Monday, 31 March 2014

IT'S GETTING CHEERIOUS!



When I moved from Birmingham to Cardiff in order to do my journalism degree the advice I received from almost everyone who had also made the cross country move was that joining a club was essential in making as many new friends as possible, and enriching my university experience. So I turned up as a young timid fresher to the sports fayre unsure of what it was I wanted to do. I had a strong dance background and in fact did an A level in dance, which for anyone who took it knows how hard it is and it sort of sucks the life out of the fun side of dance. As a result I decided I wanted to do something a bit more fun with my skills so when I saw the cheer stand it seemed like the perfect way to go. It was so nerve wracking turning up for try outs on my own as I'm naturally a very shy person especially when it comes to meeting new people, but luckily I made the squad! The first few training sessions felt incredibly awkward but I soon got into the swing of things. In the end the advice is some of the best I have ever received, cheer has been such a big part of university for me. I've met some of my best friends on the squad and couldn't imagine university life without them!




This weekend marked my fourth cheer competition with the Cardiff Snakecharmers and it was so much fun...as always. The weekend kicked off with a Bring it on marathon on the coach and a new addition to my film faves; Fired Up (it's about two american footballers who get into cheerleading in order to pursue girls), it's hilarious and a must see I'm telling you! After two days of battling it out the squad that I am in; Poison managed to rank 3rd best uni team on a national level in our division (Level 2 all girl) which sent us all into fits of screams when it was announced. Cheer has been incredibly fun but I don't think people realise just how difficult it is, getting on that mat is one of the most nerve wracking things I have ever done (and that includes performing at the Royal Albert Hall and doing solos for my A level). There is a complete element of risk as you do not know whether stunts are going to hit or not, and injury is not rare with people getting taken off the floor in stretchers at different points in the day... this doesn't exactly settle your stomach. Here is a video of Venom (the level 3 co-ed squad) who are also part of the Cardiff Snakecharmers performing at Future Cheer:



The weekend was made extra special by my Mum and sister coming to support me. It was mothering Sunday so I was able to give my Mum her present and thank her for being the amazing Mum that she is! Travelling from Birmingham to Nottingham to cheer me on being a prime example of what an excellent woman and Mum she is and always has been. My Mum deleted the picture with me and her because she weren't happy with her appearance; vain... but here is me and my sister on Sunday evening before I had to say goodbye!



After returning from my cheer weekend at ICC nationals I began to get cheer withdrawal symptoms so watched an entire series of Cheerleaders. It is a Youtube series which follows the defending level 5 Grand Champions California all stars Smoed on their road to worlds. Here is the first episode (WARNING: this show is scarily addictive):



If you're interested in finding out more about my cheer experiences then I am going to be doing a future blog post about whether cheer should be considered a sport. What do you think about the cheer world?


Friday, 28 March 2014

LADIES WHO LUNCH... IN PRISON

"Together we can pave the way to a brighter future for those who want and deserve a second chance at life."



After reading a recent blog post about the Clink in Cardiff I thought it sounded like an incredible place to visit so I rallied my friends and we went down for a spot of lunch on Tuesday. However, we had sadly missed the lunch spot (last admittance is 2:00) so we instead decided to visit Wow, a gay bar for lunch. This served to be the prefect juxtaposition to the service and food we eventually got in the Clink on the following Friday...

When we arrived we were greeted and our coats were taken off us by a young man. Everyone was dressed in shirts and trousers looking incredibly smart and the decor and cleanliness of the establishment was impeccable. We were guided to a table and handed the menus. In Wow we were left to find our own table/menus and then after being sat down for approximately thirty seconds we were asked if we were ready to order... ermmm no. The waiter at the Clink was a timid young man who was incredibly attentive and couldn't do enough for us. He looked so incredibly sad when he accidentally dropped a knife while clearing our plates away that we all gave him a reassuring smile. Our table of four girls were in love with him by the end of the meal. 

