How to Stay Organised and Productive as a University Student

I am about to go in to my final year of studying BA English Language at the University of Birmingham. I’ve found that certain habits and choices certainly make me much more motivated to get my work done and help me to do it in less time. Here are my top tips for being productive and organised as a uni student!

Create a Weekly Plan and Daily Plans

I create a list at the beginning of the week with all the things I need to get done and commitments that I need to attend. It might also be helpful to include social time on here if you struggle with time management. This then lets see you how much you have to fit in to one week and a rough idea of what days can be allocated to what tasks. I then create a daily plan each day so you can change anything that needs adding/you’ve done early. It also helps as this daily one can be more specific, which I find helps me stay focused. Writing tasks such as ‘Finish paragraph three and four of essay’ is easier to stick to and achieve than ‘do uni work’.

Having an academic planner is a new thing for me this year, but so far I am finding it really helpful for remembering events and things I need to complete week to week. Mine is from ‘Ink Outside the Box’ and is a lovely design and also has a great layout inside.

Download the App ‘Forest’ to Avoid Your Phone Distracting You

I absolutely love the concept of the Forest app, and I use it frequently when working. The app allows you to set a timer for how long you’d like to focus for (it can range from 10 minutes up to 2 hours). The app shows a tree growing for the amount of time you have chosen, and if you leave the app then the tree ‘dies’ and indicates that you’ve broken your focus. I usually set it for an hour at a time, and have a 15 minute break between if I have a lot of work to get done. It’s also great because each time you grow a tree, you earn tokens. Once you have 2500 tokens, you can choose to put that towards the app planting a real tree for you. So the app not only helps you concentrate but also helps with reforestation!

Use Study Playlists for Working

I find it very difficult to work for any length of time doing notes or essay planning without having some quiet music on in the background. I find playing classical music or film scores really help me to concentrate and help me stay motivated whilst working.

Have a Folder for Each Module on Your Course

At the start of each term, I use a different ring binder for each module. So for my final year I have five folders; one for my dissertation and the others for the four modules I am taking this year. This means that all the work for one module is one place, whether it’s lecture material, essay feedback or seminar notes. This means you are also unlikely to forget anything if you have something on like a seminar discussion, because everything is in the one folder that you can just pop in your bag. It might also help to have each folder look a bit different so you can easily identify them and not get them mixed up. I try to use different coloured ring binders so you know which one is which. You can also label the spine of them if that helps too. Dividers are another great addition to your folders if you are wanting to separate your work out in to sections.

Use Colour Coding in Your Notes/Essay Plans

I find that using highlighters for specific things in my notes not only makes them look better visually, but also helps me find information for essays. For example, I use an orange highlighter for key words and turquoise for the names of scholars/references. This then makes it much easier if you are planning an essay and are skimming through pages of notes to find a specific scholar or key word.

Use the Bookmarks Bar on Your Internet Browser

I have a folder for each year at university stored on my browser, the modules in each year, and then also additional folders for specific essays within those modules. This is helpful when trying to find and refer back to scholarship so you don’t lose all the links that you are using for a piece of work.

I hope these tips were useful if you are about to head in to another academic year!

Hope you are having a great day where ever you are in the world,

Mol x

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Top 10 Tips on How to Plan a Mini Break on a Budget: Edinburgh Edition

I have just returned from the most fabulous three day break in Edinburgh, Scotland’s magnificent capital city. This was a mini break with two of my friends, with all of us travelling on a student budget. We managed to compromise very well on costs without compromising at all on the quality of our city break. We managed to book our flights and accommodation for a total of £107.84 each. We flew from Luton airport to Edinburgh airport with EasyJet, and got the tram from the airport to the centre of Edinburgh. We stayed in a gorgeous apartment on Montgomery Street, in the centre of the city.

Here are my top 10 tips on how to plan a brilliant mini break on a budget wihtout compromising on quality…

1. Book as Far in Advance as You Can

The further in advance you book your travel, the cheaper it will be. This goes for any destination! We booked our accommodation and flights in May, and our trip was in September, so we planned it 4 months in advance. For return flights booked this far in advance, I only paid £37.78. Our airbnb cost £210.18 for two nights, so split between three of us we paid £70.06 each. There was a £28.18 service charge included in this. For a lovely flat, spacious in such a central location, this was a very good deal. Planning in advance really pays off!

