Blogging: Best Posts of 2016

One of the things I really love about blogging is the online community. I love being a part of it, and I’m hoping to see more of some of my favourite London bloggers over the next few months. Over 2016 there’s been a lot of ups and downs – there’s been drama, there’s been accusations. There’s been bitches about PRs, PRs bitching back. There’s been a huge move towards only “full-time” bloggers being seen as dedicated (something I’ve personally been a part of). But there’s also been some amazing positive moments. There’s been my favourite bloggers going viral, winning competitions, being invited to work with their all-time top brands, achieving personal goals.

favourite-blogsAnd I for one think the quality of the blogging world has gone up drastically. Not too long ago I would scroll through my BL feed a bit absent-mindedly. Now there’s SO many posts which grab me that I need to read. So much inspiration out there. Here’s just a few of my favourite blog posts of 2016…

Little Miss Katy

I’ve loved Katy’s blog since she started it. Her writing style is like one big, happy chat and her images are stunning. She’s had a bit of a re-brand this year and now her Instagram makes me despise mine. For longer than I remember she’s been writing a Happy Monday post and it’s something I always look forward to (I’m not a Monday person) – and in November she asked for people to contribute via social media. She got a massive response and the resulting post was ridiculously uplifting.

I also am forever grateful to her Instagram Editing Guide – I can finally get away with taking photos of buildings and fixing the dodgy angles!

Miss Pond

One of my favourite foodie bloggers, Miss Pond does easily achievable recipes you can actually see yourself making. One of my favourites of this year has been her Squash & Sausage Pasta – made with chorizo sausages it’s slightly spicy, super warming, quick and just yum. We usually skip the cheese (bar the compulsory grating or parmesan) but even then it’s becoming a regular. So many more recipes to try too…her Game Ragu looks delicious, and Fish Curry so comforting and fragrant.

I’m hoping to post my version of her pasta recipe linked above so keep an eye out!

Bumpkin Betty

I can’t remember when I first starting reading Bumpkin Betty, but I know I loved reading about her November wedding – her posts weren’t long after I got engaged and her style was just so unique. More recently she’s posted about re-wearing her wedding dress, something I am totally aiming at in some way or another. She’s also a pretty fab food blogger, running a monthly baking club (which I try to take part in as often as I can) and writing about cheese.

Oh, and she’s got a bun in the oven, quite literally! I’m SO excited to see her journey into motherhood.

Becky Bedbug

I have to say, I love Becky. Both her blog and style are completely unique, not to mention she has an interest in burial grounds/graveyards which I do admit I am quite fascinated by. She’s currently studying for a Masters in Death, Religion and Culture – and it sounds SO interesting. I love reading about other people’s university experiences as mine was so maths-stats-finance focussed.

Oh, and her nails are to die-for.

Hi! So I realise I’ve not updated on here for a while but I was very, very lucky to receive my shiny new lungs not too long after arriving at Harefield! Since then I’ve been recovering as being so unwell beforehand and afterwards left me feeling very weak. Recovery has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, physically and mentally, but after over a month in intensive care I’m now on the transplant ward. This was Thursday eating my dinner in the sunshine! I’ve a while to go yet as I’ve still got a trachy in and need to learn to walk properly again but I’ll get there eventually with the help of the incredible staff here at Harefield Hospital. There are not enough words to thank my beautiful donor and their amazing family for giving me this second chance at life, it’s not just me but the effect organ donation has had on my family and loved ones too is clear to see. Thank you so much for all the messages, I’ve been too tired to reply but I’ve read them all and they’ve been a real boost 💕 #organdonation #lungtransplant #doublelungtransplant #harefieldhospital #harefield #cf #cysticfibrosis #livelifegivelife

A photo posted by Josie (@sickchickchic) on

Sick Chick Chic

Now, this Instagram post made me cry. I’d been reading Josie’s blog for a while, loving her style and sense of humour. And it was clear she was suffering badly with her cystic fibrosis at the start of this year. She’s talked about it on her blog, but it was incredible that she was so, so poorly and managed to get her transplant. She looks amazing now, you’d never think she had as-major-as-it-gets surgery over the summer.

