The Highlights: June 2016

Some of the highlights:

Ben and I had a lovely trip to Hastings and played several rounds of crazy golf

– Heading to a dessert restaurant with Kat, Mat and Ben

– Visiting London Zoo!

– Visiting the Natural History Museum and seeing Mamma Mia! with my parents and sister

– Making many new beauty purchases

– Zachary’s christening

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The A-Z of me…

I saw something like this written by my lovely blogging buddy Tania and decided to give it a go myself.
The A-Z of me is exactly what it says on the tin – a way of helping you get to know me better, and a way of me killing some time while my family watch the England v Iceland match. The idea is simple: for every letter of the alphabet, think of a word that relates to you and your life.
Apprenticeship – something I decided to do rather than going to university, which has filled me with so much confidence and taught me so many lessons about myself.
Ben – my incredible better half. He makes me laugh daily and makes me feel like the most beautiful human being in the world. I’m very lucky to have him. I love him more than I can ever express.
Canterbury – one of my favourite places in the whole entire world. The place where I first met Ben. The place where I have some of the happiest memories.
Dance – something I used to a lot. Something I wish I’d never stopped doing.  
Ed Sheeran – my favourite musician.  
French bulldogs – I absolutely adore these creatures. Desperate to have one when I move out.
German – a language that I have a GCSE in, and a language that I’d love to learn again.  
Holidays – I haven’t been on many, but I’ll never forget the family trip to Malta.  
IPhone 6s – my current mobile phone.
Job – I’m a public relations account executive. 
Kent – where I have lived my whole life. A beautiful county in the south east of England.
Little Raj – where me and Ben went on our first proper date.  
Mental health – something I feel exceptionally passionate about, having struggled with anxiety over the passed few years. I’d love to do more to raise awareness and remove the stigma surrounding mental health issues around the world.
Notebooks – I have way too many of these. 
Orange – my favourite colour.  
Pasta – my favourite food!
Quantum PR – the company I work for.
Reading – one of my favourite things to do in my spare time. Currently reading the Harry Potter series.
Southern – my surname.  
Time – something I wish I had more of. 
Underwear – my favourite thing to buy.  
Vauxhall Corsa – my car. The most expensive thing I’ve ever owned. I love it dearly.  
Weekends – my favourite part of the week because I usually get to see Ben! 
Xmas – my favourite holiday season. Nothing beats the Christmas festivities.
YouTube – something I watch most mornings while I’m putting my makeup on before work.  
Zoella – my inspiration for starting my first blog.

Six months

soulmate
ˈsəʊlmeɪt/
noun
  1. a person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner.


Ben and I have been together for six months today. Six whole months of this beautiful blossoming relationship we’ve got going on. I’m so lucky to have him. He has supported me through everything and has made me feel beautiful and loved every single day. Never have I ever felt as happy and whole as I do right now, and that’s all thanks to him.

Benjamin, you make my bad days better and the good ones incredible and I love you more than you will ever know.
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54 holes later…

Last week, I was lucky enough to be able to take some time off work and spend it with my wonderful better half.  As it was his last week in Kent before the summer we decided that, as well as packing all his belongings and cleaning his flat, we’d go out for a couple of day trips.  On Thursday, we jumped into my car and headed off to the Hastings. Wikipedia describes Hastings like this:

Hastings /ˈhstɪŋz/ is a historic town and borough in the county of East Sussex, within the historic county of Sussex, on the south coast of England. The town is located 24 mi (39 km) east of the county town of Lewes and 53 mi (85 km) south east of London, and has an estimated population of 90,254,[2] which makes it the 66th largest settlement in the United Kingdom.[3]Historically, Hastings can claim fame from the Battle of Hastings, and later because it became one of the medieval Cinque Ports. Hastings was, for centuries, an important fishing port; although nowadays less important, it still has the largest beach-based fishing fleet in Europe. The town became a popular spot for ‘taking the waters’ (therapeutic bathing in the sea) in the 1760s, and then, with the coming of the railway, a seaside resort.

