So You’re Starting University…

It finally happened. After all of the insanely late nights spent working on your UCAS application, then checking your offers and emails, all while juggling the stress of revising for how many exams again?! You’ve got your place, and in September, you’re off to University. Well, as perfect as finally getting started may sound, you need to be aware of some of the things that no one tells you about starting uni. Nope, these tips I’m about to share aren’t in any handbook, on any brochure or mentioned on any open day.

So today I’m going to save your life, and give you my top 7 tips for your first semester at university.

Tip #1

Establish your own rules

If you’ve moved into halls it can seem incredibly exciting. You’re finally away from your parents and siblings, and have room and time to yourself. Wrong! You need to establish the rules between you and your dorm pals. You can’t let everyone in at 3am for the first month and then when you’ve got work up to your ears, lock everyone out with nothing but a sassy note left on the door.

Tip #2

Discount

So many places accept student discount nowadays that you need to shop around more. I know  I know, you love the mac & cheese that your mum always made you with ingredients exclusively from Waitrose, but girl, this is university and you can’t shop at Waitrose any more. And for the rest of you that can’t wait to live like a student and have nothing but takeaway all of the time, I’ll tell you a secret, the Co-op accept NUS cards. There you go, this is a majorly unknown fact, so you have absolutely no excuse for having stale pizza for breakfast for the third day in a row.

Tip #3

Wash Up After Yourself, Dammit

There are two types of people that live in halls. Those that feel like they’ve met their friends for life, and therefore don’t mind doing everyone’s washing up, every night, for an entire year, and those that leave their dishes to be washed by someone else, every night, for an entire year. To stop the former from having a breakdown and eventually turning on the latter, and attacking them with a spork on the final night of the first year, just do your own washing. If everyone does their own, everyone’s gets done and no one has to cry.

img_8432Tip #4

Being A Grown Up Isn’t So Bad

I know you may think that you can only understand the washing machine and cookbooks once you’ve finished your degree, but trust me, nothing is as difficult as it seems. Those big buttons on the front of the washing machine are literally self-explanatory. “Colours? Wtf does that mean?!”

Tip #5

Leave It, Lose It

You’ve got to be careful with your stuff, because whatever you leave in a public area, will become public property. Unless it is locked in your room, it is no longer solely yours. Yep, even if you have your name on it. Even your tub of your moisturiser is now for the random guy that stayed over in your friends room last night…

Tip #6

Sign Up, Level Health Up

It seems to be a right of passage that everyone gets freshers flu, the important thing is to know the difference between freshers flu, and still feeling unwell at the end of the first semester. Make sure you sign up with the local doctors surgery at university, otherwise if you do get ill in the future, you’ll be stuck with your friends staying away from you and people pointing at you from across the street. There will still be doctors in the town of your uni, they are still not allowed to talk about you to anyone, everything is the same, so sign the hell up!

Tip #7

It’s Nothing Like This

Finally, you’ve gotta realise that university is going to be nothing like you imagine it to be. It’s not going to be scary and intimidating, but it’s also not going to be insane party after insane party with everyone going wild, not if you don’t want it to be. It’s still a new environment, so people will be feeling their most vulnerable. Some people will compensate by being louder and more outrageous than they normally are, and some will hide in the corners and backs of the room. Gravitate towards those are acting how you are feeling; those are your friends for life.


Those are my top 7 (not to be taken seriously) tips for your first semester at University. I hope these tips help some of you guys out, and remember, don’t worry about starting uni, it’s going to be fine. You’re going to make some of the greatest memories and friends of your entire life, enjoy it all.

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Work In Progress // Blogging 101

Hey guys! Myself and my friend Gemma decided to tackle the subject of blogging in our podcast this week. Throughout this podcast, we collected and answered your questions from Facebook and Twitter, on blogging; every subject from how to keep your topics fresh, to how to stay thrifty with your money!