Here are some photos of our gorgeous airbnb, it just shows you that by saving money, you don’t have to compromise on quality…

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2. Travel Outside of School Holidays

If you are a university student like me, then you have the advantage of having holidays that are outside of the school holidays and being more flexible with dates. Try and go before the school holidays if you can, May and June are much cheaper than July/August if you have finished your university year by then. The school holidays means that accommodation and travel costs can almost double in price. We also found that September seemed to be even cheaper as it was outside of both the Scottish and English school holidays (bear in mind that if you are visiting a different country then school holiday dates may differ).

3. Use Comparison Sites to Find the Best Deals

We used Skyscanner to find our flights. I cannot recommend this tool enough. You can input your destinations and it tells you the cheapest options for travelling. It also lets you add the option to include other airports and non-direct flights if these are cheaper options. There is also a feature to search for the cheapest month and destinations. You can also find hotel and car hire information on here too.

It’s also useful to compare if it’s quicker/cheaper going to your destination by train, plane, ferry or driving. We found that even with a student railcard, the trains were considerably more expensive and would have meant a very long journey.

4. Sit Separately on Flights

Another cost that can be avoided is choosing to not pay to sit together on the flight. If you are spending a whole holiday with people, then it’s not the end of the world if you don’t sit next to each other if you are on a short haul flight like we were. However, we checked in for our flights about two weeks in advance and this meant we were placed next to each other anyway on both our outbound and inbound flights.

5. Limit Your Luggage

For this trip, we took hand luggage alone. This means you can avoid the cost of having to pay for putting luggage in the hold. Small savings like this can add up to save you a fair bit of money. Additionally, it also means you don’t have to hang around waiting for a suitcase once you’re off the flight. Not having heavy bags to cart around with you is also a bonus, this applies if you are travelling by train too. Our flight landed at 10am on Monday and we could not check in until 3pm. On Wednesday when we left, we had to check out by 10am and our flight was not until late evening. Therefore we knew we had to carry our luggage with us for these times in between. By having just a light rucksack, it meant our luggage didn’t limit us. We were still able to visit the castle and walked up to Calton Hill without being weighed down by heavy bags.

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6. Don’t be too Fussy About Travel Companies

We flew with EasyJet due to their company in general having lower cost flights compared to other airlines. Other airlines may offer what is considered ‘a ore luxurious experience’ but if you are on a short flight and it gets you from A to B then going with cheaper options to save money is definitely a good idea.

7. Be as Flexible as You Can With Where You Travel From

The closest airport to where I live is Birmingham. But we worked out that the cheapest flight at the time was from Luton airport and that airport parking was only £30 here. The Flybe flights from Birmingham to Edinburgh were significantly more expensive. So even though we drove a bit further than we would have to get to Birmingham, it was more cost-effective for us to go to Luton instead. So if you can, it’s good to be as flexible as you can with airport/train station locations as this may save you a significant amount of money.

8. Plan a Rough Itinerary in Advance

We roughly planned out the main activities we wanted to do Edinburgh and what day we could do them on (weather permitting!). Due to only having three days away, this meant that we knew we could include our prioritised activities in the small amount of time we were in the city. By booking certain activities in advance it can save you money and often saves you queuing for long periods of time. Additionally, so many great things to do are often free! On our last day we walked up Calton Hill which gives you an incredible view of the whole city of Edinburgh around you. I would thoroughly recommend visiting if you are in Edinburgh. We also enjoyed a coffee and pastry in Gardener’s Cottage which is the restaurant set on the edge of Calton Hill. This was surprisingly very affordable at just £5 each, but avoid at lunch and dinner unless you want a very pricey meal! Walking round and soaking up the atmosphere of the Royal Mile and Princes Street Gardens was another lovely experience which won’t cost you a penny. Most cities will have free galleries and museums you can visit, the National Gallery is free in Edinburgh, as is the National Museum of Scotland.

