Saturday, 30 July 2011

Photo post: Eastleigh

Today Dan and I went to Eastleigh (the nearest town to us without going into Southampton centre) to look for a shirt + shoes for me to wear to a job interview, and to do some food shopping. I didn't do a very good of documenting the trip (I wasn't going to take my camera at all, but then Dan went, "You could take pictures of us on the bus and in Sainsbury's!" so I took it, intending to make more use of the fact I was lugging it around with me), but we go to Eastleigh fairly regularly, so it wasn't a particularly 'special' outing.

The bus stop by our house. I quite enjoy its old building-y-ness.

Dan and I being silly on the bus (me so more than him, apparently) / the shoes I got. Yes, they're old granny shoes, but they're perfect for what I need, plus, they're super comfortable. Comfort > style.

Dan eating an oyster ice cream thing (only £1.20 from a Mr Whippy van! Bargain!) / our super healthy looking trolley (before we added two tubs of the half price Ben & Jerry's)


Wednesday, 27 July 2011


Dan and I went with his youngest sister to see Cars 2 in the cinema today.*

Obviously our motivation for going today was because it's Orange Wednesday. I don't think we could afford to go to the cinema any other day of the week, to be honest - it cost £7.55 for an adult ticket. Seven pounds fifty-five. That's a lot of money. And that was cheap compared to how much it would have cost if we'd gone at a peak time (ie. any time that someone with a job would have to go) - £8.95! It's ridiculous.

On the subject of ridiculousness, can we discuss the prices of buses around Southampton? (why yes Emma, we can) It costs £6 for a return from here to the centre of Southampton. Six whole pounds. That's not even profit making, that's extortion. In Brighton - and yes, I know that Brighton covers a smaller area than Southampton, but I think that point can still be made - you could get a bus ticket that allowed you to go anywhere in the city and outerlying areas for the whole day for £3.70. And now I'm paying almost double that just to get somewhere and back? Very much not okay.

To make matters worse, the bus from here to Southampton takes AN HOUR. Driving it takes maybe 15 minutes. I understand that buses have to stop to pick up and drop off people, I really do, but the bus takes the most unnecessarily long route. It literally goes all around the houses. If it just stuck to the main roads and made people walk maybe 5 minutes more from their house to the bus stop (rather than the 30 seconds it probably takes most people), the journey time could be cut in half. I don't appreciate paying £6 to lose the will to live.

Southampton is definitely a city in which having a car is beneficial. Some might even say essential. Dan used to have a car, a Citroen Saxo called Bertie, but he was deemed unroadworthy in June so Dan had to scrap him. It was a sad day for all. I don't even appear to have a photo of Bertie, which is even sadder.
My grandma has a car - a relatively new Ford Fiesta - that she barely ever uses any more, so I'm crossing my fingers that I might be able to wangle that from her (for a fee, of course).

*Cars 2 was really good, by the way. It was basically an action spy film that happened to have talking cars as the protagonists. Although I was sceptical about a sequel to Cars (because while I enjoyed the first film, I don't think it's one of the best Pixar films), it actually worked really well. You should go and see it.


Monday, 25 July 2011

Jobs. Part 1.

Since I moved to Southampton I've been searching for a job. That's what you're supposed to do, isn't it, when you finish university - you're supposed to enter the scary world of work. Which is something that, I'll admit, I haven't got much experience in. I've only had one 'proper' (ie. regular paid) job, which was when I worked at Marks & Spencer for 2 and a half months around Christmas 2010. The longest shift I've worked is 5 hours. So, perhaps understandably, I'm somewhat apprehensive about the whole thing.

I did apply for Saturday jobs when I was 16/17, but only to a very select number of shops (Waterstones, Disney Store, Past Times and a couple of stationery shops) because I was a shop snob. And when I say apply, I mean I handed in a basically empty CV to a shop that wasn't hiring (this was back in the day before online applications made applying for jobs 376 times easier). Needless to say, my vain attempts to procure a job were unsuccessful.