After taking our order we were able to watch our food being made in the open plan kitchen. The prisoners were all so smiley and seemed genuinely happy to be serving us. After a couple of minutes we were given a complimentary starter of chicken terrine which was presented beautifully and tasted delicious warming up our taste buds for what was to come. I decided on the pork in caramelised apple served with greens and mash and swede. It was literally one of the best meals I've ever had at a restaurant! At Wow after requesting burgers we were told they were all out of this particular meat and instead had to make a spur of the moment decision of fish and chips, we were left to wait for our food for over an hour as the oven was broke we were informed a little later. 

After finishing our meal we asked for the bill and left a donation in the envelope provided on our table, the head waiter was incredibly grateful and thanked us profusely for visiting and asked us to write a review on tripadvisor. Overall, it was an excellent restaurant which I think is an fantastic idea for helping these prisoners get a second chance in life because really doesn't everyone deserve that? By working in the restaurant it gives them a purpose to their prison sentence and means when they come out they have real experience and qualifications that mean they have a higher chance of employment, and importantly a lower chance of re-offending. Rehabilitation is so important for these men with 49% of prisoners released in the UK re-offending within the first year and for those who serve sentences under 12 months this increases to 61%, therefore it is clearly an area that needs attention. There are three of these establishments in the UK and I believe there should be more!

If you're interested in also visiting the Clink in Cardiff then you can reserve a table by calling 02071476724 or email them at cardiff@theclinkrestaurant.com. If you are interested in visiting one of the other restaurants around the UK then you can access their website here to find the one nearest to you. If I was to say where the Clink could possibly improve their service it would be through more advertising. I had never heard of it and it is literally ten minutes from my house, and when I had told people about my impending visit they also had no idea of it's existence. I believe more people would visit if only they knew about it! 

Sadly you are not allowed to take pictures in the restaurant so you're just going to have to visit yourself! 


What do you think about the Clink charity and their work with prisoners?


SUMMERTIME SADNESS


I don't know about you but at about this time a year when lecturers begin to talk about final exams, essays and general deadlines my mind starts to wonder about possible summer adventures. 

Each summer is special and a lot of us have our fondest memories from those months that our school/college/university give us off. It is sad to think that this year is going to be my last as next year I will finally be exiting the education system and having to enter the real world in some way. Although I want to move to London and do a Masters in magazine journalism I still feel that this is semi entering adulthood. So with this in mind I do not want to waste a single day this year, and so here is my wish list as to how I want to spend my final summer;

Edinburgh
 
I feel like Scotland is so close to home yet I have never really explored this neighboring country. So this summer it is my aim to visit their capital and see what this beautiful city has to offer. I hope to purchase some tartan clothes and eat a deep fried mars bar.

St. Ives

I have never seen a picture where St.Ives doesn't look beautiful so me and my sister have agreed to go on a bonding weekend to this seaside location and see what this Cornish town really has to offer. Hopefully the weather will be sunny so we can get our bikinis on and dip in the sea, but we all know English weather can be very temperamental.

Tomorrowland

This is the headline act of my summer. Tomorrowland is a dance music festival held in Boom, Belgium and attracts ravers in their thousands looking to have an incredible weekend. Tickets for this festival sell out incredibly fast and I feel very privileged that I am going to get the chance to go. My housemate Mary has been before and does not stop talking about how incredible it is which only works to fuel my excitement further! Mary did a blog post preparing us Tomorrowland virgins for our first time; you can view it here. Mary is moving to Spain this summer (not jealous at all) as her parents are opening a rib shack, so a pit stop in Maga before the festival madness begins is also on the cards.

Florence

One of my best friends Megan (the one who lives in Abergavenny and I wrote about in this post) is spending a month as an au pair in Italy, and we have discussed me meeting her afterwards for a week or two to explore more of Italy including Florence. If I go I plan on wearing this t-shirt that I have just recently ordered. P.S This website is a fab one with all sorts of great slogan t-shirts for those dress down days.

Royal Ascot

Horse racing and gambling may be what it's about for some people, but for me it's dresses, big hats and glamour. Royal Ascot is taking place between the 17th and 21st of June this year and tickets are available here.

Colour Festival

The traditional Hindu festival is now an upcoming trend for everyone to get involved in. It is coming to Cardiff on June 14th and I want to be in the midst of this colourful celebration. If you're also interested in attending get your tickets here, with Annie Mac and Golden boy headlining you'd be silly not to!

London

No summer is complete without a trip to our capital, this year I hope to sunbathe in Hyde Park with a big ice-cream, have a glass of champagne at the top of The Shard and possibly catch a show a West End show which is always a treat. Oh and can't forget a little retail therapy, especially when Britan's largest fashion store lives on Regent Street and it's none other than Topshop. You could seriously get lost in that thing!

Since becoming addicted to the blogging world and seeing all the wonderful things that you all get up to its inspired me to want to get out there and do it too! For this reason my list is pretty extensive, but it's okay to dream right? 


What are your dreams for the summer of 2014?

Monday, 24 March 2014

HIGH PONY TUTORIAL WITH CLIP IN EXTENSIONS

As previously promised in my hair extension blog post here is my how to do a high pony with extensions tutorial. Previously I would just apply my hair extensions as normal as if I was wearing them down and just grab all my hair to put into a pony but this often means that the clips can be visible and the style can look very messy. 

These easy to follow step by step instructions show you a much easier method:

STEP ONE

Brush approximately half of your hair forward and then put a bobble in the middle of your head.

STEP TWO

Clip your largest hair extension around the mini pony you have just made. Then your second largest extension. I find two pieces to be enough, however you may prefer to use three, I would not recommend anymore than that.

STEP THREE

Brush the front hair back over and then grab all the hair to put into a bobble, make it high as you like.

STEP FOUR

Style your hair with hair straighteners so that your natural hair and hair extensions blend into together and your look is complete!

Hope this post was helpful. Have you got any hair style tips?


Sunday, 23 March 2014

A PERFECT SUNDAY IN ABERGAVENNY


My usual student Sundays involve waking up with a hangover and milling around in my PJs until dinner time but this one was different. One of my best friends and favorite Welsh gal Megan invited me round to her house for a Sunday roast and who can say no to a home cooked dinner?! I certainly can't, in fact for the past two weeks I've become a vegetarian after seeing this picture...



...but I am ashamed to say a piece of Welsh lamb has broke me. This is my 3rd attempt at being a vegetarian (my longest stunt being just under a year) but my Mum says the problem is you're a vegetarian who loves meat and hates vegetarian food, and I am ashamed to admit she is right on this occasion. 

Anyway back to Abergavenny, I made the short train journey across to the town on the train. My time keeping was again off and I just about made my train, the promise of a Sunday roast almost fell through my fingertips. As the view from my train window transformed from buildings into green fields I slowly began to feel more relaxed. Megan greeted me at the train station and we made the short journey to her home where food was almost instantly served. Dinner was gorgeous and the chat was even better. I was told stories of all the local people including the woman who makes her own capes similar to those worn on the Hobbit films and parades them proudly down the high street, a keen Christian who enjoys sending emails with attachments, and the cleaner who stinks out the house with his strong smelling lunches. I was also informed of the feud between the hairdresser's and chip shop, which meant having chip shop lunches was no longer an option for the hairdressers. The lunchtime chat reminded me very much of the Gilmore Girls meets Gavin and Stacey. Before today I did not realise it existed outside of sitcoms. It actually made me very jealous that I've never lived in a town where everyone knows each other, I feel I have some what missed out!

After eating not one but two deserts we decided on a walk up the Sugar Loaf (a local mountain) with Megan's black Labrador Poppy was in order so after Megan had kitted me out with Hunter wellies and a quilted jacket I was ready to go. This was my first ever dog walk at the grand old age of 20 demonstrating the complete lack of countryside in my life! We were out walking for nearly three hours altogether but we did manage to reach the top after some pretty steep inclines. The view was spectacular and well worth it, I have put a picture below although I am not sure it does it justice. It's safe to say I am going to sleep well tonight! 


Me and Megan looking rather windswept at the top of the Sugar Loaf


All in all it was a perfect Sunday and I am already excited for my next trip which I am promised will involve a trip into town and a visit to the chapel to meet all these unique characters I was told so much about...


Saturday, 22 March 2014

CLUB NIGHTS IN CARDIFF

Being over half way through my second year of university I am making it my mission to make the most out of my uni experience so that I can graduate and be completely satisfied with how I spent my 3 years in Cardiff. One thing I've started to do is attempt to visit different club nights instead of doing the usual Lash night at the Student Union (which I'm guilty of visiting almost every week).

CATAPULT PRESENTS AT VAULTS
I started my mission by purchasing a ticket to see a drum and bass DJ Kove at the Vaults on the advice of my housemate Mary- resident party Queen. Check out her awesome blog here. The Vaults is a really cool underground club in Cardiff Bay right next to the house where they film MTV's The Valleys. During the night we managed to get into the house and got given a tour by the current occupants. For a reality TV addict like me it was very exciting to say the least, I felt like a kid in a candy store. I put on my best welsh accent and pretended I was being filmed cooking my breakfast (how sad am I?!). I also made it on to the show this week (picture below). Anyway back to the Vaults; it is a club that has been transformed from a bank vault into a very cool club. It is even equipped with it's own cinema room that plays cartoons if you fancy a break from skanking away. Sadly, the cinema was not open the night that we visited. All in all it was an amazing night although the drinks were a little expensive, but me and my housemate Tash discovered that if you worked hard enough you could work the price down. Unfortunately my night was cut a little short when Tash fell down the stairs and had to be taken to A&E in an ambulance but that's a whole other blog post! 













TEAM UP @ BUNKER
The following Friday night I attended club night Team Up (formely known as Pop Bubble Rock) for the first time after some forceful persuading from two course mates, both of them also have blogs which are both well worth a read, check them out here; Reen's blog and Liam's blog. In the end I was so glad they convinced me out as it was such a good night fueled by hours of dancing and taxi rides with my favourite welsh man Mike. Bunker houses two main rooms- one plays cheesy pop all night while the other plays rock... a very eclectic mix but it just seems to work.



On a side note, we also discovered that we can access our roof through my housemate's bedroom so when the sun came out to play on Sunday we decided to make Sex on the beach cocktails in a teapot (who says students aren't resourceful?) and sunbathe on the roof.



What are your favourite club nights? Any tips for me on what to do in Cardiff?


Friday, 21 March 2014

#NOMAKEUPSELFIE


You would have to be living under a rock to not notice the new craze that has took over social networking sites in the last few days. Unlike neck nominate and other such crazes where the purpose has just been to laugh at people undergo their self inflicted punishment, this one is to raise awareness and funds for Cancer Research.

When something new happens on social networking sites the first thing that happens is people will start complaining- FACT. For instance, when snow coat the grounds I will see just as many statuses of people complaining about people uploading their snow selfies and statuses as people who have actually done it. The earlier annoys me much more... do people just sit at home on their laptops and smart phones waiting for something to moan about it? I say just leave people to it if it's not directly affecting you!



Critics were silenced however when Cancer Research UK publicly thanked supporters and revealed the large amounts the scheme had been raising, it is over £2 million now which is just incredible I'm sure you'll agree! I for one have loved seeing the no make-up selfies not only for the good it is so obviously doing, but also to see how beautiful you all are without the slap that we have to coat on every day! If you would like to donate text BEAT to 70007 to give a £3 donation to the cause or do it online here. The boys have now even began to get involved posting photos of themselves covered in girl's make-up or the more risky cock in a sock. What do you think of the new craze? Everyone keep up the good work!!

*UPDATE (25/03/14): The no make-up selfie has now raised over £8 million... truly inspiring!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

WEBSITE REVIEW: TOBI *Includes discount information

I love a new clothing website to consume my procrastinating time with hours of trawling through pages of clothes that I know I can't afford. Me and Emma spent a library visit switching between a very boring literature review and Tobi online shopping, a very eclectic mix. My friend Emma also has a blog and has also recently reviewed the website, you can view it here. Tobi is an American website which sells a wide range of fashionable pieces for reasonable prices. Also some great news for you newcomers to the site by signing up for an account on Tobi and using the code 'TOBI50' you will get an amazing 50% off your first order. However, be warned that you will get charged taxes and handling fees on collection of your parcel, something that they do not make completely clear.

Here are a some of my favourite pieces from the site;


                                                                     1                           2

                                                                    3                            4



                                                                  5                             6

Some other great websites to check out are: