Sassy Books: The Opposite of Loneliness

Tuesday, 29 September 2015
Hello everyone! It's time again for my monthly book review of the #sassybooks book club read for the month. I run the book club every month with Charlotte from Colours and Carousels and we are always looking for more people to join in! This month's book was The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. Marina had just graduated university and it looked like she had a really promising career ahead of her in writing but she was killed in a car accident so those opportunities were taken away from her. This book was put together by people close to her and is a collection of her short stories and essays. The book starts off with an essay called The Opposite of Loneliness which is about how she felt totally at home in Yale. Then there are 9 fictional short stories and 9 non fiction essays.

The Opposite of Loneliness was a really great piece of writing. It's all about how much Marina felt at home at university. I feel a really similar way. I love being at uni and the friends that I have here. So I was off to a good start as this was a piece I really identified with. I really enjoyed the majority of the short stories but some of them were a bit boring at times. Her writing is really easy to read and all the stories were fast paced. She uses a lot of nice vocabulary that isn't overly fancy so makes the stories easy to understand and follow. Some people stuff their short stories with really big, obscure words in attempt to make themselves seem like an amazing writer but I find that so alienating. So I was really glad to see that this didn't happen here. By the time I'd finished the fictional stories I was really looking forward to reading the non fiction as I had really enjoyed the starting essay. 

Unfortunately I didn't get along with these quite as well. Some of them were in all honesty really, really boring. She wrote one about how 1/4 of Yale graduates go on to work as consultants despite barely any starting freshman wanting that career. But it was really just a collection of quotes from other students but after a while they all seemed so similar and blurred into one. I did however, really enjoy the story she wrote about having coeliac's disease. It wasn't a commonly known thing when she was growing up but now gluten free options are everywhere. There's a foreword written by one of Marina's teachers and personally I found it hard to read as she literally just gushed about Marina solidly for a few pages. I think when someone dies, as harsh as this sounds, people only remember the good in them. And reading someone talk about how amazing someone you've never met for 10 whole pages is just a bit awkward. I know that sounds really nasty but I found it a bit weird and uncomfortable. I think the book honestly would have been better without this or if it had only been a page or two. 

I think it's really hard to judge this book as Marina Keegan never intended for any of these stories or essays to actually be published. So I imagine they're actually quite different to how they would be if she knew that they would be bound and sold worldwide. I enjoyed the book and would recommend it but not all of the stories that it contained. There were a few that I was tempted to skip as I wasn't enjoying but I wanted to finish the book properly. Overall this is a good book but I think it's maybe a bit bigged up. I gave the book 4/5 stars as like I've said the majority of the stories were great but some of them were a bit lack lustre.

Other reviews written by bloggers participating in the book club are: Colours & Carousels, Momentarily Dreaming, Bethan Likes, Shy Strange Manic

And what about next month? Next month we are going to be reading Am I Normal Yet by Holly Bourne. The paperback and kindle versions are available from Amazon and I've linked them respectively. I would seriously recommend getting the kindle version if you can as it's only 59p! The book was recommended to us by another blogger and it's about OCD so should make an interesting read. If you want to participate then we read the book and post our reviews on or before the last Tuesday of the month. For October that's Tuesday the 27th of October. Happy reading!

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October Goals

Sunday, 27 September 2015
Hello everyone! It does feel a bit strange to be writing this post as it's only the 27th of September but I've actually already finished all of my goals for September so I might as well start on October's a bit early! I've had a great month! I've been to Switzerland, moved back to Edinburgh, had a brilliant Fresher's Week round 2 and started back at uni again. So hopefully October will be just as good, if not even better. If you'd like to see September's goals then you can click here to read that blog post!

