I may live with my parents, but; We're All The Boss...

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Another in my Iona Blog Student Survival series is this post I've written in collaboration with GiffGaff, many of us know how expensive the cost of living is these days and sadly for me living away from home whilst I studied wasn't an option that I considered economically viable. When I moved back to Scotland from Australia I could've moved out but to be truthfully honest it didn't seem worth it! I recently finished my BA in Media and Communications which I studied at college, studying at college meant I had smaller class sizes and was able to gain a lot of hands on experience that might not have been possible studying in a much larger pool of students, so studying locally to my family was the best option. I've lived at home whilst I've been studying and though living with your parents is sometimes difficult, I'm lucky in that I have a pretty good relationship with my Mum and Dad.
Moving back home after living away from home for a few fair years was definitely tricky at first!
Moving home after going to boarding school and living in Australia aged 18 was a bit of a culture shock, but for me I think one of the most important things for anyone living at home (older than 18) is trust, my parents trust me and don't constantly question everything I do. But similarly I am respectful and let them know rough ideas of what I'm up to. I'd hate for them to wait up every night I go out, but simply by sending them a text if I decide to stay out much later than planned, I'm considerate of them and any plans they may already have.

Another key aspect of my living arrangement working is rent, I do pay rent; though I might not pay a lot of money, both myself and my parents feel this is important so that I am in the habit of paying rent monthly (I'll have to do it when I move out) and personally I would feel disrespectful if I didn't contribute in some way. I generally transfer the money to my parents bank account, that way it's much simpler and I don't have to worry about remembering to lift cash from the ATM, paying a little each month towards the running of the house, to me makes it much easier to feel in control and still feel that we're all in charge to a certain extent!

The 'We're All The Boss' concept is pretty interesting, Giff Gaff asked me to write a post about how I 'survive' living with my parents, it's pretty simple for me if I'm honest, being willing to give and take; by contributing to chores and helping out with my rent money, my relationship with my parents is much less strained! Yes we have a laugh and a bit of a joke but there's no need to post cringey texts online or set 'ground rules' though I have been known to tweet funny and ridiculous things they've said in the past :P
This photo is hideous, but is also potentially one of my favourite family photos ever!
1. We were the only ones on the ride at 9.50pm.
2. My Mum, Dad and youngest brother look terrified.
3. My face is in typical 'Iona' fashion...very expressive!
My advice to anyone still living at home is to be mindful of your parents and I'm sure in return they'll be pretty laid-back with you; I'm lucky that mine are anyway! I'd love to hear from any other students (or just anyone in general over 18 who lives at home) and what your survival tips or coping strategies are?! I'm out of the house a lot which I'm sure definitely helps, having my own routine is a big part of my life and keeps me out of my parents 'hair' as much as keeping them out of mine! I'm not trying to say that living with your parents aged 22 is always easy but the positives for me right now outweigh the negatives, I'm able to save money for when I finish my honours (only 9months till graduation, eek!) so I'll be in a much better situation to move out and hopefully be in a much better position to move for work, watch out big city lights I'm coming for you! So if like me you're in your early or even late twenties and still living at home, don't beat yourself up about it; make the most of it, save all the pennies and enjoy those home cooked meals whilst you still can, you'll definitely miss them when you move out!

The Perks of Student Life; Buchanan Galleries Student Takeover 26th September

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

For many students (myself included) heading back to Uni or college means one thing, a hefty SAAS payment, intended of course for buying books and academic types of things but generally spent on Freshers Week nights out and making good use of Student Discount Nights and buying all the thangs! Because living off beans is ok right?!

This Friday Buchanan Galleries are hosting a Student Takeover (26/9) the perfect opportunity to make use of your student card in grabbing a few bargains, the lovely folks at Stripe asked me to put together a post of a few of my top buys at Buchanan Galleries for students like myself*.

