Not A Typical Teenager: 2017

Sunday, 12 February 2017

I'M NOT HERE ANYMORE. COME AND FIND ME OVER AT WWW.LOVEASHLEIGH.COM

How To: Pick Your A Levels

Studying for your GCSE's can be scary, and a lot of work has to be done to ensure that you get the grades you want. However, during this time of preparation, your also expected to make some pretty significant decisions regarding what your going to do next. Are you going to continue on in school? Do you have to go to a sixth form college? Are you going to get an apprenticeship? These are things that you're expected to be thinking about when you decide this.

When I had to make this decision, I knew it was going to be carry on and do A levels. I knew that I wanted to do my a levels before leaving education, but I really wasn't sure what I wanted to do because there were so many options and so many of them appealed to me. After eventually making a decision, I thought I would share my tips for picking the right a levels for you.

1) Check the option boxes
Wherever you go, chances are that you can only pick one subject from each line (like for GCSE). There's no point in deciding exactly what you want to do, just to find out that you aren't allowed to do it. Complimentary subjects like Chemistry and Biology are likely to be in different boxes because they go together well, but take a look and ask if you can't find the option boxes.

2) Pick a mix of what your good at and what you enjoy
I am doing maths, further maths and physics. I have always been really good at maths, and so it made sense for me to take maths. However, my physics is not as good. I'm currently at a high C in physics, but I really enjoy learning about it. You can't just pick things you enjoy if they aren't going to give you the grades you need, but don't be afraid to pick up one you enjoy and two your good at or vice versa. Find the right balance for you.

3) Don't pick things just because your friends are
To me, this was a bit of a given. If my best friend wants to take art a level, good for them but my ability to draw is incredibly weak, and so I would be useless at a level art. Don't pick things just because your friend is, because it doesn't make sense. Their ability sin't your ability.

4) Don't put all of your eggs into one basket
If you know what to do, good for you. Pick the a levels suited to that. If your likely to change your mind, then you don't want to get to the end of your a levels to have 3 of them which don't suit you anymore. Try to give it a little variety.

5) Take a look at the step after that
What are you looking to do after you've finished you a levels? Look at what you need to pursue the next step. That might help you decide between a couple subjects. Plus, lots of jobs only require one specific a level and then two other a levels that can be anything, so this allows you to hone in on a job but also keep some variety.

6) Ask your teachers
They'll have taught a lot of people in the past, and will know what level people need to be at at GCSE to do well at a level. They'll all tell you it's hard work, but they'll be honest about whether or not they think you could do well. After all, they care about your education and the pass rates of the school.

7) It's not final, so wait until your results
It's important to remember that you don't have to make your final decision until you know how you did in your GCSE's, so for now, your okay to do a little research and decide what you want after that.

So what do you think? How did you pick your a levels? Do you have any tips to add? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading

Ashleigh xxx

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

I Started Blogging For The Money

My blog is my pride and joy. It is something I have grown myself, from scratch which has taken me nearly 3 years. I am so proud of how far my blog has come and I can't wait to see where it takes me. I like what I write and I like the response I get to my writing.

However, I will quite openly admit that when I started blogging, I went into it because I was interested in the 'making money' aspect of it. I was a 15 year old who wanted a little extra money. I was still too young to get a 'real job'

I heard that there were many people who had made money from writing on the internet. This intrigued me, because I did want to make some money and I didn't have any better ideas, and so I started a blog.

I don't really know what I expected. Was I expecting to write one or two posts and then all of a sudden people would be throwing money at me to write for them? Fat chance. That's not how blogging works. After writing my first posts and seeing that my blog got 7 views, I felt elated. 7 people had clicked on my blog and read my first post. I was so excited. I know now how bad it can be to tie your happiness to your blogs views, but I did it for the first couple of months. After seeing the way my graph climbed when I posted, I forgot completely about the money had originally wanted. Now it was about the views.

Around the October, I was really getting into my blog. I was really enjoying it, and even though some of these posts are terrible and shockingly angst-y. I can't say that I'm really proud of those posts now, but at the time, I was so happy with the content I was producing (I'm not going to link back to these because they're weak posts now), and I was really enjoying blogging. I didn't even notice the major dip in my views, I was just writing because I enjoyed it.

My blog was a slow grower (probably because my writing was so weak to start with, and when I reached 1000 views 7 months after starting, I was obviously going to be happy. It was a big deal. Since then my views have increased at a faster rate, but it's not something that bothers me anymore, because I enjoy writing; it makes me happy. This is somewhere I can talk about what I want to talk about.

I have worked with a few brands now, and I would love to be able to blog for a living, but that's not what I'm doing it for anymore; I do it because it makes me happy. I may have started for the wrong reasons, but I kept going for the right ones.

Thanks for reading

Ashleigh xxx


Sunday, 5 February 2017

How to Humanities - A Guest Post


Hello! As you may not know me, hello, I’m Jemima and I blog at Another Ranting ReaderI am currently in my first year of A Levels, taking my AS exams in the summer, 4 humanities subjects (English Language & Literature, History, Classical Civilisation and Government & Politics), almost the complete opposite of Ashleigh’s subjects. So, we thought we’d work together to share our opinions and tips for tackling our different subject areas. 

Does your school/college treat different subjects differently?

As far as I’m aware, I don’t think so. I think that in my college the resources are spread out quite evenly between each subject area. However, I know that in school and outside there is a lot more emphasis put on the sciences and their importance, whilst, in my opinion, the arts are incredibly important to society.

Are there any misconceptions about your subjects?

1. Classics is just Greek mythology

In reality it’s like History and English combined. I really love the social history aspects, as we study a lot of court cases and texts on real people. Can be something unsuspected for some people, but I thoroughly enjoy it, although it is maybe more suited to someone interested in History more than mythology.

2. Essays are written every lesson

Nope, nope, nope. Believe me, this is really not the case. Yes, our exams are essay based, but a lot of our actual lessons are not spent writing essays. First of all, that takes up a lot of time and we still have to learn the content of our essays. Our lessons vary in structure and content just as much as science or art subjects do. 

3. Humanities are just an easy option for someone who isn’t good at science.

Okay, here’s the thing, humanities take a lot of work, maybe just the same as a science. I know plenty of people who have chosen to do humanities when they could have just as easily chosen sciences, myself included, but we didn’t simply because we didn’t enjoy the subjects so we didn’t take them. Humanities subjects require a lot of skills, despite their differences from the sciences. Instead of dealing with equations, we deal with words and analysis, finding true and deeper meanings as well as being able to structure essays and we still have a load of stuff to learn, perhaps just as much as science students. 

Any revision techniques?

1. Practise papers, practice papers, practice papers!

For humanities, this is the technique that I cannot stress enough. In every humanities subject, you will have to write some sort of essay, whether that’s in shorter exam format or in the form of coursework, it’s gonna happen. In your exams, you’re going to have a time limit that is probably too short what you need to write (I know that’s definitely the case with me for at least Politics and English) so you need to write fast. By doing practise questions you are getting your writing speed quicker whilst also getting used to the style of answering certain questions and the content you need to include in your answer.

2. Talk about it

I find this a very useful way for reinforcing my knowledge on my various subjects. Teach someone you know (who doesn’t know about the topic) and get them to understand it. By doing this, you’re making it more memorable as you’ve said it out loud, your brain has processed it and by making yourself say it it’s kind of true. I don’t know the science behind it, but it works. For something like this, it could just be a discussion on the news with your family and friends or a debate society. This way, you’re socializing as well as expanding your views and adding to your own knowledge.

3. Use social media!

This is something that mostly applies to Politics. As a Politics student, you are required to provide lots of relevant evidence to back up your points. To do this, you should be reading the news and staying up to date with current fairs, as any of the events being reported in the news could be used in one of your answers. To keep in touch with current affairs, I follow lots of newspapers on Twitter (a wide range so you can see the bias) as well as online political sites. 

Also, politics is interesting! It’s especially important to understand what’s happening in the world at the moment, regardless of whether you find politics interesting or not, it’s people’s lives who are being damaged, particularly with the threats rising constantly in the US. 

4. Great a glossary for each subject

This may seem boring (and believe me, it’s really not very exciting), but I believe it’s worth it. Create a word document and steadily add in terminology for your specific subjects, not forgetting to add definitions and examples from your subjects. 

I hope you enjoyed this post! Make sure to let me know about your study tips, I genuinely would love to read them and see if they can help me with my own studies. You can find me over at Another Ranting Reader!

Jemima x

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Haze: My Own Perfume

Today has been a day I have been very excited about since August last year, when I reached out to a start up fragrance company called Fragrance By Me; a company which allows you to design and buy your own fragrance. They were looking for bloggers to review the experience and, as the idea of creating a perfume really appealed to me, I signed up and was accepted, and I was so glad that I did.


To do this, I was asked to visit the website and fill out some forms. You fill out what fragrances you like the smell of, and tells you what notes are in them. Then you get to pick the notes you want in your own scent. You can go for sweet or oceanic etc. There are lots of different notes to chose from. Within that, you get to chose what things within those notes you want your perfume to smell like. This allows the company to create 3 different scents. One scent is based on what you picked and the other two are based on other fragrances you like.

These come in little tester bottles. When I received mine, I took them absolutely everywhere with me. I wanted an opinion off of everyone I knew as to which of the three was their favourite. I wanted to pick a scent which I liked, but also one which other people liked. Eventually, I decided on fragrance number one. I informed the company which one was my favourite and they told me I could take it to the next level and actually release this perfume as a product.

The thought of this really excited me, as I find smelling good so confidence boosting and I personally find it really important. I was told that I would need to design a logo, take some photos and write a description.

This took a lot of time. I am terrible at art, and so I reached out to one of my friends and asked them to design me a logo that looked like a city skyline (her DeviantArt page is here. She is incredibly good at drawing). I picked this logo as I wanted it to be a fragrance you could wear out in the day and night. It was based of this image of me walking through a bustling city centre with lots of shopping, wrapped up in lots of clothes, and drinking a hot chocolate while walking back to the train.

After I sent all of this off, I received a bottle of my perfume to take photos of and I had to send photos off to put on the website. Finally, all of the work has paid off and you can now ACTUALLY PURCHASE MY FRAGRANCE HERE.

Overall, I would highly recommend this experience to anyone who loves perfume. I really enjoyed making my own perfume, and if you think you would, you can find out more here.

Do you think you'll try this out? Does it sound interesting? Will you be purchasing my fragrance? Let me know in the comments below and thank you for reading.

Stay Un-Typical

Ashleigh xxx


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Committing To A Career

I have no idea what I want to do with my life.

That is a lie. I know what I want to do with my life; it's just that there are about 7 things on my list and I have to narrow it down to one. This is so difficult, because there are so many things I enjoy doing in my spare time.

I am currently doing a lot of different projects projects, (running a blog and all of the things that go with that; sort of playing with a band; I volunteer in different places; etc.), and I like to think I am doing them all well, but I am not yet ready to put all of my eggs in one basket. In my spare time, I am so artistic and I do so much artsy stuff, and I am applying to so many different things its hard to keep track of what I'm still waiting to hear from. Plus lots of these are engineering positions because of my a level choices.

Me pretending to be able to play ukulele while modelling for a
project you will see very soon
I have thought recently about trying modelling (thanks to America's Next Top Model), because it looks exciting and it is something I would love to try, and I've thought about pursuing journalism, and looking into writing for a living, but sometimes it can feel like I am deciding too late or that I'm not dedicated enough to any one thing. Do I need to focus solely on one project? Well, when I do, the general consensus seems to be that I am putting all of my eggs into one basket. Yet, when I am doing lots of different projects, I am told that I am spreading myself to thinly and that I should focus on one thing.

It is true that to do something well you have to dedicate a lot of time to it, and I am willing to put in the time to any project I start. It does make me wonder if I'll ever find something that I can commit to solely. It is also true that school puts a lot of pressure on academia and sciences. I have been told that academic subjects have better job prospects, and so that encourages me to go for more academic positions, because the sound of living on popt noodle after studying something and then not being able to find a job in said subject doesn't appeal to me. Teachers don't see blogging a a real job, nor art, nor modelling, and so how can I even contemplate the idea of pursuing something that isn't academic.

I have already mentioned that I am trying to pursue some arty things, like blogging and possibly even lookimg into the modelling industry. I just feel like there is so much I haven't even tried, and so how am I supposed to make a decision about what I want to do when I haven't even tried everything yet?

Many people my age are in the same boat as me and probably lots of people who are older who have started their careers. Lots of people still don't know what they want to do, but I'll be darned if I go into something without having tried as many other opportunities as humanly possible before I commit.

What do you think? Are you in the same position? Does the idea of having to pick a career terrify you without the knowledge of lots of other careers? Let me know your opinions in the comments, and thank you for reading.

Stay Un-Typical

Ashleigh xxx


Sunday, 22 January 2017

Audiopi: The Ultimate Study Tip

I am always looking for ways to improve my study methods. I'm lazy, and so I want the easiest ways to revise, but also the most effective. I don't want to give up my social life but I also want to get the best grades I possibly can. I've tried lots of different method and there are some I like more than others. For example, flash cards I find great because they are portable and you can stick them around your room so your constantly looking.

I came across an opportunity to review a website and when I found out what this website did, I knew that I would be a great fit. This website is designed for students studying either a level or GCSE and it has designed podcasts for different subjects. You an pay £5 a month for every single tutorial across the site, or, you can pay a one time fee £14.99 for 1 whole module (for example, you could pay £14.99 for the whole Early Tudors for History A Level. There are so far only 5 subjects on there: English Language; English Literature; History; Biology and Physics. They are tailor made for different exam boards as well. From AQA to Edexcel, they are made from a variety of lecturers and examiners from the different exam boards.

I only listened the the physics modules, because I have a lot more knowledge about what is on a physics paper (and I understand a MOST of what I did for the first paper now). I tried making my own recordings of me speaking the notes, but that didn't help me, so it was quite interesting for me to try podcasts made by other people.

These podcasts are great. I really like the way they are laid out and the way that they talk about common mistakes made in exams. The physics ones were about 10 minutes each (roughly), and they are really great for on the go. I can listen to podcast while walking up to town to meet up with my friends, or on the bus to or from school. It just helps me solidify my understanding.

Issues with this are basically the limit to subjects and the fact that it is still a start up. I would love to see some Geography tutorials or some PE theory tutorials. I hope that this audiopi does decide to bring some of these to the site. I also think that we need more tutorials, as for Physics, at the moment, you can only access (for a level at least), tutorial for unit one for the CIE exam board. There are more to come for other exam boards and for more units for CIE, but I feel that for me, they'll come too late. I'm sitting the second year of my a levels and so by the time all of these tutorials go up, I think I'll have finished my exams.

Would I pay £5 a month for this? If I was a first year student at A level, then yes I would, because there are tutorials there that I would have benefited a lot from last year and so I think it would have been very good for me and my revision. This year, no I wouldn't pay the £5 a month yet because there aren't enough tutorials for me to use for A2, or my exam board. Although when they arrive I will most certainly be using them.

If you're interested, make sure to go to https://www.audiopi.co.uk and let me know how you get on in the comments. Also share some of your best study tips in the comments and I'll use them to pass my a levels.

Stay Un-Typical

Ashleigh xxx

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Is Feminism Old News?

I have identified as a feminist since I first heard the word, because why wouldn't I want to advocate for equality of the sexes? Why wouldn't anyone want to advocate for equality of the sexes? It was really strange for me hearing people say that they weren't feminists, but then saying they were for gender equality. I thought that it was just that they didn't know what the word feminist meant, and so I would explain it to them time and time again, just to make sure that they knew what it meant, and yet they would still tell me that they weren't feminists.

This wasn't just coming from boys, but from girls too, and so I started asking why. Why aren't you a feminist if you support gender equality? They all responded with a similar sort of answer which always followed the lines of "I don't like the way some feminists promote it. It sounds like female supremacy" or "feminism only fights for womens causes".

I disagreed with this time and time again. This wasn't true. Yes, there are some people who identify as feminists but who can come across as female supremacists, but that's not their intention. The word feminist has been given a bad label, and there isn't really anything we can do about it.

I have been a perpetrator of this myself. When me and my friends in school were talking about issues we face as women, one of my male friends chipped in on the conversation and I knocked him down, telling him that we were talking about our issues. When this was later brought up with me by my male friend, I was pretty upset. I hated to think that I had shut down a mans problem just because we were talking about female issues, and if it can be done that easily without thought, then there is no wonder that it happens over and over.

With all of this in mind, I recently stumbled across a video on facebook (link here). This video is a response to a buzzfeed video titled "36 questions feminists have for men", and it opened my eyes to so many things I hadn't really noticed before, like how damaging the depiction of men is in modern rom coms. I also wasn't aware that the gender pay gap was an average of the hourly pay every man and every women in the US gets paid, not the pay for a man and woman for the same job.

Since seeing this video, I have taken a step back and really looked at how I view feminism. I am still for gender equality, but I think feminism is an old label, and maybe we need a new one that's more inclusive of all genders if we are going to conquer gender inequality.

Thank you for reading my blog post. I would love to hear your thought in the comments. Is the title feminist old? Do we need a new term? Do you think men are more negatively impacted by gender inequality that women? Let me know in the comments.

Stay Un-Typical

Ashleigh xxx

Sunday, 8 January 2017

The Thousandth Floor - Katharine McGee - A Review

I saw this book in Waterstones recently and I knew that I had to read it. The back of the book really interested me. This wasn't because of the characters or anything, but more because it was set in the year 2118. I've always been interested in dystopian future themed novels, but this wasn't really dystopian. It was more realistic than your average dystopian book, and so I don't think it is classed as dystopia.

This book follows five characters about their life in New York city, where there is now a tower of a thousand floors. This tower has houses, schools, hospitals, parks etc. The tower isn't the only place people can live. You can leave the tower, and there are still people living outside the tower, but the tower is was a very desired place to live when it was first built.

There is a system in the tower. The higher up you live, the richer you are. People who live on the lower floors can sometimes work as maids or shop assistants in places in the upper floors, everyone attends school based on how much they are willing to pay etc.

I really enjoyed this book, and I was really happy to find out that there is going to be a sequel. For me, it was very much a teen drama book, but I liked the idea of it being set in a different time. The idea of this tower and that teens where only really friends with people who lived on the close floors because of the schooling system was a cool idea.

One of the main 5 characters is Avery Fuller, who lives on the thousandth floor. What I liked about Avery was that she was genetically engineered to be incredibly pretty, and this is interesting to me because the mothers of rich girls are usually portrayed as incredibly pretty and apologetic for not being around, but Avery's mother isn't either, and this was quite unusual.

I've heard a few people compare it to gossip girl (I've never watched it, so I don't know), but from my understanding gossip girl is a drama. I sort of agree with this as I felt that the book was a teen drama story, but I feel that that's how the book was meant to be and I liked the fact that it was set in the future.

if you'd like to buy this book, you can get it from amazon here. Let me know what you think if you'd like to read it and why in the comments.

Stay Un-Typical

Ashleigh xxx




Sunday, 1 January 2017

Can You Balance A Job And A Levels?

When I first started to apply for jobs, this wasn't something that really entered my mind. I just wanted some money and I knew a job was a good way to get me some of that. So when I eventually got a job and started working, I began asking myself this very question. Had I taken on too much? Was working going to affect my a levels? I was panicked to say the least.

When I started doing some research on this, my findings were interesting. I asked teachers and read sites for teachers who were all saying that students having jobs is bad because it impacts their grades, and that it can't be done. Many said a small part time job of up to 10 hours can be done but more than that and you see an impact.

I then looked at student forums and blogs, who were mainly saying the opposite. There were students who had come out of a levels with A*A*A and who were working 25 hours a week. It was nuts to see how different the views were.

I know that having a job as a Christmas temp certainly does not make me an expert but I have learnt a thing or two about this, and I'm going to share my opinions with you:

1) See how much time you need for studying
If you are going to do 10 hours a week of 'outside of lesson' studying, then you may have time for a job depending on other commitments. don't let your job change your study pattern for the worse.

2) Break it down
I sleep for 63 hours a week, I was working 20 hours a week (19.5 but I'm rounding for the maths),  was in school or travelling to or from school for 40 hours a week. That's 123 hours used out of 168. That leaves 45 hours for eating, studying and resting; which doesn't really sound so bad. (I've recently bought a planner for this which I will review soon).

3) Talk to your boss
If you have a job and they are giving you too many hours; tell them! If you didn't agree to work 30 hours a week at the start, then they can't be too surprised if you ask them to lower the hour count.

4) Put your studies first
School is more important. I know that money is nice to have and a lot of students at a level work because they need a little extra cash, but it's not worth it if it is going to impact how much you earn in the future. Aim for the grades you need to get you where you want to go next.

So those are just a few little things I have learned. Let me know of your own tips or concerns in the comments.

Stay Un-Typical

Ashleigh xxx