Get Graduated!

On Monday 10th July, I graduated from university. After so many years of studying, to get into sixth form and then into university, all of my hard work paid off and I managed to get myself a degree. You only realise what a huge moment it is when you're walking towards the podium, waiting to hear your name called out by the Dean. It was the end of an era - one that I've enjoyed immensely. I won't bore you with the details of how sad I am to see my student life come to an end or how many life long friendships I've formed since starting or all of the lessons I have learnt throughout my three years at the University of Kent. Don't worry, I know what to save for my diary and what to publish on here instead! This post is mainly just to present my outfit, I'm not even going to lie. I don't usually write fashion posts, but I really loved my outfit and I wanted to share it with you - and keep a post out there for me to look back on one day!

My dress was £50 from Lipsy, the shoes were £19 in the Kurt Geiger sale and I adore them. They are gold and glittery and were so comfortable to walk in because of the block heel. The only problem was with the strap around the ankle, which was actually so rough that it ended up cutting my ankle so that by the end of the day, I was bleeding! My bag was £18 from Dorothy Perkins. I accessorised with ear jackets from Accessorize which were £6 and a gold leaf (I love a bit of leaf jewellery!) headband which was £8!

I arrived at the cathedral an hour and a half before the ceremony, which actually helped me to avoid queues as everybody else had followed the instructions on the university website and got there two hours early instead. I went upstairs to collect my cap and gown, while my mum and sister collected their tickets with the email confirmation on my phone. If anybody needs to be in the venue early then it is definitely your guests, as good seating is very limited and there was no seat allocation like there was at my sister's graduation. The ceremony itself is actually pretty long and boring, but thankfully I have a surname that begins with S, so instead of listening to everybody else's name and feeling bored, I actually felt the anticipation and excitement rising instead! Following the graduates collecting their certificates, there were a couple of boring and mandatory speeches and then another set of graduates before we were allowed to leave. 

Outfit wise, the cap and gown were both problematic. It was so hot having to walk around in the gown and I was very worried about the hat squishing my hairstyle. It did also fly off in the wind at one point! You might have the option to purchase photos from your day and I made sure I did! Mine was £15 for one copy 

Make-up wise! I used the NARS tinted moisturiser in the colour Seychelles for my base, followed by the Rimmel Stay Matte powder in transparent to control my oily t-zone. I used the Seventeen shimmer brick for highlighter and a MAC studio fix powder that is about ten years old and the wrong shade for me as a contour.

On my eyes I used the MAC painterly paint pot in 'Let Me Pop' as a base for the gold pigment in the shade 'Copper Sparkle'. On the outer corner I went in with a warm brown shade from the Estee Lauder Christmas 2016 palette, I can't remember the name now! I then applied a thin line of black eyeliner and then put on some Eylure lashes in the style 'Flower Girl'. Brows were done using the Maybelline brow drama gel and the Benefit Goof Proof eye pencil.

On my lips I wore a combination of the Charlotte Tilbury lip liner in the shade 'Foxy Brown' and the Revlon Colourstay lipstick in the shade 'Mink'.   

For my hair, I just made up a hairstyle as I always do! I did a side part and twisted the two front sections before pinning them back out of the way. I then took a thin layer of my hair at the top and clipped it up while I curled the bottom into tight-ish curls. Then I hairsprayed the top half and formed it into a slightly raised quiff sort of thing before twisting it at the back and pinning it into place. I then curled the bits of hair coming out of the pin so that they blended in with the rest of my curls and I was done!

Overall my top tips for the day would be to wear something you feel comfortable in, nothing too over the top and nothing that looks like you're about to go on a night out - there is a difference! Get there with enough time to not be waiting around, but also enough time to get everything done without being stressed. Book a nice restaurant and enjoy your meal there! I went to La Trappiste and the food was a disgusting, sloppy, flavourless mess - so if anyone was thinking of making a booking there I would not recommend. And finally, be nice to your family even though they will annoy you with their constant gushing and photo taking and have a lovely day. You only get to graduate like this once!

