Saturday, 27 July 2013

Thoughts on university.

It seems like every time I refresh bloglovin', another Graduation post is live. Despite not graduating for another year or two (I'll explain that a bit later), it has got me thinking...

I have recently finished my first year of Publishing at Bath Spa University. It's a two year foundation course, but I have the opportunity to progress to third year which will make it a fully fledged degree. Honestly, I love my course. To think that I picked it because I thought Bath would be close to where I would be moving to (it isn't) and because I like reading, is quite mesmerising to even myself. At school or college I had no intention of doing a publishing degree - I didn't even know such a degree existed. I feel very lucky to have literally picked this course on a whim and to find it so rewarding. Enough of the gushing, you'll end up thinking they've paid me to write this.

Taken from the University website.

I finished my first year with a 2:1 overall. I have had some work published, and I have dealt with a lot more than I expected. I study quite a lot of visual design, and I had to create a website from scratch, which in turn made me start blogging. I never expected any of that, as I thought I would mostly be learning how to, well, publish books. Apparently there is more of that in the second year ;) Joking aside, I feel like I have learnt quite a lot already, and it makes me feel a bit sad when I hear people say "Well done, but you know your first year doesn't really count towards your degree, right?" Actually, yes it does. As I mentioned, my course is a foundation degree course. This means both of my years will be considered before I am even offered the opportunity to take a third year.  

I also became a Student Rep as I didn't think juggling being a student and a parent was enough on its own - ha! I actually surprised myself by going forward for this role, as I would say I am quite shy. No one who has ever met me has said that I am shy, but there we go. I get on easily with others and I thought that was mostly key. As I had had a bad experience at another university, I wanted to be able to voice my opinion, as well as the opinions of my peers. Also, as I live quite far from my campus and uni friends, I thought this role would allow me to play a bigger role in getting to know the people on my course. I'm really glad I did this, and I hope to continue next year. 

Sometimes I get a bit angry with the government and their treatment on students/parents/anyone earning less than £36,000pa and feel like packing the whole thing in. I should 'get a real job' and not waste my time on the insult that is Student Finance England. However, I genuinely believe that one factor that has stopped me doing this is my tutors. My personal tutor is hilarious and reminds me a lot of myself (poor woman) as she loves Pointless, Manic Street Preachers and cake. What more do you need? She is always on the other end of an email or tweet, and I guess that is why we crowned her Best Tutor Ever  2k13 and gave her a nice mug. Next year, I might even get a lesson or two with her and I can see whether or not she really is this impressive all the time.

My copywriting lecturer was the boss (or something) of The Smiths fan club, has worked as editor for The Big Issue, which tries to help the homeless, and has wrote a few books. My visual design lecturer is so, so lovely that you cannot help but do your best for her. Seriously, we were all worried that we would get the "I'm not angry, just disappointed" talk, and this really inspired us to get our sh*t together. All three have understood that I have nightmare train delays, and a troublesome toddler, and really help me get through the day. I love going in to uni as it means I get to chat to these three people about Morrissey/my dog/dressing Dylan up as the Gruffalo and get to call it work. 

Having such a diverse range of subjects falling under the Publishing umbrella, I really have no idea what sector I would like to find myself in. I'm not a huge fan of ebooks but I am interested in how they will continue to develop. I find it frustrating that I don't have the ability to do what I'd like with design, but this is simply down to learning the skills needed for Illustator and the like. I will not let it defeat me, but for now it sort of stops me from considering a career in design. I like writing, which is why I blog, and I like reading. I would like to see more women in the top tier roles within a publishing house, and I guess maybe I should aim for that.

Recently on twitter, someone asked me if going to university was a good idea for them. My advice is, go with your heart. I have been a university student twice now, the first time I hated it and seriously doubted I would give it another go. I am so thankful to have found the perfect course for me, and I know that taking the two year gap between college and finding my course was exactly what I needed. This is your future, you don't need to rush in to this.

I hope this has been helpful to someone, or even just nice to read me being positive after my last grumpy post! Haha :) 

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Friday, 26 July 2013

L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil.

I'm sure there are plenty of reviews around for this wonder product, but I just needed to put my word in. As a seasoned hair-dyer, my hair has always been below it's prime condition. Over the years I've tried many things to fix it, be it quick fixes such as hair products, or the most drastic of all - the chop! I feel like I know what I'm saying when I tell you just how amazing this product is.

