Two weeks to go…

Hello!!!! I’m back!

I moved back to Liverpool on Sunday, and did little but furiously type the remaining chapter, conclusion and corrections for my dissertation whilst attending my final week of uni, handed in my final official copy of said dissertation on Wednesday, chilled for two days and I’m currently preparing for my final exams. So yes it’s been a higgledy-piggledy, rather busy week. However, the finish line is well and truly in sight and I’m hoping to avoid many clichés, but it has felt like enough of a slog to justify them. All that stands between me and graduation is the result from my dissertation and two exams. Fingers crossed I’ve done enough so far and don’t fall at the final hurdle! I’m currently sat on a first (literally just but I’m still there) and I would be absolutely ecstatic if I managed to stay there, but realistically, I’ll be unbelievably happy with a 2.1. After my exams I still have to pass the two skills tests to start studying for my PGCE in September so it’s still not plain sailing for a while, but I remain hopeful and positive!

So that’s the uni update complete. Like I said, I have officially finished lectures as an undergraduate at Hope University and my life is pretty much exam preparations until then. I’m incredibly lucky in that both papers are seen, so I have no excuse but at least I can prepare to my maximum potential. I’m running the 10k tomorrow with my Amnesty buddy so I’ll update you all on how well we do. Other than that I’ve also got a few outings planned throughout my remaining month here in Liverpool. I honestly can’t believe how quickly the past three years have gone! I’ve got a couple of farewell meals etc planned and then there’s two uni balls and a final concert on top of a couple of day trips and a week of placement in a primary school. Busy busy busy!

I had a fantastic time in London and we completed our monopoly board which was rather chaotic at times. We also managed to see the Mousetrap which is the longest running play in the West End and it was fantastic. Overall, we all thoroughly enjoyed our trip and I think we’d consider doing something similar again as a small group.

Other than that, I don’t particularly have anything more to share at the moment. I’m going to start doing a couple of beauty posts again as they seem to be rather popular according to my stats and I’ve found some perfect items over the past few months which deserve to be shared (and a few to be cautious of!). Look out for them over the following week and maybe follow my blog on bloglovin as well? There’s also twitter etc which are all located around this blog but comment if there’s any questions etc!

The family copy and a relieved author!

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A brief emergence back into reality…

Hello and apologies for my lack of blogging recently. It’s not looking to improve over the next couple of weeks either as I have entered into the challenging process of writing my dissertation. So far I’m over half way through it, with just over 7,000 words written into an introduction and two chapters. All that’s left is the final chapter which I’m currently researching and then the conclusion. I’ve actually really enjoyed researching it and the writing up bit hasn’t been that much of a chore. Without my family and friends there’s no way I’d be feeling as happy with it as they’ve been incredibly supportive and don’t complain when I send off a chapter for them to read over. In fact, so far the feedback has been positive and they appear to find it interesting to read, which is always a bonus!

I’ll give you a quick little update of what’s happened over the past few weeks in between writing my last undergraduate essay and this dissertation.

