What’s Occurring: 2015 Resolutions

I really enjoyed having a long list of resolution to work towards last year, I actually remember most of them throughout the year and felt I progressed better than just having a couple of aims. So I’ve done the same this year, and here they are.

Image: The Sassy Writer

Blogging

Try and keep up my blogging schedule. I’ve really enjoyed posting 4 or 5 times a week, and I feel that the writing really fits in with my day-to-day life. My promise is that I’ll try to never get stressed about getting a post up, and nothing will ever be rushed or forced.

 photo aca5ae4f-d8de-471f-9de4-2fa9558aa2f1_zpsff82f1ad.jpgI definitely want to work more on photography, as that’s something I really enjoy doing. I received a 50mm lens from my Grandparents for Christmas, and whilst it’s really difficult to use, I’m really enjoying some of the results I’m getting.

 photo 15c16f2b-b748-45f9-bc38-f7a96dde8243_zps62fd85a6.jpgCooking

Continue to expand my repertoire – joints of meat is something I’m determined to master. I’m also looking forward to cooking more curries from scratch, and baking more bread.

I’m also trying to move away from lunchtime sandwiches. Whilst working I have the luxury of a fridge and a microwave. So far I’ve stuck to homemade soups and stews, but once things warm up I have some exciting salads I want to try. Any suggestions for interesting soups are also welcome – I’d love to master a freezable chowder.

I try not to mention on here, but I have some pretty nasty tummy issues. They’ve been there on and off since I was 1, but have been horrific for the last 2 years. After 7 months of waiting lists, I finally saw a consultant just before Christmas. I’ve completely overhauled my approach, changed medication, and have been given some serious dietary advice. In all honesty, he thought my diet was damn good. But the changes include less tea, and more protein. The biggest change is to make sure I drink enough, and mainly water. I’m sitting here with lemon infused water and shaking from tea withdrawal. So dealing with this is definitely a resolution I have to work on!

Work/University

As I’m on placement until July this is a bit of a tricky one! I want to gain more experience over the summer, this time in life insurance, so fingers crossed I get an internship. Once I’m back at university I really want to put my head down and power through final year – 9-5 working will hopefully stay normal for me so I can have a strong line between study and rest.

 photo ae571a53-6b34-4cd9-aace-19866e9f8181_zps5c35369d.jpgPersonal

Start running. Its been a resolution for years, but having bought the gear in November (prior to dropping cupboard door on foot) I really have no excuse. Plus I’ll be wasting money if I don’t go, which is something I hate. My consultant has also told me I need to exercise more as it will really help; due to my condition I don’t often have the energy, but it’s a push I’m really going to have to make. I’m thinking yoga and gentle weights for now, building stamina up gradually.

I also want to keep a diary. I’ve ordered a five year one, so I’m really hoping I will keep it up. I had a lovely idea of keeping strips of paper with memories on in a jar, but realistically I doubt that would work when I move up and down the country to/from university and placements a couple of times a year.

 photo 8f014542-fcfa-400d-af95-7d93c757b85e_zps6deb665b.jpgBeauty

Work towards as-perfect-as-I-can-get skin. Keep taking makeup off every night, moisturize regularly, and possibly find a serum that works for me. The big one though? Disgusting I know, but I really should stop picking spots!

I also want to clean powder brushes more regularly. I was really good last year at keeping my foundation brush clean (read: not using it) and washing eye-shadow brushes. Powder brushes I was awful at, and it was only when I borrowed my mum’s of the same brand and type over Christmas that I realized how disgusting mine was. Its not been washed and feels so much better!

Fingers crossed I manage to achieve at least some of these. The main ones are diet/exercise improvements as I know deep down the health benefits I will get will be worth it. But keeping a diary is something I’m really keen to do, maintain memories is so important to me for so many reasons.

As I was writing the post anyway, I thought I’d enter it into the Silentnight New Year’s Sleep Resolutions competition

What are your New Year’s Resolutions? Do you normally achieve them?