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9. Avoid Buying Food and Drink etc. from Tourist Attraction Shops

Often shops at tourist attractions have extortionate prices. Avoiding spending £3 on a disposable water bottle every time you want a drink and paying loads just for a sandwich is always a good plan in my book. Bring a water bottle with you that you can fill up before you go out for the day, and maybe some snacks if you’re likely to get hungry whilst out and about. We took a picnic with us to the zoo and bought snacks from a Tesco Express next to our airbnb so you can just grab something on your way out for the day.

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10. Choose Your Accommodation Location Wisely

By staying right in the centre of Edinburgh, it meant we were able to walk from our apartment to all the central locations that we wanted to visit. We were about a 15 minute walk from Princes Street which was great. It was also near the tram links that we used to get to and from the airport. So by staying in the city centre, we saved money by walking lots, where as if we had been much further out we may have spent more time and money on buses etc. Walking more is also a more sustainable and healthy option, and gives you the chance to see the city you’re in up close.

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I hope this was helpful if you are planning a trip on a budget. Here is a link to another of my Edinburgh posts which has more details on great things to do in Edinburgh once you’re there!

Hope you are having a great day where ever you are in the world,

Mol x

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The Best Desserts and an Autumnal Escape: The Eis Cafe

October is in full swing folks! The leaves are already turning to warmer tones, and everyone just wants to be cosy with a hot beverage and a cosy blanket. Also, is it just me who has more cravings for indulging in some more seasonal treats?

This cafe was a real gem of a find, having heard of the Eis Cafe and seen their incredible desserts on their social medias, me and my house mates ventured out to treat ourselves after a cold autumnal day.

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The vibe of this lovely place was so cosy and autumnal, perfect for this time of year now that the days are getting crisp and colder.

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This was the seating upstairs, the decor was beautifully rustic and again, very autumnal with the warm tones and slightly retro feel.

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The menu was incredible, making it extremely difficult to know what to pick! Their Instagram was a big help as you can see what all the options look like. There was a big selection of treats to choose from, waffles, milkshakes, cookie dough, cakes, ice creams there was also a selection of savoury food too.

This was the amazing selection of ice creams to choose from, I tried the honeycomb with my dessert and it was delicious!

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In the end I went for this marvellous creation… the Waffle Cookie!

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This was a freshly baked waffle with a fresh baked cookie dough, honeycomb ice cream, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream with ginger biscuit crumbs! I think this was hands down the best dessert I have ever had!

My friends had the ‘Sluttty Brownie’ which also looked divine!

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Hope you’re having a fab day wherever you are, and are enjoying all the joys of Autumn so far!

Mol x

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How to Make a Rented Space Feel Like Your Own Home

Going in to my second year of university, I am now living in a furnished, rented house for the upcoming year in the city of Birmingham. It can be tricky to make a rented property feel homely and personal to you, when you are unable to make changes that you may make if you owned the property. For example, not being able to put nails in the walls and changing the paintwork and the furniture. After organising and personalising my space in my university halls last year, and having just done it again in our new house, I’ve found some helpful tricks, both in terms of practical things and more personal things, that can make a rented space feel like your own. Many of these tips are also for rooms that are fairly small, so whether you are just renting, living in a small place, or are a student on a budget, then I hope this is helpful!

Need some practical help?  Command Hooks and Strips

Putting prints, frames or pin boards up on the walls will also make your property more personal to you and your interior style. Command strips are great for putting prints or posters up on the wall if you can’t use nails. Last year in my halls I used Blu Tak to display all my photos, and have again this year. As long as you don’t use loads of it, it shouldn’t leave marks on the wall so this is a good method if you want to do something similar.

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Additionally, even getting some photos or artwork to have similar colours in can make your room look very coordinated. The post cards on the wall above are from Paperchase!

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Command hooks are so handy if you can’t put in hooks or nails and need a fixture to hang things that won’t damage the walls. I have one on the back of my door that hangs my dressing gown and my shoe rack and ones for my jewellery. You can also buy clear ones if you want them to be a very subtle part of the room, they are also handy if you need to string fairly lights through them if you want them.

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Want your home to look put together?  Colour and Furnishings

Getting some of the things in a room to coordinate in colour can really make a space feel put together. The two bedding sets I have are blue and white, I then have a throw and cushions in various shades of blue. On this note getting some cosy soft furnishing like blankets, throws, and cushions for your bed can also make your room look and feel more comfortable, which again will make it seem more homely to you.

In a furnished property with furniture you don’t love?

Put throws and cushions on sofas or arm chairs, get a rug to go under that ghastly coffee table, and a pretty table cloth to cover that dining room table that you would never pick yourself. Get a vase with some flowers in it to put in the kitchen (as a student fake ones will do!). These tips will again make items that you did not pick yourself look like they belong to you, and might make everything match a bit more, as opposed to looking like a house with lots of miscellaneous items.

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The map of the world, displayed above my bed is also predominantly blue to match my bedding, so having one main colour theme makes my bedroom look like everything matches, just as if you owned the property and designed it how you want. This poster was just £3 from Paperchase, they sell a lot of great ones! Even just getting a couple of items in a similar colour palette can make a huge difference. This can also be really cheap and easy to do, for example my makeup brush holders and pen pot are matching with the blue theme, so even just get some of your basic smaller items to match and this will work too.

Need something practical but also aesthetically pleasing? Use light

Again, the lights in some of the rooms in your rented home may not be to your taste. The only light in my room is a bit dingy, if you have this problem try and buy a new light bulb, you could always get a warm coloured one if you want a cosy vibe, or a brighter and cooler toned one if you need it for more practical reasons.

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We are not allowed candles in our house, but definitely get some if you can use them in your property. Alternatively, I have quite a few fake tea lights in my bedroom that I use in the evenings to make my room look a bit more cosy and they do the trick! Fairy lights are also fab for making a room feel a bit more homey, I have some draped them along my bed frame, and along the top of my wardrobe

I also have a desk lamp which makes the room a bit brighter as well. If you work at a desk late in the evening or like to read in the evenings then this is a life saver.

Hope some of these tips were helpful on how to make a rented property feel like your own home!

Thanks for reading, hope you’re having a fab day where ever you are,

Mol x

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Books I Love: Fabulous Fiction, Elegant Classics, and Powerful Poetry

Happy weekend everyone!

Today I am sharing some of the books I have been loving recently, a mixture of fiction, a couple of classics, and even a couple of poetry books! So grab a coffee, you may well find your next favourite book…

The Keeper of Lost Things- Ruth Hogan

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“the wonderful thing about books was that they were films that played inside your head.” 

Anthony Peardew has been collecting items he finds that people have misplaced, in the hope to help and heal the people who have lost something. This all started after Anthony sadly lost his wife. When Anthony passes on, he leaves this task of returning the lost things to his house keeper Laura, who is not having an easy time with life either. The book uses a dual narrative, as well as this story, there is also the secondary story set in the 70’s with the characters Eunice and Bomber. Eunice, working for Bomber in the publishing industry, has a romantic love which can never be returned. How the two narratives are connected becomes clear throughout. The book entails some moving stories of ‘lost things’, the people who become a part of this journey, but also beautiful theme of how there is always more to be found. An incredibly moving debut novel from Ruth Hogan.

Not only was the book deeply moving in parts, but a great balance is created through the fact that the book is also incredibly funny, not many books have ever made me physically laugh out loud! My Auntie, my Mum, and I, all read this in turn on our recent holiday to France, and hearing the occasional fit of laughter from who ever was currently reading the book made it clear that the humour is achieved very well. Sunshine, a nineteen year old girl with Down Syndrome, who befriends the character’s is potentially the most hilarious character I have across from any book. I won’t spoil some of her winning lines but they are remarkable!

Little Women- Louisa May Alcott

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“Be comforted, dear soul! There is always light behind the clouds.” Little Women is one of my Granny’s favourite books. Whilst spending Christmas with her, she told me how she read it over and over when she was a similar age to me, so I thought I should put it on my list of books to read. This was such a lovely and heart warming read. I feel with some classics, they can take a lot of concentration to read (maybe this is just me!), but this one was extremely enjoyable. Set in the idyllic town of Plumfield, during the civil war in New England, the enjoyable tales of the four sisters in the March family still feel relatable to aspects of family life and growing up to this day, even if it is a little different in this modern age.

The lessons the girls learn and problems they face are still relevant today. Reading how their ambitions grow and their character’s develop as they grow up is both rewarding and fascinating, reading almost makes you feel like you are an extra member of the family. You will empathise with Jo and how she struggles to control her anger and her driving ambition to become a published writer, and smile at Meg’s ever kind nature. Watch Amy learn that there is more to life than physical beauty, and admire Beth’s musical talent and warm personality. I think many people will see even just a small part of themselves in all of the March sisters.

A Thousand Splendid Suns- Khaled Hosseini

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“A society has no chance of success if its women are uneducated…”

After reading the Kite Runner last summer, a very moving book, I made it a priority to read some more of Hosseini’s work. A Thousand Splendid Suns was perhaps even more moving. Possibly because this one focuses more on following the journey of two young women.

The book is set in the conflicted capital of Afghanistan, Kabul which is under the authority of the Taliban. The book begins by following the story of Mariam, who at fifteen years old is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed, a significantly older man who she has never even laid eyes on before. Nearly 20 years later, Mariam befriends a young woman named Laila, who has yet another story of how her life has been thrown in to pieces by the Taliban rule, this is what brings the two women together. The story follows the hardships of living in this oppressed and dangerous environment, but also demonstrates how it brings out the kindness and brave nature in the right people.

Books like these are extremely important to read, because stories like Laila and Mariam’s are going on today, right now. Despite it being fiction, having an insight in to how survival alone is a struggle in other parts of the world make me realise how grateful I am to live in a safe environment, where as a young woman I am able to get an education and feel safe in my home and the streets that surround me. If you read one book from this post, please let it be this one, an incredible read.

“One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.” 

The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald

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“They’re a rotten crowd’, I shouted across the lawn. ‘You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together.”

This is probably quite a cliché pick for an English student! I studied this for two years during my A Levels and decided to re-read it so I could purely enjoy it, and not have to study every word I was reading!

This is a very short novel if you need something quick to read. The story follows the narrator Nick Carraway as he is gradually entwined into the lives of some of the richest and most complex characters of 1920’s Long Island in New York. Nick finds him self living next door to the mysterious Gatsby, a millionaire who throws hugely extravagant parties for crowds of people but is rarely seen enjoying them. Just across the bay, lives Nick’s cousin Daisy Buchanan and her arrogant husband Tom Buchanan. Through the perhaps initially nieve eyes of Nick, we learn of the complicated love between Gatsby and Daisy, mixed with the scandals of the elite, and the mask of the riches and pleasures of the jazz age. For such a short novel, Fitzgerald creates such an interesting and dramatic plot. The scenes of 1920’s New York and Gatsby’s lavish parties are extremely vivid and beautifully described, there are some beautiful quotes in the book.

I have now started another Fitzgerald book; ‘Tender is the Night’ so we’ll see of it lives up to Gatsby!

Milk and Honey, and The Sun and her Flowers- Rupi Kaur

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I read each one of these within the day that I bought them! Previously to this, I had appreciated poetry, but apart from studying poetry in GCSE and A Level English, which consisted of Shakespeare and John Donne’s work, I did not used to read it outside of my studies.

But I think for many people who have read these, Rupi Kaur has changed the game when it comes to poetry. Many people think of poems as old fashioned, very long, and perhaps not topics that are relatable, but these books could not be further from that. I read Milk and Honey first, the book is split in to four chapters; the hurting, the loving, the breaking, and the healing. Every poem is beautifully written, the topics and emotions that are covered throughout would resonate with anyone who reads this, some of them made me have tears in my eyes because they were so powerful and raw.

The Sun and her Flowers was equally as brilliant. Each of the chapters are titled from the life cycle of a flower; Wilting, Falling, Rooting, Rising, and Blooming. This again covers a huge range of emotions, from pain, heartbreak, womanhood, sexuality, strength and love. There is also some illustrations incorporated throughout, making the art of the books even more vivid.

Thanks for reading, hope you are having a fab day where ever you are!

Let me know if you have read any excellent books recently?!

Mol x

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Exploring the Jurassic Coast

“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul” – Wyland

Travelling to new countries is one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences you can have, however, exploring the country you are already in, is also an experience to make the most of. The Jurassic Coast is somewhere I had never been until this trip. Spending a few days by the coast was extremely refreshing.

The Jurassic Coast covers the stretch of coastline in Southern England from Exmouth in the county of Devon, to Studland Bay in the county of Dorset. On this trip we explored Lyme Regis, Chesil Beach, Durdle Door, and West Bay. Having mostly explored the Scottish coast due to many a holiday up North, it was lovely to be able to experience the brilliance of the sea and the skies down in the South of England.

West Bay

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West Bay, or Bridport Harbour, was a small and sleepy seaside town, we mainly visited to see the beach and the cliffs, which you may recognise if you were a fan of the BBC drama Broadchurch (would highly recommend it). The dramatic shape of the sandstone cliffs was one of the locations for the programme and was a lovely beach walk, it was great to be able to look up at the magnificent cliff face whilst being below on the shore. We also ran up the slope of the cliff to get the view from the very top, which was so peaceful being able to see the ocean for as far as the eye could see. As you can see from the photos, if you go early in the morning or later in the day, the sun and the shadows make for a great photography spot. The cloudy weather actually also made for some fab photos.

“To go out with the setting sun on an empty beach is to truly embrace your solitude” – Jeanne Moreau

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Lyme Regis

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Lyme Regis is how I think of a classic British seaside location. Think fish and chips on the seafront, ice cream cones, and beach huts with doors the colours of pick ‘n mix. We went to Lyme’s Fish Bar for our lunch, and got a classic ’99 with a flake from one of the cute little tea rooms. There’s nothing better than eating outside and listening to the waves crash against the pebbles on the shore. This would be a lovely day out for anyone of any age.

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Chesil Beach

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Chesil beach is an 18 mile long beach and goes from Portland all the way to West Bay, this was very near to where we were staying in Portland.

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Durdle Door

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“Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone” – Anonymous

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Durdle Door is one of the most iconic coastal features in the Dorset area, it was designated England’s first natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001 and is also classed as a natural wonder. This archway was created by the limestone being eroded by the sea, the word ‘durdle’ originated from the word ‘thirl’ which means ‘to pierce’.

This was one of the highlights of the trip, again another lovely beach walk, there were hardly any other visitors there when we went even though it’s a very popular tourist attraction. Many of these coastal features we visited also had really interesting information boards so you could learn more about how they were created.

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Old Harry’s Rock

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The final coastal feature of the trip, and another UNESCO World Heritage Site located at the most Eastern point of the Jurassic Coast. As you can see, Old Harry is a stack out at sea, composed of chalk. The National Trust manage this site and there is a walking route of about 3.5 miles which you can do if you want a walk and a view!

Until 1896, there was also Old Harry’s Wife, a stump, but she was completely eroded in to the ocean so now Old Harry stands alone.

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“After a visit to the beach, it’s hard to believe that we live in a material world”– Pam Shaw

It was lovely to be able to spend so much time outside and on the coast, I find it very relaxing being by the water, this would be a great trip if you love walking and the outdoors!

Thanks for reading, hope you’re having a fab day where ever you are

Mol x

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The Best of Bergerac: The French Market Towns You Will Fall in Love With

Welcome back to my Best of Bergerac series, the final instalment is here gang! So far we’ve covered the fabulous food, and some of the more rural scenery, today I am sharing with you the two market towns which made our trip; Duras and Eymet. So if you love a bit of travel photography and an insight into somewhere new, grab a coffee and enjoy. 

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Duras was only about a 10 minute drive from the village of Taillecavat where our villa was located, so we went to this town frequently over the two weeks we were in Bergerac. Everything we needed was here…

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This display of flower bouquets just sums up how gorgeous the market stalls are!

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(This photo above is of the BEST restaurant we have ever eaten in, and yes that is a big claim, there are more details in part one of this series if you want to hear about the place with the best food and the shots of gin they give you between courses! Find it here!)

Duras is a truly beautiful and quaint little French town, think cobbled streets and brilliantly bright shutters. To me, this town is like the ones you think of when you imagine a classically authentic French town.

The town comes alive on market days, it was fascinating to see how it transforms from seeming like a small sleepy settlement, to a hub of  excitement. Suddenly, the colours brighten, the cafes liven up, and scents of spices, cheese, fresh fruit, and pastries fill the warm air.

