Tuesday, 11 October 2016

University Room Tour

My room is hands down my favourite thing about my second year at uni so far so of course I had to do a room tour to show it to you, especially now I've more or less finished the decorating process. Compared to my tiny little room in college last year (see my room tour for that here) it's a real luxury as it has actual space and a double bed, so I've tried to do it justice with my little decorative bits and bobs and, of course, photos galore.

This is the view from the doorway as you walk in, I think it's really attractive and welcoming with plenty of colour. The furniture provided was just a bed, desk, desk chair and the huge wardrobe in the back so as you can see I've added to it - I got a rug, a little bookcase and a bedside table which you'll see in the other pics.

This is my little desk area. Unfortunately the desk is pretty small, way smaller than the one I had last year which could fit my printer on it comfortably and had plenty of room left over for me to spread out all my books and papers - hence why my printer is on the floor. I've got my world map on the wall for when I need that geographical inspiration, and when my command strips arrive in the post I'm planning to put my pinboard on the wall too. 

At the moment I just have some essential bits and bobs on my desk, like some pots of pens, a desk light and and a file organiser. I think it's going to be essential to keep the space clear as much as possible, given there's so little of it!

Now we move over to my bed area, where I've got a little bedside table unit from IKEA and a lamp from Argos (which was super cheap! Around £3 I think). The windowsill is where I'm keeping my framed photos and also makeup as there's a handy full-length mirror just out of shot. My duvet cover is from Primark, which is also where I got the matching throw!

The room had curtains up when I moved in but I decided to take them down and store them away as there's a blind anyway and they were sort of in the way. Of course this meant I had a random curtain pole to do something with, and I thought it was the perfect place to put my fluffy pink fairy lights up - plus the mirror is a handy spot to perch the battery pack.

Above my bed is my little photowall, which I'm hoping to add to this year! I was originally going to do a washing line display with string and mini pegs but I thought this simple arrangement looked much more clean and effective.

I decided to buy this little bookcase as there wasn't much in the way of what I call display shelving (i.e. places to put books and decorative bits) and it was only £20 from Argos, which I think is well worth it even if I can't take it home with me at the end of the year. I decided to get it in black so it would match the desk because coordinated furniture pleases me immensely. So far I've just got a few books and DVDs, some tech bits, folders and some photos on the top.

Finally here's the huge wardrobe which is basically the width of the whole room! There's SO much storage space in here which is excellent because I can just cram all sorts of stuff in there and pull the door across to hide it.

To create more small shelves I bought this blue hanging thing from IKEA which is basically where I'm keeping all my clothes. Underwear, tights and pyjamas are in the drawers on the right and I've got the middle shelf set up as a sort of dressing table area with jewellery and some more makeup. Then shoes are on the floor in the wardrobe, cardigans are hanging in the narrow bit above my laundry bag, and dresses, skirts and coats are in the other half of the wardrobe which is a mirror image of the side you can see.

And that's my room! I really love it, I think I've made it my own without spending too much or making any huge/irreversible changes which would lose me my deposit. I'm looking forward to living here for the next year!


Saturday, 8 October 2016

Another Fashion Haul

So I'm back at university and although lectures don't start till Monday it feels good to get back in the swing of things. There's something about the walk into town on a crisp autumn day and seeing the cathedral tower rising up over the rows of houses that truly lifts my spirits, but it's also comforting to come back to a city I know instead of starting in a new place like I was this time last year. The major difference this year is that I'm living in a student house which so far has been a really lovely experience, it's so nice to have a big space to live in instead of a tiny room in halls - not to mention a pretty decent-sized TV and a lovely bathroom!

On the drive up my dad and I stopped off at Bluewater for a bit of a shopping spree and of course I bought a few things. Unfortunately the big H&M was closed for refurbishment and Forever 21 was 50% off the whole store (which sounds good but it was an absolute tip, full of summer stuff and impossible to find anything), but I still managed to spend quite a bit of time and money in New Look. I also got a couple of things in the H&M here in Durham so I thought it was probably time for another haul post, even though my last one wasn't too long ago.

Striped 3/4 length sleeve top from New Look, £8.99
Checked shirt from New Look, £22.99
Striped top from H&M, £7.99

Okay so I realise these might all look very similar but believe me, they aren't. The one on the left is from New Look and it's just a really nice super soft top with dark red stripes which totally match my hair now it's red again. It's one of those really easy to wear pieces that go with a lot of things so I'm hoping it'll become one of my wardrobe staples. The shirt is also from New Look and I really love it - you can't see too well on the photo but it has a sort of twisted fabric thing going on at the bottom so you can't wear it like a cardigan but it's another effortless top that I think will look so good with plain black leggings or jeans. Finally I got this red and blue striped white top from H&M because lets face it, you can never have too many striped tops! I tried this on with blue jeans in the shop and it looked so good as the blue basically matched, I had to get it.

Green corduroy skirt from New Look, £9.99
White trainers from New Look, £17.99
Black suede skirt from H&M, £14.99
Black bag from Forever 21, £7.50

The skirt on the left is actually a really dark green and I just fell in love with it. It was from the 915 section of New Look which I'm really glad I can still fit into (this was an age 12 lol) as the stuff from there is always slightly cheaper. I'd been looking for white trainers for a while but could never find quite the right ones, so I was happy to come across these in New Look - yes I know they're basic af but I need more practical footwear for the colder seasons, especially now I'm living so far away from where I have lectures. The other skirt is a lovely soft imitation suede material and I think it'll just be really handy and go with everything, plus I'll be able to dress it up or down. Last but not least, the bag was the only thing I managed to pick up in Forever 21 but it's really nice, it has two pockets which are just big enough to fit your iPhone in one and some money and your keys in the other so it's perfect for a night out (not that I do much of that) or just any occasion when you don't want to be carrying a big bag.

And that's all I got!


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Secondhand Book Haul

The other weekend I went to a secondhand book sale at my local English shop. As usual I picked up a massive stack of books and on further reflection ended up putting about half back, but I still came away with a good selection which I'm going to show you today. I know I'm always enthusiastic about books but trust me, there are some real corkers in here!

According to Queeney by Beryl Bainbridge
This is a curious little book but somehow it drew me in, I think because of the front cover which is really quite lovely with the rose gold lettering. Set in Georgian London and about the high society of the day, this book is apparently "a story of unrequited love, passion, rejection and possession" so I have high hopes.

I, Mona Lisa by Jeanna Kalogridis
For some reason this rang a bell (I think I saw it on Goodreads or something?) so I picked it up and knew right away it was a winner. It's set in fifteenth century Florence and is, unsurprisingly, a story about Mona Lisa and Leonardo da Vinci. I really love historical fiction from this period, especially when it's set in Italy and especially when it includes well-known characters so I know I'm going to like this.

The Trespass by Barbara Ewing
This intrigued me because I'm not crazy about Victorian historical fiction, but for some reason I felt drawn to it and ended up getting it. It's set in London in 1849 in the middle of a cholera epidemic and is about the daughter of an eminent MP who gets sent away to the countryside for her safety. This is probably quite morbid of me but I do like books about epidemics and disease, it's all quite horrific and thrilling and you know there's going to be at least one dramatic death.

Mad Girl's Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted by Andrew Wilson
I was so excited when I spotted this because I love Sylvia Plath and I've been developing a taste for biographies lately so really this is the perfect combination. As far as I can tell it's about her early life, which is interesting, and it draws on interviews with people Plath knew, which is fascinating - this is going to have pride of place in the Plath section of my bookshelf for sure.

The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston
This book is about a three hundred and eighty-four year old witch, which by definition means it's going to become one of my favourites. I can only take fantasy in small doses but this kind of mixture of historical fiction and fantasy is just my cup of tea so I'm excited to read this. The Lost Book of 

Salem by Katherine Howe
To be honest I didn't even read the blurb of this one before I bought it (I just saw the word 'Salem' and lunged for it) but it looks promising because it's another good old historical-fiction-fantasy blend. It's about a woman who, while clearing out her grandmother's cottage, finds an old parchment relating to the infamous Salem witch trials and uncovers her family's connection to them.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
I recently read Sarah Waters' book The Paying Guests and LOVED it so I've been keen to get my hands on other books she's written. I've heard lots of good things about Fingersmith too - it's set in London in 1862 and seems to have an Oliver Twist vibe to it as it's about an orphan who grows up among petty thieves.

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
Another Sarah Waters one which I was thrilled to spot. This is set in wartime Britain and - according to the blurb - moves backwards through the 1940s to end with its beginning in 1941, which seems like an original idea so I'm interested to see how/if the author pulls that one off.

The Lost World by Michael Crichton
It's no secret that I love all things Jurassic Park, but I especially love the book and I've been meaning to get the sequel for some time now. Unfortunately this is one of those situations in which I've seen the film before reading the book, but I'm just going to hope that there's a lot more to the book than the film which is definitely the case in the first installment. 

The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie
Last but not least... I'm always on the lookout for Agatha Christies when I go to booksales like these because I'm trying to collect all her books - unfortunately I only found one this time but fortunately it was one I haven't got yet so of course I picked it up. I was sorry to find out that this isn't a Hercule Poirot one but I'm definitely going to read it anyway next time I'm in a murder mystery mood.

And that's all I got!


Sunday, 2 October 2016

Fashion Haul: H&M and Asos

Lately I've been doing a bit of shopping in anticipation of the return of chilly weather and going back to university. Autumn/winter is definitely my favourite time of year to shop because I love winter dresses and thick cardigans and hats and scarves and wearing things with tights - it's so satisfying to add bits and pieces to my winter wardrobe. First I made a trip to my local H&M and then I decided to order some things off Asos, hence why the items here are in two currencies so I hope that doesn't bother you - I spend my life converting from € to £ and vice-versa so I hardly notice it any more! 

Mustard Checked Shirt from H&M, €14.99

I'm obsessed with this colour at the moment as I think it's perfect for autumn and I was actually on the lookout for the cardigan in this colour that I included in my recent H&M picks, but sadly no luck. I kept spotting something in the right colour and hurtling across the shop only to find that it was just a jumper or some other kind of top, and never exactly the cardigan I wanted *sigh*. But during the hunt I did come across this shirt which I really really like, it's super soft and made of organic cotton, plus I also bought some plain blue jeans (not shown here because I couldn't work out how to photograph them) which look amazing with this shirt buttoned up and tucked into them.

Plain White Top from H&M, €14.99

This is just a really simple (slightly creased) white top which I think will come in handy in all sorts of clothing situations. I bought it intending to wear it under the green pinafore (see below) but when I got it home I realised it would go well under dungarees, tucked into shorts or jeans or just with a patterned skirt - basically a super versatile piece! 

Striped Top from H&M, €9.99

I love stripes and especially striped tops as I think they're simple and classic and also so on trend right now. I especially like the colours in this one which, again, are perfect for autumn. The fabric of this top is amazing too, it's lightweight and stretchy and bouncy so I feel like it's also a really easy to wear item that could go with lots of things.

Sushi Jumper from H&M, €9.99

I couldn't resist this jumper because look at it, it has tiny sushi rolls with faces! My mum says it makes me look about fourteen but I am totally OK with that if it means I can wear a sushi-adorned jumper and wear it I shall. I think this would be nice just over jeans or leggings as a really cosy and comfy outfit. I also like that it's thin material because I'm quite sensitive to temperature and I get hot easily even in winter, so I usually steer clear of big thick jumpers.

Green Pinafore from Asos, £15

Onto the Asos purchases... First I got this dark green pinafore dress. I've been meaning to get one like this for ages but I could only seem to find denim ones so I was thrilled to come across this one. It's a really nice stretchy cottony fabric and it fits well (I had to put a ruler in the waistband to give it some structure for this photo haha). I'm planning to wear this with little stripy cropped tops or the plain white one above.

Striped Dress from Asos, £17

This isn't the most flattering dress in the world but I'm willing to bet it's one of the comfiest! It's a really nice cotton material and very simple in the shape and cut of it, so perfect for lounging around and just wearing with tights and trainer-type shoes. Also, stripes!

Space Pyjamas from Asos, £20

Finally I got this pyjama set which I LOVE to bits. At the beginning of the summer I treated myself to some really nice Disney princess (The Little Mermaid, to be precise) short pyjamas from Topshop and I've worn them all summer so I wanted to invest in a similar second pair. I love the slogan on this and the pattern on the shorts, it's very me!

And that's all I got!


Thursday, 29 September 2016

My Pet Peeves

Do you ever get really irritated by certain things? Just little seemingly trivial actions or habits that most people probably don't think twice about, but which set your teeth on edge and make you want to scream under your breath? I've realised lately that a lot of things annoy me no end so I thought I'd do a post about my pet peeves in the hope that writing them out will cure me, or at least help me to rise above it slightly.

People who use their phones while watching a movie. Literally this is the most annoying thing ever. I'm not even talking about using your phone in the cinema (which is extremely distracting), I just mean when you're watching something with friends or family at home and people start texting or scrolling through Facebook in the middle of watching the thing. I don't have a problem with just quickly checking your emails or Instagram notifications or whatever, it's more when people start texting or messaging someone or doing anything else that makes it clear they aren't paying attention that bugs me. When I watch a film (even one I've seen before) I like to be 100% engrossed in it and comment on things to the people I'm watching it with, so I find it really irritating when the other people clearly aren't concentrating on the plotline because they're so distracted by their phones. Argh even just thinking about this is making me angry!

When people describe everything as cute. Kittens are cute. Puppies are cute. Babies are (mostly) cute. But you know what isn't cute? That top you bought or those jeans or that pair of ballet flats. Argh when will it end?? It annoys me so much when people (mostly YouTubers, but some people irl are guilty of this too) refer to literally EVERYTHING as cute or adorable when in reality it's just a really nice top or whatever - please enlarge your vocabulary and stop using an adjective intended to describe something sweet, youthful, pretty, dainty or quaint to describe a skirt.

When Americans talk about 'Europe'. As in 'I'm going to Europe on vacation this summer' or 'When I was in Europe...'. Unless you're doing a full-blown tour of the entire continent, do you mean France or Romania? Dorset or the Costa Blanca? Berlin or Athens? I hate to break it to you but Europe is not a country, it is in fact a continent containing many countries, a lot of which have their own cultures and identities and are generally extremely different from one another. But no, Americans have this habit of lumping them together and referring to them collectively - please, be more specific. I'm aware that we 'Europeans' tend to do this too when we talk about 'America', but assuming we mean it as an abbreviated form of 'the United States of America' I don't think that's nearly as bad, given that technically it is all one country with one language and culture.

The huge fuss that people make over Halloween. Ok, so according to the origins of the day (a time to remember the departed and traditionally when the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest) Halloween is supposed to be scary, haunting and generally fear-inducing. Accordingly, for me 'dressing up' has always involved some sort of scary outfit, like a witch or a ghost or a vampire, and (when I was little) being dared to do things like run around the shed at the bottom of the garden in the middle of the night. But lots of people seem to interpret Halloween as 'dress up as anything you like' which of course you can, no one's stopping you, but in my opinion it loses the essence and the meaning behind the celebration. Dressing up as any old random thing is what you do on Carnival or an equivalent celebration, not on Halloween!

When people deny climate change. Alright so this went from petty to serious real quick and possibly this doesn't count as a 'peeve' but it really really makes me angry when people try to deny that climate change is a thing. I'm currently doing an online course with the Open University that's mostly about inequality (economic, social, gender etc.) but in the comments on one of the stages some idiot had written a whole comment about how he didn't believe in 'global warming' because his mother lives in Russia and says it's actually getting colder there *facepalm*. Which of course I responded too with a paragraph about how climate change is actually affecting the world because I'm a geography student and we live and breathe this stuff.

Unnecessary commenters. This is quite a specific one but it's linked to my last peeve so bear with. The course I'm doing is made up of various steps which you have to complete before you can move onto the next one and at the bottom of each step is a comments section. Now sometimes the step is meant to be a discussion or debate so the whole point is to post in the comments, but there are an awful lot of people who seem to feel the need to post the most banal and unnecessary things on every single step. What, I ask you, is the point of posting 'I found this interesting' or 'very good article' every single time? You don't get points for commenting and no one cares if you found it good or interesting, you're clogging up the comments section and making it more difficult to find out if people have in fact written anything of value. I'm not saying people don't have the right to comment because clearly they do; if you do find something interesting, fair enough, but why not explain why and elaborate a bit more rather than just posting the same thing as a hundred other commenters?! Like I said this is quite a specific case because here there is no value to pointless comments, whereas on other platforms such as YouTube clearly any kind of positive comment is going to encourage the creator and make their efforts worthwhile.

Whoops, this turned into a mini rant post, sorry! Turns out I have a lot of things I needed to get off my chest, but hopefully now they're out there in the ether I can move on. Do you have any pet peeves?