Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Summertime


About ten days after my final exam I realised it was time to admit I no longer had the excuse of "Arghhhh, STRESS!" to justify eating three tubs a tub of ice cream a week and a packet of midget jems every hour. (Honestly Sainsbury's, at least I can control my Percy Pigs addiction by not being able to afford them, 43p a packet is dangerous!) Fortunately the weather broke at just that second and there's something about salads and sunshine that works. It doesn't feel like a chore to eat them, on a sticky summer evening a big bowl of stodgy pasta is the last thing you want. I also work on a principle of It's really good for me... I can eat as much as I want, I'm sure there are circumstances under which this theory falls flat, but I've yet to discover them. Certainly not when it comes to lettuce.

Positive side effects include: it's really cheap, a family size bag of mixed leaf salad, 250g of cherry tomoatoes, a cucumber, some feta cheese. That plus whatever dressing type additions you already have in your fridge, lemon juice and olive oil are a classic for a reason and there's something about using balsamic vinegar that feels (middle) classy. Or maybe I just have low standards. My skin looks great, unless this turns out to be the fabled pregnancy glow, I'm putting it down to the salads.

Follow on Bloglovin

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Shoes

Every girl should have a pair shoes that make them feel like a princess. Preferably seven. At least.

Coco Chanel had a signiture scent, I have signiture shoes. Red, high heeled, bow.


If you find your princess shoes buy them in every colour. Except white, white shoes never last and falling in love with them is a guarantee of heartbreak.


If your princess shoes give you blisters, throw them away: like the boy who promises he'll call these shoes are liars.


They want you to feel like a princess only for long enough to get what they want and neither the boys nor the shoes are worth the pain.

Etsy Source.
Bette Midler said Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.

Have shoes that remind you, with every step, the world is beneath you.

I don't care if they're Come Hither sky high heels or trainers you've run 200 miles in, anything that's going to last needs solid foundations.


Make your stand let your head rise above the clouds and know your feet are firmly on solid ground.


Find your magic slippers. Your shoes are there to support you, to carry you on to victory, and sometimes that means getting down and dirty. Another reason not to buy white.


My name is Joy, and I am a shoe addict.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

REVIEW Eucerin DermoPURIFYER Hydrating Care and Active Concentrate

When it comes to skin care I'm a less is more kind of girl, some might call it lazy, I prefer minimalist. Right through my teenage years I had acne, there were a few times it got nasty, but even though I don't think I had a single week without a fresh breakout between the ages of 13 and 20 it never really bothered me. Sure I had spots, but I was a teenager, I was supposed to, right? Plus I tended to have singular, solitary lumps of red and ick, not so many that my entire face blended into one bumpy grease ball. I went through phases of trying different products that promised to dry me out but they tended just to leave my skin very dry but still spotty.

Generally I left it alone: whatever face wash was in the bathroom, water, makeup remover when necessary. So long as it wasn't itchy or infected I figured my skin had a pretty tough job keeping my organs internalised and regulating temperatures, so I left it to do that and didn't fuss too much about the vanity aspect. Now of course I look back on pictures of acne ridden teenage me and wonder why no one told me it was so bad, but I suppose I'd rather have had my glasses tinted optimistically than have been hysterically agoraphobic about blemishes. It seems to have settled down now anyway. More or less. Whatever.

Can you see why I'm not a beauty blogger?

Since discovering blogs I have become more educated about skincare, I have combination blemish prone skin and I now know that the products I bought for extremely oily skin in the hopes they'd erase my acne where probably the worst things I could have put near it. Years of using lots alcohol based toners and paint strippers (perhaps a slight exaggeration) have left me with a lot of redness that I've decided I'd like to reduce. I also had to change my hormonal contraception a few times in the past 12 months and all that messing around played havoc with my skin. Looking like a teenager as a teenager is fine, still looking like one when you're looking for graduate employment? Less so.


The Eucerin DermoPurifyer range is specially formulated to care for skin that has been dehydrated due to the treatment of acne, making it absolutely perfect for me. The Hydrating Care day cream also has SPF 30 making it very sensible choice as sunlight can darken scars and blemishes making them more noticeable for longer. It's very light, absorbs quickly leaves my skin feeling hydrated all day, and doesn't really interfere with make up. A non-greasy, cruelty free facial suncream with UVB and UVA protection for under £10? I'm still waiting for other shoe to drop.

And the bottles have pumps! Hallelujah!


I use the Eucerin DermoPurifyer Active Concentrate at night before moisturising, it contains lactic acid which gently unclogs pores and encourages cell rejuvenation as well as antibacterial ingredients to prevent further blemishes. I only use it in the areas I feel I need the extra oomph, usually my chin and cheeks, if I use it on my forehead my skin ends up feeling very tight. You only need a tiny little bit, two pumps is enough for me so this little bottle is going to last a long time. One other thing to note, the Hydrating Care is fragrance free, the Active Concentrate is not and it stinks of chemical nastiness when you first use it, the smell doesn't last long and I got over it when I started seeing results.

Since I started using them a few months ago I'd say my skin has improved, I've had less breakouts and they've tended to only last 24 hours rather than a week. The biggest change though is my scars have definitely faded, they're still present but they look like old acne scars rather than fresh ones and hopefully that improvement will continue.

The Eucerin DermoPurifyer range is available at Boots and also online HERE.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

REVIEW Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell // HarpyReads

Since finishing my exams I've been trying to cleanse my reading palette, so to speak. I had a little binge of classic children's literature (Pollyanna, anyone?) to ease myself back into the habit of reading without analysing every other sentence. There's only so much overtly racist and sexist society I can stand though, so I started looking through my shelves to find something a little more modern.

Fangirl was published way back when last year (hey, in Internet terms a year is basically a century) it was a book I consciously avoided because it was being recommended by people who loved John Green's novel The Fault In Our Stars for people who loved TFIOS. I wasn't one of them, I've read a few of John Green's books now and while I didn't think they were bad I don't quite get what all the fuss is about either. I much prefer his YouTube videos. So to hear that Rainbow Rowell (real name, how cool must her parents be?) had a similar style didn't encourage me to rush out and read it.

Good lord, have I been missing out.

I read the entire book in one sitting, admittedly I was trapped in a hospital waiting room for four hours, but it was so good I had to start deliberately pacing myself when I realised I only had fifty pages left because I didn't want it to end. It's still a YA book, it's not going to be nominated for the Man Booker Prize any time soon but it's light and witty and full of teenage quips.

Fangirl is about Cath, an identical twin, starting college with her sister and it follows the well worn road of coming of age stories. Cath's sister doesn't want to share a room in the dorms, so Cath's low level social anxiety goes full blown. She leaves her dorm room for class and to meet up with her sister and that's about it, she survives off jars of peanut butter and protein bars. Fortunately, bitchy roommate with an oppressively cute best/boy friend comes to the rescue. We learn more about their family history, what makes them tick, what makes them snap. There's half a hint of a love triangle that quickly goes away, and it isn't cliched in it's inclusion: it really does force the story to look more closely at the relationships between the characters and accept the complexities of any relationship, romantic or otherwise.
How cute are the little illustrations inside the cover?

The characters are complicated, their relationships with each other are complicated, this is not a single issue novel that picks what it's going to be about and everything else is padding. Cath is a fangirl, not a screaming 12 year old fangirl, an established member of the fandom of Simon Snow (a series of eight books that are basically the Harry Potter of Rowell's universe) Cath writes Snow fanfics and she's very good at it, we're told, we even get to read some of her work. In some books this might have annoyed me, but since so much of this novel is devoted to exploring what makes someone a creator and the nuances of homage vs plagiarism, it works here. I can definitely see why some people don't like it, and the extracts of the invented Simon Snow books, as well as the extracts of Cath's fanfics, are not terribly good. They're cutesy and amusing, but verge towards the ridiculous (Insidious Humdrum, seriously?) Cath, in true fangirl style, is of course devoted to writing non-erotic slash of the two main characters. This is I think the first novel I've ever read that captures the sense of how young people interact online and use websites like tumblr. Rowell examines why people write and read fanfiction, it's an interesting examination and I think she handles it sympathetically, she's certainly unjudgemental.

This novel felt very human, there's a lot going on in Cath's life and the focus meanders but that's what happens as we grow up. We lose focus when we get to university, or leave school, or just generally when we have any kind of major life upheaval. Sometimes we change and let things go, sometimes we become better at distilling what we want to do and learn to balance our time.

Things I really liked:
  • Levi has an undiagnosed non-specific learning difficulty. It's not a big deal, it takes a while before Cath picks up on it, he's a smart kid and he's found ways around it and designed his own coping mechanisms. To me, a super dyslexic type with lots of bits of paperwork categorised exactly how my brain is broken, I enjoyed how casually this was included.
  • Reagan the bitchy roommate, she's a bitch but still we love her. Her sarcasm filter is highly developed and the fact she spends her dinner hour mercilessly mocking all in sight does not change the fact she cares about people. Also the line "I'm a pretty good friend, but I'm a shitty girlfriend" because, yes it is possible to be both those things simultaneously. 
  • The twins' relationship with their father, particularly how both of them have a well developed and different relationship with him.
You can buy Fangirl HERE

Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Deeds Not Words

100 years ago today Emmeline Pankhurst was arrested trying to petition the King for votes for women, it wasn't until 1918 that women over the age of 30 got the vote (provided they met certain property requirements...) and it took another decade until all women in the United Kingdom were extended the same voting rights as men. Today the elections for the members of the European Parliament are taking place. What better way to remember Emmeline than to go and vote?

I went to an all girls school so there was a lot of girl power going on, there were a lot of feminist teachings and whenever elections rolled around we heard a lot about the Suffrage movement. Everyone knew the difference between Emily Davies and Emily Davison, and I am proud of them. I am grateful for them. So to show my thanks and respect for the Suffrage movement in the UK when I woke up this morning I knew exactly what my outfit had to look like.


I can't decide which is worse, my face or how badly this top needs ironing... Oops!
Green, white and purple: the colours of the suffrage movement. I also now have way more respect for people who take outfit self portraits regularly, I had a tripod and a self timer and still a good two thirds of the pictures I took were out of focus. Even these aren't great...

This is my sassy look.


I'm not going to tell you who to vote for, or even talk about what the different parties stand for. Go and vote for the party you believe will best represent your views in Europe, if their isn't a party that does that go and spoil your ballot. Not voting is not a protest vote, ignoring something does not mean it will go away it just means you don't get any say in the matter. Voting for a "joke" party is not a protest vote (except possibly the monster raving loony party...) if you want your voice heard but you don't want to support a party then spoil your ballot. Spoiling a ballot is really easy, just scribble all over it, or check multiple boxes, or write down why you aren't voting for someone. Just make sure you turn up, whatever you decide to wear.

There are lots of ways to make a statement with fashion, it's not all about the slogan t-shirts and stickers. There is a very good chance nobody will "get" what my outfit is about, and that's okay I don't get dressed for other people. Do you have outfits with a special meaning to you?

If you're not sure where your polling station is check here: http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/how_do_i_vote.aspx and remember they're open until 10pm tonight so if you haven't done it already you've still got time!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Chutney Care Package

 Last week my dad was in Glasgow on business, something that rarely happens, and fortunately he had enough free time for us to spend some Daddy and Daughter quality time together (that's a thing, right? It's not just my family that use the expression) I dragged him through some of my favourite rooms in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and he treated me to a more nutritious dinner than I'd have had otherwise. (Student life, so glamourous.) He also hand delivered a care package of my mother's latest culinary obsession, jams and chutneys.

All in all she made him carry 12 jars with an assortment of contents up to Scotland, I don't really know what the logic was in her sending that many. Perhaps she is afraid that after five years of living away from home I still can't properly nourish myself? Which doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, I'm certain if I tried to eat a jar of tomato and onion relish with a teaspoon I'd make myself quite ill. I'm not even convinced it would count towards my five a day. Which is not to say I'm ungrateful, just slightly bemused. The jars that prompted squeals of glee were the three soft set strawberry jams, my mum is allergic to strawberries (poor thing) technically that should have meant more for the rest of us but since Mum was generally the one to do the shopping strawberry anything didn't often make it's way into the house. 


Tomato Relish is one of those things that since my mum started making her own I haven't been able to buy because the stuff from the supermarket just doesn't taste anywhere near as good. My favourite way to eat it is with cheese, they just go so well together. I had some breakfast muffins and decided to do a sort of mini pizza.


Lightly toast your muffins, spread a dollop of relish on them and then add grated cheese. You can at this point put them back under the grill to melt the cheese, but I was feeling impatient and hungry.


One of the great things about it is how versitile of an ingredient chutney can be, I've already had orders that adding a tablespoon of chutney to spag bol or chili gives it a better depth of flavour. There's two special jars that I'm told should be a sort of jerk sauce chutney hybrid but they need at least another fortnight to mature before I'm allowed to try them. Even so, there's no way I can get through a dozen jars by myself so I've been passing them out to friends. You haven't killed anyone yet, Mum!

