Day Trip to Kew Palace and Gardens

Hey!

Having been bogged down in University work recently, and having even more pressure as I’m going on holiday at the end of this week (!!!) – getting out this weekend was perfect.

My family and I visited Kew Palace last weekend and it was the ideal place to fully enjoy the warm weather. I honestly had no idea how big the gardens were and would actually love to go back another time. There were people playing games with their children, reading books, sunbathing, having picnics, sleeping and even running in the grounds. Plus it’s unbelievably pretty. I went a little photo crazy, so I’ve tried to put in just a few!

We had coffee in the old orangery, we walked around the gardens, with croissants and fanta and we did the tree top walk. Personally, the green house tipped me over the edge slightly- being the hottest day of 2017 so far! But it was super pretty, so I’m not complaining.

Kew Palace itself was not what I expected. In fact, I felt properly stupid after asking what the red building was- to be told it was the Palace we had driven to London to visit! It’s funny the Georgians obviously liked very square, symmetrical buildings. It was certainly aesthetically pleasing. Another thing we visited was the Hive, a Bee Hive shaped sculpture that you could walk in, and you’re meant to feel a sort of vibration, but it was super busy so we didn’t experience it, but nonetheless it was impressive.

I am always conscious when I go to London, or any big city, that I will stand out as a tourist. Sometimes it’s really easy to identify them- a prime example being the tourist with a huge camera, disrupting the steady flow around the palace- to take a picture of King George’s toilet…

Overall, it was a sunny, yummy croissant, perfect picnic kind of day!

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Bee xoxo

Gluten-Free Banana Pancakes!

With my holiday to Portugal in two weeks time, I am starting to think that I should do a last minute health surge to (hopefully!) make me feel that little bit better in a bikini! I wouldn’t necessarily use the word ‘detox’, but I am definitely trying to avoid foods that will make me bloat, and am trying to eat as much fruit and veg as I can. I have never had the flattest of bellies, and I try to do sport as much as I can, but I can confirm that I notice a big difference if I cut out all wheat and limit the amount of dairy (or lacto-free dairy) in take I have. Downside: this can make me a lil grumpy.

So this morning I thought I would try some Banana Pancakes- I had heard of them before and thought I would give them a go- and they were pretty damn good!

Banana Pancakes: 

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Serves 2 people: makes 4 pancakes- don’t worry they’re pretty filling!

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 2 large eggs
  • A pinch of baking soda
  • A dash of vanilla essence
  • Oil- I used olive oil

Method 

Beat the eggs in one bowl and mash the banana in another. Make sure the banana is pretty well mashed, more of a paste. Then mix the banana with the eggs and add the vanilla and a pinch of baking soda. Mix it all together and you have your pancake batter.

I always seem to add too much oil so today I brushed it onto the pan, so I had a thin coat of oil on the pan. Heat the pan on a medium heat. When the pan is nice and hot, spoon out enough mixture for two pancakes- so half the batter.

Leave them to cook for one to two minutes on each side, and then flip them. Once they’re done, put them to one side and do the other two. Remember to add another coat of oil on the pan, and remove any burnt or excess pancake from the last lot- burnt pancake can smell pretty gross.

Then enjoy with whatever toppings you like, or even plain! They’re pretty sweet due to the banana and the vanilla.

Here are a few of my favourite toppings: 

  • Cinnamon and sugar sprinkled over the top.
  • Honey, maple syrup or golden syrup- depending on how healthy I am feeling.
  • Nutella- for my cheat/treat days!
  • Caramelised apple with cinnamon- I have blogged about these before and OMG they taste insane, however do contain a bit of sugar, so probably not the healthiest option.
  • Lemon or orange and sugar.
  • Chopped fruit- strawberries and raspberries are the bees knees on pancakes.
  • Yoghurt- I have lacto-free yoghurts, or soya yoghurts, but my favourite is the strawberry flavoured.

I hope you love these as much as I do- kick start your day with a healthy, non-bloaty breakfast and experiment with your toppings.

Bee xoxo

Beauty and the Beast- Review 

When I went in to watch the new Beauty and the Beast I was expecting to see far more sexuality references than I did, given the media surrounding Gaston and his supposed homosexuality. Often with a spin off or remake of a film, it is either mind-blowingly fantastic or a complete flop.


Twenty-six years ago, the original Disney production of Beauty and the Beast was produced. Today, I went to see the new version described by Empire as:

“An anabashed musical with its heart on it’s sleeve and energy to spare, it is undecidedly unbeastly”.

