2015 - Rachel Ellen

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

November Travels 2 - Madrid


I'm going to be one of the few to break up all the Christmas posts, it really doesn't feel like Christmas yet to me this year, it might be to do with the (kind of) warm weather, even if we are being battered by wind and rain! 

So here's a few more of my Madrid pictures (Link to the last post here showing pictures of Parque De El Retiro), we're all wishing we were in a warm sunny place right now but instead, in England, we've seen about 5 hours of sun in the last 2 weeks or so. It's exhausting!

So to Madrid, the first picture and the one below, not completely sure what you'd call that pose.... This is at a place called Temple of Debod, an Ancient Egyptian Temple rebuilt in Madrid in the 1960s (source although all pictures are my own). I don't mean for this to be a history lesson but I think it's pretty damn cool!

Sunday, 29 November 2015

November Travels - Parque de El Retiro
This year for my birthday I decided on something a little different. My boyfriend's birthday is two weeks before mine so we decided, instead of presents, we would take a trip. We'd initially looked in September and Madrid was our chosen destination.

At the end of October we booked our 4 day trip for the 14th November, barely 2 weeks before we travelled. 

My first quick tip if you're doing a city break, spend that little bit extra on a hotel in the centre or very near. We saved (quite a lot actually) to stay outside of the centre, but the 20 minute walk and then 15 minutes on the metro was just way too much each way, everyday. 

The room was great though, I wouldn't object to staying in an Ibis Budget hotel again, more than enough for what we needed.

Plus the shower head changed colour depending on temperature! Amazing! (although difficult to take pictures of)

So anyway, past the boring part of the room, we spent most of the second day in Parque de El Retiro, the enormous greenhouse was absolutely beautiful in an Autumn month, the colours were so vibrant through the glass.

If any of you have read much of my blog before you'll know my boyfriend is massively into his fishing, it didn't take long for him to spot the carp in the lake.

Which lead us to hire a rowing boat for 45 minutes, I think it was about 8 euros which was so affordable!

We had lunch in the park in a little cafe, we spent most of the time feeding little birds (all the way to Madrid for the entertainment of feeding some birds)

Madrid was lovely I'd definitely go again one day but with plenty more money saved so we could actually go inside a few more places, but for a budget birthday treat for the both of us it was more than enough!

I'll post another post or two sharing more pictures, I thought the park was gorgeous enough to deserve it's own post!

Oh yeah and if you go anywhere abroad, remember your travel adaptors, we got stung for 16 euros to get a plug we could use, ouch!

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Life update...

Today's post will be an unusual one for me, a lot less structured and generally just chatting (to myself with perhaps somebody reading afterwards - hopefully) about what's been going on for me.

First things first, I have started my driving lessons! Yes! About time, only about 3/4 years late. So far I have done 8 hours and it's starting to come together, super exciting so if any secret millionaire would like to buy me a car I'll send you my address! 

A new niece was welcomed into the world about a month ago, baby Annalise. Holding babies scares me so much, I was shaking just taking the below picture in case I dropped my phone on her face (I would not be the favourite aunty then!)

Work, work is work. What more can I say about it, it's nice to be earning my own money I suppose! saved and paid for my own driving lessons so well done me! I'm definitely on the look out for job opportunities and when my laptop is either fixed or I have a new one I will make my search a lot more serious.

As an alternative to a new job, I'm also thinking about further education. Whether that be a masters or just some kind of qualification, I'm really starting to think I'll need it to make my journalism ambition a reality.

I turn 22 next month, oh my god, how did that happen! When I'm not on the verge of crying about how old I am I suppose I'm feeling some benefits to my age... or not.

Working means I need to find a way to make it worth while, I'm currently in the process of looking at a trip away but won't say any more until it is a definite! Frequent trips back to my lovely little Sheffield are  super nice though!

I would have included more pictures in this post but the only ones in my phone are screenshots of various things I've found funny recently, my favourite ever:

Thanks for reading guys,

Rachel xx

Monday, 5 October 2015

Resting Friendly Face (RFF)
By now we've all seen the posts all over the Internet about "Resting Bitch Face" (RBF) and the associated problems, which I am sure there are many.

But I am yet to see anyone address the opposite problem, that we could call the "Resting Friendly Face"? RFF for short (could have had resting approachable face but somebody already took RAF)

I can almost hear you RBF people sighing thinking how could this even be a problem, well trust me it is! Here's a few points to demonstrate why:

1. People assume you like them, Imagine the most irritating person, rude, obnoxious, everything you hate in a person. Every time they speak you don't react, you stay expressionless - so you think. Then you catch your face in the mirror and you're pulling the expression on the right above, no wonder they keep talking to you! Cue over exaggerated frowned eyebrows.

