A Levels are frequently noted as some of the hardest exams you’ll ever sit and definitely served as a shock to the system at the start of Year 12, back in 2013. Having recently completed my A2 exams and with A Level results day quickly approaching (and GCSE results day too for that matter), I thought that I would summarise my A Levels experience and share my ups, downs and advice with you. A little pre-warning, this is likely to be a long and chatty post so it may be worth grabbing a cuppa! Year 12 - Back in August 2013, results day came around and I still hadn’t finalised my AS options choices. Although I had definitely wanted to study Geography, History and Maths, as these had been my favourite and stronger subjects throughout GCSE, we were strongly encouraged to take 4 options for AS meaning that in a rushed and un-researched panic, I chose French. This was a major downfall on my part and I would strongly encourage anyone starting their AS Levels in September to properly read into the subject content of the course you hope to study or if you are unsure of your fourth option choice, equally consider only taking 3 subjects from the beginning. Most universities don’t take into account your 4th AS choice if its not continued to A2 (though equally some universities will count your result for UCAS points) and so it is often seen as a waste of time and energy that could impact your AS and A2 results overall. Its also worth noting about additional qualifications offered at your Sixth Form such as General Studies, EPQ and Critical thinking. At my Sixth Form these were heavily pushed at a time when you are already overwhelmed by starting new subjects and a different style of learning. I personally opted for an EPQ which involved writing a 5000-word essay of a subject of your choice. I did, however, underestimate the amount of time this would take and the deadline was in the middle of March, a critical time for starting revision for my AS Exams, proved to impact my AS level grades. As a result, although I scored the highest mark for my EPQ Essay, it did heavily impact the outcome of my AS Exams meaning that I would have to later re-sit some of my AS units at the same time as my A2 exams.
Year 13 – Year 13 seems like a blur to me, but most significantly I noticed a further step up from Year 12 in terms of difficulty. Taking History, Geography and Maths, there appeared a clear change in exam technique from the long answer questions being 24 marks or 15 marks to now being 45 and 40 mark essays, and the difficulty of Maths AS to A2 being another significant jump. The longer answer questions took a substantial amount of time to answer and required a totally different approach. My workload in Year 13 changed too, compared to Year 12. Year 12 consisted of teachers constantly bombarding you with extra work, often deemed a waste of time, whereas in Year 13, particularly having now dropped French and EPQ, there appeared less work being set by teachers, but the work itself would take longer to complete. More commonly, I spent my time doing wider research or creating revision material throughout the year- such I would definitely encourage from the start of Year 12 to give you a wider scope of the subject, especially now many A Level courses have gone linear. The more obvious difference between Year 12 and Year 13 was UCAS. For those unaware of UCAS, UCAS is the only route for UK students (as far as I am aware) to apply to university. I could dedicate a whole separate to post for applying to university and the UCAS process ( I actually featured a guest post HERE for those interested) but the most time consuming aspect of the application process was certainly writing a personal statement. There aren’t many people I know that enjoy writing about themselves but unfortunately it is a vital component when applying for university and one I urge those waiting to go into Year 13 this summer to start now if you have the chance! Writing a personal statement is heavily time consuming and a real pain frankly so its worth getting it done ahead of starting the school year to save yourself time and drafts. At the start of Year 13 I also lined up numerous university open days and researched into various Business and Marketing courses I was interested in, before finding my ideal course – Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations. I’d strongly encourage you to, even if you are only vaguely interested in going to university, to research into these courses over the summer and line up some open days since nothing lets you explore whether Uni would be right for you then exploring different parts of the country and hearing from university students themselves about what they like and dislike about their course and university. Year 13 was also the time when my health took a turn. Un-known at the time, I was not in a good place with my health, which resulted in a 9-day stay in a neurology ward by Easter. ( I have written all about this here).This meant that after much hard work throughout the year, I was faced with the realisation that taking my A2 exams in 2015 would not be a possibility and that I’d have to defer my exams until Summer 2016. This at the time seemed daunting but I would not have been in the right frame of mind or health to have undergone them and definitely don’t regret my decision to defer – your health, both mental and physical, at the end of the day is the most important; over any education. Year 14 – Returning to Sixth Form in September 2015 was a daunting and lonely prospect. All of my closest friends had moved away to University and I was faced with the challenge of not only another year of difficult A2 study, but having to form new friendships in a year group of already settled friendship groups. The first 2 weeks of Year 14 were the hardest for me, having to introduce myself to people in already close knit classes. I found that I was isolating myself away from my fellow Year 13’s at break and lunchtimes and keeping myself to myself. Fortunately, 3 days into term I jetted off to Kavos on a pre-scheduled girls holiday which definitely allowed me to escape from the difficult reality of home. This allowed for a short break before returning back to reality, but I couldn’t completely relax while I was away. By the time I had returned from my holiday, it was week 3 of term and I was able to get close to a fellow Year 14, who introduced me to a group of lovely Year 13 girls. Although this friendship group would never replace the close group of friends of whom I’d been friends with since Year 7, it was a lifted burden knowing that I would have friends to talk to and reassure me throughout the year. From this point on, the year seemed to fly by and it was soon Easter again and I was handing in my A2 History coursework before spending 3 months heavily revising for my exams. Year 14 was a difficult concept to grasp, but its not so bad. If you are faced with the difficult decision as to whether to retake some of your exams, or resit a year, it is important to remember that it is only a year of your life now that will help to impact years of your future. 10 months of getting your head down and focusing on what you want for yourself is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Undertaking Year 14 allowed me to confirm to myself that I definitely wanted to go onto further education and go on to study something that I want to pursue as a career. Yes, I’ll admit it was difficult to wave goodbye to my closest friends as they moved on to pursue their own ventures, but I was easily able to (and I did during October half term) jump on a train and travel around the country to visit them. I also think it helps to strengthen existing friendships and realise that with some friends you’ll drift apart - and that’s okay! I am just under 3 weeks away from receiving my fate but I am equally of the mind-set that everything happens for a reason.If my results don’t go the way I am hoping for, then there will always be another pathway leading to where I want to go. I realise that by the end of my long-winded ramble on my A Level Experience that I haven’t really given much advice, but equally I hope that I have given you an insight into what the last 3 years of my education have been like. Who knows where the next 3-4 years will be taking me, but I certainly hope to be able to share these years with you. Have you completed your A- Levels? Let me know below! Beth x x
At this time of year, pollen and hayfever are the bain of my life. Fortunately, I've found a way to suppress the symptoms and cope with the itchy eyes, sniffly nose and general nuisance of hayfever, hence, I thought I would share my favourite products that help ease the symptoms for fellow sufferers.
Balsam Tissues - When prepped for hayfever, my tissues of choice without a doubt are balsam tissues as they are gentle on the skin and leave you without a rudolph nose. More often than not, however, you'll find me accompanied by a toilet roll by my side to ensure a constant tissue supply.
Hayfever Tablets - Tablets, like tissues, are a fairly obvious one but I find that tablets on the market are much of a muchness. Those containing Cetirizine or Loratadine are non-drowsy, unlike Piraton, allowing you carry on with your day-to-day routine. I have found the best value hayfever tablets are those found in Home Bargains or Aldi which work as well as the leading brand.
Prevalin Allergy Nasal Spray - When tablets don't relieve the constant sneezing, I have found Prevalin Nasal Spray a great and effective way to stop the sniffing and sneezing. A little costly I'll admit, but I have found this to be the most effective.
Optrex Itchy Eye Drops - I'd been afraid of using eye drops since my early childhood but when my itchy eyes got too painful, I gave myself no choice and I wouldn't look back. These ease the aggravation that pollen causes to your eyes and makes your eyes less red - winner.
Sunglasses -When summer hits I'm never without my sunglasses. Whether i'm wearing them on my head or on my eyes, I always rely on having sunglasses close at hand to diguise my red eyes and prevent the pollen getting the better of me. What are your favourite products for easing your hayfever symptoms? Beth xxx
Hello all, long time no speak! I'll be honest, drafting up a blog post has gotten more and more difficult the longer I have left between posts yet I've missed blogging so much over the past couple of months that I couldn't wait to get back into the swing of things and update you all on where I've been.
For long time readers of my blog, you may recall that in Easter 2015 I was admitted into a neurology ward for 9 days ( read more on that HERE) and from that point on, my A Levels ( being year 13 at the time ) were put on hold until September. Not wanting to risk another year of A levels on top of year 14, I really knuckled down last year to focus on my A2's and put my hobbies and social life on hold. Needless to say, now that my 11 A Level exams are over, I can't wait to get back stuck into reading and writing blogposts again.
So what else have I got planned for my summer? I plan on taking up overtime at work , of which I currently work weekends, and put some savings aside for university in September ( results permitting). I have also been dying to declutter and organise my room so after 8 bin bags work of unused items, paper waste and old clothes , I finally feel content with the belongings I have surrounding me ( all thanks to Marie Kondo!) I also have two holidays planned, the first with my family at the start of July to Menorca, and a girly holiday to Malia shortly after that I am currently planning, shopping and packing for which I feel will allow for some well overdue sunshine.
For followers of my Twitter ( shameless plug) you may also know that I've started running again. Me and exercise have never really got along but I wanted to set myself a challenge over the next three months to be able to run 5km. If any of you are avid runners or have any tips for me then do let me know! Finally , I've started dedicating more time to my personal and blog Instagram accounts ( @bethme and @bethmayblogs) so I'd love for you to check them out.
That's all for today folks! I've got a couple of other blogposts in the pipeline so do stay tuned! If you have any requests for blogposts then please do leave them in the comments below!
Last September, four of my close friends and I went on our first girls holiday, more specifically an 18-30 holiday to Kavos. Since our return, I've been itching to share my experience with my readers and have finally, six months after getting back from our trip, got round to completing my blog post-hoorah.
ACCOMODATION Having paid less than £190 each for a weeks' stay, flights and insurance, I wasn't expecting much from our accommodation however I was (pleasantly) surprised. If it's a cheap, friendly place, central to the strip (right by Buzz bar!) that you're looking for, then the Afrodite Complex is ideal and it was! Considering this is a 2 * accommodation, we were made to feel at home- especially being a group of 5 eighteen-year-olds, and felt safe and welcome at Afrodite, a relatively small complex – you could say we perhaps got a little bit too settled into Kavos life!
The five of us stayed in what I like to call our 'granny flat', on the doorstep for the pool and pool bar - a five bedded two storey room with two small bathrooms and a spiral staircase. It was basic and suited our need for somewhere to crash after a night on the strip. The rooms are basic but cleaned often. I’d also, if choosing to stay at Afrodite, strongly encourage you to pay the €40 for Air con as I don’t know how we’d have coped without it. It’s also worth taking a spare towel with you, and old bed linen if you are wary of your deposit, so you don’t get the hotels towels and bedding covered in paint, fake tan or booze. We brought spare towels and received all of our deposit back. On a similar, note, pack spare loo roll as you’ll be provided with a limited supply, otherwise it is sold fairly cheaply at supermarkets nearby.
The pool area is clean, well-lit at night with a large number of sunbeds that are available all day – plenty for everyone without having to get up at the crack of dawn to save them. The staff were friendly and would do anything for you. The pool bar was also clean and serves a wide range of good, quick food - toast and sausage baps were a god send as a hangover cure! Music is also played around the pool so you’ll likely only have a couple of hours -5.00 -9.00 am most likely- in peace.
I’ll cut to the chase here – your main priority for booking an 18-30 holiday will likely not be for the beautiful Greek cuisine or tranquil beaches, though these are great, you’ll likely want to hear about the nightlife and booze! If you’re looking for ridiculously cheap alcoholic ‘cocktails’ in a hot country, you’re looking in the right place. The strip is packed with bars, which employ annoying-but-persuasive PRs (staff that’ll go to great lengths (even chasing you down the strip) to try to get you into their clubs (all open fronted and open every night aside from your big names like Future, Trinity and Atlantis that open only for the big club nights) with the promise of the lowest priced drinks and the best value. When in Kavos we always started at JC's Bar (close to Buzz Bar and Snobs) as DJ Mad F***er, the resident DJ who’s also part of Afrodite, always had great Indie songs and would have a laugh with us and play our requests. JC’s is great and definitely the only place you should go for a Haribo HeadFu**er (a Kavos special containing 6 spirits and gummy bears. Most places will offer HeadFu**ers for €5 or 'all you can drink for an hour' also for €5 so it's worth bargaining with the PRs. Also, Rodney’s Bar / TKD’s offered another Kavos special ‘the Watermelon’, TKDs also offered great food and their burgers are great – a little pricier on the strip but definitely worth it. We also visited the TexMex restaurant which sold tasty Mexican Food. On the other hand, Olympia, though it may sound attractive with its bargain full English, is one to avoid.
When you arrive in an 18-30 destination, or most hotels really, you will get the usual selling tickets thing from reps but we only received the speech once through the trip – we’d already bought tickets for events online so didn’t opt for the all in wristband that was priced at £220 and. It’s also worth noting at this stage that where we had no problem booking tickets for the Kavos Cruise through ClubbingAway.co.uk, the foam party advertised was no longer running when we visited in September and the Pool Party we’d bought tickets for wasn’t well publicized if it was even running.
