Student Stuff: Deadlines and Overhauling my Approach to Studying

All summer during the lead-up to returning to uni I was telling myself, and my family, that this year was going to be different. I was going to take my studies, health and general life more seriously. I had meal plans, a limit on how much alcohol I could drink a week and I had a LOT more time I could dedicate to studying. Naturally, I didn’t know until I actually moved back to Glasgow to start my third year whether or not this plan for my ‘new life’ would actually come to fruition.

Thankfully, I took it seriously this time. There have been soo many times in the past where I’ve told myself I’d try harder next term and actually get proper sleep etc but when it came around to it I was the same disorganised, drunk, self-detrimental girl as I had been every time previous. Obviously I’ve not become a completely different person. I’ve improved my ways significantly but I still have days when the alarm goes off and I just CAN’T make it to that 9am lecture. For the most part, however, I am going into uni (unlike last year when making it to one hour a week was a success), I am cooking all my meals for myself instead of relying on Deliveroo and I’ve even managed to submit an assignment almost 24 hours early!

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How did I do it? To be honest I think the majority of reasons are environmental factors. I’ve moved into a new flat which allows me to live a far more functional life and, consequently, get more studying done! I’ve started my third year which counts for 40% of my final degree classification… which basically means work bitch or you’re gonna get a third class degree! It’s really important to mention that, despite these things that have helped a LOT, I have made an active effort to get myself more organised in terms of reading and a plan of attack for studying and I have also given myself a kick up the back side in terms of motivation. I have a question that I ask myself whenever I’m going to cop out of something: “What’s stopping you?” if the answer is “myself” I HAVE to do it anyway. It seems to be working so far! 🙂

This plan isn’t foolproof and I have still managed to fall behind with reading a little bit but FAR FAR less than I have done in previous years. There’s been years where I’ve left everything so disgustingly last minute that I’ve had to read two novels the day before an exam. I don’t recommend this technique to anyone who wants to a) achieve anything at uni or b) remain mentally stable. It has been these experiences, however, that have allowed me to revamp the way I approach studying and life in general.

On that note I wish you all luck with your upcoming deadlines and exams as we’re coming towards the halfway point of semester 1. Remember, if I’ve managed to pass thus far SO CAN YOU!

Until next time,

J x

‘Student Stuff’ is a new series I’ll be writing on my blog for online student community Campus Society relating to the many experiences I’ve had as a student over the past 3 years. Hopefully I can impart some wisdom or even just warn you what to absolutely avoid doing!

Life Update: Valencia, sunburn and Starting Third Year

So I’ve been absent recently and haven’t really written any blog posts. Sorry about that, I’ve just been super busy getting settled into another year of uni to be honest and I’m so tired all the time!

Anyway I thought I’d do another little life update because I’ve been up to quite a bit recently.

So, instead of going back to Glasgow for freshers week this year me and some of my friends decided that we’d go away for the week instead. We figured that if we go cheap we’ll probably only spend about as much as we would’ve spent in the clubs at home anyway. We decided on Valencia (because it was cheap) and headed out there on the 11th of this month. This is how blue the sky was.

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we stayed in an apartment with a private terrace with sun loungers on it. It was roasting all the time (over 30 degrees most days) so we spent a fair bit of time there!

On the first day we went looking for a restaurant to have dinner at, but we went at an awkward time and for that reason we could only find one place. I’m a big lover of prawns but in the UK they usually do all the dirty work for you so when a big plate of fully shelled prawns arrived I was a little intimidated. I had to rip the head off (at which point a load of brown goop fell out onto the plate) and then wipe the poo track out… to be honest by the time I’d done all that the idea of the prawn wasn’t so appetising anymore!

We went to a beach club one of the days as well and the sun was super hot and we just lay on sun loungers drinking cocktails and occasionally dipping in the pool to cool down (aka it was absolute bliss).

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This was a berry mojito, ,very nice.

