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Monday, 23 May 2016

8 Things You Will (and Definitely Won't) Need for Uni

Long time no speak! This blog has fallen a little by the wayside in the last few weeks/months/centuries, but I'm officially done with uni for the year so hopefully I'll be around more often!

I'm currently in the midst of moving out of my room in halls (how did that happen?!) and trying to find a way to cart back all the utter shit I brought with me in September. For me at least, uni was a complete unknown, and there was a really strong urge to bring everything I owned 'just in case'.
What you feel you need is obviously completely personal, but I thought I'd come up with a list of items that were absolute lifesavers (and things that are collecting dust under my bed) in my first year at uni:

I didn't bring my camera, so enjoy this beaut stock photo.


What you might need: 

Earplugs
Even if you're always up for a night out and the last one to bed, there's going to be a point where you feel like you'll snap if you don't get a good night's rest. A pair of earplugs or headphones will be a saviour when your flatmates decide to play snap or perfect their rendition of High School Musical outside your door at 3am.

Toilet roll
Seriously, I don't know where this stuff goes - well, I do - but see if you can bulk buy before you arrive. You might look a bit stupid carrying a 64-pack of Andrex into your room, but you'll be getting the last laugh when your precious money isn't (literally) going down the drain.

A printer
This isn't exactly a must-have, since printers don't come cheap, but I found mine to be SO helpful. I could definitely have lived without it, but trekking it down to the library when you want a page of seminar notes isn't the best use of time.

Bits for your room
I'm sure no-one needs an excuse to go out and buy home bits, but you'll be spending a LOT of time in your room and making it homely does wonders for your mood, especially in the first few weeks. You don't need to go mad - just a few cushions and postcards are fine!
Try to pick fairly unoffensive colours if you haven't seen your halls yet, because the cute rose-gold setup you've planned for months might not go so well with your surprise mustard walls and green carpet. (I was lucky enough to love my room, but I've seen some truly grim colour schemes).



What you definitely don't need:

Wine glasses
My lovely mum insisted on buying me a set of wine glasses for all the soirees I'd inevitably be having at uni. While I appreciate her kindness, there are much more logical things to drink wine out of. Like saucepans. Or the bottle.

All that fancy dress for fresher's week
Okay, so Wednesday night's superheroes, Thursday night's jungle-themed, and Friday's back to school? Just get yourself a few all-purpose accessories and some face paints and you're good to go. I know I felt a lot of pressure to be prepared for any fresher's fancy-dress night, but in all honesty most people I know didn't really bother - except for Halloween, everyone loves that shit.

Summer clothes
Unless you've just accepted an offer to the University of Barbados, bringing your bikini really isn't going to be worth it. I know there's that overwhelming fear of 'what if', but you'll likely be going home regularly, and you probably won't need that floaty dress between moving-in day and October.

Fancy going-out clothes
In my teeny little hometown, going out was a full dresses-and-heels affair. The thought of hitting the club in normal clothes was akin to those dreams about turning up to school naked (just me?) but, at least where I am, it's so much more laid-back. You might have a ball or something around Christmas, so bring something nice just in case, but (at least in my experience) raiding the formal section of ASOS really isn't worth it.


I'm hoping to write a few more posts about uni, so if there's anything you think I should cover please give me a shout!
x
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Sunday, 4 October 2015

How to Have the Cheekiest Nando's Around

Just a little disclaimer: this isn't the sort of thing I usually post on my blog, but I wrote it up and thought it might as well go on here. Besides, there's nothing more fun than being a massive troll, right?

*

We all know the feeling. It’s been a hard day – JD Sports was packed, and you and the lads are pretty tired. There’s an hour or two before the club opens and you’re going to need something to line your stomach, ‘cause no-one wants to be that guy who’s absolutely wankered before ten.

On a top night like this, Greggs just isn’t enough of a leadup. Spoons is a decent choice, but as it’s Wednesday it’ll be all old men and not a single fit bird in sight. Plus your mate Ryan proper chundered up the tikka masala last time you were in there so he’s probably banned or something.

There’s only one place left. One look at the boys and you know. You all know.  

It’s time for a cheeky Nando’s.




