Saturday, 30 July 2016

Pokemon Go: A day out in Birmingham

I felt because people are loving Pokemon Go at the moment and well, I am also! I decided to have a day out in Birmingham to catch me some Pokemon! Where I live is pretty rubbish for it so literally to get to level 18 and catch over 400 Pokemon I had to go visit different places... 

My top two places so far are Southport and Birmingham... so if you're near either or you fancy a day trip out somewhere (especially for Pokemon hunting) check these out! In the little blog post I'll have screenshots of what I catch, and I'll let you know whereabouts and what places in Birmingham are great for it! 

The journey begins... 


So I took a trip to Birmingham, it wasn't just for Pokemon hunting but you know, if you're in the area then you can't pass up on the opportunity! Although the devastating part for me at the moment is that the day has come where I have zero phone data left and so I can only play by connecting to WiFi, it is a sad time for me. Joking aside, it is annoying when you do run out of data and have to use WiFi however it is still do-able. I caught so many in Birmingham and I just did it off WiFi, it's fine in big cities maybe not so much in a smaller town when you don't have data. The only trouble that you may have is with hatching eggs because if you're connected to WiFi then you can't walk too far away or else you'll disconnect so you might find that you stop hatching eggs until your data refreshes. I have three eggs at the moment all 5km ones but all at 4.7km and it is very annoying. Although very soon Birmingham will have its very own WiFi that can be used all around the city so that will be pretty good once that is all sorted, imagine not having to use phone data everywhere around Birmingham! Pretty good idea.


So Birmingham centre is just filled with Pokestops and Gyms, you'll never have the problem of running out of Pokeballs or trying to find Pokemon because they're everywhere. One of the first places that we always go to is this small park... 


It's just a hotspot for Pokemon go goer's (that felt weird to write), but as you can see in that picture literally everyone sitting around there is playing the game! It's so crazy seeing it, living in a small town I never really see many people play it but just going to Birmingham was such a crazy experience. But this area is good for Clefairy's so if you want some of them, this is the area to be in! 

In the main centre near by the bullring there is a large Waterstones which has a cafe so that is a good place to sit, grab a drink and some food, and catch some Pokemon from there! I found a good few but only took some screenshots... Also they have a sign outside the shop that says if you catch a Pokemon inside you get a discount on a drink!

A lil Pidgey joined me for a drink!

I am aware I look truly miserable, I didn't know this was being taken!


Another place that I sat in was a Wetherspoons as they also have free WiFi and it was nice to chill in and have a drink and there was a Pokestop I could reach from inside! 

Look at all those glorious Pokestops in the background..
These were nearby!


In Birmingham I caught: 2 Caterpie, Bellsprout, 2 Kakuna, 5 Nidoran, 2 Psyduck, Poliwag, Goldeen, Paras, 2 Clefairy, 2 Ekans, Squirtle, Gastly, 9 Drowzee, Nidorino, Pidgeot, Pidgeotto, Shellder, 4 Rattata, 3 Staryu, Magikarp, 3 Pidgey, Zubat, Krabby, Jynx, Nidorina, Onyx, and an Eevee!
 
All in all, if you want loads of different Pokemon, loads of xp, loads of candy and stardust, loads of items, take over loads of gyms, this is a good place to go! I'm so glad I am near to Birmingham for this, but also it is a good place to go visit for a fun day out! 

I enjoyed having a Pokemon Go day out, I feel like this could be a thing now and maybe I could visit other places and write posts on what I find and my thoughts! Has anyone else been Pokemon hunting in Birmingham? Hope you enjoyed today's post and chat soon. 

xx

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Get to Know Me Tag

I've been running this blog for over a year now and although I do posts that can be personal, and my first ever post was a little bit about me but I feel like I haven't told you much about myself. So what's better than having a go at that 'Get to know me' tag eh? I haven't looked at the questions beforehand, and I have seen others do this but a good while ago.. so just going to take the questions as they come! 


1. What is your middle name? 
Well this is a little awkward... I don't have one! The first question and I can't even have a good answer for it, ah well, moving on... 

2. What was your favourite subject at school?
School feels like fifty years ago (yes, that is a slight exaggeration), but I'd say my top two favourite GCSE's was Art and History. Art was just an enjoyable lesson, it was really relaxing, and I used to love drawing. It was probably the one subject that I never not wanted to go to, it did help that I had a laugh with the friend I sat with. History I've always enjoyed, I did that at A Level also, but I just found it super interesting, if I never did Film Studies at A Level I probably would have gone to university choosing to do a History degree! However, my favourite A Level was Film Studies, it was always enjoyable, I mean getting to watch films was a plus of course, but I just loved learning about different films, especially looking at the different style of Japanese cinema. 

3. What is your favourite drink?
I love banana milkshake, tea, and cider... what a range. 

4. What is your favourite song at the moment? 
I listen to so much now, and I never just have one song playing over and over, but my all time favourite song is Shooting Star by Air Traffic. I have probably listened to it every once in a while for the past 8 years. 

5. What is your favourite food?
This is so tough. There's so many things that I love... I love lasagne, pasta bakes, pizza, Sunday roasts, all the Mexican foods (Burrito's , Enchiladas, fajita's), I can't choose so I changed it to a list by accident.  

6. What is the last thing you bought?
Oh no... the last thing I actually bought was a meal at Big John's, I was traveling home from Ormskirk and the stop in between is Birmingham and it was nearly 6pm so I had to have a quick dinner before getting to the next train! 

7. Favourite book of all time?
I know for a lot of people reading is a big thing that they enjoy doing, but I've never been into reading (I don't know if that makes me sound a bit dumb..) but I just never really read a book for pleasure. So I'm not going to lie and just say a book that I might have picked up and read because there are a few, I do have a full little bookshelf but I don't think I could choose an all time favourite. 

8. Favourite colour?
Green! 

9. Do you have any pets?
Yes, I have a cat called Geri (I did have another cat called Tom, get it? Although I know it's supposed to be a mouse called Jerry but my cat is a girl.) I also have two rats... Shredder and Splinter. 

10. Favourite perfume?
My favourite perfume that I use at the moment is just the mango spray from bodyshop, it smells so good!

11. Favourite celebration?
Probably Christmas or Halloween if I've got a party to go to where I can dress up! 

12. What is your relationship status?
I have been with my boyfriend for just over 2 years now. 

13. What is your favourite country?
I'd say my favourite country that I have visited is probably Cambodia... I have been to Spain a lot and have many memories there but Cambodia was just a completely different experience and I don't think I'll experience something like that in a while. I also enjoyed going to the Netherlands, it's a pretty place. I would love to travel around Europe, and then maybe the rest of the World at some point!

14. Do you speak any other language?
I did do French and Spanish at school but that's where it stops. I hardly remember it but maybe in the future I can pick up a language to learn. 

15. How many siblings do you have?
I have one brother, and two half sisters. 

16. What is your favourite shop?
If we're talking clothes shops I like buying them from Forever 21 and New Look, but I also love the Body Shop! 

17. Favourite restaurant? 
I've always loved TGI Friday's and Frankie and Benny's. 

18. When was the last time you cried? 
I honestly can't remember... it was probably around when I left university like a month ish ago for good because it was sad to leave it all. 

19.  Favourite film?
I'd say The Truman Show, it's such a good story line and it's so emotional. I'd recommend it to anyone to watch if you haven't seen it already!

20. Favourite TV shows? 
It's got to be Game of Thrones... it's the best TV show. 

21. PC or  MAC? 
Well I've never owned a MAC so... PC. 

22. What phone do you have?
Well.. long story short I dropped my new phone down the toilet twice, and the second time it just couldn't survive so I borrowed an old phone, but now I've been given a new phone from a friend which is a HTC one m8. (Thanks Connor and Adam)

23. How tall are you?
5 ft 2. I'm pretty small..

24. Can you cook?
Yes, I can. Anyone can cook if you follow a recipe though! 

Well, I hope you now know me a little better! It was really fun to do actually so maybe in the future I'll do more of these tags, or general tag posts. If you're reading this and you blog too, you should also do this tag! Let me know if you do so I can learn more about you also. 

Chat soon!

xx


Saturday, 23 July 2016

Things I love: July Edition

So if you're new to this, this is a monthly blog post that I write when the month is coming to an end, and it is a tiny bit early however, it's been an extremely busy month so far! I'd love to hear your answers to these questions also, so comment and let me know! 


What I watched: 
My favourite thing that I have watched this month is the original Netflix film Look Who's Back. I've already done a post on this  > here < I know that was my favourite film of June post, but it was literally right at the end of June and posted in July so that's why it's my chosen favourite thing watched for this! As I said in that post, it's just a really clever film, everything from the story to the editing and cinematography makes it so so interesting. Have a watch, believe me its worth it! 


What I snapped: 
Well, I graduated! 3 days ago I had my graduation at university, and the thought of standing in front of everyone terrified me. I've done so many presentations before where I had to stand in front of a class, but this was such a big moment in my life that I was very nervous. I mean all you do is listen to a few speeches, go up for about two seconds to shake a hand then sit back down, but the whole 3 years of my university experience was concluded with this when I received my BA Honours. Also getting to watch a lot of the people I am now close to graduate was amazing too! I would love to just put all my pictures on from this day but here is a select few for my favourite pictures snapped this month.


 
 

What I wore: 
This will probably be very graduation based, but I did enjoy dressing up for both the Wednesday and Thursday at graduation... my feet are now dead after walking around for two days in heels, but it was worth the pain! (That's what I tell myself anyway) 




What I did: 
As it was my parents 25th Wedding anniversary we had a little party at the house which was odd at times - I've never played drinking games with parents and their friends before, so I guess that was a new experience... but for a lengthy time of the party I chilled with a few people which was fun. There was also a lot of food, that's a highlight for me. 





What I ate: 
I mean, after having a party for my parents, a birthday meal out for my mum, a BBQ for my boyfriend's brother's birthday, and two days of graduation food at university, it's a tough choice to say what my favourite food I've had this month. But as me and Amy made our special 2016 cake, I'm going to have to choose that! I do love a chocolate cake, and it was pretty tasty. 






What I drank: 
To be honest this past week has been very hot in the UK and so a favourite drink of the month is just going to be water. I know right, how dull? I haven't really drank much but water, I wish I had some fancy cocktails or fancy drinks from a coffee shop that I adored this month but there hasn't, so nice fresh cold water will have to do! 


Where I went: 
I'd say my favourite place I've been to this month is back to Ormskirk and Southport. I went on Monday and from that day onwards the sun was shining and it was so warm! (such good timing) Southport is a seaside town so staying there for a few days while it was super hot was pretty good, I felt like I was abroad. So for the Monday afternoon/evening and all day Tuesday I was walking about around Southport (I mean, it was a lot down to playing Pokemon Go...) but it was just so nice and I had a really nice time, and my graduation on the Wednesday was a plus. (It was so warm with robes on though, I loved wearing them but I couldn't wait to get them off!)


What I used: 
So this part is for a favourite app I have used this month, and this is going to be very obvious... can you guess it yet? 

Yes, Pokemon Go. I'm so addicted to it, I am now level 17 and have a Pokemon that's over 1000 in combat level yay! This month I have done so much walking, I don't think I have done this much walking before - not in a long while anyway! But it's just so fun catching Pokemon and battling in gyms (team valor woop woop). However, I don't get much in my area which saddens me but for the past month I have been to Birmingham a few times and that's amazing for it, I have been to Southport which is also amazing for it, Ormskirk which is good and around Walsall which isn't too bad compared to my area. I have now ran out of data though so I can't play for just over a week unless I find WiFi spots, sad times! But it's so good, I would say go download it but you probably already have!



So these are my monthly loves, and it'll be back at the end of August for my loves that month! Hope you enjoyed reading, this one has a lot more pictures to look at than usual, but I find that it's fun to look at pictures or look back on the days I had. Chat soon! 

xx

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Chocolate Marble Cake Recipe

So today's post is a tradition I do every single year without fail, so I'll explain before I go on... 
Me and my friend Amy who I've literally known since I was born started a tradition in 2005 (I think) where we made a cake every year. I mean, we both have obviously made more than one cake a year but we made sure that our yearly cake was special. So this is a recipe of how we made our 2016 cake, I hope you enjoy and make your own! 

We make different types each year and this year we decided to make a Chocolate marble cake!

The ingredients that you'll need for this recipe is: 

225g Caster Sugar
225g Butter
4 Eggs
225g Self-raising flour
3 tbsp Milk
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tbsp Cocoa Powder



Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees, and put grease proof paper at the bottom of a circular cake tin.



2. Measure out the butter and caster sugar and put them into a bowl together. Whisk them together until combined and fluffy. 






3. Add one egg at a time, and whisk in between each egg added to the bowl. 



4. Measure out the flour and fold it into the bowl mixture, and also at this point add the milk and vanilla extract. Fold it all in until the mixture looks smooth. 






5. Divide half of the mixture into another bowl. And only in one of the bowls add the 2 tbsp of cocoa powder and mix it till it is combined well. 





6. Take two spoons and alternate between each with putting a dollop in the cake tin. Make sure it is evenly spread and you see a mixture of chocolate and vanilla blobs next to each other. 



7. Get a skewer and swirl it around the tin to create a marble effect. Then place it into the oven for 45 minutes or until you put a skewer in the center and it comes out clean. 






8. When it is done take it out of the cake tin and leave it to cool before putting any icing or decoration on it. 



9. This part you can do what you like, but we decided to make some butter icing which is just some butter, icing and maybe a little water if it doesn't seem too spreadable. 


We then used chocolate chips to spell out the number '2016' as it was our traditional yearly cake but you can spell out what ever you're celebrating or if its just a cake that you fancied making dot some chocolate chips everywhere! 

It was a very easy cake to make, takes a while to cook but the preparing time is very quick and easy. Big thanks to Amy for helping with the cake and modelling her arms/hands for some of the pictures!

I hope you enjoyed this post, and have fun making some Chocolate Marble cakes! Chat soon!

xx

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Pokemon Go! Top Tips and First Impressions

Two words you're either super excited about or totally tired of hearing by now... Pokemon Go! If you are the latter then I'd say this post isn't for you. But if you love it then grab your cap, your backpack and your friends and venture into the world that is catching Pokemon! (But first venture into this post). 


So I thought I'd make a blog post on explaining what the game is all about (if you are for some odd reason unsure still...), what my first impressions are of the game and how I think it will go in the future. Lastly I will include some of my own top tips for anyone just beginning the game or ready for when you do begin your Pokemon journey and catch em' all. 

(I also will include some snap shots of my ventures out into the real world where I did indeed catch my first 30 odd Pokemon!)

Summary
So once you have the app you can either sign in through a google account or sign up by using a trainer club account which you have to create before signing into the game. You then customize how you want to look, you'll get some free pokeballs and you'll get a choice of catching one of the starter Pokemon: Squirtle, Charmander, or Bulbasaur. However, if you begin walking for a little bit until the starter Pokemon re-spawn about 5 times Pikachu will then appear so you can catch him instead of one of the other three. You will be able to catch them all again at some point on your travels although, they are a little more difficult to come across. Once you are done with that you're all set to continue your journey and catch as many Pokemon as you can! Any one that you find, even if you already have it, just catch it! As with each catch you collect stardust which is used to level up Pokemon, and candy you use to evolve that Pokemon. You'll find that whilst you walk you'll see Pokestops on your map, if you go to these you'll be able to collect items and more Pokeballs. You will also come across gyms which can be occupied by 1 of the 3 teams, which you can only partake in when you are level 5 or higher. If you find a gym that a different team controls then you can fight against their Pokemon, however, sometimes there can be more than one Pokemon in the gym that you have to fight. Once you win and take over the gym you leave one of your own Pokemon to defend it from others, and the longer it's there the more loot you can receive. 