We headed to Marina Beach on our last day and I was …very burned from the day before

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so I stayed in the shade but it was a beautiful day nonetheless and I enjoyed sitting reading my book and cracking open a few cans of shandy from our cheap cooling bag that ripped as soon as we lifted it up to leave the hotel 🙂

Most of the food we ate was amazing. Caprese salad was a favourite with the group and also the classic Patatas Bravas. I’m getting hungry now writing this (but when am I not hungry)!

Now I’m back in Glasgow my workload has increased a lot. I have novels to read and essays to write and a 2 hour lecture at 9am on a Monday morning… who’s idea was that?

Anyway I’ll hopefully get past to posting about weekly now, I won’t be able to do two posts a week anymore as I’m back at uni and in third year so it all counts now!

Until next time,

J x

Life Update: Moving and University

Tomorrow I am moving. A few months ago in a previous life update I mentioned that I had a new flat. So far I’ve lived somewhere different for every year of uni (I’m going into third year now) and I’m hoping that this flat will be the one I stay in from now on!

Key differences between new flat and old flat include:

  • New flat is not infested with mice.
  • New flat has a living room.
  • New flat has a properly fitted kitchen with a window.
  • New flat is just for Ellie and I so we can do whatever we want.

I am SO glad that when I get off the train tomorrow and get in a taxi home it won’t be to my old flat. It was a second story tenement that had been lazily looked after and was rented out at a ridiculous price to students who knew no better (me). Living there was a total misery. I woke up in my room, studied in my room, ate my meals in my room and socialised in my room (or Ellie’s). There was no communal area to spend time in. We weren’t even allowed to keep a table in the hallway so our dining room was literally in Ellie’s room which was disgusting.

It’s a miracle that I passed the year and made it into honours to be honest. I didn’t study and I didn’t go to classes. In fact it got so extreme once that I read two novels in a day right before an exam once. Somehow I got my first A at university in my honours subject English Literature, but I also got a G in another subject so you know… that wasn’t so great haha.

Over the summer I’ve had plenty of time to think about how I want to go forward in my third year. I’ve overhauled my diet (which was genuinely shocking last year) and exercise routing and I’ve decided that I want my whole lifestyle to be different. It probably sounds like a cliche, I mean I say “i’m going to work harder this time” at the start of every term but deep down I do always know I don’t mean it. This time, I really do and I’m taking steps towards it already. I’ve got started reading books for my Victorian Literature course and I really believe that living in a new flat that is actually fit for human habitation will allow me to lead a more stable life with a routine.

The days of being so hungover I spend most of the day in front of the toilet at least twice a week and buying a bottle of wine (to sit and drink by myself) on my way home from the one class of the week I actually attended are over. They need to be. Spending like a third of my life hungover is maybe the biggest reason I never got any work done and also it just feels HORRIBLE. Anyone who’s ever been a big drinker will probably have come to a point in their life where they’ve either had some kind of intervention or done it for themselves.

Anyway, enough of that alcohol talk. Tomorrow I am getting on a train, probably not very gracefully because I will be struggling with a lot of luggage, and heading back down to Glasgow for round 3. Also my brother is coming with my to come to an open day, so I won’t be completely by myself when I arrive at the flat. That’ll be nice because coming from a house of 4 people and 2 cats to an empty flat can be daunting! I’m always the first one in the flat.

Well that’s about all I have to update right now. Oh and in a week I’m going to Valencia with a few friends!!!

Until next time,

J x

The Travel Tag

Hello!

I was recently tagged by Mew (her blog is really cool go have a look, https://love-mew.com/) to do the travel tag. It seems like a fun tag and because I love travelling and am going on holiday in a few days I thought now would be the perfect time to write it! Hope you enjoy!

