Life · University

My University Experience

It’s been a while since I finished my undergrad degree and that’s given me some time to reflect on my experience. I graduated from university in October with a 2:1 BA History degree with Honours. I started my degree in September 2016 after I finished my A-Levels and finished my course at the end of May 2019.

I started university at the age of 18 as I didn’t go on a gap year and if I’m honest, I did wonder if I’d made the right choice in going to uni and doing a History course. I loved my course and the people on it but I questioned what my employment prospects would be like. However, I’d wanted to study History at university for years, History has always been my favourite subject to study and has always been a passion for me. I also didn’t have a great home life growing up and so decided that even if I struggled to get a “good” job after uni (I have aha) that I wanted to be selfish for once and study something I loved. I don’t regret my degree at all and I loved every moment of it, even the not so good ones!

It felt quite daunting moving into uni halls in first year as it was my first time living away from home. I did get homesick, however, I am quite an independent person so soon got used to it and I was also with other flatmates who were in the same boat so we all supported each other. I also made best friends with two of the girls I lived with. There were 8 people in total in my flat including me. For the first year I was friends with 3 of my housemates, friendly with the other 3 and then there was one boy that nobody ever really saw. However, everyone was nice even if we sometimes had disputes over noise or whose turn it was to take the rubbish out or who was next to wash up. I also made friends with a few of the girls on my course and everyone on my course seemed friendly enough. I did make more friends in second and third year as my confidence grew and I felt more comfortable in myself.

In terms of the workload, the work definitely got harder and more intense as my time at university went on. In first year I felt intimidated by the work as I didn’t know what to expect and what sort of grades I would get, but I consistently got 2:1s and even some firsts.  In second year my grades actually counted towards my degree and my assignments were more about developing my understanding and analysis of each module. Third year was definitely the hardest as not only did I have lots of assignments but I also had to research and write my dissertation. This wasn’t so bad in the first semester as my assignment deadlines were spreadout and I was ahead of my schedule for my dissertation. Unfortunately for me, in second semster my assignments were in consecutive weeks and were all due in before my dissertation, so I didn’t balance my time very well. I did get my work done though and got decent grades on my assignments and a solid 2:1 for my dissertation.

In terms of the modules that I did, I got to pick most of what I did in second and third year and for the most part I enjoyed my modules. I had a lot of mandatory modules in first year but these decreased in second and third year. In my first year my modules were: Historical Landmarks, The Shaping of the Past, Reading and Writing History, Creating and Consuming History, Europe in the Long Nineteenth Century, English History 1272 – 1500, The United States 1763 – 1920, and The United Kingdom in the Twentieth Century. In my Second year my modules were: Reading History, Practicising History, Victorian Culture and Society, Nazism and the Holocaust, Food and Drink in Medieval and Early Modern England, Gender in Europe and North America 1500-1914, Dreams and Nightmares – Britain in Twentieth Century Europe, and a field trip to Spain. In my final year, my modules included: Writing History, History and the Public Sphere, Minorities in the Past, The British and French Empires, The Post-war Teenager 1945-1979, and my dissertation. If I’m honest, I enjoyed every single module that I took as I love learning about history, and always found something interesting! I think it also helps that a lot of my lecturers were friendly and approachable so were always happy to chat if you were struggling, and also had a clear passion for what they were teaching!

My housing situation changed every year and so I also spent each first semester getting used to that change. In my first year I was in university halls on campus. I got to know some of my housemates and made friends for life with two of the girls I lived with. I’m glad that I chose to stay in halls in my first year as it meant that I got to meet people I otherwise probaly wouldn’t have met as it gave me the opportunity to meet people not on my course. I liked living on campus as it was convienient and gave me the opportunity to walk back to halls with friends. However, there were also some cons as people could be quite loud which wasn’t ideal if you went to your 9am lectures (I did!).

Then in second and third year I moved into privately rented houses with friends. In Second year I rented a house a 5 minute walk away from uni with 3 girls I lived with in halls. We enjoyed living close to univeristy but off campus as it made us feel like proper adults but we were close enough that we didn’t have to leave too early for lectures. We were also lucky as our house was quite nice, didn’t cost too much, and we had nice landlords. When it came to third year, I rented another house from the same landlords with two of the girls from my previous house and one other friend. I think this house was my favourite as although it was further away from uni, it meant we could explore and get to know a new part of the city. Our rent was also cheaper so we had more money to do things and had a better selection of local shops. However, it was in more of a family area rather than student area so none of our friends lived near us. However, as it was third year we often spent more time in the uni library with our friends.

