Free time, Portsmouth

Trips to the Theatre

Over the past few weeks I have been drowning in essays and hiding away in my room anxiously trying to finish every last one. Luckily I only have two more pieces to finish before the end of term!

Despite the workload I have been exploring the theatres of Portsmouth. I do like to go out and go clubbing but after a while this can start to get a little repetitive. So instead I decided that going to the theatre could be a great alternative. Back in October I went to see The Great Gatsby at the New Theatre Royal which is situated in the heart of Portsmouth down Guildhall Walk. The outside doesn’t look too appealing as it sits alongside a local Sainsbury’s and student clubs but this is very much deceiving. The interior of the theatre contrasted very much with the exterior having recently been revamped over summer. I have to say it was pretty impressive with its elegant decorative walls and tiers of ongoing seats. I went with three other course mates as we are going to be studying the book next year. I am not really a fan of the book but the theatre production completely changed my mind on the story as a whole and I actually really enjoyed it. The ticket was also only £12! The production was really well done and it was very humorous in parts with only seven actors playing all of the characters.


A few weeks ago I went to see Legally Blonde at the Kings Theatre on Albert Road. I have already seen this production at a theatre in London and it was really good so I persuaded a few friends to come along to this one and it was only £10 – love being a student! We got a few drinks before the show started and we had seats very close to the front, it was great. The show was very lively and obviously very pink.

Kings Theatre are performing Dirty Dancing next November and I am so tempted to go. It is something different to do and not expensive at all. Definitely something worth doing in your spare time to take your mind of all those essays 🙂

Student, Study, Uni Life

I would like to know more about…

Not all students that undergo and complete a BSc will either work directly on the area or dedicate themselves to research. The purpose of completing a higher degree is partly to improve and overcome our own expectations, to know more about the world that is beyond us and to grow ourselves as more educated and conscientious as people.

So, in a way, having this opportunity is a blessing. A true gift! I can still recall the thrill of being for the first time at the university. All the new perspectives, the feeling we had the world in our own hands; a world full of possibilities! Every university has its own agenda. So, as students, we should embrace what each university can provide us.

As a fresh student at the University of Portsmouth I am still learning my ways, but one really amazing thing, especially when you are a student, is the possibility of listening from different researchers or professionals in the area we like the most and understand the range of possibilities we could be headed to or even just to have a better idea of the hot topics going on. An easy way to achieve that is by attending seminars, and it is a great pleasure to understand that our University makes a great effort to provide us with several different ones. You can have a quick look here.

I, as a geology student, attend the SEES seminars, weekly on Thursdays, at 6 pm. I try to go to as many as I can since you never know what cool ideas you could get out of the work that another researcher is producing. Of course, the topic is not always clearly related with my interests or my specific research. However, and especially if you are still an undergraduate student, you never know what you will be working on in a few years, and it might be useful later. And for the time being, it broadens your horizons.

Depending on the School, you might even have an “after party”, a social gathering where people can discuss some ideas and socialize. This will surely happen after a SEES seminar, and at around 7 pm both staff and students will be headed to the Brewhouse and Kitchen, down the Guildhall Walk. It is particularly useful if you want to discuss ideas and ask some questions, either to staff or even the invited lecturer if you are shy or you don’t like to speak out in public. Nonetheless, the purpose for these seminars is to provide a place where people can talk to each other and even make some brainstorming.

In almost two months of Portsmouth, I already had the chance of meeting two different researchers that presented really interesting talks on subjects related with my thesis and afterwards we had the chance to discuss ideas for a long while, which is really great (I feel benefited from it!), enjoying nice beers.

On Wednesdays, for a broader community, we also have the Dynamic Planet Seminars, in Richmond Building at 1 pm and my latest experience was awesome! Even though it was more about hydrology and geography, a kick ass presentation about Antarctica Ice sheet was held and 3D models were presented, so we actually used 3D glasses and we had Antarctica in our room for a few moments!

I still remember how I enjoyed attending Seminars like these in my previous University, but, unfortunately, they were not on a regular basis and the speakers were not often from different parts of the world. Even so, I felt at the time that it was amazing, even though several times, about 80% I couldn’t completely understand and probably 40% I forgot with time.

