What’s occurring

It may only be Thursday but this week has been brilliant! If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter then you’ll already know why I can’t stop grinning. Here’s one of the reasons:

 

Woop!

I did it! All my worrying about dropping down a grade was apparently unnecessary! If you regularly read this blog then you were probably sick to death of me harping on about missing out on a first if my dissertation and exams went to pot. I would still have been delighted with a 2.1, it is a fantastic grade, but I finished second year on a first and the majority of my assessments were coming back within the first bracket as well. I really wanted my overall grade to truly represent all the hard work I’ve consistently put in over the three years. I think part of that comes from slacking off a bit during year 12 (As level), which resulted in a mixed bag of grades that I loathe putting down on job applications because frankly I slipped up academically for one year and I dislike the way it looks on paper. Call me all kinds, but that year taught me some valuable lessons which I have grafted to correct. And it’s worked!

So yeah, long story short, I shall be graduating in a few weeks with a First Class Honours in History with Theology! I hope everyone else is equally as happy with their results.

My other bit of excellent news is that I am only one step away from completing all my requirements to begin my teaching course in September. Admittedly its the most daunting one as well – the dreaded numeracy skills test! I passed my literacy skills test on Wednesday, the day after I got my uni results. I was really nervous for the test because it is the luck of the draw for which spellings and tasks you get. I’d highly recommend doing the government practice tests online before you sit the test because it is slightly different to some of the apps and books (but still use them because you can’t revise too much for these tests!).

This week I became ‘Tawny Owl’. That’s right, I’ve joined the Brownie unit I assisted on the Starquest trip in May and that’s my name within the unit. I’m looking forward to this new challenge, I’ve never worked with this age group before and it’s another chapter in my Girl Guiding experience. Straight after Brownies I now assist with a Guide unit which I have been loosely connected with since I became a Ranger. I’m looking forward to continuing with my Guiding commitments now that I’m home.

My final bit of news is that I start work next week. I’m back in Tourist Information and I know it’s going to be an excellent eight weeks!

Advertisements

An end of an era…

*Warning!* Not only is this post tempting clich√©s, it is also incredibly likely to be rather long given that I’m updating you on just shy of a months worth of socialising (ha) and general shenanigans. But I think it’s allowed, given I’ve just moved home after finishing three years as an undergraduate at Liverpool Hope University.

After my last post at the start of the month, I had two weeks to revise for six hours of exams. I didn’t think the pressure would be too bad, given that it was a seen paper and I usually manage pretty well with exams. This time round though things got a little bit too stressful for my liking. I think it was because I knew that the exams could have a massive impact on my final grade. I didn’t want to throw it away at the last-minute and let myself down. Regardless, I knuckled down and I think, with hindsight, they actually went ok. Three hours was a long time to sit and write continuously, and my blood pressure acted up during both the exams, but stress can do that. I simply had to bite back the panic and use it to fuel my work. I’d still rather take essays over exams any day!

Within an hour of my last exam I was on route to Lime Street station for a weekend at home. It was a wonderful weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my family without feeling guilty over not working. I spent Saturday acting as a Brownie leader at the North East regional event for the Brownie centenary. This was during the hottest day the North East has experienced so far in 2014. Doesn’t sound too bad as it is the North East of England, but we were melting. The event was outdoor and while we all had a great day, there wasn’t enough sunscreen to stop us burning. That evening I went out for a family meal with Mum’s side of the family as my aunt and uncle were visiting from Australia. We had a lovely meal and it was fab to see them but I was shattered by the end of the meal after a day in the sun as a Brownie leader! I got home only to be requested out by Mum to join them at the local pub where they were celebrating a birthday. I went because it was a chance to relax with Mum and my stepdad after months of uni commitments. We had a lazy day on Sunday, mainly dog walking and spending time at the allotment. On Monday I had an interview for my old summer job. I have since heard back that my interview was successful, but I won’t find out where or when I start until my medical and references are returned. I treated myself to a pamper at my local beauticians, including an eyelash perm, before I met Mum at the train station for a cuppa before my train home. The train was a direct one to Liverpool! About time Transpennine started that service up again, just as I’m leaving! Anyway, I left sunny Newcastle behind and arrived in Liverpool just in time for a huge thunderstorm. Terrifying. Honestly, they’re one of my biggest fears, so being on a bus did not help.

