Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Internet friend #1, meeting #3

Alright, I've been into this about fifty million times so I probably don't need to tell the whole story again. I met fabby Jess here on Blogspot in September 2012 and we met in person last February, and then again in August. You can read all about our wonderful adventures and probably our whole life stories (I ramble a lot) in posts here and here. On Friday, Jess and I decided to meet up for a third time for fun, food and shopping in Guildford which happens to have the best selection of shops anywhere in the UK. Jess is such a bad influence on me, I'm not even joking. I never usually buy that much but with her I'm like, buy aaaall the things.

She was also super-organised and had made a little shopping list which I'd forgotten to do, so I took little peeks at hers and stole some of her ideas. The first shop I made a purchase in was H&M which happened to have a sale (thank you, sweet Jesus). I picked up a pretty cute tshirt for just £7. It has a really sweet little lacy-style pattern on the front of it:

We also went to New Look and we'd just stepped in the door when I laid eyes on this adorable pattern:

It's on a simple button-up skirt which I've since found out one of my best friends bought on the same day, but in Kingston. What can I say? She obvi just has amazing taste... I've been wearing both the tshirt and skirt together which looks pretty summery but which I've been winterising with tights and Doc Martens:

We also (cough, Jess) picked up quite a bit of makeup! Actually, I only got a makeup brush (double-ended, £2.99 from H&M because I'm cheap!) and two Sleek blushes but head over to Jess's blog to see what she got.

Showing my love for Rose Gold.

Let's try not to laugh at the dreadful lighting and generally bad quality of these webcam photos. On the left is Rose Gold and on the right is Suede. Here are some proper photos of them so you can see the actual colours:

Rose Gold: Source
Suede: Source

As you can see, they're both kind of peachy shades but one is more shimmery while the other is more matte (are those the right terms?). I love them both though! I think they're such great quality and I'm loving wearing Rose Gold on the apples of my cheeks while using Suede to contour a tiny bit and pretend I actually have cheekbones. They're only £4.35 in Superdrug so definitely go and pick one up to see if you love it. At that price, you can't go wrong.

And would a trip to Guildford be complete without a quick pit stop in that fabulous American sweet shop? No is your answer. I think Jess may have spent around a tenner in there (!!!) but I just got some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. How yummy are they?! (I think my face says it all)

I hope this hasn't been too boring to read but definitely pop over to Jess's blog and take a look at her posts because they're pretty rad! I hope you're all having a wonderful Tuesday. xo

Friday, 21 February 2014

Frank Turner tshirt!

As I've already mentioned close to a million times, I went to a Frank Turner show last week. I really wanted to buy a tshirt while I was there but they were £25 which is absolutely mad so I popped on eBay when I got home and found one for £13 which is an absolute steal! It arrived today as I was rushing out to meet Jess (more on that later). I've been wearing it since I got back home and have been taking shameless selfies to capture my joy over having such a beautiful piece of attire in my possession. I am mildly embarrassed to be posting selfies but I don't have Instagram so I feel this is equivalent to that which seems to be acceptable! ;) 

Song of the day (oh so appropriate):

(1) Doing Uni: How to choose your course + make your long list

Hello and welcome to the first official post of this soon-to-be-internationally-famous mini series! (I joke!) Words you might hear a lot when you're starting to think about uni are "long list" and "short list". A long list is essentially a list of around fifteen to twenty universities that you're considering, which you then cut down to perhaps six to eight. This post, however, is going to be about the lovely long list which you should start making at the end of February.

Before you can do this though, you need to know what course you want to do - what you want to study for three (or four, god help you!) years, and what you're going to end up paying £27,000 for in tuition fees alone. For me, this decision wasn't much of an issue: the only subject I really excel at is English language, and I find it really interesting and also relatively easy. I'd say, if you're not sure what you want to study, to just pick your favourite subject and go from there. You like biology and chemistry? Think about medicine related courses. You're a history fan? Maybe consider something like Ancient and Medieval History. You love both maths and psychology? Don't worry, you can do both! Get on the UCAS website and start making use of that lovely course searcher they have.

I know it sounds so cliche, but the possibilities really are endless. You can combine almost any two - and sometimes three - subjects so don't worry about the topics being too different. However, the five courses you apply for must be closely related or you're really going to complicate the application process for yourself as you can only write one personal statement (we'll get to this in, like, July, no need to hurry).

Once you have an idea of what you'd like to study, you need to consider where you want to study it. For me, the "where" is nearly as important as the "what". League tables are your new best friends. Using more than one league table is going to give you a more reliable result (one of my unis which was middle ranking on the Guardian was way lower down on CUG). I think the best three league tables to use are The Guardian, The Complete University Guide (CUG if you're too lazy to type it out), and The Sunday Times.

In terms of choosing your universities, I'd say you definitely need to consider your academic ability. If you're p. smart, look at Russell groups unis and anything else in the top 20. If you're a bit of an average student (like me, yo) maybe focus more on middle ranking unis such as numbers 30 to 60. And if you're perhaps not as academically talented but still have a passion for your subject and want to go to uni, I'd say the bottom third of the table is a good bet. I know this is a kind of harsh way to do it but it does put things into perspective. 

But you have to be realistic with your choices. I really cannot stress this enough. Don't aim too high. I have friends who did and who are now freaking the frick out because they've accepted offers for AAB when they're BBC students. I know people say the sky is the limit, bla bla, but you make things hard for yourself when you don't make realistic choices. Sure, you need a couple of ambitious ones on your long list just as much as you need a fail-safe option for if it all goes wrong, but please don't overestimate your ability. That's not exactly inspiring, I know, but it will save you a lot of trouble! Also, don't look at factors such as distance away from home for your long list unis, just ones which have courses that interest you. You can always cut out a university at the short list stage, but don't miss out anything that looks good at this stage.

Once you've made your long list, get on each uni's website and make sure you're happy with the course content because even the topics covered in one subject can vary from uni to uni. If you're not satisfied, cross them off the list. Request prospectuses from each institution (they'll send them to you for free) or book your place on a UCAS convention. Conventions are a great way to meet professors and students from the universities you're interested in. You can ask them any questions you have and pick up prospectuses from them, plus there are usually freebies like tote bags so get there early!

That's all for now - a nice, slow, leisurely start for you into this uni application experience - but there'll be more around the end of April so have your long list ready for then! Happy choosing.

Doing Uni

I'm going to start a little mini-series on here about the whole university process which my friends and I like to refer to as "doing uni". Although I'm only in year thirteen, I've completed the application side of the whole university process so I feel kind of a little bit maybe perhaps qualified to give handy little tips to people starting uni in 2015. 

So maybe we can all go on this little journey together? I'll be writing about things I did exactly a year ago, so for instance, a post I'll be putting up later today will talk about the steps I took in February 2013. I hope I'm not going to miss anything important, and even if this little series of posts isn't going to be widely read, if it helps one person then I've succeeded.

I hope you'll find this useful!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014


I love rings. Two years ago - weirdly - I don't think I owned any. I was kind of adverse to them and thought the only ring I'd ever wear would be a wedding ring, if I were to get married, that is. Well, that's so not the case. After earrings, rings are now probably my favourite piece of jewellery and I feel like my hands look naked without them. I've taken blurry-webcam photos of my four favourites and I'm going to talk about the meaning (lol, is there one?) behind them. NB: I do have weird short little sausage-shaped fingers.

This ring is apparently is a "rainbow moonstone" if that's even a thing. (I just googled it, it is a thing and also quite cheap, like £5.) Every summer, I go with my parents and brother to visit my mum's family on a lake island in the south of Germany called Lindau. It's one of the most beautiful places I've been to and one of my favourite things to do there is stand by a huge jewellery market outside the train station and almost cry at how many things I want from there. Last summer, I saw this ring a couple of days before we left but I had no money on me. The next day, the stall was closed (the owners had bummed off to another town for the day) and all I could think about was the ring. Laaame. On the final morning, literally just ten minutes before we boarded our train for the airport, I ran out and bought it at a "special morning price" of 18 euros. It's sterling silver so I don't mind paying a bit more because it's not going to turn that weird bronzey colour!

My best friend bought me this ring for Christmas from TopShop. We pretend it's my engagement ring from her because we act like we're married anyway. It's sad. She gave it to me in a little ring box and when I opened it, there was a little note saying "Will you engage me?" - she once forgot the word "propose" and used "engage" instead. Anyway, I know a lot of people (Kate Moss especially!) say you shouldn't really mix gold and silver jewellery but I wear this with my silver rings and I like to think people don't notice. Fingers crossed.

These two are maybe my favourite rings in the wuuurld. The one on my middle finger is a Pandora birthstone ring. My birthstone is actually a crappy grey thing because it's April but the December one looked much nicer, plus December is my favourite month (with Christmas and all) so it seemed more fitting. It was a Christmas present in 2012 from my German grandma and I wear it p much everyday. The infinity ring was a beaut gem I stumbled across in the treasure troves sometimes referred to as, um, Claire's Accessories. I'd been after something with the (oh-so-overused) infinity symbol on it for ages but it was hard to find one subtle enough or which wasn't dripping in rhinestones. I was honestly squealing in excitement when I saw this and snapped it up right away.

I hope you're enjoyed this truly riveting insight into my collection of fave rings and the extreme close ups of my Shrek-like sausage fingers. Let me know if you guys have any meaning behind jewellery you wear a lot, I always find that kind of stuff interesting! xo

Sunday, 16 February 2014

High street vs. high end

2014 Blogger Challenge - post 4

High end? I have absolutely nothing "high end". (Unless you count absolute necessities like Doc Martens or foundation!) High street all the way, yo. I decided to write this post about one of my all time favourite knock off products, the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain (god, what a mouthful).

Obviously, this is a replica of the famous Clinique Chubby Sticks but who wants to pay £17 for that when you can pay just £8 for this?


Look how identical they are! I've also been meaning to get round to buying the Bourjois Colour Boost crayon too to have a little comparing session. The three products are basically triplets:


I know there are loads of high end / high street products to review but I feel like this is one of the most interesting ones because of the absolutely wildly obvious, shameless copying of Clinique's beautiful creation, the Chubby Stick. Let me know if you've tried any of these three products and which is the best!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

You'll always be more than just a memory

I feel like I should follow up my previous post with some songs from Beans on Toast, Flogging Molly, and Frank Turner which I think everyone should hear. If you guys know any great songs, feel free to comment with one because I'm trying to get into loads of new artists and broaden my music, um, horizons. Haha, that sounds so pretentious but I'd love to hear some new stuff!

Things - Beans on Toast:

If I Ever Leave This World Alive - Flogging Molly:

Plain Sailing Weather - Frank Turner:

Frank Turner

Last night I went to see Frank Turner at the O2 Arena. It was my first time going to a gig there and it's bloody huge. I know that sounds stupid but, like, I didn't think there'd be a whole town under that famous dome. It was amazing! (Except there was no McDonald's...) My friend and I went up after school and it only took about half an hour on the tube, so hallelujah for living relatively close to Central. I feel like I take living here for granted. I probably only go into London properly five or six times in a year. We picked up some Subway and also a chicken katsu curry from Wasabi (hi, calories) and stood around in the queue for a bit. Because we'd got there so early, we were super duper close to the front which was pretty bangin'. (I've been using that word far too much lately!) See this guy in the picture below who's really tall, in a white tshirt and in the front and centre of the crowd? We were directly behind him! P. good spot I think.


The first of the support acts was a guy called Beans on Toast who sang political and protest-type songs. It was just him and his guitar for most of it but he could also be a comedian because he was so bloody funny! My friend took this photo, classic Beans swigging his beer on stage. I think he was perfect to go on first, just to get everyone laughing and singing along.

Next was Flogging Molly and, oh my god, I was so excited! I've loved them for years and when I heard that they were supported Frank Turner, I almost wet myself. They're a kind of folk-rock band and their music is basically just Irish jig material. Needless to say there was a freaking lot of moshing. Everyone went totally wild and I would have still gone to the concert even just to see them without Frank.

Then at about quarter past nine or something, Frank Turner came on. He was amazing! I actually was nicely surprised to find I knew a lot of his songs and singing along was pretty great. Everyone at the gig was so nice too, I felt like we were all going to be best friends. During Photosynthesis, everyone sat down and I'm pretty sure I was on a girl's lap but we all leapt up ("I won't sit down and I won't shut up") and danced with total strangers. Pretty wonderful if you ask me.

It was an absolutely incredible night and by far the best show I've been to. I was comparing it to The 1975 who I saw about a month ago and I think Frank Turner makes them seem so detached from their fans, and kind of cold, almost as if they're kind of scathing towards the people who come to see them. Frank told us all the stories behind each song and asked us what we wanted to hear, and talked about what was going on in the news and, to me, The 1975 come across as so unfriendly when I compare them to him. They ignored all the people shouting out to them and never once spoke directly to the crowd. Ruuuuude.

It's a shame the tshirts were so expensive last night - 25 bloody pounds! - because I would have loved one, but hey, there's always eBay. I felt, and looked, like a bit of a trainwreck by the end of the night. Thankfully we were home just after midnight but my old lady body can't take standing up for six hours so I was absolutely shattered.

I'm so happy I got to go yesterday and I'll just take this opportunity to say that if Frank Turner is ever playing near you, go and see him! Even if you don't know his music, he puts on an amazing performance and you'll meet some pretty cool people. £20 doesn't seem like a lot to pay for four hours of pure joy.


Friday, 7 February 2014

Duffle coat

I freaking love duffle coats. My brother has one which I sometimes borrow when he's not paying attention (sneakyroonie) but I've been feeling like I need my own for a while. I popped into TopShop on Sunday and hallelujah there was a sale! And in this sale was just one duffle coat... in my size! I've also been loving navy lately and, wowee, it was a navy duffle coat! (Very dark navy, perhaps almost black... but still.) An added bonus was that it used to be £89 but in the sale it was £30! Apologies for all the exclamation marks but this is perhaps one of the best, most bargainous, glorious purchases of my life. (!!!) 

P.S: I look like an unsmiling man in one of the photos, we all have off-days, okay?

(Extra cool-coat points for a bangin' lining.)

What time is it? That's right, selfie o'clock.

In other news, I am currently attempting to learn twenty four Frank Turner songs before I see him live on Wednesday and it's not going too well. This is my favourite so far though:

What's been your guys' best buy of yo lives?

Monday, 3 February 2014

2014 nails + sneaky tip

This is the first time this year that I've actually had polish on my nails! I'm not allowed to have them painted for my job, and there doesn't seem much point in only having them done from Monday to Friday. I'm one of those people who likes to keep their polish on for at least a week or I feel like it's kind of a waste of my time. I took this past weekend off work to visit my grandparents which was really great. It was so good to actually have some free time. And, for this reason, I felt it was worth while painting my nails!

I just used a black Barry M colour and then a multicoloured glittery top coat. The latter was one of my Christmas presents from a friend and I don't think B Box  is a proper brand, so I've done a bit of hunting to see if I could find it online - and here it is! At the time of me writing this post, you can get four of the B Box varnishes for only £1.80. I'd definitely recommend buying them; it stays on for days without chipping and who doesn't love glitter polishes?

The "sneaky tip" I wanted to talk about is this spray. Perhaps it's not sneaky, as such, but I don't know anyone else who has it. I got this spray also as a Christmas present but this time as a stocking filler. I can't say it actually speeds up the drying process but it does smell great and it gives your nails such a lovely glossy shine once they've dried. It's worth buying just for that. Invest in some!

Song of the day:

Once Upon a Time...

2014 Blogger Challenge - post 3

Third topic set by Gaby for this fabulous blogging challenge is to write about a book. Any book. If you're a regular reader (lol, do I have any of those?) you'll know I love to write about books - be it reviews or recommendations or what essentially may be a post full of plot spoilers - but it's something I'd be doing even without being "challenged" to it. I'm pretty happy this has come up!

I finally got round to reading The Virgin Suicides a couple of weeks ago and, oh my, I loved it. Be warned now, this will be a review post with a recommendation to read it, accompanied by plot spoilers so if you don't want me to ruin your beautiful experience with this book, look away now. I first heard about this book on Rosie's blog (Rosie no longer posts and I miss her a lot!) and thought it sounded like something I should read. It's also, much like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, turned into a bit of a cult novel so if you're going read about it on forums or anything, you've probably just entered Hipster Central (just a friendly warning).

The story begins in Michigan in the 1970s and centres around five sisters, the Lisbon girls, named Therese, Mary, Bonnie, Lux, and Cecilia. They're all in their teens - 17, 16, 15, 14 and 13, respectively - so for starters, I felt I could relate to them, age-wise at least. I felt sometimes that the girls were presented as much older than their age, such as with how they (spoiler) dealt with Cecilia's death in the beginning of the novel. At other times however, I felt they acted much more like young children, as opposed to teenage girls. I felt like this aspect of their characterisation was pretty inconsistent, although this could be due to the narrators. Actually, the narration is a really interesting element of the novel and I feel it deserves its own paragraph.

I finished this book about three weeks ago and I've got through a couple of other books since, so I'm starting to forget the finer details. I almost forgot that the story isn't narrated by the girls themselves, nor is it told in third person. It's told by a group of grown men always using the pronouns "we" and "us" instead of "I" and "me". The men grew up with the girls, living across the street from them, and going to the same school as them. Yet they've watched the Lisbon sisters so closely and collated so many rumours, so much information, conducted so many interviews, that they paint an incredibly vivid picture of the girls' lives. At some points, the novel appears to be similar to a scientific investigation about the girls. That kind of made me feel a bit uncomfortable, almost like I was scrutinising them in a detached manner, rather than feeling who they were as people.

But the plot, wow, it was incredible. I know I've already given away one huge spoiler but hey, it's called the Virgin Suicides for a reason (note the plural). You're thrown into the story right at the deep end. I feel like this "review" is incredibly disjointed and I'm leaving so many points I've made here unfinished. This is because I started drafting this post about two or three weeks ago, coming back to it maybe five times and attempting to finish it. I can't. I can't do the book justice. But I do know it's something that's going to stick with me for a while, even if I don't re-read it right away.

I will say one thing though - pay attention to Therese, Mary and Bonnie. I didn't and I feel like I've missed out a huge part of the novel because of that. Whatever information there is about them, take hold of it and remember it because, to me, those three girls merge into one. Definitely do read this fabulous novel though, and if you have, let me know what you thought of it.