Exam season

Hello sweet peas,

January is literally the worst month in the calendar. The festive season has left us for another year and most of us are feeling blue. The Christmas tree is down, the winter break is over as people return to work and school and for most students like myself, January exams are here.

Luckily I only have two exams (and one piece of coursework) but it is still a stressful time for me because I am aiming for high grades. My first exam on Tuesday is on European Integration, as part of a European Studies module and my second one, next wee, is on Italian history and politics since 1945. Although my degree is a languages degree, I also have to study the cultural and historical aspects of Spain and Italy as well as a more in-depth political knowledge of Europe. I really enjoy my course, it is so interesting and thought-provoking but bloody hard also.

Anyway back to exams; everyone has their own way of revising when it comes to exams. I have to work very hard, ensuring I have plenty of time to learn the content (and factor in procrastination as well) to do well. I am all about mind-maps, flash cards and practise essays to train myself into exam mode. I wouldn’t say I got nervous about the day of the exam, only nervous that I wouldn’t do very well. Since living with others, therefore, talking about revision techniques, I have realised that everyone is completely different. One friend revises better under pressure so won’t start until a couple days before whereas another will work solidly from dawn to dusk cramming everything she can. I can’t approve or disapprove of these types of revision but I do know neither would work best for me. This week I have been revising in a numerous of places including a local cafe, the university library and home. I work well with background noise and home can get very quiet with the others revising also.  We’ve been lucky that no one has been too stressed, the three of us have been getting on really well.

My only problem this year is that I am feeling very relaxed, and I mean too relaxed. I’m not stressed one bit and I usually work well with stress. Admittedly there are points where I overreact and sure, I probably was being a massive stress ball but I’m not even phased by this exam on Tuesday. Yes, I’d say I was ready but not completely to get an outstanding mark. In 2016, I really wanted to knuckle down and do well in my Year 2 exams because it is worth 24% of my overall degree. I don’t know whether being this calm is right but I have two more days to work my ass off. I’ll be fine, I’m sure, perhaps.

Do any of you guys have exams? If so, good luck!!!!

Keep smiling,

Love Poppy x

Told by Poppy: 1st birthday

Hello sweet peas,

Can you believe this is the 1st birthday of my little blog? This time, last year I began Told by Poppy and so far, it has gone really well. My writing style has definitely altered over time but I hope I have kept a consistent feed of interesting and entertaining blog posts. I have several big posts of travel and university life coming up in the next couple of months, and I am looking forward to sharing them with you. My New Years Resolution is to be more structured and organised so hopefully, this will reflect in my blog also. In order to celebrate the BIG DAY, I thought I’d look back on some of my favourite posts throughout the year.

Copenhagen

This time nearly last year, my friend Laura and I jetted off to Copenhagen for a cheap city break and we got up to plenty of mischief. It is MAD to think that it has been a whole year but what a great way to start 2015.

Six key challenge

Living in halls made my university experience. Every day was a laugh unless the joke was on you…

Post party wakeup 

Reading back on this has made me realise what a boring Second Year I am. Last year we went out 3-4 nights a week and it was always hectic. This doesn’t mean I’m not having fun, it is just a completely different uni experience.

Why I am voting

This is only a small post but I still think it is very poignant as a young woman.

Goodbye First Year

Reading back on this is making me all nostalgic. I loved my first year of university and couldn’t have asked for a better one.

Day 3: Ait Ben Haddou

This was the official beginning of the two-week road trip Jordan and I went on. This small remote village in between Marrakesh and Fez was a wonder and the journey across the Atlas Mountains was incredible.

Day 8: Volubilis/Chefchaouen

This was such a fun day, I still remember it so clearly. Also, the photos Jordan took of Volubililis are beauuuuuutiful so please go check it out!

Morocco: what you need to know

This post is a reflection post with facts, advice and my opinions of wonderful Morocco. Very useful if you plan to visit the country.

London- my second home

Like the title tells, I LOVE LONDON. This post tells you my favourite things to do in my favourite city.

20

I have now lived for 20 years and so I thought I’d shared what is going on in my head with you.

