPARE FOR BOARDMASTERS 
Usually, Reading is my last festival of the year but this year, I wanted to go somewhere different. If you read my March to do list then you might remember me saying that I wanted to book a summer holiday/staycation to Cornwall. Well now, I'm going to Cornwall for 6 days to surf, sing at the top of my lungs and relax on the beach.

Posts you may have missed from last month:
JUNE TO DO LIST
A FIRST TIMER'S GUIDE TO FESTIVALS
FIVE YEARS OF BLOGGING
21 THINGS TO DO BEFORE I TURN 21  


What's on your to-do list for the month of July?

Fran
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Monday, 24 June 2019

21 THINGS TO DO BEFORE I TURN 21

Posing outside the Guinness storehouse in Dublin
As of Wednesday, it will be one year and 6 months until my next big birthday. And in true Fran style, I've written a list of 21 things I would like to do before I turn 21.

01. Move out. I'm moving out 81 days, so this is one that I can tick off very soon.

02. Live in a different city. I'm moving to York so that's another one to tick off the list. I've never been to York so it'll be a completely new experience that will force me out of my comfort zone. 

03. Pass my first year of university. After being out of education for over a year, it's going to be hard adjusting to the system again but I'm positive that I will make it through the first of four years at university. 

04. Climb a mountain. Becca and I have spoken about climbing Mount Snowdon in Wales over the summer, nothing has been planned but it's going to happen. Speaking it into existence!

05. Treat myself to something designer. This is materialistic but I have had my eye on various designer items over the years but I've never been able to justify buying any of it, my 21st is the perfect excuse.

06. Learn a new skill. I want to be able to do coffee art, calligraphy or something creative like actually being able to use all the functions on my Olympus Pen.

07. Do something different with my hair. I've never done anything different with my hair and I want to switch up my look. I've wanted to dye it jet black for years but I know dying curly hair can be really damaging and I don't know if it's worth it.

08. Run a marathon. This is my second year in the ballot to do the London marathon in 2020, if I get pulled then that's another thing to tick off my list. 

09. Go vegan for a week. I could never be a full-time vegan, I enjoy cheese too much but once I move out and I'm buying my own groceries, I'm going to attempt veganism for a week. 

10. Apply for British citizenship and get a British passport. I've passed my life in the UK test and B1 English language exam. All I need to do now is fill in and send off my application for British citizenship and wait for approval. 

11. Volunteer. Back in 2014, I took part in NCS and I would love to go back as an NCS graduate and be a team leader. 

12. Learn to change a tyre. I've been driving for 2 years and I still can't change a tyre. The last time my tyre needed changing I called RAC to do it for me. 

13. Bungee jump. I did a skydive back in March and conquered my fear of heights and now I'm ready to conquer my fear of falling. 

14. Take a solo trip somewhere. After reading Emmanuela's post about her solo trip to Paris, I was left feeling inspired. My first solo trip can be abroad or to another UK city, for a weekend or a week. Something to trigger my comfort zone.

15. Apply for a summer internship or work experience/shadowing role. You get 3-4 months off during university for summer and I can't think of a better way to pass the time than by doing something that will boost my cv.

16. See more natural wonders. Can you tell I love Geography? This year alone I've seen Giant's Causeway, the Dark Hedges, Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove. 

17. Get my first 'big' tattoo. Currently, I have 5 little tattoos but I'm very eager to get a big piece on my back, calf, thigh or upper-inner arm in the next few months to a year.

18. Save to go travelling. My travel bucket list fills half a notebook, there are so many places I want to visit for specific reasons, mainly to see geographical landforms or celebrate their national holiday. E.g. Celebrate St Patrick's day in Dublin and see Giant's Causeway - both of which I ticked off back in March. I'm currently saving to do a tour of Southeast Asia, would you be interested in a travel series? Where I talk about saving from scratch, planning etc

19. Get a new piercing. I've been umming and arring about getting my daith or rook pierced for years, this is the year I do it!

20. Start saving for a mortgage. I feel like I'm too young to be thinking about this but one of my goals in life is to own a property. I've always lived in rented houses and moved from place to place. I can't wait to settle in one place and make it feel like my home and not like I'm living in someone else's space temporarily.

21. Plan and host my 90's themed party. I've never had a birthday party due to being born on a festive bank holiday but for my 21st, I'm hoping to throw a 90's themed party 2 weekends before my actual birthday.

Read my last bucket list: 18 THINGS BEFORE 18

Fran
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Thursday, 20 June 2019

FIVE YEARS OF BLOGGING

A shot of me wearing a navy and white striped t shirt dress, black gladiator sandals with a burgundy satchel
Age 15
Saturday 22nd June marks 5 years since I started my blog. I can't believe I've managed to keep this sh*t going despite receiving a lot of hate and criticism because of it. 

I started FRANCISCA ROCKEY formerly known as 'Fran's World', 'Fran & CO' and franciscarockey.blogspot.co.uk back in 2014. I remember coming home from Summertime Ball with my friends and waking up the next morning and saying "I'm going to start my blog". I had no idea where to start but I'd been an avid reader of Zoe Sugg's old blog for the longest time and saw that her site was made using Blogger and so I started my blog on Blogger and 5 years later, I'm still using blogger but have my own domain. 

Originally, I started my blog as 'my slice of the internet to blog about fashion, beauty and lifestyle'. My first ever blog post was a review of the Eyeko skinny liquid liner, I sourced an image of it from Google instead of taking my own and I was yet to learn how to describe things without using words straight out the Blogger dictionary like "fool proof", "perfect" and "sleek".

Confession, I've never been into makeup and wear it a handful of times a year and I only blogged about it because I felt I had to, to be a blogger. This was before I discovered other types of blogs and is one of the reasons, I no longer blog about makeup or accept beauty related PR. It's just not me, I tried to get into it but I'm far too comfortable being barefaced 24\7. 


My first attempt at fashion blogging was in summer of 2015. This blog post was deleted in 2016 due to a group of boys who thought it would be funny to laugh about it during an A level Maths class but I'm not 16 anymore and still have the photos so here, have another giggle:
A two picture collage of me wearing a striped t-shirt dress with a camel coat, sliders, a satchel and fedora hat
July or August 2015
Fashion blogging was definitely NOT my calling so I gave up on the fashion element very quickly, which left me with lifestyle and this is when I found myself in this industry. Writing about my day to day, sharing tips and advice, food, day trips and holidays etc came more naturally to me than any other type of blogging, so I stuck with it. 
Pushing a trolley into platform 9 3/4 at Harry Potter studios
November 2017
One of my favourite lifestyle posts is from 2017 when I took my sister to the Harry Potter Studios for her birthday. The photography wasn't the best, I had an iPhone 4s or 6s plus at the time. I also enjoy going back and reading my posts from when I finished my GCSEs particularly, 'So... What Next?' a post about my post 16 plans and how I wanted to 'pursue a career in either Nursing or Marketing and go to either Kings College, Edinburgh, Leeds or Manchester university'. Boy have I changed. 

Fast forward to March 2018, the month I started to take my blog seriously. This is the month I bought my first Pipdig theme, which at the time was a big deal but following that Pipdig drama, now feels like a slap in the face. I bought my domain, franciscarockey.co.uk from Godaddy and my "Instagram game was poppin" as they say.  

A few months later, I had my first "blogger" shoot with Jodie Mitchell, I'm not the most confident when I'm having my photo taken and for years, I didn't show my face on my blog or Instagram so this shoot was a big deal for me. 
A side profile shot of me wearing jeans, a floral crop top taken by a professional photographer
July 2017
And now we're in 2019. It's 2 days until my blog's 5th birthday and 6 months until I turn 20. My blog is now 'a no-bullshit blog documenting the journey that is adulthood'. I am not just a lifestyle blogger, I am a podcast host and soon to be a student again, a geography student to 16-year-old Fran's surprise.
A side profile shot of me wearing a black tea dress taken at the Moonpig Mother's Day event taken by a photographer
March 2019
I've had so many opportunities already this year and I'm excited to see where another year of blogging can take me. I'd also like to take this moment to say a huge thank you for the continued support on my blog, Instagram and podcast. All of your comments, reshares, shoutouts etc don't go unnoticed, I see them all and each of them warms my heart.

Read my post from last year: REFLECTING ON FOUR YEARS OF BLOGGING


Fran

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Monday, 10 June 2019

A FIRST TIMER'S GUIDE TO FESTIVALS

A shot of me crouching down next to ankle deep mud
Festival season is upon us and it has dawned on me that I've never seen a blog post with tips for first-time festival goers. I've been going to festivals every year since I was 14/15 from Summertime ball to Reading festival and last weekend, I went to Parklife and now I consider myself a festival veteran. 

WHICH FESTIVAL IS FOR ME?
I've been to Summertime ball, River festival, Wireless (twice), Reading festival (twice) and Parklife but there are over 50 music festivals in the UK. To name a few, Lovebox, Glastonbury, Bestival, Download. Each festival offers different genres of music so you're guaranteed to find one that suits your music taste and on Skiddle you can use the festival finder to find upcoming festivals around the country. 

HOW DO I GET THERE?
Train, minibus (if you're going in a large group), drive (most camping festivals have parking sites) or coach. Most festivals offer a service run by Big Green coach, return tickets are usually under £60 to and from the festival entrance. Check out their website to see if a festival you're hoping to attend or attending is on there!

WHAT DO I PACK?
If you're camping at a festival, here's what you need:
- Sleeping bag (from a charity shop, Argos, decathlon, Amazon)
- A good quality tent (if you're going in a two, get a four-man tent for extra room)
- Hoodie and joggers (for cold nights)
- Outfit for each day (mix and match if you want to pack light)
- Torch
- Dry snacks (biscuits, cereal bars, crisps, crackers)
- Cheap mixers and alcohol (alcohol at festivals is extortionate, you've been warned)
- Toothbrush, mouthwash
- Litre bottles of water or a bucket to fill up at water stations (to brush your teeth, wash your face)
- Baby wipes (showers don't exist in the middle of nowhere so you'll have to baby wipe yourself clean for a couple days)
- Tissues (to put in your bumbag for the portaloos)
- Hand sanitiser (with no running water, you'll be relying on this)
- A small mirror (for doing your hair and makeup in the morning)
- Fluffy socks (again, it gets cold at night)
- Bin bags (for rubbish, dirty or wet clothes and shoes)
- Welly boots, walking boots or old trainers 
- Camping chairs (optional)
- Suncream (safety first)
- Sunglasses (to wear on your head for the aesthetics or to protect your eyes from the sun)
- Glitter (lots and lots)
- Neon paint (silent discos, evening artists)
- Plastic poncho or raincoat (British weather is unpredictable)
- Bumbag (a waterproof one if you can)
- Portable charger(s)
- Disposable camera (optional)

ADVICE FOR CAMPERS
- Arrive early to pitch your tent, the only way to guarantee a good camping spot
- Don't padlock your tent, you're attracting thieves. Just leave your valuables at home.
- Take earplugs, festival-goers don't sleep. It'll be 3am and people will be shouting some sort of football chant or "Steve", "Alan". You've been warned!

WHERE CAN I BUY CUTE FITS?
I buy my festival outfits from Depop, eBay, Prettylittlething, Boohoo, ASOS, Forever 21, SHEIN, Romwe, Zaful and Primark. Here's a list of other online festival wear sites that @Kelsierainx0x0 posted on Twitter: 
A list of rave and festival wear shops

Are you heading to a festival this year?

Fran
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Monday, 3 June 2019

JUNE TO DO LIST

Me in a black jumpsuit looking up at a model giraffe in the natural history museum
June, the month where you look back at your new year's resolutions and go "shit, I haven't achieved any of these". Can you believe that we are six months into 2019? Nope, neither can I. I've done so much already this year and there is still so much I am yet to do, both planned and unplanned. For me, June marks the beginning of summer but technically summer doesn't start until the summer solstice which is on June 21st but whatever. Here's to more sunshine, more evenings spent in the local beer garden, Love Island and creating  memories with my gal pals! 

01. WRITE A SUMMER BUCKET LIST 
As many of you are aware by now, I'm moving to York in 102 days and going to university. Before I go back to being stressed about assignments, deadlines and exams, I intend to live my best life and the best way to ensure that I do just that is to write a list of things I would like to do and see over the next 14 weeks

02. SAVE 3 MONTHS RENT
This is going to take a little longer than the month of June but from now until September, I'm going to be putting money aside to contribute to the rent for my flat in York

03. MEET MORE FELLOW BLOGGERS
A lot of my blogging friends have now finished uni for good and I'm excited to finally be able to meet them, shoot content, grab a bite to eat. Jasmine, Yossy, Lucy etc. time to hmu! 

04. ORGANISE A GIRLS NIGHT OUT
I don't remember the last time I got white girl wasted and I'm due a night to get white girl wasted with my gal pals. I'm thinking Junkyard golf or Ballie ballerson, somewhere fun with good vibes and funky cocktails 

05. UPDATE MY BLOG PAGES
I haven't updated my contact, disclaimer and about me pages in way over a year. So, I should probably get round to doing that at some point as I'm sure they are a little outdated, oops

Posts you may have missed from last month:
A peek inside the world's biggest Primark 
Things I wish I knew when I started blogging 
A timeless classic to add to your jewellery collection
An exclusive first look at Watford's new Slug & Lettuce

What's on you to do list for the month of June?

Fran
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