In case this is the first podcast you’ve discovered, here’s a quick run down of our podcasting plan. This is the third instalment of four podcasts that we are creating this month, and they go live every Friday. We’re having a lot of fun doing them, and we love that you guys are listening to them. So far we’ve talked about the magazine that we put together with our University, put together a playlist to showcase our different music tastes, and now we’re onto blogging!

So to avoid me rambling for another 5 minutes, here’s this weeks Work In Progress podcast, Blogging 101.

That’s it for this weeks podcast, thank you so much for listening to it! Next week we’ll be officially kicking off Summer with our final podcast! As it’s our last one, we definitely don’t want you to miss it, so be sure to tune in Friday 1 July, to get ready for Summer 2016.


Another super quick thank you to everyone that sent us questions, and again I’ll give a thanks to Gemma, she puts up with me while I laugh for a solid 3 minutes at the beginning of every podcast recording, before eventually saying “Hey guys!”

What Makes A Good Makeup Brush?

Most of you reading this like to wear makeup, and it may come as no surprise to you to learn that I too, like wearing makeup. But you can feel disheartened if even after endless hours of scrolling through blogs, and watching countless hours of YouTube videos, that your makeup still isn’t looking the way that you want it to.

Of course this can be down to the products that you are using, if they are not the same, or at least very good dupes for the products that the tutorial requires, then the final outcome can look quite different. It can even be down to pure practice, no one comes out of the womb knowing how to perfectly blend eyeshadow, or with the stability to conquer a winged eye.

But if you’ve been practising for a long time, and you have invested in high quality products, but your makeup is still not looking the exact way you want it to, the problem can be as simple as changing your makeup brushes. So today I’m talking you through some tips to help you choose better makeup brushes, in order to achieve perfect makeup looks!IMG_7833You Get What You Pay For | Like most makeup products, makeup brushes are no exception to the fact that you get what you pay for. If you’re just starting out with makeup, then it is completely understandable that you might not want to invest in 3 makeup brushes for £20. But if you’re more invested in wearing makeup, then even with applying higher end makeup with cheaper brushes, you aren’t going to get as high a quality with your blending and application.

Density | A good makeup brush is dense. If you can, when buying brushes that you haven’t tried before, try feeling whether the bristles are tightly packed, or if there are only a few of them. If the brush is dense, the product will sit on top of it, and apply easily to your face, meaning you require less product. Whereas with loose brushes, when you swirl the brush in the product, a lot of the product will be lost in between the bristles, and fall into the brush, meaning you use more product to actually get it onto your face.

Fallout | If, as I mentioned in the point above, you are able to feel the brushes before you buy them, try lightly pulling at the bristles. If any of the bristles fall away from the brush itself in your hands, then it is not a brush worth your time.

Fame | If a particular company are well known for making makeup brushes, then you can be pretty sure that their brushes are going to be of a high quality. However if you’re trying out new makeup brushes from a company that are well known for making lipsticks, you might have to expect, not getting a high quality brush.

Those are my top tips for choosing new makeup brushes, I hope they helped you out! Be sure to let me know in the comments below if you’ve had any bad experiences with a particular brand, or if a brand has surprised you with incredibly affordable brushes!

Tips For De-stressing

After I wrote my post on procrastination, I realised that as it is still exam and deadline season, that a lot of us will be feeling stressed and tense. So naturally I thought, why not share some tips for de-stressing? So today I’ve collected 4 tips that I’d recommend for how to de-stress, to share with you guys.

Exercise | I know everyone always says that exercise is great for alleviating stress, and we all roll our eyes and say we’ve heard it before. But the truth is that if you’re starting to feel yourself getting more stressed and tense as the days go by, it is a good idea to invest some time undoing that tension. You don’t have to go for a 5 mile run every night, in fact the types of exercise that I find are most useful for undoing knots and relieving tension, are yoga and light walks. Another benefit of walking is that you are removing yourself from the area that is causing your stress.

Socialise | Set some time aside every week (or day, if you prefer,) to spend with your friends. During this time you can easily forget about your stresses, or you can actively talk about your stress, which will help you in combating it.IMG_7767It’s not you | When you’re feeling stressed, you can find it incredibly easy to blame yourself for things not going to plan, and therefore find yourself stuck in a negative cycle. But it’s important to remember that it isn’t you, so try and give yourself some positive affirmation, it could be through doing something you’re really good at, or just taking some time to pamper yourself.

Change | If your stress is not due to exams, or other deadlines (i.e your stress has a time limit) and it’s a much more permanent part of your everyday, then it’s highly important to see what you can do to change. Be it working with different people, changing your work area, or looking for alternate work altogether. It might seem like a daunting idea, but stress is not something that people should just put up with, if it’s more permanent, you need to make a change.


Those are my main tips for de-stressing, I hope that if you’re feeling stressed that you can take something from each of these tips, and that they’ll help you out. As I mentioned, stress shouldn’t be a permanent part of your life, so don’t leave it if it is starting to affect you every day.

Thank you so much for reading this post, be sure to let me know what type of posts you’d like to see from me in the future!

5 Tips To Stop Procrastinating

With a lot of people going through deadlines and exams this month, I know that it can be a difficult and taunting time, and that at some point, you might experience yourself procrastinating. So today I wanted to share some tips that I’ve collected, on how to beat procrastination, and stay on track with your work and revision.

Set Big Goals And Small Quotas

This tip is really useful because you can start implementing it, and it doesn’t even feel like you’re working. Essentially all you have to do is work backwards. Firstly you outline your ultimate goal, i.e. Revise Maths, or, Write 3 Essays. Then you work backwards with what small quotas you can easily achieve within a short time, for example, Select 2 Units To Read, Summarise Those Units In A Paragraph, Write An Essay Plan, etc.

Pre-Commit

This point is quite an obvious one, but it does make a great difference. Instead of leaving any attempts of your work or revision until the last minute, take advantage of the time that you’re allowing to be free time, to just jot down and bookmark things that might help you when it comes down to actually getting the work done. That way you’ll save a lot of precious writing and revising time.

IMG_7748Lists

Written lists help just about everyone. This tip links into the small quotas one, because f you’ve written down small easily-achievable tasks, you’re more likely to achieve them quickly, because you get the quick reward of being able to tick it off of your list.

Redirect Your Procrastination

When you do find yourself procrastinating, try and take advantage of it. This might sound quite confusing, but why I mean is, when you’re mindlessly browsing through the Internet, and not doing what you intended to, or should be doing, redirect your attention onto something else that needs to be done, for example, clean out your emails and respond to whoever you need to. This means that when you’re running out of time on your work tasks, you’ll have eliminated other distracting things to do, so you can identify your procrastination faster, as you’ll only be able to waste time by watching cat videos.

Rewards

This is another obvious tip, but if it has been proven to work, why wouldn’t I include it?! If you are really struggling to get something done, just bargain with yourself, and decide on a reward for when you’ve completed it. You can also set up things to do with your friends after you’ve done your work, and then you have an outside independent motivation to get your work done.


Those are my tips on how to avoid procrastinating, I hope some of these tips can help you guys out! I’d also like to quickly mention that if you are going through a stressful time at the moment due to work and exams, it will all be worth it in the end. You’re working right now, for yourself in the future, and you won’t let yourself down. So keep your head up and don’t let procrastination kill your vibez.

Tips For Flat-Lay Photography

If you enjoy taking photos, at some point you might find yourself stuck in a bit of a rut. Either your images aren’t looking the way you want them to, or you’ve gotten caught up in comparing your images to other peoples, and that can stifle your confidence.

So today I’m sharing 6 tips, focussing on flat-lay photography, on how to improve your images!FLATLAY PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS 2Lighting | Try getting as close to natural lighting as possible, I know it’s always one of the first things to be mentioned when it comes to any style of photography, but it really does make a difference. If you can afford to invest in lighting then you’re lucky to be able to take your photos at any point during the day, but if you’re not, I’d recommend taking your pictures in the very middle of the day, as if you take them early in the morning, they will have an orange/yellow hue, and too late in the afternoon and they’ll be blue-toned. Taking your pictures at around noon also means that you reduce the amount of shadows in the image.

