Let's Catch Up, Shall We?

15 September 2019

Hello hello hello, it's been a while since we've just had a rambly chat, hasn't it? I used to love writing my Sick Tings posts every Sunday and having a chinwag about what I'd been up to. But, since I've started working full time, I'm gonna be honest, my life has just been a bit dull... There's nothing interesting about a weekly roundup that just consists of work, work and more work with a few gym classes thrown in there too for good measure. So, for now, we're going to keep those ST posts on pause, and, instead, I figured we'd just have a catch up on my last few weeks...

I'm still interning at the university, so my Monday-Friday is spent doing work for that. I'm fortunate that I can do all of that from home, meaning unlimited puppy cuddles and cups of decaf tea (my personal fave) all day long. The project that I'm working on really is huge, but I've made a very good start and it's mad to think that I've only got 2 more weeks left. Where did those other 7 go? I haven't really spoken much about the project, but, for anyone who is interested, I'm currently writing a meta-synthesis of papers on workplace wellbeing. Essentially, I'm doing a huge overview of lots of other papers and studies and drawing conclusions based on all of the literature. Does that make sense? I hope so, it's too late if not.

The biggest part of my last few weeks has been getting a new job! A proper job! I had two interviews and was told this week that I'd been offered the job, wahey! It's for a local social media company and my official title will be 'Social Media Account Manager'. It's got a nice ring to it, hasn't it? I don't start there for another fortnight (until my contract at the university comes to an end) but I'm so excited to get stuck in, and of course, I'll tell you alllll about it!

As I'm sure you're all well aware, I got a new puppy shortly after graduation and he really has been keeping me busy. We take him to obedience classes once a week, as well as a puppy club on a Saturday morning for socialisation. We've taught him sit, stay and 'watch me' and just this weekend we've been working on 'leave' - which, lemme tell you, is perhaps the one we need most. Do all dogs love eating things they shouldn't?! We also spent this morning at a local cockapoo meet-up, and yesterday we took him to the New Forest for the first time. So, it's fair to say our lives are very much revolving around the dog at the moment (not that I'm complaining, he's the cutest thing EVER). I'm still posting daily on his Instagram, so if you want a daily dose of cute puppy - that's the account for you.

Speaking of Instagram, I filmed my first chatty IGTV video the other day... So, if any of you creepers wanna hear what I sound like - that's the place to go. I'm currently doing Second Hand September (where I buy no new clothes for the entire month), so a charity shop haul was, of course, in order. Obviously with this new job I obviously needed some new workwear so obviously I bought some. If you want to see what I picked up, you can see it all here.

Other than that, not a lot has been going on really. I've just been bumbling along, doing all of the above and making the most of the last of the summer. I'm going to be honest though, I am so ready for autumn. I loooove A/W fashion, getting all cosy inside and of course, CHRISTMAS. I saw on Twitter today that the big day is now only 100 days away, yaaaaaaas!


What have you been up to recently?

7 University Tips for Freshers From a Graduate

9 September 2019

University tips for freshers. This post is a short guide to tackling freshers week at university from a recent graduate. 

It is SO odd for it to be September and for me to not be getting ready to go back to school or uni... This is the first time in 17 years that this has happened and I'm really not sure what to do with myself. I used to love school, I absolutely loved uni, it was all just a fab time and I'm secretly very jealous of anyone who is going back to uni this September!

But, that time is behind me now, and with no masters or further study on the cards, onwards and upwards it is... Becca is soon to be out there in the big old working world. Anyway, I've literally been there and done it all, so why not pass on some of my wisdom to y'all and save you some time/money/patience. Sounds good huh? In case you've missed them, I've also written many a blog post about my university experience and you can see them all here. My personal favourites include 7 Things no one tells you about going to university and Choosing the perfect student house.  

Flatlay including a university graduation photo

Onto my University Tips for Freshers... 


001. Don't buy the freshers wristbands/tickets in advance! 

Hopefully, I'm not too late with this one and you're still yet to make any purchases... Now, I know these wristbands look great and you really don't want to miss out on anything, but genuinely, very very few people make it to everything. Heck, I didn't even go to most of the university organised events.

I can only speak for my uni here, but during my first year, there were 2 different lots of freshers events: 1. the events run by the Student's Union and 2. the events run by the local clubs. Now, this distinction is important because a lot of the hype and posts you see in the freshers groups are from reps for said club events, making them look far more popular than they are. I bought a ticket to a paint party, thinking that it really was going to be the 'biggest freshers event of the week' and I didn't even end up going because no one else I knew had tickets and had been tricked by the reps... So, my advice here is to go with the flow, and don't pay for everything in advance. See what your flat are doing, what you feel like doing on the day, don't spend the £70 (!!) on the wristband because you're almost certainly not going to get your money's worth.

002. Make the most of allllllll of the society free taster sessions. 

Go to all of the freshers' fayres, speak to all of the societies you're vaguely interested in and find out when their taster sessions are. The majority of clubs will run a free (or very heavily discounted) session for people to try out their activity so make the most of this! In my first year, I went out sailing (something I'd never done before) for free and had a fab afternoon in the sunshine. These tasters are not only a good way to try out the society, but also a good way to get to know other people and the clubs' committee.

003. Batch cook where you can! 

It took me a while to discover the absolute delight that is batch cooking. Not only is it far cheaper in the long run, as it's almost always easier to buy in bulk, but there is no greater joy than lying in bed hungover and suddenly remembering that you have an entire homemade dinner ready for you in the fridge that just needs heating up. 

My favourite thing to make in bulk was bolognese, so much so that it became a long-standing joke amongst all of my friends. I used to make 8 or 9 portions at a time, put most of them in the freezer and defrost them as and when I wanted them! (Yes, I know takeaways and ready meals exist, but after a few weeks of those you'll soon notice a huge dent in the old student loan!) 

004. Never pay full price for a Domino's. 

Speaking of, ALWAYS USE A DISCOUNT CODE WHEN YOU INEVITABLY ORDER 47293 DOMINOS'. I cannot stress this one enough. We had SO much pizza during our first few months at uni (read: the whole three years) and it's not the cheapest of things. That being said, there are always student offers and discount codes, you've just got to find them. We had a freshers code for 50% off which we kept on the pinboard in our kitchen, I suggest you do the same. Never pay full price for a Domino's, especially as a student!!!

005. Refrain from going home and having friends/family visit in the first few weeks if you can. 

The first few weeks at uni are so important when it comes to meeting people and forming friendships etc. You don't want to be that person that missed out on the flat's first homecooked roast dinner because you were too busy at home-home, or to feel left out of your tutor group because you skipped the first session to go for coffee with a relative.

Now, I know everyone's circumstances are different, but my advice, even if you're hating it, is to stick it out for a few weeks. Get involved with what your flatmates/coursemates/societies are doing, and then, after that you're free to do that you want, see your friends etc. Not only does it make seeing them again even nicer but you'll have so much to catch up on. If you have friends that aren't at uni who are desperate to see you and aren't quite getting the message, send them to this post - it's v important in my opinion!

006. Don't sweat the small stuff. 

People are annoying. Strangers, in particular, are annoying. Strangers, who you happen to be living with, are annoying. Things will get to you and drive you mad. My advice: try not to react to the little things. You've got a whole year (at least) living with these people, if they've borrowed a plate without asking and it's annoyed you, don't make a huge deal out of it. Yes, I know it's frustrating and I know its the principle, but people aren't all like you, and sometimes it's just not worth the hassle. That being said, if anyone is being genuinely nasty, threatening or abusive, speak to your halls or university staff immediately! Basically, what I'm trying to say is people are annoying, don't let it get to you.

007. Go out and do all the things !!! 

First year, and ESPECIALLY the first few weeks, of uni don't count. Go and make the most of your time. The lecturers know how much of a big change moving to university is and how it's going to take a while to settle in, even if you were to take away all of the hangovers and exhaustion, so, they tend to take this into account with the first few weeks of content. The lectures tend to all be introductory ones in the first few weeks, telling you about the course, the content etc... So, go on those nights out, just set your alarm beforehand and you'll be fine. Make the most of being a fresher! This also doesn't mean you have to go out and get drunk every night, there are always lots of other things going on - just get stuck in! Do. All. The. Things. The first few weeks are always nuts, do as much as you can you've always got the rest of the year to recover.


And there we have it, my university tips for freshers. The underlying message is very much 'have fun, do all the things and just go with the flow'. I would absolutely love to go back in time and do it all again, but I can't, so I'll live vicariously through all of you...

Transitioning to Autumn with PLT (AD)

30 August 2019

Transitioning to autumn with PLT. A lookbook for the change of season featuring midi skirts, sweatshirts, denim dresses and ankle boots

Can you BELIEVE that the summer is pretty much over? We're almost in September and soon the kids will be going back to school - where did June, July, and August go?! Now, as much as I love the summer, I also absolutely adore the last few months of the year. Gimme alllll the cosy clothes, candles, warm tones and, of course, CHRISTMAS! So, as sad as I am to be saying goodbye to wearing shorts and crop tops, hanging out at the beach and having BBQs, I'm also lowkey here for it! So, with that in mind, let's get into this change of season lookbook, shall we?

~ all clothes featured in this post were gifted ~ 

Transitioning to autumn with PLT. A lookbook for the change of season featuring midi skirts, sweatshirts, denim dresses and ankle boots

After not jumping on the trend for many a year, look who has finally joined the midi club!! I'm a fairly lanky human (read: I'm 5'8) and always just sort of assumed that midi skirts wouldn't suit me... Well, inspired by my gal Abi, I gave one a go and do you know what, I love it! It's so not 'me' or my usual style but I'm such a fan already! I paired this leopard print one with the darling sweatshirt, and I think it's a bit of a look. For reference, I have the skirt in a size 8 and the sweatshirt in a size small and they both fit perfectly! Midi skirts are definitely going to be my go-to clothing item over the next month or so. They're so easy to style, are light and floaty so not too hot, but there's also a fair bit of fabric to them to keep you warm. I love. 

Transitioning to autumn with PLT. A lookbook for the change of season featuring midi skirts, sweatshirts, denim dresses and ankle boots
One of my favourite things about the change of season is being able to wear all of my boots again! I'm not that much of a sandal gal, so if I'm not at the beach in flip flops, you'll find me in trainers pretty much all summer long. So, when autumn starts to roll around and I can dig all of my boots out of the cupboard again, I'm pretty chuffed. September often ends up being fairly warm, so pairing skirts with ankle boots is the perfect way of transitioning from full-on summer attire to 'hello it's autumn now' attire. I'm not one for wearing fancy blouses or intricately beaded tops so this black tee is far more up my street. Anyway, this neutral coloured skirt is, in my opinion, the perfect transitional piece. It's light enough to be wearing in the warmer weather but isn't full-on summer, do you know what I mean? Dressed for summer but vibing autumn, that's my trend for September - you heard it here first!


Transitioning to autumn with PLT. A lookbook for the change of season featuring midi skirts, sweatshirts, denim dresses and ankle boots

There's a bit of a theme to this lookbook isn't there? Neutrals, skirts and dresses... How cute is this black denim dress though? Whilst I love how it looks with bare legs and trainers, as we head into winter and beyond I think it'll look even better with chunky tights, boots and a fluffy fur jacket. Are you seeing the same vision I am? And no, PLT haven't started selling puppies, Murphy just wanted in on the photo action and I just couldn't say no... Look at that little face!


What are your favourite transitional clothing pieces?

One Month With Murphy

19 August 2019

After what feels like a lifetime of asking my parents for a puppy, I still can't quite believe that we actually have our own little four-legged friend following us around our house. Becc4 readers, let me introduce you to Murphy...

A chatty post about our 3 month old puppy and his first month living in our home.
Murphy is our little 12-week old apricot cockapoo puppy, and, let's be real, he is the cutest little thing ever. His mum is a chocolate cocker spaniel and his dad a cream miniature poodle, and we collected him just over 4 weeks ago now. It was all very sudden, and, clearly, was just meant to be.

I'd gone out for drinks one evening, blissfully unaware that my Dad had been busy researching puppies and breeders. I came home and was told that we had a viewing planned for the very next day... Whaaaaat?! Anyway, after spending many an hour that night watching puppy training videos, the following morning we headed to the breeders' house to meet her last two puppies left. She had an apricot boy and a black girl.

We'd already set our hearts on having a boy, an apricot boy, so, unsurprisingly, when we met him, there was no question of whether he was right for us or not. He was part of a litter of nine, the majority of which were scheduled to be picked up the following day, so the breeder asked if we wanted to take him there and then. *Cue a little panic*

Yes, we'd love to, but we've also never had a dog before and were yet to buy any supplies. Instead, we agreed to collect him the following morning. We then proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon wandering around pets at home... Can we just take a minute to talk about the sheer volume of products there are in that shop that I didn't even know existed? Prosecco, birthday cakes and ice cream, all for dogs - wow. We didn't buy any of the above, but a bed, crate, food bowl etc did all make their way home with us...

So, we picked him up, and the past four weeks have absolutely flown by. The first few nights were difficult. He whined pretty much all night, but, with any new puppy, that's more than to be expected. He's just about getting better with his sleeping now and we've just started a new routine. We stay up until midnight, take him out once more, and then put him in his crate for the night. We then leave him until the morning. He tends to wake up and start whining at about 5ish, at which time one of us comes down and lets him out before he naps again until about 6.30. No, it's not ideal but it's faaaar better than what it was.

As I'm writing this, he has his second set of vaccines today meaning that it won't be too long until we can actually take him out properly, yaaaay. As of this moment, he knows how to sit, he's getting there with lying down, and has mastered jumping up onto the sofa (before promptly being told to get off). He's wolfing all of his meals down and sleeps for about 6 hours at night. He isn't a massive fan of baths and also refuses to go out in the rain most of the time. He is the cutest little things and my favourite member of the family (shh, don't tell the others)


And there we have it, a little summary of our boy Murph - isn't he fab?!... ps. he posts on instagram daily - you can check him out here.

The Ocean Friendly Suncream You Need To Try

13 August 2019

Hi, my name's Becca and I'm ashamed to admit that it was only fairly recently that I found out that sun cream isn't good for ocean life. I mean, yes, it makes a lot of sense but I'd never really thought about it, you know? We get so caught up on preventing sunburn and skin cancer and taught to reapply suncream every few hours that it's not something that's often given a second thought...

According to the National Geographic, '14,000 tons of sunscreen are thought to wash into the oceans each year. This is a problem because the chemicals found in the sun cream like oxybenzone can seep into the water, where they’re absorbed by corals. These substances contain nanoparticles that can disrupt coral’s reproduction and growth cycles, ultimately leading to bleaching.' This chemical, oxybenzone, is used in more than 3,500 sunscreen products worldwide (Huffington Post). 

However, swimming isn't the only way for these harmful chemicals to make it into the sea... They're also washed down the drains when you shower and suncream aerosols can spray a large amount of product onto the sand which also gets washed into the ocean (National Geographic).

Coral Reefs aren't on the planet just for divers to look in awe at, they're part of many a vital ecosystem. Not only that, but many medicines are developed from coral reef animals and plants. These include treatments for cancer, viruses and human bacterial infections (NOAA). So yeah, the corals being bleached by our suncream is definitely a huge issue. 

But, what can we do about it? Enter Freshly's Healthy Protection SPF50 Body Lotion*. One of many marine-life safe suncreams available and one I really like...

An ocean safe sun lotion that everyone needs to try

The Ocean-Friendly Suncream You Need To Try

I recently spent a fortnight in Mauritius, and took this beauty with me.

Now, I'm going to be honest - it is different to every other suncream I'd ever tried. It doesn't have the silky texture of I'm used to. This is because the consistency is quite a bit thicker and takes a bit longer to rub fully into the skin. It smells almost like playdough and has a slight pinkish tint when you first apply it, making it easy to spot any patches that you've missed!

Now, I'm someone who's particularly sensitive to the sun. I've burnt after an afternoon in the sun at school, so it's fair to say I'm a good person to test the ability of a product like this... If it doesn't work, my skin will obviously show it! But, I wore this particular suncream pretty much every day on my trip and didn't burn once!

So, all in all, I'd highly recommend this product. It's made of 99% natural ingredients and hence is ocean-friendly, it's SPF50 and protected my fair skin perfectly and has a slight tint which aids a thorough application! It is a bit pricier than your usual bottle of Nivea, but, if you're looking to spend a bit more and help the planet's ecosystems then it's a really good one to try!

My (and 7 Other Bloggers') Graduation Experience

6 August 2019

July 17th saw me graduate from the University of Southampton with First Class Honours, and it was by far one of the best days of my life thus far. I genuinely had such an incredible, special day and I'd loveee to do it all over again.

Prior to my own, I'd never been to a graduation before. Yes, I'd seen them in films and on TV, and seen people's older siblings' graduation pictures on Instagram but if I'm totally honest, I really didn't know what to expect. So, for today's post, I thought I'd give you a little rundown of my graduation experience before sharing the experiences of 7 other bloggers who have also graduated this year. Let's just get stuck in, shall we?

My (and 7 Other Bloggers') Graduation Experience. What graduation is really like, what to expect, and the best parts of the day

My graduation ceremony began at 09.30 meaning that we had to be up and ready to go pretty early - it's not just a turn up and show your face affair... Robe collection began at 08.00, we then had to collect our tickets for the ceremony and our certificate, before heading to the theatre where the graduation was being held. My course is fairly big in size, so our ceremony included only those on the straight psychology BSc.

The 'graduands' entered the theatre in a separate entrance to the audience, and we were sat in rows in alphabetical order. Thankfully, Hannah, who was in my tutor group from the very first day and hence my first ever coursemate, has a surname similar to mine. So, it was so nice to sit with her throughout the ceremony... We'd started this journey together on the first day, and finished together on the last day. Cute, huh?

The ceremony began with a speech, and then various members of the staffing body and wider university made their way to their seats on stage. The head of Psychology then read each graduands' name, one by one, as they walked onto the stage. My surname begins with an M, meaning I had a fair few to watch before my big moment. This was both great - because it meant I got the hang of how it all worked - but it also wasn't so great - helloooo clammy hands and increasing nerves.

And then 'Rebecca...', it was my turn. We'd already received our certificates earlier on in the day, so our time on stage was simply spent shaking hands and talking to the Vice President of the university. (This did confuse me, I thought the whole point of the ceremony was to be given that hella expensive piece of paper?)

Anyway, after all of the students had been on stage, there were various speeches before the ceremony was officially closed and we were about to leave the theatre as graduates!

We then took lots of photos, had prosecco, sandwiches, and cake with the faculty before heading over to the psychology building for a cohort wide photo. We all stood on benches - like you do in primary school photos - smiled for the camera, and then got to throw our caps up into the air.

I genuinely had such a good day, definitely worth the £50k debt and all the hard work. I'm a graduate !!! For me, the best part of the day was the feeling of pride as I watched my best friends go up on stage. They genuinely made my university experience for me - it wouldn't have been even a fraction as good without them - and I know how hard they'd all worked throughout the course, they definitely deserved it!

Anyway, enough about me, what about some of the other bloggers that graduated this year. Let's hear their experiences, shall we?...

Nina 

So once we'd tottered to campus in our heels, we collected our robes and I had to get that god awful monopoly board of a hat fitted onto my tiny pea head. Everyone on my course sat together and waited until we were asked to head downstairs before walking on stage and shaking hands with the vice chancellor. I panicked so much before I went on stage that instead of saying "thank you" all I could think of was "sorry" which made my parents weak with laughter. I did manage not to stack it or wobble in my shoes so I'm happy with that part at least! We then all went to grab some Prosecco afterwards and say our final goodbyes to some pals and to some of our tutors and lecturers. My favourite part of the day was definitely getting lots of photos with my friends and family - especially trying to explain the concept of a boomerang to my Dad...

Jess

My (and 7 Other Bloggers') Graduation Experience. What graduation is really like, what to expect, and the best parts of the dayThe thing that struck me about my graduation ceremony was how chuffed everyone was for each other. It was unbridled joy when we all applauded each other and everyone was congratulating each other before and after being in the graduation hall. It was just a purely excitable day and an overwhelmingly positive experience. My favourite part of the day was being in the marquee and catching up with everyone, finding out what they are all up to post-university! The feeling after graduation, however, is bittersweet. I am proud of my friends and myself for getting through the tough times at university but I will miss the community and the social aspect of being a student.


Becky

My (and 7 Other Bloggers') Graduation Experience. What graduation is really like, what to expect, and the best parts of the day
I was anxious when I woke up because my university hadn't really told me much except where to collect our tickets and gowns, and I needed to make sure I could meet my family beforehand to give them tickets. Before we went into the ceremony, everyone was talking and taking graduation photos in front of Newcastle's Arches and the lighted NCLGrad words that were scattered around campus for photo ops. The ceremony itself started with Northumbrian Piper's which felt very local, and with some speeches from staff and a student orator. The entire time I felt amped up but also nervous because I didn't want to trip on stage or anything! As the rows of students went up to graduate officially, it finally got to me, of which I was the first in my degree programme to walk up, so I was even more nervous as I didn't know when to walk or not! Afterwards I felt such a relief that I'd finally offically graduated, and we all ran straight to the cake and prosecco that was on offer for us.

Suhina 

My (and 7 Other Bloggers') Graduation Experience. What graduation is really like, what to expect, and the best parts of the dayThe morning of my graduation I woke up early, brewed up some coffee and let the excitement set in as I took each sip! A few hours later, after having done my hair and makeup, I went to the kitchen, pulled out a chair and laid my head on the table and fell asleep...
Turns out the day of my graduation was also the perfect day to get sick with flu! I was burning up with a fever, my face was swollen and red and my body ached but despite feeling like I got hit by a bus, we made our way to my graduation venue and when we arrived I went to do all the admin things and then waited for my best friends to arrive. The best part was walking across that stage and finally getting capped, hooded and officially receiving my degree, it was as proud of a moment as I thought it would be. Simply knowing that I worked three long, hard years for this and that it was the one thing that no one could ever take away from me, made me more determined than ever to get my career started! The most chaotic part was pictures! We waited in the queues and then I spent about 30 minutes running around in my heels and cap, which was pinned very tightly into place, looking for my friends so that we could take pictures. Eventually we got all our pictures taken and said our goodbyes but the saddest part of the day was knowing that it would be the last official day we could all be together as classmates, after three years of sticking together.
That evening we had a lovely dinner with my fmaily to celebrate and as soon as I got home, the first thing I did was put on those fluffy pyjamas, took some flu medication and got straight into bed! Three months later, my graduation photos got delivered, and my biggest relief was that they didn't get pictures of me sneezing and looking like I was about to throw up on stage!

Sarah 

For me, my ceremony wasn't until 4pm so I had plenty of time to get ready and not stress too much about having to rush to pick up my tickets and my gown. My family and I arrived early afternoon to have time to take some photos and meet up with course mates and their families. I did have a moment of worry and sadness as I realised this would be the last time I'd be at my university and soon I'd be out in the working world. However, my graduation day was the perfect way to round my university experience off. There was quite a lot of waiting around but, on the whole, I really enjoyed the positive atmosphere during my graduation. Unlike many, I actually quite enjoyed my ceremony, with a photojournalist giving a speech that was really inspiring. I was knackered by the end of the day and was glad when it was all over but I still had a lovely day nonetheless. 

Molly

I think my favourite part of the day was really sharing it with my loved ones, when I first managed to see my uni friends after being away from them for ages. And also sharing the day with my family as I'm the first in my family to go to university so it was really special for my parents and I think it helped to inspire and motivate my little sister. The moment your family first see you with your robes on is really special.




Chloe 

My (and 7 Other Bloggers') Graduation Experience. What graduation is really like, what to expect, and the best parts of the day
One of my favourite parts was having my name called, it's a weird moment but walking up the stairs and heading down as a graduate was a weird experience. To leave the hall knowing that I did it and came out on the other side is such a weird experience.








Thank you to everyone that participated in this post, I loved reading all about your days!

On: Leaving University

26 July 2019

I've written many a post about my time at University over here on Becc4, which, let's be real, is hardly surprising since it's been a very big, and incredible, chunk of my life. Alas, here we are, I'm a graduate now! Yep, that's right, this gal has a whole ass degree - a BSc in Psychology with first class honours, I'll have you know...

Anyway, for today's post, I thought we'd have a bit of a chat about; my plans for the future, feeling a bit lost and my thoughts on finally leaving education.

A chat about leaving university; my plans for the future, feeling a but lost and my thoughts on finally leaving education.

So, what are my plans for after university?

Now, I know you've probably all clicked onto this post hoping to read about all my concrete plans for the future, alas, I cannot offer you such. I mean, I have some short term plans but other than that, who knows what I'll be doing with the rest of my life. But, let's not worry, I am only 21 after all. 

Whilst I was on holiday, my dissertation supervisor emailed me to say that an internship in the faculty had been created. A few emails later and I'd received the confirmation that the job was mine, wahey. It's a 3 month, paid, internship based in the psychology faculty at my university. So, yes, I have graduated, but no, it is not the end of my time there. I'm currently not sure how often I'll need to be in Southampton, but it's nice to know I have many a reason to make a return. I've been given an official staff email address and am being sent a staff ID, goodbye student ID!

As many of you will know, my dissertation was on homelessness, and this is the sector I want to take my career in. I'm also currently doing some work on a document that's going to be sent to the government, focussed on homelessness, so I'm sure between that and my internship that I'm going to have lots to be getting on with over the next few months! 

We've also recently got a puppy !!! Aaaaah! Can you believe it ?! After begging my parents for years, I can't believe this day has finally come! I'm so so happy, he is the cutest thing EVER and already has his own Instagram account which you can follow here. I have volunteered to be lead dog obedience trainer and so I think I'm going to have my work cut out over the next few months!


How does it feel to have left university?

By no means was I dreading leaving university, but I certainly wasn't excited to be leaving my student life behind. I loved my university experience. I made some incredible friends and memories, had all sorts of crazy experiences and also came away with a first. University just really seemed to click for me. However, amidst those final exams, it's fair to say I was counting down the seconds until my freedom... 

When I look back at my university experience, the people are what absolutely made it and it's them that has made saying goodbye to this chapter oh so difficult. I mean, yes, there's facetime to catch up over and Instagram to see what people are up to but it's not quite the same. One thing I'm finding really weird is having to text my (ex) housemates?! Over the three years we lived together we only really texted each other when one of us needed to pick up some more milk in Lidl because there was no point discussing our days because we'd have all evening to be doing that. Alas, now that we don't live together, and don't see each other every evening, it's a whole other story! 

On feeling lost after finishing university

I wouldn't say I feel hopelessly lost, but I do feel a little loss nonetheless. Studying has been my life for the last few (16) years and now I'm not really sure what to be doing with myself. Yes, I do have some plans in place and things to be getting on with, but the post-uni confusion really is real. What do I do with my life now? What is my purpose? What am I striving towards next? I mean, I worked hard on my GCSE's to get into sixth form, worked hard on my A-Levels to get into uni, worked really hard throughout uni and got a first. But, now what?

My friends keep joking that they don't think I've finished with studying, and that I'll be back with my head in the textbooks before too long. We shall have to watch this space on that one and just see what happens. Dr Martin does have a nice ring to it though...

A First Look At: Pixi's Vitamin C Range

22 July 2019

~ contains gifted products ~

Ooooh, what have we here then? Is that some new Pixi products I spy... Say hello to the new Vitamin C Collection. The postman handed me this beautifully themed parcel this morning, containing five of their new products and I just couldn't wait to share them with you!

The Vitamin C range is designed with skin brightening in mind, and includes a cleanser, a toner, a serum, a moisturiser and a leave-on mask. Vitamin C is known to boost the skin's luminosity as well as promote healthy collagen production. The products retail from £10 to £26 and are all available online at pixibeauty.co.uk

A first look at Pixi's latest release the Vitamin C Collection. This range contains a cleanser, a toner, a moisturiser, a serum and a leave on mask. These products were designed with skin brightening in mind.
A first look at Pixi's latest release the Vitamin C Collection. This range contains a cleanser, a toner, a moisturiser, a serum and a leave on mask. These products were designed with skin brightening in mind.

Vitamin C Tonic* - £10.00

A brightening toner made with vitamin C and ferulic acid. This product is alcohol free and suitable for all skin types to be used after cleansing.


A leave-on brightening mask that contains encapsulated vitamins as well as ferulic acid and probiotics. This product should be used as the last step in a skincare routine, as it's left just to absorb into the skin. 

A cleansing water that contains orange flower water, stable vitamin C, ferulic acid and probiotics. This can be applied with either cotton pads or your hands and does not need to be rinsed off. 

A moisturizer that also contains vitamin C, ferulic acid and probiotics and hence is also designed to brighten the skin. This is advertised as being suitable for all skin types. 

A serum that also contains vitamin C, ferulic acid and probiotics, for use after cleansing and toning. This is advertised as being proven to reduce the effects of sun damage and free radicals.  

Finding The Best Cream Tea On The South Coast: The Greenwood Tree Cafe, Lyndhurst

7 July 2019

You know the drill by now, I go for a cream tea, then I come back here and let you know exactly what I thought of it, reviewing it in terms of five different criteria. If you haven't read any of these posts before you can click here and go back and read them from the start, but if you have, let's just get started...
Finding the best cream tea on the south coast: The Greenwood Tree Cafe. A review of local cream teas based on five different judging criteria
Finding the best cream tea on the south coast: The Greenwood Tree Cafe. A review of local cream teas based on five different judging criteria
Finding the best cream tea on the south coast: The Greenwood Tree Cafe. A review of local cream teas based on five different judging criteria
Finding the best cream tea on the south coast: The Greenwood Tree Cafe. A review of local cream teas based on five different judging criteria

Finding the best cream tea on the south coast: The Greenwood Tree Cafe. A review of local cream teas based on five different judging criteria


Taste 

The two scones (yep, two!), came out warm and were huge in size. I had the fruit scones, as always, and they were really nice. Of all of the scones in this series, these weren't my favourite, they were a little dry. That being said, the taste was good. 

Clotted Cream Quantity 

For two huge scones, I definitely don't think there was enough scone for a good scone to jam to cream ratio... I mean, maybe I'm just a bit of a clotted cream fiend but I defo could have done with a bit more!

Price

For the two scones, the jam, the cream and a pot of tea, The Greenwood Tree Cafe charges £6.25, which, I don't think is too bad at alllll!

Aesthetic 

Now, I wouldn't say this was the most 'Instagrammable' cafe, but I loved all of the little details. There was bunting in the window and lots of little pot plants scattered around. 

Location 

Being in Lyndhurst, this cafe really is in a good spot. We had a little wander around before heading in for our cream tea, and on a nice sunny afternoon, is there a better way to spend a few hours? Maybe I'm biased, but I really like the New Forest, and being a two minute walk from Bolton's Bench (a classic New Forest spot) it really is in a good location. 


Where should I visit next?

9 Goals For 2019 - The Half Year Review

30 June 2019

At the very beginning of this year, I set myself 9 goals with the full intentions of smashing every single one of those by New Year's Eve. We're now here, at the end of June, the official halfway mark and I figured it was only right to have a catch-up and a regroup, and discuss how I'm getting on... I'm going to be honest, I can't really remember what's even on this list, so it'll be interesting to see how well I've been doing without consciously trying to tick them off... 

A look at how I'm getting on with the 9 goals I set myself at the beginning of 2019 now that we're halfway through the year

01. Get a career I love

Oooh, what a quick and simple one to have started with there, Becca... Well, as of today, I'd say I'm halfway there - pretty apt considering this is the half-year review, huh? So, at the moment I currently have two different paid roles secured for two days a week, in the homeless sector, but am yet to sort out what I'm doing for the rest of my time. One of the roles is a project management role based in various hostels and the other is 'freelance academic writing' as my friend so eloquently put it. Essentially, I'm writing a document that's going to be sent to the government, whaaaat. So, yeah, I'd defo say I'm well on my way to achieving this one! 

02. Have clear skin

Hahahahahahha. Lol. Nope. University hasn't been a good time for my skin, third year in particular. I mean, I've been drinking lots, eating tonnes of pizza and other takeaways, going to bed with makeup on after nights out and, oh yeah, have been really stressed. I also tried some new tablets for my skin which made it sooo much worse, so I'm currently trying to get my skin back to how it was before I took those! But, let's not get disheartened... As you're reading this, I'm currently on holiday in Mauritius, so hopefully, a fortnight of relaxing and sunshine might just sort my skin out! 

03. Get a car and drive

My new job requires me to drive so I'm currently on the hunt for a car. I've been and looked at a few but wasn't blown away, so am still looking for 'the one'. Although, to be honest, I'm not really sure what I'm looking for, so who knows if I'll ever find 'the one'. I have decided, however, after struggling to get in the back of my friend's 3 door KA, that I think something with 5 doors would be much better for me. 

04. Read more

I mean, if textbooks count, then I've definitely done a load of that so far this year. I did read quite a few books at the beginning of this year, but it's safe to say that that habit has well and truly fizzled out. I did, however, pick up a couple of books to take on holiday with me, so maybe that'll reignite my reading spark... 

05. Continue being more eco-friendly 

I'm currently cutting out dairy (for the most part) which I think definitely counts towards being more eco-friendly. I tend to have either cereal or porridge for breakfast most days, so swapping out dairy milk for soya milk is definitely significantly reducing my consumption! I have also been trying out a bamboo toothbrush too, but I've heard on the grapevine that they're not particularly good for your teeth and gums... Does anyone know any more on that? But yes, I'd defo say that I'm ticking this one off!

06. Get back into the gym and stick with it. 

Hmmm, I've very much been doing this in phases. I think I just need to accept that I'm not one of those gym everyday kinda people. I mean, I did have a habit of going four times a week, but then life gets in the way (read: meeting up with friends and watching Love Island). My membership at the uni gym is obviously coming to an end, so I'm currently trying to decide which gym to go to in my local area at home... Who knew some gym memberships were so expensive?! £80 a month for one of the 'nicer' leisure centres near me... Haha, I think not!

07. Run a 10K

Whilst I have been running pretty much everytime I've been in the gym, I'm not sure it's been enough 'training' for me to successfully run a 10k anytime soon. I haven't completed this goal yet, and I also haven't booked on to any runs, so we shall have to wait and see what happens with this one... 

08. Hit 10K on Instagram

Let's just not talk about this one, hey? My Instagram growth has well and truly halted, but, if you would like to follow me, you can do so here... I post photos of random assortments of items laid out on my white bedding, Love Island stories in the morning and the occasional mirror selfie, rock and roll. Am I selling it to you here?

09. Continue growing as an independent, intelligent young woman

I can hand on heart very much say that I am doing this one. A few things have happened in my day to day life recently that have shown that I'm very much maturing and becoming one hell of a gal! You can read about an example of one such experience here, if you're interested. University really has done a lot for my personality and confidence, and I think the line of work I've chosen to go into will only further that greatly. Cheers to strong independent women, hey?!...



How are you getting on with your goals for this year?

Summer New In Haul

26 June 2019

~ contains gifted items ~

As you're reading this, I go on holiday this week... Whaaaaat? The last few months have totally flown by and I cannot wait to get on that plane and be jetting off for some sunshine. This year, my family and I are off to Mauritius for a couple of weeks. We're staying in a villa, and a lot of our plans revolve around chilling on the beach, swimming in the pool and eating a lotta good food. I actually tried Mauritian food for the first time a few weeks ago, and absolutely LOVED IT, so it's fair to say I'm excited to stuff my face over the next couple of weeks!

Surprisingly, I haven't actually bought all that many new summer clothing pieces this year but I was recently gifted a few bits that I'm absolutely loving. I own a lot of clothes and certainly don't need anymore, but, there's nothing like rocking a new outfit on holiday, right? So, let's just dive right in, shall we? Let me show you the goods...

My June 2019 Summer New In haul... A roundup of the new pieces in my wardrobe to wear over the summer
My June 2019 Summer New In haul... A roundup of the new pieces in my wardrobe to wear over the summer

First up, we have this black and white crochet dress*. I absolutely love this, and I can't wait to wear this both on holiday - as a beach coverup - and at festivals later on in the summer. Being made of crochet, it is see-through, but with a black bikini/cycling shorts on underneath, it looks fab. I have mine in a size small and it fits me perfectly. (I'm a size 8 and 5'7 for reference)

My June 2019 Summer New In haul... A roundup of the new pieces in my wardrobe to wear over the summer

What is a summer haul without a pair of denim shorts? These are the lightwashed distressed denim shorts*, and I have mine in a size 8. I actually trimmed a lot of the distressing on these as it was a bit much for me, and I much prefer how they look now! They're high-waisted, a tight fit but not toooo short - there's no cheek on show. 

Last summer I bought the perfect pair of denim shorts but they actually ended up getting pinched whilst I was in a hostel in Vietnam, and to this day, I'm still not over it. But, these will do as a replacement - I'm definitely a fan. 

At the risk of sounding like one of those wanky gap yah travellers, the shirt in these photos I bought in a market in Vietnam and the bag is from Bali, so I have no links for those I'm afraid. That being said, bags like these are everywhere at the moment, including Primark, so you definitely don't need a return flight to Denpasar to pick one up!

My June 2019 Summer New In haul... A roundup of the new pieces in my wardrobe to wear over the summer
Ahhh the t-shirt dress, an item I'm never sure looks quite right on me, but I wear regardless. I'm a pretty lanky human with fairly skinny limbs, so it's fair to say that anything too oversized and boxy doesn't do all that much for me. But, when I spotted this pink striped t-shirt dress* I knew I needed it in my life. I have this in an S/M which is an 8/10 and I certainly wouldn't want it any bigger. Dresses like these are so easy to chuck on with a pair of trainers and a denim jacket, so they definitely get a thumbs up from me. And this pink colour? Delicious. 

My June 2019 Summer New In haul... A roundup of the new pieces in my wardrobe to wear over the summer
The humble graphic tee: a staple in everyone's wardrobe. I love this white love yaself tee*, it's so simple and pairs really nicely with any sort of bottoms... Floral midi skirt? Yes. Funky patterned shorts (these are Primark FYI)? Definitely. A pair of mom jeans? A look. I actually sized up in this and opted for a M/L because everyone knows that a tight white tee is never a good idea in the summer... Helloooo, sweat patches. 


And on that delicious note, I think we'll leave this post here! If I pick up any more summer pieces I'll definitely post another of these hauls, if you're interested! Also, do excuse the desolate bedroom... I'm currently in the process of moving out of my uni room so it's defo looking a bit sorry for itself!


Have you picked up any new summer pieces recently?

The Haircare Trio Everyone Needs To Try: L'Oreal Elvive Dream Lengths

22 June 2019

I'd like to take this moment to thank my sister for a) introducing me to this haircare range and b) giving these products to me. What a legend. Do I have to mark these as AD #gifted? Is my sister an influencer now? What is going on with the world?

Anyway, I've never been particularly loyal to any haircare brand or product and normally tend to opt for whatever is on the end of the aisle, on offer in Sains. Buy one get one free? I'll take it. A quid? Even better. 

I was recently facetiming my sister and she was using the No Haircut Cream, which I'd never seen before, so I asked her approximately 8 questions about what it was... Fast forward a few days and I had the full trio to try for myself. These products are from L'Oreal Elvive's Dream Lengths range, and lemme tell you, they are fab. The whole idea behind the range is to protect and restore damaged hair and split ends, and I am HERE for it. 

My hair always seems to be a bit damaged. Yet, I don't blowdry it nor straighten it, and it isn't particularly long either. I do go for semi-regular haircuts and by 'semi-regular' I mean about twice a year. (Maybe I'm answering my own questions here...) But yeah, my hair is a bit dry and damaged and so I figured these products could possibly be everything my hair was crying out for. 

A review of the L'Oreal Elvive Dream Lengths Range including the shampoo, conditioner and no-haircut cream. Created for damaged hair, these products prevent breakage and reduce spilt ends at an affordable price.

Dream Lengths Restoring Shampoo

All of the products smell fab - they have a subtle fruity scent, which, honestly, doesn't last all that long in the hair, but it's nice nonetheless. The shampoo lathers really well and it certainly leaves my hair feeling clean without it feeling stripped of allllll the moisture in the world ever. I'm not sure how much more there is to say about a shampoo? It cleans my hair and it smells nice, I'm happy!

Dream Lengths Detangling Conditioner 

Of the three, this product is by far my favourite. When it says it's a detangling conditioner, it really isn't fibbing. I know my hair isn't particularly long, and I'm sure people with longer hair find it waaay more of an issue than I do, but my hair does find a way to get itself pretty knotty. But, this product seems to be an absolute saviour. Whenever I use this, my hair always feels so buttery smooth and the hairbrush absolutely glides through it, no matter what state it was in before I washed it. 

Dream Lengths No Haircut Cream 

I love the idea behind this product - why had I not heard of it/bought it sooner?! It's a leave-in product you can apply to wet or dry hair, that claims to 'help seal spilt-ends and reduce breakage'. Now, I'm not sure if I've been using this long enough to fully report on those claims, but I have been using it every time I've washed my hair since I was given it, and so far so good. My hair looks healthier than it ever has, which is surprising considering it's taken a bit of a beating the last few weeks with all the styling it's received for the balls I've been attending!


Overall, I really am loving these products and would recommend them to anyone with a drier hair type who is on the lookout for some new products to try. (I have a feeling that these might be a little too heavy duty for anyone with really fine hair, so maybe pass on these if that's you!) The shampoo and conditioner retail at £4.99 each, and the haircut cream at £5.99, but Boots are selling the entire bundle (including a hair mask I haven't tried) for £12... So, if you're interested in trying the range then that might be the way to go...


What is your favourite shampoo/conditioner combo?

The Best SPF I've Bought: The Body Shop's Skin Defence

19 June 2019

It's 2019, we all know how important an SPF is. I mean, if you don't, read this, then come back to this post. I've been using an SPF every day on my face for several years now, and, over this time, I've tried a fair few different ones. I always like to opt for a factor 50 because, if you couldn't already tell, I'm fairly pasty and I burn pretty easily. Plus, the more protection the better, right?

The Best SPF I've Bought: The Body Shop's Skin Defence. A chat about my favourite suncream for the face.

I recently bought The Body Shop's Skin Defence after seeing Caroline Hirons mention it on This Morning a few weeks ago. Which, if you haven't already seen, the clips are all on YouTube so I highly recommend you catch up on them now! That woman really does know it all when it comes to skincare, and I genuinely fully trust what she says...

Anyway, back to the product. It retails at £17 for the 40ml or £21 for the 60ml, so, it definitely isn't cheap! But, compared to skin cancer and wrinkles, I don't think it's too much of a sacrifice... Thankfully, when I bought it they were offering a 40% discount online, so definitely keep your eyes peeled for any future discount codes, they really do make a difference.

This product has a really really light texture, and unlike other facial SPFs I've used, it's not sticky at alllll. I've used this every day for several weeks now and I'm yet to find anything I dislike about it. It sinks in really quickly, doesn't interfere with my makeup and also doesn't irritate my skin in the slightest. I have also spent quite a few full days in the sun and can confirm that it does its job, I haven't shown any signs of sunburn at all!

The Skin Defence contains both UVA and UVB protection, which is very important, as well as a couple of ingredients known for brightening the skin. So, it really is a good all-rounder.

Unfortunately, this product is currently sold out online, but I figured I'd write this post as a little PSA in case anyone is after a new SPF for the summer, because this really is the best one I've ever used...


Do you have a favourite SPF?

Going Dairy Free: Two Months On

15 June 2019

Back in April, I made the decision to try and cut down my dairy consumption. I spoke a little bit about it, at the time, in this blog post, and, fast forward two months and here we are. I'm still limiting the amount of dairy I consume and I haven't bought cow's milk nor a block of cheese in over two months - wahey! (As someone who used to eat a lotttt of cheese on her bolognese, this is quite the accomplishment!) So, I thought it was about time I updated y'all on how I've been getting on...

Going dairy free: two months on. From the differences I've noticed since cutting out dairy to a roundup and review of all of the products I've tried.

Why did I cut out dairy?

Now, I mentioned in the aforementioned blog post the reasons for cutting out dairy, but I figured I'd recap them here, just in case you missed that post...

Firstly, there is a lot of discussion online surrounding the possible link between dairy and acne. I've mentioned it a million times now, but, my skin is not great. I've had acne for yeaaaars now, and I figured that cutting out dairy could potentially be the answer to all my prayers. What did I have to lose?

Well, update: I haven't noticed a massive change in my skin but I definitely feel better generally. I am nowhere near as bloated as I once was and I just feel so much better. I mean, it could all be a bit of a  placebo, but so far, so good, and I'm definitely going to stick to it.

The second reason behind this diet change was, of course, environment related. I'm sure you've all heard it before and you don't need me to ramble on about it... It's 2019 and we really are out here trying to turn things around.

So, how have I been finding the dairy alternatives? 


Almond Milk - is a big fat no from me. I really didn't like how it tasted in tea, nor in porridge or cereal. I mean, I'm not a massive fan of almonds, so maybe that has something to do with it... Almond milk was the first dairy-free product I tried but thankfully it didn't put me off completely! I personally wouldn't recommend it at alllll, but it's all about personal preference, yanno?

Soya Milk - is what I currently have on my cereal. I buy the unsweetened cartons from Aldi, they're less than a pound, and I like how they taste. I mean, they don't taste like a lot, but they're certainly not offensive! I've used this to make both pancakes and toad in the hole, and I've liked the results... It's not quite the same as cow's milk, but it's still good. As for in tea, it's also alright. It's not particularly creamy but if no other options are available it's more than good enough.

Oat Milk - the holy grail. I initially tried an oat milk from Asda's free from range, and that was fab! It was amazing in porridge and pancakes, and also made a fab cup of tea. Unfortunately, we don't have an Asda particularly locally, so I haven't had this one again since. I have, however, discovered the absolute joy that is Oatly Barista Oat Milk. In a tea, it's fab! It's really quite thick and creamy, two things that the other milk alternatives I've tried haven't been. If I was out and could choose any alternative to have in my tea, it would 100% be this one!

I am not being particularly strict with other dairy products, so I am still eating cheese and clotted cream if I'm out and about. This gal isn't about to turn down a cream tea, is she? But, one other thing I have tried are the Alpro Velvet Vanilla Soya Desserts. They look like custard, they taste like custard, and so get two big thumbs up from me.

Now that I've written this post, it has dawned on me how few dairy-free alternatives I've actually tried... My bad. I'll be sure to  test a few more out and then I'll come back with an update! The next thing on my list is yoghurt - I tweeted a few weeks ago looking for yoghurt recommendations, so I'm going to start working my way through those - any recommendations?


Which is your favourite milk alternative?
© BECC4 / A Lifestyle Blog on the South Coast. Design by FCD.