If you’re not fussed about events, however, you can still have a great night out without buying tickets for anywhere– though the Full Moon Party was fab (and you get a free top!) along with the Kavos Cruises Boat Party which was fab and included food!
THINGS TO DO
If you find yourself at a loose end in the daytime, Pedalos are available on the beach for around €3/4 per hour, and are a fun way to ease the hangover and the beaches are kept fairly clean too. Faster water sports are also found up and down the beach and cost around €30-40 a turn.
All in all, Kavos was a brilliant place to spend our first girls holiday- the drink was cheap, nightlife was great and we all felt safe while we were there. You need not learn Greek, and contrary to holiday horror stories, be ‘responsible’ and you shouldn’t end up in a foreign medical establishment. Kavos was an experience that I’ll never forget and one I caught the bug for when I didn’t expect to – if you’re up for a good laugh and a lot of dancing, a holiday to Kavos will be ideal!
If you have any questions about my experience, what I packed, spending money etc. please leave them below or feel free to tweet me @CosmticLover.
I had initial high hopes for this but unfortunately have been unimpressed by the results. Following the directions as stated, and being fairly capable in applying fake tan in the past I had hoped for a streak free tan but unfortunately was left disappointed. The tan, that you apply onto wet skin (with the shower off), is clear in colour so gives you no indication to where you've applied the product or areas you have missed. The tan then takes about 12 hours to develop in which you are left with evidence of streaky dark tan lines alongside white pale skin where the tan hasn't stuck (photographed). Not advisably, a couple of hours after applying the tan I used a body oil on the upper part of my legs which, in essence, removed the tan before it had chance to develop, at which point the biscuity fake tan scent also develops - so if you are to try this tan, definitely avoid moisturisers and oils post application. One thing this does do, remotely like its claims, is moisturise the skin, or at least doesn't dry it out, however after the streaky result I have been left with on first use, I shall stick to lotion to moisturise and other fake tans should I fancy a golden glow.
Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream is one of those cult multi-tasking products that are spoken about all over the blog-o-sphere. No doubt likely to gain similar positive press, their latest offering in the form of their Eight Hour® All-Over Miracle Oil is a versatile, multi-tasking formula for the face, body and hair. Infused with Tsubaki oil, an ultra-hydrating ingredient that works to deliver long-lasting moisture, it claims to reveal radiant, healthy-looking skin with a firmer appearance. Unlike the funky smell of Eight Hour Cream, the Eight Hour oil, on the other hand, has a much more pleasant citrus scent that is much more likeable and nicer to use. Though this is advertised to have three main uses, on your body, face and hair, I find the first my preferable method. Packaged in a spray bottle, the oil sprays a fine light mist that makes application on your body,arms and legs quick and easy, and makes you less likely to apply too much, leaving a non-greasy oil that sinks in quickly to your skin leaving your legs smooth and nourished. I've recently started trialling the CelluBlue cellulite cup ( review to follow) using this oil and found the two products compliment each other really well. As for use on your face, I find the best method, instead of spraying the oil directly onto your face or neck, is to apply one spray onto the palm of your hands, rub them together and then apply to your face. Though I opt to use this as a moisturising oil, this multi-tasking oil would, too, work well as a cleansing oil using a similar method and warm flannel. My least favourite use of this product is as a hair oil. For me, this oil isn't fine enough and is unsuited for my mid-length fine hair without making it look or feel greasy. For thicker, or more coarse hair, however, I'm sure this would work fine. Overall I've loved this as an alternative to thicker body butters; the spray makes the oil easy to use regularly and no doubt in the summer months will be one I get daily use.
When it comes to haircare myths, a lot are thrown around the blog-o-sphere. "Trimming your hair often will make your hair grow faster" is one I hear my mum going on about all the time, but is it true!? I was recently introduced to Madison Reed who wanted to set the record straight! If you haven't heard of them before, they're a hair colouring company that focuses on delivering a healthier colouring option in the convenience of your own home! [Check out their hair dye advisor to find out what colour is best for you!] Todays post features the most important hair-do's and hair-don'ts, but which surprises you the most?
I personally am relieved by the fact a haircut every 6-8 weeks is actually doing me good, as scary as the hairdresser seems. Whats your favourite hair myth? Is it busted?