EmTalks

“Friends come and go, some stay forever, some friendships happen and they’re completely unexpected.” This quote from Em’s post on friendship has really stuck in my mind since I read it. This year, having graduated and moved to another new city, friendship was a major worry. I was terrified I’d make a mess of moving in with W (we’re both still alive, so it’s clearly going well!), I was scared I’d lose the close friends I’d made at university. Her post is so honest and quite uplifting. And as for me? I’ve not only kept hold of my closest relationships, I’ve also made a whole new friendship group.

 photo stethoscope_zpsjewdznix.jpgGinevrella

I’ve loved reading about Jen’s journey through her medical degree, and finding out she got an actual, proper job as a real doctor was such a proud moment. I’ve never met her, but I get the feeling from reading her blog that she is amazing at it. Also, didn’t she look gorgeous at her graduation ball?! I’m so jealous of her dress…

 photo Workwear Outfits 5_zpsldfjftmh.jpgThere’s been so many other blog posts I’ve loved this year. I follow a huge amount of blogs on Bloglovin and spend a good chunk of my week flicking through my feed and seeing what my favourites have been up to. It’s simply impossible for me to even list my favourite bloggers, yet alone all of the posts I’ve loved in the last year – these are just some of them!

Who are your favourite bloggers? What kind of blog posts would you like to see more of from me?

Blogging: Ones to Follow

Whilst putting together my #FF tweets a few weeks back I really struggled. There were far too many bloggers I wanted to show appreciation for, lots of posts I wanted to share…

 photo Blog Love 1_zpszddajvzs.jpgSo I turned it into a blog post instead!

This is just some of my favourite bloggers, some of my favourite posts from the last few weeks. I follow a lot of blogs, I have many favourites and my tastes change constantly so it’s by no means a definitive list. I’ll probably have new favourites by this time next week!
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For The Best Photography

A blog I’ve followed for a long, long time, but right now I’m completely in awe and utterly envious of the images on The Lovecats Inc.They are exactly where I’d love my photography to be, the styling and quality of them is just spot on to me. I love the variety of posts too – I mean, chocolate and makeup, it just can’t get any better!
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For All The LOLs

Potentially a slightly predictable one as I’m sure I’ve waxed lyrical about Katy’s blog a few times. BUT it is definitely one of my favourites, I love her chatty style (she’s as lovely in real-life too!). In fact I got so over-excited over her publishing a Happy Monday post a few weeks back that I split a huge mug of tea all over me…
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For The Post That Made Me Cry

I’m not usually one for sharing what really touched my emotions, but this post by Corinne really resonated with me. I didn’t have the easiest life at secondary school (being a maths geek at an all girls school was never going to be easy!), and her experience with ‘Sophie’ is definitely similar to the dramas I remember.
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For Giving Me Makeup Drawer Envy

Seriously, I’m so jealous of Jasmine’s makeup bag! Virtually everything she has causes some kind of lust in me, though I’m particularly lusting after her MAC quad right now. Her beauty reviews are some of the best I’ve read, her photography is gorgeous and I might have to stop reading her blog for the sake of my bank balance…
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For Amazing Achievements

Two joint winners here! I’m so impressed that Jennifer is managing to keep up blogging regularly during final year of medical school AND train for a half-marathon for one of my most special charities (a donation is on it’s way my lovely!). I struggle enough with blogging and final year so hats off to this girl! On a related note, Miss Pond is now Dr Pond having successfully completed a PhD – well done you!

 photo Blog Love 2_zps4t2rdd7w.jpgSo there’s just some of my favourite blogs over the last few weeks. From now on (well, when I remember) I’m going to try to dedicate a couple of tweets each Friday to some of the best blogs I’ve read over the week, trying to link to a specific post in my attempt to give a bit back. You’ll be able to see my favourite posts from the last week or find out why I love a certain blogger. After receiving so much positivity from the blogging world it’s time to add some myself!

Do you have a favourite blog post from the last few weeks? Feel free to share it!

Lifestyle: Why I Blog & A Few Changes

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. It’s not that I’ve become disillusioned with my blog, far from it. I have so many ideas, so many plans, and really it’s just finding time to sit down and get started.

 photo 2015-09-23 09.23.39_zpsy7sagils.jpgThere’s many posts in my drafts, ten times more ideas in my notebook. But there’s a lack of time.

