Hey everyone, ok i disappeared here for a while, I think in general I got a bit over things, i did stick to my diet but not as well as possible, however despite this and despite not doing my bloods for pretty much a year, it turned out my body was coping juuuust fine, bloods came back at around 400. Problem is I'm having trouble getting them back down there, they are currently hanging around the 600-800 mark. Which is ok, but i like things to be a little better then that, would prefer 400-600. Anyways I guess some may be wondering why I am back, I have been keeping active in PKU communities in facebook, so i wasn't completly AWOL. But my main inspiration is from this page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/306494119371639/306658369355214/?notif_t=like It's basically a page where PKUers are sharing their recipes, which made me realise I have a few good ones to share myself, and I like feeling like I'm giving back to a community that I feel so strongly for. Today (eventually ) I plan to start some PKU baking, and I also plan to create a lightbox somehow so I can take some pretty pictures of my food and share them along with the recipes. I am feeling quite excited about this all :) Other then that life has changed a fair bit, i last left you where i tried for NZNTM and missed out. I didn't try for the most recent cycle, however next year I plan to try again and am feeling quite confident about my chances. If you will note, my profile picture is a modelling one I did for a friend and fellow photographer (coming to the photography stuff soon), it's one of 5 outfits, and there are plans to do a reshoot for a few of those outfits next year. What is really great about this set-up is I get to go over the images and will be able to learn what recurring mistakes need fixing, what looks good, and what doesn't and attempt to recreate some things. And last but not least I have just completed my first year in a Bachelor of Applied Visual Imaging, and I made several important discoveries. First, I struggled with the workload, the stress levels and remaining motivated, and ended up with depression around July and had to drop a few classes in order to look after myself, it was not easy at all, alot of the time I try to gloss over the unplesant things, but i want to be honest here. I struggled to get up in the mornings and basically felt like I wanted to hide all day, I also realise now that there was a bit of paranoia and anxiety in regard to talking to and seeing people from class, I felt like everyone knew that I was depressed but nobody cared, or felt like they saw me as weak for dropping classes, cos God knows I felt that way! It also felt like if they saw me they would talk about me behind my back and that truthfully no-one really liked me that much, i would often end up in tears and have trouble breathing as i contemplated going into class for the day. I was very quickly told by my Mum (who is my first stop for any problems/triumphs I have) to go see a Counsellor, which I found through the Methodist Social Services in my town, and she was a wonderful lady, alot of what I was thinking about other people was actually how I percieved myself at that point and she helped me to get through it and realise that although i was terrified of going into class it truthfully wasn't that bad and when I did end up talking to classmates, and when i did have to mention that I had dropped to part time study everyone was amzingly supportive and though i was so brave to have taken such a step towards getting better, particularly since it had felt like a failure at the time. Pretty much all of it was literally in my head, I was insulting myself and not letting myself see that others liked me for who I am cos I had trouble liking myself at that point. The second discovery was I am not in the least interested in anything in that course bar photography, which was a handy discovery and it was one I had before I started getting depressed. It allowed me to pick out the areas I was really interested in and found helpful to my future when I dropped to part time and it also allowed me to consider that future and realise that continuing in the BAVI was not for me, instead next year I will be doing 1st and 2nd year papers in the Diploma in Photographic Imaging. And this overall is good as I will be studying part-time for the next two years. Basically the Diploma and BAVI course have similar classes, so by doing BAVI first year i have already completed all but 2 or 3 first year diploma classes and have the required learning for most of the second year classes, so to supplement my first year classes i have chosen to do 2 second year papers as well. This makes the 2nd year somewhat easier to manage for me and I am looking forward to experiencing this next step towards making my career goals real :) In the meantime I plan to keep myself busy over the holidays, I have 4 snail-mail pen-pals, one of which is a PKU person living in Canada, and an email pen-pal, I am also looking for any extra work possible, preferably photography work, and am making plans to gain more portrait photography experince as a friend is pregnant and I have offered to take some baby tummy and newborn pictures for free so i can build up my portfolio. A friend from course has also asked me to take part in a Wedding as a photographer, for which i will be paid. All in all things are looking pretty exciting! Let me know what your plans for christmas holidays are, or if your on my side of the world, what your plans are for the summer holidays!