1. What is your favourite place that you have visited?

Prague

Prague, Czech Republic

I went to Prague in August 2014 with some of my friends. This was my first proper holiday (not just down to Glasgow for the weekend) with my friends and it was absolutely amazing. Prague had the perfect mix of restaurants, nightlife, beer gardens and beautiful architecture. It was the perfect place for us to go on holiday at that particular time as well, we’d all just turned 18 so we could drink legally! It was also really cheap out there, you got so much for your money!There were so many cool attractions in Prague like paddle boating on the river…

Prague

Exploring the local attractions…

Prague

and, of course, checking out the famous ice bar!

Prague Ice Bar

2. If you could visit anywhere tomorrow where would you go?

Perhaps it’s a popular choice but it’s been on my bucket list forever, New York City! A few of my friends have been to New York over the years and I am just SO jealous. I want to eat in all the cool cafes in Manhattan, try real New York pizza, go to the top of the Empire State Building and the One World Trade Centre building. I want to visit Liberty Island, Broadway, Central Park, Times Square and the Met. The list could go on, I’d like to spend weeks there to properly explore everything and get the full NY experience!

3. Would you rather go on a city holiday or a beach holiday?

Don’t get me wrong there are awesome things about both beach holidays and city holidays, but for me at the stage of my life I’m in at the moment there’s no doubt in my mind that my answer is city holidays. There are just way too fascinating, culturally rich cities so close by to go see. So far I’ve been to quite a few interesting cities: Prague, Krakow, Paris, Bruges. There are so many more on my list though such as Budapest, Berlin and Rome to name a few.

Krakow Poland

Krakow, Poland

Eiffel Tower Paris

(as I’m sure you all know)
Paris, France

Brugge Belgium

Bruges, Belgium

4. My top 3 holiday essentials are…

SUN CREAM

The worst mistake you can make is going on holiday without sun cream because if you get burned you will remain burnt and flaky for the rest of your trip (should also probably mention the danger you’d be posing to your health)! No one wants to look back on pictures of them on holiday and only be able to think about how red they look, do they? I’ve been there and I cannot stress enough how important sun protection is when you’re away even for a few days.

CAMERA (or any photo taking device)

I know some people aren’t the biggest fans of getting the camera out whenever they’re doing something interesting or cool, but I absolutely love looking back on photographs and remembering what I was doing and how I was feeling that day. I think you can be immersed in the moment and still take a few snaps to look back on later 🙂

A MAP

Of course you can access this pretty much anywhere now on Google Maps, but it’s really important to be able to get your bearings wherever you are. You don’t want to be wandering aimlessly the whole time you’re there, especially if you’re not there long and want to cram in all the local sights! Another thing a map is good for is finding your way back from all the exciting places you’ll be exploring, there’s been more than one occasion where I’ve been pretty stumped as to which cobbled street the hostel I’m staying in is down!

5. Are you an over packer or an under packer?

Unfortunately I have to admit I’m an over packer. I’m always pushing the weight limit on my hold luggage and usually have to take a pair or two of shoes out. I’d be so nervous if I only packed the essentials because I’d be worried there would come a desperate need for that fifth pair of shorts or that moisturiser I never even use. Better safe than sorry!

6. What is your favourite thing about going on holidays?

This one has to be split into two for me. Number one, is exploring new places. I absolutely loved visiting Krakow as it was so rich with history, museums and of course the Jewish Quarter which was incredible to visit. The other would be spending time with whoever I’m with, whether it’s friends or family. Going away on holiday and taking a hiatus from day to day life is the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with those close to you.

Port De Polenca Majorca

Majorca, Spain

7. Would you rather go on holiday with friends or family?

This is a difficult question to answer because I love doing both, however I am at a time in my life at the moment where I am going on holiday with my friends more than with my family so I’d have to say friends for now. I have so many wonderful memories of holidays with my family from growing up through and would love to go on many more holidays with them in the future!

8. What is the most adventurous dish you have ever tried from another country?

I visited Shenzen, China in 2008 and tried quite a few interesting foods while I was out there, but I can’t specifically remember what any of the dishes were! The first thing that pops into my head other than that is when i tried Lobster when I was in Florida (wasn’t such a fan) and when I tried dumplings in Krakow last summer (definitely was a massive fan).

Polish Dumplings

They may not look massively appetising but I can assure you there were DELICIOUS! Me and my good friend Rebecca polished off the whole lot and a bread basket just to ourselves!

9. Who do you want to do this tag?

Anyone who wants to do it. Hearing about and getting travel suggestions from people is great! I don’t know that many bloggers as of yet so I’ll leave it at that for now but everyone is invited to do this tag by me 🙂

Please comment below if you’ve been to any of these places or would like to, and with any suggestions of places you’ve been and loved! I will also be going to Amsterdam on the 29th and will most likely put up a post about it shortly after I arrive back so stick around to give that a read!

Until next time,

J x

Drug Store Faves!

Hey! I felt like doing a little beauty post today because I’ve been really enjoying doing my makeup recently, sometimes I can’t be bothered haha, and noticed that I keep reaching for some cheap(er) products that I consider to be absolute staples. So today I’m going to give you a run down of my absolute favourite drug store makeup products, I hope you enjoy 🙂

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Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum – £10.99

I am always somewhat sceptical about drug store foundations because I have incredibly dry skin and don’t want to put anything on it that will irritate it. Having said that I decided to give this one a shot after hearing many good things about it from friends and online and I’m so glad I did! At £10.99 it may not be as cheap as some other foundations you’ll find in Boots but compared to some of the high end foundations I’ve shelled out for in the past it’s great to have a slightly cheaper alternative for when I’m a bit skint! I would say this is a medium coverage foundation and the shade I buy is Light Vanilla (the lightest shade, as usual) which matches my skin really well and doesn’t look orangey at all thankfully. The only negative thing I will say about this foundation is that when left on the skin for a while it can begin to look quite greasy, but for the price I can forgive it that.

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Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder – £3.99

Everyone’s favourite, the old trusty Rimmel Stay Matte Powder, well loved and packaging faded. If you’re experiencing problems with shiny skin like I mentioned above this is the product you need. I prefer to use the Transparent shade because sometimes I find that powders with a bit of colour in them come up looking orange on my skin. Don’t think I really need to say much about this product as most people I know own it but it deserved a mention in my favourites! I do have dry skin and sometimes this can be too drying, but to set makeup it works really well.

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Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer – £5.49

I haven’t gotten to the stage yet where I can justify myself spending over £20 on a concealer so I’ve tried my fair few of drug store concealers. This is potentially my favourite. Although I do love the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer, I do sometimes find it difficult to blend and a little dry. The Wake Me Up concealer glides on and blends super easily and does a nice job of brightening up underneath your eyes! The shade I use is 010 Ivory, again the lightest, sometimes out of stock which makes sense given I live in Scotland and we’re all fluorescent up here.

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Maybelline Colour Tattoo 24 Hour – £4.99

I really enjoy using cream products, particularly cream eyeshadows as they look dewy and very pigmented. These Colour Tattoo’s are such a good price for what is a very good product. My favourite shade is On & On Bronze, but couldn’t find it today 😦 so here’s a picture of Eternal Gold which is also a gorgeous shade. They blend out very nicely and are easily buildable. As I’m sure you can tell by the name of my blog I’m a bit lazy (a bit is maybe an understatement)! If I’m also being lazy with my makeup I love to just apply one of these to the lid and blend them out around the edges. Takes all of ten seconds and actually looks very nice.

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Bourjois Liquid Eyeliner – £6.99

I, along with many others, have ALWAYS struggled with doing winged eyeliner. I’ve tried so many different eyeliners, drug store and high end, and this is the best one I’ve ever used! The thin brush applicator allows for a really precise line which is good because I don’t like dramatic eyeliner on myself. I use the shade Ultra Black and it really is ultra black and applies very smoothly. For the price I think it’s an amazing product, especially given how expensive some other eyeliners are. Mine is drying out a bit now but I will definitely be repurchasing it!

