Lifestyle: Happy Fortnightly Things #3

Happy Monday guys! So, today is the day I start to adult; my graduate job begins! I torn between feeling super excited and scared stiff – I know deep down I can do the job, but I also know a lot of my knowledge (particularly anything involving programming) needs refreshing. I’ve spent far too long working out outfits for the week ahead, I’ve practised my route into work (including in morning rush hour), I’ve packed my bag with snacks, plasters and some Rescue Remedy. Eeek!

 photo Happy Things 2_zpstx894dal.pngHere’s what’s made me super happy over the last fortnight! The weeks seem to go by so quickly doing a fortnightly round-up…

  1. Moving! We’re all into our shiny new place, everything is unpacked and it’s virtually looking the way we want it. It’s so nice to finally be living together after nearly six years!
  2. Seeing my sister get her GCSE results. I know only too well the stress of exams and waiting for results, so it’s hard for me to see her starting it all up just as I’m coming to the end of that era.
  3. All the copper things! I picked up a gorgeous desk lamp from IKEA. We’re planning on having little copper touches throughout the flat, I’m hoping for some bathroom bits and bobs next.
  4. Pizza! I’ve been loving all the white pizzas lately, keep tuned for my new favourite recipe on Thursday…
  5. Thunderstorms. After some horrendously humid days in Northamptonshire it was good to have some spectacular thunderstorms last weekend.
  6. The Doc Martens factory shop. How did I not know this existed only a short drive away from home until the week before I moved out?! Definitely going back for a pair of chelsea boots at some point.
  7. Having internet back after a few days without whilst the connection was set up. As awful as it sounds, I really struggled to function without it.
  8. Borrowing W’s Macbook for flatlaying. It’s so much pretty than my laptop!
  9. Takeaway night with my family. I loved sharing their poppadoms, rice and naan and whipping up my own tomato-free curry. If anyone knows of an Indian in Putney with tomato-free options please, please, please let me know!
  10. #FirstWorldProblems. So many of these when we moved. First we discovered the hob was induction, so none of our pans worked. Then after ten minutes attempting to make the bed we realised it was a king-size, so need to invest in new bedding. Now it transpires I’m about 50cm too short to reach the rail in the second wardrobe. Annoying little things, but they’ve made us laugh!

What’s been your highlight of the past fortnight? Good luck to anyone else starting their graduate job today!

Lifestyle: Happy Fortnightly Things #2

Happy Monday everyone! These past two weeks have been pretty stressful for me – complications with the estate agent, packing, repacking, SD card failures and a bad IBS episode to top things off. Fingers crossed we manage to pick up our keys without a hitch today, get all our things in tomorrow without breaking anything, and can start settling in!

 photo Happy Things_zpsmx5jxxb8.jpgHere’s the highlights…

  1. Attempting to watch all of the Harry Potters in one weekend. Whilst we failed, we had a damn good time trying.
  2. Evening walks in the park. One of my favourite places in Northampton is down the road from W’s parents, so we’ve been trying to take a stroll as often as possible. We make sure to avoid it during the day though, far too many children and football games to dodge!
  3. The. Best. White. Pizza. Yet. Black pudding is a total game changer when paired with goats cheese.
  4. Being really proud of my Instagram feed – and getting to 500 followers. I’ve really been working hard on it the past few months and it feels like it’s finally paying off!
  5. A trip up North. Me and W stayed with some family friends and explored Bolton, Manchester and Salford. It was lovely to see a place of the country I’d never experienced before – and I managed to get a fair few Carr’s Pasties in!
  6. Picking up a gorgeous pair of black brogue heels. I’ve spent years hunting for the perfect pair, then found a bargain in the Clark’s outlet.
  7. Taking W to some of my favourite places from my childhood. We made the most of our last week having a car by getting out and about – it’s been years since I visited the Peak District, but it was just as beautiful as I remembered.
  8. Meercats! We took a trip to some local gardens and discovered they’ve put together a small animal area. Sometime about meercats never fails to make me smile…
  9. Finding an exercise regime I’m actually enjoying. I’ve always, always had to force myself before, but something about my Results With Lucy regime is really spurring me on. I’m loving it, and whilst I might be kidding myself, I’m sure I can see some physical changes.
  10. The most gorgeous little cafe. We popped in for a quick cuppa and it was delightful. An Instagrammer’s delight, pretty tiles and very good tea to boot.

