It’ll be in my backpack.

TOP PICK

 Swiftly beating my (dismally unreliable) second-hand mountain bike, and narrowly trumping pretty pink flask that facilitates excessive tea consumption, my #1 student item is my backpack.

My current backpack has carried all my junk across continents and around islands. It’s carried unnecessarily heavy books at three different universities, and completely necessary make-up/snacks emergency changes of shoes etc. on day trips, weekend trips, and ‘so what if I take my backpack on a date’ trips. Let’s face it, nothing else will hold enough snacks to get me through the day without permanently damaging my skeletal system; and I’m talking about you here, handbag.

 Backpacks subtly-hint-for-Christmas, backpacks to replace your old one, or simply backpacks to reinvigorate your backpack… cupboard.

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backpacks

hype

Hype
Av. Price £24.99

Their prints are wacky and totally fabulous and I absolutely love the crazy range available for the neat £25 price tag. All hail the king of backpack bargains. But you certainly won’t be finding these little numbers anywhere on the highstreet – and certainly not in the kitsch haven that is Exeter University. Check their online store.

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herschel co

Herschel Co.
Stockists: Urban Outfitters / Route One / Surfdome

Herschel Co’s bags are the prettiest candy and print palette. I love their super tall, slim cut that makes them perfect for even those cursed with a 15″ laptop, and their outer fabric is nice and stiff which makes them less… squished than the squatter Hype bags. They’ve got the essential padded straps – which boy do you appreciate after a long day at the library – and did I mention how pretty they are?

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 Mi-Pac 
£22-40
Stockists: ASOS / Urban Outfitters / Route One

Mi-Pac has a very, very wide range of prints: from the classics with contrast-pop outer pockets (LOVE) to the neat prints that have the perfect amount of pattern, without being… offensive (Hype). The thick, tan bottom helps survive the wear-and-tear of everyday student life, the straps are padded. A present the grandparents would understand.

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Easkpak

EastPak
Padded Pak'R £40 / Out of Office £50 / Pinnacle £70

EastPak is everywhere on campus, but it certainly isn’t cheap if you’re looking for something to fit a mammoth 15″ screen laptop. The upside is, their patent padded straps and back are super comfy once worn in; I’ve tried my housemates and was thiiiiis close to updating my own to an EastPak special. And hey there 30 YEAR guarantee.

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Final tip of the day, if you can’t find what you’re looking for with these mainstream brands, why not give Etsy a go? An international selling platform for independent artists, craftsmen, and small businesses, it has loads of original and one-off pieces that are worth a look if you’re particular about your backpack.

That’s about all the geeking out about backpacks I think I can handle in one evening. My own backpack and I will be up bright and early tomorrow morning for another trip to campus!

Till next time,

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She Interns: The Desk Life

 

Shirt: £6, Beijing Silk Market
Jeans: £13.50*, Topshop , Sale
Bag: £22.50*, Urban Outfitters Sale
Jumper: £12.99, Missguided.com
Shoes: £10, Primark

TOTAL OUTFIT:  £64.99
*+ 10% student discount

THE DESK LIFE

The first day’s done and dusted, and there is one thing of which I am absolutely certain: I am not used to sitting at a desk. My eyes watered, my head pounded, my back ached and boy, was my butt numb; it seemed like everything of my physical body was pitching revolution at being confined to a chair for a measly six hours.

I have an immense respect for the 9-5ers. In hindsight of my working past, I’ve been extremely lucky to have worked very active jobs running photosets, shop-assistanting, acting as cater-waiter, art and english teacher, costume assistant, MUA and model… all roles free to spontaneity and standing perpendicular to the ground. That’s not to say I haven’t interned before; this week counts as my fourth set of work experience to date, but it’s only now that I’m realising the similarity these experiences actually have to academic life –  they always said university prepares you for the working world, but who knew they’d be right? That body-numb feeling is one that I’ve only felt otherwise in essay-crisis mode, a period of life that I slip in and out of with ease at University. My body may be numb, but (and let’s not linger on that particular pun) my brain is buzzing.

THE WORK LIFE

There’s a glossy sheen to everything on the PR floor, from the thick acrylic surfaces and shocking pink curtains to the original Terry Bradley (again, cerise) on the wall. It’s not a literal sheen, although perspiration wouldn’t be surprising from solid objects at the temperatures Belfast is reaching this week, but a shimmer that perhaps can only be felt by a bambi-eyed intern. The shimmer of a ‘real-life’ working office, of purpose and efficiency that made me feel goggly, left-handed (I’m not) and flustered as I tried my best not to bumble about my white desk in the open plan office – where everything is visible, especially ‘here’s-the-new-one’ bag-rustling and chair fumbling.

Reality, however, has never been a better friend. Blast FM is nattering on in the background, there’s chatter of a healthy gossip to business ratio that breaks the working silence, and after my first couple of questions (which are always the hardest) the real day started with basic tasks. I got to see the work for three big clients, pitching in for the research behind two written articles and having a sneaky peek at a fashion editorial that gave me some serious goosepimples. To close up the day, I got given a writing feature – to my type-happy delight – for a certain big newspaper, and nearly burned my retinas concentrating on it until 5PM jumped in and I felt a rush of home-time exhilaration.

 Today I donned my intern shoes, tappled out some real-life work and clipped out at 5PM feeling like a genuine, wooden-heeled office-girl – and I loved it!

Let’s hope my butt survives tomorrow.

Goodnight.

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The 'Welcome Home' Mat
Made it through Day #1, team!

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‘Is that… Apple?’: The Chilli and Apple Con-Carne

This recipe comes from a mixture of  wild culinary upbringing, and a strong sense of student fugality ie. I bought a huge £1 bag of apples, and had to do something with them. Needless to say, the housemates were horrified.

I feel like cooking style like this should come with an explanation. Delia Smith, the fabulous lady she is, was a constant presence in my house growing up. She helped me learn to read (as I dictated her recipes to my Dad, and he quickly learned not to trust what I said), she was there with me as I wreaked havoc (serious the-oven-is-on-fire havoc) in the kitchen, and supplied me with staple culinary skills that keep me alive and sane at university. Delia’s emphasis on precision was tempered by my Dad’s sense of absolute wild abandon in the kitchen, the supermarket, in foraging; Delia’s Britishness, by my Mum’s exquisite and traditional Chinese style. On our cookery book shelf at home, well protected by the thick paper covering my Dad and I sello-taped on to prevent further damage, is a wedding present from my Grandparents to my parents in 1991: Delia’s Complete Cookery Course. I’m patiently waiting to passed on Delia’s Cookery Book, stains and all, when I get married.

Apple

Let me know if you have any interesting variations on the usual ol’ Chilli!

Ingredients:
2 value tins of plum tomatoes
1 value tin of kidney beans
1 small onion (finely chopped)
1 tbs tomato puree
a quick shake of dried chilli flakes
500g mince beef/stewing beef
3 small apples cored and cubed
splash of apple juice
1 tbs honey
100ml red wine (optional)

….

1. Put everything but the beef into a large pot.

2. Fry the beef lightly (just seal the stewing beef) and add to pot.

3. Bring to boil, then simmer for approximately 2 hrs.

Yum.

“Cooking is rarely an automatic instinct, we have to learn as we go.”

-Delia Smith, Complete Illustrated Cookery Course (Classic Ed.). Introduction, p.7.

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