  • Read four books(one a week). At the moment I'm on track with my GoodReads 2015 reading challenge so if I read one book a week for the rest of the year I should finish the challenge in middle of December which seems like good timing.
  • Take photos for a new room tour. I've got a few things that I still need to sort out but I can't wait to take photos of my new room and show it to you guys!
  • Go to all the knitting society meetings. I went to the first one on Monday and it was so much fun to hang out with people who have a similar interest. Plus no one has chucked me out yet for crocheting, result!
  • Crochet at least three scarves(and hopefully sell them on Etsy).
  • More than five sales on Etsy(I had exactly five sales last month so I'd like to improve on that!).
  • Get a kick ass Halloween costume. Didn't celebrate Halloween last year because I was stuck in an awful job that I hated and it took up all my time. Going to have the best Halloween ever this year. Expect blog posts!
  • Try out one new recipe a week. Just sat down and had a look through all my cookbooks and there are a few recipes that I'm really keen on trying as I've been trying to eat more vegetables recently.
  • Continue blogging every second day. You may have noticed that over the last week I've swapped from blogging daily to blogging every second day. Blogging daily just isn't something that's achievable to me when I'm at uni so I'm enjoying easing off on it. I'm trying to write longer and more substantial posts on the days that I do blog though!

So those are my goals for the month. Hopefully October will be a busy and productive month with lots of social plans as well!

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Isa's Garden

Friday, 25 September 2015
Ever since I was little, my gran's house has been a place of comfort for me. I think there's just something so lovely about going to see your grandparents. And if yours are anything like mine then you'll also enjoy getting fed. I have a really good relationship with my gran and when I'm at uni I phone her quite a lot and we just have a natter about what we've been up to. She always sounds so happy that I called and it really cheers me up. And when I'm back home I'll go and stay at her house. I'm lucky that my gran lives so close and that it's only a 10-15 minute drive away. We have pretty similar taste in tv shows so we normally order in Chinese and watch NCIS/Castle/Blue Bloods box sets for the night.

A few of you may know that my gran had two big operations this summer and is thankfully recovering well. She's been staying at our house but is looking to move home soon. Although it would be just like her to change her mind when she moves home and decide she's staying! But a little bit of me knows that this means she will probably be selling her house within a few years and that makes me a little sad on the inside because I have so many memories there and it's a place of real comfort for me. My grandparents moved to Livingston when it was built and have lived in that house ever since!

I've decided that I'm going to photograph my gran's house the way it is just now. I think these photos might be something that I'd like to look back on in a few years. I don't intend on sharing the photos as they'd be pretty personal(obviously) but I spend a little while photographing her garden recently and I'm pretty pleased with how some of the photos turned out. My gran is a very passionate gardener and I think it's what she'll miss the most about her house. Since she's been ill it's gotten a little overgrown but I kind of like the way that it looks now. Although hopefully I'll get some photos of the garden in it's prime.

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Blogs I Love

Wednesday, 23 September 2015
I used to read blogs all the time. But I have to admit that over the last year it's something that I do less and less. With writing my own blog and university I don't often have the time to sit down and read all the new blogs posts on my BlogLovin' feed. Although there are still a few that I click through in my bed before I get up or before I go to sleep. It's been a while since I took the time to share some blogs that I love. I have a blog roll where you can see some of my favourite blogs but it's very rare that I actually remember to add new blogs to the list. So today I'm going to share 3 blogs that I've really been loving recently. I also had the chance to meet two out of the three of these bloggers at the #scotblogmeet event and they were both such lovely girls!
Life In Ginger 

I first discovered Nicole's blog when she started participating in our book club, Sassy Books, when we launched it at the end of May. Since then, I've been very impressed with the content she produces. Not only is her writing very nice and personal but she also takes lovely photos. The posts on Life In Ginger are varied but I love how she writes blog posts about sensitive topics that are really well informed and non judgemental. She recently wrote a blog post about how social media effects the way that we interact in public. I found it to be really interesting and thought provoking. It was called Live Now, Instagram Later and it's definitely worth a read. If getting philosophical isn't your thing then Nicole also writes a lot of great posts about books, Scotland and generally chitty chatty life posts!

After Mimmi had commented on my blog a few times I checked out her blog and was very impressed with her posts. Mimmi is originally from Sweden but is living in Glasgow whilst studying English literature at university there. She blogs a lot about different places in Scotland and it makes me feel very proud to live in such a wonderful country. She recently blogged about her trip to the Isle of Skye. It's not somewhere I've ever visited unfortunately but reading Mimmi's blog post really made me want to go. We met at Scot Blog Meet and went for dinner together which you may remember from my review of Las Iguanas Glasgow! But Mimmi also writes reviews of restaurants and cafes so her blog is one I'll visit the next time I'm planning a trip to Glasgow and need some inspiration for where to eat! Mimmi is taking a blogging break at the moment whilst she gets wifi sorted in her new flat and adjusts to being back at uni but there are plenty of blog posts for you to read in the meantime!

I've been reading Nimble Note for quite a while as I follow Kathryn on Twitter but it wasn't until I sat down to write this blog post that I realised that I actually don't properly follow the blog on BlogLovin'. Ooops! I feel like this happens to me all the time and I never notice just because I've gotten out of the loop of using BlogLovin' to read blogs! Anyway! Kathryn is just starting university which is a very exciting time so I'm really looking forward to reading about her experiences on her blog! Nimble Note is a very mixed blog with lots of varied content but I particularly enjoy the food posts. I'm not a vegetarian but I eat a few meat free meals a week so I'm always looking for new inspirations. Kathryn also recently made the switch to being vegan which I find very impressive, I don't know if I'd have the willpower to do that in all honesty! I'm actually mildy lactose intolerant so I don't eat a lot of dairy and I certainly don't use milk. But I recently read her Creamy Banana Porridge recipe which uses almond milk instead and it looks lovely so I'm going to give it a try!

So those are some blogs I've been loving recently. I really urge you to give them a read as I'm sure you'd find something that interests you!

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Switching To Mac

Monday, 21 September 2015
I recently crossed over to the dark side. And by that I mean: I recently walked into an Apple Store, paid a lot of money and walked out with a new laptop. I've wanted a MacBook for years and as my old Windows laptop was beginning to run very slowly and had trouble starting up and shutting down I thought that it was about time that I treated myself to one. As a blogger I use my laptop a lot, at least a few hours per day! And as I've worked since I was 15 I had the money in my savings account so why not spend it on something I really wanted? I'd been debating over the MacBook Pro and Air for a few weeks(ever since I decided I'd buy one) but in the end I went with the 13 inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display. It was the more expensive of the two but the screen on it is much better, it can do much more and it feels more sturdy. The MacBook Air was so light that I could honestly see myself dropping it or damaging it somehow.

I've always kind of prided myself on being a bit tech savvy. I'd say that I know my way around a computer more than your average Joe does but this is a whole other ball park. Obviously there would be some differences between the operating systems but I didn't anticipate how different they actually are. I've spent the past two weeks Googling: 'how do you........ on mac'. Like seriously, I couldn't work out how to right click. Thought it would be the same but on mac you have to hold down control on the keyboard at the same time for it to work. Who would have thought? Apparently you can change this on the control panel, haven't found that either. So, so, so much to learn. But there's lots of handy guides online and I'm just trying to slowly get through it all. I'm working on a new blog design and I love the way that it looks on this beautiful screen.

But so far I'm enjoying the challenge and don't regret my decision to switch. When I first got an iPhone I very quickly realised how much I loved it and definitely the same thing happened with this. I still have a lot to learn but I think it's a great investment. Due to student discount I also saved myself quite a bit! I've purchased a case and a sleeve for it from Ebay. I'm really impressed with the quality and I love the way it looks. So far, so good!

Do you use Mac or PC? Would you ever switch?

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Books I Want To Reread

Saturday, 19 September 2015
I have to admit I'm not very good at rereading books. I'll finish a book, put it on my shelf and then generally never pick it back up again. I don't want to take them to the charity shop because I enjoyed reading them but very rarely do I actually read them again! So I'm going to make the effort to try and reread books a bit more frequently. Maybe one a month. I've actually found that when I'm rereading a book I read it much faster than I do normally. Probably because I already know a lot about the characters and where the plot is going. I've picked out five books that I really want to reread and I would ideally like to have done that all by the end of the year. When I'm at uni I don't read for pleasure as much so rereading books is good because like I said I read them faster!

