Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The best thing I ever did...

Was choosing to go to university.

That's it.. Sat my final (and most tedious) exam this morning, and I have waved goodbye to my first year of uni! Literally cannot believe how quick it's gone; it doesn't feel like 5 minutes since I was enrolling on my first day and having a terrible photo taken for my student card.

To say I've loved every minute of this year would be a lie, but I've enjoyed it all a hell of a lot more than I thought I would. Of course it's had it's ups and downs, but thankfully the positives have massively outweighed the negatives. Some of my favourite moments have been:

  • Achieving two 1:1s in assignments; one for a magazine feature on mountain biking for women, and one for a speed writing feature test on Adele. It would seem my future may well lie in the magazine industry!

  • Meeting some awesome people and making friends for life, especially Aimee, and I've come to believe we may well have been separated at birth.

  • Reminiscing about various random nights out the following morning.. "We sat on the toilet floor for HOW long?!"

It seems so weird that this time last year I was so anxious about going to uni.. Will I make friends? Will the work be too hard? How am I going to look after myself?! Thankfully, I've made loads of friends, I've managed the workload just fine, and as it happens I am actually quite the domestic goddess. Turns out I had nothing to worry about after all.

Now I'm looking forward to moving into my new flat in August, and getting my head down and working hard when I go back in September. Well, that is between all the Shed Thursdays and Superbulls. Oh to be a student, eh?

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

What's the point of...

Exams? I don't understand them.

I know it's something that we just have to get on with, and no one particularly likes them, but I just don't see the point behind them?

When in my future career in journalism am I ever going to need to be able to recite every section of the Contempt of Court Act 1981, without being able to refer to it in some way? I'm not disputing the fact that I will need to know the general gist of it (which I actually already do, I'm pleased to say) but when am I going to need to know each section inside out, off-by-heart? When will I ever NOT be able to refer to the Internet or textbook?

No. Never. Exams are simply a memory test.

Nevertheless, I have started preparing for them anyway (I'm not that much of a rebel, haha!) and I think it's safe to say the information is being absorbed pretty well. I suppose we'll find out just how well on July 4th, when I get my results.

<---But now it's back to this

Even though I'd rather be doing something like this --->

How did we ever live without...


Last weekend was one of the best I've had in ages, as my Dad and I went camping to Ilam, Derbyshire. It was a weekend of walking, eating, bike riding and getting to grips with Dad's new T5 California camper. All in all, a great weekend, and it provided me with a well-deserved break from (seemingly) never-ending revision.

However, we couldn't help feeling cut off from the rest of the world. Don't get me wrong, I love the countryside, and I'd probably choose it over a noisy, bustling city any day, but what I don't love is the sense of isolation. And guess what this was all down to? That little message in the top left corner of your phone display.. 'No Service'.

Sad, I know. But this weekend has proved that technology and Internet have quite literally become a necessity in our lives. And it wasn't just the inability to send a text that was frustrating us, there were so many things we couldn't do! Most of which we probably take for granted on a daily basis.

For example, my Dad had planned to sit and sift through his emails when we arrived at the campsite, having left the office early in order to pick me up. But an hour into the journey and complete lack of signal or data connection meant this looked unlikely.

Next, finding a pub for tea. Instead of looking on Google maps, we had to actually ASK the people running the site of the nearest place to eat. Preposterous, I know. Nevertheless we found one, but I can safely say Google maps would've provided us with one more suited to us - but I'll save that for another post.

Filling out my food diary on MyFitnessPal after dinner wasn't happening either, with absolutely zilch date connection. Much to my surprise, the pub/hotel we ate at didn't even have WiFi. I mean, I thought that'd pretty much be a certainty in this day and age. But then again, maybe that reflects my own personal reliance on the Internet and such like.

Upon leaving the pub we were tipped off by the barman that we'd be able to get a few bars of signal in the car park. We literally rushed outside and started waving our iPhones in the air for dear life. YES. 2 bars of signal, it wasn't perfect but it was good enough for us! Beaming, we picked up emails, checked Facebook and Twitter, and I updated my food diary. Along with sending fraught texts to people along the lines of "Shit signal everywhere, don't panic we're not dead!" Excessive? Maybe. Necessary? Definitely.

After standing in the car park clutching our devices for a good 10 minutes or so, we decided to head back to the campsite, watching as the little white bar dropped and dropped, before eventually going completely.

Setting off on our bike ride the next morning, I slid my phone into it's carrier attached to the centre of my handlebars (too far?) and watched it literally come alive as we rode through areas of good signal; texts, emails, notifications, tweets. I'd never felt so popular.

We stopped at various places for breaks (even though I think they were more phone breaks than refuelling, etc) and eventually reached a lovely little pub, where we sat outside in the sun and had dinner. To our delight, it was a signal hotspot, and so ensued about an hour and a half of fairly silent web-browsing, putting our phones down only to eat.

This weekend really has made me realise that I am probably far too reliant on my phone and iPad. But then again, isn't everyone? On the journey home I started to think of ways I could wean myself off them, but as you can probably guess from this post, I never finished that dialogue with myself.

Friday, 4 May 2012

The (new) holiday of a lifetime!

Camping has always been close to my heart, ever since I was a little girl and it was the only holiday we could afford.

I've been on my fair share of holidays in my lifetime, some truly amazing ones; Florida, Italy, France, Switzerland, Mallorca, Turkey, and many many more. But now I'm happy to say I'd gladly choose camping over any 5* luxury getaway.

Having left things to the very last minute in terms of booking a foreign getaway, last year my boyfriend and I decided to embark on a rather different holiday. Transit van packed full of stuff and 3 hours later we arrived at our destination - Keswick, in the Lake District. A quaint little town with much to offer us as happy campers.

We arrived on one of the rainiest days in August, and after battling with our brand new 5 man tent and awning (yes, there were only 2 of us!) we checked into our accommodation for the next 7 nights. I was disappointed to find I had to make my own bed, and a chocolate on the pillow was often missing, but all in all I had an amazing time.

Being away from many of the distractions of everyday life meant Robbie and I actually had to socialise and spend time together. With none of the usual forms of entertainment available to us, we found ourselves going rather old school, and playing endless hours of Monopoly and Yahtzee. Embarrassingly, we also developed a bit of an addiction to puzzle books - rock and roll I know!! - snuggling up in our sleeping bags most nights with a crossword.

Another thing which became a central thesis to our day was mealtimes. Robbie donned his apron and turned all Gordon Ramsey on me, making me a beautiful cooked breakfast every morning - no cold baked beans or Pot Noodles for me thank you!

Even though it was the first time we'd both camped in a good few years, we were much better prepared than I thought we'd be. Robbie had a hole kitchen unit, shelves and everything. We had 3 gas rings to cook on and a grill to do toast, I didn't feel like we were 'slumming it' at all! We had a couple of tables, some comfy chairs, plenty of lanterns and loads of blankets and throws to snuggle up in.

All in all, I had a great week. One of the best holidays I can remember in fact; we left feeling like we'd actually spent some real quality time together, and were completely chilled out. Best of all, I didn't go home with 3rd degree sunburns and a hole where my bank account used to be.

This year we've planned to go away with our friends Aimee and Adam, to introduce them to the wonder that is the good old camping holiday! I couldn't be more excited for beers, BBQs and banter! It's gonna be a top laugh :-)

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Show me what you got, May!

I'm happy to have said goodbye to April this week, as it was a bit of a boring month, but I have high hopes for this month. It's only the 3rd and I've already been out celebrating two of my favourite people's birthdays; my boyfriend Robbie and best friend/partner in crime Aimee.

Last night saw me get myself into a rather drunken state with some good friends. We pre-drank - a little too much - at Aimee's flat, before heading to the beach party at Engine Shed, scantily-clad in flip flops and flower garlands. After a jug of cocktail I was yanked into the hot tub by Aimee and Tash, sporting my bra and watermelon pants borrowed off Aims, might I add! Several drinks and a few hours of dancing later, we headed home. Can't wait for more nights out once revision/exams are over; I forgot just how much alcohol induces ridiculous amounts of laughing!

As for May, I've got quite a bit going on. This weekend I'm getting my hair done, then next weekend my Dad and I are heading to Wetton for a weekend of camping and biking. Haven't been on my bike for a few weeks so I'm looking forward to getting back out there and getting muddy! Camping, biking and my Daddy are three of my most favourite things so that should be an ace weekend.

The end of May marks the end of my first - and very eventful - year at uni, with 2 exams. And then I'm freeee! I'll be moving out of my uni house shortly after, and looking ahead to August 1st when Aimee and I get the keys to our gorgeous little flat. That will probably be the most anticipated day of the year, after all the hours we've spent sitting in The Shed planning every last detail of our kitsch new home!

So that's it, May in a nutshell. Already considerably more exciting than April proved to be!