Saturday, 18 July 2015

SURVIVING FRESHERS YEAR

I noticed that A Level results day is coming up soon (I apologise if you're freaking out and didn't want reminding of that!) so I thought I would talk a little bit about my uni experience and share some tips with you Freshers out there...


I'm going into my second year of the Illustration course at Northampton, so just a heads up that these tips are coming from an art student and my experience will be different to someone studying a more academic course, however these are just general tricks I've learned at uni so far, so they should be some help to you at least!

First of all, before I start, I just want to say how important it is to ask yourself the following questions before you even consider going to uni:

Do I enjoy the subject I'm going to study?

Now this doesn't mean 'Oh yeah, Maths is okay I suppose, I'll study that' and it also doesn't mean 'I'm dead good at Media I got a good grade at A Level, I'll study that'... No, it's absolutely essential that you feel passionate about your chosen subject. Obviously good grades are important, but theres a difference between being good at something and genuinely enjoying it, and it'll be a massive waste of time and money if you don't enjoy what you study because you won't do very well!

Am I willing to challenge myself?

Moving to uni was possibly the biggest challenge I have ever set myself, and I'm so glad I took the leap. You've got to be prepared to be taken out of your comfort zone, and if you're not comfortable with this then uni probably isn't for you. That being said, it's completely normal to be nervous about it!

Okay, lecture over (ha ha!) let's talk about some tips and tricks I learned as a Fresher.

1. Go into halls for first year
Halls are accomodation that is run by the university. I know you probably find it scary the thought of moving into a flat of strangers but trust me, there's no better way of making friends than being in a tiny little flat with no idea what you're doing, you'll help and learn from each other, therefore creating friendships (you're all in this together and all that). Also, find a Hall that's relatively close to your uni campus where you'll be studying, you'll be thankful for this when you sleep in for a lecture and for the extra money you'll save on travelling to uni every day.

2. Don't take every single thing you own
You think I'm joking, but some people take so much stuff I wouldn't be surprised if they had to hire a moving van! Remember you've got to get it all in the car and then move it all into your little uni room (they're smaller than you think! Here's what my room looked like) so take only the essentials. It will probably help to get some, but not all, of your stuff when you actually get there, you'll be able to work out what you actually need as you go along and won't be left with useless kitchen utensils or stuff that takes uploads of room. Obviously you'll need bedding, clothes, cutlery and dishes though.

3. Freshers Week
I'm going to be honest here, my Freshers Week was pretty full, I wrote a post about what I got up to here. I was out (almost) every night and in uni every day for welcome talks and such. My advice for Freshers week is to embrace it, go with the flow, but don't do anything that makes you uncomfortable. Suss out your surroundings before you start drinking and make sure you're in a state to get yourself home when you need to. Also, there's nothing wrong with not drinking either! Freshers Week is about socialising and making friends anyway, but I would advise going to at least some of the events even if you don't drink while you're there to break the ice a little.

4. Don't worry about getting on with your flatmates
Here we are, the big one: getting on with your flatmates, my biggest worry before starting uni. Sure, getting on with the people you're living with would be great, but it's not the end of the world if you don't I promise you! Most people get on with at least some of their flatmates but it's important to remember that not everyone's going to like you or be your kind of person, and that's okay. What's important to bear in mind is that there's loads of opportunities for making friends on your course, joining societies or even just visiting your Student Union.

This was a rambly post so I apologise for that, I definitely haven't covered everything though, I might do a post of what I'm actually packing before I move back to uni too. If you have any more tips that you learned while at uni please share them with me! Also, if anyone's got any tips on starting second year that would be great too as I start in September.

I hope this helped,
Emily x

Thursday, 16 July 2015

NO HEAT WAVES

 I hate using heat on my hair! Sometimes it's necessary, like when I'm going out or when my hair just won't behave. But I try not to use heat on it very often because I already dye it anyway, I don't want to damage it any more than I already am. Today I'm going to show you how I get natural-looking waves without any heat at all.  
The only things I use to create this look are a bobble, a spray bottle (I use this on my plants mainly but it's ideal for hair too!) I got for 30p from Wilko's ages ago, and VO5 'Plump It Up' Mousse (any mousse would do).
 So it starts the night before really, but here's me with a very attractive hairstyle here, a French plait. The night before I French plait my hair before going to bed and then spray it with the water spray bottle with just plain tap water to dampen my hair a little, I don't completely soak it. Alternatively you could tie it into a plait when you've just washed your hair but I find plaiting wet hair quite difficult. If you don't have time the night before you could also do this in the morning and dry your plait with a hair dryer right after dampening it. I like to let my hair dry naturally overnight because plaiting my hair keeps it out of the way and anyway, using a hair dryer defeats the objective of using no heat!
 In the morning I undo the plait to find lovely wavy locks! Untie the plait very gently, and whatever you do don't brush your hair, it will make it frizzy! However, I find that it can be a little frizzy of the ends from being in a tight plait, so some styling needs done.
 I use the mousse to scrunch the ends of my hair. If you do it with your head upside down it adds extra volume too. The mousse helps to keep the waves in for the rest of the day and gives it volume. I like to clip some of the hair up and add plaits and stuff when I'm finished with the waves as it keeps my hair from looking too bushy - I have thick hair.
Finished! I think this would be a lovely way to style my hair for the first day of a festival, and as the festival goes on the waves will have a more homemade, lived-in look to them (a nice way of saying messy...) which is a popular look at festivals because people don't really care!

Emily x

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

RECENT DRAWINGS


Today I'm going to share with you some scans of my sketchbook that I carry everywhere with me. I'm quite nervous to show you these, as I treat this little book as more of a visual diary than anything else really. This is where I put everything that's going on in my head at the time whether it be words or images, I don't tend to bother with making things look perfect in my sketchbook because it's personal, but here we go...

So this first one is from when I was waiting of a train home. For some reason Carlisle is always full of trainspotters that crowd round the platforms with their massive cameras waiting for certain trains. I love to watch them, just like they watch the trains, I find them fascinating. So here's one chap with his camera, I actually nearly missed my train drawing him!

Second drawing is on a post-it-note (as you can see I got them free from Sainsbury's) in biro (also free, gotta love freebies!). I went to Cumbria Pride in Carlisle that day with my friend Ciara, and we sat in the park for a while so I drew this flower.
 This day I went for a walk to one of my favourite places on the shore where I live. I spent a while recalling old memories of times spent there and drawing the old lighthouse.

A thunderstorm inspired this next one, I love thunder and lightning. I love the way it lights up the sky with huge forks. I think my favourite part is the loud rumble it makes when it strikes the ground, amazing.
I love to draw people when I'm out and about, it's a creepier form of people watching I suppose. The trick is to spend just the right amount of time drawing someone before they start to notice you staring at them, yes I'm a creep.
 The first drawing here is based around a lovely quote I found 'If flowers can teach themselves how to bloom after winter passes then so can I.' I love this quote, and I drew this to remind myself to follow this advice. Also, the next one is quite motivational too, I suppose there's a theme to this page.


These final two drawings aren't from my little sketchbook, they're more finessed then the others and are based around old-fashioned illustrations. I just love vintage illustrations, how bold they are as they're just line drawings. I love this anatomical heart especially.

So there you have it, the endless ramblings of my brain over the past few weeks! I hope you enjoyed a little insight to my sketchbook, I post a lot of these images onto my Instagram if you want to see some more. What do you like to doodle?

Emily x

Thursday, 9 July 2015

CALM

Today I want to talk a bit about what I do to help myself feel calm when things get a bit too much. By this I mean when my day-to-day life gets a bit overwhelming and I start to feel too much pressure and anxiety. Recently I've been feeling very unmotivated and I'm suffering the worst creative block I've ever had. When I start feeling like this I have to take a step back, remember to breathe and these methods help me do that. 

So I'm not trying to say these techniques will work for everyone, and none of these things are particularly life-changing or revolutionary, they just help me on my way to becoming more mindful and calm.

 1. Write it down.
I keep a diary, where I write down everything that's going on in my head, from total shit storms to little thoughts and observations. Writing down what's happening inside my head helps me to process it, relieve some of the weight and make room for other thoughts. I don't write in my diary every single day but only when I need to, that way there's no pressure.

2. Music.
I have a playlist on my Spotify that makes me smile, it's full of songs that make me bob my head and sing along like a lunatic. It has the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club, The Stone Roses, Foals and Mumford and Sons, all tailor made to help me think more positively or to not think about much at all!

3. Have a laugh.
This is possibly easier said than done, but when I'm feeling a bit shitty and not myself I surround myself with positive people who make me laugh and smile, it doesn't even matter what we do we always manage to have a great time. My favourite people build me up to become the best version of myself, that's what friends are for I suppose.

4. Get creative.
When my mind is overwhelmed I like to keep my hands busy making things, and creating something amazing. I love to draw, anything and everything is my muse; my dreams, my home, a beautiful place or just a passing thought. I find a lot of comfort and satisfaction in making things and exploring ideas visually.

5. Some bloody peace and quiet.
Sometimes all I really need is some quiet and not just in the literal sense, in my mind too. My mind runs at 100mph and it gets tiring, I like to silence it once in a while using mindful meditation. Mindful meditation is where you try and focus your thoughts more on the here and now, rather than worrying about the past or the future. You empty your mind of everything but the sound and the feeling of your breathing; it's pretty difficult to stop my mind from wandering off but with practice I found it really helped my feel more calm.

6. Go outside.
If I've tried all of the above and I'm still feeling overwhelmed and stressed there's only one thing for it - I grab my bike and go on an adventure. When I want to feel calm I go to my favourite place in the whole world, by the sea (as you can see in the photographs). I like to sit on the end of the pier where it's peaceful and I can look out over the sea and all I can hear is the sound of the crashing waves and all I can see is Scotland over the Solway in the far distance. When I'm here, everything else is behind me and it feels like I'm sat on the end of the world. There's nothing like a sea breeze to blow all the negativity away, it's perfect.

What makes you feel calm?

Emily x



Sunday, 5 July 2015

LUSH PAMPER DAY | HAYTON CASTLE


Hi everyone! Yesterday was lovely and sunny in Hayton, where me and Ciara attended the Lush Pamper Day hosted by Hayton Castle, a very old and lovely building, which was the perfect setting for the day. We were greeted with a glass of fizz and afternoon tea, and were let loose in the huge building which was set out with stalls selling all manner of cute little items. There was a range of treatments on offer on the day, such as Reflexology, Indian Head Massages, Reiki and manicures. Me and Ciara had a great time going through the items for sale from Lush, and buying plants from the lovely girl from Foxtail Jewellery (Etsy store here), we also had our nails done with Vinylux, it's like Shellac but it uses natural UV light from the sun to set it so it stays put for longer than normal nail varnish.

Although the pamper day was a good experience I was more captivated by the building itself which was incredibly photogenic; I loved walking around exploring with my camera. Hayton Castle is a Grade I listed building dating from the 15th to 16th centuries, I found it fascinating!

Emily x