Thursday, 8 October 2015

A little bit of change

The last few weeks have been a period of change for me, both on here and in real life. Those of you who read this blog on a semi regular basis will know that I graduated this summer and so am no longer a student - making me blogging about surviving university seem a little bit obsolete,

There has been a few people that have asked me where my little corner of the internet is going to be heading so I'd been thinking what is best.

Thing have been somewhat busy for me recently with work and finding a new job which has meant that my posting here has been somewhat sporadic lately, but I've decided that I want to keep my place for ramblings - for my sanity, more than anything else.

And so, I present to you '#Gingersnapblog, Surviving life one week at a time'. because we all know that life is a journey!


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Peanut Butter Oreo Martini

 This is my entry to the Foodies100 Wonderfilled recipe challenge sponsored by Oreo, marking the launch of two new flavours; peanut butter and golden. The delicious new flavours are available in all major supermarkets at an RRP of £1.08. To find out more, visit www.facebook.com/oreoThe people at Oreo sent me all the Oreos for this post - both the ones that I used and the ones that I ate in the process! 


I was challenged to use these wonderful new flavours and my imagination to create something spectacular. Those of you who often read my rambling will know that I write about students and that students know how to drink. So it seemed logical that this is where my creation started. 



And so I present to you... Peanut Butter Oreo Martini. (Think Espresso Martini, but not...)


All that you need: 
- Half a cocktail shaker of Ice
- 2 shots of Vodka
- 1 shot of Baileys
- 3 Crushed Peanut Butter Oreos
- Garnish

All that you need to do: 
- Add all the of alcohol to the cocktail shaker. 
- Add ice, seal and shake like your life depends on it. 
- Add the crushed Oreos. Shake it again. 
- Strain and Serve with a garnish, think cream, an oreo, or even crushed oreo on top. 
- Ta-da! 


His & Her's Oreo Martini - With opposing views on how to
decorate.
Disclaimer: This is a PR Collaboration


Tuesday, 15 September 2015

How to get your notes organised!

My filing of univeristy notes in the beginning...
It could not have been more of a muddled mess.
Certainly made revision hard!!
Aside from drinking and making the somewhat small student loan last as long as they can, the one other things that is a staple to student life is making notes.

And when making these notes and trying to get through university it's kind of important to get organised because there is nothing worse than trying to revise at the end of the year and being unable to find the one set of notes for the one thing you don't understand...

So today I'm sharing the 4 things I did to make sure I didn't fall into the same trap year on year.

1&2. Put your notes in order and in their own folder - When you start taking notes, place them in a folder in order. I found that the order in which you get taught is the best order to put the notes in, so that when you go to revise, you start with the easier themes and ideas and then build on them, much like you would have done when you were taught.  Put each subject separately in different folders so that you don't get everything muddled! (I bought mine from Wilko's, who are perfect for the limited student budget!)


3. Make sure you don't miss notes - Missing notes from missing lectures is not great when it comes to revision. Avoid missing lectures at all costs, and if you do, make sure you catch up on the notes. Don't leave gaps in your notes and your knowledge.

4. Back up your notes - If you are like me and have this tendency to misplace important pieces of paper such as notes or bills, I have found that the best thing for me to do is to type up my notes, either on my Ipad during lectures, or on the laptop after and then saving them in order so that I always have a copy, even if I manage to lose the actual paper copy.


What do you think? How to you keep on top of the notes at university?

Disclaimer: This is a PR Collaboration

Friday, 4 September 2015

Paying Kindness Forward.



To the Gentleman who decided today was the day to pay kindness
forward,

Firstly, I can't say thank you for your kindness. It wasn't just the tip alone but the tip was a big enough gesture - for the tip to be bigger than what you paid for your table is silly, but I'm grateful. Not just for the money but for what the tip meant.

That tip alone was someone acknowledging how difficult it can be to wait on tables for a living, which most people believe isn't really that hard work (it really really can be!)

I guess ultimately it isn't about the money, it was more about reminding me that there is good and kindness in the world even when things seem seriously hard and bleak. When you are stuck at work surrounded by the most miserable of people that's how it seems. There should be more compliments, more spreading positivity and making sure that as many people who can, can see the world in its more sunny way.

I promise that at some point, when I'm in the position to do so, I will pass the kindness forward, be it tipping in a a restaurant, buying coffee for the person in the line behind me and genuinely filling the world with more smiles and sunshine.

From

The super-tired, mostly miserable waitress.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Organising Life Away from home

I know for many people, one of the hardest things when leaving home is that they got home sick, really bad. I think being homesick would have been my biggest issue but seeing as I was home every weekend for work, one of the hardest things to hit me when I moved to university was how much I needed to get my life organised so that things were easy for me. There is nothing worse than getting in the shower then finding out you have run out of shampoo (which is something that would never happen at home!) So today I'm sharing my 5 tips for being organised and making the time at university a whole lot more of a walk in the park.

1. Plan ahead - As soon as you know big events in the year jot them down and keep them somewhere you can see it! I used a wall planner with all of my deadlines so that I could work out when needed to be started and didn't land up cramming coursework in the night before...

My Wilko Thing to Buy list and The Week Ahead List
that take pride of place of my fridge. Both bargain prices,
especially considering how much easier it is with lists!
2. Make Lists - University has helped me become a chronic list maker. I have lists of things that I need to do, lists of things that I need to buy and lists that tell me what I need to do when. All these lists are ever growing, and although generally I can prioritise, I'll admit that occasionally the lists just become a jumble of paper and take forever to get sorted. Having said that I'm getting better at not letting them all become a jumble and actually getting myself sorted. My foodshop is a list of things I jot down as I run out which makes things 10 times easier.

3. Break it down - Alongside my love of lists, I break my semesters down to weeks so that I have a grasp on how busy certain weeks are as well as giving me the chance to plan extra seminars and nights out without everything else falling apart.

4. Keep your notes in check - I hate note taking, which is unfortunate seeing that when going to university means that you need the notes for when it comes to revising with the exam. I recommend taking notes and then putting them somewhere safe. (Post about organising notes to follow!)

5. Keep track of the past - Organisation isn't just about the future. Keep track of the past as well. Any days off sick, take a note of them. There are times that you may need that information to hand, especially when lecturers ask because you need extra help towards exams.

Disclaimer: This is a PR collaboration





Friday, 21 August 2015

Sangria Royale

I'm not a big red wine drinker which has the potential to make traditional spanish Sangria somewhat difficult for me to drink. So when I was introduced to Sangria Royale, my mind was blown... And seeing as it features bubbles heavily I knew it was right up my street.

All that you need for a litre and a half is:
- A couple of teaspoons of brown sugar
- 1 Shot of Brandy
- 1 Shot of Vanilla Liqueur (We used a liqueur called '43', made with 43 different spices, although this step is completely optional)
- 1 Shot of Cointreau
- A Fruit Salad
- A Bottle of Cava
- Lemonade

All that you need to do:
- In a jug, place the sugar.
- Add brandy, vanilla liqueur, cointreau and fruit salad.
- Swirl and leave for 10 minutes to allow fruit to absorb liquid.
- Pour in a bottle of Cava
- Fill to top of the jug with lemonade.
- Serve!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

How to make your room at university feel like home.

My current bed with my Wilko Duvet (£16) and
Wilko Wicker Heart Fairy Lights (£7)
Now that the university places have been allocated, it seems right that we all begin to think about what it is that actually needs to be taken with you to help you settle in, and what you should take to make the place feel like home...

When I first got the key to my student accomodation I was slightly horrified to see exactly what it was I was paying for. It was in essence a tiny room with breeze block walls that really didn't feel anything like home... The bed wasn't even a full size single!!

I'd like to think that by the end of the year, the concrete coffin had become more of a home and reflected my personality a whole lot more - even if it was always a mess...


Today I'm sharing my top three tips as to how to make your student room yours without spending all of your loan, even if it looks like there is no was it's ever going to be like home...

1. Focus on the bed - The bed may well be the biggest feature in your room. I mean lets be honest, I'm guessing it will be one of/if not the biggest piece of furniture that you own. The best way to start changing your room is to find a duvet, and throw and pillows that draws attention to it taking away people attention to the slightly worse part of the room, like the horrible colour walls or curtains. I go for three or four cheap Wilko's duvets which mean I can chop and change regularly. (And when you have three or four, theres no need to get it washed and dried!)

2. Accessorise the room - Be it fairy lights, lamps or photos on the wall, everyone had a set idea of what their dream house feels like and which ideas they should take from home so that they don't feel like they are mile away. I found lots of photos were a popular idea as well. Invest in white tack, and trawl the homeware sections of big shops!

3. Keep it clean - I feel like my mother with this step but I have found that when a room is small, mess looks more than it is. I know that I never quite managed to keep my room perfectly clean, but I tried. Mostly.

What do you think? How else would you make your room like home?

Dislaimer: This is a PR Collaboration

Thursday, 13 August 2015

A Level Result - Looking Back.

It's results day for all the A-level students and it's sent me into a massively nostalgic mood. A-Level results day is the beginning of the adventure that is University

I can't believe that it's been three years since I found out that I'd actually made it into Portsmouth University - which was surprising considering somehow I flunked my final exam and landed up with a lower grade than I'd hoped.

I opened my results on Results day and was convinced that with my c*ck up of an exam that my chance at university had well and truely disappeared.

I literally spent an hour refreshing the UCAS website praying I was wrong, which thankfully I was... I can't even imagine how different my life would have been had I landed up not going to university, let alone heading off to my second choice Winchester.

Univeristy has been some of the best, and worse, times of my life, but I wouldn't have it any other way. My only advice to people collecting their A Level results is that even if you don't get the grades you've hoped for, this doesn't neccessarily mean that univeristy won't happen for you. Celebrate the grades you do get, you'll have spent the last two years putting the work in!


Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Celebrating National Afternoon Tea Week: Mini Lemon Sponges.

