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September 2008

fat balm hot lips

As much as I love runway makeup, most of the time when magazines say 'gold eye shadow is so fall', I don't think of it in terms of 'oh how fashionable I will look with gold eyeshadow' but think 'hmmm gold eye shadow could look cool on a night out'. But I think I accidentally stumbled upon a very easy way to get a fall vibe from head to toe.

I'm reading too much of a 'bad girl' trend, aka black, black and more black, lace, docs, studs, cut outs, sheerness, a bit of tartan, etc. With the investment of a few zips to sew on last seasons skirts and some suitable tights, this might be the easiest way to update a wardrobe. A few days ago I took  some shoes back to Urban Outfitters and swapped them for a pair with £5 to spare. I wandered round and round the store looking for something, anything, for fiver but everything in there seems to have a few pounds added on and nothing in  the five region. Finally I picked up a lip balm and went to the counter.

It's from the Eyeko Beauty, a London based makeup range meaning 'love' in Japanese, hence the heavy manga connotations. In 2000 they apparently created an acclaimed face cream and went on from there. I like how the website says 'Eyeko Beauty tests on celebrities not animals!' haha! It's all very cutesy and I'm not sure what age group they're aiming for as it seems quite babyish for the public majority but I of course do like a bit of cute! All the products are £5 in Britain and I know they sell them in Superdrug too as I've pondered the Fat Balm before in there. It's advertised as a blusher too but I think it's too sticky to put on cheeks and would probably lead to break outs.

The balm reminds me of something I used a child playing around with gift set makeup as it has quite a strong smell. I picked up the raspberry and went straight to the till and little did I know it was a very dark plum colour. This turned out to be totally beneficial though as it's the perfect colour for runway lips!

Dark lipstick was seen across the board, from berry to black. The Eyeko balm gives the perfect light colour that gets darker as you apply. I don't usually wear anything on my lips and have fair skin to begin with, so one coat gives a nice berry gloss while a few boost you to Marni glory. Plus it's fun to apply the really wide stick as I know you're meant to use your fingers but I find that a bit gross when out and about, so use the thick balm straight from the tube, very fun! It's also surprising how something this subtle can change a whole look. It makes your face look paler and eyes look darker, giving a more sullen, mysterious look, like the sketches in Lula of Enid Coleslaw and Violet Baudelaire and Wednesday Addams in the heroine article. This tops an outfit off perfectly, it really makes a difference. It's not the nicest balm and doesn't last very long but it's a favourite, I'm wanting to try the face cream now!

Above- Chloe fw08. Pics from style.com


one very cute dress

H&M certainly have a very cute dress in at the moment. It was first seen in the fall look book photos but they haven't done it justice! I thought it was just a thin strapless top with dotted lines in certain places, when in fact it's a full taffeta mini dress with floral detail and lots of ribbon and lace. Well it's a bit too short for a dress but would look fabulous with some bloomers, aka puffed shorts, or an underskirt. See it hits just above my shorts- a must for short dresses on windy days. It's very poofy, practically bouncing off your waist!

The problem is that they don't have my size left. I happened to find a random one on a shelf in my alternative size, you know the size you sometimes get into/fill out or have to take in certain shops, and will lump for it if you're normal size isn't there. Sadly it was too wide on the waist, and even when pulled in at the back, the thick, cushiony material added extra bulk. You might not be able to tell so much in the photos but it was like wearing a padded vest. £50 is my limit for buying something that doesn't fit well so I left it for the next lucky girl.

I will be getting a zipped pencil skirt though that fits like a dream, don't forget if you sign up to that H&M newsletter you get a 20% off voucher.


send my money to monki

Sometimes for sheer torture I browse Swedish shop websites like Monki and Lindex to see the fab clothes and hope H&M will come up with something similar. A Monki visit today was no different after looking at a range by Swedish London-taught designer Ida Sjöstedt. Her collab. has some seriously lust-worthy stuff.

The collection only has six pieces but what more could you need when you have such great items! I am loving the lace catsuit, trumping the Love Honey spider web suit for limitless possibilities, and also the leotard with the lace panel down the centre. The lace here seems less Prada wannabe and nods to other lace used for that 'bad girl' look magazines keep hailing. In trying to develop real student living this year, I'm concentrating on items like these that are so wearable. I can either study in Hong Kong or Sweden next year (well there are other places but these are obvs the best!) and keep weighing between the two, Sweden winning major points for shops like this. A few Swedish bloggers offer a service to get items for you for a little fee, which I may have to indulge in soon! I have so many strapless dresses that are calling for a lace long sleeved top to wear underneath.


hello lover

Hello indeed! These are the shoes that I was talking about when I went to London from the cheapie shop in Camden. Like I said before, I saw a random pair on eBay last week and just bought them! I took them to Wilton Market, in Erdington high street for you Birmingham people, and they stretched them with these giant plier things for a few days. I would be lying if I said they fit perfectly but they fit a bit better and I'll wear them anyway! The bow is velvet and they are patent plastic so they squeak. I think the bow looks like fangs. I'll just wear them round the house lots to loosen them.

