My 2017 To Do List

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I love a list.

Seriously. I write lists for everything. Work, Christmas presents, project ideas, clothes to pack for going home at Christmas. I’ll even admit to having written one or two lists of lists. It’s never-ending.

We’re now in December, so naturally I’m planning ahead.

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Making lists calms me when I get overwhelmed (and the future is a rather overwhelming concept at the best of times, so obviously planning-the-future lists are a common occurrence in my life).

I have come to realise that a lot of the things I want to learn and do get sidelined or forgotten as time passes and life happens, so I’m making a bigger effort to help myself achieve more of my goals.

As such, in no particular order, the following are skills and projects I would like to have accomplished (or be working on accomplishing) in the next year:

  • photography and photo editing
  • calligraphy – when I was younger I loved using my calligraphy set and it’s something I’d like to take up again
  • knitting – my friend Sarah knitted me a teddy for my birthday (I named him Alfred and he is amazing) so I’d like to get back into knitting. It’s a really productive way to spend my time – and key for justifying my occasional Netflix binges.
  • reading – my mum used to take my sister and I to the library just about every other week. I devoured books and I miss the excitement of finding a new book series or author to get stuck into.
  • graphic design – I downloaded the free trial of Adobe Illustrator and fell in love. My unicorn and camera were beasting and I want to get better. Working in social media and the digital world more generally, it is a great skill to have.
  • video editing – like design, video editing is a crucial skill for working in digital with so much of social media content being video (FUN FACT: it’s predicted that by 2018, 69% of worldwide internet traffic will be video!).
  • travelling – this is more of a dreamer’s ideal, but I would love to visit 3 new countries next year. My trip to Lisbon in October sold me on city breaks and how much culture you can soak up in just a few days, so I’d love to be able to explore a couple of new places over the course of the next year (pennies permitting, of course).

It might not be the longest of lists, but it should keep me plenty busy and hopefully out of trouble(?) as I head into the new year and beyond.

Another plus is that I have been inspired for my Christmas present from my parents which is always a good thing!

I guess I can only end with watch this space.

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The Key to Happiness

I have a morning routine. I check for my purse, phone, keys and bus fare every day before I leave my flat. It’s a slightly obsessive routine, but it gets me outside without continuously worrying whether I will be able to function in the world.

I have successfully done this every morning without fail – except Friday.

My flatmate was going away on holiday on Friday so I’d asked my boyfriend if he wanted to stay at mine so I wasn’t all alone in the flat (I scare easily in this old, creaky building). We were looking forward to a weekend of home cooking, some baking and visiting friends.

5:30pm arrived and I went to meet Tam. It had been a fairly busy day and we’d decided to make curry for dinner. I was really looking forward to coming home, filling the flat with delicious spicy aromas, munching on poppadoms and skyping my dog-I mean my parents.

We shopped in the big Tesco in Leith, failed to pick up an aubergine and decided to nip into the Sainsbury’s round the corner from me after we jumped off the bus before getting settled in the flat. Easy peasy.

We were standing at the traffic lights, laden with shopping bags, laptop bags and handbags when I reached into my left pocket for my keys. Keys which weren’t there.

What followed can only be described as a tantrum.

Yes, I – 21 year old bill payer and working woman – stamped my foot and wailed. In public. I was tired, okay!

You know when you’re ill and you contemplate all the times you weren’t feeling rotten? That’s how I felt without the keys to my flat.

We got a taxi back to Tam’s and ordered Chinese food to soothe my soul. My boyfriend knows me well – food solves all problems.

The next problem was clothes. I had the clothes on my back and that was it. So a Primark trip was in order. I picked up underwear, tights and a cosy grey jumper for work on Monday (see pic) and stole one of Tam’s tees on Sunday. While this was supposed to be a frugal month, even slipper socks became a necessity. Shopping is good for me in the same way chicken nuggets help King Curtis through life.

I did also introduce Tam to the Men’s section of Zara and helped him buy a new pair of jeans and the cosiest coat I’ve ever seen (but unfortunately couldn’t steal because it’s so long it would probably end at my ankles – sad times).

Retail therapy and a soggy Sunday wander around Edinburgh certainly cheered me up and prepared me for work today.

To improve my mood even more, my flatmate and most favouritest person ever managed to find my keys as she dropped off one suitcase and picked up another to continue her holiday, so I was reunited with my silver and gold beauties this evening and can happily report that this is being written from my own bed!

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🎵 Reunited and it feels so good! 🎵

Moral of the story: ALWAYS check your pockets for your keys. And look into getting a spare set cut. Because it’s Sod’s Law that you’ll only forget them when there’s no one in to help you out.