Arrangement | Always try and take images with the products in different arrangements, as this gives you a lot more options for the final post. I’ve found on quite a few occasions that what I liked in front of me, didn’t really translate on camera, so if you rearrange your objects in a few different ways, you won’t be limiting yourself.

Steadiness | I’ve also found that when I’m taking photos, I tend to hold my breath, as I think that it steadies me, and ensures that you don’t have to take as many pictures, because you don’t have blurry ones where you’ve moved slightly.FLATLAY PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS 3Tricks | Blu tack! The day I learnt that you can keep lipsticks and mascaras and anything that is likely to roll, from rolling by securing them down with a little bit of Blu tack on the underneath, was life changing. It saves so much time and stress of positioning your products, only for them to slightly roll out of frame.

Props | If you’re finding your images to be too plain or boring, you can always throw in some fun or relevant props to give more life to your picture. They can even be fun to put altogether for posts that don’t necessarily have a product or ‘thing’ for you to photograph!

Fun | The most important thing about any images that you’re sharing online is to keep your unique style and character in them. Sometimes bloopers and funny shots can be the perfect one to add to a post, people don’t always want to see an aesthetically perfect image, they want to get to know you too!


Those are 6 quick flat-lay photography tips that I wanted to share with you guys, I hope some of these have inspired you with your own photography! Let me know in the comments any tips you might have, and we can all help each other out!

The Ultimate List Of Blogging Resources

If you run a blog, you can spend hours searching for the right website or plugin to help you with creating, increasing engagement and everything else that comes with running an online space.

So instead of spending all of that time looking through useless sites, I’ve done it for you and compiled this ultimate list of blogging resources!

I’ve alphabetised this list in order to make navigation easier for you, but if you want to find a specific tool quicker, just CRTL+F it!

IMG_2263Ad Management

 WP125 WP125 offers everything from a one or two column ad display, and includes support. You can also show as many ads as you want, and in any order. One of my favourite things about this particular plugin is that you can keep track of how many times an ad is clicked, and it runs ads for as long as you want, and removes them for you, on the end date.

Analytics

Quill Engage This is a free tool that collects all of your Google Analytics data and emails you weekly summaries.

Apps

DWNLD For just £15 a month, you can transform your online content into a sleek app!

Colour Palettes

Adobe Colour This is perfect for creating any type of colour palette. They can be analogous, monochromatic, or customised, it’s even fun to just play and create your own palettes!

Comment System

Disqus I’m sure you would’ve come across this system on many blogs, it’s incredibly easy to sign up for, and it’s said to increase both traffic and engagement for your online content.

Competition Tool

Rafflecopter This tool is the only way I would ever run another giveaway. It takes minutes to input your terms and prize, and the rest of the work is done for you! I think this tool is an incredibly fair and fun way to run giveaways and competitions.

Focus

StayFocusd This plugin helps you stay focussed when you’re actually writing. It does this by limiting the amount of time you can spend on what you input as ‘time-wasting’ sites.

Fonts

Da Font Search by style for the exact font that you want, and download for free.

Group Work

Basecamp We’ve all encountered annoying times when you’re working on a group project and no one is sure where they stand, or what’s being done. Basecamp takes away all of these issues, by not only featuring an interactive working space, but also a real-time chat, for you to voice any concerns and collaborate even easier.

HTML

HTML Dog This site offers beginner, intermediate and advanced tutorials on both HTML and CSS. There is also a handy reference guide for HTML tools.

Image Editor

PicMonkey An insanely easy to use photo editor, collage maker, and graphic design site. Perfect for everyone and it’s free!

Photoshop The most famous photo editing software, it’s very easy to navigate once you’ve got the hang of it, and you get a professional quality service.

Easel.ly This site actually features thousands of free infographic templates which users can customise, and share their visual ideas online.

Inspiration

Uber Suggest Enter a few keywords, and have blog post ideas generated for you!

Day Of The Year Find worldwide events and special occasions to inspire blog posts!

 

Livestreaming

Twitcam Perfect for livestreaming without the cost. Here you can  livestream and talk to your audience in the live chat at the same time.All livestreams are also archived and available after you’ve ended the stream.

Online Safety

Login LockDown This plugin allow you to limit the amount of login attempts allowed from any particular IP address during a space of time.The current default is a 1 hour lock out of an IP block after 3 failed login attempts within 5 minutes.

CheckShortURL If you’ve encountered a shortened URL and you’re not sure where it leads, this site lets you ‘peek’ at the site before you click on it.

Page Annotation

Bounce If you’d like to share a webpage with someone, but you’d also like to annotate or mention a specific section this website does exactly that. It even screenshots the entire loaded page, and not just what you initially see on the screen.

Screen Recorder

Screencast-O-Matic A free and easy to use screen recorder, with no download.

Sharing

Buffer The perfect way to share a post multiple times, to various social media outlets, but with different introductions and images.

MailChimp A free system for sending an email to your entire list of contacts. You can set up automated campaigns, or design them from scratch each time.

Signature

WiseStamp Create your own unique email signature, with an automatic link to your latest blog post.

Skype Capture

Pamela for Skype This is one of the more secure and easy to use Skype recording software. You also have options of a free version, but you are limited to 15 minutes calls.

Stock Images

iStock With this site you can pay per photos, or buy a subscription, to have access to millions of free to use images.

Image.Net Another If you’re a member of the media, this site allows you access to free to use images and videos, with email updates when particular tags are updated.

Twitter Tool

Crowdfire This site is actually perfect for keeping on top of who you’re following, and who is or isn’t following you.

TweetDeck A super slick way to view and interact with Twitter. I particularly find it the perfect way to take part in Twitter chats, as you can tweet, reply and interact with so many people at once.

URL Shortener

Google The quickest way to shorten a URL, foolproof.


I hope you guys found some useful sites to use, be sure to let me know if you will start using one of these!

Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Drop me a comment with what you’re after and I’ll find it for you!

Mindfulness In Mental Health

Today I wanted to cover something that I’ve been wanting to talk about for quite some time, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to talk about it. Every time I decided to set aside some time to write about this, I felt myself feeling like I was going about it the wrong way. Essentially, I told myself that I wouldn’t write this post, until I had found a way to write it in a style which could help people, and not just draw attention to problems, without at least attempting to share some ideas on how to handle them.

Now to start out with, I’d like to mention how happy I am to feel comfortable talking about this, and how proud I am that we as a generation are striving for the disappearance of stigma, and openness in regards to mental health. Now I’m not entirely blind to the fact that we still have a really long way to go before there is absolutely no stigma surrounding mental health and everyone feels they can be open about how they’re feeling, but I feel that we will vastly progress if we are unapologetic and each individually open with our struggles.

We have the power to make this a topic of discussion. We have the power to make people think. We have the power to create needed change.

So today I want to share something that has really improved my life, and that’s bringing mindfulness into your life. Mindfulness is defined as “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something”. I can only speak from my own experiences, but using mindfulness in my day to day life has vastly improved how I feel.

Essentially I have found that by doing the following things, I feel much better, more present and relaxed.

Mindfulness of your breathing | I didn’t want to just share tips that can only be done when you’re at home, or have a lot of free time, so this one is perfect for if you’re feeling anxious or trapped, or having a difficult time in a situation that you cannot remove yourself from, bringing your attention to your breathing can be a quick way to slow your heart rate down and clear your mind. Try and focus on taking longer and deeper breaths, holding it for roughly 2 seconds.

Mindfulness of your activity | I know, that is just a sly way of saying exercise. Now trust me, I am not one for crazy exercise routines, so I’m not going to recommend spending 3 hours in a gym 3 nights a week, because I know that doesn’t work for everyone. For me personally, I just try to go for a walk or a light run if I’ve noticed that I’ve been inside for too long. Your body will let you know if you need some fresh air, it’s all about listening to it.1Mindfulness of your surroundings/influences | If you take a step back from whatever it is that you’re doing, take a moment to evaluate whether or not it’s benefiting or bettering you in any way. If you’re surrounding yourself with negative people, and find yourself watching and listening to negative things, those things will affect your mood, and your approach to everyday life. I know it’s so easy to say ‘cut those things out of your life’, whereas the reality is that it is incredibly difficult. But believe me when I say you’ll be infinitely aware of how much more positive you feel about your present and future.

Mindfulness of your diet | Again, I am not one for diets, be they fad or not. I just think it’s important to listen to your body when it comes to what you’re eating and drinking. By all means, eat chocolate if you’re craving it, allow yourself a cheat day if you are dieting and you want a cheat day. The best piece of advice I could give anyone is to simply drink as much water as you can. That, and sugar free lemonade is life changing, you won’t believe how decreasing a little bit of sugar in your diet can clear your mind and make you feel fresher and better rested, as opposed to the harsh ups and crashes of caffeine and sugar.


Thank you guys so much for reading this post, it means a lot to me that you guys read my stuff. I am so grateful to the blogging community for being so uplifting and supportive, it truly is a place where I feel I can be open about anything I want to discuss.

Please leave any tips you guys have for picking yourself up because I think it’s always helpful to hear a range of tips from different people.

Beginners Guide To Blogging

Hey guys! Since I started my blog (1 year and 2 months ago, dear god) a lot of people that I know have spoken to me about wanting to star their own blogs, and I really endorse setting up your own place on the internet, so today I thought I’d use my experience to give any budding bloggers a little run-down on how to set yourself up in the blogging world!

backgrounder (1)Research

Before you jump right into starting your blog (there is nothing wrong with just jumping into it, but I’m just giving you some ideas based on my own personal experience) first look at some of your favourite blogs; what is it that draws you to them and keeps you returning to read? What kind of blog names do you relate to more? Do you prefer paid themes over free ones? Do you think you’ll want to start out with your own domain? These are all really good questions to know the answers to, because you’ll feel much more confident and secure in starting out.

Pick a platform

I didn’t really do a lot of research into the various platforms available for starting a blog, but I settled into WordPress very quickly because it makes everything so easy for you. I did briefly attempt to set up my own website through Wix, but that proved far too complicated for a beginner like myself. I then tried Blogger, and it was slightly easier to use and navigate, but still not straightforward enough for me, and I found the themes to be quite boring and blocky, so I did a quick google search for alternate blogging platforms, and WordPress had the best reviews, and I haven’t looked back. Even buying my own domain was incredibly simple, you just need to set up a payment option, and you’re done! WordPress even automatically redirects to your new domain!

Think about your niche

This isn’t majorly important, because I think the best type of blogs are ones that perfectly reflect the person behind them, and we don’t all fit into stereotypical niches. So ultimately, for this point I would recommend just having an idea of the direction, tone and general layout and outlook of your online space. Do you want to keep your identity private? Would you like to cover personal and deep topics? Do you you want to post exclusively makeup reviews? Do you want to be a travel blogger? Just have a general idea of what you want to write about, otherwise you will find it difficult to get your site up and going.

Write like the wind

Finally, the best advice I’ve ever been given in relation to blogging, and the best advice I can think of giving to someone who wants to start a blog: Just start writing. I wish that I had thought about the previous points before starting out, because I did experience some starts and abrupt stops, and for an awfully long time I just put the whole blogging thing off because I had no clue about what to call my blog! But if you just start writing, you can always go back and edit posts, even delete them entirely if you want to. The important thing is to just get going, we all know that I was in such a rush to get started by the time I had finally chosen a name, that by 2 months into blogging, I had no motivation, ideas or direction, so I had only written one post.


I hope that this post has helped some of you budding bloggers out! Be sure to drop me any questions you might have in the comments below!

Did you just throw yourself into blogging or did you plan everything out before getting into it? I’d love to know fellow bloggers stories!