I put them on with my short H&M tee that I've been playing around with for a few days since Gala from Chictopia talked about hers. They're definitely best with a high waisted, longer skirt but all mine are fairly short. I'm sure I must have something suitable, I'll keep my eyes peeled when I have to pack up in about two weeks. The REM gig was pretty good, I was at the front of the bar so it was quite funny asking people to sing the songs or dance for beer. Also we stayed in the house I'm sharing this year and my room is a lot smaller than mine at home but about the same size as OP so I'm sure all my junk will fit in somehow!

Also considering the cropped t-shirt with men's trousers. There's a few short tees on eBay from Topshop which don't seem to have too many bids! I bought mine a few sizes bigger than normal from H&M because I wanted it loose but they came like that so mine is pretty roomy. It's possibly something that looks better on a smaller bust too, which isn't something I can say often!

EDIT: Seems even more people considering cropped tees! A blogosphere trend?


impromptu spending

I'm going on holiday in a week (taking a laptop, never fear!) and so called an end to eBaying... or so I thought. When trekking to the post office with a free afternoon what choice is there when you walk past like ten charity shops?! Since looking at guys stuff too I'm shocked at the labels you can find. One Christian Dior and two YSL shirts? Seriously the high street I live off has it's highlight of a main job centre and some grotty pubs so if I can find decent labels there, who knows what's lurking in the other high streets of Birmingham! I got a few girl's things but more and more I look at the items and can easily slot them into my wardrobe just for the fun of it. It's been great all summer being able to make an effort with outfits and hair to just run a few post office errands! I've just been to a family friend type 18th of a family of red haired children and the birthday girl looked like an absolute doll in a strapless Oasis check poof skirt dress, it's often hard to find red hair inspiration!

So I might keep these two things, the first a check shirt in bright blue, green and purple. I planned on buying a high street one but I just ended up looking like I was going to a hoe down in fitted ones! Now I feel a bit like Wendy of Hand It Over, which is of course a very good thing! She is great plaid shirt inspiration. I wonder if I could get away with a black u-neck dress for daytime with it over the top without it being too slutty on me. The second picture has this weird purple draped jacket that feels more like a big blouse. It has no buttons but a little pocket and billowing sleeves that taper a bit. I'm getting to the point now where reasons of  'gosh, i can't wear this because...' are getting smaller and smaller, especially with the likes of Lala of Art Geek and Fashion Freak wearing whatever they please! Also, from only one day at V Festival, I've just looked at my white rug and it's cover in bits of mud after walking to and fro from the camera just now in my Docs! Oops my Nan won't be pleased! Also, you remember the shoes of love that I found in London and didn't fit? Well I found them on eBay and bought them anyway! They're in the market being stretched as we speak by the magic shoe repair man, lets hope the cheap material doesn't just split! Alllso tomorrow I'm going to our new Manchester house to work at an REM gig at the cricket ground. Good thing is Editors are supporting, bad thing is that we'll only make around £30 by the time you minus train and bus fare there, and plus the uniform is black skirt, black shoes and for some reason I don't have a plain one of either of these!


how not to get drunk

Despite discovering an amazing shoe guy in my closest market who can magically make shoes a size bigger, I have a few pairs that don't fit but just sit looking pretty. But sometimes they need to break free! I bought these Office boots knowing they were a size too big just because I saw them on a girl in an off licence and it was Louboutin rip-off love at first sight. They were heavily reduced but there's only so much that an insole can do to a 5.5-inch heel and thick platform. So giving them some pavement action meant I had to be very careful, and walking up and down club stairs being anything beyond tipsy is so not a good idea! Sadly the said club was a lame opening where the promised free drinks all night was half a glass of warm champagne and the place was full of bald, divorced men... hmmm!  Imagining future wear also raises the point that negotiating steps when they're so big that I get take them off without upzipping them is not so possible. It makes me wonder how you find it easier to walk in heels after a few drinks than when you first strap them on and walk out the door.

Also do you find dancing easier in lower heels? None of my friends are too tall and if I'm in anything beyond 4 inches I feel like I'm towering over them! Although I once wore flats to an impromptu club and it was the strangest experience, it's a bit like dancing at a bus stop or something, especially when you're used to tottering!


