Saffron Watson

Sunday, 14 May 2017

The Truth About University | Workload

This is the fifth instalment of the student blogger collab, this week it's all about university workload.

When I was at college I could manage to workload of preparing for exams and completing essays (just about), albeit sometimes I was a bit lazy...

When I started university I was quite care free and happy, I suppose I might've had minimal effort as you'll hear this phrase circle quite a lot "you only have to pass first year". I would like to shut down this known phrase to university students, if you don't put in your all you won't receive an awful lot. I did ok in some units but if I had tried harder and watched less Netflix I might've done better.

The purpose of trying harder is to see what grades you can achieve, plus each year the workload gets more intense. I know that each course is different, whether you're doing a creative or academic course they both can be hard and demanding.

My advice to you (if you're a student or about to be one) is to look up all of your deadlines and what each deadline requires of you. My university give out these free academic wall planners, if you can get one of those or make one yourself to map out how much time you have per deadline. It'll also feel amazing when you start to tick off your deadlines!

When I had my dissertation I would start crossing off the days that had passed, it might sound a bit delusional to count down the days that I didn't have to finish. But, I found that adding that small bit of fear made me try a lot harder.

University isn't a joke and should be taken seriously, but you should know when you let loose and have breaks as well. Some people go through university constantly partying and only focusing on the social aspect, I'm not saying to ignore it, but it's not the whole reason why you're there and getting stupidly in debt!

Every year I tell myself that I'm going to keep on top of my work...and every year I more or less fail at doing so. I hate to admit the amount of times I've been doing work the night before a deadline, and every time I do it I kick myself for not being organised!

I know for some people that they can handle workloads and get high marks, so it does depend on your own ability and you need to work round that, and ask for help if you need it. There are loads of places for support at university, you just have to ask.

Let me know if you've got any advice on workloads!

I'm currently doing work for my last submission...which is tomorrow...I never learn!

Saffron x

Sunday, 7 May 2017

A Letter To My Granny

Dear Granny,

It's a bit strange writing to you when you're not here anymore, but it reminds me of the letters and notes we'd write to each other. Like the one I wrote to you when I was too poorly to come and see you in hospital as I didn't want to make you any worse. I wrote about the time you saw a runner in the Great South Run in a lime green mankini and you didn't stop laughing for the rest of the day, and in turn made me laugh with you.

It hasn't gotten any easier now that a year has passed. I hate to think of you sometimes, because the thought that you're not here brings me to tears and it's too upsetting. I've learned that grief isn't easy, and you were such a big character that there's a huge hole in my life.

You were such a lovely lady and you didn't deserve to be in pain, so I often try to think of you at rest. I don't know if there is an after life, if there is I hope you've got your feet up reading a book, doing a crossword, cigarette in hand. If you're there with Grandad I expect you're embarrassing him, as he used to roll his eyes at you, but I always found you hilarious.

I started to write a post at the end of last year about you, and I stopped writing mid-sentence because it was still too raw, it's hard to write about you even now.

A lot has happened in the past year, not all good things I'm afraid. Part of the reason I have the strength to carry on is because I think of you, I think of how proud I want you to be of me, if you can see me. I want to succeed and be a good person, I know you were proud of me for going to university but I had wished I made more time for you. If I'm completely honest, I would've rather have watched bargain hunt or homes under the hammer with the subtitles on with you any day of the week than do university.

I'm sorry I let my social anxieties get the better of me, and didn't come to see you as often as I could have. As I learned I had no trouble coming to see you in the hospital, and I know it doesn't make up for it as I still feel guilty now. But I did all I could in those last few months, I didn't want you to be alone and I wanted to help in any way possible.

I always imagined you at my twenty first birthday, at my graduation, my wedding maybe even when I had children. I never thought you would pass so soon, I wasn't ready at all.

A year ago today I was about to be on my way to see you in the hospice when I had some missed calls. My mum phoned me to tell me that my dad needed to talk to me. It wasn't good as you will know. I stood in my bedroom opposite Connor as he awaited my reply, I tried to be strong but I couldn't. It feels like a part of me has been ripped away, like I haven't been the same since.