In my second year of university I decided to get myself a Saturday job volunteering at an Oxfam bookshop so that I could get myself something - anything - to put on my CV. I discovered I quite enjoy serving customers on a till. Some of the people I worked with were rather on the odd side (to put it politely) so it wasn't the most fun of places to work (my managers were lovely, but after I moved from the morning to the afternoon shift, everyone else was strange to the point where I had no clue how to interact with them), but I did enjoy the knowledge that I was helping a charity while also getting some shop work for my CV.

I didn't even need any kind of experience to work at M&S, which came as something of a surprise. I answered a bunch of questions correctly on their website, and was automatically given an interview. It turned out to be a role play rather than an interview, and I totally nailed it. I'd hoped they'd keep me on when my Christmas contract finished, but the job they offered me was a late night shift in food, which wasn't what I wanted, so I declined it.

And now I'm in search of a real job - preferably a full time one, so I can have enough money to pay rent and bills and have money left over to buy pretty things from time to time. With so many jobs requiring previous experience, it seems as if my only option may be to work in a shop. I had an interview at Argos and got the job, but then I went and got chickenpox so I couldn't go to the induction day, and I haven't heard from them since, despite being assured I'd hear in due course (this was over a week ago). I'm taking it as a sign that there are better things in store for me (although, hopefully, not actually in a store). I had an interview for a job as a receptionist at a lovely hotel in Winchester today, so I'm crossing my fingers on that one.


Saturday, 23 July 2011

A Day Out in Winchester.

Yesterday Dan and I went for a day out in the city of Winchester. A friend of Dan's was playing with his band at a pub in the evening, so we decided to make a day out of it, since I'd never been to Winchester. As Dan had rightly guessed, I really liked it. It was wonderfully quaint and British.

Collage - Winchester1
Winchester cathedral

We arrived and had a late lunch in Wetherspoons, then Dan showed me the cathedral and the 'cat grounds', where he used to get drunk with his friends while he was in collage. My boyfriend is a classy guy.

Collage - Winchester2
Guild Hall / The Mayor's House (yes, someone actually lives in this mini castle)

Collage - Winchester3
A statue of King Alfred (that apparently has two left feet, although it was hard to see if this was true) / The West Gate

Once we had explored the centre, we headed to the pub for the band night. It was a fun night. Simon's band were really good, and since almost all of the crowd had come to see them it gave the whole thing an intimate feeling.
Plus I got to drink my Strongbow with a curly straw (but didn't take a picture, for shame), which obviously makes for a good night. Oh, and the toilets had this machine:

Condom machine

I was amused (but no, I didn't buy one. Not that I wasn't tempted!).

Dan and I bought a kebab and ate it at the station while waiting for the train home. Unfortunately we didn't pick up a fork so were forced to eat this very messy food with our hands - we must have looked far more drunk than we were! I think Dan's classiness (or, you know, lack of it!) is slowly rubbing off on me ...


Thursday, 21 July 2011


I'm now officially a graduate of the University of Sussex with a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies!

Collage - graduation2

The day went by pretty quickly, and even the graduation ceremony itself wasn't as long as I'd expected it to be. The chancellor of my university is Sanjeev Bhaskar (of Goodness Gracious Me and Kumars at No. 42 fame), so I got to shake his hand as I collected my degree. The speech he gave was rather good - sentimental, but with the right level of humour.

I was sad for a lot of the day, though, because almost all of my friends graduated last year, which meant that there was no one cheering for me as I walked across the stage, and I didn't know anyone from the other subjects who were graduating. Last year, I'd have known so many people, whether they were friends or I'd just met them drunkenly back in the first year. It felt really bittersweet. I guess that's what I get for going and having an amazing time in Colorado for a year!

Collage - graduation1

The weather was a little miserable all day, but even though it was just starting to rain we managed to get a couple of nice photos in the Pavilion Gardens. It was probably just as well that it wasn't too warm - that gown was pure polyester!


Monday, 18 July 2011

Cabin fever.

