Liebster Award – October 2017

Thank you so much to Anjana for the nomination – I feel so honoured that you chose me! If you’re reading this, you should go check out her blog. One of my favourite posts of hers is her Fall Bucket List which you should all go read and comment something that is on your fall bucket list.

Rules:

• Put the award logo in your blog post.
• Thank the person that nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
• Write a 150-300 word post on your favourite blog that is not your own.
• Answer your questions and provide 10 random facts about yourself.
• Nominate 5-11 people that you feel deserve the award.
• Ask your nominees questions.

My Favourite Blog:

My favourite blog at the moment is Sage Olivia. I discovered her blog because I was looking for travel blogs as inspiration for places to travel over the next year and she did a series of travel journals about her summer trip around Europe – so incredibly jealous as her trip looked amazing!!! She also writes about fashion and lifestyle so her blog is varied in the content that she uploads which I personally like because I feel like sometimes people upload variations of the same post every week and that can make for a boring read. She is also a genuinely nice person and absolutely stunning. Sage, if you are ever in London, hit me up.

Anjana’s Questions:

1. What is your personal sense of style? I would say my style is girly but very much comfort-based as my usual outfit of choice is leggings and an oversized jumper. It is also very basic in that I like plain items of clothing with either minimal or no design – these also happen to be the cheapest so it’s a win-win!
2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now? Hopefully I will have graduated by then and be working as a Physiotherapist, ideally as a Band 6. I would also like to be either living with a significant other or with friends and to be in a long-term relationship.
3. Who is most important to you and why? Different people are important to me for different reasons – I cannot pick just one! My mum because she is always on my side no matter what and although she never picks up the phone when I call, I know she is always there for me. Also my best friend Grace because she never judges me when I’m an idiot and is always down for an adventure.
4. What are 3 blog posts that everyone should have on their blog? I would say at least one award post because all bloggers deserve to be recognised for the effort they put into their blog, a travel post because they are my favourite type of post to read and a ‘Get to Know Me’ post.
5. What is one thing that you cannot live without? Oreos.

My Questions:

1. What is your biggest pet peeve?
2. Do you dance even if there is no music playing?
3. What size is your bed?
4. Do you have any magazine subscriptions?
5. Favourite type of fruit pie?

I nominate:

Haya
Sophie
Chloe
Kat
Belle

If I haven’t nominated you, answer one of the questions in the comments below!

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Top 5 Favourite YouTubers

Today is the 16th of October which means we are approximately halfway through October and therefore halfway through Youtober! Therefore, I felt it was only fitting that I did a post about my top 5 favourite YouTubers at the moment. I love discovering new YouTubers and always binge-watch every single one of their videos (I have too much spare time on my hands).

Kalyn Nicholson

‘Just your average coffee drinking, dog obsessed 23 year old Canadian who talks to her dog, camera and about herself in the third person.’

Kalyn posts both beauty and lifestyle videos – but is best known for her GYST (Get Your Shit Together) or Adulting 101 videos. She has previously suffered from both Depression and Anxiety and has an entire series based around her struggles and how she manages them on a daily basis. She is currently doing Youtober which means she is uploading a new main channel video everyday so now is definitely the best time to subscribe.

Favourite Video: 16 Things I Learnt in 2016

Monica Church

‘I’m just a 20 something year old girl trying to navigate this world. I dropped out of college to pursue the digital lifestyle and am now stick in a place of unfulfillment and confusion. Like most people my age, I’m not sure what I want to do with my life – but I’m trying to find out and take you along with me!’

Monica has a main channel (hairodynamic) but it’s actually her vlog channel that I love and that the above quote is from. She somehow manages to make even the most boring day interesting and her editing skills are amazing. Her vlogs are a work of art in themselves. She did a series in March featuring her training for the Big Climb for Leukaemia which all are among my favourites of her vlogs – she donated all proceeds from those videos to the charity which is inspiring.

Favourite Video: My Experience Living with Sorority Girls

Olivia Vargus

‘My life started out on Cape Cod, MA and at the age of 18 I moved to Los Angeles, CA. I love making videos about my East-Coast turned West-Coast Lifestyle. I started this channel to create a chill community where I could share my life.’

I only recently discovered Liv but I am already hooked. The first video I saw of hers was her Weight Loss Journey video which inspired me because of how real and honest it was. I then started watching her vlogs, discovered how utterly stunning, honest and upbeat she is, and immediately subscribed.