By the time you’re in there’s only forty-five minutes left – peak. Just enough time for a wrap, a couple of pints and a session of banter like no-one’s ever witnessed before. You’ve got your order so on point by now that you don’t even have to look at the menu, so it’s straight to the drinks.
The first vital step to your cheeky Nando’s journey is to prepare yourself with one of the bottomless Cokes (originally ordered as water, obvs) because it’s pretty hard work throwing around all those mad laughs. Preferably, get some ice in there too, because you’ll need all you can get when your top man Ollie delivers a sick burn halfway through the butterfly chicken.

Only pausing for a stranger to take a photo of you and the squad, you dive right in like it’s that lass you met in Napa last summer.  The chicken’s top notch, which is just as well because getting the right flavour’s crucial. On the one hand, you want to look like you’re up for some proper madness, but you don’t want to have to back down and face a battering from the crew. One thing’s for certain, though – if you order Lemon & Herb you might as well flush your reputation down the weirdly-tiled toilets.  


Just to squeeze in the last bit of bants before you head out, it’s obligatory that you top the charts with a mad stunt that’s never been attempted before. Things like trying to down a bottle of Extra Hot sauce, stealing a table stick or making a joke about how chicken’s technically ‘cock’ are all 100% original acts that will have your mates and the waiters alike cheering about what a ledge you are.  With the lads at your side, an extra chilli on your card, and the Cheeky Nando’s experience absolutely smashed, you can walk out with your head held high in the knowledge that you are the complete and undisputable Archbishop of Banterbury. 
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Tuesday, 29 September 2015

12 Ways To Treat Yourself For Basically Nothing

Long time no speak! As you may have guessed from my blogging absence and midnight club tweets, I've just started university so things have been pretty hectic to say the least. 4am is the new 10pm and I've not worn much short of fancy dress or pyjamas for the last ten days. That being said, I'm currently stuck in bed with freshers' flu (found out the hard way that it's not a myth) so what better thing to do than to crawl back to my little ol' blog?

Students are notorious for their less-than-favourable financial situation (read: Super Noodles all day err' day) and, while I've fortunately got a job and some help from my lovely parents to tide me over, it's still important that I take care of the pennies and all that. I'm definitely a 'treat yourself little and often' kind of person, and any excuse to buy something - I did something good; I did something bad; I'm sad, happy, hungover - is grabbed with both hands. Obviously the student budget doesn't stretch too far, so I thought I'd compile a list of ways to treat yo'self without breaking the bank. All of these come to under £5 and they make you feel so good they're practically medicinal, so in the grand scheme of things the money doesn't count, right...?


Cue irrelevant phone pic because I don't have my camera at the moment *sob*. 


1. Flowers
So whoever made up the rule that only other people can buy you flowers can go and do one. They're one of the cheapest and prettiest ways to make your dark little uni room feel halfway bright and Instagram-worthy. And let's face it, you know you feel like a proper adult who could take on the world when you remember to water them three days in a row.

2. Ice cream
This was my solution to lying in bed feeling like utter crap while my flatmates went out yesterday. Public announcement: Ben & Jerry's is currently half price in Asda. You're welcome.

3. New underwear
Okay, so this might not come under the £5 mark (I'm looking at you, Topshop) but the sassy feeling that a new pair of pants brings is well worth the slight breach. Once you get past the jumble-sale feel and Minions thongs, Primark actually has some super cute underwear for just a few of your precious pennies.

4. Chocolate
The obvious. Anyone with half a brain cell knows that a cup of tea and a Dairy Milk is the ultimate quick fix to ANY situation, but I just had to include it.

5. Go to the park/beach/pet shop/in fact, anywhere
They're all free to visit and give you a little blast of sun and trees and happiness. The pet shop might sound like a bit of a weird suggestion, but yes I am that customer that goes in just to stare and smile and whisper to the fluffy animals.

6. New stationery
This doesn't even need explanation. Just give yourself the excuse.

7. Paperchase postcards
AKA the epitome of cheap motivation. These babes only cost about 60p each and they're perfect for sticking on a notice board or in a frame somewhere. Or, y'know, using as a blog prop.

8. Get your arse on eBay
Whether it's to buy or sell, eBay is pretty underrated and seriously therapeutic - and you can get some serious bargains, especially on high-street clothes. I mean, yeah, you get the odd person trying to sell their stained Primark bra for a fortune but there are some real gems too.
I went through a massive phase of selling my old bits on eBay and I made a surprising amount of money from it. You have to pay slight charges (I'm talking £2ish for every month you sell something?) and sometimes the items don't sell, but it's a damn easy way to make a few pounds - which can be spent on a reward for your time, right?

9. Clean your room 
Excuse me while I put on my dressing gown and natter on about Corrie because, yes, I've just turned into your mum. The feeling of a clean and tidy room is a freaking mental high and, with some music or some trash TV in the background, the process can actually be pretty enjoyable.

10. Get baking
Baking is fun and the end result is food. If that's not a damn good deal, I don't know what is.

11. A new scarf
As it's officially A/W (something that simultaneously fills me with dread and pumpkin-infused glee) you have basically no excuse not to buy ALL the snuggly knitted accessories. A good old tartan scarf is the best way of looking like you actually tried to be fashionable when really you chose it to feel like you're still in bed.

12. Take some me-time
Obviously it's important to get out and see people, especially if you've just started afresh (says me with my bedroom door physically locked) but it's easy to get so obsessed with being everywhere and meeting everyone that you forget about yourself. Take an hour or five to stick on some Netflix, have a shower and leave your emails in the Unread section for once. FOMO is a real and terrifying thing but, honestly, the world won't end if you spend a few nights a week looking after Number One.


How do you treat yourself on a budget?
x


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Sunday, 6 September 2015

Starting Sixth Form: What I Wish I'd Known

It's getting cold, damn it. September inevitably marks the beginning of jumper season and, for many of us, a new start in education. I've just finished my two years at sixth form and thought I'd share a couple of things that would have come in handy when I started out. Obviously everyone's different so this shouldn't be taken as read, but here are a few tips on making settling in and dealing with the workload that little bit less daunting:


Take the subjects you enjoy.
There is literally no argument to this. Even if you want to look super impressive and academic, taking three sciences and Further Maths when your heart’s not in it is a one-way ticket to The Land of Crash and Burn. The workload is difficult at the best of times, so trying to finish a midnight essay on something you hate is NOT going to work out.

Make an effort from the start.
Yes, it’s boring, but this is the one thing that everyone I know wishes they had done. There’s no room for easing into the subject at the beginning of the year or recapping topics at the end, so keeping up with work literally from September saves a LOT of tears come June.

Don't make expectations for your social life.
As somebody who’s extremely shy, getting to know people was my biggest fear and I know this is a worry for a lot of people starting out. All things assured, you WILL make friends and you WILL go out and have great times.
However, don’t set yourself expectations of finding the best friends of your entire life in the first week or falling into the arms of a perfect partner. Some people get into relationships, others don’t. Some people stay in their friendship group, while others go and find a whole new circle of people – neither is wrong or right.

Give people a second chance.
When you start sixth form, the focus is on meeting brand-new people, but the best friends I made were acquaintances in secondary school. Motto of the story, don’t write off those people that you sat next to in Science but were too ‘boring’ or ‘loud’ four years ago; chances are, they’re not an entirely different species. 

Don't be a dick.
You know how at GCSE it was cool to be all, ‘yeah I didn’t even open the book I just read chapter summaries lol fuck da teachers’ (obviously down with the kids) and you’d still fly through the exam? Yeah, don’t do that. Crazy as it sounds, people are going to enjoy being paired with the kid who can hold an insightful discussion rather than the one who just wants to text their boyfriend from three tables away.  If you don’t do the homework, people aren’t going to assume your social life is just too cool and crazy for mere education, you won’t be getting any high fives, and you WILL fail.

