Sunday, 25 September 2016

End Of Year Blog Targets

Keep Posting Regularly

I've tried to keep a fairly consistent schedule to post around three times a week as this was achievable for me. Since starting my new job full time three weeks ago I have found it harder to be able to post this often as I had a lot less free time than I used to. Now I'm starting to get used to my new working week I want to get back on tracking with posting and want to keep this up. I'd love to be able to look in a few months and be happy with how I maintained my blog.

Increase My Following

I'd love to keep growing my following across all things blog related. I've been slowly increasing my page-views to maintain a steady level each day that I'm relatively happy with. Obviously my blog relies on my social media being able to promote my content so if I can keep growing my following across Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. I know I don't currently engage enough, especially on Twitter so this is something I'm going to push myself to start doing more.

Do More Review Posts

I do quite enjoy writing review posts as it lets me think about something in more detail so I can give my views on it. I'm really into my technology and want to start reviewing more products in this area. Looking at other posts out there, I think trying out some cheap gadgets for review would definitely work and be quite fun. I'd also like do more review posts of restaurants and days out as you can get more out of it sometimes than a single product.

Improve My Photography

I think this is always something to aim for as having better photos is never going to be a bad thing. I've been into photography for quite a while now and particularly like landscape photography and nature shots. As I said in my other goal about doing more reviews, I think this is an area where I want to improve as I'm not quite as strong taking product photos so I'd aim to work on this before the end of the year.

Try Out Some Posts I've Not Done Before

Sometimes it can be quite easy to stick to the type of posts you are confident on and don't want to try writing some ideas that aren't normally your kind of thing. I think branching out into food based posts would be something to try. This could be anything from recipes up to giving my thoughts on the latest restaurant menu. It would expand my photography skills as taking quality photos of food is a different style so it would be interesting to learn and develop with this.

Do More Blog Series

I've done these kind of posts before but they have been related to TV series as a weekly catch up of the latest episode. I'm starting to do some uni related posts that are part of a series and want to try and do this with some of the other topics in my blog as it's a great way to keep content going. I think as a reader, I also like post series to keep checking back into. They are also a great way to get all the content out you want if it's too much to include in one post.

post signature

Thursday, 22 September 2016

How To Manage Your Time During University | Uni Series

I went on Timehop the other day and realised it was four years since I moved into student halls at Northumbria University and it made me think about another student/university post. When I was in my first year although I had a bit of a schedule, all the nights out had an effect on my work and I wish I had been more organised. Here's how I managed my time in my second and third years during university.

Buy a planner

When you're in school you're often given a planner or diary to keep note of coursework and exams, but when you start university you have to buy one yourself. Buy yourself an A5 academic year diary and record every piece of coursework, assignment details and deadlines and it will be easy to keep on track with your course. If you think of something to include in your dissertation, write it in the planner. If you schedule a meeting with a tutor, write it in the planner. You won't regret it.

Have a schedule

Aside from your timetabled lectures, seminars and workshops, you should be doing a few hours at least of work per day. In your free periods between classes, get yourself to a computer and do some work to pass the time. If you do this every day that you're in uni you won't fall behind, even if you're typing up lecture notes it will all help when it comes to exams season. I didn't go home in between classes and spent 'frees' in the library.

Prioritise your work

You may have research to do, seminar prep, lecture notes to type up and categorise, coursework and dissertation prep along with revision. Getting small tasks out of the way is a good starting point as you can focus your time on important assignments and preparation. I typed up lecture notes as soon as I was free in order to dedicate evenings and sometimes weekends during busier months to tasks that were lengthy and important.

Have some time off

Instead of procrastinating and putting off tasks, if you have a schedule in place then you can have time off without feeling guilty or falling behind. If you go on a few nights out a week, make sure your tasks are done before you go out, as you're definitely not going to want to do them when you're hungover. If you go away for the weekend to see friends or family, make sure your work is done or you can do it on the train so that you can spend quality time with people you love. Giving yourself time to relax and de-stress is vital when it comes to your mental and physical health too.

Doing advanced work

If you know you have a seminar in a weeks time and you haven't got anything to do in between classes and you can access the next prep sheet, do the prep. Sometimes I managed to do research and preparation for classes two weeks in advance and it meant it didn't build up on me. Especially when it comes to your third year, if you already know what topic you're writing your project on, get some research done ahead of time. That means when it comes down to the nitty gritty, you already know what to write about and that's less stress on your plate.

post signature

Monday, 12 September 2016

University Packing List | Uni Series

I can remember trying to get all my packing sorted and worrying whether I had got what I needed. I spent quite a while desperately searching for lists of important items, so I thought I'd create this easy guide so you to find out the important things you'll need to pack. There will be some items on the list that you may not need as they are provided in your accommodation (e.g. an ironing board).


Oven trays
Cooking utensils
Pyrex jugs - perfect for microwaving your food
Food containers/tuppawear
Chopping boards
Toastie machine - you will be loved by everyone if you have one of these
Washing sponges
Fairy liquid - you may well end up with a year's supply if everyone in your flat brings some
Tea towels
Slow cooker - I know you might be wondering about this one but it can be so useful to prepare your meals in earlier in the day so its ready as soon as you come in. It won't break the bank either, I picked one up for £10 from Wilko's
Kitchen cleaner - you don't want to let it become too horrible to cook in
Anti-bacterial wipes can be used for wiping down surfaces and are so useful when cleaning spilled drinks whilst playing cards


Bedding - get a double even if you only have a single bed 
Mattress protector - you will spill drinks on your bed at some point
Any fancy dress outfits (you'll need a few)
Dressing gown/Slippers
Coat hangers
Posters - makes your room a little more homely
Door wedge - one of the best ways to be friendly to leave your door open to invite others in
Clothes Rail - if you don't have much storage you can hang your most used clothes here, or alternatively use the rail to try clothes that are hung up.


Shower gel/Shampoo
Razor/Shaving foam
Hair products
Bleach - don't let your toilet become nasty
Bathroom cleaner - this is where you'll wash so you want it to be fresh


Notepad - don't by too cheap as the paper won't last well, you can get decent ones on offer around the start of term
Pens - you don't want to be 'that person' who is constantly asking to borrow one
Highlighters - perfect for revision
Uni diary - this is handy to note down all your work and deadlines
Folders - they will come in very useful for organising your work
Plastic wallets - can also help with filing
Holepunch - very useful when filing things away
Stapler - a life saver when handing in assignments so it isn't just a pile of papers


Games console and controllers
USB stick for your work
Extension lead
Spare phone - something like a classic Nokia is ideal for nights out
HDMI cables - very useful to connect your laptop to the TV (Netflix on the big screen)


Ironing board
Laundry basket
Washing liquid
Clothes maiden
Passport - you may well need this for job interviews etc.
Railcard - definitely worth investing in one if you travel by train a lot
NUS card or Unidays app to save on the Autumn fresher events

post signature

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

How My Life Could Be Different

I was thinking the other day about how things could be different if I'd chosen another route a few years ago, but I'm so happy with how things have turned out and I wouldn't change anything. I remember going through different years at school and having numerous ideas about what job I'd want when I grew up. I remember when I was in primary school and the only job I wanted to do was to be a binman. I had a toy truck that I always used to play with and loved watching them out the window when they came to collect the rubbish. There was a time at Christmas when I was looking at the lights and decorations with my dad and I saw a bin lorry collecting all the rubbish from the shops. After catching up with it I was made up that they let me put a box in the back and this just made me want to be a binman even more. 

Once I had moved up to secondary school I'd set myself on being a builder and wanted to leave school at 16 and go straight into this area of work. This slightly altered to a joiner and self employed handyman which I stuck with until the first year of my GCSE's. At this point I realised it wasn't going to be for me and after watching quite a few rather too many episodes of traffic cops and police interceptors I thought I'd found my new calling. In the second year of my GCSE's this went out the window and I ended up choosing to do my A-Levels ending up with ones in Maths, Geography and ICT. From starting these I had developed a real interest in working in something water related so it was at this point I chose to do Geography at Uni. Here I am now a year after I graduated and I've just started my job working for a water company.

As I was saying at the start of the post, I'm really happy with my choices and right where I want to be. It is funny to look back and see which direction I could have gone in or which job I could have been in if I'd stuck with one of my first choices. A little bit of advice here is that if you don't know what to do or keep changing your mind then not to worry. Things will work out the way you want them to if you stick at it.

post signature
© Andrew Mark Smith. All rights reserved.
Blogger Designs by pipdig