Thursday, 16 August 2012

University Survival Guide: Part 1 - Moving In/Freshers Week!

I've seen tonnes of these posts floating round, and I thought it was a good idea to show prospective students what uni is really like! This time last year I was wading through hundreds of these posts, very useful!

There's not much point rambling on about the application process/results day as that's just passed for everyone! However at this point last year I was still going through Clearing, I didn't get anything clear-cut until around 6pm!

I got AABB in my A-Levels, when I'd hoped to get AAAB. So I ended up at the University of Liverpool come September, which I'm still happy was a good decision to make. The Clearing team at the uni were so, so helpful and really calmed me down and worked me through the entire process. I originally applied to study BSc Geography at Leeds and Nottingham, but it worked out that I studied BSc Oceans, Climate and Physical Geography at Liverpool. I thought I'd just compile a few tips for all you freshers! This will be a long post, so I apologise in advance!

1. Moving in/Freshers Week

- Write lists! 
This is a massively important one. You will need to write lists of things to take to uni, otherwise you will definitely forget a lot of things! Split them up, for example into study materials, kitchen things, bedroom things, toiletries, clothes, electrical items etc.

- Keep your door open
Everyone says this, but it's a very good idea. Considering in my halls I was tucked away in a corner, I didn't really need to do this. Just get out into the corridors, help people unpack, make cups of tea, natter about how the journey was. Key phrase for this whole post: everyone is in the same boat. Never forget that! Unless someone's dropped out and come back again, most will be in that same confused state as you.

- Don't feel obliged to make friends with absolutely everyone
I tried my best to make lifelong friends with all the girls on my floor, and in reality we split off into groups. It was bound to happen, you can't have a group of 12 girls following each other around! I'm still in touch in with my little group of halls girls, and plan on carrying on nattering away with them for the rest of my time at uni.

- Don't run before you can walk
It's important to get involved during Freshers, but be warned: if you're not a drinker/go-er out-er, don't chuck yourself into every single stupid club night where you have to dress up like a slutty schoolgirl/nurse etc. It's not fun if you don't normally enjoy that sort of thing!

- Get a diary before you leave!
And then go on to your university website, and write all the important dates you'll need to remember for your first few weeks of term. This helped me so much, because believe me, after a week of partying, you'll not want to think about checking and double-checking dates!

I can tell you want some photos from freshers, don't you? Go on  then....


Wednesday, 15 August 2012

"Turner Monet Twombly - The Later Paintings" at the Tate (Liverpool)

A few weeks ago, me and my family wandered down to Liverpool for the day to take a look round the new exhibition at the Tate. I love going to this art gallery, it's amazing how differently each of the exhibitions are set out, along with the free galleries on the ground floors. After going to the amazing Rene Magritte exhibition (twice!), I was really looking forward to it.

I don't claim to be an art nerd, but I don't think you have to be to appreciate a good work of art. I've loved Monet since I was little, I remember an old art teacher trying to get us to make a Monet-inspired piece by painting with matchsticks! I'd heard of Turner but not seen his work, and had no idea who Cy Twombly was (I was also worrying about how to pronounce his name - turns out it's as it's spelt!).

Monet's paintings absolutely blew me away - the attention to detail in each of his pieces was mind blowing. I have no patience in stuff like this! I really wish it was just a Monet exhibition, because I really didn't see how it was all supposed to be linked together. Turner's work was just a bit blah, which of course is very ignorant of me to say - but it didn't wow me at all, I found myself missing out a lot of his paintings. Twombly's pieces were very eye catching and had interesting stories behind them, but again they weren't really my style. They included lots of garish colours (think fluorescent green with deep red), so it wasn't my cup of tea. I did like one, however, and got it in postcard form to stick up in my new room at uni.

As usual I scuttled away to the gift shop (I'm a sucker for them), and picked up some postcard sized prints to keep. Unfortunately one of these has already been given away to a boy (tsh). However these are the ones I'm left with, I love them!

Most of them are Monet, aside from the top left (Twombly), and I've forgotten who the top right one is from! That's the one that I don't have anyway.

I seem to be most attracted to the works of painters who belong to the Surrealism movement (aside from Monet), so if anymore exhibitions come up I'll be sure to check them out.

Are you a fan of art? Any surrealism artists I should have a look at? :)


Monday, 13 August 2012

Night-time ramblings: Growing Old?

Me, 19, going on 20.

    Just look at that baby face. I'm not ashamed of having the chubbiest cheeks in the North of England, and whilst I do get ID'd at every opportunity, I wouldn't change my face (puppy fat and all) for anything. What's startling me most is the fact that I turn twenty years old in just under a month. I'd never considered such an age until I met a boy from London, who was 4 years my senior. We're no longer in contact, but that made me wake up and realise, well, I'm hitting my twenties soon. No longer a teenager. That means no more excuses for being pointlessly stroppy, where a grunt is no longer acceptable as an answer, and boyfriends must now appear respectful to my parents, not the usual 'types'. My my.

    I didn't think leaving my teens would bother me this much, they've been a very turbulent time for me. Being diagnosed with depression, losing two members of my family, these two (or three, I guess) periods in my life just made everything that bit more difficult. I may be carrying my good friend D into my twenties, but my teens were by no means perfect. But no-one's are, are they? I've been referred to as an 'old-soul', or 'mother hen' too many times, but it's stuck, I am a bit old for my age. So why am I not embracing the transformation from girl to woman?

    Maybe it's the pace. Within a month I'll have hit the big 2-0, will be living away from home again but this time in a self-catered environment, in the suburbs of Liverpool, with 7 people I have never lived with before. Buying all my kitchen utensils today was both slightly entertaining (sad, I know) and also very daunting. I bought a grater, sieve, chopping board, salt and pepper grinders... all the while, I was longing to go and get my new bedsheets, which I will snuggle up to every night. See, as much as I can be independent when it's expected of me, I love being looked after. Just ask my ex. I loved nothing more than lying on his lap, with him brushing my hair. Sound like a 5 year old don't I? I just like being looked after like that. It's not a case of me stomping if I don't get to act like I'm still a child, it's just I like that little protective barrier around me, so if anything goes wrong, I have a safety net, know what I mean? As I write this, I can hear the odd rumble of thunder in the distance, and want nothing more than to snuggle up with my mum in bed. So for someone like me, turning 20, cooking fully for myself, paying bills myself, will come as a huge shock. 

    I guess I'm just trying to prepare myself for it.

    Does anyone else vaguely understand where I'm coming from here? Isn't growing older that little bit scary, or is it just me?


Sunday, 12 August 2012

Reading Material

Hello everyone, hope you're having a nice relaxing Sunday. I've been applying for jobs and reading - what's new eh?! I thought I'd inform you of my favourite blogs to read. A little smile always pops up on my face when I see a new post from one of these lovely ladies...

Note, not in numerical order! These are just a handful of my best blogs :)

I had to start with one of the blogs I've been following for as long as I can remember! Gem's blog is the perfect mix of lifestyle, DIY, style and general nattering! I am so envious of her hair, one day I'll have the courage to chop my locks off but for now...! One of her tuesday tips brought about my love for leopard nails! Find her blog here.

If you haven't heard of Little Blog of Horrors...where have you been hiding?! I adore Ayden's blog, it's full of pretty photos of her lovely little life (which I am enviable of!), reviews of bits and bobs and also adorable pictures of her kitten Dexter! Seen in the photo above. I want him! I also absolutely love her tattoos, forever hoping I can get enough money together to get some as amazing as hers :) and to top it all off, she's absolutely lovely!

I'm gobsmacked it took me so long to find Jade's wonderful blog, I only stumbled upon it at the start of summer! Based in Liverpool like myself, I love seeing what Jade gets up to. I never seem to go exploring in Liverpool, and she's inspired me too.  Jade is such a wonderful writer and a really friendly person. I love exchanging words with her on Twitter, and would love to meet up with her for a good natter in a pretty cafĂ© Liverpool sometime!

Ellie is just one of the loveliest people I've met in the 'blogosphere'. Her blog is a relatively "small" blog, like mine, but deserves so many more followers because I love her blog! She attends univeristy in Scotland, so expect lots of pretty pictures of what she's getting up to :) Find her lovely blog here!

I don't follow many foodie blogs, but I certainly should do if they're all similar to this! I love Lauren's blog, it's a perfect mix of lifestyle, food, travel and style. A lot of her recommendations are based around Manchester, which makes me want to hop on the train and visit more! I certainly should do, it's only an hour away after all.

There you have it, my 'top 5', so to speak. Hope you enjoy, and please visit/follow them if you don't already!


Friday, 10 August 2012

Spike heels make a hole in a lifeboat

Happy Friday! Hope you're all well and looking forward to the weekend. Ladies, don't you just love a good red lip teamed with red nails? It grates on me when a nail is not red enough, with a tinge of orange, so I'm extremely glad I found one of my old favourites in my basket of nail polishes. It's "Double Decker Red", a Rimmel product. Teamed with my Topshop lipstick in "Hazard", which is a lovely buildable red shade. Blogger is telling me that buildable isn't a word.. I'm going to keep it in there anyway.

What's your favourite lip/nail combination?


Thursday, 9 August 2012

Longings #1: Shoes @ Kurt Geiger

Shoes. A woman's best friend, no? I must admit, I often think more/less of someone based on the shoes they wear. If you can walk well in a heel, I commend you, because I can't unless it's the chunkiest of chunky heel. I've been taking a gander at the Kurt Geiger website for a few weeks now, and, if I had the money, these would be my picks:


Oh, Esme. How beautiful you are (yes, it has a name, ergo I can converse with it). The studs, the pale blue/black combination, the patent leather. Let's not mention the heel I cannot walk in. This is my dream shoe, some day I will wear them happily on my feet, clip-clopping away in Liverpool somewhere. And, before you ask, I will find an occasion to wear them. Dining out, drinks with friends, 9AM lectures...


These beauties would be my go-to shoe during the winter months. Made of supple suede (my favourite fabric for a shoe), they just ooze cool, don't they? I can imagine proudly strutting them anywhere and everywhere, teamed with a chunky knit and skinny jean.


Leopard print features heavily on my nails, so why not feature on my feet too? Also, they're a slipper-style,which I love love love (yes, three times over). I need a decent flat in my life. True, I'm an avid boot-wearer, and they remain my favourite thing to have on my toes, but for the days when I'll be running around uni like a headless chicken, I could do with a flat shoe to save my feet the pain. And these are just lovely.

Who said flat shoes don't have attitude? Ok, my list. Three things needed in a flat with attitude: suede? Check. Red? Check. Studs? Check check check. They would be perfect for a night on the town. I often feel if I wear flats on a night out, that I look a bit "drab". Not with these! Who wants to wake up with a hangover and sore feet? Not me.

So, there you have it. My favourites that Kurt Geiger have to offer. 

It's my birthday in a month... anyone fancy treating me? I'm a size 6.


Wednesday, 8 August 2012


L-R: The Perks of Being A Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky), Before I Go To Sleep (SJ Watson), Looking For Alaska (John Green), The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath)

1. The Perks of Being A Wallflower
This is a coming-of-age novel, written from the perspective of Charlie, who writes a series of letter to the reader, depicting his life at high school. At the start I wasn't a fan of the letter-writing format, but it really grew on me throughout the book. I found the character of Charlie incredibly endearing, his naivety was so fresh compared to characters in other books these days. I also really liked the other main characters, Sam and Patrick. I thought the ending was absolutely brilliant, it was so personal to the reader. I nearly wanted to get the last few lines of the book tattooed on myself! But alas the idea was a fleeting one.  I read this book mainly because there is a film adaptation coming out soon, and I wanted to see what the fuss was about. All in all, an awkward tale beautifully told by Charlie.

2. Before I Go To Sleep
I was so impressed by the plot of the book, that I had to set aside my usual preconceptions about crime/thriller novels. I'm so glad I did! This book tells the story of Christine, who has severe amnesia, and can only remember things one day at a time. That means, by the time she wakes up in the morning she has forgotten who she is, etc. She meets with a doctor every day who tells her to write in a journal, and very gradually her short term memory comes back to her. This story is full of shocking discoveries, eerie twists and turns, so many things make the reader change his/her mind about whether her doctor, or her own husband, should be trusted. I would highly recommend this book, especially if you like a crime/thriller!

3. Looking For Alaska 
Looking For Alaska is one of John Green's most famous novels, and I can see why. Another coming of age tale about a young boy who moves away to College (in America, uni to us in the UK?), and falls in love with a girl named Alaska. She's the typical crush of every boy that age, pretty, quirky, smart, etc. I can't say too much about the plot because I got told it and it ruined the book slightly for me! So, I shall keep that a secret. All I can say is go and read this book, if you haven't already of course!

4. The Bell Jar
I got given this book for my birthday last year, and I'm ashamed to say it took me a long time to get round to it! I was really looking forward to it though, I absolutely adore Plath's poetry. I'm not sure what I was expecting from the plot actually, but 1920's New York was certainly not it! A pleasant surprise, I love that era. Esther Greenwood is working at a prominent magazine in NY, clearly not that enthusiastic of all the glitz and glamour. She begins to struggle to sleep, and slips into depression. Her mother makes her see a psychiatrist, and eventually she is put in a rehabilitation home. It's a pretty weird book to read... I know that's not much of an opinion but hey! I think I expected more from this book, however I read it quickly, because I didn't want to over think Esther and where she was in life. A strange one, but a good one.

I hope you liked my ramblings on the books I've read recently! I love reading people's posts on books, so if you have any, link them in the comments! :)


Monday, 6 August 2012

Liz Earle Skincare

Ok, before I start, the best lighting in my house for photographs is my bathroom... hence the appearance of the toilet handle in some photos!