A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki - The first time I read this book I absolutely raced through it. It was absolutely amazing. I had borrowed it from my friend Sarah but a few months ago she said I could have it if I wanted as she no longer wanted it. One man's trash is another man's treasure! This is a book about a woman in Canada who finds a lunchbox washed up on the shore. It contains the diary of a young Japanese girl and she suspects that the lunchbox may be the start of the debris from the Japanese tsunami making its way across the ocean. The book is told in alternating chapters: one Canadian lady chapter and one Japanese diary chapter. It's a really interesting story and not like anything I've really read before. I would love to reread this as I enjoyed it so much the first time round and I'd like to check out her other books as well!

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga - I read this on holiday a few years ago and I really liked it at the time so it would be interesting to read it again and see if I enjoy it as much the second time around. It's about a man in India who works as a servant/driver to a very rich man. But he feels like he is much better than that so he tries to take over. At least that's what I remember! I have debated taking this one to the charity shop a lot recently so I think I'm going to give it a read again and then donate it. I think I actually bought it in a charity shop in the first place!

Nothing To Envy by Barbara Demick - This is a collection of stories from people who have defected from North Korea. I find North Korea absolutely fascinating and I've read a lot of books about the current regime there. What I liked about this one was that it tells you the stories of lots of different people. Like in this one of the people was the daughter of a poor miner and the other a doctor. I think we consider North Korea to just be a very poor country in general but it's interesting to see the difference between the rich and the poor inside the country too. Rereading this will just be for the sake of it because I really enjoyed it first time around.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher - This is another book that I read several years ago and really loved. I was probably about 14 at the time so I'm keen to see if this is as good as I remember it being. It's about a boy who knew a girl who killed herself. And then a set of tapes shows up at his house and he realises the tapes are her explaining the thirteen reasons why she killed herself. And all the reasons are people. And he's one of them. I remember this being obviously very dark but quite thought provoking as well so that's why I'm quite keen to read it again.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell - Last year I reread Fangirl and Eleanor & Park. Rainbow Rowell is one of my favourite authors so I really enjoy rereading her books. I think this is probably my least favourite out of her books but I still really enjoyed it. It's about a guy who works in the IT department of a company, it's his job to monitor staff emails for any inappropriate comments etc. There are two friends conversing that keep flagging up but he doesn't report them because he enjoys reading the emails. I remember it being very sweet, much like all of her books so I'm sure I'll enjoy reading it again!

Do you reread books? 

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Geneva: Botanical Gardens, ICT Discovery and Water Taxis

Tuesday, 15 September 2015
It seems like it was yesterday that we were in Geneva, strange to think that we've been back for about 10 days now! We managed to book our flights so that we left at 9:50pm which meant that our last day in Geneva was pretty much a full day! We started off by booking ourselves in for an 11:30am slot at the ICT Discovery Museum. We got the bus up at around 10am and decided to walk the Geneva Cultural Trail before going off to the Museum. The Cultural Trail starts outside the United Nations building and leads around Geneva showing off different sculptures and buildings. It also finishes with a walk through the Botanical Gardens. I really enjoyed the trail as it was nice to see so many things that I probably wouldn't have visited had I just gone for a walk myself. In fact, I didn't even know Geneva had Botanical Gardens! The gardens were so lovely and we even got to see some animals. They had a few bird enclosures with flamingos, ducks, swans(and black swans), geese, peacocks etc and also had some other animals like deer and sheep. Then we just wandered through the gardens and at the other end we came out maybe a 10 minute walk from the United Nations again. The whole trail took about an hour and fifteen minutes so I'd definitely recommend it.

Then we went into the ICT Discovery Museum which is probably the swankiest museum I have ever been to. It's owned by the President of The United Arab Emirates if that's anything to go by. You have to book ahead but we were the only ones in the museum when we went! We were lead up to the museum by a very nice man in a suit and he explained how everything worked. On arrival we were given a tablet and a set of headphones. As we walked around you placed the tablets on certain areas of the exhibits and it started telling you all about it and showing a little video. Very posh! The museum tells the story of how technological advances were made starting from telegraphs and making its way up the the internet and smartphones. Definitely worth a visit as even if you aren't tech savvy it explains everything in a very helpful and easy to understand way!