The week that followed my trip home was spent in placement during the day and socialising during the evening. Seriously, I went pretty much the whole of my undergraduate degree being a social hermit, only to spend just about every evening of my final two weeks in Liverpool out celebrating. I should however clarify that by ‘celebrating’, I actually mean going for a meal with friends and enjoying a glass of wine with it. That’s my ideal night out, second only to a cosy pub natter. One of the conditions for my September course is that I gain five days observation of key stage two. I currently have four days (due to the interview) and I am finalising the details of another similar placement back home to make up the missing hours. I was in a lovely primary school (I’m being totally honest here – the staff and majority of the students were gems) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It once again confirmed for me that while my heart is set on teaching, it is most definitely set on teaching secondary school history! I fully admire primary school teachers for the amount of knowledge they need, and I enjoyed acting as another teaching assistant when needed, but I’d want to rotate everything around history!

So the socialising. Well Tuesday night was the HisPol Society Ball. I opted to attend this event rather than the official Hope 2014 Grad Ball because frankly the majority of my classmates were going, it was slightly cheaper and looked far more entertaining. It was a cracking night. I have never enjoyed a night out at uni as much as I did that evening. The Ball had a 1920s theme and it was amusing to see how many stuck to it (about a handful, myself included, but I think every lass curled her hair!). Our ticket included a two course meal at Alma de Cuba (which I highly recommend a visit) and the rest of the evening was spent in a speakeasy! I admit, I squealed when we entered the speakeasy – it was behind a bookcase! How could I not?! The jazz band we had were fantastic and I danced the night away without a care in the world. Well apart from being conscious that I had to get the bus to school the next morning! From the speakeasy we went to one of the lads house for a house party, which admittedly flattened the atmosphere of the evening. I left about 1.15am and could have had a lie in the next morning as my first bus didn’t turn up! I was literally just in time for school, but it sure made me appreciate my car even more.

Over the course of the past two weeks I’ve had various leaving meals to thank everyone I’ve met over the three years. My Oxfam meal was cut short for me as I had to dash off to my final performance with Hope Concert Band (the date was changed for concert over Easter, by which point the meal had been booked) but I had a wonderful night out. I also had several meals out with my housemates before we respectfully moved out. We had a ‘girlie meal’ before we went to see Little Mix at the Echo (no surprise, they were AMAZING!) and we went for a house Mexican meal one lunch. I also attended a band BBQ, which despite the rain, was a hoot. I went for a Greek meal with my fellow guide leaders and later in the week pizza and cocktails, and I was treated by another friend to a two course, home-cooked, vegan meal which I thoroughly enjoyed (especially dessert!).

My grandparents visited me for a couple of days in my final week and we had a fantastic time. I thoroughly enjoyed showing them my adoptive city and sharing the places and knowledge I’ve gained. I’m considering doing a little tourist guide to Liverpool on here (alongside the beauty stuff, it will appear eventually I promise!) which will go more in-depth into my favourite areas of Liverpool.

Before the mayhem of packing occurred, I spent Saturday with my Scouse unit at the Big Gig at the Echo Arena. Big Gig is an amazing concert for members of GirlGuiding UK and I’ve been to a fair few over the years. The majority have been in London, and it just seemed like fate for my final Big Gig with 136th to be in Liverpool. It offers a variety of performers, some big names such as Pixie Lott, Lawson and Tinie Tempah (we’ve also had Sophie Ellis-Bexter, McFly, The Saturdays and Rizzle Kicks to name a few in previous years) and some new up-coming artists, including Loveable Rogues who were finalists in Britain’s Got Talent and Leah McFall from The Voice. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. I treated it as a rehearsal for Isle of Wight festival (not long now!) and was raving away to Tinie Tempah and Kimberly Wyatt (much to the unit’s amusement!).

