Ups and Downs 


Voila! Shoulder freeze 😉

My crew is planning a flash mob next Friday in the forum which will be ACE 🙂 I haven’t been for the last few weeks due to stress and not feeling very well, so there’s going to be a little session today so I can learn the routine before we do it next week.

*Good news!* I got a job at the Ram Bar in the Forum, and have handed my notice in at the Magdalen Chapter Hotel. I’m feeling a lot less stressed now, even though I have to work 2 more shifts this weekend. At least I have Saturday off to go to Aldi though.

I had a bit of a mare trying to locate my birth certificate which my mum had sent me for the coffee #1 interview to prove I’m myself… and after turning my room upside down and talking to my mum on the phone about sending the other (and more expensive one) by next week, I found it, pinned to my massive notice board, in the envelope mum had sent it in. Thank goodness!!!

I’m slowly breaking myself back into running. It’s quite casual – ok, VERY casual! I go for a run one week, then don’t for another three…. Ok, so I have gone once a week two weeks in a row now (counting last night!!) I ran to Aldi and back – the only long route I know. But I did it in a loop so it wouldn’t be the same way on the way back. All in all it was 5.03 miles/8.09km (according to mapmyrun – great site), and I ran it in ~48 minutes, which is pretty good considering I’ve had such a long break over the summer.

So that was awesome 🙂 I didn’t realize Josh and Ellen (flatmates) were going on a run and left just before them so we didn’t meet even though we went in the same direction (but I ran further!).

I’ve been having some really interesting conversations about Christianity with my flat mates recently as well so I’m praying for them a lot 🙂 I guess Jesus must be using me after all!

So excited right now about my new job, Christmas (it’s almost here!) and looking forward to going home soon for a break before exams!

Oh, and for a fun read, check out this article – its all about my accommodation 🙂 It’s funny because I’ve been here and most of it is true 🙂



Looking back

I’m amazed that 9 weeks ago I had my first ever Russian lesson… And now look what I can say!

Я живу в эксетере – I live in exeter

Я студентка – I am a student

Я люблю русский язык – I love Russian

And a few other useful things, such as

Слон на крыше – the elephant is on the roof

Ёж в улицу – the hedgehog is in the street

Now we’re learning numbers and the Genitive case… it’s complicated. Especially the Genitive plural. Not even going to try and explain it! There are about a million different endings which I just cannot seem to remember! The genitive case deals with quantities of things. It’s like saying ‘one cow’ (nominative singular) then ‘two of cow’ (genitive singular), then you get to five and you have ‘five of cows’ – this is how we learned it in the lesson. Our teacher is ace. Our new favorite word is cow, which has replaced elephant (слон – “slon” – hence ‘the elephant is on the roof’^).

It’s almost Christmas already – I need the think about presents! No idea what to get my family now I’m a poor student!! Although I saw some awesome sales in town and in the student shop recently on site… I’ve got a few ideas cooking up.

I’m getting ready for my first gymnastics competition in Bath next weekend (5th December). A friend is letting me borrow her leotard. I’ve not worn one of those since I was 6!!! I am excited though! I’ve been practicing a lot so hopefully it’ll go well. I’ll be in the novice bit. A friend is competing on a higher level. My coach says I’ll be fine. At least he believes in me!!

Down here in Exeter it’s getting really cold. Before it was like spring… then overnight it just got all cold and windy – bitter wind. But in gales it was so strong! I was walking to orchestra with my cello and I kept getting blown about in the gusts.

oooh oooh exciting news!! I have an interview at the Ram pub – its this on-site pub for students in the forum – which is basically the centre of all activities. Hopefully this means I can hand my notice in at my job at the hotel – which has been proving a bit hard to handle on top of my studies.

I’ve been looking at getting another meat box like I did a few months back – when I get paid I want one!! But I’m not sure there’s enough room in the freezer for it. The lads in my flat are into weight lifting etc and they have so much meat and frozen stuff that there’s literally no room left. I manage to keep some cod fillets and frozen packets of blueberries and raspberries in there but not much else unfortunately. I might have to wait until after Christmas when they haven’t had a chance to re-order… that will be my moment to strike! So it’s fish and beans and peas for me for now!

I’ve been really tired out by work and working for the hotel… Getting home really late over the weekend means on Monday mornings I have to drag myself out of bed for the lectures I used to enjoy 😦 It’s not ideal really.

I am tempted to go out tomorrow night with the girls in my flat – they’ve invited me out and I feel like I need to humor them and go at least once! I’ve been bad at it really… It’s not my idea of a fun night but hey I think it will mean a lot to them if I were to go.

Bueno… hasta luego 🙂


So blessed

Sorry about the lack of posts lately! Work is piling up and my job at the hotel is proving to be a bit too much on top of that… Just feeling the pressure!

I have assessments left right and centre, some count, some don’t! My Russian homeworks take me hours because I have to look up lots of words – and sometimes I have to go over an entire section of grammar again before I feel like I can do a good job of it. Such is life as an ab inicio Russian student I suppose. I’m told it’s notorious for being the language with the highest rate of drop-outs. I know that at least 4 people in my class have asked to drop it but can’t until the end of the year. Our group was small to begin with but its getting smaller!

Yesterday I met up with a girl from my community group called Bethany to have a chat over coffee. We’re both ‘worriers’ – and prone to shutting ourselves in our rooms when our flat mates get too much and trying to plow through a ton of work…. So we decided to meet deliberately to prevent us from doing that! She’s really lovely and it was nice to find out more about her family etc. She is studying to be a doctor of some kind! I’m told that medic students’ motto is ‘Work hard, Play hard’ – so she finds it difficult because all of her course mates are drinking and partying hard to ‘let go’ from all of the work they have to do. We both agreed that going to Church and community group helps to get out of the bubble and we feel so refreshed and relaxed afterwards from speaking to people of different ages, some of whom aren’t students (at least, who aren’t anymore!) and being prayed for. We’d had such a stressful week that when we split into our ‘huddle’ groups to pray for each other at the end, Bethany and I basically splurged what had been going on and were really surprised to find we were in similar situations! The other ladies who happened to be in our group all prayed for us and it was so lovely to be cared for like that.

After that one of the ladies from my CG (Judith Kimber) took me to Aldi in her car so I didn’t have to cycle 🙂 she also fed me Wednesday night before Community Group – she and her husband James are so kind to me! They’d found a £20 note that morning outside their work and they decided to give it to me as well… and that is how much I spend each week on my food! I find it so hard to accept their want to just love me – it’s really special when people just want to love you like that.

I think of my family a lot – I can’t believe my first term is almost over and I’ll be going home for Christmas soon. Time is really flying. It’s quite reassuring when you look back and realize just how much Russian you’ve learned, just how much you’ve been through in 9 weeks, how much you’ve learned about yourself and being an adult outside of the classroom. Or should I say lecture theater? Anyway… it’s amazing you you adapt and grow over time.

I’m just finishing this post off while my ‘No-Fuss Salmon Cakes’ are in the oven – it’s another Whole 30 recipe which I haven’t tried before. Just thought I’d use this little scrap of time to update the blog and post something else! I’m hopefully going to get outside and take some more pictures soon – I’ve been meaning to for a few days now, but I’ve been so busy, and what with the mornings and evenings being darker much more quickly it’s hard to get the right light! I guess I need to experiment more with night shots.

Have a good week everyone! 🙂


New week, new start

It’s that time of the week when you’re wondering how it’s all going to turn out. 

I had two 7 hour shifts this weekend at the Magdalen Chapter Hotel and they were exhausting. I’m glad they are behind me. The first one finished at 12am, so I was going to bed at 1:30am…. Last night finished a little earlier at 10. I’m being pushed out of my comfort zone constantly…. You get to the point where you have to decide, is this going to break me, or am I going to take it, and grow. 

Often I go for the grow one. Sometimes I don’t have a chance. As much as I’m not enjoying this job, I am looking ahead to the pay check #studenthere! And hoping and praying for something else to come along. It’s tough but I pray about it and say “God please give me patience” and he gave me that this weekend. It helps me get through. 

Just some thoughts…. I guess I’m in that contemplative mood. 

It’s so beautiful when the leaves change colour 🙂 

I’m still try

Stories over oatmeal

We don’t normally call it oatmeal here in the UK- most would just say oats or porridge. I’m quite proud of how mine turned out 🙂 

  They came out purple because I added frozen blueberries 🙂 

It’s such a warming breakfast on a chilly November day. I’ve started making it in a saucepan instead of binging them in the microwave and letting them explode over the side of the bowl 🙂 I love adding chopped banana chunks so they go soft when they cook in the oats – mmmm I could eat it all over again. 

But anyway! I managed to go to my Community Group last night! It was great – I saw my friends Josie and Izi again and the lovely Kimbers who have given me some free meals and even offered me a room on rowdy Saturday nights! I love going – last week I went to hall group instead because I’d had a massive headache all day and didn’t want to go out anywhere further than one square mile from Lafrowda 🙂 Then the  week before that I was working at the Magdalen Chapter Hotel. Next week I’m hoping to go again! it’s nice to get out of the student bubble and talk to people who normally just live and work here in Exeter.

My flat mates have been really nice to me recently. All of them! I’ve slept a lot better (when I haven’t got back late from a shift, but could also be because I’m drinking the Forever Aloe Drinking Gel which helps me sleep way deeper) and none of my food has been sabotaged. So alls well. 

I had my first “wall” moment in Russian a few days back. Have you even seen Run Fat Boy Run? It’s a comedy film with Nick Pegg in it (think that’s his name). There’s a bit where he hits the runners wall. I hit one. In my head. I didn’t want to give up Russian. But my mind went blank. And my head was like, ‘nope, it’s not going in today.’ So I copied down what my tutor wrote on the board and said in the lecture…. But I need to unpick it. Yeah – adjectives. It’s their endings. It’s so confusing! 

Fortunately, we have this Peer Assisted Learning scheme (PAL) where a second or fourth year student can help us out – and I happen to be in a group with my friend Siân and a second year genius  in Russian grammar. Lucky us! 

I’m even further behind on work due to the long shifts I had to work at the MC hotel last weekend which sucks but I’m slowly getting back on top of things. It’s been a rocky week in all honesty but thanks to some good friends and family (and some coffee dates) I’m still sane and looking on the positive side. 

Can’t believe I’m almost through my first term at uni already! Time flies…. Even when you’re not having fun. It’s something I’ve become more aware off since year eleven. Suddenly a year isn’t that long, even a day or an hour … It just goes and you can’t get it back. 

I’m gonna wrap up my update now, but for those interested here’s the recipe for the “oatmeal” i.e. porridge.


5 tbsp oats

Handful of frozen blueberries

Water (~1/2-3/4 cup)

1 banana chopped into circular chunks 

1 tbsp flaxseed, ground 

1 tbsp sunflower seeds (optional)

1-2 tbsp Shredded Coconut (optional)


~1/4-1/2 cup coconut milk (whole fat)


1. Put the oats, chopped banana, flaxseed and shredded coconut into a small saucepan.

2. Add coconut milk and water, and put it on to a high heat on the hob. Stir with a wooden spoon.

3. It’s done wehn its bubbling slightly and steaming 🙂 add the sunflower seeds and sprinkle some cinnamon on top.

– Add a handful of frozen raspberries as well.

– Instead of 5 tbsp oats do 2 tbsp coconut flour and 3 tbsp oats.

– Add 1 large tsp almond or cashew butter (I recommend Meridian! Unless you’ve made your own of course 🙂 ) 

– Instead of coconut milk use hemp or cashew or almond milk. 

– Instead of coconut milk, use hemp or a nut milk and add one 100g pot of apple and pear baby food purée – it tastes soooo good trust me!

*these are just suggestions and personal favourites so experiment with your own flavours too 😉 

Fruit yourself 

Can’t afford a whole bag of apples and a whole bag of pairs? 


These are baby food puree pots – and funnily enough to they are also made from organic ingredients so there aren’t any preservatives etc in them. They taste amazing – and in Aldi one packet of four was 85p. I got two packets! 

These are great to take with you to work, post lecture snack, sneaky library I’ve-been-working-hard snack…… Mmmm get into my belly now! 🙂


Hello again – yes I’m still alive! 

Busy busy week – lots going on! So I’ve got the new job at the MC Hotel but they’ve asked me to do 15 hours this weekend and 27 (?!?!?) next week. Which I can’t do. No student could. No student should have to. Ok, yes I could do it…. But I would probably self combust in the process.

I learned the hard way during my a-level years what happens when you take on too much. 



Panic attacks.

…..So I’m reluctant to do it again.

 I’ve emailed the manager and the agent who helped me find the job is going to speak with him on Monday when he gets back from holiday. It should be fine. 

I’ve actually applied elsewhere on campus, hoping to get a better paid job which is more convenient. None of them got back to me so still praying. On site, shifts are usually only 4 hours-8hours long, but they’re more flexible and understanding because they know they are hiring students. It’s what I need really. Plus, at the MC Hotel they pay minimum wage, whereas on campus it’s almost £8 an hour. It just makes more sense. 

Last night was wonderful. I was invited by some of the older students at Grace to a Grace Girls evening 🙂 

We had lasagne/shepherds pie and we ended up playing Bananagrams, which, for my family, is basically Take Two but with slightly different rules. We also prayed together 🙂 my friend Esther from F1 came (block F flat 1 – I’m block F flat 3 (Lafrowda – one of the halls)), and also my friend Siân from Moreton, where apparently J.K. Rowling lived in her first year studying witchcraft 😛

Siân, funnily enough, is also doing Spanish and Beginners Russian – so we’re in a lot of the same lectures.

I shared a bit about my job situation and one of the girls suddenly was like, hey, I work at the Ram bar on site, I can put in a good word for you to the manager, he’s hiring right now! I’d already handed my CV in so she texted him right then and there. Praying even harder now 🙂 

Housing. Some are panicking now. Too early I’d say to panic. Sure, think about it, and if you want to be super organised then book somewhere. But, *mythbuster alert*: the housing will not run out. There will still be some even up to exams in the late spring! 

Some of my break dance crew asked if I might want to join them in a house next year, but I’m not confirming anything yet. It’s important to pick the people you’re going to live with carefully. You have to live with them for a year. I actually asked Esther what her plans were last night. She was like, my flat is splitting up, but you could join me! So I was like, yeah! I’d rather do that – I know her a lot better than the break dancers. I’ve had to skip a couple of sessions recently due to being ill and my workload in preparation for the limited hours I’ll have this weekend now that 15 of them will be spent waitressing. Im going shopping in a few and it’s not raining anymore but the wind is very strong and gusty. Could be a scary ride but it’s the only time I can go. 

Had some interesting debates with Ted and Rob (flat mates) over the last couple of days. Ted wanted me to agree with him that we should legalise drugs, and then yesterday Rob wanted to know my opinion on homosexuality. Sensitive subjects huh? It was hard, because I don’t think they really wanted my opinion, it was more that they wanted me to agree with theirs. I tried to be honest and had to say I don’t know a few times. It feels like they are testing me. A lot. 

I won’t have a lot of time to make this into a longer post today as I start work at three, but I have to get there so that’s the 30 minutes before that, and I have to pack my stuff because I still don’t have a uniform yet. It just takes too much time out of my day to be worth it. I also need to pack snacks because I don’t know if they’ll let me have a break! 

Wish me luck/pray for me!