Maths, mud, graduation, Rubgy Sevens and everything in between!

Oh my days has it really been that long since I last blogged?! Where has the time gone?! I know I’ve been rather silent in my blogging lately but I’ve barely had a day to myself! I’m going to try to keep this post rather short but seeing as it’s been a while, I may ramble a tad. But then if you’re a regular reader you’ll already know to expect that!

  • First off I have passed both my skills tests and all going well I start my course on the 1st September! I am so excited and relieved that everything is finally pulling together nicely. I passed my first skills test (literacy) the day after my uni results were published and then had the maths test the following week. Both were booked for 8am so I had no time in the morning to worry myself over the tests. Best of luck to everyone else who is either sitting these tests or waiting for exam results! My only honest advice is be realistically positive about it and that things happen for a reason. I honestly believe that I am were I am through a combination of determination, perseverance and fate.
  • I completed the Pretty Muddy 5k event in Gosforth Park with my cousins three days before graduation. I was warned by my mum that I was not allowed to get any visible bruises, in other words ‘don’t spoil the graduation photos with bruises’. I came back incredibly muddy (the bath as soon as I got in the house was heaven) but with no injuries, and the same went for my cousins. We sure did kick cancer’s ass that day.
  • Graduation was fantastic. The sun was shining and everyone had a marvellous day. I stayed at my friend’s house and we had a right laugh celebrating all our hard work. Unfortunately my dad couldn’t be with me that day, but I’m hoping that next year, all going well, he’ll be with me in person, as well as my mum and stepdad who attended with me this year. Bless ’em they travelled to Liverpool and back in one day because of the dogs. It was a long day for me and an even longer one for them! Made worse by a two-hour delay on the M6. All that aside, we had a fantastic day, one that I hope to never forget!
  • Only a couple of days after graduation and I was travelling up to Edinburgh with one of my best friends to attended the Commonwealth Rugby Sevens Finals. We stayed in a lovely hotel in Edinburgh and commuted to Glasgow to save money. We both had a cracking time and I think I’ve found my sporting buddy! The atmosphere was amazing, both teams got cheered on regardless (although the Scotland v England match was tense) and it was one of the greatest evenings yet. I’ve always preferred rugby over most sports and I was so pleased to have gotten tickets, especially once we got in the arena and saw how brilliant the view was from our seats. Right at the top, in between the try posts. We had to race through Glasgow city to catch the last train back to Edinburgh (otherwise we had to buy new tickets) but we  made it and had our evening meal at 1.30am! Chips and curry sauce has never felt so satisfying. I’m currently saving up to visit my aunt in Australia in time for the Commonwealth games over there.

So that’s the big bulk of my summer ‘holidays’ so far. I only get two days off a week so most of the time is spent catching up on paperwork and family. I’m enjoying my summer stint a lot and I can’t wait to attend summer school in two weeks time as a final preparation before my course properly begins. I hope to at least try to post every couple of weeks with updates etc.

The obligatory motor board toss

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An end of an era…

*Warning!* Not only is this post tempting clichés, 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

I just thought I’d give you all a little update on how my first week back at uni has been so far. I can’t believe it’s only been a week as well! It seems to have simply flown by.

  • I’m due back two essays: one tomorrow – which is dictators and the one I’m most worried about – and maritime is due next week. Fingers crossed I’ve done ok on them!
  • I’ve set myself a couple of challenges this term. The first is to stick to a budget of £30 a week. To try to make this easier, I have planned each day of the week onto a little notelet and stuck it to my wardrobe. I’ve done this to plan my meals and to make sure I’m being economical with my shopping. It also makes life a lot easier during the week as I don’t have to think about what to cook and it should motivate me to do more research!
  • The second challenge is to participate in the Liverpool Spring 10k in May. I signed up for it yesterday with my friend Hannah as we decided we wanted to finish university on a real buzz and this seemed like an ideal challenge. I’m honestly running it just to prove to myself that I can do it because it’s something I never thought I’d want to do, let alone be able to complete. Most people assume that it’s being ran for a charity, so I’ve chosen the RSPCA Newcastle & Northumberland Branch as my charity because without them, we wouldn’t have Mabel and Marvin. Check out my page (to offer motivation, donations etc) or text MARB47 £1 to 70070
  • And then to add onto the fitness news – not only have I been getting back into my gym routine (and trying to break in my new running trainers despite their best efforts to eat/destroy my ankles) I’ve also signed up for unlimited swimming at the nearby pool with one of my course friends. We swam roughly 1,000 meters last night!

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

Advent and apologies

First off, I apologise for my silence – third year has well and truly struck! I was away last week on a fieldtrip to Berlin and have spent the remaining time on both my dictators essay and PGCE application. I handed in my essay this morning, collected some textbooks for my next one and I’m going to tackle my application again tonight. I had it already to send off last week before I went away, only for UCAS to decide to make the box for my personal statement tiny. While my characters were under the limit and I was on 47 lines, that box claims that it’s 7 lines too long. After spending a week culling it, I’m going to tackle it a fresh once more and see what I can do with it. I’ll be happier once it’s all handed in. Instead I’m taking a breather from all things academic to do a little blogging and I intend to have a full on pamper session tonight.

I’ll start with the weekend before I went to Berlin as it was a bit of a mixed two days. I was pulling my hair out in tears at UCAS in the morning (pathetic I know but I felt like I’d put my heart and soul into it for nothing) before participating in the fashion event at my Oxfam shop. We’d been planning the event for a couple of months and I’m really pleased with how the public responded. Several of the volunteers and I stood in the window for two hours in various party outfits chosen from the shop and we all had great fun waving at the public. Despite the let down from the local newspaper, we still received a fantastic response from the public and the shop was pretty busy for most of the day once the Darby match had finished.

My hair and make up for the window – I am wearing a lovely dress but I wasn’t 100% certain with the hair

The following day involved a trip into Liverpool centre to get some last-minute items for Berlin. Seeing as the washing machine was still out of action, I had to buy a towel and I ended up treating myself to a new outfit – high-waisted jeans that actually fit and a cosy jumper. I’d gone into town with one of my friends from my course as we had half price tickets to see Ed Byrne. After our shopping we had tea at Wagamama’s, which was a pleasant change, and then we went to the Empire for the show. It was well worth the money and we had an excellent time.

From Monday to Friday last week I was in Berlin with the history, politics and media departments from uni. I went to Madrid with them last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I had high hopes for this trip. I certainly wasn’t disappointed! Thankfully the majority of the trip was completely different to my last visit to the city, although it did help knowing where things were in the centre and how to use the public transport. So far Berlin is my favourite place in the EU that I’ve been to, and I’d happily visit it again, especially when the Advent markets are there. We went to several and had a fabulous time. I started on my Christmas shopping and sampled lots of yummy food. There was plenty of free time available alongside optional and mandatory trips during our stay and I definitely got what I wanted out of the trip. For me it was all about the history, seeing as that’s what I paid the money for, and I feel like I could go back and still learn more about the rich history Berlin is steeped with. I could go on and on about the trip, but that would probably take too long. Instead I’ll give you a couple of snap shots of my favourite parts of the trip.

As much as I would have liked to take the weekend off to fully recover from the trip, I had several promises to keep. The first was to attend panto with my guide unit on the Friday evening. I literally landed and jumped on the first bus into town. I adore pantomimes, have done ever since I was a kid, and every year my Scouse guide unit go to see the rock and roll panto. I couldn’t let a little thing like a flight stop me from seeing my final panto with them. It was very entertaining, especially as I still had to get some of the local phrases explained to me. I probably would have appreciated it more, had I not been shattered and a little travel sick, but beggars can’t be choosers. When I eventually got home, it was straight to bed and a well-earned kip!

I spent the majority of the weekend finishing my research and writing my dictators essay. Boy am I pleased to be able to forget about that for a while! It’s been a real struggle as I’ve not enjoyed the topic as much as I usually do when writing an essay, but I’ve done the best that I could on it. On Saturday evening I performed with my university concert band at the Creative Campus and it was such a fantastic concert. I enjoyed it so much and look forward to our next two performances – Christmas staff service and then the Mother’s Day concert at the Palm House. I spent Sunday morning out with several members of the Amnesty Society participating in the 10th Santa Dash around Liverpool. Despite having to get up ridiculously early in the morning, it was such an uplifting and hilarious morning. There were literally thousands of Santas jogging around Liverpool and I hope everyone else who participated enjoyed it as much as we did. For some more information/photos from our outing, have a nose here and you can still donate if you wish here. Many thanks for everyone who has already donated and for all the support we’ve received.