I've pulled together a few pieces that are top of my shopping list in making sure I'm all set for fourth year, first up is a winter coat, every girl (any guy) needs a good coat in their Autumn Winter wardrobe and this year for me it's all about pastel toned oversized coats. I'm loving this Pink two-toned wool blend coat from River Island, the perfect coat to chuck on and wear with everything and keep cosy too! Though £90 might seem a bit steep for a coat, keep an eye out for Student Discount nights and offers, it's worth investing in a good quality coat that could potentially last you for years!
River Island £90

Next up of course stationery, I'm a sucker for cute stationery and these scented highlighters from tinc at John Lewis are no exception, complete with a handy case, they'd be the perfect addition to your bag (or if you're like me and super cool! :P backpack) highlighters are a must for me when studying and keeping organised and colour coordinated!
Tinc; John Lewis, £6.50
Another must for taking notes in lectures and seminars is of course a notebook, I'm a bit of a notebook collector and have more than I'd like to admit, this Wilderness print one from Accessorize is super cute, I love the fawns and foxes on it! And remember Accessorize offers 10% student discount all year round!
Accessorize £7
If there's one item I'd recommend you buy as a student (well just everyone) it's a watch, perhaps a little cliched or obvious, I only began wearing a watch properly last year when I bought my Michael Kors watch and was gifted my Olivia Burton watch and if I'm honest I know feel a little bit naked when I'm not wearing a watch. The reasons are obvious from keeping on time for lectures, not having to sneakily check the time on your phone (not having to worry about your phone battery life) I love Swatch watches and this Lady Cyan watch is no exception, it'll brighten up any outfit but is still relatively smart, I like the double wrist strap feature which makes it a little different too.
Swatch £32
Next up for me in the clothing department would be the beautiful Fred Perry dress, I've had my eye on it for a while (and I'm crossing my fingers and toes they'll be offering a discount on Friday!) it's such a classic timeless piece that you'll be able to wear for years. I love the pin dots and the turn up sleeve detailing, it's pretty clear to see I need this dress in my life! (I imagine a few of you might feel the same way too!)

Fred Perry £90
I'd love to know what your must buys are if shopping at a Student shopping night, I'd definitely recommend heading along if your local shopping centre is hosting one as stores often boost their existing student discount or offer one-off deals and discounts which are too good to miss out on! I'm heading along to Buchanan Galleries this Friday after uni to pick up a few bargains myself, keep your eyes peeled on the Buchanan Galleries Student Takeover event page as they'll be releasing a list of all the discounts and offers up for grabs very soon!

Student Survival; Tips in keeping on track.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

On Monday I'll be starting fourth year at uni, and as it's my last year at uni I decided to start a blog post series of sorts on posts about being a student, first up I'm going to start with a few tips to help through uni, it's not easy by any sense of the imagination, but being a student is supposed to be about learning and having fun, after all!

Haulin' getting set for heading back to uni' for me means new stationery,
sparkles and pretty prints are obviously compulsory!
1. Go to all lectures, seminars and workshops! (as many as you anyway!) This sounds like an obvious one but make sure not to get into the habit of missing classes, once you do it's difficult to get back into studying, you'll be glad you went to your classes when it comes to exams or writing essays!

2. Organisation is the key; I'm sure I've said this before, but keeping organised is so important as much in life as it is being a student. I'd be lost without my diary, it helps to keep me knowing where I'm supposed to be, what I need to do and the likes, keep a diary or use your phone to help you stay organised, very important as a student!

3. Try not to blow your whole student loan in the first week! Much as student discount offers and going out every night is tempting, try to restrain yourself, (though I live at home so haven't experienced living off beans though I can't imagine I'd enjoy it!) I can't claim to be the best with money, but I try to make sure I rarely get into my student overdraft and pay off my credit card monthly, I only use it for making big purchases to help build up my credit rating. Though a pretty basic one budgeting is super important to get into the habit of as a student, you'll thank yourself when you've got an extra £50 or so left over and can splurge or save for a rainy day!
Just a few basic and probably obvious tips for any other students out there, whether you're starting 1st or 3rd year, I think they all still apply and hopefully you might find them helpful too! I'll be continuing on with the student theme with Iona Blog Student Survival over the next few weeks as I start at a new uni and begin fourth year, eek I'm excited but also nervous! Being the new kid is never easy, so I'm a little bit nervous about it all, fingers crossed! If you studied or are currently studying I'd love to hear your top tips for students/any advice for me starting fourth year is also greatly welcomed!

