The University Diaries : year one, done... pending exams.

This is absolutely something I never thought I would be able to say.... I have finished my first year at Sussex University.

I don't know how..... I really don't.

All that's left is 3 exams, the first of which is on 28th May. I don't know how to define what I'm feeling right now. I mean, I know I am flat-out broken and exhausted beyond anything I've ever felt before but there's an odd sense of calm at the moment... mixed in with a LOT of tears ready to burst out of me and a weird elation/high/unbreakable feeling that I could conquer Everest right now.

So perhaps while my brain is all "whooooooop celebration tiiiiime" my body is definitely sending a very clear "calm the hell down" because absolutely nothing about me is functioning anymore. Perfectly illustrated by the past 24 hours.

I submitted my final piece of coursework - physics for neuroscience, yuck! - at 3.40pm. I sat outside the library completely numb, looking at the beautiful green campus coming into full bloom, I felt like I was going to either burst into tears or pass out from the overwhelming feeling of exhaustion crashing over me. Once I'd finished my Lucozade lite I went to get the bus home. That was the most difficult 30 minutes of my day. I could feel my system shutting down. I felt sick from being sat upright and the sheer brightness of the sun. Whenever I moved I thought I would black-out and hit the deck.

I got home incident free and went straight to bed... and haven't really moved since!

This afternoon I was lucky enough to spend a few hours with my boyfriends friend and his 18 month old son, Arthur. It's been a while since I've been around little ones of that age, and oh my word how I soon remembered! Absolutely nothing is safe!!! He met Lily and managed to really freak her out by squeaking at her, despite petting her really nicely... She fluffed up and started to hiss so she was shut in the bedroom to calm down until we took him to The Level - basically the only flat place in Brighton, hence the name.

By 4.30pm, we were back from the park and Arthur was on his way home for his dinner. I passed out on the sofa almost immediately. The boyfriend and I had planned to go out for tapas tonight as a sort-of celebration, but we're both utterly exhausted! It was so, so worth it though. Sadly, seeing him playing with Arthur did nothing to settle down the level of broodiness I'm in right now...


I have absolutely NOTHING TO DO between now and September.... It's a very weird feeling. For the past 12 weeks it has been a non-stop frenzy of what is due next and how long do I have and what books do I need and ohmygodpanicccccc. It's almost like being in the eye of the storm right now..... I know there's more coming in the form of exam revision but it's hardly the insanity I've just come through.

I feel sad that I can't work.... really sad. But I'm going to use this time to work my butt off at the day hospital and gain as many skills as I can so my next 2 years at Sussex are safe and a lot less despairing.

I don't know if anyone would like me to share the revision/study skills help I am getting from my mentor in the very near future? There is a LOT of CBT material coming once I have the energy to sit and write properly.

It's dawned on me that this 3 year undergraduate degree is going to pass by very, very quickly indeed and I need to start seriously thinking about the next step. Realistically I think a PhD is where I'm headed; with any luck I can stay on at Sussex. Why leave when I absolutely LOVE being a student at Sussex University!!!!! :)

How did you feel after your first year at uni? Are you leaving soon and sad or glad about it? If you could offer one piece of advice to prospective students, what would it be?


teapigs : Modern Matcha Kit GIVEAWAY!!! - NOW CLOSED *

It's giveaway time folks!!!! 

The absolutely legendary folks over at teapigs are offering one lucky person a Modern Matcha Kit, worth £32.50! In this kit you will get: 

  • 30g of matcha green tea 
  • aerolatte electric handheld whisk (including 2AA batteries)
  • shot glass
  • measuring spoon
  • information leaflet
  • matcha badge

 "teapigs genuine organic matcha comes from the renowned Nishio region in Japan, where some of the country’s highest quality tea leaves are grown. You may be concerned about the sourcing of our matcha since the tragic earthquake disaster in March 2011. The Nishio region is over 600km South of Fukashima and, as well as undergoing strict testing by the Japanese Authorities before it leaves the country, our matcha is tested twice more before it reaches our shelves." 

Matcha is 100% organic green tea leaves, which have been finely ground into the super concentrated powder you see above. It has been consumed in Japanese culture for over 900 years! Apparently it's very popular with students who are preparing for their exams, so I will report back in due course whether or not it's helped me get away from the more concentrated forms of liquid study-aids! Matcha is rich in chlorophyll, which we all know is what gives plants their ability to function - photosynthesis, remember? ;) 

It looks a lot like wheatgrass, which has a reputation for being... pretty rank tasting, let's be honest here. teapigs matcha only contains the leaf; the stem and veins are 'rigorously' removed to avoid any bitter taste. Matcha is drunk as a fine powder diffused in liquid so you actually ingest the whole leaf, consuming every last bit of goodness. Not only is matcha amazing for overall health and concentration/focus, it also promotes healthy skin and aids weight loss.