Have a go, organize your schedule and try to go to as many seminars as possible. ‘Knowledge is never too much’, they say. And you never know what the future is holding.

Have you had a good experience while attending Seminars? Do you find it difficult to keep up? Have a say.





GeogSoc goes to Amsterdam!

Hey everyone!

Last weekend I was in Amsterdam with the Geography Society. It was my first time visiting there and I can honestly say it was the best weekend of my life!

GeogSoc in Amsterdam

Group photo of all of us!

What do you think of when you think of Amsterdam…?

Hopefully, you were thinking of cycling.

The cycle scene in Amsterdam is beyond belief. It would be fair to say that there are as many cyclists than pedestrians, the whole city is built around them. Of course this caused a lot of confusion when we were getting out of the coach after a 12 hour coach journey, a lot of us almost getting run over by some cyclists! It wouldn’t have been right to be in Amsterdam without cycling through the narrow streets, I and many other students took the opportunity to rent bikes and have a go at joining the locals in riding the streets. It’s incredible the amount you get to see whilst cycling around the city, I went around with a group of around 18 and we got to cycle past the Anne Frank House, the IAmsterdam sign and have a tour of the beautiful Vondelpark.

cycling amsterdam

Cycling through The Vondelpark

Typically, I lost my group of friends, but it did give me the opportunity to explore on my own for a bit. Whilst trying to navigate my way (shout out to the lady giving away free Fanta for directing me the right way) I saw a vendor selling smoked herring, which is apparently a local favourite. Yes, that’s raw fish and yes, I did try it. Needless to say, the combination of smoked herring, raw onions and pickles certainly left an unforgettable pungent taste.


Smoked Herring on the canal!

Whilst in Amsterdam, I discovered something which I feel we are all missing from our lives here in the UK. Imagine a wall in which you put money in and hot food comes out. Well, these exist in Amsterdam and go by the name of FEBO. The absolute epitome of fast food and the food wasn’t half bad either!


The fastest fast food ever!

Something I really recommend you do if you ever find yourself in Amsterdam is to do the Heineken experience. A few of us got the opportunity to go visit the old brewery where we learned a lot about the history and process of making Heineken lager. There were lots of cool displays going on and the complimentary pints on offer were certainly a highlight.


The Heineken Brewery

After exploring the city during the day, all of us at GeogSoc grouped back together and took a tour of the city followed by a night out at the clubs. What was amusing were people’s reactions to the Red Light District. To be honest, as much as I had heard about it, nothing can quite prepare you for the brutal openness of it all.

The night life in Amsterdam was incredible and having 50+ of your course mates all out with you made it two great nights out!


Out in the Amsterdam nightlife

There are of course many great trips you can go on with many different societies here at Portsmouth. There is also the AU Tour  in Salou during the Easter break which I believe you have to pay your deposit quite soon for. The SU also provide students with many trips throughout the year which you can check out here:

Hope you enjoyed reading, many thanks to the GeogSoc committee for organizing such a great trip!



Free time

The Highs & Lows of Having a Part-time Job Whilst at University

Student loans; brilliant, yes? But alas we have bills, rent, food shops and let’s face it, general living! By this point you’re left with little to no money…

It always made sense for me to get a job. Having both parents still together my loan is significantly lower than the likes of many of my peers with divorced parents whom get pretty hefty loans. Regardless of how flawed the student loan system is, it comes down to this: if I want to have anything nice for myself I have to work.
I see it like this: my loan is for food, it’s for rent, it’s for all those boring things I do not want to spend my money on but kind of have to. My work money is for me, it’s for clothes, for nights out, for holidays.
So I work. I spend my weekends not out with friends enjoying free-time and studying, but making coffee.
Naturally I’ll start with the negatives so I can tactically end the post on a high which makes you go ‘wow I should get a job!’, because honestly, it is awesome!
Definite Cons to Having a Job Whilst Studying
  1. “I know it’s Saturday night but I had work until 7 and I haven’t eaten all day and my feet/back/legs/[insert any other body part here] ache so much I think they may fall off and I have another 8 hour shift tomorrow… So, no, I can’t come out.”
  2. Nights in the library after work all day to catch up on work I could have been doing in the day.
  3. Missing out on all the fun things my friends seem to do on the weekends. Vintage fair? Oh, sorry, only on Sundays. All day gigs along Albert Road? Ah, it’s on a Saturday. Big house brunch? Of course, Sunday mornings.
  5. “Yes I have the money to do this with you… No, I can’t have the time off work to actually do it.”
  6. Saying yes to all those extra shifts seems like a great idea at the time but when you’re drowning in all the work you haven’t quite completed, it’s not a brilliant idea.

The Wonderful Wonderful Pros to Having a Job Whilst Studying

  1. I am not in debt! I haven’t even neared my overdraft and money isn’t as scary a concept as it is for many of my peers who hide at the sight of their bank accounts.
  2. I can afford to do so many lovely things. I traveled to five different countries (Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium, France and Ireland) this summer which was just an incredible! There’s no way I could have done that without my wages. It made all the hard work worth it and I even managed to do a bit of travel writing whilst I was out there!
  3. I met so many amazing people who I would never have come across had I not worked. It’s so lovely to know people who live in Portsmouth and don’t just study here. It even meant that I could come stay in Portsmouth in the summer for a couple of nights on a stop over to the Isle of Wight before my tenancy started. It’s who you know!
  4. Whether it’s bar work, in a restaurant, retail, in a coffee shop or even for the university, it’s all an experience! You probably don’t want to do whatever it is you’re doing part-time for the rest of your life but there are so many transferable skills. Applying for a job which requires people skills? Well, I spent 3 years of my life serving coffee to hundreds of people each weekend in the city centre. People skills? Check!
  5. If you write, like me, it may inspire you!
  6. It gives you a break from everything else which is going on. I find work is the best way to keep my mind off of things.
  7. It’s such an accomplishment to come home at the end of the day and know you’ve made money and been productive.
  8. Basically, working is hard and can be difficult to balance with uni life and deadlines, but if you find somewhere (like the university) who understand your other commitments and are flexible enough to accommodate to your needs then you’re set. I say go get ’em!
Free time

Escaping Portsmouth

Hey everyone!

This summer I was lucky enough to be working at a summer camp in Chichester which isn’t too far from here. I got the chance to take international students on trips to close-by tourist attractions, many of them I wouldn’t have considered visiting even though I live pretty close to them here at uni. I thought I’d share some of my experiences during my trips, hopefully encouraging some of you to maybe get out of Portsmouth for a bit and taking in some of our great local attractions!

So, as I spent most of my time in Chichester this summer, I’ll start off with that! If small market cities and beautiful cathedrals are your thing, I highly recommend you visit! A short and cheap 25 minute train journey east of Portsmouth will take you to “Chi” (as the locals call it). It’s quite a change from Portsmouth’s busy and built up environment and would definitely provide a relaxing retreat from the stresses of uni life. There’s also something about Chichester which has a quintessential British feel to it, probably due to it’s abundance of tea rooms! A visit of the Cathedral and its gardens is a must, the market on the weekend is also nice to have a look at!

Chichester Cathedral and part of its gardens

Chichester Cathedral and part of its gardens

Not too far from Chichester is Arundel, famed for its massive castle. Fortunately, Arudel is also a direct train ride from Portsmouth. Chances are if you’ve taken one of those long journeys to London on Southern Trains, then you would have probably seen its castle. You could just visit for the castle, which dates back to 1067, but that wouldn’t be doing Arundel justice which has enough antiques shops to turn even the most staunchest Antiques Roadshow haters to lovers! There’s literally an antiques shop for anything! The castle itself is incredible and has loads of medieval features and decorations that will leave you in awe.

Arundel Castle

Arundel Castle

I know I’ve been only going on about old castles and cathedrals but I want to give just a quick shout out to Salisbury, a bit further than the other two but still worth the visit, especially if you love your history as its cathedral is home to the most intact copy of the Magna Carta!!

Salisbury Cathedral - Feels like you're walking through Hogwarts!

Salisbury Cathedral – Feels like you’re walking through Hogwarts!

It wouldn’t be right not to include Brighton in this post, given that its really close. Apparently, it’s the happiest city in the UK and to be fair, everyone seemed to love it when I went there with my students. There always seems to be something to do in Brighton. Personally, I quite enjoyed The Pavilion when I went there but the Sea Life aquarium is amazing! It’s the oldest operating aquarium in the world and has retained most of its Victorian architecture which just adds the the incredible experience. No trip to Brighton would be complete without visiting the Pier. I promise you, no matter how old you are, you will have fun there!

Brighton Pier

Brighton Pier

Me with a turtle at Sea Life

Me with a turtle at Sea Life

Hopefully I’ve given some of you some inspiration to get out and explore outside of Portsmouth, feel free to comment about other close-by places you have visited and enjoyed!


Exercise, fitness, Gym, Health, Sport

Keeping Fit!


We have entered November which means that we’re officially in the final countdown for winter and Christmas time. The weather here in Portsmouth is starting to become a little too cold for my taste, but hey, that’s what Britain is known for, right? Good, old rainy weather! Nonetheless, the weather hasn’t stopped me from keeping my usual routine, which consists of going to lectures and seminars as well as trying to regularly keep my gym schedule, which is what I want to talk about in this post.


When I first arrived in Portsmouth to get everything ready for my course and accommodation, one of the first things I did was to sign up for the Early Bird Membership, which is basically an offer for students that register early at the uni’s gym, at a really cheap price of £119 for a whole year, which is just £10 a month! I signed up at the gym near my accommodation, which is the St. Paul’s Gym but there is also another gym facility at the University called Spinnaker Sports Centre, and it’s near to other housing facilities, so all students can have access to the various health and exercise classes and special offers that both gyms organize such as cardio cycling and piloxing (a mix of pilates, boxing and dance). There is also the Langstone Sports Site, which is used mostly for rugby and football games, among other sports.

I’ve realized that everyone needs to keep themselves fit and healthy as much as possible because being a student and away from home, we all tend to go crazy with our eating habits and consume more than we need to without even realizing it. Furthermore, most students tend to go out quite frequently at the clubs and social events at night and usually go back to their rooms in the early hours of morning, which can be harmful to the body’s metabolism. Therefore, keeping a regime routine in your weekly schedule is extremely important to maintain not only a good body, but also a clear head with the appropriate nutrients and a logical sleeping schedule.

In summary, everyone needs to take care of themselves whilst studying, because lots of students tend to get stressed and anxious about their lessons , but having a programme of how to be healthy is vital and also helps with building determination and discipline. Additionally, you also get to have an awesome beach body in the summer and who doesn’t want that? 😉

So what is your everyday regime of being healthy and fit? Does that include going to the gym?

XOXO Ntina

Uni Life

The start of final year

Although I enjoyed my year in China looking back it feels like I’ve just woken up from a very long dream. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy my year abroad, I certainly did, but at the same time it felt like my life was always somewhere else, it was back in Portsmouth. I would constantly check my phone for updates from my friends and wonder what they were up to, I would stay in Friday nights so I could talk to them, and many a night I couldn’t sleep because of the time difference.

Even though I’m originally not from the UK, Norway doesn’t even seem like home anymore, Portsmouth does. My home town is just somewhere my parents live, where I go home for Christmas to catch up with my friends and see my family, then head back to my “real” life here in Portsmouth. My friends, my boyfriends, my social life, my gym, my studies – it’s all right here on the English coast, and I’m so happy to be back!

I also can’t believe it’s already November! I’ve been in Portsmouth since August, and time had flown by. Final year is already a lot busier than I ever imagined with two societies to run, dissertation, essays, Chinese, and trying to have a social life next to all this. But I am enjoying it, I really am. I’m enjoying my busy schedule, and I’m pleased to say I am even on track with my dissertation. And my sleeping pattern is back on track, I’m not set on China time or anything!

~ Marie