Thursday, 30 December 2010

My New Year's Resolution

I've never done a proper New Year's resolution before, as I've always figured: if there's something I really want to change, I'll do it. Who needs a New Year to decide to do that? I do like the idea of a fresh start though, so completely understand why people want to start something new as another year dawns.

This year, I've decided to keep a kind of mini diary: everyday I'm going to add something to a special notebook - a little something that's made me happy each day, so as not to forget life's little pleasures (as one so often does). I imagine to be noting things like "when the traffic light turns to green just as you approach it", "writing with a new ink pen for the first time" or "the smell when you walk past Subway". I can't deny it... These things give me lots of little joyous moments.

I also might decide to learn to cook one new meal every week, but to be honest I think that's a bit ambitious (and down right unrealistic), so chances are that won't happen. Meh - I'm only human.

So what are your little pleasures? What makes your happy list? I might share some of my best daily notes as I go.

Good luck with your New Year's resolutions, y'all. Anyone have any good ideas?

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

My best bargains in the sales so far!

Well, ladies and gents - I had been hoping to find nice pictures from the respective high street store's websites from whcih I've snapped up some pretty things in the sales, but unfortunately, none of them are on the websites. So what does that tell you? Internet shopping is lame (as afore mentioned by yours truly) and if you really want to see what's out there, you gotta get off your sofa, brace yourself, and get searching/rummaging/fighting for the best reductions.

So what did I manage to find? I actually bought two Rare party dresses - one from Topshop, and the other from New Look. The Topshop one is covered in gold sequins, bodycon, with black mesh sleeves, chest and back. It was a steal at £20 (reduced from £45, I think), and I got a further 10% using my trusty student discount. Ahh, I hear you thinking "But the party season is over now..." That may be true, but I've been invited to a January party to which the theme is "sparkle", and let me tell you now - this dress definitely sparkles.

The New Look one was even more of a find at a mere tenner! I couldn't believe my luck. It's also a party dress - purple, brocade, strapless... totalement jolie! (Yes, any avid readers of my blog will recall my saying in an earlier post that I didn't want ANOTHER purple party dress, but realistically... would you have passed up this opportunity? I think not.) Anyhoo... I do have another occasion coming up that calls for a gorge dress, and this one is just perfection. SUCCESS!

I always find the sales a good time to buy your underwear, ladies (and probably gents, too, for that matter). On a student budget one can't always afford La Senza, or even Topshop actually (they're pretty pricey, but oh-so-cute!), but in most places I visited on the high street, the lingerie was all around 50% off, if not better! So there's no excuse not to be looking sexy under all those layers this winter.

I bought two fahbulous pairs of flats in trusty Topshop too (alright, alright... yes, I had a bit of a spree). One littel pair of floral print booties, and some other cosy mocassins - at £20 and £8 respectively. Pretty sweet deals, no?

Miss Selfridge also had many a student-friendly discount going on, along with River Island, H&M and Zara.

So, dear friends, my advice to you is to embrace the sales! Go forth and get more for your money! Hit the high street and don't look back! I tell you, when I came home and tried on all my purchases again... I was so happy (again with the materialism/consumerism... I know). And there was absolutely not a whiff of shopper's guilt, as I knew I'd got such great deals.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Deep breath, ladies - it's sale time!

Yes, get excited - this is from
I have to admit that my debit card has been itching to be used from inside my wallet over the past two days. It knows the sales have begun, and is worried that if I don't hurry up, all the good bargains will be snatched up! And I'll be left with the dreggs, ugly stuff and size 28s. Sigh.

This is a major worry for me - sad as that may sound. At the end of Christmas Day, as I sat on the sofa watching "My Family Christmas Special" in a massive food coma (yet still piling in the Quality Street!), I kept receiving email upon tweet upon Facebook post bombarding me with news that THE MIGHTY SALES HAVE BEGUN!

Oh. God. I'm starting to hyperventilate and getting twitchy as I type. So last night and today I started checking out said epic sales online, but with little success. I'm just an absolutely pants online shopper. I hate it, really, I do. I can't bring myself to buy stuff without seeing it in the flesh first. I don't know why - makes me sound a bit like an old lady, doesn't it? If I happened to stumble across a Marc Jacobs bag reduced to £50, naturally I wouldn't let that opportunity pass me by, but it needs to be something really appealing for me to buy it online. Maybe I'm also a bit stingy in that I hate paying for postage (and then potentially returns if you don't like it/it doesn't fit... but that's why I am a big ASOS fan - it's all free for us UK residents! Alleluia!)

It freaks me out that everyone will have bought all the best sale items by now, but Boxing Day is like an extension of Christmas Day in my family, in that there's no way we'd ever go shopping (or anywhere else for that matter). It's all about home and family, and subsequently about craving shopping... in my case anyway.

So I'm super excited to be going on a big shopping trip with the mother and sister demain! Eeeeeep! *Can't quite contain excitement and isn't even ashamed*. The trouble is that I have a lot more "shopping stamina" so to speak, than my sister and mother (combined). I always just want to keep going and going (with my elbows at the ready I'll have you know), with boundless energy. Whereas they seem to need to stop all the time, and always want to move on to the next shop before I'm done. So what will probably happen is I'll leave them in Costa and head back to raiding the sale rails.

It is a bit of a massive undertaking, I must say, hitting the post-Christmas sales. It's best to go as early as you can, because later in the day the world and his wife all arrive (probably with his kids in tow too!) But I can't wait! I love sniffling out a good bargain me. And will let you all know  if I find anything super duper fabby.

Good luck with the sales, and I'd love to know any other tips, tricks or advice for finding success.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas at home - as it should be.

Every family seems to have their own unique (and often downright bizarre) Christmas traditions. I mean, sure - the majority of us have a big ole dinner, decorate a tree inside (which, when you think about it, is a really weird concept) and give presents.  But we each have our little ways of celebrating Christmas that make it such a personal time of the year.  I'm like most people in that I like Christmas to be exactly the same every year... None of this going away malarkey, hell no! On Christmas day I can only be at home with my family. And I am rather stubborn about it.

So what are our little Christmas quirks? Well: we always have lime jelly as one of our many puddings after the big feast. I don't know why, we just always have. We never have it at any other time of the year really...
My brother, sister and I always go into my brother's bedroom (he's the oldest you see) to open our stockings before getting the parents up and dragging them out of bed as best we can - as little kids we were always so keen to open our presents from Santa that we literally did drag them out of bed!
After Christmas lunch, it's also a bit of a tradition to play my Dad's awful music from the 70s or whatever and have a bit of a dance round the dining room.

There are so many more little things that we just have to do every year, like having croissants for breakfast, filming us opening our presents, and settling down round a fire in the evening to watch My Family Christmas Special and stuff ourselves with Quality Street. But I just wouldn't have it any other way.

I absolutely love this time of year - the whole festive season that is - and all the little traditions it brings. And that is why I can't wait for Midnight Mass ce soir, and our family Boxing Day walk (followed by a kingsize fry up of leftovers!) on the 26th. It's all about family time as far as I'm concerned...

So I'd like to wish you all a very merry and peaceful Christmas (and hopefully there won't be too many family arguements!)

Thursday, 23 December 2010

A Rant About The Royal Mail

Pfft. (Pic from
*Sigh* All I can do is sigh. It would seem my father is not going to be receiving a Christmas present from me on Saturday, as the Royal Mail have failed to deliver it.

I put a lot of thought and time into making him a really cool, personalised skin for his Blackberry using the website (I really suggest checking them out, by the way - you can design your own skins for phones, laptops, iPods and the like - and they're really reasonably priced too! Perfect for presents. Well, it would have been.) But now, ole Daddio is going to be left empty handed. Zilch. Nada for Dada. I was so pleased with myself too! I ordered it exactly two weeks before Christmas, and was told the delivery should take 5-7 working days, so was feeling pretty smug about it. My Dad is one of the hardest people in the world to buy for, I'm not even joking. He doesn't like ANYTHING. This year, I asked him what he wanted, and he replied "I need some new cycling socks." I mean purrlease! I am not going to give my father socks for Christmas, that would just be far too clichéd. (Sorry if I've offended anyone who's given their dad socks... I have to admit I have got socks for my brother. But they're very nice ones!) And so I was super excited when someone told me about, thought I'd found something my Dad would surely love (I added a little personal message and everything!), and was SO looking forward to him opening it on Christmas Day.

Now I have to tell him it hasn't arrived. I mean, sure... he'll still get it (well, I hope he will. If it never comes there is going to be a much more stongly-worded rant coming your way, folks!) but we all know it's not the same as opening a Christmas present on Christmas Day.

So for now, I've sent an angry tweet to the Royal Mail twitter account. They replied asking "Can we help at all?" (And are sending lots of apologetic tweets to many a disgruntled tweeter!) Well yeah!!! You could help by getting me my delivery!

Is anyone else having trouble with Christmas deliveries? It's just such a shame.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Revision = Epic Fail

Clearly loving it. (Pic from
Now, that title could be interpreted in a number of ways. Ahh... aren't I clever leaving it all open-ended and ambiguous and stuff? No? OK. Moving on...