It's my third day of being stuck inside with chickenpox and I'm getting a little fed up. Well, a lot fed up. I don't need to be out all day doing loads, but I'd like the option, you know?

I've been busy revamping my blog, though, so that's something I've achieved. I've changed the background, header, added a fancy navigation bar across the top, a matching fancy introduction paragraph, and even a signature. I'm quite pleased with the results. It reminded me of when I was 12 or 13 and I used to get so much pleasure out of fiddling around with my layout on LiveJournal, or even Girland (did anyone else used to use that site? I was obsessed with changing the layout that showed up when you posted on the forum), using my minimal knowledge of HTML. They were good times.

I've also been playing The Sims Medieval. Dan bought me the game when we were in Asda last week (because he's lovely) (and because he's hoping that I'll remember that display of niceness when he wants to buy a new Transformer toy) because I'd been going on about it for ages. I like it, but ... it lacks the freedom that I love in the original Sims games. In order to play as a character you have to do be doing a quest, which means there's always something specific to be doing, rather than just letting the Sims get on with their lives. I get bored with games easily, which is why The Sims has always appealed to me - you can jump around and do different things all the time without it negatively affecting the game. Much as it may disappoint my boyfriend, I don't think I'll ever be a 'gamer'.


Friday, 15 July 2011

New flat!

After almost a week in our new flat we finally have internet! Since we've been pretty busy I haven't actually missed it all that much, which is strange considering how bad my internet withdrawal symptoms usually are.

Having said that, maybe I've got a massive withdrawal symptom - I've got chickenpox! I'd always assumed I'd had it as a child, but it would appear not. I had a fever and headache on Wednesday, and noticed a couple of spots, and when I woke up on Thursday there were a LOT more. So off to the doctors I went, and the doctor barely glanced at the spots before informing me, "It's chickenpox." Wahoo. I'm now basically covered in spots and look ridiculous, so I'm homebound for the next week!

Luckily I have a rather nice flat to be homebound in ...

Outside flat

Collage - flat

Obviously it looks more like a home now since we have, you know, furniture in it! I'll post some more photos once we've sorted it all out properly.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Super fun list.

Many things have happened since my last post, so here's an update in a super fun list:

+ Dan and I – after several trips between Brighton and Southampton from his nan – moved from our house in Brighton. I stayed with his family in Southampton for a couple of days after we moved out, and I'm now back in Cardiff for a few days.

+ We've found ourselves a flat to move into! Provided nothing goes wrong between now and then, we're moving in on Saturday. It's just a small standard flat, but it's exactly what we were looking for, and it's in a nice village-y feeling suburb, so I think we'll be happy there, at least for a year or so.

+ I found out my degree results. I'll be graduating with a 2:1 (I keep accidentally typing that as 2:!) in American Studies. Which isn't too surprising, considering I've been pretty much smack-bang in the middle of a 2:1 with all of my marks. I was a little disappointed I only got 66% in my 8000 word dissertation, though; I put a LOT of time and effort into that, and only came out with 4% than I got in my Foreign Policy dissertation, which got considerably less of my time and effort. I don't know what I did wrong.

+ I met up with an old friend of mine (well, he's actually my ex-boyfriend, but we split up almost 4 years ago) and things went … strangely. I had a fun evening, but I was left feeling quite worn down by his 'joking' negativity. It brought back memories of the months before we broke up, and left me feeling rather unsettled. I don't know. He's a really good friend, though, so I hope things are better the next time we see each other. I'm sure they will be.

+ I've applied for numerous jobs and have so far heard back from only one. I will continue to wait patiently. I'm just not a very patient person. It would be so much easier if I had some sort of idea of what I want to do with my life. But I don't.

The internet has been playing up a LOT since I've been here – it cuts out for twenty minutes to half an hour at a time, which is incredibly frustrating. I was hoping to make the most of the internet while I'm here since I don't know when we'll get it at our new flat, but it doesn't seem to want to cooperate with me!