My University Stationary Stash

Going back to university is always a little bittersweet for all the the stationary addicts, the excitement of being able to buy stationary and not feeling guilty about it but the looming fear of essays, exams and lectures begins.

I love stationary and I am constantly thinking of what to add to my little collection, I never have a colour collection in mind, I just love something that stands out and speaks to me. Most of my friends and family know that stationary is my guilty pleasure and as such my birthday presents were mostly stationary giving me a whole new stash of stationary to show off.

1- My AMAZING Wonder Woman mug

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My flatmates and best friends know me too well and know how much I love Wonder Woman and how I don’t have anywhere to put all my new pens and pencils for university. They also know I recently got the new Wonder Woman Funko and as such I received the Funko Wonder Woman mug and I am in love. It now houses all my pens and takes pride of place next to my Funko and book I got from them for christmas.

2- My beautiful Swarovski pens

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For my birthday I got given the rose gold Swarovski pen from my boyfriend (following the list I gave him) since my birthday it has gained me many compliments at university lectures and classes. Not soon after my work colleague and close friend give me the limited edition Elsa Swarovski pen for my birthday which combined my two loves, sparkles and Frozen. Both are my new go-to’s for lectures and studying as I honestly love them so much.

3- My week planner

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This is something I genuinely couldn’t live without now, with two jobs currently and university (and personal time) to juggle, this is my go to book for when anyone asks if I’m available, I also use it to plan out my meals and my work outs. I genuinely am addicted to planning, I love having everything planned out and prepared and so I honestly live off this little booklet.

4- My inspirational quote folders

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These are probably not completely necessary for university but they are so cute and colourful, plus when I cannot be bothered doing university work, it really boosts my morale. I also hate that most university rooms are grey and boring and dull so I try to bring a little colour with me to every class.

Slight self-indulgence here

5- Colouring books and pencils

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This honestly de-stresses me so much, especially because the ones I have I love, the Star Wars and Superhero colouring books honestly let me calm down and just enjoy my own space. This is something that I now prioritise for myself as I can often get very stressed about little things if I don’t get time to myself each week. I love doing creative things to take me away and just let me go to my own little place.

University always gives everyone a reason to shop for stationary whether this is exciting or exhausting for students. I have an addiction to TK Maxx stationary section with Sainsbury’s and Paperchase coming close behind.

Don’t be such a drag

RuPaul’s Drag Race put drag in the spotlight for me back in 2009 as a group of drag queens fiercely battle to win the coveted crown of the next drag superstar and the approval from the queen of queens, RuPaul.Rupaul_blackpink_final

Through the years I have had my ups and downs with the show, but my love of drag artists has never changed. The show introduced me to some amazingly talented artists, who struggled with their sexuality, their art and being accepted into their community. My love of queens such as Raja, Jujubee, Adore Delano, Violet Chachki, Kim Chi and Tatiana has proven my love of fashion forward queens with deep insecurities and difficult past stories. Adore Delano has always spoken to me as a fan, the spirit she has shown through believing in herself and the fans she has won herself through her talent and loveable nature. If you don’t fall in love after hearing her voice, the punk and rocker attitude and style will win you over.AdoreDelano_3_pc_MagnusHastings-720x926

Since watching the show I have gotten increasingly worried about the “rules” of the show, or lack of. On most of these types of shows you will see the host get involved in situations of bullying or isolation. In two or three cases there has been serious situations of bullying that has been blatantly ignored, as an audience member the Phi Phi O’hara and Sharon Needles, “go back to party city” episode was excruciating to watch. The whole Roxxxy Andrews and Jinkx Monsoon relationship put a total dampener on that season for me, making it an awkward and difficult season to enjoy. A lot of the girls explain how they were bullied for being gay or drag queens or transgendered, however when it is queens bullying one another, nothing is said.tumblr_nub9yixnG91u0f3q8o1_500

I do love RuPaul’s Drag Race for so many other reasons though; it has helped to shine a light on so many challenging situations that are affecting the LGBTQ community. The drag makeover episode every season always chooses to makeover those within the community who have fought against adversity, whether it is older gay men who were there for the first pride parade, or armed forces members who have had to come out in a ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ job. To add to this in season one fan favourite Ongina admitted she was HIV+, which caused so many who were HIV+ in the community to feel more comfortable and gave them a voice. Since then multiple queens have come out as transgender with a fan base to support them throughout their transition.2DE057D200000578-3293530-image-a-11_1446043517016

The American programme has introduced me to so many queens I admire in the UK, a main one being Ellis Atlantis, with a killer contour, wigs styled to the heavens and outfits that make your soul leave your body. This is a queen that knows how to work a makeup brush, she is a talented and beautiful queen who I admire and I know if there was a UK version of RuPaul Drag Race she would be one to watch.14192801_10154323716898280_663604018486994948_n

The Edinburgh Fringe… Done Wrong

Sitting in a luggage rack in first class is not as glamorous as people might have you believe. Getting odd looks from each person getting on the train became almost a badge of uncomfortable honour. However, I was off to see Lucie (from Tetris and Cheesecakes) so from the moment I had woken up I knew my day wouldn’t be a dull one.

Getting to Edinburgh I somehow always get a little lost at the train station, so luckily Lucie agreed to meet me right outside my train gates. Finding her is always easy with how bright her hair is, this time blue, last time pink. My day went from odd to odder the moment I found Lucie.

Walking out of the train station and into Edinburgh it was obvious the fringe was in full swing with packed streets and flyers being thrust my way from every angle. As someone who isn’t really a fan of big crowds we both decided that lunch was the next job of the day. Walking backstreets to avoid the hustle and bustle was an absolute must, however my guide was somewhat useless with directions and almost was ran over a fair few times.

Heading through the backstreets, I spotted Space N.K and begged Lucie to go in which she happily obliged and watching Lucie walk around, known by the manager on a personal level, and pick up and buy each and every pink lipstick she could find and some amazing coloured eyeliner. I found myself falling in love with a beautiful gold eyeshadow from NARS’ new line this summer and a Laura Mercier Pink Highlight/Illuminator. I had decided to leave both however Lucie (being the best person ever) bought me the eyeshadow as part of her bundle and talked me into the highlight-which I will do a makeup look and review on soon.

Finally we made it to Badger & Co. and I must say I was extremely pleased with our lunch, getting the worlds cutest cocktails, and some gorgeous food I was content with my fringe experience- having not actually seen anything yet.

We chose to head over to udderbelly to find something worth seeing, however nothing in udderbelly intrigued us enough, we soon found a free event close-by however almost got lost thanks to Lucie again headed to Quiz In My Pants. This was a comedy panel show with different comedians each night and a cute as a button host.

All of a sudden the host tells us that they were looking for audience participation and everyone sighs however a young man called Tom was picked and myself and Lucie took a sigh of relief. With each comedian having their own obvious style and being given a space of time to show this was enjoyable, Dan Simpson a poet comedian, Katharine Ferns with her quick witted Canadian comedy and Robin Boot a musical comedian who brought some hilarious pun comedy and dirty jokes. It was a friendly and enjoyable atmosphere with audience participation making it that bit more fun and with the audience winning in the end it kept my competitive side happy too.

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The day was warm, fun and enjoyable, having only seen one fringe event I felt a little annoyed at myself however I was incredibly happy with the one I did see. I would honestly recommend anyone to go see it as it is free and I’m sure it is different every night with the constant changes to the line-up.

I enjoyed my day in Edinburgh so much, however, see the fringe in the best possible way, I did not. I tried my best but catching up with friends and having a slow and fun day out on a day off, I didn’t put pressure on myself to see everything, however I will hopefully catch more of it next year and make a few days of it.

Have you ever been to the fringe? Do you plan to go to the fringe in the future?

How To Enjoy First Year At University

Firstly, congrats to everyone on their results coming in and for getting into university/college or getting a job or taking a gap year. I know how horrible it is to wait for the email, text or envelope with your results is, but you got through it and you got through school so well done you! Now, to stress about university and whether you’ll enjoy it or if the classes will be too difficult. But I can hopefully help a little here as someone who has been through it all.

1. Don’t feel like you need to go to every freshers event

Freshers is fun, but it can be very tiring so don’t feel like you need to go to everything or drink till your blackout drunk. If that is what you want to do, then go do that and have fun but don’t feel forced to do it. Everyone has a different pace when it comes to nights out and drinking and if yours is slower or you don’t like drinking don’t push yourself, your flatmates and friends you make will understand that completely.

2. Join societies or teams

This is something I didn’t do but really wish I had, it is a really good way to meet people who enjoy the same things as you and to get better and learn more about something you already enjoy. Most universities have really good facilities for sports and aim to push people to get better at sports they already enjoy or try out something you’ve always wanted to try. Joining societies can get you involved more with people with similar and opposing views to really push your way of thinking.

3. Try to make your student room as homely as possible

This is something I failed to do in my first year, I ended up spending a lot of time in a room that to me, felt like a hotel more than my bedroom, this led to a lot of homesick nights and visits home which only made it worse going back to university. Make university your home and home your family’s house would be my main advice about moving into halls. However, if you feel more comfortable going home most weekends don’t feel like a failure or like your missing out on anything, as long as your still studying and all caught up on university classes, don’t feel like a failure.

4. Don’t feel like you need to be friends with your flatmates

This is something I see time and time again, and something I did too, trying to become best friends with people your going to live with for a year can be difficult. You will disagree with them on things and they will annoy you by not doing their dishes or being noisy the night before an exam, as their flatmate you can shout at them, as their friend it puts you in a difficult position. There are amazing ways you’ll meet your friends, most of mine are through other friends (my current flatmate and best friend), through my job (the amazing Jade over at Student Wandering), at lectures and classes (so many people) and blogging- they know who they are!

5. GO TO CLASSES

I know, I’m not your parents, but for goodness sake don’t miss classes for silly reasons, despite how much you’ll say you’ll catch up on it, you wont. I know 9am lectures aren’t fun for anyone, but you’ll never concentrate outside a lecture hall like you do inside it. Also, pick classes you’ll enjoy and have a genuine interest in, it’ll make you that bit more lively in classes and more open to debate and discussion.

6. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Yes, you are in first year. Yes, that is a huge achievement. Yes, we are all proud of you. But don’t take yourself too seriously because of that. Still allow yourself to have a laugh and enjoy your first year, its stressful at times and you will no doubt have late nights in the library, but don’t get too caught up in it all. Go have a laugh with your friends, invite your family up to that cool burger place that no-one has heard of, talk about stupid reality TV shows. No one expects you to completely change due to university and don’t force yourself to either.

Enjoy first year, have drinks, have laughs, make mistakes (but learn from them) and just try to have a great time at university. You will make some friends for life at university I can promise you that, it is so fun despite all the stressful times and horrible essay deadlines. But if you do it right and organise it correctly, it can be one of the best years of your life. Good luck to everyone going to university next month, I’m excited to meet all the University of Stirling first years.

 

The Problems With Being Overly-Organised

Since a very very young age, I have always known what I wanted to do and where I was going to end up in life, however, I’m now at a stage in my life where I have no idea what I want to do and where I’ll end up. This has caused a lot of problems for me as a total organisation and planning freak. After working all summer I have begun to realise how difficult life will be when I finish university if I have no clue what I want to do.

Being the total panic freak I am I decided to get my act together and order every postgraduate prospectus from all universities I had previously been interested in before choosing Stirling. Phoning both my mum and my boyfriend to tell them the good news and the realisation of how insane I was being kicked in, with both exclaiming “But you’ve got two years of university left to do?”.

But I had a five year plan set when I was seven, so to be 19 and have no clue what I’ll do in five years, is genuinely terrifying to me. I am continually planning and trying to think of what is next however, I don’t know if this is a positive thing. I have been finding it difficult to focus on the next thing at hand without thinking about what will be coming next.

Another reason this is a problem for me is that I plan peoples birthday presents well in advance, I am currently planning my boyfriends with his birthday six months away and so booking things can be difficult as it is so far in advance. It is the same with my own birthday, despite being only 19 I am planning my 21st birthday and totally ignoring my upcoming 20th next month.

I’ve started to try to make my organisation skills a little better with the upcoming semester at university; gaining a focus on my subjects will be a welcome change and hopefully will help me to gain the first at university that I am so desperate to gain.

Despite being extremely organised and planning constantly I feel that I am planning too far away and I hope that by focussing on things that are coming up sooner I will get better at managing time.

Being so organised can make it difficult for me to change plans, at work I will happily chop and change days that I am working, however I will then begin to panic about what I’ll do on my day off. However, as I am trying to overcome this, I am trying to do more impromptu and last minute things to get over this (almost debilitating) problem.

If anyone else has a similar problem, what do you do to overcome this? Have you found it a hindrance or a positive?

Two weeks in…

Recently I have felt myself go on a serious health kick- odd and unlike me- but very fun nonetheless. For every day of the last two weeks I have worked out for at least two hours and I have sincerely enjoyed my workouts and how I’ve been feeling after the workouts. Next day after my workouts have become increasingly sore, however.

Feel free to follow my work out updates and silliness on Snapchat: sophia_360

As I have previously stated, the best part of working out is buying new workout gear, however this can be very expensive if you are wanting to wear branded products and I am sadly a brand fiend, with a new found addiction to Nike.

I went to the Tillicoultry Outlet Centre for the first time, despite it being only a twenty minute car ride away, and I was thoroughly impressed with the stores on offer and the discount available at these stores. As I love a good shopping spree of course I went a little nuts but on this new health kick, it was hard to resist.

I treated myself to a whole new set of work out gear and I am very excited to use it all. I got some gorgeous purple and pink shorts with under armour and a comfortable band to fit perfectly on the waist- the original price being £32.00 but at the outlet store I got them for £11. I got some cute leggings too with the Nike tick on it in luminous white, which went from £16 to £11 and the comfiest women’s Free Run 5.0 TR Fit 5.0, with an original price of £90 and it was discounted multiple times and ended up being £22.50, which I was incredibly impressed with! I also found that these were still for sale on ASOS for full selling price. I also got a Stella Sport running top from the Adidas outlet store, from £28 to £19.50.

Since visiting the outlet centre I have done nothing but boast about the savings I made whilst I was there, I ended up getting everything for less than £65.

I have been doing home work outs using the SWORKIT apps, and a very unforgiving medicine ball but I genuinely adore my workouts now. Home workouts have helped boost my confidence so much and I have even started jogging- IN PUBLIC.

I cannot explain how much I love SWORKIT apps because you can work out at home with nothing but a mat to lay on, I use my medicine ball but purely to add to the workout-it is totally optional.

 

Why I am a feminist

I am going to talk the dreaded topic, feminism. This has always been a topic I have been very passionate about, seeing inequality in any form is something that disgusts me, racism, sexism or homophobia is an unacceptable and outdated form of ideology. Hearing comments that judge, disrespect or take advantage of a female makes me think one thing every time; “would you say that if she was a man?”

Using the “if she was a man” question makes you realise how horribly unfair and sexist people can be day to day, totally unaware that they are in fact being sexist. But is this something women can tackle currently? I am lucky enough to live in the UK a pretty progressive country, I am not victim to acid attacks like a huge number of women in India and Pakistan, I am not victim to kidnapping and forced marriages like young girls in China and I am not victim to losing my education because of my gender like so many young girls across the world. So does this mean I cannot complain about the sexism that I can be victim to in my country? NO it does not and I would honestly argue that anyone who says ‘at least you aren’t living in India where it is possible to be attacked by acid’ is somewhat condoning it.

These statements are slight threats in my opinion, almost a ‘well I am only threatening to judge you on your appearance, not throw acid at you’ this sort of belief system is damaging to not only women but society as a whole. If you do not see this as an attack on every woman then you are sorely wrong. A woman brought you into this world, a woman helped teach you, a woman will no doubt have helped if you have ever been to hospital (as a nurse, doctor, cleaner), with women making up 50% of the population, it is safe to assume that we should be able to have the same opportunities as men, be judged the same way as men and be punished the same as men.

You will be pushed to find an ACTUAL feminist who doesn’t believe that women should be punished the same as men for the same crimes. After a long scroll through a Facebook post about a female teacher sexually assaulting a male student, the outrage from feminists was obvious however many men reacted with ‘I wouldn’t complain’ or ‘man up, any real man would love that’ however an argument against feminism is always ‘if you want equality why wouldn’t it be called equalitism but this is for females only’. This argument is wrong and totally unfounded, misandrists are those who hate men, almost like misogynists but towards men. Funnily enough men don’t like misandrists just as women don’t like misogynists.

So, I ask that when you are going to say something, think first “would I say that if she were a man?” and if not, you are helping the problem. Try to be more positive towards yourself and others, a few words of positivity can brighten up someone else’s day, and knowing you’ve done that can really improve your mood too.