I’m typing this back at home as I moved back today. It took me just over a day to pack two years at Newcastle Road away. Even after filling the wheelie bin from empty, and taking a taxi to Oxfam with donations, it was still a close fit getting everything in, but we managed it. A huge thanks to my stepdad who left home at 4.20am to move me out. I was expecting him to arrive just before 8am, and I’m pleased I was up early and everything was sorted because 7.15am he knocked on my door! In less than fifteen minutes he’d played Tetris with my stuff and we were heading for home. By noon we’d arrived (after an incredibly posh service stop to stretch our legs) and I’ve done everything but unpack. Oops. I’ll get round to it tonight and tomorrow. So that’s you all up to speed, here’s some photos of some of the stuff I’ve mentioned and I pinky promise I’ll be better with the blogging for the near future!

What’s occurring

  • It’s been a fairly hectic week and I apologise for how late this post is! Admittedly, I don’t think there is that much to report – the majority of my week has been a mix of uni, research and work – not that different to usual really, but I’ve done a fair amount of research recently.
  • The Senior Section trip to Newcastle went really well! Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy it and if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have noticed that food and markets were the main features of the weekend, accompanying the gorgeous historical backdrop of Newcastle and North Tyneside. It was a busy weekend, but we did everything on the itinerary! I’ll be planning the next two overnight trips over the next couple of months.
  • My class on Monday was a tour around St George’s Hall, Liverpool, with a local historian. It was really interesting. He knew pretty much every little detail about anything and everything¬†to do with capital punishment in the UK – including match details on the day of the trial. It certainly made for a memorable day trip and I’m still loving all my modules this semester. Let’s hope this continues seeing as I have two essays to write this month!
  • I will be getting back to doing a couple of other posts over the next week or so (other than my usual ones I mean). For a start I received my first set of freebies in the post on Wednesday from the lovely people over at Fair Squared as a thank you for this review. I will review them all in due time! I’ve got a few reviews in mind of some of my current lifesavers and I’m cranking up my beauty regime after being told that I have early signs of aging. I’m 21! Although I had to laugh as my recommended skin care regime was: wash, tone and then moisturise. Essentially exactly what I’ve been doing for the past eight or so years, I just have to remember to do it twice daily…
  • I’m another step closer to getting onto my course next year. I’ve got to call Occupational Health on Monday to finalise that paperwork and I popped into the primary school I’ll be doing my KS2 observation in May. I had to finalise the dates for that and I wanted to see the school/meet the staff etc, just to get a feel of the place. I honestly could not be happier with it! I was very lucky to get it as I struggled to find anywhere back home, but one of the girls in Oxfam has a friend in the school and it went from there. It’s all about connections really. That and sheer determination.
  • I went out on Thursday night – first with the HisPol society and then met my housemate for cocktails in Aloha. It was a cracking night and I’m really happy that my housemate and I met up – it’s been ages since our last night out and we had a hoot! This week I’ve felt very comfortable with my outfit choices. I know that probably sounds weird, but after a couple of weeks being poorly and thinking predominantly about warmth, it’s been fun to just dress for my mood. I’m particularly loving thin scarves snuggled around my neck, especially when I manage to pin my new Alice in Wonderland brooch artfully into the tangle.
  • My running is improving! I know it’s been a bit hit-and-miss what with being ill and/or super busy, but I was really chuffed with my run yesterday and I’m out again with Hannah for our run in the park tomorrow. Any recommendations for comfortable necessities for my 10k would be greatly appreciated.
  • I didn’t completely bomb my gobbet practice from last week. I got a 2.1 which is amazing given I had very little background/additional information to put to the document other than what we’ve learnt in class. It was definitely the confidence boost I needed. Now to just keep improving and absorbing as much information as possible!