Well there you go, I hope you enjoy reading some of my favourite posts of 2015. I look forward writing for you this year as well.

Keep smiling,

Love Poppy x

Semester 1

Hello sweet peas,

First semester is finally over as the Christmas break is upon us and it’s been great so far. There have been many fun spontaneous nights out, lots of deadlines due and the transition of first and second year is drastic. Everyone seems so much more focused but also keen to go out and do things. The workload is increasingly heavier than before but I like having more work in order to organise my time. I am the sort of person who, given all the time in the world still would never complete anything fully. I need to have structure, deadlines or some form of timetable to guide my day otherwise Netflix in bed sounds about right to me.

I am really enjoying Second Year for completely different reasons than the previous year. Last year was new friends, new independence and a new city whereas this year is hard work, new home and plenty of wine. I have definitely grown up a lot since summer and it has made such a difference to my attitude towards work and life in general. I feel that I am in such a good place at the moment in terms of how my course is going, my university experience and how things are going with my fab friends and wonderful boyfriend.

I have seen quite a few home friends at Bath which has been lovely; I love integrating both home and uni life. It has made me realise that these four years are a taste of real adult life. We have run  out of loo roll, maybe I should buy some more instead of using kitchen roll? I would really like to meet up with ‘insert name’, I should call them and arrange a date. Wait how much is that scented candle? Maybe I should save that money and spend it on something more useful like loo roll… It is never ending personal organisation but it is something as a teenager I avoided/never appreciated aka BIG SHOUT OUT TO MUM AND DAD FOR EVERYTHING.

So what does second semester hold? January exams, more deadlines and summer exams, isn’t that just the best?! No seriously, there is way more to life than exam stress I know, but I do take part in the annual freak out ‘i am going to fail oh my goodness it is all wrong’ and afterwards I return to the happy Poppy I really am. It’s like exams bring out the Hyde of my Jekyll, I’ll try not to go super psycho but no promises can be made. On a brighter note, I am looking forward to second semester in terms of travelling opportunities. I am off to Budapest in January post exams with the uni ladies and in Easter, I am being whisked off to Estonia for a week by my incredible boyfriend as a birthday treat so watch out for more Eastern European blog posts in the new year. As well as travelling, I am planning on making more time for the city of Bath. I love it, absolutely love it and need to explore the place some more. Second semester will hopefully be filled with many nights at the library and in the city centre- the balance of work and play.

However for the moment, I am going to just relax and enjoy Christmas, look out for my Christmassy blog posts later this week!

Keep smiling,

Love Poppy x

 

20

Hello sweet peas,

It is official, I am no longer a teenager. I turned 20 last week and I love it. Most years you get another year older and not a lot changes unless you reach a milestone year like 18. But this year, I already feel like I have matured, gained knowledge only adults know and have given myself personal responsibilities that 19 year me would have simply disregarded. I feel so motivated and so anxious to learn, travel and influence others. I am more focussed on my studies, more conscious about making an effort with family and friends and mostly putting myself first.

Growing up is hard. Probably the hardest thing a person goes through is their teenage years. Your parents don’t understand you, and let’s be honest you don’t understand yourself either. You float in between different friendship groups, have unique and individual experiences that completely affect your perspective on life and still are expected to pass your exams with flying colours. It is the most intense years of your life; school becomes the central hub of your existence. The gossip, flirting, social agenda, aspirations and failure are all part of your school experience and in all honesty there isn’t much you control apart from waking up in the morning. I was very lucky throughout education. I loved school, starting as an eager 5 year old determined to show my teachers I was the best even when I wasn’t. This continued into secondary school where my ego was slightly bruised as I became a small fish in a very big pond. However I enjoyed every day of the five academic years, surrounded by friends, sports and subjects. School was a social experience for me. I never missed a day if I could try because I knew it would be full of laughter, passing notes in class, sharing lunches and hopefully no disappointed glares from teachers. However I was quietly competitive in class and in sports but overall I was a team player, and this definitely comes down to how I was brought up. Looking back on all this, I really enjoyed my teenage years despite the broken hearts and tears on irrelevant crushes and the bitchy comments from gobby girl gangs.