Favourite Video: 10 Healthy Habits That Changed My Life

Morgan Yates

‘I’m Morgan, a 22 year old from North Carolina creating college, fashion and lifestyle videos. I also love to vlog my life on my second channel!’

Morgan uploads a mixture of beauty and lifestyle videos, although she has uploaded more lifestyle than beauty videos recently. My favourite videos of hers are her 1 Second a Day videos for which she has an entire series. 

Favourite Video: Summer 2017 In Review

Michelle Reed

‘Lover of film and all things beauty. Feel free to stop by and subscribe if you enjoy what you see!’

Michelle uploads a mixture of beauty and lifestyle videos. She is currently attending college in New York City so for the past year, her videos have been centred around life in NYC with her flatmates. My favourite videos of hers are her lookbooks because she has impeccable style and makes even the simplest outfit look put together.

Favourite Video: Summer GRWM

Comment below your current favourite YouTuber and I will check them out! 

One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you so much to The Sweet Everythings for the nomination. I’m loving her blog at the moment, especially her Back To College series because I am also currently getting ready to go back to University. My favourite post of the series so far are her Tips for Adjusting to College.

Rules:

  • Thank the person you nominated you and link their blog
  • Share 7 facts about yourself
  • Nominate up to 15 fellow bloggers
  • Let the nominees know you have nominated them

Here are 7 Facts about Me:

  • My favourite movie is Love Rosie and has been since it came out. I’m also a massive fan of Lily Collins who stars in the movie.
  • I adore reading and prefer to read from a paper book rather than a kindle or other electronic reading device, although a kindle is definitely lighter!
  • I would much rather go sight-seeing than lie on a beach on holiday.
  • My favourite shoes at the moment are my Nike trainers – they are so comfy!
  • I have a 3 and a half year old dog called Mungo who is a mix of a Springer Spaniel and Jack Russell.
  • My favourite snack is salty popcorn and M&Ms ever since I saw the film First Daughter.
  • I am the oldest of my siblings but I am the shortest!

Who I Nominate:

If I haven’t nominated you, leave one fact below about yourself! 

 

Fall Reading List

All That She Can See by Carrie Hope Fletcher

Cherry has a hidden talent. She can see things other people can’t and she decided a long time ago to use this skill to help others. As far as the rest of the town is concerned she’s simply the kind-hearted young woman who runs the local bakery, but in private she uses her gift to add something special to her cakes so that after just one mouthful the townspeople start to feel better about their lives. They don’t know why they’re drawn to Cherry’s bakery – they just know that they’re safe there and that’s how Cherry likes it. She can help them in secret and no one will ever need to know the truth about her gift.
And then Chase turns up and threatens to undo all the good Cherry has done. Because it turns out she’s not the only one who can see what she sees…

Off The Page by Jodi Piccoult and Samantha Van Leer

Meet Oliver, a prince literally taken from the pages of a fairy tale and transported into the real world.
Meet Delilah, the girl who wished Oliver into being.
It’s a miracle that seems perfect at first – but there are complications. To exist in Delilah’s world, Oliver must take the place of a regular boy. Enter Edgar, who agrees to play Oliver’s role in the pages of Delilah’s favourite book. But just when it seems that the plan will work, everything gets turned upside down.
In this multi-layered universe, the line between what’s on the page and what’s possible is blurred. Is there a way for everyone to live happily ever after?

Just Like Fate by Suzanne Young and Cat Patrick

Caroline is seventeen and at a crossworlds. Her whole family is on her back and her grandmother, the only person who really understands her, is sick, maybe dying. All she wants to do is escape. So when her best friend suggests a night out to forget her troubles, Caroline must choose: stay by her grandmother’s side or go to the party and live her life… and maybe meet the boy of her dreams.
This decision will split Caroline’s fate into two separate paths – and she’s about to live them both. But there can only be one happy ending…

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L Armentrout

When Mallory was a kid, she was bounced from one horrible foster home to another. At thirteen, a terrible accident got her removed from the group home where she was living to a hospital where she met the parents that would adopt her. But when she starts a new school and encounters an old friend from the foster system, sparks start to fly.

Sweetfreak by Sophie McKenzie

Carey and Amelia have been best friends forever. Then Amelia starts being trolled by SweetFreak, a mysterious and hateful online account, and Carey is accused of being behind the vicious comments and threats.
Shut out by her other friends and shunned by Amelia, Carey is determined to clear her name and find out who’s really sending the messages. But as the online attacks spill over into real life, events start spiralling out of control. Can Carey expose the real SweetFreak before it’s too late?

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M Danforth

When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.
But that relief doesn’t last and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City means blending in and leaving well enough alone and Cam becomes an expert at both.
Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship – one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, ultrareligious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to ‘fix’ her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self – even if she’s not exactly sure who that is.

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

Everything is going right for Lucy Hansson, until her mom’s cancer reappears. Just like that, Lucy breaks with all the constants in her life: her do-good boyfriend, her steady faith, even her longtime summer church camp job.
Instead, Lucy lands at a camp for kids who have been through tough times. As a counsellor, Lucy is in over her head and longs to be with her parents across the lake. But that’s before she gets to know her coworkers, who are as loving and unafraid as she so desperately wants to be.
It’s not just new friends that Lucy discovers at camp – more than one old secret is revealed along the way. In fact, maybe there’s much more to her family and her faith than Lucy ever realised.

Comment down below what books are on your fall reading list and if you have read any of the books listed above because I would love to hear your thoughts! If you haven’t already, check out my summer reading list and what I thought of each book. 

My Week In Barcelona

I was looking at my blog stats earlier this week and found out that my travel posts are my most popular posts which I think is incredible because I love writing about my travels and sharing my experiences. I find that it is the best way to document my travels and I love that I am able to look back and relive my experiences any time.

It’s hard to believe that it was only a month ago today that I was making my way to the airport to catch my flight to Barcelona. It seems like forever ago and yet yesterday at the same time. This holiday had been over a year in planning with my best friend Grace, ever since our previous trip to Paris in July last year. This was going to be my first time in Barcelona so I was extremely excited!

We landed late evening on Monday night, exhausted after our day of packing and travelling, so our only mission for the rest of the day was to find our hotel and settle in for an early night so we would be well-rested for our first full day in Barcelona.

TUESDAY

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The following morning, we woke up at the early hour of 8am, so that we would have the maximum number of hours in order to explore Barcelona. We had decided the night before that we were going to head to the beach for the morning because Tuesday was the only day of the week we were there that it was going to be both sunny and dry the entire day. Apparently we had brought the wet and windy English weather with us!

To get to the beach, we decided to walk via La Rambla, a famous tree-lined pedestrian mall in Barcelona. It stretches for 1.2 kilometres so it is the perfect place for shopping, but perhaps not for walking to the beach! Our feet were a little bit sore by the time we finally arrived over the beach as it ended up taking us over an hour, but it was nice to finally see the street that I had heard so much about.

The beach itself was beautiful. The sea and sky were the perfect shade of blue and the sand was a golden yellow colour. Since it was still quite early, there were only a few other people there so we were able to lounge and bathe in peace. I had brought Just Listen by Sarah Dessen with me to read, which I would highly recommend, whether you are looking for an easy summer read or a good book to curl up in blankets and read.

In the afternoon, we ate paella sitting on a glass balcony overlooking Port Vell, the port of Barcelona. I am one of those people who believes you should sample the cuisine of the country you are in in order to have the full experience, and therefore paella, and tapas which we had later that week, were both a must-have! I got mixed paella which consisted of chicken, pork, prawn and oyster. It was delicious but filling – we could have easily shared one between us.

We then headed back to the hotel to shower and relax for a while before heading out to Casa Batllo for ‘Magic Night.’ Casa Batllo is a Gaudi masterpiece in central Barcelona which you are able to explore using their SmartGuide that uses augmented reality to show how the building would have looked during the time Gaudi was alive. ‘Magic Night’ is an event held by Casa Batllo during the summer evenings where there is live music on their Dragon rooftop terrace, consisting of fairy lights lighting up the space and a makeshift bar. It was 39 euros for both which included 2 drinks from the bar. I would recommend this option rather than either of the options on their own as I did not feel the tour was worth the 28 euros that they were charging and it was certainly magical being able to look out on the city of Barcelona at night. It truly is a city that comes alive at night.

For the following two days, we decided to get a 2 day hop-on, hop-off bus tour pass. There are two main bus tours that operate within central Barcelona and we decided to go with Bus Turistic, which was 39 euros for both days, consisting of free Wi-Fi, an audio guide in 16 different languages and 3 routes that cover the entirety of Barcelona. It seemed a good deal for us as you are able to see all the main sites within a day or two days with commentary to help you understand what you are seeing and it also gave us free travel between the different attractions, saving us money on metro fares.

WEDNESDAY

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Today we decided to go on the red and green routes of the bus tour. The red route includes La Pedrera, the MNAC, the Olympic site and the old Gothic part of Barcelona. We decided to get off at the MNAC, which is a National Art Museum. It was recommended to us because we are both into art and because it has incredible views of the city of Barcelona, which it did. The MNAC building itself was beautiful and stood on top of a series of steps and fountains, facing Placa Espagna. The museum itself was not what I expected however, consisting of a lot of religious and historic art pieces, rather than the galleries of paintings and photography that I had expected, although these were still exhibited.

The green route is seasonal, meaning that it is only available during the summer months. This makes sense since it is essentially a tour of the seafront. We decided to get off at Platja del Bogatell and walk along the beachfront to admire the view, stopping only to grab ice creams from a seaside stall and take photographs. One of my favourite parts was this triangular climbing frame on the beach which I decided to climb to the top of, scaring Grace the entire way up that I was going to fall since it was intended for children and not someone of my size and weight!

That evening, we decided to walk down to Placa de les Glories Catalunes and the Torre Agbar, a cigar-shaped 38 storey skyscraper. We had seen it lit up in several photographs at night-time and so we decided to walk down to see it for ourselves since it was only about 20 minutes from our hotel. Sadly, for some reason, it did not light up for us. There were several disputes online as to when the building lit up: some claiming that it lit up every day at 9pm whilst others claimed it only lit up Friday and Saturday nights.

THURSDAY

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Today, we decided to finish the Bus Tour by completing the Blue route, which included the Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Tibidbo and Barcelona’s Football Stadium. I would recommend buying tickets in advance or online for Sagrada Familia and Park Guell, as there were quite long queues and tickets were only available for several hours after we had queued. Luckily, we had the bus tour to kill a few hours so it worked out in our favour.

The Sagrada Familia is probably one of the most famous buildings in Barcelona. It is a large Roman Catholic Church designed by Gaudi, although sadly he passed away before building work could be finished. It’s been 91 years since his death and work is still being carried out, which shows just how grand the church is and how much attention is paid to detail. It is due to be finished in 2026, the centenary of Gaudi’s death. My favourite part was the stained glass windows inside the church, which are either shaded blue or red depending on whether they face East or West.

Park Guell is another Gaudi masterpiece. Come to Barcelona and within the day you will realise that they were obsessed with the guy! Park Gaudi is a public park consisting of gardens as well as architectural buildings designed by Gaudi himself and the house in which he lived during the last years of his life. There are two main parts of the park: the free part which anyone can visit and the architectural area which you have to pay 7 euros to enter. We didn’t have time to properly explore the gardens since seeing the Sagrada Familia had taken up most of the day but we did buy a pass for the architectural section which consisted of a variety of beautiful designed structures including two buildings that reminded me of gingerbread houses! My favourite part of the park was the balcony overlooking the city of Barcelona which gave an incredible panorama view over the city.

For the evening, we decided to head down to the seafront in order to watch the sun set over the port. We decided to sit in a cocktail bar overlooking the port and facing the direction of the sunset so we could sit and fully enjoy it. Since it was cloudy, the sunset wasn’t as spectacular as it could have been, but it was still a nice way to spend our final evening in Barcelona.

FRIDAY

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Friday was our final day in Barcelona, so we decided to head back down to the beach to work on our tans and do some souvenir shopping. This time the weather was not as good as it was a bit cloudy and very windy, meaning that even though we only intended to paddle our feet in the sea, we ended up getting slapped in the face by waves! The photographs we got of each other were well worth the experience though!!!

Around midday, we decided to head back into the city centre to go shopping for souvenirs. I picked up a postcard portraying all the main attractions in Barcelona whilst Grace picked up several postcards, a keyring and a snow globe, which she collects everywhere she travels as a way of remembering the trip. It was quite saddening picking out souvenirs, knowing that these would soon be all we had to remember our time in Barcelona alongside our memories and photographs. We both wished we could have stayed for another day at least.