Follow on Bloglovin

Friday, 16 May 2014

Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre | Things To Do Glasgow

Have you ever thought to yourself, I need more bizarre Russian puppet theatre in my life? Well you are in luck my friend! Glasgow is home to the Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre, a collection of moving sculptures by Russian born artist Eduard Bersudsky, and there are full performances every Thursday and Sunday at 7pm with short performances running at 3pm Wednesday to Sunday. I'm really not sure what else to say. If you're the kind of person whose interest was piqued by the phrase "bizarre Russian puppet theatre" then just go and see this show, it explains itself far more eloquently than I could ever hope to. If you have ever enjoyed an obscure foreign language film, preferably in an independent cinema, you'll probably like this. If as a child you ever imagined garden gnomes coming to life and taking over the village green, Sharmanka will bring those feelings flooding back.
Photograph by Robin C Mitchell, used with permission

(I'm desperately trying here to avoid sounding like I'm writing an Art History essay and to not say things like the use interaction of sound and light, often from across the room or through other artworks, challenged the viewers sense of space within the room highlighting the sense of unknown that the political instability present in 1970s Russia would have wrought on the artist. Can we just take it as read that I'm the pretentious artsy-fartsy type but this was a really fun experience and not at all tedious and if it sounds at all like it would be then that's my fault for poor writing?)

When you first walk in it's very odd, the room feels quite claustrophobic because of how much stuff is crammed in there, but then the lights go down and you only concentrate on one thing at a time and each individual mechanism is  so fascinating that you truly do not notice anything else. The first ninety seconds made me almost uncomfortable, in the way that Pan's Labyrinth did, not uncomfortable in oh-god-I'm-going-to-die-now way. It starts off almost pitch black and then eerie Russian folk music started playing from a speaker behind us and coloured spotlights began illuminating the central space. The original sculptures are shown in a three sided room with the same dimensions of Bersudsky's old living room where he made these first pieces in Leningrad. Then they start moving.

Relevant words to this experience: Weird, Bizarre, Eerie, Macabre, Unsettling, Disorientating, Awesome, potentially the stuff of nightmares, eight quid well spent.
Photograph by Robin C Mitchell, used with permission. There were definitely a few moments when I wondered if I'd have nightmares after my visit. I haven't yet. 
 

The different coloured lights cast shadows all over the place and because everything is packed in so tightly they cast shadows on each other or you have to look through one sculpture to see the one behind it. They don't all move at the same time, it is a choreographed performance, and you're given binoculars to help take in the details but if you just look through the binoculars you miss what else is happening, and there is always something else happening. The first sculptures finish their performance and then you get up and start moving around the room to look at the automatons that are against the walls, there is an order to the way in which they are arranged but it's not a logical one so you start scurrying back and forth and round corners trying to find which sculpture is moving now.
The Last Eagle of the Highlands. This piece brought me close to tears, I'm trying to avoid a pun about moving puppets, but they were. Photograph by Friends of Sharmanka, used with permission.

Bersudsky moved to Glasgow in 1989 and you can feel the Scottish influences coming through in his work, the inclusion of Scottish folk music layered with the Russian sound, the sound of Scottish highland dancers feet mixed with the bells and whistles of his sculptures and the use of Scottish wildlife skulls alongside the other found objects that he uses. I don't really know what else to say, I think this is the sort of thing you need to experience for yourself.

I went to the full show so I got to see everything and I'd recommend this on the basis that some of my favourite pieces, such as the original sculptures, aren't included in the short show. You can find more information about times and prices, and some short videos, on the Sharmanka website HERE I'm very grateful to Robin C Mitchell and the friends of Sharmanka for giving me permission to use their images.

Have you ever been to something you couldn't explain if you tried? Let me know in the comments or on twitter @JoyHarpy

Follow on Bloglovin

Sunday, 11 May 2014

To do list: Glasgow

The more I think about how little time I potentially have left living in Glasgow the more I realise how many things I haven't done. I've rarely ventured outside of the City Centre/West End area and that's meant a huge amount of sites I've had access to have gone unaccessed. Partly I blame not having a car (or a friend with a car who can be easily convinced to take me on adventures) couple that with the ever rising cost of public transportation and I've been quite the home bird for the past few years. When I go on holiday I like to fit as much in as the laws of space and time allow, but for some reason when I live in a place I don't have that sense of urgency.