"Matcha contains two special amino acids called theophylline and L-theanine. Like all green tea, matcha naturally contains caffeine but, unlike coffee, it works together with these two important amino acids to give you a sustained energy boost which can last 6 hours. By stimulating the production of alpha brain waves, L-theanine helps to create a state of mental alertness but keeping you relaxed at the same time1 - no wonder Buddhist monks have been drinking matcha for centuries. The L-theanine content in tea also increases with the grade of tea, with high-grade matcha (that's our stuff) having the greatest percentage of this marvellous amino acid1."

As a medical neuroscientist (as per how we're referred to on campus! HA!!!) the process of how L-theanine will trigger an alpha wave response in the brain is absolutely fascinating and I fully intend to spend some time piecing this one together during the summer break - R. Mason (2001) April 7 (2): 91-95 Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 200 mg of Zen; L-Theanine Boosts Alpha Waves, Promotes Alert Relaxation

To be in with a chance of winning this amazing matcha kit and trying out this beautiful product for yourself and take part in Matcha May with myself and other bloggers, just fill in the rafflecopter!

The rafflecopter will launch at Sunday 20th April at 7pm and close Sunday 27th April at 12am. I will announce the winner at the close of #lbloggers chat at 7.45pm, before we do the links etc.. ;)


Thank you for reading, and good luck!!! :)


ThatRedheadSaid has taken a scary step forward!

Hi everyone!

Once again I have to apologise for not posting regularly; I've been super busy and of course with that comes being super-duper tired!!

For a few months now I have been going back and forth over when is the 'right' time to navigate away from and into the realms of .com. Is it how many subscribers/followers you have? Is it how much you love blogging and being part of the community? Does typing just annoy the crap out of you? 

ThatRedheadSaid is absolutely tiny. I can't force people to follow.... I know my content is very niche and definitely not to everyone's taste. That's a million per cent ok. If I did this any differently it wouldn't feel right... So there's that. It wasn't because my blog had exploded in popularity... 

I absolutely LOVE blogging. I don't post as often as I like and I'm going through a horrible social-media shyness thing again which totally isn't helping anything right now.... But the fact remains that every waking moment is spent thinking about what I could do or probably should do to make my blog better. There's a million and one things I want to write about. 

I've made blogger friends. That sentence alone is so special to me - more on that later. 

I will also be frank with you here. I'm lazy as hell when it comes to the internet and resent having to type when I'm telling people about my blog. It's just..... annoying!!!!!

So with all of those factors, and a stern word with myself that this investment needs to pay off, I bought my own domain!!! I chose because they seemed the most reliable and idiot friendly. The process of transferring across from blogspot was far less painful that I expected, on the face of it at least! 

The main problem I am having is with AdSense and the soul-destroying world of SEO. Oh my god I absolutely haaaaaaaaate it. As soon as I get up, between naps and going back to bed I am pouring my heart and soul into making the mechanics of this website work properly. 

Which brings me to a couple of things I'd like to ask from you: First, if you come across an error page, or a broken link, please let me know as soon as you can so I can correct it. Sadly, I can't pay someone to fix the list of issues I have in front of me.  

Secondly; you see that link on the top right? Could you please give it a click and answer the 5 questions I have for you? It shouldn't take more than a minute or two and would help me HUGELY in making ThatRedheadSaid a place you enjoy coming. 

Thank you all so much for all your support!!!


MySalonLooks : now in Brighton!

This is big news! 
MySalonLooks have finally made it to Brighton!!!

I've made no secret of the fact that I love MySalonLooks. Once I find a hairdressers I feel comfortable in and trust them with scissors to my hair then I will be a very loyal customer. I know I'm not alone in feeling like going to get a hair-cut is similar to going to the dentist for some; but the fact of the matter is that getting your hair taken care of by very highly trained and genuinely lovely people should not be an ordeal you just have to endure. I'm slowly coming to accept that it's ok to relax, enjoy and trust them.

 MySalonLooks have only had a base 98 Western Road, Hove until very recently. Last Friday they launched their beautiful new salon at 16 Brighton Place and I was lucky/brave enough to pop along and have a nosy!

How many smarties are in the bowl??
 The salon is AMAZING!!It's deceptively big and has an air of luxury about it! The lighting is very calming and I absolutely love the gentle colour scheme, which just flows so perfectly throughout. I don't know about you, but I find that salons can become very stuffy with all the dryers and such; the sheer amount of space in this open-plan layout is *hopefully* going to remove that issue, or at the very least reduce it significantly.

See that room in the background that keeps changing colour? That's not my poor photography skills or some sort of inception mind-trick. That's the new Oasis area! In the Hove salon it was in a little side room, which I do have to say felt a bit more like a 'sanctuary', but I can see how adding a door in this salon would ruin the whole open-plan theme! 

 The chairs you see? They're massage chairs, and they are incredible. If I were to ever come into some money, one of those beauties would be on the top of my list. You can control the intensity from the little buttons on the side, and the colours of the lights can also be changed via remote control! They are different to the ones in the Hove salon, but to be honest they're both just as heavenly. The basins are also an upgrade; no more wet neck thanks to these very clever moving neck rests that will slick all the water down into the sink rather than on a towel as before! It is also vastly more comfortable.

The shampoo and conditioners used are by System Professional.

What about the styling products? Whenever I think of MySalonLooks I automatically go to Moroccan Oil, but true to any amazing salon, there is a vast collection of brands to explore and add to your routine. Or, if you're anything like me, your never ending collection of products. 

In addition to Morrocan Oil, MySalonLooks also stock: 
  • System Professional
  • Nioxin
  • Sebastian Professional 

Suffice to say, there's a lot to explore! :) 

I bet you're wondering how much it costs to come here, right? I've got you covered:


I mean, seriously?! How much more pampering can a girl have?! The manicures are done by the girls at the MySalonLooksSpa, which is just 2 doors down from the salon! I totally recommend them too, by the way. 

Go forth and get yourself some fabulousness.

mysalonlooks Brighton
16 Brighton Place

Call: 01273 725006


Nexplanon : Three Months Post Removal

Hi ladies!! 

Thank you so, so much for choosing to read this little series! I really hope you find it helpful. It still blows my mind that every day on my blog search history there are many different searches for various aspects of nexplanon, and that so many of you are experiencing the same problems - which of course, really sucks, but you're by no means alone. 

So! Here we are at just over three months since I had the nexplanon implant removed. I am feeling SO much better and absolutely do not regret my decision to stay away from hormonal contraceptives. They just do not agree with me and I have no issue with sticking to the more 'natural' approach to baby-proofing. I am also very lucky to have a partner than understands and supports my decision fully. 

Responsibility in sex and contraception shouldn't fall just on the ladies. Last time I checked there needed to be two consenting people involved in the process, and as uncomfortable and awkward it is, you need to make these topics as non-taboo as possible. I'm not saying you need to talk about your periods or anything of that sort, because unless they're a doctor/nurse they're just not going to understand!! But I do feel it is important for both of you to make an informed decision when it comes to hormonal contraceptives. 

Hormones are powerful critters and they can wreak absolute havoc on our bodies. The boys need to be aware of this. Talk about the potential side effects and how you feel about them. Looking at nexplanon specifically; the main problems you're going to come up against are prolonged bleeding, bloating and headaches. How will these impact on your relationship and sex life? What if you're super unlucky and you end up bleeding constantly for over 4 months? 

Some couples are in the camp of 'throw a towel down' and carry on, which is fair enough if neither of you has a problem with it.... I'm not part of that camp. More often than not.... the physical process of sex and all the related hormones associated with it would trigger a bleed. The boyfriend was very understanding and thankfully it was barely noticeable for him, but for me it was incredibly upsetting and triggering. As soon as I went to the bathroom it was back in full force and I'd just end up in tears and wanting to rip the frikking implant out of my arm.

That is not conducive to a successful contraceptive method. 

Back to the present day: I have had one period of 6 days and thankfully it wasn't a horrifically heavy or painful one. I was able to get through it with paracetamol and ibuprofen tablets and gel. I did notice I was a lot more bloated than 'normal' but this is the first time in years there has been absolutely no foreign hormones in my system so this one was just my body figuring things out I think. 

I haven't lost much weight at all, and am still classified as overweight on the BMI scale. Frustrating, but I now have the time to start trying to be more active and remind my body that this is not my set point! My boobs have gone down in size, thank god. I was struggling to fit into a 36DD, but now I'm having to adjust those bras as they're becoming a bit big! I have loose skin on them which is both hilarious and gross in equal measure. 

Stretch marks are still very much visible and make me feel very sad. I am using Bio-Oil both on my skin and in my baths as well to give my skin a much needed boost. There are probably products out there that act faster than Bio-Oil, but I just don't have the money.... So I'm just going to have to accept these unwelcome visitors to my body. Hell. I've walked around with bright red/purple scarring on my arms and legs for long enough.... 

Talking of scarring: 

Nexplanon scar: Three months post-removal.

It is red but it's doing great for a wound that was gaping. I was fully expecting a keloid. The skin on my arm is looking inflamed, but that is nothing to do with the implant/scar. I went on a day trip to the Science Museum in London yesterday, and this is what happens after a day outside on my feet. The muscles are SO sore and it just radiates outwards to my the skin - for those that don't know me or are new to my blog, I have M.E/CFS and my body reacts to any sort of physical exertion in an extreme way!

I think by the time summer is here the scar will have faded away and will just be another little white fleck on my arm. No big deal. At some point I will probably end up with a tattoo on that portion of my arm anyway so, yeah. 

That's about it for three months on. 

If you have any questions you can leave it in the comments box, tweet or email me. I really do love hearing from you!!

Give the follow button a click while you're here too! There's some exciting stuff coming up in the next couple of months - including a super cool giveaway or two!! :)

Samantha Nicholls. Powered by Blogger.


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