Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Surviving Freshers Week; a Guide for Non-Freshers

It has descended. Freshers Week (or Fortnight if you live in Reading, Berkshire) is upon us. The streets shall be full of awkward teenagers, cheesy chips and vomit, in that order. My own Freshers Fortnight occurred in September 2008 and I have been in Reading for every Freshers since then. The first three were fun, the two that followed were met with a sort of morbid curiosity on my behalf. Every Freshers Fortnight since has been met with nothing but dread.

There are ways and means to avoid the tidal wave of teenagers dressed as traffic lights and foam party angels or whatever the hell Q Bar is doing tonight. Surviving Freshers Week; Your Guide On Where to Head if You're a Non-Fresher:

Revolution Reading describes itself as a "Social Paradise" and is barely a few metres away from the train station in the centre of town. Personally, I'd describe Revolution as a wine and cocktail bar with a warm and friendly atmosphere and it's a great place to spend an evening away from the noise. Revs do some great food (I love the Denver Fries with BBQ Pulled Pork for about £7) and they do half price off all food on Mondays. Pick up one of their Privilege Cards and the food is half price on a Wednesday as well. On top of this, there are a whole load of cocktails on 2-4-1 throughout the week and they have some nice craft beers available too. Revs are the King of Cocktail Sharers (try the Big Jug of Love) and the triple distilled flavoured vodka shots are worth a go if you're in the mood...

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Mark Zuckerberg and his Breeding Ground for Bullies

Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg announced at a Q&A in California that he would finally be adding a 'Dislike' button to Facebook, alongside the popular 'Like' functionality. Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg renounced the last few shreds of dignity that Facebook had left.

Facebook has become a flurry of vile & violent videos, baby photos and, my personal favourite, amusing Facebook arguments amongst "friends". Usage of Facebook has been steadily declining for a while. Whilst it remains the most popular social networking platform in the world, a study by Forbes suggests that the way in which people use Facebook has changed dramatically towards more of a 'passive browse'. Facebook was the only network that people used less in 2014 with platforms like Instagram seeing an uplift of 47% and Linked In seeing an uplift of 38% usage.

When I was 16 Facebook was the only social networking platform anybody used. Bebo had long died a death and MySpace was slowly being killed off and rebirthed as a music sharing platform. Facebook was where we organised events such as "S14Ns W1cK3d BiRtHd4y P4RtY 2k06" and "Sian is turning 18 omg sooooo old lol lmao come celebrayt with me". It was where we shared photos and sent one another presents for our virtual cats. It was, for the most part, a positive and friendly website. We didn't understand profile security back then but it almost didn't matter as we weren't 'Checking In' or linking our debit cards to app services. It felt safe.


Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Mercure Cardiff Holland House Hotel and Spa Review

2 weeks ago I decided that it would be a bloody good idea to take my best friend away for her 50th birthday (lol Adele I'm so funny). I also decided that I would quite enjoy a little spa break; present for her, present for me! I was off for a week of annual leave after the wedding so I decided that I'd look for somewhere we could go for the night for a bit of a pamper sesh.

I used http://www.spabreaks.com/ and decided that I would look for a venue in Cardiff, mainly because I grew up there and would have a rough idea of how to get there easily and where to go once we arrived. I settled on the Mercure Cardiff Holland House Hotel and Spa; the hotel was in the city centre with a Revs nearby and it had an in-house spa. The deal that Spa Breaks.com offered was amazing; an overnight stay, a 25 minute spa treatment, a 3 course evening meal AND breakfast included the next day. I paid less than £200 for both of us which quite frankly is an amazing deal.

We arrived at the hotel in really good time (straight down the M4 from Reading to Cardiff) and the hotel was really easy to find. It had a carpark on site (which, coincidentally, showed as "Full" but we entered anyway and there were loads of spaces) and elevators straight up to the lobby.

Check-in wasn't as quick as I'd like, however the hotel staff showed us to a seat and we were able to pop our bags down while we waited for the other guests to be processed. I think there was some sort of conference on at the time which I imagine slowed the process. The lady who checked us in was lovely, and even recommended some good bars for us to visit that evening when we asked her what was around.

Our room was plenty big enough for two and was spotlessly clean. I think we ended up with a disabled access double room rather than the twin room I had requested. This didn't bother us immensely as we realised that the toilet had a handy holding-rail next to it which made drunk peeing very much safer when we got back from town. I'm considering installing one at home.

Monday, 14 September 2015

I'm Married! A Wedding Band Review...

I can officially confirm that I am now...

After a week off work and away from the blog, I can sincerely say that our wedding day was, without a shadow of a doubt, the best day of my life. I can't believe how quickly it whizzed by. Lots of people told me that the day would rocket by but I didn't really take that seriously until I was taking my shoes off at the end of the night thinking "Nooooo, it's over?!"
I want to take a minute to sincerely thank everybody who came to celebrate with us. It would have been nothing without you all, and we mean that. Whether we've known you for 12 years, 12 months or 12 days, the sheer amount of love we were given on our wedding day really made it memorable for us and we adore you all.
(I don't have any Bride & Groom photos yet but my bridesmaids are fit as fuck so please enjoy this in the mean time)


Tuesday, 1 September 2015

10 Things I've Learned About Planning a Wedding

  1. The guestlist will escalate. Rapidly. Now this doesn't mean that you have people there who you don't want there, but inevitably the closer you get to the big day the more you realise that your small wedding is turning into a medium sized wedding. A large one, perhaps. Before you know it, 40 invites turn into 70 guests and in turn the cost will escalate. Be prepared for the increase in guests and work out how much extra you might need to save if every single person you invite is able to come.
  2. You will never achieve the perfect tableplan. Split the guests roughly in half and make sure you mix your own guests with the Groom's guests. After all, this is all about becoming one big family and you want your relatives to meet one another. Remember to consider wheelchair/easy access for certain guests and also take note of any tables near the venue bathroom or service areas to make sure that Grandma isn't having to shuffle her chair around every 5 minutes to avoid a face full of champagne. Although my Grandma would probably bloody love that.
  3. Pinterest is God. Don't know how you want your hair? Pinterest. Don't know what colour scheme you want? Pinterest. Don't know what the hell you want your groomsmen to wear? Pinterest. It's free, it's easy, and it is GOD.
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