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!
 photo 2016-04-15 08.56.49_zpsm25whaku.jpg

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!
 photo 2016-05-20 14.48.12_zpstkioaoov.jpg photo 2016-05-20 14.49.05_zpsbkgsfsqr.jpg photo 2016-05-30 17.46.07_zpslk2npnvo.jpg photo 2016-05-30 17.48.42_zpskebx4vqk.jpg

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!
 photo 2016-05-31 17.53.57_zpsvkzf8qjc.jpg photo 2016-05-31 17.54.13_zpsiojl1ctn.jpg

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…

 photo The Sky Garden 4_zpsbgaiomxw.jpg

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…
 photo April Favourites_zpsix7q9gq4.jpg photo 2016-04-13 20.24_zpsr6chbzcu.jpg

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…
 photo 2016-04-15 14.33_zpszwdprux3.jpg

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*
 photo 2016-04-26 19.43.22_zps9vssygcg.jpg photo 2016-04-26 19.28.56_zpso9t4qn1v.jpg photo 2016-04-21 09.56.34_zpsuzuscdxp.jpg

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!
 photo Bath Time 13_zpspe3cgnt4.jpg

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!
 photo 2016-04-02 17.00.31_zpsl0lqndji.jpg

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…?
 photo 2016-04-02 17.02.05_zps4zhxjijw.jpg photo 2016-04-02 17.01.50_zps8k7cnab4.jpg

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!
 photo 2016-04-02 16.40.55_zpslm7vnzvr.jpg

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.
 photo 12814048_10153599708694541_2758687324293834371_n_zpshmtfdkxn.jpg

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 [email protected]!

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!
 photo Feb 2016 Favourites_zpsq3z1udic.jpg photo Valentines Weekend in Staffordshire 4_zpsqkrxtrzs.jpg photo Valentines Weekend in Staffordshire 9_zpscjdml2yu.jpg photo Valentines Weekend in Staffordshire 13_zpsarggiwxl.jpg

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.
 photo Thai Chicken Cakes and Satay Noodle Salad 2_zpslh4xg3qv.jpg photo 2016-02-20 13.26.55_zpsc0w0acxd.jpg

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!
 photo 2016-01-23 16.29.59_zpsve8kbfpv.jpg photo 2016-02-04 13.58.50_zpsmkffdaog.jpg

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?!
 photo 2016-02-11 12.30.25_zpskqa8rqdf.jpg

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!
 photo Lovecats Inc_zpsqrnhjva8.png

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!
 photo Little Miss Katy_zpscklxgxcy.png

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…
 photo Skinned Cartee_zps75y2cbsr.png

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.
 photo Jasmine Talks Beauty_zpsqmgqzrhb.png

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…
 photo Ginevrella_zpsdmr2p6sb.png photo Miss Pond_zpsnfvfh5qs.png

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…
 photo 2015-11-07 20.09.25_zpsxzhd3vwh.jpg

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!
 photo Cocoa Amore Leicester 3_zps3ekrdxmq.jpg

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.
 photo 2015-09-17 20.27.40_zps9esnhnre.jpg photo Clean Eating Challenge6_zpswpgkj2mz.jpg

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?

Lifestyle: October Favourites

I’m finding it quite scary how quickly the last month has gone – I’m now very nearly halfway through my university term which is terrifying!

 photo Oct Favourites_zpsllflpass.jpgBeing in final year means it’s all very exhausting. Not only do I have a tonne of work, but I’m also drowning in graduate applications. I’m finding balancing applications and university work a little tough, and coupled with being really rather ill I’m struggling to fit everything in. It may be that posts become a little less regular over the next few weeks. I missed a Tuesday post yesterday and I feel absolutely gutted if I’m honest…It’s not exactly something I want to do, but it won’t be forever!

And for now, onto the bits I’ve loved this month…
 photo 2015-10-20 17.35.58_zps5u3ueof9.jpg photo 2015-10-07 21.05.30_zps3ffykbbu.jpg

Getting My Bake On

Being ill is the perfect excuse to bake. Not that I need an excuse at all. This month I’ve been working on perfectly a mug cake recipe, and I’ve also made some very addictive Malteaser Tiffin…

Maths

Geeky I know, but I’ve really loved getting back into the swing of lectures, maths and learning. I’d forgotten a lot of bits over my year out, but it’s slowly coming back to me. I’d also forgotten about the rush you get when you solve a problem – it’s the little things that make it all worthwhile.

 photo 2015-10-29 22.08.26_zpsia0oazyl.jpg photo 2015-10-21 15.40.26_zpsmmmf5qoc.jpg

Halloween

I’ve never been a huge fan of Halloween, but these year my housemates and I decided to go all out. Plans fell a little flat thanks to my illness, however I still got dressed up as much as possible. My eyes aren’t thanking me for it, my friend’s all look far more fabulous, but it was a good night anyway. We also carved pumpkins – myself bringing my love of maths and pie into it of course!

Pork

Being back in Canterbury brings one big benefit – Pork & Co. It opened towards the end of my second year and offers hug cobs filled with pulled pork, along with a sauce and topping of your choice. For £5. I’m far too used to London prices so for me this is a great bargain.
 photo 2015-10-04 18.04.46_zps2g15mqtx.jpg photo 2015-10-04 18.04.34_zps4tojrrny.jpg photo 2015-10-04 14.19.41_zpsbqwkz2tn.jpg

American Football

Way back at the beginning of the month me and W (along with our lovely friend Rob) went to Wembley to watch some of the International Series. In fact it was so early in the month I think I included it in September’s Favourites too! An utterly fabulous day out, though I do admit to being confused about what was actually going on. Turns out no one told me that tackling is allowed when players don’t have the ball, so as a rugby fan I struggled to follow!

Other than that my month has consisted of interviews, an awards dinner with W (best mark in his year at university – so proud!), and getting through what feels like a hundred boxes of tissues…

How was your October? Hope you haven’t had this horrible flu virus!

Lifestyle: September Favourites & October Goals

September saw me return to university after a year off, all ready (kinda) for my final year. It was full of ups and including a few downs. There’s a big part of me that loves the start of a new school year, getting my diary ready, buying new stationery. Then there’s the part of me that knew September would bring an end to living in London, living with W, not having to study…

 photo Sept Favourites_zpshqtylt3t.jpgBut now, let’s concentrate on the ups!

Autumn!

I do love the few weeks where summer turns into autumn (definitely the time of year I’d love a big day to be…). I’ve been loving putting together some Autumnal fashion looks, dying my hair back to ‘Cinnamon’ and of course pulling out the fall-inspired makeup. Plum lips were made for me!
 photo Homemade Bagels 7_zpszt6tzrbd.jpg photo The Breakfast Club Clapham Battersea Review 9_zpsoztln2fh.jpg

Alllll The Food

So much food was consumed in September. I decided to make bagels on a whim; they turned out surprisingly well and now I’ve made them a couple of times. Turns out they are perfect for packed lunches and pretty forgiving when I forget about the proving dough! I also made some epic roast dinners, ate a fabulous brunch, andddd…
 photo Pump Shoreditch 13_zpsomhybyno.jpg

Meeting One of my Fav Bloggers

I finally, finally met Katy. She’s as lovely in real life as she seems on her blog, her chatty positivity is infectious, she has a gorgeous camera andddd is as enthusiastic about eating all the noms as I am. More about our adventures next weekend, it’s worth the wait!
 photo 2015-09-10 12.09.51_zps5t9clqxz.jpg

Pushing Myself

At the beginning of the month I ended up to Manchester for a whirlwind 18 hours for a collaboration. Which involved filming. Well, being filmed. Let’s just say I was welllll out of my comfort zone, but I did it and am super excited to share the result with you soon. Plus the area I stayed in was super lovely, out in the countryside and really peaceful.
 photo 2015-10-04 12.54.01_zpslg1pwlfs.jpg photo 2015-10-04 14.17.13_zpsiiy6uiap.jpg

Sport

Yep, bit of an unusual one for me. Of course it is the Rugby World Cup at the moment (though trying to get around London on the opening night was not my idea of fun), and whilst England have plummeted out I’m still pretty excited by it all. And then last weekend (so technically October, but…) I went off to watch the NFL at Wembley. A great experience, just a shame it’s really relegated to an annual trip!

Back to University

Both an up and a down point for me this month, but on the whole I’m pretty excited to be back at university. I’m living with two of my best friends, we have a gorgeous little house, and final year isn’t too daunting yet. We drove over to the coast on Saturday to watch the sun go down and it was the perfect finish to my first week!
 photo 2015-10-03 18.15.49_zpsmiebei7h.jpg

Goals for October

October is looking to be a busy month for me. Tomorrow brings mine and W’s fifth anniversary, he’s coming for a visit at the weekend to celebrate and (hint hint) spoil me. I’ve got graduate applications on the go, coursework, awards evenings, a whole host of things planned. And here’s what I want to achieve;

  • Bake bread at least once a fortnight. I have all the ingredients so it will work out cheaper than buying it in.
  • Limit pasta to one night a week. So far I have only had pasta once since returning to university, a step in the right direction!
  • Keep up to date with notes. I was terrible at this in second year, resulting in me rushing it at the end and giving myself RSI for the exam period.
  • Make more time for friends. I want to go out a bit more this year, and make the most of my final year. I’m not a big drinker so this will be a challenge for me!
  • No spending! Unless I use vouchers, I want to spend as little as possible in October. That means no makeup, no clothes, no pretty stationery…

A whole host of little goals, I’m really hoping I manage all of these. My September ones didn’t quite go to plan after I ended up with suspected Lyme Disease, so I’m determined to work harder this month!