Hastings is a really wonderful place. It’s pretty lively, a lot livelier than I ever remember it being from when I was younger, but maybe that’s just because I didn’t have my parents telling me what to do this time. 

There’s quite a lot to do and see in Hastings. It’s 1066 town so it’s got quite a lot of historical significance. You can visit the castle and there’s also an aquarium and something called “Smuggler’s Adventures” which I went to when I was younger and remember being quite cool. 

Ben and I decided to have ourselves a little mini golf tournament this time instead of visiting anything in particular. It was brilliant from start to finish. 54 holes later and it was clear to us both that Ben definitely has a golfing edge over me. Nonetheless, it was lovely getting out and doing something completely different that we wouldn’t normally do. And for three different courses, it actually wasn’t too expensive either! 

We also headed to the amusement arcades on the pier, to waste some loose change on those annoying crane things that no one ever wins from. Regardless of the lack of prizes, it was probably one of the most enjoyable days I’d had in a while. 

Spending time with Ben is so important to me, and I’ve been fortunate enough to spend significant lengths of time with him since he came back to Kent in January after Christmas. We’ve been together pretty much every weekend and it’s been wonderful, but it’s always nice to visit somewhere new and do something different.

Our afternoon in Hastings was awesome and I’m definitely looking forward to going back some day (and hopefully beating Ben at mini golf this time!). 

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The Highlights: May 2016

Where did May disappear to? It absolutely flew by.

Some of the highlights:

– Bought some new stationery for work which put me in the best mood

– Spent many lovely weekends at Ben’s

– Went out for an after-work drink with some of my colleagues

– Visited Whitstable with Ben, a beautiful seaside town where we had an ice cream and a slushy and a really lovely day in the sun

– Celebrating five months with Ben

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Mental Health Awareness Week

This week (16-22 May) is Mental Health Awareness Week. Quashing the stigma attached to mental health patients is so important to me, so it felt only right to write a short post talking about mental health on my blog, something that I’m passionate about and something that has affected me in my own personal life. Today I wanted to talk about the chosen theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week: relationships.

The Mental Health Foundation’s aim is to lobby national governments, public bodies and employers to help tackle the barriers of building strong relationship foundations, as the relationships we have with other people are exceptionally important to our mental wellbeing. Good relationships between individuals and within communities are as important to our health as other factors including the amount of exercise we do and what we eat.
I have seen first hand how beneficial having solid, healthy relationships can be to your self-esteem and general wellbeing. In just over a year, I feel like I have grown and developed as a person. I was diagnosed with anxiety and mild depression last March, and I’m delighted that a year on I can say that I’m feeling a lot better about life. I’m not fully fixed, that’s for certain. I have panic attacks at times, and still have down days, but on the whole I have generally felt a lot more able to cope with all situations, more confident in myself and less worried about tomorrow.
I wouldn’t have felt nearly as okay going through CBT last year and dealing with the negative thoughts and feelings since I finished CBT if I had to go through it all alone. If it wasn’t for the lovely community of people who surround me: family members, colleagues, friends and, of course, my wonderful boyfriend, I highly doubt I’d be nearly as happy as I am now.
For anyone struggling, feeling sad or alone: speak to someone and things do eventually get better. A parent, teacher, colleague or friend, or a doctor if you feel you have no one else – communication has been key to my healing.
To find out more information on Mental Health Awareness Week visit mentalhealth.org.uk and get involved in the conversation by tweeting using #MHAW16.
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What shall I do next?

At the beginning of my time at sixth form, one question was on everybody’s minds: What shall I do next? I was fortunate enough to be given some advice on a variety of different after-school options, from charitable gap years around the world to university and everything in between.

The options were exciting to say the least, but also pretty terrifying. Here’s why: At the age of seventeen, I was expected to know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life – a terrifying prospect, especially considering that we are all living a lot longer than ever these days, and the retirement age in the UK seems to rise every other year.

