Sunday, 7 September 2014

Inspiration Hour: My University Experience

I have to admit, I've really been putting off writing this post. I think that's because reflecting back on the entirety of my university experience is a big job, like a really big job - and I only graduated 2 months ago! But I really enjoy reading/watching other people talking about their university experiences, so I've decided to talk a little bit about mine, and hopefully give some tips to any freshers or unhappy university students out there!

My university experience was admittedly quite turbulent. Within it I survived essay stress, bereavement, diagnosis of learning difficulties, loss of friendships, and the break up of two relationships. There were many times at university that I was very unhappy, and regretted even attending. But now I look back, I realise that I've gained so much from university and have had the opportunity to become a more confident, happy, well read person, with some wonderful friends and brilliant experiences to look back on. Here are some of what I see as the main advantages of my own university experience: photo graduationjpg_zps6e0a4ac7.jpg
Looking like a massive dork in my robes

1. Living in London
When else would I have been able to get the opportunity to live in London on an interest free loan? So many of my friends were put off of living in London because of the expense, and though that is certainly an issue, alongside the lack of student community that comes with living in such a huge city, but honestly I wouldn't have changed it for the world. The university I studied at, Queen Mary, is also well known for being a very friendly university (and the only campus university in inner city London don't cha know) and I honestly think that it lived up to that. Studying in London gave me the opportunity to have so many wonderful experiences, and was also the springboard for being able to find a job that I love and stay in London, something that can be hard for people outside the city to do.

2. Friends for life
I came to university as a very anxious and naive young person, who came from a very close friendship group, but had never been exactly 'popular' at school, and as a result I really worried I wouldn't make friends. But the truth is, making friends at university really is easy, if you're willing to try new things. There can be a lot of pressure in fresher's week to find your friendship group and stick to it, but truthfully things don't always have to work that way. I found most of my friends after fresher's week, as well as making friends for life through talking to fellow freshers on the internet before I attended (hello, Leigh)! And honestly, the friendships I've made is absolutely the best experience that I will take away from university.

3. Academic insight
I have to be honest, I always felt very out of my depth with my academic work at university. I studied English Literature, but I have never been a naturally academic person, and though I was successful whilst at school, adjusting to the independence and complexities of university work was a huge struggle. After finishing university, I now have a slightly better understanding of why this was, but at times I wondered whether it was right for me. But as one of my best friends Maire once reminded me (thanks, pal) I am so lucky to have had the chance to go to university, and I really do need to remember that. And though I may not have been top of the class, I've broadened the way I think in so many different ways, particularly whilst studying philosophy and theory, which I infinitely preferred to purely studying fiction! I've had the opportunity to read so many books and hear so many different and interesting opinions, and for that university was truly worth it.

4. Independence
Before university, my poor old mum really did everything for me. I came to university not knowing how to do anything, and I honestly look back at myself now and cringe. Sure, my most adventurous meal is probably still a different topping on my pasta sauce, and I'm still slightly embarrassed about my tea making skills, but university really did teach me so much about living in the real world. It was especially intense in London, where I had to learn to manoeuvre the tubes, and accept that I probably wouldn't see a cow or a blade of grass until I went home for the holidays, but the whole experience shaped me as a person, and made me a lot more grateful for the work my parents put into raising me!

So, here are some of the main things I've taken away from university, which I hope can be helpful to some of you!

1.  Immerse yourself in the experience
Join societies, write for your student newspaper, go to a fresher's event even if you're not sure you feel like it. Everyone wants to make friends at uni, and even if people rebuff you, they're probably not worth being friends with!

2. Talk to people online before you go.
There are websites like the Student Room which allow you to talk to other freshers, which means you'll be able to have a few people that you recognise and can strike up a conversation with before you even turn up!

3. Academia is important, but it isn't everything.
As I've proven above, there is so much more to university than just getting a degree. It's a great place to find out what you want to do with your life, meet new people and become more independent. Try your hardest on your work, but it's really not worth having a break down over. And if you're struggling, there will be tons of people and organisations at your university which are there to help you!

4. Use university as a springboard for preparing for the future.
Like I said before, don't sweat it too much and start freaking out about graduate life when you're in year one. But do have a look around for part time jobs, volunteering jobs that interest you, as well as getting involved with student societies, which are a fantastic opportunity to build up your skills, and they look great on your CV!

5. Confidence is something that can be learnt.
This is a bit of a random one, but if you're scared about all aspects of university, just think, what's the worst that can happen? Maybe you won't get firsts on every essay or practical, maybe you won't have the wildest freshers week ever, maybe you won't get the role you applied for in the student society. Just think about the amazing experience you're having in the long term, and how little any of that will actually matter when it comes to graduation day!

I hope any readers of my little blog will find this useful, and I hope you all have amazing years at university! It's such an exciting time and shouldn't be wasted worrying or moping in your student bedroom. Get out there and have fun and learn tons of cool new things!

In the comments, let me know about your own university experience, your hopes and fears if you're about to embark on higher education, or any questions you might have! 
Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Suckers

Back in January I did a post alongside the alternative clothing company Offend My Eyes,and I'm happy to say that I'm back to show you two pieces from their current collection!

As a relatively new company, the general theme of their clothing is causing offence, meaning that you can find t-shirts adorned with body parts as well as slogans like 'no more fucking Abba' across them, not a sentiment I entirely agree with, but the general tongue in cheek, irreverent theme of their clothes is really distinctive compared to what you see on the high street. I really love this jumper and shorts pairing, as there is so much incredible detail in the illustrations. They've managed to make the whole outfit have a concept, yes, a concept (there isn't anything I like more than concept based outfits) of a rather gory ice cream van serving eyeballs in cones and feisty ice lollies that tell you to 'get licked!' Sure, Summer might be over, but I kind of see this outfit as a sort of 'fuck you' to summer, which I find pretty funny. The 'what you looking at suckers' main centrepiece is also a great way to get people to avoid you on the street, which if you like your own personal space as much as I do, has its benefits.