Basically, I have an A-Level Module Exam in January (I know, I know: "A-Levels are being dumbed-down, you didn't have these moduley-thingys back in your day, blah-de-blah-de-blah" I've heard it all before. And don't blame us kids - we don't control the system!) which I should be revising for over my Christmas holidays... also known as now. But I ask you, who's stupid idea was it to expect us to revise over the festive period!? I mean, c'mon! That's just mean. And if most teenagers are anything like me, which I'm thinking they are, it's just not going to happen. Hence my revision fail.

I started off the holidays drafting up a little revision timetable (and feeling very smug for being so organised!), but, unsurprisingly, I haven't exactly stuck to it.  You see, other things have come up, like shopping, and parties, and, erm, really good Christmas TV (naturally I can't just let it all clog up my Sky+ now, can I?)

Some of my friends have a whopping FIVE exams in January, I feel for them, really, I do. It's not much fun. In a way though, I imagine it might be a bit easier having more than one exam, because then it all seems a bit more serious and important, and thus, one might be more motivated to actually do some work.  The trouble with having just the one is that it's far too easy to dismiss it as not a big deal, and put off doing any revision.

But my exam is on 10th January, which really isn't very far away at all (and kinda freaking me out ever so slightly!), so I'm thinking I really should knuckle down and hit the books. It's not that the revision's majorly unpleasant, I mean, I like my subject and all, it can just be hard to get yourself to sit down at your desk and start... especially when everyone downstairs is chatting over Quality Street and Love Actually.

So the second meaning is: if I don't do any revision, I will most definitely fail. Not an ideal scenario. Right: tomorrow, dear readers, I SHALL REVISE! Don't try and stop me. It's going to happen.  And that's that. (I'm hoping that by blogging about it, I might feel ever so slightly more inclined to do some revision.)

Yes, revision will take place. Ooh yeah! I'm psyched. And if I don't manage to blog tomorrow, it's probably because I'm just too engrossed in my textbooks. Sorry in advance.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Mum: "you're such a consumer!" Me: "it's not my fault, it's society!"

Yes, it's pretty true. I am a major consumer (food and otherwise!) And I just can't seem to help getting a lot of joy from material things. I'm one of those people who's super easy to buy presents for because I actually love EVERYTHING! It's shameful. I can't seem to go into any shop without seeing things I love/want/would be delighted to receive. At least it makes it easy for people at Christmas and my birthday!

However, I can't help but feel bad for getting so much joy from materialistic things. People always say real joy come from memories and love and all that malarkey, and that "money can't buy you happiness". They're probably right, and I do of course treasure my family, friends and experiences, but equally - if you're miserable, money can make your misery a lot prettier and more comfortable! Don't try and argue with me... We all know it's true.

I just can't help it! I lurrve shiny, pretty, new things! And I'm only 18, is it such a crime that these things give me a kick? Maybe I'm just one of those girls who's going to develop a serious shopping problem... Here's hoping I can keep my new waitressing job to fund my ways!

But equally, I don't think this is entirely my fault. I mean, loads of my friends are the same, and I'm sure you can relate to what I'm saying (whether you admit it or not!) Wherever we go, we are bombarded with choice and options, making us think we can have whatever we want - and all we have to do is hand over a bit of cash.

Pic from

For example: today, I was in Waitrose (and LOVING it! Who doesn't love a good supermarket sesh? Just me? Really? OK... That's probably my food obsession taking over.) and I was looking at the porridge, as one dies. I'd never seen so many different flavours in my life! There was cinnamon, raisin, banana, apple, maple syrup... to name but a few. But was I satisfied? No siree. You could buy a box of like 12 sachets or so, but all of the same flavour. I was thinking: "but what if I don't like that flavour? I could be left with 11 sachets that I don't want!" Not good enough. What I wanted (and take note porridge companies) was a sort of multipack, with maybe one or two of each flavour. That would be breakfast perfection would it not? Alternating each morning, mixing it up. Ooh yeah... I'd like me some of that.

Latre note: Wow... that was quick. Having just visited the Quaker website, it would seem they do have a multipack! Damn you, Waitrose, for not having any!

Hmm... What do I want? (Pic from

So what am saying? I can't blame consumerism on society. It's just the way we are these days, which I suppose is a bit worrying for our generation and the future. Apparently if you go to a Russian supermarket there's like nothing. No choice, no options. I can't imagine living like that. Going into a supermarket and not being able to pick between Coca-Cola, Coke Zero, Diet Coke, Caffeine Free Diet Coke, Pepsi, Pepsi Max, Diet Pepsi, cans, bottles, multipacks... Can you?

Monday, 20 December 2010

I'm now officially a working girl! Well, a waitress.

