Since the end of October, I have been growing out a buzz cut. Read the first post here.
I wrote the first post in mid December, on a snowy day. Here I am now, on another snowy day in late January, wondering what else there is to say.
People around me are pretty much used to the hair now. That said, I have had a few more compliments now it is getting a bit longer and starting to look different again.
When I shaved my head in February 2017, I only let it grow to this sort of “dandelion clock” phase, and then bought some clippers to bring it back into some sort of order and resume my long-on-top, short-back-and-sides style.
We have now well and truly past the dandelion stage. My hair is getting LONG. I feel like it is getting to the irritating stage I have been dreading – the unkempt, teenage boy who wants to look like he’s in a metal band, hair in my eyes stage. Yay.
So far all it does in confuse me by brushing my neck and making me wonder if I have some sort of scarf on, or brush my ears, and make me panic, thinking a spider is climbing inside.
I am still ever thankful for hats.
The thing is, I am mainly too lazy to do anything with it, other than comb it behind my ears and into some sort of order. I am not “girly” enough for cute headbands and bows – they just don’t really suit my style.
Mainly I just wear a hat all the time – happily one is part of my work uniform.
I did put some product in it for new year, which I think looked quite nice – it was flattened behind my ears and spiked up a bit on top.
Perhaps as the length gets more annoying, I will make more effort to tame it!
Back at the end of October, I shaved my head. This was partially for the wonderful Teenage Cancer Trust, to raise money for the work they do as well as for an amazing Halloween costume – Eleven from Stranger Things!
I shaved my head earlier in the year, mainly to see what it looked like, but I was away in New Zealand, so nobody knew me without a shaved head and I rarely looked in mirrors on my travels and when I worked on a farm there. As soon as it got too long, I shaved the back and sides and returned to my previous haircut.
This time, I am back in Birmingham, with a job and normal life going on around me. I have also decided to grow my hair back to long.
I shaved my hair to 12mm and it has already grown (in six weeks) to around 40mm!
So it has felt different. At home, I spend a lot of time in front of a mirror, so I got used to my new look very quickly. Despite the fact that I don’t wear make up to work and I am generally a very confident person when it comes to my appearance, I feel more obliged to wear make up and dangly earrings to make some effort to look more feminine.
More make up!
I think this is most likely due to the fact that I am quite masculine anyway and I get mistaken for a lesbian a lot. This isn’t directly a problem – but if someone I would like to date is assuming I am not interested in their gender at all, it isn’t convenient.
Not that that has happened, but you never know.
I suppose it is also partly because some people tend to be overly wary/ intimidated by particularly masculine girls and get somehow offended by a girl who is not obviously feminine. While I don’t care about this that much, I would rather not be hounded by people telling me I look “like a man” or I look “too masculine” with the short hair.
But honestly, all of this is in my mind, because everyone who has seen my before and after hair has been very complimentary. Apparently, it suits my face.
This is what I remind myself of every time I lament how a new spot can’t be easily hidden or when I feel unattractive.
Practically, short hair is both good and bad. It dries in a heartbeat, which is ideal for someone who is always late and hates early mornings. It also requires zero maintenance.
That said, I chose the wrong winter to do this *looks out at the nine inches of snow*.
Now that I am growing it out, it has reached the uncomfortably long stage and I know it will only get “worse” from here – at least for sixth months or so. So now begins phase two: attempting to style out the weird things my hair does as it grows back to shoulder length and beyond. Hopefully I have enough hair products!
Since August, I have been keeping a bullet journal.
Bullet Journals are books in which you keep to-do lists, sketches, notes and diary entries in a creative, self-designed format to help you organise your life.
I have wanted to start one for a while and I am thoroughly enjoying it.
I stole some ideas from various people on the internet and I have changed my set-up a bit having worked out what works for me and what doesn’t.
I bought a lovely yellow notebook with squared paper from paperchase – this notebook comes in a couple of sizes and colours and it can be personalised when buying online.
Some people prefer the dot grid notebooks or even one with plain paper. I find a grid is helpful to keep everything aligned and squared notebooks are easier to come by, but each to their own.
The pages on my notebook have some bleed-through, but it isn’t too obvious, so I don’t really mind. If this bothers you, consider which kinds of pens you use and get hold of a notebook with really high quality paper.
I have a pack of six different sized pens ranging from 0.05mm to 0.8mm. They are by Staedtler and I love them. Staedtler also make fineliners up to 1.2mm and also caligraphy liners as well as coloured fineliners.
I prefer to use black ink and coloured pencils. This partially reduces the bleed-through, because the pencil doesn’t bleed, but some people like to use felt pens or even paints – this would require thicker paper. The pencils I use are WHSmith own brand and they are pretty good quality.
My monthly page layout has mainly stayed the same since I started the journal, with a header with a small quote, a larger quote, a small calendar with key dates, a goals section, notes and a habit tracker on the double page spread.
August Monthly View
September Monthly View
My August setup had a very small calendar, which I have sized up since and also a work hours tracker, as I had a zero hours contract at the time. Now I am on a salaried job, I don’t need this.
October Monthly View
November Monthly View
The colours and drawings change every month to reflect the season and key events of the month – my October one, was especially Halloweeny.
The quotes I choose depend on my feelings at the start of the month, with the smaller quote being a sort of bullet journal mantra for the month and the larger quote changing between something silly that I like and something deep depending on my mood when I created the page.
I have had two styles of weekly spread so far – one full double page with the days of the week and notes and now a double page with one side for the days and a budget tracker and the other side as my to do list and spendings for the week.
The initial design was something I didn’t use very well, only writing my pre-arranged events and recording the weather for each day and taking up a lot of space.
The new design still works for these things and also allows me to have a full to do for the week, instead of putting things on different days and being sad when I don’t complete specific tasks.
It also helps me keep better track of my finances, which is something I desperately need as a serial spender!
Originally, I had no way to record my finances in my bullet journal, but now I am earning a salary, I have begun to work on ways to keep track of my spending and saving.
The first iteration of this was a spending and a savings page. The spendings page had a itemised list of what I spent and when and what on and whether it was with card or cash. The savings page had bars that showed what I wanted to save money for, which I could colour in as I saved.
The mess of the spendings page was evident and I often didn’t quite manage to keep track of everything, so occasionally had to update the numbers. The savings page was fine, but now is stuck quite far back in my journal, so I keep forgetting about it.
I tried to do a finances page for October, with a savings in and out bar, budgets for social, clothing and entertainment and all my direct debits/ standing orders listed so I remembered when they got paid. This page wasn’t really helpful.
Now I have incorporated my financial tracking into my weekly page, which means I can check it more often and keep track of a low weekly budget, hopefully meaning I can increase the amount in my savings account quickly before my monthly outgoings increase when I move in around a month’s time.
I saw a pretty cute idea online of recording one thing that makes you happy every day. I started by designing a page to look like it had stickers all over it to do this on, which was fun, but a bit time consuming.
August Happiness Log
September Happiness Log
I designed a slightly more stylish grid page, which I prefer, but this month I haven’t done one so far, so I have been simply writing my reasons to be happy on my weekly spread. I’m not sure how I will proceed with this one.
I have done several lists in my journal so far, one of things I want, which is lying dormant now I know I don’t have much disposable income. I may want to resurrect this soon to make a list for Christmas.
Films/ TV List
I also did TV/ Movie and Book lists, which I haven’t used much so far. I do watch a lot of TV, but I just tend to watch what’s on, not worry about making sure I see something.
I am still terrible at reading enough, so I need a better reminder of which books to read – maybe something to incorporate into my weekly or monthly spreads.
So far I have loved bullet journaling. It has given me a place to store my to do lists, fuel my meticulousness at tracking the weather and my habits and to enjoy creating something in a very casual and easy way.
The only problem can be that I occasionally struggle to keep up to date with it, or I get sad that I didn’t complete my to do lists on time.
So long as I can remain relaxed about this and not get bogged-down in not completing things to my own arbitrary deadlines, it is a fun hobby that helps me get on with the things I want to do.
I am aware that I have reasonable artistic talent, but you don’t have to be wildly creative to have a bullet journal – it’s a case of using it in a way that suits you and adding as much or as little colour/ drawings/ detail to it as you want to. Most of the calligraphy I did was copied off font websites, like dafont. Layouts were borrowed from various online sources (although I did edit them).
Since returning to the UK from my world tour, I have started a new job. I am now a dinner lady!
I had spent all my money on my travels – with literally £100 to my name on returning home. Luckily, I have parents who won’t charge me rent I can’t afford, but I needed a job to get me started on an income.
We all know that graduate jobs are intensely annoying to get hold of, so I took my old job as a general assistant in a cafe back. Shortly after this, the same catering company had an opening for a full time job at another site – a sixth form college – as a general assistant in the kitchens there.
It’s actually not a bad job at all. I get living wage, a half hour lunch break, all the school holidays off and no evenings or weekends.
I actually like the work too. I get to prepare food, which is quite enjoyable for a practical person. I really enjoy making coffee too.
Despite being “only” a general assistant, I am now in charge of some of the paperwork and I end up being people’s go to when they need a question answered and the manager isn’t available.
It’s like being a supervisor, but I’m not.
The other staff are great too – super friendly and very hardworking. They make my day fun! My fave staff member is one of the newest – my lovely bestie Sam, who I have known for a whole seven years! She, like me, needed a fast income post-uni. It is lovely to work with her, but occasionally distracting – my lunch half an hour, if shared with her, tends to stretch towards 45mins (oops!).
I doubt that this job will take me anywhere career-wise and I doubt I’ll stay for longer than a year, but it is quite fulfilling, despite the early mornings, hideous uniform and annoying teenagers everywhere. I am hoping I can at least be made supervisor before I leave.
Mainly, I want to start my own interior design business, a project that I have started working on. This job gives me time to work on that and money to live on before my company makes any of its own.
Hopefully, my plan for my company will work, but for now, roll on the sandwich making.