Welcome to the second in this series…of me spreading some blogger love (and also being a little lazy through exams!). Today I’m going to go through some of my favourite food blogs. I’ve read food blogs for years, since way before I discovered Bloglovin’, and so it feels lovely to be able to share some of my absolute go-to blogs if I want a recipe, opinion, or just some inspiration. Remember, one of my favourites has been nominated for the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards by me (I mentioned it here, but I genuinely wish I could nominated everything!)
Now, warning, this post may make you hungry…
First up we have Thoroughly English. I guess you could call this a lifestyle blog, but I started reading because of the lovely recipes, and the amazing photography. Food photography is (in my opinion) one of the hardest to get right and I’d love to improve. Bess’s photos are absolutely lovely, her writing style is so relaxed and I really need to make this Chicken & Sweetcorn Soup soon!
Next up we have Handbags & Cupcakes, which is another blog which could also go in the lifestyle category…but I put it here because I just love her Peanut Butter Brownies, they are delicious and not too bad for you, what’s not to love?! Rachel got highly commended in the Lifestyle (I think!) category last year, and it’d be lovely to see her there or better again this year.
Now its the girl who actually inspired me to start blogging, Lottie from Lottie’s Little Kitchen. I found her blog via my boyfriend (they go to the same university) and I have been forever grateful as I really look forward to seeing her recipes every week. Her Herbed Roast Chicken inspired my very first Roast, and it was rather delicious if I say so myself!
I’ve not been reading this next blog very often (for just over a week actually) but its fast becoming a favourite. Katie’s Kitchen Journal is another blog with beautiful food photography and one of my favourite layouts – her recipes look awesome too! I really want to try her Courgette and Lime Cake!
Finally I’ve had to include Pinch of Yum, as it has one of my most favourite recipes – I must post my version sometime! I probably unattractively dribbled when I first read the Chicken Bacon Wild Rice Soup post!
Did reading this post make you hungry? Writing it made me a little peckish, so much so I may have treated myself to half a tub of Ben & Jerry’s at the laptop – Peanut Butter Cup is my flavour of choice! Remember to vote for your favourite blogs in the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards!
Remember the Link Up that I posted about last week? Well today Rachel is kicking it off, telling us all about her experiences with university. Her post really hits home for me as I’ve seen some people really not get on with the university lifestyle, so if you’re unsure about where you want to go, definitely have a read of this!
Hi! My name is Rachel and I blog over at The Inelegant Wench where I talk about pretty much anything that comes to mind, including confessing things every Sunday in my Sunday Confessions series.
When I saw that Chloe wanted people to guest post about their university experiences over on Twitter, I immediately responded that I was interested as I took a bit of a different route to get to graduating last summer! I took the standard route to begin with, applying to UCAS and going straight from A Levels to university, to study Computer Science as I liked Computing A Level, and computers in general.
Caption: Halloween at university, dressed as zombies. I’m at the front.
I moved away to university, into halls and started my course. I had a large group of friends, a boyfriend and life was pretty good. In the Christmas holidays I went to visit friends around the country, and carried on having fun and living it up. However when I got back to uni in January, I had my first exams. I revised a bit, but didn’t get particularly amazing marks. Them the second semester subjects started and I began to find the lessons more difficult and I began to struggle to keep up as the amount of programming required increased dramatically. I was never the best at programming, I was fine at the simple stuff, but when it got more difficult I found it incredibly frustrating and difficult. At around the same time I got dumped and most of my friends began to leave me out and bitch about me a lot. All in all you could say that I wasn’t very happy. I kept persevering because that’s the type of person that I am, but by the time the Easter holidays came around I was looking forward to going home and getting away from it all for a month (oh how I miss university holidays!)
Whilst back at home I had a great time with friends and I was really dreading having to go back to uni where I was lonely, miserable and struggling. About a week after I got back I made the decision to drop out of university. This was a big decision for me to make, as going to university had been my life goal up until that point. As I knew I was going to fail, or only just scrape a pass in the second semesters subjects which I wasn’t enjoying anyway, I thought it would be a waste of money continuing. Making the phone call home to talk to my parents about it is one of the most terrifying things I have ever done in my life. I was scared of their reaction, but luckily they were supportive, and told me that as long as I was going to do something, even if it was just continuing with my part time job, they would support me in my choice. They encouraged me to stick the year out, as it was already paid for and I might get some university credits out of it, which could have helped me in the future if I decided to study again.
