7 Things No One Tells You Before Getting A Puppy

3 November 2019

As I'm sure you're all very much aware by now, I have a puppy. His name is Murphy and he is an absolute sweetheart. He was born in May, came home with us in July and has genuinely turned our lives upside down ever since.

In a good way, might I add.

He is the cutest thing ever and whilst the first few weeks really were difficult, they were 100% worth it.

We'd never had a dog before. 


Sure, we'd been around dogs and my grandparents had had dogs, but we'd never had one ourselves. Heck, other than a few fish, we've never had any pets.

We'd looked after a family friends' cockapoo for a few days and loved it, but, just like being a grandparent, we only had all the good bits and we knew that! Going out for walks in all weathers was fun, and picking up a dog poo or two was a novelty. He was perfectly trained and totally obedient - it was an utter breeze. Alas, when you pick up a puppy of your own, it's not quite such a walk in the park...

The Realities of Having a Puppy


So, for today's post, I thought we'd have a bit of chat about what having a puppy is really like. Yes, puppies are the cutest things everrrr but there are SO many things that don't make it onto the 'gram, so I figured we could talk about them now...

~ Spoiler; these don't apply to every dog ever,  these are just things that we've discovered since having our cockapoo puppy! ~

The realities of having a puppy

01. You (occasionally) have to wipe their bum

Yep. I didn't realise that I was signing myself up to looking after a newborn baby... Now, it's not all that frequent, but sometimes puppies have some toilet-related difficulties and you end up chasing them around the garden with a wipe, whilst they have a stool half-hanging out of their rear end. No, it's not fun, but yes, it's just as amusing as it sounds to anyone who happens to be watching. 


02. Their teeth fall out

If I'd actually thought about this hard enough this would have been obvious, but I didn't. It was only after we got Murphy that people asked if his teeth had started falling out, to which we looked suitably perplexed and said obviously not. Well, much like us, they have baby teeth that fall out and get replaced by adult ones. This also, unfortunately, means that they go through the whole teething I'm-going-to-bite-everything-in-sight phase again.


03. What social life?!

Now, I know that we expected a puppy to take up a huge chunk of our lives, but I think we were slightly naive not to think it would be 99%. Since having Murphy we haven't been out for a family meal nor do we make any noise after 10.30pm for fear of waking him up. But, on the flip side, people looove puppies. So, whilst you may not get to do all the things you used to love doing, these soon all get replaced by dog walks and puppy visits. No one can resist a puppy.


04. There are 726918 different diets and everyone has their own opinion 

When we picked up Murph, our breeder told us what food she'd been giving him and we trotted off to Pets at Home to buy our own stash and thought that was that. We then joined a few cockapoo Facebook groups, attended a few obedience classes and became aware of just how many diets there are out there. And, much like with any diets, people all have strong opinions on what they think is right. Raw? Cooked? Prepared? Kibble? Who knows.


05. They get things called 'zoomies'

And, if you've never heard that phrase before, let me enlighten you. Essentially, your puppy will lose the plot temporarily and run around like an absolute crazy dog for a few minutes before going back to their usual self. Murphy will run around the garden at speeds we've never seen before, run into the house, do a few laps of the lounge before heading back out into the garden for a few more frantic laps of the grass. But, it's normal and lots of puppies do it. My one piece of advice? Just get out of the way when they start, there's no stopping a dog with zoomies.


06. They have so many outgoings

Again, much like having a child, the expenses are never-ending. You've forked out a lump sum for your puppy, bought half of the pet shop ready for their arrival to be told that they should also have XYZ. You then take them to the vets to the first time to be sold a monthly package and insurance, you book in with a groomer who recommends regular visits, and choose an obedience class to help with nurturing your puppy's behaviour. Said puppy then chews through their bed, all of their toys, your clothes, and suddenly you're back at the shops with yet another trolley load of supplies.


07. They are needy

Now, I know this is a known trait of the cockapoo breed, but, oh my, I wasn't expecting it to be quite so bad. Murphy is literally like our shadow and doesn't like to spend more than a few minutes not by our side. He follows us to the loo and sits outside waiting for us, will sit by the bottom of the stairs if we go upstairs, and whined all night every night for the first 6 weeks we left him downstairs in his crate at bedtime. (We've caved and now have his crate upstairs with us and guess what, the whining has pretty much stopped!)

Now, as frustrating as some of these things are, they are all SO worth it. Murphy is such a bundle of joy, he has such a great personality and is also the cutest dog I've EVER seen. He also has his own Instagram account which he posts on daily, you can follow it here!

And there we have it, they were my realities of having a puppy, do you think I've missed any? Let me know in the comments or slide in my DMs, I'm always down for puppy related chat.


Finding The Best Cream Tea On The South Coast: Aunt Fanny's, Wimborne

16 October 2019

Oooh look, the self-titled cream tea connoisseur is back in the game. In case you're new here, lemme recap… I love a cream tea. I find myself having a cream tea fairly often, and over time have really learnt how to separate a good one from a naff one... So, I thought I'd pull all of this knowledge and experience together, and create a blog series looking for the best cream tea on the south coast. I've already written reviews of lots of other tearooms which you can see here, but on with today's... Aunt Fanny's, Farm Shop and Café, Wimborne. 
Finding the best cream tea on the south coast. A review of Aunt Fanny's cafe in Wimborne.

Finding the best cream tea on the south coast. A review of Aunt Fanny's cafe in Wimborne.

Finding the best cream tea on the south coast. A review of Aunt Fanny's cafe in Wimborne.
Finding the best cream tea on the south coast. A review of Aunt Fanny's cafe in Wimborne.
Finding the best cream tea on the south coast. A review of Aunt Fanny's cafe in Wimborne.

Finding the best cream tea on the south coast. A review of Aunt Fanny's cafe in Wimborne.

Taste 

Okay, so we need to talk about this scone. Wow. It's hard to explain but the actual flavour of the scone was almost caramelly? It came out warm, and the texture was divine. Can you tell I was a huuuge fan? The jam it was served with was definitely a homemade one, and if I had to guess the flavour I'd say it was plum - but don't quote me on that. 


Clotted Cream Quantity 

The cream to jam ratio wasn't quite perfect in my eyes... I'm very much a more cream than jam sort of person, and there was definitely more jam than cream. That being said, I did manage to get a good thin layer of cream for both halves, so it wasn't the end of the world!


Price

So, a scone with jam and cream, and a cup of tea wasn't on the menu, so I can't tell you the official price, boo, bad blogger. But, we had a cream tea, a coffee and a slice of chocolate for £11ish... So, it's definitely not badly priced at all... I'd imagine about £6?


Aesthetic

So, Aunt Fanny's Café is set in a renovated stables amongst their farm, and it's full of so many quirky, interesting décor pieces. According to their website, 'Nes has been upcycling furniture and reclaiming and reusing woods and textiles creating a truly unique and quirly setting which is homely and welcoming' - and I agree that that they've done just that!

There's a very rustic, warming feel about the place and I loved all the bits and pieces that were scattered around the place. Oh, and if that wasn't enough, there's also a farm shop selling all sorts of fresh, local produce. Hellooooo, yummy food.


Location

Being set on a farm, it's a little off the beaten track, but was the perfect stop for us after we took Murphy on a walk the other day. If you're planning on visiting anywhere Wimborne sort of way, I'd highly recommend popping into Aunt Fanny's - you really won't be disappointed! Oh, and dogs are more than welcome, wahey!


Where would you like me to visit next?

My First Week of Full-Time Work - A Lifestyle Catch up

6 October 2019

Well, hello there, it's been a short while since we last spoke hasn't it?! I know it's always my excuse but I really have been busy recently. 

I finished my internship at the university, had a weekend with the dog on my own and just this past week I started my first proper job! I mean, I've had a number of jobs previously but this is my first real adult job, and so, for today's post, I thought we'd just have a bit of a ramble about how I'm getting on... 

A lifestyle catch up all about my first week at work, what my new role is and what it entails

Now, as I'm sure most of you are aware I studied Psychology at University, and I didn't have all that many contact hours. I mean, I literally had about 8 hours a week actually based at the university, so it's fair to say I was very much in charge of my own routine. If I didn't want to do any work one day (or week, oops) I wouldn't do any. I mean, I did end up graduating with a first, so I must have fit some work in amongst the days out, festivals, meals out, socials, shopping trips and whatever else I was doing...

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make here is that for the last 3 years I've pretty much been able to do whatever I wanted, when I wanted. Every day has felt like a Saturday. Alas, I now have an office job, a 9-5:30, 5 days a week, office job. My day to day life now very much revolves around work and I absolutely took my time at uni for granted. If anyone is reading this and is still a student: GO OUT, HAVE FUN, MAKE THE MOST OF IT. I'm only a week into my new job and I already miss having all that freedom.

That being said, I really don't fancy doing a masters and besides doing another BSc, there's no way I can go back to those times, so, onwards and upwards. It's time for Becca to be a real adult and have a proper job.

So, what is my new role? What have I updated my LinkedIn bio to say? Well, I am in fact a Social Media Account Manager - doesn't that have a nice ring to it. Essentially, I run the social accounts for a number of different brands and companies. This involves coming up with ideas for shoots, planning content, reporting all the analytics, scheduling content, community management - it really is just running someone's social media accounts on their behalf.

My first week at work absolutely flew by and I feel like I've already learnt A LOT. I've written both weekly and monthly reports for my clients, worked on an in-house photoshoot and drafted up a load of ideas for the coming months - hellooooo cosy Christmas content. We all know that's my favourite thing EVER. My manager took me and the other girls out for lunch on my first day, and on Friday we finished early and headed to a local bar for a cocktail... A pornstar martini is by far the best way to end a first week at work isn't it?!

I'm still getting used to my new routine, but I do get home in time to make it to my gym classes, which I'm far more pleased about than I ever thought I would be... I also have my weekends free too which is fantastic, and, as someone who has previously worked in retail, it really is an absolute blessing.

I would, however, like to start a petition for 3 day weekends - 2 days just isn't long enough! The time just absolutely flies by.


Now, I'd love to be nosy... What do you do for work? Are you a student? Let's have a chat in the comments...

Dinner at Bill's Southampton*

21 September 2019

Well, well, well, look who's been out for another fab meal. This week I was fortunate enough to be invited down to Bill's in Southampton to try out their menu for Foodie Fortnight and I certainly wasn't disappointed. Now, the meal was complimentary, but, as always, all of my views are 100% honest and my own.

But, anyway, what is Foodie Fortnight? It's, as the name suggests, two weeks of food deals in Southampton across a vast number of participating restaurants. FYI, all of the deals are online and you just need to book them in on their website.
Also, I have a confession to make, I don't think I've ever been to a Bill's before?! Yes, I know I'm a bad person and no, I haven't been living under a rock but somehow I just haven't been. Before attending I didn't even look at the menu as I wanted the entire experience to be a surprise. 

THE MENU

So, as part of Foodie Fortnight, there are two deals to be had: either, two courses for £15 or three courses for £18. Included on the menu is a real mix; from a veggie wellington to sea bass to a steak, as well as a few options for starters and desserts. Also, for anyone that's vegan, there's a couple of vegan starters, a main and a dessert on there too. For reference, the dinner special on the evening we were visiting was a salmon dish which apparently was really good.

 THE DECOR

Okay, wow. I'd heard on social media that Bill's had had a gorgeous new refurbishment but I wasn't expecting it to be thaaaat good. It's by far the prettiest restaurant I've ever been to and has real 'The Ivy' vibes. There are lots of plants everywhere, quirky prints, pretty wallpapers, trinkets, vases the lot. We were sat right by the window overlooking Arundel Tower and it was so so pretty as the sun set.  I can imagine that of a summer evening, sitting outside and sipping a cocktail here would be lovely!




THE FOOD 

To start, I had the chicken and sesame dumplings, which, isn't something I'd usually go for. They were really light and fresh-tasting, and the dip that came with them was delicious, it had a really nice kick to it but wasn't toooo spicy. I definitely recommend. 

For my main, I had the burger of the week. This week, and for the whole of Foodie Fortnight (*I think, please don't quote me on that) the burger of the week is a garlic and turmeric chicken burger. I'm going to be honest, I wasn't a massive fan of the fries, but the burger itself was fab. I loved all of the flavours and the chicken was cooked to perfection.

EVERYTHING ELSE

To drink I had a peach, elderflower and rosemary cooler (mocktail) and it was delicious. Again, if you're driving and fancy an Instagrammable drink, this is your guy. It was delicious. 

Price-wise, Bill's is definitely at the higher end of the restaurant chain spectrum but for good reason. The decor and ambiance is fab and definitely a good spot for a celebratory meal.



Have you ever been to Bill's?

Dinner at Revolucion de Cuba, Southampton*

18 September 2019

Can going out for dinner be considered a hobby? Because, if so, sign me up and let me add it to the interests section of my CV. I looove going out for food. So, when Revolucion de Cuba invited me and a group of my friends down for dinner obviously I said yes, please! Over the weekend they celebrated their first birthday and I am so pleased I was able to be a part of it, we really had a blast. 

Our meals were all complimentary, but, as always, my opinions are all my own and 100% honest!

A review of Revolucion de Cuba, a restaurant in Southampton.
I'd never actually been to a Revolucion de Cuba before and for those who are also new to the chain, they're a cocktail bar and restaurant with, as the name suggests, a Cuban theme. There are currently 19 locations spread about the UK including restaurants in Southampton, Cardiff, Birmingham, and Aberdeen. Having had a little browse of the website I've also just spotted that they host cocktail masterclasses, how cool?

A review of Revolucion de Cuba, a restaurant in Southampton.
A review of Revolucion de Cuba, a restaurant in Southampton.

THE MENU

The first thing I'd like to mention is that there was an entire vegan menu - yay! I'm not vegan myself, but it's so fab to see more and more restaurants being accommodating and including more than just one we-ought-to-include-this tofu option on their menu! 

They also have a lunch menu, a brunch menu, a main meal menu aaand a tapas menu, so yeah, there's plenty of food to choose from. The main meals range from £9.50 to £13.50, and the tapas range from £4.50 to £6.50, so the prices are fairly standard for a high street chain. 

A review of Revolucion de Cuba, a restaurant in Southampton.

A review of Revolucion de Cuba, a restaurant in Southampton.

A review of Revolucion de Cuba, a restaurant in Southampton.

THE DECOR

I wasn't sure what I was expecting decor-wise, but I definitely wasn't disappointed. We were sat in the window on grey plush sofas - how very aesthetic, hey? There was also a very dreamy banana leaf wallpaper on the way up to the loos and lots of plants and trinkets scattered around the restaurant, you can just tell the decor had been very well thought out and planned!


A review of Revolucion de Cuba, a restaurant in Southampton.

A review of Revolucion de Cuba, a restaurant in Southampton.

THE FOOD 

Boring bits aside, let's discuss the food. The boys both opted for the chicken burger and wolfed it down in seconds, singing its praises. Karen and I both had tapas - and a portion of fries - because there was no way I could choose only one thing to have, this girl likes to have options.

I had the cheeseburger tacos and the chicken quesadillas, and they were both really tasty. Karen had the jerk fried chicken and the charred halloumi and said hers were really good too. The only downside is the portions aren't very big at all, so I'm very glad I ordered an extra side of fries!

For dessert, we ended up sharing a big plate of churros, and, let me tell you, the caramel rum sauce that comes with them is DELICIOUS. As in, on par with Biscoff kinda delicious.


A review of Revolucion de Cuba, a restaurant in Southampton.

EVERYTHING ELSE

Unfortunately, I was the designated driver but the cocktails all looked and sounded fab. I had a couple of virgin zombie slayer mocktails and they were genuinely really nice - if you're driving but fancy a 'nicer' drink I'd defo recommend that one, it was almost like a pornstar martini.

Now, I had no idea that there was an enitre dancefloor upstairs - who knew, eh? If I hadn't have been the one driving I most definitely would've been up there swigging a cocktail and having a boogie. 


Overall, I had a really good evening at Revolucion de Cuba. The food was tasty, I loved the vibe of the restaurant, and my friends and I had a really good time. I'd defo recommend checking them out!  



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.  

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