What’s made you happy recently? Any positive experiences of London estate agents to cheer me up?!

Lifestyle: July Favourites

Yep, another month has completely and utterly flown by, 2016 needs to stop and take a breather! This month has been nothing short of exhausting, as you may have guessed from last week’s post. Yep, July 2016 turned into the month where I suddenly grow up and had to do a lot of very adult things. Eurgh. For the last few days I’ve resorted to sitting in my PJs for far too long and playing on the Wii (which seems very old school now!). But there’s been some massive, massive highlights too…

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Graduating

The big one! On the 11th of July I walked around Canterbury Cathedral, winced as they pronounced my surname wrong, shook hands, collected my certificate and graduated. I managed not to fall over, despite the insane blister that appeared an hour before the ceremony. I managed not to fall asleep after I had been in the first handful of students to collect my degree, despite it being pretty damn boring. I managed not to faint, despite having not really eaten much at all that day. And I managed not to drizzle chocolate sauce down me when I finally, finally got hold of my Belgian waffle at 10pm that night.

In all honesty, I found my graduation a huge anti-climax – it was a very long day, my ceremony was a late evening one, and I was just tired. More to come on that one!

Finding a Flat

And I say that very everything crossed, as at the time of writing we’re just waiting on that last final confirmation. Obviously until I have got that I don’t want to say too much, but it hasn’t stopped me getting over-excited, planning cushions and decor, walking the route to the tube station on street-view and generally just being happy that we have somewhere to live.

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Brighton

Despite only being a fortnight ago, I’m already in desperate need of another holiday! We’d planned to do a road trip around the Scottish Highlands, but decided relatively last minute to have a few days in Brighton instead – such a good choice! The week after our graduations was the ‘week of the heatwave’ and it was scorching, with perfect weather until we got on the train to return home! We sat on the beach, ate plenty of bad food, and drank more than a few cocktails. I hadn’t had a trip to Brighton for just over a year and had forgotten just how much I love the place!

 

Wedding Plans

With everything that’s gone on this month, I almost forgot that the first week involved an awful lot of wedding planning! One of the things that really appealed to us about a long engagement was the time and freedom to really space out planning, do bits as and when we wanted to, when no stress about things being booked up. HA!

I definitely turned into a little bit of a bridezilla when, having reserved our date (because yep, we set a date with the vicar!) with our top-choice venue, it was showing as booked on their site without my email confirmation coming through. Whilst I wish I was over-exaggerating, I sat refreshing my emails all day. We got the confirmation at nearly 7pm, much to our relief. So yep, we now have ticked off the church, reception venue and dress. Time to sit back and relax now for a few months!

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Maxi-Length Outfits

It’s taken me years, but I finally found the courage to buy and wear a couple of maxi-length dresses and skirts. Part of the delay has been getting them to fit, in the end resorting to a dress maker to chop three inches off the bottom, but a big part is that for years I’ve felt oversized and (for want of a better word) really rather fat in them. Actually, I really quite like them. I wish I hadn’t waited so long!

Got myself remeasured by @lovebravissimo, then spent a fortune on new undies…

A photo posted by Chloe Ellen (@ninegrandstudent) on

New Bras

This was a much needed item on my to-do list, and I’m so embarrassed it took me so long to sort it out. Since loosing weight last year, I’ve had near constant back and shoulder ache. A quick hour’s trip into Bravissimo whilst in Brighton both diagnosed and fixed the problem, and I’m starting to feel a lot more comfortable. My clothes are also looking hell of a lot better, though my bank account winced at the price!

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Carbs on Carbs

I couldn’t write my favourites without including this burger – I’ve had Mac’n’Cheese Fritters on a burger before (they were a little dry and claggy), but whoever invented this combo deserved a knighthood. Soft brioche bun, meaty beef patty, two slices of crisp bacon, and a giant helping of creamy, spicy, cheesy Mac. Utterly unhealthy, espcially when followed with an alcoholic milkshake and preceded by cocktails, but it was damn good. Quite possibly the best burger I’ve had in a while. And with the nights either side of this dinner both including pizza, it’s safe to say our trip to Brighton wasn’t exactly on any kind of diet plan!

So yep, a very busy month for me. The beginning on August is definitely reserved for relaxing, taking time to catch up with friends and family and generally taking a breather before the stress of moving begins!

What’s been your highlight of July? I hope it was more relaxing for you than me!

Lifestyle: June Favourites

Mid-way through the year already, how on earth did that happen?! It’s been over six months since the best few days of my life, my degree is over, and I graduate in less than a week’s time. Scary stuff!

 photo June Favourites_zpsn5en1c3i.jpgJune has been a weird month, and if I’m honest I’ve found myself getting a bit depressed at times. Sure, there’s been some massive highs, but finishing university, packing up the house I’ve loved, realising I’ll no longer live with friends – it’s gotten me down at times! I guess I was so intent on finishing university, so focussed on getting my exams over with, I didn’t realise quite how much of a shock it would actually be! Now my final year house is fully packed up and spotlessly keen I’m hoping I’ll spring back into a good mood!

And now, what have I loved this last month?
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Results!

The big one here, and the one I’m most excited about. I’m so pleased that after four long years of bloody hard work, I’ll be graduating with a First in Actuarial Science next week. There’s been tears, arguments, threats to drop out. The four years have seen me use masses of paper, get through five calculators (heavy use causes the numbers to rub off!). They’ve seen me through a relatively serious, though quick, operation and the long recovery period.

Even better that just getting a First, my actual final year module results made me even more happy. By far my best year in terms of marks, despite being the one I considered the hardest in content. It just goes to show how much a positive mind and lovely living environment aid studying! Now I’ve just got to brave graduating, I can’t be the only person who’s terrified of the actual ceremony…?!

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France

My relaxing few days in the South of France feel so long ago now, I really can’t believe it was less than a month ago. It was definitely a big highlight of my month though, who wouldn’t want time in the sun with best friends, indulging in wine and cheese?

Wed-min

Possible a bit premature for this one to make it into June’s favourites, actually, but I couldn’t leave it out! This week W and I have a whole host of appointments and meetings planned, all wedding related. I don’t want to say too much yet in case it all goes down the pan, but fingers crossed by the end of the month we’ll actually have started to plan our wedding!

Finding THE Best Concealer

I have pretty dark under-eye circles, and its one of my biggest insecurities. I hate them, I despise how I always look tired and how there’s pretty much nothing I can do to make them look better. I’ve tried so many concealers over the last few years, but they either clash with my pale skin-tone horrifically or just don’t do a thing. I finally found an NYX stand a few weeks back and simply had to buy something, though with W hovering I knew I wouldn’t get away with any kind of lip product – so I grabbed their Under Eye Concealer. Turns out it’s a miracle product! Superbly pigmented in just the right shade to conceal without resulting in a reverse panda-effect, I’ve never looked so awake. The amount of product is disappointingly small for £6.50, but I’ll cope. After all, no-one’s asked me if I’m ill since I’ve been using it!

PS – it’s also incredibly long-lasting. The ‘gram above is from when I was getting ready for one of my oldest friend’s wedding. My makeup lasted from 10am to 11pm with only a brief powder and lip touch-up. No creasing under the eyes, no dark circles showing through. I’m a very happy girl to have found this before graduation!
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#ColdplayWembley

A photo posted by Will Fazackerley (@wfazackerley) on

Coldplay & Busted

For someone who hardly goes to any concerts, I’ve been to two in the last month (and a bit – I can’t remember exactly when Busted was!). Both concerts were excellent, though I felt Busted’s stage presence was nothing on McBusted or the Busted I remember seeing in 2003. Maybe it was the fact that I thought I had booked a table at Frankie & Bennys so was calmy wandering around, til I realised that I had clicked the wrong restaurant location and queues were 90 minutes long, but I didn’t find the O2 a hugely enjoyable concert venue. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the performance but it wasn’t quite their usual standard!

Coldplay, on the other hand, was blooming amazing! We went on the six-month anniversary of us getting engaged (time flies!) and it was so lovely to dance and sing along. Our pre-concert dinner of Mac’n’Cheese was delicious, as were the Krispy Kremes I picked up inside Wembley. I even managed to get a seat for the majority of the train home – though I had bloated up from dinner so it could be that the ever-so kind gentleman thought I was pregnant…

Cleaning

A weird one for me! I hate keeping things clean in a general sense (the monotony of a weekly dust just destroys any good mood I’m in!) however I do love a good, thorough, proper Spring clean. Cleaning my final year house ready for handing the keys back was definitely that! It was back-breaking work (I actually cried when I lay in bed after day one as my back ached so much), but the satisfaction was unreal. I especially enjoyed cleaning the oven!
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Relaxation, Days Out, Quality Time

Other than that, it’s really been a case of making the most of having nothing to do! Next week is graduation week for both me and W, the following week we have a mini-break away, and then we’ll be frantically planning an engagement garden party alongside finding a place to live in London! It’s been so nice to sit on the sofa knowing I could stay in PJs if I wanted to. We’ve enjoyed some lovely days out, had a few days down in Kent where we weren’t cleaning, and generally just enjoyed seeing each other without lecture notes as company! Some cheeky baking may have happened too…

How was June for you? What are you most looking forward to in July?

Lifestyle: May Favourites & Life Update

I’m back!

I have to say, taking a whole month off blogging was the oddest thing. Whilst it was lovely not to have extra stress (trust me, there was enough of that in my life over the last few months!) I did miss it. I went almost completely cold-turkey on Twitter, only posted a couple of times on Instagram. I felt weirdly disconnected from the blogging community – so I’m glad to be back.

 photo May Favourites_zpsrp1qtagq.jpgWell, back in a way. This week I’m up and down the country a fair bit, and managed to leave laptops and chargers in two separate places. So whilst this post is going up, normal service should resume at some point next week. I’m super excited for some posts to go up!

Weirdly, a lot has happened over May. With six exams over a fourteen-day period I was expecting it to be a quiet month. I was expecting to have no more than a few evenings off, to spend many hours punching numbers into calculators, looking up figures in statistical tables. Those things definitely happened, but punctuated with some very exciting news too!
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Wearing my Engagement Ring on my Left Hand

Being left-handed, I find my engagement ring rather uncomfortable to wear whilst writing for prolonged periods – meaning that for the entirety of my exams its lived on my right hand. It’s been so nice over the past week to have it back in it’s proper place!

Exams

Weirdly, once my exams got started they weren’t as bad as I was expecting. Certainly they felt a lot nicer than second year, I didn’t have any (let alone multiple!) that made me want to break down and cry, so I’m hopeful that things have all gone well. I have no idea if I have done enough to get the grade I want, but I have everything crossed!

A photo posted by Chloe Ellen (@ninegrandstudent) on

Taking a Break

Actually, I have no idea what to do with myself! For the first time in months I have no studying to do – and dare I say it, but I’m bored! I’m hoping to get back into the swing of a normal life soon, get up a bit of a routine, but I am missing my to-do lists, ticking off past questions and topics and having the 9-5, 7-10 library time structure to my days!

That said, I have so much enjoyed taking a break. Lying in bed without feeling guilty (though the 5am wakeup calls can stop, thank you very much internal body clock!), reading a book, travelling up to W without studying on the train, even just taking the time to bake something new. I even managed to have a good long session of wedding pinning – so satisfying!
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First Signs of Summer

After what seemed like months and months of cold, grey weather, summer is definitely starting to show itself and I couldn’t be more excited. We had a lovely blossom tree bloom in our garden, it’s been lovely to dry clothes outside, and I even went bare-legged to a family event last week. Though I probably should get some colour to my legs before doing that again…

In retrospect, maybe I tempted fate by writing this. I’m editing the day before publishing, on the last day of May for God’s sake, and I’m wrapped up in PJs, dressing gown, three pairs of socks and a blanket. And the heating is on. Summer my arse, France next week better be warmer!

Upcoming Plans

Now exams are finally, finally over, I can actually think a little bit more about summer. As sad as it may seem, I simply haven’t been able to get even the tiniest bit excited about anything whilst my head was full of equations, but now I’m almost fizzing over with excitement. My summer really kicked off yesterday, with myself and family heading off to hopefully order my wedding dress (eek!), then I’m travelling back to uni to celebrate properly with my girls. We’ve got a big BBQ planned and of course our summer ball, before we jet off to the South of France to do precisely nothing for a few days. Cheese and wine, I’m coming for ya!
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Waking Up to Baking Smells

My dad is a super-keen baker, and being at home means I’m often woken up by the smell of early-morning baking. His latest creation was a Malteaser Blondie. Not only did the house smell amazing, the resulting treat was so, so good. I’m hoping he’ll share the recipe soon…

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Exciting News

And now my absolute favourite bit from the month of May…I HAVE A GRADUATE JOB! After so many tears since September, everything has finally come together and I couldn’t be more thrilled with my future position. It also bases me in the City, so I guess that means I’ll be moving in with W towards the end of summer. I’m so very much looking forward to getting started with my career, finallllyyyy moving in with him, and getting back into the London lifestyle. Work outfit hunting and flat browsing are fast becoming my favourite pastimes…

So yep, a rather exciting month for me! How was May for you?

Lifestyle: April Favourites & Goodbye for Now

That’s it guys, exam season is officially upon us! I have just one week until my first exam (eek!), but equally in three short weeks you will find me retiring to bed for the next month to recover. April has, pretty predictably, been crammed full of revision, past exam papers, late-nights on campus (I switched it up and spent some time at Loughborough Uni with W – nothing like a fresh library to switch up revision!). But April also saw some lovely evenings, a very exciting day and (of course) plenty of yummy food…
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Cheese Night

I wouldn’t class myself as a huge lover of cheese, but one thing I can’t get enough of is fondue. Me and W invited a few friends round for wine and fondue whilst I was up with him – I don’t think anything can beat a good glass of white wine, and plenty of carbs (we go for potatoes and bread) dipped in cheese alongside good company. He’s definitely perfected making his cheese mix, though £12 of gruyere makes me wince!

Dresses!

I’m super fussy with clothes, which normally means when I need something shopping is a stressful business. Knowing that in the next few months I need a dress for our Summer Ball and one for Graduation has meant I’ve been browsing a lot…somehow in the space of just one week I managed to buy and fall in love with a dress for both. I also managed to fall in love with a dress for another occasion…
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Wedding Dress Shopping

Which brings me onto this! I planned to meet my mum for a day of trying on wedding dresses – in order to make up for not coming home during my Easter holidays, and to break up my revision. I really wasn’t expected to find something, and in reality it definitely was not the plan to find something. I mean, we haven’t set a date, booked anything, and even dates we are thinking about are in the back end of 2018… Having said all that, I realised very quickly that the idea of what I always wanted was definitely still what I wanted. Sure, I tried on different things. I tried on some lovely, lovely dresses, there was nothing wrong with them. But I felt like I was playing dress-up.

Even if I wanted to (and my dress is staying strictly under wraps until I walk down that aisle!) I couldn’t share a picture, as ‘my’ dress doesn’t actually exist. A story for another post perhaps! *cliffhanger ending*

Oh, and wedding dress shopping involved cake. Including an amazing Coconut & Lime Cheesecake *drools*
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Revision Snacks

Having a yummy snack for “once I’ve finished five questions” is the best way to motivate me through revision. Every other exam period has seen me gain weight, but with a slim-fitting graduation dress and a trip to France two weeks after my final exam, I’m determined not to let that happen. I’ve been snacking on carrot sticks and homemade houmous (made me realise just how much salt is in the ready-made stuff, I can’t stomach it now!). And my own energy bites. And homemade flapjacks. And homemade muffins. You can tell I’ve been seriously procrastinating!

And although not exactly a revision snack in the picture, I’ve been loving experimenting with my new love this month – chickpeas. I’ve perfected my houmous (I like it chunky), I’ve roasted them with parmesan into crunchy, savoury nibbles, and I made up a coconut chick-pea curry on a whim one even. SO good!

Feeling Confident

Even though I’ve still got a week of pretty much solid revision left to go, I’m actually feeling surprisingly confident about my exams. I definitely haven’t felt this good at this point about them before, so fingers crossed everything goes alright. I’m trying to drag my average up, and although I’ve only got to do this for a tiny percent, it did feel extremely daunting. I’m now dreaming of mortality models, stochastic processes and differential equations, so clearly things have sunk in!
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Sleep Spray

With things starting to get a little stressful, I’ve started to notice a slight decline in my sleep. Luckily I have no problem in drifting off (yet!) but staying asleep back 5.30am is proving difficult. Having always shied away from sleep sprays as lavender is my skin’s worst enemy, I’ve realised if I spray this onto my ‘bare’ pillow, wait for it to dry, then put the case on, I get all the benefits and none of the zits. Even if it’s not keeping me asleep, it’s making me a lot calmer when I do wake-up. There’s nothing worse than an early-morning panic attack!
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And Now a Goodbye

I had originally planned to have scheduled posts going up throughout my exams. Heck, I’d written the posts and the vast majority of them were scheduled. But then I realised I wasn’t quite happy with them, the photos weren’t great, I hadn’t proof-read, everything was a bit…boring… It was stressing me out, I knew I wouldn’t be able to respond to comments, and so I’ve unscheduled the posts. This will be the first time in a long time that I’ve not posted regularly, but it’s also the most important few weeks of my education ever (until we get to my fellowship exam). I’ve decided I’ll be back at the start of June to have a catch-up, talk about my May favourites, and then we’ll resume normal service from there. Goodbye for now!

What have your highlights been over the last month?

Lifestyle: March Favourites

It scares me that it’s now April. Yes April brings sunshine, warmer days and a holiday from lectures. But it also means exams are just around the corner, and it’s finally sunk in that this period of exams just happens to be probably the most important I’ll ever sit.

 photo March 2016 Favourites_zpspuqdpiio.jpgI have, relative to other years, quite a nice exam timetable, Six exams spread over a fourteen day period is just acceptable enough not to send me into full-block panic mode. I’m close to panicking, but not quite there yet. Just give me another week or so! This year the approach of exam season has also got me thinking about just how quickly my degree has gone. It feels like yesterday that I sobbed on my doorstop waving goodbye to W, that I saw my parents off from my halls. Four years on, at 3pm on Thursday I will attend my last ever university lecture. I’ve signed up for graduation, bookmarked a whole heap of dresses. More importantly (but far less exciting!) I’ve got past papers ready to practice, revision notes all ready. I just can’t quite believe that in just a few short months university will all be over!

April is looking like a month of pure revision (though I do have a few appointments to try on some white dresses next week – eek!), but what about highlights from March…?
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Easter Weekend

Whilst I’m not overly religious, I always remembered Easter weekends as a child as being a special occasion for a family meal. I didn’t make it home for Easter this year, but did manage to persuade W to visit. He turned up armed with flowers (I’m not a ‘must get me flowers’ kinda girl, but love being surprised, and these tulips are beautiful!) and a massive leg of lamb. After a rush around 3 stores in a vain attempt to buy rosemary, and a successful attempt at buying a roasting tin big enough to fit ‘Baaaabara’ (though too big for the oven it turned out!) we had enough roast lamb to feed an army. Whilst delicious the first day, we also enjoyed in in a casserole, as a pie and as some absolutely delicious spicy flatbreads.

It also turns out that creme eggs aren’t the best study snack – I discovered this after essentially glueing an exam paper shut! Also, how cute is the little Easter basket our house was given?!

Study Buddies

With W being down for a week and aiming to start writing his dissertation, he joined me for several long library days. It was just what I needed to get me motivated – any signs of procrastination and I got a stern look. Let’s just say I feel like I tripled my productivity in that week! He also forced me to take most of the day on Wednesday to relax – we had a beach trip, gorged on burgers and generally forgot about work…until the evening in the library!
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Perfecting Bread Rolls

Whilst I love homemade bread, my slicing skills leave a lot to be desired – so it’s not the ideal thing to make for lunchboxes. However I’ve finally perfected shaping bread rolls so they rise both upwards and outwards. I’ve also worked out my favourite ratios for getting a tasty but light wholemeal dough – and it’s no-knead too. Recipe to come soon!

New Clothes

Perhaps less exciting than the point above, but this was wayyy overdue. The majority of my clothes are far too big on me now, and whilst I don’t exactly have the pennies to spend right now I did have a little splurge in Primark last month. For just over £30 I bagged myself plenty of basic tops, a denim pinafore and a denim mini-skirt. I’m loving the denim pinafore – whilst I adore my cord one from Topshop it is a little short – this one I can wear with bare legs and sandals one it starts to warm up.
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Proposing to my Bridesmaids

Over three months after getting engaged, I finally proposed to my bridesmaids. Whilst I always knew I’d be asking them, I wanted to wait a while to (1) keep them in suspense, and (2) ask them in a cute way. After our lamb roast on Easter Sunday I placed a card at their seat as they began the washing up. When they (eventually!) noticed them there was a lot of screaming, tears from one and lots of excitement from all. They will join my sister (who I asked to be my maid-of-honour way back in December), and I can’t wait to have my three best girlfriends to support me on the happiest/scariest/most-adult/best day of my life.

Summer Plans

Whilst summer still seems like a long way away (so much to do before them!) I have started making a few little plans, starting with a short break in the South of France at the beginning of June. Just what we need, me and my girls will spend the days doing absolutely nothing, eating bread and cheese and drinking a lot of wine. Me and Will are also debating on what to do. We were thinking of potentially going State-side with a trip to Boston, but I think we’ve decided on a road-trip around Scotland based on whisky distilleries! Now we’ve just got to time it around one wedding, two graduation ceremonies and any potential job interviews…

 photo 2016-03-30 12.31.59_zpseio8ekcd.jpg photo 2016-03-30 11.48.44_zps8isntyq6.jpgSo yep, an exciting month for me! I can’t imagine the next two months repeating this excitments – get ready for lots of ‘#sssitsalibrary’ instagrams and a potential lack of posts. Fingers crossed for a few more beach trips though…As a side note, I’m looking for guest bloggers to fill a few posts so if you fancy writing about pretty much anything, drop an email to ninegrandstudent@gmail.com!

How was March for you? Hope you ate your body weight in chocolate!

Lifestyle: February Favourites

As I began to write this I thought that it seemed an awfully long thing since I’d typed a ‘favourites’ post – and I was right. Somehow I managed to completely forget to write one for January, whoops! This February (and January really!) has been majorly taken up by studying, coursework, sleeping and eating a lot of food. Not a bad few months, but not exactly exciting!
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Countryside Walks

My Valentine’s consisted of a lovely, if slightly chilly, wander around Cannock Chase. It made me realise just how much I miss getting out and about in the fresh air. I’m going to make it a goal in March to get out for a walk at least twice a week – and not one that’s just to university and back!

Fruit Tea

I’ve recently cracked down on my tea intake; whilst I got it down last year (from 8-10 cups a day to 2) it’s crept back up again. I’m now getting into a routine of having my morning tea, then one when I get in from a day at uni – then fruit tea, flavoured water or squash at all other times. I’ve been loving Apple flavours, though my absolute favourite is Pomegranate & Raspberry. Perfect for relaxing with in the evenings.
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Good Food – and Lots of It!

It’s no secret that I’m a huge lover of food, and this past month has been full of yummy things. I’ve been trialling some store-cupboard veggie bits and bobs from Granose – with some trepidation I must say! In fact they’ve all been surprisingly delicious so far, with the sausages being absolutely delicious with mash and onion gravy. I’ve also enjoyed some delicious Asian meals, and obviously I’m super excited for National Pie Week next week!

Instagram

I’ve really been loving Instagram over the last couple of weeks, which has resulted in me upping the game when it comes to my own profile. I’d still love to improve my own account a little more, but it goes get difficult when the vast majority of my time is split between studying and sleeping!
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Wedding Bits and Bobs

Whilst we haven’t reallyyy started planning yet, we’ve started putting together ideas (we’re already pretty much decided on centrepieces – priorities right?!) and even made a rough guest list. Next weekend we’re off to the Wedding Show in Birmingham, and I’ve got a few dress appointments lined up for my Easter break. Our plan is to do rough research now, then really kick-start the planning process towards the end of summer.

Switzerland

I spent a whirlwind 28 hours in Switzerland over the weekend, and whilst extremely nerve wracking it definitely reinforced how much I love the country. Trains that don’t run late and lots of cheese – what’s not to love?!
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Cookies By Post

Will made some of my favourite White Chocolate & Cranberry Oat Cookies a few weeks back – and then sent me two in the post as a mid-week pick me up. The cookies were delicious, and it caused much giggling when the bemused postman asked me if the parcel was meant for our address – as it was missing the house number and road name…

I can imagine the next few months are going to be full of studying, excitement over revision timetables, and not a lot else! Roll on June – which will bring an end-of-exam mini-break (fingers crossed!), a few concerts and the start of my summer!

How was your February – any highlights to share?

 

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: November Favourites

It’s Christmassssss!

…Well, actually, it’s not as there’s a very important day tomorrow which needs to be celebrated first (que singing that Taylor Swift song!).

 photo Nov Favourites_zpsmhw3c6lu.jpgNovember is always my least favourite month. It’s grey, dark and gloomy and feels amazingly long once Bonfire night is out of the way. There’s plenty of deadlines and job application closures, and no birthday cake to treat myself to. By contrast December brings fairy lights and lots of cake – so it’s all good despite more deadlines. November this year has been hugely stressful for me in terms of graduate role applications, I’ve ended up with 3 interviews taking place in 26 hours, done countless online tests and have been permanently attached to my phone. Here’s for a quieter December, and here’s what I’ve been loving this past month…
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Bonfire Night

This just happens to be one of my favourite nights of the year – I love fires and fireworks. Me and W went over to the local display after devouring hot dogs and S’mores brownies. A perfect night!

Birthday Celebrations

I headed up to my parent’s last weekend to kick off my birthday celebrations. Whilst it wasn’t as huge a deal as last year it was just as lovely. I insisted on not going out, but having several lovely meals with close ones. W’s dad cooked one of my favourite curries on the Saturday night, and then my dad did a full-on traditional roast beef dinner for the Sunday. With plenty of wine. Yum yum!
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The World’s Best Brownie

I really need to share where this is, but I’m also so reluctant as I want to keep it all to myself! All I can say is this was so worth the calories. And feeling sick for hours afterwards. Such a chocolate overload.
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Mexican Week

I was craving Mexican food, and as it’s really difficult to buy just one meals worth of bits I ended up eating Mexican-style for a whole week. I started with chilli, and also managed to eat fajitas, quesadillas and a burrito. Far too many carbs were consumed that week!

Lovely Comments

I finally got a chance to read through recent comments, and I was so, so touched by the lovely words about my filming collab with Aldi. It genuinely made me cry – several times!

So a good month, if a little quiet. I can’t say I did too many exciting things! December is already shaping up nicely; birthday plans, Christmas, Harry Potter studio tour (again!), and a surprise romantic (at least I hope!) weekend away once term finishes. Eeek!

How was your November? Excited for what December brings?