University Freshers

Hey everyone! I moved into my new university halls last Sunday and have been at uni for a week now and I thought it would be a good idea to share some of what I’ve been up to and things you can do during Freshers (aside from going out of course!). I’m not a huge ‘party girl’, but yeh, I like to go out with friends and have a couple of drinks, go to the clubs etc. but not every night. So, during Freshers, its been interesting to see how much I can actually avoid going out and getting smashed like a lot of people love doing!

Getting a job

I have been transferred to a new branch of the company I work for, which has meant I have a secured job for me whilst I study. Of course, this will vary from company to company, but it is a good idea to see if they offer student transfers if the new city you’re moving to have a store! It has worked really well for me and my first shift was good! Even though I am in a new role in my new branch, I think that makes it more interesting as I have new things to learn!

Look out for part-time jobs on sites like indeed.co.uk as lots of places will be offering short term temporary contracts for students, that will be flexible around lecture times. Companies know that student timetables change, so will be willing to work with you at getting the best hours. Another popular idea is a part-time jobs fair at the university, which my university have held, and this is where companies and brands advertise their jobs specifically for students. One more idea that is excellent for students is working as a student ambassador for your university which usually working on open days and giving tours around campus (training is provided) and the pay rate at my university is £10/hour! Because it is based at university, they also work around your lecture times and know not to take you out of anything, and some work on a 0 hour contract meaning it is something you can really control around when you have the time free or not.

Meeting new people

Freshers week is so daunting at the beginning, moving into a flat full of people you don’t know, going to induction and enrolments with lecture theatres full of people you don’t know. But, the lecturers know that everyone is in the same position and they will do icebreakers and similar activities to get you more relaxed and allow you to introduce yourself to people on your course. This has really helped me meet people doing my course and we have then gone to other events together and got to know each other better. With flatmates, it’s not so easy sometimes! Instead of eating in your room, why don’t you eat in the kitchen and then if anyone comes in, introduce yourself! Be friendly! If there is a group chat for your flat, ask if anyone wants a drink or if you’re ordering take-out ask if anyone wants to join! My flatmates and I had a movie night this week and ordered a curry and it was a great chance to get to know them a bit better! If you’re planning on going to the campus at the same time, ask if they want to walk or get the bus together. It’s the little things that you wouldn’t necessarily ask about normally, but they are a great chance to get to know the people you live with!

Join a sports club or society

I have joined the Tennis club at my university. I had trials today, which was fun to go to and, again, meet new people, make new friends! Even if I don’t make the team, I will still play socially with my friends and it will be a great way to take my mind off work and lectures and relax (strangely enough)! Doing sport has always been important to me and it takes my mind off of stress and studying, as well as keeping me fit. I have played tennis since junior school and, as I said, even I just play socially, it will be really nice to make friends and have fun!

I have also joined a couple of societies, one of them being the society for my subject. Lots of subjects offer their own societies, and you don’t always have to be doing that course to join! It is another great way to meet new people, within and outside of your course. If that doesn’t seem like something you’d like, there are always a bunch of random and totally crazy societies that you can join. Some of my personal favourites that I spotted were Tea Society and Fashion Society! There really is something for everyone to choose from, so make sure you go to Freshers Fair and the Sports Fair to see what there is available! Try something new and have fun!

Keep in touch with friends and family

Moving away from home can be scary and nerve-wracking! But don’t forget! Your parents will be sad to see you go too… and your friends! So during that first week, make sure you stay in contact with friends from home and family, they will want to know what you’re up to and how you’re doing. My boyfriend has been to visit me and it’s been nice having a bit of home to visit, even if it has just been for the day. And don’t forget… people you know may have come to the same university as you! If you know someone and they are at your uni, drop them a message and get a drink or meet one day to look round the city centre. A friendly face in a crowd of new ones can really settle Freshers weeks nerves!

I hope everyone that has already moved to uni is having an amazing time, and anyone that is moving soon (or today!) you have an incredible Freshers week! Party hard and have fun!

Thank you all for reading and keep an eye out for updates of how university life is going for me!

Imogen ❤

A Level Results Day

Hey everyone! It is 11 days until A Level results day! Yes, I am counting down the days, not because I am petrified of finding out my results but because I am excited to see where I will be heading in September! I have previously written a piece about GCSE results day, as I knew a few younger people were quite nervous about receiving their results. Now, one year on, I am waiting for my A Level results, hoping to achieve the grades I need to get into my first choice of Universities!

