Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Budgeting and Managing Finances (Medic Series) 💸

It's a new year so what a better time to start a new lifestyle and learn some tips to save money!

Being at university for going on three years now, I feel like I've got a good grasp on budgeting and managing my finances. I'm by no means an expert but here are some of my helpful hints and tips.

Get Free Money for the Year:
As daunting as the forms can be, there are so many different pots of money available to almost every student in one way or another. I do a google search during the summer and then apply for every bursary, grant and scholarship that I can find where I meet the criteria - there are some really specific ones!
They are really long so make sure you give yourself enough time so another additional option is, if you are financed through Student Finance, make sure click that you allow your financial details to be shared because that way you don't have to apply to any financial-dependent university allocated funds. I've got £1000 each year through this.
Your university will have them linked on their site and Scholarship Search have a list of some of them but not all of them so make sure to look elsewhere too.


Earn in Bed:
Throughout the year, students are sent a lot of simple questionnaires but these can be boring. Do them. It's a really easy way to earn £5 to £50 usually. It's usually less than 20 minutes of time and I tend to do it while watching TV.
The university also sends out lots of emails including competitions which often had cash prizes like essay competitions.

Books:
Don’t ever ever ever buy textbooks. You don't actually need to have any of your own textbooks. I bought a lot before university started but I haven't even looked at them since the module finished. University libraries carry the majority of books and for Medical students, the hospital libraries and BMA are perfect.
You can also buy used and save the difference. If you really want or need a book, other student's in older years may sell their copies for much cheaper and often libraries give their old books away for free.

Student Discount:
Almost everywhere nowadays has some sort of student discount so never be afraid to ask. What 's the worst they can do? They'll only say no. You can also search online for discounts and promo codes before buying anything.
Also, sign up to every discount site, student and nonstudent. I have accounts with VoucherCloud, Unidays and Student Beans. A lot of big sites also do 50% off subscriptions like Amazon Student Prime (not only free next-day delivery but also access to lots of films and TV shows) and Spotify are the two big ones I use daily.
As a side note. I'm a student and someone who likes a bargain. I always look for the cheapest deal for every product I buy. Flubit is a great site for people who use Amazon a lot. It creates a private offer on any Amazon products which is usually cheaper. be aware, it doesn't include free next day delivery  so make sure to add delivery cost before deciding who to buy through.

Loyalty Cards:
Similarly, many places have store cards and if they are free and you got their often, get one! I have Boots, Waterstones, Nectar (good if you shop at Sainsbury’s), Boots and Superdrug.
Continuing, if you travel back and forth on trains visiting friends and family around the UK, get a 16-25 railcard (or another type) to get between 1/3 and 1/2 off your tickets. NUS is also a great card to have as it gives you lots of offers but don't buy before university because some universities include it on their cards e.g. liverpool and York St. Johns from knowledge.

Budget:
Make sure you know your bills and outgoing money. I have a separate bank account for bills so that I don't spend that. That includes rent, household bills, phone bills, a present allowance plus £30 a week for food (I don't usually spend it all but in case of a night out) and £10 on travel (last year this was much more but this year I live much closer to university so walk in most days).
My main goal is 'to spend as little as possible' aha.

Get a Job:
This is mainly for non-medics as we just don't have the time during term but if you need to, make sure it doesn't interfere with studies. In the summer holidays though, medics can defintely get a job! When I go home, I love to babysit. Doing something I love while getting paid is just the bonus.
A relatively easy job to get is tutoring because if gives you teaching experience but it also covers something you already know a lot about. Additionally, you can set tasks for your students while you do your work at the same time.

Bulk Buy:
My final tip is to buy in bulk where possible. I buy presents in bulk with vouchers and discount code and always always always, search for promo codes online before shopping.

Bank Offers:
If you do online or mobile banking, you often get money back offers and rewards if you pay on your cards. I find these really interesting. While I wouldn't recommend purchasing random products just to get money back, look around at the prices in comparison to the places with the money back offer as even though it may be more expensive there, with the money back offer, it ends up being cheaper so it's worth it!

I don't want to have to ask anyone for money, I just wanted to have the money to be able to do what I want when I want. Back at home, I'm usually the one to say don't buy that or save this ect. I think I'm very sensible financially speaking, I'm careful but not stingy. I budget a meal out a week so when an exciting adventure comes about I can afford it. At the moment, my splurges tend to be concerts...

I hope you find this helpful. Leave any tips you have in the comments below :)

PS. I was doing some research on other ways to save money and apparently there is something called a HC2 certificate which supposedly allows free prescriptions, free dental care, and free eyesight checks, plus money off vouchers for glasses. I will defintely look into this because prescriptions are so expensive!

Friday, 20 January 2017

Christmas Tree Brownies! (Recipe) 🍫

The last Christmas post! 
Super late I know but I did actually make these back in 2016. It feels like so long ago now aha.
For own of my Christmas presents, my mum got me a brownie skillet set so it came with everything you need, including the container, except for oil, water and an egg which most people have in the house anyway.
I poured the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.
Then added the wet ingredients (egg, water and oil) to a separate bowl.
I then added the wet and dry ingredients together.
You needed a little extra oil in the skillet.
But then pour the mixed ingredients straight in.
I had lots of mixture and as the skillet was very shallow, I had lots left over.
While they cooked, I stored the mixture in the fridge covered.
Amazingly, they were perfectly shaped and literally fell out of the skillet with ease.
They look so pretty and festive. Definitely going to be reusing the skillet next year!
For more detailed instructions see below.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Sales HAUL! Waterstones, Lush and M+S 📚

I know these posts are going up so delayed but I did go to the Boxing Day sales (that last wayyy longer than one day!) and buy a few little goodies for cheap.

I went to Waterstones and bought some of the books I've been wanting for a while now. If you know me, you probably know I actually have a massive box (x2) under my desk full of unread books waiting to be read. Before university I use to read at least a book a week but no I literally don't read any until summer. I feel awful but hopefully I'll catch up sometime soon!

I got the 4th book in the The 100 Series called Rebellion , Ice Like Fire the second in the Snow Like Ashes Series and finally the one I'm most looking forward to is The Thousandth Floor.

I don't know how I didn't know about the Lush sale every year but after queuing online for 6 hours I was disappointed to find very little left. When I went into store I few days after the online sale, there was so many things on sale so I treated myself. Who could refuse 50%. I bought two FUNs in Snow Fairy and Santa, plus the Snow Fairy shower gel. I then got 2 Candy Mountain Bubble Bars and finally a Snow Fairy gift set box for my sister.
And finally, I bought a selection of bras online. I haven't bought any for a couple of years so it was time to get some new ones. I purchased 11 but only ended up liking 3 of them and of course they were the most expensive ones aha. First up was the Jacquard Print Underwired Non Padded Full Cup Bra and then two Arelia Lace Non Padded Underwired Balcony Bra in red and white.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Sparkling Candles and Bath Bombs! / Year 2 Term 1 Bonus Footage 🛀

Last week I uploaded my new 2017 channel trailer which was a little bit of a 2016 recap. Well this week I've uploaded all the clips from my Year 2 Term 1 of Medicine at UCL, that didn't quite make it into any video.

Click here to watch or see below!

I'm so proud that I've posted at least one video every week in 10 months(!) but I am now going to probably be taking a little break while I concentrate on my studies. Be sure to catch up on all the other videos on the break until back to consistent vlogs in the summer!

When I first moved in, the girls threw Joe and I a little joint party as both out birthday's are in the summer so got missed. Of course the birthday cake candles wouldn't stop relighting and they set the fire alarm off.

Chickens eat pumpkins at a farm visit with my volunteering.

Sister arguments and Heads Up after a day hanging out with friends and for a meal with family.

My last lush bath bomb from Christmas on one of my last nights at home over the Christmas holidays. The best part is I learnt my bowls float and I could eat my melon in my green Santa bath.
Hanging out with friends and saying our final goodbyes for a while.

Totally random but totally my life!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Save STONEHENGE! 🗿

If you are not from the UK, and even if you are, you may not be aware of a massive change that has been approved for Stonehenge this morning.

A petition is circulating and I wanted to share some of the information from there here incase anyone was interested in learning more and signing the petition themselves.

Dear friends, 

I just signed the petition "Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site" and wanted to ask if you could add your name too. 

This campaign means a lot to me and the more support we can get behind it, the better chance we have of succeeding. You can read more and sign the petition here

Can you also take a moment to share the petition with others? It's really easy – all you need to do is forward this email or click these links: 

Thank you! 

Hannah

The Government proposes to widen the A303 trunk road to the south west. This road crosses the iconic Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS), which has been called “the most archaeologically significant land surface in Europe”. The whole site, extending to beyond the horizons around the famous stones themselves, is c. 5.4 km across. All of it makes up a “huge ancient complex” that holds many secrets yet to be discovered.

The proposal is to put the road into a tunnel where it passes the stones, but the tunnel would be at most only 2.9 km long. This would result in at least 1.6 km of above-ground 21st-century road engineering within the WHS, consisting of new dual carriageway descending in massive trenches to the tunnel portals and possibly a new underpass with slip roads on the western WHS boundary.

When I heard this news I was shocked. I don't understand why they would risk ruining such an iconic landmark and such a famous historical site. I for one want to keep the way Stonehenge is now forever. I think it's our duty to keep the remains as they once were, how they are now and hopefully how they will be seen in the future.

If you too want to see this saved, please sign the petition or just share your own thoughts on social media and in the comments below.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Treatbox: Build Your Own Box - Review and Haul 📫

I did actually get this a while ago before Christmas but I'm finally posting it. Too many posts this month! 
I saw a few bloggers posting about TreatBox and I loved the idea of it but this month's had already sold out so I decided to do build my own instead. There was such a large selection and I was so excited when I got to pick them all.
When the box came, it was beautifully wrapped and I loved the Christmas theme. The tissue paper was gorgeous and there was added confetti and glitter sprinkles. I was so excited.
When I opened it up however, I was a little shocked, Everything was much small than I had anticipated and seemed quite poorly made. I think that was the main response because I was expecting them to be so much bigger. I'm actually a little confused because it does seem a little overpriced; everything would cost £2 normally, yet it was almost £14 for all of them which is with the box discount.
I got this sign thinking I could have it on my desk to display as a sign but it's so small it will look stupid. I do however still think it's really cute and now have it hanging up on my wall.
This is again quite small but actually my favourite out of the box. It's a really cute, small and delicate wire hanging decoration for Christmas and I hung it up immediately. I can't wait to use it again next year.
They added this little quote card for free which is super sweet of them. It was only palm side so it can't really be framed and hung up, but I have it rested on blue tac on my desk as a sweet reminder.
I was so excited when I saw this because I thought it would make the perfect final addition to Hallie's Christmas presents but the whole idea went out the window when I saw the size. I thought this would make the perfect door knob hanger for the her bedroom but it's less that 2 cm big which is utterly ridiculous and unusable for anything. In retrospect, I probably should have paid more attention when picking the products but I just thought this little princess sign was so sweet!
The thing that I'm most upset about was the bracelet. I saw loads of these beautiful bracelets on the site. I loved the message behind the wish strings but they are seemingly a bit of a rip off.  The picture on the site shows a beautiful heart charm yet this one is not only a star but it is the size of a pinpoint on a needle and the bracelet is a frayed piece of string. I'm actually shocked that they can even sell these considering how poor they are.
See the picture above for a comparison of what it should actually look like. I've emailed twice and have received absolutely no response.
This was the final and only semi-decent sized item. It's about hand size and even though it's larger, it's got a massive crack in it so how long it will last is another question entirely. I did however love it as a little addition to my Christmas decor and I will - hopefully - be able to use it next year too.

If you ever thought about getting any item from Treatbox, this might make you rethink.

EDIT: Since posting this, I have received a few lovely messages from the owner, Zoe. I didn't see the products may vary on the site so I will defintely pay closer attention to that it the future. Zoe has provided a great customer service and is even replacing the bracelet and damaged product. On reflection, I think the size of the products shocked me much more and so I didn't fully appreciate the products themselves. I really do think it's a lovely idea for a surprise box as a treat to yourself or others! :)

Monday, 9 January 2017

I am.... + ANNOUNCEMENT ✍🏻


For the new year, I've made a new channel trailer for YouTube. It's a little bit of a summary of 2016 but also about how many different things someone can be. So many mother's get told they're 'just a mum' or people get told they're 'just a...' but you're not just anything. You can be many things.

Click here to watch it or see below.

In other news, this year at university has been the hardest educational year of my life and quite honestly I'm struggling. I have consistently kept to a schedule in 2016 but with my new work schedule that has become too hard. I will continue to post at 5pm GMT but my 2017 schedule has changed. My goal is to post twice a week but the day and topic may vary:
Monday - YouTube/Day in the Life
Wednesday - All
Thursday - Thoughts
Friday - (Films) Review
Sunday - Weekly Recap

Also, you know me...I love blogging too much so let's face it, I'll probably still continue posting wayyy to much haha. 

Friday, 6 January 2017

Gift Guide for All - Budget 🎁

I always love buying gifts for people especially when I know they'll like it! I tried really hard this year to get gifts suitable for each person in the hopes that they'll love it! 
For my youngest sister, I got her some Burt's Bees products. One of these is for her birthday but as I won't see her again beforehand, I figured I'd give her them at the same time. I got the Nature set and the pigmented lip balms which I kind of want to steal for my own!
Additionally, I got her a Zoella lifestyle candle as she loves candles. I got her the Gingerbread Village one and treated myself to My Eden which matches my little desk decor.
Catherine has been travelling so much this year and for her birthday I got her a scrapbook. When I saw these miniature maps I thought they would be the perfect addition and to keep track of where she should go next. 
Meanwhile, Victoria is always the most difficult to buy gifts for. I tried to look on her Pinterest for some inspiration and while most of it is house related, I did manage to find a little necklace. While I couldn't find the exact version, I did find a similar one on Not on the Highstreet which I hope she appreciates. When it arrived, I wasn't as impressed but fingers crossed she likes it. 
My niece always gets totally spoiled by the family so I tried to hang back a little this year. I'm more into educational games which she'll probably hate but I always loved growing up. Jess is the fun aunt who gets the exciting toys. I got this fun maths counting sticks game to start learning sums and the new Tom Fletcher book but it's probably more for me to read to her to be fair. 
Then I got her this two cute little bath sponges and of course had to add some yummy treats! I also threw in this little McDonald's gift. It's always fun to open presents right?

Finally, I got her these cute crayons! This was really just a little extra but I've fallen in love. Each letter is in a different colour plus it has a little picture impression of an object beginning with that letter: H for heart, A for apple, L for ladder, I for ink and E for elephant. I actually think it would be really cute to get a full set and learn the alphabet with these. Of course, I added a cheap colouring book to pair with them. 
For my flatmates, I just got little gifts. For Joe - boys are the most difficult to buy for plus I have very little experience other than my dad! - I got a little star full of treats and a little fun matchbox game
For the girls - and my mum because I thought her reaction would be hilarious! - I discovered these Boomf explosion boxes. I can't wait to see their faces!
As a non-joke present I got them each a little lip accessory too. Sophie got a lip gloss from Tanya Burr and Zhangqi got a Body Shop lip balm as I didn't think she'd appreciate bright pink. I got Afternoon Tea, Puppy Paws and Rhubarb and Custard and on the other side I got Passionberry, Raspberry and Satsuma
For my friend, Hannah, I found these super cute matching purses! Inside I also put in some goodies!
I also gave her a nail manicure set because she loves to paint her nails badly and while she's on wards (she's also a medic) she can't have her nails painted so I thought this would be the perfect way to take care of them separately. I also gave one to my grandma and one to my cousin, Eleanor. 
 
I missed my grandma's birthday this year and while I did send a card, I didn't get her a gift so I got her this cute Zoella Room Diffuser which I hope she likes.
For my other cousin, I got her these earrings. She's a dentist so I thought it'd be hilarious but I actually really like them and kind of want them for myself. How pretty and sparkly!
The last item I got from the Zoella Beauty collection were these cute bath fizzies. My plan was to give them to Hallie but I think I'll use one and see what I think and then send the others off to her. 
 The two big presents this year went to my mum and dad. I don't usually buy such big presents but this year I wanted to do something special. For mum, I got her a ticket for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play. We've been talking about going for ages so when I finally got tickets I was over the moon happy! I can't wait to spend a Harry Potter weekend together as I'm hoping to also go to Harry Potter world the day after. Of course, they are really expensive so this will probably be her Christmas/Mother's Day/Birthday present.... sorry mum! For my dad, I got him tickets to the IAAF World Championships. He records all their meeting so when I got offered tickets at early release last September I couldn't refuse!

Of course, none of the tickets have been released yet so instead I made a little word document with a screenshot of the event and the seats and a message. I then trimmed the edges and stuck it on some Christmassy-card in red. I then rolled them up in a cute style and while I did have some super cute ribbon to tie them, instead I used two meaningful ties. For my mum I used the Lindt reindeer decoration that she sent me in her December gift box and for my dad's, I used my wrist band for the show I took him to see a few weeks ago when he visited.

I can't wait to see what I get next year! Merry Christmas Eve everyone!