Pic from
Yes, as of now, I am employed. And very excited about it too. I'm now working in my local Italian restaurant - but we're not talking deep-pan pizzas here (why does everything with me seem to come back to pizza?), it's very swanky, fancy-shmancy food... In all the Michelin guides and what not.

So I reeeaaally didn't wanna mess up my first shift - and Lordy was I nervous about starting the Saturday before Christmas - as I'd been wanting a part-time job for yonks. Last year I never seemed to have time (bit of a pathetic excuse, I know), and last term I was focussing my efforts on my Uni applications (fingers crossed that'll actually pay off!), but next term should be a bit quieter, and I could MAJORLY do with some income from a more reliable source than the odd babysitting job. Although, babysitting has got to be THE BEST job out there: getting paid for sitting on someone's sofa, watching their TV and eating their food... Hell to the yeah! But now being the waitress that I am, I cannot wait to have a bit more dosh in my (Primark-but-doesn't-look-it) wallet, so I can, ahem, start saving for very important things (slash but preeeetty things for myself and feed my handbag addiction! C'mon... You know you'd be the same.)

To make matters worse, who did I happen to be waiting on for my first table of the night? Only one of the senior teachers at my school! I could not for the life of me believe it. I was half expecting him to enquire about my UCAS applications along with what the foie gras is served with (no joke - they really were serving foie gras. I told you it was snazzy!)

But overall, the night didn't go too badly I like to think. I dropped a few forks, said I'd get a man some port and then found out the restaurant don't do port, and managed to get on the wrong side of one of the other waitresses: she was not impressed with me for accidentally putting still water in a bottle that should have had sparkling. Quelle horreur!

After a bloody long six hours on my feet, my back, hands and legs were aching much more than I'd expected, but I was pleased with myself. And apparently the boss was pleased enough too - I've got two more shifts this week! Yippee! So let's hope I learn the ropes quickly, as I hate being the one who doesn't know what's going on, or how the complex systems work.

Fingers crossed!

I'm actually blogging from my iPhone at the moment as I've got such a hectic schedule these days! Clever technology eh?

Saturday, 18 December 2010

My search for the perfect party dress... continues.

You have to imagine the title being read by The Apprentice guy - it sounds much more exciting and dramatic.

In two days time I'm due to be going to a very swanky black tie partay, which I'm super duper excited about (cause hey - I love a good social and a chance to dress up!), but I would be a hell of a lot more excited if I didnt feel like I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!  Obviously that's not in the slightest bit true. I have a whole wardrobe full of dresses (No, really. I do. One wardrobe literally wholly dedicated to dresses), but the trouble is that half of them don't fit me anymore (one of the major downsides of dropping a couple of dress sizes), and the other half just aren't right.

Considering there're so many people in the world who have basically nothing, I know I shouldn't be complaining, and this all sounds a bit ridiculous.

Exhibit A: 2009 party

Let's take exhibit A: a gorgeous Ted Baker dress I got from Bicester Outlet Village last year, and wore to my school Christmas party. As you can see it was a bit of a snug fit, but hugged my former curves in a good way (well, I thought so anyway - keep your comments to yourselves!) I had been hoping I might be able to wear said dress to said party. Apparently not. Lets regard exhibit B: me trying on the dress a few days ago. As you can probably see, it needs taking in by a good couple of inches. Grrrr...

Exhibit B: 2010
Not to be too annoyed by this, I realised it was as good a reason as any to shop! So off I went. Unfortunately, I had very little luck.  I hit the High Street hoping not to exceed my budget of £30 - what with sales, student discounts and it coming to the end of the party season, I thought that was do-able.

I coudn't seem to find anything that I liked, was the right size, and the right price. I did come close in New Look though. A gorgeous, silky, flowy, assymetrical dress in a rich burgundy, jewelly, wine tone. (I know, I'm good at describing. Naaat!) And the best part was that it was in the sale at just £18! "Success", thought I. Oh how wrong I was. I tried it on, but it didn't fit. Typical eh? Went back to the sale rack, only to find that it was the last one left. There was the same dress in the right size, but in purple... but I just couldn't buy it. The reason - I seem to be sprouting purple dresses left, right and centre, and reeeaally don't want another one. Purple, or plain black. I have so many LBDs, and for Christmas, want something a bit more exciting - is that such a crime? Why is it so hard!?

So, the current situation is that I'm a little bit dressless. But I suppose that's what kind sisters and friends are for (sorta relying on them anyway!) Or if not, I suppose I'll find a way to breathe some new life into an old dress and hopefully make it work.