I managed to stick the year out, and sat my exams. I passed a couple of them, but failed most of the others and was very glad to leave. I began working as a receptionist, living with my parents and I was much much happier than when I was at university. After about 6 months I began to get itchy feet. I wanted to study again, and I wanted to get a degree. I thought much more about what I wanted to do this time and came to the conclusion that working in the NHS was what I wanted to do, but not as a doctor or nurse. I applied for a training scheme where you worked full time and the hospital sent you to university one day a week to complete a degree over 4 years. After one failed application round I tried again and was successful. I moved out again, but this time it was to start a job doing something I was interested in and the degree was vocational.
Caption: Graduating last summer.
I thoroughly enjoyed doing my degree in this format, it meant that I was a part of the working world, and as the degree was condensed into one day a week and I got study time at work, I worked really hard. Taking the year out between degrees had helped me to gain some perspective, and grow up a hell of a lot. After 4 hard and enjoyable years I graduated last year with a first class degree. Some of my family thought that when I dropped out I had ruined my life, but it was one of the best decisions I had ever made, and proving them wrong when I graduated made the day even better.
If you have read this and are unsure about whether your degree is right for you, if you are considering dropping out, it doesn’t have to be the end of your studying. You can go back, you can succeed and you can still have a happy and successful life. If I had continued doing Computer Science I am convinced that I wouldn’t have got a higher degree result than a 2:2 and I would have hated the subject by the time I graduated. Instead I graduated doing a subject I love and have got a well paid job straight away as I already have 4 years of paid experience in the field. Much better!
If you want to be nosy at more aspects of my life, why not pop over to my blog and say hi! I’m also getting more and more active on twitter (@inelegantwench) if you would like to ask me any questions or would like any advice.
Thanks to Chloe for letting me hijack this fantastic blog of hers, and she will be having a blog post of her own up on my blog soon, are you as excited as me?
Thanks Rachel – was such a good insight into an alternative university experience! Please so check out The Inelegant Wench as its one of my favourite blogs!
Whilst I’m busy revising for my second-year exams I thought I’d schedule a couple of these posts to spread some blogger love, and also to give myself a little bit of a break from making fresh content! Don’t panic though – my exam term is only lasting for three weeks, and then I have a whole two months of being a full-time blogger. I’m also hoping to really make some progress with my blog over the next 18 months as I shouldn’t have too much evening/weekend work to do over my placement year! For now though, onto my favourite lifestyle blogs!
Lifestyle blogs are probably my all-time favourite type of blogs – they are the type whose posts I save up and then devour cuddled up in PJs with a hot chocolate! A lot of these blogs provide my ultimate inspiration too; they are really what I aspire this blog to be! So here we go…
First up is Cider with Rosie. And let me just tell you, I love this girl’s writing style. I read every single post, and I actually let out an audible squeal (in the silent section of the library!) when I read about her engagement. The story of the proposal came later, and I have to admit that it had me giggling and weeping simultaneously. If that doesn’t sum up how wonderful this blog is, I don’t know what will, so get yourself over there!
And on an additional note, I’ll definitely be using her Edinburgh tales when I head up there with my boyfriend in June – she has good taste in Fudge as I spent hours in that very shop last August!
Next up is probably one you could have guessed would feature – good old The Londoner! Her Banana & Nutella muffins inspired one of my favourite bakes, and her Mac’n’Cheese Fondue inspired the most popular recipe on this blog. In fact I use her recipes a lot, so maybe she should be in the ‘Food’ post of this series, but really I love all her posts and she fits so much better in here. Plus she has the most gorgeous dog, Custard, who almost rivals my dogs cuteness!
There must be a ‘Rosie’ theme going on here, because my next favourite blog is A Rosie Outlook! I absolutely love the design of this blog, and reading it feels like chatting to an old friend. I especially love the quote that I managed to capture in my screen shot! I just find this blog so motivational really, its the kind of thing I read when I want cheering up!
A blog not continuing the Rosie theme, but continuing another theme (seriously – if anyone guesses the common theme between all this blogs, I’d be tempted to send out a prize – I’ll update with answer in a week!) is Milk Bubble Tea. This could be a in a Beauty Blog post, but I just love all of the posts she writes! The photography on this blog is some of my favourite around as the photos aren’t too plain, aren’t too ‘blurred background’ and they all look so natural but perfect at the same time. Just lovely!
As you all may know the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards are now open, so I’ve been having fun nominating people in various different categories. Unfortunately I can’t nominate everyone, and I also don’t want to totally reveal who I’m voting for (I kinda feel that makes it seem as though I’m asking for a nomination back!) but what I will say is that I have nominated one of the blogs mentioned on each post in this series – fingers crossed that all my favourites get a mention though!