What’s Occurring: 2014 Resolutions Review

Ignore the spelling mistakes and long ramble here. I wrote this post a week or so back, late, after my work’s Christmas do. A lack of food (going out for lunch then not being served our started til 16:45?!) and wine makes typing a littleeee tricky. And a note: normal posts will resume next week. This weekend is my boyfriend’s 21st, and I’m the only one in the office this week. Being crazy busy isn’t helpful to getting back into blogging after a break!

 photo 2014Review_zps0fa2cb5c.jpgAlmost a year ago I wrote this post with a rather long list of “to-do’s” for this year, and I reviewed them halfway through here. Today’s my chance to review them after virtually a full year. How have I got on? Have I achieved what I wanted to achieve? Is there anything I want to work on next year? etc, etc, etc…

Academic

I haven’t actually been at university since I wrote my update post, due to being on my placement year. I’ve really used my Filofax since starting work, not sure I could actually live without it! I reckon my note taking has improved dramatically for work-based topics though – I’m hoping that will translate to study when I go back to university in September!

Blogging

A lot of progress I reckon has been made here. In January I moved to self-hosted, and I’m currently working alongside my boyfriend on a custom design (see here). Commenting on blogs is something I’ve loved doing, though it has dropped from once a day in recent months. I do comment in bulk when I get chance every couple of days though! Photography is gradually improving, especially with the addition of my new camera. I’m especially proud of these photos.

 photo 1caec8db-29b0-4680-88ee-d0cb5e2d2ee5_zps73842900.jpgCooking/Baking

I’ve definitely made a lot of progress here, particularly since starting my placement. Whilst I still don’t spend much on food, I’ve been able to afford expanding my ingredients cupboard. I now have a lot more spices. I’ve managed to bake my own bread a few times; it’s so much tastier than shop bought, and I’m finding it kinder on my tummy too! The only thing I haven’t really started doing is cooking with joints of meat. My live-in landlady is a vegetarian, and I’d sooner keep my home for the year! I have branched out a bit with meat recipes though, I’ve got a super-yummy one scheduled for January!

 photo 9d054e3d-8d86-4faa-93d8-43f061d69799_zps4c001192.jpgBeauty

I completely forgot I even set myself goals in this section, oops! I’ve generally been really good about taking makeup off, at least doing a quick cleanse if not a proper wash. Pixi Glow tonic has been bought and repurchased, turns out I love the stuff. The hunt for foundation is still ongoing, but I’ve picked up some Rimmel ones which are at least the right shade. And I have a rather pretty Hourglass palette which can make pretty much any base look perfect…The only thing I have completely failed on is keeping my makeup brushes clean. I thought I had done well, until I came home this weekend and swiped my mum’s kabuki as I left mine – turns out mine must be seriously clogged up! That will be sorted as soon as I get hold of it next weekend!

Andddd Personal

Exercise is something which has eluded me slightly. I upped the walking, but other than that it’s been a fail. I actually managed to buy running trainers and clothes a few months ago, got ridiculously excited, then dropped a cupboard door on my foot. Those trainers still don’t fit over the swelling, but I am hoping to sort it out asap. And knitting. An utter fail. I have tried, and tried again. I can get two rows and a tangle, so give up in a strop. Any tips are appreciated because I really want to do this!

That’s my 2014 goals, now I just need to set myself some for 2015! How did you do last year, and what are you planning on working towards next year?

Lifestyle: Shutting Down for Christmas

Today I finally, finally, travel home for Christmas. I’d like to say it will be a relaxing week but that would be hugely optimistic. I’m meeting friends in London for lunch and Winter Wonderland on my way, then going straight out for my sister’s fifteenth when I get back. Tomorrow I’m lunching at W’s and dinnering with my parents. Monday brings hospital appointments and ice-skating. Oh, and presents need to be bought and wrapped, and cards need to be delivered. I’m exhausted even thinking about it! But I am so looking forward to being back with my favourite people for just over a week. I’ll be back for a four day weekend over New Year’s too, which might be a little more chilled – though it still involves W’s 21st!

 photo 47dcd0b2-46b7-44f0-9ffb-92a6d27df6fb_zps32de00eb.jpgAll this rushing around, combined with last week being horrendously busy at work, means that I’ve been feeling under pressure to get blog posts written. I’ve always sworn to myself that the moment I feel pressure is the moment to step back, so that’s exactly what I am doing. I don’t want to force out a substandard post and icky photos. I’d sooner put whatever time I do find spare into improvements for next year.

 photo fc07e33d-ca1a-4f8d-877b-03d85a014cfd_zps6431b94f.jpgThat said, there’s a few Christmassy tags I feel quite tempted to do, so if I do pop up it will be unscheduled, and rather festive. We shall see! But for now, I hope you all have a lovely Christmas, and no-one has been naughty enough to get a lump of coal in your stocking!

