University: When Gaming Can Be A Good Thing

I’m sure every girl has evenings where their boyfriend is distracted by his playstation/Xbox/computer…though having said that I quite like joining in! Gaming has built up a bad reputation over the years, what with the “detrimental impact” it has on younger children and any resulting lack in physical activity.

I do recognise the importance of exercise but active gaming is an area which is growing rapidly. I was sent over this infographic by HomeLeisureDirect who are passionate about health and gaming. They also run school campaigns, which I think is a fab idea!
The Health Benefits of Gaming
Infographic created by Home Leisure Direct

Sponsored post, though all opinions are my own as always.

What do you think about gaming and active gaming?

University: Making Bill Sharing Easier with Payfriendz

Settling up bills payments, even if just a meal out, can be painful. I’ve been there before, a friend forgetting to pay me back and me feeling awkward and more than a little mean chasing it up.

 photo fee35fc4-5e96-4a30-965a-ad928785e071_zpsgrazna2c.jpgPayfriendz is a new app that (slightly annoying name aside) takes out some of the pain of sharing bills. It allows you to both send and request transfers as long as you have your ‘friendz’ mobile number, and they need to be registered on the app too.

The transferring is more social than a standard bank app, and slightly easier to use (my own bank limits saved people on the app to five, which makes it remarkably difficult with rent, housemates, boyfriends etc). You use it a little like Whatsapp, asking for specific money and specifying why you’re sending money. It even lets you use smilies if that’s your thing.

 photo 588add16-3769-4ae7-b77b-2c2ea8f208d6_zps1dxqbfsm.jpgI’ve always been slightly wary of paying using phone numbers, but this is more secure – you load up your account with ‘credit’ and then pay using that. There’s limitation to the damage should it go wrong!

I’ve been trialing it out whilst sorting out holiday bits and pieces with W (just over a month to go!) and we’ve found it really useful. What’s even more ‘exciting’ is that it can also deal with cross-currency transfers, a feature that attracts a small fee (using the app is free in just one currency). You can tell I work in a remotely ‘financial’ job, yes?

I think this is a fab app, and a great idea. I admit the idea of paying via mobile number doesn’t sit fully right with me, though I like that it’s not just opening up your entire bank account. And being password protected makes me feel a whole lot better about this version.
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*Sponsored post with Payfriendz

What do you think about mobile payment apps? Do you think this would make your life easier?

Careers: The Job Hunt

Having secured myself a year-long placement in my chosen field I was pretty damn chugged with myself, so I thought I’d so a little career series. I talked about how the write the best CV a few weeks back, but now it’s the turn of hunting down those opportunities.
Job Hunt Tips photo WRITE THE PERFECT CV 1_zpshdwisqsy.png

Make a List

More specific for graduates hunting down post-university roles I guess, but having a list of potential companies makes hunting down jobs a lot easier. Despite not even heading back to university I’ve already start a spreadsheet of companies, whether they offer specific graduate schemes and, if so, requirements and anticipated opening dates. Better overprepared that under!

Utilise LinkedIn

I cannot recommend this enough. I’ve recently been headhunted to apply for a graduate scheme ahead of the competition through LinkedIn, so whilst it might not directly get you a job it will get your noticed. Keep it up to date with your skills and experience, and share interesting industry news. Treat it as your professional facebook!

Search Often

Obviously it depends on how desperate your are, but I would suggest searching a couple of times a week. I know a lot of jobs that are filled on a rolling basis rather than having a specific closing date, so keeping a close eye is the best plan.
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Think Outside of the Box

I would never have gotten my placement had I not researched lesser known insurance companies. I had never heard of my company and know a lot of people have no idea who I’m talking about – it really does pay to search around.

Take Risks

With my placement I also tried an area out I hadn’t previously been too interested in – turns out I love it and it would be great to come back to it after graduation. Try something new out, you might end up loving it!

And above all – Don’t Lose Heart

I think the key to job searching is don’t give up. It can be sole-destroying when nothing comes up (believe me, I’ve been there) but if you keep at it the right opportunity is out there.

What are your top job-hunting tips?