V Fest with fantasy tips and union cool

It is safe to say it took me a whole day to remove all the mud from my clothes! I got back from V fest yesterday afternoon but it's taken me until now to recover and put together all the pics and clips.

So we did manage to get on the list to work smoothly and Melissa, Wan and I went to Stafford on the train and bus, walking missions to find the gate to sign in. By the time we got there in the afternoon most of the 100,000 people had arrived and set up tents so were partying round the food vans and arena. We trekked our way through with all our heavy stuff into the spacious staff campsite with just about the nicest festival toilets ever, seriously all weekend we didn't see one bad toilet and unless you've seen them you can't even imagine how bad they get! We left Birmingham at 4pm and by the time we had set up the tent it was 9pm. We ate some snacks and changed into our party outfits to go to the rave in the massive JJB tent. First we rescued the cutest baby frog .

At V there's four stages, two are open air and two are in huge blue tents. From past years I knew JJB held a big rave playing all the bands that were coming over the weekend to fire everyone up, but it seemed everyone knew this as the tent was packed with at least 15,000 people! We walked over the arena area, me in purple docs and AA dress with lamé leggings, and could barely find our way in! We went right to the front of the crowd and partied for hours, everyone was singing along and jumping, it was crazy and so, so hot! Loads of people were crowd surfing and we kept getting stuck in the middle of mosh pits. Check out the video at the bottom for full explanation!

The staff campsite was pretty tame to be fair. To show Wan what really happens we walked around the main campsites when the rave finished and looked for cool people to make friends with- people were way keen when they found we were working on the bar! Some boys were pushing each other into random tents and totally flattening them as the crowd surged up the hill into the campsite and when we spoke to them they picked up Melissa and Wan and threw them into the nearest tent! One boy did a tent dive and the owner sitting in front eating a Pot Noodle was so not happy! They were very apologetic once they found our we were staff but we said so long!

After very little night sleep because of some Scottish people talking allll niiight long we went into the arena early to the staff meeting place. We heard them call bar 4 so we followed our group and ended up right opposite the second biggest stage, the Channel 4 stage. Our bar was massive and there was about 70 of us. A scary trading standards man came along and gave a long lecture on how they were sending round underage people and if we served them, we would get fined £80. We barely get paid over that so we were all a bit shocked. He showed us all the fake IDs used the previous night and looked around and said 'there are only three of all of you that I wouldn't ID'. Then a lady came round and turned out we were on stage4 instead of bar4, and so we trooped over to the smallest stage in the Union tent. This bar, unlike the others where some people fill up the cups and you exchange them for previously bought drinks tickets, took cash and had like seven different drinks. There were eight girls and two boys doing stocking from a van out the back. It was basically how you might imagine, apart from I stayed behind the table on one of the four tills all weekend and kept topping up the fridges and drinks on the table, while Melissa, Wan and the rest of the girls served and passed me the money and opened the drinks. We were sort of in pairs with one person on the till, one person at the counter.

I literally just have took thousands and thousands and thousands of pounds that weekend. Seriously, each drink was £3.30 and there was barely one moment when someone wasn't at the bar. The acts in our tent were pretty unknown so the demand went from around 300 people in the tent and about ten at the bar, to a packed our tent with around 2,000 people and a massive crowd at the bar. We were meant to swap round but we stuck where we were as it was routine and I'm good at maths, although I kept putting £700 in the till instead of £7, say, and had to juggle loads of pretend drinks in my head to make it back up to equal! By the end our hands were like sand paper, especially Melissa and Wan who had to flick open thousands of bottles.

Due to the £80 fine, we IDed EVERYONE. Seriously, if anyone had the slightest chance of being underage they got asked. The reactions ranged from 'Oh my God I'm so flattered, you've made my weekend!!' to '$£#@"* do I look $%*^!"$ 17?', hurling abuse and swearing. It was funny when people got out their cards and they were 30 or 40, but so many people just said 'no I don't have any' and walked away, so obviously were under age. Most people brought ID and there were loads of bars, but some people got really pissed off if they couldn't be served. The best thing was that if they kicked up a fuss we just got our bar manager to look and his word was final. Some pervy men were a major feature in the weekend, we got a lot of offers from old men and marriage proposals- mostly from the security or other workers! They hung around like flies trying to get free drinks.

The girls got sooo many tips too but we weren't allowed to keep them! They did go to charity though. People just about threw money away, there were so many times that people paid £10 for a £3.30 drink and just walked off or said keep the change. I took coppers only once, everyone had wads of twenties and weren't afraid to use them! We collected cups of bottle tops though as fantasy tips! At the end of the 10.30am - 11.30pm we found out too that trading standards had sent people to us and we'd IDed them, so we were pretty relieved! Every so often word would get round of fined people on other bars.

Speaking of guys, we used a code that Melissa uses at H&M. If there's a hot guy you shout '49', and if you agree you say '29' or disagree you say '99'. There were many a call of 'topless guy 49!' and we think some people must have figured it out when I would look up and say 'yeah, definitely 49', some looked a bit suspicious but they will never know! It was very funny when our Thai Connection came over to me and said 'oooh heee so haaaandsome!' about a man she was serving. TC was a little Thai lady, named Thai Connection by our bar manager, and she was crazy! But she was lovely really, and we're going to Manchester to work with her again this weekend at an REM gig! Our whole team were great and we all partied to Prodigy on the last night together after receiving our one free Bacardi Breezer after serving at least a thousand crates of them!

Other crazy moments were mud sliders who came in and told us they'd spent £20 on bottles of water to just tip over their heads, seeing two women in my purple AA u-neck dresses and totally working them, people asking for glasses for their bottles of wine, saying 'two for you Glen Coco, you go Glen Coco, you go!!' from Mean Girls to unaware customers, meeting some drunk men after Muse who said 'yeah, we were distracted by the best band instead called The Ba-car-di Bar!' and when Will Young came on turning into his biggest fans. Well, sort of. The only bands we knew in our tent were Guillemots, Goldie Lookin' Chain (who we kept seeing backstage having a fag), Roots Manuva and Will, who we wanted to meet for a claim to fame but didn't get chance. He had the biggest audience and caused a massive rush for us. It's a damn shame that the like of Kings of Leon and Amy Winehouse were so close. Check out poor old Amy's videos of her performance here, that would have been a sight! I stood about a metre away from her at a free Hugo Boss gig last September and she is skeletal and covered in scratches all over her face, but hey, that's a different story!

As for working there, it was strange as you got to experience the atmosphere of the festival, but as it poured with rain all day on Saturday, it was nice not to have to walk round in it for hours. The mud was unbelievable. As Wan and I walked to work on Sunday we couldn't believe these two little girls around 4 or 5 years old playing in the massive mud puddle, throwing it all over each other! Where were their parents?! We did get free meals but they were sent to us and one by one we had our 30 minute break, so by then it was stone cold chips and either a burger or jacket potato. I was forgotten as a vegetarian one time and got to walk out the backstage gate to the staff canteen, where I got the marriage proposal from some random African man, and as I was walking back I could just see the main stage through the trees and fences with Maximo Park on, so I had a little joyous watch for about ten seconds. Other bands we 'saw' (as in heard when there was a break between bands or peeked at through the fence) were Duffy, Scouting for Girls and uuum I can't remember any more?!

The final night was Muse on the main stage and The Prodigy on the Channel 4 stage just round the corner, so as you can imagine we were all dyyyying to close the bar and run out! What's worse was that we could hear Prodigy! We danced around for ages until our manager finally let us free and ran as fast as we could in knee deep mud to catch Out of Space, which was just amazing (see the video!) and then, along with practically their whole crowd, made a mad mud dash over to the main stage to see Knights of Cydonia which was just unbelievable, the crowd was huge and the lights were a show on their own!

So all in all one of my favourite festival experiences! If you want to work at a festival just look at the website about a month before and it will tell you how to apply. I'd definitely 100% say you'd have to go to the said festival before working there because if not you would have no idea what they would expect of you or the layout or how to deal with the camping and the toilets and the general chaos. Of course it's better to go as a festival goer rather than a worker too and get to see a hundred amazing acts, being right in the centre of it all. We were lucky we were on a pretty laid back bar where we weren't anonymous. I thought the staff campsite would be one big party and it would be super sociable but it was more calm as I guess people were tired from their shifts, and a lot of people came by themselves. We did make a cool friend on our bar though with half black, half pink hair!

The best thing was that I didn't spend a penny all weekend! OK that's a lie, I payed £3 for 2 minutes of hair straightening in the GHD tent. Boy am I glad that I straightened it because if I had worn it curly, the moment we stepped out into that torrential rain it would have been ruined!

Here's a video of all my camera clips! The start are in the arena, then lots of the JJB rave (keep watching as the middle-end clips get better quality, and you hear all the singing in the last clips), then there's some showing the mud, a few of our bar in action and the end is Prodigy (check out Melissa's raving!) and Muse (check those lights at the end! And Matt Bellamy's message!). Enjoy!


rodarte vs spiders

It's a bit weird with timed posts as I can't see if anyones already posted about this! You might have flicked through i-D and seen the ah-mazing editorial with Jourdan Dunn and noticed the Rodarte tights they used above, which are probably an insane price and highly unattainable, and then the cheapie, semi-kinky body stocking they used below that from afar have a similar budget effect. Look closer and they are noted as the Music Legs Spiderweb Body Stocking from Love Honey- for sexy and secure adult shopping. Not usually the site I browse but at £9.99 with free delivery these are a steal! Up close on the website they do really look like spiders but with a little ripping they are a close resemblance to something a bit warped and tattered looking.

