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Monday, 1 January 2018

2017: The Year I Graduated


2017 was a big year for me... I graduated with my first degree! 

On Thursday the 6th of July, I graduated in McEwan Hall where I received my diploma for an LLB honours degree in Law from the University of Edinburgh. After four years of hard work, a lot of ups and a few downs along the way, I finally felt as though those late nights and tiresome days in the library finally paid off. 


The start of 2017 consisted of essay writing as the two full-year modules I had chosen for 4th year consisted of an essay submission in January and the final exam in May. After submitting 12,000 words in January, this was definitely a practise run for what was to come in the final push to write my dissertation, due at the end of March.

I chose to write my undergraduate dissertation on the EU Counter-terrorism Strategy, assessing its impact and the legal issues posed by it. It was a bit of a risk to take as I had previously taken a criminology module in terrorism, international policing and EU law, but nothing specifically relating to EU security policies.

Regardless, I really enjoyed writing my dissertation and I believe it really helped me with my Masters degree applications as my topic was directly relevant to the Masters subject area. If you have a particular field of interest for further studies, I would definitely recommend writing your dissertation on that topic, if its possible to do so!


After a wave of stress wondering if I was even going to graduate (see the following newspaper article), I graduated on the 6th of July 2017. I was incredibly nervous the evening and morning before, although I already received my grades and my dress and robe was all ready to go. Half of me was excited to have reached the end, but it also saddened me that it was the last time I would be together with all of my teachers and classmates that brought my through the previous four years of my life.


We gathered for a group photo at the law school, Old College, before we headed into the McEwan hall for the graduation ceremony. Unfortunately Old College was under major renovation works during the final two years of my degree, so we didn't get to take advantage of walking through its grounds and having classes there, so it was nice to reflect on the first two years of University and be there for a final group photo.


To my year's surprise, McEwan Hall had completed its renovations in time for our graduation ceremony. The 2016 graduations had taken place in the Usher Hall, as the original graduation hall was still under renovation works.

The refurbished McEwan hall was really stunning and it added something special to our graduation ceremony. We had endured a torturous delict exam in the hall during our studies and I remember being distracted by McEwan Hall's stunning architecture and the art displayed on the walls and ceiling during that time.

We were called to collect our diplomas in alphabetic order by surname, depending on our degree titles.


After the graduation ceremony, we were given a couple of hours to take photos and head over to Potterrow to have our professional graduation photos taken. Unfortunately, I spent the majority of that period queueing to get my photo taken, which was a little bit frustrating. I didn't manage to catch up with my classmates as originally planned, but I did manage to get some photos in amidst running around campus!

That afternoon, my Mum and sister treated me to afternoon tea and the whirlwind of a day meant for a weekend of recovery before the graduation ball the following Monday.


We had our law graduation ball at the Caledonian Hotel in Edinburgh's city centre. My friend and I arrived a bit too early, but had fun taking photos with the 2017 balloons the law society had displayed in the reception area (including me posing with the 7 the wrong way around - nice one Alix).


We had a lovely three course dinner followed by a ceilidh and disco. The law society hired out Shanghai nightclub on George Street for the after party, which lacked much of an atmosphere as only a few dozen of us turned up to an empty nightclub! Nevertheless, it was a good night and nice to catch up with some classmates before we headed our separate academic/employment ways.


Over the Summer I applied for various Masters degree programmes in the area of International Security, with offers from the University of Bath, Queens Belfast, Dundee, Buckingham, Nottingham and St. Andrews. I wasn't entirely sure which direction I wanted to go in, whether to steer in the route of political science, a more historical approach or continue my legal studies with an LLM.

During August, I decided the political science route wasn't for me and I believed the knowledge I gained from my law degree would help me perform well in a different degree area, instead of pursuing it further. After studying political theories in EU and social policy courses throughout my undergraduate degree, I decided to reject my offers in International Security from the majority of Universities I applied for.

I found the MLitt programme in Terrorism & Political Violence in St. Andrews to be best suited to my interests. Originally I was looking for a degree in International Security with a heavy focus on terrorism and I found St. Andrews provided that as well as a historical, political and psychological approach to the subject, with an opportunity for me to apply my legal skills in the array of modules offered. 


For now, I am enjoying postgraduate life in the seaside town of St. Andrews. Living here is definitely a shift from the face-paced life I had in Edinburgh, however, I couldn't have asked for a better place of tranquility when I should be focusing on my studies and career the most.

I will go into a lot more detail about postgraduate life and St. Andrews in another blog post, but for now, here's to 2018 and another year of success and happiness!

What are your goals for 2018?
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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Autumn Dress Haul | Tobi Clothing

Tobi.com kindly got in touch with me recently and gave me a sample of their dresses to try. Tobi is an online women's fashion boutique based in Los Angeles, but have extended their shipping to over 150 countries worldwide, including the UK. I selected a range of dresses perfect for the transition from Summer to Autumn fashion.

ALLISON SWEATER DRESS $76 $38 with code DA50


The first item Tobi sent me was a cosy sweater dress. In the autumn/winter months, I live in cropped jumpers and thought a cosy dress alternative would be a great option. The dress is quite over sized. I am a UK size 6/8 and the size small fits me comfortably, whilst letting me move around freely. 


The only downside for me are the sleeves, as they are very long and I had to roll them up more than the stitched material. However, if you are looking for a cosy winter dress and don't mind the over sized look - this is definitely the dress for you! The dress is available in black, rose and terracotta.

Dress - Tobi
Boots - H&M (similar)

ANYTHING BUT ORDINARY FLANNEL SHIFT DRESS $58 $9


After recently moving to a small small Scottish town for University this year, I couldn't refuse being treated to a tartan shift dress. The dress is really lightweight but can be worn in the winter months paired with a thick cardigan, boots and tights. This dress was the cheapest out of the 3 I chose and I'm really surprised by the price tag - a definite bargain!


I was drawn to how unusual this particular shift dress is. Shift dresses aren't usually my preferred dress type as the shapeless structure doesn't really flatter my figure, but the mesh panelling across the front of the dress really adds some dimension to an ordinary shift dress. There is mesh panelling around the sleeves and the hem of the dress too. The dress is available in red, grey and black.

Dress - Tobi
Shoes - H&M (similar)

DESTRUCTED T-SHIRT DRESS $44 $22 with code DA50


Finally, Tobi sent me a distressed t-shirt dress in the colour Taupe. I like the added character the distressed material gives to a normal t-shirt dress, and to add to the edgy vibe more, I decided to pair it with fishnet tights and some biker boots.


The distressed material covers the sleeves, around the neck and around the hem. The material is really lightweight and could also be styled with a black belt at the waist to give it a bit more structure. The dress is available in grey, white or black.

Dress - Tobi
Tights - Asos (similar)
Boots - Clarks

I'm really impressed with the range of dresses Tobi sent me and I would definitely shop there again in the future. I never have any luck with sizing when ordering online, however, everything I ordered in this instance managed to fit me perfectly and was exactly as described on the website.

Let me know your favourite outfits choices for the Autumn/Winter season in the comments!
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Sunday, 5 March 2017

Visiting Leuven & Brussels | POLITICO EU Studies Fair


For those of you who have been following my blog for a while now will know I studied in Leuven, Belgium for my third year of University. I moved back to Edinburgh in September 2016 and whilst deciding where to study my masters degree, I came across the POLITICO EU Studies fair set to commence in Brussels in February 2017. Of course, I couldn't miss out on an opportunity to visit Belgium again, so last month, I combined a trip to catch up with friends in Leuven and attend the EU Studies fair in Brussels.

Martelarenplein, Leuven

On Thursday the 9th of February, I flew to Brussels and as soon as I arrived in Leuven, I checked into my airbnb on Mechelsestraat. The street is one of my favourites in Leuven and I was really excited to stay there as it's located right in the city centre. I met my friend, Pablo, and we had dinner at his place with some other friends, then headed out to the Capital bar and a variety of the clubs/pubs in Oude Markt that evening.

Grote Markt, Leuven

Throughout documenting my year abroad in Leuven, I received a lot of emails from students who had more questions about the city. Sandra, a law student from Vienna, emailed me about the accommodation I was staying in and we kept in touch. As I decided to visit Leuven, she very kindly took me out for lunch. We went to Notre Dame Quasimodo on Naamsestraat, then we took a detour through Mechelsestraat and the Klein Begijnhof before ending up at the Vaartkom area of Leuven (where Waterview - my old residence, and Sandra's new residence is based). Sandra was really lovely and we agreed to stay in touch in the future.

Vaartkom, Leuven

As I parted ways with Sandra, I met Loïc, a close Belgian friend at my old local cafe, Opek, for a drink. Afterwards, I met some friends on the Oude Markt for a drink and we went back to Pablo's place to cook the haggis I brought over from Scotland.. 

As I was a bit restricted on what I could take with me in my hand luggage to Belgium, I could only take tinned haggis, which we opted to fry. Although the texture was completely off... I think it went down as a success, which was a surprise, as it's always a bit awkward explaining the contents of haggis (google if you are unfamiliar!). We went to another friend's place for pre-drinks later that evening then attended the International Party in Fuifzaal Albatros.  Throughout my year in Leuven, I never really liked Albatros as a club venue and only ended up staying for a couple of hours. As expected, the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) society had changed its board members from when I lived in Leuven, and although the city seemed exactly as I left it, the organised international party vibe didn't quite feel the same for me...

photo credit: POLITICO (http://www.politico.eu/event/eu-studies-fair-2017/)

On Saturday morning, I got on a train from Leuven to Brussels North to attend the POLITICO EU studies fair. During the day, they hosted an exhibition with stalls from various European Universities in the Crowne Plaza le Palace. They also had bookable appointments with a careers/CV adviser and although I didn't use this service, it seemed very informative and it was fully booked when I attended.

I spoke to representatives from the University of Kent, Vesalius University Brussels, Sciences Po Paris, IBEI Barcelona and Universiteit Leiden. I received a lot of useful advice about the application process and about the course programmes. I also found out more about courses in British institutions I didn't realise existed. I have managed to rule out quite a few Universities since visiting the fair, but I'm still not 100% sure of my subject direction (purely a personal matter, I found the EU studies fair exceptionally helpful otherwise!).

To find out which exhibitors were present and for more information about the POLITICO EU Studies fair, click HERE.

Grand Place, Brussels

After the studies fair, Pablo and I walked to the Grand Place for a look around and I was reunited with my favourite Belgian dish, vol au vent, in Le Roy D'Espagne.

Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, Brussels 

Afterwards, we took a walk through the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, to the Mont Des Arts and headed back to Leuven later that afternoon. Brussels is definitely my happy place in the world and I'll always be taken aback by its beauty no matter how many times I visit. 

Mont des Arts, Brussels

Back in Leuven, we went to a friend's place for pre-drinks and headed onto the Oude Markt for my final night in Leuven. The night consisted of a lot of drinking (despite feeling very fragile after a 3 day binge!) and partying until 7am, where we expected to finish the night in the Seven Oaks, but stumbled into a slightly bizarre techno rave in Rumba instead.

Waterview Residence, Leuven

On my final day in Leuven, I decided to go to my old residence to visit some of my ex-flatmates. When I arrived, my Brazilian flatmate, Plinio, introduced me to some residents who I had been in contact with through my blog. The residence is exactly as I left it and I'm glad my old unit is more sociable and interactive this year, I spotted a few games tables and a sofa which wasn't there when I moved out!

After a lovely catch up at Waterview, I headed to meet Pablo again for a final farewell and burger at Ellis on Muntstraat before heading back to Edinburgh via Zaventem airport.

Grote Markt, Leuven

I arrived back in Edinburgh late Sunday evening absolutely exhausted from a hectic, but enjoyable, weekend in Belgium. I miss living in Belgium and often think about the good times I had, especially in Leuven. I will definitely continue visiting and hopefully I will be able to pursue further studies/employment there one day as the country will always have a special place in my heart.
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Thursday, 2 March 2017

I Dyed My Hair! | L'Oreal Paris Colorista #BurgundyHair




After seeing a tonne of youtubers rave about the new L'Oreal Paris Colorista dyes, I thought I would give it a go. The whole range is on offer at Boots right now and I managed to grab a bottle of the wash out dye for just £6!

L'Oreal have released a range of temporary spray dyes (perfect for festivals), wash out dyes, permanent paints (vibrant colours) and effects (ombre, balayage). As I'm still a little bit terrified of dying my hair permanently, I was really happy to see the range of temporary dies L'Oreal had in store.

Their temporary dye range includes a set of pastel colours, which are recommended for those with blonde or bleached hair, so I opted for the shades for darker hair and I had the choice of red, orange, burgundy, purple, indigo, mint, turquoise... the list is ENDLESS (and exactly why I fell in love with this range). Another plus of using the shades designed for darker hair, they are estimated to last between 5 and 10 washes, compared to the pastels only lasting between 2 and 3 washes. 

If you'd like to find out more about the range, visit the L'Oreal website, where they have a helpful diagnostic to help you find your desired product. I also found the Boots website helpful when I was researching the product. 


Naturally, my hair is light brown and a little bit boring to say the least, so I was really excited to inject some colour into my hair.

I've never dyed my hair and because of this, I was a little bit sceptical about how the Colorista product would work on my hair.. I bought the burgundy shade, kept my fingers crossed and hoped for the best.


The kit comes with a tube of hair dye, an instruction manual and two pairs of gloves, which I thought was a good idea if you have a friend offering you a helping hand with your hair. 

The instruction manual made it very clear a patch test was required 48 hours before dyeing. If you've tried one method of dye on your body and it was ok, please don't assume every product will work for you. I've seen adverse reactions to henna tattoos and eyelash tints on friends and it's not worth skipping a simple patch test!



The other side of the instruction manual gave guidance on how to apply the dye, including methods such as full head, ombre and highlights. I wasn't sure how vibrant the colour would turn out, so I opted for a simple ombre just to play it safe.


I made sure I wore an old tshirt and wrapped an old towel around my shoulders before I applied the dye. I tied up the top layer of my hair and started spreading the dye along my lengths, making sure not to go above chin level. I then took down the remainder of my hair and repeated the same process.

I would say I used 75% of the bottle to cover the lengths of my hair, but I ended up using all of the product anyway to make sure the under layers of my hair were covered. Bearing in mind my hair is very long, I doubt the bottle would be enough to cover my entire head. If you would like to dye your whole head and your hair is of similar length to mine, I'd definitely recommend investing in a second bottle just to be sure.

I started to scrub my hair between both of my hands to make sure every strand was covered and waited 30 minutes for the colour to develop. After 30 minutes, I threw my head over the bath and used the shower head to rinse the product out. Although the instructions say to wash the product out until the water is clear... the water is never really going to be clear with a wash out product until it's not in your hair any more. I rinsed my hair until I was certain the product was completely out and began to dry it. 


I'M REALLY IMPRESSED WITH THE RESULT! 

As mentioned previously, I had never dyed my hair before and I read a lot of mixed reviews on this product, so I didn't have high hopes at all. The colour is exactly how I expected it to turn out on the box and I'm pleasantly surprised. My hair feels really soft due to the conditioning properties in the dye and I'm really happy I can now experiment with my hair colour without damaging it. 

The photos above and below were taken this morning after I washed my hair. The colour is still very vibrant which I'm pleased about. I have it in mind to be extra careful when washing it over the next few weeks as the colour is transferring onto towels and pyjamas when my hair is wet, so I'm trying to dry my hair as soon as possible post-shower to prevent any further staining.


I'll definitely be picking up this product again in the summer months. The blue shade is catching my eye and I'm interested to see what a full dye would look like on me. The range is certainly perfect for scaredy-cats like me who are a little bit too nervous to commit to a permanent colour!

I'll be sure to update this post in a couple of weeks to see if the product lived up to its claim of lasting between 5-10 washes.

UPDATE (16.3.17): two weeks later and the dye has faded almost completely, but I can still see traces of the dye in my hair. I'd say the vibrant colour lasted 5 washes over the course of 10 days. As my hair has never been dyed before, I reckon the colour would last a lot longer if you have bleached hair, so the product has a bit more to hold on to. I'm still really impressed with the results nonetheless!

Have you ever experimented with colour? Which colour/style would you like to try in the future?
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Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Novia Cat Eye Glasses | GlassesShop.com Review & Voucher Code

* GlassesShop.com were kind enough to send me glasses for review purposes however, all opinions in this post are my own


I've worn glasses full time for just over 3 years and I've always stuck to the same shape and colour of frames... standard black and slightly curved. When glassesshop.com reached out to me, offering eyeglasses in return for a review, I used the opportunity to branch out with my style choice and I'm really impressed with the frames that I received.



Glassesshop.com is an online glasses store hosting thousands of pairs of glasses frames and prescription sunglasses. At first, I was quite sceptical about ordering glasses online as I wouldn't normally consider ordering glasses on the internet without trying them on first. Thankfully, glassesshop.com gives the option for you to 'try on' the glasses by uploading a digital photo of yourself to the website and the frames chosen will be placed on your photo. Seems a little bit gimmicky, but it did help in the initial stages of crossing a few potential frames off my list.

In addition, all glasses frames on the website contain measurement details. I used my current frame measurements and compared them with the frames I was considering to make sure I wasn't unexpectedly surprised when they arrived in the post. 


I opted for a pair of Novia Cat Eye Glasses in Tortoise. I always play it safe with glasses and never drift far from a traditional black pair, but I'm really glad I branched out and tried a slightly different design and colour to what I'm used to.

The glasses arrived in a clear plastic case with a glasses cloth. The frames are really sturdy and I'm really impressed with the high quality taking into account these frames retail for just $19.95 (around £16). 

In addition, if you use the discount code GSHOT50 at the checkout, glassesshop.com will discount 50% off your chosen glasses/sunglasses (sale items excluded).


The only causes for concern I would raise is the shipping time. My glasses were shipped from China, so they took a bit over 2 weeks to arrive. Also, if you are interested in ordering from glassesshop.com, make sure you check out the returns policy before ordering as there are a lot of conditions such as the 50% restocking fee and the exclusion of sunglasses and designer frames in their return policy.

Overall, I'm extremely pleased with the glasses I received from glassesshop.com and I'm already looking at ordering the same pair in black. Although I was a little bit apprehensive about ordering frames online, I will definitely be more confident in doing so again in the future. 

Thanks glassessshop.com!
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