where have I been?!

Hey blog fans,

So I’ve been AWOL for a while now but it really warms my heart to see that there’s still readers and commenters stopping by. Thank you so much to anyone who has interacted with me and/or the blog despite the lack of content recently. It’s really for you guys that I felt I owe you an apology and an update as to where I’ve been hiding in March.

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So where have you been?!

Some of you might know that I’m in my final year of an undergraduate degree and that means hella work! My course doesn’t have exams, we just have to complete coursework. So with reading, research and writing for several essays and the dissertation, alongside commitments in my personal life, I have had virtually no time to blog, take photos or film. It has been playing on my mind and getting me down because I love this blog and I’ve ‘met’ and spoken to some great people as a result of my ramblings. I don’t want to feel like I’ve let anyone down.

In addition to this, I’ve not been able to read or keep up to date with a lot of my favourite blogs and bloggers. So many fab beans online and they put out some great, thoughtful and inspiring content and I’ve not been to any of their sites in a month or more! If this is you (I hope you know who you are!) please don’t think I’ve forgotten about you or that I’m not interested in your site anymore…

I’ve just got virtually no time and when I have down time, I use it as just that!

 

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It also goes back to the self care thing that I’m always harping on about. When you’re working on anything for several hours a day every day, and you’re trying to juggle ‘extra-curricular’ activities too, you’ve got to take some me-time now and again. At the moment, my self care involves going for food or drinks with my friends, snuggling up to play games or watch things with Josh. Even just a nice bath can give me that much needed half hour of respite!

I guess this is just a post to say, please stand by as I finish my dissertation and complete my course and apply for jobs and try not to implode! It’s only a couple of weeks now but they’re so crucial and I know myself well enough to know that if I overload myself with a million and one responsibilities, I’ll have a meltdown. Not the time nor place to do that!

I promise that there’s some great content coming your way in the next few weeks anyway as I’m editing and filming a couple of rather interesting vlogs, going to a couple of fab events and I’ve got a secret diarist contributor who will remain anon writing about something rather… intimate.

Stay tuned my lovelies and wish me luck!

Jenna
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Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
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If you liked this post, you should check out:
Mental Health and University – Don’t panic! If your deadlines are getting to you, I’ve got some advice about your looking after mental health at university.
Why I’ve Been Invisible On Social Media This Christmas – I went silent on social media over the holidays, and here’s why…
Self Care (and why no one should make you feel bad about it)A piece for Zusterschap about making time for self care.

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where will we go on holiday in 2016?

If you’ve been following me for a while then you’ll know that as a poor and lowly student I have to travel on a budget. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t go on holidays, it just means that we carefully plan and shop around to get the best deals… and that I save up rather than going out or buying clothes!

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Last year Josh and I went on a group holiday to Dublin with two of our close friends, Lora and Leeann.We had a great time and packed it full of things to do on the cheap. You can read more about where we stayed and what we did on that trip here.

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We also we went to Manchester for a few days for our anniversary last September and had a really great time having our own little adventures together. You can read about them here.

So we’ve been thinking about where we want to go this year already because it’s rainy and everyone’s skint at this time of year and looking at holidays and other places is quite frankly a good way to cheer yourself up, whether or not you actually end up going! While there’s no finalised plans yet, I thought I’d give a run down of my most-wanted destinations and what we’d do if we end up going there in 2016. As much as there’s some amazing global places, I’ve narrowed it down to those in Europe here because of the cost… but one day, the world!

 

Amsterdam

Things to see and do in Amsterdam

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There’s no need for me to list the reasons that I want to visit Amsterdam. Its quirky, vibrant scenes are something not to be missed and a few of my friends have already been. This is shaping up to be our group holiday for the August bank holiday with Leeann and Lora this year and as Lee’s been before, she can show us where to go. I am going to want to squeeze a couple of my own things in there though, including the Anne Frank House, the hofjes, the Alkmaar cheese market and the Munttoren for starters.

I’m leaving the transport and accommodation to Leeann too. The little travel bug that she is, she’s picked up a few hints and tips about how to get the best deals as she proved with our Dublin stay. We have discussed using AirBnB to find somewhere to stay but the girls want to opt for a house boat like this one and I’m petrified of water!

Paris

Despite having studied French for bloody ages, I’ve only been to France properly once and that was for Hellfest. Not a lot of speaking and listening practice at a metal festival, I can tell you that!

Things to see and do in Paris

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I want my first visit to Paris to be with Josh and not just for the romance but because he’s as big of a culture nerd as I am and I just know we’d have a great time doing all the cool things.  Top of my list are all of the usual suspects of course: the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, Notre Dame… but I have also bookmarked the Place de la Concorde, the Tuileries Garden,  Deyrolle, Musée des Arts et MetiersRue Crémieux and a few others that I’m keeping a secret…

I’d like to go in near September for our anniversary and get the eurostar from London, then perhaps stay in a quaint bed and breakfast just outside of the city. We don’t really spend much on transport once we’re there usually, I’ll be happy to walk into the centre during the day.

Prague

Things to see and do in Prague

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So I’m pretty crap with history but I know that Prague has a rich and vibrant story and that there’s some incredible things to see and do there. Whoever I went with would have to understand that I’d want to go to the Jewish Museum and see the Astronomical Clockbut I’d also want to pay a visit to the John Lennon Wall and walk across the Charles Bridge.

Being sneaky on SkyScanner using incognito mode (it keeps the flights cheap) I found that we can get there in two hours from a London airport for just £80 each way if we were to go around October time, but then of course we have to factor in the cost and time of travelling up to London. I think because of the language barrier we’d need a very tourist-friendly and central hotel but again I’d consider using AirBnB to ‘borrow’ our own self-catered accommodation.

Florence

I have wanted to go to Florence ever since we did our Renaissance module back in the first year. Everyone who had been there was amazed by the beautiful art and architecture and told me that I had to go when I got the chance. Again I think this would be something that Josh and I should do together on our own as it will be an enriching experience.

Things to do and see in Florence

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I’m most interested in going to the Duomo, the Piazza della Signoria and admiring views atop the Ponte Vecchio but the liberal arts loser inside me would have to go and see the greats at la Basilica di Santa Croce  and the Galleria degli Uffizi too!

Using Skyscanner again, I found that we could go for a long weekend in June flying from London for only £120 each way. This is dirt cheap for two people but… there’s a catch. The journey would involve a couple of hours stopover in Rome, both ways. Perhaps this trip would be best planned well in advance and we could combine it with a couple of nights in Rome? This one requires more research.

Berlin

Things to see and do in Berlin

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I’ve also got a good grip on the German language but I’ve never actually been to Germany! It’s ridiculous, I know. I’d be happy to go to Berlin in a group or even just with one close friend and I’d want to take a trip to see some of  the various historic Memorials and the Brandenburg Gate, maybe have a picnic in Viktoriapark and take a wander round Alexanderplatz to name but a few things.

Much like Prague, I can fly from London to Berlin in a couple of hours. Even in July, I’m getting quotes for about £75 per person per flight. Annoyingly though, I can’t return to the same airport that I departed from. This would make getting transport back home to Bournemouth a bit more complicated.

I will add that I wouldn’t mind paying a little more for a ‘luxury’ hotel if we went to Berlin, as there’s so many beautiful ones to choose from.

Copenhagen

Things to see and do in Berlin

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It was Rosie’s travel diary post on her blog about her stay in Copenhagen that first sparked my interest in going there. Her photos really captured some beautiful sights of the city and they did some great things on a budget so I fancy a go too!

First stop would probably be the Torvehallerne Food Market then a look at the magical Tivoli Gardens and of course, a visit to the Little Mermaid Statue. I’m also quite interested in checking out the Amalienborg Palace, The Round Tower and the ARKEN Museum of Modern Art while we’re there.

Gatwick to Copenhagen in early November was coming up at about £60 per person each way and less than a two-hour flight which is great! I would want to stay in an AirBnB apartment like Rosie did because there are so many cute ones to choose from there and we’d get our own privacy.

 

You can follow my Pinterest for all of my budget travel hints and tips including restaurants, hotels, museums, sightseeing and more!

Are you already planning holidays for 2016?
Have you been to any of these places? Do you have recommendations for us?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below.
Jenna
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If you liked this post, you should check out:
what to do when you’re in Manchester // what to do when you’re in Dublin – what we got up on on our holidays on a budget

 

Jazmin’s 15th Birthday (in pictures)

So my little sister Jazmin is now fifteen which is terrifying – as if I ever needed reminding that I’m growing up ever faster!

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I remember changing her nappy for crying out loud!

I remember reading her bedtime stories and watching countless episodes of Dora the Explorer.

I remember cutting all the hair off of her Barbie dolls once because she annoyed me.

I remember how she was very compliant in starring in my plays and wearing whatever weird costumes I asked her to.

I remember how I made her be the student and we would play ‘school’ where I’d give her pretend work to do.

Mostly I remember how I was so glad to have a sibling to play with.

She gave me a reason to act responsibly, encouraged my love of learning and taught me a great deal about patience and fairness . I had to share, take turns and set an example in what I did from there on out.

Basically, my little sister made me want to be somebody she looked up to.

 

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For her birthday we went to Frankie & Benny’s in Bournemouth for dinner.
Me, Jaz, Mum, Nan and Josh had a great time joking around and stuffing our faces with some great food.

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Jaz was pretty impressed with her Banana and Butterscotch Milkshake

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…and her new wheels for her longboard!

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I got some lovely pictures of my beautiful Mama and Nanny… I hope I look as good as them when I’m their ages.

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Josh and Jaz spent a lot of time goofing around…

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I had a really tasty Grilled Chicken Pitta with barbecue sauce which came with fries, corn on the cob and coleslaw.

It was a really big portion for just £11.45 and everything was cooked well.

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I even had dessert and I never normally opt for something sweet!
Mind you, it was Salted Caramel Cheesecake with vanilla ice cream so my hands were tied…

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It’s a great family-friendly restaurant and the staff were really helpful. We didn’t have to wait long for our meals either, despite it being a busy Friday night. We also got 20% off our total bill because I used my NUS Extra card. I’d recommend Frankie and Benny’s Bournemouth for groups on a bit of a budget but would advise that some might find it too lively for a first date or a catch up with someone.

Have you been to a Frankie and Benny’s? Did you enjoy your visit?

Where have you been for dinner lately?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below!

Jenna

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Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
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If you liked this post, you should check out:
hangover bacon cups with British Lion Eggs* – a morning-after breakfast savior made with ethical eggs
Scissors Christchurch Ladies Night* – My Nanny and I got a night of food and pampering thanks to Scissors Salons!
She Who Dares Wins ’15 (in pictures) – A Bournemouth conference about kick-ass women and gender equality in business.

tag: boyfriend does my makeup

So I’ve been a bit absent lately due to an overwhelming amount of university work but as promised, Josh and I filmed the ‘Boyfriend Does My Makeup’ tag. I’d like to make a little disclaimer and say that this wasn’t filmed under the assumption that Josh’s gender has anything to do with his (reasonable) makeup skills and I’d invite anyone and their partner (or friend) to take part because it was great fun to do!

The rules were:
– You should lay out all your products in front of the person – ones that you’re willing to play with, not necessarily the expensive ones! 
– You can’t tell the person what products you use.
– You can’t tell them where it would usually be used.
– You can’t tell them which order they are used in.

This is only my second ever video so I’m still getting to grips with the software… please be kind. We did this as we were getting ready to go to an engagement celebration – there were ciders involved. The video contains lots of swearing, rambling and obscure references…

Remember kids, always drink responsibly (18+)  and don’t let your partner who is clueless about cosmetics draw on your face!

Have you done this tag or something similar with someone?
Have any of your faves got an especially good video of the tag?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below.

Jenna
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Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
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If you liked this post, you should check out:

My Birthday Celebrations – my first ever vlog with some embarassing footage…
tag: The Liebster Award – get to know more about me

my first vlog! | birthday celebrations

My birthday celebrations included a cheap meal for family and friends at the Harvester, followed by a drag/genderbend themed house party… Things got a bit weird.  Because of this, after many hours toiling with Premiere Pro and cutting a lot of drunk rambling, my first ever vlog is finally up. Please be patient with me while I get to grips with editing clips, using my camera well and just generally trying to work it all out. Oh, and you’ll have to excuse the boozy shaky footage in places – I do enjoy alcohol responsibly, I promise!

As for future content, I’m not altogether sure of a particular focus for the channel yet but there will definitely be plenty of food and drink, beauty and alternative fashion, budgeting, health advice and feminist rants.

 

Do you vlog or have a Youtube channel?

Did you do something fun for your birthday?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below!

Jenna

x

Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
| Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+ |

If you liked this post, you should check out:
Wella Instamatic Smokey Amethyst toner – a mini-vlog about lilac and silver hair adventures
tag: Boyfriend Does My Makeup – a rather sweary but entertaining video where Josh tries to do my makeup

adventures: What To Do When You’re in Manchester

Note: any images in this post that are not my own are credited via links.

For our three-year anniversary, we decided to plan a getaway for just the two of us. We couldn’t quite afford to go abroad so we looked at cities in the UK with plenty to do. Hearing great things about Manchester being a vibrant cultural hub, we booked a four night stay and packed it full of sights!

Transport
We stayed in the Ibis hotel in Princess Street so most of our planned activities were within walking distance of each other.

However for our day at Salford Quays, we opted for the Metrolink (tram) service from Deansgate – Castlefield. It took less than ten minutes and a return was only £3!

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Imperial War Museum North
The IWM takes you on a detailed journey through the history of war and conflict, with a particular focus on the effects that it has on individuals. Several times a day they project the ‘Big Picture Show’ exhibition – the stories told will completely immerse you. Despite the content, the museum is really family-friendly including their Horrible Histories: Blitzed Brits exhibit, full of interactive stuff to keep everyone busy! There is also a café and gift shop on site for your convenience.

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The Lowry Galleries
The ExtraORDINARY contemporary art exhibition (Sat 25 July – Sun 18 October) was a really engaging and innovative part of our visit. The piece that Josh and I found the most interesting was ADA by Karina Smigla-Bobinski. A three metre diameter helium balloon with three hundred sticks of charcoal on its surface. Visitors push ADA to create imprints on the walls.

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ADA by Karina Smigla-Bobinski at extraORDINARY in the Lowry Galleries.

I learnt a lot at the galleries about LS Lowry, not just his style and his inspirations but also about his personal life. The paintings were really interesting and there was lots to read about. My personal favourite is called ‘Going To The Match’ – I really love all of the activity in the piece!

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Not my image.
Courtesy of Amazon UK.

Northern Quarter

Packed full of shops and restaurants, the Northern Quarter is definitely a go-to for any tourist in Manchester. We wandered the curious indoor labyrinth that is the alternative shopping centre Afflecks, spent hours admiring centuries of work in the serene  Manchester Art Gallery and even popped into Spoons for a cheeky lunchtime pint.

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Cute little stairway portraits in Afflecks from a project for equality.

The Manchester Museum

A building inside the University of Manchester, you’ll find this museum a little out of the centre but it’s definitely worth the extra walk. Among artifacts from ancient worlds, there are skeletons and taxidermy figures of a range of weird and wonderful animals. There are also helpful staff on hand to tell you more information about each exhibit.

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The Academy

We saw American Celtic-punk band Flogging Molly at Academy 2 with support from the social-commentary folk singer Beans on Toast. There was a lot of laughter, dancing and chanting along. The venue is a decent size but you still get the sense of an intimate performance and the drinks prices, for a music venue were pretty respectable.

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Food & Drink

Healthy eating was not on the agenda on this trip. Due to the jam-packed schedule we had, the only sit down meal we had was at the awesome Black Dog Ballroom. We were not disappointed though!

Nursing a pretty hefty hangover, I chose the ‘Bacon, Bacon, Bacon’ (double Cheshire beef patty, cheese, bacon, baconnaise & crispy bacon fries) with an ice-cold pint of lemonade and Josh – the brave soul – had a ‘Graceland’ (double Cheshire beef patty, cheese, bacon & chilli peanut butter) washed down with a Banana & Vanilla Smash shake (Jim Beam Honey Bourbon, banana ice cream & vanilla ice cream). To be fair, I had a sip and it was heavenly.

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Glorious burgers and a dirty shake at Black Dog Ballroom NQ.

Nightlife

If it’s craft ales and a relaxing atmosphere you’re after, take a trip to BrewDog where the staff really know their shit about beer. If you want a late-night cocktail bar with an eclectic range of music and a really cool crowd, it’s gotta be Mojo. For our early evening drinks, we enjoyed the atmosphere at The Garrett. Great tunes and friendly people and with the added benefit of being two blocks from our hotel of course.

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Enjoying craft beer and proper cider at BrewDog.

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Not my image.
Courtesy of worldsbestbars.com

I would definitely go back to Manchester, perhaps next time with a group of people. There was so much to see and do without breaking the bank and people were so friendly and helpful.

Do you live in Manchester or have you also been for a short stay?

What were your favourite spots? Have I missed anything?

Leave your advice and recommendations in the comments below!

Jenna
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Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
| Bloglovin’ | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+ |

If you liked this post, you should check out:
Scissors Christchurch Ladies Night* – Nan and I were treated to a glamorous pamper evening!
She Who Dares Wins ’15 (in pictures) – a local conference filled with inspiring businesswomen
What To Do When You’re In Dublin – our trip to Ireland and what fun we had when we were there

tag: four things

So I saw the lovely Danielle (Underland to Wonderland) do this tag on her blog the other day and I wanted to give it a go!

I nominate Cami at camillahennessyjackson, Suzy M at Eeep! I’m A Blogger, Katy Sherry at The New Girl and Jessica M at JESMGIA – all amazing ladies that you should go and follow!

Four places I’ve lived:
South Woodham Ferrers, Chelmsford
Croxley Green, Hertfordshire
Christchurch, Dorset
Romero Halls of Residence, Southampton

Four jobs I’ve had:
Front of House Staff in a café
Customer Service Assistant in a hardware store
Cashpoint Assistant in a wholesalers
Chief Editorial Intern at bournemouthnews.info (easily my favourite!!)

Four things I don’t eat:
Oranges
Bananas
Olives
Anchovies

Four of my favourite foods:
Pizza
Garlic Bread
Bacon
Eggs
(I do eat healthy food though!)

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:
Easy A
Pan’s Labyrinth
Alice In Wonderland
Blade

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Images are NOT my own.
(See bottom of post for credits)

Four TV shows I watch:
(Still running)
Once Upon A Time
It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
Orphan Black
Rupaul’s Drag Race

(Ended)
The Powerpuff Girls
Black Books
Scrubs
Parks and Recreation

Four things I’m looking forward to this year:
Hopefully going to see Adore Delano with Ellen in August
Spending our three-year-anniversary in Manchester
Finding out that I passed my second year of uni (fingers crossed)
My 23rd birthday, I guess!

Four things I can’t live without:
Tea
My cat, Bellatrix (Trixie)
Makeup
Conversation (if that counts)

Four things about Josh:
He has a beard
He has tattoos and piercings
He works in technology
He loves video games and cats

Four places I’ve visited:
Cardiff, Wales
St Helier, Jersey
Clisson, France
Dublin, Ireland

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3 images are not my own.
(See bottom of post for credits)

Four pet peeves:
Touching my plate/food/drink without my permission
Bigoted, ignorant people
Rude shop/restaurant staff
People who assume I’m straight (ha!)

Four Things I Wish I Could Do:
Tell my GAD to bugger off, for good
Go for the infamous ‘one pint’
Speak lots of languages fluently
Afford lots of nice clothes (sad, I know)

Four Subjects I Studied at School:
Biology
French
German
Religious Philosophy and Ethics

Four Things Near Me Right Now:
A water bottle
Trix
Josh’s beard oil
A Pizza Hut menu

Have you taken part in this tag?

Leave me your links in the comments below!

Jenna

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Image credits: 1000000 Wallpapers blogBloody DisgustingFanpopIGN, Visit My Town, Wiki, punktastic.