Also it's a body stocking. Do any of you own a body stocking? I wonder if they feel constricted or cosy or super sexy? It could allow you to wear a short sleeveless dress with a lower neckline in the day time as effectively you are covered up. Or would it seem like you had a matching top and tights? I think I might invest in the H&M lace leggings are seen on Miss Woo of Cheapskate Chic (or super chic in my opinion!) first as tights are the best way to dabble in trends, I can see lace and tartan hurting my eyes soon!

Pictures from foto_decadent scanned from i-D.


heads up for hands up

I'm (hopefully) off to V fest right now and have a few timed posts done as it's not like I'll be doing anything worth while when away, unless you count serving ten thousand pints worth while! My shifts are 10.30am - 11.30 pm with two half hour breaks... gosh. I had to buy wellies too as I couldn't for the life of me find mine from the last three years and I've looked everywhere! I got some for £6 in Woolworths meant to be for little boys. I'm a 6 and the 4 fit me? I also redyed my jeans black and threw in an old skirt but you might hear about that soon, especially if the jeans hold out the weekend, which would be a miracle! Might have to take a needle and thread just encase. I'm also taking my AA u-neck dress and geek glasses and other unneccessary items. Have a good weekend! Here's some pictures from last year showing what it will be like with the forcasted downpours.

the queue in...

100,000 people...

mud...

aftermath... I don't know why festivals have a hippy vibe as they are the most unecofriendly thing ever! Well Oxfam do take the left behind tents but who knows what they find in them.


tips and advice for freshers, welcome to university

I know a lot of readers are around the 18 age mark and I hope you are all happy with your results today!! A few of my friends got theirs and I was praying with them! Some didn't get into their first choices but after ringing round they've come out better in the end, fate seals itself it seems. Last year a few weeks before the bitter sweet move I was googling freshers advice and what to take down so here are some tips if you're about to start Uni, and if I've missed anything out or if you've done the Uni thing please comment and I'll add them on!

Money

The main thing you seem to associate university with is a huge lack of money and adopting thrifty habits for the sake of beer. I guess this really depends on circumstances. If like me you live in a single parent household you will most likely get a grant, which means you wont fall on hard times. But most have to live off the little loan they have left once accommodation is paid. I'd definitely recommend doing your accom. payments in three instalments, one each term as your loan comes in or else you will spend it. If you're in the position where you have to keep asking your parents to top up your account like most of my friends had to, it's pretty different. I guess it depends how generous your parents are!

My one friend's parents put £1000 in her account at the start of term and said tell us when it runs out, we'll see how it goes. One friend had her parents write out checks for certain dates for her accommodation payments, but if you're parents are giving you living funds, I think that's a good idea. It's almost like when you wait for payday. Most friends just got their parents to put in £100 or so at a time. A good idea is to use a debit card for all payments, that way you can show your bill to your 'rents and say 'look, I've spent money in Sainsbury's, Superdrug, Subway, The Student Union, and took out £20 for nights out.' That way they can't say 'omg what are you spending my money on!'.

In terms of how much you will spend, I spent quite lavishly. For the first time I had lots of money and got a big bursary too. Personally I spent around £10 on weekend food and lunch (I was in catered halls remember?), around £5 on eating out for 'take out sunday', £10-20 on general stuff like washing machines, books, paper, phone credit, etc, around £20-30 on going out, and most weeks I had extras. These would be train fare home, any clothes, presents for people or maybe random stuff say like a toaster or clothes horse or new towels. I could easily spend up to £100 a week and feel I was thrifty. The thing was though, I really wasn't. If I went into H&M, say ,and liked a blouse I would think 'hmmmm, £25, that's like my whole week of going out, well I've got £583 in my bank, I'll be topped up by next months loan instalment, it's not like I don't have the money.' I never actually prevented myself from buying things ever. I had the illusion of being poor when I didn't think much about shelling out for a few 'one off needs' over the year, namely a new camera after mine broke, a sewing machine, a £55 jacket, Spice Girls tickets, just random stuff!