After this we had maybe four or so hours to kill before we wanted to go for dinner and then head to the airport. So we decided to take advantage of the four free water taxi routes on the lake. There are four and we headed up to the highest one, M4, and got that across to the other side of the lake. Then we got on M3 and came back. Then? M2! From here we walked around to the base of the Jet D'Eau. You actually can get much closer to the pump than I would have thought. Because the water falls one way you can actually get very close to the other side without getting soaked. It seems event taller when you're right at the bottom. Then we walked down to the bottom of the lake and got M1 back over. Then M3 again and then M4. Yup. We got 6 water taxis in a row. But they were all free and were such a lovely way to see Geneva. By this time we were ready for dinner so we went back to the hostel for the last time to pick up our luggage from the lockers. If anyone is planning a trip to Geneva I would seriously recommend the City Hostel Geneva it was such a great place to stay!

After our amazing dinner there on the first night we decided to return to Holy Cow for our last dinner in Geneva. Again I got the burger with wasabi mayo and teriyaki sauce. So good! Seriously need to return to Switzerland for another one of those! Then we got the train to the airport. The train was double deckered. I've never been on a double decker train before so to be honest this was pretty exciting for me. It's the little things huh? Our flight was delayed by about an hour and we had a bit of a panic when we thought my name was called out the airport. But it turns out it was actually someone else's name so all good! The flight home was ok and we only hit a little bit of turbulence. Whilst I really enjoyed my trip to Geneva it was so lovely to come home and see Batdog!

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Student Sundays: What To Expect From Classes

Sunday, 13 September 2015
Hello everyone! Unfortunately this is probably the last post in my Student Sundays series. At least for this summer. I've really enjoyed writing these blog posts and they're actually the most popular posts I've ever written so I'm really pleased with how well they're doing. I will write more student related posts throughout the year but I think I'll keep Student Sundays for the summer! This post is all about the different types of classes that universities offer. Before I started university one of the main things that I worried about was what I'd actually be doing at uni all day. I had no idea what was really expected of me in a tutorial etc! If there's anything you'd like to add or that you think I've missed out then leave me a comment!

Lectures - I think pretty much everyone knows what to expect from a lecture. These are held in lecture halls that can hold a few hundred people and you have a lecturer who speaks at the front and will also normally have a slide show. Everyone is supposed to take notes. These aren't actually as boring as you think they'll be, especially if you have good lecturers. It may take you a while to find your rhythm when it comes to note taking but you'll get there in the end. Personally I like to take rough notes whilst in a lecture and write up neater and more detailed notes at home.

Tutorials - Tutorial sizes can range from class to class but generally you're looking at a smaller class size of around 5 - 15. There will also be 'tutor' who leads the tutorial. Generally you are given work to do before a tutorial(usually questions or reading) and then you discuss this work in the tutorial. This is also the perfect opportunity to ask for help if there's anything you don't understand in the lectures.

Seminars - These are probably the closest thing you'll get at university to the classroom setting you're used to in high school. Generally the class size is around twenty and there is a 'teacher' who leads the seminars. Seminar is basically just a posh sounding way of saying class. These normally last 1-2 hours but not all subjects will use them. I never had any seminars for my science subjects but I took a German module last semester and the whole thing was taught in seminars. I really enjoyed them!

Labs/Practicals - If you're doing a science based subject then you are most likely going to undertake some labs. Being a chemistry student I have them on a regular basis. For my course we have one three hour lab every week for first year and six hours for second. The lab size is around 70 people which are split into smaller groups. And then within each group everyone has a lab partner. The small groups are lead by lab demonstrators(generally PhD students) who are there to help if you have any problems. 

Hopefully this will help you all out a little. Thank you to everyone who's read these posts over the summer!