I have no real complaints about my secondary school at all. I spent seven years of my life walking into that building every single day and created so many memories there. I learnt so much, not only in lessons but also outside of the classroom, and not always positive.  The only thing that ever bothered me about my secondary school was the limited information they gave me on apprenticeships when I decided I didn’t want to go to university. I was one of many that chose to not go to university in my year, and I think that the advice we were given wasn’t necessarily always right, not from my experiences since.

Today, I thought I’d put a few points together about apprenticeships which may or may not help those of you who are struggling to decide what you want to do next.

Apprenticeships are not worth less than a university degree

Apprenticeships are frequently considered inferior to degrees. Why? Mainly complete snobbery. To get into my apprenticeship there were requirements. I had to achieve particular grades in particular subjects at A Level, and go through an interview process. Doing an apprenticeship does not mean that you are less intelligent than those who go to university. Some of my friends at uni have even commented that they wish they’d done an apprenticeship, simply because it would’ve saved them a whole lot of money in the long run.

Apprenticeships are paid meaning you do not start your adult life in debt

Many of my friends who are studying at university are racking up massive debts. If you don’t budget properly it’s surprising how quickly you can go from having hundreds of pounds of loans and grants to being in your overdraft.As an apprentice, I am earning money. The current minimum apprentice wage is £3.30, but many companies are willing to pay more for trainee staff if they think you’re worth. Even if you are only being paid the minimum, it might not seem a lot of money but it’s a lot better than having nothing at all.

Apprenticeships help you gain something that many university courses do not offer: real life experience

The lessons that I have learnt since beginning my apprenticeship in PR have been incredible. I’ve gained so many skills, not only in PR but also more generic and transferable skills that I can take with me wherever I end up. Things I once found difficult, I’m increasingly finding a hell of a lot easier, and I’m exceptionally lucky to have such a supportive team of employees around me. In an appraisal last year, my managing director told me that he’s taken on staff straight out of university who have had absolutely no idea about how to behave in an office environment. Degrees give you so much valuable theory-based information, but it’s rare that they’ll give you the valuable hands-on experience that I have had since beginning my apprenticeship.  That’s not to say that doing a university degree is not worthwhile, and people learn lots of completely different lessons from attending university.

Let me know your thoughts on the “What shall I do next?” debate in the comments below.

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The Highlights: April 2016

April has been a rather non-eventful month as months go. Ben and I had to spend two weeks apart and as pathetic as it sounds, it was actually quite tough. Nonetheless, I’ve had some really great days this month and there have been many highlights.  Some of the highlights:

– A meal out with Ben’s friends in Aylesbury

– A lovely Sunday lunch with my parents, grandparents and sister

– Another lovely Sunday lunch with the above mentioned, my sister’s boyfriend and Ben

– Visiting the PRCA for my last ever in-London training session

– Reuniting with Ben after two weeks… best feeling ever

– Planning lots of fun activities for a week in May with Ben

– Celebrating my mum’s 50th birthday

– Seeing The Jungle Book at the cinema

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Forward thinking

Being a great lover of stationery, I was delighted to be introduced to a new system of organisation: the bullet journal.  I’ve seen so many different people with bullet journals, and they have so great ideas for different pages that I can create within my own. This new found bullet journaling is very exciting to me, and I love being able to fill it in every day.  I’ve only just started mine, but thought I’d share my Pinterest board with you today, as I think it’s a great little system and could become something wonderful to look back on if you can dedicate yourself to keeping up the system. It can be as simple or as complex as you like – it’s completely up to you and that is what makes the system work so well.  I’ve created a little Pinterest board with loads of different images of pages from other people’s journals.   Follow Beverley’s board Bullet journal on Pinterest.//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js  Do you have a bullet journal? What do you use yours for? How long have you been journaling?  instagram | twitter | goodreads

