My Lactose Intolerance Journey

Hi everyone!

Today’s blog is a little bit different to my usual blog- I am going to be talking about my lactose intolerance!

What is a lactose intolerance?

  • It basically means that my body does not like as much dairy as other people. But I think it’s important to highlight that there are different levels of lactose intolerance. I am pretty lucky and my intolerance is pretty minor. That basically means that if I have a cup of tea with normal cows milk in, or maybe a cheeky slice of cake on a day out, I won’t necessarily have stomach cramps. So my body can deal with a small amount of dairy.
  • dairy-freeHowever, if I pig out and have a heap of dairy- I get the worst stomach cramps. The longer I have had this intolerance though, the more I have been able to judge how much dairy I can have.

When did I realise I was lactose intolerant?

  • There was a bit of a journey to figuring out what was going on and why I was having stomach cramps- but we got there eventually.
  • Period Pains- I first started getting cramps when I was about 13 or 14, at which point my Doctor’s were putting it down to my time of the month. I started my period when I was 12, so I had had some time to figure out what was ‘normal’ for me, and these pains were different. My stomach cramps are like stabbing pains that make me want to curl into a ball- not a constant ache like periods.
  • Appendicitis- I started passing out when I was 14 from the pains and I can honestly say it was mortifying. So after this happened a few times and started to be super embarrassing, I was taken to hospital to have some tests and I stayed over night. The tests came back negative.
  • Gall Bladder- they then tested me for problems with my Gall Bladder. I can’t really recall much about the tests, it all sort of merges into one in my head- but long story short they came back negative too. So yay for my appendix and gall bladder working!
  • Celiacs Disease– this was a quick test, but luckily this was negative too. The Doctors were basically ruling out different illnesses and allergies.
  • Gluten Intolerance- IBS– for YEARS I was convinced, and was diagnosed, with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Though originally this made a difference Lactose free stampand the pains died down, it wasn’t a long term fix. I completely changed my diet to be Gluten Free- which is surprisingly easy as loads of supermarkets accommodate for this diet. But the pains came back.
  • Dairy Intolerance- BINGO. By 18 I was still having the stomach cramps and I was getting pretty irritated. I ended up not knowing what to eat and what not to eat. At the same time my sister was told she was dairy intolerant, and so my family changed our diets again to accommodate  her. This meant lacto-free products- and the cramps started to die down. Though I was eating less dairy, I hadn’t completely cut it out of my diet. At this point I was about to go to University and my Mum suggested, with me shopping for only myself, to try a completely dairy free diet. That was that really, I went to University, bought only dairy free products and my cramps have been so much better!

Now I eat a mostly dairy free diet and occasionally have some dairy if I really have no alternative (or the food, usually cake, just looks too good!).

I know this is slightly different from my typical lifestyle blogs, but if you enjoy reading, or would like to know more about my diet let me know in the comments. Please like and subscribe!

University of Warwick- My Insurance Choice

When I was originally looking at Universities I had no idea where I wanted to go. So I decided to make a list of the things I ‘needed’ out of a University and a list of the things I ‘wanted’.

Location.

I started this process by looking at a map. I am going to be honest, my Geography skills are truly appalling- from this I decided how far away from home I was willing to go. As a complete home bird, I decided that three hours was the maximum for me, which automatically ruled out a fair amount of Universities. University was rather daunting to me and the idea of being able to get on a train and be home within the day was greatly appealing. Of course, this is a personal preference and it’s most important that wherever you choose to go, no matter how far, you’re comfortable.

Transport.

This leads smoothly onto the next thing on my list- transport. Having visited King College London, I realised that the hustle and bustle of London and the constant use of transport to get to and from lectures and seminars, was not for me. I loved the idea of the full on, hectic and movie-like lifestyle of London, but I actually found it rather overwhelming. This was where I started to realise that I quite liked the ‘bubble’ campuses, where everything was close together. Of course, I was open to using trains, buses and even tubes, but I didn’t feel that London was for me. Certainly, as a second year, checking out transport is crucial- living in Leamington Spa this year means that using a bus is part of my normal every day routine. With this, there are at least two big train stations to get home quickly. Transport is definitely worth considering when choosing a University. At this point I had narrowed down my search to Royal Holloway, Oxford Brookes, Exeter, Southampton and Warwick.

Employment Opportunities and League Tables.

Certainly, these are not to be forgotten. Warwick is currently 8th in the country for the Complete University Guide of 2017. Even when considering where you would like to study your degree, it’s a good idea to consider the opportunity that specific University can give you. Not only does Warwick have great Graduate Employment, but also has a number of events which welcome employers into the University. Also, unlike some other Universities, Warwick is in a great location for employment- with easy routes to Birmingham, London or even more locally- Coventry and Leamington.

Can I see myself here?

Having lived in Southampton all my life, it seemed silly not to check out Southampton University. There are so many benefits with going to a local establishment, rent can be cheaper, less student loans and of course transport is easier when you don’t live too far away. However, there are also disadvantages- you don’t automatically form the relationships with your flat mates (of course you can with those on your course) and it’s not as easy to go ‘out’. Whether that’s clubbing, going to the pub, a restaurant or even chatting with a friend to the early hours of the morning. So I would highly recommend considering these when choosing your University. I personally was not put off by these disadvantages, in fact the University itself just didn’t feel right. My parents were certainly pretty keen for me to fall in love with Southampton University- we did two open days. But everything was very familiar and not overly exciting as a result. I just couldn’t see myself there.

I was so nervous about University and leaving home, but visiting the University of Exeter made me love the idea. They were so enthusiastic, everyone was so friendly and the whole campus was green. Just so pretty, with lovely big trees, huge buildings and beautiful accommodation. Plus it was within my three hour radius. I fell in love with Exeter and I could see myself there.

First Impressions of Warwick

Despite absolutely loving Exeter, Warwick was my second choice because I felt I could see myself here too. Though it wasn’t as green, Warwick was, and is, the perfect ‘bubble’ campus. I loved the mixture of buildings, the coffee shops and restaurants on campus and the open spaces to socialise- people studying at Warwick seemed really happy.

Why am I at Warwick now?

Exeter offered me: A*, A*, B for my History degree, and I was on track to achieve this. However, when it came to exam results, I didn’t reach them, instead I got A, A, B and an A* in my Extended Project. Though Exeter offered me a History of Renaissance Course, I rejected the offer as I had been offered a place at Warwick. There was absolutely no sense of disappointment as, over the summer, I had had a lot of time to think, and was actually starting to question my choice. Warwick was higher in the league tables than Exeter, had better student satisfaction and much higher levels of Graduate Employment.

I have a genuine belief that things happen for a reason, I am unbelievably happy at Warwick, I love the course, the campus and the surrounding area. I consider myself super lucky to be here.

My Favourite Study Spots on the University of Warwick Campus

The University of Warwick has plenty of places to study, but I have 5 top places I prefer, all for different reasons.

The Library

When I have looming deadlines and can feel the pressure, the library is usually where I head. Doing a History Degree, as with other courses, means that besides essays, I have seminar preparation, or pre-reading. This can vary from minimal reading to crazy amounts (of course, skim reading is a skill I picked up pretty quickly!). The library is ideal when I’ve got shed loads of work and need complete silence- the top three floors are silent areas. However, my friends and I often meet in the library on the first two floors, so we can get work done and have a natter while we’re at it. Also, the first two floors allow food and hot drinks, which I love. Another bonus of the library is the seating areas, despite being pretty busy, the library is full of sofas and tables depending on your preference, along with computer access and printing resources if you require them. Essentially, the library is where I get the most work done.

The Library Cafe

I am not one of those people that can work in a lot of noise, I find it very hard to focus if people are talking to me, or if I can hear conversations. But, the library café is potentially one of my favourite places to go. It’s loud enough to drown out specific conversations and there is almost always a table. Plus they do some pretty good coffee, and if you’re lucky crepes!

Curiositea

Curiositea is one of my favourite parts of campus, I am definitely more of a coffee shop girl than a clubber. I love being sat in a vintage tea room, surrounded by cake and studying, especially right at the start of the day, when it’s completely silent and I can nab one of the comfy chairs. Again, Curiositea is loud enough for the noise not to disrupt my train of thought. Its definitely my favourite place to go on Campus with my friends and after a big deadline we treat ourselves to a slice of cake- my favourite is the Red Velvet!

The Learning Grid

I always love the idea of going to the Learning Grid but I found it completely depends on what time of the day you head over, as to how likely you are to get a seat. Split into silent and non-silent, the Learning Grid is a pretty quiet and relaxed study space. It’s also right next to Costa Coffee- bonus! I often head over there if I intend to do work on my own or am on campus particularly early or particularly late. If you’re lucky you can get one of the sofas.

Fusion

Putting aside how much I adore the food at Fusion (especially the chilli beef with rice!), it’s actually a great place to get work done. When campus is buzzing and finding a space to study, where you aren’t squished against a complete stranger, is proving difficult, then Fusion is my go-to. Not very many people go to study there, but its relatively quiet and, when it’s not peak food time, I can get a lot of work done. Plus I don’t think I have ever studied there and not had an entire table to myself. If I’m having a rough day, a portion of fries helps with the studying.

I hope this was useful and maybe if you’re on campus you could check these spots out and see where you can see yourself studying. If there are any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

What I want to achieve in my 20th year on Earth!

Hi guys,

I have been pretty absent recently, but plan to reboot this blog and start writing more frequently again. I’m certainly not making excuses, but Second Year of University is proving to be pretty challenging… really, really challenging actually!

I often make New Years Resolutions but never seem to stick to them and just end up feeling rubbish by the next New Year when I realise I’ve not achieved the goals I wanted. But I have been thinking and a lot of New Years Resolutions are about taking away or stopping things, so I am going to try to make a list of 5 things I want to add to my 20th year on Earth. I have recently turned 20 and aim to fulfill these resolutions by 21.

So onto the Resolutions!

  1. Make the most of University– I worked out I’m over half way through my Degree and by my 21st birthday I’ll be in my final year! At the moment I am pretty overwhelmed with work, both University, blogging or magazine articles and working out what I’m actually doing with this degree- and I feel like sometimes I need to take a breather. So my goal is: go out for more coffees, go to as many Student Union Events as I can, take part in Puppy De-Stress Days (because why the hell not?) and fun memories.
  2. Make more friends– I have so many people that I see on a regular basis but never seem to go out for coffee with them, or organise to meet up outside of a Seminar.
  3. Take more photos. Capture the special moments in my life.
  4. Be happier with me. This is a pretty standard one: ‘get fitter’etc, but I’m more concerned with feeling good in my own skin. Maybe that means I need to buy more clothes that make me feel good? Or maybe eat a few less cakes… and crisps.
  5. Commit to my Blog and start a Vlog... This is the one I’ve wanted to do for the longest but have never had the guts. I’m pretty rubbish at sitting down and writing everything that happens in the day, but actually I like to think my life is pretty interesting, and I’ve got a pretty exciting year ahead of me. So I’m going to give it a go this year.

I hope you enjoyed reading this!

Bee

xoxox

How I manage stress.

No matter which degree you do, there is always going to be some sort of deadline and ultimately pressure! Likewise, there is shed loads of pressure in school, college and everyday life, so I am going to show you how I manage my work load.

Side Note: I am a real worrier, I would worry about worrying if I could. Everyone deals with pressure differently, I personally go from being OK and feeling in control of my life one day, to feeling like I am drowning in work and there is nothing I can do about it. So throughout the last few years, I’ve picked up ways to avoid the intense stress.

Organisation

  • Clear Desk: even if it’s just before bed you do a quick sweep of the desk, organise paperwork, put things in their place and set up so that you can start fresh tomorrow.
  • Desk Organisers: this just makes your life easier: pots, boxes, files etc.
  • Lists: revision timetables were never really my thing, but having a list of priorities always keeps me on track.

Find a place you are comfortable working.

  • Having lived in Halls of Residence, it’s fair to say you don’t get peace and quiet all the time. I personally found that it was easier to walk to a study space and do my work there. Nobody cares if you’re in your pyjamas or even bring your slippers! Universities are usually pretty good at providing lots of study areas for Students- make the most of them.
  • If you don’t have this option (like me now that I am off of campus) then make sure you use your time wisely. It’s common knowledge University students don’t get up early, so I make the most of this, and start my work at 7am, when the house is quietest. Yes, it’s early, but if you smash an essay, it’s so worth it.

Set up Camp.

  • Whenever you are ready to work, you do it. If you get a sudden urge to write, seize the moment. Sometimes I’m just not tired and for some random reason feel buzzed- I start writing or planning. It doesn’t matter when you complete tasks as long and you get enough sleep.
  • When I know I am going to be sat at my desk for a long period of time, I make sure I am ready for it.
  • First stop- Coffee. I allow myself one every 30 to 40 minutes- that’s my revision break.
  • A snack, in case I get the munchies.
  • My paperwork and notes neatly stacked around me.
  • Be comfortable, have a shower, feel clean and fresh and put some pyjamas on.

Have realistic targets.

  • I make sure I aim to achieve something and work until I do- but be realistic.

Do things for yourself.

  • Facemasks: I personally love the L’Oreal clay masks at the moment.
  • Paint your nails.
  • Retail therapy.
  • A coffee with friends- particularly friends who are equally stressed, then you off load and feel much better.
  • Eat GOOD food. From experience pot noodles are not the best for brain power, cook something, take half an hour to make a pasta dish, or put some chicken goujons in the oven.

Email people who can help you.

  • Whether that’s mentors, tutors, teachers, bosses- even just to clarify something minor, if it means you feel good about what you’re writing its worth it.

Sleep.

  • Just means you don’t zombie your way through the essay.