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Tropic Skincare - First Impressions

Saturday, 12 September 2015
When you tell your IRL friends about your blog they either really get it, or they really don't. But let me tell you a story about one of my friends. I've known my friend Sarah for a few years but we got really friendly in our second last year of high school and have been best pals ever since. And I get on really well with her family too. A few months ago Sarah was telling me about how one of her mum's friends had become a skincare rep for a brand called Tropic who sell cruelty free skincare and make up. I had a look and whilst everything looked nice it was the middle of the semester and my budget was a bit tight. So can you imagine my surprise when I met up with Sarah recently and she handed me a bag full of Tropic skincare and said 'me and my mum both agreed you had to try these'. They'd contacted the brand rep and got me some samples for my blog! And Sarah's mum had also included some of her old products as well for me to try. How lovely! I was so blown away and almost cried!

Tropic's products are cruelty free and leaping bunny certified. Leaping bunny was a big help when I first made the switch to cruelty free living as it was a symbol that I knew I could trust. The products are also all vegan and made using natural ingredients. So they're basically perfect for me. They started off with skincare but now sell a range of products including make up. Luckily I got to try out quite a few products. Here are my first impressions of some of the products:

Smoothing Cleanser - I am really impressed with this cleanser. It's really lightweight and a tiny little bit of it is enough. I use two pumps and rub it into dry skin before buffing off with the cloth that comes with it. I love how the cloth also matched the colour of the bottles! So far I've really enjoyed using it and it makes my face feel really clean without drying it out too much. 

Skin Revive Nourishing Cream - All of these products seem to have the same scent and it's a really nice, kind of a herbal scent. It makes me think of natural ingredient and when it comes to skincare I like to be as natural as I can be. This is basically a moisturiser and I quite like it. It's quite light so maybe if you have really dry skin it wouldn't be the best but I have normal to oily skin so this is perfect for me.

Vitamin Toner Refreshing Spritz - I love toners. This one is no different. I spray a wee bit on some cotton pads(reusable ones available on my Etsy here) and wipe my face with it between cleansing and moisturising. This just helps to tighten your pores and keep your skin clearer. Some people argue this is pointless but I've personally found it makes a big difference. 

Eye Refresh Herbal Roll On - I love these things. I wear glasses and use screens a lot, both at my actual job and when writing my blog, so my eyes will often feel quite tired. As this is really small and light it's perfect for keeping in my bag and using to refresh a bit during the day. It has a really fresh smell as well as all the other products.

Eye Revive Firming Cream Concentrate - To be honest I never really use eye creams just because I don't really feel like I need one at my age! Ask me if I'm still saying that in a few years, scary how old I'm getting! I've used this a few times and it seems good but to be honest I don't feel like I can be an effective judge of that!

Exfoliating Cleansing Block - This is a great product. I love body scrubs as I have quite dry skin on my body so I'm always on the look out for ones to try. I love Lush's Buffy which before this was the only solid body exfoliator I'd seen. This has a similar scent to all of the products on the range which is very clean and fresh. The block is quite gritty which gives for a good scrub. I've been keeping it in the soap rack in my shower and it seems to be drying out quite well so not much of it is going to waste. I'm really impressed with this product and I think for £5 I would definitely be buying another one.

So far I'm really impressed with the quality of these products and how much Tropic skincare seem to care about their products. I am definitely going to try more from the brand, I've already been eyeing up their lipsticks!

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Geneva: United Nations, Red Cross & Cathedral

Friday, 11 September 2015

Hello everyone! How are you all finding my Geneva series? I hope you guys are enjoying reading the posts as much as I am enjoying writing them! Today I'm talking about our third day in Geneva. Early in the morning we got the tram up to the United Nations. The stop was helpfully called 'Nations'. Here we saw the fountains, the chair statue and the United Nations from the outside. To tour the United Nations it costs 12 CHF and I'm pretty sure you have to book in. We were unsure about the tour and decided to go to the Red Cross Museum whilst we made up our minds. The International Red Cross Museum was just up the road. 

The usual entry is 15 CHF but if you are staying at a hostel/hotel in Geneva then you get entry for 7 CHF. This was the best museum I've ever been to so as far as I'm concerned it is definitely worth the price. When we arrived we were given little walkmans and headphones. As we went around we typed the numbers on the displays into the walkmans and then the head phones played some information to us about the different exhibits. I learnt so much! I started attending my school's Amnesty International group when I was 11 and have had a real interest in human rights ever since. It was amazing to see all the work that the Red Cross do. The museum was split into three sections: defending human dignity, restoring family links and preventing natural disasters. Each section was really good and thought provoking. One of my favourite things was seeing all the gifts given to Red Cross workers by prisoners. Some of them were absolutely beautiful and learning the back story of each item was really interesting. If you're in Geneva then I would really recommend this! By the time we got out we were really hungry so the United Nations was abandoned in search of food. I think if I went back to Geneva I would do the tour but I'm not too upset about missing it!

Then after that we got the bus into the old town section of the town. And we had a wee walk around there. This is the really posh part of town and here it's easy to see why a trip to Geneva can be expensive if you're not careful. Everyone seems to be wearing posh suits and drinking wine in posh bars! It is a really lovely part of the town to walk around and soak in the atmosphere. Maybe one day I'll be rich enough to return to Geneva and stay there! Then we went into the St Pierre Cathedral. This is something that's included in just about every Geneva guide. The building itself was absolutely beautiful and I really loved looking at the artitecture. That being said, I'm in no way religious and often feel quite uncomfortable in churches so it wasn't somewhere I really wanted to hang around. We'd then walked around to the other side of the lake so we got another water taxi back over to the side where we were staying. 

There was a Thai/Chinese restaurant near our hostel where we went for dinner. The meal was really nice and was only 14 CHF. I had duck in plum sauce with rice. When it came it was actually more of a ginger sauce than a plum sauce but was still lovely! I've found that when ordering plum sauce in Chinese restaurants it's very rarely plum sauce which is so weird. After dinner we went back to Gelato Mania(again) for some ice cream and then went back to the front. I had my camera with me this time so was able to take some photos. It was so beautiful at night!

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50 Things That Make Me Happy

Thursday, 10 September 2015

1. Crisp dog walks.
2. Orange juice with breakfast.
3. Laughing until you cry.
4. NCIS box sets.
5. Really cold tap water when you're really thirsty.
6. Drinking cider outside.
7. Reading in bed when it's raining.
8. Blog comments.
9. Winter boots.
10. Hot chocolate with marshmallows.

11. Getting a good view.
12. Leek and potato soup.
13. Train journeys.
14. Hot, strong showers.
15. Crocheted elephants.
16. Batdog's dog breath.
17. Wearing my lab coat.
18. Eating out.
19. Talking about science.
20. Jill Jackson's music.

21. Singing in the car.
22. South Queensferry road trips.
23. To do lists. 
24. Getting mail.
25. Breakfast.
26. Spelling a word right on the first go. 
27. Edinburgh.
28. Rereading Harry Potter.
29. Cinnamon and raisin bagels.
30. Red lipstick.

31. My mum.
32. Crap banter.
33. Peaches.
34. Live comedy.
35. Gran's macaroni cheese.
36. Airports.
37. Lush's Lust perfume.
38. A well placed swear word.
39. New books.
40. Old books.

41. Freshly painted nails.
42. Feeling productive. 
43. Swimming.
44. PR parcels.
45. Driving around at night and seeing all the lights.
46. The feeling of being exactly where you're supposed to be.
47. Rainbow wool. 
48. Falling asleep straight away. 
49. Summer strawberries.
50. Having so many amazing and wonderful people reading my blog.

Hello everyone! I was tagged by the lovely Beth from Alphabeth to share 50 things that make me happy. If you'd like to see Beth's 50 things then you can read them here. I think we could all do with a little bit more positivity in our lives and sitting down and thinking about the things in our lives that make us happy is actually such a nice thing to do. This list is definitely a bit autumn/winter inspired as I'm really feeling a bit fed up with summer now and want to get back into the swing of things at university. The majority of these photos are from my Instragam and I've tried to match them up with the list as much as possible. Would love it if you could give me a follow on Instagram here as I'm trying to share more photos on there! I don't have any bloggers I'd like to tag in particular but I would love it if anyone else did a post like this as I love reading these sorts of lists as they make me feel very inspired! If you do this tag then let me know so I can have a nosy!