I think in the back of my mind I was still hoping you'd miraculously get better, which was wrong of me to give myself false hope. We do that stupid thing of looking back and thinking what we could do differently, but unfortunately I think there was nothing we could do. For some reason you had to go.

If you hadn't guessed by now, I miss you. A lot. It still hurts to say your name and to talk about you.

I never got to tell you that I was changing my name. A few years ago you told me how you wished one of the grandchildren had the middle name "Rose" like yours. I thought for a while about what you said, I changed my name on Facebook to "Saffron Amy-Rose Watson" and it wasn't until you were poorly that I realised you didn't know this. I thought that this was perhaps the perfect time to officially change it and show you. I started the process and paid for it etc it was nearly finalised, and then you were gone.

I still haven't dotted the i's or crossed the t's because I'm afraid that that's the end. I feel like it almost has no purpose that I can't tell you that I did it for you. I guess now's a better time than any to pick up where I left off and finish it for you. That way I will always carry a piece of you with me.

I find that sometimes I need days where I cry and need to let it out, but I also need to pick myself back up and LIVE. I'm not going to make you proud by sitting around in a hoodie and jogging bottoms binge watching Netflix am I?

My promise to you is that I will make something of myself, I will be happy and I will finish my name change.

Where ever you are, I just hope you're at peace now, that's all I can ask for.

I can still hear your voice and see memories of you which I'll cherish forever.

I love you lots,

Saffron xxx

Sunday, 30 April 2017

The Truth About Uni | Relationships

The fourth instalment of the student bloggers collab is about relationships and friendships.

If you didn't know already I'm in a long term relationship with my boyfriend of seven years and four months; Connor (who I've mentioned in previous posts). We met at school when we were fourteen and we've been with each other ever since.

Originally I wasn't interested in university, but Connor persuaded me that it'd be the better route. The other option being work experience/placements/apprenticeships you get the gist. At the time I wanted to be a writer not a journalist, and I became engrossed with the idea of writing film reviews so I would continue a writing career after completing a one year film production course. But when choosing between three years of creative writing/journalism or three years of film production, film won by far.

I tried not to make my decision on which university to go to based on where Connor was going, I didn't want to be one of those girls. I wanted to be strong headed and make a decision that was best for my future career, although it terrified me to be in a long distance relationship.

We both chickened out of moving away to London, and I made my decision to stay local and go with Portsmouth. Connor was looking at Cardiff in clearing but it fell through and he decided on Portsmouth too, which was probably for the better.

He was staying at home as he's fairly local too whereas I moved into Portsmouth so it wasn't too bad, mainly he stayed round mine as it was easier to get to university...cheeky.

We both were studying film production at Portsmouth, so at least we weren't alone in our lectures, but we both quickly made our own friends as we weren't in all of the same classes. People thought it'd be weird that we were on the same course at the same university, but we'd already been on the same course at college and had developed a "work relationship" where we'd exercise our top banter as best friends and not girlfriend/boyfriend in front of everyone. As we are best friends it's been really great that he understands the stresses that I go through and vice versa.

I think the only issue was when people would refer to me as "Connor's girlfriend" on our course rather than my fairly unique name. It didn't bother me too much but I am my own person and it would've been nice to be called by name.

I'm looking forward to graduating with my boyfriend and my best friend this year. Not many people can say that, and it's been a hard three years so I can't wait to end it with Connor by my side.

I won't go too much into friendships otherwise this would be an incredibly wordy post! But as mentioned in The Truth About Uni | Accommodation it was a bit harder to make friends as I didn't live in halls or go out an awful lot. But, I'm happy with what I've had at university, and I've got my friends from school so I've never been too far away from a friend when I've needed one!

How have you found maintaining friendships and relationships, or even starting them at university?

Saffron x

Please check out these lovely ladies posts!