Lots of people will be nervous about getting their results. Some of you may know that you smashed the exams after months of hard revising and you are confident you are going to do well! Others may think the exams have gone well but are staying quietly confident that you will get the necessary grades. And unfortunately, other people will be dreading the 16th, knowing that their exams did not go as they had hoped and that they are going to need a contingency plan if they get worse grades than the Universities are offering to accept.

Even if you are one of the confident individuals and you know that you have achieved your grades, having a back-up plan can never hurt! One thing I had forgotten is that if you do better than you had expected or have achieved higher grades that will get you into a higher University than is your first choice, you can go through Clearing to apply to the higher Universities. For example, you have a conditional offer from University of Liverpool for Mathematics for ABB, but you have achieved 3 A*’s! You could now apply through clearing to go to your other higher choice of UCL for A* A* A. If they have the spaces, they should accept you, as you have not only met the requirements, but have exceeded them. Keep this in mind if you do better than you had expected!

Similarly, if you have changed your mind about your first choice University, after checking the entry grades, and knowing that you have met them, you can apply through Clearing to your new choice. If you now want to go to University of Sussex (ABB) then you could apply through Clearing (as long as they have the spaces).

Clearing (through UCAS) works by creating a new application, and therefore a new UCAS Track profile. This will become active once your application is complete and you have received a welcome email. You can apply through Clearing for a number of reasons but the main ones include –

  • You have applied after the deadline of June 30th
  • You didn’t receive any offers
  • You don’t want to accept the offers you have been given
  • You do not meet the entry requirements of your University firm and insurance choices

If you don’t get the grades, don’t panic! If you really want to go to a specific University, ring them up and explain why you want to do your course there. Don’t try to make excuses about why your grades were lower than expected, unless there is a clearcut reason (for example a grievance or illness etc.). One thing to remember is that the Universities really want passionate and brilliant students, and often, with the rising number of other options instead of University (apprenticeships etc.) Universities may even be reaching out to fill the spaces they have for a course! Be hopeful, and don’t get flustered, if you do decide to ring them, try to stay calm. If you have become upset after receiving your results, just take a moment to compose yourself before you speak to the University.

If your University doesn’t have space on the course you want, you can try a different course, for example, if you were planning to do Psychology, try seeing if they have spaces on a Psychology with Education or something along those lines. Who knows? Perhaps the course will interest you more than you think! If it really isn’t your cup of tea, once you start your course, if you request to swap to your original course soon enough in the year, they may be able to fit more people in, due to drop-outs and people declining their offers.

The other option with Clearing is that other Universities may have spaces on the course you want to do. These may be Universities you hadn’t thought of, so be open minded and think; if I really want to do this course, does it matter which University I am at? Do try and look around any Universities before you confirm your place, or at least see if they offer a virtual tour online. Failing that, try using Google Maps Street View to look around the externals of the buildings to get a kind of feel for the campus.

If the exams have gone so badly wrong that you are not going to be able to get into a University you would like to go to, then perhaps you should rethink your options. Could you take a year out? Retake a subject? Work full time until you have a clearer idea of where you want to go? Do an apprenticeship? There are lots of options and although it might seem like a huge disaster on the day when the results aren’t what you hoped for, everything will be ok in the end!

A Level Results are released on the 16th August 2018 and are usually available for collection from your school/sixth form/college. Alternatively, if you know you can’t make it there on the day, you can receive them over the phone or arrange to have them emailed to you (check individual rules for your institution). This may also be the default option for some schools, as they have so many students, emailing out the results can be easier.

Good luck to everyone who is waiting for results in just over 10 days and I hope that you all get the grades you are hoping for and if not, you are still able to find a way to study something you love!

Thank you for reading and keep an eye on my blog for more content as I move to University and blog about questions and key topics that have been requested!

Imogen ❤

 

UCAS… What next?

Hello everyone! I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while, I’ve been concentrating on my courses and all the work that comes with doing A Levels, fellow strugglers, you know what I mean! I have sent my UCAS application off and have received offers back. But, I have been asking myself, what next? What do I do in this long wait between now and results day (aside from revision for my all important exams… obviously!)? And then I thought, maybe if I don’t know the next steps, others don’t either. So I thought I would do some research and compile a little guide as to your next move closer to starting University!

Of course, I know that not everyone chooses to go to university, and that’s great! Some people are suited to different styles of learning, others want to travel and work. Whatever you choose to do, as long as it is what you want to do, then it’s going to be okay! But, this post is focused on people who have applied through UCAS (hence the title) so if that’s not you, please feel free to either stay and read anyway or skip this post!