What’s Occurring

  • I can finally reveal what I’ve been hinting at for the past week – I have accepted an offer back home to study for my history PGCE! I’d gone back to Newcastle last week for the interview on Wednesday and I was prepared to treat it simply as a learning experience. I honestly did not expect to get the offer as there was only one position available and I was up against another candidate. With that thought, I think I relaxed a little bit as I didn’t expect to be chosen, so simply wanted to enjoy the opportunities the day presented. All I have to do now is pass my skills tests, various occupation tests and get five days work experience with KS2. Oh and obtain my degree! I’m so happy and it’s made looking to the future a lot easier now that it appears my hard work is paying off.
  • Alongside accepting my PGCE offer, I received my five years service award from Girlguiding UK at the division meeting! It was a complete surprise – the time has flown by. The timing couldn’t have been better seeing as I’m taking the Senior Section unit up to Newcastle next weekend.
  • I’ve had a couple of cooking successes this week – I bought some chicken thighs and used them in a chicken and chorizo paella and last night I made a big pan of chicken chasseur. The paella was divine – it’s replaced risotto as my favourite ‘show-off’ meal – I can’t wait to cook it for my family when I’m home. I’ve frozen two portions of the chasseur and had last night’s portion with smash (I am a student) and cheesy cauliflower/broccoli in a giant yorkshire pudding. An excellent home-comfort meal, especially given how foul the weather has turned in the UK.
  • After thinking I was finally over my cold from a few weeks ago, I woke up on Wednesday with a sore throat and since then it seems to have inflated. It’s so painful! However, I can’t complain really. My housemate is going through an unbelievably difficult time as her best friend passed away on Monday. She had been diagnosed with terminal cancer only last month and unfortunately could not fight a chest infection. She was only twenty-two. I ask for all your prayers and thoughts for her friends and family who have been struck by this devastating loss. You can read her blog (booboochopple.wordpress.com) here – awareness needs to be made about aggressive cancer.

Festive filled weekends

In between two essays, I’ve had two rather busy weekends. The first was two weekends ago when my mum came down from Newcastle to visit me. We had a lovely weekend together and we spent the majority of it out shopping. I picked her up from the station after guides on Friday and we had a catch up before bed. She told me the incredibly sad news that our family cat, Whiskey, had unfortunately passed away last month, aged fifteen. He had a fantastic life and we were very lucky to have had so long with him. I will miss him loads, especially when I go home, but he’s back with his buddies Betty and Felix now. Mum had been forbidden to tell me about it until she came to see me, incase I was on my own because of how upset I’d be.

We spent Saturday in Manchester, and I must say we weren’t overly impressed, but I think that was partly because most of the market stalls were food related. We did get the majority of our Christmas shopping done and after a bit of chill time back in the house, we went to Cafe Sekander on Allerton Road. We had a fantastic meal, completely stuffing ourselves. On Sunday we went to the Winter Arts Festival in St George’s Hall, Liverpool. That was by far the best selection of stalls we saw over the weekend. I bought a couple of mementos of Liverpool for when I move back home. I cooked Mum my risotto for tea while we watched Strictly together, it makes all the difference watching the show with someone else! After church we went back into Liverpool One to see the Christmas lights. They don’t have anything as spectacular as Fenwick’s window, but it was still a wonderful walk along to the Docks and back. We had a lazy day on Monday before Mum had to catch her train back home. We both had a wonderful weekend and I can’t wait to spend more time with her when I’m home for Christmas.

