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A lifestyle blog by a London gal who loves plants, metal, bleaching my hair and Osaka

Monday 31 August 2015

London with my sister~

Hey guys!
A few weeks ago I visited London with my sister, and we had a great time ^^ 
I thought I'd share some pictures:
We found a police box outside Earls Court station! As as Dr Who fan, this was pretty awesome. 
We visited Chinatown and forbidden planet
We went to Camden and of course had to pop into cyberdog while we were up there ^^
I'll show you my London haul in another post~
Thanks for reading! ♪( ´▽`)
-Amy xoxo

Sunday 30 August 2015

I preordered BMTH's That's the Spirit

Guys, I'm so super excited right now~
Also BMTH just released the lyric video to their song 'true friends' and it's amazing!

That's the spirit will contain "Happy song", "Throne" and "True friends" amongst others, so I'm already pretty psyched for the album. (Remember my blog post about Happy song?) 
It should arrive around the 11th September, just before I leave for Japan, score! 

I love love love Bring Me The Horizon, and despite their sound changing a lot from back in the day, I still enjoy their music a lot. I like it when bands are versatile and don't just remake the same song over and over again for 20 years ^^;; 

Will you be picking up "That's the Spirit"? 
Thanks for reading! 
-Amy xoxo 

Saturday 29 August 2015

Uni Advice: 27 organising/ life tips

Hey guys ^^ it's the last post in my university advice series for now. I've covered studying, cooking, socialising... So now I thought I'd round up all the random tips: time management, organising and just general life tips ^^ obviously this is just my opinion, and I'm no expert, but it might help. 

On with the advice: 
1 Make your bed each morning. It makes you feel so much more productive.
2 Turn down the 'okay' treats so you can do the things you love without regret e.g. turning down junk food I don't like that much so I can have the occasional chocolate ^^
3 Have some sort of planner calendar list situation.

4 Do a quick 1 min tidy of your room before you sleep so that you wake up to calm, not random crap everywhere (exception: after a night out, hehe ^^) 
5 Don't be that flatmate that just leaves plates and stuff in the sink expecting them to be magically cleaned (seriously, who does this??) *my flatmates didn't but lots of my friends' do

6 At uni there's a lot of free counselling etc. available. If you need help, get it. There's no shame.
7 Write your to do list based on the time you have. It makes you think about how much you can realistically get done in the time and will force you to stay on task more. 
Also, nothing is more demotivating than a to do list that is as long as your arm with stuff you feel like you'll never get done. Break up items into easier little steps and never over schedule yourself. 
8 Prioritise where you want to spend your money and have a plan. Junk food and alcohol are expensive.

9 Don't overdo it studying- you'll get burnt out and lonely.

10 Write down how you spend your money. Keeps you more accountable
11 During the week, try and set a regular sleep pattern. I slept 11-6 or 12-7.
12 Join societies!
13 Seriously, if everyone does the washing up, the flat will get on
14 People are basically nice. Scary, but nice
15 Even if they seem cool and collected, everyone is probably as scared as you are
16 It's ok if you don't drink, or if you only drink a little. Don't make a big thing of it, just a 'nah, it's not my thing' should be fine. Most people are totally cool about it ^^
17 It's also ok if you aren't into partying. Definitely give it it a chance (several chances- not all clubs/house parties/bars/pubs are created equal) , but don't force yourself to do something you don't enjoy. Especially at a big uni, you'll be able to find 'your people'. 
18 A small weekly clean is totally easy and makes everything less stressful and easier to find everything. Once a week I quickly dust all the surfaces and Hoover my floor (this takes as little as like 10 mins and I usually do it as a study break) and do my washing.
19 Try and keep less stuff out on surfaces, it makes cleaning sooo much easier and if your room has less clutter it will be more relaxing and easy to study there. 
20 File/ organise all of your papers and notes!
You'll thank yourself come exam revision time.
21 Don't bring too much stuff 
22 If you can, find your flat mates and co ordinate who is bringing what in terms of cooking stuff. Between the 5 of us I swear we have like 20 pans xD 
23 Find when your best time to work is- I usually wake up earlier so I have 1 or 2 hours study in the morning before class
24 Freshers- there is probably a lot more going on than just partying, like societies signing up, and also a lot of free stuff too ♡

