University Room Essentials​ – How To Make Your Room Feel Like Home

Moving away from home and into university accommodation is a daunting process as it’s the first time you’ve properly left home to go and live somewhere else and its the start of a new chapter in your life. For me having a cosy and personal room made it easier to settle in and it was nice to have a little space to call my own. When I arrived, my room was completely bare and it was nice to have this blank canvas which I later turned into my own little space with the help of photographs, fairy lights and many other little bits, so I thought I’d share a list of ‘essentials’ on how to make your room feel like home! Enjoy!

Photos – I loved putting all my photos up in my room as it helped make my room so much more personal and cosy. I put them up all around my mirror and over my notice board so whenever I was doing my hair or work I was greeted by a particular memory or familiar face which was really cute! I love the polaroid look for my photos and I used the LaLaLab app to print mine off which was super easy as I had all my photos on my phone and all I had to do was select which ones I wanted! I think I went a bit overboard and ordered over 70 photos but they weren’t crazy expensive either. If you would like to give Lalalab a try for yourself then I have a fab £5 discount code for you to use. Simply use code PGTJ9BAD at the checkout to receive £5 credit to your account (this is a referral program so I will also receive £5 credit every time somebody uses my code).

Fairy Lights – I am a huge lover of fairy lights as not only do they help your room look like something off Pinterest but they also help it look nice and cosy especially on those dark winter evenings! You can get loads of different styles and types of fairy lights but I recommend you get the ones with the battery packs rather than plug socket as it gives you more options of where to hang them! I got mine from the wonderful Ikea but I know there are loads of other places you can get them from!

Bedding – Your bed is probably the main thing in your room so it’s got to look good and be super comfy. I brought loads of pillows with me which was really handy as my room became a social space and everyone was able to cuddle up with a pillow when we watched a film together. You can pretty much get bedding and pillows from anywhere but recently Primark has had some really nice homeware bits.

Fake Plants – Keep in mind the word ‘fake’. I love fake plants because not only does it save me from watering them but they help make me look like a fully functioning adult to visitors as it looks like I can care for another living thing! They are green and succulent all year round and can help add a little of bit of colour to your room.

Fragrance – What you do not want at university is the ‘I live with 8 other people smell’ so make sure you have an air freshener or a diffuser to keep your room nice and fresh but don’t make it too strong! I know many landlords and university rooms don’t allow you to burn candles but I still bought mine and left the lid off it as it still produced a homely and sweet scent.

I hope this list gives you some ideas when decorating and personalising your room and good luck to everyone starting their studies at university/collage!

Becoming An Oftomes Publishing Reviewer!

We’ve got exciting news! We have been chosen as a reviewer for Oftomes Publishing, which is a micro-publishing house run by U.K. book blogger Benjaminoftomes! Both of us can’t wait to be working with them and to start things off they will be hosting a read a long throughout the month of September. The book they’ve chosen for this month is Trapped in Silver by Emily Sowden and I’m so excited about it! Here’s the synopsis:

Here’s the synopsis:

Courage comes from a shadowed place in our hearts; a blurred line that straddles love and sheer stupidity.

To seventeen-year-old Ava, wild woodcats, hungry stragglers, and simple-minded townsfolk are the evils she’s grown accustomed to. But when Ethan, an unusual man with eyes of smoke and fire opal, enters her world she quickly understands that there are worse things out there than drunken men and carnivorous forest creatures. She’s a specialized liar and a hell of a fighter, but against a group of animalistic men called Berserkers, she struggles to survive the encounter as the desperate swing of a dagger is all it takes to change her life for good.

Half-dead and hunted by the Berserker’s leader when he forms a monstrous obsession with her, Ava escapes his pursuit in an unfamiliar land full of impossible creatures, unlikely allies, and the man she doesn’t know whether to kiss or kill.

But after dreadful news of her missing brother surfaces, Ava becomes more involved in the centuries-long war and begins to unravel the reasons behind her relentless nightmares, discovering truths long-buried in a violent history of love, loss, and betrayal.

How amazing does that story line sound and how can you not be excited about this book?! If this does sound like your cup of tea, then feel free to join us for the read-a-thon and follow us on Twitter (@afangirlopinion) to keep up with all the news and updates!

Happy Reading Everyone!

Life as a First Year Student Midwife

This last year has been equally the best but hardest year of my life. At the end of August 2016 I started training to be a Midwife, something I had worked so hard to be able to do. There are many misconceptions about Midwives and Midwifery, most people seem to think that all we do is catch babies, or alternatively drink tea, eat cake and cuddle babies. Admittedly during the year I have done all those things, but that barely skims the surface of what we do. Midwives look after women throughout the whole of their pregnancy, running long antenatal clinics and answering hundreds of phone calls of anxious women. We can take blood and give injections. We are there during labour and birth. We also look after women and new born babies for a minimum of 10 days postnatally, among so much more. We are the ultimate feminists.

Obviously this isn’t something one can learn from a textbook, my university year was split between time at university to time on ‘placement’ when we’re out in the real world, learning on the job, this is a 50/50 split. Before I went on my first placement I was at university, this time in the year was probably the most ‘normal university’ experience I had. I moved into uni halls with 5 other midwives, I participated in freshers week and I attended lectures. It took me a while to get used to the new way of learning, suddenly so independent and I had to get my head around referencing! I met so many new people and made friends for life. At this point, the thought of actually becoming a midwife didn’t really seem real, it only clicked when we were given our uniform… this was such a proud and exciting day, we looked grown up and professional, I think my mum actually cried when she saw me in it for the first time.

It soon became time to go out on our first ever placement with the community midwives, nervous was an understatement, none of us felt ready, even though we had been learning basics for 8 weeks, we all felt like we knew nothing. In hindsight we did know nothing, but that was how its meant to be, the bulk of learning is on placement, as scary as that is. My first day was on Halloween, I distinctly remember this because all my friends at ‘normal university’ were out on the town that night, whereas I was in bed at 8:30 utterly, utterly exhausted! At first I found placement tough, I was working full time (which I wasn’t used to coming straight from school) and learning every second, I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted every day. Luckily I loved every second. I found everything I was learning fascinating, I was gaining new skills every day and pushed out of my comfort zone constantly! believe me when I tell you this degree is hard work, so much so I feel as though if you didn’t absolutely adore the career, the degree and the qualification would be unobtainable. There were times on placement where I felt lonely, even though I saw people everyday at work, I barely saw anyone outside of work and my family, and even when I had time to myself there was uni work to be completed and obviously recovery from the previous week, there is no time for a social life when training in midwifery, but that is a sacrifice I’m willing to make!

As the year went on I gained so much confidence in my skills, so much so I was given a lot more independence. The days of observation were over, I now felt like an asset to the team. My favourite part of the job is undoubtedly the people you meet and the lives you influence. It is honestly the best feeling in the world to know that you have influenced someone’s life in such a positive way. As humans we can tell when people are genuine and it is the best feeling in the world when someone says thank you with all their heart, so much so we can see it in their eyes. We often get cards and gifts for the kindness we show, but the best gift is that look they give you when you say goodbye.

These have just been a few of my thoughts throughout the year, I could have written so much more! I truly adore midwifery, as tough as it is, it is most definitely worth it. It’s been the best year of my life and I look forward to another 2 years of training and my whole career ahead of me.

Studying English Literature at University: A Year in Review

As I sit down to write this post, I’m starting to feel lots of different emotions. I am over the moon that I’ve finished all my assessments and exams but I’m also really sad and quite scared as it only feels like yesterday that I was moving into my room. When I speak to people about their University experience they always mention how quick it went, and I totally agree with them, I don’t know where the time has gone but thinking about it I’ve met some amazing people and already done so much in my first year! We’re going to split this post into two because both of us have had very different University experiences, as I’m doing English and Eleanor is doing Midwifery and believe me when I tell you she’s got so much to share, I always love hearing about it when we have our weekly Skype calls!

