Tuesday, 27 October 2015

A weekend in Strasbourg

On the night of our return from Bonn, I was busy looking up places for our next weekend away. Strasbourg was high up on my 'places I want to go' list after seeing how gorgeous it is courtesy of photos my Grandparents had taken there recently and of course, Pinterest. So, I had a search for travel and accommodation options. When I found bus tickets through Deutsche Bahn for €9 each way I was sold. We also booked a cheap hotel to keep costs down (ERASMUS grant - where art thou). 
A weekend in Strasbourg
So less than 2 weeks later we were waking up bright and early - note I have not seen that hour of the day in a while, to catch a bus from Mannheim Busbahnhof to Strasbourg. The bus ride was great - free wifi, comfortable, and cheap refreshments (€1 for a coffee yes please), and we arrived in Strasbourg for 9:30am. 

We soon headed off to explore the charming city. Tom had a walking tour downloaded which we loosely followed. We started at Place Kléber, then went onto rue des Francs Bourgeois and right down the pedestrianised Grand Rue, with quirky shops and 17th-century buildings. Then we reached Place Benjamin Zix and wandered around Petite France for quite a while. It was probably my favourite little corner of the city, even if parts of it were swamped by tourists. It was really really pretty and I loved the architecture, the cute half-timbered houses with overflowing flower boxes, gently winding canals and bridges. We tried some freshly baked macarons and bought a packet because they were too good to leave without. 

Thursday, 22 October 2015

How to cope with multiple deadlines

We've all had this feel. When teachers/lecturers all set their deadlines for the same day? WHY TEACHERS WHY. Last week, I had 2 final essays and a final exam, and a trip to France and a presentation to prepare, all in the space of about 4 days #stress. Some of us are better at coping than others. I used to have a tendency to panic and get stressed when all the essays are due at once but I've learnt in my many many years at school and the past 2 and a bit years at uni how best to cope with this sitch, and I thought I'd share with you my valuable insights…

How to cope with multiple deadlines

List. Write a list.  And then, prioritse those things on that list. 

Okay so you've probably figured out that when you have many things you need to get done, the best place to start is by writing a list. This helps me in so many ways, it helps to clear my head, helps me realise that stuff is manageable and it gives me motivation when I'm ticking things off. I find it helps to write more achievable tasks such as 'research xyz', 'pick an essay title', 'plan essay', 'write introduction' rather than 'write essay'. No-one, well maybe some people, sits down and writes an essay in one go, approach it in bite size chunks and it'll help you not to panic. I also find it really useful to number the list so you know exactly what you need to be doing. Start with the most important and work your way down that list.

Get up an hour earlier. 60 minutes. You can do it.

Well you can try. I'm not a morning person in terms of getting out of bed, but I am at my most productive at the start of the day. When I've got a lot on my plate, I try to wake up an hour earlier than normal and power through my to do list. I usually start with an easy task followed by the most important/difficult task of the day that I absolutely MUST do, this is when my motivation and productivity is at its highest.

Don't panic and do nothing.

I know all too well how easy it is to put your onesie on and curl up under the covers and try to forget about all of your responsibilities and pretend that if you hide they'll go away. We both know that they will definitely not go away. In fact it's a damn good way of getting yourself more stressed. When I feel like getting into bed even though I have so much to do, I tend to give myself 30 minutes to relax, do something I want to do, and then when those 30 minutes are up I get my head down and focus.

Know how you work best.

You will really need to focus hard when it comes to multiple deadlines. If you work better with music on in the background, play music. If you work better in the library, get yourself to the library. Get to know how you work best and do that!

Talk to people.

I don't mean spend all your time talking to your flatmates instead of doing your work. I mean letting your friends and family know that you're going to be busy. Confiding with people close to you about being stressed, and getting everything off your chest can also help you feel better. And chances are some of your uni/school friends will be going through similar things. If your work load is physically impossible and you know that you aren't going to be able to meet all your deadlines, then it's worth talking to your personal tutor or lecturers about your situation as you might be able to get an extension.