Receive your offers:

This will be dependent on a number of factors, such as how your predicted grades align with the grades the University is asking for (or tariff points if that’s the system they use). They will also consider how many places they have on offer, and if they have fewer applicants than they expected, they may offer you the place but on lower grades, which is great! They may also give you a ‘contextual offer’ if you attend an Aspiring College or Sixth Form, of which there is a list online for each University if your institution fits the criteria, or if you make that University your firm choice, then they will perhaps lower the grades too. All in all, the Universities are really searching for the people that show they want to be there and even if their grades aren’t ‘up there’ they will still be given a fair opportunity to bag a place!

Reply to your offers:

Congratulations if you have had offers back from Universities saying that they would like to give you a place! There are three responses you could have received; Conditional, Unconditional or Unsuccessful. Depending on which you have received will determine your next steps.

Conditional means you’ve got a place! That is, as long as you achieve the grades that the University are after.

Unconditional means congratulations! You’ve got a place at the University with whatever grades you get! Some people automatically assume that this means they don’t have to turn up for their exams, BUT! I would strongly recommend carrying on revising and working hard, not only because Universities can withdraw their offers, but it will also make the first year so much easier, having a strong base of knowledge at a higher level!

Unfortunately, if your application has been unsuccessful, that means you haven’t got a place at that University. But, the other 4 applications may be successful, so don’t lose hope! I have had unsuccessful applications and everyone sort of tiptoed around the topic if it came up, but the first thing I said was “Don’t worry! I’m sort of happy I got rejected… it makes choosing my top two easier!” You’ve just got to look on the positive side of these things and you’ll be fine!

Applying for Finance:

I will go into more detail about this on a separate post, but the basic gist of this is explained really well on the UCAS website, and through various emails advising you on the best course of action. UCAS will email you with the 16 digit code you need to set up a student bank account (this is slightly different to applying for finance but I’ll explain later). Other information you will need to apply is your UCAS Personal ID number, Passport number and National Insurance Number. The process takes about half an hour, and you then print a form to sign and send to the Student Finance HQ. They suggest that it will take roughly 6-8 weeks to process, but as soon as the application is in, it’s one less thing to worry about!

So there you have it, the next few steps after you have sent in your application. Of course, there is accommodation, applicant days and lots of revision, among other things, but I’m going to be writing some more in-depth posts for these bits as I think they just need their own posts. I know lots of people are quite daunted by the process, but it honestly isn’t that scary and once you do it, you feel so much better for being on top of it!

Thank you for reading and keep an eye out for new posts under the University tab on my page and I’ll be posting more content soon!

Imogen S.

The Body Shop: Bath Bombs and Bubbles

So, if you have been following my social media accounts or have spoken to me recently, you will know I have been really excited about reviewing the new Body Shop Bath Bombs and Bubbles! I bought them after I saw them in Gabriella Lindley‘s video, and I instantly really wanted to try them!

I went online and tried to order some, but The Body Shop website wasn’t working that evening, and then when it came back online, most of the flavours were sold out. So I popped into my nearest store and bought all the ones I could which were Moringa, Vanilla, Green Tea, Coconut and Candied Plum. There are 3 others which are Mango, Strawberry and Pink Grapefruit, which all sound delicious but I’ll have to wait for a re-stock!

I have taken photos of what each of them looks like and then I’ll do a little summary of why I do/don’t like them. I have to say though, in general, these little bath bombs packed a punch, especially considering they are so tiny! They are £1.50 each, so a lot cheaper than most of the Lush ones (don’t get me wrong, I love Lush too) and they give off just as much colour, scent and just as many bubbles! The scents were never overpowering and they lasted for at least an hour, AND the colour of the water didn’t stain the bath, which has happened with some of mine from Lush.

Moringa Bath Bubble:

This yellow heart is one of their 3 choices of ‘bubble bars’. With the Bath Bubbles all you do is hold them under the tap, preferably under hot water, but obviously not too hot! They then dissolve, and as the water sprays away from them, it effectively pumps air into the water and creates lots and lots of delicate bubbles! Because this one is yellow, it didn’t give off much much colour, but to be honest, there were so many bubbles, you couldn’t see the water! The scent was light and flowery, I can’t put my finger on what exactly it was, but considering Moringa is a flower, I would say it was pretty accurate.

Green Tea Bomb: 

This one was one of my favourites of the selection and had a lovely light scent, that reminded me of tea plants. It wasn’t overpoweringly herbal, as some ‘tea’ scented bath products are, but it did have low notes of herbs and reminded me of a garden centre under the summer sun. It turned my bath a gorgeous pastel green colour, which I am quite glad of, as I had images of a Halloween/’nuclear powerplant spill’ glow coming from my bath water!