I've been so excited to ramble on about Liz Earle! But decided to give it a few months before I could give my honest opinion on it. Obviously because I have a tiny blog, I was not sent any of these items, got them all myself as part of the August Offer on the Liz Earle website at the moment. It's such a good deal, you get the Sheer Skin Tint absolutely free!

My skin is usually not too bad, I have breakouts at the usual time of the month, and during times of stress, but I would go as far as saying my skin is just average. My skin type is combination - I have an oily t-zone and dry patches on my cheeks. Since I moved to University last year, my skin was battered by halls heating, a bad diet and lack of sleep. I was using Clinique products at the time, and whilst they are very good, I just don't think they had enough "oomph" to protect my skin from Liverpool in general!

Around the end of my first year, I bought Garnier Pure Active Blackhead Clearing Scrub, mainly because I have a fair few blackheads on my nose (who doesn't?) and wanted to get rid of them. WORST SKINCARE MISTAKE OF MY LIFE. I don't know if it was just my skin (which is fairly sensitive), but my God this cleanser caused so much havoc on my face! I broke out in every place imaginable, and even after I'd stopped using it, for about a month or so after, my skin continued to be terrible. I am never going near a Garnier skin product again!

So! I needed a saviour for my face. Enter Liz Earle... 

L-R: Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, Instant Boost Skin Tonic, Skin Repair Moisturiser, and Sheer Skin Tint

1. Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser
I'd heard so much about this cleanser, so was dying to try this out. I was impressed by the amount of natural ingredients in the cleanser, so was confident it wouldn't bother my skin too much. If you don't know what a hot cloth cleanser is, basically you massage the product onto a dry face, and wipe off with a muslin cloth soaked in warm water. You then wash the residue off with cold water, which will probably be unpleasant come winter!

2. Instant Boost Skin Tonic
I never really got on the whole toner bandwagon, I'm still pretty unsure of the benefits of this, but it really is lovely on my skin. I use it after my cleanser, and find it plumps and revitalizes my skin before putting moisturiser on. Also, spritzing this on during the day really perks me up!

3. Skin Repair Moisturiser
I hadn't used a moisturiser for so, so long before getting this product. I was scared that strong ingredients in the cheaper moisturisers would mess my skin up again! I was pleasantly surprised by the dry/sensitive option, as this seemed perfect for my skin. The formula is very thick, which I like, because it actually feels like its doing something for me! It does soak into the skin quickly though.

4. Sheer Skin Tint
Because of the warmer summer weather (ha, marginally!) I've been looking for a lighter coverage foundation. This is perfect, it provides a lovely natural finish to my skin, and doesn't feel like I've caked it on! It is buildable for more coverage, but that isn't really my thing. I have shade 2 out of 3. I think the shade collection is possibly a bit limited, especially for darker skin tones, but shade 2 suits me perfectly.

If you made it this far - congratulations! Have a metaphorical medal. 

I can't recommend Liz Earle products enough, they have saved my little face from what I thought was the start of acne! They aren't cheap, but I honestly think saving up for products like this will save you a whole lot of bother in buying lots of cheap products which do nothing for your skin. My skin is nearly absolutely clear, I can't wait for it to completely clear up so I can happily wander round make-up free!

Another, and final point - their service. Oh my, their customer service is perfect. I never thought I'd say that! The brand offers quick delivery, sublime packaging and also a complimentary sample with your order. Luckily I got a mini of my moisturiser, which I take when I go on my travels.

Do you use Liz Earle products? Are you interested in buying some?


Sunday, 5 August 2012

Dark locks

Hello everyone, I'm sorry for my long break away from the blog! Wasn't feeling myself so retreated for a while. However, I have some nice posts lined up involving Liz Earle, and my nail polish collection!

The focus on today's post is my hair. Recently I cut a full fringe in, and since then I've been dying (excuse the pun) to dye it again! My hair is naturally a fair/dark brown, but I'd love to take it a few shades darker, mainly because after August, IT'S OFFICIALLY A/W 12 PEOPLE! Haha I love A/W much more than S/S, because I can wear darker colours, layers, big jumpers etc etc. So I would like a barnet to match! Here is my main inspiration:

I just think that really deep brown shade looks so nice on Lily! Really brings out the brown in her eyes too. So, I'll be on a hunt for a decent semi-permanent dye. Which would you recommend? And now my hair is longer (and rather thick), should I buy 2 boxes of dye?

Answers on a postcard/comment/tweet please ladies!

Hope you're all having a lovely relaxing sunday. I'm curled up with a brew and Marie Claire, ogling at the lovely A/W campaigns!

PS Whilst I may take breaks from blogging, I'm alive and kicking on my twitter & tumblr!