But now that I am 20, everything is different. I am planning ahead but not leaving anyone behind. I think I can honestly say that for the first time, I have my head screwed on. I want to be successful, to achieve as much as I can whilst enjoying life therefore a balance is needed now more than ever. I am one semester away from being halfway into my degree and in these next 2 and a half years, I want to make the most of what the university offers me. I need to start saying YES. This will be my New Years Resolution: to say yes. Yes to an all nighter at the library, yes to a walk in the park, yes to watching a French film on Japanese cooking, yes to everything in the hope I’ll learn something new about the world or about myself. I want to make my family, my friends and everyone else I know proud, to make a difference sounds cliche but everyone secrety wants to. I have the next 10 years to make the most of because let’s be honest, past 30 you are old and I want to never want to be old.

Keep smiling,

Love Poppy x

 

Tea time

Hello sweet peas,

A common myth about the majority of university students is that we live off pot noodles, ready meals and toast. I am proud to say I have only had one of the three since being at university and that was for breakfast. I thought I’d do a short blog post giving you a glimpse of my average weekly dinners- if you want the recipes, comment below! I am not a culinary professional however I do enjoy cooking therefore try to have different meals every evening depending on what’s left in the fridge. Of course being a student means doing my own food shop once every two to three weeks learning the value of money and testing my common sense of planning ahead and not just what I would like for dinner tomorrow. Also living in a house of three, we tend to have joint dinners and take it in turns to cook which is handy.

The majority of my meals involve lots of vegetables and occasionally meat if I remember to defrost it- this is something I have not got the hang of yet: thinking about dinner before it is dinner time. Sometimes, to avoid the stress of work, I cook a large meal such as a tuna pasta bake for four people ideally to last me a couple of meals, a home made ready meal, ready to be eaten whenever you are hungry!

  • Monday: Chorizo, pepper, onion and courgette spaghetti.
  • Tuesday: Thai green curry.
  • Wednesday: Chicken Kiev and smiley potato faces.
  • Thursday: Tomato soup.
  • Friday: Fish finger sandwich.
  • Saturday: Chinese vegetable stirfry.
  • Sunday: Salmon Teriyaki with peppers, courgette and spinach.

The only real problem I have is making sure vegetables don’t go out of date. It is such a shame to waste good produce so I always try to plan ahead which vegetables need eating and make larger portions in order to reduce waste. I also don’t feel bad for having a large portion of salad or vegetables because it is still very healthy and bulks out my meals more. Since being vegan and pescetarian last February-May I have found myself using vegetables to replace carbohydrates such as noodles in stir frys and pasta with meat. Of course there have been evenings when it was easier to throw a fish cake and some potato wedges into an oven for half an hour instead of cooking, but I do like to cook and to have a colourful plate of food. 

As a student, what do you eat for dinner?

Keep smiling,

Love Poppy x

Second Year

Hello sweet peas,

Hasn’t 2015 just flown by? I have already finished my first year at the University of Bath and now onto my second year- it’s just mad. This summer I have been so excited to return to uni to see all my friends, start the new academic course and live in our brand new house off campus. It will definitely be a new experience and I’m sure it will be full of fun and mischievousness. I am living in a sweet three bed house on a mainly student estate behind the city centre with two other girls whom I lived with last year in halls.

It’s all very exciting doing grown up things like bills, applying for recycling bins etc. To any adult reading this, you must think I am ridiculous, but it is all new for me. Yesterday we tried to turn our heating on but we couldn’t work it out- aka cold forever but low bills. Slowly but surely we have managed to sort out all household essentials like wifi, TV and a kitchen bin. A necessary trip to Ikea for their infamous meatballs, and house accessories was of course due and now our house is pillows, throws and kitchen appliances galore. This is the problem with the Student Loan: you feel so rich when it first enters your bank account that by November, you are budgeted to £85 for three weeks- eek!

The transition from 1st to 2nd year is more significant than I previously thought. Even though in 1st year you feel like you have got complete independence, you still are looked after by the University whilst living on campus. Second Year is completely new kind of independence and it is scary to say the least. But it has been over three months and no fires or other hazards have occured apart from my wardrobe door falling off on the 3rd day. Henceforth, I think I am doing okay.

The work load has definitely increased this year but the real difference is that I am enjoying work more and actually like spending time reading around the subject. I am going out less for sure but the nights out are more spontaneous and overall more fun in Second Year. Halloween was great and I also saw Bonobo and Mount Kimbie in Bristol with a friend, definitely loving life. Everyone always says Second Year is better than First, and I’m undecided yet if it is. Whatever I think, I defintely now know who my long life friends are and hope that Second Year doesn’t as fast as the year before.

Motion, in Bristol with home gal pal Matilda.    Pop art Halloween costume.

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Scary pumpkin, half wolf/half woman and skeleton house.

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Creepy doll face paint, which I did when I was heavily intoxicated (oops).

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Emily’s glittery 21st birthday.

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Remember to keep an eye out on future blog posts about university life, work and advice. I am having an absolute ball.

Keep smiling,

Love Poppy x

Good bye first year

Hello sweet peas,

I cannot believe it. I have finished my first year at University. It has been a whirlwind of fun, stress, independence and new friends. University had always been part of my life plan. I want to achieve a good degree in two languages that I love, with the hope of finding work and a new life in a different country. However I still have three years of my degree to complete so at the moment, it is just wishful thinking. Finishing first year has made me realise life is short and I need to make the most of it. Meeting and living with new people from across the country and further afield has influenced my own ideas and opinions, and overall I think I have matured a lot. I can honestly say it is the people who I lived with in Y1 who have shaped my first year into a great experience. I have been so lucky with where I was placed and couldn’t have asked for a better flat.

About Y1: Originally 18 people with one quiet girl dropping out after Christmas. The rest of us are loud, lively and big personalities. Luckily we all kind of clicked with only minor clashes throughout the year. I lived on the second floor in number 3 and had the best two neighbours Mike and Laura. Mike listens to Eminem and 50 Cent very loudly and randomly screams in his room. Over the year I realised that he is a massive softy and we scarily have similar personalities. We had one massive argument fuelled by alcohol and confusion but it happened and then it was over with- no harm done. My other neighbour Laura had the squeakiest door in the building and if I wasn’t in my room, there was a 99% chance, I was in hers. We just clicked as people, and I’d say I’ve found a friend for life.

The girls (plus Maddie, our adopted member of Y1), are all stars. Coffee trips, gals nights out and Monday night Made In Chelsea were just some of the things we did together. I am still surprised by the lack of bitching which is bonus, I think we are all level headed and good friends. Beanie (www.blogofbeanie.co.uk) is a baking goddess, both honest and kind. Anna is the queen of sass and always laughing. Becca is such a hard worker and always reliable for a good gossip. Fern is just gorgeous, with a great smile and a good cuddler. Emily is wild on the dance floor but also a very strong person. Laura is just great, slightly ditsy and stunning whilst Maddie is so thoughtful and a very rounded person. I think they are a great bunch. The boys are just as great adding humour, fun and chaos to the house. There was never a dull moment in Y1 and I am so grateful for it.

We had a birthday rota with a £2 contribution per birthday. It was a great idea in the sense that everyone got involved and it was usually followed by a birthday takeaway or meal and a night out.  There were times where it was expensive and hectic in order to collect money and buy presents in between lectures for three birthdays in one week but it was always a success. This is just one of the small things our flat did which I think was pretty sweet because it made us more of a family and made first year more enjoyable.

My expectations of university were exceeded as a fresher. I have done so much this year with my house, course friends, lacrosse team and others, that I have never had a moment bored. From drinking Pimms by the lake on a warm day to early morning travelling to lacrosse tournaments across the South West, I think I have really made the most of my first year. The nights out have always been full of mischief and fun. Also using the pool and other gym facilities has been great as well. There is nothing better than a clear blue sky day walking down into the city of Bath, grabbing a coffee at Jacobs Coffee House (I would so so so recommend!) and doing a bit of shopping in the centre.

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But I’m all packed up and back at home now, ready to start my summer. Glastonbury is only a week away and I am totally unprepared. All I can say for anyone who is undecided whether or not to go to university is that it is a chance to work out who you are and gives you so many opportunities to develop as a person.

Keep smiling,

Love Poppy x

yay

Guess who’s back?

Hello sweet peas,

First and foremost, I owe you all a very large apology for my blogging absence. The stress of exams and the fun after that has kept me sidetracked from my little blog but I am back for good now. I am going to update you on what has been happening in my life including exams, the end of my first year at uni and the beginning of summer. 2015 has been great so far but who could imagine we are already 6 months into this year? Time really does fly when you’re having fun, and I can honestly say my face has never stop smiling.

Exams have been been tough this year. A new system, new information and new expectations has put a lot of pressure on myself and having 5 exams in the space on a week certainly wasn’t pleasant. Apart from one horrific exam, I think I have done reasonably well (fingers crossed!) however only time will tell. I really do not want to visit Bath in August to do resits, that is not part of my big summer plans. With exams comes the looming end of first year. Once everyone had finished exams, of course celebrations were in order having three big nights out as a flat and Summer Ball on the Saturday as a final farewell. Summer Ball was great, with live music from Radio 1 DJs and Years and Years as well as a fairground, different bars and tents with yummy foods and reasonably priced alcohol. Everyone really made an effort and all looked fabulous. I have never laughed so much in those final 4 days than the whole of the year reminiscing the funny, awkward and other drunk moments that have characterised first year. Yes someone in my flat did shit in a bowl, and yes one guy got so drunk during freshers he didn’t make it out and oh yeah that night with all the lunges (don’t ask). It has been hectic and stressful to say the least, with tears of happiness and sadness but it is what’s to be expected because we became a family.

It was very sad to pack up my small room finding random items of clothing and fancy dress I didn’t know I had all year. Watching the house slowly empty over the remaining days and 17 becoming 0. I don’t think I could have been given a better flat because we all got on like a house on fire (and luckily the extinguisher wasn’t actually used). It has only sunk in, now that I am home, that I won’t see the majority of Y1 for four months until we return to Bath because we live all across the UK and further. Also we all have very busy summer plans however I aim to meet up with all the girls, especially Laura in N.Ireland. Luckily Fern only lives in London and Becca lives near my cousins so they are possibilities. Its just one of those ‘wait and see’ things but my fingers are crossed.

Saying goodbye to Bath means saying hello to Summer. I have quite an exciting summer planned including all my favourite people. I am going to Glastonbury Festival for the second time this June which will be brill. The line up sounds awesome and the people I am going with are super fun, I just hope the weather is good. After the festival, Jordan and I are going on a road trip around Morocco in July. I can’t explain how excited I am to spend two weeks in a beautiful country with my best friend exploring Morocco and what it has to offer. We planned our route, booking some hostels and hotels, but are saving the rest for when we are there. When we’re out there, I plan to do a daily blog of our travels to keep you all updated. My dream is to become a travel blogger so this is the beginning of something new. After Morocco, I am also visiting Cyprus for a week with my family in late August and Portugal in early September with the Y1 Bath girls for a big reunion, it is all so fantastic. In between my travels, I am working in evenings and just meeting up with friends and going on small day trips. I do not want this summer to end.

What are your plans for the summer? Off anywhere exotic or are you working hard during the hot months to fund something later? I am glad to be back.

Keep smiling,

Love Poppy x

Why I am voting

Hello sweet peas, 

Sorry for the lack of blogging recently. I am currently in revision mode, with my first exam starting next week. I haven’t reached panic mode yet but soon I will be so I thought I would quickly write about why I am voting today. 