In terms of money, I was able to budget quite well so I never ran out of money and I was also lucky in regards to the amount of student finance I recieved. Despite being given a decent amount of student finance, I did still have to keep an eye on my outgoings as it would have been easy to over spend and then struggle for the rest of the semester. To keep an eye on this, my housemate and I created an excel spreadsheet that told us how much money had to spend on groceries, travel and socialising after rent and bills had been accounted for.

In terms of my social life at uni, I didn’t have the typical social life that you’d expect. I went out a few times but I definitly did not go out all the time like you see in movies and tv shows. In fact, I didn’t go out much at all, I can count on one hand the amount that I went out at night each year. I’m shy and not really a party animal so I’m not the type of person that wanted to go out to the student union and night clubs every week. I’d rather stay home or have a chilled evening in a pub with friends than go partying. I also didn’t really stick to any society’s either. I joined a few society’s in my first year at uni but after the first semester I stopped going as I either ended up too busy doing things with my housemates or decided that I didn’t really want to go anymore. Instead of going clubbing or doing society’s, I hung out with a few friends from my course and my housemates. We’d have game nights or plan to watch a movie together or go out for a meal and drink together.

Overall I really enjoying my time at university and wish I could do it all over again!

Life

What to Expect from a Post Covid-19 Driving Test

If you’re reading this then you’re probably either about to take your driving test or are considering taking your driving test. I took my driving test two weeks ago and was in the first batch of non-key worker tests after the lockdown in England so have some experience of what it is like to take a test in the current situation the world is in.

 

Booking your test:

Before you take your test you need to book your test. However, it might not happen as quickly as you would like. Currently, the only people that can book tests are people that had tests cancelled because of the virus. If you didn’t have a test that was cancelled due to the virus then, unfortunately, you cannot book a test right now and will have to wait for a bit longer. If you did have test that was cancelled due to the virus then you may still end up having to wait for a bit too. At the moment, the DVSA are emailing people in batches which means that whilst some people have already been contacted about tests, and may have possibly even taken them, other people still won’t have been contacted about rebooking their test. When you are contacted about rebooking your test, you will be given a period of when you can book your test, but if you do not pick a date within the time period then you will have to wait until tests reopen for everyone else.

 

Arriving at the test centre:

When you arrive at the test centre, you will have to park in the designated area and there will be social distancing measures put in place to ensure people are parking safely if there is more than one test happening at the same time. At my test centre, there are bay parking spaces to the side of the centre and every other space was blocked by a cone to ensure that nobody was parking next to anybody else. However, at the time of my test I was also the only person taking a test and so I was able to choose which space to go into. Once you’ve parked and got out of the car, your instructor should clean the car ready for the examiner and you should put your mask/face covering on if you don’t already have it on. It will not be only you wearing a mask in your test as your examiner will also be wearing one. You should stay by your car and the examiner will come to you. They will ask to see your liscence and you will need to sign a small contract so that they can see your signiture. I would recommend that you bring your own pen for this bit as otherwise they have to clean a pen to give to you. They will then check your eyesight by asking you to read a licence plate before starting the test.

 

The Test:

The very first thing they will do is ask you one of the tell me questions. They will do this before they ask you to get into the car as they want to minimise the amount of time that they are in a small space with you. Once you’ve answered the question you can get in the car. Keep in mind that no matter the weather the windows of the car need to stay down. Once the examiner is in the car they will try and limit touching things, for instance although my examiner said she wanted to move her seat forward a bit she said that she wouldn’t so that she could limit what she touched. The examiner will direct you out of the test centre and begin the driving test. Depending on who you have, some examiners will be chatty while others will be quiet. However, they will all have an ipad which they will use to write things down. Don’t be alarmed if they do write things down as this is normal. Depending on the type of face covering you are wearing, you might need to adjust it slightly throughout the drive, but please try and limit how much you do adjust it as you should be more focused on driving. If you don’t already wear a mask/face covering in your lessons then I would recommend trying to wear one every lesson so that you can get used it to and be used to it by the time you take your test. One important change to bear in mind about the tests is that now if you do make a major fail, for instance speeding too much, leaving your indicator on for much too long etc then you will be brought immediatly back to the test centre instead of being allowed to carry on withthe test so the examiner can limit how long they are in the car for. However, this hopefully won’t happen to you. At the end of the test you will be directed back to the test centre. Once you are back at the test centre, the examiner will usually ask you to open your car door and they will open the door on your side too. They will ask if you want your instructor to hear your feedbacks and result and they will show you on the ipad whether or not you passed.

 

Hopefully my rundown of what to expect from a driving test whilst there are social distancing measures has helped to ease your nerves and told you what you wanted to know about the tests.

Life

I Passed My Driving Test

I finally passed my driving test last week! I’m both excited and scared about the prospect of now being able to drive on my own. However, it wasn’t easy or quick for me to pass my test. I’ve gone through three different instructors and had driving lessons for over a year.

I originally started learning to drive in a manual car with a male instructor in an Audi. I quickly realised that I wasn’t a fan of him as he would get annoyed at me very quickly and he ended up making me even more anxious about driving than I already was. I then went with a really lovely female instructor in her Vauxhall Corsa. She knew that I was anxious about driving and she was patient and calm with me which made me feel a lot better about driving. However, I would get anxious about changing gears a lot and would end up panicking a lot. We discussed what I could do and both decided I would probably be less anxious about driving if I tried an automatic car, as I wouldn’t have to change gears. She then recommended a friend of hers who teaches automatic driving lessons and I’ve had lessons with her ever since. I’ve discussed my experience of going through different instructors and cars in more detail in a previous post.

My new instructor knew I was anxious about driving but did her best to reassure me and help build my confidence. She gave me a full tour of her automatic Toyota Yaris hybrid and explained how to drive it and the differences between a manual and automatic car. She made sure that I was aware of all of the safety features as well so that I would feel more comforable driving it. I found driving an automatic much less stressful as I didn’t have to worry about stalling, changing gears, or hill starts. I just had to press accelate or use the breaks. This meant I could focus more on the road and what was around me. If you find driving makes you anxious then I really suggest trying an automatic car as it is a lot easier to drive, and to me it felt safer to drive too.

We started by driving on roads near to me and on roads with a maximum speed of 30 miles an hour. As I got more confident and comfortable driving, we slowly introduced new roads and dual carriageways. My instructor always checked how I was feeling about things and would reassure me if I was ever anxious. Once I felt comfortable and confident about driving, my instructor booked a driving test for me. As my test centre gets quite busy we weren’t able to book a test for a few months and had booked a test for the end of January. In the run up to my test we practised manouvres and drove down various test routes so that I felt comfortable with them and could practise on various types of roads. By the end of December I was feeling confident and excited to take my test!

However, at the beginning of January I was a passenger in a car crash and this severely knocked my confidence in driving and made me feel uncomfortable just being in a car, let alone driving one. This wasn’t ideal considering my test was three weeks later. It probably would have been better to reschedule my test, however my instructor said that I could drive and had the ability to pass my test and we just needed to work on my confidence again so we carried on.

Unsurprisingly I failed my test in January. I was anxious about driving despite my instructors best effort to help me get back to how I had been. It was just my luck that near the end of my test my test route included the place where I was in the car crash and this distracted me so much that I then kept accidentally leaving my indictators on for far too long and so got a major fail. I was so annoyed at myself as my examiner said that I had had a really good drive apart from the last few minutes when I started to leave my indicators on. I discussed this my instructor and we decided the best thing to do was to practise going near and on the road where the accident happened so I could build up my confidence and then book another test for March.

We continued my lessons and my confidence eventually got back to close to how it was however I do still get really anxious at times about driving and still occasionally have nightmares about driving but I do feel much better now. We prepared for my test and I felt like I could pass in March. Unfortunatly March is also when the Coronavirus became quite big in the UK and due to lockdown I missed out on taking my test by a few days. However, this is completly understandable and I do think that England needed to have a lockdown to slow the virus down. During this time my lessons also obviously stopped.