The locals are out and catching up over a coffee, while the ex-pats are also out in force and making the most of the sunshine.

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The chateau placed grandly on the hill behind the market streets acts as a splendid backdrop for the event (the tallest building you can see in the background of this photograph).

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There is something more exciting about buying fresh food from a local who makes their livelihood from selling their delicious produce at markets like these, compared to buying it from a supermarket. As you can see from this garlic display above, the rustic displays make it all look even more appealing. Any fruit of vegetable you can imagine was on offer at the market. Huge selections of cheeses were also displayed, wheels of yellow and white, and the roast chicken cooked fresh on the rotisserie also smelt incredibly inviting!

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This was a small charity clothes shop just off of the main market streets, again everything seems so full of colour, everything about this town feels vibrant and full of life.

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Another great feature of the markets is that so many of the food stalls give out free samples, who doesn’t love a freebie, especially one you can eat?! A discovery we have made over a few trips to Southern France is that fresh olives are fab when you buy them from a market stall than a shop. Olive tapenade is one of the best things we’ve ever bought from the market, it’s a type of savoury dip made from olives, we’ve also tried one made from sun-dried tomatoes before which was perhaps even better! Pair it with a fresh baguette and this is something you must try if you see it abroad.

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One evening we went to the night market in Duras, it was around 38 degrees Celsius, I have never felt heat like it! The covered square that is in the centre of the market was lined with tables and chairs, we decided to go so we could try even more of the delicious food. We bought a selection of dishes from various stalls to share between all of us. We tried the calamari, olive and anchovy pizza, this was beautiful because it was fresh and made there and then. We also tried what we think was some sort of sausage curry, our lack of French meant we were not completely sure what exactly we were trying at times, this actually made it even more exciting!

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Eymet

Eymet was slightly further out from our villa so we only visited once, which was to go to the night market. We had stayed near this town on previous trips to France so we knew it was somewhere we wanted to re-visit.

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The street art on this building gives a very striking entrance to the market, it made me think of Paris with its romantic artwork and flower lined balconies. The town dates from 1270, as you can see, the old buildings with their slanted beams and slightly wonky roofs ensure that the town maintains its original character.

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There was also another huge selection of food at this market, mussels and chips seemed to be the most popular option! The pizza was also available from the same people from the Duras market, another firm favourite.

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The crepes from this cute little stall were the BOMB. If you want to hear more about them and the other incredible food we ate on this trip then this is also featured in part one of this series!

This display of greenery and flowers was outside one of the houses on one of the side streets…

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This is a view of the River Dropt, a tributary to the Garonne river, which runs on the outskirts of the town. This was taken from the little bridge above where lots of people were sat feeding the birds and enjoying their food from the market.

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And that marks the end of the Best of Bergerac series, France you have been fabulous! (Wow you’d think I’d at least be a little bit tanned but clearly not).

If you have not visited the South of France I would highly recommend putting Bergerac and the Aquitaine region on your travel bucket list!

Credits to my Uncle as he took a lot of the photos featured in this post! Check out his Instagram for some incredible photography @spresly

Thank you so much for reading, have you seen part one and part two of this series?!

Part One: The Ultimate French Holiday Food Guide

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Part Two: Sunsets, Sunflowers and the BEST Villa

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Hope you are having a fab day where ever you are,

Mol x

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The Ultimate University Guide: Advice on Moving into Student Accommodation

All those of you who are starting university this year will be moving into your student accommodation in a few weeks’ time so I thought this would be the perfect time to start my university series here on my blog, as I was in the same position a year ago! I am now going in to my second year at the University of Birmingham, where I study English Language.

It seems like a good idea to start with the first main part of the ‘uni experience’ now that you have got your place confirmed, and this is moving in! Looking back now, it is actually quite a strange concept, moving to a brand new city, into a flat you’ve never seen before, with several people you have never met before, so it’s perfectly normal to feel like this is a very daunting experience!

I’ve put together 5 tips for moving in that ensure your moving in experience will be as easy and enjoyable as possible…

1.Get the move in date in your diary NOW

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This was the view from my room!

Firstly, make sure your move in day is in your calendar and that whoever is taking you and all your stuff up to university has it in their calendar too. Your university accommodation should have emailed you to say what day you can move in from, there may be a specific time frame too as this makes it easier so not everyone moves in at the exact same time! If you are anything like me, and who ever is taking you does not always work in the country or on a 9-5 schedule, then make sure as soon as you know your move in date, you tell them when they need to be around! You want to make this process as stress free as possible and you don’t want to realise at the last minute that you have enough stuff to fill a large 4×4 car (lol I did) and nobody to help you get there! Most people I know didn’t take their cars up in first year, if you are near the centre of a large city like I was, then it’s probably more of a burden than a help, but consider this before you go.

2. Pack your stuff up as logically as you can

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We split up all the stuff I was taking into the different rooms it would be going in: kitchen, bedroom and bathroom (I was lucky enough to have an en-suite). This just makes it a lot easier, as you won’t be having to go between rooms with loads of bags and wondering why you packed your toothbrush in with your fairy liquid, and your salt and pepper in with your pyjamas. Laundry bags or Ikea bags were what we used to bag it all up, would 10/10 recommend you use these! They are big enough that you can fit lots in them, but don’t fill them so full that you can’t lift them. My flat was on the second floor of my student accommodation and because this is student halls we’re talking about, there isn’t a lift so bear this in mind in case you have a trek up a lot of stairs. Your halls should have parking very nearby so it shouldn’t be too far a distance to carry everything.

3. Bring the personal stuff as well as the practical stuff

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Obviously you do need to bring all the practical things for your student survival, the pots and pans and laundry detergent and stationary galore. But also remember that this little space is going to be your home for an academic year (I say academic year as we know it’s not an actual year, because uni holidays are long WOOHOO). I printed off so many photos, and luckily there was a big pin board in my room when I got there which I filled entirely, throughout the year I also ended up sticking them on my walls and I also had a lot of postcards up on another wall, so take anything like this that you think will make the space feel like yours!

If you are also in two minds about taking too many little bits and bobs for your room, for example I took picture frames, my mini cactus’s and various other trinkets, take them! I took a few too many as my room was very small (don’t expect your room to be big!) and my parents just took them back home again in the car after we had unpacked. It’s better taking too much than not taking enough and then feeling like your room is bare and not your own.

4. Socialise!

You are likely to be moving in on the same day as your flatmates so make sure you speak to them and introduce yourself! Everyone will be busy unpacking and saying goodbye to people but you can all chat and start getting to know each other once you feel like you’ve got yourself organised. If you are nervous about meeting your flatmates, just remember that everyone else is in exactly the same boat! It will make you feel a lot better if you start introducing yourselves as it will make you start feeling a lot more comfortable after your parents (or whoever has dropped you off) leave, as you’ll know a little bit more about who you are living with. Even if you are feeling nervous, be polite and friendly and it might help to tell people that you feel a bit anxious, it is likely they’ll be feeling it too! Also it sounds a bit odd, but if you leave your room door open, when people are walking past or arriving it shows that you’re not shutting yourself away in your room and means people will tend to look in and it’s a very easy way to start chatting to people!

5. Familiarise yourself with the area you will be living in

After I had unpacked everything, before my parents drove home we decided to go for a little drive around the area. We drove from my accommodation to my uni and back again, which was about a 10 minute drive each way, this was so helpful because it meant that I knew how to get to uni and also where the bus stops were, both for getting to the university and to the city centre. Also, something I found helpful was that when we did this drive, I filmed a time lapse of where we were going on my phone so that if I forgot the first couple of times where I was meant to get off the bus, or if I was walking the right way, I could just look back at the video and check! Luckily there was an Aldi a couple of minutes walk away, and a few other shops opposite our halls, but if you want to do the same for seeing where your closest shop or doctor is etc. then go for a little explore! Feeling a bit more familiar with the area you are can make you feel so much better. I know for me, moving from a village to one of the UK’s biggest cities, it felt very overwhelming but familiarising the area makes it somehow feel a little smaller and a lot more manageable.

Thanks for reading, if you are heading off to university then good luck, I hope this was helpful!

Hope you are having a fab day wherever you are,

Mol x

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