Driving Lesson Tips and Advice

28 February 2018

A photo of my driving certificate came up on my Timehop this week, marking two years since my test. I passed second time around and actually haven't driven a car since... I know, it's pretty bad but it's totally been my choice, and not without a lack of opportunities. Following that, it's probably unsurprising that I didn't particularly enjoy my driving lessons (read: I despised them) but all I knew is I wanted to finish them and have a full driving licence to my name. I tried to have a lesson a week and just get it done and dusted. 

Which leads me to Tip 1: Book your theory as soon as possible. It's a good way to force yourself to get revising the rules of the road and have a bit of background knowledge about what is going on. Yep, some of the questions seem really obscure. Yep, they can actually ask you about sheep in the theory test. But getting your theory out of the way early gives you plenty of time to get ready and book your practical test. 

Tip 2: Check the waiting list for your nearest test centre. I'm not sure if this is the case everywhere, but when I was learning to drive the waiting list for a test was 3 months... This obviously meant I had to book my test in waaaay before I thought I was ready to take it so that I didn't have to wait another 3 months when I felt comfortable to take the test.

Tip 3: If you're unhappy with your instructor, change!! This is something I should have done, but for some stupid reason I chose not to. It's very easy to get the vibe of someone, and if you don't get the impression that they are the right person to teach you to drive, find another instructor!! Similarly, if they keep double booking you, cancelling lessons and messing you around, find another instructor!! It's not awkward and there will be plenty of other instructors looking for people to teach. 

Tip 4: Pretend to yourself you know what the hell you are doing. It's all about confidence, isn't it? If you act like you know what you are doing, the chances are you do know what you are doing. The second you start hesitating and worrying things sh*t starts to hit the fan. So, when coming up to that huge multi-lane roundabout, instead of sweating like a Brit in the Algarve, change gear, find the right lane and play it cool. 

Tip 5: Go out and practice between your lessons. If you have your own car, fab, just get learner insurance, whack some L plates on it and find someone older than you who's held a licence for a while to sit in the car with you. If not, do what I did and put yourself on your parent's insurance, and try not to write off their nice car. No, but seriously, going out driving in my mum's car was really beneficial for both my confidence and general road knowledge as I got to drive to places I hadn't yet been, and had to get used to being let loose on the road without my instructor for guidance.

Tip 6: Don't compare yourself to your friends. If you, everyone, and their cousin's neighbour is learning to drive at the same time it can very quickly turn into a competition as to who passes first, does this first, does that first etc... Don't get caught up in it, just do what you can do. There's no point comparing yourself to Petrolhead Peter who's been breathing exhaust fumes and polishing wheels since he was 3, go at your own pace.

Sick Tings 003

25 February 2018

A lifestyle roundup of my week at university featuring all I've bought, watched, eaten, seen and been up to. Featuring booking my southeast asia trip, baking a cake and a much overdue haircut
This week has been a verrrrrry busy one, so much so I'm still severely sleep deprived. The week started with a much overdue haircut, and oh wow is my hair feeling and looking far healthier than it has in a while. I worked out that the last time I'd had it cut was June... oops. So, it's fair to say it definitely needed the three inches hacking off.

This week a Psychology students vs lecturers charity event was held, where netball and futsal matches were played. I didn't play in either match but certainly did partake in the trip to the pub afterwards. Having a pint with my lecturers was a surreal experience. It was odd to see them out of the lecture hall and with a bev in hand.

That night sparked the first night of a 3-day bender, including a trip to my least favourite club, an athletics social and a pres where my house and I turned up in pjs. Results for Semester 1 came out this week and your girl got a first... Cheers to that.

My housemate and I spent two hours making the most delicious cake this week. It was honestly a work of art. I also went to 7bone for the first time forever and tried a new burger, the winner winner. I would highly recommend. But, the most exciting thing to happen by far was booking my flights to Southeast Asia for this summer!!! Guess who is lucky enough to be going travelling again this summer! (You can read about my trip to Cambodia here.)