Fashion: A Satchel for Autumn

I’ve finally got round to showing you this satchel. Despite having had it since last Christmas (technically. A mix up with delivery meant it sat unloved in an empty student house for four weeks) I’ve only just managed to get some photos of it.

 photo 499b903a-2267-4e16-a528-b172e40b3cf7_zpsaf4a792b.jpgAn unexpected Christmas present, I actually won a facebook competition ran by Groupon to get this beauty. My favourite competition win of the lot! It’s from The Leather Satchel Co, who regular readers will know is my favourite satchel company. Extremely friendly staff, amazing customising options, free leather swatches, fast delivery – everything you want in a company. Pretty much customer heaven, and the bags are pretty gorgeous too.

 photo 4bb842e4-6d6d-4a83-96f7-5f147125e09b_zps700bea5b.jpgThe quality of their bags is second-to-none. Just look at that attention to detail! This has survived dropping to the floor on several occasions (including the middle of two roads) as the strap hooks are a little flimsy. That’s my one real complaint with this bag, my giant Oxblood has a completely difficult strap system which is far more robust – but I just switch the strap if I know my bag will get heavy. I wouldn’t take this climbing mountains, but I wouldn’t be so petty as for it to never leave it’s dust bag either.

 photo 01505198-e0e0-42cd-b812-63bd79cfe086_zps34ed7f50.jpgColour is gorgeous. Completely season appropriate, it looks like a bar of dairy milk with stripes of bournville. I’m on a diet, so chocolate is on the brain! If my foggy memory serves me right, the lighter colour is Chestnut Brown, the darker being Chocolate brown. I’m hoping Keith will correct me if I’m wrong! This is my go-to bag at the weekends – its big enough for all of my junk (phone, camera, keys, purse, kindle, and about five lipsticks…), without being too heavy on the shoulder. I love my Oxblood, but I can’t deny it’s heavy. At least twice the weight of this one when it’s empty.

 photo fa74284c-96a8-4be4-9cb2-bf0b88699644_zps137f182a.jpgNow, customisations. As with the Oxblood I’ve had the gusset extended on this guy, by about 1/3. I’d recommend this to everyone as it makes the bag so much more useable. I’ve had poppers put on instead of buckles fasteners too, but I’ve got to admit it can take me just as long to do them up. Obviously it’s a two-tone design, I’ve added a briefcase handle, and I also have a shoulder pad. Not sure I would ever order one without, my Yoshi and Cut Make Trim satchels feel uncomfortable as they are a plain strap. No embossing on this. Sizewise, this is a 14″. I can fit a pad of paper in there, but not an A4 folder.

Ah, a satchel for all seasons. I’m currently wanting a mini cream (Naked Taupe if at all possible!) one, possibly with black detailing. It would be the perfect accessory to my 21st outfit. You wouldn’t believe the difficulties I’m having ordering a dress, but thats another post. If my fifth one fits.

 photo 499b903a-2267-4e16-a528-b172e40b3cf7_zpsaf4a792b.jpg Disclaimer: my Oxblood satchel was a PR gift, all opinions are my own, and this gorgeous satchel was a competition prize. 

Do you like the classic brown satchel look? What would your dream satchel be?

Student Summer: A Shy Girl’s Guide to Freshers

I was too shy for Freshers. For one I rarely drink more than a couple of drinks (I was ill when I was 13, and it felt like I was constantly drunk. I genuinely don’t understand why I’d want to make myself feel like that!), and on top of the fact that I didn’t really know anyone, was missing my boyfriend like crazy and already starting to dislike my housemates I really wasn’t off to a great start. But I discovered you can have a good Fresher’s without drinking, without going out, without the ‘typical’ Fresher’s experience.

2014-01-20 16.15.29My absolute number one tip is to try and find people to meet before you go. Be they on your course or living near you, everything will seem so much better if you have someone to go over and say hi to. Facebook is the number one place to do this (your university halls and schools will often have fresher pages), as is The Student Room. I actually met one of my closest friends on Facebook before moving to university; we spent the first evening of Freshers together, and she introduced me to another of my best friends. Not sure how I would have survived starting university without the people I met beforehand!

 photo 2014-07-08105917_zps2bada689.jpgI’d also go with reading about the official events planned for Freshers – there just might be something that interests you. Apart from going for a couple of casual drinks in the quieter bar, I didn’t actually go out on Freshers at all. Which brings me to my next point – I wouldn’t buy the wristbands you will no doubt be offered. Yes they might save you money, but more often than not you’ll have to commit to events when buying. New friends might end up going to different things, so it’s best just to wait and decide on the night.

And if you don’t drink, don’t. If you have the confidence, just say that you’re not drinking. No one will think bad of you, and I know a lot of people that will respect you more for saying so than playing along. If you’re too shy to admit to not drinking, take part in Sober October (note: this is not why I took part last year), or just be the first to get drinks. No one will know that the vodka-and-coke in your hand is actually sans vodka.

Now that (kind of) brings me onto Fresher’s Flu. This is a real thing, and you will probably get it. My friend Caroline had it really rather badly, and the episodes in both my years so far (it’s not just limited to first year!) have been made worse by health issues. Freshers Flu less than three months after a nose operation is not fun, though actually far more pleasant that have a dodgy nose. I digress, you didn’t come here to read about my nose problems. I recommend buying and taking vitamins, having orange juice on standby, and ingredients in the cupboard for nourishing noodle soup. And register at the local doctors as soon as possible after you move in. If When you come down with FF, take it easy, dose up on paracetamol, and get plenty of sleep.

Not sure how useful my ramblings will be, but that’s my guide to Freshers. Just be yourself, don’t get pressured into anything, and you’ll be fine. I was terrified during Freshers week, but when I spoke about how I was feeling most people felt similarly. Most importantly, know that there is an opportunity to have a great Freshers if you’re not into going out or drinking.

Disclaimer: I was asked to write this post for #StressFreeFreshers organised by StressFreePrint, and was sent a goody bag in return. Any opinions are entirely my own.

What are your tips for starting university?

Student Summer: Logitech Speaker Adapter* (Sneaky Money Saving Tip!)

Now, speakers aren’t an essential bit of kit to take to university, but when you come to second year and living off campus it’s a good idea if you have a set in your house. They are great for parties, but also improving the sound quality during a film night, or even (in my case a few years ago) when the speakers on your laptop break. Now, wireless ones are best, purely because it doesn’t matter if you need to use the device, and its easy to pair up other people’s devices too. But wireless ones are often more expensive, and cheap ones aren’t too reliable. Here’s where Logitech come in.

 photo 2014-09-10175827_zps9e95ae3c.jpgThey’ve created a wonderful little device that converts your wired speakers into wireless. I won’t pretend to understand how it works (though in reality it’s probably quite simple) but it works well.

 photo 2014-09-10175524_zps89d9f317.jpgI was lucky enough to be spent some gorgeous (is that a legitimate way to describe speakers?!) speakers* as I didn’t have any, just so I could test the adapter* out! The speakers work really well, I’ve always loved Logitech’s pieces anyway, and the build and sound quality of these is second to none. From what I’ve tried at least!

 photo 2014-09-10175510_zpsc050e64e.jpgWhen using the adapter the sound quality does drop slightly, but it’s only noticeable if you go from one to the other virtually immediately. It definitely doesn’t detract from whatever you’re playing. My only niggle with the adapter is that I’d love it to match my speakers – the white and black look is a little strange in my opinion! But I keep the speakers out on show, and only use the adapter when needed so it’s not a huge deal. Something to consider if you’re buying both at the same time though.

 photo 2014-09-10175806_zpsf591d325.jpgIn terms of whether to pick up an adapter for your existing speakers or buy a whole new set, I would wholeheartedly recommend the adapter. Probably cheaper in the long-run, as I find cheaper wireless speakers just aren’t great. Definitely something worth picking up!

 photo 2014-09-10175854_zps77f2e7c7.jpgDisclaimer: I was sent the speakers and adapter for the purpose of this review, but I genuinely enjoy using them and do think the adapter is a great bit of kit for students! I also love how the speakers don’t out of place in my new shabby-chic room! And now I shall stop writing…and dance around the room to what is probably excessively-loud Bon Jovi. Yep, weird music taste alert!

What music do you listen to?