Wish me luck! Or maybe I'll have to go shopping again... Quelle disastre!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Tips for avoiding Festive Fatness

A year or so ago, I was almost three stone heavier, and a good two dress sizes bigger. Through a gradual lifestyle change - exercising more and choosing healthier options - I now feel much more confident in myself and the way I look, which has helped me in so many ways. At the moment, I'm really happy with my size, and after all my hard work over the past 10 months, have managed to maintain my weight where it is for the past few weeks (yippee!)

Naturally, I was kinda dreading (and kinda really looking forward to) the party season and all the delumpcious food that comes with it, because I know that when people offer me the Quality Street tin, I am just absolutely hopeless and have zilch willpower to JUST SAY NO! That is the thing about Christmas time... I just want to eat. And eat. All the time. But I really don't want to undo all the past year's hard work. Family and friends come to stay bringing with them yummy treats, we exchange predominantly edible and chocolatey gifts, I am rather greedy with my two chocolate advent calendars (hey, don't judge me! they were gifts... I couldn't say no!), we go to Christmas drinks and nibbles parties (which are notoriously and very cleverly fattening - you think the food is so small you're not eating very much, but actually, you are, and just don't realise. Gets me every bloomin' time), we have packed social calendars which often include stuffing our faces, and I don't know about you, but in my family, at this time of year, we bake. A lot. I'm talking gingerbread men, Stollen, Christmas cookies, hazelnut cakes... Oooh yeah... *starts salivating*

Mmm... (Pic from

Oh right. Erm, where was I? Sorry. Yes - food. My point of all that is that it's bloody difficult not to put on a few pounds at this time of year, but there are ways in which we can reduce the amount of damage caused (AKA inches to the hips added) and still have a fabby time.

One of the things that really works for me is this: PLAN AHEAD. I know that if I'm going to a party or out for a big dinner, I'm not going to be able to resist indulging and I'm going to want to eat what I want (well - within reason. If I ate what I wanted, I would probably be the size of a swiss ball!) So what I do is, I counter-balance it. I do this by exercising just a little bit more beforehand, or for example, having a lighter, healthier lunch than usual. It seems to do the trick! I guess it's like storing up a bit of a calorie bank, so you can then spend them up at that party without feeling guilty. Huzzah!

Which is your fave?
Another things I've learned is not to stand aroud the buffet table at parties, as I find it impossible not to spend all night grazing when the food is right infront of my face. Try to fill one plate up (so you can see what a normal-sized plateful looks like) and then STEP AWAY FROM THE BUFFET.

If you're given a big ole tin of Quality Street (which seem to only ever appear at Christmas I swear!), or any other big box of choccies - this is a bit of a hard one for a chocaholic like myself - SHARE THEM OUT, thus sharing the calories too. (Just make sure you get your favourites (mmm... green triangle) before it's too late!

DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP for indulging or for gaining a pound or two. It's inevitable. And realistically, if you're anything like me, festive food is all part of Christmas, and I know I'd be bloody miserable if I restricted myself to celery at parties and brussel sprouts for Christmas Dinner. On the subject of the big day, I've read that the average Brit consumes a pretty mammoth 6000 calories - just in one day! Although, thinking about my Christmas eating habits... that kinda doesn't surprise me! Personally, I'm not going to be caring about my figure, or calories, or weight on the 25th. I'm going to eat whatever I want, and blimmin' well enjoy it. And I suggest you all do too. There's always January for the cabbage soup diet and hitting the gym isn't there?

I hope these little tips may help y'all to have a healthy-ish and happy Christmas! I'd love to hear any other ideas you've got, so hit me with 'em!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

All I want for Christmas... this Mulberry Margaret Mini Bag in Grape Suede!
Pic from Mulberry website
Isn't she preeeetty? Gotta be one of the cutest bags I've seen in a long time. So quintessentially British too, which I simply laaave, what with the little gold emblem. From far away you would think it would be something presitigous and royal, but the little emblem actually features British bulldogs, a teapot, a cupcake, and the words "We love tea and cake"! (IT'S LIKE THEY READ MY MIND!  I do love tea and cake!) And so for that reason, this bag and I are obviously meant for each other, which clearly justifies its £495 price tag, eh Santa?

Oh, Santa... while I'm on the subject... I wouldn't mind an iPad either.

Pic from
Ooh - so sleek, so chic, so delightfully un-necessary but so desirable all the same.  No, you can't deny that no-one needs an iPad. They are a complete and utter luxury. But a fun one. One that might make my life a bit more, erm, luxurious. You can understand that can't you, Santa? I'm sure you can spare a casual £429...

OK. As I'm doing this, I might as well just go the whole hog. Santa, I would like some Louboutins if you please.

Pic from Christian Louboutin website
Wow. Just wow. Don't they kinda take your breath away? These are the Pigalle 120mm high pumps, and have got to be some of the most damn elegant shoes known to man. They just ooze elegance and class if you ask me. Classic patent black leather + timeless design + that famous red sole = serious shoe envy.

So Santa, I'm not asking too much am I? What? I am?! Really? Oh, OK... no, don't worry... socks and a clementine'll be fine. Hey, a girl can dream on... *sigh*

Fashion Media Short Course - London College of Fashion

On Monday and Tuesday this week I casually journeyed down to the capital to go to London College of Fashion. The reason - to go on the "Introduction to the Fashion Media Business" short course.  I didn't really know what to expect, and was just hoping for a bit of a taster in journlaism, marketing, PR and the like (and to tie in some shopping time and a trip to see my friend in Chiswick!), but it turned out to be one of the best things I've ever done!

There were 17 of us on the course altogether (and it was fully booked!) - unsurprisingly consisting of 16 girls, and a gay guy - so was a really nice size for group work, and it was led by the fahbulous Julia Robson. Now, Julia is a women I have so much respect and admiration for. It might be going to far to say she's my idol, but she's definitely up there in the awesome stakes. For starters, she's worked for Anna Wintour, interviewed Madonna, and worked on the Daily Telegraph fashion team for 15 years! Julia was absotastically brilliant, and such a great person to meet.

The trendy café area at the High Holborn campus

So we spent the two days learning loads about what it's really like to work in fashion media, such as what to look for in catwalk shows (and how important the Haute Couture shows are for a label's PR), tips for re-branding difficult clothing, iconic designers, how society influences fashion, "The Fashion Triangle", advertising techniques, writing for magazines, styling, interviewing skills, and the rise of e-fashion.

I couldn't recommend doing one of these short courses more (if you can manage to scrounge together £260 or so... mine was part of my Christmas present!). And London College of Fashion offer courses in pretty much any area to do with fashion you could be interested in. I'd love to hear if anyone's done any of their courses, long or short, and what you thought!

How to funkify your nails in a purse friendly way

Now I'm a big fan of getting creative with my finger tips (and toes for that matter, but don't tend to have them on show at this time of year!), and love expressing myself with my nail varnish.  I've actually become kinda known for it at school (with the girls anyway... the guys - not so much.)

Unsurprisingly, I would simply adore to be able to afford to get my nails done at Wah Nails, but unfortunately, it's a little pricey for a student.  I hope to try them our for a special occasion, but the trouble is that they're wayy down in London, which isn't ideal.

Wah Nails designs, taken from their website
 How awesome are these though!? I love checking their website and browsing through the designs for inspiration.  Do check 'em out, I say.

So anyway, I've found a few other ways to jazz up my nails but still have enough money for, well, clothes, bags, shoes, jewellery and the like...
    My attempt at Nail Rock
  1. Nail Rock Nail Wraps These come in all sorts of cool designs, from plain metallic gold to this funky pink leopard print I tried. There are enough nail wraps in each pack for two full sets of nails, and you basically find the ones that fit your nails best, cut them down to fit, and simply press them on to your nails after applying heat from a hairdryer. It is pretty easy to do, however it took me a few nails to get the hang of it (I ended up with one upside down on my first thumb!) The best thing is, that they're only £6.50, and you can get them from the Nail Rock Website, ASOS, Topshop and River Island. When I wore these I got so many compliments! People were amazed (loads actually thought I'd drawn on the intricate design myself - Pah!). I'd love to know how anyone gets on if you try them out...
2. A Simple Glitter Topcoat This is such an easy and effective way to fabify one's nails, and looks especially lovely during the festive season. With one glittery topcoat, you can transform all your other nail varnishes, thus doubling the amount you've got to play with. Just walk into Superdrug, and you'll find there's loads of different sparkly nail varnishes to choose from... so try it out!

3. Barry M Instant Nail Effects The best way to show you how this revolutionary nail varnish succeeds in jazzing up plain, boring nails, is to watch this video on the Barry M website. I haven't the foggiest how it works, but it's bloody cool! Again, I got tons of compliments all week when I tried it out (Barry M should've paid me for promoting their polish and increasing sales so much!) And just like the glitter topcoat, it's an instant way to majorly increase the amount of looks you can create with your nails. At a mere £3.99, it's a bit of a bloody steal too. I'm going to predict that this is where the future of nails are heading, and I hope they'll (who exactly, I don't know) invent nail effects polishes that create all sorts of different designs. What do you think of the cracked finish?

And a couple of things I'll hopefully be trying soon:

Pic from Superdrug website
4. Andrea Fulerton Nail Boutique Stripe and Sparkle Basically, this has a skinny little brush so you can draw on intricate patterns, dots, letters or stripes, and then while the varnish is still wet, you sprinkle on the glitter. I think it sounds amazeballs, and perfecto for a festive feel (it's definitely on my Christmas list!) As far as I'm aware, they come in five different colours, you can get them from Superdrug, and they're a mere £4.99! An excellent stocking filler for your sister too, and something a little different.

Pic from Models Own website
5. Models Own Nail Art Pens These are a bit similar to what I've mentioned above, but Models Own have collaborated with Wah Nails to make these pens that basically let you draw your own nail designs. There's one nib for intricate drawing, and a brush for longer strokes. They come in both black and white, and are just as student-friendly as everything else, at a cheeky £6. I've seen them in River Island, and you can also get them from the Models Own Website.

So what are you all waiting for!? The future of our nails looks bright (and sparkly), and I for one can't wait to experiment some more with these last two. I'd love to hear what you have to say about them all, or if you know of any other cool products to try... drop me a comment!

Applying to Cambridge Uni... what it's reeeaaally like

This year, Cambridge University was named the best. Full stop.  I'm not talking in the UK, but the whole flipping world! That is one scary thought, considering I've applied to study there next year.

Life in Cambridge colleges

Having always done well at school, all through my life as a pupil people have asked me "D'you think you'll apply Oxford or Cambridge?", and as a 14 year old struggling with spots, bras that don't fit, and boys you swear you're in love with (just me? really?), you don't really know what to say.  But then eventually, things change as you grow up (well, they're meant to. I may still be struggling in the bra department... but that was probably too much info.)  As I entered 6th form and turned 17, I realised that I really did want to study, loved learning, and wanted to educate myself (pah - may sound a bit nerdy, but it is true!).

Choosing Unis
So I visited loads of unis, read all the prospectuses, spent way too much free time on their websites yada yada yada, and eventually decided on my five choices. Yes, bloomin UCAS only allow you to apply to five unis, which can make things very difficult.  I mean, you don't want to waste one of your spaces applying to Oxbridge if you've really got no chance, but at the same time, you really don't want to look back on the whole experience and think, well "What if I'd applied there?"

And so, I applied to Cambridge (better course for what I wanted to study - French and German; aaand... I think the shops are better :D), and chose Downing College (if anyone doesn't know, Oxbridge like to be a bit special and have a college system.  Bit of a faff to explain, but if anyone really cares, I'll provide this link to the Cambridge website which should explain everything for you. I know, I'm too kind.)

Choosing a College
It's hard to say why I chose to apply to Downing College. Originally, when visiting my shortlist of colleges, it didn't even make the list. But ole Daddio persuaded me to go and have a look. It was a bit of a walk from where we were, and quite frankly, I kinda CBAd (=couldn't be arsed, not really sure is that works in the past tense, but hey, let's start it). It threw a bit of a spanner into the works, because beforehand I'd been set on applying to Queens, but Downing was bloody stunning. Really gorgeous architecture, beautiful style (dining) hall, amazing open grounds... but what clinched it for me was the rooms. Frick me. We went into some of them and they were like bloody hotels! And I'm talking nice hotels, 3* plus, not shabby youth hostels! Of course not all the rooms were like that, but most of them seemed good enough. People might think that's a silly thing to care about when choosing a college, but to be honest, it's where you're going to live, so it's really important if you ask me.  Moving away from home is hard, and you want to be somewhere you'll feel comfortable.  And hey, is it such a crime if I don't want to live in a complete and utter hole like a lot of students do?

Downing College

All the colleges are fantastic, so you have to find some way of distinguishing between them.  I found I just got a feeling, an instinct, when I visited them, and knew whether I could feel at home there. (oooh that was a bit cringeworthy!) Also, you'll learn that keeping in shape is rather important to me (mainly because I love food so much and have a killer sweet tooth, so have to offset all my munching), and at Downing, they have their own gym, which only costs £12 per year to use!!! Equally, to balance out all the hardcore cross-training the students undoubtedly spend all their time doing, Pizza Hut and Pizza Express are both right outside! Oooh yeah... pizza is a raison d'etre for me. I know, I lead an exciting life.

The Application Process
You have to apply to Oxbridge before all the other unis, as Oxford and Cambridge hold interviews. They like doing things in their own ways I guess... So I sent off my application in early October.  After that, I had to send off two pieces of written work, and fill in Cambridge's SAQ (Supplementary Application Questionnaire, don'tcha know). After all that, I found out (a mere two weeks before the date I was given) that I'd been invited for interviews! Don't get too excited though, Cambridge interview about 90% of applicants, but at least they didn't just completely laugh at my application!

So after two weeks of desperately trying to prepare, but not really knowing how to, I realised there wasn't really much more I could do. Either I'm right for Cambridge, or I'm not. And ce sera sera and all that. I was nervous to say the least. I'd had a practice interview at school, and teachers had told me I should be alright, but no-one really knows what the admissions tutors are looking for, or if realistically I have any chance at all.

