Blogger Link Up: Introduction

A few weeks ago I decided to run a little link-up – a series of guest posts on this blog by other bloggers, with some relation to university. I asked on Twitter and The Student Room for contributors and got a really good response, so thank you! I’m also still looking for a couple more contributors so please let me know if you fancy writing a post!

Over the next few weeks I already have scheduled:

  • Rachel from Inelegant Wench writing about her alternative university experience. This post really hit home for me as I know through personal experience university definitely isn’t for everyone, so if you’re unsure about the route you want to take I’d definitely keep your eye on this blog.
  • Olivia from Land of Soap writing about Snacking at University – as a total foodie myself this is something I’m really looking forward to reading!

I’m also keenly waiting on a post by Taylah from Birmingham Student Foodie (who is one of my new favourite bloggers!) and Emily Louise from her style blog (I’ve only recently found this blog – still scrolling through past posts but its becoming a favourite!).

If you are interested in taking part in this link-up (all posts will include links to your own blog and social media pages, and if wanted I can write a guest post in return) then please email me at [email protected] with your ideas and I’d be happy to get back to you – I’d love some more beauty/fashion based posts, but anything goes really!

What kind of posts would you like to see on The Life & Loves of Ninegrandstudent?

Lifestyle: Day Trip to Cambridge

 photo 2014-04-26162705_zps2b58c16b.jpgSometimes me and my boyfriend want to get away from our local town. Setting an hour’s drive limit means that he doesn’t have to drive too far, and we’ve managed to explore lots of lovely semi-local places. A few Saturdays ago we decided to visit Cambridge. I have family over there, but haven’t actually been into the city since 2001, and my boyfriend’s most recent visits (still over two years ago…time flies!) were overshadowed by the fact that he was attending a university interview.  photo 2014-04-26162642_zpsd2ec05b5.jpgWe ended up having a really lovely day, and it wasn’t as expensive as we were expecting – £3 each park-and-ride ticket, and our lunch (which I didn’t photograph) was a relative bargain at £9-£10 for huge portions. We took advantage of knowing a current university student so had a lovely wander round his college gardens – such a different university life from ours! I’m just going to post all of the pictures taken on our day, with a few captions – so yes it’s a little more picture-heavy than normal, but they do say a picture speaks a thousand words…  photo 2014-04-26162535_zps980492e7.jpg  photo 2014-04-26162303_zpsbe6d747c.jpg  photo 2014-04-26162708_zps9dea639f.jpgWaiting to catch up!  photo 2014-04-26123410_zps3e17fa22.jpgCheeky selfie – we were interrupted/surprised by our friend Matt turning up, and I managed to catch Will’s reaction here! If you’re interested, the makeup I’m wearing is – Bodyshop’s Mineral Powder (lightest shade), Naked 3 eye shadows, Natural Collection mascara (the best, and cheapest, I’ve tried!) and MUA Power Pout in the brown shade – sorry I’m not being too descriptive! photo 2014-04-26164022_zps7d1fb6bb.jpgWe didn’t go punting, but will definitely give it a go next time – we’re planning to go back after my exams.  photo 2014-04-26162219_zps940d6a61.jpg  photo 2014-04-26162159_zpse77a9b69.jpg  photo 2014-04-26142259_zps6504b095.jpg I managed to drag both of the boys into the Inglot shop, and spent a while in there dreaming up my perfect palette. I’m not too sure how I felt about the eyeshadows to be honest – maybe my Naked palette has spoilt me?! I found that the shimmery colours were mainly lovely, but all of the mattes were horribly chalky with awful colour payoff. I have a lovely matte eyeshadow from Sainsbury’s (own makeup brand) which is far better, and my Sleek palettes have matte shades which are also far better! I calculated that it would cost £18.50 for my ‘dream’ palette (3 colours), and I’m undecided as to whether I’ll shell out or continue saving for Naked 2. Any thoughts?  photo 2014-04-26192904_zps4835fd4f.jpgWe finished the day off with a takeaway pizza – I found one without tomatoes! Its the first takeaway pizza I have had for a long, long time, and it was perfect. A garlicky, herby pesto sauce, with lots of stringy cheese – yum! Best of all was the price, it was a ‘large’ and at only £5.50 it made both a filling dinner and tasty lunch the next day. All in all we had a lovely day, it was nice to wander aimlessly without having to ‘do’ anything! Nice to spend some time not worrying about exams too…

Have you been to Cambridge? Do you have any recommendations of things to do on our return visit?

 

Love Your Leftovers: Easter Egg Sundae

Now, I’m not too sure you can really classed any not-eaten chocolate as leftovers, but what I am sure of is that at some point you might want a different way to enjoy it. I know I do! Its been just over a week since Easter and my progress through my Eggs is remarkably slow (put it this way, I still have chocolate from Christmas waiting to eaten…) so I decided to make up a dessert as a treat for my and my boyfriend…enter the Easter Egg Sundae!

 photo 2014-04-24202547_zpsacd779aa.jpgJust use half an Easter egg as your ‘bowl’, add two/three/however many you can manage scoops of ice cream, and top with whatever other chocolate you have lying about. I’ve seen it done with a creme egg, but I’m on my last one so wasn’t about to share!

We used a Cadbury’s egg as our bowl, topped with a flake, and our ice-cream? It has to be Ben & Jerry’s! This was a new flavour, “All or Nut-ting” which I have to say I’m not a huge fan of as it tastes a little cheap. And now I’m on the subject of ice-cream, I might as well tell you that my favourite flavour has to be Peanut Butter Cup – perfection in a bowl!

 photo 2014-04-24202542_zpse344c3d1.jpgLet me know if you give this Easter Egg sundae a go, I’d love to hear your variations!

Review: Initial Impressions of Cut Make Trim*

CutMakeTrim photo 2014-04-08084902_zps246e48c9.jpgI was recently contacted by the lovely Alice on behalf of British company Cut Make Trim, and was delighted to be offered the opportunity to review a product of my choice. As you all know I am a huge satchel fan (I own my custom sized massive one, which I’ve blogger about a few times, as well as another from the Leather Satchel Co which I actually won in a competition and really should post about) so I immediately accepted the review opportunity, and not-so immediately placed an order.

Having some experience of satchels I know what size I wanted to go for (15″ to fit A4 – the company also offer 13″ and 11″ as well as an interesting barrel-style satchel. Choosing a colour was far more difficult, in the end I went for ‘ranger‘ which I expected to be either dark brown or black. I was secretly rooting for it to be black, so was very excited when it was. Delivery was quick, and the ordering process was very simple (expected, given there are no customisation options). I must admit though that I was a little put off by the fact that the company themselves never answered a query I sent before placing my order.

My impressions with the satchel so far? I am very impressed with the buckle straps, as they are a lot thicker than my other satchels and do feel a bit more substantial. The rest of the satchel is made up of a thinner leather, and it is a lot more flexible than my Leather Satchel Co offerings. I’ve found I can much more easily squeeze a coat inside this satchel. One thing I will say is that if you are a little shorter than average be prepared to go and get extra holes added in the strap – it reached below my knees! The quality is definitely good, though I found that the edges are a little sharp and a lot more pointy than anything I am used to – they’ve laddered a few pairs of tights and added a few bruises (though having said that, my oversized satchel causes huge bruises for the first few weeks).

The finish is definitely the biggest selling point of this bag. I can’t comment on their more ‘regular’ leathers as this is completely different – it’s matte and almost pre-scuffed. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, and it looks unusual. I have a feeling this will last well too, as any additional scuffs and marks will just blend in nicely. If you want a satchel that looks preloved and almost vintage, I’d definitely recommend this style.

CutMakeTrim photo 2014-04-08084914_zps771f171b.jpgYou can order online here, and they’re also sold in Covent Garden Market on certain days. I’m hugely thankful for the opportunity to review this satchel, and I think I’ll be doing a few more posts comparing my bags – I also have a post planned on showing you the (small amount of) wear and tear two terms has caused my oversized original satchel.

What do you think of satchels?

Review: Lymehouse Jewellery Button Earrings*

LymehouseButtonEarrings3 photo 2014-03-30164741_zps644ac150.jpgA few weeks ago I came into contact with the lovely Jo from Lymehouse Jewellery over Twitter, then last week a lovely parcel dropped through my letterbox.

LymehouseButtonEarrings5 photo 2014-03-30164643_zpsec44443e.jpgI’d fallen in love with the style of the jewellery, despite it not being my usual thing (I’m not a jewellery person – I have some sentimental pieces that I wear often, and I rarely wear earrings at all!), so I jumped at the chance to review a few little pieces. I was especially glad because of the low price point – they are all around the £4 mark, so perfect for a little thank-you gift, stocking filler, or just because. I was however a little worried that the button earrings would be big, chunky, and not very feminine…

LymehouseButtonEarrings1 photo 2014-03-30164804_zpsc5daf75f.jpgWell I am pleased to say I was wrong! Whilst the smaller, plainer pain aren’t really my style at all, I really do love the floral pattern. They are also surprisingly comfortable to wear once I got over the shock of having to re-pierce my ears!

LymehouseButtonEarrings2 photo 2014-03-30164746_zpsaef41ff5.jpg I think these look really feminine, and surprisingly delicate – they are great for summer, and are perfect for going on holiday when you don’t want to risk losing a more expensive pair!

LymehouseButtonEarrings4 photo 2014-03-30164655_zps416bef83.jpgI would highly recommend Lymehouse Jewellery too – they arrived quickly and beautifully packaged. I’d definitely be happy to receive these as a gift…in fact I’m highly tempted by the Sleek Gold versions available at the minute! It made a lovely and refreshing change to switch up my tastes in jewellery, and I definitely will be getting lots of wear out of these earrings, so thank-you Jo!

What type of jewellery do you like to wear? What do you think of button earrings?

Weekend Antics #1

 photo 2014-03-16150744_zpsd3115368.jpgI feel so bad about posting this weekend – it became clear on Friday that I wouldn’t have time to blog (I like to keep weekend’s schedule-post free – I like a bit of spontaneity in my life!) and I don’t really like to send out a quick post just for the sake of it. Instead today I will make my excuses, and show you why I didn’t get chance to post.

Luckily my busy-ness wasn’t just down to the mountain of work I have at the moment (currently have three assignments on the go, and a three-hour ‘class test’ to revise for, and I’m expecting more coursework to be added on any day now), but because I decided to treat myself to a relatively relaxing weekend.

It was a ‘boyfriend’ weekend – as one half of a long-distance couples I see my boyfriend once a fortnight – and instead of trying to do work and getting annoyed/snappy when I couldn’t concentrate, I instead gave myself pretty much the whole weekend off. It was lovely to relax and not think about my ever growing to-do list!

 photo 2014-03-15103235_zpsad5d5805.jpgI took advantage of our lovely local butchers and bought some black pudding, which we used to make a lovely try up. I have a little leftover which I’m trying to decide what to do with – I’m torn between fritters, or adding to a carbonara!

 photo 2014-03-15105150_zps900146c8.jpgWe also took advantage of the lovely weather – I cooked some part-baked rolls and grabbed a pack of salami, and we headed out for a picnic.

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 photo 2014-03-16140944_zps3656ae74.jpgDespite being at my house, my boyfriend treated me to a lovely home-cooked meal (he did most of it whilst I was showering – I was impressed!). He made Swedish meatballs, and they were amazing. I’m going to adapt the recipe for my usual lower budget and post up soon!

 photo 2014-03-15183941_zpsfdce6b56.jpgI made the mistake of planning to cook stew (yep, on the hottest weekend of the year…), but despite it being far too warm for it, it was a damn good stew!

 photo 2014-03-13194754_zps7cca1226.jpgI also made one of my favourite cakes – caramel, chocolate and peanut butter sponge. I’ll definitely post about this soon!

 photo 2014-03-16162552_zps90534215.jpgI even got ‘proposed to’ with a hula hoop…who said students aren’t romantic?!

Sorry again for the lack of posts! What did you get up to this weekend?