With the return of Great British Bake Off and the fact that it is National Afternoon Tea Week from the 10th-15th of August, Today I'm sharing my Mini Lemon Sponges which are perfect with a coffee. I'd like to think that they wouldn't be out on an afternoon tea stand....

All that you need for 6 mini sponges:
- 8tbsps Self Raising Flour
- 8tbsps Sugar
- 2 1/2 tbsps Butter/margarine
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsps of Lemon Curd. ( I used the 'luxury lemon curd' by The English Provender Co. a smooth, yellow and massively citrus-y curd. Perfect for this recipe!)
All that you need for the filling:
- Lemon Curd
- 1tbsp Butter
- 2tbsp Icing Sugar

All that you need to do:
- Preheat oven to 180'c and grease a muffin tray to make the sponges.
- Cream the flour, sugar, butter, eggs and lemon curd together until well combined and fluffy.
- Place mixture in the trays, about half full so that there is space for the cake to rise.
- Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes (keep an eye on the cakes. Once they're cooked they don't take long to burn... as demonstrated in mine...)
- Remove and allow to cool.
- Make the butter cream by creaming the butter and icing sugar, multiplying the mixture as necessary.
- Slice each cake in half.
- Pipe the buttercream onto the bottom half and spread the top half with lemon curd.
- Voila!

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post. I was gifted some of the ingredients to celebrate National Afternoon Tea Week

Thursday, 6 August 2015

#OOTD - Summer Running.


White Vest Top H&M - £3.99
 FitKit Disney Villain Leggings Independent Retailer - £16
Running Shoes Sports Direct - £27.99

Loving these Headphones for every time I leave the house. They work perfectly with everything I'm wearing, are comfortable, have a built in microphone and are 10 times better than the ones that I got from Apple (Sorry!). This plus the fact they have a storage pouch to stop them getting covered in fluff at the bottom of my handbag has me considering which colour works best for my OH... Not white as they show every mark...

My leggings are amazing! I've worn them for running as well as out day-to-day and I'm in love. Whats better is they're a new company and so I'm 90% sure noone else is going to have a pair like this!


Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Saving Money on Bills.

Having our own place is amazing. From choosing this flat to moving in and living in the flat, it seems that getting my own place after university was the best idea for me (although I get that it isn't so much for some people/some people can't). The only problem is the bills.

I always liked to think I was quite clued on with money and how much things cost in the real world but when it came to bills, I'm not afraid to admit it, as time went on it begun to feel like I was drowning in bills and that there were bills for things I didn't even know existed. For the most of them such as council tax and rent, there is no way of making them cheaper but I have managed to find ways of gas/electric bills which is better than nothing...

1. Work out if you are better on a meter or not - Some companies would rather change you a set amount for your bills, others charge you dependent on how much you use using a meter. Obviously whichever one is best for you depends on quite how much you use and it's just a case of working out which option is the cheaper for you...

2. Avoid turning on the heating - I hate being cold, but I hate spending money on bills. Catch 22 eh? So I avoid turning on the heating for as long as I can. Instead I opt to invest throws and pillows that keep me warm. My current favourite that somehow seems to keep me unbelievably toasty is the Heat
Holders Snuggle up blanket which is definitely something it manages to do. I'm a huge fan of their socks and all of the HeatHolder range to keep myself warm without the heating and therefore save money. The blanket actually retains my heat whilst keeping out the cold and is actually massive, as in it will wrap around me several times... Perfect for those nights when I'm freezing!

3. Turn on the boiler only when you need it. - It seems easy to have the boiler on 24/7 so that the hot water is just a turn of the tap away, but I've found that a. I only need hot water from the boiler to do the washing which I don't spend my entire life doing and b. the boiler literally sucks the credit out of the meter. So my compromise is to turn the boiler on 20 minutes before I need it and off again when I don't. Just as easy, less money wasted heating water when I don't need it...

4. Pay bills upfront. - If you can afford it pay your bills upfront. Many companies add more to the overall cost when you pay monthly and so it's better in the long term to pay them in one go. Although this works on the basis you have the money...

What do you think? Do you have any more tips for saving money on bills?

Disclaimer: This is a PR Collaboration. 


Thursday, 30 July 2015

5 Things Full Time Work has Taught me...

Now that I've graduated from university, I've had to step into the real world and get a job where I work 40 hours a week and earn some money. It's either that or head home to my parents for the long term which would meant giving up my new flat...

But working just 40 hours a week isn't the bed of roses that I first thought - I mean, I've worked all the way through my degree so am not scared of a full days work, but working all the hours in the week has taught me a thing or two. Which today I thought I'd share...

1. It could be worse. - It may not be fun getting up again for another day at work but I have to keep reminding myself that it could in fact be worse and that I'm lucky to have a little job. Without the job as we've already established I'd lose my flat and my independence that I've worked so hard to keep.

2. You will be tired. - There is time that it all seems to much and that I am the most tired that I ever have been which is something that I didn't factor in. In fact, there are days when I come in from work and am then asleep all night. I have to use my days off to recover from the rest of the week - which is awful I know!

