January 2019 | Monthly Wrap Up

Wednesday 30 January 2019

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New year, more essays. 

Favourite part?

To be honest, I’ve spent more time at home than in uni this month. The first week I spent researching for and writing an essay for one of my English modules, then the second trying (and failing) to revise for an English exam. That certainly wasn’t helped by the fact that I was ill. It was a fun weekend. 

The day of my exam was actually pretty good. I had it first thing in the morning so I had the rest of the day to myself. First of all, it was great when I walked out as it had snowed and everywhere looked really pretty when I was walking back to my flat. I took myself out for lunch at Yo! Sushi, then after some packing went to the cinema by myself for the first (and not the last) time. 

The following weekend I went to visit my friend Liz in London. On the Saturday we went to the Bread and Roses Women’s March, and heard both Munroe Bergdof and Helen Pankhurst speak in Trafalgar Sqaure. We then went and got donuts from a place in Soho and had a browse in Foyles, where I bought 2 books – a poetry book by Kate Miller (always look in the sale) and Claudine in School by Colette. In the evening we went to Temple of Seitan in Hackney, and boy does that place deserve its reputation. Potentially the best vegan mac and cheese I've ever had. 

I then went home for a week before I started uni again. I saw a couple of friends, had lots of cuddles with my cat, read, wrote a couple of blog posts, and watched several series of the The Office. 

I then returned to Newcastle just in time for semester 2 to start. Yesterday, I saw Maisie Williams give a talk and a Q and A at the Student Union, which was super cool as I’m a major Game of Thrones fan. As for now, I’m just getting back into the swing of things and trying not to get too overwhelmed by all the reading I’ve got to do. 

Best read?

I have spent a lot of time reading this month, and that’s not something I’m going to complain. With my annual goal at 70 books, I wanted to try and get a head start. I’m going to publish a couple of round-up blog posts of my reading at the end of the year, this section is going to be a bit briefer this year. 

First of all, I read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Philip K. Dick as part of research for my essay on Blade Runner (if you’re thinking of reading it, don’t bother). 

Then, I read What the Trump?!: A Sane Person’s Guide to Surviving in the Age of Trump by Steven S. Stevens (love his name), as something to give me a bit of a pick me up when I was bored of revision. I started reading The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth to help with my revision. I only got through half of it, so I’m planning on finishing that in February. 

After that, I read Their Finest Hour and a Half by Lissa Evans (which is the basis of one of my favourite films) and Devotion by Patti Smith on the weekend I went to visit Liz. 

When I got home I read Inferior by Angela Saini, which discusses the gender bias within science and academic study as well as the question of the truth in sex difference. It’s very interesting and would highly recommend. I also reread This Modern Love by Will Darbyshire, and started reading Claudine at School by Colette, which I bought in Foyles part way through the month. 

The first book I’m studying during my English module for this semester is Beowulf, which I’m aiming to finish the day that this post should be up. 

Favourite tunes?

Since hearing the title song on Sex Education, I’ve loved listening to Chip Taylor & The New Ukrainians’ album F**k All The Perfect People, particularly while I’m reading. 

Favourite watch?

I’ve actually been to the cinema three times this month. My flatmate and I first went to see The Favourite at the Tyneside cinema. I then went back the next day after my exam to see Colette. I loved both, and whilst I think that The Favourite is incredible in so many ways, I think that Colette is more something that I would watch curled up in bed of an evening. I then went to see The Favourite again with my mum when I went home. 


TV wise, I watched all of Crazy Ex Girlfriend (including many video essays on it) and Sex Education. Both of these shows are amazing and groundbreaking in several ways and if you haven’t seen them then you should put them next on your to-watch list.

I also watched most of The Office (the US version) and cried several times. 

What did I learn?

I will never – ever – understand my cat. 

What’s happening next month?

So far, the only plans I have are to go home for about a day and a half to see my brother in his school’s musical. Apart from that, it’s the same old same old.

What’s been on my mind?

I don’t even know. Jim and Pam Halpert’s relationship mostly. 

Favourite blogger/vlogger?

Leena Norms and Hannah Witton’s videos have been great this month. I know that may not seem out of the ordinary as they are two of my favourite YouTubers, but I seriously think their content is amazing right now

Favourite post?

Probably My Goals for 2019. I love planning and setting out my ambitions, and trying new ways to make myself a better person (hopefully). Maybe I live in the future too much. That’s not such a bad thing in moderation I suppose. 

Biggest inspiration?

During the beginning of the month, getting through deadlines and exams. 

Then later, the freedom of the fact that I had literally nothing I needed to do, apart from the things I love, all without any pressure. 

In the past few days I’ve had a bit more excitement at starting my new modules. Well, excited and a tad intimidated at the amount of reading I have to do. It’s time to learn something new people! 

Any other favourites?

All the new vegan food which came out in the new year. I’ve tried the M&S lasagne and their tikka masala – both absolutely lush. I would also highly recommend Caffe Nero’s new sundried tomato, spinach, pesto and mozzarella toastie. It also took me a while, but I finally managed to get a Gregg’s vegan sausage roll in the last few days of January and it was everything I’d ever dreamed of. Absolutely fantastic. 

If you liked this post you might like: November/December 2018 | Monthly Wrap Up

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5 Supermarket Vegan Products

Friday 25 January 2019

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Being vegan is easier than ever. Supermarkets are meeting the demand and releasing all sorts of wonderful foods. Here are a few of my favourites. 

1. Tesco Free From Cheese - £2.25

Good vegan cheese can be hard to come by, and even then it tends to be a bit pricey. I haven’t yet been able to sample some of the more expensive stuff, for reasons I think are probably quite clear, but this one is undoubtedly the best out of the ones I have tried. It’s got more flavour than other brands such as Violife, and has a less artificial texture. I will always big up this cheese. 

2. Tesco Free From Margherita Pizza - £3

Sometimes, you just need a pizza. Although they’re kinda expensive for what they are, they’re perfect for a create your own style pizza. I like to have mine with mushrooms, slice peppers, sweetcorn and some spinach, depending on what I’ve got in. 

3. Waitrose Mac & Greens - £3.50 (often included in 2 for £6)

Mac and cheese is one thing that it seems everyone wants to be veganised. And for good reason – who doesn’t love a mac and cheese?! This one came out as part of Waitrose’s extensive vegan range last year, and it is the best supermarket mac and cheese I have tried. If you haven’t already tried it, I would avoid the Tesco’s one, as I’ve found it very watery and not too flavoursome. These are a bit pricey, so I tend to have them for a bit of a treat. A mac and cheese is needed very now and again.

4. ASDA Vegetable Fingers - £1.75

Fish fingers are favourite of mine. Or were before I stopped eating animal products. Whilst the Quorn Fishless Fingers are great, there aren’t many and they’re quite small (they also cost more than these do). In this pack you get 16, rather fat fingers, filled with chunks of carrot, peas, sweetcorn and other veg – certainly more filling. Keep an eye out for these, as they’re often on offer.

5. Morrisons Meat-Free Sausages - £1.50

As a vegan option for sausages, most people will turn to Linda McCartney. Don’t get me wrong, I love some of Linda’s stuff, but these sausages are, in my opinion so much better – both in texture and taste. These are part of their Tasty V range, which is entirely vegan. I would also highly suggest their katsu curry melts, which are proper lush. 

If you liked this post you might like: Vegan What I Eat in a Day | Exam Season

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My Goals for 2019

Wednesday 9 January 2019

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I won’t lie, I’m really quite proud of how many of my goals I managed to accomplish last year. Let’s hope 2019 continues along that same way!

Read 70 books

I always like to include my GoodReads challenge on my yearly goals list, as they do tend to be quite significant. This year I’ve gone much higher than I have done previously, but I think I can do it. Last year, I read 62 books, exceeding my goal of 23. As I am doing a degree in English Literature, I have to read a lot (at least one book a week), so I think that will help me read the extra few. I’m really stretching myself with this one, but a challenge won’t do me any harm!

Publish a What I Read in 2018 blog post at the end of the year

This follows on from my last goal, as it should mean that you all get to see which books I’ve read this year. I’ve been trying to do this kind of post properly for the past few years. I originally did a post like this in 2016, however, I would like the one I write this year to be a little more in depth. As I’m aiming to read 70 books, I may have to do publish it in 2 or 3 parts. I think the reason why I rarely seem to manage to do this post is because I leave it mostly to the last minute (i.e.) at the end of the year, when I’ve forgotten most of what I thought about the books I’m writing about. Instead, I’m going to try to gradually write it throughout the year.

Stop touching my face

For the latter part of 2018 my skin was utter shite. I’ve never had great skin, but for a variety of reasons it just went into chaos. I have established a more rigid skincare routine now and it seems to be helping. However, I do have one habit which I know is not helping when it comes to my acne: touching my face and scratching spots and scabs. It may not be great to hear about, but I’d say it’s one of my main goals for this year, and hopefully it’ll help improve my skin.

Make sure to do at least 10 minutes of yoga every day

Last year, I actually made a conscious effort to do more exercise and improve my fitness, and I really did it for the right reasons. I started doing yoga every morning during my A Level exam season, and it helped me so much. I felt so much more relaxed and focused. I did more yoga over the summer, but properly established more of a morning routine part of the way into uni, but only about 5-7ish minutes at a time. Over Christmas I mostly lost my routine. This year, I want to keep my routine going as much as possible, try more difficult routines and for longer. 

Pass my first year of uni with at least a 2:1

As I’m writing this, I’m one exam away from finishing my first semester at university, and I can’t believe it’s gone so quickly! Overall, I’m quite happy with my results. I haven’t got all of them back for this semester yet, but I think if I work hard I can do it. Ideally, I’d love to get a First, but I’d be very happy with a 2:1, so that’s my goal. 

Reduce my plastic use as much as possible

Again, this is something I'm trying to continue and improve upon from last year. I made a really good start, especially with research and and keeping the issue at the forefront of my mind. One thing I particularly want to improve on is to not buy lunch out so much, and focus on making my own.

Perfect a vegan cake

Basically since I turned veggie, I’ve been trying out vegan baking. Whilst I’ve managed some things well – like scones and Welsh cakes – I haven’t made a truly great cake yet. I’ve tried several recipes – a few have been good-average and several which have been, well, kinda crap. One literally had the consistency of a bouncy ball. How does that even happen?? Anyway, I would love to have a truly great vegan chocolate cake by the end of the year. I just freaking love chocolate cake. 

Diversify my reading 

For the past few years I’ve been trying to broaden the scope of my reading, so that I’m consuming art from people who have very different experiences than I do. However, my attempts haven’t taken up too much of my overall reading percentage wise. I’m going to try and make BAME, LGBT and translated books take up a larger proportion of my year’s reading.

What are your goals for 2019?

If you liked this post you might like: Did I Complete My 2018 Goals?

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November/December | Monthly Wrap Up

Thursday 3 January 2019

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Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines, they’ve interrupted my Wrap Up schedule, so you get two in one this month! (Oh, and happy 2019!

Favourite part?

Oh my life, I feel like I’ve forgotten half of what I’ve done in the past couple of months. I’ve had plenty of nights out with my friends, including an ABBA night. 

After my mid-module assessments, I went home for a few days. I didn’t realise until I was back, but it was so needed. And then there was Christmas! I have to say I’ve had a very chill festive period this year – seeing lots of family and friends and spending time with my cat. 

I feel like I’ve done a lot but not that much at the same time? I don’t know, this section just seems quite empty for 2 months, but hey, that’s life. 

Best read?

I suppose that now I’ve been doing an English Literature degree for three months, my reading should be going up, and I’ve definitely been thinking more about what I’m reading and how I go about it.

In November, I read Sam Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners, Steve Waters’ The Secret Life of Plays and A Taste of Honey by Shelagh Delaney as part of one of my English modules. I much preferred the book we studied in December, Kurt Vonnegut’s Salughterhouse-5.  

Alongside these, I also read No. More. Plastic. by Martin Dorey, Refuge by Alexander Betts and Paul Collier, and Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep by Michael Schulman. You can read my review of Dorey’s book here. I received several books for Christmas, and have read a couple over the festive period too. So far, I’ve read An Exclusive Love by Johanna Adorjan, which I thought was incredible. I’m also currently reading Their Finest Hour by Lissa Evans, the book which is the basis for one of my favourite films, Their Finest. I’m also reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Philip K. Dick as part of my study of Blade Runner.

Favourite tunes?

I’ve had a mix this past couple if months – my loves ABBA and Stevie Nicks of course, along with Patti Smith, The Beatles, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, more film soundtracks, Billy Joel and Simon & Garfunkel. Oh, and Christmas songs of course.

Favourite watch?

I’ve finally finished Grey’s Anatomy. I won’t lie I felt a little empty when I realized I got to the end of what was available on Amazon Prime (anyone know where to find series 15?). All the crappy Christmas romcoms available on Netflix (obviously). 

I watched Casablanca for the first time in the middle of December and loved it. It’s referenced in several of my favourite films (When Harry Met Sally, La La Land, etc.) and so it felt like something I had to see, as a sort of preface to those films.

What did I learn?

Megabusses have surprisingly good wifi. Yes, Love Actually can be watched twice in one day and still be just as good. Oh boy have I missed lasagne, and it’s okay to not be productive sometimes.

What’s happening next month?

2019! Here we go again. I’ve got an essay due on the 10th and an exam a week later, so most of January is going to be research, writing and revision. Then I’m going home again for another 10 days before the beginning of Semester 2 starts. Hopefully I’ll be able to visit some friends and catch up on a bit of blog writing and reading, it should be good to have a few days with absolutely no work due. 

What’s been on my mind?

Deadlines and reading. God that sounds boring doesn’t it. Tied into that I’ve had lots of other topics in my mind – feminism, the refugee crisis, among others that I’ve managed to link into my uni work or even make a whole project out of!

Favourite blogger/vlogger?

Sustainably Vegan, Rachel Ama, Leena Norms and all my usual faves. I loved Hannah Witton’s Vlognukah as I have done before, but thought that this year her videos were quite different and refreshing.

I also enjoyed Venetia Falconer’s Alternative Vlogmas series and have binge watched lots of her videos recently. 

Favourite post?

It has to be my Ethical Christmas Gift Guide. I spent a lot of time working on it and I’m proud of how it turned out. Go check it out if you need a present for anyone (probably a tad late promoting it now, but never mind!). 

Biggest inspiration?

Honestly? Deadlines.

Any other favourites?

All the blankets I was given for Christmas in addition to the ones I already had. For some reason I think people think that I’m cold. Also mulled wine. My winter aesthetic is wine-stained lips. 

If you liked this post you might like: October 2018 | Monthly Wrap Up

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