What we’ve been watching: Happy Valley

TITLE: Happy ValleyRELEASE: 2014-RATED: 15NUMBER OF SERIES: 2 (to date)NUMBER OF EPISODES: 12 (to date)CREATOR: Sally WainwrightMY RATING: 4.5/5BEN’S RATING: 4.5/5  DESCRIPTION:Sarah Lancashire stars as Catherine Cawood, a police sergeant in a small town in Yorkshire where drunkards, drug addicts and teenage pregnancies are a way of life. Her world is turned upside down when the man she believes is responsible for her daughter’s death – Tommy Lee Royce – is released from prison. She is convinced Tommy is dangerous and it’s only a matter of time before he hurts someone else…  NOTABLE QUOTES:“I’m Catherine, by the way. I’m forty-seven, I’m divorced, I live with my sister – who’s a recovering heroin addict – I have two grown up children. One dead and one who doesn’t speak to me. And a grandson.” “I understand, you get frustrated, but we have to find better ways of dealing with it.” “How would you like to make half a million pounds?”

 MY THOUGHTS:We watched the entire first two series of Happy Valley while at Ben’s house in Aylesbury, and honestly I’m so glad that we did.  This series is a BAFTA winner, and I can see why. It’s one of the only series I’ve been truly gripped on from start to finish – the acting in it is absolutely amazing and the plot line is amazing, particularly in the first series. This isn’t just ‘another TV crime drama’, it’s so much more than that.  The second series was just as good as the first for the most part, although I was a little disappointed with the ending. I think me and Ben both agreed that we were a little dissatisfied with the ending, particularly as the series had been so good until that point. I suspect it’s been left that way to make room for series three. When the third series does eventually come out, I’m almost 100% certain that Ben and I will be settling down to watch it.   BEN’S THOUGHTS:So, Happy Valley was suggested to Beverley and myself by my dad, during her week in Aylesbury. From the first two episodes, we were hooked, taking every possible opportunity to watch it. Averaging two episodes a night, we finished the two series before Beverley had to return home!  Series one: absolutely incredible! The build up of the characters and plot was insane. There were so many plot twists and unexpected moments which never failed to surprise us and give us a thrill. 
Series two: still an incredible show! Also had a great build up and was still very gripping. All-in-all, this show was absolutely superb. However, I wasn’t so sure about the ending to series two. I sort of wish it had had an alternative ending, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it!   instagram | twitter | goodreads

The Highlights: March 2016

Much like February did, March has flown by. I’m so excited to finally be getting away from the winter wardrobe and towards summer. Sunny days make me happy. 
Some of the highlights:– A spontaneous night at Bluewater with Ben– Wearing sunglasses for the first time in 2016– Reaching and exceeding three months with Ben- Taking a week off of work to chill in Aylesbury with my wonderful better half- Leaving work in daylight for the first time this year- Reading one of the most beautiful books ever written- Celebrating Ben’s birthday (and finally getting to give him his presents after waiting so long)From my Instagram:

 

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9/9



With the looming end to what has been one of the best weeks of my life, I woke this morning feeling quite sad.

This was my first trip to Aylesbury, and definitely won’t be my last. I’ve created lots of new memories with my wonderful boyfriend, and I’m feeling quite reflective as I write this while sitting alone in my own bedroom on my own bed.  My relationship with Ben is forever evolving. In such a short space of time we’ve been through so much together and I find new things out about him every single day. He’s incredible. I’m delighted to have met someone who brings such positivity to my world. I couldn’t ask for a better partner.

To round off the week, Ben wanted to say a few words so here they are: “The journey to Ashford on Good Friday was a bit manic and changed (due to rail-works), however it was worth it, because I got to see Beverley at the end of it! She waited for me at the station, and then we spent the night in Canterbury, which was mega cute!  

“The next week was spent in Aylesbury, and I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better week surrounding my birthday, spending the most-part of nine days with my gorgeous better half, and getting daily cuddles and kisses was just asdfghjkl!  

“All in all I just want to say a huge, huge thank you to Beverley; for my amazingly thoughtful and wonderful presents, for being a genuinely, and naturally awesome human being, and for being a partner I could never have dreamed of having! Thank you, and I love you, Beverley – my best friend, and my world!” heart emotico

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