Please leave me a comment sharing a few things that make you happy! 

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell


Geneva: CERN and Mont Salève

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Hello everyone. Welcome to day two in my Geneva Diaries. This was our first full day in Geneva and one of the most exciting ones. We had decided on going to Geneva so that we could see CERN and luckily we managed to get ourselves booked in for the 11am tour on the Wednesday of our trip. Which was a week ago today. The time has gone so fast! 

We arrived at CERN and were given little passes to say that we were part of the tour. Then we went into a room and sat and watched a short video about CERN and how it started. Then our group was split into two and we both went to different parts of CERN. We were on an individual tour so unfortunately we didn't get to see as much as you would see if you were touring with a school or university. On the tour we got to see the ATLAS control room and the first particle accelerator built at CERN in 1957. The first for us was the ATLAS control room which is where the Large Hadron Collider is operated from. There was a little viewing window where we actually saw the people working. This was a little bit weird as I don't think I would want people watching me as I worked! It was interesting to see however and we were given a little chat about how it works and how the detectors tell the differnce between different particles.

We then crossed over to the first particle accelerator. They show this in a really interesting way that I don't really want to spoil as it's pretty amazing when you actually see it in person. So I'm sorry but you'll just have to go and see it for yourself! But all in all I found it to be very inspiring. The first accelerator was huge and it's still tiny compared to the LHC! Plus it was  built without the use of calculators which is mind blowing to a Generation Y girl like myself. We were then taken back to the reception at CERN were there was an exhibit and a gift shop. The tour was absolutely amazing and very inspiring and informative. I learnt a lot! Even if you don't have much on an interest in science I'm sure you would enjoy it anyway although you might have to ask some questions. Our tour guide was very helpful when people where confused by the physics and I think he did a great job at explaining things in really basic terms. The gift shop wasn't as big as I was expecting but I did buy some postcards and a keyring!

We then caught a tram back to our hostel(free public transport made getting around Geneva so easy) where we relaxed for a bit before getting another tram out to the French border. From here we walked across the border(actually really easy we didn't even get stopped) so that we could go up the cable car on Mont Salève(information here). Fortunately despite it being in France we could pay using Swiss Francs which was very helpful! It cost 9.10 CHF or roughly £6. The cable car goes up the mountain in about four minutes and offers an absolutely amazing view. It takes you up to 1'100 metres and our ears were popping the whole way up! The view from the top was absolutely stunning. People were paragliding off the mountain which was amazing to watch. I think I'd definitely do it if I had the chance! You can then walk further up the mountain to reach the summit. We walked up to the Mont Blanc viewpoint(it was unfortunately covered by clouds) and then stopped at an area for paragliders to watch them jump. We didn't actually make it to the top but the view from where were was amazing. I actually found it quite a difficult climb, I was very wheezy! I've climbed Arthur's Seat before  no bother so I don't really know why I struggled so much! We then got the cable car back down the mountain and caught a bus back into the town.

On our way back to the hostel we went into an Italian restaurant and got three takeaway pizzas between the four of us to share. They were 12 CHF each which ended up costing us 9 CHF. Dinner was the biggest cost in Geneva and it's easy to see why people consider it to be an expensive city. We were very careful but the majority of restaurants were charging about 25+ CHF for simple dinners like pasta! After dinner we hung out at the hostel for a big and played a lot of card games. Then we went and got ice cream from Gelato Mania and walked down to the water front. I had some passion fruit sorbet which was lovely! I didn't take any photos as I had left my DSLR at the hostel but the Jet D'Eau was lovely at night. I will share some photos of it lit up at night in my day three post!

So that was how we spent our second day in Geneva! Pretty busy right?

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell