FRIENDSHIPS: THE LOW DOWN

Tuesday

This week, I just wanted to talk about friendships because I have seen a lot of people posting about friendships. As the lockdown restrictions ease in the UK and other countries, we are able to see our friends more.

Group of girls on Amsterdam canal boat

Advice on friendships

Lately, I have seen a few people on Twitter saying that they don't have friends which saddens me. I don't know these people, so I'm not sure that's actually the case, but sometimes you can feel like you have no friends, or that you have no one in your corner.

My advice for these people would be to value the people that you actually have in your life, whether that be family or colleagues that you like. I would also say it is never too late to try and make friends! It is a common misconception that you can't make friends as an adult, as it isn't as easy as when you're in school, but this is not the case! If anything, making friends later on is actually easier.

Since I have started blogging regularly, I have interacted with other bloggers online who have similar interests to me. Making online friends is also a good way to connect with people if you are shy in person. Of course, you do need to be careful when making online friends - we have all seen the TV show Catfish.

I also think it is important to remember that you different things out of friendships with different people. For example, you may have a friend that you have a good time with but you can't trust them. If you have friends like this, it's important to know where you stand. If you know they aren't the most trustworthy, then you shouldn't expect them to be trustworthy. There are also the friends that you have a good time with, and you could trust them with your life. I tend to find myself gravitating towards these people and wanting to spend less time with the people who are only fun for a short time.

Group of friends in Leicester Square

Friends getting ready for night out

My friendships

As I get older, I tend to be pickier with who I call my friend. Just because I really believe that no company is better than bad company. I have individual friends who I will meet up with as well as groups of friends and the majority of my friends now are from university. I do still have some amazing friends from home but as I left school and college, I seemed to leave friendships behind there. The same thing could happen after uni too, but I do think most of them will become my friends for life.

One of the main qualities I look for in friendships is when they are happy for my successes and when they build me up. I am always reading posts about how women should empower women and this is definitely true! I'm always looking out for those who do that for me. 

I am really grateful for the friendships I have at the moment. For the friends I see often and the friends who I don't see as much.

What sort of friendships do you have? Mainly close individual friends or do you have a friendship group? Let me know in the comments.

Friends in Dublin

Two friends at a party

Wool of the King

5 BOOKS I WISH I'D READ SOONER

Saturday

Guest post from Liz Loves
Hi, my name is Liz and I am the blogger behind Liz Loves Blog! I am so excited to be writing for Lauren’s blog. I wanted to share a post on books I wish I read sooner. These are the books that I have read and immediately told my friends they NEED to read them, books I will read over and over and books that really have changed my outlook on life. 

Why I'm no longer talking to white people about race, Reni Eddo-Lodge

Why I'm no longer talking to white people about race

This book is becoming more and more important with the current political climate. I think it’s important that we all educate ourselves as much as possible and I really wish I read this book sooner, mainly so I have more points to argue when discussing this topic. It really breaks down a lot of issues about racism in a really simple way, and there was a lot of history in the UK that I wasn’t aware of when it comes to racism. It really brings home what a huge issue we are still facing.

Women don't owe you pretty, Florence Given 

Women Don't owe you pretty by Florence Given

I pre-ordered this book nearly a year ago because I am obsessed with Florence. If you don’t already, I would highly recommend following her on Instagram. She is so empowering and inspiring and her book talks about how a lot of society is often designed for the benefit and gain of men. She explains how women are often criticised for their behaviour and actions in a way that men aren’t, and essentially, we can’t win, therefore we should do whatever we want and whatever makes us happy regardless of what other people say. There are also lots of reminders to support each other as women and to build each other up so we can all be the best that we can be. 

How to break up with fast fashion, Lauren Bravo

This book has really spurred me on to my decision to stop purchasing clothes from fast fashion brands. I have talked about it in my blog post about sustainable fashion, but she essentially explains the negative effects of the fashion industry without making you feel bad about it, and also provides options to limit your own fast fashion purchases. The environment is something I am really passionate about and I am always looking to learn more about what I can do to help, and the fashion industry has a huge impact on the environment. 

Notes on a nervous planet, Matt Haig

Everything Matt Haig writes is amazing, his book The Humans is one of my favourite novels, and Reasons to Stay Alive has been talked about for changing people’s lives and helping cope with mental health and depression. For me personally, Notes on a Nervous planet really explains the disparities between our human nature and the world we now live in filled with social media and technology. It really helped me deal with obsessing over my phone and after reading this it was the first time I put in place some boundaries with my phone and social media use. 

The humans by Matt Haig

Everything you need to know about love, Dolly Alderton

I read this book on holiday last year, my friend actually let me borrow it and I read it in a few days. This is like a laugh out loud book, there were so many relatable stories in there and I think it is just really nice to hear about other people’s experiences and relationships to know that we are not alone in the things we experience or the feelings we have at certain times in our lives. I do think most people have already read or at least heard of this book, but it’s definitely worth the read if not. 

Follow the author

 

Website - Liz Loves Blog

 

Instagram - @lizhartley04

 

Twitter - @lizziejhartley


Liz Loves Blog Logo


 


MY TOP 10 TRAVEL DESTINATIONS

Friday

Since I am always thinking about travelling I thought I'd share my recommendations with you. If you're like me, and can't wait to travel again then you can use this post as travel inspiration. There are still so many places I would love to travel to so maybe I will do a part 2 one day, once I have travelled to more places! Read My Travel Bucket List to see where I'd love to go! But first, here are my favourite destinations below that you will love! 

1. Sorrento, Italy. I loved Sorrento so much! It was so beautiful and had so much to do. The food was amazing there too. It is close to other beautiful areas in Italy such as Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii, Amalfi, Capri, and Positano - which brings me to my next destination. Read more about My Trip to Sorrento.

Sorrento Italy

2. Positano, Italy. When we went to Sorrento, we went on a boat trip from Sorrento, sailed around the Island of Capri, then we got off the boat and spent part of the day in Positano. Positano is so beautiful but I believe it is quite expensive to stay there. It's also quite small so a day there was plenty as there was more to do in Sorrento anyway. I would definitely recommend visiting Positano by boat so you can see the amazing views like below!

Positano Italy

3. Amsterdam, Netherlands. This is another one of my favourite places! I have been twice now and still want to go again. Although, last time I went was just as they started locking everything down which was slightly weird and scary but we still managed to have a nice time. Everywhere you go is just so pretty and there is so much to do. Read more about My Weekend in Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Netherlands

4. New York, USA. I went to New York when I was only 11 but remember it being really nice and fun. I think I would appreciate it way more if I went now though. Especially as I can have a drink now and they have Sephora! They always have really good deals if you go there in a cold month like January or February.

5. Krakow, Poland. There are lots of reasons why you should visit Krakow. One of them is that the city is really beautiful. Another is that the value for money is insane! You can go out for food and drinks for really cheap while you're there. It's also close to Auschwitz - Birkenau Concentration Camp and Oskar Schindler's Factory which are both well worth a visit. Read more about My Experience at Auschwitz - Birkenau.

6. Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. This part of Mexico is actually on the Caribbean Sea. The beaches here are insane and it's not too far from Cancun!

Playa Del Carmen Mexico

7. Mallorca, Spain. The reason why I love Mallorca is because it's not too far and it's such a lovely place. You can get really reasonable holidays there and it's just so nice. When you get there, jugs of sangria and food out is also reasonably priced. Result.

Alcudia Mallorca


8. Corfu, Greece. I think all of the Greek Islands look so pretty, but the only one I have visited is Corfu and it was really pretty! I feel like I didn't explore it enough though as we stayed in an all inclusive resort. However, we went on a boat trip from Corfu to mainland Greece and the sea was so pretty and there were lots of caves you could go and explore.

9. Zell am See, Austria. All you have to do is look at the picture below and you will want to go! This is where we went skiing and everything about it is just breath taking. Zell am See is not too far from Salzburg.

Zell am See Austria

10. Dublin, Ireland. I have been to Dublin twice now and I loved it both times! There is so much to do and it's just such a nice city. The only thing to note is that once you get to Dublin, it is quite expensive to go out for food and drinks so be prepared for that. Read more about my time in Dublin.

Temple bar Dublin

I'd love to know where your favourite places are that you have travelled to. I can't wait to travel when we can.

Wool of the King

HOW TO SAVE MONEY AS A STUDENT

Saturday

Guest Post from A Girl with a View.

It’s probably common knowledge to think of a student and to think of someone struggling financially. Students aren’t necessarily known for being the most money-savvy of people but your university years are some of the best times to start practising good money habits that will set you up for life. It’s always nice to have money left over at the end of the month to either pop in savings or to treat yourself, and by implementing these tips at university you’ll be well on your way to having a few extra pennies in your bank account!


Piggy Bank

Photo credit: Skitterphoto on Pexels.

Meal Plan

This is something I sometimes fail to do successfully and the appeal of a takeaway or meal out when you can’t be bothered to cook is always tempting. However, meal planning is one of the biggest ways I manage to keep track of my finances and not go overboard when food shopping. If I’ve made a conscious effort to look for recipes and things to cook for the following week and then made a shopping list with only the ingredients I need I am much less likely to overspend and buy excessive amounts of food that I won’t use. Some good meals to think about making are spag bol (a student classic), a curry, pasta bake, fajitas or chilli. Most of these meals can also be made in batches that you can freeze, making them, even more, cost-effective as you can return to them weeks later and thank your meal-prepped self when you don’t feel like cooking again!


Put aside a certain amount each week

This is something I started doing more regularly and it’s made a big difference to my savings. Last year, by doing this I was able to visit Berlin, Naples, Prague and Seville by travelling cheaply and using this method! I made a separate ‘pot’ on Monzo (more on that later) called Holiday so I could start saving for a trip later in the year. Monzo automatically adds £5 every week to this pot so at the end of the year me and my boyfriend could go away somewhere nice without having to take a chunk out of my other savings. Sadly, the holiday hasn’t happened this summer due to COVID but I’ve kept adding to the pot throughout lockdown so that we can, hopefully, have a few nice holidays next year. £5 is a manageable amount, for me, to save every week. However, you can add in as much or as little as you want or make your saving bi-weekly or monthly to make it work for you. Putting just small amounts away can add up to a big amount of money by the end of the year.


Get Monzo

Monzo has been a huge help in keeping track of my finances and helping me to save money. Each time you buy something Monzo will place your purchase into a specific category which is so useful for being aware of where your money is actually going and, at the end of the month, it shows you which categories are your biggest spends. It can be quite shocking at first to realise how much you’ve spent on eating out or shopping in a month initially but the app allows you to set budgets within each category to help you cut down. You can set up a loose change pot which will round up to the nearest pound your latest transaction and put it into a savings pot. I find this feature really helpful as you don’t even realise how much money you’re putting into savings and suddenly you have a few extra pounds that you didn’t know about! I think it’s such a good bank and app that really helps you keep control of your money and where it’s going.


Use student discount and cashback

Student discount is one of my favourite things about being a student and by quickly registering to discount sites like Unidays or StudentBeans you unlock so many savings. Most retailers will offer between 10-20% off for students which is not to be sniffed at, especially when it’s something you needed or were going to buy already. Sometimes it can be worth putting the extra 10 or 20% you saved into a separate savings pot so you can rack up how much discount you received over the year and put it towards something like a holiday or into your savings account. Cashback is another great way to save a few pennies and is something I started doing fairly recently. Topcashback and Quidco are my favourite sites to use and it’s very easy to register and get going. When going to make a purchase from somewhere online, check whether these sites offer you cash back for doing so. Even if it’s only 1% it’s still worth doing as it soon adds up, and if it’s something you need to buy then you may as well make some saving on your purchase.


Buy secondhand textbooks

As an English student, I need to buy a lot of books which, if I bought them all new, would cost me an absolute fortune so I’ve learnt to shop around. Places like World of Books or Abe Books offer very cheap books with big discounts and I often get the books I need from these places. It can also be worth looking at your University’s course Facebook page as often past students will be selling their old books at a discounted price so it can be a goldmine to get the exact editions you need at cheaper prices. Another tip I would say is that although courses often recommend you pick up the latest edition of a textbook, this isn’t necessary. More often than not, the book has exactly the same content (just different page numbers) and is half the cost - it’s not worth paying so much more for the same content just for page numbers! If you really don’t want to buy anything then your University library should have all the books you need for your course, you just need to make sure that someone doesn’t borrow them before you!


Those are my top tips for being a money-savvy student and to help you start saving whilst at university. I think the key thing from this list is that you don’t need to start saving extravagant or unrealistic amounts of money, little and often is the way to go and always make sure you’re aware of what you’re spending so you’re able to cut back on areas if you need to!


About the Author:

Tash is a UK based blogger and English student who blogs all about university life, travel, books and a whole host of other topics! You can find her over on her social media:

Blog: http://www.agirlwithview.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tash__evans

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/agirlwithview/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8507134-natasha