Heading into May only means one thing for the vast majority of students, exams. Having spent almost six years at University (forever a student) it is safe to say I’ve done my fair share of exams. I know everyone has their own routines in terms of studying but I thought I’d share a few study tips with you. Those of you lucky enough to not have any exams coming up, this guide may also help you complete that project you said you’d always get round to or help you to be more productive at work.

 

Remember Why You Started:

It’s normal when you are working towards any final goal to have bumps in the road where you lack motivation. Concentration occurs in waves and whilst there is always that individual that seems super focused 100% of the time, this just isn’t the reality. Make sure you get work done whilst you are at your most productive. For me, I work best in the afternoon and into the early evening so I make sure I structure my day around this and use this for the tasks that require the most energy. If you are lacking in motivation, think about why you started in the first place and the best possible outcome.

Learn What Works Best For You:

We all have different learning styles and way that we work. Find out what works for you and embrace it. It is so easy to look at those who are successful in your field and try to copy their techniques but rarely do we see the whole picture. Especially as a student, it is easy to get caught up with who is spending the most time in the library but try to ignore what other people are doing by focusing on your own goals. Sadly it has become part of British culture that we perceive those who stay at the office for hours on end as being the most productive. Think about quality over quantity.

Look After Yourself:

Revising or working when stressed can mean that we process information inefficiently. Make sure you still schedule time in for your hobbies and take time out to do the things you enjoy. When you return to your work it will be of higher quality and you’ll find that you achieve more. Don’t compromise on your diet and sleep to get through a stressful period, it just isn’t sustainable.

 

For all of those with exams coming up, good luck! Do share any tips/techniques that you have found useful in the comments below.

 

 

 

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I finally visited Brighton (woo!). Stupidly enough it wasn’t on my radar as a to-visit place until I moved to London and even then I had so much to discover in London that I just never got around to going. Thankfully I was invited to a LDN Meet Up event to go for afternoon tea at Hotel Du Vin so then I had the perfect excuse to go.

Before setting off, my friend and I did some research to discover a few places we had to visit on our trip. Although we were only visiting for a day, we managed to see a handful of what Brighton has to offer but you could easily spend a few days there exploring. Here is what we got up to on our visit!

 

We made sure we got a Starbucks and croissant to go from London and hopped on a train to Brighton. Annoyingly the trains go via Gatwick airport so be prepared to be squashed on as it was super busy. It turns out we happened to be visiting Brighton on marathon day so that might also be why it was hectic.

Having arrived we wondered down to the beautiful Brighton pavilion. The pavilion was built for King George IV and the exotic inspired architecture was perfect for the weather we had on that day. It’s the ideal place to sit out on the grass with a drink and admire the view.

 

So many of the Brighton Streets are London inspired so keep an eye out for all of the street names. We spent the morning popping in and out of quirky shops along North Laine and paid a visit to Choccywoccydoodah. Unfortunately, we had to avoid the chocolate as we were off for an afternoon tea but I’ve been in London and it is certainly worth visiting.

One thing that Brighton is not short of is cute healthy cafes – the people of Brighton are on to the eco-vegan food drive so join in on your visit. It being marathon day all of the cafes were chock-a-block we escaped further up the highstreet to MADE (Make-Art-Drink-Eat) that do the best selection of cold teas and coffee.

    

Would it be a trip to Brighton without going on the pier?! Having got over the fact that you can see the sea between the cracks in the floor boards, we wondered along the pier sitting in some deck chairs on the way. Along with loads of classic amusements at the end of the pier there are rides to go on, ice creams and of course fish and chips.

We sat on the beach and enjoyed the last of the sun before hopping on an extremely packed train back to London. Thankfully we managed to get a seat and make some friends with some inebriated strangers.

  

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On the hottest day of the year England has had so far I had the pleasure of being invited to Hotel Du Vin in Brighton by Lauren who organises the LDN Meet Up events. I’m never one to pass up afternoon tea as you guys know since my visit to Sketch. I just love the idea of sitting with friends for a few hours and enjoying endless plates of mini goodness accompanied with every type of tea you could dream of.

 

Due to the amazing weather we were able to sit outside in the sun which was incredible. Hotel Du Vin have a courtyard that you can sit in outside but also an upstairs balcony/decking area which is where we sat.

We were brought champagne when we arrived and given top ups throughout the afternoon. This was quickly followed my an amazing collection of sandwiches. We were treated to smoked salmon bagels, egg and cress brioche, a goats cheese quiche, ham croissant any my favourite which was a tomato and tapenade galette. My friend who is vegetarian was given another selection that included artichoke and avocado.

 

It took me longer than it should have to decide on a tea but I settled on a traditional Assam as unfortunately there wasn’t a chai on the menu which is my usual choice. We were then delivered the most insane collection of treats. Scones (of course), lemon meringue pie, rhubarb doughnuts and knickerbocker glories.  In honor of Easter, Hotel du Vin had created a Creme egg brownie that is available throughout April and tasted delicious.

The most photogenic part of the afternoon tea had to be the apple candy floss. I’ve never come across an afternoon tea with candy floss before but now I’m starting to think they should all have it! I can’t remember when I last had candy floss so it brought back some memories.

 

Now on to the gin! Since discovering Fever-Tree I’ve become a bit impartial to gin. The collection of gin and tonics available at Hotel du Vin is remarkable. They have five different types of gin available each matched with a specifically chosen tonic. I opted for the Gin Mare with a Mediterranean tonic which was savory but refreshing  and well needed after all of the sweet afternoon tea treats.

 

Overall, the afternoon tea experience was perfect. Thankfully we had the weather on our side and being able to have gin and tonic in the sun was ideal. I loved the Easter themed chocolate brownie as well.

I do think the staff were a little overwhelmed as all of us bloggers arrived at the same time and on Brighton marathon day so there was a bit of a surge all at once! It is definitely worth having afternoon tea at Hotel du Vin if you are in Brighton, let me know if you guys visit.

Thank you so much to Lauren (@blonde_vision/@LDNmeetup) for organising the event and Hotel du Vin for having me, all of their afternoon tea information can be found here.

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blogging for beginners

So it turns out I’ve been blogging for just over six months (how time flies!?). I started my blog because I loved reading other peoples blogs and wanted to capture some of my experiences. Since then it’s been my little side project that I’ve loved working. Here is some of my advice for those considering venturing into blogging or those just starting out alongside some of my blogging highlights so far. Disclaimer – I am certainly no blogging expert, this is simply my reflections and thoughts on the six months I have been running my blog – enjoy!

  1. Don’t be Held Back by the Judgement of Others – There is no doubt about it so many people have their own blogs these days and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Don’t focus on following the crowd, find your own niche and write for yourself. Unfortunately there will always be some people who don’t appreciate your work but as is life and haters gonna hate!
  2. Get Ready to Have Some Amazing Experiences – Getting into blogging I completely underestimated the number of opportunities it would bring. I’ve already attended events with Magnum, Mahiki, Hard Rock Cafe, Funkin’ Cocktails, Hummus Bros, the Cheltenham Races with Ladbrokes and met amazing supportive people. I’ve never been great at networking but going to blogging events has certainly helped. It’s amazing to be part of the blogging community and have my eyes opened to so many opportunities.
  3. When in Doubt, Ask Others – This follows on from my previous point, but there are so many bloggers out there that are always willing to help you with any blogging relating issues you might have. Get involved in Facebook groups for bloggers, twitter chats and how-to guides online. Any blog is always a work in progress so don’t expect things to be perfect the first time around. It’s ok to evolve your blog as you learn the ropes, even the biggest bloggers started somewhere.
  4. Live Life First, Blog Second – I’m sure it goes without saying but without living your life fully you don’t have much to blog about! It’s very easy to get caught up in the social media addiction that comes with blogging or feeling like you have to write content consistently. Although this helps, it’s far better to produce high quality content that you are passionate about than endless blog posts with empty meanings.
  5. Be Prepared to Learn How to Talk Technology – Setting up your own website, domain name and learning the importance of SEO (search engine optimisation) is no easy feat. It’s a steep learning curve but thankfully there is plenty of help floating around online. I think so many people believe that starting a blog is as easy as taking some photos, adding a write up and posting it online but you need to learn the mechanics behind running a blog too. It all comes with experience but it is certainly frustrating at times.

If you are considering starting a blog, just do it! The amount of people I speak to who want to start a blog but don’t because of time, judgement of others or fear of not having anything to write is too many. A blog can take any form you want it to, including just being an instablog. For those of you who have just started blogging (or been blogging for years) let me know your experiences!

“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game”

 

 

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Despite having lived in London for almost two years, I’ve yet to visit Notting Hill until this week. With the weather being so ideal I decided to take a day off from University life and take a stroll around the area to explore what it has to offer.

After having to run some errands in the morning, Patrick and I got the tube across to Notting Hill Gate station. We’d done some research and decided to go to Pizza Metro Pizza an Italian restaurant famous for its metre long pizzas and recommended in the Where The Chefs Eat guide. They do an amazing lunch menu and be sure to order their Polpette al Sulgo.

We headed to the famous Portobello Road, full of of cute coffee shops, market stalls and instagrammable colourful houses. I managed to resist from doing any shopping but popped into Hummingbird Bakery to pick up one of their adorable Easter cupcakes.

One of the places that has been on my to-visit list in London for as long as I can remember is the Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park. The Japanese gardens are the perfect place to destress from London life and have a pond with the most amazing koi carp. All of the cherry blossom was in full bloom so spring has finally arrived.

It was so nice to spend the day exploring a new part of London and being completely distracted from the long list of jobs I should have been getting on with. Let me know if you’ve got any favourite places in Notting Hill.

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