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October 2018

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    10 Ways To Save Money At University

    rawpixel-570908-unsplashBeing a student is an expensive business. It is also probably the first time in your life that you have had to completely fend for yourself, and you suddenly realise how difficult it is to be responsible with your money. I can guarantee you that if you haven’t already, you will go a little crazy on the spending with your sudden freedom from living at home, only to go food shopping and have a little cry in the fridge aisle at the price of a block of cheese.

    Whether you are just starting university and haven’t got much experience yet, or are a couple of years in and still haven’t got the skill down, here are some tips for how you can spend a little bit less (and leave yourself with more to have FUN with). . .

    1) Loyalty cards for supermarkets – if you drive, you can also swipe them when paying for petrol

    Sure, it usually takes quite a while to actually save up enough points to get any money off, especially when you are just shopping for one, but you are buying the food anyway and it isn’t making any difference whatsoever. It’s silly not to.

    2) Walk that extra bit further to get to an Aldi or Lidl

    The amount of money that you can save by going to Aldi or Lidl if you have one near you is crazy. I had never been to one before moving to Glasgow because it’s not convenient at all to get to one where I’m from, and I remember being so shocked at how ridiculously cheap everything is without skimping too much on quality. In fact, there are a lot of things that I actually prefer the Aldi version of. When I bring my overflowing basket to the checkout, it never adds up to as much as I estimate in my head.

    3) Invest in a good travel mug and take your coffee with you from home 

    Shops like TK Maxx are perfect for these kind of things, and so are little coffee shops around your campus. Those double-walled ones are great because they keep your drink warm so long and you can sip away the whole lecture. The same goes for bringing a water bottle with you! (And you’ll save all those sea turtles while you are at it)

    4) Or, if you really must buy a coffee out somewhere, still bring your own re-usable cup with you

    Most places now give a discount if your bring your own, so if you are buying it regularly, this little saving will really add up. Places SHOULD also fill your water bottle with tap water for free if bring it with you and ask very nicely.

    5) Free Microsoft Office

    Don’t pay for your Microsoft Word package! Students can get the full Office package through their university. Just search ‘Microsoft Office student’ and log in using your student log in.

    6) Batch cook and freeze into portions

    You can also save money by cooking larger portions of whatever you are having for dinner and putting the rest in the freezer in portion-sized boxes. I like to use little random boxes like plastic takeaway ones for this because they are the perfect size. Batch cooking means that you can often use up all of your ingredients rather than them going off if you cook it for just one dinner. I particularly enjoy this cheesy broccoli pasta bake. I use frozen broccoli instead of fresh broccoli because you never need it all, and it tastes just as good.

    7) Charity shops

    They aren’t like the ones in your tiny little hometown. Charity shops in cities are goldmines for amazing bargains, whether it is clothes or little knickknacks for your room.

    8) Don’t buy food out after the club 

    Stock up on the types of things that taste delicious when you have some alcohol in your system (I’m talking chicken burgers, mozzarella sticks, the works) and just wait till you get home after a night out to cook them rather than spending a fortune while you are out and then not eating half of it because you ordered a ridiculous amount that sounded like a great idea at the time. Of course, safety first please!!! I have the scars on my arm to prove that oven trays are very warm things to drop onto yourself when you are too drunk to be cooking!!! NO COOKING IF YOU ARE TOO WRECKED. LEARN FROM MY BAD BAD CHOICES.

    9) Book bloggers: ARCs are your friend!

    Sure, this only works if you have the time to write the review on them too and do all the work that comes along with review copies, but it will probably satisfy your craving for reading anything but your course reading list.

    10) Flat money jar 

    My flatmate and I have the perfect system for buying shared items for the flat, such as milk, toothpaste, and anything else that we don’t need two of at any time. We keep a jar in the kitchen and both put the same amount of money in, e.g. £20 each or whatever we can afford at the time, and any time either of us buy a shared item we take the money back out the jar for it. This means that we are halving the price equally each time, and neither one of us can end up buying more of the shared things than the other if we try and fail to do it evenly. And no chasing people for half the cash! It would seem silly to ask them for 50p for half the milk, but if you were the one that kept buying it, it would really add up. As long as you both (or all, I’m saying both because I live with just one other person) always put in the same amount whenever it needs topped up, it’s the fairest and cheapest way to do it.

    I hope this helps! If you have any money-saving tips of your own, whether you are a student or not, please feel free to share them below.

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    ARC, books, ebooks, New In

    New In #2

    new in 2 - writing finch (1)How many times in your life have you spoken or thought the words: “I need to stop buying books.”

    Every. Damn. Week.

    The wonderful thing about being back in Glasgow for university is my mum can no longer see how many parcels arrive for me all containing new books and therefore I have no one moaning at me for how much I am spending on them and where on earth are you gong to put them all, Holly???

    I thought I would share with you today some of the books that have been added to my collection recently. I haven’t read any of these yet, but I might do some reviews on any that I have strong feelings about when I have. Let me know if there is any in particular that you would like a follow up on!

    Vagina – Naomi Wolf

    I kept seeing this pop up on Chloe Plumstead’s insta story and earlier this week I finally gave in and ordered it. From the author of The Beauty Myth, this “combines cutting-edge science with cultural history to explore the role of female desire and how it affects female identity, creativity and confidence.” It ” goes to the very core of what it means to be female” and examines the vagina in relation to women’s sexuality. I feel like this is going to be such an interesting read and will be so important in better understanding the female body and mind.

    Crazy Rich Asians – Kevin Kwan

    I feel it is a pretty safe assumption for me to make that every single person reading this will have heard of the film version of this. Like many book lovers, I much prefer reading the book version first before delving into the cinematic performance, so this is pretty near the top of my list.

    The Infinite Pieces of Us – Rebekah Crane

    I think this might have been my choice for November’s Kindle First. I have no idea what it was about, and like to choose my ebook option each month without really reading any of the descriptions so I can really surprise myself and find something I might not have picked otherwise (a method which is working pretty well so far and I can recommend).

    We Were Mothers – Katie Sise

    I feel absolutely no shame in saying that I bought this book for one reason and one reason alone – the beautiful cover. I mean, look at it!!! It also turns out that it is a really well-made book to, and the pages feel so beautifully soft and thick and luxurious that I just want to stroke it and flick through it all the time. The physical act of reading this is going to be so satisfying. This one is about a scandal in a boring, perfect town which makes me picture the Desperate Housewives houses. The “web of secrets” mentioned in the synopsis had me sold.

    The Rule of One – Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders

    It isn’t often that you manage to find something in Kindle Unlimited that you have actually heard of before, so I quickly downloaded this while I had the chance. This dystopian novel is set in a version of the United States in the future where they have enforced a Chinese-style one child policy to tackle the population issue. Hence, the rule of one. Naturally, this novel then explores what happens when a pair of identical twins, Ava and Mira, who have been living as one for their entire lives and trading places every other day, suddenly find that their charade has been exposed. This sounds fast-paced and exciting, and I hope it lives up to that.

    ARCs/Review Copies

    HWFG – Chris McQueer

    This is one I actually received to review as part of my role as the Arts editor of my student newspaper, so I won’t be reviewing it on here (but I will still put something up on my Goodreads about it when I have finished it). Chris is a truly fantastic young Scottish short story writer, and his first book, Hings, had me in stitches.

    Heavenward – Olga Gibbs

    I am part of the blog tour for this, and my review stop is on the 10th of December, so keep an eye out for that. A big hallelujah to Melanie who is running the tour for actually giving me a decent amount of time to read it and not three days like you quite often get. Do people not realise we actually have lives outside of reviewing books… Anyway, the synopsis of this doesn’t give too much away, but “a quiet, unnoticeable girl with a hidden strength” has me hooked.

    Korrigan – Rebecca F. Kenney

    I was really interested in the premise of this book but I had to say that I am going to be so crazy busy over the next little while that I wasn’t sure if I would have time to read this and do it justice. But, Rebecca was so lovely and sent me a copy of the book anyway under no obligation to review it. Sometimes doing this would possibly annoy me and would make me feel pressured to do it anyway, but she was really nice in the way that she came across and so I don’t mind in the slightest, and actually really appreciate it.

    The Things We Learn When We Are Dead – Charlie Laidlaw

    I’ve have had this ARC for so long it is beginning to get a little bit embarrassing, but I just haven’t got round to reading it yet. I really need to move it to the top of my list. On the way home from a dinner party, our protagonist Lorna Love gets hit by a car, and what follows is a book about consequences, second chances, memories, and where we go when we die.

     

    Let me know if you have read any of these books, and what I should expect from them! And then tell me I am NOT ALLOWED TO BUY ANY MORE BOOKS UNTIL I READ SOME OF THESE.

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    Uncategorized

    I’ve Only Gone and Done It

    Can you believe it.

    I have become some sort of technological genius seemingly overnight and have just successfully managed to not only move my blog from Blogger to WordPress, but also managed to create my own domain. No more annoying ‘.blogspot.co.uk’ at the end of my URL! I am feeling very swish and business-like right now, if you can’t tell.

    Fellow WordPress users! You can finally now follow my blog easily – just click the little button in the sidebar on the right.

    I still have several kinks to iron out and there are definitely things I want to change, but that will come with time I guess and for now I am just glad that my blog and its previous blog posts have not been lost in the abyss that is the internet. I’ve no idea how I managed it without having a meltdown either.

    Thank you to everyone who gave me such encouraging words on Twitter and offered their services if I got stuck! I really do love the blogging community, and I swear that love grows more and more each day.

    Over and out,

    A WordPress Extraordinaire xo

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    discussion, feature, life, lifestyle, personal, student

    Learning Basic British Sign Language

     

     

    A little bit of a different kind of post today. For the last couple of weeks, I have been attending a Beginners British Sign Language course run by my university. The course is 20 lessons in length, with two-hour classes one night per week. BSL is something which I have wanted to learn for some time now, probably ever since I watched Switched at Birth and was fascinated by this language told completely in hand gestures and facial expressions.

    And then, during the summer when I was working in a local café before going back to uni, I served a deaf couple. They were very understanding, and didn’t expect us to know anything in the way of sign language at all. They wrote down what they wanted to ask us, and were able to make very simple signs and point at things to order. But, this encounter has really stuck with me ever since. All I could actually say to them that they could fully understand was ‘thanks’. That’s it. An entire language, and I can say thanks.

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    ARC, book review, books

    Book Review: Fortunate Encounters by Caterina Passarelli

    First up, apologies to Ink Slinger PR for the fact that I *may* have forgotten about writing this book review which is why it is so ridiculously late…

    I was involved in the cover reveal for Fortunate Encounters by Caterina Passarelli, so I was really excited about receiving an ARC to review. Juliette is a young, single school teacher who has had some epically bad dates and extreme bad luck in romance. She shows up at the next date she has planned, only to promptly seat herself at the wrong table with the wrong man. After this first encounter, they begin to bump into each other everywhere they go (of course, this is a fiction novel after all, and it would be pretty boring if they had to actively seek each other out after that). The new love interest Clark is not one for relationships and suggests a friends-with-benefits situation instead. I’m sure it doesn’t surprise you in the slightest that problems occur when real feelings start to arise. Read more

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    book review, books

    Book Review: The Problem With Foverer by Jennifer L. Armentrout

    I wasn’t new to Jennifer L. Armentrout before picking up The Problem With Forever, having read and enjoyed her work in the Meet Cute anthology and Wait For You, as well as seeing her name pop up regularly on Goodreads. In fact, a quick search on Goodreads just there tells me that she has 104 (!!!!) distinct works, so I guess that it is no surprise that she is pretty hard to miss in the YA fiction world.

    The Problem With Forever is the beautiful story of Mallory Dodge, a girl who was taught to keep quiet to avoid getting into trouble. Her childhood nickname was Mouse as a result of her lack of speech which carried through even after she was adopted by two loving doctors and finally removed from the horrific foster home she had grown up in and suffered through. But, one good thing came from the group home, and that was her best friend Rider. After a horrible incident that was the final straw and finally helped her see the back of that house, Mallory and Rider lost all contact, until she decides she wants to switch from home-schooling to a regular high school. And who goes to this school, unbeknownst to her before her first day? Yep, you guessed it – the one and only Rider Stark.

    *Trigger warning: child abuse, bad foster home experiences, social anxiety*

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