2. In a world where everybody says they hate people, imagine people regularly approached you. People ask you for directions, people you don't know ask you about things, ask for your opinions etc. Half of the time I'm thinking "I've been awake about an hour I must look like death why do these people want to talk to me" and then I'm sat there like this:

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Love/Hate Tag
A bit of an unusual one for me but I've been tagged to do this which is super exciting.

I was nominated by a the lovely Emily from Twisted-Rust & Pixel to do the Love/Hate Tag!
Go see her Love/Hate tag here, spoilershe saves her best hate until last

What is the Love/Hate Tag? Once you have been tagged by another blogger, you must state 10 things you love and 10 things you hate. Once you have done that simple task you must nominate 10 other bloggers to do this tag.

Note: I did ask my boyfriend for a lot of help with this, I didn't include all his suggestions but it's nice to know how well he knows me, cute!


1. We'll start with the obvious, family friends and boyfriend. Everything else is just a bonus soppy 

2. Eating out is definitely something I love doing, this might be because I'm so rubbish at cooking and that I don't like waiting around for ages for something to cook. I'd eat out every night if I could! (new favourite is Chiquito, their chilli and cheese garlic bread starter is to die for!)

3. Red lipstick, to me is timeless, seasonless and the perfect accessory to any face providing you get the right shade. Love my Rimmel Kate Moss 111 right now.

4. Autumn, the leaves, the colours, scarves, coats, hats, halloween, bonfire night, birthdays (so many people I know are born in Autumn!) and before it gets way too cold. What's not to love?

5. Smoothies/Cocktails - Although you might not think they fall into the same category I love fruity tastes, cocktails aren't suitable for day to day and Smoothies don't quite do the job for a night out!

6. Dogs they didn't get the name (hu)man's best friend for nothing! The most loveable dopey creatures in the world, I can't be sad whilst there's a dog around

7. The zoo, in fact animals in general I'm just obsessed, finding animal videos on the internet really hasn't helped this at all

8. Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli crisps...
Or Salt and Vinegar any kind...
In fact just crisps in general, there's a few flavours I'm really not for (cheese and onion, gross!) but I'm a fan of their general existence. 

9. Sleep, what more can I say?

10. New places, I might not always be so confident with new people, but new places just excite me!


1. Feet. The. Worst. Thing.

2. Sweetcorn, why oh why do people eat sweetcorn. Shops put it in everything, do you know how hard it is to buy a salad without the mini yellow devil inside? Surely something that bright yellow shouldn't be consumed, the smell of it cooking, the pop in your mouth the fact it does nothing for you?!?! WHY!

3. My nose, no not in the sense of I'd like a nose job, but how sensitive it is. I am permanently sneezing or blowing my nose or sniffling, is it hayfever? Is it allergies? Is it just bored?

4. Unnecessary physical contact, just things as simple as somebody half leaning on you when they really don't need to, or people who hug too much. People who touch your hands are so beyond my understanding, and they get a fright when they find out how cold my hands are anyway.

5. How lazy I am, I could have such better grades and opportunities and a very full CV if I wasn't so lazy, it's something I try so hard to overcome. If I don't consciously try not to be lazy I could sit in the same spot for days.

6. Proper nouns not being capitalised, English geek I know, but when people write my name without a capital (or even their own!) it drives me crazy.

7. Queueing, what a bad English person I am, we're supposed to love queueing. (searching how to spell queueing, apparently you can spell it as I have or queuing, but the version I have used apparently has the longest consecutive use of vowels!)

8. Potatoes, I realise crisps are in my loves and they are potatoes but they actually have flavour unlike the bland blandness of other kinds of potato.

9. Sales racks, I get so excited at the idea of a bargain, then I go shopping and see the sale rail and just stop, I can't bring myself to route through, see point 5!

10. Spiders, how did I get to number 10 without mentioned this, i can't even describe the spider I just saw ten minutes before writing this, so big! I appreciate they're needed to control the fly population but guys, stay out of my house!

My nominations:

Autumnal Revival
Water Painted Dreams
Franny Says x
Ball Bounces Back 
Hanna Laura
Olivia Redfern
Eloise's Diary
Tea and Blush
Shy. Life. Living

I look forward to reading other peoples. hopefully you haven't already done it and if you have make sure you link me to it anyway!

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Unusual University Essentials

Many of you will be starting university soon or returning after your summer break. Unfortunately I have finished now and I have to go and be grown up somewhere. 

