Sunday, 21 April 2013

save or spend #1

So this week is the first of a new feature on my blog - SAVE OR SPEND - where I see how much I have spent over the week in a bid to save money for the summer. 

Monday: £5.90 on travel and then £6.05 on groceries, necessities after not being in my flat for 3 weeks. We're trying to be healthy and instead of buying fruit and veg from Sainsbury's or Tesco, Amelia and I went a shop next to our flat which has fresh fruit and veg outside for reasonable prices - 2 grapefruits for 99p anyone?
Total - £11.95

Tuesday: NOTHING wooo, managed not to spend anything which when living next to Tesco, Superdrug and an amazing worldwide foodstore is harder than you'd think. Amelia and I even ran to the gym so didn;t have to spend money on a locker!
Total - £0

Wednesday: £1.85 on a green tea in Cafe Nero. I have enough stamps on my Nero card to get a free drink but I didn't want to waste it on a tea! I will wait for a cheat day to get a massive chocolate frappe or something.. mmm. 20p on a locker at the gym, I hate that they make us pay 20p everytime we go. Then an after gym snack, 55p Mango and Passion fruit water and an 85p nakd bar from Sainsburys. £1 spent on sweets for other people  'cor aren't I nice ;)
Total - £4.45

Thursday: £1.20 on a coffee in the cafeteria at uni. 20p on the locker at the gym (the fact we don't get the 20p back really annoys me seeing as we already pay a lot for the membership!). £2.55 on 3 Nakd bars in the union shop - 20p cheaper to buy them there than in Sainsbury's and they have tonnes more flavours!
Total - £3.95

Friday: £2.95 in tesco on salad and then 1.48 on healthy snacks in Worldwide after my run. We also went out which was £13 (£10 on drinks and £3 on grimey chicken when I was drunk... don't take money out when you're drunk).
Total - £17.43

Saturday: £12.41 in Sainsbury's on food for the rest of the week  all my money seems to go on food!
Total - £12.41

Sunday: 20p for a locker at the gym and £1 on reduced mini eggs because I will need treats during revision this week and I'm a sucker for mini eggs! 
Total - £1.20

Weekly Total : £51.39 

As a student I'd idealy want to spend no more than £45 a week so this is a little over budget but I went in to town and didn't spend anything which made me happy. It's Amelia's birthday next week so its going ot be expensive but then I am knuckling down with revision and so won't be able to spend a lot after that, hopefully my total spend for the next few weeks will be less! 

Sunday, 14 April 2013

10 things #4

10 things that have made me happy this holiday (EASTER EDITION);

disney films in bed - pink bath bombs - a little bit drunk at Harry's - playing with duplo
running in the snow - running in the sun - baking marble muffins - first time in a&e
1. Being home and being back at work.
2. Seeing Charlie a lot and catching up with tea and bed.
3. My bed.
4. Baths, I didn't use to have them before uni but now when I come home it's the first thing I do.
5. Harry's 21st, house parties and girly dinners.
6. Looking after my favourite 2 year old who I treated to McDonalds (most stressful lunch of my life).
7. Having my brother back from Uni to keep me company.
8. Food shopping, a full fridge is something I have missed. Also baking a lot of cake.
9. Driving my little car around the countryside.
10. Going for a runs in all types of weather; snow last week, 21 degrees today!

Something I've been not so happy about - cutting my finger and being stuck on the M25 for 6 hours. 

It's also been a year since I was travelling which makes me upset, this time last year Charlie and I were celebrating Songkran (Thai New Year) in Hua HIn with the boys. Miss that more than anything.

Monday, 8 April 2013

money woes

image found on pintrest
As a student I, like most students, struggle with money. Luckily my fees are paid by the NHS and I get a £1000 bursary from them a year which I am ever so grateful for, but my maintenance allowance is severely cut down and my parents have to pay for the majority of my accommodation as well as my food and living. I have tried getting a job at Uni but every time I have been unsuccessful which is upsetting seeing as I've worked since I was 15 and having a job and earning money is what I am used to. Over Easter I have been lucky enough to scrape a few shifts at my local pub, where I had my first ever job. I love working there and have earned a substantial amount in the last 2 weeks but as my time at home is drawing to a close and I am soon back off to Manchester, I have decided to leave my hard earned cash here and keep it for the summer. 
Not having this money at Uni means I won't spend it and I can use it at Glastonbury and in Turkey instead. I have also decided that I am not allowed to buy a lot of food when I get back to the flat, only basics such as milk, bread and butter, and first have to use up all the food I have. It is going to be hard walking past Tesco everyday and not being able to browse the clearance section (and by that I mean the deserts) or going to the pub for a few drinks but it needs to be done. I need to be more frugal and look after my money, be more like my parents and less like my brother. 

Every week I'll do a spending post, similar to Tabitha's 'Diary of a Spendaholic' posts which I am an avid reader of. 
Hopefully then I'll realise how much crap I buy and stop spending so much! 

Sunday, 24 March 2013

10 things #3

10 things that have made me happy this week:

2. Cooking brownies and eating them all.
3. Popping corn - cheap and reasonable healthy snack.
4. Getting a lovely fortune with a shit Chinese.

brownies - fortune cookie - popcorn
5. Interpretive dancing to the radio.
6. Getting drunk with the course mates.
7. Once again, Snap Chat. So much fun.
8. Prison Break! Why have I not watched this before...?
9. Cauliflower cheese on Thursday night after choir (& the new conductor, he's hilarious).
10. Being home. It's snowy and warm, the food is lovely and so are the cats.

packing - on the train - tiger todd

On a sad note, I didn't like leaving Manchester.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

skin care routine #2

After buying the No. 7 Hot Cloth Cleanser I decided to buy a new moisturiser too. As a massive advocate of Nivea Skincare I bought one of their latest products; Nivea Daily Essentials, Express Hydration Primer. The word 'hydration' stuck out for me massively as it's something that I look for in a moisturiser, I don't want something that's just going to sit on top of my skin looking oily. I also use it as a primer which at first I thought wouldn't work, but boy was I wrong. My skin feels nice and smoothed out and my foundation stays put all day. 

I decided to go for the normal-combination skin moisturiser as although I do have very dry areas under my eyes and on my chin, my nose and T-Zone is still a little oily. 
The consistency is reasonably water and the application is very easy, a very small amount goes a very long way. The packaging is lovely, a small glass container, and you get 50ml of product which is reasonable amount. The product is currently on sale at Superdrug at the moment for £3.99 so if you're thinking of something new they I'd definitely try this!  

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

skin care routine #1

When I was 16/17 I started to get acne. At first I wasn't bothered because I had always been prone to blemishes but it began to get me very down and I wouldn't go out. My mum got a bit concerned and I was put on a number of medications and told to use several creams but nothing worked. In the end my reluctant doctor put me on a contraceptive pill called 'Yasmin' which isn't often prescribed as it's very expensive. Since then I get the odd spot here and there but I happily go around my business without any face make up on and don't worry what my skin looks like. 

Since being at uni my skin has changed due to the amount of crap I am eating and alcohol I am drinking. I began to notice my skin change and where I had come in a little inebriated and taken my make up off with a baby wipe it was beginning to become very dry as well as reasonably blemish-y. A week ago I decided to change my skin care routine and the difference is already massive. (The following pictures are of my naked face, please be kind).

The first thing I did was pick up a new cleanser. I had read some impressive reviews on the No. 7 Beautiful Skin Hot Cloth Cleanser so decided to go for it. It's suitable for all skin types but I have read some reviews saying it's really good for dry skin, especially if you wipe away excess cleanser with hot water and the muslin cloth they supply in the box. The cleanser retails at £9.95 which I say is reasonable for 200ml and the muslin cloth you get. I managed to pick mine up for £4.95 as i had a £5 off No. 7 skin care voucher. I've only been using it twice a day for only about a week but I already feel like its something I could repurchase  in the future, although with the amount you get it seems as if it will never run out! 

Sunday, 17 March 2013

10 things #2

10 things that have made me happy this week;

1. Rebecca (she blog-raped me and put this in) Amelia has also made me happy.
2. Seeing my mum and dad yesterday, they drove all the way to Manchester (8 hour round trip) for only an hour - thanks for the food and toilet roll, mum! 
3. Baking. I made triple chocolate cookies based around Anna's recipe. click here.
4. Handing in another two assignments, only one more to go and an exam and then it's back home for Easter!
5. Seeing the house again, it's just made me what it so much more - fingers and toes crossed!
6. Playing with play mobile in lectures. We had too much fun, especially Maddy.

cookie dough * they were gone pretty quickly * child study was finally over * a 23 year old playing with kids toys
7. Reading lots of blogs and getting a lot of ideas for posts in the future. 
8. Curry with Amelia's parents - so nice to see them and have hilarious conversations.
9. Snap chat. I am getting way too much amusement out of an app. 
10. Booking out flights for skiing at Christmas. 

Saturday, 16 March 2013

our new house

We're currently going through the process of buying a house and my parents came up from London today to measure up the rooms. It's making me oh so excited to move in and make the house our own, painting and decorating it etc. 
I've been looking at things to buy online and in shops around Manchester and here are a few things I have found;

1. kettle 2. rose jars 3. cake tins
4. measuring spoons 5. utensils 6. oven glove

1. wash bin 2. fairy lights 3. throw
4. note board 5. bedding 6. lamp shade
1. throw 2. candles 3. dvd storage
4. love seat 5. cushion 6. poster
These are just a few ideas but I am so so excited to move in with my best friends and have our own house for the next (at least) 2 years.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

10 things: Childhood

1. My teddy of Bert from Sesame Street that I loved.

2. I was born 3 months early but developed language and motor skills faster than the majority of my class mates.

3. Having a baby brother was always fun, till he bit me in the bath.

4. My childminder, Sue, who I went to till I was 11 was a huge part of my life. She's basically my second mum.

5. Reading we're going on a bear hunt, over and over again.

6. Charlie and I making 'bonfires' of all our clothes and mud pies in the garden.

7. Easter egg hunts with my cousins.

8. Going to see S Club 7 with my Aunt at Wembley Arena

9. Rollerblading and eating pancakes in America

10. Holidays to Sennen Cove, Cornwall.

What are your favourite childhood memories?

Monday, 11 March 2013

dresses for a 21st

So I have been invited to a 21st birthday in April and I need a new dress. I could go with something that I already have but i'd feel out of place seeing as the majority of people going are going to be wearing some lavish designer label which costs more than the dinner itself, oh the perks of living where I do. 
Harry's parents always put on the most amazing parties so there is no doubt that this will be dull. I want to wear something that is pretty and feminine but also quite structures. Definitely a dress, definitely no body con and definitely above the knee. Is that too much for a girl to ask? 

As I mentioned in a previous post, I despise shopping so this is where I turn to my trusty laptop and have a little look online. I have decided not to buy a dress until the beginning of April, so two weeks from now, mainly because healthy eating has already changed my body shape and if I keep it up I have no idea what shape or size will be best for me! I don't particularly want to spend a lot of money as being a jobless student I can't afford it.
Here are a few that I've found already.

1. Rare @ASOS 2. Floral Lipsy Dress 3. Love @ ASOS
4. Lace Topshop Dress 5. Floral ASOS Dress 6. Lace Dorothy Perkins 

My personal favourite (and hopefully the one I will purchase) is Number 3, the Digital Print dress by Love. I don't know what it is about this dress but I am just so in love with it. I think it will be perfect for the dinner as well as going out in the summer. It's so pretty! 

Hopefully I'll do a post about what I wear on the night, i'm so excited!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

10 things #1

10 things that have made me happy this week;

1. Handing in my coursework a day early and knuckling down with my other three pieces
2. Finding bulgar wheat in the whole food shop next to where we live so I can replicate my mum's recipe.
3. Clean eating and working out (plus cheat day on Saturday).
4. The nicest walk around Manchester with Becca, 13 degrees!
5. Mum sent me some new tops and my enrapture encode totem stylers arrived!

6. Amelia
7. The new video by 'Bad Lip Reading' on YouTube.
8. Listening to Bastille (although Play have failed to deliver our pre-order of Bad Blood, not so happy)

bastille I overjoyed (accapella)

9. Meeting new people and staying up till 6am with the boys.
10. Sending my Mum a Mother's Day card. She really is my best friend. 

Hope everyone has had a lovely week and Happy Mother's Day! 

Thursday, 7 March 2013

we're not on a diet, we're on a health kick.

I have tried countless times to lose weight since being at uni but the motivation has never really been there. I haven't put on the 'freshman 10' that everyone talks about, i've stayed a pretty similar weight to when i've arrived but I have never been happy with that that weight anyway. 
On saturday, after eating our body weight in Chocolate, my flatmate Becca and I decided to go on a health kick. I'm choosing not to call it a diet as my psychology teacher at school once said 
'you shouldn't call it a diet 'till you're at least 35' 
and to be honest she's right. I went through a very scary period of my life where I dieted constantly and got down to a very low weight, but I still wan't happy. In the end my parents sat me down and told me it needed to stop. Since then I have tried healthy eating but never really stuck to is, there was always too much temptation, especially when I started earning money and could buy my own food. 
When I started drinking alcohol there was also a slight affect, which occurs at Uni too. You drink in excess on a night out, you get home and want food or take away and then the next day you're feeling hungover and ill and all you want is mcdonalds. 
When I was travelling in SE Asia I thought I would lose weight and eat really healthy but even though I was eating a lot of Asian food and not snacking/eating much junk, I still put on weight (again, probably down to the alcohol and 7/11 toasties).
(l-r) kelly osbourne, lauren conrad, ashley tisdale
My body shape is a very boyish figure at the moment but i know that when i tone up my waist it can be quite hourglass. I think my number 1 inspiration right now (it changes everyday) is Lauren Conrad, but I know that I can't get the same shape as a celebrity. They have personal trainers and diet plans. I have no money. 
I've been eating healthily for 5 days now. It's not a long time, I know, but I haven't wanted anything bad at all. I bought some chocolate on Sunday evening but it's still in the fridge. I haven't been tempted by the canteen at Uni. \I've been drinking three cups of green tea a day and I have been exercising in my room and at the gym daily. It helps that I have Becca to do it with me, I would be rubbish on my own and cave in when the girls are eating something that looks nice!
It's hard at uni, but a little self control goes a long way.  

Sunday, 3 March 2013

nailed it.

I just want to start by saying - I AM NOT A NAIL EXPERT 
I love doing my nails, I just find it so ridiculously therapeutic. I love looking on websites and blogs for new ideas and when i'm chilling in the evenings after Uni I just sit there and do my nails - pretty sure I am drugged up from all the bad things in nail polish/remover.
I found this idea on Pintrest (can't find the link at the moment but when I do i'll hopefully put it on here) and all you need it 
- white nail polish
- coloured nail polish
- plastic bag

The first thing you do it paint your nails with the white polish and let it dry completely. 
Once dry, add the different colours on each nail in little splodges - it doesn't matter how messy it is, in fact sometimes the messier the better. 

Then quickly push a small square of plastic bag on top of the wet varnish and then pull off gently. 
This is the end result you get but I personally like to add a bit of matte top coat over the top to give it a cool floral effect. 

Got any more nail ideas? Would love to hear them!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

love it or hate it?

Strange post on marmite (or the student equivalent, yeast extract) here. 

I was reading one of my recent favourite blogs, ciderwithrosiebee , and she mentioned in her '10 things that made me happy this week' post that she had eaten marmite spaghetti. I was curious and being a marmite lover (i can't fight it) I decided to delve into the world of cooking with marmite.
Like Rosie, I decided to cook marmite and spaghetti but add a few fried onions and some strips of chicken. 
I honestly had no idea how much marmite to put in, it was a bit of a guessing game and so for one portion i put just over a teaspoon into the pasta and heated it gently. I would say it was a nice flavour but maybe a little less marmite next time would be perfect. 

marmite chicken with fried mushrooms and spaghetti
It's definitely something i'll try again and as a student meal it's quick, cheap and very very easy.

Friday, 1 March 2013

welcome to march

Oh dear, January and February seem to have slipped by a little too fast. Last week I turned 20 years old (how scary is that?!?) and my oldest friend in the entire world, Charlie who was featured in my gap year post, sent me a card which at the bottom read;

'This is probably the decade that you will get married and have kids - if anyone will have you'

My first thought was she's a massive bitch (but I love her) but my second was holy shit, I need to grow up. At uni I seem to spend half my time in lectures and half my time in bed, a typical student thing to do i'm sure, but now I am panicking. I'm not bothered enough to panic about not having a boyfriend and being alone forever (yet) but I am panicking about the future. I have so much work due in for the next three weeks, I have 5 exams and another placement after Easter, I don't have any money, I need a job, I have no time for a job... the list goes on.

However, I did do something incredibly grown up and scary this week. I signed for a student mortgage. 
Yup, I am getting a house. A real, brick house. In my name (well the banks until I pay them back). Shit. This has been the plan for a long time and my parents have always talked about it. As my brother is in University in Chichester it would be too expensive for him to buy a house down there, so we looked around in Manchester and we found a perfect one in the heart of Fallowfield (student central). I'll be living with my two favourite people, Amelia and Becca who I live with at the moment and they'll be paying me rent so I can gradually pay off the mortgage. 
I've had some very mixed reviews about this idea and at first, I wasn't sure I wanted to be 20 with a mortgage and a whole lot of debt. However, Dad and I calculated the numbers and, fingers crossed, it should work. I can't wait to move into the house over the Summer and decorate it and make it look all pretty... just means spending more money. 

So March for me means growing up and knuckling down... and it's only day 1!

Monday, 25 February 2013

why speech therapy?

When I was younger I wanted to be a singer or an actress. When I got to secondary school I wanted to be a pediatric surgeon (put secretly preferred the idea of being an actress) but when it came to my GCSEs I knew I wasn't going to be strong enough in Chemistry to become a real life doctor.
My school gave me the option to take a text called a Morrisby test which is a series of verbal and non-verbal tests designed to give you an option of 12 different careers that you may be interested in. When i got the results, I was given 11 random careers/degrees which I looked into but wan't impressed by, and then the 12th was Speech and Language Therapy. I had never considered it as an option before but I looked into it and by the age of 15, I knew that was what I wanted to do. 

To get on the course you need a hell of a lot of work experience and every summer (and 6 months of my gap year) for the past 5 years I've been volunteering in a wide range of capacities. By far my favorite time volunteering was during my gap year working twice a week in a primary school shadowing a SLT and helping the kids in class. I was at the school when I got the message I had an unconditional offer from Manchester Metropolitan University, and although at the time I was sure I wanted to go to Reading I was over the moon and they were all so happy for me. 
Speech Therapy is a difficult profession to get into, both at Undergrad and Postgrad. There are only a handful of Universities that teach the course and that made it a lot harder to narrow it down to four options. I guess it completely depends on what kind of person and learner you are but MMu is the perfect place for me. I originally had my heart set of Uni of Manchester, then Reading, but I see know that I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much as I am enjoying MMU. 

The course itself is 3 and a half years (strange but it works out really well) and is full of placement weeks - being thrown in the deep end in a nursery school in week 6 was not great but in the end it was so much fun. The course tuition fees are paid by the NHS which is a plus for my parents but I don't really care about that, although I am grateful, i'm just glad I am on a course I love. 

Here is a link to the University page for SPT if anyone is interested in perusing a career in Speech Therapy/Pathology -

Thanks for reading, 

Thursday, 21 February 2013

gap yah

This is a subject that I will more than happily go on about for hours and hours on end. It's one of the best things I have ever done without a doubt and I would recommend it to anyone. As soon as I didn't get a place at university in 2011 and thought that was it, my life and future career was over. I can't say my parents we're happy about it but they were very supportive and as my best friend Charlie was in the same situation as me, we started to plan our great adventure. We were both sure we wanted to go to Thailand but with input from other friends and our families we decided to go to Malaysia and Indonesia too. 

Of course, a trip like this doesn't come cheap and we both worked our arses off for 8 months (with plenty of tears and tantrums) and by the time April 2012 rolled round we we're on a flight to Bangkok. Leaving our Mum's at the airport (more tears) we set off for the second time by ourselves - we'd had a test run to Copenhagen to visit our friend Josephine in January to check we were compatible! 

It's easier to explain our travels by breaking it into three sections -

  • Bangkok where we realised alcohol and piercing shops probably aren't the best mix but you can make any space into a bar (including someones spare room in a third floor apartment on Khao San Road)
  • Hua Hin - don't go to the beach at 2am. You will get bitten by sand flies and it's horrible. We stayed here for Thai New Year which was hilarious. Massive water and clay fights.
  • Krabi where we climbed 1237 steps up Tiger Temple, rode mopeds and met some of the greatest people on earth (if you ever get the chance, stay at Pak-Up Hostel and join in with the limbo)
  • Phi Phi where it rained a lot and to be honest, wasn't the greatest 2 days we've ever had.
  • Krabi again...
  • Koh Tao which was one of my favourite places, beautiful beaches and a brilliant bar crawl. Koh Tao Backpackers was where we met some of the funniest girls and Koh Tao is great for a PADI course. 
  • Koh Phangan where we met up with four of our guy friends from home and bumped into many people we'd already met during the mad week of the full moon. Safe to say I don't remember much. 
  • Koh Samui where we relaxed for a few days and watched a lot of American crime dramas. Giving backpackers a room with a television is such a bad idea. 
  • Krabi again... Oooops, climbed Tiger Temple again and ate a lot of market food.
riding and elephant in koh phangan
  • Penang not going to lie, I don't remember much from our three days here. I slept a lot of it as a lovely German man had given me some  sleeping pills for the journey down from Thailand and they worked...
  • Kuala Lumpur has to be one of the cleanest cities in the world. It was beautiful. We visited the aquarium,  china town, went up the Patronus Towers at night (amazing) and played stupid drinking games in our hostel's roof top bar - Reggae Mansion by the way was the nicest hostel I have ever stayed in. Insane.
charlie and i in the patronus tower, kl
  • The Gilli Islands (we only visited Gilli T) although you pay a fortune for the long boat ride to get to the Gilli Islands, it's well worth it. We had one whole week of relaxation with amazing weather and snorkeling. It's not brilliant if you're looking for nightlife but you can still have fun. Gilli T only takes about 1.5 hours to walk around the whole island! 
  • Bali was completely different to Gilli. We stayed mainly in Kuta which is like an Australian's Magaluf. It was hilarious and good to let go but by the time we'd gone out and drunk double doubles every night in Alley Cats, I was ready to go back to England. 
charlie and i on the beach, gilli t
2012 was the best year ever for me. I gained confidence and I grew up and I knew after this experience that I was ready to go to university. Ideally I would love to go travelling again after my degree. I'd like to see Northern Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and parts of Australia. Hopefully one day I will be able to. 

gilli t

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

university so far

So I am one of those 'gap year-ers'; One of the people who didn't get into university the first time round (mainly due to laziness, also due to the influx of applications as tuition fees rose) but who had a second chance. I reapplied, worked for 6 months, re-sat some exams and went travelling in SE Asia. It was the best year of my life and I almost didn't make it to university. As results day came around I was accepted into Reading University to study Psychology but on the day I changed my mind and went with my heart, Speech and Language Pathology at Manchester Metropolitan University. 
Me (in the middle) and my flat mates
As MMU was my insurance choice, I didn't get into the MMU halls of residence. At the time I thought it would be the end of the world but now I realise that everything happens for a reason. I have met the two best friends I could have ever asked for, I love my course and all my course mates and I am in the best city ever (bar London) so what do I have to complain about? 

Things may not have been plain sailing for me with University but I wouldn't have it any other way. 

it's a student's life

As students we have an act to live up to. We're meant to live on a diet of bacon, beer and smiley potato faces. We're meant to be out every night till 4 am and wake up the next morning in the same clothes with no recollection of what happened. We get given a student loan and spend all of it within the first 2 weeks when we suddenly realise we have absolutely no money for the next 8 weeks. We go to about 30% of scheduled lectures and we go home with masses of washing for our loving parents. 

With this blog I'm going to document my time as a student. Hopefully i'll talk a bit about my course, my experiences, the amazing friends I have, the nightlife and most importantly FOOD.