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Charlotte Shares

  • Life Things

    Dealing with feeling homesick at university

    Moving away to university is a big thing. You pack up your bedroom, move across the country away from your family and friends and you don’t know anybody. It’s very normal to feel homesick when you find yourself in an unfamiliar environment. This can often lead to feeling lonely, sad, anxious or stressed.

    I have previously done a post on how to survive the stress of university and now I wanted to cover the aspect of dealing with homesickness as this is something I struggled with.

    My experience at university 

    When I moved away to university years ago I remember feeling really anxious and scared. I didn’t know anybody and I found the whole process very stressful. Often, I found myself on the phone with my parents at midnight, crying and telling them that I didn’t want to be there and wanted to move home. I found my first year extremely hard as I didn’t get on with my flatmates. I was very homesick and all I wanted to do was go home. The second and third year did get easier as I moved into a house with friends that I had made and we all looked out for each other and had a fab time!

    How can you deal with feeling homesick 

    I found certain things really helpful to try and overcome the homesick feeling and have a more enjoyable experience so I want to share my tips with you.

    1- Have familiar things in your room – Teddies, photographs, candles, mugs etc. It really helps to keep home comforts in your bedroom as it helps to bring back familiarity.

    2 – Make your room a nice environment to be in – University halls aren’t always the nicest, so as well as home comforts it’s nice to add touches such as fairy lights, cosy blankets and cushions. You’ll spend a lot of time in your room so you need to make it into an environment that you want to be in.

    3 – Talk to people – If you feel homesick, don’t suffer in silence! Talk to a friend or a tutor. Most universities will also have counselling services that you can use if you’re really struggling. The main thing to remember is that there’s always someone to talk to.

    4 – Talk to your parents – Setting aside a certain evening each week to Skype your parents is definitely really helpful. It gives you something to work towards as you know you’ll get to speak to your parents in just a few days time. It’s also a great way to keep up to date with what’s happening at home.

    5 – Plan a trip back home – I found it really helpful to go home for the weekend every 6-8 weeks. It gave me something to look forward to and made the difficult days in between easier knowing I could go home soon.

    The main thing to remember is that you have not failed because you feel homesick. It is very natural to feel this way. Use the support around you and never suffer in silence. Always remember how far you’ve come and how great you’ll feel when you graduate.

    I hope this is helpful to anyone who is currently feeling homesick.

    Do you have any tips for dealing with homesickness?

    Charlotte xx

    Dealing with homesickness at university
  • Motivation and Goals

    My goals for October – Let’s get organised!

    It’s that time of the month again, we all sit there and ask ourselves the question “where did September go? How is it October already?” – Yeah, I can totally relate! September flew by.

    My goals for September were very much focused on self-care and taking some time out for myself. I really enjoyed taking a back seat and relaxing. I spent the last week of September away with Shaun and it was so nice to have loads of chill out time and be able to relax.

    The plan for October 

    October is going to be a month focused on getting organised! I went to view a house last week and I’m in the process of sorting the sale of the house out with a solicitor. I’m trying to get the mortgage sorted as well. With all of this happening, I really need to stay on top of things this month.

    My Goals for the month  

    • Get on top of planning blog posts and sort out a schedule. – I’ve decided I want to have a schedule for uploading new posts. I think this will really help me with time management. At the moment I post as and when, but this really isn’t working for me. I’m an organised freak and like to have everything planned out for me.
    • Start thinking about Christmas presents. – This probably seems really early. The reality is once the house sale has gone through, I’m going to be poor!! I’ve set some money aside and I want to start making a list of how much I’m going to spend on people and ideas of what I can buy them.
    • Make lots of lists. – I love a good list! I want to start making lists of all the things I’m going to need to do with purchasing a house, what I’m going to need to buy and who I need to contact. Writing things down as a list always sets out a clearer picture in my head so I don’t get stressed with everything that needs doing.

    I’m keeping it pretty short this month with my goals. I know I’m going to be very busy. The best thing for me to do is focus on being organised and staying on top of things.

    What are your plans for the upcoming month?

    Charlotte xx

  • Travel

    A week of ultimate relaxation | Nyland Lodge, Cheddar

    Sometimes we all hit that point where we need a break. We need time to relax and unwind and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. This past week I’ve been in Cheddar, staying at the Nyland Lodge at Strawberryfield park. We booked the week away back in April just after my Nan passed away, I wanted something relaxing to look forward to… and It’s certainly been relaxing.

    Nyland Lodge

    Set on Strawberryfield park, Nyland Lodge is the perfect escape from everyday life. It was quiet and peaceful and it was so lovely to hear the birds chirping away in the trees. The lodge was fantastic. It had a very modern theme throughout and there was also so much natural light streaming through all of the windows. The lodge was fully equipped with everything that we could have possibly needed and more. My favourite feature was the hot tub. We used this at least twice a day and it was so relaxing.

    Hot tub at Nyland Lodge

    What we got up to 

    Honestly, we didn’t do a lot. We could have gone out and about and explored Cheddar but we chose not to. Most days consisted of waking up and eating breakfast, quickly followed by a dip in the hot tub. Sinking into hot water whilst the surrounding air was cold was honestly the most refreshing feeling ever. We took lots of board games with us and spent our days battling it out with Monopoly, Yahtzee and Dobble. We had a smart TV in our lodge which meant I could sign into my Netflix account … so as you can imagine we spent a lot of time binge-watching Netflix. We’re currently watching How to get away with murder and so far it seems really good. We took some films with us and spent our evenings snuggled up on the sofa watching these. We watched Moana, Zootropolis, Gravity and The Terminal.

    Bedroom at Nyland Lodge

    What we ate 

    We had a fully equipped kitchen so before we headed off for our week of relaxation we stopped by Tesco to do a food shop. Of course, we bought lots of snacks, but we also brought some proper food too. We cooked fish n’ chips, a roast dinner, pasta and steak and chips. Good food always makes a week of relaxation even better. I was super impressed with the kitchen. It was so modern and we had all of the cooking utensils that we needed. They also provided us with complimentary milk, tea, coffee, sugar, wine and biscuits which was such a lovely touch.

    Kitchen at Nyland Lodge

    I’m now back from my week of relaxation and I feel completely recharged and ready to face the autumn and winter months. In the next couple months, I’ll be signing my life away and getting a mortgage. The house we’re buying needs to be stripped back and completely renovated which I’m sure will be tiring. So it’s certainly a bonus that I can go into it feel refuelled and raring to go.

    What is your favourite way to relax and escape?

    Charlotte xx

    Nyland Lodge pinterest photo
  • Homeowner Diaries

    Saving for a mortgage

    I’m 25, I still live at home with my parents but soon that will be changing. I’m about to buy a house!! I can’t even begin to tell you just how excited I am.

    When I was 19 I moved away from home for 3 years and went to university. I found moving back home when I finished my degree difficult as I had suddenly lost all the freedom that I had become so used to having.

    For me, I’ve never wanted to rent as it’s just chucking money away with no end result. I’ve always wanted to stay at home and save to be able to afford a deposit for a house. I know this isn’t possible for everyone, but I’m in a very fortunate situation where I’ve been able to live at home whilst working full time and my parents charge me very minimal rent money. This has made saving much easier.

    I live in the South West where house prices are very high. The city I live in is extremely expensive compared to other areas of the country. For a 2 bedroom house you’d be looking at around £190,000 – £210,000 and for a three bedroom house you’re looking at around £210,000 – £280,000 which is crazy compared to other areas of the country.

    How much do I save each month? 

    I opened a Help to Buy ISA account almost 2 years ago. The highest amount you can pay into this account each month is £200.00. I have a standing order set up for the day after I get paid to automatically transfer the maximum amount of £200.00 across to the account. I find having a standing order set up really useful as it means I have no excuse to ‘forget’ to transfer the money over. If you want more information on Help to Buy ISA’s you can visit the Direct Gov page which will help.

    I also have an additional savings account which runs alongside my bank account. I can easily log into my online bank account and transfer money from my current account to my savings account. It varies each month how much I transfer across, but I always set myself a minimum of £400.00. This means between the ISA and the savings account I’m saving at least £600.00 a month. Although most months I probably save around £800.00 in total.

    Extra ways to save 

    I did a post a while back on ways that I save money but in addition to this, there are a few other ways that I try and be sensible to make saving for a mortgage slightly easier. One of the main things is using loyalty/club cards for various shops. I have a Boots advantage card that is a life saver. Nearly all of my makeup and toiletries come from Boots and by building up points throughout the year I am able to use them at Christmas to make buying presents more affordable. When I reach November/December I usually have about £60.00 built up on my card which I can put towards presents. You can do similar things with other places; I personally don’t do food shops each week as I obviously live at home with my parents, but I know my mum does a similar thing with her Sainsburys Nectar Card. She builds the points up throughout the year and she uses them to do the Christmas food shop. By the time Christmas comes around she usually has about £180.00’s worth of Nectar points to spend.

    Saving for a mortgage is never going to be easy. If you’re serious about it and want to get it done ASAP I would say that it’s do-able within about 18 months but you have to make sacrifices. Gone are the days where you can go out every weekend and spend £80.00 in one go. You’ll have to cut back on those girly shopping trips that you used to do a few times a month and spend a load of money.

    But the main thing to remember is that you can still do enjoyable things and save at the same time. Shaun and I still enjoy meals out together, we’ve still been on holidays, we go to the cinema and go bowling. We just make sure we aren’t doing these things 3 times a week and we make sure we’re both regularly putting money into a savings account.

    I hope this was helpful to anyone else out there that are also trying to save for a house!

    Charlotte xx

  • Travel

    Travel Diaries – Abu Dhabi

    November 2016, I jetted off to Abu Dhabi for a week in the sun with Shaun. I’m not going to lie, I was very nervous about going. It was a completely new culture to anything I’ve ever experienced and I always find travelling to new places very daunting. Shaun had been before so I trusted his judgement and jumped on a plane. I thought I would write a post about my experience because it was honestly incredible and I cannot recommend it enough!

    Where we stayed 

    We stayed at the Yas Island Rotana, it was perfect. We had a lovely room, it was clean and spacious. The pool area was so relaxing and the food was also really good. The staff were some of the friendliest people I’ve ever come across and they couldn’t do enough for us. The hotel was ideally located within close distance to places such as Yas Mall, Yas Water World, Ferrari World, Yas Marina Circuit and Yas Beach.

    One thing I wanted to touch on was food at the hotel. I’m really fussy with food, so was concerned that I wouldn’t find anything to eat as the culture is so different to what I’m used to. How wrong was I? … Chicken burgers, chips, pizzas, steaks … you name it, they served it! They did, of course, serve local cuisine as well, but I could always find something to eat.

    What we got up to in Abu Dhabi 

    Our hotel was connected to Yas beach, this meant we were given a free pass to the beach. It was about a 10-minute walk from our hotel which was ideal. It was honestly one of the coolest beaches I’ve ever seen. There was a swimming on the sand! Cool right?! Members of staff were walking around with iPads taking food and drink orders which they delivered to your sun bed. There was also a stage with live music, people jet skiing and plenty of sun loungers for relaxing.

    We also visited Yas Water World and Ferrari World. We bought a 2-day pass and did 1 day in each park which worked out nicely. I’m not into cars at all but still had so much fun at Ferrari World. It’s essentially an indoor theme park with various rides and shows. Even if you’re like me and not into cars, I still 100% recommend visiting. Yas Water World was also really cool … Now I’ll be honest, it’s not as good as Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, but it was still very impressive haha.

    During our evenings in Abu Dhabi, we tended to head to Yas Mall. It is HUGE! I have never seen so many shops in my entire life. You could spend days walking around it. There was also a cheesecake factory, so I was all over that for my dinner and dessert 😀

    Day trip to Dubai 

    During our visit, we hired a private driver to take us to Dubai. This probably sounds really fancy. The reality is, it was cheaper than paying for a taxi both ways! It took just over an hour to get there by car. The main reason for our visit here was to go up the Burj Khalifa tower. It’s 555 meters high and the views were insane. We also watched the fountains outside of the Khalifa tower which was magical. They play music and the fountains go in time to the music. It’s difficult to explain just have incredible and breathtaking it was but if you ever get the chance to go it’s so worth it.

    If you’re looking for somewhere new to go, I’d definitely recommend Abu Dhabi!

    Charlotte xx