A Trip to Bergen, Norway.

Hello!

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter then you’ll probably know that I’ve been on a cruise around the Norwegian Fjords. It was my first time out of the country in almost two years and the Fjords were a little area of the world that my Mam had always talked about visiting. In our mission to make as many memories as possible, we booked a cruise from Newcastle to Norway as soon as we had positive news on the progression of her treatment.

Our first port of call was the beautiful city of Bergen on the west-coast of Norway. The city is surrounded by seven mountains and it honestly feels like you’re in some elaborate film set, it’s surreal.

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I’d googled online prior to our travels to see just what the city had to offer. What stood out immediately was that the main tourist attraction of Bergen was the World Cultural Heritage Site, Bryggen. Bryggen, sits proudly on the dock of Bergen showing a display of Hanseatic wooden buildings which date back to the 14th Century and were used by merchants and traders to share their goods. Although the buildings have been victim to several fires over the centuries, reconstruction has allowed merchants to carry on the tradition of selling commercial goods. If you’re not too bothered about the historical content then you’ll definitely enjoy the wooden village and all the pretty colours.

We walked around the city centre for a while, visiting the park and gardens, looking at statues of Norwegian Fishermen and admiring how even McDonald’s and Starbucks were in most gorgeous buildings. There is the option to travel by cable car to the top of the mountains but unfortunately we felt that there wasn’t enough time for us to fit everything into a few hours.

If there is one thing to say about Norway, it’s that….it is expensive. We spent the equivalent of £30 on three meals at Burger King which was a bit of a shock to the purse. We also heard by a fellow passenger on the cruise that she had asked for a glass of prosecco from a bar in Bergen centre and they had charged her £29 for one glass. Safe to say she probably needed a stronger drink after that! However, we knew that all of the Scandinavian countries have a higher wage and therefore we were aware things could get a tad pricey.

All in all, if you’ve never visited Norway then I highly recommend you do at least once in your life. From the gorgeous wooden buildings to the breathtaking Fjords, Norwegian culture is everywhere and does not disappoint.

If you want to read my previous blog post you can find it here

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

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Pin Up, Gal! – Old English Company Pins + Competition

Hi!

If you’re like me and love customising the things you wear to show off your personality, then you’ve probably at one point used pins to do so. Whether that’s jazzing up an old denim jacket with band related merch or a backpack with cute badges that make life just a bit more interesting!

If you’re looking to spice up your wardrobe then Old English Company have your back! The Stamford-based company specialise in unique hand lettered products, including the most gorgeous enamel pins.

These are just a few of my favourites from their collection:

Links:

‘Start Somewhere’ Enamel Pin

‘She Believed She Could So She Did’ Enamel Pin

Grow Through What You Go Through’ Enamel Pin

‘HeartBreaker’ Enamel Pin

Inspiring and motivational slogans are always eye catching to me and I love the vintage feel of the ‘heart breaker’ pin, its very reminiscent of all the 80s chick flicks I adore! Old English Company have a bunch of beautifully designed pins all made in England so each product has a place of pride.

Already stars in the stationary and accessory market, Old English Company are constantly growing in popularity and you might even spot their products in stores such as Waterstones and Paperchase!

Now for the part you’re all waiting for… the competition details!

*Competition*

Old English Company are giving away a set of their enamel pins to one lucky winner! All you have to do is click on this link ( https://oldenglishprints.com/pages/enamel-pin-competition-win-a-set-of-enamel-pins ) and follow the instructions to enter!  

Make sure you’re quick as the winner will be picked on the 30th May 2018!

If you want to have a peek on their store you can find their entire enamel pin collection here

Thanks for reading and good luck!

Chanel

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Legally Blonde The Musical UK Review

Hello!

The sun was absolutely glorious in the UK this weekend and we got all of three days to enjoy it before the clouds have made their return. Typical.

This weekend I went to see Legally Blonde The Musical at Sunderland Empire on their UK Tour. I’ve been a fan of the musical for going on six years now and was massively excited when my friend bought me tickets for my birthday.

First of all, I’m a big fan of theatre. Musicals especially, so my expectations for this show were a little higher than it probably should have been after years of watching the poor quality video on Youtube and screeching along to the soundtrack.

One thing I must say about this show is that, for a travelling musical, the stage set up and quality of the performance was top notch. I’ve been to a few touring musicals and the show never has the same magic as a proper West End production but Legally Blonde blew me away!

Lucie Jones, who I saw many moons ago on the X Factor tour, played Elle Woods and she did an absolutely fantastic job! As well as insanely great vocals, Jones quirky approach to Elle’s character played out perfectly alongside the ups and downs of Little Miss Woods, Elle’s time at Harvard. Although, Laura Bell Bundy, the original Broadway Elle is a firm favourite, Lucie really lived up to the role and made the show very special.

My favourite character in the musical is Paulette, the beautician with dreams of finding the perfect Irish man. Played by Eastenders actress, Rita Simons, Paulette’s husky tones and loud personality were definitely recognised on stage, especially during the performance of Ireland which was one of my highlights of the entire show!