How was your September? What do you want to achieve this month?

Lifestyle: August Favourites

Geeky confession time: I LOVE September. I think it’s that Back to School feeling, which makes no sense as for years I hated school. But possibly it because it’s the starting again, the possibility of reinventing myself. And a new diary, obvs (joys of being a student = academic diaries, so much prettier than annual ones!).

 photo August Favourites 7_zpsfiynq23r.pngFinishing my placement last week, having a relaxing and slightly damp weekend in Devon, it’s all meant I’m raring to go this week in order to make this academic year, my last academic year, the best yet. I have some goals I’ll be sharing next week, but let’s just reflect on summer for a little. I’m hopeful for a little more sunshine, but it’s definitely been a good one. Here’s my standout bits and pieces from August…
 photo August Favourites 11_zpsacrcxmed.jpg photo August Favourites 12_zpspvzfxgdu.jpg photo August Favourites 14_zpsk8aw4qol.jpg photo August Favourites 15_zpshorz4rjv.jpg

Devon

A part of the UK that I adore, when my parents invited me and W to share some of their holiday with them there was only one answer. We traveled down on the train to spend a long weekend with them and it was wonderful. I turned my phone off (mainly), even left my camera at the cottage. I read five books, ate two ice creams, multiple portions of fish-and-chips and got soggy from both rain and sea. I’ll write more about my little break soon, I’m still in holiday mode currently…

Oh, and how cute is that curly-haired donkey?!

New Phone

Long-time readers and those who saw my #BigBloggerConference ‘grams will have noticed that my phone camera couldn’t really function as a camera. Casting a pink/purple tinge over all photos unless in perfect light it was pretty horrific. Not to mention the lack of vibration, the only-making-noise-when-a-text-comes-not-a-call, the lagging, the flickering screen, the dropping calls, and the crappy contract I was on… Safe to say I’m pretty glad to have a new phone. I’ve only had it since Friday, and since then it’s been mainly off than on, but so far so good. I may actually do a more dedicated post as I’ve steered away from Apple, Nokia, Sony, Samsung and HTC…

Lip-Liners

I discovered lip-liners only a few months ago, and bought a load of them from KIKO at the beginning of the month. I’ve found them perfect for keeping a wash of colour on my lips throughout the whole working day. It makes refreshing for a night-out super easy and I’ve not found them particularly drying.
 photo August Favourites 1_zps2irngthj.jpg photo August Favourites 13_zpsdoxy8dxl.jpg

The Perfect Dress

One of the most flattering, versatile and totally ‘me’ dresses I’ve found, I umm-ed and ahh-ed for days before splashing the cash in Topshop. It fits wonderfully, is the perfect transition piece and seems high-quality. Love, love LOVE.

Doggy Cuddles

No puppies this month, but lots of cuddles with my dog! A whole long weekend with him was perfect, though it’s made me a little sad to see he’s no longer up to running up and down the beach. I took a lot of photos of him during our weekend, so much so he now curls up into his blanket when I pull my camera out. Ah well. Plus dogs = the perfect accessory for outfit photos (when used responsibly…).
 photo August Favourites 2_zps3hiphrjl.jpg photo August Favourites 4_zpspsfy4tga.jpg photo August Favourites 5_zpstez3eomg.jpg photo August Favourites 3_zpsxfzpv1bq.jpg

Roasts & Leftovers

I’ve finally ticked off a New Year’s Resolution! Since moving to the flat me and W have cooked a roast every single week. Admittedly he’s done most of them, but last night I roasted a chicken completely and utterly by myself – it was resting and I was cooking gravy (from scratch!) by the time he came home from work. Almost more delicious than the roast dinner, we’ve made some fab leftovers. Think harissa chicken pasties, the most wonderful shepherd’s pie ever (four hours it took, four hours!), and today I have a chicken chowder simmering away. This Sunday brisket is on the menu…

Leaving Gifts

It’s a really difficult one without showing off, but I was over the moon and unbelievably chuffed with my leaving gifts from work. I wasn’t expecting such generosity, but equally the thoughtfulness is amazing. They know me so well – a mini satchel, a chocolate making workshop, fancy pens set and a personalized wooden spoon. Major love for my (unfortunately former) colleagues!

