My Top 10 Albums Of All Time

Hello lovely people!

Now that I’ve discussed how broad my music taste is I thought I’d go a little deeper. As much as I love the personal approach to creating my own playlists I also love getting in artists’ heads. As a result I’m big on albums; I love seeing thematic progression, concept albums and development over the years. So I thought I’d choose my top 10 albums of all time, which may have been some of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made.

top 10 albums

1. Courteeners – St. Jude (2008)
What a debut. From the moment I heard it this album was on repeat, as it’s filled with quick and catchy songs that I can’t help but adore. The references to places in Manchester and Liam Fray’s unashamedly Northern vocals also mean the album feels homely for me, as it always brings me back to my North Western roots. More than anything I love this album because it reminds me of my friends, feels somewhat coming of age, and has big Truck Festival memories.

Top lyric – “Can you play the guitar my boy? Can you fuck” 

2. All Time Low – So Wrong, It’s Right (2008)
I am still bitter that I didn’t see this live when they played it in full last year, because this album truly means everything to me. It’s been in the background of every heartbreak, party, breakdown and celebration for the last 8 years, and for that I had to include it. Every song is the epitome of classic pop punk and I love that. Also, I have lyrics from Dear Maria, Count Me In inked on my arm forever (a song about a stripper, aka my favourite way to introduce my tattoo), so I guess it makes sense that I love it.

Top lyric – “Take a breath and let the rest come easy”

3. Enter Shikari – A Flash Flood of Colour (2012)
This had to be included for its lyrical content alone. From my own understanding the underlying theme of this album is that our society is being destroyed by the systems which govern it and it’s up to us to stand up to that. The mix of metal vocals and drum & bass is the perfect way to convey this – Shikari are angry and it’s very obvious. This album always fires me up and reminds me what I believe in.

Top lyric – “Fuck all borders and fuck all boundaries, fuck all flags and fuck nationalities” & “Money is made when bombs are dropping in Afghanistan, when white phosphorus falls in Palestine” (I just had to pick two)

4. Moose Blood – I’ll Keep You in Mind From Time to Time (2014)
Oh boy, here we go. I’ve touched on this before, but I’m going to be honest here. This album was what kept me alive in 2015, which sounds very dramatic, but it’s true. I went through a very dark time with my mental health and this album was on repeat throughout the whole thing, to the point where I really struggled to listen to it until this year. It has a very different meaning to me now, as I’ve recently bonded with a lot of people over the band and their music, but my initial connection still stands.

Top lyric – “Let me hold your hand, we can talk about our favourite bands and how nevermind still blows me away”

5. Twin Atlantic – The Great Divide (2015)
In the words of my friend Callum “every song is a banger”. This album has been a constant favourite for the last year especially, culminating in seeing the band live the day after I finished my exams. It’s a good old fashioned perfect rock album, with Twin’s personal Scottish twist.

Top lyric – “Music is my therapy, I could listen to it all night long”

6. We Are Scientists – With Love and Squalor (2005)
This is an album I first listened to in order to impress my ex-boyfriend, no shame. I’m so glad I did listen though, because I love every single track on this album. I think the songs perfectly represent the band’s fun (drunk) approach to life, and I love the heavier undertones that has been a little lost in their more recent albums. There’s some real crowd pleasers in there too, I don’t think I’ll ever tire of these songs live. I also associate a lot of them with the happier memories of that past relationship, which is always nice.

Top lyric – “I would really love to kiss you, but I guess I’m in no condition to”

7. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977)
3 words: Ultimate Breakup Album. It conveys perfectly every different side of falling in and out of love, along with some top quality musical style at the same time. Obviously you’ve got some really iconic songs on there too, that have been and will continue to be covered for many years to come. Also it reminds me of my college wife Oana so there’s the soppy meaning (ain’t never gonna stop loving you… biiiiiitch).

Top lyric – “Open your eyes and look at the day, you’ll see things in a different way”

8. Rent Original Broadway Cast Recording (1996)
I’ll admit that this doesn’t really count as a stand alone album, being that it’s essentially just the musical in CD form, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it. For the last year I’ve been absolutely obsessed with Rent, because I love everything from the characters to the way it portrays AIDS and it’s diversity. At the time of it’s release it was one of the first rock musicals, so the fact that Jonathan Larson took my favourite genre and incorporated it into broadway is probably the main reason I’m so into it.

Top lyric – “To faggots, lezzies, dykes, crossdressers too”

9. Alter Bridge – Fortress (2013)
Alter Bridge are arguably one of the most underrated bands in rock at the moment, and Fortress has to be my favourite of their pretty extensive back catalogue. It’s one of their heavier albums, and contains some of my favourite riffs of all time from the guitar God that is Mark Tremonti (Cry of Achilles, what an opener). I also love that we got vocals from Tremonti for the first time on Waters Rising, as he’s definitely shown through his solo stuff that he’s got a real talent there too.

Top lyric – “There’ll come a time you’ll look back and regret when it’s gone,
you’ll look back and regret when it’s gone”

10. My Chemical Romance – Welcome to the Black Parade (2006)
Absolute guilty pleasure and I’m not even afraid to admit it. Once you get past it being a complete emo classic, this is genuinely a very good concept album. That whole era of the band was really well designed and sustained, and of course you’ve got some classic songs to go along with it. And of course, it reminds me beautifully of being 14 and it “not being a phase” (I mean, it clearly wasn’t considering I’m still sat here 5 years later).

Top lyric – “And though you’re dead and gone, believe me your memory will carry on”

Now, I’m going to have to do an “honourable mentions” list too, because narrowing it down to just 10 was far too difficult. Most of these albums are oldies but goodies, stuff that doesn’t mean as much to me now but for a lot of my life really did.
AC/DC – The Razor’s Edge
Metallica – Ride The Lightning

Whitesnake – 1987
The Wombats – Proudly Present… A Guide to Love, Loss and Deperation
Stromae – Racine Caree
Guns n Roses – Appetite for Destruction
Halestorm – Halestorm
Panic! At The Disco – Death of a Bachelor 

This may have been the hardest post to write so far, but has sparked quite the debate in my house, so that’s made us not die of boredom today. I’m tempted to get the housemates in on a post soon, so let me know if you’ve got any ideas for that!

Obviously my comment question of the day is what’s your favourite album?

-Megan, listening to Larkin Poe (who aren’t even on this list, but they’re a sick Southern rock duo)

 

 

 

 

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Travelling Alone For the First Time: Frightening or Exhilarating?

Hello lovely people,

After making the decision to travel alone to Milan I had a mixed response from my family and friends. Some thought I was insane for undertaking a week of loneliness and danger, others thought it was a great choice to explore a new place exactly how I would want to. Regardless of what people thought though it felt like the right decision. I’m a pretty seasoned traveller at this point, and I don’t want to restrict myself from seeing new places just because I don’t have anyone to travel with at that point in time. So, here’s how I feel after my first trip alone.

travelling alone

My journey to Milan was, quite frankly, a bit of a trek. I had to take a 2.5 hour train to Manchester Airport, go through the airport experience on my own for the first time, fly to Bergamo, take a 1 hour bus to Milano Centrale, and take the metro to my hostel. It was time-consuming, but I can’t say I found anything too difficult. It’s really not that different to being in a group, you’ve just got to have more awareness of your surroundings. My main tip for this part is to account for the possibility of things going wrong, because when there’s only one brain working solving problems can be more difficult. My train to the airport was cancelled whilst I was on it (love our fully functional privatised rail network), but I was able to get on another one and still had time for a drink in the airport because I’d accounted to have spare time.

I opted to stay in an 8 bed mixed dorm at Meininger Milano Lambrate for a number of reasons pertaining to being a solo female traveller. I know and trust the brand, so I had the peace of mind of going to somewhere I knew would be safe. This particular hostel was located across the road from a train station too, so it meant I never had to walk too far at night. Staying a dorm was a new and interesting experience. I didn’t feel unsafe or uncomfortable at all, as most of the other people in my room were young solo travellers too. I even got chatting to a few of them, shoutout to the linguists from Oxford who quizzed me on my degree a bit too much for it to be normal. I obviously kept my belongings padlocked away at all times to make sure nothing was stolen or lost.

Being able to do exactly what you want whenever you want is such a liberating way to travel. I’ve travelled in a big group before, and whilst it’s obviously so much fun to hang out with your friends, it’s also enjoyable to be completely on your own agenda. I was able to go to museums that my friends perhaps wouldn’t have enjoyed, and didn’t feel like I was ever letting anyone down by things like getting up earlier or later on a certain day. I was also a big fan of sitting on benches or in cafes and watching the world go by for far too long, something I doubt other people would tolerate!

Eating and drinking surprised me as being one of the hardest things. I didn’t eat out very much as I felt the social stigma of being in a restaurant alone and I have a bit of anxiety surrounding ordering food (sounds ridiculous because it is). I also didn’t like that I couldn’t drink as much as I usually would on trips, because I definitely didn’t want to be even slightly drunk whilst alone. I did save money as a result of this though, so it wasn’t all a loss.

Now for the important bit – safety. I don’t think I once felt at risk. Obviously Italy is a very safe country, but it’s still dangerous to be alone anywhere at certain times of day or in certain places. I was catcalled a little bit here and there, but the sad fact is that I almost expect that now when I’m in a big city, regardless of if I’m alone or with female friends; #whyimafeminist. To stay safe I just took the normal precautions you would expect – not being out late at night, not having valuables on show, not walking around with earphones in and not giving away personal information. It can be more dangerous to travel as a woman alone inevitably, but I think as long as you take suitable measures to protect yourself you shouldn’t let it stop you.

I actually thought I would be a lot more lonely than I ended up being, as in the end I really enjoyed my own company. I was still in contact with friends and family back home as well which helped, but I was mostly distracted by all the culture and exploring so I never really got lonely. I also chatted to a lot of people in my hostel. I spent most of my evenings chilling in the communal areas, and got chatting to travellers about where they’d been and where they were headed – my favourite kinds of conversations. If I had spoken Italian I’d probably have spoken to more people when I was in the city, so perhaps socialising would’ve been more likely if I had been somewhere I spoke the language.

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Look at me with all my pigeon friends

So if I were to sum it up – travelling alone was the best thing I’ve ever done. I learned a lot about myself and how I cope with things, as well as growing in confidence even after such a short length of time away. It really was the best bit of relaxation before university and spending almost all my time with other people. Have you ever travelled alone? Would you, or would it worry you too much?

-Megan, listening to Brave New World by Iron Maiden (I rediscovered this album today and remembered how much I love it)

Milano, Italy; The Ultimate Travel Guide

Hello lovely people,

Milano is considered the fashion capital of Europe to many, but I think it’s Italy’s best kept secret when it comes to backpacking. Situated in the Northern Lombardy region it is a vibrant and thriving city, with everything from urban neighbourhoods to Italy’s largest church. Whether it’s relaxing with an aperativo or taking a ride to the nearby Lake Como, Milano has something for everyone.

Quick Facts
Currency: Euro
Language: Italian (very few people speak English, which is great to see!)
Airports: 3 – Bergamo, Linate & Malpensa
Public Transport: Metro, buses & tram (€4.50/day)
Safety: 4/5, I travelled here alone and never felt at risk, except a few catcalls

Visit Duomo Cathedral
Duomo is far from underrated. The building is quite the feat to behold, with some beautiful white architecture. You can enter the cathedral and attached museum for €3.50, but I chose not to because whenever I looked the queues were always pretty long. I still loved sitting in the square and just taking in the architecture instead (because we all know I love a nice building).

Walk around Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Now, you can probably tell by the way I dress myself that I know virtually nothing about fashion, so it might seem unusual for me to reccomend the main high fashion shopping mall. However, to bang on about architecture again, it’s a stunning building. I adored the glass roof and intricate wall design, so just walking around was definitely worthwhile. I’d also reccomend going to the nearby streets for cheaper shopping, you’ll find the awesome European brands Bershka, Pimkie and Pull & Bear.

Explore Santa Maria Delle Grazie
I love me a good church, always necessary to pray the gay away (too spicy?). This one is much smaller than Duomo (obviously), so I was able to visit the quieter interior and grounds easily. Inside there were lots of different Catholic shrines and art, which I actually found really interesting.

 

Eat & walk in Semipone Park
This is a fantastic place to eat a picnic lunch and watch as people cycle through the park (why do Europeans cycle so much?). After eating my lunch I wandered a little and it was really lovely to be back in a green space after the bustle of Duomo.

Discover Isola’s street art & the Bosque Verticale
Isola was one of my favourite districts. It’s a working class area with a huge community feel that has progressively been gentrified with the introduction of industry. The Bosque Verticale is a pair of residential towers that appear to have trees growing out of them, and it’s so cool to see nature in the middle of an area dominated by skyscrapers. However, the real gem of Isola is the street art. There’s some truly stunning pieces that are best discovered by wandering, but if you’re short on time head to Porta Garibaldi station and see the way artists have made it their own.

Eat gelato at Artico Gelateria Tradizionale
Could you really go to Italy and not try out the ice-cream? Located in the heart of the Isola district, this gelateria is family-run and classically Italian. There’s lots of choice and the gelato is so tasty!

 

Visit Lake Como
Como is around an hour away by train, and definitely worth a day out. I want to write a full post on this truly stunning location, but for now I’ll just say DO IT.

Drink aperativo (tbh I’d go just for this)
The Italians have got this one right. At around 6pm bars and pubs begin to fill with people going for a post-work cocktail, but there’s an amazing catch. Buying a drink means that you’re entitled to a pre-dinner buffet! I don’t understand how this only happens in Northern Italy, because it’s fabulous. I paid anywhere from €2.50 – €6 for my aperativo depending on what drink I ordered and where I was. You cannot miss this one.

 

Head to the Navigli district to see the canals
Fair warning, this area has become a little overrun with tourist traps, but the canals were so worth it. I visited at sunset and loved seeing the sunlight reflect on the river, truly stunning. There are also a lot of small artists’ studios alongside the river to watch out for. This is considered a “good” location for aperativo, but I found that the prices were ridiculously inflated in comparison to less touristy areas, so I’d say it’s one to avoid when you’re drinking.

Learn something new at the Museo Nazionale de Ciencia e Tecnologia
This was a really interesting museum, and absolutely huge. I specifically loved their exhibits on nutrition, the history of CERN and television. As a pansy humanities student science is usually quite foreign to me, but this place was very accessible for those of us who aren’t scientifically minded. Furthermore it was housed in a great building, and I loved the way the exhibits were laid out. Definitely one to remember your student card for, as the entrance fee goes from €10 to €7.50 when you present one.

 

So it’s safe to say that I absolutely loved my trip to Milano. It was the perfect balance of relaxing and adventure before university begins again, and I would really reccomend it. Aperativo has absolutely ruined me though, when is the UK going to wake up to that one?

Have you ever visited Milano or Italy? Where should I go next?

-Megan, listening to Radio X and writing with my housemate BECAUSE I HAVE HOUSEMATES NOW AND IT’S EXCITING

My Europe Bucket List

Hello lovely people!

Can I get political for a second? Fuck Brexit. I hate it and everything it stands for, whether that be nationalism, anti-immigrant sentiment or economic liberalism. I hate that it stands in the way of defining myself first and foremost as a European citizen, and I hate that it’s almost certainly going to restrict my future. I absolutely adore Europe with all my heart, and I want to continue roaming around it’s streets forever.

My trip to Milan this week has inspired me to keep travelling, regardless of what my government want to do to stand in my way. Travelling alone has helped me find my feet and discover some amazing things and places; if I’m honest I just want to drop everything right now and disappear across Europe on my own for a while. I’ve spoken to people doing round-the-world trips, interrails, or travelling for work, and I want to do it all. So, this is where I want to go.

europe bucket list

1. Copenhagen, Denmark
Milan was very nearly Copenhagen. The flights were just as cheap and even more convenient, but accommodation and mere existing was a little out of my budget for this trip. Scandinavia isn’t an area I’ve ventured into as yet due to the aforementioned high prices, but for some reason I’m drawn to Denmark. Perhaps it’s the canals, perhaps it’s the Scandi lifestyle; whatever it is I’m determined to make it there.

copenhagen

2. Rome, Italy
Having visited Milan, Como, Verona and Venice I’ve absolutely fallen in love with Italian culture. The people are always welcoming, aperativo is the best idea anyone ever came up with, and their relaxed approach to life is something I hugely envy. I’ve chosen Rome because I’ve been recommended it a thousand times over, and it’s historical sights look amazing. Perhaps this is a linguistic trip for if I ever learn Italian…

rome

3. Andalusia, Spain
Considering Spanish is my third language I’m honestly ashamed that the only time I’ve ever visited Spain was to a holiday resort when I was about 12. It’s just never quite made it; too far off-route for my 2017 interrailing trip and too expensive for this month. My current vibe is for the region of Andalusia. After studying Frederico Garcia-Lorca in first year and getting deep into Andalusian history and culture it’s been somewhere I’ve been dying to visit.

cadiz andalusia

4. Bordeaux, France
If you know anything about me, you’ll know that my heart is firmly in France. I aim to settle there and after 3 years of exchanges over in Brittany I have a huge group of friends in that area. However, I’ve never been further south than La Rochelle, which is a huge regret of mine. Add my love of wine into the mix and Bordeaux just seems logical to me. It’s near the coast and next to a national park too so I’d love to do a more relaxed holiday there someday.

bordeaux

5. Moscow, Russia
This is the only place on this list that I’m not wholeheartedly down for. Russia (quite understandably I think) absolutely terrifies me. As an overt member of the LGBTQ+ community I’m not sure if I want to visit a country that still persecutes people like me everyday. However, I’m also big into my cold war/communist history, and Moscow really is the centre of that. Maybe someday.

Moscow

7. Cologne, Germany
I loved visiting both Munich and Berlin, but I’ve never been further west in Germany. I’d really love to see how that compares to the Bavarian culture of Munich and the heavily modernised Berlin, as well as explore the Rhine valley whilst there.

cologne

8. Barcelona, Spain
I keep saying that I don’t need to go to Barcelona, because as a linguist it’s pretty useless to me, being that its inhabitants speak Catalan. However, I don’t speak the languages of most of the countries on this list, and that doesn’t make them any less viable as destinations. I really want to see the sights of Barcelona, and after hearing stories from countless friends and family members I’d love to see how great it is for myself.

shutterstock_barcelona_sagrada_familia

9. Kosovo
Kosovo is politically quite turbulent, which I think is a great shame. It has a pretty negative image as a result of its civil war in the late 90s and self-declaration of independence from Serbia (which, as an aside, Serbia still doesn’t recognise, that’s nuts), but if you take just one look at it’s geography all of this blurs into insignificance. The countryside of Kosovo is absolutely stunning, and whilst it’s not the conventional walking route I’d love to hike in it’s mountains.

kosovo

10. Paris, France
9 is an annoying number so I’m adding Paris because it’s my favourite city in the world and I constantly want to be back there.

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This is by no means an exhaustive list, as given the chance I’d love to visit every corner of Europe. It’s just the places I’m dreaming of right now, as year abroad saving has pretty much halted all my travel plans until summer 2019. Have you visited anywhere on my list? Where do you want to visit next?

-Megan, listening to the new The Story So Far album (hint, it’s awesome) in Milan airport (guess who got inspired after a week off)

 

*all pictures in this post were sourced from Google Images, except the final image which is my own

My Fitness Routine & What I Eat in a Week: Summer Edition

Hello lovely people!

After posting about my Fitness Journey, a few people asked me to share my diet & exercise routines with you all. This post will be exactly that – what I eat in a week during summer and some of the workout routines I get up to at home. Full disclosure before I get into this, I follow a vegetarian diet and I’m not hugely pushing for weight loss, this is just my approach to an ethical and (vaguely) healthy lifestyle.

Monday

 

Breakfast: Baked oatmeal (cinnamon substituted for cacao powder), topped with strawberries, crunchy peanut butter & cacao nibs.
Lunch: Salad bowl with veggies, cous cous, boiled egg, chutney, hummus & lighter cheese, followed by a packet of Sunbites crisps. I’d just been to the greengrocers, and I always love a big salad when the veggies are still nice and fresh.
Dinner: Kidney bean curry with wholemeal rice, naan & sweetcorn. I wouldn’t usually go for naan but my friend had them left over, and in hindsight I probably won’t buy wholemeal rice in future – it’s pricey and not as nice.
Snacks: Apple with crunchy peanut butter (post-workout).

Workout: Leg day! Before all my workouts I do a quick cardio warmup (no more than 5 minutes of jogging & star-jumps usually) and stretch. I then move onto any workout I can find online, my current favourites being sexy leg toner (yes, cringy name) or HASFit’s butt and thigh workout.

Tuesday

 

Breakfast: Same as Monday. I’m loving this super filling breakfast! It’s great now that it’s starting to get colder too.
Lunch: Same salad as Tuesday, except I boxed it up to take with me whilst homeware shopping (and had to steal a fork from Asda to eat it with). Followed by Sunbites crisps (can you tell they’re on offer?) and an apple.
Dinner: Sausage casserole (made with Tesco vegetarian sausages & without the bacon) with wholemeal pasta & peas. I love this recipe so much, though the sausages tasted far too much like meat and it was a bit weird.
Snacks: Aldi Benefit Chocolate & Fudge bar, would not reccomend, they taste like cardboard.

Workout: Rest day! My only goals on rest days are hitting 10k steps and if I get time, going for a quick walk.

Wednesday

 

Breakfast: Smoothie bowl (frozen red fruits, spinach, water, banana, hemp powder) topped with strawberries, cacao nibs, chia seeds, granola & milled linseed. All these extra bits are mostly from Aldi by the way, don’t think I’m hitting up fancy healthfood shops.
Lunch: Tesco Healthy Living lentil & vegetable soup and two pitta breads. This soup tastes exactly like my Grandma’s, so I’m willing to forgive it’s high salt content.
Dinner: A second serving of the kidney bean curry, because when you’re living alone you just have to repeat meals.
Snacks: The curry was a pretty small portion, so I indulged and had pancakes made with soya milk for dessert (I regret nothing).

Workout: Run day! I’ve been working on increasing my distance, and I’m finding 6km my absolute limit at the moment. Not bad for a someone who detested running a few months ago.

Thursday

 

Breakfast: Porridge topped with banana & strawberry jam. Porridge is pretty much a winter student staple, it’s too cheap not to love.
Lunch: Pitta breads topped with hummus, fried veggies & 2 poached eggs. This is the epitome of “I don’t know what to eat for lunch so let’s just cook everything in the fridge.”
Dinner: A second serving of the sausage casserole because I defrosted it thinking it was chilli (I’m stupid). I had it with noodles though to change it up, because variety is the spice of life.
Snacks: Carrots & hummus (my favourite thing ever) and an Options white hot chocolate in the evening.

Workout: Rest day! I went for a pretty long walk to listen to an episode of Dear Hank and John, a totally awesome podcast.

Friday

 

Breakfast: Same as yesterday.
Lunch: Wholemeal wraps filled with hummus, falafel, veggies & lighter cheese, followed by strawberries and a Special K Biscuit Moments strawberry bar. This is an average lunch for a busy day at uni or work too, because it’s easily packable.
Dinner: Gnocchi with pesto topped with fried veggies and lighter cheese. This is a great quick dinner for busier days, as the gnocchi only takes about 5 minutes to cook.
Snacks: Apple & crunchy peanut butter, as I worked out in the morning and needed some post-workout protein. I also had a soya flat white whilst I worked in a cafe in the afternoon.

Workout: Arms & abs day! Sometimes I make up my own sequence using this chart or this one from Pinterest. If I want someone else to come up with my workout I use this abs & back workout, the muffin top melter (again, cringy), or something from Chloe Ting on YouTube.

Saturday

 

Breakfast: Red berries smoothie (frozen berries, banana, hemp protein powder, chia seeds, spinach, water), and then when I got back from Parkrun I had a banana with crunchy peanut butter and an Aldi Benefit chocolate & fudge bar.
Lunch: Wraps filled with hummus, falafel & fried veggies, popped back in the frying pan to toast. The wraps taste so much better when they’ve been toasted.
Dinner: I forgot to take a photo, but I had a stirfry made with Szechuan tomato sauce, veggies & fake chicken. I also had a beer with it because hey, it’s Saturday.
Snacks: Not sure if this counts as snacks but I went out for drinks with a friend that night so liquid calories happened. I also got chips on the way home because I’m a fake fitness blogger.

Workout: Today I ran my first Parkrun! I had a great time; the Durham course is beautiful and the people there were really welcoming. I also got my best 5k time to date – 33:39.

Sunday

 

Breakfast: Feeling a little worse for wear I dragged myself up to a bowl of baked oatmeal with jam.
Lunch: Wrap pizzas (think normal pizza but using a wholemeal wrap for the base instead of dough) topped with tomatoes & onion. This is easily my favourite lunch, and super filling.
Dinner: I call this “everything in the fridge” curry. I was trying to get things used up before I go on holiday, so I fried onions, baby sweetcorn, carrots, pepper & chickpeas then added balti paste & vegetable stock, and it actually turned out pretty nice! I had it with brown rice.
Snacks: Crispbreads dipped in hummus and a Special K biscuit moments bar (I get weirdly hungry after drinking).

Workout: After 2 days of workouts Sunday was a well-earned rest day.

 

So, that’s how I try and stay healthy in my daily life! You’ll probably see that it’s not the strictest diet and portion control, because to be honest I’m not a health fanatic. I’m a foodie and I don’t believe in diet culture, I just enjoy fitness and good homemade food. I will make an updated post when I go back to university to let you know how I fit fitness around studying, but for now, tell me what your favourite meal is in the comments!

-Megan, listening to JAWS and having a chilled morning

My Top Packing Tips for a Short City Break

Hello lovely people,

By the time you’re reading this post I will be on the first leg of my journey to beautiful Italian sunshine in Milan. After the whirlwind of Berlin, Prague, Budapest and Truck Festival in July I couldn’t bear the thought of my summer adventures coming to an end, so I did the age old trick of searching for flights to “everywhere” on Skyscanner. £35 on a flight and £50 on a hostel later I was all set for Milan and my first ever experience as a solo traveller just before the new university term.

It’s two days until I leave right now so I thought I would share some of my top tips for how to pack light for 5 days on cabin baggage. I’m a self-confessed packing phobe, and usually leave it until the very last minute, but over the years I like to think I’ve gotten pretty good at it.

packing

Write a list

This one seems pretty obvious, but it’s something I only started doing recently. You only ever have to do it once, because aside from changing the amount of clothes you need every trip has pretty much the same essentials. Make sure you tick things off as you get them out and as you put them into your suitcase, to ensure nothing gets behind.

Invest in a good suitcase or backpack

I’m usually a backpack kind of person (I went on a week long exchange trip with a hiking backpack this year… other students were very confused), but when it comes to cabin baggage, I’m opting for a suitcase. I could have invested in an adequately sized hiking backpack, but they’re quite pricey and heavy. I also like being able to carry my “daypack” in the airport, to keep my flight essentials and clothing etc separate. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s durable and easy to transport.

Make use of staple clothing pieces

Much as the stripy top and floral shorts might look great, you’re never going to wear them together. That means you’ll end up having to take extra items to match them with, which is an unnecessary waste of space. Opt for things you can wear multiple times and combine with different items to make new outfits, such as plain denim shorts.

Wear what you can to the airport

Now, I’m not saying I’ll be trekking up to the train station with 3 jumpers and a coat on, but I will be wearing some of my more bulky items such as jeans. Chances are if you’re flying from the UK you’re probably going to need the layers on this side of your adventure too!

Keep things organised

When it comes to security obviously you’ll have to be removing all electrical items and liquids. It’s 1000x easier to do this if you know where they are and can simply pull them out of your suitcase. I also like to have all my cables in a ziplock bag, so that they don’t clutter up my bag and they’re easy to find.

Roll your clothing

This saves so much space! I even do it when I’m moving back to university after holidays, as you can pack so much more in without folding things.

Buy a microfibre towel

These are the very thin types of towels that dry much more quickly and take up way less room. Standard towels are bulky and a nightmare to get dry on the day you leave your trip, so I never take them. You can pick these up in the likes of Home Bargains for just £5, or many sports shops have them too.

 

My most important tip is HAVE FUN (cringy? yes. do I care? no). City breaks are my favourite kinds of holidays, and they’re pretty easy to pack for because they’re often so short. I probably won’t be around much for the next few days as I’m going to try and take a bit of a break whilst I’m away, so if you see me on Twitter too much please remind me to go and enjoy myself!

 

-Megan, listening to a Spotify Daily Mix (it’s really not an exciting music day today)

 

The BEST Student Homeware Finds for 2018

Hello lovely people!

I want to dedicate this post to my lovely friend Alex. It may seem weird dedicating a simple haul to someone, but as a fellow homeware lover she was as excited as I was when I was decorating my new second year house. She also keeps me sane, and is constantly supportive in everything I do, including this blog. Love you man.

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As I said, I’ve recently moved back over to Durham and into my house. I’m in the process of making it feel more homely, or as homely as it can be without my six other housemates. This has meant I’ve spent far too much money on random pretty stuff, and in the interests of self-justification I thought I’d write this post.

Bedroom

My bedroom is mostly decorated with photos and old tickets, but there’s always room for some extras. If anyone wants a room tour, let me know!

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Duvet Cover – Primark – £11
Now, I can’t stress enough how much I didn’t need this. I have two perfectly good duvet covers, and obviously I can only have one on my bed at any one time. But I’m an absolute sucker for mustard, and at £11, you really can’t go wrong. It adds a different pop of colour to my room, so I’ve decided it was a worthwhile purchase.

 

 

img_20180914_142421007.jpgBasket – ASDA – £2
I was looking for a way to store my toiletries, as having them loose on my shelves was resulting in them regularly getting a bit haphazard. Enter ASDA, which as an aside, is full of amazing homeware bits that are super cheap (£5 for a kitchen bin? I’m still excited). I love this basket, as it’s a bit more sturdy than a wicker approach. I chose white to match my walls and desk, in some vague attempt at creating a theme.

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Frames – Primark – £1.50 & £2
Feminist quotes at a cheap price in beautiful white frames? Did you mean; MY DREAM?! I absolutely love the pastel colours of these prints, and the typography is equally as stunning. I have these set up in the corner of my desk as a constant reminder of how badass women are as I work throughout the day.

 

 

img_20180914_142533047.jpgPlants – IKEA – £0.95 & £3
Now, I had a cactus last year named Dave. Sadly, Dave is no longer with us, so in the interests of not causing any more plant deaths I decided it was time to downscale nature’s influence in my room. The smaller of the two is actually artificial, so I only have one plant to mother for the year. They’re a really cute addition to any room though, again adding to my white theme.

 

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Makeup Bag – Primark – £4
Now, this technically isn’t homeware, but I still think it’s adorable! My makeup bag broke, and I thought it was about time I downsized anyway to save space when I’m travelling. Grumpy cat is my absolute spirit animal, and I love cacti too, so it’s the perfect combination.

Kitchen

I was self-catered in first year so didn’t need to add much to my kitchen ensemble, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t down for some cute extras.

img_20180914_142714140.jpgMason Jar – Home Bargains – £1
I’ve been looking for somewhere to store my ground coffee for a while, as because I’m a bit of a coffee snob I’m very aware of the importance of keeping your coffee in a sealed container. At just £1 this mason jar was the perfect solution, and looks a little classier than a basic glass jar or plastic box. Now I just need to work on not smashing it…

 

img_20180914_142646607.jpgBottle Opener Plaque – The Range – £2.99
I love a good multipurpose item, and this plaque is definitely that. I already know it’s going to be a great addition to house parties, because I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve had to hunt for a bottle opener. Well, that won’t be a problem for us anymore. I also love the motto that comes along with it, as I’m a firm craft beer lover (there’s a free little-known fact for you!).

Bathroom

I’ve only got one item here, as my bathroom is pretty small and I’m yet to think of more creative ways to decorate it. If anyone has any ideas let me know!

img_20180914_142810260.jpgToothbrush Holder – ASDA – £3
I spent ages convincing myself that I didn’t need a toothbrush holder, but I’m sure when my housemates get back this will be a great way to avoid sink clutter. I chose a bright and multicoloured design to give a little pop to an otherwise pretty drab room.

 

 

 

I feel like I’m a real lifestyle blogger now I’ve done a homeware haul. I’m sure there will be more to come, as for some reason I have no restraint when it comes to cute little trinkets (am I 40? apparently). What essentials do you reccomend for a first time liver-out?

 

-Megan, writing in my new favourite Durham coffee shop (it’s full of vegan goodies and I am EXCITED)