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Halloween Treats 🎃

Dressing up and themed sweet treats are my two biggest reasons for enjoying Halloween.

So what better way to spend my Halloween Eve than making sweet things for a Halloween Bake Sale at work raising money for a charity that benefits children orphaned by HIV and TB in South Africa?

Obviously I stuck to the autumnal Halloween theme. I popped my Pumpkin Pie cherry this weekend. Who knew you could buy tins of pumpkin puree online!? (Well, Tam did, because he bought 3.)

The pie went down a treat in the office, and looked so professional someone asked me which bakery I went to. Yes, I am gloating. But can you blame me?

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Pumpkin Spice is now my absolute favourite thing. Ever. I may have gotten a bit heavy handed when I made my Pumpkin Spice Crispy Cakes, but good grief they taste good!

Melt 85 gram of butter and 2 bags of mini marshmallows until gooey and scrumptious – technical term.

Add a whole tube of orange food gel colouring and pray that it goes orange enough. The baking gods will provide and you will be rewarded with a gorgeous coral hue.

Throw in 5 cups of rice crispies and get mixing. Your mixing arm will get the best workout of its life, let me tell you.

Grab a handful of the mixture and roll into balls.

Break off an inch of of an orange flavoured Matchmaker and hope the marshmallow hasn’t cooled too much so you can give your pumpkins a suitable stalk.

Scrape the pot clean and soak in water for 2 days to remove all remnants of marshmallow.

Take a great Insta pic of your pumpkins to make everyone else jealous.

And you’re done!

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The bake sale was fabulous and we’re still collecting money for the charity. It operates in Sweetwater and provides support for the grannies – or gogos, as they call them – who foster their grandchildren and sometimes great-grandchildren whose parents died of HIV or TB.

To continue my Halloween festivities, I spent Monday night Trick or Treating round the wards at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children with the Sick Kids Friends Foundation. A group of us handed out Halloween-themed crackers with gory present and terrible jokes, jigsaws, masks, charm bracelets and more.

It was an emotionally exhausting evening but it also filled me with so much joy being able to coax small smiles from the children.

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All in all, it was a very busy and glitter-filled Halloween. I can’t wait for next year!

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Just Add Glitter ✨

Halloween is one of my favourite times of year.

The theatre nerd in me rejoices when I have an excuse to make a costume and dress up.

As a child, my mum made me some incredible costumes. She’s very handy with a needle and thread and she has an eye for detail so I always wore great outfits for guising.

I do remember being devastated one year because I was dressed as a flower and forgot as I dooked for apples that my great face paint would be ruined. I avoided paint as much as I could after that and instead went for masks or hats where I could. Lesson learned.

This year, using little more than a headband, cellotape and some cotton wool, I constructed the most magnificent unicorn horn.

With a net curtain and some ribbon for a tail and enough glitter and Revolution eyeshadow to catch every light, my majestic outfit was good to go.

I am Trick or Treating round the wards at the Sick Kids hospital on Monday and was ready to go as a witch, but may have to resurrect my magical horn (which sounds way dirtier than I intended… apologies) and stick more silver stars to my cheeks in the spirit of Halloween. What a shame 😉

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Mastering the art of crossing that stage without falling over

Sometime between 11am and 1pm today I was donked on the head with a bonnet symbolising my freedom from the enslavement of education. I was then handed a certificate and scroll and there marked the official end to my undergraduate degree.

Amy Charlotte King: MA Hons Linguistics.

Holy cats.

A few short months ago I wasn’t sure I would be walking across that stage, focussing intently on ensuring one foot did in fact go in front of the other so as not to end up on my backside in front of hundreds of people.

A few short weeks ago I never would have dreamed that my face would be splitting in two with a wide smile and a tear in my eye.

A few short hours ago I did both those things. My name was called, I crossed that stage and with that I gained my degree from the University of Edinburgh.

Again: holy cats.

I couldn’t have done it without the most amazing support network of family, friends and university staff. If I was to list them all I’d be typing well into the night, but I am so very thankful to have had their support, advice, shoulders to cry on and shot glasses to fill next to mine.

To continue the good news, my manager told me on Friday that I have had my contract extended for a further 3 months probation!

All the celebrating will be happening, but not right now. The excitement has gotten to me, as has standing for multiple photographs and the most delicious seafood platter from Fishers in the City (highly recommended) so for now I think I’ll go for a nap. Because now that I’m a graduate I decide my own future, right?

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