Hilariously accurate

We've all seen the blog posts of things you need at university like your pillows, duvet, pots and pans. But this post will show some more unusual essentials that I found during my three years at university.

1. An important one if you'd like to be sociable at uni (well some of the time at least). A doorstop, most university accommodation have heavy, self closing fire doors. Now and again you'll want your flat to be a bit more open to everyone, or maybe just air out the smell of that plate that didn't make it to the kitchen three days ago.

2. A money box, either one of them pot ones that you can't get into (they are way too much commitment for me, I mean what if I need that 20p later on!) I just went for a little metal one with a princess on it that I can open up. There will be a point at the end of each term when that pot will be essential to survival.

3. A vase, at some point somebody will be bought flowers or decide to buy some for themselves and then realise vases have to be bought! As much as I loved the genius idea my flatmate had of cutting the top off a coke bottle, I would have definitely preferred a pretty vase.

You can just see the coke bottle behind the black picture frame

4. Fancy dress clothing and some rubbish clothing. I stupidly went to uni with no fancy dress outfits and had to buy one for every time something came up. 

Rubbish clothing is important too, within the first week of freshers we went to a UV paint party which meant whatever clothes we wore got absolutely ruined (let's not talk about getting it out of my hair #ouch)

5. Scissors, for some reason not something that popped into my head when packing for uni and I suffered for a long time without my own pair of them. There's only so many ways you can use a knife instead of scissors. On the note of knives...

6. A sharp knife. No scissors, pathetic knives, how on earth did I survive first year?!

7. Straws, you'd be amazed how thrilling a pack of straws is to a bunch of students, especially ones that are wearing expensive lipstick. You can never have enough glasses either, take as many as you can fit in your car as they will go missing and someone will always be drinking out of a pot noodle mug.

8. A spice rack, or something to that effect. If you have to eat cheap food on a budget you need ways of making it tasty. Curry powder is super useful, rosemary and thyme, chilli powder etc.. My favourite which is only £1 from shops like Home Bargains and B&M, The chilli and garlic grinder, makes everything super tasty and a little bit spicy. 

Not my image

9. A sleeping bag, somebody will always have somebody stay over whether friend from home or uni friend who has locked themselves out, with single beds in a lot of accommodation somebody might just appreciate a warm place to sleep.

10. Some cushions and blankets for shared living spaces. You definitely don't want your Debenhams, expensive, fancy cushion in the living room with drunk people. I brought some old cushions from home (with washable covers) and a cheap blanket from pound stretcher. Don't forget you spend most of your time at university in Winter (In England winter lasts about 9months of the year) so it will be cold, stock up on the warmer things.

Does anyone have any other unusual uni essentials? Hope these 10 help someone preparing for three years away.

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx

Friday, 14 August 2015

We all love a nosey inside people's houses and rooms to see what they're like so here's a quick peak into the decorating process of my bedroom.

For now only walls and furniture moving has happened. Lots of saving up to do before I start buying the furniture to go with everything. 

First thing first was making space to begin decorating. I thought I had a lot of stuff to bring home from uni until I had to take things out of my home bedroom. 

And then so everything was stored out of the way I had to take things up to the loft room, up these stairs!!!

I didn't technically do a lot of this bit, brothers who are more experienced with these stairs were definitely more useful than me.

Mum decided to graffiti under the wallpaper so one day somebody will find this!

Think I need to invest in some matching bedding!

 The bed used to be against the wall that the wallpaper is now on, so not only are my walls different, I'm facing a totally different way. Just need to get lots of little purple things now to go with my room. And if anyone has any advise on where to get a pretty make up brush pot that isn't to big either comment on here or tweet me pleeeeeease @reiwwood

Thanks for reading,



Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Adjusting: Part 2

Now about 8 weeks since officially moving back home from uni and I think I'm beginning to settle back into it. This weekend I took a trip back to Sheffield to see a few of my course girls (and of course take advantage of Sheffield's nightlife) which was a lovely treat and I can't wait to do it again! Onto the second part of my adjusting post, hopefully by now you've all read part 1 (here if you haven't) That was a post full of moaning, everybody loves a good moan.

But now for the positives of moving back home, there definitely is a lot it's just that negatives tend to stand out more.

1. First things first food. Although in part 1 I had mentioned tea time being difficult to adjust to, tea being ready to eat with no effort from yourself is a novelty that never wears off. Also not going food shopping is always a bonus. I am paying my way at home for food but for that we have a lot nicer food than Aldi 18p curry noodles (however if you're living on a tight budget get straight on them!)

