Wedding “Planning”: Planning the Planning

Or, how many times can we repeat a single word in a blog post title…

 photo Planning the Planning 1_zpsjplm0eat.jpgWhilst I really want to talk and chat about all things wedding on here, I’m a little reluctant for one or two reasons. Firstly, it’s our special day, and do I really want all the details splashed over the internet? Probably not! Secondly, we’re planning an Autumnal wedding in 2018. I’m not sure even I could stretch out wedding content to cover 2.5 years of blog posts!

What I have decided to do, however, is blog occasionally about weddings. I’ve got a few ideas for some rather more ‘tongue-in-cheek’ posts – things like “what they don’t tell you about getting engaged” and even some guest posts from my other half! The first is a brief chat on what we’ve made a start on whilst ‘planning our wedding planning.’

The Cake

Both of us being keen bakers, this was obviously the first thing we thought about. In an ideal world we really want to bake our own wedding cake. In reality we’re not too sure if we fancy the stress of doing that! We’re definitely thinking of staying traditional with the look (no cupcakes for us, thank you very much!), but steering away from traditional with the flavours. Does anyone actually enjoy the usual fruit wedding cake?!

(EDIT: Will objected most strongly here – saying he actually does like fruit cake…)
 photo Planning the Planning 2_zpsumlvssmy.jpg

The Filofax

Of course planning such a big thing requires it’s very own organiser, and what better to choose than a nude Filofax?! I’ve been after this one for a good while now (I even have the matching satchel – priorities right?!) so getting engaged gave me the perfect excuse. It’s now getting full of magazine rip-outs, but I plan to give it a good proper sort-out soon. I’m planning on filling my wedding planner with receipts, budgets, inspiration – anything and everything!

The ‘Maybe’ Guest List

In all seriousness, one of the first things we were advised to do was write a rough guest list. This meant we were able to quickly rule out venues that were too small or (more often for us) too big. We now know roughly how many people we are likely to be inviting so, as long as neither of us suddenly gets popular, we can go ahead and start visiting some shortlisted venues once university is done and dusted!
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The Dress

Ah, the most important outfit of my life. I’ll be writing more about trying on dresses in a few weeks, so I won’t say too much here…but… I was torn between wanting to try alllll the dresses after getting engaged, and waiting a bit longer. I did go and try on some (5 or 6 I believe, one drizzly January afternoon) and in reality I’m still on the fence about it. I’m glad I got to experience it, it actually really improved my body confidence (I actually looked damn good in some of them), I know what I’m looking for now. But equally I’m worried I did it too soon, especially as I’m really quite taken with a dress that’s likely to be discontinued this year…

The Wedding Fairs

So, apparently these are a thing?! I obviously knew about more local ones, where venues get in a ton of ‘preferred suppliers’ but a national wedding show was something I did now know about, and in all honesty the thought terrifies me. Even so this weekend that’s exactly where me and W will be – wandering around the NEC courtesy of Debenhams to discover all things wedding. Here’s where we come back with everything booked and ready to go…

 photo Planning the Planning 7_zps4ejkjnej.jpgSo, that’s how our planning is going. We’ve got bookmarks of places we want to visit, we’ve got a rough guest list, I have a Pinterest board of approximately 2000 dresses. And we’re off to experience the slightly scary-sounding world of wedding fairs. Wish us luck!

Do you have any advice for planning a wedding? What should we be doing?! 

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

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

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

So, what’s inside?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you always carry around in your handbag?

 

Lifestyle: What’s on my Desk (Office Edition)

I love reading other student blogs about how they study, what stationery they use (I’m a stationery addict!) and I’ve been itching to update you all on my own. Thing is, I’m technically a student this year, but not really – out on my placement year I’m working in a fancy office, with massive desk and two (sometimes three) computer screens. Pretty sure what’s on my desk isn’t as exciting as most students, though I’ve tried to make it as ‘me’ as possible.

 photo f50ac2a4-1d99-42ab-954e-7b04ce7634e6_zpsb0gkadx4.jpg photo 2846c901-b355-49f1-8973-5798b328c73f_zps9rnmwass.jpgI’ve found a good stapler and hole punch an absolute must in the office. Anything printed has to be filed away immediately, and definitely not left unattended on your desk (confidentiality and all that)…and whilst the printer generally at least handles the stapling side (but not for my fancy Adobe software that took four months for IT to give me permission to have) hole-punching is definitely beyond its capabilities. I prefer to keep these items as small as possible, and I’ve found Leitz to offer some great ones. The hole-punch* might be small, but it can still go through at least 25 sheets. The stapler* is pretty damn strong, and it also comes with a 5-year guarantee…though I’m finding it pretty difficult to find Leitz branded staples!

