My Name’s Kate and I’m a Netflix Addict

A lot of people these days have Netflix. It’s how we watch amazing show like Sense8, The Unbreakable Kimmy Shmidt and, of course, Orange is the New Black. It’s also how we rewatch the random stuff we enjoyed as kids (Rugrats is on there), and discover shows we missed first time around on the box (Lie to Me anyone?). For some the £5.99 subscription fee allows them to watch an episode every so often. Some will binge on shows like Orange is the New Black the day they came on the site/ app. I somehow manage to consume a great deal of films and TV shows in in the space of just a week.

Before I go on, I should say that I do work (self employed and really quite flexible hours), I do spend time outside, and walk on average 5 miles per day, and I read. A lot.

I sleep quite well too, I try and ditch the electronics by midnight, if not earlier, and I don’t turn my laptop on until the afternoon most days. Some days its not until late evening that I actually start to watch, but I still manage to consume shows at a ravenous pace.

A part of me thinks that this is a reflection on how we interact with society. Technology has made us impatient, and the very idea of waiting another week to watch just one more hour of a show is torture, but I wasn’t raised in a household where we watched TV and stared at computer screens all day. I more often than not had my head in a book of some variety, doing homework, or writing endless stories. So how did I become so hooked to this little app? Who knows?

I often describe Netflix as my longest and most successful relationship. It wants nothing from me and is there for me after a long, hard day. It can evoke emotions from me that I haven’t felt in a long time. All of my friends love it! Even my mum approves of the site and the times we’ve had together under my duvet (fort) are unmatchable. Who needs human contact. Right?

The variety on offer is far superior to the likes of Amazon Prime (I had a free trial and was wholly unimpressed) and I am currently wondering where to take my viewing next. I’ve just watched all 48 episodes of Lie to Me since around this time last Saturday, and it’s a question of going for a rewatch or something new. Comedy or Drama. Series or Film. Either way, I’m sure I’ll find something worthy of my time and my eyes.

I don’t anticipate that I will stop watching shows so fast any time soon. It keeps me busy, it keeps me happy. But until then, if you need a recommendation here are some of the best shows I’ve watched on Netflix:

  • Orange is the New Black (Laura Prepon, looking as amaze here as in That 70s Show)
  • Sense8 (Martha Jones has upped her hair game)
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Shmidt (that theme tune)
  • Once Upon a Time (its her *destiny*)
  • Lie to Me (why all the beans on toast)
  • The L Word (I had no idea this was about LGBT+ folx until I was 20)
  • American Horror Story (don’t watch at night if you get the heebie jeebies)
  • Bates Motel (I remember I liked it, but not too much else about it)

The shows listed above are pretty diverse, so I’m sure there is something for everyone. Also Mulan and Monsters Inc are on there.

Happy viewing and give me your suggestions!


June Birchbox: French Sole – What’s in the box?

I’ve been getting Birchboxes for a few months now, and have been meaning to post it on here but never really got around to it. There’s a lot of excitement involved, and I do my best to never really look online at what’s coming. In fact, this month I totally forgot all about it, so apologies must be sent to the courier who just saw me in a rather disheveled state in my dressing gown! (I am going to get dressed soon, I’m having a lazy day before doing a good 10 mile walk, that I will hopefully be able to finish today!)

So this month’s box has been put together with French Sole, who designed the box and a rather cool fabric bag that I can keep it all in. It looks like Licorice All Sorts which makes it amazing!

So, what’s in the box?

The first thing that I noticed was the balance me Super Moisturising Body Wash.

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This smells delicious. It is actually a product that I have used previously after getting it free with Glamour Magazine a couple of months back, so I can already tell you that it leaves your skin feeling really good after use. I was using it after swimming as I’d ran out of my Sun, Swim & Gym shower gel, and it was so refreshing to not smell of chlorine after doing my turn in the pool!

Next up is Styl London‘s Temporary Tattoos.

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If I was going to a festival this summer I would be so excited to be taking these with me! I’m not, but I’m sure we’ll manage to find a reason to try them out! They’re gold and silver in colour, too, which means taht they will go with pretty much anything.

Thirdly, we’ve got English Laundry by Christopher Wicks

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Apparently it is a “bright and fruity fragrance … both flirty and fun”, and who doesn’t want to smell flirtatious?

It does carry quite an alluring smell, but I feel that it is far too mature for me. I’m 23 and this is definitely the perfume of someone who can handle responsibility. Note to self: wear this to job interviews.

Yesto cucumbers Soothing hypoallergenic facial wipes won the 2011 Allure Best of Beauty Award.Apparently they “Instantly Remove Make Up”, and so I will definitely be putting that theory to the test.

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I love make up wipes because I am lazy. If make up wipes didn’t exist, I would just go to sleep in make up and let the bacteria attack my skin. (Please note, this is not the reason I have acne.)

I’d never heard of Mirenesse before opening up my box, but inside it I have got a Secret Weapon iCurl 24hr Mascara.

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I love mascara, mostly because it is the easiest part of make up. I’m always wary of long lasting make up products, but this looks a little different and I don’t think it has anything dodgy in it that could damage where it is put. (Disclaimer: I am not an expert).

Last, but certainly not least, is Beauty Protector Protect & Oil

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I love doing my hair and making it pretty and plaiting it so I get curls (and so it doesn’t blow everywhere while I’m out or get knotted in my sleep) and these cute little glass bottles look simple to use and promise protection from UV damage, whilst smelling “a-mazing!” Nobody loses!

If you feel tempted to get your own Birchbox each month, click this link here:

Please excuse the attrocious photography, My phone has lost the ability to focus, it would seem!

Exams are nearly over and another project is underway

So, as many of you know I work as a private tutor. I teach maths, English and science to children, teenagers and people with hopes and dreams. I mostly do maths, which surprises most people with my degree being in English Literature, but I am an absolute maths whiz.

If you were in any kind of education with me, you’ll probably know that exams were easy for me. I got full marks in one AS exam, and 90% in another one, and often it was my coursework that that let me down, so working solely with GCSE students on exams it feels great when I get the positive texts that tell me they think they have gotten around 30-50% on their higher maths paper (especially when some of them sat the Edexcel paper that went viral yesterday!). This may seem a little low, and you may wonder why less than half of the marks is good, but it only takes around 30% to nail a C. And with the six students I put through maths GCSE this year, only two were sitting the exam for the first time in year 11, and the majority of my students speak English as an additional language.

Results day is just over two months away, so nervous as I am, I’m sure my students are definitely worrying more! I’m just hoping that my 100% pass rate stands for everyone’s sake!

Now that exams are getting out of the way (only Paper 2 maths on Monday), I will be throwing myself into the secondary project that I have been working on alongside my tuition. For my primary students in particular, I write all my own work sheets. Often I will work from books designed to complement the National Curriculum at home, but I have developed quite a knack for writing worksheets for both maths and English, for my students in Key Stage 2. I am hoping to put these together on a website that will help parents access work for their children if they are struggling in a certain area, or if they want a challenge.

On top of this, I am planning to write out various analyses to GCSE and A Level texts that are clear and understandable (especially to EAL students), as well explaining how to tackle some of the harder questions on the maths exams – something that many of my students feel the internet is lacking when they have sought help alone.

As well as working with students up to GCSE, I work with students sitting the QTS Numeracy and Literacy tests, and have got quite the stash of worksheets and advice to upload because I know that for many who haven’t done any numeracy work in particular since year 11 they can be extremely difficult.

So if I’m quiet online or in life, just know, I’m probably attached to my laptop somewhere trying to organise all the work I’ve been doing for the last two years into a website, or helping someone’s child tackle a particularly fiendish word problem!

Dear Teenage Girls

Dear teenage girls,

Many of you that I come into contact with each week have low self esteem. Your concept of your appearance is skewed by the images that are forced on you by an airbrushed society. You feel your bodies too fat, your hair too lank, your skin to acne ridden and your clothes too plain. You set standards for yourself you cannot meet. You talk about how you intend to cut carbs from your diet to lose weight. You get up early to prepare yourself for the catwalk that secondary school has become.

And then, when I stop you in your tracks, when I dare to say the thing that your world has failed to tell you, that you are enough as you are, you cannot believe me. You quote your weight and tell me that it is far too big. I tell you that weight is no marker of who you are. This is still not enough and so I find myself crunching numbers to show you how perfectly your BMI is poised in the “healthy” range, even though internally I am cursing myself as I know the number is bullshit but this reaffirmation in number form pacified you.

What surprises me most about all of this, and what has taught me most also, is how you criticise your own body yet celebrate mine. Whilst this could be seen as general politeness were you anyone else, but the frankness and honesty of our conversations let’s me know otherwise. You tell me I am perfectly proportioned. It’s okay that I’m a little wider because I am also much taller than you. I am not saying that my body is a monstrosity – in fact I love my body, it is awesome! – but I only wish you could see that to look at mine with contentment but yours with disgust is ridiculous. It is no fault of your own, but you have evolved to see error in yourself that you could never see in another human being. In fact, as I quote my own weight (currently 17st 9.5lbs – class 2 obese in BMI terms), you stop and understand that there is a reason for my weight loss – if you weighed that much, so would you. But it is about so much more than that number I see on the scale each Thursday.

Here’s the truth: that person you are trying to look like doesn’t exist. No matter how much dieting you do, how much make up you apply and how much your jeans cost. Follow your heart, follow your dreams and realise that you are enough as you are.

Do not be governed by the number on the scale. Do not delete photos of yourself because you don’t like how you look. Do not turn your face and hide from the camera. There are many things in this world we cannot control. But many others we can. Number one on the list? Happiness.

Why My Live Well for Less Challenge Failed

You may recall that I undertook a challenge to save money whilst eating well, following the Slimming World plan. Well, it turned out that supermarket shopping was not my downfall. I kept looking at different receipts trying to work out why I wasn’t handed the answers. I make two visits a week to supermarkets – mostly because I don’t drive, as I have to carry my food shop a mile home from the supermarket. But, if you know me well, you’ll know that I will happily carry a good 20kg of shopping home before I’ll consider calling a taxi. So I guess what the outcome here is is that I am not going to blog about saving at the supermarket.

I have not gained nothing however, I have changed my approach to the money in my purse and so little impulses like a latte that I don’t need are getting cut. Anything smaller than £1 in my purse at the end of the day is put in a tin. This has generally meant that I am more hesitant to just haphazardly break into a note, it also means the guy in the corner shop is less than pleased when I go to top up the electric with a variety of coins every other week!

My Live Well For Less Challenge

Has anyone else been watching the BBC1 show ‘Eat Well For Less’ in which Greg Wallace, Chris Bavin and Lucy Jones (the nutritionist) help families to shave a fortune off their weekly food shop? I have been gripped by it for the last two weeks, and spend most of the time sitting there shouting at the screen “how the heck do you spend £360 a week on shopping?” and “why are you going food shopping 17 times a week?” These aren’t even exaggerations, but are actually taken from the two families featured so far.

I don’t have children and I live alone, so my income only needs to be spent on me. I’m not a brand heavy person, and if you looked in my kitchen right now the only thing that is expensive really is my coffee, because I am a coffee snob. Instant coffee has to be Azera, and a 100g tub will set you back £4.99 at full cost, compared to the £1 of coffee that I could get just by switching to a cheaper brand. But seeing as I don’t go through coffee too quickly at the moment, I am happy to maintain that this is the nicest coffee, and it is better to gain a saving by buying it on offer (currently £3 for the 100g tub in Tesco). The only tea that I drink is herbal or fruit, and my favourite tea is Twinings Strawberry and Mango, currently on offer at Tesco “2 for £2.50”, instead I opted for a 90p own brand Peppermint tea (second favourite flavour) in the hope that it would have a good enough flavour to satisfy my taste buds. So I am willing to try new brands.

Over the next week, I am going to keep all receipts and log every penny spent that goes beyond rent and utilities. Every dash to Tesco on the way home and even nipping into a newsagent for a drink will be logged so that I can see how exactly I can find savings in my week. I estimate that I spend £25 per week on groceries – so here’s hoping that I am not wildly out!

First order of business is definitely going to be to complete and inventory of everything in the kitchen cupboards and freezer already, so that I am not needlessly buying (I already know I have lots of tinned tomatoes and passata).

Feel free to get involved and complete your own Live Well for Less Challenge and see how much you can save! If you’re joining in, leave a comment below or send me a link to your own blog!

An Update and An Apology

I am writing this blog to catch up my faithful readers with the four months that I failed to post for. I’m not normally so rubbish when it comes to posting, and over the summer I was blogging several times a week. Mostly because I am so passionate about writing that to not do it would be almost criminal. Things really have changed in my life in this time. I finished working at Edge Hill University, I started working at Boots in the Trafford Centre (and left) and I even took the plunge into full time self employment. It’s really not easy though as clients disappear almost as fast as they arrive, but it’s all about keeping up with it, and as I get settled into this new routine I am hoping to get crafty and put the etsy shop name I’m hogging to some actual use. Never mind the additional change that is moving into a flat on my own! So much independence!

One thing that I would like to say though, is that m anxiety has possibly been the main reason for my lack of posting. Life has actually been really good. Two days after my last post here I joined slimming world, in that time I have lost 2st2lbs. I have a lot more to go, (about 6st) but I won’t bore you guys with that, I’m thinking of blogging my way slim on a new url. In spite of all the positivity in my life, a lot of it is really scary too. And on top of all the changes that I struggle with, anxiety isn’t really specific. It doesn’t discriminate. And there isn’t much of a difference between excitement and anxiety as a feeling physically for me, which can be quite confusing.

I’m hoping to carve aside some time to write a proper post about anxiety – I haven’t really mentioned it before, but I want to find a way to reach out to all the people, especially students, that feel like they are at the end of their tether. You may not achieve the highest heights of success (though you are in charge of however that is measured) but you can still achieve. I’ll save all that for later though as it’s not really something I can throw away in passing. But I’m back! I’m going to attempt to do the Daily Posts as best as I can too. Love to you all!