Bewitching Ballet

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Like many other girls when I was little once a week I donned a tutu, leotard and ballet pumps, to perfect my plies and pirouettes at my ballet class, but sadly after starting boarding school I stopped my classes and haven't danced since. I don't think I was anything to write home about but most importantly I enjoyed ballet, so when an email from Christina at Scottish Ballet landed in my inbox inviting me to a night of witches, hysteria and tapas, it was no surprise I was a definite yes!

Truth be told I'm often put off going to see the ballet as I wrongly presume that the majority of ballet on offer is very traditional Swan Lake esque productions which though beautiful, sadly don't overly excite me... Step in to the spotlight; Scottish Ballet, who are well known for pushing the boundaries and reworking classics and making them their own.  This Autumn Scottish Ballet are presenting a double bill of Arthur Miller's classic play The Crucible alongside Ten Poems by Dylan Thomas.
Luciana Ravizzi and Andrew Peasgood for Scottish Ballet’s 2014 autumn season, a double bill of Helen Pickett’s world premiere The Crucible and Christopher Bruce’s UK premiere Ten Poems.
Photo by Nisbet Wylie
Scottish Ballet's multi-award winning 2012 production of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, was praised for it's edgy, vibrant approach to the well known play, is still often talked about and their Autumn adaptation of The Crucible and interpretation of Ten Poems looks set to be just as impressive.

Our evening of mystery, witchcraft, cocktails and ballet chat provided the perfect opportunity to get an insight into how Scottish Ballet decide which works to perform, their inspirations and of course have a good catch up with some of my fellow Scottish Bloggers, can't complain really. After a 90s flashback watching The Craft at The Glasgow Film Theatre we headed along to the sumptuous surroundings of Blythswood Square for cocktails and antipasti while we heard from Miriam, one of the education officers' from Scottish Ballet. The Pink Swan cocktails which had been created exclusively for us at Blythswood Square were divine combining a few of my favourite flavours; elderflower, raspberry and pear, yum!
The Pink Swan
Antipasti; what a bunch of bloggers we are, you can see everyone snapping away with their cameras! 
For those not familiar with The Crucible I'll fill you in a little; one of the most famous plays of the 20th Century The Crucible is a partly fictionalised dramatised portrayal of the Salem witch trials, dark material indeed. Scottish Ballet's adaptation of The Crucible presents a dark, bewitching side to ballet, described by one person as "slutty ballet"! Though I've never actually watched American Horror Story; Coven, I imagine that anyone who has would enjoy The Crucible, perhaps not; but the dark, mystery and sultriness of both seem rather similar, and both are firmly on my to-see list!
Scottish Ballet dancers in rehearsals for Helen Pickett’s world premiere, The Crucible. Photo by Andy Ross.    
"Secrets and lies take hold in the small town of Salem when a group of teenage girls claim to have been possessed by witchcraft. But who - or what - is to blame.

"A fire, a fire is burning! I hear the boot of Lucifer, I see his filthy face! And it is my face, and yours, Danforth!
 For them that quail to bring men out of ignorance, as I have quailed, and as you quail now when you know in all your black hearts that this be fraud - God damns our kind especially, and we will burn, we will burn together!" 
            John Proctor, Act III, in court, Pg. 105 (The Crucible, Arthur Miller)" 
Sophie Martin in rehearsals for Helen Pickett’s world premiere, The Crucible. Photo by Andy Ross.
Featuring rave scenes and music from films such as Behind Enemy Gates and Shutter Island, The Crucible is definitely a must see if you're looking for a new and exciting dance experience, choreographed by Helen Pickett, I can't wait to see The Crucible in full. Perhaps a The Craft inspired outfit will be in order for the evening, continuity and all! The Crucible and Ten Poems open in Glasgow at the end of this month at the Theatre Royal.

25 – 27 September 2014, Theatre Royal GLASGOW
30 September – 1 October 2014, Eden Court INVERNESS
3 – 4 October 2014, Festival Theatre EDINBURGH
7 - 8 October 2014, His Majesty’s Theatre, ABERDEEN

So if you fancy an evening of witchery, ballet and poetry, head on over to www.scottishballet.co.uk and why not have a wee watch of the making of The Crucible too! I hope you're all having a fab weekend, I'd love to know if you're a fan of ballet and what your favourite ballet is?