Anyway, for those of you who don’t know, I’ve just finished my first year at Chester University studying English Literature. My course was split into four modules, Studying Literature, Approaches to Literature, Contemporary Literature and finally Poetry.  Studying Literature involved looking at classics, like Hard Times and Northanger Abbey which I enjoyed to some extent but I much preferred Contemporary Literature and reading works by McEwan and other contemporary authors. Approaches to Literature is where I studied Harry Potter and the Hunger Games and involved looking at them through different theories and approaches, but now I can’t look or read those books in the same way as I did before; I’m constantly analyzing them! Finally, my Poetry module is pretty self-explanatory and although it was my first pick I absolutely loved it and my tutor who has helped me discover my hidden love for poetry.

One of the best things about this course is being able to read and study a range of texts across different periods as well as being able to find and discover authors you never knew you loved. I’ve also been able to meet a load of people who share the same passion for English as me and even found a few people that love YA novels and authors like Cassandra Clare and Sarah J Maas. For me, being surrounded by all these people can be a bit intimidating especially on the first day when we were asked to share the last book we read. I remember everyone saying something really intellectual like, ‘Great Expectations’ or ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ but when it came to my turn I admitted that the last book I read was some trashy romance novel which I loved. I didn’t care that it wasn’t impressive I just wanted, to be honest, and plus it made a few people laugh which is a great ice breaker.

This year has been absolutely amazing, I’ve been able to learn so much, read loads of book and meet so many lovely people who I can’t wait to start my second year with! If you have any questions in regards to University or starting an English degree feel free to comment down below, I would be more than happy to answer them!

To All Our Followers – A Life Update

Some of you may have noticed that we haven’t been very active for the past couple of weeks and that is because myself and Eleanor have both been getting prepared and sorted for University. Theses past weeks have been very hectic and stressful but it has all payed off and things are beginning to fit into place. Eleanor is now studying Midwifery at the University of West England in Bristol and moved in last weekend, and I will be studying English Literature at the University of Chester in October. Both of us are extremely excited for the next chapter of our lives and can’t wait to see where it takes us. But this may mean that our blog posts won’t be as frequent as we’ll have lots of work and from the size of my reading list I know that I probably won’t have much time for personal reading either. We will try our best to try and post as often as possible but we thought we better let our followers know why we weren’t posting as much! Thank you very much for all your support over the years and fingers crossed we will be able to keep the blog posts coming!

Lots of love,

Amy and Eleanor

How to Balance Revision and Reading

This year is an extremely important year for both myself and Eleanor as it is the year we take our A2 exams which for those who don’t know help make up the second half of our A Levels and help determine what university we will be going to! So, no pressure! Both of us love reading and blogging but don’t really want to give it up when in comes to exam season which is quickly approaching (my first exam is this Friday!), so we thought we would share some tips for how to balance your revision and reading during exams!

Using reading as a break from revision

I know it will probably sound cheesy but reading is a perfect escape from revision and can really help you relax. Use it as an escape but also as a reward, for example for every section or page your revise treat yourself with a chapter of the book your reading but you have to be careful that you don’t spend more time reading your book than actually revising!

Don’t tackle big books

There is no point picking up a big book and very slowly making your way through it as it is very likely that your going to forget key events and feel like it drags on so I highly recommend that you choose shorter and easy read books to read during exam season to help reading really become relaxing break. Novella’s are usually great for this or even some short contemporaries as these aren’t usually very long and are a quick simple read.

Schedule posts

When blogging the last thing you need is to be stressing over the fact that you haven’t posted a blog post I ages. You can either just post an update before your exams explaining that you won’t be posting for a while and not to panic (I’m sure everyone will understand and be very supportive) or scheduling posts in advance. Tags are good things to post as they are easy to do and personally I always enjoy reading answers to them!

These are a few of my own tips and if you have any other tips, I would love to hear them! I hope this was helpful and I wish the best of luck to all those doing exams this year!

Introduction

Hi and Welcome to Our Blog!

We are just two teens who love to read and wanted to share our thoughts with the world. This blog is for those who love to read and share the same love for books as we do. Our purpose here is to critically review books with the aim of providing fair and balanced review. I hope that the reviews here will help you to find that ‘perfect’ read!

Each week I hope to post a new review, rating each book out of five stars. Readers are welcome to leave comments of their own in response to these reviews.

Happy Reading!