Third year blues

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As usual, university has completely taken over my life. The problem is that this year, I’m not neccessarily loving it. I’m not sure exactly what it is. It’s just not enthusing me in the same way that previous years have and that’s sort of sad in a way, because it’s my last year. That’s frightening in itself. In roughly six months time, I’ll be out in the real world, desperately trying to seek out my first full time job. As much as it’s a scary thought, for me it’s also an exciting thought. It means that I can finally have a little bit more money to do the things I’ve always wanted to do, like buy a house and go on holiday every year without worrying about it. It also means that I get to pursue a career in something that I’m passionate about and that I’ll thrive in. I think that’s part of why I just want to finish already.

The modules that I’ve taken this year are also a bit of a bother. Some of them are not quite what I thought, and then there’s the fact that I’ve decided to major in English Lit to try and open up my career ย prospects- my Creative Writing has sort of been pushed to one side, when in fact, that’s the part I’ve always enjoyed the most.

Then there’s my dissertation. Oh my god. Don’t even get me started. I know that it’s not supposed to be easy, but I’m really not feeling supported by my university about my project which is such a shame. I’ve had lots of meetings, I’ve spent hours in the library and I’m still not sure where to start in terms of actually writing it. I’m writing mine about feminism and it’s effects on literature through vampire novels. Sort of random, but as an avid Twilight lover, and current Vampire Diaries fan, it’s right up my street. I’ve discovered some new favourites in Let the Right One In and Interview With the Vampire.

The last thing about this year that’s getting me down is in terms of friendships. I feel like those with my friends at uni have become really distant and I’m not sure why. I feel as if I’ve put in a lot of effort without much back, something which is really disheartening in any friendship. I think the main thing I need to remember about this, is that sometimes friendships aren’t meant to last. I take pride in the fact that my best friends have known me for years, and I know they’ll be friends for years to come. I’ve been told not to waste time on people who don’t give you anything back- I think I’ll start taking that advice.

So there you have it. Third year blues. I just need to keep plodding along. At the end of the day, it is only six months. Besides there’s lots to look forward to! I turn 20 in two weeks, and this weekend I’m going to see the Royal Ballet in Birmingham perform The Nutcracker, my favourite. I’m also really loving the Christmas spirit that’s in the air at the moment, I can’t wait to break up for the holidays!

Lots of love and more soon,

Beth x

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A city love affair

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As many of you ย know, I used to live in Chester. Chester is a beautiful city in the North West, and it’s the first place I lived entirely on my own without my family or any of the people that I grew up with all of my life. I lived in a tiny room in a old fashioned block of flats, and my friends lived directly across the road. Things like not being able to drive weren’t an issue as shops were a ten minute walk away, and as I lived on campus, it was literally a two minute walk to lectures. For that year, my friends became like a family to me. I think that because of that, Chester always feels like home to me in a way that I’m not always convinced Manchester does.

Although I class myself as living in Manchester, where I actually live is Sale, a small town in the suburbs which is technically in Cheshire. Where I live is very leafy and green, and it does feel more like home to me now than it did a year ago. It helps that Rich is here and that my family aren’t too far away, and I do feel as if I’m putting down more roots now that I have a part time job in the city. But then the other day, I caught the train down to Chester for a night out with some of my friends who live there. And I got that feeling as I were going home, as if I still lived there.

Although I’ve accepted that Manchester is my current home, and I’m happy with living there, I guess a part of me will always love Chester. It has beautiful sunsets, it’s where I met my boyfriend, and it’s somewhere that for a short while really made me happy. What I’ve got to remember is that life goes on, and that Manchester is somewhere that opens up a wealth of opportunities in a way that Chester didn’t. I have a lovely flat with Rich, I get to live the cosmopolitan city lifestyle, and I’m closer to my family and hometown.

I think I need to remember that whenever I do travel down to Chester for uni, which I currently do three times a week, although Chester is no longer my home, it’s still there for me when I want it. It was a stepping stone into my current life, and in the same way that my memories are always within reach, so is my favourite city.

Do any of you feel like this about a city? Let me know.

Beth xx

Student guide: What to take to university

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I know it’s that time of year where a lot of you out there will be getting ready to move out to university for the first time. As you prepare to go off to university for the first time, it can be a very daunting process. I should know, as that was me just two years ago! You have all of your friends and family trying to convince you that you need everything from a torch to a lifetime’s supply of pegs, but in truth, those are the items that are going to either sit in boxes underneath your bed for the entire year, or they’ll be sat in a corner, taking up what little space there already is in your tiny room.

But don’t worry, I have you covered. Follow this list carefully, and you’ll find moving out for the first time to be a breeze.

The boring (but important!) stuff

– Passport

– Driving licence (or provisional)

– University acceptance, course acceptance letter and details of your accomodation

– National Insurance number

– Passport photos

– Bank details (and bank cards!)

– Student loan details

Technology and electricals

– Laptop and charger

– Phone and charger (possibly take a spare just in case)

– Headphones

– Memory stick

– Hair straighteners

– Plug socket

– Desk lamp

Stationary

– Files

– Notebooks

– Pens

– Pencils

– Planner

– Stapler

– Hole punch

– Desk organiser

Kitchen (applicable even if you’re living in catered halls)

– A recipe book (preferably one with quick and easy meal ideas)

– A supply of food (tins, pasta, crisps and snacks etc)

– Cordial

– A supply of tea and coffee

– Frying pan

– Saucepan

– Cutlery

– Glasses

– Scissors

– Sharp knife

– Mugs

Bedroom

– Bed sheets (and spares)

– Duvet set with pillowcases (and spares)

– Decorations (e.g an ornament, candles, plant, photos)

– Mattress protector

– Clothes horse

– Washing basket

– Clothes hangers

– Door stop

Bathroom

– Towels

– Paracetamol/ Ibuprofen

– Cold remedies

– Shampoo

– Conditioner

– Flip flops (in the case of a shared bathroom)

– Shower gels

– Body lotions

– Tampons (in the case of females)

– Plasters

– A toilet roll

– Hand wash

Other bits and piecesย 

– Clothes (post on this to follow)

– Alcohol

– Bottle opener

– Books

– DVDs

– Fancy dress costume

Hopefully this has been helpful to all of you new students out there. Best of luck, and happy moving ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m feeling at peace

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For the first time in months, I finally feel at peace. I think that’s because the last six months or so have been a blur of coursework, exams, train journeys, job interviews and a tonne of stress. However this week, I’m finally feeling a bit more settled with my life and where things are going. It seems to help that I’m filling my life with as much positivity as possible whether that’s in terms of work, in terms of family, and in terms of my social life. ย Me and Rich also renewed the tenancy on our flat for another year last month, so it’s nice to know that that’s all sorted out too.

I’ve settled into my new job and am finding myself enjoying the routine of it all. I’ve been training in the stock room and on the sales floor which has meant having to learn lots of new things, and also has had me pushing myself out of my comfort zone as I’ve been meeting lots of new people and getting used to a new environment. I was pretty worried about how often I would be working etc, but I’ve been lucky in that my contract means ย I don’t have to work weekends, something which is really important to me, as Rich works full time in the week, and the weekend tends to be the time where we spend some time together whether that’s visiting a new place, visiting family, or just relaxing at home.

I’ve also had great news as I’ve passed my second year of uni! I don’t know what my overall grade for the year is yet, but I know I’ve managed to achieve a 1:1 in my Publishing module, and 2:1’s in my Poetry and Work Based Learning modules which I’m really proud of. Uni has had me feeling quite unsettled this year, as at the end of my first year I didn’t do as well as I hoped and even considered giving it up. Now I’ve reached the end of this year, I’m so glad that I didn’t. Commuting to uni has really helped me to focus on what’s important in terms of my studies and I’m grateful for that as I want to give myself the best start in life possible.

A couple of weeks ago you guys might have read my post on driving lessons. That post was written at a time when I was feeling really down about my lessons and was even considering giving them up altogether. After a lot of consideration, I decided that I needed to make a change, and in my case, that change was switching driving instructors… for the third time. Okay, so I know it seems ridiculous, but I just wasn’t gelling with my second instructor. I was feeling stressed and angry after every lesson as I felt that I wasn’t really making any progress, and it struck me as strange that as a learner with over forty hours of driving experience under my belt, I was still driving around quiet side streets. Therefore, I switched for the third (and hopefully final) time. This time I think I’ve struck lucky, as after only three hours of tuition with my new instructor, he’s advised me to book my driving test, which I have! It turns out I’m not a terrible driver after all. We’ve been working on roundabouts, driving on country roads, hill starts and manoeuvres, so hopefully by the end of this year I’ll finally have my own car…. hopefully.

So there you go. That’s why I’m finally starting to feel a bit more at peace with everything. How are you finding your peace?

Life chapters

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Is it just me or does everything in life seem to inevitably come to an end? I feel that for the last couple of years I enter a new chapter and then before I know it, it’s over and it’s onto the next one. I feel that we’re always weaving in and out of places, never truly settling and never truly understanding everything these chapters have to offer. I feel we spend too much time missing the previous chapters, being afraid to say goodbye to them, as if we can’t cope without the comfort that they temporarily brought us. .

I’m writing this as the end of an internship finishes. I’ve been working here for five weeks, and it’s been really helpful to try and figure out what exactly it is I want to do when I finish university next year. When I finish here, it will be onto the next chapter of trying to find myself a summer job to save up some money. And then it’s onto the next chapter as I start my third and final year of uni, and after that… well I’m not sure. Hopefully find myself a job, something more than what will simply just pay the bills, something that will inspire me everyday and make me actually want to get up in the morning.

‘What happens next’ is truly an important part of growing up. It’s something I’m always thinking about. Last year when I was finishing my second year of uni, I would never have imagined that I would have had a summer job at an airport, followed by my second year of university that flew ย by and then an internship in a career field which I’d never even considered before last summer. All those chapters may be over now, but there’s going to be more chapters in my life and I’m going to look forward to them.

I used to worry every time about starting a new chapter, about what if I didn’t like it, what if I didn’t fit in? But it’s not something ย to be afraid of. Each new chapter has brought something else to my life and has given me clarity on how to go about the next chapter.

We need to enjoy the good parts, learn from the bad parts, and then decide what happens next.ย As we grow older still, life chapters aren’t just a case of moving up in education and finding a career, they become so much more than that. They intertwine our lives with other people as they take us through the milestones of marriage, children, grandchildren and old age. I’m hoping that by that point I’ll have grown used to them.ย Life chapters are something we need to grasp hold of as we go on our individual life journeys.

How to save money

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As a student, it can be really tough to save money. A lot of us barely have enough money to live off, never mind save. Since moving away from home and having to deal with things such as rent, bills, and food shopping, I’ve had to learn that splurging isn’t always the best thing to do, and that sometimes it’s better to save instead of buying that new pair of shoes that I really love but probably don’t need. I’ve started to take comfort in knowing that I have a savings account which I can dip in to if I’m struggling.

Here’s some tips on how you can save money whilst still being able to the do things you enjoy.ย I hope this is helpful!ย 

Don’t waste money on food if you don’t need to- By this, I don’t mean never go out for a nice meal, because eating out is a lovely way to catch up with friends as well as a way of trying out new cuisine. However there’ve been times where I’ve found myself pointlessly buying sandwiches instead of making a packed lunch at home, and buying a bottle of water instead of filling it up from the tap. By making small changes, you’ll be surprised by how much money you actually save over a month.

Set yourself a ‘saving goal’- Every time you’re tempted by something in a shop that you don’t really need, think about what it is that you’re saving for. For example, I’m saving up for a car and holiday, so whenever I feel the temptation for something kicking in, I imagine myself in a car, or imagine myself on a beach somewhere exotic.

Use your student card- Whilst you’re still a student, make the most of it. Apps like Unidays make it all the more convenient for keeping student ID on you at all times. It makes such a difference when buying clothes, and you can often save up to 20%. Being a student also opens up the door to cheaper cinema tickets and cheaper meals out etc.

Watch out for cheap travel deals– If you’re 16-24, make sure you get yourself a 16-24 railcard. Although it’s a bit cheeky that you can’t use it before ten, after ten you get a 1/3 off rail travel which is especially useful on long distance journeys. Another way to save money on travel is by travelling at off peak times. On the Metrolink tram system in Manchester, there’s a huge price difference between on peak and off peak fair, and the same goes for train journeys. In terms of planes and long train journeys, it’s best to book at least three months in advance as again, it’s so much cheaper than booking last minute.

Try charity shop shopping- You’d be surprised at how many treasures you can find in them. I’ve got loads of nice clothes from them, and I tend to buy all my of books from there too. It saves me money, I still get to top up my wardrobe, and I often get more for my money. I’m not saying buy every single thing from the charity shop, but it’s definitely worth having a browse.

Sell things you don’t want anymore- Instead of letting all of your old things linger in your cupboards, sell them. Try eBay or Depop, or trade in DVD’s and games via stores such as Cex.

Sign up for customer cards from supermarkets– If you shop at Sainsburys, get yourself a Nectar card, if you shop at Tesco, get yourself a Clubcard etc. The points soon start to add up and a couple a pounds here and then makes all the difference in the long run. Me and Rich managed to buy a toaster for free from Sainsburys, simply by collecting up Nectar points and taking advantage of a double your points offer.

Make shopping lists- This way you know that you’re on track to buying everything that you need, and you’re less likely to make impulse buys.

Don’t commit to a gym membership unless you’re definitely going to go-ย  I’m definitely guilty of this. Instead of signing up for a membership, why not try pay as you go until you’re one hundred percent sure you’re going to benefit from that full price membership. I’ve now swapped to doing this, and it’s a good job as I often don’t go when I’ve previously said I would.

Do you have any money saving tips?

 

 

Fall Favourites

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It’s finally my favourite time of year- autumn! The temperature has started to drop and so after spending last week freezing to death, I decided to go shopping to top up my fall wardrobe. I found that H and M had a great selection of jumpers and cardigans, and New Look had some lovely autumn floral pieces. As always, I went to Dorothy Perkins for some new jeans, as I love the fit, and think their price is very affordable, especially with their 20% student discount!

H AND M

jumper 1

  1. Fine Knit Jumper ยฃ7.99

My first purchase was this lovely jumper which is white and adorned with little stars in navy blue. It has long sleeves and is quite close fitting. As a size twelve, I bought it in a medium fit. It’s the perfect fall jumper in that it can keep you warm without a jacket on those warmer days, and yet can easily be cosy underneath a cardigan or jacket when the temperature takes the plunge.

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2. Fine Knit Cardigan ยฃ14.99

I’ve been looking for a cover up like this for ages, and this one is ideal, particularly due to the colour, which is camel. It is a versatile piece that adds something extra to your outfit, and it also helps keep you toasty. It feels so soft which is a bonus, and I know this is a wardrobe staple that will see me throughout all the cold months this year!

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3. Fine Knit Cardigan ยฃ9.99

This is similar to the other cardigan that I purchased, however it doesn’t have the waterfall drape that the other does because unfortunately they didn’t have my size in this colour. However this is made out of the same material meaning it’s just as cosy, and the colour is another neutral colour that can be worn with anything.

DOROTHY PERKINS

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4. Bailey Super Skinny Stretch Jeans- ยฃ18.00 with student discount

I love this jeans due to how comfortable and stretchy they are, and the fact that they last for ages. I bought a pair in both indigo and black, in a size 12 petite fit, due to the fact that at 5ft3, I find a lot of the time that jeans are way too long for me.

NEW LOOK

5. Navy Chiffon Lace Up Gypsy Top- ยฃ19.99

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This gorgeous top is perfect either for dressing up, or dressing down. The bell bottom sleeves create a lovely feminine effect, whilst the navy blue colour makes it more sophisticated. I wear blouses all of the time , and have found this one to be particularly versatile. Beware that it’s quite see through, so maybe pair with a cami underneath.

6. Black Floral Print Lace Up Gypsy Top- ยฃ19.99

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I found another gypsy top, which I think is my favourite style of top, just because it’s so flattering and pretty at the same time. The colours in this are perfect for the autumn weather, and teamed with a cosy cardigan and a scarf make it ideal for when the weather turns!

Thanks for reading guys! I’m hoping to publish a beauty buys of the month in the next week, and let me know if there’s any particular articles you’d like to see!

Beth x