The journey to Cambridge was not the peaceful start to the day I'd been hoping for, what with manic traffic jams, and my mother then proceeding to stress both of us out.  But we got there in time, and it was all OK (I'm sure you're very relieved.) At the porters' lodge at the college I met a boy who was there for his interview too. It was so strange to think that potentially we could both be there next year, and could be friends. Unlikely, but possible all the same.

My first interview was not ideal to say the least. Well, before the interview even started actually. I'd found the room number I was looking for, and there was a sign on it that read "Modern and Medieval Languages Interviews - please take a seat and wait to be called". So, stupid little me, thinking this meant I should take a seat in the room, walked in. Idiot. Complete and utter douche. That was in fact the interview room, and I'd just disturbed the girl before me having her interview. Needless to say, this threw me into a bit of a panic after apologising, blushing and hurrying out.

So I had the interview with two people. We spent some time discussing a French text they'd given me 15 minutes beforehand, and also spoke in French for a bit (though for a surprisingly short amount of time).  "How did it go?" everyone asks. Well, I couldn't possibly say. Looking back on it, there were times when I felt like I needed lots of prompting and couldn't get it at all, but also bits where I thought I may have actually said something remotely intelligent.  I felt the same after my second interview later on. However while waiting for this one (outside the room - I'm a quick learner!), I heard the guy before me, and dayum he seemed good.

I also had a written test that day.  Got a couple of subjunctive constructions in, so hopefully they'll like that.  It wasn't my best writing ever or anything, but meh, I guess that's the nerves.

So we shall see.  It's kinda impossible to guage how it all went.  I actually really enjoyed the day because I love talking about my subjects, and the interviewers are such incredible intellectuals to talk to (and also because Mama and I went shopping afterwards!) But I'm not expecting to get in. Not in the slightest.  Of course I would absolutely love to... Mother has joked that she'll buy me two goldfish if I get offered a place, which would be nice. It was a brilliant experience - the whole thing.  From reading extra books, to the actual interview technique... it's all good practice.

And now we wait. And wait some more. Apparently I'm going to find out in early January, which seems to be taking FOREVER to come around. In my opinion, the waiting is the worst bit.  I just want to know, whether I'm in or out. If they don't offer me a place, it'll be completely fine, because Cambridge know what they're looking for, and what the right fit is for them.

I'll keep you updated on things, and I'd love to hear from anyone else who's been through it.  If you have any other questions about the whole things just drop me a comment and I'd be more than happy to help.  (Trust me, I know I've rambled for aged here, but I could say a hell of a lot more... it's basically the main thing on my mind right now! Sigh...)

All pictures taken from Cambridge website.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Back to blogging, I promise

I have to admit that it's shameful how long I've neglected this blog. There's no excuse, really.  But I'm determined to get it going again (whether anyone reads it or not!)

I was recently discussing with a friend how it can sometimes be very difficult to start a blog.  You assume no-one's reading what you're saying, and despite enjoying getting your voice hard, you can't help but feel like a numptie who's talking to imaginary readers.

So I'm going to catch you up and be honest with who I am and what I'm doing:
  • I'm in my last year of school in the Midlands (in the UK that is) and have just finished all my uni applications for next year. Don't even get me started on how hard all that is, what with increased tuition fees, lack of places, cuts, blah-de-blah-de-blah... It's all rather stressful for the youth of today (and I sware our generation are all going to suffer from pressure and stress induced mental breakdowns before we reach middle age!) But that's not very cheery is it?
  • I've applied to Cambridge Uni (eeeep!), so am going to fill you all in on how that process is going, and what it's really like!
  • I am DESPERADO to break into the fashion media business in some way, but haven't decided yet if my main passion is journalism, PR, or where exactly I want to end up.  It's all one exciting voyage of self-discovery. (Did I actually just say that!?)
  • My friends always tell me off for "loving everything". What can I say? I'm an (overly-) enthusiastic, happy, optimistic person, and hopefully that'll come across in what I'm posting.
  • I'm starting part-time work as a waitress, babysit whenever I can, and am applying for work experience here, there and everywhere. (Ultimately, so I can earn some money to buy preeeetty things!)
So that's the basics. I've been thinking about restarting my blog for some time now after finishing my uni applications (ahh the many joys of UCAS), and thus having more time on my hands, but it was tonight's episode of Ugly Betty (*squeal* love that show, love her, she is my idol!) that actually prompted me to do so. So thank you, Not-So-Ugly-Anymore Betty,  let's both carry on blogging and make our ways in the world.
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