Friday, 18 September 2015

Ways To Save Money At University

In my first term at uni last year, I was pretty frivolous with my cash. At one point a got to a stage where I looked in my account and, to my surprise, I had well under £100 left. Panic ensued, naturally. Thereafter, I decided that I would cut back in every way that I could and I ended up saving so much money. So, I wanted to share my money saving tips with you as I know that I was rather nervous before I started uni about how I would budget my money so I would like to share what I have learnt.

Charity shops
You are studying - and possibly living - in a university city. Students often donate lots of the things that they have accumulated whilst at uni that they don't want to take back home with them. Our uni even organised a collection of things to donate to charity at the end of the year when we were moving out of halls so our unwanted goods went straight to charity shops in the city.
I found that there were lots of branded clothes and bags that were often new in charity shops in Cardiff for a good price - unlike in smaller towns, charity shops in cities get so much stock that they don't have to overcharge for branded goods. You might even find the textbook that you need that is £30 in Blackwell's or something to liven up your new place.

Sell unwanted items on eBay
I made serious money selling all my unwanted clothes on eBay throughout the year. This is, of course, something you should really do before moving out or at the end of the academic year but I found that as I bought new clothes, other things in my wardrobe lost their appeal so the best way to get rid of them - and make some money to replace them - was via eBay.

Only buy course books you know for definite are compulsory to buy for your course
This is so important. When you get your reading list, only purchase the primary texts. The secondary/background reading can be found in the library. Also lecturers will probably tell you if an extra textbook is a good one to own. Trust me, you'll be living off Pot Noodle and stale bread for the rest of the term if you purchase every book on the reading list.

Do work at the library
This one applies more to those who have to pay electricity bills - i.e. those not in halls. A good option is to do your work at the university library. You can charge your laptop there as you work or use the PCs there as not to waste excess electricity. I would always write up the basic argument of an essay on paper then go to the library to type it up on a PC and print it there.

Make use of the uni wifi
Got blogging emails to reply to? Nip to the library, find a quiet corner, and make use of the free wifi. Then you're not paying data charges and you needn't have your broadband left on at home.

Rechargeable batteries
These are an absolute lifesaver. The amount of times I would have had to replace the batteries in my blogging camera if it wasn't for having rechargeable batteries. It is something you have to spend a little more on but it works out a lot cheaper in the long run - especially if you're using a battery operated appliance often.

Student discount
Use your student discount. This seems obvious but it is easy to forget to take your student ID out to the shops or wherever with you. You can get a student discount at so many places these days so it is a shame to miss out on it.

Fresher's Week offers
During Fresher's Week you will be inundated with offers left, right, and centre. Make the most of it. Pizzas are buy one get one free at Domino's? Do it. You'll regret passing up the offer when you're paying full price for two.

Lidl bread
Lots of Lidls have a bakery section where they sell freshly baked bread and cakes for very low cost. You can get a whole French stick for, I think, 45p. And it tastes as good as a Tesco or Sainsbury's one which would have been about 40p more expensive.

Get a part time job
Getting a part time job is something I would advise. Towards the end of my first year, I worked 6 hours a week at a cleaning job. It doesn't sound much but, at £8 per hour, I had a little extra cash in my pocket to spend on what I liked.

Walk everywhere
At the start of the year, I would take the bus to the bus station whenever I needed to catch a coach to travel home on. It wasn't hugely expensive but I then discovered that the bus station was only about a 40 minute walk away. From then on, I decided to walk it each time and it really wasn't a problem at all. The only time I wouldn't walk somewhere is if it is more than an hour's walk away or if it is getting dark.

National Express coaches
I always use coaches and I would seriously advise it. It takes longer than the train but it is so much cheaper. For instance, my return fare from Devon to Cumbria was £50. If I had taken the train it would have been about £180. No student can afford to be spending that kinda money frequently. If you use the coach service, you can go and visit your friends in different places around the UK inexpensively.
Also, if you are going to be travelling home a fair bit, get a coach card or rail card to get really good discounts.

I hope this post was helpful and, if you are starting uni or returning to uni this month, I wish you all the best and I hope you have an amazing time.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

A Trip To The Lake District

I recently travelled up to the Lake District to spend a few days there with my boyfriend. I had heard that the Lake District is a really beautiful and scenic place to visit but, being from the South West, I never managed to venture that far north to verify this for myself. Until now!
After travelling for 10 hours on a National Express coach - that there is true dedication - I had arrived in the Lake District. And, let me tell you, it was worth it. The scenery is amazing. There were, of course, lots of lakes and some really huge hills. Also most of the buildings were made of exposed stone or had timber overlay and were mostly built between 1600s and the 1800s.

 My boyfriend and I spent much of the time we had together there going for walks and looking at the scenery. I also went for a walk by myself whilst he was busy on one of the days and got a chance to really take in the beauty of the surroundings.
Whilst we were walking together, we took lots of pictures together as I hadn't brought my big, proper camera with me any of the times I had met up with him so it was a great chance to get some really nice pictures together. Admittedly, most of them were pictures of me that he had taken sporting a slightly clashy outfit (I didn't pack well for the trip - it was much colder than I expected and this was the only long sleeved item I'd brought with me) and a goofy grin.
The top, for anyone wondering, is an old one from Vera Moda, the trousers are from H&M, the jacket is from Primark, the bag is from TK Maxx, and the boots are from Matalan.

This last picture I took from the window of the youth hostel that I stayed at on the final night as I didn't want to leave so early so I altered my travel times and stayed for an extra night.
It was absolutely beautiful watching the sun set over the lake and such a nice view to wake up to in the morning too.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Boohoo 70s Vibe

A couple of days ago Boohoo got in touch about their 70s vibe campaign and I got seriously excited. If you have been reading my blog for a bit, you may have guessed that I am a big fan of Boohoo and I tend to spend way more money than I should on their site. So, I jumped at the opportunity of being able to work with them and I excitedly picked out this outfit from their 70s boho inspired section.

Playsuit: Boohoo*
Jacket: Boohoo*
Tights: Primark
Boots: Matalan
I chose this playsuit as I loved the colours and print. I loved how autumnal the colours are and y'know how I love everything about autumn.
I also picked this jacket as I love the suede trend and I felt like this is such a staple 70s throwback piece. I love the tassle detail and it is super soft and cosy.
I just paired these two pieces with tights - as to avoid having frozen, purple legs - and my boots I recently got from Matalan. As well as an awkward grin which was mostly borne out of the fact that I had to get my dad to take these outfit pictures as everyone else was busy.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Longleat House and Safari Park

Admittedly, it has been an absolute age since I last wrote a blog post. So, in true blogger style, I am opening this post with an apology for having not been around for a fair while.
In all honesty, I took a bit of an unplanned break from blogging as it was all starting to stress me out. I was posting about every day or every other day and I was pleased with myself for really getting so much content out there but I was starting to fret about how many comments I was getting, how the amount of followers I have hadn't been increasing as I would have liked, and I was focussing more on the reaction of others to get gratification about my writing rather than just writing about what I was passionate about. And I am 100% in favour of taking a break when blogging becomes less fun and more a way of measuring my own self worth through how successful my writing is. I am unsure if this makes much sense but I just felt like I needed to take a step back and focus on important things like spending time with friends and family rather than running myself ragged trying to get my page views up. One thing I will say, whilst we're discussing this, is that it will do you no good comparing your blog to that of bigger bloggers. They have worked their behinds off to get to the level they are at, I'm sure, and I have only been doing this for about 2 years - in which time, I have taken a fair few breaks. But, at the end of the day, I have learnt to feel proud of my little blog. I write about what I am passionate about and I am myself here. At the end of the day, that is more important than having 2000 followers.
Rant over.

Anyway, today's post is about a recent trip that I took with my family to Longleat Safari Park.
Some of you may not have heard of it before. It is a very big park which contains a large stately home, a small zoo, some rides, and - most excitingly - acres of land which are used as a safari park.
I have been going to this place since I was very young as my parents used to take us there for special occasions to see the animals which was always rather exciting. And, I can assure you, the excitement hasn't worn off.

One of my favourite things about Longleat is Longleat House. It is absolutely huge and is still inhabited by the owners - although most of it is open to the general public. We went on a guided tour inside which I would totally recommend. The only down side was that you are only allowed to take pictures in one side of the house and the side of the house that we took a tour of was the side where photography was prohibited.
The tour we took was interesting though as the owners had decorated it in a very unusual and contemporary way. There was also a large collection of local artwork which was really interesting to look at.

We then went to the zoo bit where they had lots of animals like reptiles and smaller animals. This little fella caught my eye as he was full on posing for the camera which made me chuckle. He got that 'look wistfully into the distance' pose down to a T.

We then headed out into the safari section in our car. If you have been to Longleat before, you will know about the monkey section. I remember when I was little, one monkey ripped off our car aerial. I found it hilarious at the time - my dad didn't though!
In true Longleat style, most of the animals were soaking up the rays or having a little nap but we still managed to spy a few.
And can we just acknowledge how cute that baby monkey is?! I mean, how adorable!

I hope you enjoyed this post and I would love to hear if you have ever been to Longleat or anywhere similar. And I promise I will be posting again soon.
© The Emerald Dove. All rights reserved.
Blogger Designs by pipdig