This Little Piggy Went and Made Herself a Website!

Welcome to my brand spanking new website!

Here you will find a collection of thoughts, self-discovery and nonsense written by yours truly.

About me
I’m Amy – an Edinburgh-based Linguistics graduate with a penchant for good grammar, better brownies and the best mojitos (which can be found in El Barrio).

By day I work in marketing – specifically creating social media and blog content – and by night I cross stitch, binge-watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine and rapidly grow my addiction to Castle Crushers thanks to my wonderful boyfriend. (I always play the cute pink one whose magic is literally rainbows and penguins.)

A huge fan of feminism, body positivity, sex education and open discussions about mental health, there will undoubtedly be posts about these topics popping up around the blog. I thrive on sarcasm, sugar and cute animal GIFs so there will be plenty of that sparkly stuff featured here too.

Blogging, and writing more generally, is a therapeutic avenue for soul searching. It also provides me a space to talk about things I’m interested in, share some sweet pig GIFs and generally just have a one-sided chat with anyone listening.

About the name
When I was born, I was small. I also snuffled in my sleep. I was as small as some of my teddies, including Piglet from Winnie the Pooh. You can guess the rest.

More recently, my unique laugh has been compared to a little piggy’s squeals and I’m none too ashamed to admit that I’m okay with this comparison.

It’s also true that I’ve often likened myself to a pig because *surprise reveal* I sometimes have a wonky body image. This is something I occasionally find tricky to pinpoint, so to get a better idea of how my own brain works and to boost the old self-confidence, I’ve been making more of a conscious effort to turn negatives into positives. It was during this endeavour and the encouragement from some dear friends that The Squealing Piglet was born.

Fun fact: I was originally going to name this blog The Fat Unicorn, but I’m saving that for my autobiography when I’m 90 and wrinkly and fabulous like Baddiewinkle. I just drew a Copyright sign in the air to make that idea officially mine. Y’all better not steal it.

About the blog
The views I post about are my own, unless otherwise stated. The Linguistics student in me will ensure references are cited because that’s a hard habit to break.

This Little Piggy will host all the random things like entertaining face mask reviews, feminist musings, baking fails, crafty projects and piglet GIFs because they make me happy and it would be criminal to not share the cuteness around.

Grad life is new and exciting and scary. It’s also an inevitable eventuality for students. I’ll be dropping anecdotes, adulting updates and my hints and tips for preparing to join the working world.

I am a massive word nerd, which is lucky or my degree could have been painful, so there is a section dedicated to language facts, thoughts and epiphanies – largely thanks to my Ling Ladies from uni and Susie Dent who is my idol.

I’ll also be chatting about mental health because I’m not afraid of it. Most of the time. There are some really powerful campaigns running just now to improve understanding and conversation around mental health and I’m excited to get more involved with that – discussing my own and others’ experiences.

Piggy Pics is exactly what it says – I’ll be sharing my favourite pig-related GIFs and memes here because who doesn’t love watching a piglet twerk or a good pig pun?

Lastly, I should say that this blog is a constant work in progress. It’s my first website, so curation could get a little hairy. I’m learning on the job which is the best way to go but with no guidance except some tutorials online (which can be super dodgy or have really annoying background music like the track that played during art creation segments of Art Attack), you’ll have to be patient.

I also love feedback (another Linguistics student thing) so if you have any, drop me a line! My contact details are on the homepage.

Much love
x

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New Year – New Approach

Happy 2017!

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It’s been a bustling start to the year for me, work came round pretty quickly and there was no easing back into the routine. We hit the ground running with a live stream to prepare for and a huge research-and-write project to get stuck back into.

With life being pretty hectic, I hadn’t really had the chance to put much thought into my New Year’s Resolutions.

In the lead up to Hogmanay, I had thrown the usual remarks

“I’m going to get skinny”

“I’m going to stop eating so much”

“I’m going to exercise more”

But as expected, January 1st rolled round and I didn’t touch a single vegetable. Quelle surprise.