  • I went to the National Archives in London with uni the week before we broke up. It was a fascinating trip and I loved being able to handle the original government papers. I found it really useful for my dissertation research, although some documents I couldn’t access because someone else was using them. The only negative about the trip was the length of time spent on the mini bus. I’ve managed 48 hours on a coach to Croatia but 9 hours cramped into what was essentially a glorified school mini bus was not comfy. It took us longer than expected to get to London due to traffic and given that I’d been up since just before 6am, having only had a few hours sleep the night before as I was finishing off my final essay, I was a tad grumpy. Also I get really travel sick and there was no windows to open for fresh air. I wasn’t sick, just felt nauseous which I think is far worse, but I did see some wonderful wildlife when I was gazing out the window – several Red Kites and some Muntjac Deer – I thought that was pretty neat and I live in a fairly rural area.
  • I spent the last two weekends of term in the caravan with my parents. The first weekend I travelled to Chirk to visit them before my Mother’s Day concert at the Palmhouse, Sefton Park. We stayed at Lady Margaret’s Park  which was beautiful. Very peaceful and the walks were fantastic. We must have walked well over ten miles on Saturday as we walked the dogs along the canal and then we left them in the car to sleep whilst we walked over Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Llangollen. I’ll admit it was pretty terrifying but I got some fab photos. The concert went really well on Sunday but it was boiling in the Palmhouse. It is essentially a massive greenhouse and when it’s slightly sunny outside, the temperature just soars inside. Mam and Alan loved the concert though.
  • The second weekend I moved out for Easter and travelled to Bury, Manchester to meet them. The site was again wonderful – a very good dog walk and there was a steam train which went passed the site a few times a day. Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy their fortnight holiday, especially the dogs. Honestly Mabel and Marvin were on their best behaviour! Then we came back and they’ve turned into disobedient doggies again. I blame the rabbit season. Being Lurchers, it is in their nature to hunt, and Mabel was trained before we adopted them to hunt rabbits. It’s difficult but we are making progress with them.
  • Anyway the two weekends out from Liverpool were just what I needed. I feel like I haven’t stopped working since the start of March on essays etc but the hard work does appear to be paying off. My Capital Punishment essay received a first, which I’m absolutely ecstatic over. I just really hope the final essay and my dissertation also do well. I’d hate to fall at the final hurdle. When I get back to uni at the end of the month, I have two days between my dissertation deadline and the exams being released (history are lovely and give us seen papers), so I fully intend to chill between those days – catch up on my tv and blogs, spend some time with my friends without going for a library visit… Just to reset my brain as I’ll then only have two weeks before my exams and then it’s all over! Three years of hard graft and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • When I returned home, I’ve had the joy of insuring my car. That’s right nearly two years after I passed my test, I’m finally driving again. There was no point in paying over a grand to be insured on Mam’s car while I was at uni because I’d hardly get the chance to drive it, but because I’ll hopefully be driving to Peterlee for the majority of the next academic year, I needed a car. My grandparents bought a new car last month and they’d promised me their old one once I’d passed my test. It’s a lovely red Suzuki (called Susie) and I’ve driven quite a few times over the past week and a bit. Mostly with Mam as a comforting passenger, but I did my first solo drive on Saturday evening and I’m going out again on my own tonight. Everything’s going well but my goodness car insurance is ridiculously expensive – the cheapest I managed to get (including breakdown cover) will cost just over £1,100 overall as I’m paying it in monthly installments. Some wanted to charge me nearly £3,000!! The joys of owning a car.
  • This week is the start of my social life again. I’m out tonight to finalise the Queen’s Guide Award trip I’m doing with three others from my Senior Section unit here. We’re going to London on Sunday so we just want to get all the details clarified and deal with paperwork etc. Tomorrow I get to spend some time with Mam and then in the evening I’m out with my best friends for a much-needed catch up. I’m also heading out for lunch today after I visited the Lit & Phil to get some more books for my chapter with one of my best friends from primary school. I’ve had a wonderful time since coming home fitting in seeing my family, including my cousin who was over briefly from Ireland, between working hard on my dissertation. On Good Friday after mass I’m going to my Auntie’s for a big family meal. I’ll get to see my Aunt and Uncle who live in Alnwick and my cousins with their 9-month daughter. I honestly can’t wait!

So that’s all that’s not been reported recently. I do intend to get back into regular blogging once my work load reduces, as I have quite a few ideas currently on the back-burner. Mind, the site does still get a handful of views each day, which always brings a smile to my face knowing that somebody, somewhere in the world, has stumbled across GeordieGiraffe and is having a gander. So thank you for that.

 

‘Dear stress, let’s break up’

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I saw this on Instagram this morning and it greatly amused me. I didn’t post a motivational Monday yesterday because frankly uni is ruling my life right now. This little snap summarises how I currently feel and I’ll get back to you all once this bitch of an essay is complete and I’ve wrestled the reins of life back from uni. For now, it’s back to coffee and Charles I…

