2020 plans and wishes

Sunday

Happy new year everyone!
This time of year is not my favourite by any means. Christmas has just finished and it's back to reality. At this time of year, I usually like to have lots of things planned to look forward to, to get through the January blues. So, I thought I would share my new year goals and plans with you.

2020 cake candles

What I've got on

My first thing of the year to look forward to is seeing Jack Whitehall this Wednesday. He is definitely my favourite comedian and I've never actually watched stand up comedy before so it will be a new experience entirely.

Still being a typical student, I have a good amount of nights out planned too. I don't go out as much on my internship because the nightlife in my hometown is awful which is why I need to plan them in advance in other cities. I'll also be going to Bournemouth 7s Festival again in May and my uni summer ball which is basically a 1 day festival in June.

For Christmas, I got a ticket to see Mamma Mia the musical in Southampton in February with my mum and grandma. Mamma Mia is my favourite musical ever I just love ABBA and both of the films so much! We're also going to see 9 to 5 The Musical in June. Super exciting stuff!

What I hope to get up to

As Joe is living in London until September there's a lot more trips there that need to be done. I've been looking at lots of cool things for us to do in London for each time I visit so keep an eye on my Instagram channels.

I am also hoping to go away for my 21st birthday in April but struggling to decide where. Let me know of any European cities you would recommend!

One of my goals for 2020 is to travel as much as I did in 2019, if not more. In 2019 I was lucky enough to go to Mallorca, Dublin, Amsterdam and Dortmund. 

I also just want to see friends as much as possible too because adulting is hard and often means you don't get to see good friends as much.

I'd love to know your 2020 goals and what you have planned. I'm sure I will plan stuff as I go along anyway.

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Wool of the King

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A LONG WEEKEND IN AMSTERDAM

Monday


I feel like my social media is always filled with pictures of Amsterdam and I finally had the chance to go, thanks to my friends who are doing internships over there this year. We went for 3 nights but I'd love to go for longer, there's still so many things to see and do.

Amsterdam Canals

It is such a beautiful city and it feels like you're in all of the Instagram pictures that you see when you walk through it. Although, sometimes when you see a beautiful building, there can be a half naked woman stood at the bottom,which took me by surprise every time. I was definitely too British for that part of Amsterdam. 

When we arrived in Amsterdam, one of the first things we did was try MOAK pancakes. I was boring and went for just blueberry pancakes but it was the best option. The pancakes were so nice I didn't need all of the works. They even had cheese and onion pancakes?

Penis at the sex museum Amsterdam


In light of our lads on tour themed trip, we did what lads would do, we went to the Sex Museum. I have to admit, I just wanted to get a touristy photo next to the giant willy and I did! Other than that I don't really remember much except from photos of naked people everywhere, standard. Entry is only 5 euros though, definitely worth it for a laugh.

Amsterdam is quite an expensive city and we were very ambitious with the amount of euros we took out, we did have to get more. But it's worth it, we had some good food. My favourite food was the Stroopwaffels. If you know me, you're probably bored of me talking about these but they are so nice! I found a Dutch shop in London and I now have 4 packs at home. Obsessed!


Another one of my favourite things about Amsterdam is that on every other street they have cheese shops that do little free samples of cheese! On the last day we had already done everything we wanted to do and didn't have much planned so we went on a kind of free cheese crawl. I am actually surprised I can still fit into my jeans after Amsterdam, honestly.

We were so lucky to be able to stay with friends who took us to do such nice things. They took us on a boat tour around the Amsterdam canals which was so pretty and they took us to De Hallen which is a big food hall with lots of different types of food. It was a bit like an indoor Camden market if I'm describing it in Brit terms.

The weather was not great, it was freezing and really rainy but that's no different to England right now really and it didn't really affect anything.



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I almost forgot to mention that we went around the Anne Frank House. This is probably the top thing from our trip that I'd recommend to anyone. It was so emotional and so interesting. Tickets for this need to be bought online in advance, probably prior to your trip because it's a busy attraction but tickets aren't too expensive.

Let me know your favourite place to travel to or where you'd most like to go!

With special thanks to Maddie and Maike for making sure we had such a good time in Amsterdam.

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STUDENT HOUSING: THE LOW DOWN

Saturday


Following on from my Contraception: The Low Down post, in this post I will also be giving you The Low Down about my experience with student housing.

I must begin by saying I am not talking about all student housing, I will be talking about my experience and experiences I have heard from friends in particular. 

University image

At Bournemouth University, where I've been studying, the majority of students tend to live in halls for the first year, and then will move into a house for second year. This may no longer be the case for the majority as they are building more and more halls in and around Bournemouth for second and third years.

In September, me and five other people moved into a student house. Before moving in, we were asked to pay a booking fee in December of £250 followed by a deposit in August of £500 along with the first month's rent which was £420, equalling £920 at once each and £5,520 all together.

After paying the fees, we went to pick up our keys from the estate agents, by whom we were given an attitude that was not the most friendly. We each had individual bedroom keys but we weren't assigned our own, we were told to "work it out for yourselves". 

Arriving at the house, everyone was very eager to pick bedrooms. Before I knew it, I ended up with my bedroom choice, however, in my bedroom was a broken bed.

I called up the letting agency to ask why I was not given a functioning bed and their reply was "it is not our fault" without any apology. We had moved in on the Thursday and they said the bed wouldn't come until the following week. Their reply to me about this was "it's ok, you have a mattress". Yes, I did have a mattress but I wasn't expecting to pay the same deposit and rent money as everyone else to find a broken bed in my room.

Most of my friends have complained about mould in their houses. I've heard about leaky roofs, bedrooms being declared too small to live in by the council, slug infestations (gross). You name it.

We finally moved out of our student house in August after countless things going wrong and we got our deposit back 2 days ago, 2 months later. It's a good job I wasn't counting on that money because I got less than half of it back, and I got the most back out of everybody. Our reports back said that things were broken that hadn't been broken and "routine cleaning" that we were never made aware of.

I'd like to reiterate that not all student houses are bad and not all housing companies treat you without respect. This is more of a warning to be careful and to raise awareness of how you can be treated sometimes because of age or because you're a student.

Thank you for reading, sorry this was a bit more angry than normal, I just don't agree with how unfair it can be at times. Let me know if you have any student housing horror stories in the comments.

Over and out x

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MY FAVOURITE PLACES TO EAT IN AND AROUND SALISBURY

Friday

Salisbury, WILTSHIRE

If you didn't already know, Salisbury is my hometown. People who aren't from Salisbury, I bet you are thinking where is that? Stonehenge? The place that was in the news for a Novichok attack by the Russians? It may be more familiar now. Because a lot of people don't know about anything else in Salisbury, I have decided to post my favourite places to eat here in case anyone were to visit. I would also like to disclose that this is not sponsored I am just sharing some of my favourite places with you.

Stonehenge at sunset

Lauren's foodie favourites
The Wheatsheaf - Lower Woodford, Salisbury
Gastropub in the quiet countryside, allows dogs and does amazing pub food.

Cosy Club - City Centre
The Cosy Club is all over the UK but the Salisbury one is my favourite. It has a really nice interior with an outside area. It's just very... cosy, and they also have amazing food.

Zizzi - City Centre
Zizzi in Salisbury was actually closed for a long time due to the Novichok poisoning so you're getting a bit of history as well as enjoying very good Italian food. (They also do generous student discount, I love being a student).

Reeve the Baker - Salisbury/Amesbury
Best pasties of your life! They also have a Wiltshire pasty. When in Rome! (although I'm not really sure of the difference between a Wiltshire pasty and a Cornish pasty).

La Lupa - Amesbury
Very nice Italian restaurant which I would highly recommend. Amesbury is actually getting some nice restaurants for a small town.

Piazza
Surprise, another Italian. This is Amesbury's newest Italian restaurant and I love it, they do a very good pizza!

The Boot Inn - Shipton Bellinger
This is pub food meets fine dining. It's very busy here because of how good it is so make sure you book in advance. They have Italian, Mexican, Chinese and Thai food as well as classic pub food. The portions are huge which can be a blessing or a curse.

Rosebourne - Weyhill, A303
Perfect for brunch, afternoon tea and they also do a Sunday dinner. Rosebourne is also a garden centre/food shop with crafts and homeware so you can browse before or after you eat.

King Chicken - Amesbury
The best hangover food ever! KFC eat your heart out. They also do pizza. There are lots of good takeaway places in Amesbury, although it is still in the Stone Age (Stonehenge), King Chicken is available to order on Just Eat.

Maul's Wine and Cheese Bar - City Centre
Amazing selection of wine and cheese, I wish I could eat here every day. Although, make sure you are not 10/10 level hungry when you go here because it is slightly pricey and not so filling. However, it is so good to indulge in cheese and wine as a treat. I went here as a post-birthday treat with my parents. One of the cheeses was so good we had to buy one and take it home.

Cheese and wine being poured into a glass

I have linked all of the restaurants websites, all you have to do is click on the name of the restaurant. Please note that I am a very fussy eater which I may blog about soon, and there are lots of other nice food places in Salisbury that serve lots of exotic food, these are just my favourite places.

Let me know in the comments what your favourite places to eat around Salisbury or your home town are.

In the meantime, if you are a blogger or an aspiring blogger from the Salisbury/Wiltshire area, please get in touch via the comments or social media as I am looking connect with local bloggers.

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Twitter: @_laurenken
Personal Insta: @_laurenken
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Wool of the King

Photos: Pexels.