Oh, and a major thanks to Lily Melrose for inspiring these posts – I loved what she said on Wednesday, so do give this post a read!
Probably a little bit late in the year for this, as I’m guessing most students will be coming up to their exams (and some lucky people will have finished theirs!) but I thought I’d tell you all how I study best…I’m currently revising like a mad woman for my second year exams, so this post is rather apt!
I will spread out my work around me, either on the floor, or on a large table (I used to have an L-shaped desk at home which was perfect, but sadly that went when my room was redecorated). I’ll work on a module at a time (usually spending a whole day on it) so I’ll have any related text-books or university material (for my Actuarial exams we are given notes from the Profession’s study support – they are amazingly useful, so make the most of any resources you have provided) out, along with my notes, print outs of questions, and enough stationery to stock WHSmiths…
A little note on textbooks – my thrifty self likes to try and avoid buying books (or stick to related ones for 1p on Amazon) but I bought a recommended book for the first time this year and its definitely helped. If you’re struggling with a module I’d recommend it! My top top is to make notes on post-it notes rather than in the book, then you can sell it on for more at the end of the year (I got £75 Amazon credit for my A-level and first year books a few months ago!).
I try to keep complete neat notes throughout the year, then can spend my revision time doing exercise sheets and past exams – for maths students there is nothing better that practice! When doing questions I try to stick to a left-hand ‘column’ on the page so I can write notes down the side, including a model answer when I get things wrong. If the question involves a theorem or definition I’ll also write it in a different colour to try and reinforce the point. I’ll always try to write out questions too, as then I have a clearer idea of why I’m doing what I’m doing…
One of my biggest problems is staying organised, so I use my Filofax to help me with that. I also find that I quite often head out to the library without a pencil case (sooo annoying…I had to pay £4 for a pen on campus once…), so I’d been on the lookout for a thin one to keep in the tiny pen loop in my Filofax. I was kindly sent this stunning Pink Gold Parker Pen* (£59.00, Pen Heaven) a few weeks ago, and I adore it. Its the perfect colour, and nicely weighted (not heavy, but not light like your basic biro either!), and writes amazingly smoothly. There’s no chance of this being left behind, I love it! I don’t use it for everyday notes as I love erasable ink far too much, but for just about everything else I’m using it. I’m really looking forward to using it at work next year – its so professional looking, but still feminine. Can’t you tell I’m in love with this pen?! Revision is sending me mad…
So, my top tips for revision?
Stay organised throughout the year, so its not a mad rush at the end to work out what you should have learnt!
Have a clear plan of what you want to do each day, but make sure it is achievable. Nothing worse than feeling bad because you couldn’t do the 20 past papers you wanted too…
Take regular breaks, and eat healthily, snacking as you go (remember to keep an eye out for the Healthy Snack post as part of my Blogger Link Up!)
Turn off distractions. I turn my wifi/data off on my phone (it also means I don’t need to remember to charge it every night), and have deleted social media apps from my tablet as I still use it for solutions.
Don’t feel bad about saying no. You need to revise, and going out shopping/partying/etc won’t help that – be proud that you are trying to do your best, and don’t be pressured into giving up your time.
Don’t do all-nighters. It’ll muck up your sleeping pattern, and your exams aren’t at night!
But my absolute top tip…?
Don’t give yourself repetitive strain injury (in the wrist of your writing hand) the week before your seven exams start! I’ve managed to either over-do writing (not sure how, as I definitely used to write more when I did essay-subjects for A-Levels) or damage my wrist some other way, and am now struggling to write comfortable for more than 20 minutes at a time. Lets just say I’m a little worried about a three-hour stretch… However, stock up on painkillers and tea (hey, a girl needs restoration fluid!) and invest in a wrist support. Take vitamins regularly before the exam period to keep your immune system running, and generally just take care of yourself – I’ll be sure to the next time I have exams!
Good luck to all readers who have exams, and (if you have time) – how do you revise?
A few weeks ago I decided to run a little link-up – a series of guest posts on this blog by other bloggers, with some relation to university. I asked on Twitter and The Student Room for contributors and got a really good response, so thank you! I’m also still looking for a couple more contributors so please let me know if you fancy writing a post!
Over the next few weeks I already have scheduled:
Rachel from Inelegant Wench writing about her alternative university experience. This post really hit home for me as I know through personal experience university definitely isn’t for everyone, so if you’re unsure about the route you want to take I’d definitely keep your eye on this blog.
Olivia from Land of Soap writing about Snacking at University – as a total foodie myself this is something I’m really looking forward to reading!
If you are interested in taking part in this link-up (all posts will include links to your own blog and social media pages, and if wanted I can write a guest post in return) then please email me at [email protected] with your ideas and I’d be happy to get back to you – I’d love some more beauty/fashion based posts, but anything goes really!
What kind of posts would you like to see on The Life & Loves of Ninegrandstudent?
Sometimes me and my boyfriend want to get away from our local town. Setting an hour’s drive limit means that he doesn’t have to drive too far, and we’ve managed to explore lots of lovely semi-local places. A few Saturdays ago we decided to visit Cambridge. I have family over there, but haven’t actually been into the city since 2001, and my boyfriend’s most recent visits (still over two years ago…time flies!) were overshadowed by the fact that he was attending a university interview. We ended up having a really lovely day, and it wasn’t as expensive as we were expecting – £3 each park-and-ride ticket, and our lunch (which I didn’t photograph) was a relative bargain at £9-£10 for huge portions. We took advantage of knowing a current university student so had a lovely wander round his college gardens – such a different university life from ours! I’m just going to post all of the pictures taken on our day, with a few captions – so yes it’s a little more picture-heavy than normal, but they do say a picture speaks a thousand words… Waiting to catch up!Cheeky selfie – we were interrupted/surprised by our friend Matt turning up, and I managed to catch Will’s reaction here! If you’re interested, the makeup I’m wearing is – Bodyshop’s Mineral Powder (lightest shade), Naked 3 eye shadows, Natural Collection mascara (the best, and cheapest, I’ve tried!) and MUA Power Pout in the brown shade – sorry I’m not being too descriptive!We didn’t go punting, but will definitely give it a go next time – we’re planning to go back after my exams. I managed to drag both of the boys into the Inglot shop, and spent a while in there dreaming up my perfect palette. I’m not too sure how I felt about the eyeshadows to be honest – maybe my Naked palette has spoilt me?! I found that the shimmery colours were mainly lovely, but all of the mattes were horribly chalky with awful colour payoff. I have a lovely matte eyeshadow from Sainsbury’s (own makeup brand) which is far better, and my Sleek palettes have matte shades which are also far better! I calculated that it would cost £18.50 for my ‘dream’ palette (3 colours), and I’m undecided as to whether I’ll shell out or continue saving for Naked 2. Any thoughts? We finished the day off with a takeaway pizza – I found one without tomatoes! Its the first takeaway pizza I have had for a long, long time, and it was perfect. A garlicky, herby pesto sauce, with lots of stringy cheese – yum! Best of all was the price, it was a ‘large’ and at only £5.50 it made both a filling dinner and tasty lunch the next day. All in all we had a lovely day, it was nice to wander aimlessly without having to ‘do’ anything! Nice to spend some time not worrying about exams too…
Have you been to Cambridge? Do you have any recommendations of things to do on our return visit?
Now, I’m not too sure you can really classed any not-eaten chocolate as leftovers, but what I am sure of is that at some point you might want a different way to enjoy it. I know I do! Its been just over a week since Easter and my progress through my Eggs is remarkably slow (put it this way, I still have chocolate from Christmas waiting to eaten…) so I decided to make up a dessert as a treat for my and my boyfriend…enter the Easter Egg Sundae!
Just use half an Easter egg as your ‘bowl’, add two/three/however many you can manage scoops of ice cream, and top with whatever other chocolate you have lying about. I’ve seen it done with a creme egg, but I’m on my last one so wasn’t about to share!
We used a Cadbury’s egg as our bowl, topped with a flake, and our ice-cream? It has to be Ben & Jerry’s! This was a new flavour, “All or Nut-ting” which I have to say I’m not a huge fan of as it tastes a little cheap. And now I’m on the subject of ice-cream, I might as well tell you that my favourite flavour has to be Peanut Butter Cup – perfection in a bowl!
Let me know if you give this Easter Egg sundae a go, I’d love to hear your variations!
I was recently contacted by the lovely Alice on behalf of British company Cut Make Trim, and was delighted to be offered the opportunity to review a product of my choice. As you all know I am a huge satchel fan (I own my custom sized massive one, which I’ve blogger about a few times, as well as another from the Leather Satchel Co which I actually won in a competition and really should post about) so I immediately accepted the review opportunity, and not-so immediately placed an order.
Having some experience of satchels I know what size I wanted to go for (15″ to fit A4 – the company also offer 13″ and 11″ as well as an interesting barrel-style satchel. Choosing a colour was far more difficult, in the end I went for ‘ranger‘ which I expected to be either dark brown or black. I was secretly rooting for it to be black, so was very excited when it was. Delivery was quick, and the ordering process was very simple (expected, given there are no customisation options). I must admit though that I was a little put off by the fact that the company themselves never answered a query I sent before placing my order.