What’s occurring

  • As I mentioned in last week’s ‘Feel-good’ post, my life for the next couple of months is going to revolve around uni. After my loss of confidence last week, I’ve had my pep-talks from my family, friends and tutor, and everything is back on track, although I do still have mild panic moments. This is just the normal have-I-left-it-too-late panic, and while I know that I haven’t left it too late, I also need this background concern to remain in the background to let me know that I can’t ignore it any longer. That’s what got me into my panic in the first place.
  • Anyway, I’m one essay down, with only one left to do (by next Wednesday), then it’s just my SALA portfolio to be handed in, apply for my summer job, and write my dissertation. Third year may be manic, but apart from last week, I think I’m dealing pretty well with it all. I’ve broken all my tasks into bitesize chunks which I cross off once complete as a visual reminder of what I have achieved and what’s left to do. Add to that the copious amount of incense sticks or oil burning going on and my room is a clean, organised, and peaceful area to work in and I’m much better with giving myself sensible breaks/work periods/goals. I then tend to reward myself as I go along (usually with an episode of Castle).
  • I also use exercise as a way to relax and clear my head. I’m going swimming at least two mornings during the week and go out for short runs several times through the week. I managed to injure myself on Monday (apologies for the slightly gross photo I instagrammed, but I had to show you just how bad it was). I kicked the wall whilst on my final lap – no biggie, I’ve done it several times – only this time I chipped part of my toenail and skinned the top of my toe! Just from kicking the wall. It bled for the most of the morning and since I’m allergic to plasters and my blood doesn’t clot as quickly as it’s supposed to, I had to resort to wrapping a cotton pad around my toe. It’s a bit better now – no more bleeding unless it gets caught – but it needs to get back to normal in time for summer sandals!
  • I went home briefly after class on Tuesday and returned this afternoon as I had to sort out some paperwork for my PGCE, I had my birthday present of tickets to see Miranda Hart at the Metro Arena and a funeral to attend. My next door neighbour lost her battle with breast cancer last week and it was her funeral today. We’ll all miss her in our neighbourhood and that was shown in the turn out to her funeral. I donated to breast cancer research with my #NoMakeUpSelfie – I’d been nominated and I thought it was a fitting way to mark the celebrations of her life – spreading the word through photos in a harmless and fun way and I know Brenda would have laughed at it. Mum and I thoroughly enjoyed Miranda Hart last night. It was so funny and honest. It worried me a little bit how relatable I found her show! Overall I had a wonderful stay at home, it was just the refreshing refuel I needed, but it’s back to work for me now.

Feel-good Friday – ‘Lovestoned’ (Live Lounge Cover)

More than any other week, I’ve needed all the motivation, support and encouragement possible from my family and friends. I hit a confidence wall on Wednesday and I’m still recovering from it now. Mentally that is, I’m not injured or anything, just the typical third year panic I gather. Seeing as that has been about the only thing that happened this week, I’m not going to bore you all with the details of it, so there won’t be a ‘What’s occurring’ post this week.

Anyway, this feel-good choice is taken from one of my recent Oxfam finds – Radio 1 Live Lounge Volume 3 – and the first time I heard this track I just melted. It’s a goose-bump, spine-tingle song when they sing it, but then I get that feeling for the majority of their album, which I still listen to. The Hoosiers (yeah remember them?) covered Justin Timberlake’s beautiful ‘Lovestoned’. I think it’s my favourite JT song from the ‘Futuresex/Lovesounds’ album (another of my favourites). It’s worth a listen to, that’s for sure. I’m currently waiting for four more Live Lounge volumes to arrive in the post after I found them cheap on Amazon, so we’ll see how many other beauts await me.