Posts published this week:
// 21 Before 21
// The Realities of Student Housing

The Realities of Student Housing

23 February 2018

the realities of student living from a second year psychology student
Living with my best friends is single-handedly the best thing about University. I was extremely fortunate in my first year to be put in a flat with a bunch of people who are now my closest friends. We literally do everything together, all the time, and I absolutely love it. Also, before we start. if you're interested, you can see my student room tours here and here.

That being said, student housing itself is not quite so much of a good experience. Don't get me wrong, my halls last year were absolutely incredible, it was like living in a fancy hotel/apartment suite for a year, and I had no complaints to make about any of it. Fast forward to this year, our first year in a privately rented student house, and things aren't quite so idyllic. 

Firstly, student housing is cold. There's no getting around it. It's not very well insulated, and the houses on the whole aren't very well looked after either. Oh, and bills now make up a part of your monthly budget, so unlike in halls where they were included, we all tend to be fairly wary not to have it on too much.. But, with a cold house comes damp and mould - two things my room is full of. Yummy, right? 

Where I live, the majority of student housing is terraced housing on quite a few really long roads. Now, this is great because it means all your friends live in pretty close proximity, and going out and getting taxis home is an absolute doddle. It's not so great when all the walls are really thin and you can hear next door having a lit party as you're trying to sleep before an exam the next day. Student houses are noisy

As much as you and your housemates try and keep on top of the house, and try to keep it clean, it's impossible for it to ever be spotless. There's always washing up to be done and rubbish to be taken out, despite trying to keep on top of it. Have you just spent an hour cleaning the kitchen? Ah well, give it five minutes and there'll be a whole load of new mess to clean up. 

But, for me, the worst part of living in a student house is the pests. At the beginning of the year we had company in the form of rats, and the newest addition to our house is slugs. Lovely isn't it. 

Yeah, so I know this post hasn't particularly sold the whole university lifestyle, but it's genuinely been the best time of my life and I wouldn't have it any other way... After writing all this it would only be fair to offer you some tips on how to choose the perfect student house, you're welcome. 

21 Before 21

19 February 2018

So I might not be turning 21 for a while, just over a year to be exact, but for today's post I thought I'd compile a list of things I'd like to complete before my 21st birthday. Some of them are infinitely more realistic than others, but I thought this would be a fun list to compile, and I'm really intrigued to see how many I manage

- Run a 10k
- Visit 5 more countries
- Get (and sustain) some abs
- Develop a personal style
- Ride in a helicopter
- Throw a huge uni house party
- Do more volunteering
- Get good at public speaking
- Run a Parkrun in under 22 minutes
- Drive for the first time since my test
- Learn more than just GCSE Spanish
- Become more politically aware
- Spend a week without social media
- Find a new hobby
- Get a tattoo
- Visit all my home pals at their unis
- Reach 1000 Bloglovin followers
- Visit New York
- Talk my parents into getting us a puppy
- Climb a mountain
- Raise £100 for charity

Sick Tings 002

18 February 2018

A lifestyle roundup of my week at university featuring all I've bought, watched, eaten, seen and been up to. Featuring galentines day, a delicious pancake stack and a blog redesign
This week has simultaneously absolutely flown by, but also been the longest week ever. More than anything, it's been a week of good food, and that makes me really happy. My housemate and I made a delicious paella last weekend as well as a lemon drizzle cake for dessert. I also made two lots of pancakes this week and realised that natural yoghurt and blueberries are my new favourite pancake toppings...

My family came to visit me at uni this week and we headed to Cabana for lunch. I had the Bossa burger and it was really good - would highly recommend. For dinner that night I had one of the infamous Yorkshire pudding pizzas from Morrisons. It was amazing. I had the pepperoni one and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you can get your hands on one, try it.

As for Valentines Day, my gals and I made homemade pizza and garlic bread, then headed to the cinema to watch Fifty Shades Freed, and I have to say it was terrible. The storyline was both predictable and ridiculous - 2/10. That being said, I really love some of the songs on the soundtrack, and watching Jamie Dornan for two hours is certainly not something to turn down.

Two of my housemates and I headed to a local (to uni) country park, and had a really nice afternoon wandering around the countryside. Note to self; make the most of good weather and where I live more often.

Also this week I updated my blog design... I'm really liking how it looks, and how simple it is. I think it really let's my content do the talking. (I would love to hear your opinions on it...)

Posts published this week:
// L'Oreal Infallible Total Cover Foundation Review
// Cambodia Diaries; Phnom Penh

Cambodia Diaries: Phnom Penh

14 February 2018

I mentioned in my Tips for Solo Travelling post (which you can read here) that last summer I ventured to Cambodia to spend a month there travelling on my own. It was incredible. Rather than write one massive post on my experiences, I thought I'd post about each of the places I went, alongside photos, reviews and recommendations... Seeing as it is the capital of Cambodia, and where I flew in to (and out from), it seemed only right to start with Phnom Penh. 

The traffic is by far one of the first things I noticed - it's hectic. With few rules, and the majority of people on motorbikes, weaving in and out of the traffic, it's certainly not somewhere I could drive. Most streets have people selling goods and cooking food, and children running around and playing. The locals I met whilst in Phnom Penh, and Cambodia more generally, were honestly some of the nicest people I've ever met. 

I volunteered at a restaurant for street children, and the kids were such angels. They were kind, polite and honest, and were extremely happy despite their awful circumstances. I visited a couple of the slums where some of them lived, it was surreal. It didn't seem fair that these happy, intelligent, loving children could live in sewage, with fewer belongings to their name than there are days in a week. Whilst at the slum, one lady asked me to take her newborn baby back to the UK with me, despite having never seen me before or knowing anything about me, which was tough and really put things in perspective.

Before we left our placement, a group of other volunteers and I bought a load of clothes for all the children at the restaurant, and they absolutely loved them. If you're ever out there and want to help, other than just donating money, buy clothes for the children, they were extremely grateful.

On my first full day in Phnom Penh I visited Tuol Sleng, an old high school turned mass genocide prison by Pol Pot. It was code-named 'S-21' and up to 30,000 prisoners were held there, many of whom tortured to death. It was not an easy first day, but extremely important to see and hear about, to fully understand the devastation that has happened to this beautiful country. It is definitely worth a visit, a must do.  

Later on in my trip I visited Choeung Ek, otherwise known as the Killing Fields. This is the location of one of the mass graves for the victims of the Khmer Rouge. They estimate that at least one million people; both Cambodian and not, were killed here. You walk around the grounds with headphones listening to the inhumane things that happened there and some of the history, but all I found myself doing was questioning how it was ever allowed to happen and why no one stopped it for so long. 

On a happier note, I also visited the National Museum of Cambodia. This was full of lots of Khmer art and sculptures, and showcased a lot of the country's other history. It has a beautiful courtyard in the centre, which is a lovely to place to sit in out in the sun. 

The Central Market is in all the guidebooks as a must-see, but I'm not sure I entirely agree. There are lots of markets in and around Phnom Penh, and the Central one tends to sell the same things only at a higher price due to it being a tourist hotspot. Thus, whilst exploring a market is a must do, I'm not sure it needs to be the Central Market.

One place I would highly recommend going is Friends n Stuff. It's a restaurant and nail bar, whereby the staff are all former streetchildren who have been trained by the organisation. The food in the restaurant was delicious and the pedicure I had at the nail bar was the most thorough and professional job, the nail polish lasted the duration of my trip and beyond. 

A couple of other places to mention; Bassac Lane which us a street filled with beautiful bars, and the AEON Mall, which is a huge mall full of all sorts of shops including a Costa, Dominos and Pandora. None of which I expected to see, so it was a nice surprise to have a taste of home away from home. 

So, there we have it, a roundup of my time in Phnom Penh. If you are visiting Cambodia then you definitely need to schedule a few days in to get the most out of Phnom Penh, and all it's important history.

L'Oreal Infallible Total Cover Foundation

12 February 2018

So I'm not very up to date with the latest beauty launches, but I bought this on a whim the other day and I'm very much in two minds about it. It's the L'Oreal Infallible Total Cover foundation, and I bought it in the lightest shade; 9 Light Sand. It was £9.99, and is marketed at being a full coverage foundation that lasts up to 24 hours.

Now, don't get me wrong, the coverage is insane. The second I put this on my housemates were asking what I'd used and complimenting that my skin looked incredible. It honestly is such full coverage, and blends out so nicely - it doesn't look cakey on the skin at all. I personally apply this with my Real Techniques beauty blender, and within seconds I have a flawless, even complexion.

But.... I find that this foundation does not last very well on my skin at allllll. It looks amazing to begin with, but I find it to go patchy throughout the day/night and just become a bit of a hot mess. I'm not sure if it's because of my skin type (combination/oily) or it's the formula or what, but something about this just doesn't seem to last on me.

As for the shade range, there aren't many at all, so I just grabbed the lightest one and went with it. And, to be honest, it's not a bad match at all, especially whilst it's winter and my skin is looking whiter than a queue of ugg-wearing girls in Starbucks waiting for Pumpkin Spice Lattes...

So, overall, I am blown away by the coverage of this, but the lasting power not so much... Thus, it is the ideal foundation for a night out; your skin looks flawless in all the photos before you go, and then when your makeup inevitably starts sliding off your face you're too drunk to notice anyway

Sick Tings 001

11 February 2018

A lifestyle roundup of my week at university featuring all I've bought, watched, eaten, seen and been up to. Featuring a surprise gift, a fake fitbit and a night out
So I thought I'd start a new series, and there was no name more apt than Sick Tings, considering it is my response to literally anything and everything at the moment. In this series I thought I'd just do a weekly summary, rounding up things I've been loving, things that have happened and also compile a list of all the posts that I've published this week...

So, this week has been a busy one purely because of uni work, I am absolutely swamped with assignments, but I did finally get round to setting up my 'fitbit'. It's not an actual Fitbit branded one, but I'm loving it. It's so handy, and even links up to my phone and gives me all my notifications! So far so good....

Somehow this week I walked all the way to uni and then only realised once I'd got there that I had odd shoes on??? Yep. What an absolute rodney. This sort of thing only ever happens to me I swear.

Another highlight of this week; my blog hit 50 Bloglovin followers, woop woop!

When I got home from Sunday there was a package waiting for me on the doormat at my uni house... Inside was the nicest pair of pyjama bottoms from my Mum, with a note saying 'Saw these today and thought of you'. What an absolute queen. She's waaaaay too pure. Can I just say that these are the comfiest things that have ever graced my legs

Posts published this week;
// The Uni Room Tour
// Tips for Parkrun
// The Easiest 'Healthy' Pancakes

The Easiest 'Healthy' Pancakes

9 February 2018

With Pancake Day around the corner (Tuesday 13th if you were wondering) I thought it was the perfect time to share this recipe. It's not difficult in the slightest, and also doesn't take long to do at all, but the outcome is absolutely delicious.

The batter is made of three ingredients;
- a banana
- 2 eggs
- a tablespoon of flour

(I know lots of recipes for these don't have flour in, but I think it really helps with the texture, and stops it being so much of a banana omelette)

All this recipe requires you to do is mash the banana, stir in the other ingredients and cook them... It's so super easy. Now, if you're not a massive fan of bananas then this perhaps isn't the best recipe for you. Whilst they are delicious, and do look like pancakes, they're not quite like the real thing, and you can most certainly taste the banana.

I tend to top mine with fruit, yogurt and/or ice-cream... They're so easy to make, good for you and taste pretty fab too

Tips for Park Run

7 February 2018

In September I started going to an Athletics Club, for the first time since I mashed my arm up whilst attempting some hurdles back in 2010. They were far too tall for me. Two broken bones and an operation later, I'd certainly learnt my lesson. After that I never returned to club, and gave up on athletics completely. So, this year at uni I made a conscious effort to join another AC and give it a good go. I tend to do long distance/endurance, it's hard work and I'm not amazing at it but I really do enjoy it.

It was only since joining this club that I discovered the gem that is Parkrun. It's a free, weekly, timed 5k that anyone is able to participate in. They occur all over the world every Saturday at 9am, and if you haven't heard of it (like I hadn't until recently) you can read more about it here. You can just turn up and run it, but if you want to receive your personal time and the stats of the event generally it literally only takes 2 seconds to sign up. Following this you'll receive an email that contains a barcode to take along to be scanned at the end of the run.

Now, I am by no means a professional athlete and nor am I the best at running, but I thought I'd just let you know some of my tips for running, and more specifically running a Parkrun...

Stretch // This might sound like an obvious one, but it's something I occasionally forget to do, and oh my, do I feel it the next day. This doesn't need to be anything fancy, just warm your muscles up and stretch them a bit before you start. It'll help your technique too.

Look out for the pacers // I hadn't realised this was a thing until very recently, but, some weeks there are pacers taking part to use as a guide. Make the most of these!! If you know you want to run it in under 23 minutes - make sure you're keeping up with, or ahead of, the 23 minute pacer. It's a good way to work out what the correct pace for different times is, especially as a beginner.

Start where you aim to finish // My local run has over 1000 people taking part, so it's fair to say it takes a while for everyone to get going and have some space once it's started. So, if you know you aim to finish within the first 100 runners, start nearer the front. If you're aiming for more of a mid-time, start in the middle.

Now, don't get me wrong, Parkrun is not about being a serious runner and getting world record times, it's all about keeping fit and seeing your progression

The Uni Room Tour

5 February 2018

 Welcome to my uni room... There are bits of it that are so me and I absolutely love, and other parts I really don't like, namely the damp, the mouldy curtains and the stained carpet. The room itself is really spacious, and the bed is actually surprisingly comfortable and is by far my favourite part of the whole room.

I bought the tapestry on Ebay, the geometric bedding from Asda and the other pink bedding is Primark. Yes, I have two duvets, yes, my student house is cold. So cold in fact that I also have three blankets on my bed also... The bedside lamp is from Ikea and I love it, and the fairy lights I bought agessss ago in a supermarket.

I have a huge desk (which isn't the prettiest of things) but it's absolutely huge and serves as the ideal makeup vanity/uni work station combo. Other than the tapestry there isn't too much on the walls other than a few of posters, a scratch map and a string of photos that I love from this summer.

I didn't feature the sink in these photos but I feel I ought to give it a special mention as it is such a godsend, and really is so convenient. I have the room furthest away from both bathrooms so being able to wash my makeup off and brush my teeth within reaching distance of my bed is incredible

- I have since moved out of this room and into a much nicer house. If you'd like to see that click here and here for my tips on choosing the perfect student house.

January Faves

2 February 2018

January for me was a blur of exams, trips and nights out, and seemed to go on foreverrrr. I had a few nights away in Edinburgh (you can read about my trip here) and also went to London to see some of my friends I made whilst travelling last summer (you can read about that here), I've been hooked on both Peaky Blinders and Silent Witness this month and also eaten more spaghetti bolognese than humanly possible.

I haven't really been using any new products, but two things that have really stood out are the Morphe 350S palette, which I've actually already posted about. It's gorgeous. The shades are stunning, they blend really well and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg - it's a massive hit with me. The other new product I've been using and looooving is the Gatineau Radiance Enhancing Gommage. It's a chemical exfoliator and leaves my skin looking and feeling incredible. At £38 a pop it's fair to say I'm using it sparingly as this beauty costs waaay more than my student budget has room for. That being said, it's amazing and I'd highly recommend it.

My other beauty favourites this month are all old and trusty staples of mine. I use the Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Permanent Taupe on my brows and it is literally the perfect shade for me, and with an angled brush takes approximately 3 seconds to apply. Amen to that. I've also been using my MUA highlighter a lot this month as well as the Nyx Lip Lingerie in Satin Ribbon. It's such a pretty shade of pink, and I'm still nowhere near being over the matte lip trend. There's a picture in this post where I'm wearing all the aforementioned products if you're curious...

As for February, I don't have any massive plans yet, but I'm excited to see what else 2018 has in store for me
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