  • I AM VOTING BECAUSE I live in a democratic country so by voting, I am exercising one of my fundamental basic rights.
  • I AM VOTING BECAUSE women have fought, starved and died to gain universal suffrage therefore as a young woman, I should vote not only to influence politics but also out of respect for the Suffragettes.
  • I AM VOTING BECAUSE there is still a large proportion of women in the world who can’t vote even though it is the 21st century. I may not directly affect these other women but it stands as a symbol to all governments of the importance of equal voting rights. 
  • I AM VOTING BECAUSE as a student, being politically involved will shape my future after university. Also young people are attacked for being politically inactive by media so I am proving that I am not the generalisation they verbally abuse in newspapers.
  • I AM VOTING BECAUSE it is not difficult to do. Either pop into your polling station, apply for a postal vote or get someone else to vote for you if you suffer from disabilities etc. Personally there is no excuse for laziness to not vote.
  • I AM VOTING BECAUSE whatever the result is, I can then praise, argue or complain about the government. Those who do not exercise their vote and still complain are the biggest dichotomy within society.
  • I AM VOTING BECAUSE British politics is very interesting and volatile at the moment with the rise of UKIP as a serious contender, last year’s Scottish Referendum and the issues of the current coalition government.
  • I AM VOTING BECAUSE why not? Although you may think your vote won’t dramatically impact the result, if everyone thinks that and doesn’t vote then nothing will happen. But those who vote anyway, tactical or not still have an impact nationally. 

For all those in the UK today, please go out and vote in this general election! And for all my international bloggers, keep this in mind when your elections come up because you know what to do.

Keep smiling, 

Love Poppy x

What is in my bag?

Hello sweet peas,

I am not the most organised, on-time or together person in world and being at university means that can be a big problem. In order to be prepared for any lecture or seminar, I have my trusty black bag which was not only a charity shop bargain but also one of my favourite bags now. I thought I would give you an idea of what is usually in my bag; although most days I have left it in my room and just grab a notepad and pen as I rush out the door. However for days when I am ready to go and not in a fluster, this is what is in my bag:

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  • A thick pad of lined paper which is perfect for me as I press heavily onto paper whilst writing. If you flicked through it there are seminar notes, reminders and other scribbles which are appropriately filed at the end of most days. Being a language student, I am constantly learning new grammar and vocabulary so there are random translations throughout the pad.
  • Pens. So many pens. Black pens to write with. Blue pens to write with. Coloured pens to underline important information and to brighten up the page. Highlighters to highlight if it is too important for just a coloured pen. I try to stick to colour themes but that doesn’t usually happen and anyway, rainbow work is much more appealing to revise from. As it nears to the exam period, I panic immensely including the fate of a pen. Could you imagine if all five pens you brought to an exam ran out? I would honestly class that as a real life nightmare therefore my bag is pen central.
  • My laptop/iPad for lectures. I find it a lot easier and quicker to type whilst the lecturer speaks. Usually their words are gold dust and I need to catch every word they say (manic student alert!). Also after a two hour lecture, my hand will ache and my scribbles with multiple arrows and asterisks are illegible. It is easier to work out what you have typed incorrectly with spell check instead of wasting time working out if that is an ‘a’ or an ‘e’. Even more so handy is the fact that Google Docs automatically adds accents to words if needed, absolute lifesaver. Moreover if the lecturer mentions something you are unsure on, a quick Google search can clear a lot up instead of writing mysterious and confusing nonsense. Having access to the internet is also handy, especially during one particular lecture that does not float my boat, because I can check social media, generically tweet about ‘how bored I am’ or do other things like blogging/shopping whilst still attending and keeping up my good student presence.
  • My phone, purse and other basic necessities can always be found in my bag in case of any sudden change of plan. A spontaneous coffee after the 4:15pm Italian seminar needs money. A wander into town at lunch needs sunglasses, a top up of lipstick and also money for more coffee. Sudden plans for Happy Hour at the SU after the 2 hour Spanish politics lecture on a Friday needs ID, money and probably some chewing gum because dinner can wait. 

A small disclaimer: this may sound like I have lots of money to spend on fun things but I really don’t and instead end up not eating for the rest of the week in order to have a bit of fun. Just swings and roundabouts really oops!

  • Carrying around textbooks can be a nuisance especially the more heavier ones
    however they are important and rather useful if you hadn’t realised. I must add that I rarely have textbooks in my bag because I usually leave them on my desk from previous work and forget to pick them back in my bag… Kind of irrelevant for this post but we can get over that.

Keep smiling,

Love Poppy x