Of course, all of the cast were amazing and you can really tell they have a close bond not only as colleagues but as friends which comes across in making the performance the best they possibly can.

My highlight of the production, which I’m sure is loved by all audiences, has to be ‘There! Right There! which is both hilarious and wildly impressive. I also still can’t get over the Whipped into Shape routine, how on Earth Helen Petrovna skipped like that and still carried top vocals is beyond me!

Overall, if you’re going to see Legally Blonde in the next few months then you are in for a treat! I’d definitely go and see it for a second time!

If you’re interested in buying tickets then the link for the tour is here

My last blog post can be found here

Thanks for reading, see you soon!

Chanel

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Dealing with Trauma whilst at University

Hi!

I hope you have all been well and are looking forward to the warmer weather ahead which we have had a teaser of over the last few days!

As my post ‘The “C” Word: Talking about Cancer’ was received so well, I decided to write more about my experiences with the disease and hopefully help people who may be going through a similar situation.

My Experience:

When my Mam was first diagnosed with cancer, I was in Semester One of my final and most important year of university. I immediately moved back home to support my family and decided that I couldn’t continue living in a different city whilst my loved ones were going through the heartbreak. As I studied at Sheffield Hallam University which meant I lived a 2 hour train journey from my home in Newcastle, the idea of commuting was a) not affordable and b) inefficient.

At first I was ready to drop out, forget my education and focus on what was happening at home, but my parents wanted me to continue with my study and I also couldn’t let all my hard work in the last two years go to waste.

I emailed my tutor to explain how I was unsure of what to do and was passed onto the student advisors of my university department. The advisors were incredibly helpful and understanding of my decision to attempt studying from home, although I was warned the inability to attend lectures and seminars may affect my grade.

The extenuating circumstances benefits differ from university to university, some may get special consideration of grading and other offer extensions. I was hoping that my university may offer some sort of compassion consideration when grading my papers as I was not really in the right mindset to continue writing essays at the same standard as I was producing whilst studying in Sheffield. However, I was grateful for the extensions as it gave me more time to balance my time.

I continued writing and submitting essays which I hoped were to my best ability and was rewarded with great grades despite only having the support of the online powerpoints and the fantastic help of my coursemates who I wouldn’t have been able to complete my degree without, as some of my lecturers were not exactly cooperative. One even went as far as to say I wouldn’t achieve my potential at home, which when I passed with the exact grade I wanted made me a very smug graduate.

Although I studied from home, I worked really hard and tried to be as involved as I possibly could to make sure I had an equal chance of achieving the best grade under the circumstances.

My Top Tips

University is an incredibly stressful time and the additional pressure of trauma or upset can cause an array of issues both mentally and educationally. I’ve compiled some tips of how to go about studying through difficult times:

  • Communicate: Talk! Talk to your tutor, talk to student advisors, talk to the support team, talk to anyone that will listen! Part of getting through the struggle is sharing your problems with people who can give you advice and understand just how hard it is. Most universities offer student wellbeing plans which allow you to meet with specialists and talking therapies who may be able to help find ways around obstructions in your study. If you have any issues with assignments or exams then talk to your tutors, they’re there to support you and in most cases will provide further explanations with anything you might find difficult.
  • Apply for study benefits: As discussed earlier, extenuating circumstances can give you more time with your assignments, easier examination environments and support with disability and welfare limitations. Applying for these benefits may lift some weight off your shoulders that could make your life just that little bit easier.
  • Find Resources: If you’re working from home it’s likely that you’ll become lazier with finding resources, mostly because you aren’t in short distance of the university library. However, resources and references are what makes essays reach the top grades as it proves that you’ve researched the subject and allows you to present a better understanding. If you are living away from your university but are in reach of another university, you can apply for day or visitor passes for most uni ran libraries. E-books are also a lifesaver, especially for dissertation work.
  • Work Hard: If you’re determined to get your degree then I’m sure this tip is a given. It is true that the more effort you put into your work, the more reward you will get out of it. Also, it’ll feel so good walking across the stage at graduation knowing you did you best.
  • Have breaks: Finally, don’t forget that you’re going through a rough time and you need time to relax, spend time with your mates and step out of the study circle for a few hours. It’ll not only keep you from bursting from stress but it’ll do you the world of good stepping away from the screen or the books for a little while and then reassessing everything through fresh eyes when you come back to it.

I hope this has been interesting and if you’re struggling through a hard time at the moment just remember that you’re only human and as long as you’re doing your best then you can be proud of what you achieve. Please remember to talk to who you need to to get the help which will provide you with the best chance of reaching your full potential. You can do this!

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

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How I Earned Money at University

Hello, I’m back!

Sorry I’ve been absent the last week I had several different issues that all seemed to happen at once, but I won’t bore you with the details!