What’s occurring

  • And so begins the mad rush towards the end of third year of completing assignments. I have two essay due this month – criminal punishments on 17th and civil war on 27th. I also have to hand in my SALA portfolio on the 28th. The final assignment – and the largest – is my dissertation, which is due on 30th April. So yeah don’t expect many additional posts outside the norm until the middle of May once my exams are done and I’m simply waiting to graduate. Once that time goes, I’ll inundate you all with all the reviews etc that I wanted to do, but simply have had to put on the back burner for now.
  • Therefore the majority of my week has been filled with research, but I spent Thursday evening and most of Friday with my auntie who visited me whilst she’s over from Australia. She treated me to a night at the Radisson Blu down on Liverpool’s docks and it was such a luxurious stay. I think I may have scarred her with my first year digs the last time she visited, hence why she booked us a room there. I arrived first as she was travelling from York, and I made good use of the pool and sauna after work. We then had a gorgeous meal at the hotel, looking out onto Princes Dock, and a couple of yummy cocktails. The only negative thing of the trip was that our room was boiling, even when we had the air con on max! It spoilt my sleep a bit, but the morning swim and sauna followed by a breakfast buffet made up for this. After uni, I met her in town and we had a wander round Liverpool. I had a fantastic time with her, and I fully intend to go back to Oz within the next few years to visit her.
  • I purchased some running kit during the week. Finally I have managed to find a pair of running trainers which do not abuse my feet! I also bought some running trousers, crops and gel heel cushions to make the run even more comfortable. As my training is gradually increasing in both distance and duration, I bought a bottle to carry during my run. We’ll see how I feel carrying it.
  • Two firsts occurred during this week. I actually made and enjoyed ‘proper’ pancakes on Shrove Tuesday and I participated in World Book Day. Previously I’ve always been at my Grandparent’s on Shrove Tuesday and Grandma makes both sweet and savory pancakes. It’s like a two course pancake banquet. I just use to eat the fillings rather than them and the pancakes. I made sweet pancakes this year, but I can’t wait to be able to properly participate in the family celebrations next year. As for World Book Day, we just use to get a book voucher, rather than all this dressing up malarkey. To be honest, it annoys me the amount of people who dress their kids up as film characters. It’s called World BOOK Day. My other issue was that I have too many favourite characters! Even though it was a day later, we made the Guides dress up for it. I went as Detective Eve Dallas from J. D. Robb’s ‘In Death’ series. This is seriously one of the best series ever and every woman needs a Roarke in their lives. He beats Darcy. Hands down.

What’s occurring

  • I received my two essays back and I was absolutely over the moon. As I mentioned last week I was more concerned with my Dictators essay but I was graded a mid 2.1, which I was bowled over by. I was not expecting anything as good as that, especially after the lecture we had that in my mind discredited everything I’d written. But then that is the joy of history – providing you have substantial evidence to support your theory, you can’t really be wrong. Then on Tuesday I received my next essay. My maritime essay was awarded a first! That’s bumped this year up to a first overall so far – the pressure is well and truly on!
  • On Saturday night my housemate and I were incredibly spontaneous and bought tickets for the Isle of Wight festival in June. We’d discussed the possibility of going to a festival before Christmas and decided to have a nose around to see which we would enjoy. Next thing we knew we were set on that one and booking it! If we enjoy it this year, we’ll get the early bird offer next year – we missed out it by two days which was a bit gutting. This summer is going to be amazing!
  • I’m back into a proper fitness regime now. I survived getting up a 6.10am on Monday to go swimming and thoroughly enjoyed the early exercise. As for the gym, I’m doing a combination of running and toning to try to prepare my body for the Liverpool Spring 10k. Thankfully my blisters have nearly healed over.
  • I tried an interesting dessert on Sunday evening. The house fridge/freezer stopped working on Friday (the new one is due tomorrow) so I had to use up as much of my stuff in the fridge as possible. This week there’s been four people sharing one fridge/freezer which has been a bit of a squeeze. My dad suggested this little recipe to use up the last of my creme fraiche. I love using it on pasta, but this is a sweet dish. Simply add a sachet or three teaspoons of drinking chocolate to over 100ml of creme fraiche, stir and freeze. I used Options Go Bananas and it was a lovely treat – a bit like frozen yogurt really.
  • My uni courses swapped this week – I’m now studying Criminal Punishment in England since c.1800 instead of Modern European Dictators and the English Civil War instead of English Maritime Expansion and sitting in on A Taste of War instead of Post War Russia. I know I’m going to love all three.
  • I’ve started back at work again this week – a couple of shifts a week with make a huge difference to my budget and saving!
  • Last night I went to Mei Mei in Liverpool for the Oxfam Christmas meal – it was a lovely meal and such a laugh! I’m going to miss the girls so much when I move back home!
  • I’m really excited at the moment because I’ve just bought and decorated a new travel cup. I like taking a hot drink into uni with me, but the one I was using before had a tendency to spill on my hand if I walked too quickly. I spotted this groovy little cup online and have hunted the Starbuck stores in Liverpool (because I refused to pay an extra £4.50 for postage). I finally found it today. It’s a small ‘Create Your Own’ tumbler from Starbucks. Now I’m not a huge fan of their coffee (more of a Costa girl) but the lids are really impressive – this one should manage a lot better with the quick walk to uni! I struggled a bit with the design, purely because it got scratched when I was trying to take it out. I drew a quick idea the other night using a few quotes I’ve pinned and added some doodles. It’s definitely my coffee cup!