University: #MakeItRight In An Emergency

Not being able to make calls sucks. Not being able to send a text is heartbreaking. Not being able to access the internet is terrifying. This is all especially true (to me at least) during university term. I might need a late night taxi home from the station or Dad’s guidance on how to work the washing machine, emotional support when squishing a spider, or just a chat with W. And check when my next lecture is, obvs.

 photo MakeItRight Three 2_zpsstjozgfj.jpgI’m not exactly the most…sensible…of people with my phones. During the first ever term of university I fell out of a taxi (completely sober having finished a late shift at work), sending my phone crashing into a puddle. I’ve also not had the best luck tech-wise, with three faulty Samsung and a dreadful HTC in the last four years. I’ve recently upgraded to a lovely new phone and I’m determined to keep it as safe and unblemished as possible. For me that involves not putting it in risky situations.

Three are keen for me to #MakeItRight and show you just how important having an emergency phone is. They sent me over a Lumia 530 to take out and about where my new phone would be ‘at risk.’ Whilst I’m not a fan of clubbing, one of the best things about this is that it’s a lot smaller than my actual phone making it the ideal exercise companion. It fits in my hand far easier than mine so it’s perfect for taking on a run. Not that my fitness routine is getting much action since my experience with a tick in Devon…!

 photo MakeItRight Three 1_zps0ld6adzd.jpgPerhaps even more wonderfully, they also sent over a battery pack. As someone who consistently forgets to charge their phone this goes a long way to easing my bad habit. I can see this becoming an absolutely godsend on Friday night travels up to Will’s, but it’s equally as helpful when I’ve spent gaps between lectures having a Pinterest binge…

 photo MakeItRight Three 3_zpsabl8vg7f.jpgI’d never really considered having an emergency phone as a university must-have, but having one has pretty much changed my mind. With a Three SIM-only deal I’ve found that I can top up as and when I need to, always remaining in contact with friends and family. Touch wood I’ve not had any accidents with my actual phone, but it’s always good to know I have a backup plan!

Oh yes, and university post on a Tuesday?! That’s partly down to scheduling problems meaning this didn’t go live on Sunday, and partly because being back at university means I’m having to post less often. And don’t have the budget for fashion/beauty posts every week…

Do you have an emergency phone, or would you consider having one?

University Guest Post: Heather’s Experience & Tips

Guest post time, and this week I have Heather from Of Beauty & Nothingness (one of my favourite blogs BTW) talking about her university experience and giving some of her top tips. I love getting others to share their experience with you all – as obviously it is different for everyone! Here’s her story…

 photo DSC00801_zpsef7ezfhc.jpgSince I was a child, going to university was just the thing to do and I always received good grades so it was inevitable that I would go to university. However, when I didn’t do as well as I needed to to get into the university I wanted (and the only one I applied for), I ended up looking through clearing which wasn’t the quickest process and it did leave me feeling a little disheartened.

However, thankfully I was able to get into a small campus which is part of the University of Huddersfield which was only a fifteen minute drive away from my house so I didn’t have to move out; also the tiny campus didn’t even have student accommodation.

 photo DSC00789_zpswx64bead.jpgI’m generally a shy person and I do worry about anything and everything so a smaller campus was definitely the best choice for me personally and as it was small, there was so much more interaction with lecturers so I was able to ask questions and really be part of the lecture which I don’t think would have been possible in a large/main campus with one hundred or more students.

I studied psychological studies as I loved my psychology A levels and it was the topic I was best at and I’m so glad that I did take the time and effort to go through clearing and gain a place at such a great and friendly university. Even though my first day was filled with stomach turning nerves, it was a fairly relaxed and friendly day, apart from the damning lecture on plagiarism and Harvard referencing.

I am really proud of my first class BSc (Hons) degree and even though I now want a career within different field, I do think that it was worth the time, stress, money and effort as I genuinely loved my time at university and I missed it from the moment I found out my final grade.

 photo DSC00791_zpsu3nuwxdt.jpgHowever, if you are thinking about university, make sure you not only choose a subject that you are good at and enjoy but one you could consider yourself having as a career in the long term. Also always keep your options open! Here are a few of my university study tips:

– Always double check your references, it is worth the extra time!

– Scheduling revision/reading/essay writing time and relaxing time will definitely help you feel less guilty when you do want to relax and binge watch Netflix…

– After writing an essay go back to it a few days later as you always spot silly mistakes!

– Help out your class mates – group revision can be useful and it won’t seem as boring or stressful.

– Before an exam always make sure to eat and drink, you don’t want to be worrying about stomach gurgling noises in a silent exam room, that always happened to me!

 photo DSC00784_zpsawu62bjx.jpgThese are some great tips, I definitely agree with the last point! If you want to share your university experience here then please get in touch at!

What are your top tips for university?