Jasmine from Thoughts From Jasmine (she brought us all together)

Jen from Velvet Spring

Becky from The Owlet

Annaleid from Actually Anna

Sophie from The Glamour Reel

Katherine from Millennial Rants

Tori from Legally Brunette

Connor's Social Media Links:

Twitter: @iamconnorcleary
Instagram: @IamConnorCleary

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Beefeater Harbour Lights Review

I got approached by Beefeater to do a review on one of their recently refurbished restaurants. I chose the Harbour Lights in Portsmouth as it was local to me (I had previously eaten here before it's make over).

I was so happy to be able to work with the lovely people at Beefeater, if you know me then you'll know that I love food...a lot.

Images from Beefeater.

Beefeater is a British chain of restaurants which serve all the classic meals, and their restaurants are decked out with cow decor.

I really love how they've redecorated, they've opened up the area between the bar and the restaurant part and there's different areas to sit in. It feels a little posh but not too much that you feel out of place, it's comfortable.

Myself and my boyfriend; Connor sat in one of the lovely booths in the photo above. We had a table booked for 5.30pm and although it was still the Easter break it wasn't too busy or too quiet.

I ordered an Appletiser, it has to be my favourite soft drink by far and it's one of your five a day (wink wink).

Our waitress was friendly and put up with us being indecisive, the third time she came back to get our orders we both ordered a medium rare fillet of steak. This comes with a tomato, mushroom, and unlimited triple cooked chips (loving life). We also ordered a side of onion rings, and bourbon sauce.

I realised I'd never had medium rare steak before, but I know that I usually like what Connor has so I followed suit and I was not disappointed.

Pictured above was my gorgeous steak, if you tapped the meat it did a little wobble similar to that of a waterbed. It was lovely to cut, soft and succulent. It was a dream in my mouth, I am not making this up! I didn't need to add any sauce to the steak, you can eat it as is and it's amazing.

When the waitress came back to check everything was ok, Connor was gushing that it was the best steak he'd ever had! I thoroughly agree with him.

Here's an awkward photo of me before I ate my food, I thought it might look cool but I'm just as I usually am!

Here you will find Connor and myself in our little booth, another waitress offered to take a photo of us which was very kind as we don't get a lot of photos together.

Also a fun fact, in the background are four images displaying how your steak feels depending on how you have it cooked. Your index finger to your thumb is rare, your middle finger to your thumb is medium rare, ring finger medium and pinky finger well done.

I love that when you look around the restaurant there is something cow or meat related on the walls.

Even though we were both quite stuffed after the amazing steak and triple cooked chips (we had another portion each), we thought it'd be rude not to have a dessert.

We both went for the Mississippi mud pie which came with ice cream.

It was beyond satisfying to slice up our dessert with our spoon, it tasted lovely! Unfortunately I couldn't eat it all otherwise I wouldn't have been able to leave and the Harbour Lights would become my new home!

I really would recommend you pop to your closest Beefeater, it's affordable and really good quality. I can't stop thinking about how good the steak was, I've heard from a few people now that medium rare is the best way to have it cooked, so if like me you haven't had it cooked that way try it!

I was super impressed with the service, I think we will definitely be back for our next date night!

Let me know if you've been to a Beefeater in the comments.

Also a huge thank you to everyone at Beefeater and Chris Brown for putting this together for me.

Disclaimer: This was a complimentary meal for me to review the newly refurbished Harbour Lights.

Connor's Social Media Links:

Twitter: @iamconnorcleary
Instagram: @IamConnorCleary

Sunday, 16 April 2017

The Truth About Uni | Finance

This is the third instalment of a collaboration with other student bloggers. This week is all about finance at university.

Being a third year at university I have honestly been through the whole finance drama.

Firstly, before you even start university there are a few financial questions:

1. How much will my loan be?
2. Can I live off of it comfortably?
3. When do I have to pay my deposit?

To answer question one, you can get a rough estimate from the Student Finance Calculator, all you need are some basic details such as how much your tuition fees are, family income (prepare for your parents to not want to tell you this information even though you need to know it to fill out the actual finance forms), when you're starting and if you are going to university in or outside of London and any disabilities or extra help you might need.