So to help fix this I've worked out a list of some of the things I want to do this summer before I move out:
  • ALL the museums. They're free and fun, I should be able to either walk or cycle to all of them and I'll learn something once I get there.
  • Climb Ben Lomond. This is one that's a pain to get to without a car, but I want to do it.
  • Take the train from Glasgow to Fort William. Regularly voted the worlds most scenic rail route, it's three hours of looking out at the highlands of Scotland and I can't live in Scotland without visiting the highlands.
  • Go inside the School of Art.
  • Go up the Clydebank Titan Crane. It's a massive crane on the bank of the River Clyde, you can go up to the top and get great views across Scotland.
  • House for an Art Lover and The Mackintosh House and Queen's Cross Church. If you were to ask me I'd describe myself as a Rennie Mackintosh fan so it's all the more dissapointing I haven't tried harder to visit any of the buildings he designed or that are full of his stuff.
  • Canal capital of Scotland. This is an odd one, and there's a story behind it, which I'll tell you about when I do it.
  • Take a tour of the City Council Chambers
  • Scottish Museum of Rural Life. A working 1950s farm full of rare breeds including Clydesdale horses and Tamworth pigs!
  • See a Sharmanka performance. A Russian puppet show with a difference.
  • Spot a wild Haggis.
  • National Piping Centre.
  • Swim at North Woodside pool. A beautiful Victorian swimming pool, it's been being refurbished most of the time I've lived here but is now open and ready for use! 
  • Scottish Opera. I've loved taking advantage of the £10 tickets for Scottish Ballet and Scottish Opera run the same deal. I've never been to an opera before but for £10 I think I have to try it.
  • The Falls of Clyde.
  • Visit Loch Ness.
So that's my Glaswegian bucket list, I might come back and edit it to add things as I remember them. I'll blog about those I do and I'm also planning on writing up some posts about the places and things I've already been and seen. Hopefully it'll keep me out of mischief until gainful employment can be found.

Do you have any tips for things I have to do before leaving Glasgow? Leave me a comment below or tweet me @JoyHarpy

Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, 8 May 2014

The Perks of Being Long Distance

Train tickets everywhere, a classic symptom of long distance relationships.
The current Mr Harpy and I have been courting for very nearly nigh on four years, mostly whilst he's been working hard in Sheffield training to become a useful member of society and I've been in Glasgow reading books and drinking hot chocolate. It has been hell, I hate long distance relationships, I really really do. Anybody who's wondering about whether or not it's worth the heart ache of separation, no it's not, find a new beau and be happy, life's too damn short.*

But as our respective graduations approach so does the day when we can finally (potentially) share a postcode, whoot! It has dawned on me that there might be a few things I think I might miss and that there could be some benefits to long distance relationships...

No one steals the blankets
Personally, I run cold and like to be toasty. I like a heavy quilt and three blankets, a cloud of pillows and maybe a hot water bottle. I do not like drafts or tug of war competitions in the middle of the night when somebody (*cough*He knows who he is*cough*) tries to stop me cocooning myself like an un-erupted butterfly.

No consideration
When I go shopping if I decide I only want to eat pasta and cheese sauce for a week then that's all I need to buy. I consider a baked sweet potato served with butter, paprika and a touch of cinnamon a meal in itself; when I passed this recipe onto my most favoured minion he looked at me like I'd just tried to explain how dogs turds make a delightful garnish for fruit salad. Having separate kitchens 200 miles apart lessens the bickering over what to eat and eliminates the conversation of whose turn is it to wash up.

Sexy is relative
Skype is very useful for keeping in touch, certainly an improvement on the postal service of yesteryear if only because it saves me trying to make hand writing legible to humans, and while webcams have certainly improved over the years it is still damn near impossible to tell whether or not I've shaved my legs in the past week month. This is a double blessing because when you do finally see each other you're both just SO DAMN HAPPY the last thing on anybodies mind is that irritating strip on the back of your left calf that you always miss.

Skype
Not only does it mean he doesn't realise what a slob I am because so long as keep the periphery of my webcam clear he can't see it, Skype also means I can win all the arguments (my definition of win: have the last word) If someone consistently tries to disagree with you, hang up on them! You get all the satisfaction of turning on your heel and slamming a door behind you but none of the pissed off neighbours. BONUS! Weekly face mask time, or just generally having a crap face day? Don't turn the webcam on! remark how strange it is that it's stopped working, tap your keyboard, maybe even hang up so you can "try calling again" He'll never suspect a thing...

