Clubs and societies, Free time, Home, Job hunting, Nightlife, Other University Factors

10 things year 1 has taught me…

Seeing as it is almost easter and almost the end of our teaching time for year 1 (how has that happened?!?!) I thought I would reflect on my time as a fresher and tell you 10 things year 1 has taught me….so far.

  1. To make gravy….you need HOT water….(yes I tried to add cold water to the granules and wondered why it wasn’t working….#fail)
  2. ALWAYS carry your key with you….like ALWAYS! There was a time where I got locked out and my key was in my room and I had to wait about 45 mins to be let in my room!
  3. Make good use of all the support you are offered the wellbeing service, student support managers…even the SABBS want to make sure you are doing okay!
  4. Make your room as homely as you can! I always feel so at home in my room thanks to the pictures an the little quotations and the fairy lights, it is a lot easier to settle at uni if you enjoy spending time in your room!
  5. Stay in touch with old school friends. Making new friends is great but I have had many a conversation with some old school friends. It helps if you or they are struggling as you are able to give them advice as you probably know them best.
  6. Buy food for lunch/dinner you enjoy making and eating, you are more likely to want to cook after a long day at university if this is the case. (see my last blog post;
  7. Get involved! I was elected deputy faculty rep at the start of the year and I have made so many contacts through this. It has given me a great opportunity to meet some third years and masters students who are all lovely. I have also just been elected National events officer for RAG and Donor Recruitment officer for Portsmouth Marrow, I hope to be elected as  Faculty rep next year…..phew!
  8. Try new things! One thing I was adamant about when I came to uni was that I wasn’t going to go out. However supported by my UAB family I managed to stay out for almost 2 hours ….now I want to go out again!!
  9. Volunteer- but not just for your CV! I emailed a lot of performing arts schools to see if they would give me a job- I found a company looking for a volunteer and I took that on instead. It was honestly the best thing I have done. The director (Bekki) is so lovely and I really enjoy going there every Wednesday.
  10. Andddd 10. Get the balance of going home right. When I first started university I was told by my violin teacher not to go home for at least 3 weeks. It worked a treat as I was homesick but not too much. I kept myself busy and looked forward to going home. I have also made little surprises home as well this year which are a really nice thing to do and make you feel really good about yourself.
Free time, Island Experience, Nightlife, Portsmouth

What I Love About Living in Portsmouth

Whilst I am feverishly jealous of the freshers coming in to begin their journey at Portsmouth, I also feel lucky to be where I am now. I know the city: where’s good, who’s good, what’s good. Writing this blog post has really got me thinking: reflecting both on the last year spent here and the two I have to come. My heart feels swollen with love for the place. When I think of Portsmouth, the first thing I think of is the beach.


I love living in a seaside city. It’s absolutely magnificent to be able to trundle down to the beach to unwind. There’s something ever so therapeutic about the sea. Being able to lay on the beach whenever you want is just amazing, whether you are going to watch the sunset, to have a daring dip in the water, to calm down, to read, to run, to just lie on the pebbled shore and listen to the waves, it is simply indescribable and certainly an irreplaceable feeling.

If you’re into alternative/indie music then there is this amazing night at Scandals. It is an underground cellar bar and provides an amazing alternative to your usual club night out in Portsmouth. Not to say that the occasional purple Wednesday out at The Fleet and Popworld isn’t welcome!

When I think of Portsmouth I think of independent unique little shops and pubs and cafes. Portsmouth is bursting with hidden gems: take a walk down Albert Road and you’ll always find something going on, from silent discos, to unique little cafes, from live music to tiny artsy antique shops. A personal favourite of mine is Southsea’s Pie & Vinyl which you’ll most likely pass on a meander down towards the seafront. Their pies are outstanding. It’s an adorably quirky place with some very unique pies. You can get anything from fish and chips (yes, in a pie!) to your classic steak and kidney. Being a big music fan I also adore spending an afternoon flicking through their records with a glass of their very own cordial in hand.


I was so unsure about the move when I arrived in Portsmouth, full of crippling nerves and doubt, but now I couldn’t be happier. It’s a beautiful place to live and study. I’m overwhelmingly excited to be able to spend (at very least) the next two years here, exploring and discovering new places which I’m dying to share with people.


Free time, Island Experience, Nightlife, Portsmouth

Fireworks at Gunwharf Quays

As my friends already know, I love photography and they will always see me with my Nikon walking around the city. When I came here in Portsmouth one of the first things that I did was look up the Photography Society (

So, on October 31 the Gunwharf Quays were doing a Fireworks show with some promotions and I went to Gosport with the Photography Society. I can say the show was really amazing! I took some pictures. I just started with this new hobby, it is not so easy as you need to study and read a lot if you want to have good shoots!

We caught the ferry which was just £3.10 return, leaving Portsmouth between 6pm arriving by 6h10pm and waited until 7h20pm when the Fireworks started. Between the arrival point and the place on the pier which is where our leader chose for us to be, we saw a lot of photographers waiting for the show.

The main intention of this post is show the pictures of the Fireworks, if you missed this spectacle here is a little bit of it. If you are interested in seeing more of my photos follow the links below:



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Clubs and societies, Course, Free time, Nightlife, The city


Located on the ground floor of the Nuffield Centre there’s a space called the Chaplaincy, and in today’s blog I wanted to highlight this great place.

Chances are that many students are not aware of it. It’s a quiet, interfaith area, where students can relax on sofas and beanbags to chat or chill-out in a peaceful and civilised environment. Fairy lights strung up the walls and classical music playing gently in the background give the Chaplaincy a hospitable feeling. There are even free tea and coffee making facilities – useful to know when your wallet’s empty but you could do with a hot drink to help you recharge! If you ever have time in-between lectures and don’t have a place to turn, I’d wholeheartedly recommend the Chaplaincy. Just respect that it’s a quiet place, and it should stay that way.

Take a look here to find out more. The Chaplaincy is a place for people of any faith, or none at all. Although I’ve never met with a chaplain myself, they’re always around to speak to if you have any problems, and you don’t even need an appointment.

Course, Free time, Nightlife, Study, The city

That Library Feeling

I must admit, I had never really used a library before I came to university. If I ever wanted to know about something when I was at school or college, I would always turn to the internet. I thought libraries were boring, stuffy places. Yet since I’ve been here at Portsmouth, I have started to enjoy my visits to the university library.

At first I was a bit intimidated; finding a single book in this gigantic place unnerved me. But it wasn’t long before I  had mastered the library’s e-catalogue, and now finding a relevant work is second nature. The more time you spend in the library, the more you realise what a wealth of knowledge is waiting to be uncovered. Sometimes it’s just fun to search the catalogue for a random word and see what comes up. There are books on everything! The new computerised system for withdrawing and returning books makes the process even easier, and is kind of futuristic!
You can easily lose track of time flicking through the daily newspapers on the ground floor, or observing the informative displays, which change regularly – a recent one about LGBT celebrities caught my attention. The library retains a powerful energy. Sound and time seem repressed and muted, yet the building is a meeting place for everyone in the university, and that vibrant aura permeates between the rows of tomes. It’s almost as if you can see the energy, like the dust particles sparkling in a ray of light on a sunny afternoon.

Now, when I want to find out more on a topic, I turn to the trusty library. Every time I leave that great building, my backpack laden with heavy books, I get a strange twinge that I’m a student. It’s a good sensation, scholarly and strangely optimistic. The library feeling strikes again!

Clubs and societies, Course, Free time, Island Experience, Nightlife, Study, The city

Hello February!

I can’t believe it has been a whole month since Big Ben struck twelve and the date ticked over to 2014. It’s certainly been a very wet and windy start to the year!

Although my dissertation was looking quite pitiful at the beginning of this second term, somehow the word-count now reads nearly 7000, and I’ve finally emailed my work to my supervisor for review – I’m eagerly awaiting the feedback!

While I try to muster up my energy for the next bout of disso writing, the ebb and flow of life pushes me softly onwards, and time slips by like water through open hands. I took a few minutes to complete the Nation Student Survey and got a free lunch voucher. (The information from the NSS goes to Unistats, a great website for comparing University courses.) Then I went to see the powerful and emotional film ‘12 Years A Slave‘ with group of coursemates last week. You can’t look at slavery the same once you’ve seen such a movie, and it really does hammer home the learning from my current two units, ‘African American History and Culture’ and ‘Civil Rights in the USA’. Yes, watching a film really can count as studying.

On a lighter note, I also spent a weekend with my girlfriend cooking Japanese food and playing Pokémon Crystal on Gameboy, because it’s cool to be retro. Everyone deserves a break at the weekend, right?

So now February has arrived, and another month of universitying and dissertationing lies ahead. Bring it on!

Blake's View, Free time, Nightlife, The city

Christmas and New Year (and time for a change?)

Christmas has been and gone, and now I’m sitting back at my laptop at the end of Boxing Day feeling bloated, slightly woozy and exasperated. Of course it was a pleasant Christmas spent with close family, and I can’t complain with the numerous presents I received (though I didn’t ask for much!)
With the festive distraction now fading into another memory, my thoughts return to the year ahead – and I cannot believe I have so little time left until my degree is over!

This is my final Christmas as an undergraduate, and in many ways the final year in life as I’ve always known it. In a lot of respects, 2013 has been a year of final family memories for me. As relatives get older and I make steps forward in my own life, I find myself feeling more excited about my own independent life, and a little sad to let the old traditions go.

No matter how hard you try, it seems impossible to rekindle the magic effect Christmas can have as a child. That’s not to say I don’t try! I’m sure we all have Christmas traditions we like to stick to.
Mine include a Christmas Eve cycle with an old school pal, plus the many other things which make Christmas come alive – decorating the tree, advent calendars, making a Christmas cake, opening stockings and setting fire to the Christmas pudding. This year I also baked gingerbread and attempted to make mulled wine with my girlfriend!

What I’ve realised is that tradition is great, up to a point. It’s great when it gives you a warm feeling inside. Yet sometimes I hide behind tradition and routines. Perhaps in doing so, some of the festive spirit of spontaneity is lost. Breaking a tradition can often create more memories than it would if the same thing was repeated year after year.

I say this not to bring anyone down or to suggest that I had a bad time, but simply because I’m finally recognising that by next year I will have left university and be on my own path. I’m very excited, but also very nervous. The thought of losing familiar routines, created over 22 years of existence, is a daunting prospect. The one thing I’ve always attempted to do is to keep to traditions, and yet I now realise that a change once in a while is never a bad thing.

Perhaps next Christmas will be exactly the same as this year’s – I wouldn’t complain if it is. But if things are different, then I must remind myself that a change is generally good.

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas!
May 2014 be a great year! Change is coming, whether I like it or not.