What to pack for Uni

Somehow it is already mid September and that Autumnal feeling has arrived. For some of you, you may be starting University this week. Well done, all of your hard work has paid off! I have been feeling quite nostalgic recently, having now graduated a year ago which has led me to writing this. Although I had older siblings who went to Uni so it was easier for me to gauge what to pack, for some of you, you may be the first one off on this crazy adventure, or like me, you want to reminisce on  those Fresher days. Here is a list of the top 10 essential and luxury items to pack!

The Essentials:

  1. Cutlery -So this one is a given. It’s exciting going cutlery shopping getting your matching sets of knives and forks. Also remember to buy some kitchen knives (surprisingly I was the only who bought some in my first year) same goes with chopping boards, wooden cooking spoons, tea towels and oven gloves. It’s a good idea to also get a bottle of washing up liquid and some sponges so that you can take it in turns to restock your kitchen. Push the boat out on that first washing up liquid purchase, get the nice fairy liquid because after that it’s going to be Poundland’s finest.
  2. A few days worth of food – You may think this is obvious but what a lot of students forget is that your student loan doesn’t go in until you actually start your course. Take advantage of your parents generous Tesco shop; you don’t want to be in your overdraft before you actually start!
  3. Wine – Really this should have been number 1 it is what Fresher’s is all about…along with settling in and discovering your Student town/city. Buy yourself some wine or your favourite gin and tonic before you turn up so that after your room is unpacked, and once you’ve made the small talk with your new flatmates, said a teary goodbye to your parents, you are ready for Pre’s.
  4. Painkillers – Conveniently following wine, this is a no brainer. Also this is a savior if you battle against Fresher’s Flu.
  5. Backpack – Get yourself a decent bag for Uni. The first few weeks when you are keen and decide to attend every single 9am lecture, trekking up that mountain of a hill, the last thing you want is your bag breaking or your laptop barely fitting in.
  6. Lamp – Surprisingly enough some student rooms don’t provide one. Hit up argos and get a desk lamp for those midnight cramming sessions.
  7. Mirror- You take advantage of the million and one mirrors at home but some student rooms only have a small mirror in the bathroom. Invest in a cheap floor length mirror from a high street home bargains shop, so that you don’t have to resort to checking yourself out in glass doors on the way out.
  8. Toilet roll – Don’t say no to those Andrex Puppies rolls your mum wants to get you.  Take it from me, when your loan is running low this is one essential that soon becomes a luxury, leaving you reaching for the one ply orange toilet roll.
  9. Washing powder and laundry basket- Maybe it is your first time doing your washing, tip : separate your whites from darks and get the washing liquids appropriate for each one (maybe even some colour catches for those forgetful days!) Get a decent laundry basket, although you think that a bin liner will do, your washing will grow in size (hopefully nothing else!) Try Primark, TK Maxx or a Dunelm.
  10. Towels – Finally remember your towels! Bring two large towels, two small handtowels and two bathmats. As minimalist as you think you are, the superpower of your parents same day laundry service seems to get lost at Uni when you have to do it yourself. Bringing two of each means you don’t have to worry if you have yet to do your washing.

The Luxury Items:

