Blogmas Day 5: Christmas Jumpers

Christmas jumpers have long been a staple in my December wardrobe, and Christmas jumper day in work is always my favourite to see who can wear the wackiest or most festive! Each year I always end up buying a new one, which this year was..

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New Look, £15.99

Here are my favourites from this year!

 

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Blogmas Day 4: Christmas Candles

Anyone that knows me will know how much I love a new candle, so I get especially excited when the time comes to stock up on some Christmas ones to have my flat smelling as festive as possible.

My favourites this year are…

Yankee – Iced Gingerbread – nothing says Christmas than a house that smells like gingerbread!

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Glade – Apple, Cinnamon and Nutmeg – such an autumnal smell and usually only £1 each, they also fill the room pretty quick too!

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Tesco – White Pine and Holly – these come in a candle too but I have a wax melter which   is a nice candle alternative. These smell like real Christmas trees so you can close your eyes and imagine your artificial one is real!

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Yankee – Sunlight on Snow – now I’m not quite sure how anyone knows what sunlight on snow smells like but this candle is so fresh and not overpowering at all so you can have it on for even longer without it being sickly sweet like most yankees.

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And my least favourite festive candle is…

Yankee – Candy Lane – I hate the smell of mint at the best of times but this is just so sickly and overpowering it made me gag just from smelling it from a distance!

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Blogmas Day 3: Christmas Markets

Every year I aim to visit Christmas Markets in a new city. This year I’ve been a bit boring and stuck to my new home town’s – Swansea. It was safe to say that they left a lot to be desired in every way shape or form, they were basically just your average market stalls but in red and green outdoor huts. No festive crafts, Himalayan salt lamps or personalised decorations in sight!

Here are my favourite Christmas Markets that I’ve been to over the past few years:

Dresden, Germany

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Chester, Englandchester

Manchester, Englandmanchester

Edinburgh, Scotlandimg_5212

Glasgow, Scotlandimg_5143

Berlin, Germanyberlin

Blogmas Day 2: My Christmas Wishlist

This year I haven’t really been one to write a list to Santa as I’m conscious that in about 10 months time I’ll be moving to Texas so the less I have to pack up the better really! A few things I would really like to find underneath my tree are…

  • Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette3605971553936_naked_heat

I’ve been undecided as to whether or not to get this since it came out but I just think the colours are perfect for the festive season

  • Euros

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I’ll be spending 5 days in the Dutch capital over New Year so any spending money would really help make my time there extra special!

  • Zara Green Sequin Dress

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I’ve been after this dress for ages now and wanted it for my work’s Christmas party but after spending all my money on everyone else I guess it will have to wait for NYE instead.

  • Scouse Bird Problems diary

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Every year I’ve asked for one of these and yet to have one myself. This years looks amazing, not only does it come in rose gold but the sides are rainbow! Plus it will remind me of home when I move..

  • Lush Snow Fairy

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My all time favourite Christmas scent! This year Lush have a whole Snow Fairy range which I’m dying to try out!

And if all of the above just happen to be sold out…

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A girl can dream, right?!

Blogmas Day 1: My Christmas

Anything in the name of procrastination, right?!

So I was meant to do this last year but was crazy busy in the run up to Christmas with my masters exams and working at the second busiest music arena in the world.. yet this year I’m counting down the days until I have have a break from my PhD, eat as much food as possible and catch up with family and friends before jetting off to Amsterdam for NYE.

I put my tree up on 21st November (screw all you scrooges) and have been waiting as long as possible to start playing Christmas music at any opportunity – well that started today, as I’m writing this post.

For my first post I thought I’d write about my take on Christmas.

1) What is your favourite Christmas film?

Elf is my all time favourite as it reminds me of New York (and re-enacting some of the scenes!) but I do love The Holiday and Love Actually.

2) Have you ever had a white Christmas?

I don’t think I’ve had snow on Christmas day before but we have in the run up! I was in NYC on NYE once and it was snowing there to make it even more magical!

3) What is your favourite Christmas song?

Step into Christmas by Elton John – not everyone knows it straight away either which is why I love it.

4) Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve? 

Only from the Pyjama Fairy!

5) Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

I worked as an elf one Christmas so I think I’d have been fired if I couldn’t..

There’s Dasher and Dancer and Comet and Blitzen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Vixen.. and Rudolph of course!

6) What holiday tradition are you looking forward to most this year?

Every year my and my Dad always have a buffet of party food and make our own mulled wine so the house smells amazing, then we sit and watch The Holiday.

7) Is your Christmas tree real or fake? 

I’ve got a delightfully fake and tacky silver tree in my flat with pink and black baubles on it then at home we have a real one.

8) What is your all time favourite holiday food/sweet treat?

Starbucks Eggnog latte (I always have my first one at the Christmas lights switch on) and chocolate oranges.

9) Do you like receiving gifts or giving gifts better?

Since I’ve got older I prefer giving gifts, especially now I’m earning enough to buy proper ones!

10) What is the best Christmas gift you have ever received? 

2 years ago I got a pair of Ariat riding boots which I had never thought I’d own – doesn’t sound like much but I’d been dreaming of them since I started riding!

11) What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?

NYC at Christmas time will always be my favourite place. I’ve got family in New Zealand too so I’d love to spend one Christmas on the beach.

12) Are you a pro- present wrapper, or do you fail miserable? 

In between – I usually hide my mess with ribbons and bows!

13) Most memorable holiday moment? 

My Dad coming in from his work night out drunk and standing on the shed roof to hit snow off the top of the Sky dish with a draught excluder so he could watch The Ashes at 2am!

14) Do you make New Years resolutions? Do you stick to them? 

Every year.. and I fail every year too!

15) What makes the holidays special for you?

Spending time at home and catching up with friends and eating and drinking “because it’s Christmas”.

PhD: Pretty huge Decision

So after around 7 months of what felt like constant rejections I finally managed to secure my second PhD interview, this time at Swansea University, having previously missed out after interviewing at Cardiff. Despite being desperate to stay in Scotland and applying to universities all over the UK, South Wales seemed to see something in me that other placed didn’t! I almost didn’t even apply for the position as it came with a rather tempting / terrifying commitment – 2 years of the PhD would be spent in Houston, Texas. Nevertheless I interviewed, waited an incredibly nerve-wracking five days and found out that I was successful – in McDonalds of all places. Then came the daunting moment of signing the next 3.5 years of my life away, coming to terms with the fact I’ll be living in America for 2 years, and relocating again to a brand new city.

I am now one month into starting my studentship, and here are a few things I wish I would have known beforehand:

  1. It’s lonely – I’m living with 3 other girls, and sharing an office with around 10 others, yet the lack of interaction you usually have on a university course is noticeable immediately.
  2. You will have no idea what you’re doing – you’ve graduated, in my case twice, so you think you have a good understanding of your chosen field. Nope. You will wander around not having a clue where you should be or what you should be doing  – and no one will be there to check up on you.
  3. You will have a lot more free time – this was a very strange concept to me as I expected to be reading research papers 24/7 but after having a part time job for the past 10 years I’m finding it increasingly difficult to fill my evenings.
  4. You’ll have money – if, like me, you go straight through the education system surviving on student loans and tips, your first stipend payment will be the best feeling. Yes, I may have blown mine in a week making the most of freshers week discounts but knowing it will be topped up again next month is still a novelty. Someone is paying me to work towards my dream career.
  5. Nights out become a massive social event – unlike uni with socials every Wednesday, you’re now expected to work Monday-Friday, 9-5, like a fully fledged adult. Nights out are now planned weeks, not hours, in advance and require more work than a military operation. Oh, and the hangovers are 10x worse now.

So despite not having a clue what I’m meant to be doing on a daily basis any more, I’ve been told to make the most of these first few find-your-feet months, as I’m sure the next 3.5 years will fly by and I’ll soon be presenting at my viva with some dodgy Texan accent.

If anyone has any questions about the application process or tips on surviving PhD life, please leave them in the comments!

love,

The future Dr Jones (cue Aqua playing on repeat) x

Gap Yah

My gap year was completely unexpected and didn’t include the usual finding yourself in India, getting a tattoo after a full moon party in Thailand or skydiving over Bondi Beach. After finishing my A-Levels, I was meant to be heading of to uni to study veterinary medicine – which didn’t quite go to plan. During my first year of sixth form, I conveniently decided to break my leg and missed all of my first exams, which lead to 2 years of playing catch up and ultimately not getting the grades I needed for my dream career. At the time I thought it was the end of the world – turns out it wasn’t (shocking, I know). So instead of jumping into a course for the sake of it (my backup was French at Leeds – slightly different I know), I decided to work full time and travel as much as possible.

I started off travelling solo and spent the first two weeks with my best friend in Nova Scotia, Canada, before heading to New Zealand to spend a month with family in Wellington and Auckland. I then came home, worked like crazy and went on my first, proper holiday with my then boyfriend to…

Tenerife

Hardly a Caribbean cruise but I’d never been before, we stayed in Playa de la Arena and Siam Park was definitely the highlight of the trip.

Our next holiday was slightly more worthwhile…

Riviera Maya, Mexico

The east coast of Mexico around Cancun has the perfect mix of Caribbean and American influence for a luxury holiday. We went during American Spring Break which added to the party atmosphere in Cancun at night. During the two weeks spent in the holiday resort of Riviera Maya we went on the Captain Hook pirate ship which included dinner and a show, visited the Mayan temple Chichen Itza, drove a speed boat around lagoons, went parasailing and swam with dolphins!

Rome, Italy

I’d been to Rome as a teenager for a day when on holiday in Catollica, so to see more of the city and spend longer at different attractions was amazing. We went in the Colosseum, saw the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and visited Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and the Roman Forum, along with eating enough gelato to fill the Vatican (which you can get a great view of from the top of Castel Sant’Angelo)

London, UK

Again, not the most exciting of trips but we spent a week around the capital seeing the usual tourist attractions, and then visited Thorpe Park, LegoLand, Chessington World of Adventures and the Harry Potter Studios which were obviously the highlight of my trip!