We have all heard about hair oils and their healing properties. There are some pretty expensive oils out there, some that I am just not willing to part with my cash when there are some amazing alternatives. While Boots had an 3 for 2 offer for hair products, I thought it was the time to try out the L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil for Coloured Hair. With my newly ombre locks, I knew that hair maintenance was key to ensure that I didn't end up with a bob again - a style I definitely do not suit! 

The oil itself boasts 6 flower extracts and a UV filter, which should protect the hair from further damage. I have used the oil on both wet and dry hair, and it does not weigh my hair down or make it feel tacky. To be honest, I only put this oil on the ends of my hair, and they are hands down the softest parts of my hair. How crazy is that? 

I know the Extraordinary Oil comes in many formats, mine is for coloured hair specifically, but there is one for normal, fine, whatever your hair type may be. I would recommend this to everyone in a heartbeat, it has been my hair saviour! 

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Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Wednesday Wonders #3

I feel like I am the only person in the UK who hasn't seen Despicable Me 2 yet. We were supposed to go today, but the cinema cancelled their second showing. Who does that? Mean people, that's who! I guess I could go another day, but still. /rantover.

I quite liked Ariel's clothing choices, but whatevs.

With that nice start to my third WW post, I thought I would make a list of things that have recently been narking me off. You're probably all thrilled to hear about my negativity, but hopefully you might agree with me and we can sound like grumpy old women together!

- when drivers are mean to cyclists just because they're batshit crazy. On Monday I was nearly shoved off the road by a big lorry, he actually clipped me on the back tyre and I had a bit of a scuff with the kerb. This guy was recklessly driving, and it's not on. My safety comes first, dammit!

- people walking around with their tops off. Okay, it's been hot and nice, but we live in England. The sight of your scraggly rats-tail against your bare flesh is highly off putting. Put it away. 

- Dylan waking up while I'm watching Breaking Bad. We are finally on to the fifth series, and Dylan tends to wake up at the most tense moments. Child, it's 1am, go to sleep! (also, I should know by now that 1am is not a good time to stay up past, silly Chelsea!)

- cinema time cancellation. 'nuff said.

- my neighbours deciding to have an all night rave. We live in terraced housing, be considerate! I realise not everyone has a toddler in their household, but it's plain rude.

Wow, I really thought I'd be able to list more things that have annoyed me recently. I think next week I might post some more positive things on here haha :) anything you agree with here? 

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Saturday, 20 July 2013

Picnic Wishlist

The British summertime goes hand in hand with picnics. Sitting on a grassy knoll, nibbling on sandwiches and the like. In less than a week, I have been on two picnics. That's right, two. And sadly, for both of them I have been badly prepared. It's bad enough having a toddler to plan for (that's a whole bag dedicated to toys he won't even play with, more nappies than he uses in a week and endless amounts of baby wipes) without needing to think of silly extras. 

One thing we don't have, and in my opinion we badly need one, is a cool bag. A bit of advice, if you're going to have a picnic on the hottest day of the year, don't put frosting on your cupcakes as when you come to eat them, they will have melted and therefore be swimming in the not so frosted frosting. This is because we are cool bag-less. I'm sure one day I'll look back and laugh, but at the time it was a bit humiliating and I was really upset to have wasted five precious cupcakes.

Another thing we don't have, but need, is a study blanket. Sitting on the grass is all good and well, but when it's been recently mowed, or it hasn't rained in nearly three weeks, grass gets a bit prickly and that is not something you want. That was a sentence and a half, sorry.

Picnic Hamper | Flask | Cool Bag | Striped Cool Bag | Flower Cool Bag | Blanket
1. I desperately want a picnic hamper, despite how impractical it really is. Who walks around with a wicker basket, I mean really? *Cue hundreds of bloggers raising their hands* If I lived in Bristol or a nice place like that, I would feel more comfortable walking around with a wicker basket, but in this strange town I would probably be stoned to death.* Just look at the little beach huts, though? I think I might need to brave the stoning and just get this beauty in my life already.

2. Do you like drinking tea on a picnic? It seems really British, but I think it just seems really lovely. You could have fruit teas if you prefer, but a proper brew goes perfectly well with a sandwich or two. Of course, a flask is handy all year round, and I'm sure this heatwave summer won't become a regular thing so the flask can be used on my daily commutes to uni. A good coffee to see me through the day is just what the lecturer doctor ordered! I chose the mushroom design as it reminds me of a really funny thing Joe's little sister did at school. They were designing keyrings in woodwork, and she innocently made a 'magic mushroom' keyring. OH HOW WE LAUGHED.

3. The picture for this cool bag doesn't really give much away, if I'm honest, but I do love a pastel pairing. However, if I go a cool bag like this, I imagine Joe would be slightly reluctant in carrying all the bags for me...

4. Oh Joules and your vintage stripes. I love how simple and yet divine this design is. I need it, no questions asked. It also looks quite roomy, which is more than can be said for item number three!

5. I'm not entirely sure if this is actually a packed lunch bag, and to be honest I don't really care anymore. The design of this reminds me of something I remember from my childhood. A video or a book, maybe? It's also like a more vivid Orla Kiely design, which isn't exactly a bad thing, is it?

6. Of course, when I set my sights on the Joules cool bag, I needed the matching picnic blanket. Look at those bows, look at them! I love it when blankets have little handles to carry them by, and rolling them up makes it much more practical for storing. Is there anything Joules haven't thought of?

So there we have it, my picnic wish list! I might treat myself on my first pay day, if the tax man hasn't had his filthy paws all over it...

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Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Wednesday Wonder #2

For today's WW post, I am seeking your help. Your knowledge and wisdom. As I follow a lot of beauty based blogs, and I know for sure there are plenty more than I haven't got round to following yet, I have a bit of a question. Well, I have a lot of questions but for today's post I am going to focus on just one thing. Skincare. 

I tend to get a dry chin area, and it is really a pain in the butt. I hate wearing foundation, even with a primer, as it just will not sit right on my dry areas and it makes me really self conscious. At 21, I feel like I should have mastered this years ago, but alas, I did not. It's even worse when I see other young mums (or mums in general, really) who manage to look like fully functioning humans, and I always tend to look worse for wear. 

As well as having a dry chin/mouth area, this is also where I get a few breakouts. Nothing major, I am very lucky to have never had full on acne, but nevertheless, my confidence has taken a hit because of it.  So, I am pleading with you guys, begging you to help me on my quest to have a nice enough face that I don't need to hide in a paper bag. 

How do I rid myself of these problems? What products do you suggest? What brands do you swear by?

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Monday, 15 July 2013

Review: Seize The David O'Doherty!

For weeks, I have had tickets to see David O'Doherty in Bristol. Heck, it might have even been months. Months of being excited to leave the house and have a jolly good time. As with most comedy shows, it was on the evening. But that was fine, it would be a Saturday evening and we had the car. Oh, hang on a minute. Our car failed it's MOT. But that's okay, we can take the train. Oh, hang on a minute. The last train is at ten past ten. OH BUM.

But fear not. As I'm a chronic worrier, I had already had nightmares about something like this happening for quite a while. I rang who I bought the tickets from, and explained my plight. I probably sounded a bit mental with starting "Hello, we bought tickets to see DO'D but our car failed it's MOT..." Luckily for me, the man on the other end was more than helpful and told us there was a matinee show on the same day. At 4pm. With good transport links. Huzzar! Man on the phone saved the day!

Without evening seeing Seize The David O'Doherty, I felt like I had already seized all I was likely to. Nevertheless, we set off for the station, leaving Dylan with his aunty (who won't be having him again soon due to feeding him nasties but that's another story I guess), and looked forward to our day ahead. Neither of us had seen David before, well we had on the telly, but you know what I mean. He is a superb comedian I would recommend him to everyone. We got to Bristol Tobacco Factory, a place I'd never been to, but Joe had, and we ordered ourselves a cheeky drink while waiting to enter. Joe had a Bristol Beer Factory beer, and I had a Bath Bounders cider. Might as well have the local stuff if you can. It also helps that these craft brews are incredible. 

Where was I? Oh yes, we waited to go inside and eventually found ourselves some seats. The little chairs had cushions and a booklet of other comedy shows. When David came on stage, he immediately started with the jokes. Bang, bang, bang, they kept coming out. After about five minutes, Joe turned to me and told me his cheeks were hurting from laughing so much. If that's not a rave review, I don't know is. David's comedy style is so fun, he plays a little keyboard and comes up with the best songs. One of his most famous works, is a duet with Shakira about the time she... well, I won't spoil it. A new song he made for the show was about the Grand Designs theme tune. If like me, you've had to endure that show due to a parent loving Kevin (the presenter) then you will love it. Laughs aplenty. 

I really wish I could go to his Edinburgh Fringe show, as I'm sure it'll be amazing. If you're lucky enough to go, make sure you see him!

This is the Shakira duet I was on about! 

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Friday, 12 July 2013

Nails Of The Day #1

Okay, okay, I've gone AWOL recently and neglected you all. I am such a shameful blogger, I don't know how you all put up with me - guessing it must be the charm and wit or somethin'. Anyhoo, as I have a super busy weekend, I am hoping to give you all some nice lifestyle-style posts next week. I realise I said pretty much the same thing on my last post, but I will deny myself cake if I don't do this for you, and I really don't wanna miss out on cake. 

Slightly missing the point of this post, I thought I would start another reoccurring subject matter - nails! I love painting my nails, although reading about everyone else's nail collection makes me feel less proud about my own. I digress, less of the woe, more of the show. (see what I did there? You don't all need to applaud at once!)

We're In It Together - Chalk Dust - Double Duty Base Coat
So I thought I would paint my nails in Essie's We're In It Together, gotta love a Glossybox freebie that you can actually put to use! My shoddy camera skills don't do it any justice at all, as it's a shimmery bubblegum pink. By itself I thought it looks a bit, well, sickly, and I didn't want that so I shot some Maybelline Color Show in Chalk Dust over the top. I've seen quite a few brands do this effect, and I've got say the Maybelline effort is definitely my fave, everytime I wear it someone compliments my nails. I know some pretty boring people. 

This is pretty much what it looks like on. I would normally do a 'statement' nail, but as I didn't want to look too princessy, I did the whole lot. I even did it on my other hand too! Have you got any of these colours? I'd love to see some other NOTD posts if you want to link me up in the comments!

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Monday, 8 July 2013

St Paul's carnival!

On Saturday, we braved the trains and headed of to Bristol to see the Caribbean Carnival at St Paul's. It was quite the family outing, I went with the boys, and three of Joe's siblings - we then met up with another! There's a new craze going on in Bristol and they have Gromit's dotted around the city. They've all been designed by various celebs and whatnot. 

Just three Gromit's we spotted. We saw another one but it was on the other side of the road and we were rushing for our train home! 
I'm going to make it my mission to find more of them, and luckily for me I'll be in Bristol tomorrow so hopefully I'm catch a few more. I'm getting way too excited about the prospect of finding more of Gromit, it's safe to say I might need a life.

Anyhoo, we enjoyed the carnival and I'm looking forward to the next 'family day out' we have. I might even manage to take some snaps of the family, but I can't promise anything. After the carnival, we headed towards the harbour and bought some fancy ice creams, and a few books on the Saturday Market. I really love coming to Bristol and I honestly hope I can live here at one point - Bridgwater is a taaad boring in comparison.

In Bristol tomorrow, I am going to try and buy some clothes and whatnot and hopefully do some proper 'blogger' duties like take a photo of my outfit and maybe even photograph my food or something. How exciting! It's not often I get to leave the house without my boys in tow - I'm not counting work or uni, obviously - so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a nice girly day out!

Rock me, Amadeus.

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Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Wednesday Wonder #1

So I have decided to start doing a weekly Wednesday 'thing' to keep me going until I get some great idea of what subject I should blog about. I considered doing another 'blog every day of the month' but I attempted that in May and it just seems too soon to bore you all with that again.

What I have I done today worth wondering about? Well, I started my new job! It's the most unglamorous job going, but it is in suuuch a pretty location! It literally has it's own lake, which is pretty cool. It's called Lower Lakes (I've only seen one lake, but I could be wrong) and it's probably the nicest place in this little town. I'm not trying to make anymore book a night here, as I think it's mostly booked by fisherman, but y'know, could be worse.

Source - I didn't take my own picture as I thought they might think I was weird and sack me haha
In addition to starting my new job today, I also rode a bike to and from work, which was a quite impressive 6.6 miles. I think that's impressive anyways, I've not rode a bike since I was 13! I'm sure I'll feel the burn tomorrow, but hopefully I'll be okay enough to do it all again on Friday. With my bad luck, the tyre will explode or something. Do bike tyres do that? I don't even know. The bike is a bit tatty, I've had to borrow it as our car failed it's MOT :( but it has a little basket in the front which I've been able to put my bag and jacket in. I would take a picture of it, but it really isn't a delight for the eyes. It's all black and, like I said, rather tatty. It has influenced me to buy a bike when I can afford one, as biking is quite good exercise and I'd love to be able to go on nice bike rides with Dylan once he learns how to do it. I would LOVE (I'm getting excited now) a Pendleton Bike, which have all been designed by Victoria Pendleton - our lovely Olympic Gold Medal winner - and they are so pretty. 

Pendleton Somerby bike in red
 I'd obviously put a little wicker basket on the front and tie my books to the back, perfect! I love how vintage this bike looks, which is the style nowadays, I guess. 

Okay, I'll stop here I think. 
Hope you've all had a good week so far, how are your Wednesdays treating you?

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