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A few days later, I had a really interesting conversation with my flatmate. She told me she doesn’t believe in New Years Resolutions because they’re damaging. At first I didn’t understand, but for some people – myself included – it makes perfect sense.

New Year New Me is a slogan cashed in on by many a brand. It’s everywhere in the run up to Christmas. People lamenting how much food they ate on Christmas Day, but it’s okay because they’ll start being healthy again in the New Year.

This is a problem for 2 reasons.

Firstly, it can breed illness. This sounds a tad dramatic but for lots of people the build up and quasi-determination and nothing-but-lettuce diets and extreme exercise regimes are unsustainable. This is an exaggeration, for sure, but you get the idea. This punishing and super strict mindset ends in disappointment and – more often than not – a negative self-image. I know I’m guilty of it. For some, this will result in illness, poor mental health and often poor physical health too.

The second problem is the now societally-accepted ‘festive overindulgence’. There are articles all over the news just now about sugar being the most readily available drug on the market, but as we draw closer to December 25th, we throw all good intentions about healthy eating out the window in favour of Chocolate Oranges, Christmas cocktails and fancy nibbles.

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This “I’ll be good in the New Year” mentality makes excessive overindulgence not only acceptable, but expected. This is almost worse than the gung-ho diet and exercise overhaul people put themselves through afterwards, because their minds and bodies have gotten used to the sugars, fats, alcohol and unnecessary treats they’ve allowed themselves. This makes falling off the bandwagon so much easier.

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These are both things I have been guilty of in the past. The very recent past. But it gave me a lot to think about. I still wanted to be healthier, but maybe I didn’t have to buy into the whole overhaul-your-life philosophy? While it fits some people and they see real, sustainable results from their new resolution efforts, it obviously hadn’t been working for me, so why not take a new approach?

My flatmate gives herself goals without a specific deadline. They are achievable processes that won’t mean she goes into the following year having ‘failed’, because instead of completely changing something, she focusses on improving or learning more. So I decided to do the same.

I have decided to focus on kindness (thanks to a wonderful colleague for giving me the idea).

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I want to be kinder to myself, especially with the nonsense my brain has been putting me through recently. I will actively give myself more time and patience to work through things, and focus on relieving stress in productive, fun ways.

To keep up the self-kindness, I’m going to carry on doing things that make me happy. One thing I am absolutely determined to do is to pour more attention and energy into my blog. I enjoy it, similar to journalling, and it’s a good way to force myself into new situations so I have things to write about. (As a side note, watch this space for some teenage-angst-born creative writing that I’ll be sharing with you next week. Trust me when I say they make me cringe.) I do struggle sometimes to think of things to write about, but I’ll be getting my planning cap on over the weekend to map out some potential convo topics. I say convo, but it’s really just a one-sided ramble…

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Crafting is another thing I want to get better at. Hobbies are a soothing, productive passtime and provide the downtime I need to maintain a healthy work/play balance. The repetitive, but brain-engaging nature of my chosen activities will be kind to my mental wellbeing (although at times, perhaps not my sanity…). So far I have knitting, calligraphy and photography to be getting one with. There is definitely huge room for improvement on all creative fronts and I’m determined to take up my passions again and fill my evenings with little rays of sunshine in crafty forms.

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Finally, I have a goal with a deadline. I want to, after 6 months, be able to say that I’ve sustained a manageable exercise routine. Kindness to my body is as important and works in tandem with my kindness to my mind. I sounded so sage and wise there…I think.

I have signed up for a 2-hour Tuesday yoga class and am hoping to drop into a dance class every Wednesday. For someone as unfit and asthmatic as me, that’s enough to get me started. Plenty of achievement and progression to be seen from those activities if all goes well, so sticking at them when the going gets tough is the first hurdle!

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So, there you have it. My first post of 2017. Kindness through happy thoughts, crafting, exercise and a hell of a lot more writing appear to be on the horizon for me. I hope you have big dreams and high expectations for the year ahead – no matter what form of resolution, goal setting or planning you subscribe to!

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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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