Monday, 27 July 2015

Adjusting: Part 1

Moving back home from uni is a big deal, by anyones standards. Yes there's the actual moving out of your uni place and the outrageous amount of stuff you accumulate over 3 years that you feel like you can't throw away. I don't care what anybody says, I definitely need my Velma jumper and glasses - in case of emergency y'know.

But that's not where the difficulty stops. Now, by no means are my family particularly difficult to live with. But living back at home after living away is. Some of you won't need to read the rest of this to understand exactly what I mean, but if you're anything like I was, it might come as a bit of a shock. This post will cover a few of the more difficult things about living back at home, a good old Monday moan. I will make a separate post to highlight a few positives.

1. The most difficult thing for me to adjust to so far is definitely tea time (evening meal). Having to be in for a certain time, or not being able to go anywhere until after a certain time unless you give enough warning so that food isn't wasted. I've spent the past three years (bar Christmas and summer holidays) cooking for myself making what I want (kind of) when I want. Mealtimes in general are more difficult at home, especially due to number 2...

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Time Alone
Whilst we're having a much more miserable week than the last I thought now would be a nice time to share a few of my backlogged pictures. 

In early June on a rare sunny day in Sheffield, I decided to walk up to Norfolk Park, a very quiet secluded area in the city centre. I was in the middle of reading To Kill a Mockingbird (yes I know, later than everybody on the planet!). I have never studied it in school, but with all that is going on in the world, specifically in America, I think it would benefit a lot of people to read. 

But anyway, off serious topics for now, I felt very grown up sat in the park in the sun, reading a book, listening to 5 Seconds of Summer and on my way I took a few pictures, enjoy!

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx

Monday, 6 July 2015

Graduation Ball
A very delayed post,  but the 21st May was my university graduate ball. I was pretty nervous about going but finding a pretty dress and pretty shoes made it all a bit easier!

Of course my hips look are enormous, I bet you couldn't even guess how much my dress cost me (clue, my shoes cost 6x more than my dress)

The photo booth with all the props was hilarious, and only got more fun the more wine that went down.

Monday, 18 May 2015

The Botanical Gardens
Last week I finished university Yipee!! However the lifestyle I'm living now is a lot less exciting than I thought it might be! I think I might have watched more television in the last week than I had throughout the rest of the year so far, daytime TV is not exciting.

One thing I did do was finally visit the Botanical Gardens in Sheffield, which I've been meaning to do for some time, and it didn't disappoint as the following pictures prove: 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Role Models
Yesterday when it was lovely and sunny, a friend and I took a walk around a few parks in Sheffield, but today's post isn't about pretty parks and the sun unfortunately. 

The sun brings out the best and the worst of people, we all know that (well in Britain we do, since the sun rarely makes an appearance).

Whilst walking around a lake appreciating the sun on a Monday afternoon we walked past some fishermen, about 5 of them with two young boys. One of these men are holding a can of beer. And we got some very unwelcome comments (not entirely accurate dictation but accurate enough)

Beer holding guy: "Oh witwoo ladies"
Other guy: "behave mate"
Beer holding guy: "check out them two though, wow. And check out the arse on her"

And there was more but we were out of proper ear shot by then. I have to say me and my friend were more than uncomfortable. 

Now, catcalling is one issue, it is unsolicited, it is verbal abuse. It is completely unnecessary and makes girls very uncomfortable. Especially when the speaker is around 40 and the girls are 21. 

What made this so much worse was the two young boys, probably no older than 9, sat listening to this man. This man might be an influential man to these boys, could be their father, uncle, cousin or maybe that friend of their dad that they think is extra cool. This man could be their role model. This then means that these boys are learning that a cool and fun way to speak to women is to catcall them, to make them physically uncomfortable in public to disrespect them and try to assert dominance over them.

These boys may well go to school today and say to their friends "look at the arse on her" and here starts a brand new generation of ignorant, sexist, pigs, and they won't even realise it's wrong.

If you're above the age of 18 (and especially if you are 40+) realise who you are to children, you are an adult. You are therefore inadvertently a role model and you need to be responsible. Be careful what you say be careful what opinions you put in their absorbent little brains.

Oh yeah, and don't catcall. This isn't the 1940s, somewhere along the line men discovered women are actually human (but of course the women had already worked that out).

Sorry for no pictures and a bit of a rant, but it is something that is important to me.

And the sudden influx of views of my blog last night was super exciting. I'm thinking of making a Twitter page specifically for my blog so keep an eye out for that.

