Holiday without your parents?

Growing up means that a lot of things in your life change. You have to put yourself to bed and cook yourself dinner and, at some point, you may have to go on holiday without your parents. From my experiences, holidays with your family are easy as all you have to do is turn up on time and magically your parents have set everything else to fall into place, so when they’re no longer vacationing with you there are a few more things you need to think about.

  1. CHECK IN ONLINE – On some airlines, more specifically the budget ones, you have to check in and print your boarding passes off at home before you’ve even thought about leaving for the airport. When you book your tickets it is a good idea to check the boarding pass policies of the airline you are flying with and check in when they tell you to so you’re not left stuck in the airport
  2. KEEP ALL IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS IN ONE PLACE – As well as those boarding passes you’ve just printed, it is a good idea to print out any confirmation emails or information on the accommodation you will be staying in abroad as well as any activities you may have booked. Once you’ve done that put all of that in one safe, secure folder to keep on you at all times during your travel. (LITTLE TIP take a photo of all of the information as well so if worse comes to worse and you lose the folder at least you will still have all the information)
  3. EXCHANGE YOUR CURRENCY BEFORE YOU GO – Even though it is possible to change your money up at the airport, and in the country you are visiting, they normally have the worse exchange rates. Therefore it is better to look online for the best exchange rates (the post office, your bank, travel agencies) and get it done before you go. (LITTLE TIP when you change your money up some places offer a buy back guarantee which means if you come back with some spare euros, for example, they will exchange them for pounds at the same exchange rate you bought them for)
  4. MEDICINE – Remember those times you’ve got a headache on holiday and you’re parents have been there with some paracetamol? Well now it is your turn to be your own medicine cabinet. I’m not saying you need to bring a whole pharmacy but pack some pain relief tablets, some plasters, some aftersun and some antihistamine to put on any bug bites (as well as enough of any other medicine that you may have to take)
  5.  SUITCASE WEIGHT LIMITS – Whilst you are checking if you need to check in early (see what I did there) you should also check what weight limit you have on your luggage so you don’t arrive and end up having to wear 5 of your dresses onto the plane because your suitcase was too heavy. (LITTLE TIP if you don’t feel like paying the extra £40 to have a suitcase checked in remember you can bring smaller suitcases on as hand luggage which, most of the time, don’t have weight limits they just have to be a certain size or less)
  6.  AIRPORT TRANSPORTATION AT BOTH ENDS – Not only is it important to have a plan to get to the airport on your home side, be that by bus, train or the taxi service that is your parents) you should also have a plan as to how you’re going to get from the airport you land in to your accommodation. Some hotels offer shuttle services whereas others can be reached by public transport. If you want to get a taxi make sure you budget that into your holiday plans.
  7. INFORM YOUR BANK ABOUT YOUR TRIP – Now that your money is all changed up you shouldn’t really need to use your card abroad but nevertheless it is a good idea to tell your bank when and where you are going so if you do use your card abroad they won’t cancel it due to fear its been stolen.
  8. ADAPTORS – There is nothing worse than finally arriving on holiday and realising you can’t charge your camera you were going to use to take all those insta-worthy photos because the plug sockets are different. Before you go away google what type of socket they have in the country you are going to and make sure you have a suitable adaptor. These can be bought at the airport but normally for a rather high price. (LITTLE TIP if you’re planning on traveling around countries then invest in a universal adaptor that has lots of different socket options)
  9. PACK A TOWEL – This is one I never really think of then get really annoyed when I forget. If you’re planning on heading to the beach on holiday or going hiking to some waterfalls you will need a towel to dry off. Some accommodation may offer them but most are only to be used on site so bring your own to avoid any soggy taxi rides home.
  10. BRING YOUR PASSPORT – This one is rather self explanatory but also probably the most important of them all. Before you leave the house ( and the hotel at the other end) triple check that your passport is in your bag so no matter what you will be getting on that plane.

Now that you’re all prepared and feeling like a proper adult there’s just enough time to give your parents a kiss goodbye then you are ready to head off on your next (grown up) adventure.

Where are you guys off to this summer? Do you prefer family holidays or trips away without your parents?

Go and grab another cuppa (or maybe an iced tea) on me, Em x

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Disney first-time bucket list

bucket listI would be lying to you if I said I have never been lucky enough to go to Disney World but what I will say is I have never wanted to go back so much in my life. Last time I went I was around 9 years old and even though I enjoyed it I don’t feel like I got the fullest Disney experience out of it. I may have gained a slight obsession with Disneyland since then and through countless blogs and vlogs have realised that there are so many aspects to it other than just the rides and meet-and-greets (even though they are still just as important). Therefore in preparation for the next time I am lucky enough to visit I have put together a list of all the must do things when in Disneyworld…

  1. TAKE A PHOTO IN FRONT OF ONE OF THE ICONIC LANDMARKS Disneyworld is made up of 4 main parks (Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios) which are hard to do all in one day so wherever you are take a photo in front of one of the main landmarks like Cinderella’s castle or the tree of life
  2. MEET A DISNEY PRINCESS Whichever princess you have decided is your favourite (mine is Rapunzel) try and get a photo with them! If you’re not a princess person that don’t be put off just trade out princess for whoever your favourite character may be.
  3. GO TO A CHARACTER MEAL This one I realise is quite an expensive option and often has to be booked in advance but what better way to interact and take photos with your favourite characters than over a delicious meal! Personally I want to go to The Crystal Palace to have breakfast with Winnie the Pooh and friends.
  4. TRADE A PIN Now pin trading is something that I didn’t even know existed last time I went to the park and in a way I can see why as some pins reach up to $60 when bought in the park. It is still however something that I really want to take part in and I think will be a great memory so an insider tip I have learnt is to go to your local disney store and buy a few pins from there initially that are cheaper and you can then trade when you’re in the park with other visitors and park employees.
  5. WATCH A SHOW OR THE FIREWORKS I think this one may be the most important for me as Disney is renowned for putting on a good show. Some of the most highly recommended were the Welcome Show, Fantasmic and the fireworks at either Epcot or the Magic Kingdom.
  6. TRY SOME EXCLUSIVE DISNEY TREATS This one all depends on your taste but I have heard that a dole whip is something you have to try! If you want to stay closer to your comfort zone why not try a tasty treat in the shape of Mickey mouse like a waffle.
  7. WATCH A PARADE This one speaks for itself really but what better way to see all of your favourite characters than have them float past you to the beat of a good-old Disney tune.
  8. RIDE IT’S A SMALL WORLD This one may just be on here for nostalgic reasons as I remember dragging my Grandma repeatedly on this ride but I think it has just become a classic part of Disneyworld!
  9. WATCH A MOVIE UNDER THE STARS I was debating wether or not to put this one in as I don’t think it is considered as one of the must-dos in Disneyworld. BUT the key reason why I imagine you want to go to Disneyworld is because you fell in love with the Disney films so what better to remind you of that than to watch a classic under the stars in the place where all the magic really does come to life.
  10. TAKE A FUNNY PHOTO ON A RIDE Whether you’re a thrill seeker and wants to take on the mighty Space Mountain or battling it out on Buzz Lightyear be sure to pull a funny pose for the camera to keep as a memory of your time there.

 

One last suggestion I have (that isn’t really a thing to do but more a thing to get) is to invest in the memory maker, all of your photos throughout your time at the park will be sent to you digitally which means you can enjoy your time completely knowing that all of your photos are taken care of.

Although it may be impossible to do all of these things in one visit it just gives you more of a reason to go back when you can

Let me know if you would like another one of these for each of the other Disney Parks 🙂

Go and grab another cuppa on me, Em x

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June Bullet Journal Layout

For the past 9 months I have become a bullet journal addict. Not only is it a great way to stay organised but it is also just a good excuse to doodle and practice some new hand-rendered type. June does not only mean the start of summer but it also means the start of a new monthly layout…

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I wanted to keep with the theme of summer and used a pineapple washi tape, that can be purchased in a set here, and I just think it is so bright and beautiful. I use the monthly calendar on the left to mark any holidays (be that actual trips away or events like birthdays and fathers day). The space on the left I use to fill in other key events that I want to remember but feel need more space, as well as this I put in any future events that I will need to add into later months.

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My weekly spreads in June, rather bizarrely, start on the 6th seeing as the 1st fell into my last May week. The flower pots at the top show me what week we are in – first pot means first week, second pot means second week etc. I like having big spaces on each day to make checklists of things I need to do as well as a place to highlight big and exciting events that I want to remember

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When I fill in my daily spreads I like to attempt to try out different fonts to highlight any important things that happen in a day as well as boxes to make key little reminders stand out. I stick to the usual bullet journal key, which you can find out more about here, for my everyday to do lists. The pens I use are Rotring tikky graphic fine liners in 0.3 and 0.5 (I am thinking of writing a review on these on a later date).

I am far from a calligraphy master but love having my journal as a way to practise my designs and keep organised! I cannot wait to continue to fill out the month of June and in particular continue to use the adorable pineapple washi tape.

Go and grab another cuppa on me, Em x

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Becoming a Graphic Design student?

I am now (rather scarily) heading into my third and final year of studying Graphic Design at Norwich University of the Arts. Time has flown by and to think that this time next year I will be looking for my first full-time job is excitingly petrifying.

Thinking about it though reminded me of this time 3 years ago when I was applying for this very university course I am about to complete. I remember it being a daunting and, at some times, confusing process so I thought I would use my experiences to help any of you out there going through it right now (or those of you that are just curious). It is important to note however that this is just what I have taken from my personal experience and there are other routes you can take to get into university instead of just A-levels, such as an art foundation.

APPLICATION

  1. Finding the right university for you. Just like any other university course, applying for a graphic design (GD) course all begins with a UCAS application. The only difference with other courses however is that there isn’t as wide of a selection of universities that offer it as a course. For this reason alone it means its incredibly important to do lots of research into the universities that do offer it through their websites, student platforms and visiting them on open days. Most GD courses will be different in one way or another, some also include lots of illustration, some are very technology-driven, some are more focused on the academic aspect behind design and some just offer a lot more freedom than others. You won’t know which is right for you until you do some research
  2. What grades do I need? Just like the courses differ, the grades also vary between universities. When I was applying 4/5 of the universities I applied for wanted ABB and 1/5 wanted BBB. Again it’s just a case of looking through UCAS at expected grades and picking one that is motivational yet achievable, don’t underestimate yourself but also don’t put too much pressure on your shoulders. A majority of universities ask for some sort of artistic subject as 1/3 of your A-levels but DON’T PANIC if this isn’t achievable for you. I got into NUA with A-levels in maths, business studies and history and used my external design experience (which I will go into more detail in the portfolio section) to show my talent and passion in graphic design.

PORTFOLIO

  1. Why do I need a portfolio? A majority of GD courses are all coursework based, which means you sit no exams instead you just hand in physical and digital work that you have completed throughout the year. This is why universities ask you to show a portfolio when applying for the course, so they can see you have a talent and a good understanding of what you must do to produce artistic outcomes to suit a brief.
  2. What do universities want to see in your portfolio? Again this differs from university to university. Some have a specific checklist of what they want include and some leave it completely up to you. A majority of universities want to see any work that you have completed in you artistic based A-level so bring in your workbooks as well as any final pieces, if your work is too big to bring in then photos work just as well. They also want to see however that you have a much deeper interest in Graphic Design so also show any external projects you have done that include things like branding, advertising, packaging, editorial layouts and even photography. They don’t just like to see the final outcomes but also your thinking processes and sketches to show how you ended up where you did.
  3. What can I put into my portfolio if I don’t have artwork from school? As I previously mentioned I did not get an A-level in an artistic based subject but I still got offers from 4/5 of the universities I applied for (NUA, Brighton, Reading and Loughborough). I filled my portfolio up with external projects and here are some of my top suggestions of things you can do…

IDEA 1 – Try and get some work experience at a design agency local to you. Not all agencies take on younger students but there is no harm in sending out an email to ask. I completed 2 weeks at ToThePoint and left with enough design work to fill a whole portfolio as well as a better understanding of what life as a graphic designer is really like.

IDEA 2 – Get involved in any design opportunities that you come across at school. Whether that’s designing the cover/layout of your yearbook, invitations/posters for your school prom, helping out with any publications like a newsletter or even offering to do a display board for one of your teachers it all helps!

IDEA 3 – Look online and on social media for free briefs that are posted. Websites such as Briefbox and I Am Creative offer free briefs from, in some cases real, clients that you can complete for your portfolio and even enter them in competitions. You can even get work just from scrolling on Instagram where accounts such as WeLoveWebDesign post competition briefs that if you enter could be shared on their page to thousands of followers (but even if you don’t its still a great way of filling up your portfolio)

IDEA 4 – Make up your own brief. Look around your room and pick the first brand you see (in my case its currently PG Tips). Come up with some concepts for a new logo and packaging then create an adverting campaign to sell your new products and voila you have a whole project to add to your portfolio.

INTERVIEWS 

  1. How do I get an interview? Once you’ve sent off your UCAS application a majority of universities also require you to attend an interview. Some promise interviews to anyone that applies whereas others will first ask you to submit a digital portfolio that they will then choose a few people from to offer interviews to. Just sit tight and wait for all those interview offers to come flooding in.
  2. What should I bring to my interview? Obviously you will need to bring the amazing portfolio you just finished putting together. Some universities also require you to bring some sort of written work as well. Different universities require different things such as ID and references but each one will send you a detailed email of what you need to bring so don’t worry!
  3. What kind of questions should I expect? It is important to note that these interviews aren’t there to scare you they are there so the universities can see you have a real passion for graphic design. They will mostly just ask you about the work in your portfolio as well as your inspirations behind each piece. They will want to know why you want to attend their university specifically and maybe even what inspired you to do graphic design in the first place. Some universities will throw some curve ball questions at you but don’t panic they don’t want a perfect answer they just want to get a better idea of your personality.
  4. What will happen in the interview? As I’ve said many times, every university is different. To give you a comparison I will quickly talk you though 3 of my interviews. BRIGHTON: I arrived and was put in a room with a group where we all layout our portfolios, we were then taken on a tour whilst the tutors looked through our work, we then had 10-15min individual with the tutor plus a first year student where we talked through my work. NUA: I arrived and played out my portfolio in a room with 6 other students, we then sat outside in a group with some first/second year students and were then called into the room individually to go through our work. LOUGHBOROUGH: I was given a tour of the university in a large group and then we all sat and waited in a room till I was called in individually for a meeting with a tutor and a student to go through my work. As you can see all universities are different and some may have even changed since I was there but none of them are any reason to panic at all.
  5. How long do the interviews last? For a majority of my interviews I would say I was there for an hour but some were longer and some much shorter so my advice would be to book an open return ticket. Whilst you’re in the city/town that the university is in you might want to stick around and do some shopping or go for a meal or just generally get a feel for the place you could potentially be spending 3 years in.

That’s about all I can remember about the application process. I will however just add in that in comparison to a lot of other courses (and due to the interviews being quite late in the year) most offers for graphic design courses come in quite late so don’t be disheartened if all of your friends are getting offers and you are still waiting to hear back!

If you have any other questions leave them below and I will be happy to answer them.

Go and grab another cuppa on me, Em x

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