3. Savour the days off. - When you have a day off, I've learnt not to waste it. I know that I need to use these days to relax, recharge and unwind but I like to make sure that I manage to see something or achieve something on my constantly growing to-do list.

4.The Customer is not always right - The first thing you learn in customer service is that the customer is always right. Full time work has confirmed to me that this is not the case and that there is an art to managing to allow the customer to believe they are right whilst helping them alter their view...

5. Money is not everything. - I work for money to be able to afford nice things and although I am earning more than I ever have, working full time like my OH has taught me that although the money is good, nothing can change the value of quality time spent together. No money could every replace that and therefore money doesn't make me happy.

I'm learning to get the hang of this full time lark, and I'm getting there but it will take time to 100% make it...

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Tips for the perfect BBQ Steak.

Summer is here and although the Great British weather never quite seems to know what it is it it should be up to, it is time to roll out the BBQ's and enjoy some proper sausages and burgers. There always seems to be a debate about which meat makes  the perfect BBQ, from steak to sausages and burgers to fish with a whole host of sides, but  today I'm sharing the tips for a perfect BBQ'd steak courtesy of Asda.

1. Buy the best you can afford. - I know that we're on a budget and things can get  pretty pricey per head when you start looking at all the different types of meat, but the more expensive the meat, the better it's going to be.

2. Make sure your meat is at room temperature. - The meat is basically a muscle and needs to relax, so the worse thing you can do is stress it out by throwing it on the BBQ and making it go from cold to hot in 30 seconds. Aim to take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before it needs cooking.

3. Rest your meat. - You'd rest a chicken or joint of meat when it was cooked, so why forget to do the same for your steak? Rest it and let the meat relax!

4. Poke your meat. - Rather than cutting your meat to see whether it is cooked, poke it. All you have to remember is if it is squishy it'll be rare and if it is bouncy it'll be more well done...

5. Use your face to tell how well done a steak is. - If you poke your cheek, this is how a rare steak should feel. If you poke your chin, this is how a medium cook and if you poke your forehead, this is how a well done steak should feel. Easy!

I love having a BBQ, I just can't stand the fact that whenever I plan to BBQ I land up in the pouring rain with an umbrella. I suppose now I know that regardless of what mother nature throws at me, the food will be perfect...

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post, I did not receive any other compensation.


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Bringing the Tech Geek out of the Girl.



Technology has taken over the world and is changing at a rate that sometimes I struggle to keep up with. Mobile phones do not leave hands and sometimes I wonder whether technology is ruining the way we all interact. I do not hate technology, I'm just slightly averse to it. For years I have avoided using online banking, and freaked out by contact-less cards and the idea of Apple Pay has actually blown my mind.

So when I got the chance to have a play with Playstation 4 Project Morpheus Headset, I figured I would be embarrassingly awful in front of the developers. They set me up with a game shooting which meant I needed the hand-eye coordination to shoot, reload the gun and generally interact with the environment within the game.


Thankfully I wasn't!


All I can say is I really, really, really want a Playstation 4 with the headset. I love the fact that you are actually submerged in the game and that no matter where you look you are within the bubble that is the game. (I turned around at one point and behind me was the back door of the van that I was sat in, which is very odd considering I was actually sat in a slightly darkened room...)

Supposedly the headset launches Fall 2016 and although noone seems to know the exact price, the speculated price seems to be about £200.

Gives me just enough time to get saving!

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post. I attended the Playstation Summer Event and was blown away by the games!


Monday, 20 July 2015

Graduation!


This is me. Last week on the morning of my graduation. A day that there were points in my time at univeristy that I didn't think I'd make it to. There has been massive highs and lows, I've made friends and lost friends and although sometimes I wish things had turned out differently, I regret nothing. 
Graduation itself was massive emotional because it was me letting go of being a student. Being a student is a massive part of my identity, both here in my little corner of the internet and for those people who actually know me, so it is really odd that my time in education is actually over. I haven't fully got a game plan for the future, at the moment there is no graduate job lined up for me. I will be looking for something but for now, I'm still reveling in the fact I made it. 

Thankyou Portsmouth!

Friday, 3 July 2015

#OOTD - The Interview

As mentioned in my recent post, my weeks have been busy and mad, but one thing I have done is begun to think about the world of graduate jobs but to get to that perfect job there is so many stages that begins with the initial application, leads on the assessment days and then the interviews. Today I'm sharing my interview #OOTD which is of the budget variety for all us students with overdrafts and very little money left at the end of the year.

Anti-Clockwise from Top Left
Orange Wrap Front Blouse from Asda - £12
Bootcut Trousers from Asda - £6
Lace Up Shoe Boots from New Look - £27.99
Stretch Button Front Blazer from New Look - £22.99
Silver Engraved Plate Necklace from Newlook - £12.99



Thursday, 2 July 2015

Change in a heartbeat.

The past few weeks have been somewhat hectic, from work to moving house to interviews and as usual this meant that my little corner of the internet has been somewhat neglected.

Its a time of change.