After the Santa Dash

Now the final thing I’d like to mention in this post is my happiness that advent has arrived, although how quickly the year has gone! Not surprisingly after spending the morning in a Santa suit, I was feeling incredibly festive yesterday. I love everything to do with Christmas, although not so much the time and hassle it takes to get gifts etc. Part of the homily yesterday was about it being the time of patience and calm as we wait for the birth of Christ, so I am going to try to relax as much as I can and just enjoy the festive season. There’s so much to enjoy over the next few weeks as Mum is coming to visit for an extended weekend on Friday, Christmas camp is the following week once my final essay of this term has been handed in, and then I have a week to chill and pack before I go back home. And every day I get to open another door on my Ciate advent calendar! Tis the season!

Two of my favourite things – Advent and nail varnish!

Liverpool’s ‘Big’ Christmas and Vintage Fair

My comments about Christmas coming too early still stand because frankly it felt a little odd having a festive day alongside a two-minute silence in remembrance (even weirder given that it was in Primark). However, I thoroughly enjoyed my day out with my friend from Amnesty and I’m sure she’ll be blogging about it between the mountain of uni work that is threatening to bury the two of us.

The weather was fairly pleasant this morning, so I ended up going out in one of my favourite outfits. Yes I’m finally ready to reveal myself, rather than a cropped/zoomed photo. Just another dimension to add to the blog seeing as I adore clothes shopping and fashion in general. The jumper is from Sainsbury’s and it is super cosy. The skirt and tights are both Primark’s finest – I do love a good bargain, especially when it’s something I can wear with just about everything in my tiny uni wardrobe. To complete the outfit, I wore my pink Doc Martin shoes (I tend to wear very little else when I leave the house), my Next quilted jacket and my lovely new knitted addition. My incredibly talented mum has knitted me this hat and it arrived in the post yesterday. As you know, I adore giraffes and I’m very impressed with Mum’s skills.

We met before the fair started as we fancied going for a Costa breakfast, mainly because the new festive range is available. I had a skinny Black Forest Gateau hot chocolate and a slice of Christmas cake. That’s one of my favourite festive foods so I thought I might as well go whole hog since I was having a treat breakfast and going to a Christmas fair. Can you believe that I had the last hot chocolate – they’d ran out by 9.45am! It was very tasty and set me up for the day of shopping ahead.

I bought the tickets for the fair through Groupon as we got four tickets for the price of two. It was advertised as ‘Liverpool’s Big Vintage Fair’ and I’m fairly sure there was something about a free Nails Inc nail polish and photos, but instead we got a choice between free mulled wine, mince pie or cupcake. We went with the cupcake option because it was too early in the morning for wine and chocolate is always good. The fair was at the Bluecoat in Liverpool, which is a wonderful building slightly hidden behind Primark. There were a couple of stands in the front courtyard, including a fantastic cosmetic stall. I bought a spiced plum lip balm (I do have a slight obsession with lip balms) and there were a couple of other things that tempted me, but I resisted. We went upstairs first and I have to say we were a little disappointed with the range of products there. For the most part, the items were the same, just at different prices and qualities. There were also some incredibly pushy sellers. Again, a few things caught my eye, including some lovely (but pricey) scarves and long necklaces. I’d quite like to get a statement necklace, but I’m yet to see one that totally steals my heart (and therefore my purse). We had a wander in the stalls downstairs and they were much more impressive. Still very expensive though. It’s almost like people can add another zero to the price tag because it’s ‘vintage’. Sometimes it’s worth it, but for the most part, I struggled to justify the prices some sellers were asking for. There were some cute candles inside china cups (seems to be the new craze along with melted records as dishes) but due to the tiny size of my room, I again couldn’t justify getting them. Same with the lovely cake stands. When I get my own place, I might be able to treat myself to little trinkets like that. In the end, I settled for some bunting for my room, another set for Christmas, and a cute little gingerbread figure which is currently decorating my mug tree. It was a lovely fair, but I’m pleased I only paid £2.50 for it, especially when you consider the size of my favourite markets back home, which are free. As a one-off day out, it was worth it though.

Today’s market purchases

My housemate was meant to be going with us to the fair, but due to a prior commitment, we didn’t meet up with her until after 2pm. Seeing as we’d finished the fair by 11am, we decided to do a bit of shopping since we were already in town. Primark seemed the obvious place to start seeing as it was practically next door and we both wanted to get some more woolies in. We found quite a few bargains in store and I ended up doing one of the cheapest Primark shops I’ve done in a long time. I got a pair of disco shorts for £3 (I’ve fancied a pair for a while, so we’ll see how I wear them), some new PJs for my upcoming uni trip to Berlin, a new set of tights and a winter themed thermal mug for uni. I’m impressed with the PJ shorts as they feel like winceyette, yet are fairly short. This baffled my housemate earlier because ultimately shorts are cold regardless of the material, but I get too hot sometimes, so they should be ideal for my winter trip. I’ll take thick bed socks just to be on the safe side. I love taking my thermal cups into uni – my current one has a cupcake pattern and was part of last year’s house secret Santa gift. This winter themed one (it’s not allowed to be classed as Christmassy yet) is cute and will brighten up my lectures as much as the coffee inside it. I was tempted by some of the Christmas jumpers, but I’ve still got last years so didn’t see the point in getting another, despite there being some very cute ones available.

Primark goodies – minus the disco shorts, they didn’t look good in the photo

We went to Mello Mello for lunch – it’s a veggie/vegan friendly cafe just off the main streets and I’d heard lots of great things about it. Lunch was lovely – I had a feta, salsa and spinach granary sandwich with black pepper crisps and fermented cherry cola. I was a bit unsure about the fermented fruit bit, but I was assured that this is a less harmful way to have fruit and it tasted delicious. Much nicer than other branded stuff. The feta sandwich was scrummy, a bit rich, but then that’s why I chose it as I very rarely have it. If I could remember the way there, I’d definitely go again and they do live bands etc so it should definitely be considered again.

Lunch

We still had a bit of time to kill, so we went over to Lush. As you’ve probably gathered, this is becoming one of my favourite shops. I’d say at least a third of my Christmas list is from there and I could easily add to it. I’m seriously tempted to get their ‘Let the good times roll’ face cleanser and ‘Karma kream’ body lotion. Like I said, if I had the money, I’d stock my bathroom with their products.

As I mentioned, we later met my housemate and her boyfriend to give them their tickets, but we didn’t stay long at the fair with them as we were pretty tired by then. I’ve been in a bit of discomfort today due to my hour-long toning session at the gym yesterday – those core muscles have barely been touched in the past couple of months and were seriously protesting this morning! We went to pick up our Santa suits for the Santa Dash in a few weeks time. A group of six of us from the Amnesty Society at Hope will be participating to raise funds for Amnesty International UK. If you are feeling particularly generous, feel free to donate here, it would be greatly appreciated!

After that it was a bus ride home with all our purchases and plans for another shopping session after our winter deadlines!

It started with a onesie…

…or maybe the pink floral Dr Martins. Either way, it feels like I’ve become more like the stereotypical student in one month of third year, than I have over the entire previous two. It’s almost like I’m trying to make up for it. To be honest, I think I’d rather blame the onesie because that’s more studenty than the DMs which also make a lot of outfits cuter. The onesie is for the moments when the student house is freezing and I’d rather lie back with a novel than crack on with dissertation or essay research.

I think we all needed the reminder of how amazing this onesie is

See the DMs are making that outfit as well. Definitely blaming the onesie. Anyway, onto the next student stereotype that I’ve found myself enjoying – coffee. For me, it’s like that next step into adulthood when you can drink a ‘grown up’ hot drink without grimacing. Before uni, I wouldn’t even drink hot chocolate because it was too hot and then disgusting when cold. How quickly your view-point changes when your room is around 10c in October and you can’t feel your fingers while trying to type an essay. Surprisingly enough, hot chocolate became quite a strong feature in my student lifestyle. Still is for that matter. Earlier in the year I began to experiment with different coffees as I thought it was about time I tried to find a more sociable drink. At first I could only drink the flavoured ones that mask the taste of the coffee completely. Instead of being impressed with this leap into adulthood, my family, for the most part, were repulsed and declared it another of my weird food likes (chicken tikka sandwich filler on crackers is still regarded as the weirdest by them). Strangely, since last month, I’ve found that I really like skinny mochas. So much so, that I now make my own using a teaspoon of fair trade instant medium strength coffee, a teaspoon of Options Belgium hot chocolate and a splash of milk. 18 calories to Costa’s 200 odd. All for the cost of two Costa’s. I still like to treat myself to a Costa one now and then to build my points up, especially if I’m on the train and I sometimes get one at uni. So there’s my new indulgence that I’ve added a healthy twist to and enjoy. I hope that eventually, I’ll be able to drink coffee without the hot chocolate, as that’s more common in households.

My coffee cup and dissertation research – how I imagine this year is going to look the majority of the time

Then within the past two days, I’ve had two student moments. The first is that last night, I went to a house party for Halloween. Sounds like no biggie, apart from it was my first ‘proper’ house party and I didn’t know the majority of the people there. Now for me that’s a new experience. I don’t tend to mix well with people when I barely know them, but I don’t know what my worry was about. I had one of the best nights out I’ve ever had. I felt like part of the group (even if it was mainly the geordie accent they loved) and I don’t think I showed myself up. Score one for me on the social scale! I also think that this morning was the closest I’ve ever been to being hung over. Doesn’t really sound like something to be proud of but again, I’ve never had a hangover before and I wasn’t mortal last night, despite the ridiculously alcoholic cocktail cans I bought. I honestly didn’t expect them to be that high, given that a bottle of cider is 4%, but these cans ranged from 4% to 7.2%. Still I didn’t puke, harass anyone and could walk perfectly fine (bar tripping over long legs once) which is what I always assumed would prelude a hangover. Maybe I should feel robbed because I did none of those things and felt rotten when I left the house? I felt fine when I got up and was in the shower, it was the walking to uni bit that made me feel a little rough. Between that and the breakfast of skinny mocha and half a treat bag of Malteasers, it was going to be an interesting morning. I was really happy though with how much I enjoyed last night though, and I was super chuffed with my outfit. I made a pair of children’s tights into stockings and my make up looked decent as well. And didn’t get a single wolf whistle or car horn as I walked to and from the party. Good thing I’m more interested in my grades than a relationship!

Proof that they were tights beforehand

Being a ‘proper’ student

And then onto the thing that actually got me thinking about these most recent changes in me. Today I went and got my helix/ear rim pierced. After I got my belly button done at Easter, I kept thinking about how much I wanted to get it done, but I was still afraid of the gun noise from the last time I got my ear lobes pierced. Then yesterday, during our shopping trip to Morrisons (see I haven’t changed that much) my housemate and I decided to be spontaneous and get pierced the next day because it was the next day off she knew about for a while. She got her belly button done and I went ahead and got my ear rim pierced. I was dead nervous on the way from uni into town, even more so when we got there and I was told that I’d be in on my own. Combine that with a lousy breakfast and I was a bit worried I’d pass out. I’ve been getting more dizzy and weak spells lately, but I am going to go to the docs about them. Just to be on the safe side. Anyway, £18 (yay student discount) and one Werther’s Original later, and I was the proud owner of a hole in my ear. The piercing looked lovely and I’m already browsing potential studs once it heals. I say looked, because when I was on Skype to Dad a couple of hours later, he pointed out that I had blood running down my neck. I was warned that it was likely to bleed, but I wasn’t expecting that much blood! It was like a nosebleed from my ear! The really irritating thing was it clotted on my earrings (good job they’re black) and spotted a bit on my favourite jumper (hoping it comes out in the wash). It stopped bleeding after a couple of minutes and I managed to clean it up a fair bit before Guides, but we’ll see how well we do tonight. Regardless of the pain (it’s still throbbing) and blood, I’m so chuffed I went and got it done. It’s almost like I’m discovering my personality all over again. I don’t care how pretentious that sounds (well I do a little) but it is genuinely how I feel each time I find or do something that two years ago, I would’ve laughed if you’d told me I’d do it. It’s like Jessie said last weekend, don’t be afraid to be who you truly feel you are, even if it doesn’t quite fit the current mould. Fashion is what we make it. Yadda yadda yadda. I may harp on about it at times, but I’m happy about it and if it makes someone else smile then who are we to judge?

Ignoring the icky blood clot, ain’t it cute?!

So there’s my ramblings about how third year so far involves a onsie, DMs, mochas and another new piercing. There is some research involved in there as well, but this is far more fun to write about. I would like to say though, that so far nothing I’ve done has in any way shocked my parents, or family for that matter, so surely I’m not that much of a stereotypical student! I’m still studious little me. I’ve got a few more posts in mind to do around uni work, so we’ll see when I have time to fit them in. It’s the lovely 9am shift tomorrow morning and I need to be prepared for the worst for my shower if this piercing bleeds any more.