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Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Khol Kajal – £3.99

Continuing with eyeliner, these eye pencils by Rimmel are great! I have the shade Nude pictured above and as you can see it’s in desperate need of a sharpen. This shade is perfect for lining your lower waterline, it opens up the eye but isn’t as dramatic as using a white pencil. For £3.99 you really have nothing to lose giving these a go but I can vouch for their quality, they are very creamy and don’t drag on application which is something I’ve experienced with a lot of pencils in the past.

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Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara – £5.99

Mascara is another one I struggle with sometimes. For some reason my eyelashes on one eye just don’t like to separate out and look nice with a lot of mascaras. I’ve bought expensive ones in the past and been disappointed but this one really separates out the individual lashes and lengthens them. It’s definitely not the only mascara I use but it’s one I always go back to. Mine is in the shade Black, of course.

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Rimmel Lasting Finish By Kate Lipsticks – £5.49

These lipsticks are very popular and for good reason. There is a gorgeous and vast range of shades that are all incredibly pigmented when applied to the lips. Of course having Kate Moss’ name on the packaging probably boosts sales a bit, but I think people come back for more because of the quality. The shade pictured above is shade 38, a beautiful peachy pink. I am also obsessed with shade 1 which is a dark, blood red. Not to bash high end lipsticks as many are absolutely beautiful, but if you are a bit short of cash and want to buy a new lipstick I’d highly recommend these guys!

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Barry M Gelly Nail Paint – £3.99

Barry M nail paints are some of the only products that I used to buy at around aged 14-15 and actually still buy now. They come in SO many shades and finishes and for the price the product is great (I mean it’s £3.99, come on). One of my favourite things about them is the shape of the brush, it’s quite flat and fits well with the shape of my nails. The product is a good consistency and glides on nicely. Pictured above is the shade Black Grape, it’s basically all I’ve been wearing recently. As much as I’d love to be sporting pretty nude nails I’m just obsessed with this nearly black shade!

Well that’s the round up of my favourite drug store products, I hope you found it interesting. Let me know in the comments if you also love any of these products or are interested in trying them out. Also sorry if some of the products look a bit dirty it’s just because they’re well loved and they’ve been crammed into a makeup bag that’s way too small!

Until next time,

J x

Childhood Reading Tag

Hello! I was stood in the kitchen the other day waiting for my pasta to boil, scrolling through my reader on WordPress and I was seeing so many cool, interesting posts people had written about books they’ve read or are reading. It got me thinking about everything I’ve read over the years and I thought of an idea for a tag! I’m not under any illusions that this is going to become a thing. I basically just wanted to do it for myself, but if anyone does want to do it then go ahead I’d love to see what other people read throughout their childhoods!

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First Love – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

I’m sure this is one that pretty much everyone can relate too. Harry Potter was one of the first things I read (or had read to me when I was really young) and it’s remained my ultimate favourite ever since. I absolutely love high fantasy in which you can just become completely immersed and forget about any troubles you may have had at school that day or that deadline that’s fast looming over you that you should really be working on instead of reading Harry Potter… Not that I’ve ever done that haha.

I don’t even know what else there is to say about one of the best selling book series’ of all time. I’m sure you all have but if you haven’t read them DO IT! I firmly believe everyone should read these books before they die. Recently my gran told me she hadn’t seen the movies and I could not contain my horror.

Blyton's Famous Five.

Oldest Reading Memory – The Famous Five by Enid Blyton

These books take me right back to my oldest memories of reading as a child. I don’t think they’re books I would particularly enjoy reading now I’m 20, but back in the day I loved a bit of Julian, Dick, George, Anne and Timmy. The one I remember the most is the “On Kirrin Island Again” book. I think I must’ve read that one over and over again. As much as looking back the characters’ speech is quite comical, I used to get pretty swept up in the drama of these guys’ summer holidays.