I originally started this blog as a little hobby to keep my mind occupied, to stop me dreaming solely of mathematical formulae and Excel spreadsheets (true story). It’s definitely kept me busy, to the point of being exhausted over my summer ‘break’ – though we’ll blame the Lyme Disease on that one. I wanted to help people through university, and from the comments I’ve received lately I think I’ve done that.

More than anything, I wanted this blog to be a little diary of my life. There’s very little I edit out on here. Sure, I might move my mess to the other corner of the room whilst taking photos, but other than that you get the real me. You get the soppy posts, the tongue-in-cheek posts (trust me, I’m definitely not this sarcastic in real life…), the ‘damn I spent too much’ posts.

 photo 2015-09-06 09.27.09_zpsw14mwfw5.jpgWith my return to university I’m very much aware I’m going to be short on time. Without realising it I’ve actually been posting every day for a few weeks (thanks to my Monday guest posters for making this possible – and if you are interested in writing me a post then do drop me an email or tweet!). Before that I was posting six times a week, and realistically I know I can’t continue to do that. Yes, I’m concentrating on my studies, but I’m also throwing myself into grad applications. That 1st and dream job will be mine! Joking aside, I’m still planning on a good three or four posts a week. Quality over quantity, a variety of topics, still plenty of chat.

There’ll be more personal posts, more about the real me, and probably less of the reviews (because student budget). But I’ll still be here, you aren’t getting rid of me that easily!

 photo 2015-09-23 09.22_zpsrha75ezg.jpgI’ve got more than I ever imagined out of blogging. There’s been some fab collaborations with some amazing brands. I’ve met the most lovely people (with shoutouts going to Leanne, Jas and Katy). I’ve ever pushed myself to my absolute limit (shaking with nerves and can’t-sleep limit) and filmed an interview with Aldi. I’ve taken part in events, found out about launches in advance, been able to support charities. It’s all thanks to this blog but, more importantly, it’s all thanks to you. My lovely readers.

Now over to you; what do you want to see here?

Blogging: Hints & Tips from the Big Blogger Conference

You might have seen me babble on about the #BigBloggerConference, but now I finally have time to sit down and write about it. That scorchingly hot day now feels so long ago, luckily I took plenty of notes and more than a few photographs to help me recap the day! As it’s been so long since the actual event my post is aimed more at what I learnt as opposed to what I did…a quick flick through #bigbloggerconference on Twitter will get you LOADS of posts though. I’ll scatter all the photos I took throughout too!
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Image from Expllora

Pinterest

My first talk of the morning was by the lovely Elizabeth of Rosalilium – a Pinterest Ambassador who reminded me just how much there is to learn about the site. I wasn’t aware that Pinterest was not set up as a social media network, but rather it should serve as a visual discovery tool. It’s not meant to be used to promote your content, but rather inspire new ideas – though I think it does both rather well simultaneously.

The main points I learnt about Pinterest;

  • 80% of users view pins on a mobile – so longer, vertical images are more likely to draw attention.
  • Content is not time sensitive, and won’t ‘expire.’ Instead it will be revived on an ongoing basis, for instance Christmas pins becoming popular each year.
  • Pins tend to ‘trend’ about two months before an event. At the end of August, Halloween was featuring regularly on homepages!
  • Hashtags are a big no-no.
  • Rich pins are great for bloggers, especially those posting recipes (this is really something I need to look into)
  • Embedding other people’s pins via the widget is a way to share them on your blog without causing any legal issues…

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Image from Jasmin Charlotte

SEO

The second, and my favourite, session was by the lovely Jasmin of JasminCharlotte. One of my favourite bloggers and a technical minefield of information, Jasmin gave one of the best explanations of SEO and strategy I’ve experienced. Let’s face it, it can be a horrendously boring topic but it was made light-hearted. This talk really fired me up and SEO is something I’ve been really working on lately…

I found this points really useful and have started implementing a few of them since the conference;

  • Successful link building can be achieved by creating internal links, doing guest posts and commenting.
  • Create a simple SEO checklist for yourself to use on every post. I currently have a Post-It stuck to my laptop screen, I plan to make a pretty version soon!
  • Optimise social media too – Twitter and Instagram in particular. Now I have a new phone I’ve been able to ‘gram more and I’m loving seeing my followers slowly increase…
  • ‘Good Content’ in Google terms is a lot different to what I would have expected – using more paragraphs, using more bullet points and keep words simple. And keeping posts between 300 and 500 words. This one pretty much fails then!
  • Jasmin also cleared up the follow-no follow links issue on the day, though I’ve managed to since get myself all confused about it again. However hard I try this will NOT stick…

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Image from Becky Bedbug

Monetising Your Blog

I have to say, I was really sceptical about my final talk – from Sarah of The Prosecco Diaries. Monetising your blog does happen, I occasionally get a few sponsored posts and I do review products here and there. What doesn’t sit completely right with me is putting yourself out there for collaborations, but again that’s just me. I have a degree to be doing, I’ve been working full-time, and I’m unlikely to ever make blogging my career. I can totally see why those who rely on it would go seeking opportunities and I honestly don’t blame them for it!

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by this. I felt it was perhaps branded wrongly, it was more a ‘how to get noticed’ talk in a way. I found it useful as Sarah talked a lot about what PRs look for. Perhaps not a talk I would have chosen to go to, but a good one all the same, with best tips being;

  • PR’s aren’t always about followers – they want great content, professional layouts, decent photo quality, and a high standard of writing.
  • Always have your contact details and social media easily displayed. PRs don’t have half an hour per blog to search for it.
  • Email back. Stay in contact. Don’t disappear from the face of the earth…
  • And regardless of how popular your blog is, if you aren’t professional, polite and generally nice, don’t count on the PR coming back to you.

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Brand Interaction

The afternoon was reserved for meeting the brands, networking and generally getting stuck into things. As I mentioned about, I find self-promotion quite difficult so I did struggle at first. However I thoroughly enjoyed it and, whilst I’m not too sure whether it will bring any collabs, it’s definitely increased my confidence!

If you are feeling a bit apprehensive about approaching brands in person then have a read of these;

  • SMILE.
  • Ask questions about the brand. It doesn’t seem pushy, and you can easily ascertain if any of their campaigns are likely to be relevant to your blog.
  • Social media is key to brand interaction. Quite a lot of the brands were running little comps throughout the day – I even ended up winning a pair of Shopaholic’s boots via my #Shoefie.
  • Business cards are vital. I genuinely thought these weren’t really a ‘thing’ anymore but SO many bloggers had them. I’m now working on getting W to design some for me!

As you can probably tell, it was an absolutely packed day. I learnt far more than I was expecting to, but more than that I had a fab time. Lauren definitely did a fab job in putting all of this together! Now it’s time to put what I learnt into action…

 photo Big Blogger Conference6_zpsbeabgoay.jpgHave you ever attended an event like this? What’s your best blogging tip?

 

 

Blogging: Posts I’ve Loved

My blogging taste changes so dramatically over time I struggle to keep up. I follow a huge number of blogs on Bloglovin, to the point I’ve had emails accusing me of doing so only to gain followers. It can be difficult getting through unread posts – to the point I’m half dreading Italy as the thought of coming up to unreads in the thousands scares me.

I thought I’d write a quick list of some posts I’ve loved recently. All pics have been taken from the posts of being discussed – so jealous of these girls’ photography skills!

Food

Knowing that I’ll soon be living in Wandsworth (with Clapham not far away) I’ve become pretty obsessed with finding places to visit. Whilst I’m not sure whether it will be a little out of budget, I loved Claire’s review of Jimmy’s Secret Garden. The food looks so fresh and imaginative! In a similar vein Lauren’s date night has got me really excited. This is definitely a place that should come in on budget and looks amazing!

Onto recipes now! I’ve been a big fan of this blog since I first heard about it through W, and this Cheesy Bacon bread has been on my ‘to-make’ list since Lottie posted it. It looks fabulous for a brunch! Continuing on the carby-cheesy theme and Cathryn’s Ciabatta sandwiches are making me hungry! So nice to see a sandwich like this not containing tomato…

Beauty

Trying to save money whilst being an avid reader of beauty blogs can be a bit difficult. I do love lusting over high-end bits, mainly because the shopping experience is SO much easier. Having a post like Georgie’s mini reviews of new releases from the drugstore is a godsend – it makes it far easier to see what is actually worth looking at.

More high-end (though still with a reasonable price tag), Kat’s reviews make her a serious enabler. I’m trying desperately to ignore this nude eyeshadow palette.

Lifestyle

I’ve developed a thing for interiors recently (I can’t wait until me and W have our own place for more than a few months – I’ve had to resist the urge to buy things for our summer flat!). One person who is definitely NOT helping me save my pennies is Kate. She’s lived in her place for a year now and renovated it beautifully. Her style matches mine almost exactly and I LOVE it. Jealous!

Something completely different, but I’ve been loving reading this ‘mummy’ blog. From the blogger of A Model Recommends it has to be one of the most honest and amusing accounts of pregnancy I’ve come across. As I type this she is still pregnant, but due any day now. I’ve bookmarked most posts for the distant future!

I came across Josie’s blog when I saw a link to her post about Sinus Surgery. She’s had a similar operation to me (though this amazing girlie has CF so was more high-risk) and she recovered amazingly well. I found the surgery and recovery extremely difficult and painful so hats off to her. I had to say she looked far more attractive than I did following the operation too!

Fashion

I’ve gotten a lot more into fashion recently, and I’ve fallen in love with Alix’s style – I’d love to have the confidence to pull off this outfit! Katie’s absolutely gorgeous dress has made me want to attempt midi lengths again, doesn’t it suit her down to the ground?!

Blogging

I’m not typically a huge fan of blogging advice posts – I prefer ones that talk about how a person blogs, rather than ‘what to do.’ Having said that I LOVE reading photography tips and Rebecca’s equipment post was a great read. I really need to get myself a remote and tripod when I move back to university in September! Corrie’s post was brilliant for some much needed motivation recently, so much so that it’s bookmarked on Chrome. And Jenny’s post (though I miss her beauty reviews – she had almost the exact same skin tone as me so I could rely on her recommendations!) on stock photography has been invaluable.

Who are your favourite bloggers? What kind of posts would you like to see more of on here?

Student Summer: Best Student Blogs

I couldn’t write this series and not link to some of my favourite student bloggers – here’s the ones where I read every post, bookmark (and even try!) their recipes, and generally just love. Apologies for the lack of photos, for some reason Photobucket is playing up and I couldn’t access them last night…so have a picture of where I’ve found some of these blogs instead (PS – I was featured too, in the Guardian!)

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Lottie’s Little Kitchen – this is a lovely little blog with some great recipes. It’s more slowly updated nowadays *sob* but her chicken is one of my favourite meals (my version is here). She does some lovely little lifestyle pieces too, utterly jealous of some of the fabulous things she gets up to!

The Scrimpy Student – even the name of this blog makes me smile! A great lifestyle blog, full of money-saving tips. She has a love of the yellow ‘oops’ reduced stickers too!

Handbags & Cupcakes – if you are planning a Year Abroad, this is a must-read for you! Rachel has been on her abroad year over the last 12 months and has kept the blog updated regularly, there’s some fab guidance posts, and again the most lovely recipes. Any girl who seems to feature peanut butter and chocolate so often is definitely on my reading list!

Birmingham Student Foodie – probably for when you’re feeling a little more flush (most of the recipes seems to be out of my budget) but there’s some really lovely dishes here. They would be great for when you are trying to impress.

Writing Essays with Wine – a new find for me, and also a new favourite. This blog is a great mix of all studenty-lifestyle posts, and she’s also writing a great “Guide to Starting University” at the moment!

Life and Times of a Student – another new find, but one that I’m really loving. This blog provides an excellent insight to student life through the interview style posts, it’s a must if you are feeling a little bit nervous!

Nouvella Daily – not specifically a student blog, but there’s some great posts here and here. There’s also some lovely and budget-y recipes on this site, so its definitely worth taking a look.

Diary of a Maths Student – go mathletes! Other than (I assume) a shared love of maths, this blogger and me feel so alike. I love the mix of posts, the gentle guidances through university. This post made me feel a whole lot better during my exam period!

 So there you go – some of my favourite student blogs. I’d love to know if you have any must-reads for me – so what are your favourite student blogs?

 

Blogger Link-Up: Managing Your Money At University

Another Saturday, another link-up post! I hope you are enjoying these? Anyway today we have Emily from Good Girl Gone Brum, who normally blogs about a whole host of topics – today she is talking all about money and university. I’ve found it a really helpful read, so I hope you will too! 

 photo IMAG0817_zps07bc9903.jpgMy mum bought me this purse from France. ‘I have more than a radish’ would be the opposite of ‘I don’t have a bean’ in English.

As a student, the world of loans, grants, rent and bills can feel like a bit of a minefield. Unlike having a job, your money comes in at irregular times in irregular amounts, making budgeting confusing and hard, especially if what is coming in won’t exactly leave you rolling in it.

There are however ways to manage our money and get the most out of the little we do have. So if you’re the type who dips into their overdraft a little too often, grab a pen and a notepad and use these tips to get in control of your cash.

Set up a student account and a savings account

  • Setting up two bank accounts will help you keep more control of your money, and now with internet banking it is super easy to swap money between them.
  • A savings account is useful for, er, saving – but it’s also good for unexpected expenses, like a friends birthday or having to replace the toaster.

Know what’s coming in and how long it will last

  • Student finance money should go into your account at the start of each term. Know how much this is going to be; if you’ve lost the original letter you can log in online.
  • Next, know how much your rent and bills will cost you until your next instalment. Put this amount aside mentally by writing it down –  don’t touch this money, treat it as if it’s not yours.
  • After you’ve taken this money away, a lot of us are left with very little. If you have a part time job, write down the realistic amount you expect to earn until the next instalment of student finance and add this on to the money that you have left to spend. More often that not, students have no other option than to rely on their parents to tide them over. The most important thing to do in this case is to make sure this money is planned. Work out with your folks how much you realistically need each month, and set up a direct debit – that way you can budget and you won’t need to call them again asking for more money towards the end of the term.

Make a weekly budget

  • You can do this by adding up all the money you will be getting, minus rent and bills, and dividing the total by the number of weeks between each instalment.
  • Once you’ve got this figure you can work out if it’s realistic – if it’s only £30 a week you might need to either find a job or get more support from your parents, but usually between £50 – £70 is a good amount, depending on how tight you’re prepared to be.
  • You don’t need to assign the money to what it will be spent on down to the last pound, but it’s a good to have a rough idea of how much you spend on your food shops, how much you need for a night out, how much it costs to do your washing if you use a laundrette and if you need to spend money on travel to uni.

Keep an eye on your spending

  • Be aware of keeping to your budget. This is especially important if you pay for things on card as often the money doesn’t get taken from your account on the same day, and you might forget how much you’ve spent.
  • Each week, grab a brew and sit down with your internet banking account. If you’ve got money left over from your budget, even if it’s just a fiver, transfer it to your savings. You’ll be surprised how quickly it can build up if you transfer a little bit each week. Likewise, if you’ve overspent, transfer the amount you overspent by from your savings into your current account to make sure your budget still works for the remaining weeks.
  • Every now and then, do some sums to make sure you’re still on track until your next student finance chunk comes in. By having a check every now and then, you can notice if you’ve somehow overspent, before you get to the end of the term and realise you have to use your overdraft.

So good luck with your budgeting—it is boring, but it’s all part of moving into the big bad world of adulthood. Having a budget isn’t meant to stop you having a life – in fact having your money in control is the thing that will mean you can still afford to go to the end of term ball when everyone else has run out of student loan.

Thanks Emily for taking the time to contribute a guest post on my blog! Be sure to check out Good Girl Gone Brum, and remember I’m still looking for people to write posts, so if you are interested please email me at ninegrandstudent@gmail.com with some ideas!

What’s your best money-saving tip?

Blogger Link-Up: Stationery for University

First of all I’d like to thank Chloe for allowing me to write a blog post for her amazing (& yummy blog – seriously the images always make me drool)..

My name is Sarah and I’m a 19 year old university student due to finish university in 2016! I blog over at EverydayConcepts about organisation, beauty, fashion and entertainment as well doing some giveaways so keep tuned!

Since I am really obsessed in love with anything related to organisation and stationery, I thought what could make a better post than where my passions lie?!

Before starting university, I went onto a massive stationery haul and purchased many things I didn’t even need. This caused me to waste a lot of money and just stare at the beautiful writing instruments and gorgeous notebooks I wouldn’t be needing. By the time second year started I sold nearly all of my items on ebay at discounted prices which was bad in terms of me losing money but good in terms of me allowing others to feed their passion and helping them get organised for cheaper!

However, I learnt my lesson. In year two, I stuck with a strict budget and only purchased items I needed:

 photo DiaryOrganiser_zps5969491d.jpg1) Diary/Organiser – This is a definite item all students should purchased. I’ve had a bit of a hassle finding out how to organise myself jumping from well known organisers to self-made diaries. Then, I popped into my local supermarket and found the diary of my dreams for only 70p!!! Advice: Always visit supermarkets first before hitting large stationery outlets.

 photo NotebookArchlever_zpsaf81c7ff.jpg2) Notebooks – I prefer good quality Oxford notebooks. I purchased two A4 ones to see if they lasted me a whole year and luckily they did! I LOVE the paper quality and how smoothly the pen writes on them!

 photo Writing_zpsf2cc1250.jpg3) Pens – Obviously a MUST (unless you use your IPad which I have seen many students use but I’d hate all my work to get lost in a dramatic technology fail!) I use Papermate inkjoys for note-making in my own time and frixion pens for rushy lectures and seminars because then at least I can rub wrong things out! I’ve not really used highlighters because I get carried away and highlight everything , so instead I use sticky notes which brings me onto my next point.

 photo StickyNotes_zps7b2415d1.jpg4) Sticky notes – These have saved me a lot of times. I am forever indebted to you sticky notes! During revision time, I use larger ones which I stick around my room. They are always popping out from my diary reminding me of deadlines and meetings. Finally, they always allow me to further cut down my notes into concise versions which are easier to remember – they are the reason for my success.

5) Arch Levers  – I have two arch levers – one with a copy of all my assignments and grades and another with all my notes. The one with my assignments and grades usually stays put until I print out everything however the one with notes sleeps under my bed! I update the notes throughout the year and collaborate notes from other modules together and develop them with further research. This helps greatly when it comes to revision.

On a final note, don’t splurge on stationery and stick to what you really need, unless of course you use your IPad (or other technology). It’s best to always see what sort of modules your degree entails – if it’s more chemistry/maths based, go overboard with the notebooks and pens! If it’s more hands on, only buy the essentials. As for me, I’m on intercalation for the following academic year, so it will be great to see what I discover however I won’t be able to indulge in stationery much! Also, for the 1st anniversary of my blog (29th July) I will be doing a HUGE stationery giveaway and fundraising for a charity so stay tuned!

Sarah 🙂

Massive thanks to Sarah for writing this post – I know I find organisation really important for university! I’ll definitely be entering her giveaway, and although I don’t want you to ruin my chances keep an eye on her blog here.

What’s your must-have bits of stationery?

Friday Favourites: Beauty Blogs

 photo Blogs_zps57407db5.jpgAnother Friday, another Favourites post. Its scary how quickly these are coming round, mainly because when I sat and scheduled the first two (Lifestyle, and Food) my exams hadn’t even started, yet by the time this one goes live I will be 24 hours away from freedom. Today I’m going to talk about beauty blogs. I probably read beauty blogs more often than others, purely cos I am a bit of a product junkie, but careful with my pennies so I like to consider purchases carefully. I don’t think I’ve bought something without reading 15 or so bloggers opinions on it!

I actually found it really difficult to write this list as I love a lot of blogs, so I went with ones that I always read new posts immediately, instead of waiting until a quiet moment.

 photo MyPaleSkin_zpsbfe4988e.pngFirst off we have My Pale Skin. I found this blog through googling for pale foundations (I really, really struggle to find a decent match!) and have been hooked ever since – especially now Em is doing the ‘Pale Test.’ I love the layout of this blog, so minimalist but different (the blue colour seems so original!) and the photography is excellent. I’m a sucker for good photography, I just wish mine was up to scratch!

 photo BedintheKitchen_zpscd6178c9.pngJaye’s blog Bed in the Kitchen is definitely one that I stop and read whenever she posts – I just love her writing style as its a great mix of to-the-point reviews and her chatty style. I really loved her Desktop Beauty post, I’m also a bit of a workaholic so definitely need to make time to pamper myself at the desk!

 photo SweetElectric_zps12d79dbf.pngSweet Electric is a blog I’ve followed for quite a few months, and I love the mix of budget and high-end reviews – the last thing I want is a blog full of products I just can’t afford! I’ve bookmarked Zoe’s Improving Photography post as that’s something I really aim to do once exams are finished. I also love Sweet Electric for a slightly selfish reason – I recently won a Nuxe giveaway on there, and so have an exciting parcel waiting for me to get home once these exams are out of the way. I can’t wait!

 photo HelloOctober_zpsbdd9b6e1.pngFinally there’s Hello October. Probably more of a lifestyle blog, but I love her beauty posts! She recently posted a Matte Brown Smokey Eye tutorial which I’m looking forward to following! I love the mix of posts of this blog, again its really a lifestyle blog but definitely one of my favourites!

Well done girls for making it into my favourites, and remember from this post that one of you I’ve nominated for a Cosmo Blog award! Nominations close on Monday I think, so get nominating!

What’s your favourite blog award? Have you nominated any yet?

Blogger Link Up: Simple Snacks for University

Continuing on my Link Up, today we have Olivia from Land of Soap writing about healthier snacks to take to university. Olivia is a medial student so I’m really interested to have her tips – I know my university lunches could really be improved!

 

Eating on Campus can get expensive and boring. At my uni the only thing remotely edible from out canteen is chips, but even that gets boring. Taking snacks is an option, hopefully this post will give you a few ideas of some healthier options.

Choose meals and snacks that emphasize protein over carbohydrate. Protein-rich meals and snacks keep your energy levels even. Sugary snacks will give you energy for a while, but they will eventually  drop causing you to feel sluggish.

Water
This is not a food, but it is still pretty important to stay well hydrated whilst studying. Drinking water can help you stay alert for a bit longer. Aim to carry a water bottle with you at all times.

Cereal Bars
They come in many different flavours so there must be one you might like. A plus side is you can stock up and not worry about them expiring soon. If you put a few in your bag, they will be ready when you need them.
 photo cerealbars_zps40fabd72.jpgIf you feel adventurous you can make your own cereal bars, I personally mix 1 cup raisins,1/4 cup  smooth peanut butter ,1 cup roasted unsalted almonds, loosely chopped, 1 1/2 cups rolled oats together with warm honey. I spread the mixture out to set in a shallow baking tray, and once it is set it can be cut into cereal bars.
Pros–  little to no preparation required
Cons-some varieties can be very high in sugar

Fruit and Veg
Grapes, strawberries, carrot sticks and cucumber slices make great finger sized snacks. Carry them in a small container, and you will have a noise-free snack for when you absolutely must eat in the library or a lecture. These fruits and veg  are mess free so, making them the ideal study partner.
Pros– ultra healthy
Cons– not suitable for really hot days, (warm cucumbers are the weirdest thing I have ever eaten)

Sandwiches
This is not the most interesting idea, but there is no denying the fact that they are filling.  Almost anything can be turned into sandwich fillings so do not be afraid to experiment. Add variety to your sandwiches by using tortilla wraps, pitta bread or hotdog buns.
Pros– Highly satisfying snack
Cons– Requires time to prepare

Nuts
Nuts are full of healthy fats but they can be calorific if you devour the whole bag! A reasonable amount is about 30 grams(a small handful). Nuts  provide vitamin E, calcium, potassium and magnesium, as well as a significant source of protein and fibre. Throw some in a sandwich bag or a small lunch box to nibble on when you become peckish.
Pros– a protein source packed with minerals and Vitamin E
Cons– calorie dense making it easy to eat too much

Popcorn
Popcorn is a slightly healthier alternative to crisps. If you want you can  make your own in the microwave, but if your anything like me its probably easy to get a multipack bag. Popcorn contains more protein than any other cereal and more iron than eggs or spinach.
Pros– fun to eat
Cons-Thirst, I wonder why popcorn makes me thirsty.

Thanks Olivia for the interesting insight into portable foods for university – I’ve realised I’ve completely overlooked taking nuts, which is strange as its something I ate a lot at sixth form! I’ll definitely be looking at overhauling my lunches next year. 

What do you snack on during the day?