I’ve decided to write about a topic which I think may be quite helpful for any students that are struggling under the hefty weight of balancing finances. We all know that student loans can be incredibly difficult to live off and sometimes it leaves you with decisions like, should I eat like a normal human being for a week or do I live only off noodles so I can afford the train home to see the family?

Well, in the first year of uni, although my parents helped out (when I reluctantly asked them a month after moving out, too many nights out, woops!) I was still finding myself worrying about being able to afford necessities and trips home for family and friends special occasions.

One thing I knew for certain was that I did not want to dip into my overdraft. I’d heard nightmares about friends who had spent all their overdraft allowance which swallowed up their next loan installment and ended up in a repetitive cycle. I asked around for any part- time work and I found the perfect solution for a bit of extra cash.

Promotion work.

Not the standing outside in the cold at 3am in the morning handing out leaflets to club goers (although there’s nothing wrong with it) but working with proper brands who were launching new products or just wanted to get the word out!

Promotion work is very well paid for part-time work. I used to get around £8 to £10 an hour and in most cases I worked for no more than eight hours. A sweet little paycheck for an easy task.

What do I do?

All you have to do is interact with the public and spread the word about the campaign. It ranges with each campaign. One day you could be handing out free samples of a new beverage at a train station, the next you could be dressed in costume and prancing about the city talking to people about a new children’s TV show. I used to love the variety of the campaigns and looked forward to trying out things I would never have thought of doing, like face painting and ice cream making!

Some other promotion work can involve skills, which if you have a talent will definitely work in your benefit.

Will it disturb my study?

Absolutely not! The best thing about promotion work is that YOU choose what, when and where you work so it’s all flexible. However, sometimes the agency may ring you if you’re on their books and they’re desperate for some last minute help, but they won’t mind if you’re unavailable.

Also, if you have to travel to another location, sometimes the agency will cover your travel expenses.

How do I sign up?

There are lots of agencies around and you can sign up to more than one at a time. My favourites to work with were:

Beautiful Minds

N2O

Tribe (Brand Warriors)

I hope this may have helped if you’re a struggling student or even just a bit strapped for cash!

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

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The “C” Word: Talking about Cancer

Hello again!

Today I bring you a post all about my experiences with cancer and the journey I am currently on. If I had been writing this post in 2015, I would have nothing really to say about cancer other than it has affected me through the deaths of grandparents and family friends, to which I was too young to truly understand. However, in 2016 my mother was diagnosed with a grade 4 glioma which is most commonly known as a terminal brain tumour and now I feel like I have enough reason to talk about cancer and my experiences in case any of you out there are looking to not feel alone within this journey.

Firstly, all cancer experiences are different. There are countless types of cancers and treatments that work depending on the person diagnosed. For my family, there were no signs or indication that my mother had a brain tumour, other than having a seizure which was followed by a CT scan that uncovered swelling in the brain caused by an anomaly. Before this, my mother was in great health and complained only of mild headaches once in a blue moon.

Hearing this news was devastating. I cried endlessly for weeks and found it difficult to process what was really happening. We had a number of appointments with surgeons and specialists, my mother underwent a biopsy to certify what type of cancer we were dealing with and the grade. Unfortunately, the results were that they were unable to operate due to the placement of the tumour and they could only offer other means of treatments in the hope to prolong my mothers life. Obviously, this was another blow and I clearly remember sat thinking in the surgeons office after he had given us the news, that I was only 20 years old and I NEEDED my mother, this had to be some sort of horrid dream.

However, I feel like I also matured very quickly, becoming a support system for not only my mother but my father who was equally as worried and heartbroken. We met with another specialist and she explained that they could offer my mother radiotherapy and chemotherapy to shrink and stem the growth of the tumour, if the desired effect co-operated with her body. Being the strong and determined woman my mother is, she immediately accepted any help she could get.

Radiotherapy was what my mother lose most of her hair but other than that she had basically no side effects of the treatment which was a blessing as I had heard and read horror stories about what can possibly happen.

Chemotherapy, however, is what I was most worried about after seeing it depicted in films and tv shows. I was petrified incase my mother became extremely unwell and for the treatment to not work as we had all hoped. Thankfully, she responded amazingly to the chemotherapy and once again we were very lucky as she was barely affected by it, in terms of general health and sickness at all.

As of December 2017, the tumour has been shrank by the treatments and so far has been stemmed from growing, which is the best possible result we can hope for. From now on we take each day as it comes and are thankful for all the time together we get to spend. I can’t thank the NHS enough for everything they’re doing and continue to do for my mother and others like her.

Cancer is terrifying. There is no doubt about that and nothing can prepare you for dealing with it. It’s more of a “keep going, keep positive and keep hoping” mentality that you have to take on and if you need to talk to anyone about getting help then there are some amazing charities such as Macmillan, who help with everything from financial issues to fundraising. If you are looking for advice on brain tumours specifically, The Brain Tumour Charity  are extremely helpful.

There is a good chance I’ll be writing more about my experiences and how I dealt/deal with them in the hope that someone who really needs the advice finds my posts and feels a little less lost and alone.

Thank you for reading,

Chanel