These are my boyfriends pictures hence the nickname and boy

So that's a little summary of the game (little she says...), it was quite difficult to cut it down to just a few sentences of summary. 

My thoughts
This is from spending a day on the game, watching Youtube videos of others on the game and reading other articles. I love it, for now. When I first got the game all I wanted to do was go outside and walk wherever I could and catch as many Pokemon as I could find. I did a lot of walking yesterday... and I wouldn't normally do that much, so in that sense it's pretty damn good at getting you out and about and doing some exercise. I never got bored once and it left me feeling pretty tired.. I mean what mobile game can you get where it tires you out at the end of the day? So ten out of ten for that perspective, if you're a mother or you get told by her a lot that you should get off you console and get outside for some fresh air, this is ideal.

It gets you out and about!
It's pretty cool that when you come across a Pokemon you can use your phone's camera and see it in a random place in 'real life' as you try catching it. For people that loved Pokemon back in the day, and also for the younger people that have got into the Pokemon franchise more recently it's a very exciting concept. Some people might think its strange but it is exciting when you spot a Pokemon and catch it, especially if it's one that isn't in your Pokedex, or a high level. 


 The only thing at the moment that was a little agitating was how fragile the servers are, it did crash a few times, and took a little bit of waiting time to get back onto it. But it's always good to take a little break from the game and maybe going on it all day isn't the best... it's just so addictive!! 

I mentioned at the beginning of my thoughts that I love it, for now. The reason for this is because I did want to spend all day on it yesterday and all I can think about is getting out there and catching as many Pokemon as I can! But, how long will that last? Will people get bored of having to go out walking all the time to catch Pokemon, or go to Pokestops to get more Pokeballs. My thoughts at the moment are that because Pokemon is such a huge franchise and there are so many fans out there that have loved it for years I feel like it could stay popular. At the same time, would it get repetitive catching Pokemon and going to gyms? This is the only content to the game at the moment, and what do you do when you fill out your Pokedex? Just catch more of the same and level up or evolve other Pokemon... that is an option, but maybe it would get less exciting. Who knows, there is probably going to be updates throughout the years which may include new content and new Pokemon to catch, but that's unknown thus far.


Top Tips
  • Catch every Pokemon you come across even if you already have it like 5 times! Stardust and Candy is essential to get stronger Pokemon and evolve them!
  • You get more XP when you spin the Pokeball before throwing it as it counts as a curve ball. You'll know you are doing it right when the ball glistens or shines. 
  • Also the Pokemon will have two rings around it, a white one that doesn't move and a coloured one inside that will slowly close in on the Pokemon. The smaller the coloured ring is, the easier it is to catch the Pokemon. 
  • The colour of the ring indicates how difficult the Pokemon is to catch, green being the easiest, yellow being medium difficulty and red being the hardest.
  • Shaking grass on the map is known as 'tall grass' and usually Pokemon can be found in these areas.
  • Finally this should go without saying but you should always be careful of your surroundings, watch where you are going, avoid sketchy areas and be alert of things like traffic and people nearby.
Pokemon Go is every pokemon fan boy/girl's dream and is really a great game, theres a lot more that can be said such as the use of items and more detail in gyms but I wanted to keep this (some what) brief. So if you would like any more posts about Pokemon Go then comment and I'll happily do more!

Chat soon.
xx






Friday, 8 July 2016

How to deal with anxiety at university

I thought I'd continue with the university theme as said before, a lot of you will be going after this little summer holiday, and I feel like this is an important topic. Before I carry on I would like to say I'm not an expert in this topic, but I do suffer with anxiety a little. So this will just be my thoughts on it and ways that helped me when I was feeling a bit anxious. 


