An update on my goals for 2018

With it now being the middle of the year, I thought it’d be a good time to give you an update on my goals for 2018. If you haven’t read the initial post, you can read it here, if not, I’ll get started; enjoy!

The Frugal Frenchie

In terms of the socialising aspect, I feel (for me) I’ve done pretty well! I’ve gone on two outings with my colleagues, I’ve met up with friends a few times – one of which I hadn’t seen in two years- and I met new people when I went for a photoshoot a few days ago. That’s compared to last year where the most socialising I did, was going downstairs and hanging out with my housemates for a few hours.

An update on my goals for 2018

This is a mid goal I’m going to give to myself though, take more pictures! Of all those outings, I only have one picture and I even went to a wedding yesterday and only took one of my boyfriend and I. I always think about pictures and want to take them, but I always feel awkward for asking… any tips for getting over that? I have barely any memories and regret it every time!

Concerning the blog, I feel like I have been making more of an effort. I still need to work on consistency, but I feel like my following has grown a decent amount. I’ve hosted two giveaways, written and received guest posts and I’m still working towards my first ever sponsored post.

I think the biggest difference towards blogging is my “mindset.” Instead of something massive happening and then thinking oh this could be a good blogpost, I’ll try brainstorm how I could make more mundane things into a blogpost or while looking at social media, what people are talking about etc. My photography still needs a lot of improvement, but without a “photoshoot buddy,” or good quality camera, I feel it can be discouraging so I have no shame in using copyright free images sometimes.

An update on my goals for 2018

With my business, I haven’t reached my promotion yet, in fact, I’ve put it on the back shelf for a while, but I still think it’d be a nice goal. Instead, I got another job opportunity at Primark, so job wise, there have been developments there. Hopefully, that new job opportunity will offer me new skills sets that’ll be useful in future and look impressive on my CV.

I have now finished university, and am still awaiting my score for this year; hopefully, I’ll get my 2:1! If not, I know I will be disappointed, but it’s important to remind myself that this is only 30% of my degree, and that next year I’ll just have to work twice as hard to compensate.

Are you still on track with your new year goals? How are they going? Let me know in the comments below!

Advice with Annelies: girlfriend’s depression

This series will answer people’s questions or worries, either that have been asked to me or I wanted to give my opinion on. Of course, these are just suggestions, and if the problem is severe, you should seek professional help or advice. This addition’s topic of Advice with Annelies: girlfriend’s depression.

Advice with Annelies: girlfriend's depression

This is a long one and there is a lot to approach, but you can read the whole question (from reddit) below.

My girlfriend is depressed because of her parents. from Advice

Oh gosh, where to start? First of all, can I just say how great you’re doing at looking out for your girlfriend and that I’m so glad she can confide in you- especially when she doesn’t seem to have anyone else. It’s often easier to keep such thoughts to yourself, but you’re clearly a massive support for her.

Advice with Annelies: girlfriend's depression

“…she was unable to graduate on time this year because of her depression, which only made her parents angrier. Now she’s being pressured to find a full-time job when she is trying to improve her mental health first.”

It’s such an awful situation when parents don’t understand the severity of a mental health illness and acting in anger or disappointment definitely doesn’t help. As with the job, however, mental health does need to come first, and in the grand scheme of things, taking a year out will not hinder her future in any way, so I think that was the right move.

Regarding the job, is this a “to keep you occupied” reason or a “you need to earn some money reason?” If it’s the former, there are lots of other things she can do to keep her busy, especially as it may mean keeping her cognitively challenged and giving her goals and aims for the day. If it is the latter, then maybe it’d be a good compromise with the parents, to try and ease into part-time first and then full time later on. Alternatively, if there is angst about going into the world of work, perhaps, to help you both, you could research different methods of earning money. Depending on your location, there are many possible ideas such as participating in surveys, mystery shopping or ebay reselling etc.

“Long story short, I feel helpless. I don’t know what to do, if there’s anything I can do, to help her in this situation. I simply want to take her away from them but can’t afford to.”