You can check out Offend My Eyes here, they're a lovely, talented bunch who always seem to be touring the country and showing off their designs.
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Jumper - C/O Offend my Eyes
Shorts - C/O Offend My Eyes
Shoes - Jeffrey Campbell
Bag - River Island via Asos
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Usually I wouldn't apologise for content in my blog posts, but I realise the set up here isn't entirely ideal. I've moved to a new house in London and am trying to find a good set up, so for now just use your imagination and see that brush and bucket chilling in the background of the picture as 'urban props'.
Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Technicolour Jacket Dreams

I'm currently experiencing a really rather lovely period of my life. You know when everything sort of seems to level out, after a period of uncertainty and feeling altogether a bit glum? Yeah, that. And you know what makes everything just that little better? A new jacket, of course. You know there is really nothing that I enjoy more than outerwear, and I think I have pretty much found the Holy Grail of outerwear, if such a thing exists.
These pictures were taken when I finally met up with the lovely Laila from the blog Tape Parade. We had such a lovely time hanging out, and of course we had to crack the DSLR's out and take some snaps. So thanks to Laila for taking these!
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Jacket - Unif via Depop
Top - Internacionale
Jeans - Topshop (Joni)
Shoes - Shoe Zone

This. Jacket. Basically I've been nothing short of obsessed with a certain American brand called Unif, who create an array of colourful clothes that are clearly made for the super cool kids. Not just cool, SUPER bloody cool. And despite being the one at school who probably spent more time pretending to be a witch in my own personal games on the playground than learning to socialise (I still haven't really stopped doing this) I wanted a slice of the action.

I've been using an app called depop that you may have heard of, which is like ebay and lets you sell clothes etc. I'd been checking the Unif tag religiously, as their clothes aren't available in the UK unless you get them shipped from America. One day, the much sought after I DYE Moto jacket came online from an English seller, and I snapped it up as soon as I could, for perhaps a little more than I would usually spend on a piece of clothing, but I knew this was the one (yes, I talk about clothes as if they're the relationship I currently don't have).

This tie dye jacket is honestly the item of my dreams, I feel like I've been waiting for this jacket. It was destined, meant to be. It is now a part of a my soul, and let's just say in the event of a fire all expensive electrical items and valued flatmates would be pushed to the wayside just to save this baby. So yes, I really do quite like this jacket.

 I decided to pair this with an understated neon orange top, so as to leave my parents in absolutely no doubt that I'm on drugs (I'm joking mum, if you're reading).
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Just, you know, a casual pose that we would all do.
Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Bath.

I thought I'd share my outfit today, as I'm spending the weekend visiting my family in the beautiful city of Bath. I've spent quite a lot of time in Bath over the years, and it really is one of the prettiest cities I've ever been to (probably pipped to the post by the stunning Edinburgh and my hometown Oxford, but you know). We're staying at my aunt and uncle's house, which is up in the hills above the city, and every day we get to walk in via the beautiful river, and I wanted to share the amazing scenery with you (along with my brand spanking outfit).  photo 23rdaug1_zpsf79b8c6c.jpg
Hat - Beyond Retro
Top - Primark
Skirt - Front Row Shop
Shoes - Converse
Sunglasses - Primark
Bag - Waterstones

This skirt is such an incredible find, I'm so pleased that I invested in it after seeing it on the beautiful Tara's blog. It is from Front Row Shop, an extremely reasonably priced Asian company who create the most exceptionally sophisticated clothes. I love to wear this skirt with trainers or pumps, as it's certainly more of a glamorous evening look, but also looks lovely when dressed down! I also love the comfortable but flattering fit.
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On my head is a leopard print turban from Beyond Retro. I'd wanted a leopard print hat for a while and this was the ideal choice for me. Alongside the skirt it makes me feel very elegant and allows me to integrate 'old Hollywood' elements into my everyday outfits. I paired it with some purple lipstick, and went round looking like I was about to start telling people's fortunes (I've been called 'Mystic Meg' whilst wearing a turban too many times to count).
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I hope you're all having a lovely Bank Holiday weekend (that's if you're in the UK, but if you're not, hope you're having a brill weekend anyway)!
Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Vinyl

As comfort goes, I have to admit this isn't the most comfortable outfit. PVC certainly isn't the most practical material to make a skirt out of. But after seeing the American Apparel vinyl skirts, I thought they looked completely amazing, and I decided to choose style over comfort, which surprisingly enough for a fashion blogger, is not a decision I make very often. So I wrestled (literally) my backside into this skirt.  photo 8f594be6-ea0f-4e83-86f6-3aa0823cba45_zpse49b515f.jpg
Top - New Look
Skirt - DaisyStreet
Bag - Choies
Shoes - Jeffrey Campbell (bought from Office ages ago)

Though I mentioned the American Apparel PVC skirts before, this one is actually from Daisy Street, and was only around £15. I was adamant that I wanted a yellow one but may well consider buying other colours. I paired it with my staple stripy top from New Look, and some red Jeffrey Campbell heels. The Choies bag I think added a bit of fun and even more colour to the outfit (as well as making me feel like I've walked straight out of a comic strip). I felt insanely glamorous in this outfit, but seeing as the skirt itself is incredibly short, I might have to wear it with black tights for the next time I go out.
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Thanks for reading! Belphoebe x Find me elsewhere! Instagram

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