I finished my last exam 6 weeks ago but its only now that I'm coming to terms with the idea that I won't be going back to university. Never again will I be able to live the way I have done in recent years - having said that, I think my liver will be pleased with that! It has been an absolute rollercoaster of three years and whilst I don't regret anything I have or haven't done - although sometimes I wish the result of my actions had be somewhat different. University has been amazing and I've met some friends who have become my family and will continue to be there wherever we all land up.

Five years ago to the day, I was at my school prom. I'm not 100% sure where the years have gone, I just know that they've flown by the a heartbeat and its really strange to think how much is different.

I've started thinking about where I want to be in 5 years time and how the best way to get there is. I don't necessarily want to have a sports car or wads of cash. I'd rather just be in my own place, like I am now, with enough money to sustain myself comfortably, and to be happy. Happiness, although it can be fleeting is my goal. To capture the happiness and maintain it. I just know I need to get it sorted because in the blink of eye, it'll be five years gone and I'll still be trying to work out how the 3 years at university went so quick.

Friday, 12 June 2015

A Fear of Travelling.

New York
I have always wanted to travel and I have been lucky enough to see a chunk of what the world has to offer... From New York to Australia, Budapest to Paris, I love exploring new places and experiencing the ways of life in different cultures. As I started college and university, I figured at some point I'd get the chance I loved the idea of backpacking across an unknown country, alone or with companions, exploring new cultures and environments making memories that would live with me in the future and potentially shaping the person I am.

But things are changing.

I've become a woman who is more apprehensive about travelling, especially alone, which is silly because I like to think that I am a strong independent woman who is perfectly capable of taking on the world.  I'd always imagined that I'd take hop on a flight  with a little bit of money and see where the world takes me. But what if something happens? I get lost? Attacked? Find myself in a situation beyond my control?

Budapest
It's silly, I know, but its almost as thought I have become a victim of potential future circumstance. The world is a rapidly changing place where diversity is both  something to be to be celebrated and can be a cause for concern. I love that nations have joined together and we get the chance to see celebrations and religions that in the past were impossible due to geography. For me, it feels that almost every week there is a horror story about people travelling abroad appears in the news and I think this is where my nerves have begun appearing from.

It's just sad, because at 21, I shouldn't have to worry about whether if I backpack through a rainforest, I'm going to make it back alive. I shouldn't have to worry about cultural clashes that I could get stuck in between. I shouldn't have to worry whether I am at risk because I am a young white woman.I should have the chance to see every far flung corner of the world and its people and take those memories with me forever.

But I sense it will never change and has the potential to get worse. Which makes me wonder whether the art of the gap year will have to change entirely? or will it just be certain 'high risk' countries that people avoid?

I will see the world in my lifetime. I just won't do it alone.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

What is the appeal of gambling online?

It used to be that if you wanted to play casino classics such as roulette and poker, craps or baccarat, the only way to do so would be to book a weekend at a casino. Sometimes even that would necessitate more than a weekend, depending on how far you lived from a casino.
However, that’s all changed now that you can play at online casinos such as bgo, Sky Vegas and Gala casino. Now, casino games come to you, wherever you may be, as long as you have an internet connection.
For millions of people, the very existence of online casinos has opened up previously-closed avenues of entertainment. They might never have made a trip to a land-based casino, but now within a couple of clicks you can be playing any game that enters your head online.

As there are so many different online casinos in operation, there’s a lot of competition for new customers. And competition between the operators is good news for us consumers. All the sites offer a welcome bonus when you first sign up, and this is usually in the form of free playing credit, which is handed out in relation to the amount you first put into your account. If you choose to play at bgo.com/vegas, there’s a 200% bonus when you make an initial deposit and also 180 free spins.
Obviously, the free credit is a draw to someone who’s considering joining an online site, but what else makes playing casino games online so appealing? For many people, it’s the sheer convenience of being able to login and have a few games whenever the mood takes you. It doesn’t matter if you only have five minutes to play, you can flit in and out of a site for as little or as long as you like.
Then there’s the sheer variety of games that each site has on offer. Different games are available, depending on what kind of mood you’re in. If you’re looking for simple entertainment – with the possibility of a cash win – then playing slots is a great choice. There are hundreds of different games to choose from, many themed around movie or comic book characters, or TV quiz shows. All you need to do when playing slots is decide how many lines to play, and how much to bet per line. Whether you win or lose is down to chance. This is dictated by the random number generator sequences in the gaming software. The games are fun because you can’t affect the outcome in any way, so it makes them more relaxing to play.

When you’re in the mood to strategize, though, you could play a game such as blackjack instead. Although the object of the game is fairly simple, to get your hand as near to a total of 21 without going over, while beating the dealer’s hand, it’s not that easy. There’s a level of chance in what cards you are dealt, but you need to decide how to make the hand you are dealt work best for you. And the more you play, the more creative you’ll become with each hand that you have, just remember to stay safe...

For many people, the most challenging online casino game to play is poker. That’s partly because of the difficulty of the game itself, but also the fact that you have to anticipate what other players at the virtual poker table are thinking. For some, poker is a step too far, and seems more like hard work than a game. But that’s the beauty of playing online games. If you try something and don’t like it, there’s no need to carry on with it.

Aside from the obvious appeal of leading to big cash prizes, there’s a lot of fun to be had with online casino games, and the variety of games on offer means that you can always find one to suit the mood you’re in.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Our Night at The Langstone, Hayling Island

 With both mine and the BF's 21st Birthdays falling pretty much within a week of each other it was obvious that we had to do something to celebrate. That coupled with the fact we were smack bang in the middle of our house move made it obvious to me that a night away was the best option. So when my family gave me a voucher for The Langstone on Hayling Island for my birthday, I took the chance and booked.


I know that the hotel isn't far from our base in Portsmouth, and I did wonder whether or not it would be worth the break, but this worry was solved when we arrives and was met with the most amazing view of the water...

We checked in and went up to the room. Which was clean and pleasant enough... The BF was fascinated by the trouser press which had blatentely walked out of the seventies and I was just content with the idea of being waited on hand and foot (which included room service - something I hadn't ever had.)

Would we ever go back? I hope so... The views from the dining room were phenomenal. Plus, who doesn't like to be treated like royalty for a night?
My Carbonara Dinner...





The perfect Roomservice.


Friday, 5 June 2015

The thing I wish I'd known of when moving into my first proper house...

Things change after university and as much as you try to avoid it, stepping into the real world is inevitable. I can think of two paths you can go down when you reach this point; the first being that you move back home to your parents and attempt to find work, the second is that you move out into a new place with a job. I've opted for the second option but know so many people that would rather move home to mum and dad...

Moving into a new house has meant that I've had to work out a whole host of new things which today I'm sharing....

The first thing you should do is check the meter - I'm sure that this is common sense, but the first thing you should do is note down the meter readings are for the gas, electric and water. When you go to register with the gas, electric and water companies they want to know what the meter said so they can bill you from this point. So just remember to jot it down, rather than getting distracted with the thrill of a new place because it will make life ten times easier and you won't get overcharged.

Electric Hobs are a complete pain - I've always had a gas hob up until this point and have always been told that electric hobs are a bit more volatile and a whole lot more of a pain in the arse. I moved in well over a week ago and am still trying to get to use to the new hob (and oven!) and I just can't seem to work it out. Next time, I want a gas hob!

Moving takes an age - and everyone will be stressing - As I sit here now, there is still half a ton of stuff that needs to be boxed and then moved from the old house and even more stuff that needs to be unpacked. That coupled with the fact that I don't know where anything is, is stressing me out, which stresses Jake out, which stresses me out even more.

Me and the Freezer that took up most of my car.
Finding the right flat is all about compromising - I had this vision of where I would be living this year and it certainly wasn't where I am now, on a busy road above a shop, but I would not change my flat for the world. The location may not have been what I'd hoped for, but I'm left living in a bright spacious 1-bed flat that doesn't quite cost the earth. In fact, after comparing it to other flats in the area for the same price, I'd hazard a guess that this one is an absolute steal!

When you go to buy a freezer, the sales people may not take you seriously - We somehow managed to move into a flat that didn't contain a freezer (rookie mistake, I know.) and so have had to go out and buy one which is something we didn't budget for. Anywho, I did my research and worked out which freezer I wanted. After waiting 20 minutes to be served by the sales assistant to get round to serving us (I'm thinking two 21 year olds aren't particularly high on the list of priorities...) we were pretty much laughed. Having said that, we managed to get the freezer, and drive it across town in the back of my KA with no problems at all. I just wish sometimes people wouldn't treat us differently or make assumptions because of our age...

I have learnt a fair bit and am beginning to get the hang of being an adult but I guess at least it should get easier every time I move...

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

5 ways to leave university for summer with 'free' money!

Us students have a reputation for scrimping and saving anywhere humanly possibly (think cheap vodka and ready meals) so it seems logical that at this point in the year, as exams are finished and we begin to pack up our things and head home, that we begin to plan the best summer ever on a budget. Today I paired up with the people at Walton Robinson and together we have found five ways in which you'll manage to 'find' money you wouldn't otherwise have which can go towards whatever it is you fancy... 

1. Check that you don't have any money left in the gas & electric account. - when you close both accounts (which you should do when you leave rented  accommodation) you may find that you've paid ahead of the date that you move out which means they owe you the money back. That money, you can either use for your next energy bill in the new house or get them to send you a check. Ta-da! Money you hadn't thought to count is there for you. 

2. Get a rebate on your TV Licence - Although I didn't have have a TV licence the whole time I was at university, I know that some people did. If you paid the full fee upfront, then you'll be entitled to another rebate seeing as it is unlikely that you will need the licence when you get back home... 

3. Sell old textbooks - Textbooks for university aren't cheap, with most starting from £50 new. You can buy them second hand and/or at the end of the year sell them on to a local bookstore or student who may need them the following year. Although you may not get an awful lot of money, it is better than nothing! 

4. Trade unwanted clothes in - Although this idea will probably give you the smallest return, there are many places that will buy clothes, bedding and other fabrics by the kilo for a small fee. If you were to clear through all the fabrics you own as you pack up to leave, you may find you have enough to make the weight and you'll have less clutter to move home and back again. 

5. Claim tax back - More often than not students find themselves being well overtaxed by employers as they've been put on an emergency tax code - which is never fun. The only good thing is that you can claim the tax back. Just contact HRMC, and hope for the best! 

What do you think? What would you do with this money? 

Friday, 22 May 2015

V is for Vaping.


As the days get warmer, more and more of us think about our images. (I certainly have...) New Year's resolutions are obviously made in winter, but it is during spring that many of us actually do anything about it. There's something about lighter evenings and the idea of needing that bikini body that works wonders for motivation and makes people want to get their running shoes.

As well as pounding the pavements, another great way to overhaul your life is by giving up all those guilty habits; eating takeaways all week, drinking and smoking. I know it's easier said than done, but with a little bit of willpower and some aid, it has never been easier – giving up smoking included. This is down to the emergence of e-cigarettes. And for all those of you who started smoking because it was ‘cool’ and everyone else was doing it, vaping is becoming increasingly  fashionable as well, with many of the Hollywood Great’s cutting down on cigarettes and  choosing to vape instead.

Today is all about giving up smoking, which is something that I certainly won’t give up nagging my other half about until he does... He knows I worry about how smoking affects his health but ultimately it’s his decision....

Recently there have been several Hollywood stars seen ditching the fags and using vapes to help them cut down – and to assume eventually give up – and here are a few...

Bruno Mars - The award winning singer promised his dying mother that he'd give up cigarettes and he did, by switching to e-cigarettes.

Zac EfronZac is one of my slightly inappropriate crushes and has been seen vaping in public a few times in the past year. His character in the movie Bad Neighbours was also a fan of e-cigarettes

Samuel L. Jackson - Samuel L. is cool. Fact. And He appears to have added vaping to his look. Last year he happily puffed away on an e-cigarette as he read a slam poem on The Tonight Show.

I know that there are people who think that vaping isn’t good for you but at least if vaping is something that can help you be a stepping stone to a healthier lifestyle, then you’ll be way better off than smoking all the chemicals in cigarettes.  Take a leaf out of the celebrities books use today as a chance to kickstart an overhaul of your life, one vice at a time.


Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Coco. My little piece of heaven.

Chocolate is something that I always have time for. Be it a bar of Cadbury's bought on a whim with the food shop or  the indulgence of chocolate from a proper confectioners, just like the new little gem I've found in Southsea.

Chocolate by Coco.

Entering the shop was like entering an Aladdin's Trove of chocolatey treasure and was a little bit like heaven. The displays had all of the chocolates lined up by type; from coffee chocolates set with a coffee bean, to milk chocolate truffles, to the more adventurous chilli chocolate, there is definitely something for everyone.

A hot velvety chocolate drink is also sold with the chance to sit in the window on the most ornate chairs ever. (We tried to bargain with lovely lady serving us about taking the chairs home for the new flat but she just wasn't having it....) I can just imagine sitting there in the summer watching the world go by...

You buy the chocolates by the number in a box. 8 is just under £5, so though they aren't the everyday chocolate for a soon-to-be ex-student they are totally worth every penny for a indulgence...



What do you think? Would you buy these over a bar in Tesco?

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

A little bit of luck.

Gambling is something that is very easy to find yourself doing.

Poker. Roulette. Buying lottery tickets online and in stores. Going to the races. Scratchcards. and even going to bingo.

This time a year ago, I'd never particularly gambled with money - not including the one scratchcard I bought when I turned 16 and the one time I went to bingo with my Nan... - but now I find myself gambling a whole lot more, be it scratchcards when I'm in the corner shop or visit the casino on a night out. My flatmates and I like to hit the casino to celebrate 21st Birthday whilst being all dressed up and feeling like we're ready to take on the world.

And whilst this isn't a problem, as I, like the others,  have control, I can see how it can become a problem for some (it really doesn't become a problem for many people).

I guess the trick it to be careful and set yourself limits. Only take out the money that you know you can 'afford' to lose and take it in cash. By doing this, if you do lose it then you won't find yourself as desperate to win it back. By taking it in cash you actually have to hand over the money and that's way harder than just swiping your card. (I do this too when I'm on a budget when shopping!)

I know my limits and I enjoy being winning (c'mon, who doesn't?!) but know that if my gambling every got out of hand there are people who would be there to support me and get me back to a stable place... which is all well and good but there is only one thing I need when gambling...

A little bit of luck...!

Disclaimer: This is a PR collaboration.


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Happiness.

Today, I am happy. Things just seem to be falling into place, and little by little, everything is working out just the way its meant to me.

University is so close to being over (just 2 more exams!!) and although it hasn't always been plain sailing and I did at one point question why I'd decided to do my course, let alone why I wanted to even go to university, I have no regrets about my time here. I have no idea where the years have gone but looking back I have had the most amazing three years with such a myriad of people who - although I didn't always agree with - taught me to be me, embrace my confidence and accept my flaws.

I have a job that I enjoy. It may only be menial work but it pays, keeps me independent and allows me to go out and experience the world through days out, and different experiences. In the future, I guess I'll want more - more hours, more pay, more enjoyment - but for now it is right. The perfect job for this point in my life.

I'm surrounded by people who care. My family who've supported me through the tough times and the friends that became family somewhere along the way. Thankyou for all that you've done for me and all that you continue to do. E+H, I'm glad you've decided that things are going to be the way that they are, I'll miss you but know that absolutely nothing has changed.

Three years ago, I didn't dream that this is where I would be now. But I am here, a strong independent adult surrounded by love and help if I need, ready to take on everything that the fledgling graduate market has the chance to throw at me. I am ready.

Friday, 8 May 2015

BINGO!

It's official. I have struck middle-aged-dom. After shunning the local nightclubs and bars, my new favourite hang out is.... bingo! Surely if I can't keep up with dancing the night away, a quiet game with my eyes down and focusing on the prize...

I'm joking. Kind of. I did in fact go to bingo, but I'm as not quite ready to give up my younger years and subject myself to a perm, I got the drinks in whilst I was there.

I figured that the majority of the players there would be in their 60's and that the winnings would be a couple of quid here and there, but boy was I wrong.  Forget the idea of little old dears winning their spending money for the week, and begin to imagine people in their late 20's alongside those in their 40's and those in their 60's. I was seriously shocked we weren't the youngest in the room by a decade. For a couple of quid, I got the book of a games which game me the chance to win some serious money. £250 a house anyone?

Although I didn't have any luck and didn't even come particularly close to winning (I think, although keeping up with the caller was seriously hard work after a few of the cheapest beers ever!) it definitely has got me thinking that bingo is my sort of gambling - I was always thought that roulette was my sort of game,.. - and so I've begun to compare bingo sites online until I find one that works for me. That way, I can continue to play, but in my pajamas, whilst winning all that money for me to spend on a luxury holiday. Got to win at some point right?

Disclaimer: This is a PR collaboration.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

OOTD - Summer Jumpsuit.

Jumpsuit £22.99 Newlook
Black Leather Jacket £34.99 Newlook
Black Wedge Boots £19.99 Newlook
Sunglasses £5.99 Newlook

Perfect when paired with statement jewellery.


Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Summer Cocktails.

It feels like summer. Its warm(ish), the sun is shining and all that I want to do is find a terrace somewhere and have the chance to sit back with good friends, good drinks and enjoy myself.

It is in the spirit of this, I'm sharing a couple of the easiest cocktail recipes ever. All recipes make one glass, just multiply for pitchers, and serve with ice (and lemon/lime if you really fancy it.)

The Woo-Woo 
- 1 shot of vodka.
- 1 shot of peach schnapps.
- 1 dash of lime juice.
- Top up with Cranberry juice.

The Sex on the Beach
- 1 shot of vodka.
- 1 shot of peach schnapps.
- Half of the remaining glass filled with Orange juice.
- Top up with Cranberry juice.

The Blue Lagoon
- 1 shot of vodka.
- 1 shot of Curacao.
- Top up the glass with lemonade.

So sit down, set up and start drinking.

What's your favourite cocktail?!


Friday, 17 April 2015

10 tips for winning with assignments.

1. Work with the marking criteria next to you - Most lecturers will give you a copy of the criteria that they are going to mark you against, and by working with it along side you, you can see what they're after and make sure you get it.

2. Break the assignment into small manageable chunks - By breaking the assignment into smaller more bitesize chunks, you'll find that you can complete even the most unmanageable of tasks. I did this with my dissertation and it became a whole lot easier.

3. Take Regular breaks - Don't  overwork, you'll get bored. It's easier to take 5 minutes out then go back to it.

4. Work with other people - Study or write with people around you who are also writing (even better if they're writing the same essay as you...) you'll find that you write more and get yourself into the right frame of mind.

5. Remove all distractions - Take away the distractions; the TV, facebook, twitter or tumblr. The sooner you knuckle down and get started, the quicker you'll be finished!!

6. Avoid working through the entire night - By the end of the night I'm guessing the writing you write will become harder and harder to understand and less and less like the work needs to be.

7. Set an 'internal' deadline - Set yourself a deadline before the actual hand in and try and get it done for this date. This just saves the stress of getting to the hand in office on time when you've been up all night trying to get the essay finished.

8. Have food and drink to hand. - When you're working through an essay there is nothing worse than finding you have no food that is easy to cook. Exams and assignments are the perfect time to have ready meals (I tend to avoid them the rest of the year...)

9. Ask for help sooner rather than later - If you need help from your lecturers, don't leave it until the week before because that is when everyone else will want the help and they just won't have time for everyone. Plus they might just outright refuse to help to close to the deadline...

10. Don't leave it until the last minute - Avoid the stress and get it done early. Its better to have the bulk of it done and have time to edit, rather than trying to write right up to the last minute.