  1. Candles – Take a trip to your town’s Primark and purchase some of their candles.     Not only do they smell nice but for those chilled movie nights in or those evenings after winding down from a stressful assignment they create the most relaxing ambience.
  2. Blanket – Bring a blanket for your bed. This may seem silly but most University buildings are old and are not famous for keeping the heat in. Plus your room looks cute.
  3. Slippers – Make sure to pack these! Living with other people means that food gets dropped, drinks get spilled and glass gets broken. Slippers really are an essential item thinking about it! Also many an evening may end up in spontaneous walks to the local corner shop in your slippers and pj’s.
  4. A warm dressing gown- You see where I am going with the two above!
  5. Photos – Just because you have moved away from home does not mean you should forget about it! Bring a few photos of your friends and family, which will also help with times you may be homesick.
  6. Kindle – If you have a kindle bring one. Not only can you download textbooks (if they are relatively new) meaning you don’t lug about heavy books, but you may find yourself stuck on campus in between lectures. Reading can help pass the time.
  7. Your hobby – By this I mean, if you play an instrument such as a guitar or love to paint, bring it with you to Uni. You are moving to Uni after all, don’t forget about these hobbies as you may find some spare time on your hands. Rather than binging on Netflix, bring your hobby with you- you will find some space in the car to pack it up!
  8. Favourite films – On that note do bring your favourite films. You may not be lucky enough to have a TV or a TV license at Uni.
  9. Your secret childhood comforter – Although I am sure you definitely do not still have your favourite childhood toy or blanket, bring it with you. Uni is a big step and it is perfectly fine to have something to make you feel at ease. Also anyone who says they don’t bring some kind of nostalgic item with them is definitely lying!
  10. Earplugs – For my last luxury item I suggest earplugs. Halls can be fun, but on days where you are the only one who has that important exam or that needs to be up at silly o’clock, this will be a quick fix to block out your laughing flatmates who are coming back from a night out!

I hope you all enjoyed the list above and best of luck to any Fresher’s out there!

What I did this Summer…

In the UK much of daily conversation revolves around the weather, it really is a skill that no other country can match. From small talk, to envious social media posts to full blown rants, us Brits must express  at least once a day to someone, either A) “I can’t believe that it is raining again!“, B) “Oo look it’s the Sun! I have forgotten what it looks like. Oh no- it’s raining again” or C)- the most typical of them all, used instantly when we get an ounce of a heatwave is the complaining that “It is too hot, if only I had a pool, it would be fine but this is just too hot! Look at me, I’m melting!”

Nonetheless as soon as September rolls around, and the leaves begin to fall off the trees, we are nostalgic for those long Summer nights to return and already begin planning our trips for next year…

I personally love the heat and would choose it every time over the cold, but one thing that I do have in common with the British population is the nostalgia over my last holiday. It is these rose tinted glasses (or cocktail goggles I should say) that has led me to writing this post and lusting over my now faded tan!

This summer I visited Cyprus for the fourth time! I love this little island, the heat is perfect, the Mediterranean sea is so blue and you can even meet a turtle or two *excuse the rhyme*.   With only a 4.5 hour flight you can be at your destination, choosing to visit the Greek or the  Turkish side of the island. I first visited Cyprus when I was 18, to the beautiful resort of Ayia Napa for a classy responsible holiday with the majority of my year group, celebrating finishing secondary school. Since then I have veered 20 minutes away towards Protaras and Pernera which is only an hour away from Larnaca airport. I am lucky enough that my boyfriend’s family have a holiday flat here, making it the perfect getaway to escape to with everything conveniently near that even a quad bike will do!

Holidaying here also means that it has the added benefit of feeling like a home away from home but with the promise of daily sunshine (plus this area has some of the best beaches!)

This year we hired a car and explored even more beaches and was once again we were not disappointed by the Cypriot natural beauty, our thoughts far away from the busy hustle and bustle of London. Instead we were completely absorbed by the calming sea’s waves and the Mediterranean sunset.

Nissi Beach is great and is located in the Ayia Napa area but beware it is full of tourists. Serena Bay Beach is a smaller, cute beach complete with a beach bar. Visiting Cape Greco is a must and most of the boat trips take you through this national park, where you can see many people cliff jumping into these clear waters.

Cape Greco

There are also tons of other small beaches, that if you just go exploring driving down local roads, chances are you will find one and maybe even a wedding! This is something which I have often seen in Cyprus. I would also recommend to visit  the Church of Profitis Elias which sits on top of a hill, providing a great view of this enchanting town.

After climbing up a couple  hundred steps, you feel as if you could be in Mamma Mia…of course I totally did not re-enact that scene…

If you are looking for some great places to eat and drink, I would suggest: Blue Spice, Steens, Faliros and Mojitos- who coincidentally make a refreshingly fantastic Mojito.

I hope you all enjoyed your Summer, whether you spent it visiting festivals, traveling around South America, family holidays or even working! Let’s raise a glass of sangria to those sweet memories and in true British fashion- gosh Summer really did go too quick, I’m not ready for the Christmas adverts just yet!

Wyboston Lakes

Back in February I was lucky enough to go away on a weekend Spa break! I was whisked away to Wyboston Lakes in Bedford and happily soaked in every inch of luxury that this beautiful spa had to offer. I received this as a gift for my birthday which made the whole experience even more special as it was nearing mine and my boyfriends 5 year anniversary, meaning that there were some surprises that weekend!

Upon arrival I was immediately impressed by the size of the grounds, encompassing leisure facilities, golf grounds, conference suites, hotel, spa and the lake.  After checking in we went first to lunch and we were welcomed with a decorated table wishing us a happy anniversary- a truly thoughtful idea, scoring big brownie points for my boyfriend for the surprise! We were then offered either a starter+main or a main+desert. The selection included fresh salads as well as soup, chicken and rice dishes and a Sunday roast if I remember correctly!   Next of course to celebrate we kicked things off with Italian’s finest wine- Prosecco.

The spa hotel had two sections, and I was treated to a deluxe room in the Atlantis portion of the hotel. This included a superior king size bed, a mahoosive flat inch tv and even a tablet to contact reception (snazzy)- who needs to ring for room service anymore?! The room also came with complimentary snacks and drinks from the mini bar- a freebie that went down all too very well!

Here is a candid photo of me being easily pleased by towel swans (it’s the little things…)

The spa itself included 3 different sauna rooms- a salt room sauna, a more mild sauna overlooking the hydrotherapy pool and finally an outside SIZZLING sauna room. If you love sweating away the weekends sins in the sauna, this is the place for you! There was also a rather ‘nippy’  moment *excuse the pun* running from the hydrotherapy room to the sauna on an English Winter’s Februrary evening! However there was also a super cozy outside seating area with comfy sofas, blankets, heaters and even accompanied by a roaring fire, a very romantic feature! The Café is also a stones throw away so if you want to snuggle up with some hot chocolate or continue the celebrations sipping champagne in the pool all day to night you can. The spa also consisted of a chill out room full of multiple water beds, perfect for people wanting to completely zonk out.  Upstairs there were a few treatment rooms, offering the standard facial, full body massages, and manicure and pedicures. I myself did not have a treatment but I still was entertained as well as utterly relaxed, from just using the saunas and hydrotherapy pool.

When dinner time came around there was no holding back, and the restaurant did not disappoint. Using this belated extra birthday weekend/ early anniversary celebration to our advantage we settled for a  3 course meal. For starters we had paté, followed by two medium rare sirloin steaks with red wine gus and a bottle of red.  Finally for desert, we finished the evening with something sweet, just how the weekend started, with a scrumptious cheesecake and banoffee mess.

P.S. Ignore the MR and MRS haha- we aren’t married just a normal anniversary!

Overall what really struck me about this hotel, was that it was completely not pompous- I could really relax and feel at home (mission accomplished for a spa break!) The spa has the right balance of not being too ostentatious, but still having that luxurious and pampered feel at it’s heart. With Cambridge on its door step it is also the perfect excuse to make the most of your weekend away! Wyboston Lakes- I will be seeing you soon.

 

Tip: keep an eye out on Groupon to grab a good deal!

50 Shades of Blonde

If you dye your hair, you will know that the trip to the hairdressers or your local Boots will leave you as a different woman to the one who went in. Personally I choose getting my hair done at the salon after a few teenage experiments with home dye. Although it is more painful for the purse strings, particularly whilst being a student living off your student loan, to then being a graduate living off what’s left of your summer job, to now being an ‘adult’ trying to get a grown up job and spend sensibly (somewhat difficult).