Gym: Is the muscle worth the money?

I don't know about you but I used to have internal debates with myself about whether to buy food or exercise a lot. If you know me, you'll know that I literally love snacking. If there is a snack run to be done, I will be that person in Tesco grabbing all the chocolates and crisps that are on special offer for £1. Shamelessly. But as great as snacking feels in the moment, you notice the effects almost immediately afterwards. You feel sluggish, you sink further down into your bed, that grab bag of Walkers Sensations flitters to the floor and before you know it, three hours have gone by and you realise you've been lying in bed doing nothing all day.

If you add up all that money spent on snacks a week, then you would probably be able to afford a decent gym membership wouldn't you?

I decided to write this post just to provide an insight into my gym experience and to maybe bust any myths that you might have about going to the gym. I made the decision to fork out for a gym membership about a month ago now. I've done a couple of free trials and I used to sneak into the gym for free some weekends by borrowing somebody else's card or gym code. Whenever I'm at the gym, I actually really do enjoy it! And I am one of those people who needs to be at the gym to do exercise, otherwise the most I'll do is a five minute YouTube workout and the walk to and from the station every week to get to work.

I go to the gym almost every weekday after work unless I'm working late into the evening that day. Going to the gym really does make me feel revived and ready to start the next day. I actually thrive off the feeling of aching muscles  because I know I've achieved something. The reason I go to the gym is not lose weight. I only go because I want to keep fit and get myself some abs. And because I want to keep my energy levels up, as I get bored quite quickly and need to keep myself entertained.

There are a few main benefits of the gym in my opinion. Firstly, it gives me something to do that will benefit my body and overall health. Secondly, the equipment at the gym is such a life saver for me. I love doing floor exercises but I don't have any weights at home, so going to the gym and being able to use those weighted balls (I don't know what they're called) for my russian twists and sit ups and then being able to squat with the weighted bar just makes my exercises so much more effective. I'm not very strong at the moment as I have the most pathetic arms, so I only use a 4kg ball and a 15kg (I know that's tragic!) bar for my squats. But I reckon that with practice I'll be able to lift a lot more! I'm not going to lie, sometimes I go into the big boy heavy lifting section and there are like four hench guys there lifting like 70kg and I do feel very intimidated. But at the same time, you always think people are watching you when in reality, they're not.

My final top benefit of the gym is that the machines give you all the data you need to track your progress as you work out. I know this is an obvious one, but it gets overlooked. I always know exactly how many calories I've burned and how many miles I've done on the bike or the cross trainer. By knowing exactly where I'm at with everything, I can best decipher how to try and up my game with the exercises I'm doing.

Going to the gym after work is also not as tiring as you might think it is. Your best friend in these sorts of situations is going to be meal prepping, which I've mentioned already in a previous post about preparing for full-time working life. I like to go to the gym straight from work, so I usually get home at about 8.30pm and am too tired to even contemplate cooking a full meal. I try to keep things like pasta and rice cooked already so that all I have to do is shove a bit of meat into the oven and find some vegetables to chuck on the plate with it. I don't do that whole no carbs after six thing just in case you're wondering!

I wanted to write this post because I know that a lot of people I know are put off by the price of gym memberships, but what you have to remember is that you're paying for a service that is ultimately going to benefit you. Paying for snacks isn't. Also, when you work in a job like mine where you have to sit down all day at your desk, you sort of end up feeling like you want to be doing more activity! By 3pm I'm usually slouched back in my chair, looking at my computer screen with squinted eyes as I try to take down the notes of people's property searches. It's not a pretty sight.

So if you're considering a gym membership then I would really recommend just going for it! I'm with Anytime Fitness at the moment, which gives me access to gyms worldwide. So if you go on holiday and there's an Anytime Fitness gym there, then you can use it. I've also been to Nuffield Health, which I would say is slightly better in terms of space and facilities (it has a swimming pool and spa) but then again you will be paying about £60+ for that kind of gym and I can't even swim so it's not worth me taking out that kind of membership. Just choose the right membership for you and get the most out of it!