Vanilla Bomb:

This was my least favourite of the five, as I really didn’t like anything about it. To me, the ‘vanilla’ smelt more of aniseed (used in liquorice flavouring) which is one of my most hated scents, and although it was subtle, it still put me off. Granted, the colour was yellow, but it was more muted and less bright and fun than I had expected, especially after seeing the others and their vibrant colourings. I personally wouldn’t buy this one again, but it might be for you, so give it a go!

Coconut Bath Bubble:

I saved this one for last and it definitely did not disappoint. It turned the water a beautiful baby blue and filled my bathroom with a nutty, cocoa smell. That might sound a little obvious, (it’s coconut Imogen…) but it had stronger notes of nuts and then a softer scent of cocoa butter, so almost a little chocolatey. It also reminded me of sunshine beaches, with palm trees and coconuts, so it was really relaxing. I really loved the scent, which was of course released through the bubbles too as the water moved around. It’s the same process of under the tap for this one, and I will definitely be buying more of these!

Candied Plum Bomb:

This is the first one I put to the test and it was by far my favourite! It turned my water an amazing purpley pink and gave off aromas of Christmas and sweeties. It was a deeper colour than a pastel but had the delicate tones of a baby pink. I will 100% be buying this one again, and I can’t wait! I know this is the favourite for a lot of other people who have reviewed these too, so get to the stores before they sell out!

All of them were delicate and caring on my skin, which is something really important for me as I have had terrible skin reactions to other bath bombs that include things like artificial colours or glitter. The bombs don’t make any bubbles, but they are still beautiful and I would strongly recommend you go and try these for yourself! I can’t say enough about how brilliant they are so I’ll stop here!

I hope you have enjoyed this post, and I hope to be doing more reviews on new products as they come out. The Body Shop also has an amazing range of Christmas themed gifts and beauty/body care range at the moment, so do go and check them out, even if baths aren’t your cup of tea!

I have now created a business profile on Instagram and Facebook, both of which can be found by searching Imogen Soper Blogs in the search bar (or clicking on the links just there). It would be amazing if you could give me a follow, as this will be another place I will be posting content and updates on my new posts!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope that you are all getting excited about Christmas ( I am!) and the busy, bustling shops don’t stress you out too much! Have fun!

Imogen S.

First Christmas Shop

Some people might think mid-November is too early to start your Christmas celebrations, but for me, the excitement is in the build-up to the big day. The fairy lights and tinsel going up, mince pies coming out in stores, Christmas candles and of course, all the best Christmas music. I did a bit of shopping yesterday, and although not all of the products were Xmas themed, the majority of them fit the bill!

I have been buying presents for friends and family and frantically trying to think up ideas for my Secret Santa, but I have also been treating myself to a few things too, so I thought I’d share them with you. I’ll do the non-Christmas bits and bobs first, and save the best for last!

Makeup Organising:

I have been after a makeup organiser for a while now, and I knew I could get my hands on one in Tiger, one of my favourite stores. As I am starting to film more content for YouTube and some of this will be makeup themed, I thought it was about time I organised myself properly. So yesterday I popped in and looked through their collection and saw they had a small one that fits perfectly at the front of my makeup table. This, along with my new vanity box I have recently got, and now I’m quite chuffed with how it has turned out! I think this one was £7, and they had a couple that were either larger or smaller, so they have a good selection to choose from.

No.36 Sea Salt Mist Reed Diffuser: 

A couple of months ago, I bought this candle from good old Primark, but it burnt out within a few uses, so when I went back in to get another one, I spotted this and decided that it was better value for money, not to mention, you lose the danger element aka FIRE. I am really happy with it so far… it claims to last 8 weeks so I will keep an eye out for when the smell dwindles away. It was only £3 whereas a large candle was £5 and it only burned for 60 hours, which sounds like a lot but I’m sure it isn’t 8 weeks worth. So depending on how well this works, I may be sticking to diffusers from now on!

Christmas Fairy Lights:

As somebody asked me the other day; what makes a light a Christmas light? I couldn’t answer apart from saying that some of mine were shaped like snowflakes, even so, they are winter, not Christmas… anyway. I bought two new sets of lights for this season, to go with the other I purchased last year. I am much happier with the new ones, well done Primark, you’ve upped your game! They are much brighter and I love how they are smaller lights on a wire, which makes them more delicate, but they look prettier intertwined with tinsel, which is how I have displayed one of the sets. I have the 40 Copper Wire LED Star lights (£4) and 40 LED Firefly lights (£2.50), which are both 4.35m long, so ample to adorn places in your room like your desk or mirrors. Because they are much lighter weight this year, they are also easier to keep in place, by using small blobs of blue-tac. They take 3 AA batteries, so I keep them turned off when I am not in my room, but they are much brighter, as I mentioned before, and I think this is why.

Festive Slippers:

I couldn’t go another Christmas without some of these, and I saw the perfect pair hanging by the tills on the way to pay in Primark, so I threw them in the basket last minute and I’m glad I did, especially for £3.50! They are the Reindeer Novelty Footlets and they’re super comfy, perfect for popping on when watching a Christmas movie with a hot chocolate and a blanket. Nothing better!

Photo 15-11-2017, 21 34 22

Yankee Candles:

I have always loved Yankee Candles and last Christmas my mum bought me one, so when I finished it the other day, I knew I wanted some new ones. I went into the store in town and bought a couple of mini ones for £1.99 each, or £10 for 12 (for a limited time only). I purchased Sparkling Snow and Snow In Love in the ‘votive’ size. Sparkling Snow is described on the website as having Top Notes of Sweet Orange, Pine Needles, Crisp Mint, Mid Notes of Evergreens, Blue Spruce, White Pine, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Bay Leaf, Juniper Berry and Base Notes of Frosted White Musk, Fir Balsam, Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Patchouli. The Snow In Love is described as having Top Notes of Citrus, Mid Notes of Spicy, Floral, Jasmine and Base Notes of Oriental, Woody, Patchouli, Sandalwood. If you can imagine what any of that smells like, I applaud your knowledge of scents, because all I know is they smell lovely.

Photo 15-11-2017, 21 59 10

The Body Shop Bath Bombs and Bubbles:

The final thing I’m sharing today is The Body Shops new range of Bath Bombs and Bubbles. I’m not going to say too much because I am planning a review of these soon! They come in 8 scents, five of which are Bath Bombs (Mango, Strawberry, Candied Plum, Vanilla and Green Tea) and the other three are Bath Bubbles (Coconut, Moringa and Pink Grapefruit). I was able to get my hands on 5 of these and I am very excited to share with you guys my thoughts on them, so keep an eye out for the upcoming blog post!

Photo 15-11-2017, 22 06 31

So there you have it! Everything from the first shop of the year that truly felt Christmassy! Keep a watch for the new ‘Christmas’ tab in the menus for all exclusive Christmas content!

Good luck to anybody sending off UCAS applications in the near future and I hope it all goes smoothly! Need any help with the dreaded process? Go and watch my video I uploaded recently with some tips and tricks along with a run through of the full application to help you on your way.

Thank you for reading and have a lovely weekend!

Imogen S.

UCAS Week

Hey everyone! So I thought I would give a little update on what’s going on at the moment in La Vida de Imogen… or in English; my life!

I am really happy with the week that has just gone, I feel like I got a significant amount of work completed for things that aren’t even due in yet! Trust me, that’s not something I do very often but I’m working on it 🙂 I worked both days at the weekend which exhausted me, and I am glad to be back to my normal shifts this week.

On Netflix, I continued with Skins and also season 1 of The Fresh Prince of Belair, which was nice after a day at college, just to relax. Talking of college, I helped at an Open Evening tonight, which was part of my Continuous Professional Development (CPD), and it was nice to spend some time with people outside of college hours, even if we were still at college!

I have been worried about my UCAS application, which is due in this Friday, so last week I tried to finish off the key element (the dreaded personal statement) and now this week will hopefully go smoothly without any last minute rushes. On the subject of UCAS, last week I also filmed a video which I will be uploading to my YouTube at some point, which summarises the application process and gives useful tips and information. (I hope!)

Image result for ucas google images

I’ve started the week prepared and I am going to try to keep it that way! Sorry, it’s been a short post, but this week a lot is happening, or it at least feels like that with UCAS, so I thought, perhaps you would like an update. I shall keep my social media posted with more information about my YouTube channel when I upload the video. Keep an eye out!

Thank you for reading and have a lovely week!

Imogen S.

The Liebster Award

Hello everyone! I have been nominated by the lovely Sophia Lo for the Liebster Award. Sophia writes an amazing blog about anything fashion and beauty, and I particularly enjoyed her Rainy Day Haul post (and would certainly recommend MAC’s, Velvet Teddy!).

The idea of The Liebster Award is to find out new things about blogs you follow and to discover new, upcoming blogs, so I am thrilled to have been nominated!

Rules:

You must answer the 11 questions that the person that nominated you have asked.

You then create your own set of 11 questions and nominate your favourite bloggers for the award.

Tag your bloggers and wait for answers!

So here are the questions Sophia asked and I’ll try and answer as best as I can!

What is your favourite season?

I always tell people my favourite seasons are Autumn and Winter because I love being all wrapped up, snug as a bug, with a fire in the living room, a hot chocolate piled with whipped cream and marshmallows and a Christmas movie. That’s another reason… I love Christmas, it’s my favourite time of the year by far.

What is your favourite high-end makeup brand?

I have delved into the world of Nars this year, and my love for the brand has slowly been growing. My most recommended products would have to be the Nars Sheer Glow foundation and the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer. I use them both every time I do my makeup and they stay on all day. A definite must in my collection!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Wow… I haven’t been asked that enough in my A2 year! But seriously, I don’t know for certain where I would like to go with my life, but I want to continue learning new things, discovering more and developing new skills. A realistic goal and the one I am headed for now? A career incorporating the Psychology degree I hope to gain at university. A dream job would be continuing to write my blog, start filming YouTube videos and turn my passion for makeup into a business with my own brand! One can dream!

If you could hop on a plane tomorrow where would you go?

This follows on from my previous answer of my dream job, as I would jet off to America or Australia, set myself up in a city with a job to pay rent and start my own brand. I have never been to either of those countries, but it is definitely on my list of things to do!

Fruit or Vegetables?

What an odd question! I like fruit because its often sweeter and some fruits can make really good smoothies, but… it is definitely easier for me to incorporate vegetables into my diet.

What is your favourite scary movie?

I’m going to cheat a little and name a TV series instead, but hands down it has got to be American Horror Story. I have seen every season, including Cult, which is out now! Some of the seasons I had to come back to, like Asylum, because the first episode freaked me out so much I didn’t want to watch anymore, so I skipped to Coven. But, I am glad I went back because they are all incredible.

Who do you look up to?

Nobody, in particular, inspires me, but I do respect people who work amazingly hard to go far and achieve their aspirations in life. They’re the kind of people I aspire to be.

Coffee or Tea?

LOVE my morning coffee, and nothing can beat a Soy Caramel Latte, but I do love a cup of tea in the evening when I’m writing my blog or doing some work for college.

What is your favourite thing to blog about?

I really enjoy writing about beauty and makeup, as this is something I am always learning about and I like to share that with you. However, I also enjoy sharing my university/A-level experiences and giving advice on things I think could be useful! On that note, I’m going to Oxford tomorrow for another Open Day and I’m very excited!

What is your favourite book?

Can I be a cliche and say The Fault in Our Stars by John Green? I like it so much, I am currently writing my English coursework around the novel and I remember why it’s my favourite. Another of my favourites is A Year Without Autumn by Liz Kessler, which I read in secondary school in roughly two days and thought it was absolutely amazing. I haven’t read it again since, but I might go ahead and do that now!

If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Perhaps, and this is slightly controversial, Katie Hopkins, because although some of what she says is outrageous, I still think she is brilliant. If not her, definitely Leonardo DiCaprio, because, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t?!

Right, the easy bit is over and now I’m going to leave my 11 questions for the following bloggers to answer:

Glitter Hearts and Fire Eyes

Life According To Jade

Mackmarie

Coffee and Coats

Daily Life of a Student

My questions for you guys are here!

  1.  Out of all your travel destinations, abroad or locally, which has been your favourite?
  2. What is your favourite thing to do on a Sunday, with family, friends or on your own?
  3. What is one of the biggest things you have worried about this week, that you now realise is going to be okay?
  4. Dogs or Cats?
  5. Where is your favourite place to write your blog?
  6. Would you rather live underwater or in outer space?
  7. What is your go-to song right now?
  8. Would you rather never be able to tell the truth, or never be able to tell a lie?
  9. What advice do you follow and can share when you have writer’s block?
  10. If you knew one celebrity was reading your blog, who would you hope it to be?
  11. If you could live in a movie or TV series, which would it be?

Thank you all for reading and I hope you have enjoyed finding out some new little facts about me. Definitely, go and check out the blogs I have nominated and don’t forget to tag me in your answers nominees!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Imogen S.

Uni Open Days

UCAS has just opened applications for September 2018 undergraduate entry for universities. Part of the fun of uni is getting to explore new places and make new friends, and it all starts with researching what you want to do and where you want to go. Part of this research is visiting universities on an Open Day. I have been to a few as part of my research, and there have been some I have really liked, and others that just haven’t quite hit the spot.

Some important things to remember when you’re looking around are:

  • You don’t have to like it! Your friend might say it’s the best university in the world, but your friend isn’t spending 3+ years there for you to complete your degree. The league tables might say that it is top in the country for the subject you want to study, but if you don’t like it then it’s going to make studying more difficult and less enjoyable for you! Make sure you like it because you’re the one that will be living there.
  • Everyone (mostly) is as confused and unsure as you are. The majority of the prospective students around you, are probably similar to your age and haven’t got a definite plan for what they want to study, let alone do for the rest of their lives. It’s great if you have a plan because you know what courses and qualifications you need to get into that career! But, it also isn’t the be all and end all of the choices. Most students change their minds during their course as they learn new areas of their subject, so don’t feel too pressured to make a decision and have to stick to it.
  • Look out for the helpers and students from the university (they’ll probably be wearing a coloured top that matches the university, or be holding a big flag etc). There are often multiple registrations and help point tents scattered around the university, so just pop over and ask for help if you need it. It’s what they’re there for!
  • Take the time to go to talks or presentations. Some of these you might need to book in advance and get tickets, or others you can just turn up and see if there is any extra room. Or, if a talk doesn’t appeal to you, head to an informal Q&A that most departments will hold all day in their respective buildings. I would recommend going to the department section anyway because you can look at the facilities and lecture halls and see what kind of environment you will be studying in.
  • Pick up as many leaflets as possible. Don’t go too crazy, but do take the opportunity to get more information about specific things that are important to you.
  • Got a passion? Sport? Music? Reading? Go take a look around the facilities, because they might offer something that will be the winning factor! You could also take a look at the library, even if you rarely touch a book, as they are often the place for computer suites and study areas.
  • Tour the accommodation and be realistic. I know the thought of sharing a bathroom with 8 other people doesn’t sound overly appealing, but universities tend to bump up the price of a standard room to ensuite by roughly £40/week if you’re lucky! Keep an open mind and remember you won’t be spending the whole time at university in halls. More often than not, students move out in their second year to external student accommodation. Then again, if you know you have the money to pay for a private student flat for £200/week, then go ahead and splash the cash!
  • Lastly, ask yourself the harsh and realistic question of; Am I going to get the grades to come here? It is brilliant to aim high because it makes you strive for success and people always get better grades if they truly believe they can. But, on the other hand, if you have got a C at AS, are you going to get an A* at A2? I am not suggesting that you completely close off the option if the requirements are slightly higher than your predicted grades, but make sure you have a backup plan. If you do love a university and their grades are high, then great! It could motivate you to work really hard all year and get those grades but it could also demotivate you and stress you out, chasing grades that are not realistic.

These are some of the things I have done when visiting universities and I have found that it tends to help to go into the day with a rough plan, so have a think before you dive straight into a place you don’t know!

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Have fun looking around new places and meeting some friendly faces that are always happy to help!

Thank you for reading and I’ll be writing more soon about the UCAS application process as I go through it myself, so keep your eyes peeled!

Imogen ❤

Fudge & Vanilla Soy Muffins

On a rainy Sunday afternoon, there are a limited amount of things you can do, unless you don’t mind being rained on! So I decided to be very domestic and did a bit of baking. After a little look through a baking book, someone bought me years ago, I chose a recipe for Low-Fat Muffins, except I used full-fat soy yogurt instead.

The Recipe:

Makes 12 Muffins

280g/10 oz plain flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 Tsp bicarbonate of soda

115g/4 oz caster sugar

2 egg whites

250ml/9 fl oz low-fat natural yogurt (I used soy)

3 Tbsp sunflower oil

1 Tsp vanilla extract

40g small fudge chunks

The Method:

  • Start by turning your oven up to 200˚C/400˚F/Gas Mark 6 and ensure the shelves are in the correct place for when you put the muffins in later. This means you won’t need to move them around when they are hot and just makes your life easier.
  • Next, put 12 muffin cases in a muffin tray and put them aside until you need them later.
  • Weigh out the flour, sugar, fudge chunks, yogurt and separate the egg whites, saving the egg yolks if you think you can use them for anything else, or throw them away, as you won’t need them for this recipe. Place each of these ingredients in separate bowls so you can add them easily later.
  • Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl (or an electric mixer if you have one), and add the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
  • Add the sugar and mix the dry ingredients together.
  • Take your egg whites and beat them lightly until they are slightly foamy. Then add the yogurt, oil and vanilla extract. Beat these together until you have a smooth mix.
  • Now, make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture. Fold the two groups of ingredients together, but do not overmix. Finally, add the fudge chunks and mix them in, so they are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
  • Take a medium-large zip lock bag and place it over the edge of a small saucepan (or anything like a bowl, that can hold your amount of mixture).
  • Spoon the mixture into the bag. I find it easier to use a silicone spatula to ensure I get every last bit of mixture out of the bowl, wasting nothing.
  • Take the bag out of the saucepan and before zipping the bag closed, take a rolling pin and push all the mixture to the closed end of the bag. If there are air bubbles, this doesn’t matter hugely as you will be doing this again, later on, to get the last bits out the bag.
  • Zip the bag shut and snip a corner of the bag, just enough to let out the mixture, ensuring that the chunks of fudge can get through this gap.
  • Pipe the mixture into your muffin cases, evenly distributing it between the 12 cases.
  • As you get to the last couple, re-squeeze the bag and move all the mixture right to the corner. This means you will waste as little as possible and get just enough mixture for 12 muffins.
  • Bake the muffins for 20 minutes, but do keep an eye on them depending on the strength of your oven, as they may need slightly more or less time than specified. They will be ready when you can remove a clean skewer from the muffins, without any mixture on it.
  • Take the muffins out of the tray and place them on a cooling rack. I placed some kitchen foil under the rack and then sprinkled some icing sugar atop of them once they had cooled. The way you choose to decorate them is completely up to you.

Here are some photographs of my process and what they looked like at the end!

 

Thank you for reading and I hope I’ve inspired you to do some weekend baking! They taste amazing and I really enjoyed making them and doing something different from scrolling through social media all afternoon!

I hope you all have a lovely week and if you’re back to school or off to university, good luck!

Imogen ❤

Results Days

The 17th and 24th of August are important days for a lot of people this year… the dreaded days of results. I got my AS results today and I know friends who got A2 results, as well as next Thursday, friends who are getting GCSE results.

Before today, the most popular question I got was; ‘Are you nervous or worried?’ I think I mainly answered ‘No.’ This was usually met with a strange look or more questions about why I wasn’t having sleepless nights about ‘the day that’s the beginning of the end’.

My views on results days ( A-Level or GCSE) are nice and simple; once you have sat the exam (or handed in the coursework etc.) there is nothing that can be changed. Although that might be daunting if you think you’ve done badly, it also raises the question of why would you worry about something you can’t change?

If you got your results today; I hope you’ve done well and you are pleased with your grades. Congratulations if you have been given your place at the universities of choice, and if you haven’t, remember that A-Levels are not the be-all and end-all. If you don’t do as well as you hoped, don’t spend the next few weeks drinking the rest of your holidays away. You should research what your next options are. Are there other courses, at possibly different levels, that you can apply for? Can you go through clearing and get a place somewhere else? If you are truly passionate about the subject you want to study, I am sure there is a place available somewhere. There is no point hiding that you got lower grades than you wanted because otherwise, you wouldn’t be in clearing, so try and describe to universities how much you want to study your chosen subject and how much it would mean to be given another opportunity.

For GCSE students, it’s a similar story but instead of a university place, its college and sixth form offering you your next steps in education. I remember my GCSE results last year, and whilst I was happy with my grades as I had done quite well, I think I was expecting higher. I now look back and realize that the grades I got were a true reflection on how hard I worked. You honestly do only get out however much work you put in. I was fortunate to have teachers who really cared about their pupils and subjects, so I was at an advantage of good quality teaching. But, as I was at an independent school, the pressure it puts you under to achieve higher than average grades is huge, especially with many people around you with academic scholarships.

I am now at college studying A-Levels, and I am really enjoying myself. The thing that really hits hard in your first few months of college is; GCSE’s are just a ‘stepping stone’ (excuse the cliché) to your next choice. So, if you don’t get the grades, don’t worry about it! Because a D in geography at GCSE is NOT going to stop you getting anywhere in life, trust me on this. It is now one year since my GCSE results, and I can’t even remember what I got. That’s not just my terrible memory either. Multiple people, I have asked can’t even remember the subjects they studied.

I wish everyone the best of luck with their GCSE results next week, try not to panic too much and remember it will all be okay, whatever your grades are. If you’re off to university next month, good luck! I hope everyone has an amazing time. And if you are now looking at a different route to what you originally planned, don’t worry about it, because it will work itself out and if it’s meant to be, it will happen.

Thank you for reading this, especially today with everything else on your mind, and I hope I’ve reassured some people on next week. Once again, good luck!

Imogen ❤