25 If you can, try and get your parents to do your first shop with you at uni ^^ 
26 Link your uni email to your phone! This one was a lifesaver for me as it meant I could check it easily and reply quickly 
27 When you're back at home, use the chance to think about all the stuff that you didn't take to uni. You probably don't need it all, you didn't take it, how much do you even like it? Have a little declutter session ^^

Friday 28 August 2015

New in: Black Doctor Martens

Oh my gosh, I finally have my 'holy grail' of shoes: black doc martens. I bought them from Camden the other day, but I thought they deserved a post of their own. I bought these from office rather than the doctor martens store, because office has a student discount... I saved £10 while still getting the exact boots I wanted. 

After owning a few fake pairs of DMs before that have quickly worn out, I decided to take the plunge and buy a pair for Japan. I have average for the UK size 6 feet, but I'm going to Japan and other people have said buying shoes there is difficult for taller foreigners. These DMs should last me the year and well beyond.

Although lots of people have warned me about how they are uncomfortable to break in, I haven't actually had any problems. I wore thick socks for the first two days and put plasters on the back of my heels to stop them rubbing. I wore them for a week straight and now they are pretty comfy. 

For now, here are some pictures of them in all their shiny, just out of the box glory.

This is what they look like worn: 

Thanks for reading! Do any of you have DMs? How long did they take to break in? 
-Amy xoxo

Thursday 27 August 2015

Uni advice: Studying Japanese

Hey guys ^^
Today's post is about studying japanese at uni. I've already done a post on some study tips, but I thought I'd do another about Japanese specifically. 

Of course I'm not an expert, this is just my opinion, based on studying Japanese at the University of Leeds. I did manage to get a first last year though ^^

What is it like studying Japanese?
Japanese is really difficult. Especially studying from scratch. There are a lot of hours and a lot of homework. 
For my course (Ba Japanese single honours) only a third of my grade was Japanese, with the other two thirds being made up of Japanese and East Asian history. Japanese was 9 hours a week and history was 4-6 (4 lectures and a couple of seminars.)
But Japanese was the time sink. I'd say it took up 90% of my time? I studied a few hours each day on top of lessons, more in exam season. 
Although most people say first year doesn't count, this definitely wasn't true for me. My performance this year affected where we could go on our exchange next year (there were other factors too though). 
My impression was: if you didn't keep up with the work, you failed. That doesn't mean people couldn't go out and have fun, you just had to manage your time well. Barely anyone had a part time job this year. 

Now for some more study tips: 

1 Start as you mean to go on: at the start of each term, make a rough study plan and get folders/ etc to store your notes. 

2 Start revising early. The week before the test is not enough time to re learn your whole course. 

3 Get any big problems 'fixed' before exam period. You shouldn't be learning anything new in revision. 

4 Make studying every day a habit. Learning 5 kanji every day was so much easier than trying to learn it in a rush the morning before the test. 

5 Try and commit stuff to long term memory- if you know kanji in the weekly test, but forget it by the end of the week there is no point.

6 Make japanese friends, watch anime, listen to japanese music etc: immersion. Get Line (it's like the japanese version of whatsapp) 

7 Test and recall

8 Write kanji over and again. It's not enough to be able to recognise them on Memrise, you need to be able to produce them.

9 Use flash cards all the time in your spare moments: on the bus/ walking to uni. I walked to uni reciting vocab to myself, people might have thought I was crazy but I always got over 95% in the weekly tests. 

10 Sometimes getting friends to test you is good. Sometimes it's a distraction. Be honest with yourself. 

11 Make sure you take regular breaks or you'll lose concentration.

12 For kanji: try and learn some of the radicals, then you can remember which radicals a kanji is made of.

14 Do all the practise problems! They are given to you for a reason 

15 Over the holidays, do a little Japanese every day to keep it up. 

16 Don't forget the rest of your degree!! Make time to go over key facts/ do wider reading before the day before the test: cramming is hard ^^;; This also goes for you joint honours kids.

There are my study tips, I hope it was helpful! Everyone has a different learning style, so just figure out what works best for you. 

Thanks for reading ♪( ´▽`)
-Amy xoxo


Wednesday 26 August 2015

Weeks outfits 10

Another weekly outfit post today~

Also I found this OOTD from uni stuck in my drafts... I'm so organised...

That's all, folks!
Thanks for reading (^O^)/
-Amy xoxo

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Uni advice: 26 Study Tips

Howdy ^^
Today, as part of my university advice series, I'm going to cover probably the most important part: studying. Obviously I'm not an expert, this is just what helped me to get a first last year. Everyone is different but this might help someone :)
Let's go straight on to the study tips: 

1 Find your best environment to study in. Sometimes this is in the isolated basement of the library with absolutely no sound whatsoever. Or you could love revising with a bit of music in the background. Experiment and see what works. 

2 Use the breaks between lectures and go study in the library! (Bring a friend if you want) 

3 Do the set work. Even if no one is chasing you. Do all the practise problems and wider reading. 

4 Make notes on the wider reading you do throughout the year (in my exams we got credited if we referenced authors by name) it doesn't have to be much, just the main gist of the argument. This saves you having to read the whole article again in revision time. 

5 Make flash cards and study on the go! Grab every spare 5 mins (this is especially true for Kanji and vocab)
6 Get the easy marks! Our japanese mark included homework. (submitted on time= 1 mark) Some unis even have marks for attendance! There is no excuse not to get these marks!!! 
7 If you fall behind, go talk to your tutor/ lecturer. As the ever awesome Captain Awkward once pointed out, having difficulties elsewhere in your life and not giving a fuck about the class look pretty much the same to a lecturer. 
9 Hand in essays on time. Here at Leeds you lost 5 marks for being even 5 mins past the deadline, and then 5 marks more per day after that. It's silly to lose these marks. 
10 Plan study breaks. Try the pomodoro technique.
11 Think about whether you will have a job in term time. Japanese is fairly intense in terms of hours and workload: and out of the 58 or so of us, only a few had a job, and none of those were the highest scoring. Studying is your job in term time.
12 Exam revision: think whether group study is actually the most effective use of your time. 

13 Ditto late night studying. 8 hours sleep is probably going to boost your grade more than 3 hours and a frantic last minute cram session.

14 Establish set times to study so it becomes a habit
15 Noisli is a website that has relaxing/ productivity enhancing sounds such as rainfall etc. personally I'm finding it really nice to study to, either on its own or combined with classical music like Joe Hisaishi (he wrote the soundtrack for lots of Ghibli films)
16 Have study cues that you do every time, this helps you to get in the 'zone'. For me this is putting my lamp on, green tea/ coffee and water and fake glasses ^^;;
17 Cal Newport's books have so much sensible advice. 

18 Find your best time to study and stick to it: waking up early to study is better for me than trying to study past midnight. Be honest with yourself. 
19 A little bit of concentrated revision is better than a whole day staring at one page of the textbook ^^;; work hard and then go and have fun 

20 On the day you get an assignment, write a to do list and start the first step.

21 Essays done over a few weeks slowly will almost always be better that one rushed on the last day.
22 Reference as you are writing an essay. I don't understand how, but some of my friends would write a whole essay, and then go back and try and reference quotes that they had lost the page number and didn't even know what book they are from. Nightmare. 
23 Make sure your referencing is correct as well- there are tonnes of tutorials online and it is an easy way to lose marks. 

24 Have a system for storing class notes so you'll be able to easily find them in revision/ in an essay crisis. 
25 Try and make your notes as easy to understand as possible. Although my handwriting is horrendous, I use headings etc. so they are easy to navigate (and no one needs to be able to read them except me anyway, hehe ^^)
26 Plan your essays in exams! A quick 2 minute plan- so you can write a good introduction and know the points you are trying to make- will make your essay so much more cohesive. A good structure could push you up a whole grade boundary. 

That was just a few tips that helped me this year. I'd really recommend Cal Newport's books and his older posts on his blog study hacks. Now he is more focused on performance at work, which is still a really interesting read. I have "how to become a straight a student" and I read it whenever I need motivation. 

Thanks for reading ♪( ´▽`)
Do you have any uni advice? I'd love to hear ^^
- Amy xoxo

Monday 24 August 2015

New in: All Time Low, GazettE and Babymetal

For me, buying physical CDs is such a treat. I picked up these beauties the other day in HMV in Bath.
First up: NIL by GazettE. I'd heard that JPU records were licensing some of Gazette's older stuff, and I saw this in HMV and just pounced. I didn't even look at the track list, it was just an insta-purchase. Luckily, upon later inspection, the track list is amazing, including some of my favourite GazettE tracks like 'SILLY GOD DISCO', 'Bath Room' and 'Cassis'. It's a great album, and definitely worth the tenner I spent on it. I am so stoked for Gazette's next album, 'DOGMA' which will be released on the 26th August. Gazette 100% made the list of Bands I'd love to see in Japan.
Check out the teaser for DOGMA on GazettE's official Youtube channel.
Next up, another old favourite of mine: All Time Low's latest offering: Future Hearts. I'm a bit late in purchasing this one, but I'm so glad I did! It's just a solid album with everything you could want from ATL. I can't wait to hear them play tracks like 'Kicking and Screaming', 'Runaways' and 'Cinderblock Garden' live. It also came with some really cute polaroids of the band, and as it was 2 for £15, what's not to love?
Check out Kids in The Dark on ATL's Youtube channel
Next up, and the second half of the 2 for £15 deal at HMV, is Babymetal's eponymous debut album. I didn't know how to feel about Babymetal for the longest time, but for now I've just decided to accept the weirdly awesome vibes, even if it's not 'real metal' and their outfits are disgusting. Jokes aside, Babymetal's album is a really fun listen, with all their singles like 'Gimme Chocolate' 'Megitsune' and 'Headbangeeeerrrr!!!' (or however they spelt it). I'd say it was surely worth it, and Babymetal also made my list of bands I want to see next year.
That's it for now. Hopefully soon I'll be buying some more music, I'm thinking maybe Neck Deep, and I'm gonna pre order GazettE's new album and BMTH's too.
What music are you guys listening to lately?
Thanks for reading! (^O^)/
-Amy xoxo

Sunday 23 August 2015

Salisbury haul: Primark, H&M, Urban Outfitters

Today I have another small haul ^^
First up, good old Primark. I love Primark's homeware, and these candles did not disappoint. Only £1 each, (so of course I had to get two) these smell divine and are so cute in their little jars!
I also bought this pack of socks, because flamingos.

I wanted to buy a cheaper 'everyday' perfume, as my favourite, Guerlain's La Petit Robe Noir, costs a bomb. This perfume is quite nice, although the scent wears off quickly. Obviously not going to be as good as something that is 10x the £6 I paid for this, but I do like the tropical scent.

I bought this pink grapefruit scented soap from The Body Shop for £2. I feel like I've become old before my time, my impulse buys are soap and candles....
Lastly, clothes: I bought these from H&M, the fedora was £15 and the dress £8

£2.49 socks from Urban Outfitters' sale.

Lastly, here is what the dress and hat look like worn. Sorry for the super weird lighting going on ^^;;
Thanks for reading! (^^)
-Amy xoxo

Saturday 22 August 2015

University advice: 12 budgeting and money saving tips

Hey guys~ as part of my university advice series, I'm going to share as few tips about saving money which I found helpful last year. Of course, I'm not an expert, this is just what I found helpful.

1 Budget: this could be high tech (I've heard good things about the mint app) or old school (I just wrote everything I spent in a little book) but this is probably the easiest way to stay accountable. 

2 Set a weekly/ daily spending limit and stick to it!

3 If you can, try and save up for stuff rather than getting it right away

4 Meal plan! Saves so much money

5 Buy secondhand textbooks: I saved tonnes doing this and most of my books were in really good condition

6 Get a student discount card: like uni days and NUS card. Some shops just take your uni card. Always ask if places do a student discount!

7 Get a student rail card! In the UK these are £30 for a year and get you a third off rail fares. This paid for itself after a few London to Leeds journeys. 

8 Get a cheap phone contract: buying a phone upfront and getting a cheap SIM only contract could save you money.

9 Buy less junk food/ meals out: make dinner with your friends instead!

10 Avoid the meal deal and pack your own lunch. Same with a bottle of water.

11 Bulk buying stuff can be cheaper, but compare prices per 100g of product to see what is the best value for money. 

12 Go for cheap university accommodation: I loved my accommodation even though it was the cheapest. Sharing a bathroom will hopefully save you £20 or more per week, which quickly adds up.

Do you have any money saving tips? I'd love to hear ^^ 

Thanks for reading ♪( ´▽`)
-Amy xoxo

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