Life Update | 2016 Recap

Happy New Year! It feels strange to finally be back to blogging but I’m so glad that I’ve managed to pick up my laptop and start somewhere.

In all honesty, 2016 hasn’t been the greatest year for me. And no, not because the UK voted to leave the EU or because Donald Trump was elected US President. And no, not because of the mountains of celebrity deaths that happened this year, either, although all of those things were rubbish too! But I’m hoping that by doing a recap on the year will help me to appreciate the good things that did happen this year and move on from the bad. So here goes!

In January, I saw in the New Year full of hope for the year ahead. I had just received news a couple of weeks earlier that I had managed to secure a traineeship at a law firm for when I finally complete my postgraduate diploma. I genuinely couldn’t believe it when I got the phonecall and spent most of January and February awaiting an official letter to offer me the position, which I did finally receive in early February. As I’m still seeing so many of my friends and peers at university struggle to find a traineeship, I can appreciate even more now how lucky I am to have secured this job and I’m now really looking forward to starting this September – I’m actually going to be a lawyer!

Things started to deteriorate slightly more rapidly in late February/March, however, as my dissertation deadline was looming and I found that I had not done nearly as much work as I should have by that point. I ended up in a terrible habit of regularly staying up until 6am and wakening again at 11am to study the whole of the next day until 6am again for weeks and weeks on end until I finally completed all 11,000 words of my dissertation. It was a massive relief to finally hand it in.

My relief was shortlived, though, as I unfortunately received the awful news that my grandad had been diagnosed with leukemia and he ended up spending over a month in hospital so things were turned upside down for a while, although he’s thankfully doing a bit better now.

I then had my exams in May which wasn’t easy given everything else that was going on at home and in my personal life too. I got through it, though, and finally completed my last exam of my undergraduate degree – a massive accomplishment, especially as I had completely fallen out of love with university at that point!

20160608_121707_HDR
Edinburgh, Scotland

In June, I spent the week away in Edinburgh with my boyfriend and tried to distract myself from the degree results that I was expecting. We didn’t have a release date for our results, but knew roughly when the exam board would be meeting and so I suspected that I would be getting my results either when I was away or as soon as I returned home. Three days into our stay, I woke up to a text saying that my degree results were in – honestly, I didn’t have much hope. I fully expected to get a 2:2 degree which would still have been an achievement, but wasn’t the result I had been striving for over the past four years. It was such a shock, therefore, when I realised that I had actually managed to get a 2:1 degree in Scots Law (Honours) and I couldn’t help but randomly burst into tears over the next few days as I celebrated. All the stress and worry had actually been worth it and I didn’t dread graduating as much anymore!

13537764_10209775871731765_6471046676183677703_n

My graduation took place just a short month later and it was a wonderful day spent with my family and my boyfriend – the weather even stayed good for it, which is rare in Scotland! I’ll admit, I was super nervous and trying to organise photographs, tickets and my outfit beforehand just made me stress even more, but I managed to make it across that stage without falling in my heels which is what I was most worried about!

At this time, I was working part-time having managed to secure a temporary position with the charity that I’ve been volunteering with for the past four years. I was really looking forward to it, but unfortunately I found that the more time I spent there, the more fed up I became and soon I couldn’t wait for university to start again. I found out after my graduation that I had secured a place for my postgraduate diploma at the same university I did my undergraduate degree at and that I would be starting it in early September.

At this point, I feel obliged to warn anyone who’s reading that the rest of this post doesn’t have a happy ending – all the good things that happened to me throughout 2016 have now been written about and September is unfortunately where everything really fell apart. I mentioned previously that after I had handed in my dissertation, my personal life started to suffer and things came to a head in September when my relationship with my boyfriend of four years ended. Honestly, I’m not sure how to write about it as it’s still quite fresh, raw and painful but this is also around the time that I completely lost motivation for blogging. I’m not, of course, solely blaming that as university had become quite hard at this point as well – my life just became so hectic and different very quickly and I found it quite hard to deal with so unfortunately blogging just took a complete backseat.

14519865_10210686946628068_5256639704696639993_n

Thankfully, I have managed (for the most part) to keep up with my work at university and I’m working towards overcoming the issues that I’m dealing with in my personal life. A lot still hurts and it’s been difficult to go from having the rest of my life planned with someone to not knowing what the next year will hold, but I think I’m getting there, one baby step at a time, and I’m learning a lot about myself. It’s hard to stay hopeful for 2017 but I’m going to work hard at focusing on improving myself, spending more time with my friends and family and getting through my diploma so that I can start my job in September and move forward with my life.

And hopefully I won’t fall away from blogging like this again!

Stacey x

 

 

Lifestyle | Living with Depression

The title of this post might be slightly misleading, but I couldn’t think of a better title that wasn’t too long or rambling. This isn’t another blog post about how to cope with your own depression and how I’ve overcome it. It’s true that I’ve been depressed but today I’m talking about what happens when your partner becomes depressed.

From my own research, this isn’t a topic that is talked about often. The focus of most blog posts and help forums is on the person who is depressed – and rightly so. But there’s such little help out there for those of us who have or are currently living with someone who’s depressed and I think that’s because we feel too selfish to even consider that we might need help too. The fact of the matter is, though, that living with someone who has depression is hard. Seeing the person that you love and care for change so drastically can send you into a spiral of different emotions and feelings of helplessness. Or at least it did for me.

And don’t get me wrong – you try. Every single day you try to help your partner overcome the dark cloud that’s constantly hanging over them, their own feelings of hopelessness and despair. But there comes a point that you can’t be positive and cheerful anymore. Before you know it, that hopelessness and feeling like there’s just no way out start to take their firm hold on you, refusing to let go for even a second.

Sometimes that can’t be helped. It’s well known that living with someone who has depression can often result in you becoming depressed too. It’s a sad fact. But the reality is that allowing that to happen won’t help your partner and it won’t help you. So I’ve composed a short list of things that you can actively do to look after yourself and your partner during such a difficult time.

  1. Take time out for yourself. Your mental health is of paramount importance, especially if you want to be able to help your partner – otherwise it’s just like the blind leading the blind. Go to a spa, take up a new hobby, go to the gym for a few hours .. anything to get you out the house and have some time to yourself. You need it. You deserve it.
  2. Don’t give up. It seems like the easiest option at times, to just succumb to the darkness and hope that someone else can pull you out like you’ve tried to do with your partner. But they might not. And the best person who can help you is yourself. Just try to remember that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel – take it from someone who knows.
  3. Seek help. You’re not on your own – and neither is your partner. Look into seeing a therapist or go to your GP to get information on counselling services or support groups. Google is also a fantastic tool for getting telephone numbers or online chats of support organisations, like Samaritans or Breathing Space. If things are getting worse, you might even want to consider medication for either you or your partner. Don’t forget that there are alternative therapies such as St Johns Wort or even Kalms that can often be beneficial for high levels of stress or anxiety.
  4. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Everyone leads such a painted life on social media now – no one’s life is that perfect. People will always pick and choose the things that they want to share with the world and those things will almost always be positive. This doesn’t reflect the truth of anyone’s life. So don’t get down because Susie from Finance went on a two week holiday to Florida with her partner and they had a “wonderful” time – they probably argued at least twice and had a terrible flight. Allowing this to get to you will just add fuel to the fire – and you really don’t need that right now.
  5. Talk to your partner. Tell them how you’re feeling too. It’s tempting to deal with everything on your own – their worries and anxieties as well as yours. But you’re not in this alone. Despite how it might feel, your partner is still there and they can still support you. Just be careful not to criticise – depression is no one’s fault.
  6. Talk to someone else. A family member, a friend … anyone you trust. Sometimes outside perspective can really help. And sometimes just offloading your worries and emotions can make you feel a million times better too. You might feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders right now, but you don’t have to deal with this all by yourself. You’re not alone.

To be honest, I could go on for hours here about everything I’ve learned about supporting someone with depression and coping with it. But this blog post is beginning to get quite long and if you’re in this situation right now, six bullet points is more than enough for you to deal with.

Try not to be too overwhelmed. It’s a scary, adult situation and there’s no quick fix – believe me, I’ve tried. Be patience and stay strong. Things will get better.

Stacey x

Lifestyle | Review | Lanson Rosé 1760 Champagne @ Graduation

Last month, I had the amazing experience of graduating from university with a 2:1 in LLB Law! I was super nervous for it (because there’s so much to worry about!) but had the best day ever – I wish I could do it all over again! I was surrounded by the best people in my life (family, friends and my boyfriend) and we all celebrated some very hard work and many the many breakdowns it’s caused me in the past four years.

Beforehand, my family were definitely more excited than I was. I was worrying and fussing over absolutely everything – my outfit, my makeup, my hair, falling over on stage, tripping up, where to go, what to do … the list was endless. But anyway, my mum was so excited that she decided to buy a bottle of champagne to bring along to celebrate at the reception after the ceremony.

Now, this is a fairly big deal for my family. I’m the eldest sibling and the first person in my immediate family to ever go to university, nevermind graduate from it! We don’t go out for fancy dinners and we definitely don’t buy champagne … but this was a special occasion and my mum wanted to splash out a bit with this wonderful (yet still affordable!) bottle of champagne.

Honestly, I felt a bit guilty when she came home from Tesco with it – that she’d spent money on something that I didn’t see as a massive achievement and, quite honestly, at that time, didn’t even want to do because I was so nervous! But she told me that it had been on offer and was only £30 so that made me feel a bit better.

When I finally graduated, I was relieved. It was nowhere near as stressful as I thought it would be and I definitely couldn’t wait to get some photographs taken with my friends and family before opening the champagne! The reception was held in one of the nicer university buildings that had a gorgeous garden area surrounding it – perfect for taking photographs! So once all that was out of the way, my mum pulled out this bottle of champagne with very classy plastic cups. And it was beautiful.