Have you ever been in an LDR? (oo-er, check me and my trendy acronyms out) Is there anything you really miss? Are postcode sharing relationships really that much better?

*If you were honestly going to take my advice on anything then it was never going to work out.


Sunday, 4 May 2014

Eggs, scrambled not fried

To me eggs are a perfect food. They can make a meal or a snack; you can style them up or down; breakfast, lunch or dinner: eggs will work. Eggs are one of the core staple ingredients I always buy, if I have eggs in the house then I won't go hungry.


I never really liked chocolate eggs, there was never that much chocolate and it tended to be the second rate stuff that went into it. I'd much rather have a full bar or really good chocolate, for the price of a mid end chocolate egg I can get a much higher end bar of chocolate than I'd normally buy. Regular eggs though rarely disappoint, they're such a humble ingredient that nobody ever raises their expectations beyond what eggs can deliver.
Pro tip for those of you with small kitchens, make sure everything you own can serve a double purpose, shot glasses make perfect egg cups.
My favourite eggs are scrambled. It's so easy to adapt the recipe and means you can eat them every day and they'll always be different. 

To start, eggs: three per person. Adjust for personal preference and hunger levels.
Add a splash of milk, the milk helps make the eggs lighter and fluffier, a pinch of salt and a crack of black pepper.


Other fun ingredients at this stage can be chili flakes, chives, cheese or whatever you happen to have lying around in the kitchen. Avoid Nutella. Use a fork to mix them all up together, try and get it looking frothy as all that air will help keep your eggs fluffy. You can also use a whisk to do this, but since I'm the kind of person who uses shot glasses for egg cups what makes you think I own a whisk?

The key to good eggs is heat. When you cook them keep the heat as low as you can, this will take time but it's worth it to avoid rubbery eggs. My cousin likes to cook his scrambled eggs in a glass bowl above a saucepan of water on a very low simmer but that takes about an hour and the egg result is still only scrambled eggs. However, if you have an important deadline coming up and need to do some serious procrastination then try it.

I just use an unholy amount of butter, melted until it froths, and keep moving your eggs while your bread toasts. Don't try and cook the eggs until they look cooked, this will cause them to be over cooked. Eggs carry on cooking in their own heat, so cook them until they're nearly cooked but still quite runny. For my eggs today I stirred in some scraps of smoked salmon, most supermarkets sell packs of trimmings for about £1 and they are perfect to add a little bite of luxury for a very low cost. 


Pour the eggs on top of your bread and enjoy.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Considering changes

I keep having flashbacks, really vidid rememberances of being  15 years old at the bottom of the form room block in school, and standing with the rest of my year group while we tried to sort ourselves into alphabetical order. We were standing there to go and look at the giant list of names and numbers and exam timetables so we could all check that we had been registered for the right ones.

I was 15 years old the whole world started telling me that these next ninety minutes would haunt me for the rest of my life. The result of this exam would not only determine if I was staying on for sixth form and influence which A-levels I'd choose, the result of this exam would be the only real solid score that the universities I would hopefully be applying to in a few years would have to judge me on, sure there are predictied grades to help them but these results that you earn aged fifteen are going to influence that. So make sure you do well this morning, it could be the difference between a great university and a secure job, and a life spent in a cubicle.

I didn't believe them, they were earning their salaries trying to put the fear of god in me, but I knew I was an intelligent, capable and charasmatic young lady. I could fail every single one of these exams and it wouldn't stop me. I also knew I wasn't go to fail, I'd been to class, I'd done the homework, I might not know the textbooks inside out and back to front but I knew it well enough. What can I say, I was an arrogant little 15 year old. Not much has changed in the last seven years, if I'm honest, modesty is not a colour that suits my complexion.

Yesterday I took my final exam of university. It is very odd to think that come Christmas I won't have anything to revise for. This time next year I won't have a wall covered in post-it notes of important facts I need to remember. In case you haven't guessed, I'm not planning on doing a post grad course any time soon. Maybe somewhere down the line, but right now I'd quite like to try and drag myself out of my overdraft a little bit and I hear wonderful things about lovely having a salary is. I have gotten very good in the last seven years at taking exams, I can parcel my time out for each section of questions automatically, I can bullet point my essay answers and make a quick plan in a way I never can when I don't have a time limit of minutes.

The rest of it, the real world of council tax and pension plans, I'm not sure how good I'm going to be at that but I want to find out.