This year I am saving big time though. My one friend spent an average of £25 a week! Seriously! She wouldn't be like 'oo I'm going out I've got £7 in my purse, I'll get out another tenner if I need it'. If she can do it, maybe you and I can do it.
Some people took out their budget at the start of the week and didn't get out any more money, this could work for you.
It's quite exciting to go food shopping at first because you buy exactly what you fancy- chocolate croissants, cookies, cool cereal, bagels, etc. This makes you eat it faster. Buy the basics and one treat, when you get to the counter always choose one thing to put back.
It's normal to think 'right I'm a student, it's only Primark for me now!' At the start of the year I only bought cheap clothes which I didn't get much wear out of because they made me feel cheap. That's a good Primark tip, the dress might be nice but on you know it was cheap so you just don't get excited to wear it as much. Think twice about buying things you love and it will be worth it. As always, do the charity shops and thrift stores and eBay!
Open one of those savings account where you can't draw anything out until a certain date if you need to pay rent instalments/can't keep to a budget. It's so confusing to look at a bank screen with a three or four figure amount and say 'no I can't afford that this week'.
Student beans.com- fab deals and cheap hair cuts!
Shop in supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi. This isn't necessarily for the cheapness, it's mainly because they're the kind of place where you need a list to take, where as the main supermarkets lay everything out in front of your eyes, e.g.: 'here's the cereal isle... look at all this cereal, you totally need some... oo this is on offer!... and the milk is right next door!' So tempting!
Open the Natwest student account to get the free rail card but be warned, the £1250 overdraft is LETHAL (see below)
Stick to one account for overall spending. It may be good to set aside your rent in one, but for general use, use only one account. I used two and one would be empty but the other full, so I was always confused at my total balance and it felt like I wasn't spending as much until the full one dwindled!

Your Budget

At the start of the year, don't minus your rent and them divide the rest by 40 weeks. Remember stuff like a hefty bus pass, the costly train travel home, etc. Minus a few hundred and then work out a budget. I found a budget made me want to spend more but I never stuck strictly to a routine. It would have been different if I hadn't had...

An Overdraft

I don't think I even needed an overdraft but I got one. A big mistake! Ok not totally. I got one at first as I'd used up my grant and loan on my rent in the first term and had ran out of money. My thinking was 'when I get the next instalments I will top up what I've spent.' But the overdrafts they give are SO high that you spend loads because it's like free money! Some of my friends only ever dipped in the odd £10-50 and freaked out a bit, but once you're into the hundreds there is no going back. Beware of huge limits like the Natwest one, you can ask for a smaller one! I would recommend getting one of around £500 as you may need it to cover the first term like I did, but if you see yourself abusing it, act right away.

Leaving Mom and Dad

I felt the up most guilt for moving away, especially when my Nan was crying on our doorstep and our car was driving away! But honestly you go home at least twice in one term usually. It's a strange miracle that my Mom and Dad were in the same car together for two hours! If you're unsure about directions, as soon at you get to your city on the day you are moving down, you will see loads of cars full of packing and suitcases, and you so know they're a fresher too! Just follow them! Although highly embarrassing Dads may think it is funny to wind down blacked out windows when you stop near one at traffic lights to 'make friends', causing the said new fresher and his whole family to look towards your car at you trying to hide! I was also quite embarrassed around my parents as I was a bit like 'OK you can go now, I'm trying to be cool and look friendly in front of my house mates!' but when they drove off it was pretty sad. If going to Manchester, you don't need to go down on the Thursday that they suggest (if they suggest Thursday this year that is), most people move in on the weekend so you won't be alone on the first few days like I was!

When moving away from Uni it's a bit like you have two lives. When you're at home it's almost as though you never even went away, so it's not as though you get totally homesick so that it's depressing or feel a huge hole, you adjust quickly.

The First Week

After results day especially, keep every single letter sent to you in a safe place, I just cleared out a random draw and labelled it the 'safe draw'- hey it was messy as usual but I knew where everything was! A most important letter is one Ucas will send you a few days after you've confirmed your place. This is used to register you at Uni and to take to the bank to open a student account. Take them all down to Uni in a folder. I thought the second I arrived my loan and grant would go into my bank account but you are given a set time to register at the Uni and get your library card etc, and so it takes around a week. Therefore, take money for freshers week!!  £100-200 would be a good amount.

Making Friends

I'm not even going to stress about making friends because you 100% will! As soon as you move in it's like the law that the people on your corridor or in your flat are your new friends, so at first you all meet and hang out, then maybe you'll meet people in neighbouring halls or on your course and you start to drift towards the people you click with the most. I spent a lot of the first few days with my room door open (a BIG must for friendliness!) thinking 'I hope someone comes and says hello to me!' I don't know why I didn't go find others as it's what half the people are wishing and half the people are doing! Also in my first lecture I was sitting by myself like most and a girl sat next to me and said 'I didn't want to sit by myself! Hi, what's your name?' and I was thinking 'yay someone's talking to me!'. The thing is, I should have just done that to someone else on their own as no one knows anyone. Just keep talking to people through out the first months. If you spoke to them one lecture then speak to them the next and introduce them to your new friends. It's a bit sad to think of all the girls I spoke to in the first month but now they're not in my friendship circle so it would be weird to just go and talk to, almost like a stranger. All it would have took was a little hi every time I saw them! Also compliments are your best friends, you know how a girl loves to hear 'I love your shoes!' as a conversation starter!

Freshers Week

Even though it's meant to be 'a blast dude!!!!!', freshers week is a bit weird. Going clubbing and getting drunk in front of and with people you've known for a few hours and don't even remember the names of is a bit weird. But a good kind of weird! Be sure to have a party one night and crank up the music- you'll be surprised at how many people come when they hear it and you'll meet people from all over your halls. Again I met people at those freshers parties who I either never saw or spoke to again! Not in a bad way, just in freshers week you meet so many people. Each campus does seem to have the player guy or girl that everyone knows and that's probably because they kept talking to everyone they met.

Make sure if you're going out you knock on everyone's door in your flat/corridor, invite everyone out! Hanging around the kitchen seems the best place to meet people. It will be funny as you will most likely talk to someone's parents before them as they try to make friends for their daughter/son. If you're going to Manchester, the freshers ball seriously isn't all that, especially not for £20, which is basically what your 'fresher's ticket' is paying for. But make sure you get a pink ticket, don't go to the 'live bands' blue ball unless you want to see a Robbie Williams tribute!! Go to the freshers fair at least once for the freebies and if you want to see around 500 students in a queue! It's worth the wait though. As always, register with the Uni ASAP for your loan and grant to come in fast, even if there are huge queues!

I spent freshers week so tired from partying all night and then going out the next night, etc. If you have meanie lecturers like mine who set a dumb project for the first week, know that you do have to get up or else it wont be such a nice experience!

Books

Wanna know a secret? I didn't buy one single book for my course. Seriously! I was sent a list before I arrived of advised books to buy, and recommended books left, right and centre by every lecturer, but I didn't buy one. Now that's not saying that I didn't use them, for essays and assignments they made a huge difference, and during revision I was definitely down that library to confirm notes. So most are right in your library! When given a list go straight there after the lecture to check them out quickly. Despite what I say, it really might be a good idea to get some books, but do your research, check if you'll actually use them, and look on your course notice board for second years who are selling them. If the lecturer recommends one great book, then get it. But if they recommend five for one module, choose one. My course was pretty small, but for things like Politics or Medicine, I know that books were checked out the library very fast. Also look on eBay and Amazon before going straight to Blackwells.

Alcohol and Drugs

You'll probably take a drastic jump from your alcohol consumption now. I'm no government alcohol and you've probably experienced a night of one too many by now so all I would say is don't make a fool of yourself in the first week, reps stick! Also remember you're living with your mates now, especially guys, so it's not like you want to do something stupid that would be remembered. As for drugs, there are loads of stoners who usually progress onto stronger stuff. At freshers fairs there are actual drug dealers who go round advertising their services secretly even right next to pizza hut advertising their student deals! Personally I would never take anything stupid as who knows what's in the stuff you're offered, but if you are doing anything illegal, especially drugs, you can be chucked out of your halls or even Uni, is it really worth it? The old sock over the smoke detector doesn't work.

Extras to take down with you...

I'm sure you'll pack your entire bedroom but here are a few random thing you might forget/not think about....
A kettle/toaster or toasty maker- always good! Mind the heat though... and speaking of that...
NO CANDLES! I know someone was chucked out of my halls for lighting a tea light and setting off the fire alarm... while we're speaking about that...
DON'T SET OFF THE FIRE ALARM! Obviously I don't think you would, but people do, and it even confirms on Wikipedia that in my halls 3 guys were chucked out on the very first night for setting one off... just encase...
Dress Up Clothes- you will need every outfit you can lay your hands on! The very first night I went to was an army theme!
A clothes rack/clothes horse- there will most probably be no where for you to dry anything, especially towels or bed sheets.
Hangers!- How the hell did I forget hangers?! Que me in Primark too many times buying a £1 bangle and saying 'Could you chuck a few hangers in the bag too... say like 15?'
Food- Obvs on the first night you'll need something to eat, and maybe for the first few days when you don't have time to shop yet.
Alcohol- guaranteed to gather a few new friends but please drink in moderation- do you really want to get a rep on the first night?!!
Hang over cures- you will need these for freshers week! Think fruit or Red Bull or Pro Plus or whatever floats your boat!
New outfits!!!- when meeting new people and feeling a bit shy and self conscious, it's so much better in an outfit you love. During freshers week make sure you have lots of set outfits to go out in and wear during the day so you are not stuck and have to wear something you don't really like.