This is a rough guide of how much you might get for that year, and keep in mind you get three payments throughout the year. We were on low income so a lot of my maintenance loan turned into a grant (grants mean you don't have to pay it back - yipee!) and I also qualified for an extra bursary each term (more free money).

For those of you starting this year, it's all unfortunately been turned into loans [insert sad face emoji].

Here is an example of the finance calculator:

You shouldn't be terrified of finance, there's lots of help around and especially at your university to guide you through the process.

The second question depends on how much you get, you will need to budget and work out how much rent you need to pay each term, if there's anything you'll need to pay for as part of your course, and a rough food budget. Notice I haven't included booze in this! First and foremost you need a roof over your head and food! There are lots of stories of students getting their first instalment of their loan and spending it all on the first Fresher's night - please do not do this. Unless you have rich parents to fall back on that is not advisable!

In my first year I didn't go out drinking much, partly because my housemates weren't party animals and I was quite happy binging Netflix and making Angel Delight. I also kept to roughly £20 per week on food as I shopped at ASDA and would raid the reduced sections as I memorised their reducing times!

If you keep to a strict budget you will be perfectly fine! I also kept my job so I had some extra income for when that loan starts to disappear, I would definitely recommend looking for a part time job even if it's just one day a week. It'll put some extra money in your pocket and also show's people you were prepared to work through university and not just party all the time.

My third point is very important, I didn't actually realise I had to pay a deposit before my loan came in. This is so that landlords can have security that they will have tenants for that year and usually they aren't refundable. I was completely broke before going to university, it was a very recent thing where I went shopping a bit too much and had to ask friends for money as I was ashamed of nearly having noughts appear in my account.

Luckily my parents saw I was hiding something and helped me cover my deposit and I paid them back with my loan. If you can save up now for your deposit I would advise it as you don't want to get into a bad habit of borrowing money (cough that's me cough cough).

As I mentioned earlier, in my first year I did ok I didn't have a lot of savings (I paid for a holiday, an iPad and lots of clothes that I never wore or didn't fit me), but then I kept getting into a bad habit of having to borrow money to see through the months. I also tried leaving my job for other jobs and it didn't work out and I ended up getting taxed a fair amount for having two jobs, and at one point they thought I had four?!

I made the mistake of getting an overdraft in my second year, as everyone had one and I thought it'd be a nice safety net and I wouldn't have to borrow from my parents anymore. I started off with just £500 as I could easily pay that back with wages. However, I could increase my overdraft online. Bad mistake. This then lead onto making an appointment at the bank to ask for an even bigger overdraft, and by this point I was in too deep.

If you saw my post earlier this year Why I'm On A Spending Ban you'll have noticed it's taken me awhile to get my finances under wraps. If you can avoid overdrafts I'd advise that! I didn't really need one and I abused it a bit too much.

I've got my last loan this month and it's terrifying. I have no savings and I still need to clear some debt and pay for driving. So you can guess where it's all going to go...

My one last piece of advice to you, whether you're about to become a university student or are a first or second year, is to save or spend your money wisely. If you need a phone, laptop, camera, decent clothes that are durable and can justify it then go ahead. But these loans won't last forever, trust me! These three years go by really fast!

Sorry for a very wordy post, but I hope it's helpful and can give you some insight!

Please check out these lovely ladies posts!

Jasmine from Thoughts From Jasmine (she brought us all together)

Jen from Velvet Spring

Becky from The Owlet

Annaleid from Actually Anna

Sophie from The Glamour Reel

Katherine from Millennial Rants

Tori from Legally Brunette

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The First Time I Was Objectified By Men

This post has been inspired by 13 Reasons Why and by Vix Meldrew. When I saw the female characters getting objectified by the male characters in 13RW, it brought back a lot of memories from clubbing and even when I (like Hannah) moved to a new school. I think we get a little too used to the treatment we can get from some men boys, and we don't often speak up and say that actually that's not ok.

The first time I was objectified by males, was when I was eleven. I moved secondary schools and I became the interesting new girl where everyone gawked at me. Before boys even talked to me they were asking me out because I was a new toy. I kept rejecting them as they didn't even know me and didn't even try to.

When I was thirteen my first kiss was stolen from me. He didn't ask my permission he just shoved his tongue in my mouth and I had no idea what to do, I didn't fancy him and he was my friends boyfriend but she was ok with it?! I felt so violated and sick for a few days afterwards. I was sad that that was my first kiss.

At fourteen, I was coerced into kissing a guy I was seeing. I wasn't comfortable but I didn't want to seem frigid and boring. At this age many of the guys in my year started slapping and pinching girls bums around school, with no fear of consequences. I don't think any girls spoke up about it (including myself) even though we were clearly uncomfortable and not "asking for it".

During my mid-teens at school many guys would flirt with girls with no intention of being with them, it was just because they could. They wanted to be seen as an alpha male and have other classmates be in awe of their presence. I made it clear one day that I fancied this alpha male and he kissed another girl in front of me, what purpose that had I don't know other than to hurt my feelings.

Although at the age of fourteen, I met my current boyfriend when I had just about given up on boys. He was kind, sweet and cared about me. I started to love myself and have confidence as someone actually loved me for me (apart from my parents).

When I was eighteen I started to go clubbing, for awhile I didn't get any male attention which I liked as I had a boyfriend and wasn't interested. I was happy in my bubble until various men boys started to pinch and slap my bum (much like during secondary school) and had no interest in talking to me. They would flee or hide in their group of mates and laugh because it's hilarious when a girl wants to confront the person who just assaulted and violated her. It's too loud in clubs to lecture these boys (because they are clearly not real men) so you suffer in silence.

I've heard from many of my friends worse accounts than I've had, and I don't appreciate strangers groping me or my friends. For the record I don't flash loads of skin, I cover up because I'm not comfortable in my own skin, I wear leggings and leather jackets so I can hide my flaws, and yet I still get harassed and felt up.

A few times I have been quite drunk and some guys spot their chance at seizing my vulnerability to 'get' with me. Why is it that guys want to get with girls/women who aren't completely conscious? It's twisted, the same as just wanting to feel a woman and walk away with no intention of getting to know them.

I know this is not all guys, but I've had so many encounters I've lost count. I've also lost count of the amount of nights ruined by guys harassing me and my friends over and over again. Just because women are out clubbing does not mean it's an invitation to assault and harass them.

13 Reasons Why made me sad and angry about the way that men boys look at us, even though it's fictional I bet the majority of women out there have experienced harassment at least once in their life.

It shouldn't be right to have to completely cover up so you don't "ask" for attention, and still get groped. It shouldn't be right that women can't get drunk because that's "asking for it" I don't hear of many cases where men are drunk or wearing revealing clothing and getting groped and assaulted by women.

If you've had similar experiences with harassment in clubs, or feel you've been objectified from a young age, please speak out. The more we talk about this, the more chance there might be of changing the way society is behaving.

Let me know what you think in the comments or @ me here.

Saffron x

Friday, 7 April 2017

ASOS Spring Wish List

Here's a few items I am lusting over from ASOS for spring.

One of my must have items at the moment is an embroidered jacket or patches on a denim jacket, I really would love a comfy slightly oversized one. There's something really summery about denim jackets, and if it's oversized you can have a hoodie inside it so if it does rain (which it does, it's England) you've got a practical hood. 

My style changes from day to day, but I'm loving the tops and dresses with chokers attached to them, and I quite like rock-style tees as I tend to pair them with my leather jacket when I go to the pub, and I feel like a boss in it.

I really want the laurel shirt, if you're a film buff or know much about film festivals when you get nominated or when you win you put a laurel on your film poster. One of my favourite parts about spring and summer time is that you can dress a bit more casual as you don't have to layer so much and there's more room for accessories!

Now that it's starting to get a bit sunny I'd love to sit in the garden with a cute colouring book and colour any stresses away, and this book looks so instagram-able!

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Saffron x

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