By what you said, it definitely sounds like she could have depression, but taking medication should also be taken alongside therapy if this is possible. It is unfair for you to take the burden, speaking to a professional may really help her; especially concerning coping methods for being at home etc. In terms of what you should do next, it is difficult because I don’t know how much power you have/your age/your living situation.

If you live at home, is there a way for her to stay if she pays rent (maybe you could go halves?) or could you maybe rent out a very small place together? In the ideal situation, you would perhaps move in with each other so she can get away from the environment that is potentially the cause or trigger of her depression. However, I realise that this may not be possible, and visiting may not be often if you don’t drive etc. I’ve left some ideas on how to help in the next section.

Advice with Annelies: girlfriend's depression

“Are there any suggestions of what I could do to help other than being a shoulder to cry on? Should I confront her parents or just stay out of it?”

Personally, I would try and encourage her to seek professional help. If she has difficulty trusting adults as a result of her parents’ opinions and reactions to her mental health, try and reassure her that not everyone is like this and that they could genuinely help her. Another thing that could help, is with her mental and physical wellbeing. Especially if she can spend days in bed, try and encourage her to maybe take a walk occasionally and make sure she is eating correctly etc. Not only is it important for her to maintain her physical health, but exercise can also help give her a goal for the day and keep her busy, especially if she is not working.

I would not confront her parents about it, especially if they realise that she is in bed due to depression etc. but doesn’t take it seriously. She is still at home, and if unless you’re sure of how they’d react, you don’t know if it could potentially make the home environment even more awkward or tense for her.

I really hope this has helped and I wish you all the best! Hopefully, their understanding betters soon and that circumstances change for you both for the better!

The Frugal Frenchie

Tips for passing your driving theory first time

Having been a week since I passed my actual driving test, this is being written a bit late! Nevertheless, for those currently learning, I thought I would give you some tips for passing your driving theory first time. Hope it’s useful!

The Frugal Frenchie

Tips for passing your driving theory first time

1) Get some experience

I know that in some countries, you’re not allowed to start driving lessons until you pass your theory, however, I found it ever so helpful to have some lessons first. Not only does it help you familiarise with road signs naturally rather than from a book, but it allows you to develop a sense of awareness to help you with your hazard test.

2) Download an app- and practice

There are many apps out there that can help you with your theory. I was personally recommended a more official DVLA one that costs £5, however being the cheapskate I am, I opted for a free one. You can get apps that are specialised in some topics over others, such as just signs/ general questions/ Highway code etc.

This is the one I used. Personally I downloaded several at first to find my favourites, but by all means, have a look around yourself. I found this one helpful as it had several easy tests and then you could go to a higher level if you wanted.

3) Observe and ask

I am now 20, turning 21 this year, however, most of my friends passed their driving test around 17-18. I had no idea that it’d be so long until I started to learn, so in preparation, I would always ask questions about “how do you know…” “what does this mean…” etc.

I think it actually helped my theory, especially as, were it not for driving with my boyfriend in the New Forest, I wouldn’t have remembered the country signs so well!

4) Watch some youtube videos

Personally, I am a visual learner. I remember things by how they looked on the page or by symbols or videos etc.

It’s impossible to practice for a hazard perception test or to know what to expect, however, the DVLA posted an example online, and there are a few driving instructors who post tips and tricks too.

5) Keep calm and use your common sense

If you’ve prepared, then you know what to expect and what to look out for. For the hazard perception test, keep your wits about you, use your common sense for the signs (sometimes we overthink in tests!) and just keep calm.

It’ll be over soon! Good luck!

My new job opportunity

A few months ago, not even a year ago, I started my job as a customer service representative at Primark. Now, I am writing this post, because a new job opportunity has arisen, which I have decided to grab with both hands, despite being happy where I was.

Today, the 29th April, was my first shift as the new official HR assistant of my local Primark branch! I’ve had two shifts of training so far, however, today was the first day I was alone and running the HR office, scary times!

My new job opportunity

In my local store, there is only one person in HR: me. It’s a big change from busy, sociable customer services, where I would talk to my colleagues and serve sometimes 100 people on a busy shift. Now, I’m alone and in an office, sorting through paperwork, checking costing, counsellings and filing, to name a few.

The job offer was very unexpected. In fact, there wasn’t even an official vacancy when I was proposed the job. It came as a result of a supervisor interview a few weeks before. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that position, but they did seem to get the impression that I had qualities needed in HR so they thought it’d be worth asking.

My new job opportunity

I was unsure whether to take it at first. My contract is now 14 hours instead of 8 (but baring in mind I’m a full-time university student that did seem daunting), I’m alone in an office most of the time, I have a lot more responsibilities, I still have to wear a uniform and I don’t get paid more. Considering I couldn’t be happier with customer services, I was sure I was going to refuse.

Asking around though, everybody seemed super enthusiastic about it, which actually quite surprised me. I didn’t think it was anything exciting, in fact, I considered it a worse deal than customer services knowing how much we had to work, however people were telling me that to be working in HR at the age of 20, sounds really good.

My new job opportunity

I did decide to go in the end, because I’m hoping that it’ll teach me new skills and open up the door to bigger opportunities in the future. At first, I didn’t see how it’d benefit me, but it’s a bit like revision when you’re young. You don’t do it for the short-term benefits, but you do it because you’ll need good grades to go into higher education and get a better job etc.

So, here’s to an exciting new time and hopefully the key to unlocking a better future! Have you ever been in a similar situation, unsure of what to do? How did you make your decision? Let me know in the comments!

The Frugal Frenchie

Advice with Annelies: loneliness

This series will answer people’s questions or worries, either that have been asked to me or I wanted to give my opinion on. Of course, these are just suggestion, and if the problem is severe, you should seek professional help or advice. Here’s the first Advice with Annelies: loneliness.

“I am 28 years old. I feel very alone and lonely most of the time. What should I do to overcome this? I don’t have friends or close relatives and am home 24/7.”

Of course, everyone’s situation is different, but to some extent, I understand how you feel. Last year, I studied a year abroad, away from family, and although I spoke to people at uni, I didn’t have anybody that I would see outside of it. I stayed at home whenever I wasn’t at uni, and only leave the house for grocery shopping.

In retrospect (because isn’t that a joyous thing) I think there are a few things I would change, which hopefully could help you.

Advice with Annelies: loneliness

“Am home 24/7.”

I really went wrong here. When in a situation of loneliness, you have to go out. It’s what keeps you sane. I realise when not at university, sometimes it can be harder to meet people and have an incentive to go out but have a look at what’s around you.

It’s important to get out of the house, even when there’s no particular motive to do so. A change in routine and scenery, is, to be blunt, good for your sanity. Having fresh air, taking a walk… it all helps relax your mind, put things into perspective, for some, it even acts as a form of meditation!

“I don’t have friends”

If you have a particular interest, look up on Facebook, or through the local library, whether there’s an association or club for it: if you like reading, see if there’s a Book Club… that kind of thing! Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is a great way to make connections as you’re guaranteed to have a common interest and a conversation starter!

Furthermore, if you work or are in education, make sure to attend as many events or trips as you can. If there’s a work do, make sure you attend, and you could use the excuse to speak to new people by asking if they’re going etc.

Advice with Annelies: loneliness

“I don’t have… close relatives”

Thankfully, we live in a world where it’s possible to keep in contact with people across long distances. If they have access to a phone or computer, you can skype them or just ring them and hear their voices.

If worst comes to the worst, you’ll just have to wait impatiently for the next letter to arrive, but it can make them feel all that more precious!

I wish you all the best!

The Frugal Frenchie

 

 

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

2018 really started off with a bang. Spent New Years Eve with my boyfriend and his family, celebrated and had a lay-in on the 1st, and on the 2nd, we were off on holiday! After having worked my butt off for the last two months of 2017, both at work and at uni, it couldn’t have come at a better timing, to be honest! So here’s a little diary post of my Bordeaux holiday.

The Frugal Frenchie

January 2nd

We left on January 2nd for Gatwick airport, simply because we live about 2 hours + away, so we thought it might be tight arriving for an 8am flight in case something happened or sod’s law… there was a strike on public transport.

Ironically, there did end up being a strike on the trains, so this started a big twitter thread of updates and the passing of many confusing places we weren’t even meant to be anywhere near! Not sure what it is about January, but it seems to trigger the protest of many transport workers! Our direct train from Southampton Central to Gatwick was completely cancelled, so we were informed that we had to go to Brighton and then change there for Gatwick, “however if that’s cancelled, then there’s no way you can get there, unfortunately.” Well, that was helpful, luckily we had grabbed bargain tickets then!

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

Thankfully, we did board that Brighton train, but before it got to Brighton, it said we had to change for another train, because a Brighton train was not running, so we wouldn’t even get there! We ended up in the rain, humorously being told to swap platforms twice so a whole crowd of confused people were just constantly going back and forth in the bridge under the rails, on the lookout for our train!

Nevertheless, we arrived at Gatwick Airport in a reasonable time (a miracle in my opinion) where Fraser, my boyfriend, had managed to keep a surprise from me: we were staying overnight in a Hilton hotel! I’ve never stayed in a Hilton hotel before so I was very excited. I’m more of a Premier Inn type of girl traditionally!

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018 Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

After our last flight, where we did an unintentional all-nighter in Amsterdam airport, it was amazing to be able to dump our bags with no sense of paranoia and fall back on a nice, soft, well-made bed. We watched TV for a bit, surprised to see Mr. Ramsay’s face on it (Kitchen Nightmares is our favourite), took a nice warm shower and went to bed.

January 3rd

In the morning, we woke up at around 6:30, left by 6:50, all ready for looking at our flights. We took a few bits and bobs for breakfast and made our way to the gate, which we found easily and voila, that was it!

Because I’m half French, I have a lot of family spread out everywhere. My Grandma is from the North, however, my Auntie and cousins ended up in the middle/south of France: Cognac and Bordeaux (both wine places, I know). I haven’t seen my cousin and his wife in 3 years, so that meant that I never saw their son who was 3 and their now newborn son of 6 months old. Heads up, I’m already broody so this trip certainly didn’t help, but boy did it make my year.

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

After having found each other at arrivals, and doing our cheek-kisses (I have no idea how you refer to it in English haha) and making introductions, we squeezed ourselves and our suitcases into the car and made our way. The little boy was definitely a shy little one, a fact that my cousin found highly amusing and told us to wait until we got home. It was quite a sight seeing my boyfriend of 5″10 squashed in between two car seats, a sleeping baby and a shy, withdrawing toddler, but as predicted, all was well when we got home!

I thought that it would take a little introduction and play before he trusted us, but once he had his shoes off at home, it’s like he had known us forever! Despite the language barrier with him and Fraser, he started throwing toys our way asking that we play with him, with yours truly translating (or attempting to) toddler talk as we went.

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

A little favourite of his was a bit like Buckaroo, but if you touched certain parts of the body while throwing the objects on, you’d get sprayed with water, so it’s safe to say there was a bit of intentional cheating going on!

After lunch, while the little ones took a nap, we were shown around Bordeaux centre a little bit, reminiscing about the last time I went there and there was a boat festival in the summer. It really is a beautiful city, some of the architecture is just insane! Turns out they were just business offices and flats for verrich people, which is just unreal! We also passed this statue called “Monuments des Girondins” which is so tall it’s difficult to get into one picture, very detailed and stately though, it’s a real landmark of Bordeaux!

January 4th

On our second day in France, we were taken on an awesome trip to a seaside town called Arcachon. With it being only about 2 hours away from the nearest Spanish town, it was clear that it had Spanish influences, with the architecture’s colour and designs occasionally fooling us into thinking we were elsewhere than a French town.

The little three-year-old was having a ball of a time, so after eating a little something at a nearby Boulangerie, Fraser and I decided to have a little walk along the front ourselves, climbing amongst the rocks and taking just a few pictures.

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

Later on, we saw two (of what could only be described as) of nature’s wonders. Who’d have thought that the largest forest in Europe, would also be next to the largest sand dune in Europe and the beach?

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

Honestly, as somebody who has never gone to a “deserty” place before, had you made the temperature super high and made a blazing sun beam down on us rather than cold wind, I could’ve been in the Sahara desert!

Predictably, climbing up and sliding down it was hilarious and messy, but totally worth it! Despite it being last month, I think I still have some sand in my shoes from it haha. Oh, and how cheeky is this little munchkin? So adorable.

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018 Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018 Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

January 5th

The third day was a little more chill after our “sandy workout.” We had a lie in, breakfast and just relaxed all morning with the little ones. The little three-year-old is so cute, he’s really into Disney songs and even in French, they’re as addictive! After listening to them a few times, I’m pretty sure I started getting the chorus of “Let it Go” in my head after a while, not to mention some new French shows featuring ladybird and cat superheroes!At around lunchtime, Fraser and I went out into town by ourselves, while the two boys had their nap and my cousin worked from home. We were out for a good 3/4 hours, just wondering around and soaking in the atmospheres. Among many other commonly found stores, there were some really sweet independent French boutiques, filled with French fashion or cosmetics. Despite my love for writing posts, I still am not “doué” for taking photos naturally, and so we just enjoyed our time instead. Memories are just as good, right?

Unfortunately, as it always does, reality kicked in and made me realise that my statistics (ew) coursework was due in, so I did have to resist the temptation just a little while of playing with the boys when I got back, and do a little bit of referencing and editing.

Overall it was a relaxing day though, with a new adventure planned for the next day!

January 6th

Gee, I think such a day-to-day description might have been easier presented in vlogs! Especially on our 4th day, when we went to an amazing old castle and village (you can see more pics in this post). Shamefully I didn’t get the name, but it was really beautiful, you could only imagine what each part was used for and what happened in each area.

Can you guess what we assumed this part to be for?

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

Knowing it was quite a long drive, our little companion did amazingly to be some calm, although he cheated by sleeping most of it! Nevertheless, he walked loads and, on the condition that he was good (which I also said applies to Fraser haha) he was allowed a McDonalds, so after a lot of sport with his new best buddy, off we went to guzzle down some French chips and hamburgers.

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

I can’t help thinking that in all these pictures, I look like the boring one that never plays haha. I am fun I promise, I just think this week, Fraser was the favoured one to play with (tottttally not offended) although I definitely could’ve fit into this small McDonald’s play area better!

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

January 7th

On our last full day in Bordeaux, we want for a little trip to the nearby countryside. It wasn’t too far away, yet was so different to the commercial, more industrial side we had previously seen.

We watched a football match for a little bit, then walked around the park kicking about a ball and then spent the rest of the time in the playground. We probably took the most pictures then, so enjoy a few of my favourites!

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018 Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018 Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018 Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

January 8th

Today we got to visit a French school, a little primary school and got to reminisce about the low-hung clothes hangers outside and the extremely colourful walls of the classrooms. Our little companion had school on our last day, unfortunately, but luckily we managed to say bye to him before we left.

Our last day was of course the one with bright sunshine, but we still went out and had a look around a local shopping centre. I had my first look at a Sephora store and saw the most amazing craft/general bits and bobs store ever. Honestly, it was like a bloggers dream. What do you think?

Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018 Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018 Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018 Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018 Diary post: My Bordeaux Holiday January 2018

Our flight was in the evening so we got a very overpriced baguette to share between us, queued for ages, had a very justified fright that we were going to be late (they checked passports before boarding, but for several flights at the same time???) and then boarded.

We met Fraser’s dad and sister at Gatwick and arrived at his about 2.5 hours later where we crashed and slept like absolute babies until morning.

This was a really amazing way to start 2018, and was the last time of seeing Fraser for a good 1.5 months after (ie. I just saw him) so it made it extra special. A big thank you to Vincent and Elodie, and I can’t wait to see you all again soon! xx