I didn’t even know you could get rosé champagne – but I would recommend it a million times over! It was so light and fizzy with loads of fruity/berry tones. There was loads in the bottle as well – all five of us had a couple of glasses each which was fabulous. I’m not sure exactly what percentage it was, but I think it was around 12% which, for me, was more than enough! I’m notorious for being an absolute lightweight so by the time I’d had a couple of glasses (and not very much to eat all day), I was feeling amazing and practically flying back to hand in my gown! That might just be me though, who knows.

All in all, I’d fully recommend it to anyone who fancies splashing out a little bit – but on a budget. After all, if you can get a beautiful bottle of rosé champagne for £30, why spend more? And if it’s a special occasion – treat yo’ self!

Stacey x

Travel | Premier Inn Hub – Edinburgh Royal Mile

As a student, I’ve found it hard to save up enough money to go on holiday with my other half; this year has been especially difficult since I am due to pay nearly £7,000 in tuition fees alone for my postgraduate study in the coming months. So instead of saving for a couple of weeks away on a beach in Spain, I’ve been putting every last penny I can spare into a savings fund for my future which is, quite frankly, incredibly boring and adult – i.e. no fun at all.

Understandably, I was pretty gutted about this as it’s been a few years since I’ve went abroad anywhere and life is just so much better on holiday with a tan, so my boyfriend and I decided to take a last-minute trip to Edinburgh. As we only live around an hour from there, it was an ideal location – away from our usual hunting grounds with the opportunity to relax and be proper tourists. Now, usually Edinburgh is fairly expensive – after all, it’s Scotland’s capital – but for a bargain hunter like me? Easy peasy.
After many searches on Trip Advisor, I came across the Premier Inn Hub. This is basically a more compact version of a standard Premier Inn room – and a lot cheaper! Yes, it has a bed and yes, it has a bathroom and yes, it is right in the heart of the city. What more could a girl want? The room itself was pretty small but it had everything you want want – a smart TV with some free movies (hello, Bridget Jones), a comfy bed, a bathroom with a fabulous shower and storage space under the bed and behind the floor-length mirror. Check, check, check and check!

20160606_143217_HDRWe did end up with an accessible room because it was the only room available when we arrived so, in fairness, our room would have been slightly larger than the average but from having a peek in the other rooms while they were being cleaned, I would have still been pretty happy in one of them. Every room also comes with a customized map of the city, as you can probably see from the photograph above, which just added such a modern touch to the room. A final perk would be that everything from check-in to check-out is controlled by technology, including the lights and temperature of the room – ideal for my tech-obsessed boyfriend!

Since the rooms are compact there was no room for a kettle, however the hotel compensated for this by having facilities in their deli for all guests to help themselves to free unlimited tea and coffee. For me, I found this 20160606_200906_HDRfar better than having a kettle in the room because there was far more selection in 20160606_205138_HDRterms of teas and sugars in the deli than the average hotel would ever provide in the room – and there was more of it! We definitely made use of the deli while we were there because it was surprisingly reasonably priced for a hotel in the city centre and it was tasty too! I’d highly recommend the bacon sandwiches and millionaires shortbread – after all, what could be better than snuggling up in bed with chocolate, tea, bacon and Bridget Jones? And for all of you that aren’t scaredy cat’s like me, there was a good selection of horror films too!

All in all, we had a great trip and we’re already planning to go back! It was the ideal place to chill, see the city and it only cost a grand total of £240 for four nights (Monday-Friday). To put that figure into perspective – the other hotels we were looking at in Edinburgh cost upwards of around £100 per night so we definitely got a great deal.

Oh, and Edinburgh is a great place. It might be filled with tourist attractions and stereotypes of Scotland but it’s fun and if you look past that, it’s quite simply beautiful. Perfect for a mid-summer city break – so 1…2…3…go!

Stacey x

 

Welcome | First Blog Post!

Hi everyone and welcome to my first blog post on Tartan Tulip! Firstly, thank you so much for popping over to read this and I hope, despite my current lack of substantial posts, that you continue to come visit or maybe even follow me!

I thought my first post would be an ideal time for a quick introduction to myself and this blog so firstly, my name is Stacey and I’m 22 years old. I’m from a little town in Scotland and I’m very proud to call it home. I’ve very recently graduated from university after completing my law degree (or, as I like to call it, four years of absolute hell) and I’m now about to start studying for my diploma so that I can actually become a trainee solicitor!

I did have another blog prior to this, Red Rendezvous, however as my Honours year at university was so hectic, I accidentally abandoned it for a year and decided that now would be a perfect time for a fresh start. I also must confess that I really wanted a new blog name as I kept spelling ‘rendezvous’ wrong and if I can’t spell my own blog name then what’s the chances of anyone else getting it right?! So this time round, I’ve went for something that truly relates to me – Tartan Tulip reflects my Scottish heritage and my sheer love for both tartan and tulips … plus, I can actually spell it!

Anyway, thank you so much again for listening to my little ramble and I do hope that you continue to visit. I’m over on Bloglovin’ so please feel free to follow me on there or here (or both!) and leave me a comment to let me know where you are too!

Stacey x

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/17244671/?claim=g9bjzpj2v9w”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>