Getting a job

I did literally nothing on weekends so I wouldn't think a job interferes with your course too much. Send CVs down before you even move to your city so you have interviews straight away. I knew someone who worked at Dorothy Perkins and Tesco and didn't come to any lectures which really defeats the point of being there in the end? Working just weekends seems the best, or there is tonnes of work handing out flyers and bar work.

Living and lecturing

My friend once said the most obvious but wise thing to me when I marvelled at how she went to every single lecture, 'I'm paying for the lecture so why wouldn't I go to it'. For £3145 a year it probably works out that each lecture is money you wouldn't want to throw away, so try to get into the routine of always going to your lectures. And if you have a 9am lecture and you're out the night before, you really won't go! Don't do an all nighter because it's just not worth it. It's even worse when you don't attend and miss something you can't catch up on. Lecturers aren't teachers either, so whatever they tell you, you have to take further and practise or gather more information yourself. This year for example I did Introduction to Maths for Managers, which showed me how much they need to teach you and how little they do. I did Maths and Further Maths Alevel so I was sorted but half my class hadn't done Maths since GCSE and it showed how they expected to refresh their memory and teach them A level topics and well as a few Further Maths topics in three months?! I really proved to me how lecturers will give you the raw basics and all the extra work you have to do yourself, so in subjects I hadn't done before like Economics I got help from friends already doing the subject and worked even harder.

Special Manchester tips...

Students are like the love children of Manchester, it's a shock when I see a child or pensioner because sometimes it feels like the whole city is catered to students. Freshers will mean loooooads of flyers thrown in your direction and there's so many places to go! I would recommend then going on the major pub crawls that are on, such as VodBul. Definitely go on a pub crawl that ends up at the clubs M2 or TigerTiger which will mean tonnes of people will go.

Now when I started Uni I was a total indie cindy but this will most likely change as you start appreciating that Britney is way better to dance to! That statement would have possibly made me sick last August but I stick to my guns! Be open to new music and new clubs.

Throughout the week the best studenty nights out are-

M2- on Wednesdays it's the AU (athletics union) social, where one of the sports teams at Manchester will sell the tickets to gain profit and always pick a dressing up theme to do it in. Fifty rugby players dressed as silver surfers in just grey boxers- hello! Fifty hockey players in green body paint as Kermit the frog- not so much...! This is one of the main student nights and plays a pretty wide range of music, but mainly good chart/pop and some cheese. Get off the bus at the top of Oxford Road where the trams meet and follow everyone else!
TigerTiger- a lot of north campus people party here, it's similar to M2 but a bit classier and more rooms. it's past Primark, follow the tram tracks
Birdcage-Rehab's good on a Wednesday although you have a hard time getting to the bar!
Pout @ Revolution Deansgate- Small compared to others but nice drinks and good music.
Paradise Factory (or now called the club)- Electro/DnB music so don't go if you like to sing along, good for a different sort of night out.
5th Ave- biggest student indie club, very cheap drinks (think 80p a bottle) and good indie tunes, always packed in the end. Best on Wednesday but have something on almost every night
Zoo- possibly our favourite club on a Thursday for 'Cheap as Chips' as it's really small so always full, they play a great mix of chart/indie/90's pop, their drinks are definitely cheap, and everyone is up dancing.

There are of course other places, Opus on a Thursday is mainly the Asian (as in Indian, not Chinese)crowd and there's a new night called Aquapop or something that's meant to be big? Last but not least there is the BOP held in the Owens Park bar on a Friday which always has a dressing up theme. Drinks are cheap and if you don't live in OP it's £3 or £4- get there eeeearly at like 9 if you want guaranteed entry! And dress up! Also it's a bit like a school disco if you're not really really drunk.

Most of the clubs in Manchester require you to buy tickets for entry. You get them from the newsagents or off licences near your halls or people sell them in the street. In freshers people will come up and sell you tickets so don't worry, but after that get your tickets early!

Also a point to note would be that in freshers it was a bit weird when deciding what to wear as you feel like you can't get too dressed up as you're going out with people you don't know too well and it's quite casual. When you get to the club people will be all dressed up though and you might, like me, feel a bit underdressed if you just decided to go in what you were wearing that day to try out the club, but everyone is glammed up.

OK that's all I can think of right now! I hope it helped!