SUMMER FAVOURITES

19 August 2018

Since the start of summer, I have discovered lots of new cool things that I'd like to share with you, from make-up and fashion to Netflix shows and films.

The first thing is an online shop I'd only just discovered called missyempire.com. Have I been living under a rock? They have so many cool statement graphic T shirts which is also another favourite of mine lately. Another online shop which sells really cool graphic tees is nastygal.com.

I'm also loving statement earrings at the moment and they have some really nice ones in Topshop and Primark are doing some super affordable ones too. I bought some yesterday in a shop in Southampton called Lovisa. I'm not sure where else they have these shops, I've only seen it there, but they were doing 3 for £9 on earrings and one of the pairs I bough were £8. Absolute bargains.

If you want good perfumes to wear every day but don't want to splash too much cash on a designer one then try the perfumes at Zara. They all smell super nice, I got one for my birthday and I had to get another one because they're so good they smell like you have bought a designer one and the one I bought was only £10.

My beauty and skincare favourites of late include things from lush and the body shop. At lush I've been loving bubble bars lately. My favourites are the rose jam bubble bar and the big orange one, I forgot the name of it but it smells like oranges and it's huge. I've only used it about 4 times so far and there's still over half left. My favourite bath bomb is of course, think pink. How can you go wrong with sparkly pink bath water? My favourite body shop item is the banana body yoghurt. I haven't tried any of their other body yoghurts but I know that they are 100% vegan and I liked the banana one best it smells so nice but not too overwhelming. 

I recently bought a duochrome lip gloss from NYX and it's my favourite lip gloss now. I have the colour "fairplay" which has like shines of pink and gold in it. There are other really nice ones with shines of blues and purples too. Other than that, I haven't been wearing that much make-up lately because it was really hot and I don't wear any to work because I start at 8 so I just roll out of bed and go without making too much of an effort.

My favourite things to watch on Netflix over summer have been Full House, Insatiable and Orange is the New Black Season 6. If you haven't seen Full House before then I'd recommend it, it's such an easy watch. It's a family sitcom from the late 80s - early 90s and it's just a nice watch. If there's anything else that's good on Netflix then please give me some recommendations because I feel like I've seen everything now and I don't really have anything to watch at the moment.

I've been liking Jeffree Star videos lately too. For some reason I never really watched him before, I watch so many other beauty Youtubers like NikkiTutorials and James Charles but I just never really watched Jeffree Star so I thought, why am I not watching Jeffree Star? I really enjoyed Shane Dawsons series with Jeffree Star, it was SO entertaining and I usually can't concentrate through really long YouTube videos like that.

My favourite summer film just has to be Mamma Mia: Here we go again. I just loved the first one so much and I love ABBA and all the actors. I missed Meryl Streep in it, although Cher was in it which was exciting. And I love Lily James too it was just so good, I need to see it again.

Last but not least, my favourite album over the summer has been Sweetener by Ariana Grande.

A GUIDE TO UNI COOKING: FOR PEOPLE WHO CAN'T COOK

5 August 2018

If you were expecting a blog post with gourmet recipes for you to cook whilst at university then you are reading the wrong post. I will start by saying I cannot cook well at all and in the famous of words of chef Gordon Ramsay, I am an idiot sandwich when it comes to anything in the kitchen. However, I am also someone who survived my first year of university on my own cooking and I'm going to share my top tips on how I did that with other fellow novice chefs like myself.

Tip number 1 - If you visit home, make sure to always take left overs with you to uni. The microwave is your most important tool in the kitchen and will warm up anything from leftover roasts to leftover spag bol; the microwave is your new best friend.

Tip number 2 - Chips are in any students diet - but to make them healthier and cheaper for you, try buying potatoes and chopping them to make your own homemade chips in the oven. By doing this you will feel somewhat like a chef for making something of your own and it may boost your confidence. You might even go as far as trying it with sweet potatoes, but remember to take things at your own pace.

Tip number 3 - If possible, become best of friends with the people you meet who actually can cook because then you might actually get a decent meal. Try to encourage them to do big portions and then when they have lots left over, they will have no choice but to give you some. Obviously, you won't be able to repay them with your own cooking so just buy them a drink on your nights out to thank them.

Tip number 4 - Before starting university and moving from home, make sure you learn basics like how to poach eggs or how to cook pasta and super noodles because you may find that these are the only things you will be able to cook on your low budget and limited kitchen skills. Pasta is the holy grail of student living and if you're feeling a bit unhealthy after all the carbs, put some veg in it and join a uni sports society.

Tip number 5 - Never cook food after a night out. You may feel like you don't want to spend a fiver on the kebab at the end but trust me, it is better than setting fire to your house drunk.

Tip number 6 - Don't, under any circumstances, ever buy tinned macaroni, no matter how desperate you get.

Tip number 7 - Always try and cook at the same time as your housemates because if you mess something up, they will probably just feel sorry for you and help you.

Tip number 8 - If you are really feeling stuck and worried about something then perhaps buy a student cookbook because if you can read you can cook. Also don't forget to use google, your housemates may be as unskilled as you.

Tip number 9 - Make too much pasta or whatever you are having for dinner so you can have some for lunch the next day. It's stressful enough trying to think of what dinners you will get when you're food shopping let alone thinking about other meals like lunch. It is a rare occasion that you will wake up before lunch time to make breakfast.

Tip number 10 - Jokes aside, try and make cooking a fun experience not a daunting one. If you mess something up then just laugh and learn from your mistakes. You won't be the only atrocious cook trust me, I've seen some surprising food choices.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and I hope you all become kitchen wizards in no time.

MY SUMMER PLAYLIST

8 July 2018

I recently did an Instagram poll where I asked who wanted to see my latest music favourites and I had a huge amount of people say that they'd like to see it. Since most of the people who read my blogs follow me on Instagram, @_laurenken, it's a good way for me to check what content everyone wants to see from me, so keep a look out for more blog related polls. I have done blogs like this before, but there is always new music that I want to share with you so I might turn this into a monthly thing where I share my new playlists on my blog.

Here is my July 2018 summer playlist on apple music, containing all of the songs I've been listening to and liking at the moment. It's a mix of different genres, some old and some new:

1. Friends - The Carters
2. Apeshit - The Carters
3. Heard about us - The Carters (basically their whole album)
4. Bed - Nicki Minaj feat. Ariana Grande
5. Youngblood - 5 Seconds of Summer
6. Talk Fast - 5 Seconds of Summer
7. Senseless - Steflon Don
8. King of the Clouds - Panic! at the Disco
9. Roaring 20s - Panic! at the Disco
10. Sunflower - Rex Orange County
11. Think Too Much, Feel Too Little - JAWS
12. Salad Days - Mac Demarco
13. Ode to Viceroy - Mac Demarco
14. Freaking out the Neighbourhood - Mac Demarco
15. The Way You'd Love Her - Mac Demarco
16. Doo Wop (That Thing) - Lauryn Hill
17. Better Now - Post Malone
18. Kokomo - The Beach Boys
19. Mob Ties - Drake
20. Finesse - Drake
21. In My Feelings - Drake
22. After Dark - Drake feat. Static Major & Ty Dolla $ign
23. Supermodel - SZA
24. Wasted Times - The Weeknd
25. Theres a Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls) - Blossoms
26. 13 Beaches - Lana Del Rey
27. Cherry - Lana Del Rey
28. Honey - Swim Deep
29. The Light Is Coming - Ariana Grande feat. Nicki Minaj
30. Fossils - Circa Waves

Let me know all of your favourite songs at the moment (obviously another one is Three Lions but that's a given).

FIRST YEAR AT UNI: COMPLETE

10 June 2018

Most of you will know that I started a degree in Communication and Media in September, and now my first year of university has come to an end. It's safe to say, it was nothing like I expected to be. I'm not sure what exactly I was expecting but it was just an indescribable experience. From moving in university halls, to the last event which was the summer ball, everything just happened at a hundred miles per hour.

As soon as I'd moved in, there was a party at our flat for my flatmate Kitty, who has become one of my best friends, for her birthday. Straight away we were meeting so many new people and then after that we went clubbing as you do in fresher's week. My first year of university started as it meant to go on which was full on.

I have made so many new friends at university from all over the country, some from other countries and some friends that I didn't even expect to have. It's so different from being at home because I've lived in basically the same place my whole life where there isn't that many chances to make new friends as you kind of know everyone already. Obviously, I love my friends from home but it's nice to have made new ones as well.

Also, I got on with pretty much all of my flatmates in halls which was lucky and I know some people aren't that lucky, but no flat is perfect. There was sometimes fall outs about noise, the kitchen being messy, and food stealing but I think most flats have that. 90% of the time living there was such a laugh and I'll miss it but I'm looking forward to moving into a house with different people in September too because it will just be a different experience.

Living in university halls wasn't always easy, especially when you have to cook for yourself and are clueless in the kitchen like me. Even though a pasta sauce I made turned solid, I never got food poisoning so I see that as a success. All you need to know is how to cook noodles and pasta that is the ultimate student cuisine. My advice would just be to buy an already made pasta sauce that you just have to heat up or stir in.

Like any year, it has had lots of ups and downs. So many good things have happened like mainly getting the grades I want in my course. However, one very difficult thing to go through was one of my closest friends at university passing away. I have to say though, being surrounded by such good friends all the time made it a lot easier.

Overall, I would describe my experience of university so far as zero to a hundred. Not so much with coursework because I mainly did it before it was due and felt like I had all of my deadlines under control. However, with uni life, everything was just so full on which was a good thing for me because there was always something going on and something to do. That's probably why I didn't post on my blog as much.

I'd be interested to know about anyone else's experiences of university and I'm very happy with what I'm doing and can't wait for second year.




A WEEK IN SORRENTO

13 May 2018


As some of you may know, last month I took a trip to Sorrento, Italy for a week. I'd like to start by saying I would fully recommend this to anyone who is looking for somewhere new to travel to. Our hotel wasn't actually in Sorrento itself, it was located just outside in a small town called Sant'Agnello which was about a 5 minute drive or a 45 minute walk to Sorrento.


The hotel we stayed in was very nice but I have to say it was quite outdated but this didn't matter much because most of the time we were out exploring. There was a swimming pool as shown but nobody really used this during our time there because it wasn't hot enough. The temperature while we were there ranged from around 14-18 degrees, which was perfect temperature to walk around in but it wasn't hot enough to sunbathe in (although, incidentally I did get sunburnt whilst the local Italians were wearing hats, scarves and gloves but I'll continue to forget about my unfortunate pale skin, and think about the highlights of my trip).

2017 BEST BITS

2 January 2018

Happy new year everyone I hope you've all had the best Christmas and 2017. I know that 2017 was a huge year for me with so many changes and it was all very exciting so I thought I would share all of the excitement.

JANUARY:
- Passed my driving test on the 10th of January (after being terrible at it for 9 months).
-13th January: I got a car (Frankie the Ford Fiesta).
- On the 30th of January I went to the best concert I'd ever been to which was Drake.


FEBRUARY:
- I saw Two Door Cinema Club live on the 7th.
- From the 13th of February until the 16th I went on a trip with college to Krakow, Poland. In this week I had the experience of going to Auschwitz, Birkenau concentration camp and Schindler's Factory.

MARCH:
- In March I spent a lot of time with friends and did bits of photography for some A level coursework.
- Adam and I saw Circa Waves, one of my favourite bands in Bristol on the 27th.


APRIL:
- 3rd of April: MY 18TH BIRTHDAY - I had my first legal drink which was a cherry bakewell cocktail from the Cosy Club.
- 8th of April was my birthday party with all of my favourite people and my first night out.
-14th April: 1 year anniversary with Adam.




MAY:
- May mainly consisted of revision and also consisted of 2 different nights out.



JUNE:
- 1st of June, Adam and I went to Bristol zoo and then shopping in Bristol.
- Adam and I also went to Thorpe Park on the 22nd.
- 27th June: FINISHED COLLEGE/LAST EXAM
- 29th of June we went to bath ( I really spent a lot of time with Adam this month haha).




JULY:
-MORE COCKTAILS ON JULY 1ST.
-On the 7th of July I went to 2 parties in 1 day. The first was a pool party which was hilarious because the pool didn't actually get delivered on time, but we still had lots of fun with a home-made slip 'n' slide. The second was a royalty themed party in the evening where I wore a queen mask with very small eye holes so I was bumping into everything.
- 11th of July: AFTERNOON TEA (my first ever).
- July 20th was my favourite day out of the summer where we went to Cheddar Gorge. Those of you who know me know I love cheese! I was in my element seeing how it was made, tasting it and buying it.
-21st July: My second baby niece, Scarlett was born.
-24th of July I went to London for the day; went to the science museum and did some shopping.



AUGUST:
- 7th of August I went on my family summer holiday to Cyprus where we stayed in a villa.
- 8th of August was karaoke night (me and mum sang No Scrubs by TLC).
- 11th of August was our night out in Ayia Napa.
- 12th of August we stayed in the villa and I organised a talent show which was one of the funniest things I'd seen.
- 14th of August we had a birthday and an anniversary to celebrate so we had nice tea and nice drinks.
- 17th of August: A LEVEL RESULTS DAY! I got BCC and went on a night out in Southampton on the night of results day.

SEPTEMBER:
- Cocktails in Bath on 3rd of September
- 16th September: Moving in day at uni and first night out of fresher's week.
- 17th September: Lethal Bizzle in Bournemouth.
- 23rd September: Fresher's Fayre.
- 25th September: The official start of university.



OCTOBER:
- More nights out and getting settled into uni.
- Cocktails with Adam in Bournemouth on the 27th.
- Big Halloween night out.




NOVEMBER:
- Christmas shopping at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth on the 4th.
- 12th November: Meal at Casa Brasil for Adam's 20th Birthday.
- Ice skating in Bournemouth on the 21st (I cannot ice skate for my life I don't even know why I wanted to go but I'm glad I did it was so hilarious).
-25th November: More Christmas shopping in Southampton
-26th November: Mulled wine at the German Christmas market in Southampton
-27th November: Went to a care home with friends from my uni course to interview the residents for an assignment.




DECEMBER:
- 6th December: JD's birthday night out.
-10th December: Flat Christmas party in the day followed by a work Christmas party in the evening.
-14th December: Last uni night out of the year before the Christmas holidays.
-22nd December: Drinks with my friends from home then we somehow ended up on a weird night out in my home town.
-24th December: Midnight mass.
-25th December: CHRISTMAS DAY (I had too much to eat/drink so I fell asleep on the sofa at 8pm AKA spending Christmas the right way).
-29th December: Day out in London and Winter Wonderland.
-31st December: NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTY.




I have had the most amazing year thanks to everyone who was a part of it. I will hopefully do a post like this at the end of this year too. I would love to hear about the best parts of your year and your plans/goals for next year.

Thank you so much for reading :) x