The main thing to remember is that it'll all be worth the stress and hard work in the end, whatever you're doing! If you have any other useful tips, leave them in a comment!

Hannah Lane

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Joules Welly Design Competition

Hey guys! Quick post today to inform you all of this awesome new competition that Joules has launched. In the run up to winter, everyone needs their own pair of wellies to protect their feet from the wet and (hopefully!) snow. I've owned so many pairs of wellies in my life having looked after horses and living in the countryside but my favourite pair have to be Joules.

Anyway, this competition allows you to design a pair of welly boots! The best bit about it is that the winning design will be sold at joules.com with proceeds from the sales going to Joules' charity partners via Charitably Joules. The winner also gets a luxury break worth £5000 and there are also 10 winner up prizes of £250 Joules gift cards.

Anyone that knows me knows that I love designing things and I've already submitted my entry!

Fancy a go? Click here to submit your design :)

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Friday, 16 October 2015

72 hours away - Bonn, Cologne, & Königswinter

A couple of weeks ago, Tom and I nearly missed caught an ICE train out of Frankfurt heading for North Rhine-Westphalia, as a bit of a celebratory weekend. It was organised a bit last minute so we had nothing planned when we arrived but it was a great weekend nonetheless :D. For anyone thinking of a trip to the south of North Rhine-Westphalia, then I have a couple of recommendations for you! 

We decided to stay in a hotel in Bonn as when we were comparing prices it was cheaper to get the initial train there and stay there. It was a good decision as it's a beautiful place but there's not heaps to see. We arrived Friday night, grabbed some food and headed to the hotel to do some quick research on what to do before bed. I'd met a German guy at Uni who was from Bonn and he informed me that Cologne was the place to be. We knew we wanted to visit there anyway so Saturday morning we got up bright and early (read: 10am) armoured with coffee and cameras and got on a short train to spend the day in Cologne

hannah emily lane - Kölner Dom Cologne Cathedral Beautiful building

Friday, 9 October 2015

What you should be watching right now!

Hannah Emily Lane - Macbook Glasses Nailvarnish Bed
GBBO is over *weeps*, but there is so much else to look forward to right now. Here are some of my recommendations and favourite programmes to fill the hole that bake off has left...

Doctor Foster 

There's a reason everyone's talking about it. Seriously. So. Good. If you haven't seen it already - you need to!

It's the kind of programme that has you on the edge of your seat and you genuinely have no idea what's coming round the corner next. It's been on BBC1 recently, the first episode is still available on iPlayer, so get watching!

Source: BBC America

Orphan Black

Orphan Black is a BBC drama/sci fi series that is based on a bunch of woman who are identical or clones. I've now watched the first two seasons twice (you can watch them on Netflix) and I'm so excited that the third season is here,  I'm planning on watching the first episode of it after finishing this post. It's a brilliant series - I love the characters, the suspense, the humour, and the amazing performances of Tatiana Maslany. I would highly recommend this to almost anyone. It's a little slow to start, but once you get into it, you won't be able to get enough.

Sense 8 

A Netflix series definitely worth a watch. I unashamedly watched this whole series in 2 days and then rewatched it in German. It's similar to Orphan Black in that it's a bit of a drama/sci fi series. The first couple of episodes are a bit confusing or hard to follow, but stick it out as it's something you can really get into, and chain watch the entire series without realising it's gone midnight and you have to be up in the morning. There is a good balance in this of everything a series should have, action, suspense, well placed humour and the characters are well developed meaning you can emotionally engage with the show. If you're looking for a new Netflix series, this may be your one!

What else? Well, Apprentice is back on soon, a new season of American Horror Story has just started,  and there's been a new Sherlock advert *internally squeals*. SO MUCH GOOD TV. For lighter entertainment, there's also Gogglebox and Don't Tell The Bride on at the minute. 

And there you have it, a quick rundown of some worthwhile series to watch and something for everyone. Now, go put your PJs on, grab some snacks, light a couple of candles and have a cosy night in with Netflix/iPlayer

Hannah Lane