You're not from round here.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Halloween dessert with Angel Delight

We were recently sent some Bubblegum flavour Angel Delight to try out. I was struggling for ideas for a Halloween pudding, so I thought I would try out the Angel Delight.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

26.10.14 Silent Sunday

Friday, 24 October 2014

Top three tips for starting university

I graduated this summer and I have to admit that I am really missing university. My friends who are doing masters are all back at university and getting back into the swing of it. I miss my friends, I miss learning, I miss pushing myself academically and I miss the structure of my days. Yes, there are plenty of things I don't miss, the 104 mile daily commute, juggling school plays/children's illnesses with seminars and lectures and so on. But fundamentally, I miss it and I would go back in an instant if I could afford to do a Masters.

If you haven't seen it before, you can have a gander at my mature student's guide to university which I wrote at the beginning of my second year. Here are my top tips for starting university.

1. Relax.
Everyone is petrified in Freshers week. Fact. I burst into tears on my first day because I was totally overwhelmed. It was just as scary for me as it was for an 18 year old leaving home for the first time. In fact, when I left home at 16 I wasn't even vaguely bothered. Starting university was way scarier. Make sure you talk to people. Whoever you sit next to in a lecture or seminar. Introduce yourself and ask what they are studying. You will be amazed at how many different courses people are studying even though you take many of the same modules. The person I sat next to on my first day at uni became the person I was friends with throughout my degree, and I imagine we will be friends for many years.

2. Plan
If I can manage to fit university work into a 9-5 scenario then you can too. It was fairly rare (apart from the final few months of my final year) that I ever had to do any work at weekends. When I wasn't in lectures or seminars I was in the library. Yes, it might sound dull, but it meant that my evenings and weekends were free. Admittedly not that free because there were my two children to look after, but it ensured that I got to spend time with them. For regular students, that leaves you time to go to societies, to have a social life and to have fun.

3. Budget
This is important whatever type of student you are. As a mature student I had childcare costs, travel costs as well as a mortgage to pay and a family of four to feed. As a regular student, you have bills to pay for the first time, rent, electricity, gas, phone. The list goes on. You will be paid in three instalments of your student loan. One in October, one in January and one in April. The instalments in January and April will be the biggest (it was in my experience anyway). The only exception to this is the final year, when the April payment will be lower.

What I have found worked best for me was to have one account and a separate pre-paid debit card. The account is where your loan goes into, kind of like a holding account, and the debit card, I used to put a monthly amount into, kind of like paying yourself a salary. This really helps to budget each month. It means that you know exactly how much you have to spend each month. It also means that you don't spend your entire loan straight off, you have a reserve of money to see you through until the next instalment.

I hope you find these tips useful, they certainly saw me through university and I am proud to say I graduated this summer with a 2:1 in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. 

If you would like to enter to win a laptop from Curry's, check out their competition here.

Disclosure: I am entering this post into the #CurrysStudentHacks competition. This has no impact on my post, or the advice in my post.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Week 108 - What has made me happy

It has been an odd week. I am finding it hard to get into a new routine. At the moment it is taking all my energy not to spend my days curled up in bed with a hot water bottle. I would happily hibernate for a week or so. The children are hard work. They are bickering and I am finding it tough being the person who looks after them all the time. When I was at university we had childcare for them both and I felt like I had a happy medium of how much I saw them. They are in a phase where they will call for daddy all the time because they see me all the time and don't see him as much. I used to love getting in from university and seeing their faces light up as they saw me. Now I am always here, so I am just a given. I know it will all settle down once we are into a routine and I am really looking forward to that. 

I have found it easier this week to find things which make me happy and we have had a good time as a family when we have all been together. Here is what has made me happy this week...

Monday, 20 October 2014

Sky Sports and Sky Movies on TalkTalk

TalkTalk TV homes can now watch Sky Sports and Sky Movies for just £20 a month, for three months giving them access to blockbuster films and more of the Barclays Premier League matches that matter.