Lifestyle: A Monday Brunch at The Breakfast Club

One of my goals whilst living in London was to go out for brunch, and on our last morning we managed it. We packed the car up, locked up the flat and headed over towards Clapham Common and The Breakfast Club.

 photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 9_zpsoztln2fh.jpgThe Breakfast Club has been on my list to try for years, but the queues put me off. I may really want to try a place, but having to queue for breakfast just isn’t my scene. I can’t imagine W would be too impressed if I made him queue either! Visiting on a Monday was perfect as we walked straight to a table. It turned out to be the perfect way of finishing up our summer in London. Chatting about our best bits, what annoys us most about each other, it was a relaxing few hours before our drive up North.

Years of wanting to visit had resulted in copious studying of the menu and as a result I wanted allllll the things. In the end I went adventurous and tried something new – a risk which paid off as I now have a new love for Eggs Benedict.

 photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 7_zpskzr4tl6o.jpg photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 8_zpsfv3vlqv4.jpg photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 5_zpsp2lzxfbv.jpg photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 6_zpsia8tdfis.jpgI ordered my traditional Benny with a side of the homemade potatoes, and I have to say it was all delicious. The eggs were poached to pretty much perfection (some might say they were slightly under, however I quite like a bit of runny white…), the hollandaise creamy and a little sharp. The ham was good quality and perfectly salted, and the muffins fresh. I loved the garish of Lamb’s Lettuce too which really enhanced the dish. The potatoes were PERFECT for mopping up extra yolk and sauce, though I was left feeling pretty stuffed after demolishing it all!

W went for the All American Pancakes. Fluffy pancakes served with sausages, bacon, scrambled eggs and potatoes, then drizzled with maple syrup. He thoroughly enjoyed it, though wasn’t impressed with non-crispy streaky bacon!

 photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 3_zps0qmei9so.jpg photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 2_zpsmrridtfh.jpgWe felt drinks were a little overpriced, though my English Breakfast was a huge mug and a good quality tea. I’d wanted a green juice, but I’m afraid at that price it was a no-go! As for the rest of the restaurant, the decor was quirky and bright, the seats comfortable and the staff super friendly and allergy-aware. The table next to me ordered the Chorizo Hash and despite having devoured my meal I still had food envy – maybe something to try next time! And there will be a next time…

Are you a fan of brunch? Where’s the best place you’ve tried?

Recipe: Chicken Chowder (& Homemade Stock)

Yes, I made stock. Yes, it was the most boring hour of my life. No, I’m not about to do it again in a hurry. This person does not have the time or the patience to stand over a pan skimming scum from my stock. This chowder, however, is definitely worth the time and effort. It doesn’t need much, really just a stir here and there, and I’m willing to bet it would be fine with just a stock cube. Having said that, I did like the intense chicken-y flavour of the stock, and if I wanted to cook something really special I would make it again. The real star of the show here is the Chicken Chowder.

 photo Chicken Chowder9_zpsqvvlab4u.jpgA really simple recipe, this Chicken Chowder is a hug in a bowl. It’s creamy and comforting, slightly spicy and a little sweet, full of interesting textures. It really is a meal in a bowl, and it’s become one of my favourite ways of using up leftover chicken.

Based on Jamie Oliver’s recipe, the quantities below made me four generous servings of this Chicken Chowder. I’ve lightened it up a little by reducing the cream and the bacon, and added a little heat by grating in some fresh chilli at the end.

 photo Chicken Chowder10_zpspq5d8mhi.jpgIngredients

  • Chicken carcass – see last week’s post for my Roast Chicken recipe
  • 2 rashers of bacon
  • Half a bunch of fresh parsley
  • 2 onions
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 sticks of celery
  • 1 large potato (around 250g)
  • Leftover chicken (I used around two handfuls – i.e. a small roasted chicken, minus two lunchtime salads)
  • Small tin of sweetcorn
  • A splash of double cream
  • Cream crackers, to serve
  • Red chilli, to serve

To make the stock, simply roughly chop one onion, 2 carrots (peel, but add the peelings too), and 2 celery sticks and throw into a large pan. Break up the chicken carcass and add that, then top with plenty of water. Bring to the boil then simmer for as long as possible, skimming scum off the surface every ten or so minutes. Strain into another saucepan, and then reduce down until you have around a litre of stock.

 photo Chicken Chowder12_zpszkrvinct.jpgFor the chowder, chop the bacon and fry in a little oil until crisp. Remove and set aside. Dice the remaining onion, carrots and celery, then fry in the bacon fat along with the potato (peeled and cubed into 1cm dice) and parley stalks (finely chopped) until soft and caramelised. Keep stirring to stop the veg burning, but try not to rush this stage.

Add the stock to the veg, along with the sweetcorn and chicken. Simmer for 10 minutes until reduced slightly, then whizz with a handblender. Add a splash of cream, season well and serve with parsley leaves, bacon pieces and some crushed crackers. I like to grate some fresh red chilli over at the end for a bit of a kick!
 photo Chicken Chowder11_zpsutwqtjjy.jpgServed with the crackers, this doesn’t need anything else. The contrast in textures and flavours makes this super yummy, and it also freezes really well (though I’d add the cream after reheating!). The perfect use for leftover chicken!

What’s your favourite way of using up leftover chicken? Have you ever made a chowder?



Lifestyle: Thoughts on Commuting

With all honesty, I’m not a seasoned commuter. Before the move to London my walk to work was 15 minutes if I was slow, and even them I was commuting out of London. So like I say, I had it easy. It doesn’t mean I don’t manage to get annoyed at the trains, at people, at buses, at everything though. So here it is, with tongue in cheek, I present to you my thoughts on commuting…

 photo 2015-08-17 11.41.06_zpspx4fnfro.jpgPS: I don’t actually commute now! I finished my placement way back at the end of August. I was a lady of leisure for a while (far too much leisure, after a potential Lyme Disease infection!), and am now back at university delighting in lectures and maths once more.

Buses & Queuing

Seriously, what is it with London buses and people’s inability to queue?! Back in Canterbury, even in Northampton, people form a relatively ordered line to get onto buses. None of this pushing and shoving to get to tap your Oyster card first…

Since When Did I Get So Aggressive?!

Leading on from the last point, on my first day of commuting I vowed to not push my way onto a bus. That lasted less than a week, after I was left standing in the rain ‘cos the bus was full. So yeah, I’m now getting on that bus no matter what. Elbows out!

Do Not Stop To Put Your Ticket Away Immediately After The Barrier

Just no. There will always be someone behind you at 8am, and someone behind them. You will get walked into, and probably called a bad word. Just hold onto the damn thing.
 photo Favourite London Things 2_zpspnnkfylg.jpg

There’s Lifts for a Reason

I’m running up the stairs to my platform as my train will leave in approximately 10 seconds. Please do not attempt to get heavy suitcases up these stairs. The lifts are two seconds away and you aren’t even running for the train.

Actually, Just Don’t Travel With Big Suitcases

Maybe pot calling kettle black here, as I do travel with suitcases (though generally cabin-bag sized). They slow people down on stairs, they take up seats (seriously, train is busy, your bag does not get priority for a seat over me), and they block exits. I’ve had to vault over suitcases to exit a train more times than I care to remember.

Please Move Down Inside The Carriages

Don’t stand in front of the doors just inside. I don’t care if you are getting off at the next stop, I would like to be able to board the train.

There is NO Room to Walk Between Carriages

I do a lot of journeys where the train divides. Yes, I know it is simpler to be in the correct part of the train (so do it when you get on), but in rush-hour you cannot attempt to squeeze by everyone to get to the right part. Especially with your giant suitcase. The trains are stationary on a platform for a while, it gives you time.

“Please May The Guard Contact The Driver”

The phrase you do NOT want to hear at 8am, when the train has just stopped in the middle of no-where, when you reallyyyy need to be in work early and set an earlier alarm to do so.

This event was due to a passenger physically assaulting a member of staff on the train in front, so the train had to wait at the station for police assistance. It was “nice” (though not for the victim!) to be delayed for a genuine reason that wasn’t something to do with National Rail or Southern…

 photo Favourite London Things 9_zpstbfyb60k.jpgWhilst I’m coming across as a grumpy bitch in this post, a lot of it is tongue in cheek, and only if I’m in a realllyyyy bad mood will these bug me. Or if they all affect one journey. But yep, you get the picture!

Do you have any interesting commuting stories to share?

Fashion: Rugby Ready

I posted last week about some of my favourite moments in Rugby (though there’s now a new one to add, go Japan!). This week it’s time to showcase my lovely England shirt a bit more.

 photo 2015-09-25 17.03.44_zps55yglzyy.jpgKitbag have kindly sent me over a new England shirt so I can #WearTheRose, and I’ve discovered that wearing skinny jeans, high boots, rugby top and red lipstick is one of my favourite looks. Who knew?!

 photo 2015-09-25 17.03.10_zps4ozc6xqf.jpgI initially panicked a little bit when I opened my parcel, noting that my requested Size 10 had been mysteriously replaced with a Size 18…now either I have a mis-sized shirt or these come up veryyyy small. As it is it’s a little baggy, but I doubt I’d have squeezed into a 10. Something to bear in mind if you are ordering! Having said that, this is the first women’s rugby shirt I’ve owned as I’ve always opted for a men’s fit before. This one is nicely shaped, still relaxed and baggy and (I say very proudly) still spotlessly white.

Safe to say this won’t be coming to university with me, as I know damn well I’d wash it with my socks and it would be grey by the end of the World Cup…

 photo 2015-09-25 17.02.57_zpsbypp1wqs.jpgI’ve pair it with some skinny jeans, high boots and a red lip – because RED LIP. I’ve also got freshly cut hair (which since it was cut wayyyy before Italy is a relief!), and you’ll be pleased to know the roots/”ombre” look has been sorted since these photos were taken.

Now all I need is a reason to go out and celebrate wearing this. Come on England!

Are you getting into the spirit of the World Cup? I have to say London was definitely buzzing for the opening weekend!