Thanks for reading

Rachel xx

Thursday, 16 April 2015

The Home Straight


I wish I felt more relieved that I do but right now I'm quite nervous that I am unable to change anything. And I'm in that constant state of guilt feeling like I should be doing it at any given moment. 

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The Life of a Third Year Student

So, I'm now well into my third year of university as you may know. I always thought the talk about third year workload was all exaggeration and I'd be fine, especially looking at the timetable i picked up for this year:

Yes that is a completely accurate university timetable of 4 hours a week.
"9 grand a year?!"
I hear somewhere in the distance. I know, trust me I know. 

How, may you ask, do I have too much work to do? Well this is where the dissertation lands and only 4 hours a week may just be a blessing. The amount of reading and time put into this thing is much more than i anticipated and it's slowly driving me crazy. This is one of the many ways that I'm getting ideas down for it, although this doesn't even remotely represent of the sheer amount of work I have done.

Yes that is on the back of my bedroom door.

Everyone around me just seem to be little balls of floating stress.

"me looking at all the work I have to do" - a very accurate representation of my life right now.

I'm both sad to be leaving university and can't wait. No more deadlines woo! Real life job and experiences, not so woo. The idea of a Masters degree is more and more tempting as it means another year of being a student (and having a student card)

- advice for anyone debating a Masters, hold off until September 2016. As far as I know you can then get student finance funding for them rather than funding it yourself.

One thing I'm finding very helpful in lowering stress and ensuring sleep is a little stretching. I'm locked in my house for about 5 days a week with not much release of energy. Now I'm no fitness advocator and I'm impressively unfit, but basic stretches (like the sorta thing you'd do in primary school PE) just to get your body moving again have been a great stress reliever.

Hope everyone's doing alright, especially with uni, let me know if you have any good coping strategies.

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Last February I made this blog, I was so excited by the idea and had been meaning to do it for the longest time, I now have over 50 posts, and hope I can make at least 50 more in the next year.

To me February is the month of resolutions, any resolution in January is set to fail;

  • No drinking - alcoholic Christmas presents sat around tempting you
  • Eat better - there is so much leftover Christmas food, food related presents, naughty food on sale everywhere, it's never going to happen is it!
  • Any resolution that costs any money - It's January, there is no money!
  • More exercise - have you seen the amount of snow that has fallen! (If you haven't due to not being in the North of England, there has been a lot, even if there hasn't, it's cold outside)
So lets not worry about January resolutions that have failed/weren't going to happen in the first place.

My February resolutions are small, achievable and good for me!
  • drink more water - it goes without saying, I think most people could do with more water in their lives
  • Drink more green tea - I've been dabbling with the occasional cup of green tea recently and the Twinings Lemon Green Tea is actually starting to be a flavour I enjoy. Hot drinks are always nice in winter anyway.
  • A resolution that I thought about making in January, but as above I pointed out that there is no point, I'm going to try and do it now, this one might be a bit more difficult. I want to do things I don't normally do, go to museums, art galleries, explore a bit more. Make my life a bit more interesting and therefore my blog.
My third resolution is definitely the more difficult one, I'm extremely lazy at the best of times and I don't like going out in the cold. I suppose it's all about seeing how it goes.

And while I'm writing, this week I went to get my hair cut, no not just a trim or a re-shape this time. A good 7/8 inches off and I actually love it, so much more manageable than what I had before

Thanks for reading this rambly post

Rachel xx

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Long Time No See
So it's been a while, sometimes the longer you put something back the harder it is to get back into it. 

So what's happened since my last post? (11/11/14 if you were wondering) Quite a lot really.

Too much money has been spent, between Christmas presents, treating myself, eating my own body weight and travelling between home and Sheffield it adds up to an unfortunate number.

On November the 26th I turned 21, which is kind of a big deal and makes me feel completely middle aged. 

Christmas, of course, happened. Plenty of gorgeous presents and happy smiley times (as always I'm a terrible blogger and have hardly any photos)

A couple of drunken nights with home friends that I barely see!

Some a little more drunk than others....

But I don't half miss all those pretty little faces!

This happened

Which I think is my 2014 highlight, "Can I live?!?!"

I finished my first term of my final year of uni, mortifying! This included my first exam since first year, which I wasn't dealing very well with;

Not sure I could find anything more accurate if I tried

New year happened, which as a boring 21 year old, I worked (love tha money!)

And now it's nearly time to start my second term of final year, which hopefully will include many more blog posts. If anyone has any advice on how to get writing inspiration I'd be so eager to hear

Hope everyone has had a great couple of months and haven't missed me too much

Thanks for reading

Rachel xx