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When I tell people that I went to boarding school, a question I often get asked is would I do it again. I have spoken about my boarding school experience before on posts here and here. But for a while I have wanted to write a post aimed at both the parents of those who have or thinking about sending their child to boarding school. For those who may have just started boarding school I hope to make sense of those thoughts and feelings you may have about being away and hopefully make the most of this unique experience.

First of all the details!

School I went tooAckworth School

Years I boarded  2007-2009

Age I boarded 16-18

How do you know if you will enjoy boarding?

To be honest, you won’t know until you try it. If you enjoy socialising and being involved with activities then boarding will suit you well as you will always be busy. I can guarantee at first you will hate it, but that is all normal and it is just part of settling into a new school, new routine and making new friends.

I have just started boarding school and feel upset and homesick all the time, is this normal?

Yes it is. I remember my first day, just being in utter shock and being so upset. I tried to keep it in (being a 16 year old boarder, so a little older than most). You will likely feel like this for at least a month but get involved with as many after school activities as possible to keep your mind busy. I would not recommend seeing your parents for the first month. as it just makes those feelings worse.

What were the advantages you found of boarding?

I felt very prepared for living away at University, having being a boarder I was accustomed to not being around my parents. It was good to learn about different countries and cultures from the international borders. I enjoyed the different activities that were put on during the weekends such as movie nights and I tried some different activities I wouldn’t have tried otherwise such as being part of the debate club or European Cinema club.

I lived in Yorkshire for my sixth form experience and to experience a new county was really good. Yorkshire was very different to Lincolnshire where I grew up. I happened to study A Level Geography and we would have all of these field trips around Yorkshire which was good fun.

Every Sunday there was evening reading where a speaker would come in and talk about a topic. Some of the topics were dull but there were some really good speakers, I remember one Doctor who came in and spoke her time as a burns specialist in Australia. I was one of eight school officers and one of us would have to stand up and say a vote of thanks after this. I really felt the vote of thanks improved my public speaking skills.

Rebecca having fun in the boarders common room

What were the disadvantages of boarding?

I couldn’t have a part time job, which I felt held me back when applying for jobs after University. There are curfews as well which at 16 being accustomed to seeing my friends more or less anytime I wanted, I felt was a bit pathetic. I hated Saturdays as we had to do activities in the morning and then we were free to do whatever we wanted in the afternoon. We were not allowed off site after school on the evenings after tea and could only go to the Co-Op between 4-6, which again annoyed me being able to go out when I pleased. At my school Prep (homework) was between I think 6.45- 8pm Monday to Thursday which drove me insane. Sometimes I just wanted a break from homework and I feel the continuous revision just isn’t healthy.

When you are ill and boarding it is the worse, it is just not the same as at home where your mum can come and give you treats! Obviously I missed my family and I found myself drifting away from old friends as the internet wasn’t as good in 2007 so that made catching up that bit harder.

Poster saying farewell

Final thoughts

Would I board again? To be honest if I could go back and do it again, I would but I would have chosen different A-Levels as that certainly hampered by experience (another story). I am glad I boarded when I did at 16, I felt at 11 it was too young but the younger girls seemed to have so much fun and I think at times coped with boarding better than the older girls as friendships were not as deeply made. I did feel sorry for those younger international boarders who seemed to only see their parents at Christmas or the summer. I don’t know how a relationship can be continuously developed if you are not a constant presence and I do think you would miss out on all of the key moments.

Have any of you boarded? Would you consider boarding school?

 

image of a pair of trainers on top of a sports vest

I do enjoy fitness but like everyone I go through stages where to be honest I am sick of working out. With a little over a month to go until the Great North Run it is crucial that I keep my preparation and motivation going. Today I am sharing my tips for keeping the motivation going when you feel like giving up.

Think about the end goal

For me being motivated to finish the week or thinking about the finish line of a race reminds me why all the running and time spent at the gym will be worth it. People so often see the finish product but not the times when you were running and got caught out in the rain or donning the thermals because it was freezing outside.