Our flight was late evening so we headed back to the hotel after stopping for waffles and ice cream in a small café to pick up our bags before getting the metro across to the airport.

Overall, I had an incredible time in Barcelona and would love to return someday. It reminded me of Italy in that it was most alive at night and I would definitely recommend going out for drinks or exploring the city at night in order to fully immerse yourself in the culture.

Comment down below if you have ever been to Barcelona and your favourite place to visit. I think mine was Park Guell as I am a huge nature lover. Check out my Instagram for more photographs of my trip and also Grace’s post. 

University and Mental Health

Going off to University for the first time can be both an exciting and terrifying experience. It comes with many challenges including budgeting, buying and preparing your own food and keeping your apartment clean and tidy. In addition to this, as many as 1 in 4 can suffer from a form of mental illness. As someone who is part of that 1 in 4, I thought I would include my top 5 tips for anyone who is starting or currently at University as to how to keep your head above water.

Keep In Touch

For me, going to University meant leaving both my family and friends behind. Although I did make new friends, it would take a while before I would get to know them and trust them as I did my high school friends and for them to get to know and trust me. I missed having people who knew me well who I could vent to or who I could text to come over because I was feeling lonely and lost. So I made sure to call my Mum weekly and Skype my friends often. I also made a group chat with my two best friends so we could keep each other updated daily, even if it was just about how boring the lecture was!

Lean On Someone

I’m not going to lie and say my first year at University was easy for me – there were days when I found myself unable to get out of bed to go to lectures or to go to the local shop for food when I ran out of groceries, and I couldn’t rely on my parents to come take care of me when this happened. So I had to learn to lean on people, either people that I lived with or who were on my course. If I was having a bad day, I knew I could text them and they would pick up lecture notes for me or pick up a sandwich for me so I would have something to eat.

Eat and Hydrate!

This is similar to my last point but it is important that you make sure you are getting enough nutrients and are staying hydrated. It’s unbelievable how much better food and water can make you feel.

Exercise

At home, I had an excuse to leave the house every day because I had to take my dog for a walk, but at University, this was not the case. If I didn’t feel like leaving my room, there was nothing to force me to and this affected my mental health in a negative way. Exercise releases endorphins which can help to boost mood which means that even a short walk to the local store can help alleviate your bad mood. Something that helped me was writing a list of places I wanted to visit and starting to cross them off one by one. I also adore coffee shops and made it my mission to find the cutest coffee shop in my area.

Push Yourself But Not To Breaking Point

Having suffered from anxiety my entire life, I know the danger of overthinking and I also know that half the things I worry about happening never do happen. Back home, it was my parents and friends who would push me to try something new and encourage me if I felt held back by my anxious thoughts, but at University, there was nobody to push me but me. I realised that my university experience would be what I made it.

On the other hand, my health always came first. If an event was making me feel particularly anxious and it affected my eating or sleeping habits, I realised that it was okay for me to say no and stay at home. True friends will support your decision to do so. There will be other parties but there will only ever be one you.

I hope these have been helpful to at least one of you. If you have any other tips, comment them below and let’s help each other.

If you are having a hard time, whether it is at University or just general, please do ask for the help you deserve. Don’t suffer in silence. In the UK you can call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90. There are also countless websites offering advice and support no matter where you are in the world. My messages on Instagram or Twitter are always open if you need to talk.

My Senior Year Bucket List

I realised the other day that I only have one more year left of University. As in, I will graduate at the end of this year and have to get a full-time job! *internally screams*

As it’s my final year, I thought I would write a list of 15 things I want to do before I graduate. I was inspired by Shelby’s senior year bucket list.

  1. Join a sports club
  2. Have a flat night with my two new flatmates
  3. Work out 3 times a week minimum
  4. Learn 3 new recipes
  5. Read Brukner and Khan’s Clinical Sports Medicine from front to back
  6. Get a First in a Placement
  7. Blog at least once a week
  8. Visit at least 3 new places outside of London
  9. Visit all 10 of the places on my Top 10 Instagram-Worthy Food Places in London
  10. Buy my University’s merchandise
  11. Visit a friend at their University
  12. Complete a FutureLearn Course
  13. Cook a 3 course meal for someone else
  14. Apply to write for the Tab and (hopefully) write at least one article
  15. Graduate!

Comment below if you have a senior year bucket list and any items that are on your bucket list.