Following the success of TalkTalk’s Sky Sports half-price offer, TalkTalk has combined Sky Movies and Sky Sports Boosts saving homes up to £25 a month. Usually TalkTalk homes can access Sky Sports Boost for £30 a month and its Sky Movie Boost for £15 a month, on a month by month basis with no ongoing commitment.

YouView from TalkTalk, the UK’s fastest growing TV service, gives its 1.1 million TV homes access to Sky Sports 1, 2, 3, 4, F1 along with Sky Sports 5, home of European football. Its Sky Sports channels bring live coverage of the Barclays Premier League, UEFA Champions League Football, F1 and Rugby Union. Customers can also enjoy 11 Sky Movies Channels, including Sky Disney and Sky Superheroes and access to hundreds of blockbuster movies on demand.

TalkTalk's half price Boost gives customers access to more movies and sport on a flexible basis without the hefty costs. It believes that TalkTalk homes should be able to dip in and out of channels they love, and that’s why it is giving customers access to our Sky Movies and Sky Sports Boost at better than half price. The offer is ideal for our cash-conscious sports and movie fans and gears families up for a great autumn of entertainment.

This offer builds on the recent deal between Sky and TalkTalk to broaden and extend the distribution of Sky entertainment to TalkTalk’s TV customers. In August, Sky gave TalkTalk homes access to all Sky Sports channels as part of an Open weekend. Earlier this year, TalkTalk added seven Sky channels, including Sky One, Sky Living, Sky Sports News HQ and 100s of hours of on demand Sky entertainment content, to its Plus TV package.

TalkTalk’s TV Boosts provide additional channels that can be added or removed a month at a time with no ongoing commitment; it is TV to be glued to not stuck with. In addition to the Sky packages, TalkTalk homes can add Boosts for hit US and UK entertainment and favourite kids channels and on demand content to their package at the touch of a button.

TalkTalk’s Essentials TV is half price for six months at £4.25, then £8.50, plus line rental. And Plus TV is just £9.25 a month for six months, then £18.50 a month, plus line rental. TalkTalk’s Plus TV package includes seven great Sky entertainment channels and a free YouView box, usually £299.

Disclosure: We are  TalkTalk family bloggers. 

Sunday, 19 October 2014

19.10.14 Silent Sunday

Friday, 17 October 2014

Implementing the Andrex Clean Routine

We were recently asked to take part in the Andrex Clean Challenge. It came at a good time as we had all recently been struck down by a vomiting bug and I hoped that possibly a change in the children's hygiene routine would have an impact on this.

I thought that perhaps there was more we could learn about personal hygiene. Andrex recently carried out a new health report and the results show that "an estimated 15 million Brits are unsure how to clean themselves properly after going to the toilet." I found this quite shocking. Although I don't remember being taught to wipe my bottom, but for as long as I can remember, I knew that you should wipe front to back to lower the risk of infection. However, when I read through what we needed to do in the challenge, I realised that I do fold paper over and I do use far less paper than is recommended by Andrex.

Andrex Challenge

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Celebrating Chocolate Week with Guylian

We were recently sent some Guylian chocolates to review for National Chocolate week. I have to admit that it was a bit of a surprise to me that there was a National Chocolate week. There should definitely be more publicity about such a wonderful week! My dad was coming up to stay at the same time, so it meant that we had the perfect opportunity to share them with family.

Guylian shells

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Cadbury Freddo Loom Band Fail

When we received a box from Cadbury, I was very excited and could wait to get it open.

Box from Cadbury

The Photo Gallery - Autumn

The Photo Gallery - Week 204

Hello, hope you remember me! The last time I had a chance to join in with The Gallery was back in May. Right in the middle of my exam chaos. I'm sorry I haven't been around. A lot has changed. I have graduated, suffered loss and am now working full-time alongside being a mother and trying to blog. So life definitely hasn't got any easier. But I am determined to get back to blogging and the one thing this prompt has always encouraged me to do is to take better pictures. In fact, I think I have Tara to thank for my current passion for photography.

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