1. You don't have to say yes to everything... it's okay to have down days by yourself. You'll probably find at university they'll be lots to do, and your friends might ask you to do stuff all the time. Some days you'll probably be fine and you will go out and enjoy yourself but you might find you have some down days where you just feel too anxious to accept the invitation, and that's okay! People are very understanding, and you don't even have to say why you aren't going, if you just say, 'no I don't fancy it' people will accept that! 

2. If you're feeling very bad and you can't calm yourself down then I'd say a good thing to do is to just get in contact with someone close from home! May it be a best friend, family member, or a partner. Ring them, message them, or skype them! Sometimes when you're away at university you might feel a bit homesick or lonely which can bring on your anxiety, a call from someone close at home can help a lot. 

3. Also carrying on with the second point, over your years at university you'll make some friends for life, and you'll find that you'll make a few close friends that you feel comfortable talking to about things like this. If you do have someone like that don't be afraid to do so, you might feel like you're bothering them so you decide to bottle it inside, but when you tell someone or unload the weight on your shoulders to them it can help a lot. They don't even have to respond to what you are telling them, someone there just to listen is sometimes just as good. Also adding to this if you do find a partner at university, and you're ready to open up to them, and you feel like you trust them enough, then that's also a good option for someone to talk to. 

If you get to the stage where you start to have a panic attack because you're so anxious,having a partner/close friend who you either live with or can just pop over is great. - I had a good amount of panic attacks at university, and I remember one very clearly, and i just messaged someone to come and fetch me and help me calm down... and she did. We went to a quiet area of campus and sat in a lovely spot (my uni was very pretty) and she spoke to me about something completely different to what I was panicking over, and it was just so lovely. So I'd say you may think there's no one around who would listen or help you calm down, but you'd be surprised, people can be amazing.

 4. If you're just locked up in your room because you can't bring yourself to come out, there's a few solutions here. First if you really feel like you can't leave your room and you really don't want to face anyone then don't. I do think pushing yourself to do something is always a good thing, but if you're just sick to your stomach and you just don't want to do it, then don't. Have a day to yourself, watch movies, do some work/studying, do something that you enjoy to do when you're by yourself. Although do eat throughout the day, that's very important. You could even pop to the shop and buy something already made if you don't want to face making something and having to see people for a longer time. I know obviously that means going out and as I said you may not want to leave your room, but that's the only thing you should push yourself to do. 

5. Don't shut yourself out all the time... I know I said don't say yes to everything but also do push yourself to have days out or nights out if your friends are all doing something. I find that sometimes I get anxious about doing something but I push myself to do it because I don't know what it'll be like, I can't see the future, I could have the best time ever. Don't miss out on creating amazing memories that you can look back on. This might sound crazy but say you get invited on a day trip out to the seaside, and all you're thinking is I can't do this because... I might not enjoy it. Then think of something positive... but I might enjoy it also. I can't do this because... something might go wrong, but nothing bad could happen also. If you really can't get yourself to do it, then try just ringing someone or messaging someone and explain how you're feeling and they'll be the one to do the positive sides of the negatives you have. 

6. Talk to the university. Nowadays most universities will have a place you can go to talk to someone, and sometimes it's easier to talk to a complete stranger about it than people you know. They are there to listen and also help by offering simple solutions. Sometimes you might not be able to see a way through it, you might only be able to thing negatively, well these professional people will be there to weigh out the negatives and help you feel better. It can be something you do every week, you can unload all your worries and get solutions for them all, and it would probably really help you feel positive and ease the anxiousness. 

7. My last bit of advice would be do seek medical help. There does seem to be this stigma that people feel like they shouldn't, but if you are really struggling with it, and talking to friends or your university isn't helping at all I'd say this is something good to do. There's so many stories out there from people who did go and seek medical help and they always mention how amazing it was for them that they did. They're professionals after all, they know what they're doing, and they will have the best advice to help you out! 


I hope you enjoyed this post, and I hope it helps! I'll leave you with some pictures of my university experience, and if you're off to university you'll have the best time! Chat soon. 

xx