Discipline yourself!
My attendance was pretty much 100% all the way through secondary school and not without reason. I was clearly supposed to be in, 9-3, every day, and the fear of the receptionist phoning my mum was roughly equivalent to being caught with a kilogram of heroin.
And then sixth form happened. As much as I value my education, I have definitely fallen prey to the ability to leave whenever you want without punishment. Missed the bus? Forgotten your homework? You just really, really don’t want to go? No-one’s making you.
While people are lying if they say they’ve never skipped a lesson, it’s insanely easy to get into a habit. If you really want to torture discipline yourself, write the times you’re supposed to be in on the family calendar and then it’s not so easy to just shrug and say ‘free period’ when your parents ask what you’re doing at home.

Make one friend from each subject.
Even if you’re not the biggest social butterfly on earth, don’t just think that you can walk in and out of lessons without saying a word to anyone. Chances are you’ll need someone to emergency text about homework (or just send each other crying emojis on the night before a deadline).

DON’T expect to fly through the exams.
Yes, there’s always that one guy who comes out with A*A*A*, but this time it’s down to a hell of a lot of hard work and not because he’s a ‘massive genius anyway’. I sauntered through GCSEs with mostly As and a couple of A*s, but it’s taken me ten times the effort to achieve my BCC at A-Level.  The work’s definitely manageable, but it’s a whole different style of thinking – interpretation and analysis rather than a memory test – that gets you the grade.

Cliques still exist...but on a lower scale.
For the most part, people have got over the phase of ‘omg I’m so cool you don’t even deserve to talk to me’. While I wasn’t the biggest loser around (I hope), I was far from popular, but the divide between the ‘cool kids’ and the rest of the school was noticeably smaller than at school.

Enjoy yourself!
Yes, your A-Levels are your top priority for the next two years, but that doesn’t mean to say your every waking moment should be spent solving algorithms and stressing about an exam in ten months’ time. Get a job if you want (although I’d only recommend one day a week), grab a coffee after your lesson and take advantage of free club entry on Thursdays every once in a while. Sixth form was the first time I really started going out, and the first time I’d properly met anyone new since Year 7. Turning 17 and 18 brings a load more opportunities for fun, so take the opportunity and grab it!


Are you starting sixth form or college soon? What advice would you give?
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Monday, 10 August 2015

18 Things You Buy In Primark...Every Time

1. Three words: super cosy tights. Has anyone ever left without a pair? 

2. A thong with some form of cartoon character on, which you love and feel a bit awkward about in equal measures. This is not what Winnie the Pooh wanted.

3. A pair of pyjamas that took 20 minutes to choose because the nightwear section is just so overwhelmingly amazing. PUGS AND MONKEYS AND DISNEY, OH MY.

4. A pack of three million hairbands, because you've lost all the ones you bought a fortnight ago.

5. A super cute bra/knicker set, which seem a great idea until 5 days later when they've already sagged to your knees.

6. A dupe of something you saw in Topshop but can actually afford here. YES PRIMARK.

7. A top that's three sizes too big because it was the only one left. You can make this work, right? ....right?

8. A pair of bog-standard yet oh-so-valuable black leggings. Yes, you're aware that your arse cheeks are fully visible, yes you shame other people for wearing them, but SIX POUNDS GUYS.

PS. That black blob in the corner is a hat with a special talent for blending into itself. 

9. Something that comes up as half price at the checkout. Is this what winning the lottery feels like?

10. Something that has previously been tried on by a person with a frightening sweat problem.

11. A novelty accessory that you'll definitely regret once you get home and check your bank balance. Ice lolly-shaped glasses? They're just so fun.

12. A knock-off chiffon blouse that appears to be made of tissue paper. But, c'mon, £3.

13. A goddamn gorgeous summer dress that you find yourself saying, 'It's from Primark, would you believe?' to almost everyone you meet when wearing it.

14. Cosy socks. Yes, you own 14 pairs already but WINTER IS COMING.

15. A handbag just like the extortionate one you saw in Accessorize. Except that one can hold more than a pack of tissues and a lipstick without breaking.

16. A pair of knickers √† la Bridget Jones that you walked past the first time and then remembered that, fuck it, nobody's going to see you in them anyway.

17. A pack of makeup wipes, more socks and a big bag of Haribo because those tricksters know you're 100x more susceptible to impulse buys in the queue.