Student Summer: Best Student Blogs

I couldn’t write this series and not link to some of my favourite student bloggers – here’s the ones where I read every post, bookmark (and even try!) their recipes, and generally just love. Apologies for the lack of photos, for some reason Photobucket is playing up and I couldn’t access them last night…so have a picture of where I’ve found some of these blogs instead (PS – I was featured too, in the Guardian!)

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Lottie’s Little Kitchen – this is a lovely little blog with some great recipes. It’s more slowly updated nowadays *sob* but her chicken is one of my favourite meals (my version is here). She does some lovely little lifestyle pieces too, utterly jealous of some of the fabulous things she gets up to!

The Scrimpy Student – even the name of this blog makes me smile! A great lifestyle blog, full of money-saving tips. She has a love of the yellow ‘oops’ reduced stickers too!

Handbags & Cupcakes – if you are planning a Year Abroad, this is a must-read for you! Rachel has been on her abroad year over the last 12 months and has kept the blog updated regularly, there’s some fab guidance posts, and again the most lovely recipes. Any girl who seems to feature peanut butter and chocolate so often is definitely on my reading list!

Birmingham Student Foodie – probably for when you’re feeling a little more flush (most of the recipes seems to be out of my budget) but there’s some really lovely dishes here. They would be great for when you are trying to impress.

Writing Essays with Wine – a new find for me, and also a new favourite. This blog is a great mix of all studenty-lifestyle posts, and she’s also writing a great “Guide to Starting University” at the moment!

Life and Times of a Student – another new find, but one that I’m really loving. This blog provides an excellent insight to student life through the interview style posts, it’s a must if you are feeling a little bit nervous!

Nouvella Daily – not specifically a student blog, but there’s some great posts here and here. There’s also some lovely and budget-y recipes on this site, so its definitely worth taking a look.

Diary of a Maths Student – go mathletes! Other than (I assume) a shared love of maths, this blogger and me feel so alike. I love the mix of posts, the gentle guidances through university. This post made me feel a whole lot better during my exam period!

 So there you go – some of my favourite student blogs. I’d love to know if you have any must-reads for me – so what are your favourite student blogs?

 

Lifestyle: 2014 Resolutions Update

In one of my university interviews I was asked to give an immediate answer as to what the exact mid-point of the year is, and explain it. Not as easy as it sounds (and made harder by suffering from the flu at the time), but it means that, if I remember correctly, today is the right day to be posting this! Way back in January I wrote a post about my New Year’s Resolutions, and now here I am updating you all on my progress. Here goes…

Academic
 photo 2014-05-09174242_zps78c4f233.jpgRevision photo 2014-05-09174200_zpse9b3f7a5.jpg photo 2014-05-09174218_zpsa5e264ed.jpg

Take better notes.
Come up with a better revision plan.
Use my Filofax.
Self-teach Excel.

My notes definitely improved after setting myself the goal – especially ones in the subjects I was less enamoured with! In fact I was really proud of some of my notes, and I definitely found myself remembering more in my exams…maybe I am more of a visual learner than I thought.

I can’t say I came up with a brilliant revision plan, but I did find a few ways of revising that really worked for me. The first was keeping better notes throughout the year, so I just needed to read what was there instead of rewrite. Quite glad of this as even with reduced writing I somehow ended up with quite severe repetitive strain injury which I’m worried affect my exams (I actually find out my results today, so fingers crossed!). At home during my Easter break, I used to go to the local library for 9am. I’d have roughly an hour’s break for lunch at a nearby park, then I’d work until closing time (6pm) before doing another hour in Costa going over what I’d learnt. I stuck to a module a day rather than having to carry a ridiculous amount around, and found this really productive. On a general day I’d go through two or three more difficult topics, and do at least one exam paper, marking and making model solutions. As I say, soon we’ll be able to see whether it worked!

Using my Filofax more is a resolution that so far I have failed miserably at! Neither of my Filofaxes have received much use at all this year, but I’m determined that’s going to change. I’m currently sorting out the best combination of inserts etc for my Industrial Placement, so I shall be using it more in a few weeks.

Finally my last academic resolution was to self-teach Excel. I can’t say I feel I have done this as I’m not at all confident on it, but I have got better and did actually achieve 88% on the piece of coursework using it – so clearly I can do it! I’d like to polish up my skills a little more before starting work though…

Blogging
 photo Then_zps8414f068.png photo Now_zpse5596cb1.png

Commenting daily.
Keeping to a schedule.
Improve photography.
Developing the blog.

I’m proud to say that commenting on other blogs daily is something I’ve managed to achieve and keep up! Apart from when I was on holiday or stuck revising for exams I know I’ve definitely left a couple of comments each day. As well as it benefitting my own page views, I’d discovered some amazing blogs through reading other’s comments, and also enjoyed getting to know more bloggers!

I’ve also definitely kept to more of a schedule. My What’s Cooking Wednesday post carried on for a while, it did disappear during revision time though – I’ll definitely look to revive it when I’m out on placement but it may be in a slightly different form. In case you haven’t noticed, I try to blog on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays, and my posts are almost always scheduled to go live first thing in the morning.

Photography is something of an ongoing improvement – though I can definitely see that my photos are getting better. I’m also really proud of a couple (yet to be published) so its getting there! I’m asking for a decent (possibly SLR) camera for my twenty-first, so I’d love any recommendations you have!

Developing the blog is something I can say I’ve done – I’m now the owner of ninegrandstudent.co.uk, and between me and my boyfriend we’re working on a custom design. No idea when that will be live, but I’m pleased with the tweaks I’ve made to this new theme at the moment – my blog definitely looks better than it did at the start of the year!

Cooking/Baking
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Save money.
Experiment with tomato-free recipes.
Buy joints of meat.
Expand baking knowledge.

I definitely saved a bit of money in my later weeks at university. I didn’t quite get my weekly budget down to what I wanted (including my start-of-term shops it averaged at £12.72, which was slightly above my £10 target!) but it definitely started going down significantly so I plan to continue this next year even though I’ll be earning. I’m hoping to save a significant amount over my Year in Industry – my rent/bills/travel is so far only working out at £25 a month more, I’ll be earning a monthly salary, have a small amount of student loan coming in and I’ll still be receiving my academic scholarship so fingers crossed!

My experimentation of tomato-free recipes has really kicked off this year, though admittedly only a few have made it to the blog. My Vegetarian Chilli went down very well, as did my Chicken Khari Curry. I want to experiment with a few more curry recipes, and also work on a meaty chilli. By biggest aim – a tomato free BBQ sauce!

The next two resolutions haven’t gone so well. I confess I haven’t bought any joints of meat – although I have been working with cheaper chicken thighs lately and have a fabulous recipe scheduled! I’ve also not done that much baking, certainly no bread making (check out my always crispy Pizza Dough though!). I’m freeing up a little money over my Industrial Placement to do more baking so fingers crossed this will be achieved by the end of the year!

Beauty
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Find the perfect foundation.
Clean makeup brushes.
Try Pixi Glow Tonic
Remove makeup every night.

I’m keeping silent on the foundation front – I’ve recently been trialling a couple of new foundations and there will be a post soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that. Makeup brushes are getting cleaned slightly more often, although not as often as they should. My main aim for the next few months is to clean my foundation brush every week – although I do wipe it with micellar water after ever use!

You may have noticed from my recent Holiday Makeup post that there is a (half empty) bottle of Pixi Glow Tonic in my possession. I’ve been using this since Valentine’s Day, so it seriously lasts for ages, and I’ve noticed a huge improvement in my skin. Blemishes heal quicker and don’t scar, my skin is brighter, and my moisturisers seem to work an awful lot better. Plus the smell is so relaxing at night!

As for removing makeup, generally this is done every night. Apart from the odd night where I was absolutely exhausted or ill (and then I’d hardly be wearing makeup anyway!) my face has been washed with these products. I’ve recently invested in the Camomile Oil from The Bodyshop to do a pre-cleanse with (I plan to be wearing makeup more often when working – air conditioned offices do not agree with my skin!) so I’ll update with my progress on that soon.

Personal

Exercise more.
Learn to knit.

Both of these I can’t say I’ve achieved. I’d like to think I’m slightly fitter than I was in January – I did manage to climb Arthur’s Seat two weeks ago! I’m planning on relearning how to ride a bike over the next month, and soon I will be a year post-op and so able to start swimming again. I can’t explain how excited I am to get back in the pool! As for knitting, I just can’t seem to get the hang of it – if anyone knows of any good books or teachers please do recommend them!

Before I wrote this post I was rather disappointed in myself, but having gone through things I’ve actually achieved quite a lot, considering I’m studying a demanding degree full-time, and travelling to see my boyfriend every other weekend. There’s still quite a bit I want to achieve before the end of the year, but I reckon I’ll get there!

How are your New Year’s Resolutions going?

Friday Favourites: Food Blogs

 photo Blogs_zps57407db5.jpgWelcome to the second in this series…of me spreading some blogger love (and also being a little lazy through exams!). Today I’m going to go through some of my favourite food blogs. I’ve read food blogs for years, since way before I discovered Bloglovin’, and so it feels lovely to be able to share some of my absolute go-to blogs if I want a recipe, opinion, or just some inspiration. Remember, one of my favourites has been nominated for the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards by me (I mentioned it here, but I genuinely wish I could nominated everything!)

Now, warning, this post may make you hungry…

 photo ThoroughlyEnglish_zpsc91b500f.pngFirst up we have Thoroughly English. I guess you could call this a lifestyle blog, but I started reading because of the lovely recipes, and the amazing photography. Food photography is (in my opinion) one of the hardest to get right and I’d love to improve. Bess’s photos are absolutely lovely, her writing style is so relaxed and I really need to make this Chicken & Sweetcorn Soup soon!

 photo HandbagsampCupcakes_zps4e284611.pngNext up we have Handbags & Cupcakes, which is another blog which could also go in the lifestyle category…but I put it here because I just love her Peanut Butter Brownies, they are delicious and not too bad for you, what’s not to love?! Rachel got highly commended in the Lifestyle (I think!) category last year, and it’d be lovely to see her there or better again this year.

 photo LottiesLittleKitchen_zpsee9952d6.pngNow its the girl who actually inspired me to start blogging, Lottie from Lottie’s Little Kitchen. I found her blog via my boyfriend (they go to the same university) and I have been forever grateful as I really look forward to seeing her recipes every week. Her Herbed Roast Chicken inspired my very first Roast, and it was rather delicious if I say so myself!

 photo KatiesKitchenJournal_zps7eb791c5.pngI’ve not been reading this next blog very often (for just over a week actually) but its fast becoming a favourite. Katie’s Kitchen Journal is another blog with beautiful food photography and one of my favourite layouts – her recipes look awesome too! I really want to try her Courgette and Lime Cake!

 photo PinchofYum_zps63e6dd32.pngFinally I’ve had to include Pinch of Yum, as it has one of my most favourite recipes – I must post my version sometime! I probably unattractively dribbled when I first read the Chicken Bacon Wild Rice Soup post!

Did reading this post make you hungry? Writing it made me a little peckish, so much so I may have treated myself to half a tub of Ben & Jerry’s at the laptop – Peanut Butter Cup is my flavour of choice! Remember to vote for your favourite blogs in the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards!

Who’s your favourite food blogger?

 

Blogger Link Up: University Isn’t For Everyone

Remember the Link Up that I posted about last week? Well today Rachel is kicking it off, telling us all about her experiences with university. Her post really hits home for me as I’ve seen some people really not get on with the university lifestyle, so if you’re unsure about where you want to go, definitely have a read of this!

Hi! My name is Rachel and I blog over at The Inelegant Wench where I talk about pretty much anything that comes to mind, including confessing things every Sunday in my Sunday Confessions series.

When I saw that Chloe wanted people to guest post about their university experiences over on Twitter, I immediately responded that I was interested as I took a bit of a different route to get to graduating last summer! I took the standard route to begin with, applying to UCAS and going straight from A Levels to university, to study Computer Science as I liked Computing A Level, and computers in general.

 photo inelegant1_zpsb9140cfb.jpgCaption: Halloween at university, dressed as zombies. I’m at the front.

I moved away to university, into halls and started my course. I had a large group of friends, a boyfriend and life was pretty good. In the Christmas holidays I went to visit friends around the country, and carried on having fun and living it up. However when I got back to uni in January, I had my first exams. I revised a bit, but didn’t get particularly amazing marks. Them the second semester subjects started and I began to find the lessons more difficult and I began to struggle to keep up as the amount of programming required increased dramatically. I was never the best at programming, I was fine at the simple stuff, but when it got more difficult I found it incredibly frustrating and difficult. At around the same time I got dumped and most of my friends began to leave me out and bitch about me a lot. All in all you could say that I wasn’t very happy. I kept persevering because that’s the type of person that I am, but by the time the Easter holidays came around I was looking forward to going home and getting away from it all for a month (oh how I miss university holidays!)

Whilst back at home I had a great time with friends and I was really dreading having to go back to uni where I was lonely, miserable and struggling. About a week after I got back I made the decision to drop out of university. This was a big decision for me to make, as going to university had been my life goal up until that point. As I knew I was going to fail, or only just scrape a pass in the second semesters subjects which I wasn’t enjoying anyway, I thought it would be a waste of money continuing. Making the phone call home to talk to my parents about it is one of the most terrifying things I have ever done in my life. I was scared of their reaction, but luckily they were supportive, and told me that as long as I was going to do something, even if it was just continuing with my part time job, they would support me in my choice. They encouraged me to stick the year out, as it was already paid for and I might get some university credits out of it, which could have helped me in the future if I decided to study again.

I managed to stick the year out, and sat my exams. I passed a couple of them, but failed most of the others and was very glad to leave. I began working as a receptionist, living with my parents and I was much much happier than when I was at university. After about 6 months I began to get itchy feet. I wanted to study again, and I wanted to get a degree. I thought much more about what I wanted to do this time and came to the conclusion that working in the NHS was what I wanted to do, but not as a doctor or nurse. I applied for a training scheme where you worked full time and the hospital sent you to university one day a week to complete a degree over 4 years. After one failed application round I tried again and was successful. I moved out again, but this time it was to start a job doing something I was interested in and the degree was vocational.

 photo inelegant21_zps050c6aa9.jpgCaption: Graduating last summer.

I thoroughly enjoyed doing my degree in this format, it meant that I was a part of the working world, and as the degree was condensed into one day a week and I got study time at work, I worked really hard. Taking the year out between degrees had helped me to gain some perspective, and grow up a hell of a lot. After 4 hard and enjoyable years I graduated last year with a first class degree. Some of my family thought that when I dropped out I had ruined my life, but it was one of the best decisions I had ever made, and proving them wrong when I graduated made the day even better.

If you have read this and are unsure about whether your degree is right for you, if you are considering dropping out, it doesn’t have to be the end of your studying. You can go back, you can succeed and you can still have a happy and successful life. If I had continued doing Computer Science I am convinced that I wouldn’t have got a higher degree result than a 2:2 and I would have hated the subject by the time I graduated. Instead I graduated doing a subject I love and have got a well paid job straight away as I already have 4 years of paid experience in the field. Much better!

If you want to be nosy at more aspects of my life, why not pop over to my blog and say hi! I’m also getting more and more active on twitter (@inelegantwench) if you would like to ask me any questions or would like any advice.

Thanks to Chloe for letting me hijack this fantastic blog of hers, and she will be having a blog post of her own up on my blog soon, are you as excited as me?

Rachel xx

Thanks Rachel – was such a good insight into an alternative university experience! Please so check out The Inelegant Wench as its one of my favourite blogs!

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?

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!