Sunday, 28 August 2016

Tips For Choosing A University...

I'm off to uni in less than a month, but a year ago, I was busy going through the stress and indecision of trying to decide what universities to apply for, what course is best for me, what sort of accommodation I wanted etc etc. Choosing the university you want to go to is such a daunting decision, so I thought I might be able to impart a little wisdom and some tips from my experience...

Decide On A Radius

There are looooads of universities in the country, so a way to eliminate some options is to decide on a radius. Personally, I knew that I didn't want to be too far from home, the main factor in my radius decision was that I wanted to be able to get home easily within a couple of hours if I needed to, so I mainly looked at northern universities with the furthest one being Nottingham. I applied to Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham, Newcastle and York St. John as they were all the perfect distance from home. However, you may want to be further or closer! Deciding how close or far you want to be from home helps to cut down the sheer amount of universities there are to consider, and might help you feel more comfortable with the decision.

Think About What's Most Important To You

Picking a university isn't as easy as just picking a city, there's so so many other factors like room type, status of the uni, course content, nightlife etc etc. Deciding what factor is most important to you will be super helpful, like I knew I couldn't settle somewhere in a gross room so quality of accommodation was really important to me whereas status wasn't very high on my list of priorities. If you do a sport that you want to continue or have a particular area of interest or hobby, do a little research about which universities would be best for that. When you've decided on your priorities and necessities for a uni, it makes it easier to see which place would be best for you.


Before I visited any universities I had a favourite in mind, but the second I visited the campus I hated it. Going to the uni on open days (both pre and post offer) is so so useful as you really do get a feel for life there and you'll quickly know whether you could see yourself studying there. Also, going to the subject talks and practise lectures helped me a lot as if you can't get through the subject talk without being bored out of your brain, it's probs not the university for you. I'd say post-offer visits are way more beneficial as you find out a looottttttt more info and more depth about the course, but it's best to visit as much as you can if possible.

Especially if you're wanting to do a course like english, history or subject where there's a lot of variation and choice, open days will help you have an idea of what type of course you like. For me, I quickly learnt that very traditional classic english lit courses didn't appeal to me, whereas courses that included film and modern literature really sparked my interest. So open days will also help you see the subtle differences between courses and which you prefer content-wise. 

Read Up On Each Place

However, open day talks can sometimes make the course seem way way more interesting than it actually is, so take some time to read module lists from last year and info on how the course is structured. Trying to find blogs run by uni students is really good also as there's loads of blogs where people share their experience at their uni, so first-hand experience and advice is super helpful and way more honest than a lecturer's sales pitch. 

Pros & Cons

One thing I did that I found super super helpful was always take a notepad and make notes at open days. I would write down info like contact hours (the number of hours of teaching you have per week), how the course is examined, and odd things that either caught my interest and put me off. Then during a coffee stop or on the train home, I'd write a pros and cons list while the place was fresh in my mind. I did this for every uni I visited so then I could revisit my lists when it came to making the decision of where to apply and then where to firm. Honestly, I can't recommend this tip enough, it makes the decision so much simpler as you can just weigh up the pros and cons. 

Be Ambitious

Lastly, grade requirements can be scary and often put people off applying or visiting their dream uni. But honestly, sometimes having a goal that's mildly ambitious can be super super motivating as you'll be willing to work to get their, rather than stooping to a uni you;re not totally in love with. If you really love a place, go for it, write a killer personal statement, work hard, beg your teachers for good predicted grades and then revise like hell, (and maybe make sure you like your insurance choice as well...just in case). But don't be too put off by scary grades, you've got a whole year to work and improve. BELIEVE IN UR SELF!

If any one has any questions about choosing/applying to university or any other blog posts you want me to do like on personal statements or anything, hit me up!

Thursday, 18 August 2016

What's Happened & What's Happening...

This week is hectic, but the sort of nervous, excited hectic that I love so I wanted to let you all in on what's been going on and what's still to come!

So today is results day! I've weirdly been looking forward to today as it really is the end of a chapter that I'm so SOOOO ready to close. Honestly college has been a pretty awful time for me; losing friends, the step up academically, dealing with pressure and heartbreak and hard decisions about the future really challenged me as a person and almost made me drop off out college at the end of 1st year. So college, for me, has been more a case of pushing through and getting it done than "the best years of my life". I'm so thankful I stuck it out as I feel I've left college a more grounded person, and I'm so ready to move on.

I'm so happy to say that I got my first choice and I'll be off to Sheffield Uni in September to study English language and literature AHH! I'm not quite sure how I did it as I sat my exams with pretty hardcore tonsillitis, but I achieved AAAB which is all I could've hoped for and more. I'm so so excited to start studying the subject I love and take on all the new opportunities, I've smiled all day long. Effort will never betray you, whether you achieve what you wanted or not, no hard work is ever in vain!

I've got loads of posts planning based around choosing universities, college tips etc so watch this space if you're after some advice.

AND ONTO MORE EXCITING THINGS! On Saturday (20th august) the third issue of the magazine I edit, Kiloran, is being released ahh. Kiloran is the thing I'm most proud of, it means everything to me and is a project that is so so close to my heart and seeing it be supported and enjoyed is the greatest thing ever!

Issue 3 is called 'B O D Y' and focuses on everything to-do with the human body, it's issues, it's beauty, it's place in society etc etc. I was so nervous to choose this theme just because it's so broad and can be so challenging as it's so personal, but i know, for me, it's been so therapeutic. The issue has forced me to really dive into and confront my own body issues and create something I'm really proud of out of it. Each and every piece in this issue is so honest and beautiful, they took my breath away and I honestly can't wait to share it!

I did an interview with the glorious Jess from all about the magazine, it's origins and inspo and the issue, give it a peek HERE.

Keep an eye on my social media and follow the mag (@kiloranmag) to be the first to read the new issue, I think it's the best yet. Ahh I'm so so excited and I really hope you love it!

What's been going on with you? Did you get your results, how there they?

Friday, 12 August 2016

52 Hours In Liverpool...

Grand Central Hall, Renshaw Street
Jeans- H&M
Shoes- Clarks
Jacket- Vintage
Neckscarf- Vintage
Top- Primark

69A, Renshaw Street
Bold Street - Full of amazing vintage/independent shops 

ChinaTown, Nelson Street
A Lovely Word poetry open mic, The Everyman Theatre, Hope Street
Liverpool ONE
Albert Dock & TATE 
Cavern Club, Matthew Street
Bold Street Coffee (greatest coffee i've ever tasted!)
Jeans- H&M
Top- Primark
Jacket- Vintage
Bold Street
My Pho (best noodles), Ranelagh Street
I've just returned from a short trip to Liverpool with my bestie Grace. We knew we wanted to go away to a city in England but prior to going to Liverpool neither of us knew anything about the city or what was there other than we had no interest in doing the Beatles experience. We did a little research and quickly discovered how easy it would be to dive into the city and found so much stuff to do.

If you're looking for a chill, leisurely break definitely consider Liverpool. Each street is packed with shops and restaurants, both independent and big international brands. For vintage and one-off shops and cafes, head to Bold Street, for some serious spending, go to Liverpool ONE. We stumbled across so so many interesting things such as a leaflet for a live poetry night, a radical & community bookshop and a psychedelic band playing in the middle of a street. It's endless and it was nice to visit a place that has such obvious, amazing character, it's hard to ignore it's charm. Also, everything is so cheap! We got full Korean meals for £5, toasties for £2.50 and pretty much all the tourist attractions are free s you don't have to splash out just to fill your time.

We stayed at the Lord Nelson Hotel on Hotham Street. If you want a basic hotel definitely check this one out, it's directly outside the station so is a prime location (and is right near a Wetherspoons, bonus). Staying near the station is so simple as it makes it really easy to navigate the city and be able to find your way back as there's loads of signs.

Put simply, if you want a cheap, chill long weekend, think about catching a train to Liverpool.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Your Summer Reading List...

If you read my Summer Aims post (here) you'll know that I'm trying to read a lot more this summer. So I thought, while I'm trying to read more, I'd share some books I've loved lately to give you some inspo for your summer reading list. I personally like books with more depth that can be interpreted in several ways and force you to think more into the story, so these books are sure to get your brain whirring.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

If you follow me on social media, you're likely to have seen me moaning about this book as I studied it for my A-level. Truthfully, the first time I read Wuthering Heights I really struggled with it as it's such a long (pretty depressing) book and it's easy to get muddled with the characters and plot as the narrative is very nontraditional. But studying it gave me such a huge appreciation and love for this book. Wuthering Heights is so often put down as a love story, but seriously, it's not at all. In fact, to thing Wuthering heights is romantic may be a little psychotic as all the relationships in this book are so soo intense and violent and pretty scary. If you can really dive into this book and let yourself be engulfed by the story, you'll love it. The characters are so in depth and unexpected and the plot continues to take you by surprise until the end, if you can look past the classic language, you'll be hooked. 

Also, the history of the Bronte family is so interesting. The three sisters had to release their stories under male pseudonyms as they believed their writing wouldn't be accepted with their real names as it wasn't 'feminine'. Wuthering Heights is full of criticism about how Victorian society treated women as it focuses on issues like abuse and inheritance laws. Emily's writing is so angry yet so eloquent, give it a go. 

The Coral Sea by Patti Smith

Patti Smith fanatic back at it again, but this. book. If you haven't read of any of Patti Smith's work, please do. But The Coral Sea is so touching. Patti wrote the extended poem as a way to process and heal after the death of Robert Mapplethorpe so it's packed full of emotion but also some incredible imagery. It's incredibly calming and beautiful to read. If you're looking for a quick yet powerful read, this is the one.

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

I LOVE THIS BOOK. It's another one that I studied this year, but the second I started reading it I loved it. The Bloody Chamber is a collection of short stories where Carter takes classic fairy tales or folklore and subverts the characters or twists it to highlight the violence in each story. It's feminist, it's radical, it's thought provoking and quite simply, it's badass! When it comes to these stories you can't trust your instincts, you find yourself feeling sorry for villains and hating the heroes that come out on top. It's such an exciting read and one I always go back to.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

This book is surrounded by so much hype and the character of Lolita is so ingrained in fashion and pop culture. I love the film as it's so intense and really forces you to question your morals, so I'd wanted to read the book for a long time. The book is crazy. It's narrated by Humbert Humbert who is in a super inappropriate relationship with Lolita, a child and kinda his daughter. The narrative is so charming and full of self-delusion that it's like sympathy for the devil. You almost find yourself falling into Humbert's facade and even rooting for him a little bit. It's so interesting and cleverly done, it's worth a read even just the experience the narrative style. If you've only ever seen the film, definitely read the book. It shocked me how romanticised the film was and how much drama it missed out, the book in places is so violent and gritty it's almost uncomfortable to read. Definitely worth a read as it's such a cult classic. 

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This is another book with a lot of hype around it but I think it's genuinely worth it. The Alchemist is written like a fable and is full of real-world advice and messages that really resonated with me. The narrative style is super simple and easy to read but the plot is so unpredictable. I was so hooked on the story and so infatuated by the language used, again it's just a lovely, calming read. If you're looking for a book that's a little spiritual and will make you want to underline looaads of quotes, pick up The Alchemist.  

Nineteen Eighty-four by George Orwell

I think it's fair to say that I'm leaving the best to last. This book absolutely ruined me. I read it in like 2 days and it's become an instant favourite, almost life-changing read. Orwell creates a world that is both so futuristic but almost scarily real and recognisable. Even if you ignore how radically political this book is, the story is still absolutely gripping and action packed. There's so much suspense I felt on edge every time I turned the page. I won't ruin the ending for you, but oh my god be prepared it's intense (and world-shattering). READ IT READ IT READ IT !!!

What are your recommended reads?

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Pale Cheeks...

For us pale girls finding makeup can be a real challenge. All the foundations are too orange, contour shades too dark, highlighters too yellow toned, etc etc etc. My skin is basically see-through so trust me, I understand your pain. But I've recently found my perfect pale products for the classic contour, blush and highlight combo, so here's what I've been using as well as some alternatives I've seen on my searches.

Freedom makeup pro contour stick in fair - £5
I've spent ages aaaages trying to find a contour shade that isn't too dark or too warm toned. So many highstreet contour kits don't really accommodate to fair skin or cool toned skin so it can be hard to find a shade without having to pay loads for high end brands. For pale skin, cool, greyer contour shades are much better as they blend to a more natural shadow. I recently found this cream contour stick which blends to the perfect contour shade for me. I also think going for cream contours is better for pale gals as you can always blend it which your foundation to make the colour lighter.

I've also found a really good pale cream contour skin from Collection which is cheaper. However, I went with this one as Freedom makeup doesn't test on animals and I really wanted the highlight shade. Both are available at superdrug!

Benefit Rockateur blush
I've been using this blush for a while now as I got it in my benefit advent calendar at Christmas and I love love love it. It's a gorgeous dusty rose gold colour that adds some warmth to my cheeks without being too harsh or bold. It looks so natural but makes you look healthy and glowy. From what I've read, benefit blushes in general are great for pale skin as they have a whole range of shades for each skin tone. As this blush has a slightly gold, bronzey glow to it, I like to blend it over the top of my contour to make it a little more natural for an everyday look.

Sleek Solstice highlighting palette - £10
I searched for this palette for so so long. I saw so many youtubers using it and I had to have it. And oh my heart eyes all over the place. Not only is the packaging beautiful, all four shades are amaaazing. There's one cream shade and 3 powders but all of them are so pigmented they leave you glowing like the sun. The shades are so light making them perfect for pale skin as they leave you with all the shimmer without any strong colour so you can make the highlight as natural or bold as you want. Honestly, this may be the best £10 I've ever spent, my highlight is poppin.

And that's my routine! Let me know your pale skin essentials!