I can, hand on heart, say that it was one of the best remakes I’ve ever seen. Emma Watson, will most definitely no longer be Hermione Granger, but in fact Belle. I love the idea that young girls watching the new Beauty and the Beast will be idolising Emma Watson. It’s been suggested that Watson refused to wear a corset, stating that if gives an unrealistic image of women. The more I learn about Watson and her Feminist Campaigning, the more I appreciate her influence on the cause.

Emma Watson’s singing voice is also fab, of course, in Harry Potter, Hermione Granger had no need to sing, but blimey that girls can belt some decent notes!

As a Downton Abbey fan, I also adored Dan Stevens, who played the Beast. It’s funny when you walk into a cinema with an idea of the character a person can play, to me he was this Upper Class Englishmen that soon became a fantastic reincarnation of the original Beast.

As a child, Belle was not the top of my list to be. I was more interested in Cinderella and Snow White personally. But in reflection, Belle is arguably the figure I would most encourage my children to aspire to be- clever, independent, level headed and brave.

The entire film was full of incredible music and vibrant, almost hypnotic colours.

It was truly fantastic and to anyone that is thinking of going- do it! You won’t regret it.

Fun in the Sun

Life Update:

Number of:

  • Deadlines completed: 0
  • Mock Exams completed: 0
  • YouTube Videos watched: at least 15
  • Workouts: 0
  • Procrastination Status: Queen

Whenever I come home from University, I try to be as realistic as I can when it comes to work. I think: ‘give yourself a week off, get back into the zone, then you’ll be ready to smash the deadlines.’ Nah. It just doesn’t seem to work like that. My ‘week off’ of University work has turned into 2 weeks off.

I seem to be able to fill my time with the most random of things, for example rearranging my bedroom. At the time this seemed like a necessity- in hindsight it probably wasn’t.

Likewise, I started to watch Broadchurch, the third series. Having been pretty gripped, I decided to watch the first and second series too… and then moved onto Happy Valley. Essentially, I have been doing anything but work.

I went holiday shopping with my Mum and sister and visited the cutest coffee shop in West Quay, Southampton. As you have probably gathered, I am a complete sucker for coffee shops.

I feel like all I ever do on this blog is post pictures of walks and beaches, but I can honestly say the beach is my happy place. The beaches near me aren’t typically ‘scenic’, in fact they’re stony and have huge vessels sailing past all the time. And the water can be pretty gross at times too if I’m honest. But it’s almost always sunny, most definitely windy, always noisy and you can see the Isle of White across the boaty water. It’s somewhere I always drag Jack out to, to grab a coffee- surprise surprise!

Yesterday we took a stroll with some friends to the beach and sat on the stones for a while, before heading back for a roast. It was my favourite kind of Sunday.

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Hope you all had a great weekend 🙂

Bee xoxox

Blustery Walks

Today was one of those kind of unexpectedly chilled days. Working for the Nursery Agency means that I am on call between 7 am and 10 am, and if I don’t get a call between those times, I am free to spend my day how I wish. This obviously has it’s perks- having unexpected days off- but also means I have less money! So being in the latter position, Jack and I decided we would make the days productive and spend as little money as possible.

So we started the day off with driving into Fareham and collecting Jack’s suit. I haven’t really discussed Jack much on this blog, but he is in his first year of a Law Degree and has managed to get an Easter internship at a Law Firm in London- which is of course fantastic. But also requires Jack to look super smart and was the perfect excuse for a new suit. Anyway, after collecting the suit, we headed for a coffee in Whiteley and decided to bring my dog, Jim, along for the ride too!

Today was just one of those productive days, spent in the the grey and soggy england, cuddling cats and dogs, spent mostly singing to Ed Sheeran in the car and drinking coffee.

 

University Pet Peeves

Like most people, there are some things I just cannot stand. Here are a few of them:

  1. When people steal your milk.
  2. When people don’t put the bins out and your house smells like a bag of wotsits.
  3. When people use my tea towel- and never knowing what they used it for…
  4. Driving around every single car park on campus, hoping someone is leaving. Maybe this is a Warwick thing?
  5. Leaving tupperware out on the side, sealed, with food in it. (Despite it being a kind of weirdly interesting science experiment- it’s still completely gross)
  6. Not knowing what to order when you reach the front of the queue.
  7. Alcohol thieves- it’s even worse than milk.
  8. Super loud conversations in the library.
  9. When people don’t wear deodorant.
  10. People hogging the sandwich section of the shop, especially when I’m hungry. Or hangry, depending on how long I’ve been waiting.
  11. People refusing to move their bags on the bus.
  12. Using all the loo roll and not replacing it.
  13. When clothes are left in the washing machine for hours after its finished- like those clothes are going to stink now anyway.
  14. Not knowing what and when bills have to be paid aka TV licence.
  15. Slow walkers- I have a genuine belief that pavements should be split into a ‘trying-to -get-somewhere’ lane and a ‘dordling-through-life’ lane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

University of Warwick- My Insurance Choice

When I was originally looking at Universities I had no idea where I wanted to go. So I decided to make a list of the things I ‘needed’ out of a University and a list of the things I ‘wanted’.

Location.

I started this process by looking at a map. I am going to be honest, my Geography skills are truly appalling- from this I decided how far away from home I was willing to go. As a complete home bird, I decided that three hours was the maximum for me, which automatically ruled out a fair amount of Universities. University was rather daunting to me and the idea of being able to get on a train and be home within the day was greatly appealing. Of course, this is a personal preference and it’s most important that wherever you choose to go, no matter how far, you’re comfortable.

Transport.

This leads smoothly onto the next thing on my list- transport. Having visited King College London, I realised that the hustle and bustle of London and the constant use of transport to get to and from lectures and seminars, was not for me. I loved the idea of the full on, hectic and movie-like lifestyle of London, but I actually found it rather overwhelming. This was where I started to realise that I quite liked the ‘bubble’ campuses, where everything was close together. Of course, I was open to using trains, buses and even tubes, but I didn’t feel that London was for me. Certainly, as a second year, checking out transport is crucial- living in Leamington Spa this year means that using a bus is part of my normal every day routine. With this, there are at least two big train stations to get home quickly. Transport is definitely worth considering when choosing a University. At this point I had narrowed down my search to Royal Holloway, Oxford Brookes, Exeter, Southampton and Warwick.

Employment Opportunities and League Tables.

Certainly, these are not to be forgotten. Warwick is currently 8th in the country for the Complete University Guide of 2017. Even when considering where you would like to study your degree, it’s a good idea to consider the opportunity that specific University can give you. Not only does Warwick have great Graduate Employment, but also has a number of events which welcome employers into the University. Also, unlike some other Universities, Warwick is in a great location for employment- with easy routes to Birmingham, London or even more locally- Coventry and Leamington.

Can I see myself here?

Having lived in Southampton all my life, it seemed silly not to check out Southampton University. There are so many benefits with going to a local establishment, rent can be cheaper, less student loans and of course transport is easier when you don’t live too far away. However, there are also disadvantages- you don’t automatically form the relationships with your flat mates (of course you can with those on your course) and it’s not as easy to go ‘out’. Whether that’s clubbing, going to the pub, a restaurant or even chatting with a friend to the early hours of the morning. So I would highly recommend considering these when choosing your University. I personally was not put off by these disadvantages, in fact the University itself just didn’t feel right. My parents were certainly pretty keen for me to fall in love with Southampton University- we did two open days. But everything was very familiar and not overly exciting as a result. I just couldn’t see myself there.

I was so nervous about University and leaving home, but visiting the University of Exeter made me love the idea. They were so enthusiastic, everyone was so friendly and the whole campus was green. Just so pretty, with lovely big trees, huge buildings and beautiful accommodation. Plus it was within my three hour radius. I fell in love with Exeter and I could see myself there.

First Impressions of Warwick

Despite absolutely loving Exeter, Warwick was my second choice because I felt I could see myself here too. Though it wasn’t as green, Warwick was, and is, the perfect ‘bubble’ campus. I loved the mixture of buildings, the coffee shops and restaurants on campus and the open spaces to socialise- people studying at Warwick seemed really happy.

Why am I at Warwick now?

Exeter offered me: A*, A*, B for my History degree, and I was on track to achieve this. However, when it came to exam results, I didn’t reach them, instead I got A, A, B and an A* in my Extended Project. Though Exeter offered me a History of Renaissance Course, I rejected the offer as I had been offered a place at Warwick. There was absolutely no sense of disappointment as, over the summer, I had had a lot of time to think, and was actually starting to question my choice. Warwick was higher in the league tables than Exeter, had better student satisfaction and much higher levels of Graduate Employment.

I have a genuine belief that things happen for a reason, I am unbelievably happy at Warwick, I love the course, the campus and the surrounding area. I consider myself super lucky to be here.