My test was resheduled for 30th July and I began to have driving lessons again at the begining of July. In order to follow safety guidelines, we both wore masks whilst in the car, had the windows down and my instructor cleaned the car before and after each student used the car. I had multiple lessons a week so I could get used to driving again and feel better about my test as my anxiety about driving had become quite bad again. I started to have nightmares again about car crashes and would get so anxious before driving lessons that I would feel physically sick. However, once I was in the car and had been driving for a few minutes my nerves would begin to calm down.

I took my test in July and, in order to prepare for it I had mutiple driving lessons a week, made flashcards for the show me tell me questions, and practised areas that I was weak in or felt more anxious about. I practised parking manouveres, roundabouts and going onto dual carriageways as those were the areas I was most most worried about. When it came to the day of the test, I drove my instructors car to the test centre and once there, we got out of the car and she cleaned it for the examiner. I showed the examiner my provisional liscence and signed a piece of paper so she could see my signiture. I was really lucky with my examiner as she was nice and friendly and chatted away to me during my test to try and calm my nerves. During my test I was tested with independent parking and had a front bay park manouvre, as well as lots of dual carriageways and roundabout so I’m glad I practised them. I passed with only two minors – one for forgetting to put an indicator when coming off a roundabout, and one for adjusting my bay park.

I’m so happy I have finally passed and although I am still anxious about driving, I feel much better than I did. I think driving is just one of those things that you have to keep doing in order to slowly ease anxiety about it and make sure that you’re being a safe driver.

Book Tags

We Need to Be Better

This post is very, very late and I will admit that a large part of that is because I don’t feel qualified to discuss things like racism and Black Lives Matter. I am a white woman in my early twenties who lives in an area of England where the population is mainly white. I will never face the experience of being discriminated against because of the colour of my skin, and although I have studied racism in the past in my History degree, I have so much more that I need to learn. However, one thing that I do know is that racism is not just an American issue.

That isn’t to say that it isn’t an issue in America. George Floyd’s name has been all over the world at this point. He was stopped for possible possession of counterfeit money, and four police officers decided to surround him. One officer decided that although Floyd was unarmed, that he would put his knee on his neck for eight minutes to detain him. Why? George Floyd said multiple times that he couldn’t breathe and begged for his life, and yet nobody stopped the officer from suffocating him. This would not have happened if Floyd had been white. We can see this from all of the cases of armed white criminals, white rapists, white shooters etc who are calmly escorted by police officers. Yet the police deemed this black man as more dangerous than armed white criminals. It is horrific and what makes it worse is that George Floyd was not an exception. So many black people have been murdered by the police. George Floyd was not the first black person to be murdered by the police, and with how things are at the moment, he unfortunately won’t be the last.

However, racism is also a big problem in England. It is quite well known that after the end of World War Two, England advertised for people in countries in the Commonwealth ┬áto come to Britain and work due to a shortage of workers. Britain needed people to be labourers, people to work in transport and people to work in the new NHS, among lots of other jobs. People were encouraged to move to Britain and told that they would be welcomed, but they weren’t. The reality was that once they got to Britain they faced discrimination and racism. Landlords would only let to white people, employers would tell black people they weren’t hiring anymore and then only advertise jobs to white people, they would receive verbal and sometimes physical abuse in the streets. Although behaviour such as this is now illegal in the UK, there is still racism and discrimination. We can see this in the rise of race-related discrimination that was reported after the Brexit referendum. We can see systematic racism in the wealth divide, in the employment sector and in education, among lots of other parts of society.

This isn’t fair or just. Racism isn’t just an American problem, or a problem in the past. We need to change things. I don’t know the solutions however, as a white person I know that there are things that I need to do to be better. I need to educate myself more, I need to listen more, I need to call out racism when I see it, I need to have discussions with people, I need to sign petitions, protest and donate to charities and causes. We need to make sure that things change for the better.

Wrap Ups

May Reading Wrap Up

My reading habit this month was very up and down as some days I really wasn’t motivated to read at all, and other days all I wanted to do was read! I read 6 books this month which is pretty good for me! I also enjoyed the majority of what I read!

My Mum Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson

If you’re British and liked reading when you were a child, then you have most likely read a Jacqueline Wilson book and at least heard of Tracy Beaker even if you didn’t read the book or watch the TV show. The Tracy Beaker books certainly weren’t my favourite books but I did enjoy them and the story of Tracy’s experiences in foster care. My Mum Tracy Beaker was published in 2018 and I’ve been wanting to read it ever since I heard about it. This book is set many years after the previous Tracy Beaker, as she is now a single mother. It follows the story of Tracy’s daughter, Jess, as Tracy gets a new boyfriend and this changes the dynamic of Jess and Tracy’s relationship. This was written for children and so the writing is very simple but felt comforting and familiar. The story itself was very predictable and the characters were also quite stereotypical. I enjoyed this book but the constant use of stereotypes did slightly ruin it for me. Overall this book was quite average.

my mum tracy beaker

 

If All the World Were… by Joseph Coelho and Allison Colpoys

This is a short poetic children’s book about the relationship between a girl and her grandfather and how she copes when her grandfather dies. Everything about this book was beautiful! The colourful illustrations were gorgeous and the writing was powerful yet simple. I don’t know it’s just because I have lost beloved grandparents myself, but I really connected with this book and its message. I think it discusses grief and the loss of a loved one in a way that sensitively introduces death and grief to children. I think that this is such an important book and anyone that is grieving or has lost someone should read this!

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Geek Girl by Holly Smale

This is a contemporary middle grade/ YA book and follows Harriet, a geek, who gets discovered at a fashion show and becomes a model. The story is very far fetched and although only published in 2013, I don’t think it has aged very well. I wasn’t a fan of this book at all. I didn’t like the writing, I didn’t like the characters, and I didn’t like the plot. It is however aimed at younger teens so if you’re between the ages of 10-14 you might like this book. I just really didn’t like it and, if I’m honest, I only read it because I was unhauling the book but felt bad as I’d never even read it.

geek girl

 

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

This is a YA contemporary romance about Belly. Every summer Belly, her mum and brother head to the beach where they stay with her mum’s friend and her two teenage boys. She’s used to being ignored by boys until things start to change this summer and she starts to get noticed by them. This was average for me. It was easy to get into and quick to read. It was fun and summery and lighthearted. It was everything you’d expect from a book called The Summer I Turned Pretty. However, I doubt that I will read the sequel.

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

If you’re a teenager or young adult then you probably know what The Hunger Games is. However, if you don’t it is the first book in a YA dystopian trilogy. Every year the country of Panem watches The Hunger Games, a competition where one girl and boy between the ages of 12-18 from each of the twelve districts must fight to the death until there is one victor. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen volunteers to save her sister and take her place in The Hunger Games alongside Peeta Mellark. Katniss knows that whilst it is unlikely she will win, she must try for the sake of her family and do what she can to win. Suzanna Collins writing is addicting and she knows how to write in a way that makes you want to never put the book down. Her characters have flaws and imperfections but this makes them more human and realistic, she knows how to make you love or hate a character. This was a re-read for me and I think I loved it even more this time around. I teared up so many times whilst reading this that I’m actually embarrassed by the amount it happened! Five out of five stars!

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Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

This is the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy. I won’t discuss the plot of this book as it will ruin the first book. However, I forgot just how tense reading this book can make you. I enjoyed it just as much as the first book but the events in this book are much more stressful!

catching fire

 

Overall I had a pretty good reading month as I liked the majority of what I read. What are you planning to read this month?

Wrap Ups

April Wrap Up

I read four books in April so I thought I’d do a wrap up of what I read.

 

If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home by Lucy Worsley

This is a non-fiction History book which looks at the history of the home. It is split into four sections: the bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen and the living room. I think this is a good introduction into domestic history, however, it just wasn’t academic enough for me. I’m a BA History graduate and so I’m used to reading academic History books and so this felt very chatty in comparison. I did enjoy it and I did learn new things, but there were no footnotes so I couldn’t see where information had come from and I wouldn’t suggest using it for any academic assignments. Nevertheless, it is a good way to learn about the history of the home and is very easy to read.

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Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This is a YA historical fiction book about Daisy Jones, a singer, and a band, The Six, and how they become one of the biggest rock groups in the 1970s. I absolutely loved this and it is my favourite book of the year so far! It is written in the style of a memoir, which I thought would make it harder to get into, but after the first few pages, I got used to the writing style and found that it actually made it a lot easier to read. I loved the atmosphere and the characters felt so real! If you haven’t read this yet then I really recommend that you do!

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The End of the Fucking World by Charles Forsman

This is a graphic novel about two teenagers, Alyssa and James, who develop a romantic relationship with each other. This was very very short, much shorter than I thought it would be and felt incredibly fast-paced. I wasn’t a fan of this as it felt as if it was so fast-paced that I didn’t actually take anything in. The artwork was also vert minimalistic which I didn’t get on with as it also felt like you didn’t really get to know the characters and so I felt no attachment to them. I was kind of disappointed by this as I loved the Netflix show based on this graphic novel but it just wasn’t for me.

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Soulmates by Holly Bourne

This is a YA contemporary romance and was Holly Bourne’s debut novel. This follows Poppy who lives in a boring middle-class town and is doing her A-Levels. One evening she goes to see a band perform with her friends and she feels drawn to the guitarist. You can guess what happens next. I liked this but I didn’t love it as much as I love Holly’s other books. It was a quick, easy read and I enjoyed it but it was also very cheesy. It also had a bit of a sci-fi twist which felt a bit weird in a Holly Bourne book but I understand why it was included.

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Overall, April was a decent reading month for me. I managed to read four books, the most I’ve read in a month this year, and for the most part, I enjoyed what I read.

Life

What I want to do When Lockdown Ends

Currently, in England everyone is supposed to be self-isolating at home unless they are a key worker. This means that people are only allowed to leave their home for essential food shopping, helping vulnerable people, exercise, and going to work if their work is essential. It has only been a few weeks since this initiative was made mandatory by the government and it is likely to go on for a lot longer. I understand why and I am glad that so many people are following these guidelines as it will hopefully help the NHS and our key workers. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things I miss doing so I decided to compile a list of what I would like to do when this is all over.

 

  • See my boyfriend

I haven’t seen my boyfriend in weeks, and whilst I appreciate that for some people they are always long-distance with their partner or go a lot longer without seeing their partner, I really miss him and am used to seeing him multiple times a week. Honestly, I just really want a hug from him.

  • Go to the beach

I live a short drive away from my nearest beach and live a few minutes away from 9 miles of coastline. However, it is too far to really walk there and back in the current conditions. The beach is one of my favourite places and I am really missing it so I can’t wait to be able to go there again.

  • Eat Out

This sounds quite random (and possibly quite sad) but my boyfriend and I like to go on date nights where we go to a restaurant for dinner (nowhere fancy, just anywhere that serves food we like), and we obviously haven’t been able to do that.

 

  • Pass my driving test

My driving test was supposed to be on 26th March but it was cancelled and has now been moved to 24th June. I felt confident in my ability to drive and was ready for my test so hopefully, I will pass my test in June if it has not been moved again.

 

  • Travel

So this is one I’ve been wanting to do for a while, way before the virus was even a thing, I just never seem to have the confidence to travel anywhere so once this is all over I would like to travel more. I don’t just mean abroad, although that would be great, but in the UK too! There is so much to see in the world, both near and far, and I really haven’t seen much of it!

 

  • Find a new job or start a Masters degree

I finished my undergrad degree at the end of May 2019. Since then I’ve done work experience in a local school and have a job working in a department store. This isn’t how I pictured my life at university at all. There isn’t anything wrong with it, but I don’t want to stay at that job. I’d like to do either a History Masters degree or a Primary PGCE. However, I can’t commit to either of those options this year so I hope that in the meantime I’m able to get a new job that I actually enjoy.

 

 

  • See my friends and family

Like most people, I haven’t seen friends or family members for months now and I miss them a lot. I can’t wait to see them when this is all over and appreciate spending time with them!

 

Honestly, there are a lot more things I want to do when lockdown is over but they seem too boring and mundane to warrant writing about. What are you looking forward to doing when this is all over?

Entertainment · Films · TV

What I watched in March

The majority of people are having to stay at home at the moment and one thing that a lot of people like to do at home is watch shows or films. I thought I’d share what I watched in March in case you wanted some ideas for what to watch!

 

Tv Shows

 

Love is Blind

This is a new Netflix Original show which has a similar feel to Love Island and Married at First Sight. This is a reality tv show where single men and women go on blind dates with each other with the intention of finding someone they want to marry in a few weeks. I liked this show but not as much as I thought I would have. It was easy to watch and something you can put on in the background but I found that I would often skip through large chunks of it because I wasn’t invested in certain couples or found that at parts it dragged on. However, it was fun to watch and I was rooting for some of the couples to make it.

 

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Locke and Key

This is a teen fantasy/mystery series on Netflix and follows the lives of the Locke children as they move to Key house after the death of their father. I’m not going to say any more about the plot than that as I think it is better to go into it not knowing much as it makes it more mysterious. I loved the plot, the writing was good and the characters were great. I was hooked from the start and found that once I finished an episode I wanted to immediately watch the next one. It is slightly cheesy at times but overall a really good watch.

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I am Not Okay With This

This show has major Stranger Things vibes but with a more teeny feel and is based on a comic book. This is about Sydney who develops weird powers but doesn’t know why or how or how they work. Not only must she navigate being a teenager whose dad has died but she must now also live with new powers. This has the perfect amount of comedy and drama and is so well written!

i am not okay with this

 

Riverdale

The majority of people probably know what this is, but if you don’t Riverdale is a teen drama/mystery. It centres on Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead and their lives in Riverdale. The first season is very different from the rest of the seasons and, in my opinion, has become a bit too “messy’. I only really have continued watching the show because I’m interested to see what wacky storyline will happen next. I recommend the two seasons of the show but the later seasons aren’t as enjoyable.

 

 

Spinning Out

This is another Netflix original drama show and is about two ice skater sisters and their journey to compete in their local competition. I wasn’t sure if I’d like this but I was pleasantly surprised. Not only does this show have beautiful ice skating, but it also has mental health representation and strong female relationships. I won’t say much more as I think it is better to go into it not knowing much but do be warned that it covers topics such as self-harm and suicide so may be triggering to watch.

spinning out

 

Disney Fairytale Weddings

As the title suggests, this is a documentary/entertainment series on Disney+ about fantastical weddings that happen at various Disney resorts, hotels and cruises. It is very cheesy but if you love Disney and love watching shows about weddings then you will love this! Each episode focuses on the wedding or engagement of two different couples and how they planned the event.

 

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Tiger King

This is the newest show that I’ve watched and I honestly am not sure how I feel about it. It is a documentary about Joe Exotic and his “zoo”. I didn’t really enjoy this and honestly felt that every single person shown in this documentary committed some sort of animal cruelty, whether they meant to or not and don’t actually recommend that people watch it. The first few episodes were interesting and I was hoping that it would end with the animals being rescued and going to an animal sanctuary, but alas, that was not the case and felt disappointed by the entire thing.

 

Films

Crazy Rich Asians

This is a rom-com based on a book of the same name. It is about the relationship between Rachel and Nick who come from completely different worlds. Rachel is the daughter of a single mom and is a university professor, and Nick is the son of a wealthy Asian family. Nick invites Rachel home to meet his family but they don’t like Rachel and she tries to win them over.

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Onwards

This is a new Disney film that I saw in the cinema at the beginning of the month. It is about two elf brothers whose father has passed away. On the younger brother’s sixteenth birthday he is given a staff and the brothers realise that he can bring their dad back for one day but they must go on a quest so that they can finish the spell. This was such a fun but also emotional film and great for all ages. It had a lot of jokes but it also had a lot of touching scenes.

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Instant Family

I wanted to see this when it first came out but I never got around to watching it. This is about a married couple who realise that they want to be foster parents and foster three siblings. However, it doesn’t go as they’d planned. I loved this, it felt real yet funny but also made me cry multiple times. It was my favourite film I’ve seen this year.

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All four Toy Story films

Sticking with the family-friendly theme, I watched all of the Toy Story films. I’d seen the first two movies before as they had been some of my grandad’s favourite films and have fond memories of watching them with him. However, I hadn’t seen Toy Story 3 or Toy Story 4 and decided to finally watch them if I’d seen the first two. I love these films and think that they can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone.

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Let me know what you watched or any recommendations you have!

Life

Happy Easter!

If you celebrate Easter then Happy Easter, and if you don’t then I hope you have a good weekend! For many people, this weekend will be very different from how they normally spend Easter, myself included, but I have some tips on how to make it a nice weekend.

 

Food

Every household is different, some would usually have a roast dinner or lamb dinner and others would have a barbeque if it’s sunny. Of course, you won’t be having guests round but you can still cook nice food for your household. If you all want a roast dinner then cook a roast dinner, or it could be you want to use the nice weather to have a barbeque. You could even have a picnic in the garden! Do what you want and treat yourself to food that you enjoy.

 

Games

For my family, Easter is a time when we like to spend time together and play board games together. Even if there is only two of you then you can still play a board game together. You could even play a card game or play an online game together. Some of my favourite games include Cluedo, Exploding Kittens, Mario Kart and the Jackbox Party Packs (although some of the games in these packs are not family-friendly).

 

Spend Time With Each Other

You’re probably already spending a lot of time with the people in your household already, but Easter is a time to do that even more so! Spend time with the people you live with, chat with them, cook with them, play games with them, watch a movie with them. You could even set up an Easter Egg hunt in your garden or house. Also, make sure that you catch up with the people you don’t live with through facetime or video calls and wish them a Happy Easter too!

 

Exercise Together

This one may sound a bit random but do some exercise together. It’s good for you so it will make you feel better and it will break up your day and give you something to do. If you’re allowed to leave your house for exercise then maybe go on a walk or bike ride together – but be sensible and keep distance between yourself and people you don’t live with. You could also play games in your garden such as football, badminton, or catch. Alternatively, you could find an exercise video on youtube and do that together.

 

Relax

This is the most important one; relax. It’s a bank holiday and whilst it is certainly different from most bank holidays, make sure you relax and enjoy yourself.

 

I hope you have a great Easter and a lovely weekend at home!

Entertainment · Games

Animal Crossing New Horizons First Impressions

It has been just over a week since Animal Crossing New Horizons was launched on the Nintendo Switch so I thought I would share my first impressions of it. This was my most anticipated game of the year and could not have come at a much better time. I pre-ordered it so it arrived on the day it was released and I have been playing it non-stop. I didn’t have New Leaf for the 3DS or Pocket Camp but I used to play Wild World on my DS and it was one of my favourite games to play. I’ve only had New Horizons for a week but I already know that I love it more than Wild World and it will be one of my all-time favourite Switch games.

The premise of the game is that you go to a deserted island and grow and develop it into your own little corner of the world. You start the game by choosing the island layout you like the most, these will be four randomly generated maps with grass, beaches and rivers. You also create your islander and can customise them, you can also customise them more later on in the game so don’t worry if they don’t look exactly how you want them to. This is also something you couldn’t do in previous games and so is an enjoyable addition. You then meet with Tom Nook and are whisked away to your deserted island where you are given a short tutorial on how the game will work. After this, you can play the game however you want to. You can help out the other islanders, do small tasks, earn money, catch fish and bugs, dig for fossils, grow plants and trees, expand your house and develop the community on your island.

Once you’ve learnt the basic controls the game is easy to play and feels similar enough to the old games that it is comfortable and nostalgic but has newer additions which keep it exciting and playable without getting boring. Unfortunately, you can’t control who moves to your island in the beginning so hopefully, you get animals that you like, but you can, however, have more control at a later stage in the game. This tends to be a reoccurring theme in this game as you cannot control or customise much in the beginning but the longer you play, the more control you have and the more features you unlock.

If you’re looking for a calming and slow-paced game then this is perfect. The graphics and the scenery are gorgeous, the characters are fun, and it is a classic animal crossing game. You can even connect with friends who also have the game. My boyfriend has the game as we really enjoy just hanging out together in the game as we currently can’t see each other in person. I think the timing of the release of this game has been key. Due to being in lockdown I can’t go out and see my friends or go outside much, but thanks to the game I can do that on there. There are a few things I would change, such as being able to have more control over who moves to your island initially but these are only minor things. Overall I’ve been really enjoying it and it has been a great way to distract my anxious mind and relax.

 

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