My impressions with the satchel so far? I am very impressed with the buckle straps, as they are a lot thicker than my other satchels and do feel a bit more substantial. The rest of the satchel is made up of a thinner leather, and it is a lot more flexible than my Leather Satchel Co offerings. I’ve found I can much more easily squeeze a coat inside this satchel. One thing I will say is that if you are a little shorter than average be prepared to go and get extra holes added in the strap – it reached below my knees! The quality is definitely good, though I found that the edges are a little sharp and a lot more pointy than anything I am used to – they’ve laddered a few pairs of tights and added a few bruises (though having said that, my oversized satchel causes huge bruises for the first few weeks).
The finish is definitely the biggest selling point of this bag. I can’t comment on their more ‘regular’ leathers as this is completely different – it’s matte and almost pre-scuffed. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, and it looks unusual. I have a feeling this will last well too, as any additional scuffs and marks will just blend in nicely. If you want a satchel that looks preloved and almost vintage, I’d definitely recommend this style.
You can order online here, and they’re also sold in Covent Garden Market on certain days. I’m hugely thankful for the opportunity to review this satchel, and I think I’ll be doing a few more posts comparing my bags – I also have a post planned on showing you the (small amount of) wear and tear two terms has caused my oversized original satchel.
A few weeks ago I came into contact with the lovely Jo from Lymehouse Jewellery over Twitter, then last week a lovely parcel dropped through my letterbox.
I’d fallen in love with the style of the jewellery, despite it not being my usual thing (I’m not a jewellery person – I have some sentimental pieces that I wear often, and I rarely wear earrings at all!), so I jumped at the chance to review a few little pieces. I was especially glad because of the low price point – they are all around the £4 mark, so perfect for a little thank-you gift, stocking filler, or just because. I was however a little worried that the button earrings would be big, chunky, and not very feminine…
Well I am pleased to say I was wrong! Whilst the smaller, plainer pain aren’t really my style at all, I really do love the floral pattern. They are also surprisingly comfortable to wear once I got over the shock of having to re-pierce my ears!
I think these look really feminine, and surprisingly delicate – they are great for summer, and are perfect for going on holiday when you don’t want to risk losing a more expensive pair!
I would highly recommend Lymehouse Jewellery too – they arrived quickly and beautifully packaged. I’d definitely be happy to receive these as a gift…in fact I’m highly tempted by the Sleek Gold versions available at the minute! It made a lovely and refreshing change to switch up my tastes in jewellery, and I definitely will be getting lots of wear out of these earrings, so thank-you Jo!
What type of jewellery do you like to wear? What do you think of button earrings?
I feel so bad about posting this weekend – it became clear on Friday that I wouldn’t have time to blog (I like to keep weekend’s schedule-post free – I like a bit of spontaneity in my life!) and I don’t really like to send out a quick post just for the sake of it. Instead today I will make my excuses, and show you why I didn’t get chance to post.
Luckily my busy-ness wasn’t just down to the mountain of work I have at the moment (currently have three assignments on the go, and a three-hour ‘class test’ to revise for, and I’m expecting more coursework to be added on any day now), but because I decided to treat myself to a relatively relaxing weekend.
It was a ‘boyfriend’ weekend – as one half of a long-distance couples I see my boyfriend once a fortnight – and instead of trying to do work and getting annoyed/snappy when I couldn’t concentrate, I instead gave myself pretty much the whole weekend off. It was lovely to relax and not think about my ever growing to-do list!
I took advantage of our lovely local butchers and bought some black pudding, which we used to make a lovely try up. I have a little leftover which I’m trying to decide what to do with – I’m torn between fritters, or adding to a carbonara!
We also took advantage of the lovely weather – I cooked some part-baked rolls and grabbed a pack of salami, and we headed out for a picnic.
Despite being at my house, my boyfriend treated me to a lovely home-cooked meal (he did most of it whilst I was showering – I was impressed!). He made Swedish meatballs, and they were amazing. I’m going to adapt the recipe for my usual lower budget and post up soon!
I made the mistake of planning to cook stew (yep, on the hottest weekend of the year…), but despite it being far too warm for it, it was a damn good stew!
I also made one of my favourite cakes – caramel, chocolate and peanut butter sponge. I’ll definitely post about this soon!
I even got ‘proposed to’ with a hula hoop…who said students aren’t romantic?!
Sorry again for the lack of posts! What did you get up to this weekend?