Beauty: A Love of Lip Liners

Up until six months ago I thought lip liners were a waste of time and my precious pennies. Why on earth would I need another layer of colour to do what my lipstick was doing perfectly well?!

 photo db7ea3b6-0f0e-46fc-99a1-c9ec80161bd4_zpsvm151mfz.jpgAnd now I have loads. Most of them are from a recent trip to Kiko, where I added a grand total of six to my collection. Safe to say I’m pretty obsessed.

I’ve matched most of them to my lipsticks, but I also have some brighter, bolder colours to wear either on my own or under a sheerer colour (I find MAC Patisserie a really wishy-washy colour without a bold liner behind it – definitely not one to live up to it’s hype). I’ve found the perfect match to Velvet Teddy, a match that keeps the red-brown tone and doesn’t turn it mauve like most of the recommended liners seem to do. I’ve found the most lovely colour that is almost a match to my natural lip colour, just a touch more red. I’ve found deep berries, vibrant fuschias and even a warm coral (not entirely convinced this suits me).

 photo 2015-05-15 20.29.34_zpsbo6bk1z4.jpgI’ve written about my L’Oreal wine-toned liner before, and whilst it’s not my favourite formula (a little too much slip), the colour is second to none. Max Factor provided me with an introduction to lip liners, and I do love the formula. For a while. I find these dry out really quickly, especially if the lip falls off in a crammed make-up bag. A little disappointing perhaps…

 photo b1dd371a-2161-41dd-9572-1a560ea64d4d_zpseemhyxk3.jpg photo 11c5dec1-9efc-4e7d-97c6-d6691a2bc06a_zpswvweygvd.jpgThe Kiko formula is pretty much spot on. A couple of the pale-pink colours don’t have quite the pay-off I’ve like, but the bolder and nude ones? They apply like a dream. Soft and creamy enough to wear on their own, these have a great lasting power that really glues my lipstick on. They haven’t dried out yet, the colour selection is amazing (I really need a dark brown one!), and the best bit – they cost £1.20. Can you really blame me for picking up a handful?!

 photo c0d418f2-b3ae-4ad0-b608-38ce64d273f2_zpst33aykaj.jpgA bit of a quick post from me today, I completely forgot to schedule anything for today until late Thursday night. Slightly tipsy from leaving drinks, an early train to Devon on Friday. I knew I wouldn’t have chance to get anything live and had this half done in my drafts. I was planning on doing a ‘matching liner with lipstick’ post, so do let me know if that’s something you’d still like to see and I’ll whip the camera out!

Are you a fan of lip liners? What’s your favourite Kiko product?

University: Applying for a Student Visa

Luckily this isn’t something I have had to personally worry about, but talking to friends and colleagues it can be the bane of some students’ lives. Complicated, time consuming – it doesn’t sound an easy process!

 photo iStock_000044027192_Large_zps4pwrvkup.jpgWhen Taylor Rose sent over this infographic I couldn’t help but share! It looks insanely helpful for overseas students applying for a UK student visa, so maybe it can help someone somewhere!

TR InfographicI actually lived with a lot of international students in my first year (though I didn’t exactly enjoy my living situation!) and I didn’t have a clue how lengthy the visa process was! I can’t imagine having to jump through all those hoops ‘just’ to go to university – it’s made me think how lucky we are in the UK really. UCAS may be a pain, SFE might have seen me swear at it multiple times, but it’s a lot simpler!

*Sponsored post, all opinions are my own!

How were people’s experiences in applying to university, student visa or not?

University Guest Post: Dissertation Hints & Tips

I’ve done it before, but now I’m hoping to do it more regularly – introducing guest posts here on ninegrandstudent! I set up this blog to help out students and, whilst it’s no longer it’s only focus (it’s pretty much my diary!), I still like to think of it as helpful. Yet my experience of university isn’t going to be like anyone else’s, and with that in mind I want to add a bit of variety. Guest posts are perfect for that, and this one is great. I’m lucky enough in that my degree doesn’t require a dissertation (school friends only need to remember ‘EPQ’ and they will understand why I don’t wish to do one!), but many students do need to do one. I wouldn’t know where to begin in advising students on how to approach one, so when Josie from Confessions of a Postgrad offered her guest post, well, I couldn’t say no!

 photo Dissertation Tips1_zpsfst0dvmu.jpg photo Dissertation Tips10_zpsdjgtumpa.jpgAh, the dissertation, that terrifying culmination of your university studies which is hovering over your summer threatening upcoming stress and many sleepless nights of typing. If you are due to write your dissertation this year, don’t fret! It is honestly not as bad as you think, and you will end up being very proud of it. As I embark on my second dissertation for my Masters, here are my tips for making the experience as pain-free as possible:

1. Just start. I know, the thought of producing your longest and most important piece of work yet is seriously daunting. So much so, that you can stress yourself out wondering where to even start. The best thing you can do is not worry about starting in the right place, or with the right information, but to just not overthink it and just start. Pick up any book relevant to the topic and start making notes.

2. Start early. Expanding on the above, you will be doing yourself a huge favour if you start your research nice and early. Trust me, this will reduce the pressure later on when you have other assignments to complete as well. Why not use the free time you have this summer to start compiling a reading list? Once you have found one book, a good place to look for further reading is in its bibliography.

 photo Dissertation Tips9_zpsvoogyxkv.jpg photo Dissertation Tips6_zpsmq3lz0ng.jpg3. Note down references as you go. As you read and research, note down book titles and page numbers in the margins of your notes. This is just 100% worth the effort – it will make your life so much easier when it comes to typing up and referencing what you have read!

4. Break it up. Probably one of the worst things you can do is to think of your dissertation as a whole – this is far too overwhelming and daunting. Instead, split it up into manageable chunks. I decided on chapters for my dissertation and then treated each one as a mini essay on its own – this is much easier to tackle!

5. Figure out when you are most productive, and use this time wisely! Personally I am very much a morning person, so I would get up early and work on my dissertation all morning and afternoon until about 3 o’clock – then I could relax for the evening knowing I had achieved what I wanted during the day. Other people however, prefer to work at night. Figuring out when you work best will save you a lot of wasted time and feelings of unproductivity getting you down.

6. Last but not least, take time out! I know it’s obvious, but it can be tempting to work yourself to the bone just to get in finished quickly. It is so important to take time away from your work, not just for your own sanity, but for the quality of your project as well. And if you have started early enough, you can take the time to relax without feeling the pressure!
 photo Dissertation Tips4_zpsmn0cmpoi.jpg

I hope these tips offer some help or inspiration! Do any of you other dissertation veterans have some tips to add?

The London Diaries: Market Wanderings, Nitrogen Ice-Cream & A Duck Confit Burger

One of the things I love most about London is it’s markets. Be it foodie heaven (ahem, Borough), street food munching, vintage hunting, or even just the farmer’s market across the road from my flat, there’s always something going on.

 photo 2014-10-11160243_zps52409faf.jpgPortobello Market is somewhere I need to visit properly before I leave London next month. I walked through a few weeks back, on the way to unsuccessfully queuing for a Dave Gorman recording (the queue was cut right in front of us – more than annoying as the couple in front had been space-saving for others!). It may have been cold and rainy that day, I may have been rather ill, but it was an area of London I instantly fell in love with. The amount of dresses I could have bought on the spot was insane, so maybe it’s best if I don’t pop back…

 photo cba40020-601a-418f-81a5-39ecce17bfe3_zps0d519448.jpg photo 9503e468-b958-4156-800a-7d70491997bf_zpsa81b1024.jpg photo 9832aaa7-8f08-4458-a291-8667736625c4_zps03f73642.jpgBorough Market is my idea of heaven. Amazingly fresh produce to buy and cook at home (I’m desperate to spy the ‘grow your own mushroom’ pots they did a few years back), street food, baked goods and a buzzy atmosphere, I adore it. I could spend hours here.

 photo Camden Market13_zpsjx7wlg8y.jpg photo Camden Market12_zpsoofwqjk8.jpgNow, Camden. This is a bit of a controversial one, and it often surprises people that know me well – but I LOVE it. Growing up I was one of the more ’emo’ types (I HATE those kind of groupings), I may have shopped in Punky Fish, and me and my friend used to beg her parents to bring us to Camden each school holiday. We danced around Cyberdog being filmed by a Spanish TV company, ate far too much free fried chicken, bought outrageously studded belts. Camden was the first place where I bought my own clothes (a surprisingly feminine beaded dress I actually still own and wear seven years on). Recently I’ve introduced my sister to Camden, she loved it to so I’m hoping to drag her down over my Christmas holidays for another day out.

 photo Camden Market1_zpskh8n5bl0.jpg photo Camden Market11_zpssod5vz1h.jpgWithin Camden there also happens to be one of the best ice-cream shops I’ve ever been to. I thought it would be a bit naff to be honest, all show and no flavour, but I was wrong. I’ve blogged about Chin Chin before a while ago – I’ve been back several times since. This time I went for the standard Chocolate ice-cream topped with Cinnamon Toast. My sis went for Vanilla topped with Heather Honeycomb, and my mum had Melon with Almond Crumb, the dairy free option.

 photo Camden Market4_zpspun4t75y.jpg photo Camden Market8_zpsmbanoizh.jpg photo Camden Market10_zpsad6covaj.jpgAll were delicious. The chocolate flavour is not for the faint-hearted as it is shockingly rich (I struggled to finish it), intensely chocolatey and quite bitter. The vanilla is perfectly flavoured. The dairy-free is a revelation. I’ve had their dairy-free options before and can voucher for how smooth they are – and my dairy-intolerant mum says it’s the best ice-cream she’s had in a while. Whilst all our toppings were yummy, I have to say I have a massive soft spot for the grilled white chocolate. It’s a must-try!

From sweet to savoury (and only two days later…), me and W came out of the Decision Exhibition starving and ready to eat. We had mixed feelings about the exhibition, there’s probably not quite enough there to warrant the ticket price but the concept is brilliant – and the queues were so long we spent over an hour longer than expected. Our plans for a cheap sandwich grab gone, we headed over to the Southbank Street Food Market. A quick wander round and allergy check, there was one clear winner – Duck Confit Burgers from Frenchies. I’ve seen these doing the rounds on blogs so was definitely eager to try! The burger is essentially a decent portion of duck confit, some duck crackling, melted cheese, onion relish, mustard and rocket, all served in a brioche bun. Our cheese of choice was the Smoked Cheddar, and W chose to hold the mustard (weirdo).

 photo Frenchies Duck Confit Burger - 5_zps2huhzszp.jpg photo Frenchies Duck Confit Burger - 2_zpsw9qmlem4.jpg photo Frenchies Duck Confit Burger - 1_zpsrotodxht.jpg photo Frenchies Duck Confit Burger - 3_zpsuhvipopx.jpg photo Frenchies Duck Confit Burger - 4_zpsj0kadoyk.jpgThey were delicious. Hands down the best street food I’ve tried so far (I’m taking recommendations for other places to try!). Rich, salty, tangy from the cheese and mustard, a sweetness from the chutney, crunch from the crackling and a soft bun. And obviously meltingly tender and flavourful duck. Just wonderful. I can’t recommend this enough.

You might be able to tell, I’m absolutely loving London life. I’ve been able to make loads of blogging events and meet up with some lovely ladies. I’ve eaten far too much food, done a little too much shopping and generally just had fun. I don’t want to leave in a few weeks!

What’s your favourite part of London? Any street food recommendations for me?

Recipe: “Vegan” White Chocolate Pancakes with Raw Raspberry Jam

Or, how many popular food trends can I get into one blog post. Because yep, these are vegan. The ‘jam’ is raw. The ‘jam’ uses chia seeds. The only reason vegan is in inverted commas here is due to the fact that I used normal, albeit lactose free, milk. And didn’t check my chocolate label. They work fabulously with dairy-free milk, and I’m sure if you are actually fussed about the vegan-ness you can grab some suitable chocolate.

 photo White Chocolate Pancakes and Raw Raspberry Jam - 5_zpsgnnidwcy.jpgFor the budgeters out there, Sainsbury’s 35p Basics white chocolate works perfectly well. And coconut oil doesn’t have to be expensive either, I’ve finally tracked some some branded by KTC, its stocked in the World Foods section of big supermarkets and is a purse-friendly £2.55 for a BIG jar. Far cheaper than anywhere else I’ve tried. Chia seeds are expensive anywhere but Whole Foods, where a decent size packet costs under £2. So with this and the rapsberries its not the cheapest of brunches. But it’s damn yummy…

The raw raspberry jam is a bit of a relevation for me. I’m not a huge lover of regular jams, finding them sticky, sweet and not tart enough. This is slightly more of a coulis texture, but it is satisfyingly sharp, a hint of sweetness and almost pure raspberry flavour. Best of all there’s no faffing with making it, and it keeps in the fridge for a few days.

The white chocolate pancakes are sweet, slightly chocolatey and surprisingly light considering their ingredients list. They do, however, burn easily whilst taking a while to cook. Not one to make when lacking patience (ahem…). These were inspiring by a recipe from Miel Cafe, but I’ve altered them to cut down the sugar slightly. Despite this mine are still super sweet!

 photo White Chocolate Pancakes and Raw Raspberry Jam - 6_zpsu68m9ahm.jpg photo White Chocolate Pancakes and Raw Raspberry Jam - 1_zpsivao6hcm.jpgIngredients (to serve two generously)

  • For the jam – 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, two tablespoons of water, a small handful of raspberries
  • For the pancakes – 80g white chocolate, 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 100g of plain flour and up 90ml milk (dairy, soya, almond etc), a teeny tiny pinch of salt

Start by making the jam. Soak the chia seeds in the water for at least ten minutes. Then tip into a blender (I used a mini food chopper) with the raspberries and blitz until it’s your preferred consistency. Transfer to a jar and pop in the fridge.

For the pancakes, melt 50g of the white chocolate in a bowl, along with the coconut oil. Chop the rest of the chocolate into small chunks. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the chocolatey-oil and mix well. Loosen with milk, a little at a time, until you have a pancake-like mixture. It shouldn’t be as thin as a crepe mixture, you’re looking for something similar to an American pancake mix.

Heat some oil on a low heat, and add a little pancake mix. Sprinkle over a few chocolate chunks immediately, then leave until the underside is golden. Flip (careful – they are a little more fragile that normal pancakes), cook until the other side matches, then keep warm until all the mix is used. Serve your vegan white chocolate pancakes with the raw raspberry jam and any spare chocolate chunks.

 photo White Chocolate Pancakes and Raw Raspberry Jam - 4_zpsyptl3dnl.jpg photo White Chocolate Pancakes and Raw Raspberry Jam - 3_zps1hzwkasq.jpgThey might be a bit cliche now, but I could totally get on the vegan bandwagon if it involved dishes like this! I’m not a huge advocate of the raw trend in general (I do like my food cooked!), but I can see the benefit in things like this. The raw jam is just so much fresher!

What’s your favourite foodie ‘trend’? Are you a pancake fan?



Lifestyle: What’s in my Handbag (Intern Edition)

I read Hayley’s post on Sunday and realised that although I LOVE writing (and reading) these posts I haven’t done an updated version. So, here’s what’s been in my handbag over my internship. And yep, only two days left of this 13-month internship to go…

 photo 638b3354-10f9-4a48-b336-7da8307cf6ce_zpsopgxqswe.jpgI’ve alternated quite a bit between my satchels this year, and I’m actually pretty damn sure all seven of them have visited the office at some point. The one I’m using for the last part of my internship is my Patent Naked Taupe one from my beloved Leather Satchel Company. I absolutely adore the colour of this, though I try not to use it too often to keep it looking pristine (I have found the buckle straps to crack quite easily too with this one). It’s a smaller 14″ satchel so I do struggle to fit everything in…this is the smallest bag I could carry on a daily basis! My 12.5″ which came with me to Italy was a real struggle…

So, what’s inside?

We have purse, travel bits, keys, phone, phone charger, overnight oats, Filofax, Kindle, and lunch. Then there’s the usual spare knickers, painkillers, allergy tablets, multiple pens and drink bottle.

 photo Whats In My Handbag - Intern Edition - 6_zps8ky5beln.jpgI have tried not to carry my Filofax around too much this year, preferring to leave it on my desk. The main reason for this is I’m completely lost without it at work, whereas I can just about cope in the evenings. As long as I make sure to sync it to my phone calendar each morning…I’m still using my Malden filofax and I still adore it. However they now make the Original in the EXACT same leather as this satchel. I’m desperate for it!

My travel stuff is kept inside a Filofax card holder, which matches my actual Filofax perfectly – I tracked it down via Ebay after a good few months of searching. I love my Travelcard photo. I’d been putting off going and getting it done, and in the end had to get it done about two hours before we piled into the car and moved down to London. After sleeping at W’s parents. With no makeup bag. Luckily I do keep a powder (Bourjois Java Rice) and mascara (no idea which one!) at theirs, and I had a lipstick in my bag from dinner the night before. Turns out MAC’s Lady Danger works quite well in photographs!

I carry around my phone charger because my current phone (for just a few more days!) is very unpredictable. It can last 18 hours between charges, or it can last just 2. It doesn’t take photos, the vibration motor has died, and it overheats like a bitch. Oh, and it occasionally likes to open and close apps incessantly (with the off button taking screen-shots) until it runs out of battery. I am pretty much decided on my new phone, so hopefully soon I’ll be able to do some social-mediaing more reliably during the day. And spam your Instagram feeds.

If there’s one thing I couldn’t live without on a day-to-day handbag basis, it would be my Kindle. Whether its a 20 minute commute or 2 minutes waiting for a bus, my Kindle keeps me sane, stops me from having to make conversation with the weird guy sitting next to me, and makes my whole day so much more enjoyable. I’ve had a Kindle for just shy of three years now, and whilst I do prefer to read an actual book, I do think they are a fab idea. I speak as someone who once took 10 books on a fortnight holiday…baggage workers much have hated me.

 photo Whats In My Handbag - Intern Edition - 4_zpsrtuffmze.jpg photo Whats In My Handbag - Intern Edition - 5_zpscaiztiub.jpgThen there’s an awful lot of food in my bag. Overnight Oats for breakfast (yum), and then lunch. It’s usually a wholemeal-roll-with-ham-and-mustard-and-a-packet-of-ready-salted-crisps affair (seriously, I have had that lunch 90% of the time for the last seven years!), though occasionally I switch to a white-roll-with-chorizo. In winter I’ll take soup, and if I have leftovers I will always take those. Last week was a couscous mix, Greek inspired with plenty of mint and tzaziki, and I picked up some falafel from Sainsburys too (they lived in the work fridge). I’ll also have an “emergency apple” for if I feel faint, and I try to keep a Nakd bar in there for the same reason. And a water bottle, because that’s what Southern Rail recommend 😉

Then the embarrassing stuff. Spare knickers. I don’t actually know why I carry them around, but like Katy says, you never know where the night will take you! I always carry painkillers, because I always get a headache if I don’t! I always carry antihistamines, because I react so easily to traces of tomato. And pens, because I’m always losing the damn things.

 photo caa35e87-ebab-45e1-af91-b8f759c0faf4_zpsy96kzjuk.jpgIf I’m going out after work then I’ll also carry a small makeup bag, usually containing concealor, my Hourglass palette, eyeliner, and mascara. And always, always, always will be the lipstick I put on in the morning. And probably a lipliner too – I’ve recently discovered Kiko ones. I say recently, I picked up two in Italy in June, and recently added another seven to my collection. By far and away the best liners I’ve tried. Full review next week, promise!

 photo Whats In My Handbag - Intern Edition - 7_zpshm7ktmer.jpg photo cd173053-e14b-4dc9-acd6-4994671ab8b4_zps2oxcou0h.jpgLooking back at all this, it’s no wonder my shoulder is stiff when I get in the door of an evening! And apologies for the not-so realistic photos. I wanted to do the ‘tip everything out’ style, but the light is awful when I get in at 6:30pm, and I just don’t love you all quite enough to do it before I leave the house. #sorrynotsorry

What do you always carry around in your handbag?