Set mini goals inbetween

I still remember really well wanting a Pure Gym water bottle when I first started working out there. I decided until I had gone to the gym five times I wouldn’t buy myself one. Buying pieces of kit or something else I find keeps the motivation and persistence going. Funnily enough I don’t buy that much kit my last piece of fitness kit I did buy was two pairs of shorts from My Protein and that was because I didn’t have enough pairs in the first place. Certainly do not buy new kit at the beginning of starting a new sport unless you absolutely need it. You hear so many stories of people forking out hundreds for new kit and then not using it.

Switch it up a bit

Sometimes just listening to a new playlist or going cycling instead of running keeps you away from the couch and motivated to finish the workout.

Plan your workouts

For me just seeing what I want to workout on paper, makes me more likely to complete the workout so I can tick it off.

Get your gym bag or clothes prepared

By having your gym stuff laid out or in a bag in the car ready makes you less likely to give up on going out because you cannot find your stuff.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated?

Image of the film I Feel Pretty

*warning this review contains spoilers.

Not gonna lie, I never do movie reviews on here, mainly because I hardly watch any movies (however I do love binge watching a Netflix series of any kind). I am also literally the only person out of my friendship group that doesn’t have a Cineworld Unlimited card! However, yesterday I watched I Feel Pretty and it is so good I thought I would do a quick review.

I Feel Pretty tells the story of Renee (played by Amy Schulmer) who destines in life to be pretty. Renee has it in her head that if you are pretty you get so much more of the perks in life, better jobs, better chance at boyfriends. It doesn’t help that this idea is compounded at the fact she works at a cosmetic company Lily LeClaire where she works in digital marketing it is a million miles away from the corporate offices on Fifth Avenue.

Renee and her best friends (Vivian and Jane played by Busy Philips and Aidy Bryant)  join a group dating site and Renee is adamant that it is only the photograph that matters. This is then reinforced when they go on the site and found there are no matches. Renee attends Soulcycle where she is surrounded by beautiful women and starts talking to Mallory (played by Emily Ratajkowski) who Renee asks and wonders what it is like to be like her and be so pretty. Renee bangs her head at the Soulcycle class and she suddenly believes that she is beautiful even though nothing about her physical appearance has changed. This new found confidence manages to chat up Ethan at the Dry Cleaners after she wrongly assumes he is chatting her up and a job as the Receptionist at Lily Leclaire. Also after Renee knocks into a woman after a pitch for their Diffusion line (the make-up line for real women) and wrongly assumes that there would be an applicator, Avery (the boss at Lily LeClaire) decides Renee would be the perfect person for the pitch in Boston.

Renee and her friends Vivian and Jane

Renee starts to fall in the trap and becomes the person she starts to detest, she is rude to visitors to Lily LeClaire who she feels are less glamorous. When her friends go on a group date she dismisses her friends talking as she feel’s their personality is making them less attractive and ditches them to attend an exclusive party with her co-workers. It changes when Renee flies to Boston for the pitch, she bangs her head on the shower door and brings her back to her old self. Her confidence is affected so much that she doesn’t do the pitch and tries to avoid Ethan because she thinks he won’t think she is pretty.

Renee sees Mallory, upset, at Soulcycle and finds out Mallory has been dumped. Renee cannot believe this as Mallory is so beautiful why would anyone dump her, Mallory is annoyed at this and mentions to Renee that she suffers from low self-esteem because of that. When Renee finds out that Mallory is going to the audition for the diffusion line, Renee feels that Lily LeClaire is moving away from what women want so she hijacks the launch party with a presentation that includes a collage of ‘real women’.

