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 ❤

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 ❤

Top Tips to Exam Success!

So my exam season is OVER thank goodness. But, I know lots of you aren’t even halfway through. I know first hand how stressful exams can get, even though in the end I always look back and wonder why I ever worried so much! There were a few little things that helped me get through the two weeks from hell, and they aren’t the normal; revise lots, do exercise, cliché nonsense. These are just a few bits and bobs I’ll do to just take my mind off the looming events of the next day and just make some time for myself.

  1. Have a bath. Obviously make sure you are keeping your personal hygiene up, because trust me, there is nothing worse than sitting next to somebody in an exam that smells a bit pongy. Take an hour to just relax in the bath, maybe buy a bath bomb, or light a few candles and just relax for a bit. Don’t forget, nothing is more important than making sure you are ok yourself.
  2. Try to get some fresh air. True, this can be tricky with the English weather like it is, but maybe try to sit in the garden for a bit, walk your dogs (if you have any!) or simply sit in your room with a window open. Fresh air helps me be more relaxed, and I know for sure that if I am getting stressy at college, the best thing is for me to take a walk to the Greggs round the corner.
  3. Listen to a playlist that gets you in the mood for studying. Yes, I know it sucks that you have to actually study, but when you do, if music is something that helps you concentrate, then go for it. Everyone is different so this is a personal one, but if it’s something that works then try choosing something less ‘rock’ and more ‘relax’.
  4. Get up in the morning with plenty of time to make yourself feel ready for the day. If that means getting out of bed 15 minutes earlier so you wash your hair, then try and do it. I know at the time of 6 AM it doesn’t feel like it will be worth it, but just take a few extra minutes in the morning to make yourself feel beautiful. Feeling a natural day? Wear no makeup! Feeling a little more self-conscious? Go all out and use all your makeup skills to sculpt your face until it’s chiseled to the bone! I try to wash my hair every morning because it just makes me feel more ready for the day ahead, and one less thing to worry about halfway through the hot and sticky afternoon, but if I don’t have time I tend to double braid my hair and get it up and out the way.
  5. Pack your bag the night before, making sure you have everything you could possibly need. People that know me, know that I carry practically everything with me. I’ve been called a walking pharmacy! Take rainbow highlighters, and glitter gel pens and funky Post-It Notes. When you’ve been forced to write with a boring black biro for hours, a sparkly pen can really liven things up a bit. (Not in your exam though!)
  6. If you are that way inclined, why not go for a run? I know, it’s not for everybody, but if you know exercise takes your mind off things, get up off your ass and go for a 20-minute jog, if you can’t face a half marathon right that second!
  7. If you have a job, don’t take time off! I know that sounds backwards, but I found that working gave me something to take my mind off things and let me relax for a bit, (even if it was 30 degrees and I was standing in-front of an oven for a good 6 hours!) If you obviously don’t have enough time to work and revise, then do take some time out, but really think whether you need the time off or whether you just aren’t time-managing very well.
  8. Talking about time management, take a few hours out of a busy day to get together with some friends for lunch or a coffee. Just have a catch-up, and if you are feeling really guilty for not studying, then talk about revision over your lunch. Test each other and see how well each of you know areas of the subjects you take. Make it ‘fun’, if that’s possible, so you are truly having a break from the books.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a list of rules you should follow for success in your exams (whatever the title says), but I do find these little things just made my exams a bit less worrying. The most important thing is to make sure you are having time to yourself, and however you do that is your choice, but make sure you fit it into the schedule because revision 24/7 is draining and won’t help at the end of the day.

I wish everyone luck in their remaining exams and I’ll hopefully be back soon with some ideas on kick-starting your summer!

Thanks for reading!

Imogen ❤

Your Own Winter Wonderland

Winter is almost upon us, and I am certainly starting to feel the change. The clocks went back, the temperatures have dropped and cold’s are everywhere. There are two kinds of people in the world; those that hate winter, and then those that love winter. I have to admit, I am the latter of the two and therefore am going to have so much to share with you over the next few months, so keep an eye out for new posts.

Today’s post though, I think it’s safe to say that most people associate winter with Christmas, and you know when Christmas is coming because everybody slowly starts getting more and more festive. The John Lewis advert is released, songs suddenly start popping up on the radio and you stumble across the decorations from last year, somehow managing to avoid them for the past 11 months. On this note, I would like to quickly mention that I have already started the run up to Christmas, and am very excited for December to arrive so I can start celebrating without getting strange glances from all the people that wait until December 1st!

I thought I would share with you 4 little changes you can make to your bedroom, to make yourself feel just that little bit more festive, ready for December 25th.

  1. Buying a Christmas themed duvet set is always a brilliant way to start, as often your bed is the main feature in the room, so festivising, yes, I made that up, will be a small change but will make a big difference!

I bought this duvet set last year, and have one other with beige tones throughout and a reindeer pattern. The one above is reversible so one day I might prefer the red, others I might prefer the white. It has a really thick feel to it, and paired with a winter duvet, snuggling up when it’s bitterly cold outside is no problem. And the best part is, I bought it for only £14 in Primark! Even though this is from last year, I am still going to have a cheeky look for another one, as I love them!

2. The next step, as you might have already picked up on, is to buy multiple Christmas throws to go on top of your bed. Not only do they look super festive, but they keep you warm if your heating breaks down, you want to lounge around the house or perhaps it is just especially cold. I have two, one from my beloved Primark from last year, which is the white one, and then the other is from Tesco and is available in red or blue.

3. Next, lights! By lights I mean little strings of Christmas fairy lights, that you can hang, scattered, cluster and everything else you could possibly think of doing with them! When it gets to December, and I fully decorate my room, I use Christmas tree lights and wrapped them around the feet of my bed. You could use white, arctic blue or even multi-colored lights and it just adds something more to the room. The lights I have up now are two sets of 20 from Primark at £5 a box. I have a set of blue stars, and a set of white snowflakes and I put them along my bookshelves and around the edge of my mirror.

4. My last thing (until December) is scented candles, which I place around my room in groups or just large ones alone. My candles are not Christmas scented, but yours could be! I like mine because they add a beautiful glow to corners in my room, and the scents on them smell gorgeous! My favorite two that I have are ‘Coastal Walk’ from M&S for £15 and ‘Honey & Chocolate’ from Glade for £2. I will be investing in Christmas scented candles soon!

Thank you for reading my latest post and as I mentioned earlier, I love the festive season, so be expecting much more to come!

Imogen ❤