And yep, it takes my satchel count up to 8. #sorrynotsorry
 photo 2015-08-22 10.54.35_zpsgnnm69hd.jpg photo 2015-08-20 19.36.21_zpsiyy9njm7.jpg photo 2015-08-20 18.41.17_zpsynmuo47z.jpg

Blogging Events

Living in London has given me the chance to attend some wonderful events over the last few weeks. I’ve watched Mean Girls on a barge, learned a lot at the BigBloggerConference, and had a picnic in a fabulous setting. I’ve met some lovely ladies, though I’m still hoping to meet some of my favourite bloggers before I leave London in a few weeks.

I know I say it pretty much every month, but August flew by unbelievably quickly. We’re now here in Autumn, I’m craving fluffy socks and chunky knits and ankle boots and stew with dumplings, and it will be Christmas before we know it. Here’s to a slightly slower September!

Did August fly by for you too? What were your highlights of the past month?

Lifestyle: July Favourites

July. You’d think of July and imagine hot sunny days, lunches on a park bench, ice cream. Right? Well for most of July 2015 you’d be right. Until yours truly catches a stinking cold and retreats to bed. I even took a coat to work guys. That got me some funny looks on my commute, I can assure you.

 photo July Favourites_zpsqc62xhot.pngDespite having no voice for a good week (the week coinciding with my replacement arriving at work and the most important presentation of my placement year – because I can time illness well), despite having to take a sick day (along in my replacement’s first week), despite still coughing and spluttering over the other commuter’s on Southern trains (sorry!), July has definitely not been a bad month. Far from it!
 photo 2015-08-01 17.41.39_zpsjj83m5jl.jpg

London, Baby!

I’ve wittered on enough about it, but me and W moved into a flat in Wandsworth mid-July. We’re only here for just over two months, but it’s so nice to be living in London. Last weekend we were shopping (or attempting to – SO BUSY) around Oxford Street, popped into the relative quiet of John Lewis and had a rest in their roof garden. Overpriced, we didn’t indulge in food and drinks, but I quite liked the view!

Sisterly Bonding

After taking my sister to see McBusted (and catching the all-important doughnut) we spent the next night having a girls-night-in. We stuck on the latest Hunger Games, make pizzas, popped our own popcorn and slathered it in toffee sauce. Bliss.
 photo misssaigon2_zpscnn7bnqz.jpg

Post-Work Theatre Trips

I love the theatre, I always have. From annual pantomime trips with the brownies, to musicals with the family, I jump at the chance of going. I’ve not been that much, but when I do go I make sure I’ll enjoy the production. I went to see Miss Saigon with TodayTix last week and boy, oh boy – I was NOT disappointed. Tissues recommended!

Overnight Oats

I’ve been a fan of porridge for breakfast for many years, but with my newly-commenced commute beginning at 7:30am (I know, hardly early, but I was used to leaving at 8:40!) making porridge just isn’t happening. Overnight Oats are absolutely the perfect solution. By the time I get to my desk they have warmed up to the right eating temperature, and I’ve just fallen in love with them. Peanut butter and banana is my fav. Nutella and raspberry might also have happened…
 photo 2015-07-18 11.33.16_zps69ynjqvh.jpg photo 2015-07-18 11.33.08_zps6rmbfbv4.jpg photo 2015-07-18 11.32.46_zpszz0n8ru7.jpg

THE Prettiest Field

Driving over to the stables we passed by a field just lightly covered in poppies. The site was stunning, so I instructed the car to be pulled over and sat snapping away out of the window.

Work Presentation

So yep, I woke up with no voice on the morning of the most important presentation of my placement year. Somehow I managed to bring it back and keep it until lunchtime, got the meeting out the way before going completely mute for the next few days. Even more surprisingly was that the presentation went super well. I rarely present soley on my own, but this was entirely my meeting and the feedback received made me feel like I was walking on cloud nine for days. Eeek!
 photo 2015-08-01 16.21.05_zps9czunoyd.jpg photo 2015-08-01 16.20.56_zpszpviaexj.jpg photo 2015-08-01 16.20.49_zpsrmkzgdd4.jpg

Doughnuts

Ever the foodies, Crosstown Doughnuts has been on mine and W’s list for a while. We visited last weekend and ticked it off – yum! I went for a Creme Brulee, him a Summer Crunch. Neither of us liked the other’s choice, but both we’re pretty satisfied. I’m amazed at how well the creme brulee flavour came across in a doughnut.

 photo St Moritz Restaurant Review Soho 12_zpsf9bambgx.jpgI’m so looking forward to August. I’ve got a few days off, which I’m spending with my mum and sis as they are visiting London – we’re off to the Science Museum and to watch The Railway Children. Then I want to head to the Decision exhibition, we’ve already spent Swiss National Day (the 1st) at one of our favourite restaurants, and we’re heading to Devon for a few days at the end of the month. The only thing I’m dreading? My placement finally ends this month *sob*

How was your July? Am I the only one who gets colds during the hottest months of the year?!