Budget Beauty: Spring Nails

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In the past week the weather has been beautiful, all I have wanted to do is go on walks in fields or by the sea (Whitstable is calling my name right now!). But unfortunately for this student I’ve hit my busy period and it feels like I won’t see the light of day until the end of May at the very least…

To make up for the fact I can’t go and wallow in the sun I’ve been splitting my time between staring out of the window, working out premiums using empirical bayesian credibility theory models (don’t ask!) and trying to get as much spring-like things into my life in possible. This includes switching my dark nail colours for lighter, prettier colours. Here are some of my favourites! (no idea why this photo is appearing darker than the others – they all look pretty similar until I transport to WordPress!)

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All of these products are pretty cheap (I picked up the Revlon one on a market stall last summer!), with the pink MUA (Ameretto Crush) being my favourite. This surprised me actually as I’m usually a fan of muted colours and this is very vivid! Topped with Barry M’s clear coat this stayed chip-free for 5 days (a record for me!) and had a very high-shine finish -impressed with this budget offering!

The Revlon (Sheer Peach) is my current favourite, and is my go-to colour for interviews and assessment centres – its so sophisticated, looks so more ‘done’ that a clear coat yet still doesn’t really show chips (and it lasts ages too!).

I bought the other MUA shade (Mud Pie) over the Christmas holidays and I’m undecided whether I like it – it is a very brown shade. I purchased Collection’s Milkshake over the weekend in the hope that it’s a pinkier-toned nude colour! If you have any other nude shade suggestions I’d be happy to hear them – everything seems too cream/brown/grey for my skin tone!

Another purchase over the weekend was Rimmel’s Nail White Pencil, and I have to say I am in love. My nails are in quite good condition and I have to confess 50% of the time I can’t be bothered to paint them. However I hate how the tips can occasionally look a little yellow (I’ve been experimenting with a lot of curry recipes recently!) and this rectifies it immediately. Obviously not as great as a proper French manicure, but they help my nails look lovely, healthy and well-groomed when in reality it takes about a minute to do. Coupled with the Revlon polish I can have a pretty well done ‘manicure’ in about five minutes, and this is fast becoming my favourite look.

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What’s your favourite spring manicure?

Blogging: Liebster Award Nomination

I was nominated for this award by Katie Ann ages ago, way before I moved my hosting. Then my drafts got lost in transit, and due to a silly error I started scheduling posts for 2015 so my apologies to Katie Ann for it only going live now!

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This award is designed for newer bloggers (ideally those with less than 200 followers), you have to nominate others when you are awarded, and give them questions to answer or facts to write.

She’s given me 11 questions to answer, so I will do those now. Then I’m going to nominate a couple of blogs I think are deserving of this award. It turns out I follow over 800 blogs on Bloglovin’, so sorry if I nominate ones with ‘too many’ followers, and I would also like you to take part and answer my ‘question’ if you want – just tag me in it in the comments, as I’d love to read it!

1)    How many languages do you speak?

Quite embarrassingly I only speak English. I did French GCSE (and am very proud of the B I got – I really struggled!) but really can’t remember much at all, definitely not enough for a conversation. I would love to learn German though.

2)    What’s your Holy Grail product?

I’m not sure I really have one! I’d probably go for coconut oil – its natural, a great hair treatment and body moisturiser, and I always like to use it. Other than that I’d say Umberto Giannini’s Curl Jelly, which I’ve used for about three years.

3)    Can you play any instruments?

Again I’m embarrassed to say no! I did used to play Clarinet and loved it, but had to give up due to medical reasons. I’m definitely not a musical type though – I’m always asked to stop singing as I’m never in tune!

4)    What’s your favourite destination?

A few years ago I’d have said Turkey – I loved nothing more than heading to Side with my family and lazing about the pool/beach for a fortnight. Lately though I’ve been keen on short European and British breaks – my must-do list at the moment includes York, Bruges, Paris and Rome. I desperately want to go back to Edinburgh/North Berwick too!

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5)    How long have you been blogging?

I actually started blogging about two years ago, but only really ‘properly’ with regular posts, promoting myself and thinking a bit more last May/June time.

6)    And how and why did you get started?

I wanted an online diary to come back to in a few years, but most importantly I wanted any readers I had to learn from my experiences – be it not to make my budgeting mistakes, or how to make a good Toad in the Hole!

7)    How old are you?

I’m 20 – that feels old, and every time I answer that question I feel a little sad that I’m not a teenager any more!

8)    Who’s your favourite blogger?

Oh, I don’t know! Can I choose two? I love Thoroughly English by Bess- it’s the kind of blog I feel like reading on a miserable day, and it feeling like chatting to a close friend. I also love the Inelegant Wench, partly because of the fab name, and again I love the chatty style. And another one! A more student-y one is Handbags and Cupcakes. I’ve loved reading about Rachel’s year abroad, and I also love her handbags! She’s made up a pretty good brownie recipe too!

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9)    And what about YouTuber?

I’ll confess – I don’t watch any YouTubers at all! However Lottie’s Little Kitchen has just started vlogging, so I might need to have a watch sometime!

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10)    Do you see yourself blogging for the long term?

I hope I will stay blogging, however I don’t know if I’ll keep my current name – I hope to be a ‘ninegrandgraduate’ by the summer of 2016, so I’m not sure what I’ll do then!

11)    What’s your favourite colour?

I love a deep red/pink berry colour – a nice raspberry tone!

 

Now for my questions – I can’t think of anything specific, so I’d love my nominees to write down 15 random facts about themselves. These can be anything and everything, I’d just love to read them!

My nominees are:

Looking forward to reading your random facts! I would love it if you could add the link to your post in the comments below, so I know I definitely won’t miss it!

What’s your favourite blog? I love finding new ones to read, so would greatly appreciate any recommendations!

Giveaway: 150 Followers

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A few days ago I got a rather welcome email – I’d finally hit 150 followers on Bloglovin’. This was shortly followed by hitting a rather larger milestone in terms on email subscribers (which then disappeared when I moved my hosting, though I am assured WordPress are in the process of moving this over!), so I thought I’d treat my readers to a little giveaway.

Its not a huge giveaway unfortunately, as I am restricted on budget, but it does contain some products that I absolutely love, and things that I would genuinely want for myself. The ‘prizes’ are:

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This includes some majorly cute ‘list books’ which I think would be perfect for shopping lists, jotting down blog ideas, or to-do lists for all those important student deadlines. There’s some matching giant paperclips (I just liked them, and they would be great for organisation!), then continuing the shopping theme a shopper key-ring with a coin for the trolley. I always find these useful as then it means I can store my pounds securely in a piggy bank rather than risk spending them! On the beauty side there’s a thin nail file, which I find great for slipping into plastic wallets for work/uni in case of breakages.

Finally there’s some great bits from my favourite budget brand MUA – a power pout in a gorgeous nude shade, that has a hint of coral about it. I love these lip products, and this colour is definitely my favourite! Finally there’s two eyeshadows. I find these pans aren’t too chalky (there’s only a bit of glitter fallout) and stay on surprisingly well.

Oh, and there’s also a lip-balm from the Bodyshop (I completely forgot to photograph it with the rest of the stuff!) and a few other little bits and pieces if I can get hold of them!

I’m sorry this probably isn’t as great as some giveaways (trust me, I’d like to be able to afford high-end products for me, let alone to giveaway!) but I really wanted to thank my readers. All you need to do to enter is use the Rafflecopter widget:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Looking forward to reading the comment everyone – and thank-you for letting me reach all of these milestones. I never dreamt when I started blogging that anyone would read my posts, and now being included in round-ups and even nominated for awards is just so amazing – I’m totally grateful to you all!

Welcome To The New Site!

Hello everyone – I’ve finally taken the plunge and bought my own domain. In addition I have moved to a self-hosted WordPress blog which is giving me a lot more freedom. Currently having mild technical difficulties, so bear with me if anything isn’t quite right (though if you notice something out of place, please let me know!).

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Anyway, I’m still over at Bloglovin’ for an easy way to follow, and you can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram!