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5 Ways to improve your morning routine

  1. Bye Bye Broken Sleep 

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This may be unpopular among those of you that love a good lie in, and I do admit I am rather partial, but many health experts suggest that as soon as you wake up in the morning you should actually get up rather than turning over for another snooze. You telling your body to go back to sleep after you’ve woken up in the morning, is no different to waking up in the middle of the night. That broken sleep pattern will only make you feel overtired during the day, so as soon as you wake up give yourself a little time in bed, but then get up – go watch some TV or check your emails and see how much more wide awake you’ll feel.

2. Get Your Lemon On 

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Forget grabbing sugary fruit juice or a coffee on your way out the door – water with lemon is the way to go. Hollistic websites suggest that it can improve your mood, boost your immune system, help clear your skin and can aid in weight loss. Plus – if you don’t leave the lemon in for too long – it tastes pretty nice too. Millie Mackitosh has been quoted saying that she drinks this every morning, so why not give it a go?

3. Pick Yourself a nice 8 Tracks Playlist

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I am an 8 tracks obsessive, ever since my flatmate introduced it to me last year I have probably played over 50 playlists. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically the Tumblr of music websites, instead of sharing photos members share playlists with hash tags. So you could search: #folk #indie #nightout #gettingready – whatever you wanted really. My favourite is #morning because it’s full of playlists with exactly the right songs to get me out of bed and in a good mood for the rest of the day. My favourite morning tunes are: On My Way – Rusted Root; Banana Pancakes – Jack Johnson; Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds; Put Your Record On – Corrine Bailey Rae; Home – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Sunday Morning – Maroon 5 – among many others!

4. Shovel down a half decent breakfast 

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As I believe I have said before in this post. I LOVE breakfast. It’s easily my favourite meal: toast, cereal, eggs, pancakes, teacakes, yoghurt, porridge – the opportunities are endless and I honestly love nothing more than a long weekend breakfast. Sorry for the cliche, but I’m a big believer that it is indeed “the most important meal of the day”. If I don’t have a good breakfast in the morning, I’m basically a zombie before I have anything to eat that day, and then I crave coffee and bad food. Start your day with egg, they’re a great source of protein and will help keep your energy levels high throughout the day.

5. Splash your face 

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Since I bought my beloved Arbonne Cleanser I have been washing my face a lot more in the mornings, I find there’s nothing like a splash of cold water in the face to really wake me up for a 9am lecture. Washing your face with cold water in the morning helps to reduce any swelling under your eyes from the night before, and it naturally brightens your face by increasing blood circulation. Pick cold water over warm if you can bare the shock in the morning, it might be just what you need to start the day on the right foot.

Thanks for reading. Do you have any tips for getting out of bed, particularly on these chilly mornings? 

Harriette

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Brightening up your Uni Room| Blaze On Chelsea Rose Fairy Lights*

So yes, I have returned to University, Year Two is well and truly on it’s way #scarythought #wheredidallthetimego #universitygoesquicklykids. But with starting again has of course come a lot of changes, I have moved into a lovely new house with some of my lovely girl friends and so far we are very pleased. The house is a lot more homey than a typical student house I would say, although not much warmer! As a result we – a bunch of 19/20 year olds – have all turned into a group of 80 year old ladies, shuffling around in slippers with our dressing gowns on, clutching cups of tea in our hands. We collectively drink more tea than any household I have ever know, and at the moment get through about 4 pints of milk a week. Skipping on a little bit, I have both loved and loathed the process of doing up my wonderful new bedroom, which is a lot more spacious than last year and so less disastrous when a certain 6ft 5″ boyfriend comes to stay. Of course it’s been nice to make it feel homey, adding all my little bits that I’ve collected over the years, but at the same time I have felt the pressure (among the other lovely girls rooms in the house) to make mine different. I came across Blaze On on a search for fairy lights. They make the most delicate and beautiful fairy lights in all different designs: stars, lanterns, hearts, roses, animals etc. so I was instantly intrigued. I really love putting up fairy lights in my room because they look nice, and can help a room feel warm and cosy. Every so often I just have those days were I really need to relax, and switching on some fairy lights, putting my candles on and sitting down in bed with a good book or a Netflix series just makes me feel very calm and satisfied. Blaze On themselves are a really great ethical brand. All of their products are handmade in Thailand with over 20 home-run businesses, who are paid for their skills so they have enough money to support their families and educate their children. They “purchase FairTrade and ethically sourced products wherever possible and practical,” and “prioritise suppliers whose environmental practices take into consideration the well-being of both the planet and the community“. All of the boxes that the products come in are recycled, and customers may look at a full guide of all of their resources online, if they want to know exactly what goes into making that product. Sounds good right? IMG_4363 IMG_4365 IMG_4366 I personally find post very exciting, and as this was actually the first piece of post delivered to my new house that wasn’t books for my course, I was literally skipping to the front door when my flatmate said there was a parcel for me. I feel like Blaze On take the parcel thing pretty seriously too, as my fairy lights were beautifully wrapped in orange tissue paper with a little handwritten note saying they hoped I would enjoy them and a complimentary daisy tea light (yes!). Blaze On sent me these beautiful Chelsea Rose Lover’s Bouquet fairy lights [there are a range of different colour combinations so it’s worth checking them out] and I was really excited to put them up on the beam above my bed. Unfortunately, student problems prevailed and so I had to wait a couple of days and buy some damage-free clear plastic hooks that I could stick onto the wall in order not to upset our landlord. Previously, I have tended to use either cellotape (classy, I know) or drawing pins to fix up fairy lights, but I bought the Command Decorating Clips with Clear Strips and I have been totally converted. Admittedly, it was slightly more than I wanted to spend on little hooks and they are a bit tedious to actually apply, but the way they just hold the fairy lights exactly in place and don’t randomly fall down in the middle of the night is great. IMG_4409 IMG_4418 IMG_4390 The roses themselves are really intricate, made from hand-screened mulberry paper with individual leaf-stemmed petals, and as they are mounted on a wire, they can be displayed in an open or closed position like real roses. Basically, they are just pretty fancy, they look absolutely wonderful even when they aren’t on as the colours are so pretty. And if you’re a student like me, you needn’t worry about it affecting your electricity bill as the warm white LED bulbs make them extremely energy efficient. So you don’t have to feel so guilty about accidentally leaving them on.  The only major criticism I would make is I wish they had a little on/off switch on the wire, as it’s a little easier than having to plug them in every time you want to put them on. IMG_4400 IMG_4408 IMG_4397 Overall, I absolutely love these fairy lights, Blaze On is a really cool brand, with a great ethos and the fairy lights are incredibly well made and look really beautiful. They have certainly brightened up my new bedroom and I’m sure they’d look great in any Uni room. Harriette Disclaimer:This product was provided to me free of charge from the company in order to review it. However the opinions expressed in this review are independent and my own. For a full disclaimer please see my PR/ Disclaimer page.

How to Make Your Uni Room Feel Like Home [Part 2]

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I thought it was about time that I followed up my original post on How to Make Your Uni Room Feel Like Home [ you can read part 1 here], especially as in a couple of weeks or so I’m going to be packing up my little en-suite room and leaving my flat, never to return. Dah dah duuuh. If there’s one thing about Uni it’s certainly that it’s always changing, I’ve been in my room less than a year and I’m already moving out. However, I can certainly say that I’ve been really lucky with my room, it’s been nice to add little things here and there and just make it exactly as I wanted. I tend to spend quite a bit of time in my room, working or catching up on TV and so it was really important to me to really make it my own. So here are a few more random ideas that I’ve used to make my room feel a bit nicer:

5. Collect Glass Bottles/ Jars. I randomly took an empty Moet bottle [ birthday/ results day gift from my Uncle who got it from a friend one birthday, which was just as well because I wasn’t blown away by the taste – obviously too posh for this Essex girl] and an Absolute Bottle of Vodka to Uni, just to decorate my room I suppose. I put them on my windowsill, as on the various Open Days at different Uni’s I had established that this was the thing to do. As the first term went on I finished a bottle of Smirnoff (no surprises there) and collect various other bottles for posh lemonade and elderflower drinks – usually presents. Once I had developed a bit of a collection on my windowsill, with these bottles all in a row I thought I’d buy some flowers to put in them. Weirdly one of the most annoying things about Uni is that I never took a vase for flowers. I was never really majorly into flowers at home, but at Uni they just add a nice little touch to my room, and it’s always nice to have something new for the week. As you can see below I’ve had various different types of flowers in my room. Tulips are my probably favourites – even if they are the slightly more expensive, because if you buy them when they’re still in the bud they last a really long time. I bought them twice last term when I momentarily banned myself from chocolate, and so had some extra cash left over to treat myself.

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I suppose it was inevitable then, that I would start collecting jars, like some crazy old woman. Although, a lot I do just recycle because some smells you just can’t seem to get rid of. The first little jars that I collected were these two little GU pudding jars ( Moet, GU, Elderflower – really sounding like a student here), which I thought my be handy for holding pins or hair grips or something, but actually ended up with the wax for my brace and various lip glosses inside.

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The other two jars where actually originally for honey, and I use one for my makeup brushes – very useful- and one for my coloured pens. I’d like to get at least one more at some point to go in my bathroom  for my toothbrush, as I think it’s much nicer than just leaving it on the side of the sink.

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Walking into homeware shops, particularly my favourite T K Maxx [which has an excellent homeward section], I found that little jars and bottles like that can sell for quite a lot. So simply collecting ones that I use is a much cheaper alternative, and I always get complements on how cool my flowers look in there little bottles on the windowsill.

6. Invest in a Rug. This might seem like a pretty simply idea, but admittedly I didn’t really think about it until I visited my friend’s room and stood on her lovely little white fluffy rug. I picked up a little green and white zigzag one in the sale at Urban Outfitters, to go with my blue carpet and I really love it. It just adds a nice little detail to my room, and I know I’ll use it again next year. Also an added bonus is that you can use it to cover up the messiest part of your carpet when you haven’t had time to hoover – always handy.

7. Sort out your Storage. More of a practical point than helping your feel more at home, but although some University rooms provide plenty of space for storage, others don’t. However, there a plenty of weird and wonderful contraptions you can buy just to give you a little extra room. For instance you can buy a variety of different metal constructions that will hang over the back off a door, either with hooks for coats or towels for your bathroom, these can be handy to hang over your door if you have an en-suite room – especially if you’ve got a smaller wardrobe. Another strange storage thing that my dad came across the weekend that I went to Uni, was an under basin storage shelving system [i’ll put a picture of one below], which fits around the pedestal of the basin and can be used for storing shampoos, cleaning products, razors etc.

I hope you found these little ideas helpful, what have you done to make your room feel personal to you?

 

Harriette

Throwback Thursday: A Trip to Cambridge

One of the places that I love to visit when I’m at home for a bit is Cambridge, and so in the Easter holidays, my mum and sister came with me on a shopping trip. Cambridge is a really beautiful city, like Exeter it mixes the old and the new, the city and the country,combining huge brands with cute little trinket shops.

Driving in Cambridge I imagine is a bit of a nightmare, as there are bikes everywhere, and actually this is one of the things I love. In a weird way it’s so nice to see everyone cycling around in the sunshine on their old-fashioned bikes, and it really feels a lot a University town, which I like.

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I particularly liked the look of this Burberry print bicycle….

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We got to Cambridge at about 11.15 once we’d driven to the park and ride and got the bus into the city centre (the best way to do it in my view, as car parks are very pricey). We were all starving so we went into Giraffe, for some lunch. Admittedly, I’d never actually eaten at Giraffe before, mainly because I thought it was a vegan/ vegetarian restaurant – not sure what gave me that idea (!) – but my Mum assured me she’d been and really enjoyed the food. We sat down before they had started serving for lunch, but the staff where really friendly and they got us our drinks and menus whilst we waited. I went for a Mango Mama smoothie, which was absolutely delicious and I loved the little giraffe I got in my glass. My sister had the Fresh Lemonade with Mint, which she really liked aswell and it came in a cute little jam jar mug glass.

 

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The menu was really good, there was such a wide selection of foods I found it tricky to pick something – I really love trying new vegetarian foods, which Giraffe caters really well for, but I also love a standard burger when I’m hungry. Eventually I went for the Hot “Thai” Duck Stirfry, this was really yummy with a sweet chilli jam which tasted so good. As usual I did away with the chopsticks and went straight in with a fork.

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I did however manage to spill the chilli jam, on the white shirt I was wearing – major fail just before a shopping trip. Consequently I wore my shirt inside-out, underneath my leather jacket for the rest of the day, hoping no-one would notice. Apologies for the breast pic – but you get the idea.

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Apart from this mini-dilemma I really enjoyed Giraffe, I think I’ll definately have to try out the one in Exeter and sample a few different dishes, the burgers and mexican food looked amazing. We were all too full for dessert, so after our meal we started our shopping trip, me trying to cover my chest as much as possible.

Shopping for me was very successful. At Uni I barely let myself in clothes shops – Urban Outfitters, Topshop, River Island, H&M and Zara are all strictly off limits, as I just know as soon as I walk in I’ll want everything in the shop, and then walk sadly out thinking about that top or dress for the rest of the week. Nope, student living and clothes shopping don’t mix. So when let loose in Topshop with the promise of money to spend I went a little crazy, picking up way too much stuff, and having to politely ask my poor sister to take some bits in with her to the changing room so that I could try everything on.

It was a little while ago now, but I can remember accurately that basically everything I brought was black ( great for a ‘summer wardrobe’….) I got a really lovely floral playsuit from Topshop and new leather jacket from H&M, which I wore on mine and Lewis’s trip to Dedham, a simple black vest top from Topshop, a pair of black shorts from H&M for going out with, a sweet little white striped mesh t-shirt from Primark and a big black floppy hat  and a new laptop bag from Topshop.

As well as getting some new clothes for me, we were also on the hunt for a dress for my sister which meant a visit to Jack Wills.

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Personally I really love Jack Wills dresses, I got two in the sale a while back and wore one to the English Masquerade Ball and got a load of compliments about how flattering it was, so Eloise and I thought we’d have a look in there for her.

 

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I really liked this dress on Eloise, it’s really pretty and summery and the short length shows off the fact that she’s the sibling with the legs in the family.

It was really nice to spend a day out with my mum and my sister shopping, as it’s one of the things I miss doing with them when I’m at Uni. There’s nothing like trying on a dress, walking to the end of the changing room, to have your sister and mum tell you it’s horrible in front of all the people waiting to get in. But in all seriousness it was a lovely day, I loved being able to visit Cambridge, especially on such a sunny day and I liked helping my sister pick a dress. I was very happy with all of my purchases (despite the lack of summery gear) and pleased that I finally had some new clothes.

Hope you enjoyed this throwback post. It’s something a bit different. Where are your favourite places to shop and who do you like shopping with?

Harriette

 

This Week I’m Loving… Lily Flame’s ‘Fairy Dust’ Candle

Admittedly I’ve never really been that crazy for candles, probably because we’ve never really had them around the house. The only times we ever really used them was if we had people round in the summer and we were out in the garden, just to give a lovely little glow around the place. Now however, [and almost definitely because candles are banned in my Uni accommodation] I have become a little bit obsessed…. Not only do they smell uh-mazing, but they’re so sweet and romantic. Being at home this last month I’ve been trying out  a few and I’ve really enjoyed just lighting up a candle on my bedside table, and really relaxing and reading a book or listening to some music. The little glow gives a lovely soft lighting in my room and the sweet scent is always lovely just before I fall asleep.

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I’ve wanted to try out Lily Flame’s ‘Fairy Dust’ Candle for a rather long time, they sell it at the upmarket supermarket that I worked in and I always thought that it stood out on the selves. Also another blogger that I’m friends with is absolutely obsessed with it, so I wanted to see what all the fuss what about. Needless to say, I bought this candle when I got a bit of Easter money from my mum and instantly fell in love.

First of all I love the little tin, the powdery pink colour is so pretty with the silver writing and the gold top. The tin makes it easy to move around, and means it looks cute on my desk, even when the lid is on and the candle’s not lit. The only down side, I would say of having a candle in a tin over a candle in a glass, is that it doesn’t give off very much light once the candle has melted down a bit, so that’s  a little bit annoying if you want the light as well as the smell, but Lily Flame do, do larger glass versions of there candles too. Most importantly, this candle smells absolutely AMAZING. Personally I think it smells like melted marshmellows, it’s sort of a very sweet but clean smell,  so it’s not sickly. I would say it’s pleasant to smell without being too overpowering.

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On the back of the tin in this cute font, there’s some product information. Letting you know that these candles are actually handmade in Somerset, which I really liked because I love to support British brands where I can. It also tells you that this little candle will burn for up to 35 hours, and that for best results you should let it burn for 3 hours at a time, making sure you don’t leave it unattended of course.

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I’ve used about a quarter of this candle now and I’m really enjoying the lovely scent. I’ve just brought it with me back from Uni  (naughty) and I’m very much looking forward to lighting it once I’ve hoovered my room, as a friend of my suggested that burning a candle for an hour or so is a great way to get rid of the horrible vomit smell all Uni-provided hoovers seem to leave behind.

What are you favourite candle brands and scents? Have you tried any Lily Flame products? What were your thoughts?

Harriette

How To Make Your Uni Room Feel Like Home [Part 1]

Hello. So I’ve wanted to do this post for ages but there’s so much to say and it’s been hard to take nice photos with all the rain in Exeter at the moment so I’ll be covering this topic in a series of posts.

As a first year, trying to settle in at Uni has been really important, and personally for me this meant creating a room that I like to be in.  Unlike alot of my other Uni friends, I have brought pretty much all of the stuff that I own to Uni [which I originally just assumed everyone would do]. Consequently, my room at home is pretty bare (just  a bed and an empty wardrobe), but for me at least it was important to get myself set up here properly so that I would see it as my own space, and my home.

Here are a few of my ideas if you’re at Uni or you’re going in September about how to make your room feel like home:

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1. Pick some really nice bed linen. I got this Cath Kidston Duvet set in the Williams and Griffins sale back home and I feel it just really makes my room look pretty and cosy. I only have three duvet sets at Uni so I picked my favourites. If you don’t want to splash out too much, but want a nice new one, places like Primark, Sainsbury’s and Asda have been offering really pretty, inexpensive duvet sets recently. I got the Jack Wills pillow a couple of years ago in the Christmas sale and it just adds a nice little touch, and is handy if people come over.

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2. Pin it. Before coming to Uni I was really excited to have a cool pinboard with lots of photos and posters up. At home I have a whole wall college so I was keen to bring bits with me to add touches to my pinboard. Pretty much every Uni room has a pinboard so it’s worth making use of. Most of this stuff came straight of my walls at home, the metal signs on the left hand side of the top picture, and the wooden “LOVE” sign I just picked up years ago in cute little shops. The “posters” are actually pieces of wrapping paper – the one on the left hand side I picked up at the New York Public Library as it has a map of the streets in New York, which reminds me of all the great days I had out there.

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3. Keep little bits. For about 3 years [maybe more] I kept this little hat box in my room, full of ticket stubs, festival wristbands, old photos, postcards etc. with the intention of one day putting them all up on my wall. At the moment I have: the ticket stub from when I saw Florence and the Machine; a bookmark with the list of the Latitude Festival 2012 line up on it; a museum pamphlet from the Museum of Modern Art, New York; some of my favourite photos from V Festival 2013; and postcards from Lewis etc.  When I first went to Uni this was actually one of the things I left behind, but my mum posted it to me with a couple of chocolate bars and I spent an hour or so just going through it all picking my favourite items. It’s really nice to just have little memories of what I did over the summer  all over my wall, and I’ve got loads of stuff to keep adding to it. Of course, there are loads of different things that you can do with a pinboard – one of my friends has a really nice pinboard of all her gap year photos, and my flatmate Giulia has a range of different pictures that she took on her Polaroid last term and is building a collection of Uni photos – each with a cute little hand-written caption underneath.

NOTE: The one thing I would say about pinboards is that it is worth getting some good pins! Unfortunately cute animal ones for Paperchase, however lovely they are, I have found are not the best. If you have a pinboard next to your bed like me, you really want to find some good ones that stay in the wall so you don’t wake up with pins all over your bed.

4. Create some ambiance. Now I know this sounds a little flirty, but I have found it’s really important to get some softer lighting in my room. The main light is good but it can be a bit much, and the light by my desk is brighter than the sun. So in freshers week I got myself a cheap little lamp in Homebase, strung up my [technically not very allowed] fairy lights. So now on the odd night in when I just want to sit in bed and browse some blogs, or sometimes even when I’m writing an essay. I can pop these lights on and just create a really calm, cosy atmosphere in my room, which I really like.

Well there are some of my first little tips for how to make your Uni room feel like home, simple but hopefully helpful. I would love to know what you’ve done to make your Uni room or even just your bedroom at home personal to you.

Harriette

First Visit Home From Uni

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Coming home from Uni is HARD, there are no two ways about it. I stupidly planned to spend this Friday-Wednesday seeing my boyfriend for the first time in 6 weeks but also going home for the first time in as long. Cue emotional wreck. To any of you future Uni students out there, I do not recommend trying to do both at once for the first time. On the other hand however, I am pleased that I did manage to wait for 6 weeks before coming home, as I really didn’t realise how difficult I would find it and I feel that if I had come back any earlier I might not have wanted to go back to Uni at all. [Just realised this is my first post about Uni and I don’t hate it, I totally love it! but…] coming home is difficult because you slip back into your patterns of life so easily, so that whatever time you’ve spent at Uni, even if it’s been a whole 6 weeks melts away to nothing, as if you’ve just been on holiday PLUS everyone treats you like it’s your birthday (cakes, roasts, meals out, shopping) which makes it even harder. I have to keep reminding myself that I really do want to give up this life for one 6 hours away where I have to make my own food and wash up after myself.

The most difficult thing about being here, especially with my double-whammy of boyfriend/ family is that you don’t want to upset people by letting them know that you’re upset. You know that everyone’s making this special effort (see bracket above) and they’re all so happy to see you and know how you’re getting on and at the same time you want to tell them how much you’ll miss them when again you have to go.

I personally picked a Uni that was so far away so that I would have to suck it up when I felt homesick, that I couldn’t just come home in the middle of the day because I wanted to see my parents. Everyone has different preferences, some people who live close to my Uni do choose to go home every week or every two weeks and there’s nothing wrong with that but for others it isn’t healthy.

The thing I need to remember and the thing that anyone who’s ever in this situation needs to remember is that it does get easier, humans are amazing at adapting and even if it’s difficult at first you will be OK. And it’s definitely OK to have a little cry now and then and tell people how you feel, especially the ones you love, that’s what they are there for!! And University is honestly a great experience in all ways and a great way to ease you into this life of independence and rapid change that will progress for the rest of your adult life.

As easy as it would be to sit on my mum’s sofa wayyy into my 20s eating all of her lovely food and watching telly and working part-time/ full-time, I know (cheesy) that nothing will beat that day when I finish my academic career with my family members beside me all proud of the adult that I have become. And who knows I might have a bit of fun along the way.

Xxx