Mum and I by the big Christmas tree in Liverpool

Missing my gorgeous boy already

Then this weekend I was off to West Kirby with my scouse guide unit for Christmas camp. Don’t worry it was indoors and thankfully the weather behaved itself. I ran some of the activities, including making truffles and peppermint/strawberry creams. We always made them at Christmas camp when I was a guide, but these guides seemed completely oblivious as to what they were! The girls were wonderful, they let us get a decent amout of sleep! An absolute miracle compared to last year. We also did plenty of crafts and had our Secret Santa and three course Christmas dinner on Saturday. I think Christmas camp is my favourite camp of the year, the atmosphere and activities are brilliant. It got me in an even bigger festive mood and when I got back from camp, I packed for going home on Friday. I never pack that early, but I’m just so excited for going home and seeing all my family again!

Another regular camp craft – place mat decoration

Soap and flannel Reindeer

Giraffes and Geordie vs Scouser

Fridays = dictators, Communism, skype and guides. Such an eclectic mix that is going to be repeated roughly every Friday up until Christmas. I honestly love my timetable (now that it’s all sorted) and the modules/elements that I’m studying this year.

This particular Friday had a few other twists added into it, because who wants every week to be the same eh?! Anyway, I received yet another birthday present from the girls in history – best way to start a Friday lecture really. The gifts are lovely and I was, as I always am, blown away by their generosity. They got me a giraffe scarf (I now own three different ones), an alphabet ring (something I’ve been debating on buying for a while down at the market) and a giraffe letter-opener/bookmark (believe it or not I’ve wanted something like this for a long time). All in all, I was one very chuffed lass. Class went on as normal and like I said, I am really enjoying the courses so far.

Beautiful birthday gifts

When I got back in the house, the postman had been and I had two more deliveries waiting for me. As I’m going to see Jessie J next week back home, I thought I would use the voucher I got for filling in a survey to purchase her new album to learn the words before it. The album is brilliant! Much better than her first, and I quite like listening to that one at the gym. I also received the cover that I purchased for my tablet. I’ve been eyeing it up for a while on eBay and it was reduced to half price so I treated myself to it last week. Unfortunately it is just a bit too snug for my tablet, so I’m going to attempt a bit of D.I.Y. on it when I go home. It’s too cute to not try!

Thank you Postie!

So that’s the giraffe bit of the post, now for the Geordie bit. I’ve been planning this since the summer, and it was finally my evening at Guides. I organised the evening around a Geordie theme because the girls all love it when I teach them new words and vise versa. Plus Newcastle is a pretty nifty place so I wanted to educate them a bit more about the area. The opening game was ‘Ship Shore/Captain’s Coming’ (depending on who’s running it!) that I tweaked to fit my theme, so it became ‘Swanhunter’s’ (the shipbuilding place near where I grew up). This went down pretty well, but the girls didn’t want to play it too long so we moved on to the next part of the evening. I’d made each patrol a tourist guide parcel of the most frequently requested leaflets back when I was at work and they had to use that information to plan a trip to the area. For the Senior Section, this was a chance for them to say where they wanted to go in February when we are going to Newcastle. Thankfully, most of what they wanted to do, I’d already intended to show them. I got the impression that this was the favourite part of the evening for everyone. The final bit of the night was ‘Translate the Geordie’. I’d come up with a list of words with my mum the night before and the Guides had to guess what they were. For the most part this went down well, although I think the list was too long. For the most part, they did pretty well. Proof that my Geordie phrases are being understood in meetings! Looking back, I’m really pleased with how it all went, because I’ve learnt a great deal from that one meeting.

Adventures

My first alphabet post and I thought it would be relevant to do it based on my recent ‘Adventures in Berlin’ trip. So here’s some of my photos of the trip:

And here’s some relevent links to:

The only other thing I really wanted to share a link to but¬†now can’t find the website for, is¬†the River Cruise, but I would highly recommend one over taking the Hop-on bus, especially¬†if you already have your transport tickets (for the tube/normal buses), as it is far more relaxing and offers a different viewpoint of Berlin’s sights. We picked up our cruise directly outside the DDR museum (see hands-on for more information).

I hope you have enjoyed my last section of holiday blogs, and when in doubt on an attraction, Tripadvisor it!