18. A sense of irrational anger and personal victimisation on your way out, on realising the super-stylish jacket and pair of leather boots in Zoella's haul were nowhere to be found.



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Friday, 7 August 2015

101 in 1001: Update #3

It's been donkeys' years since I've updated my '101 in 1001' challenge, and to be honest with you I'd forgotten about it a little. I've got seven more ticked off since my last post in January - they're not all the most exciting, but a girl gotta pretend she's interesting, right?


Date started: 19th August 2014
Date to finish: 16th May 2017
Today's date: 7th August 2015
Tasks completed: 22
Tasks in progress: 4

1. Get a tattoo
Okay, I haven't actually done this yet, but soon! Hopefully by next payday I'll have enough saved up so I'll be booking any time now. Spoiler: it's Harry Potter-related...

3. Pass my driving test
I'll try not to ramble any more than I already have, but I finally passed my driving test! It was way back in May and, though I'm not the most adventurous driver, I love not having to spend 97% of my life on the bus.

10. Get another piercing
Now don't go thinking I'm too wild (she says in a dressing gown on a Friday night) but I've had two since my last update post. I got my nose pierced in March after seeing a few bloggers who completely rocked it, and I pretty damn love it.
Then, in May, I got another lobe piercing in one ear on a bit of a whim. I'd hoped for it to be a bit higher up (damn you tiny ears) but I love it nonetheless.

32. Vote
The general election came and went, and like a super-cool responsible adult I went and ticked a little box on a little piece of paper. I didn't love the results but maybe next time, hey?

52. Try a new food
I had squid on holiday last week (more to come on that, maybe?) and it was okay. I'm not a particularly fussy eater, so I didn't hate it, but I won't be putting it on the Tesco list any time soon.

63. Own a high-end or designer product
Like every other person ever  I treated myself to the Naked palette for my sixth form prom. Whether it was worth the £38 price tag I'm not quite sure, but the pigmentation really is something else. I've also bought the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray a number of times and LOVE it - perfect for hiding a multitude of sweaty and smudgy sins.

66. Win some money on a scratch card/lottery ticket
Well, if winning £1 on a £1 scratch card counts...maybe I'll be able to give you a more prolific update?

92. Buy a domain name for my blog
Yup. What seems like ages ago now I dropped the 'blogspot' and became www.jeblogue.co.uk.
I know that literally anyone can buy a domain name, but it made me feel all cool and like I kind of had that blogging thing sorted out.