Image of Naomi Campbell and

Bloody hell, that was a long synopsis! I really liked the film, it touched on a lot of important issues that do affect women today such as confidence, image and the perception of beauty. With Soulcycle making an appearance which felt like ten times in the film it did feel a bit like an advert for Soulcycle.  I did find it stupid that there would only be two people in their online department and I didn’t like the message it sent out that about quitting a marketing job that has potential (and I say that as someone who works in Digital Marketing) for a lower paid role.I know a lot of critics have panned the film saying that the subject matter needed to be tackled more seriously. But it is a comedy and I felt that the main takeaway thought you should get from it is that just to be confident in yourself (without being arrogant yourself) will just open up opportunities for you but most importantly make you feel better about yourself.

image of race number, watch, safety pins and shirt

The Birmingham 10k is my first race of the year (I was meant to run the Stafford Half but I fell ill so couldn’t). I have done quite a few of these races now so I know what bit and pieces I need to take with me. Here is what I took with me on a race day:

Bottle of water

I don’t run with it but I make sure I am regularly drinking water up until I start. This is to prevent me from being dehydrated. I always drink all the water at the hydration stations as well, even if I am not thirsty to help keep me hydrated. I was dehydrated after I ran the Manchester 10k last year and I had a banging headache and felt rubbish for the rest of the day afterwards. I learnt my lesson.

Shorts and vest top

In races and in general I tend to run in shorts most of the time because I would be boiling hot if I ran in joggers. I prefer vest tops rather than a normal shirts however as I am running on behalf of #teamuob I will be wearing the blue top we have all been given. I always make sure they are microfibre so it can take the sweat away.

Anti-chafing cream

If I don’t wear this after long runs my legs get sore, anti-chafing cream really does work!

Safety Pins

Safety pins always get forgotten about until the last minute and then you can never get them anywhere.

Running belt

My running belt holds my phone, that is literally what I use it for!

Garmin watch and phone

My Garmin watch (forerunner 325) I absolutely love, I use to track my progress and record on Strava. I used to use my phone to record my route on Strava but it drains the battery.

Image of protein bottle, water bottle, shirt, watch, safety pins, cereal bar and running belt.

Cereal Bars

I make sure I have a cereal bar ready so I don’t feel hungry before I run and I don’t eat it all if I don’t need too. For some reason my body just feels better having satisfied the hunger cravings with a couple of bites.

Energy Gels

I use these when I go running, I probably wouldn’t use it for a 10k but I do take it with me just in case I feel I need the boost.

Joggers and jacket

After the race I like to wrap up warm with the joggers and a light jacket.

Protein Drink

You do usually get a free protein drink when you finish, I just take mine with me just incase.

Spare hairbands

My hair band has snapped in a dualathlon before and it is annoying having your hair everywhere, so I always take a spare.

Suncream

I am going to have sore legs anyway so I don’t want to be sunburnt as well!

What do you take with you on race day?

Image of the Catan board game

Following on from my last post I wrote a little while back about board games to play I have four more board games to get stuck into.

Catan

A recent board game that was introduced to me. Catan has been around for a while, the main aim of the game is to build the largest settlement. It is a strategic game because you can only build settlements within a certain distance of someone else’s settlements, you can build roads and cities with the aim of gaining 10 victory points.

221b Baker Street

This game based on the famous Sherlock Holmes stories. The aim of the game is to solve the case by gathering clues. The clues are hidden in a different location which you get to by rolling the dice and moving your counter around the board travelling through different places in London such as the newsagents, Docks and a museum. The winner has to race back to 221b Baker Street first and guess correctly.

Pairs

Ok not a board game but I was given the Ladybird memory game by a friend for Christmas. I really enjoy it as I love the vintage designs of the cards.

Sweet Valley High

This game is such a laugh, a vintage board game I got off ebay for a great price (it is worth over £80 on Amazon). The aim of the game is for your character to get their items and their boyfriends for their party. The item cards are faced downwards so you cannot see them. Their are two detention cards which mean you miss a turn and you can pick up cards which can make you put an item back or steal someone else’s boyfriend.

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