As I’m on placement, I have a mountain of paperwork I need to keep up to date with from university. Monthly blogs, quarterly reviews, a report, plus gradings from my supervisor and the standard H&S rubbish. This all gets thrown into the Leitz magazine rack* – not only functional and sturdy, the lovely pink colour really brightens up my desk!

 photo 2014-09-24175026_zps64eef189.jpg photo 13bb4b5a-0572-4b23-93d0-fc022f362a89_zpsdefa7e5f.jpgRegular readers will know I can’t live without my Filofax, and this has become even more true for this year. Keeping track of meetings when I’m not in the office would be impossible without it, as I don’t have a laptop (reason: I requested not to have one as I’d never switch off). I also use it to keep note of what I’ve been doing, meal planning, calorie counting, and blog organisation. You could say my entire life is in there!

 photo 2de67eb9-89f8-4edb-a0ad-a4fd471cacff_zpsxuimufpd.jpgSome beauty treats also feature in my desk – my top drawer is actually dedicated to them! I couldn’t live without a decent handcream or lipbalm – air conditioning is a killer! My current handcream is from Yes Nurse*, and is one of the better ones I’ve used. Lightly and subtly fragranced (I loved one from Orla Kiely, but the smell made it impossible to take to work), quick to absorb and it comes with an adorable cover. It also raises funds for Breast Cancer Care, to which I donated on receiving this to review. I’m unfussy about lipbalms, and tend to switch between Bodyshop offerings, or Burts Bees. I’ll always have the lipstick I started the day wearing in my handbag too!

 photo 74f2d434-3c32-4551-90e0-047e3dec8a76_zpspedgkr5j.jpgPens are one of the banes of my life (along with my hair). Being left-handed everything seems to smudge. I get covered in ink and my work is illegible. For rough notes I’ve taken to using BIC biros*, as they are cheap, cheerful and come in pretty colours. I can’t use these for proper notes though, as they do smudge if I write properly. So I’m still resorting to my Pental Frixon erasable ones – and yep, they still cost a small fortune.

 photo 04f3618d-67f6-4753-aa1f-f9f6161a75d4_zpsmdmboahr.jpg photo 04765d23-91d3-402e-b297-a1bd49b12ede_zpsy26jda6s.jpgOther less exciting things – a stock of fruit (apples and oranges seem to last best at work), and some emergency biscuits and chocolates. The lovely mug W got me for Christmas. My Logitech mouse, it’s so much easier on my RSI strained hand. A stash of Yorkshire teabags (the company provide PG Tips…), and a pair of black ballet flats (so if it rains I can walk to work in wellies and change).

It’s a wonder there’s any space left on my desk to work! What are your desktop essentials? 

Student Summer: A Filofax for University

My first Filofax is one of my most treasured possessions, and I’m rarely without it. It was a gift from my parents for my A-level results, and I was so, so, so sure it was the one I wanted. Sure it was expensive at the time (around £50) but it’s definitely been worth it. Its not fallen apart like past diaries, and I actually want to use it. Plus I’ve had offers/emails to buy at at ridiculously high prices (I’m not selling) as it turns out it’s actually quite a rare organiser. Anyway, I thought I’d do an update on the system I’ve got set up for now – it’s working really well for keeping me organised whilst on my placement, and also worked well during my second year. Here we go…

 photo 2014-09-24175026_zps64eef189.jpgI’ve finally found a pen that fits in the pen loop of my Malden! I was sent this Pink Gold Parker pen a few months ago from Pen Heaven (see here) and I keep it in my filofax all of the time. Means I will always have a pen with me, though I do wish it was black ink.

 photo 4bce8a46-d4a7-4f15-91af-c4b1efccba35_zpsefa76f54.jpgOnto the inserts, and I’ve finally found my perfect combination for keeping myself organised. I was going to take photos of the system in action, but I’ve gotten rid of last year’s inserts, and my placement involves some confidential details. So blank pages it is! I use the standard mid-year diary from Filofax – a week to view. Sandwiched between this is an undated ‘day’ planner for each week. This gives me enough space to add daily appointments/meetings/lectures, important things, deadlines, to-do’s and notes. For university, I’d generally put my lectures into the standard diary, and all other important things into the planner.

 photo 13bb4b5a-0572-4b23-93d0-fc022f362a89_zpsdefa7e5f.jpgTo keep track of deadlines, payment dates and boyfriend visits I like using a fold out year planner, though monthly planners are also useful. My pretty dividers are from an Ebay seller – I can’t remember the name off the top of my head, but I do have her business card at home so will add it in soon. I also have inserts tracking finances and address of networking contacts, but obviously it’s not appropriate to post pictures of those on my blog!

I’ve found going simple with my Filofax is the key – I was using an undated planner for each day, but found that required a lot of work keeping it completely up to date. This way is much simpler, and it’s easier to keep track of the whole week too. I may get mocked by my friends for having a Filofax, my bag may be slightly heavier, but I find a paper diary so much easier to handle than typing into my phone. Plus technology always breaks on me – hence why my blog has been offline with a down server for the last few days (sorry guys!). Paper is the way I’m going from now on!

 photo 2014-09-24175015_zps1b3bd22c.jpgOh, a little note about Student Summer…with the sad end of summer, and the great reaction to the series, I’ll be continuing with University themed posts every weekend. Unsure yet whether it will be Student Saturdays or just University, but either way they will be sticking with the blog past summer now! So…

How do you stay organiser?

Student Summer: What to Take to University #4

I really hope these posts have been useful to you! I know I’d have loved blog posts like this when I started university, but for some reason I only really started reading blogs well after starting this one. Strange I know! Today I’m going to witter on about stationery to take to university. So grab a pen and paper (aha!) and we’ll begin…

 photo 2014-09-11174233_zpse91a20d3.jpgPaper and pens. I have to say this is quite important to me. I’m a leftie so a decent pen is a must or I will smudge everything to an illegible smear. It’s happened before, even with biro. Pilot Frixion erasable pens are my weapons of choice, being able to rub out makes my lecture notes so much neater too. I’m also not a huge fan of colour until I revise, so I stick to black. But it’s up to you. I also like doing rough work in pencil, so I always have a handful of those on the go. As for paper I go for Ryman’s giant refill pads, bought on 3 for 2 with student discount they are the best value I’ve found, and the quality is high enough so you don’t get that dreadful scratchy sound when you writ.

Now, I’d just go with the organisational basics until you get started and learn what the module layout etc is going to be like. Pick up a single folder and some plastic wallets; buy more as you go. I have a system now (as an actuarial student) of one folder per module, with that upgraded to a lever-arch it the module is a thirty-credit one. My original plan of one lever arch per year is far from achievable; sometimes I fill a lever arch with a module!

 photo 2014-09-11174312_zpsbf6cbb15.jpgNext up is a diary. This is so, so, so important – you will absolutely have deadlines to write down. By all means use your phone if it works for you, but most people I know have to write it down physically. Me? I couldn’t live without my Filofax. I was bought a Pink Personal Malden for my A-Level results (over two years ago!) and I’m virtually never without it. Not only does it look pretty (and matches my satchel) it’s also so, so functional. I’ll be doing a post specifically on how I use it for university soon, if you like, but I do highly recommend a Filofax if you’re a stationery geek like me. With only the inserts to buy (or make) after the initial purchase you have a full customisable diary for a relatively decent price. Mine is always by my side or in my bag, it genuinely keeps my life on track!

Stapler, hole punch, ruler, rubber, pencil sharpener, scissors. Basics that are just handy to have around – you’ll probably need to secure coursework together at some point so a stapler is a must.

Now, a printer is something I’m unsure about. I had one in my first year, then sold it in the carpark whilst packing up as it was that one thing that didn’t quite fit. In my second year we shared one. I *think* I’ll pick up a cheap one for my final year as it’s just so much easier to have one. Printing on campus is extortionate in my opinion, and I can rarely bring myself to do it. I’ll admit though, most of my printing is saved up til I’m at home and then someone else foots the ink bill!

 photo 2014-05-09174211_zpsc2453d48.jpgBooks. No doubt you’ll have a long list of ‘recommended’ books that you ‘have’ to purchase at the ‘reasonable’ price of 10 billion pounds…sarcasm is a strong point here. I’d leave off ordering any until you get there and work out what’s in the library, and whether you actually need them. In terms of recommended books, I’ve only bought one in two years (and it was worth it), and borrowed one from the library. My tip is to google your module name and find other books on Amazon (quite often just older editions of what you need) – you’ll find similar books, and quite often you’ll get used copies for a fraction of the price. I bought loads and loads of books for second year this way, I paid around £40 for 10 books including delivery. Great for when I was recovering from my operation that summer as it gave me something to do! Even though the books can be quite old, they are normally fine though I’d avoid if you’re doing a degree with changing information..I was quite amused when one book came not with a CD, but a floppy disk…

 photo 2014-09-11174422_zps284c6e51.jpgIn terms of revision gear, I’d recommend buying it when you need it. But I use erasable highlighters, erasable colour pens (sensing a theme here?), post-it notes, record cards and lots and lots of paper.

What stationery do you use at university/college/school/work?

University: Revision Tips

 photo 2014-05-09174242_zps78c4f233.jpgProbably 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!

 photo 2014-05-09174306_zpsdfc56335.jpgI 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…

 photo 2014-05-09174211_zpsc2453d48.jpgA 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!).

Revision photo 2014-05-09174200_zpse9b3f7a5.jpgI 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…

 photo 2014-05-09174218_zpsa5e264ed.jpgOne 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…?

 photo 2014-05-14162350_zps075d47b7.jpgDon’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?

Weekend Wishlist (#1)

This isn’t going to be a regular series (you all know from my Fortnightly Finds that I can’t keep that up!) but I thought it would be nice to do. I like to map how my tastes change over time, but I also like to keep a note of things I really like just in case I win the lottery. So here goes with my first wishlist!

PicMonkey Collage

I’ve become a massive fan of Revlon’s lip products by reading various blogs, and I want their new stains/balms in pretty much all colours. I’m trying to resist the temptation but one has already accidentally made its way home with me! I’m going to have to resist though as I had some large and unexpected expenditure to deal with this week – so no pennies left for treats!

As you know from this post a few weeks ago, I love Massaman curry. I’m craving it again, but I can’t afford the paste, fish sauce and tamarind that I know it needs…I’m going to start picking up ingredients gradually over the next few weeks to spread out the cost!

It’s getting very cold at night, and rather than turn the heating up (and raise the bills!) I’ve been relying on blankets to keep cosy. I love this one from Muji (which happens to be one of my favourite shops at the moment!).

Valentine’s is coming up, and everything seems to be turning red/pink and heart-covered. I’m normally not a fan of this, but I’ve taken a shine to this notebook from Paperchase. I really am a stationary lover, though already have far too many notebooks!

Since receiving Naked 3 for Christmas I’ve been on the lookout for a good eye-primer to really enhance the shadows. The Artdeco one is something I really want to try at some point.

You probably all know that I’m a fan of Filofaxes – whilst I love mine I think this Osterley would be the perfect compliment to it. Having said that, the new release Filofaxes should be published around now, so I’m looking forward to seeing what will be available to buy this year.

Finally, I really fell in love with this shirt dress in Dorothy Perkins today. I love shirt dresses as they tend to fit me perfectly, and I love the pattern and colours of this. So pretty!

Have you fallen in love with anything recently?

Fun (Fortnightly) Finds #3

Maybe this shouldn’t be called ‘fortnightly’ because I clearly haven’t managed to keep that up! However now I’m back in a new university term I should have more structure, and so should be able to do this a little more regularly. Here goes! 

Introduction to a New Term & Finishing Coursework

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I love the start of term – new modules to get your teeth stuck into! I’ve started some (so far) really interesting modules, and virtually everything I do within university is showing my degree was right for me. Having said that, I know very well that university isn’t for everyone, and deciding to go is a big thing, so make doubly sure it’s what you want before you go!

On a related note, today was the deadline for possibly one of the hardest bits of work I’ve ever had to do. It’s so nice to be able to sit down and relax without that hanging over me!

Spicy Vegetarian Food

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I’ve really enjoyed cooking spicy food lately, and introducing a lot more vegetables into my meals. My spicy pea fried sandwich (a recipe scheduled to come live in the next few days) has become a lunchtime favourite, and I made a Thai Green curry the other night with added mushrooms, carrots and spinach in addition to the usual pepper and onion – it was so good it definitely didn’t need the half chicken breast I threw in there!

Baking

No picture of this (the cakes are still cooling as we type) but me and Libby decided to make cake pops today. We kinda forget it would be a long process, so instead just made the cakes tonight. We’re going for a chocolate and orange type, and they smell amazing!

And now to the blogs! 

I’ve really struggled recently in cutting down to posts that I REALLY like to post on here – I don’t want to be giving you a hugely long list! After much deliberation, these are what I’ve come up with!

Miss Budget Beauty wrote a great post on the Return of the Filofax. This was something I could really identify with me, as I know mine is a huge part of my life and I would be lost without mine. If you find yourself struggling with anything, be it studying, work schedules, or even blog schedules, I highly recommend trying a Filofax as they are just so customisable. I’ll be sharing my set-up soon!

I’ve fallen in love with Revlon’s Colourburst Matte Balms – I’ve already bought one shade, and I’m trying desperately not to be tempted by another. Let me know if you want a review by the way! I think the best post to show off their true colours is on Katie’s Beauty Blog.

This White Pizza with Spinach and Bacon had me drooling at the thought of it. As someone with a bad allergy to tomatoes, I’m really loving the craze for white pizzas which seems to be taking the blogging world by storm lately! Thank you How Sweet It Is for this post!

How was your week? 

New Year’s Resolutions 2014

Happy New Year everyone, I hope your celebrations seeing in 2014 were lovely! Mine were spent doing some of the catering for a dinner party which has inspired a post or two, but for now I’m going to share with you all my New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve split these into a few categories, and I hope to keep you updated throughout the year, in a bid to keep me on track!

Academic

Weirdly, I’ll only be studying for around 5 months of 2014 as I’ll be on a placement from July, so I’m kinda struggling to this of academic based resolutions. However I have a few broad things I want to work on:

  • Take better notes for all subjects. I’m not a bad notetaker, I’m just inconsistent. And guilty of spending boring lectures on Bloglovin’. My main aim is to work on my notetaking for my more written modules – numerically I’m fine, but I find keeping up with theoretical financial lectures more difficult.
  • Come up with a better revision plan. Basically, I want to make sure I’m not learning content when I should be revising! I guess my main aim is to do more past questions.
  • Make full use of my Filofax. It was a little neglected last term, and my organisation suffered, so I definitely want to improve this.
  • Self-teach Excel. A little add-on which I think best fits in this category. I use Excel for budgeting, but I’d really like to be able to do more of it before I’m required to use it in a professional setting. I just don’t want to look like an idiot for not understanding it!

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Blogging

The important one! 2013 was the year I really started to blog properly and this year I want to go on developing and improving this site.

  • Comment on a blog a day. I’m a massive blog reader, but I always seem to just read rather than participate. I definitely want to start showing other bloggers that I appreciate their work!
  • Keep to a blog schedule. I ideally want to post around three times a week, plus the regular weekly posts such as the What’s Cooking Wednesday series.
  • Improve my photography. I was debating whether to invest in a Nikon bridge camera over the past few weeks, but have ultimately decided against it, instead focussing on my own technique before upgrading my equipment.
  • Continue developing the blog. This is a broad one! I’m considering going self-hosted, I want to alter the design I currently have, and I also want to branch out into other areas – for instance I have a lot of beauty related reviews coming soon.

Cooking/Baking

My main aim is to really tighten up my budget (I’ll need to find the money for a deposit on a new rented property around May time, so money is going to be tight!) and expand my repertoire.

  • Save money. Ideally I want to spend around £10 a week over the next term, with a big shop at the start bringing it up to an average of £15 weekly. I’m also aiming to post a few money-saving tips in the future, including one that saved me a whopping £50 last term!
  • Continue experimenting with tomato-free recipes. I think I’ve cracked the Tomato Free Slow-Cooker Bolognese, but I want to work on a faster version, and also play about with curries.
  • Buy joints of meat. I received Save with Jamie for Christmas, and have been inspired by the leftover recipes. I’m definitely going to be trying a few! Linked with this, I also want to learn how to joint a chicken, as I think this will be a lot cheaper than buying the parts separately.
  • Expand my baking knowledge. Yes, I can cook muffins, but I want to expand into traybakes, and maybe even more impressive cakes. My main aim? To bake my own bread. Hopefully as good as this loaf my boyfriend made a few weeks back.

Bread

Beauty

My blog is going to become a littleee more beauty orientated as I’ve become a lot more interested in it. My aims are;

  • To find the perfect foundation for me. I thought I had found this recently, but its not quite blendable enough for me.
  • Clean and maintain my make-up brushes. I recently invested in a whole new set, and am determined to keep them in the best possible condition.
  • Try Pixi Glow Tonic. I just think that, from what I’ve read, this would be perfect for my skin.
  • Take my make-up off every night. Without fail. I’ve gotten my skin to what is pretty much the best it’s been since pre-teenage years, and now I want to maintain it. Unfortunately I’m kinda lazy, but I’m determined to combat that this year.

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Personal

And finally a mish-mash of things that don’t really come under any category;

  • Exercise more. The standard resolution. For many years my aim has been to begin running, but its slowly beginning to dawn that my ankles are too weak to run without proper supporting trainers, the cost of which I can’t justify right now. So I plan to walk more, be more active, and use online exercise classes to improve my fitness.
  • Learn to knit. Properly. I’ve been trying for over a year, and its probably one of the most difficult and frustrating things I’ve ever tried to do. But I’m determined that by next winter I’ll have knitted myself a scarf.

But really, all of my goals amount to one thing – be a better person in everything I do. A lot of self-improvement is on the cards for me this year!

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? 

12 Days of Christmas (#2) – Dear Santa

Today I’m going to show you what’s on my Christmas list. I’m lying a tad, in that I didn’t ask for a few things because I knew they were over budget, or they’re things I’m planning to treat myself to. And of course, if anyone wants to buy me Naked 3, you can email me to get my address…

CollageFrom left to right, top to bottom we have…

A cute raspberry/plum toned nail polish. I’m desperate for one of these colours, not too fussy about brand (as long as it doesn’t take five billion coats to be a smooth finish)- I just think it’s the perfect winter shade!

Bodyshop’s Ultimate Brush Collection. I know this will be in my stocking this year, because I ordered it myself (thank you Love Your Body discount!). I’m very excited to get these brushes. Photograph from Essie Button.

A lovely jumper. I’m not really one for Christmassy jumpers on me (they just don’t sit right on my body shape), so I’d far sooner have a pretty classic to wear instead. This one is sparkly but still sophisticated, and I’m in love!

I said I’m not one for Christmassy jumpers, but I love this one as it’s not too cheesy.

I’m in the mood for a new perfume, and at the moment I’m quite taken by my namesake – Chloe. I’ll have to try this on my skin before committing it to Santa’s sack though!

This curler has been well talked about on the internet lately, and I’m so intrigued. I don’t particularly like to heat style my hair, but it would be nice to have a safer option than going natural when it comes to placement interviews!

I know, I know, I don’t NEED another Filofax, I have two (see here and here). But Plum Osterley’s are just so pretty, and I want one so much…

I think it is pretty obvious on this blog that my camera specs aren’t great – I love the ease of wireless uploading, so I’m loathe to part with money for a camera when I know I’ll revert to not using it. This bit of gear would solve that, but its just so, so, so expensive. Well, well out of my student budget anyway! If anyone knows of a cheaper option, please let me know!

Quite a few cookery books made it onto my list this year. Bread by James Morton (because I loved him on Bake Off, I want to bake more bread, and he is the spitting image of my boyfriend), The Leftovers Handbook (it just looks so useful!), James Martin’s Fast Cooking (I just love his recipes), and Save with Jamie.

 

There we are, that’s what I’m secretly hoping Santa will bring me. Of course, I’m not expecting a lot as I’d sooner my parents spend money on a food shop for me next term! The thing I’m looking forward to most of all on Christmas morning – watching everyone else unwrap the presents I’ve carefully chosen them – I hope they like them!

What’s on your Christmas list?