Diary Post: What I got for my birthday

On the 9th December, I turned the big 2-0! My day was filled with kind words, good food and some pretty awesome presents. In the few years that I have been blogging, I don’t believe I’ve ever shared what gifts I’ve received so why change that and show you what I got for my birthday?

What I got for my birthday What I got for my birthdayWhat I got for my birthdayWhat I got for my birthdayWhat I got for my birthday

I hope you enjoy it and please forgive the excited girl tone aha.

The Frugal Frenchie x

I feel like my presents were really varied this year so there’s a little bit of everything. My dad chose out this book by Matthew Desmond called “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.” It’s a nonfiction book that describes the events and the lives of those in trailer parks and tumbledown houses.

What I got for my birthday

It talks about people’s struggles, hardships and life obstacles which I, sometimes guilty so, find very interesting, so I look forward to getting further into the book!

My mum chose me out this gorgeous perfume from Yves Rocher. It’s called “Quelques Notes d’Amour,” and I love it. Shipped from France, it feels extra special as I’ve always loved their products and it smells so lush. It’s not overly sweet but it’s fairly woody for a feminine perfume. I’ve worn it every day since I got it!

What I got for my birthday

Next comes the food, there’s always food let’s face it. My sister was so sweet as to buy me a tube of Smarties- which awkwardly is nearly finished by the time I write this post- and my uni friend got me a tub of Jelly Bean “tropical bonanza!” Thought that was quite funky as some flavours I’ve never tried before, and that was finished a while ago *oops*.

What I got for my birthday

Although these are far from the most well edited, well laid out pictures, I thought it was most appropriate as these sweet treats got me through some tough times typing away at the computer doing coursework aha.

Lastly, I was very kindly gifted the Alcatel A5 LED phone and I love it so much! It’s so easy to navigate and I’ve finally moved on now from my friend’s, scratched old phone! Feels so good to be able to download loads of important apps and be more active on social media whilst on the go. The camera is also much better (my last post was me experimenting with it for the first time ever) which can only mean a step in the right direction when trying to up my blogging game!

What I got for my birthday

There’s also an A3 version but both have this cool cover which replaces the normal back. It lights up whenever you sign in or get a notification so it’s great when you need to keep your phone on silent but want to remain updated! I attached a picture below because it turns out it’s hard to photograph aha, but I love it; I’m a very happy bunny indeed.

What I got for my birthday

What I got for my birthdayWhat I got for my birthday

Diary post: my first week of university

As it’s the first week of my university experience here in the UK, I thought I would make a little diary post about it. Hopefully, this will appeal not only to my old uni friends from abroad, who are wondering what it’s like but also for anyone who is just starting university this year.

Diary post: my first week of university

Monday 25th September

Today was my first day of uni. Surprisingly, my timetable seems quite empty with actually Mondays’ being one of the “longest” days of the week. Always bright and cheerful, I started the year with a statistics (or what they refer to as EMSA) workshop and a recap test.

Although I wasn’t happy with the surprise at the time, I’m kind of glad they did one as it made me realise just how much I’ve forgotten! It’s definitely time to get those stats notes out from last year! Compared to my last university, Maastricht, I found statistics much more understandable. Don’t get me wrong, they were fab over there and so intelligent, but here, they simplify everything, gave us a workbook with exercises and a step to step guide.

I really hope they don’t teach the whole degree like this as it may get slightly patronising, but for maths-related topics, which to say the least, were never my forte, this was definitely helpful!

In my introduction lecture, I met with another girl who had transferred from the University of Winchester, so it helped that we were in the same boat. During the summer, I manage to get in contact with a girl that’s already on the course so I hope to finally meet her at some point, despite not having the same schedules.

Tuesday 26th September

Not going to lie, although my lecture today was interesting, I think it’s very irritating being at uni for only an hour. An hour?! Plus, the lecturer ended 10 minutes early so it kind of feels a little pointless.

My motivation is definitely still high and it was about personality, a topic that greatly interests me, but I can imagine in 6 months time, coming in for just 50 minutes will seem a lot more of a chore.

Nevertheless, I finally put a name to my personal tutor too which was useful. I believe I have a meeting with him in a couple of days time so hopefully, he can answer my many questions about essays and the like.

Today he covered the humanistic approach to personality which talks a lot about free will, what our desires are (self-fulfilment, worth etc.) and different theories. Really very interesting! I found one theory in particular rather curious and this was the “hierarchy of needs” (Maslow, 1943), if you’d like more information or a post about it do let me know.

Oh also, I finally met that girl I’ve been chatting on facebook with! I met with her a little earlier before the lecture and she showed me around a little. From an outside glance, the library seems a little disappointing but the new building, called the fusion building, is absolutely gorgeous!

Diary post: my first week of university

Wednesday 27th September

Well, I’ll definitely remember Wednesday’s as “science day!” From 9am until 11am every week, I will be bombarded by two hours of neuroanatomy/biopsychology. This is essentially the scientific study of the biology of behaviour.

In this lecture, seeing as it was the first one of year 2, it covered mostly a recap of everything we should already know. From the basics of “there are 4 lobes,” to a slightly more in-depth look at the components of the hindbrain, midbrain and forebrain.

It was a nice, slow start and easy to follow and understand (a relief)! I always find it difficult to take notes in a more biological lecture as there are always diagrams attached to the slides which obviously can’t be drawn out but always seem relevant and important! Still, I think it went well for a first shot.

Thursday 28th September

I spent the majority of last night doing some extra reading for today’s seminar. This will be my first ever seminar (as the concept wasn’t really used in Maastricht) and I have no idea what to expect!

It ended up being quite a short but sweet summary of Wednesday’s lecture. It did feel a little like being in primary school again, what with working in pairs etc. but I’m hoping that once the difficulty increases, I’ll appreciate that a lot more.

This afternoon, I have a long break and then have a personality seminar. It’s with the same lecturer as Tuesday and afterwards, I’ll have a meeting with my personal tutor. It’s a good time to get some focused studying done and socialise with my new friend!

The personality seminar didn’t add anything new, it mentioned a few assessment techniques with role play, but apart from that nothing of value was added. The meeting ended up being a generic one about how to behave and what not but it ended up being over an hour because of a “plagiarism checker” sheet we had to complete and a worksheet on how to practice shortening sentences. I personally hate things like that so so close to dinner, I wasn’t in the best of temperaments!

Diary post: my first week of university

Friday 29th September

Today’s another long day. To avoid walking an hour, I have to get a lift almost an hour early at the same time as the sibling’s school run. This meant a 7:15 am wake up call for a 9 am lecture. It’s difficult haha.

I had a 9-10 lecture on personality again (we have 2 hours a week per topic) and then later a lecture on statistics, from 2-3pm.

The statistics lecture was one I was dreading in all honesty. Back in Maastricht, they would go step by step but only showing us the formulas as they went. Trust me, once you reach an equation that has 5 or more steps before even reaching the point you want, it gets so confusing!

The guy who ran this lecture spoke with no microphone. He was confident, passionate and it actually put a smile on his face. Through his waffling, I could really take in what he was saying, as well as keeping on track with the slides of the presentation.

I left that lecture hall and my first week on a high!

Do you remember your first week of uni? What was it like? If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below.

The Frugal Frenchie x

How I got my current job

I am so excited to announce that I have a new job! For most of you, this won’t be news to your ears, but I thought I’d talk a little bit about the journey and how I got to my current job!

How I got my current job

For those who haven’t known me long enough, I used to work in a company called Explore Learning, which was a tuition service offering English, Maths and other help to children from 4-14 years old. Although I never disliked it, I felt that it wasn’t possible to continue to teach once I left the UK to study abroad in the Netherlands. They did offer me a holiday contract, which I accepted, but there was actually never enough time to go back. This meant that in June 2017, we mutually decided that it would be a good idea to end my contract.

My plans by that time had started to change, however. I had applied for UCAS and I was in the process of writing my personal statement for a year 2 transfer back to the UK. A month and a bit later, I found out that I got accepted into year 2 of my hometown university, Bournemouth. I was very excited and took it as a sign of fate as other universities either hadn’t got back to me in time or didn’t accept me. Coming back to my hometown means that a lot more opportunities were open up to me; one of them being a new job.

My first point of call was Primark. I’m not sure why maybe I just had a good feeling about it from the start? Maybe I fancied starting something new without realising? I’m not sure, but I went straight to their vacancy website before attempting anything else. I have experience with Primark in the past actually, but not a good one. In 2015, I applied in October for a retail assistant position in the hopes they’d employ me as a Christmas temp (I thought I’d give them time to consider aha). Anyway, they came back to me in January saying that they didn’t need me- which was no surprise by then!

As a result, I had no real expectations when I applied this year, but boy they’ve upped their game! They replied to me in less than 24 hours and I had an interview three days later. From there, I had my induction the next day and by a week after my initial interview, I had already done two shifts! It was so impressive and it all moved so quickly, I think they were extremely professional and I’m thrilled to be there! (And yes, I still stand by this two months later)!

How did you get to your current job? Or are you thinking of changing jobs? Let me know as it’s always an interesting topic!

The Frugal Frenchie x

Diary post: our 5 euro trip to Madame Tussauds

On the 17th July, the day before we were due to leave for the UK and start our summer holiday, we decided to take a very impulsive trip to Amsterdam. Once there we went to go see Madame Tussauds and here’s what I thought of it.

Normally, Madame Tussauds is around 25 euros per person, but luckily, with vouchers, I managed to get it down to 5 euros for two people, including tax! How?

Well, as you may know, if you follow my blog, I started Maastricht University in August 2016 to study psychology. A compulsory part of this course was to do a minimum of 20 hours of research participation to help year 3 students or PhD students. Unfortunately, we weren’t paid, but we did receive some vouchers called VVV vouchers. Upon looking at what they could be spent on, I was extremely disappointed. They were mostly sports shops or cafes or other establishments where I would definitely not be spending my money at.

That is, of course, when I saw that we could spend them at Madame Tussauds….

As my first visit in a Madame Tussauds I was very impressed by the quality of the wax figures and the sheer resemblance of them. I loved how everything was displayed and the general layout of the museum. We met some of the greatest music artists of the decade and then went back in time to some of the greatest artists of this century!

I was disappointed at a few things, however, but I shan’t dwell on these as I did get to visit for almost free. The first thing I noted was there actually weren’t that many figures. There was a little hall at the beginning where ET, Freddie Mercury and Angelina Jolie were displayed because they were clearly anomalies. It’s odd to think about Jolie being an anomaly, but going through the museum, I soon realised why: there were no actresses or any actors!

The sections were very limited which was probably why the museum was so sparse and had so much room for décor and details. In the sport section, there were only three footballers (one of whom I had never heard of), there was one tennis player (Nadal), a gymnast I never heard of and another figure that was so insignificant to me I can’t remember them. I was surprised that they didn’t even have Kim Clijsters, who, although is Belgian, I thought would have more significance to them than Nadal.

The music section was a lot more impressive. Again, they didn’t have very many figures but that whole floor was so well presented that I forgave them very quickly! There were old vinyl’s covering the walls, music blaring out, and coincidentally, very relevantly, Ariana Grande on a big stage surrounded by fake smoke and in a stunning dress. She was the “centre piece.”

There were also big names like Adele, Taylor Swift and Michael Jackson. There were also some Dutch DJs/radio presenters but of course, they need to put some of their own culture in too!

The other floors did surprise me in terms of what they had chosen: they had a tonne of marvel characters (which my boyfriend loved), an artist section and an “inspiration section.” Although this was just spread out across the space of a mundane house’s hallway, I had so much respect for them for including these figures. They made Anne Frank, Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, Ghandi, Dhali Lama and Nelson Mandela!

Overall, for 5 euros of entertainment, it was good little trip and it was great fun being vain next to all these celebrities. I was expecting a little more, and I don’t think I would go again paying full price, but I really appreciate the experience and the opportunity to visit one of these famous Madame Tussaud museums.

Have you ever been to a Madame Tussauds or the one in Amsterdam particularly? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!

The Frugal Frenchie x

Diary post: Maastricht in summer

In July 2017, once I had finished my first year of university, my boyfriend and I decided to make the most of our free days before leaving to the UK, to really appreciate Maastricht, our local town and actually explore it properly and discover new things.

Even after a year, it’s easy to miss massive details simply because you’re cycling, you’re rushing or you have places to be, deadlines to meet. It’s a classic excuse. Consequently, we decided to just spend the day walking around, taking pictures and surprising ourselves.

We actually did end up discovering new things! We had never realised how beautiful the architecture was, for example. We had never realised how colour coordinated they were, or how they had different styles depending on what street you were. You never think to look at the buildings above the shops, but we did, and we honestly couldn’t believe we were in the same town we had gone through for the past year!

We also found a cute little art exhibition where tea and coffee was served through a van as well as a little camper van giving out food. There were some sculptures just being propped up in the grass and there was music playing, with a little audience of people in deck chairs. In our quest for a free toilet (ah Europe) which was not successful, we also found an old church that had been converted into a dance hall/bar/restaurant. Very untypical and unusual for its surroundings but we loved its uniqueness!

We spent a long time in the park and just walking around too. I personally love people watching. If that sounds stalkery, then I apologise, but I find it so interesting! I also love doing it at airport’s especially as you have so many different nationalities and cultures, not to mention guessing what people are talking about when you don’t understand!

Looking around, I just loved how all the kids looked so happy, everyone was sitting outside cafes and there was a wedding photo shoot happening across the lake. Everything was just film-like; it was just a perfect day.

The Frugal Frenchie x