We are all guilty of it. We browse instagram, pinterest and magazines until we find that perfect shade or that lustful cut. We see Khloé Kardashian  with her flowing locks and effortless curls and it’s love at first sight; that’s the look I want and need! Of course we neglect to remember that the amount of money they probably spend on their hair is more than my current bank balance.>Having  been blonde for several years I can advocate that there are definitely 50 shades of blonde. Consequences being that the unspoken girl rule of  matching your hair to the season! Having it just been Winter meant it was time for more ashey blondes (of course!) as opposed to those autumn champagne tones. However with Spring on our doorsteps  it means its back to the salon to achieve a new look…

I have a hair appointment next week and I’m yet to decide what shade to go. The clock is ticking to select the celeb inspo pic too. On that note I have to remember that when I look in the mirror I’m not actually going to be getting a face transplant and become Blake Lively or Jen Aniston , but at least I will still feel a million bucks and be ready for Spring!

My 5 Step Styling Routine

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Hi guys! This is my haircare routine which I have found seems to work to battle split and broken ends and maintain my coloured hair. My hair thickness is quite manageable but I tend to struggle with knotty hair and static ends. If like me you put heat on your hair every other day, you may find these tips helpful and some of these products may be right for you. Here is a recent snap of my hair after following this routine!

Step 1. Detangling
Before I wash my hair I always brush it through with my tangle teezer. Thank the Lord for the brilliant mind who strutted into dragons den with this beauty ! Not only does it fit in my handbag so I can brush it on the go, but gone are the days where I would loathe brushing my hair. This little brush detangles even the most stubborn of knots in the most pain free way (yes, I am serious!)

Step 2. Shampoo
After years of using any Tom, Dick or Harry shampoo promising to prolong your hair colour and bring shine to your locks, I have finally found a brand I get on with. Although the price tag for Kérastase is more pricey than I would like to play, the quality of the products are worth it and they do last me a while. I am currently using the Kérastase Chronologiste shampoo which I measure out the amount needed in the lid. I love this as it means my product lasts longer and I don’t use more than I need, this is something all the Kérastase products have. I would highly recommend this shampoo as has an element of each of the other shampoos, such as colour protect, nourishing, protein building etc.

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Step 3. Conditioner
Next I use Kérastase Nutritive conditioner and I
tend to leave this on for a couple of minutes before washing it out.This conditioner really helps my hair look and feel smooth. Having any colour damages your hair, and if you have bleach like me you want to prevent your hair from breaking. I find that this shampoo is really good for dry ends and since using it my hair has got stronger. (The Nutritive shampoo also is amazing and leaves your hair soft, however I personally prefer Chronologiste shampoo).

Step 4. Masque
About twice a week I use the Kérastase Chronologiste mask after conditioning. This is the first hair mask I have ever bought and I wonder why I waited so long! Whenever I use this I notice the difference dramatically (although I am the type of person who can see the difference between dove grey and coin grey), even my boyfriend comments on my hair looking glamorous, so it must be doing something right. I also recently read that Blake Lively uses hair masques more often than conditioners and that head of hair is seriously coveted! Again I leave this masque on for about two minutes as I’m usually in a rush in the morning. I then rinse my hair, and lightly squeeze some of the water out of my hair, before wrapping it up in a towel. I try to avoid towel drying my hair as I worry about making static or breaking it.

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Step 5. Styling
After this I brush through my damp hair with my tangle teezer and spray my hair with a heat protector. I have used many in the past but have returned to my favourite Tresemmé heat defence, styling spray. To get even more moisture into my hair and keep it looking shiny, I then spritz my hair with Renewing argan oil of Morocco. This smells
gorgeous and makes me feel like I am an Amazonian goddess!  I then blowdry my hair straight with my GHD hairdryer on the middle heat.Previously I used an old Babyliss hairdryer, and although I love this brand the hairdryer would often leave my hair frazzled and I feared that I was doing more damage to my hair. I have had my current hairdryer for around 4 years and I have no complaints.

That is my 5 step styling routine, let me know any products you recommend!