Wednesday, 11 July 2018

My Thoughts on Second Year of University

Oh, hey, blogosphere. It's been a while, hasn't it? It feels like forever since I've just taken the time to chill out and write a blogpost. Maybe some of that is to do with everything that I've had going on in my final semester of second year which — and I can't believe this as I'm writing it — is over. 

So, second year. I feel like I did a complete 180 turnover this year and I don't know how I did it. Now, I'm not usually one for believing in fate/destiny, so maybe it was more my own determination and will to put myself out there and change things for the better. Even if didn't consciously think about these things at the time.

If you're wondering what I'm talking about, it's partly the best decision that I made during uni: to start the theatre society. Partly this decision, partly the people that I met as a result of this. I just became a happier, smilier and generally better person because of the experience that I had assistant directing a couple of shows and making so many friends from doing this. It's a total difference compared to the lack of community that I felt at the start of second year with having left halls to now: I have made genuine good friends, bettered myself and made many more memories than I would have if I hadn't joined the theatre. All of which I am so grateful for.

Academically, things improved as well, but I shan't go into too much detail about that as it's summer now and I'm going to enjoy it. I enjoyed my modules and am proud of my overall grade, but I know that things need to improve for next year even still. It's crazy to think I'll be applying for my masters in September but I'm excited (and anxious) for a new start when I graduate next year (omg). 

So, that's a brief summary of what I've been up to. I hope to be a bit more regular with the blogposts now that I have the time (including some foodie reviews from around Notts), so please stay with me for that!




Monday, 16 April 2018

Film Review: Mary Shelley Trailer

Something exciting dropped on the 12th of April, 2018 — a movie trailer of a film that I having been greatly anticipating since becoming aware of the production and its immense cast of American/British talent: Elle Fanning, Maisie Williams, Douglas Booth and Bel Powley. With the exception of Powley, I have been an avid fan and follower of the aforementioned actor's and their careers to date. Thinking about it now, maybe that makes me more biased to the film as a whole. Really though, I just like to think that the cast itself makes me all the more excited for it.

Yet, when scrolling through Youtube comments and online articles, it becomes clear that there are people who seem dubious over the clear feminist agenda made apparent throughout the trailer. Lines such as 'The woman is not intelligent enough to form ideas of her own' have heavy connotations of feminist criticism. When I learned that this is truly what Lord Byron felt at the time, however, I couldn't help but be glad that the film wasn't sugarcoating the feminist issues at the time. Shelley's mother was, of course, an avid member of the feminist movement. Besides, if a movie such as I Love You, Daddy can be cut from airing due to its poor taste and obvious anti-feminism, then why can't a film celebrating the achievements of women just be celebrated as they should be? As the old saying goes, it seems that to some people you just can't win either way.

One of the beginning lines of the trailer comes from Maisie Williams. When Fanning, as Mary Shelley, asks her "Who is that?", she replies with "Shelley — beautiful, isn't he?" Instead of continuing the love story between the two as many archetypal period dramas would (we already know from Mary Shelley's namesake that the two inevitably get married), the story shifts into a feminist lens that is highly palpable throughout the rest of the trailer. These feminist overtones are, of course, what the haters are hating, but if done with more subtly throughout the film itself then I don't see it as a blinding problem at all. 

What are your thoughts? The mixture of feminism and great casting simply makes me all the more excited to go out and see this film. Of course, as with anything including feminism, the reactions are polarising. Let me know what side you're on.

Mary Shelley is due for release from May 2018.


Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Five Things I Wish I Knew Before Fresher's Week

Fresher's week. What a terrifying concept — literally a whole week of awkwardly attempting to socialise with people that you've only just met. An even more terrifying thought when you consider that I had the social ability of a teaspoon before university started. Luckily, I like to think I've come a long way since then, and so I'd like to offer what limited tips I can share...

1. Please do yourself a favour and damn sOCIALISE.

I know it's hard, especially if you're awkward like I was at the start. Know that it's easier to put the effort in early on than it is later down the line. Don't let that scare you though — be an open book and actively want to get to know everyone, even if it's just casual conversation that feels a bit dead. We all have to start somewhere. The more people you meet, the more likely you are to find your true friends (it's just, like, statistics or something, right?)

2. Don't feel or be pressured

Don't be pressured to do ANYTHING that you don't want to do. I didn't drink or go to any parties before uni, so I stuck to that routine during fresher's week. The closest I came to was joining some of my new-found friend group's pre-drinks before they all went out until whatever hour and guess what, I didn't drink there either! Awkward was definitely my name and game, oops. But it was perfectly fine, because I was still accepted to this new environment and by these new people, so I felt relatively at ease and non-pressured. When you do decide to follow the crowd, ensure that it's 100% your decision and your decision only. Saying that, fresher's week is where you're expected to most exceed your comfort zone, so remind yourself of this and know that it's the easiest time to get involved with things even if you feel like a total new-comer. (Heads up: everyone is!)

3. Join societies and stick to them

Societies are so much fun but unfortunately as a first year, things got on top of me and I decided to drop out of them (whilst missing them terribly). Luckily I recognised my mistake, and here I am telling you not to make the same one (unless you really hate everything about it I guess). Now in second year, I have quite important roles in a couple of societies and I feel so much more fulfilled that  I'm able to maintain a society/workload/social life/uni balance. It's given me incredible opportunities and experiences, some of which are the definitive part of overall university experience and ones that I will never forget.

4. Be realistic

If you're still feeling uneasy in your new environment, I urge you to understand that this is totally normal. For the first month I felt like a total fish out of water, but I kept telling myself that this was only the beginning, that it could only get better from here. And that's so true; this is one week out of your entire university experience. Don't drop out at the sound of a warning bell, be steadfast! You can totally do this. And if you really feel that you can't...

5. Find support

Confide in a new friend, a member of staff you trust, a friend from your home or even your family. Let them know how you're feeling emotionally, academically, and in every other way.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

university update 001: second year, so far

Second year, so far. It has baffled me (as it does time and time again) that this academic year has flown by so quickly. I can't believe that, in relation to my overall degree, I am more than halfway through with it. Disbelief and excitement overwhelm me everyday: disbelief, because it feels as though I only started uni yesterday; excitement because the prospect of finishing my degree and starting a new chapter is more than a dream to me.

Upon reflection, last semester wasn't exactly smooth, though I did average at a borderline 2:1 in the end. I chose modules in Shakespeare and Chaucer for English and in ethics for philosophy. Though I enjoyed them in part, there were specific elements in each of them that I didn't quite get along with. I struggled in my first Chaucer assessment that amounted to 25% of the module, which was equally damaging to my self-esteem as it was to my sense of purpose. However, I managed to pull it up with the second assessment, receiving a comparatively lovely 2:1 for it. The other modules I struggled more in the enjoyment of them than the academic side, although I didn't perform as well in my ethics exam as I would have liked. I can only hope to exceed that this semester, and overall I am proud that my (approx.) 10,000 words of coursework generally received good praise.

Onto this semester, of which I am thoroughly enjoying so far. The three modules I am taking are more specific than ever, including yet more Shakespeare and even more philosophy. I repeat, I cannot believe how fast this semester and year has already flown by, but I am excited by the fast-paste nature of it all. My attendance this semester has been better than ever, although my hours are so minimal. This does mean, however, that I am able to dedicate my free time to more independent study and interests outside of my degree.

Speaking of extracurricular things, this semester has been wonderful as I have finally fallen back into the routine of the theatre. I am helping out in directing one of the productions this year and it has proven to be very rewarding already. I am definitely looking to apply for another producing role this semester and continue with theatre even more so next year. It's wonderful to have something physically moving back in my life; although writing is my passion, you aren't exactly required to leave the house for it. The theatre is a luxury indeed.

If you're at university, what aspect are you currently enjoying? If not, what do you miss?




Wednesday, 14 February 2018

weekends are for brunching

I recently went for brunch with a group of friends at The Pudding Pantry in my university town, Nottingham. Oh my goodness, it was divine. I’m usually quite sceptical about eating out, but I actually can’t rave about it enough. I know that Nottingham has somewhat of a reputation for its eateries and it’s hard to distinguish the hype from the truth, but if my experience is anything to go by then The Pudding Pantry is definitely one to go to.

Oh my goodness, this hot chocolate was sooo damn good (although the picture is slightly out of focus, oops). You can tell that Pudding Pantry just make sure that everything is done with that bit of extra care and attention. If you’re a fan of homemade hot coco (who isn’t???), then you NEED to try out their Classic Hot Chocolate, which I paid £2.95 for. I figured the pricing was very decent for the hot beverage and that the quality actually exceeded the cost. It was so smooth and just the right amount of rich chocolate to sweetness ratio.

For £9.95 (one of the most expensive on the brunch menu, which isn’t actually too bad price-wise) you can get what they call The Full Pantry, a delicious couple of pancakes stacked with bacon and served with homemade baked beans, your choice of scrambled or fried eggs, a garlic mushroom and maple syrup. And boy, is it dreamy. It’s also definitely VERY full, so I would recommend only purchasing when you’re reeeaaally hungry. Looking back I should have just ordered a stack of pancakes and bacon as that would definitely have sufficed my hunger, and I wouldn’t have had left so much food over!
Saying that, I did actually really enjoy the food that I could manage, and was glad that I could get The Full Pantry to try all of their star products out. The homemade baked beans were sooo good; definitely different to your traditional (I hadn’t actually tried homemade ones before) but all the more indulgent! The pancakes were just divine as well, really fluffy and sweet, yet this didn’t detract from the savoury nature of the rest of the dish. In fact, the sweetness went perfectly with the saltiness of the bacon, and the pancakes were definitely the star of the show.
If you’re in Nottingham and looking for a good spot of brunch, I definitely recommend looking at The Pudding Pantry. I can’t believe I hadn’t been before, and will definitely be back in order to try out all of their cakes and sweet treats!

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Sunday, 4 February 2018

My Top Self Care Tips


I'm a firm believer in all things self-care and mindfulness. I mean; healthy mind, healthy body works in reverse too, right? It is my belief that one of the easiest ways you can start to feel good about yourself is to do good things to your body, whatever that means to you personally.

Self-care is all the more important as a student. I've been a student living away from home for approximately two years now, and there have definitely been some trying moments. I believe that instilling some of the following self-care tips can be really beneficial when making the transition into adulthood for those couple of formative years.

1. Make yourself a cup of tea, or coffee, or hot chocolate, or any hot beverage of your choice! Taking time out of your day just to sit alone, with a friend, or in a busy coffee shop is important in order to reflect upon yourself and your day. It's the best way to gain some thinking time even when things are getting on top of you!

2. Have an early night and unwind from the day away from the people who surround you every single day. It's nice to go back to an environment where you're totally okay with being by yourself — independence is scarily underrated. There's nothing like treating yourself to a bit of a pamper night mid-week, rather than trying to fit in some social event that you don't really have time for. It's easy to get caught up in the week, so take it easy on yourself.

3. Confide in a friend. That's what they're there for! A problem shared is a problem halved, after all.

4. Keep a journal. It's universally acknowledged that writing offers some kind of therapeutic escapism that is seriously necessary in self-care rituals. If writing isn't your thing, try and document your feelings in a different way. Photography, song or painting — the creative world is your oyster. 

5. Do something for yourself. It's all about you. You have to be selfish every now and then and, after all, it is self-care at the end of the day. Whether it's playing a movie, going to the theatre by yourself or listening to your favourite album, you should take this time to find your thing!


Thursday, 25 January 2018

My Favourite Things in Budapest


Summer of 2017 was definitely a ride, and one of the perks of summertime for me was being lucky enough to go to Budapest for a week and a bit. I hadn't explored many European cities before (mainly Spanish islands, Paris and Prague), but this trip was definitely something special as it inspired me to go far more often than I currently do. Today, I thought I should reminisce on the summer just gone and talk through all of my favourite things about Budapest with you.

1) My main love for Budapest lies in its amazing architecture and important buildings. The Hungarian Parliament Building is just so pretty that it becomes a tourist spot itself. The Buda Castle — one of my favourite days of the trip — is actually awe-striking: I've never seen as castle quite like it. It is truly beautiful and unique, and made me realise how much I appreciate such artistic and creative architecture in the first place.
2) Budapest is also home to many traditional and historical cafes that sadly, I didn't get to experience this time around. I will definitely have to go back and experience the New York Cafe — one of the most famous of the city. The otherwise average walks around town were made a visually striking experience by the cafes and buildings around, truly exuding the character of the city itself.

3) The Thermal Baths of Budapest receive a mixed review form me. Whilst I definitely found the architecture once again impressively designed, I found the hygiene standards of the baths themselves a rather irksome experience. If you're not too fussed about things like that for an hour or three of your time, it's definitely still worth it even just to recline in the sun and dry off. You might even get a tan if you're lucky enough; it will probably be the most sunbathing you've done all holiday, which just goes to show how adventurous the city is. 

4) The views. The views! Oh my goodness, the views in Budapest are amazing. I recommend going on one of those tourist bust things -- they often stop at a beauty spot for you to observe the city from its best angles. It's definitely a treat, I mean, you don't see a view like that everyday!

I cannot recommend Budapest enough for you to explore either as an introduction to European cities or if you're well-travelled! Seeing such a beautiful city definitely has to be a highlight of 2017 for me, and I hope it will encourage you to go and visit someday too.


My Top Three Skincare Products

Now, between you and me, I've tried a lot of skincare combos over the last few years. This existence persisted through countless bouts of teenage acne to hormonal breakouts and now, my relatively normal complexion. You'll be glad to know I've finally found my top 3 skincare products. Not that I don't change it up every now and then, that would be totally unrealistic for me! But alas, these are my current best picks:
1. Micellar Water
Now I've tried multiple brands of Micellar Water, but I always find myself constantly switch between the Garnier and the L'Oreal one. I just love this stuff for taking makeup off or refreshing the skin — the perfect in-between of a 'proper' cleanser and those flimsy makeup wipes.

2. Neal's Yard — Rehydrating Rose Daily Moisture

Omg, if you're a fan of natural moisturisers like me, then you'll looove this moisturiser. I can't recommend trying to find a natural alternative to your average chemically-induced moisturiser any day; it is seriously a life changing skin factor. I love this moisturiser, it feel light but still moisturising enough. The best of both worlds.
3. Pixi Glow Tonic
I know this is a cult product — but it's cult for a reason! I adore this stuff because it really gets the very last of your makeup off, and totally renews your skin. I've also found it to have a brightening effect on my skin, but that could be at the hand of all of these products together. I think it's definitely made the most difference to my skin overall and definitely has a regulating effect as well.
Overall, I can't stress the importance of having a low-fuss, slightly more natural skincare routine or at least introducing a few products into your daily life. I find these to be the most luxurious of products, and they don't even have to be that expensive! There are loads of fairly lower-priced natural skincare products — you just have to know where to look!



Review: Morphe 35F Eyeshadow Palette

I feel as though I should up my game when it comes to beauty and makeup reviews, and so I thought that I would share my thoughts on the infamous Morphe 35F Palette.

So, very excitedly I received this for Christmas, and I must say that the colours of the palette are very appropriate to the Christmas season. I love the cranberry and burgundy shades, but equally the gold and copper.

I also love the matte transition shades in the palette. Unlike criticisms towards the palette that there isn't enough variety between shades, I believe that there is enough variation because of the transition shades. I've had palettes before where it was virtually impossible to create a 'look' out of because there were no matte shades whatever. Whilst I appreciate the sparkly shades more than anything, I also love the added transition shades for this very reason.

Overall, the palette is definitely a beautiful one, suitable for beginners like me who aren't willing to pay a hefty price point. Actually, it's a more than reasonably priced palette and I'm so glad I have it to experiment with.

Hope you enjoyed!



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