What I Spend in a Week At University

What I Spend in a Week At University

A big part of going away for uni is learning how to budget and manage your money. Northern Ireland is a pretty affordable place to live and I try to be as minimalist as possible. I'm still learning how to budget better so a big part of this post is actually just for me to see how well I'm managing my expenses as much as me sharing with you all what I buy in a week.


Monday

My pressed powder just died a slow painful death so I very glamorously began my Monday by popping to Tesco to buy a new one. - £4.00

I then got a train from Belfast to Coleraine. This is a bizarre thing that we do in Northern Ireland where we all go home for the weekends, call us home birds. The train price has also been increased this year so it's actually become something that I actively notice this year as opposed to previous years when I'd just pay it and think nothing of it - £8.30

Once I arrive at Coleraine I then get a bus to Portstewart, the next town over, which is where my house is. - £1.60

As it's the start of the week I also did a grocery shop to stock up on fresh produce for the week and to fill my store cupboard as it's the beginning of a new term. - £28.89

Monday Total Spend = £42.79


Tuesday

I don't have class on Tuesdays so I literally had no expenses today because I was at home all day doing laundry. Yay for chores and yay for no expenses

Tuesday Total Spend = £0.00


Wednesday

Grabbed a lift to uni and picked up a banana as an after-class snack. I've been feeling nauseous a lot recently so I'm limiting myself to the blandest foods possible to try and alleviate it a little, hence the banana - £0.35

I then went to the library and treated myself to a Wispa gold with my lunch afterwards because it's a bad habit and I'm not at all ashamed - £0.77

I ended up not getting the bus at all today because my friends all so kindly gave me lifts to everywhere I needed to be so I managed to avoid that expense which is usually a staple in my daily expenditure.

Wednesday Total Spend = £1.02


Thursday

Hopped on the bus around 12 to head into uni for the day - £1.40

I made lunch before I left the house so I didn't need to buy anything in uni. I was originally planning on picking up some chocolate from the shop on my way home but by the time I ended up leaving the library, the shop was closed so I guess that was a blessing in disguise! My friend also very kindly gave me a lift home so I didn't need to pay for another bus fare.

Thursday Total Spend = £1.40


Friday 

I got the bus again this morning and you know the gist by now - £1.40

I had a really long lecture so I treated myself to a lil bag of Minstrels during the break... oops - £0.77

I also managed to run out of lunch food (oops) so I had to grab a wrap from the shop to eat on my way home - £2.99

Remember when I mentioned that we all go home at the weekend? yeah, guess what? Another train fare!! - £8.30

Friday Total Spend = £13.46


Saturday

I ended up not going out on Saturday and ended up just staying in and watched some Netflix and some rugby which meant I also didn't spend any money. 

However, as it's the 1st of the month it's the day that I pay my rent. I'm not going to disclose the exact amount that I pay for rent so I'm excluding the value from my expenses.

Saturday Total Spend = £0.00 (+rent)


Sunday

I got a hotdog for breakfast at church this morning (which I generally do most Sunday morning's because it's there and it's handy - £1.00

Bad habits die hard and we have a habit of always going to get ice cream after church in the evenings and this week was no different. - £4.50

Sunday Total Spend = £5.50





So that brings us to the end of the week and that brings my weekly spend to the grand total of (drum roll please)

Weekly Total = £64.17 (+rent)

This was a reasonably normal week but my expenses change week by week so if you enjoyed this post and would like to see another one in the future let me know and I'll maybe do a part two.

what jesus has been teaching me lately

what jesus has been teaching me lately

Long-time no faith post. I've taken an unplanned hiatus from posting on social media which as someone who's livelihood is online seemed like a weird thing to do and something that I never actually ever envisioned myself doing. I've never really viewed my social media usage as toxic or a distraction but having a week out of pressurising myself to keep posting content that I thought other people would enjoy was actually very enjoyable and the world didn't implode. SHOCKED FACE! I say unintentionally because during this time I was desperately scouring my hard drive for pictures I could post that I hadn't yet but then I caught a grip of myself, slowed down and thought 'Why am I really doing this?'. 

Authenticity is key! And me posting a photo from summer when in reality I'm stuck in my house revising for exams does not scream authenticity to me! So many times you can get so caught up in busyness but most of the time, it's not even busyness it's actually laziness and procrastination that masked in the noisiness and brashness of social media. 

Getting away from the hustle and bustle of keeping up with my Instagram feed meant I was really pressing into Jesus this past week and here are a few things that He's really put on my heart.


Trust in His plan
I'm doing a year-long devotional this year, specifically Women of the Bible, and we're only 3 weeks in but it's already hitting me with some hard truths! Week 2 was focused on the story of Sarah and how when she tried to take God's promise for her into her own hands it ended in disaster. She was barren and was promised a Son so sent her husband to sleep with her servant to act as a surrogate. It was a plan, it worked, but it wasn't God's plan for her. Sarah grew jealous of Hagar and ultimately sent her away along with her son. But God intervened, He didn't give up on Sarah and fulfilled that promise to her. He brought her Jacob, which means laughter. When she took the plans into her own hands, it ended with pain but when she handed it over to God she was rewarded with laughter! How often do we take God's plans into our own hands and get rewarded with failure! 

Reading this reminded me (super randomly might I add) of one of my favourite songs, Los Dias Raros by Vetusta Morla. The last line of the song is 'It begins with cellophane and ends with an echo'. So many times our testimonies can begin by us being blessed with a gift, God working in our lives and if we take that gift and use it, we'll echo God's love for us all around us. 

Contagious
While I was on my hiatus I was also watching A LOT of Queer Eye and every time I watch an episode of Queer Eye I'm struck by how evident the gospel is. It might seem weird that a show about 5 gay men making over (or making better) someone from the deep south of America could be considered the gospel because it's such a far cry from what we expect the gospel to be. We're familiar with the gospel, it makes sense to us but for the religious rulers and the people of Jerusalem at the time that Jesus was telling parables it was not. We've grown so accustomed to the teachings of the Bible that God's grace doesn't shock us anymore, we don't always see the miraculous things that He's doing in front of our very eyes!
"Forgiveness is  something that's contagious, Freedom is something that's contagious"- Karamo Brown
We are forgiven so that we can forgive and we are free in order to free others. Our pictures of what we think a Christian should look like can sometimes taint us from doing our job in evangelising. If the boys from Queer Eye can make someone loveable, think about how much the love of Jesus could impact someone's life!

Back to our First Love
So often we can completely miss the point of Christianity. It becomes more and more about going through the motions, striving for growth, striving to see breakthrough that we can forget that the foundation of all of it needs to be Jesus. Our first love isn't the first thing we loved, it's the thing that we love first, before anything else. Jesus should be our first love. Everything else we do should flow from that place of loving Jesus above all else and that's when we'll start to see the blessings flow. Start 2020 (albeit it a little late) on the right foot, with Jesus at the centre.


Resolutions...

Resolutions...

I've never really been one for new years resolutions, realistically if I'm not doing something now, deciding to do it in January isn't REALLY going to change my mind. I made resolutions last year and just didn't stick to them at all so I was apprehensive about doing the same thing this year. I thought for this post I'd go through last years resolutions and decide how well I fulfilled them and come up with a good list for 2020 by building on 2019s goals and putting it in a blog post and posting it on the internet keeps me accountable!


SHOP THE LOOK | Jeans: Mid Blue Kimomo (x) / Shoes: Puma Basket (x) / Backpack: Madlug (x)


Grow Online Following
I didn't grow my following that much this year but I've created a following that engages and enjoys what I have to post so I count that as a WIN! Obviously, the goal is still to grow my following more but having people actively engage and enjoy your content is all that creators want!

Will I stick with this goal in 2020?: Yes!!


Spend Time curating good online content
I think I did this one well, with Instagram so increasingly becoming a cause of stress and anxiety I wanted to be mindful about the content I was creating and not just sticking something up on Instagram for the sake of it, being open and honest online, say when I was struggling and not just post the highlights reel. 

Will I stick to this goal in 2020?: Yes


Read at least one book a month
This one I FAILED in all caps! It's funny because it's actually something I did with no problem in 2018, 2019 was just a really poor reading year for me and I'm planning on righting all of my reading wrongs this coming year!!

Will I stick to this goal in 2020?: Yes (and hopefully I'll actually do it this time)

Launch photography business
I did and I didn't, I put myself out there and got some paid gigs but I haven't officially launched anything yet... will this be the year I finally do it? Probably not because final year of uni is KICKING MY ASS but you never know what the new decade will bring!

Will I stick to this goal in 2020?: No, but I'm not ruling anything out!


Read entire Bible
Another one that fell flat on its face! I started out with the best of intentions I joined a bible reading group on Bible app but I inevitably got kicked out due in inactivity...oops. This is still something I want to do but I, unfortunately, don't think that 2020is the year for this either.

Will I stick to this goal in 2020?: No, but I bought a new year-long devotional so that is a new challenge for this coming year for me to stick to

Be more organised
I think I actually managed this one, I don't have anything to show for it, I bought a planner and didn't use it but I'm definitely more on top of my work so I guess I'd say I'm more organised than I was last year... maybe.

Will I stick to this goal in 2020?: This is a goal I'll have to stick to for the rest of my life because I am the princess of procrastination.



Some extra goals for 2020:

  • Eat less meat
  • Manage my money better
  • Pick up a language again

Do you make resolutions? If so what are your resolutions for 2020? Maybe it'll inspire me to try something new!


Festive Marble Wreath Cake

Festive Marble Wreath Cake

Is Christmas Eve too last minute to post my favourite festive cake recipe? Probably, but I'm going to do it anyway! I baked this last night and it turned out so well I just had to share the recipe. This is a cake we've been making at our house for YEARS but I decided to switch it up a bit this year. 

Is the only reason I made this cake because of the cute little toadstool shaped cake toppers I got from Flying Tiger? 100% but that doesn't make it any less delicious!

Without further ado, here's the recipe for the Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Wreath Cake.

5 Ways I'm Spending Less Money

5 Ways I'm Spending Less Money

A few months ago just after an impulse purchase of a new Dune bag from TK Maxx I suddenly came to the conclusion that I was running out of money and running out of money FAST. So I had to make some drastic changes to my budgeting and massively limited myself to the things I would purchase each week. So here are a few things that I've cut down on or completely cut out of my spending.



Eating Out
I can't tell you how tempting it is to just forgo making lunch in the morning and just buy something in uni but let me just say, uni food is pretty dang expensive! I've tried to limit myself to one meal out a week (if that) whether that be lunch or dinner. Not only is it saving me money from spending a fiver on lunch every day but it's also making me more proactive in making sure I have food in the house and also that I'm leaving myself enough time in the morning to prep everything. Solid lunch staples include, but are not limited to, wraps, salads and my personal favourite, last night's pasta! I also try to limit my spending on food I know I'm not going to use and try to limit myself to around £15 a week.

Avoiding sales (to an extent)
I'm a simple girl, I see sales, I will purchase but that is a TERRIBLE habit to be in. This is why TK Maxx is so dangerous for me because I'll see something that I really don't need but see that it's such good value that I just HAVE to purchase it. This is a particular issue whenever I miss my train because I then have an hour I can spend just browsing the local shops doing my best not to spend money that I don't have. I exceeded my own expectations though and didn't purchase a single thing in the Black Friday/ Cyber Monday sales and I think that may be a first! Not that sales are bad, they can be great for getting those things that you've been saving up for or planning to get for a long time, but don't use sales as an excuse to just purchase something because it's a bargain.


Staying in
It's a truth universally acknowledged that going out costs money. Find ways to keep yourself entertained at home, get involved in free activities, or if you're a uni student join some societies which will have ways to keep you entertained on a budget. Invite friends round and watch a movie, play some board games, or even just have a chat.

Rethink your subscriptions
Truly the saddest part of the month is when your subscription fees all get taken out of your bank account and suddenly you're a little less well off than you were before! If you're paying a subscription fee that you don't use regularly, cancel it! I pay my phone bill, my Adobe creative cloud subscription and my Spotify premium subscription (luckily for me my dad pays for netflix) all of which I use regularly and don't mind paying because I get the use out of them.

Don't be afraid to treat yo self...
But do it in moderation. As a student sometimes you just really need to treat yourself after a test or a long day of studying and that's totally okay, buy that chocolate or order that take out, you've deserved it! But if it becomes a regular thing it's not so much a treat anymore, rather a staple and it's just not as satisfying and ultimately just costs you more money!

What things have you cut out or cut back to help you save?

My Study Essentials

My Study Essentials

With uni starting back I'm having less ad less time to focus on blogging, I was already starting to fall behind on notes by week 2! Here are my top items that I use to study and my study life would not be the same without!

Whitelines Paper
This is my biggest one! Whitelines paper is revolutionary and will genuinely change your study life! Not only do the white lines make everything easier to read and cause less strain on the eyes, they're also equipped with technology allowing you to create digital copies of all your notes that you can carry around with you on your phone.




Pastel Highlighters
I love my notes to be pretty, I can't help it, I'm a visual learner so if something is pretty I'm more likely to want to look at it and remember it. One way I do this is by using pastel highlighters. Mine are from Stabilo



Planner
Not necessarily a study essential but an absolute essential for uni life. With timetables constantly changing it's important to keep on top of what classes you have each week. There are so many styles of planner available so make sure you find one that suits you best. I used to bullet journal but then had no time for the upkeep which completely defeated the purpose!

Coloured Pens (previous paid partnership)
Again as a visual learner, I like to add a pop of colour to things every so often. I use the Pentel EnerGel pens for this because they have such a vast range of colours and they are super great quality but any coloured pens will do the job!



What are your top study items?


tarte mystery bag: unboxing

tarte mystery bag: unboxing

I'm a simple girl, I see makeup sales, I buy makeup. It's a vicious circle but a few weeks back tarte had a sale on and I definitely DID THE THING! The mystery bag (which cost me the grand total of £40) was purchased and on its way to me.

I've been slacking a lot on the old blog posting front lately because I'm so busy with uni so here's a rundown of what I got in my mystery bag along with some first impression reviews.



Mystery BAG
as it's a mystery bag, everything came along with a cute little makeup pouch which says 'never not busy' on the front which is the absolute TRUTH of a final year university student.


Stay Spray (Sample) (X)
I'm a die-hard Urban Decay all nighter setting spray type of gal so I was intrigued to see how this one compared. They're very different consistencies. The Tarte spray is a lot more liquidy than the urban decay spray which is an interesting change. It keeps my makeup on well though! I've just come home from a whole day at uni and it's still on my face!



Kitten Liner (X)
I was actually on the lookout for a new eyeliner and this one works so so well, it has the right applicator and just glides on very nicely. BIG FAN. Also, it has a little kitten head on the lid so what's not to love!

Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara (X)
It's nice, but it's not my favourite mascara I've ever used (hi too faced better than sex). It's lengthening, which as someone with naturally long lashes anyway, I don't really need so that's most likely why it didn't click with me. I did like it better on my lower lashes on my top lashes though. A good masacara, and in super cute packaging, but just not for me!


Tarteist Lip Paint (X)
Okay so if you know me you know that I love me some lipstick and ordinarily I'd go for a solid lipstick as supposed to a liquid lipstick but this liquid lipstick is EVERYTHING! I have the shade front row which is a really pretty dark mauve shade, which is one of my favourite lip colours! It goes on like a dream and is super long-lasting! A BIG WIN!


Rainforest of the Sea Palette Volume II (X)
When I pulled this out of the package I DIED! I've wanted this palette for so long I was STOKED. It's so pretty!! The colours are all neutrals and it's kind of similar to the tartelette in bloom which I already have but it's different enough to merit its own palette. It's not super-duper pigmented but I like that as it allows you to build up colours and keep it as natural as you want which is perfect for me for going to university.


Anyway, I'm a big big fan of all the products and definitely would purchase again even though it left me a little out of pocket I think it was worth it! Here's the finished look I did using all of my new products.


I also filmed a first impressions video if you want to take a look at that!



Have you used any Tarte products before? Let me know your thoughts!

Super Easy Scone Recipe

Super Easy Scone Recipe

I don't know about you but I bloody love the Great British Bake Off. I'm so excited for the final 2 weeks that I've been baking again! I made these scones last week and lots of you were asking for the recipe so here's a super easy scone recipe for y'all courtesy of a nice lady from church!


INGREDIENTS
500g Self Raising Flour
125g Butter
125g Caster Sugar
1 Egg
Natural Yoghurt
Optional: Cherries/Sultanas


1. Rub the butter into the flour

2. Add sugar 

3. Add dried fruit (if wanted)

4. Beat egg and add to mixture

5. Gradually add small amounts of yoghurt until dough is firm.

6. Roll on a floured board, cut into shapes and place on a baking tray

7. Bake at 180┬║C for 10-15 minutes

8. Leave to cool on a wire rack



VOILA! Super easy, super delicious scones, best served warm with some butter MMMM! let me know if you make these I'd love to see your attempts! 

my enneagram and me: type 9

my enneagram and me: type 9

This is basically just a personal waffley post mainly because I wanted an excuse to use the multitudes of pictures I took at the sunflower fields and haven't used yet but also because I've been thinking a lot about my enneagram lately and figured that there are definitely other people feeling the same way as me.


"TYPE NINE PROBLEMS AM I RIGHT!"

This is potentially my most used phrase. Hello, I'm Alice and I'm a type 9, also known as the peacemaker. Can my fellow type nines give me a whoop whoop! I'm not at all claiming to be some sort of enneagram expert and each enneagram type is distinct and different people express their type differently but this is just a few things that I notice in myself.


The Peacemaker, avoiding conflict is our big motivation but that can be both conflicts with each other, or with ourselves. This can manifest itself in many forms and as with everything, it can be in healthy doses and unhealthy doses. And at the minute I'm teetering on the edge of unhealthy so here's what I'm promising to do about it!


At their best type nines are at peace with themselves and able to form strong relationships with others, Deeply receptive, accepting, unselfconscious, emotionally stable and serene. Trusting of self and others, at ease with self and life, innocent and simple. Patient, unpretentious, good-natured, genuinely nice people who are generally optimistic, reassuring and supportive. Sounds great right?


However, as avoiders of conflicts, it can be very easy to diverge into less healthy levels. The second that a choice emerges, we tend to go with the flow and become much less peacemakers and much more just go-with-the-flow-ers. Saying yes to things just because offering an alternative would cause a very minor conflict to arise. We avoid asking for things so as not to inconvenience people and for lack of a better phrase 'keep the peace'.


This also leads to a lot of procrastination, and let me just tell you I am a MASTER procrastinator, I literally can't ride a bike because I procrastinated it too much as a child, start as you mean to go on I guess. 

This can occur with responsibilities but also with problems. Addressing the challenge at hand can sometimes seem too daunting a task so we just push them under the rug and think we'll deal with them later but hoarding up problems just leads to a multitude of problems to deal with at a later stage leading to overwhelming bouts of anxiety and stress.


I'm currently feeling very much stuck at a level of putting other people's plans and priorities above my own so that's something that I'm planning on working on this October. Making sure I'm doing things that I want to do and not things that other people want to do that I'm just going along with because I'm a go-with-the-flow-er, while also making sure that I'm being accommodating and positive about other people's ideas too.


If you don't know your enneagram type I'd definitely suggest looking into it, there's a test you can take to give you an idea. It's a great tool to use for your personal development and allows you to understand a little bit more about how you operate at healthy and unhealthy levels. 


Also definitely listen to Sleeping At Last's Enneagram EP because I guarantee that your song will give you ALL THE FEELS. I waited over a year for Nine but it was worth it!  



And if you know your enneagram type, drop it below because I'm nosy and love knowing people's types!