The list:
1. Get a tattoo
2. Design my own tattoo
3. Pass my driving test (I would hope so by then! Although it feels like I never will at the moment)
4. Have 500 followers on my blog
5. Learn French to an almost fluent level
6. Start university
7. Make friends at uni
8. Go to see the stage performance of Les Mis
9. Be able to do the splits
10. Get another piercing
11. Visit a country I've never been to before
12. Start learning another language
13. Be both physically and mentally healthier
14. Learn to sew
15. Donate blood
16. Find out my blood type
17. Run 5 miles
18. Complete the ‘Couch to 5k’ programme
19. Stay up all night
20. Host a blogger’s meetup
21. Get another piece of writing published 
22. Donate money to a charity
23. Get a massage
24. Go vegetarian for a week
25. Go vegan for a week
26. See Eddie Izzard again (I saw him last week and he was INCREDIBLE….more to come on that!)
27. Take my brother on a mini holiday
28. Meet a new blogger in person
29. Improve my blog design (needs doing asap)
30. Go camping with my friends
31. Learn how to change a tyre
32. Vote
33. Give £1 to charity for every one of these I don’t complete
34. Go to a festival
35. Say ‘no’ to 5 things I don’t want to do, but would normally do to make someone happy
36. Say ‘yes’ to 5 things I don’t want to do, but will do to make someone happy
37. Join a writing group (and actually let people read my work)
38. Tell someone I know in real life about my blog
39. Write a guest post for another blog
40. Grow and eat a fruit or vegetable
41. Try indoor skydiving
42. Spend a day watching a TV series back-to-back
43. Lie in past midday
44. Drink 2 litres of water a day for 30 days
45. Get a hairstyle I actually like
46. Get a French passport
47. Blog every day for 30 days (16/30)
48. Post a video on YouTube
49. Open a savings account
50. Save £500 in said savings account
51. Throw a party
52. Try a new food
53. Go to a concert
54. Whiten my teeth
55. Spend a whole day not giving a crap about anything
56. Celebrate turning 18
57. Go on a road trip
58. Get paid for something I’ve written
59. Take a self-defence class
60. Win a giveaway
61. Get better at using Photoshop
62. Get better at using my camera
63. Own a high-end or designer product
64. Make sushi
65. Read an entire book in French
66. Win some money on a scratch card/lottery ticket
67. Blog about completing at least 25 of the things on this list (1/25)
68. Take my family out for a meal
69. Learn a new piece on the piano
70. Take a Grade 6 piano exam
71. Walk for at least half an hour every day for 30 days
72. Dance like no-one’s watching (sober)
73. Make the first move and talk to someone
74. Perfect the waterfall braid
75. Get over 3 of my current fears/bad habits
76. Learn how to stop procrastinating
77. Be a generally more positive person
78. Get a manicure
79. Go on an unplanned trip (shudder)
80. Read 26 new books, each beginning with a different letter of the alphabet (1/26)
81. Do an OOTD post
82. Hold a giveaway
83. Perfect the smokey eye
84. Buy someone a gift ‘just because’
85. Take part in the Race for Life again
86. Learn a song on the ukulele
87. Have photographic/video evidence of completing at least 50 things on the list (4/50)
88. Make my own ice cream
89. Go without tea for a day (and woe betide anyone who tries to talk to me)
90. Get an A in at least one of my A Levels
91. Buy a MAC lipstick
92. Buy a domain name for my blog
93. Watch the sun rise
94. Go on a picnic
95. Bake an ombr√© layered cake
96. Buy an iPhone
97. Try a spin class
98. Go on a spa day
99. Complete a ‘Wreck This Journal’
100. Bake (edible) macarons
101. Learn to like coffee

I'm not even a quarter of the way through my tasks yet but there's another two years so here's hoping, hey? I love keeping up with these so if you're also doing 101 in 1001 please let me know!
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Monday, 20 July 2015

20 Signs You're Actually A Grandma

Because things were so much better back in your day. And by 'your day' you mean 2005.


1. You wouldn't dream of leaving the house without an assortment of non-perishable snacks. Because you never know when hunger might strike.

2. There is at least one blanket in every room of your house. And three in the guest bedroom because heaven forbid anyone you're looking after is ever uncomfortable.

3. Your weekend plans are as follows: nothing, nothing - oh, and, er - NOTHING.

4. You find yourself tutting loudly at misbehaving children, groups of chavs and teenagers with 'silly haircuts'.

5. No matter how much your friends try to convince you, loud music is never fun.

6. You have an entire (straining) bookcase just to hold your cooking and craft selection.

7. You consider slippers to be not just a fashion statement, but a lifestyle choice.

8. You try constantly to set up your single friends to the perfect life partners. Can he whip and nae nae to your heart's content? Well, no, but he's just such a lovely man. And he's a doctor, do you know?

9. Your sleep schedule is, quite firmly, 10pm - 7am. With a midnight toilet break, of course.

10. If it can be quilted, it's damn well quilted.

11. Or crocheted.

12. You have refused lunch out on at least one occasion to watch Countdown. But that Nick Hewer is just such a charmer.

13. You bake. Often. And your friends WILL go home with a batch, whether they like it or not.

14. 'You look worried. What are you thinking about?' Oh, you know, just the impending doom of our future generation.

15. There is ALWAYS time for a radio documentary.

16. Friends flock to you on a Sunday for one of your legendary roast dinners.

17. You can't fathom why anyone would willingly choose pain over practical footwear.

18. Marks & Spencer will never not be your supermarket of choice. THOSE HOT CROSS BUNS THOUGH.

19. Why yes, I am doing a puzzle. Girl gotta exercise her brain.

20. You wear cat prints and chunky knitwear completely unironically. A statement against the unfair expectations of fashion constantly reinforced by society? Er, I just found it at the back of my wardrobe, actually.



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