Saturday, 19 April 2014

Planning a Holiday with Friends

It's that time of year again and summer is fast approaching us. Roll on those hot summer days and long summer nights, beaches, ice creams and hanging out with friends. Maybe you're even planning a holiday with friends, and here's where todays post comes in.

My friends and I are about to embark on a summer holiday together (my first big group holiday) and planning it has become something of an art form. Now, before I go any further I just want to say that most of the planning (read: all of the planning) has been done by my very organised and very kind friends, but I thought I would share with you some tips and tricks anyway.

The Group: It goes without saying, but make sure that you get along with the people you are going on holiday with. You are probably going to be with these people 24/7 and if you don't get along with them you're not going to enjoy your holiday to the max.
Price: Arrange a group meeting and discuss a rough price range with a maximum price you wouldn't be able to go over. You'll all be much more happier if you have a rough price range and you try to keep within it. The length of the holiday will also be linked to the price, so when you've arranged a rough price range also discuss dates and a rough time scale.
Destination and Accomodation: Now for the fun bit, pick your destination and type of holiday; be it Villa, Interailing, or City Escape. When booking Accomodation don't just go off pictures and price. Look at the location, is it in a nice part of town, close to the city centre and local ammenities? If you don't know, google it. Does the owner, landlord, hotel chain have a good reputation and are easy to deal with? Also check what is included in the price. For example if it doensn't include sheets and duvets you may have to pay extra or bring a sleeping bag with you.

Most importantly however, is to make memories, have fun with your friends and visit lots of new and exciting places.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

'3 Ways to Wear'- Black Slip

Roll up, roll up for the second installment of '3 Ways to Wear', this time featuring a black lace slip. If you have read my H&M Haul you will know that I have a bit on an obsession for slip dresses. I just think they are so classic and versatile and great from a night out to a day at the office. This paticular dress is from New Look and was mine for a small fee of £14.99.

1. Vintage Velvet- A perfect transition for Spring this velvet shirt adds a bit of luxury (and much needed warmth for those April days). Left open and paired with a feather necklace and moccasins, gives this black slip a slightly bohemian twist. Perfect for a day at school to a coffee with the boyfriend this look is definitely my favourite of the three.

 2. Cosy Florals- One of the great things about slips is that it is so easy just to throw on a jumper and a pair of boots and head out whilst still looking semi put together. I chose to pair the slip with an oversized jumper, chunky boots and these amazing patterened tights. This is the kind of outfit I love to wear when I am running errands as it is just so comfy and easy to move around in. And if you are anything like me who is always having to run to places late, movement can make or break an outfit!

3. Handbags and Gladrags- I am not usually a gal' for heels and clutches. In fact the only other time I have worn a dress and heels was for my Year 11 Prom (2 years ago...). And I am still like bambi on ice in heels. That having been said if I was going to dress up it would be in this outfit. You can't beat a LBD and paired with some killer red heels (thank heavens for Kurt Geiger) and statement jewellery you are ready to hit the town. In fact as I write this post I am getting ready to don this very outift again, work up a smokey eye and volumised lashes, and head out for a friends 18th cocktail party.

Outfit 1: Dress- New Look (similar), Shirt- Vintage, Moccasins - Primark, Necklace- Primark
Outfit 2: Jumper- Primark, Boots- New Look, Necklace- Missguided (similar), Tights- Marks and Spencers (similar)
Outfit 3: Clutch- Vintage, Shoes- Kurt Geiger (similar), Bracelt- Present, Necklace- Vintage

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Long Distance Relationships

If you had asked me about a year ago whether long distance relationships were possible I would've told you flat out no. They never work, and they always end. Yet somehow a year later I find myself in a long distance relationship and I can't help wondering whether my original aversion to them will turn out to be true.

Now a days thanks to technology long distance relationships seem more plausible. Gone are 'The Notebook' days of romantic letters, now we have Skype, and in one quick click (or a few minutes if you have my internet connection speed) you can see and talk to your boyfriend/girlfriend hundreds of miles a way. Yet even Skype will still never compare to actually talking to them in person, going to the movies on a Saturday night or on those long summer evenings going for a nice walk instead of being inside having a 'Skype Date' (which for the record is just like a normal Skype chat but with the word date at the end).

Then there is the huge amount of trust you have to have for the other person. I am quite a jealous and paranoid person and keeping those feelings in check whilst my boyfriend is away is a monumental challenge. How anyone has that amount of trust for someone is beyond me. I hate being vulnerable and to me having to have that amount of trust for someone is like walking into a room with a Hope eating Zombie.

My opinion has always been that long distance relationships have never worked, but now I find myself in one I am desperate for it to all work out. But maybe that is how everyone feels when in a relationship, long distance or not? And if you have any tips on making a long distance relationship work, I would love to know.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

What I am Listening to this Week #18

1. Young the Giant- My Body This week has been filled with revision, and then more revision, with a sprinkle of more revision on top. And this band is instrumental to my survival when revising. They are the perfect band to revise to, relaxing background music when you are concentrating, and uplifting dancing around music when you are taking a break! 
2. Paloma Faith- Can't Rely on You The girl with the amazing voice and fashion sense is back with a pretty amazing track. Fun to get up and dance to this song is perfect for getting ready to go for a night out. Or for those much needed revision breaks!!
3. Aretha Franklin- Chain of Fools Chain, chain, chain... A classic from a legend, this song has been vital for keeping my spirits up whilst revising for countless hours. Can't beat a good ol' bit of soul.
4. Thumpers- Unkinder New discovery, new love, nough said
5. Red Hot Chili Peppers- Dani California Now that my boyfriend is back home for the Easter holidays I am no longer the chauffeur. With all my CDs back in Mr M I have had a new 'driving music' selection recently. And my number one selection out of my boyfriends CDs has to be the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and this is one of my favourite tracks of theirs. Perfect for singing along to (badly) whilst being a passenger driver. The music video is also pretty great, I highly recommend you watch it!

And for more playlists feel free to check out What I am Listening to #17 and What I am Listening to #16

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Assesing your Uni Choices

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a lover of spreadsheets. If I could use a spreadsheet to decide everything I probably would, and if you are like me and have heard back from all your Universities but don't quite have a favourite they are a great way of assesing your options.

For some of you this process is not relevant, your favourite Uni has given you an offer, or you have recieved an offer to good to resist, and picking your top two was just a matter of clicking and submitting. Yet if you are like me, extremely indecisive or not in love with any of your offers there are ways to help you decide.

Grades: Grades are pretty important when considering your options. If an offer has come back and you feel its grade requirements are just too unrealistic, discount it. If you know in your heart that that AAA requirement is not acheivable, or you are not willing to put in the work to get there look at your lower offer requirements.
Personal Ranking: Rank the different aspects out of ten. Accomodation, Course and the City/Location itself. It helps when ranking if you have been on a second visit day after receiving your offer, but a good ol' google search can help too. If like me you are super picky you can rank each catergory in sub-sections such as ranking the course by seperate years, range of choice research etc. Once you have done this average out the rankings and one should come out better than the others.
Cost: If living costs is a huge factor for you, search the living costs of each Uni in the first years and when out of University Accomodation. You'll find that some Unis are much cheaper to live in then others, paticularly when looking at Universities in London.
Prospects: In the current economic climate, employability after graduation can be key. Some Univerisites will have higher employability rates. Usually you will find that this is the case in London, where graduate employment is a lot higher. However it can vary throughout the country, and whether we like it ir not certain Universities will carry more weight with your future employers.

All these factors can help you decide where you want to go for the next 3-4 years of your life. However, the most important question you need to ask yourself when making your choices is can you see yourself living there and enjoying yourself for the forseeable future. Because there is no point working so hard and spending all that money on a great Unviersity if you are going to be miserable there. Hope that helps those of you who are undecided, and good luck choosing!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Revision 101

For many of you the Easter Holiday means one thing, and one thing only: revision. And many of you out there are having to bypass sunny spring days and hanging out with friends for sitting inside, by yourself with only a textbook for company. So I thought I would introduce you to a few things which help me to revise, and stay sane whilst in revision turmoil.

Managing your Time: Timetables can be really useful when it comes to revising. Get Revising lets you put in your subjects, predicted grades and exams, and churns out your own personal timetable. It also lets you prioritise your subjects and add in your other weekly activities.
Snacks: Snacks are pretty important. They keep you going through out the day and if you are like me, you can use them as a reward for some hard work. It's a well known fact that sugar helps keep the mind active and focused, and you should always eat a sweet or two before entering a long exam. I always like to have my favourite sweeties (Dolly Mixture) to hand as a reward and when I feel myself dropping. However, healthy alternatives are also a good idea, as gorging on sweets all day every day isn't good for you, or for our skin (stress+sugar=major breakout). Try having something like carrot sticks or grapes to munch on throughout the day to keep that hunger at bay.
Revision Tools: Be it notepads, biros, sticky notes, revision cards or highlighters everyone needs some tools to help them remember key facts. I am a huge fan of the highlighter (or rather obssessed) and I find them useful to memorise key facts and definitions. However, revision cards are also handy, and make it easy for your friends and family to test you and make sure you retain all that infomation.
Comfort: Wear what's comfy for you, there's no point trying to revise in something that is distracting or uncomfy. Most likely you are gonna be sitting still for long periods of time, so why not just wap on a fresh pair of pyjamas and prop a cushion up behind you to try and limit those back pains. When I have been  leaning over work all day I also prop up a hot water bottle behind my back to try and relax my muscles.
Music: Now I know not everyone can work to music, but not everyone can work in silence either. However, if you are going to listen to music try not to listen to your absolute favourite song that you know all the words to, or something loud and distracting as you'll just remember those lyrics, and not those facts. Or why not try Coffitivity a website that has a selection of coffee shop noises which are proven to help boost creativity and concentration.

Good Luck with that revision, it'll be worth it in the end. And if you are truely struggling just think about all that time off you're gonna have in the summer.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

H&M Haul

After trailing around Primark, New Look  and Topshop I was beginning to get disheartened as after a University Rejection I really needed a purchase pick me up. Enter H&M. After trying on multiple items, and scouring the shelves for the right sizes I walked away with these little beauts. Four staple pieces that I'll wear time and time again.

1. Black Chiffon Blouse- £14.99 This chiffon blouse is lightweight and super comfy with a loose fit. It has somewhat sultry, sheer geometric panels across the front and back. I purchased this blouse in an 8 just to get an even looser fit, but you don't really need to go a size bigger to get the loose fit. Button it up with jeans for a casual look or pair with a leather skirt or disco pants for an edgier look. I recenlty wore this on a meal out with disco pants, and  left untucked the loose fit was perfect for disguising my growing food baby. I also found it in white on the website, so perfect for Spirng too! One quaulm would be that it I seem to be forever cutting off loose threads, but at £14.99 still a bargain!
2. Cropped Square Patterened Jumper- £14.99 This jumper is super soft and has a baggy cropeed shape which makes it perfect for pairing with high-waisted skirts and jeans. The white square pattern makes for an interesting detail, perfect for more casual days. I got this in a medium (as it was the only size left) but I like the slightly oversized feel, however, at two sizes too big it is no longer that cropped on me.
3. Black Lace Shift Dress- £14.99 I love slip dresses. I bought one last year from a vintage store, then when I got home realised it was completely see through, I would need a slip in order to wear my slip. So when I saw this slinky black number I knew I had to redeem my slip disaster. With lace detailing along the top and bottom it is really girly and sexy at the same time. I bought a 6 and it fits really well on my petite frame, not too tight or long, which is always a plus at 5 ft 1. I think that slip dresses are great for petite or slim girls as they really flatter your shape. I pair mine with tights and my vintage bomber jacket, or on more casual days throw a jumper over and let the lace detailing along the hem do the talking. I also think this dress would be great paired with bare legs and a little denim jacket in the summer.
4. Zip Detail Skirt- £14.99 Last but not least was this little beauty. Origionally I wanted this is white, but I couldn't find any in my size, so I opted for an 8 in the black, however it is still a tad big around the waist. A plain black asymmetric skirt can add that little bit of detail to outfits, and is a good alternative to a plain black jersey or skater skirt. The zip detailing adds that tough girl edge which I am forever striving for with my cutesy, 12 year old girl exterior. Pair with converse and a slogan tee for a laid back look, or platform boots and a sheer blouse for a bit of night time glamour.

Yes, all the items I bought were black (great forward planner for Spring Hope) but I just feel that black is such a staple colour for day and night, and I will be able to mix and match these  pieces for any occasion. Unfortunately only the blouse appears on the website, however the items may still be availiable in store.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Top Five Reads #2

Round 2 of books I love is up and running and ready for reading
1. The Interpretation of Murder- Jed Rubenfeld I love books that involve a good mystery, and this books combines my love of mystery, the past and neurology all into one. After the murder of one beautiful New York debutante and the near death of another, Freud and a young doctor set out to solve the murders. Centred around Freud's first trip to America this book has it all, death, romance and enough twists to keep you turning page after page.
2. Allegiant- Veronica Roth Now, I refused to read this book till after my mocks and coursework, so I am a little late to the boat. The last installment in the best selling Divergent Series, (with a movie out of Friday 4th April) this futuristic novel is teenage fiction at it's most exciting. And my love of male leads grows with the fragile yet strong Four (a.k.a Tobias). I never could resist a guy with tattoos...
3. A View from the Bridge- Arthur Miller We had to study this play for GCSE and at the time I didn't enjoy it, as I always feel that reading books at school ruins it for you. That having been said I recently read it again and fell in love with the tragic plot line. Following a family of Italian-Americans in the 50s, Catherine falls in love with her Italin cousin Rodolpho whi has travelled to America illegally with brother Marcus. However, there's a catch, Eddie, Uncle and somewhat father to Catherine  is secretly in love with her, and doesn't realise. Family honour, the law and working to save their families all come together in a tragic finale that will have you left angry and crying.
4. The Scarlet Pimpernel- Baroness Orczy 'They seek him here, they seek him there...' One of the most famous and beautiful love stories of all time. The Scarlet Pimpernel takes place in one of my favourite times in history, the French Revolution, and follows a dashing daring group of young Englishmen smuggling French aristocracy across the channel to safety. Alongside this is the struggling marriage between a beautfil young French women and her enstranged, detatched idiot of a husband, among one of the richest men in England.
5. 50 Buildings you Should Know- Isabel Kuhl Being the daughter of a former Archaeologist and an Architect means my love of historic buildings was ingrained in me from an early age, and whilst planning my summer holidays I couldn't help but pick up this book and have a look at some of the places I would be visiting. And it really makes you realise some of the beautiful things men have created, and just what we can do when we put our mind to it (however you won't see me building a Pyramid anytime soon)
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