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School Reading Memory – The Magic Key by Roderick Hunt

I’m not sure what everyone else read in the early years of school but I know that everyone at my school read a lot of books from The Magic Key series. I didn’t properly decide that English was my favourite subject until the end of secondary school but I definitely remember looking forward to reading what happened next with Biff, Chip and Kipper. This was so long ago I can hardly remember the individual storylines but I guess this series was pretty instrumental in me learning how to read, so deserves a mention in my opinion!

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YA Favourite – Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

This is another super high fantasy series. I was really invested in the first book, then went on to read Inkspell and the start of Inkdeath. Unfortunately I think Inkdeath was either too advanced or too slow paced for my young mind but I remember absolutely loving Inkheart. A film adaptation was made of the book but unfortunately it wasn’t received very well and the sequel was never made. I’m not sure if it was the budget or just the wrong time, but I think that some amazing films could be made out of these books. Especially given the rise of the internet, fandoms and the popoularity of fantasy series’ like The Hunger Games.

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Guilty Pleasure – My Diary by Liz Rettig

Well I can’t exactly claim that this was academically challenging or anything but I’ll be honest with you, I loved these books. At the end of the day reading is reading and sometimes it’s just fun to read something a bit silly. These books contained the over dramatic internal monologue of Kelly Ann and I lapped up every page until, full disclosure, I was probably too old for it to still be acceptable. Oh well, that’s why it’s a guilty pleasure, not ashamed!

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Honourable Mention – The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

I can’t finish up this post without mentioning The Chronicles of Narnia. I can’t quite place in my mind what age I was when I started reading these books but I think I was quite young. I remember watching the 1988 BBC TV series with my best friend Megan when we were children and later seeing the movies. As I’ve said previously I love fantasy series’, it seems criminal that I still haven’t read the Lord of the Rings series (I know) but I will get around to it! Obviously when I was younger I never understood the heavy religious themes of the books (Aslan is literally a thinly veiled lion Jesus), but to me Edmund was the original bad ass and he just couldn’t deny himself that turkish delight! A classic.

Well that’s everything from me just now but please do this tag if you enjoyed it! I felt really nostalgic writing it but probably forgot so many things that I read when I was younger.

Until next time,

J x

Update: thought I would tag a few people who’s blogs I’ve been enjoying recently.

Random Picture Tag

Heeeeyo I thought I’d do a really old tag today because why not? I’ve been looking at quite a few peoples old blog posts recently and this seemed to do the rounds back in the day.

Premise is you go onto your pictures pick a random folder and choose i think the fourth or fifth picture in that file, share it and explain it! If that’s not exactly how you’re meant to do it I apologise but that’s how I’ve done it for the purpose of this post.

Well I’m the kind of person who has all their photos saved into different folders entitled things like ‘Christmas 2012’ etc. So I decided to pick a folder from a time where I actually did quite a lot to increase my chances of actually having an interesting photo to share with you!

mcdonalds

That’s 17 year old me on the left looking pleased as punch about something! This picture is called ‘mcdonalds’ on my laptop, so as the name suggests this photo was taken in McDonalds. It was taken in Late July 2014 in Plymouth, so the weather was nice and warm! I’m not from Plymouth but I was down visiting my cousin Ellie (middle) during the summer.

We were on our way to an outdoors concert by Mad Dog Mcrea (props if you’ve heard of them, they were a local band), but someone needed the toilet so we all popped into McDonalds to wait for them. I wouldn’t usually dress up to go to McDonalds (and I also don’t normally look quite so thrilled about it either)!

Anyway this was just a short post because I thought it was quite a fun and interesting tag. If anyone wants to comment below doing the same consider yourself tagged!

Until next time,

J x