Saturday, 28 November 2020

5 Ways to Make the Most of Online Learning

Guest Post from Not so Modern Girl

Students across universities in the UK are facing online learning in many subjects. Whether you prefer learning over Zoom or not, it’s important that you have a productive and successful University experience, and you know just how to make the most of this new, online teaching experience.

I recently graduated from the University of York, and my final term of University was all taught online as the pandemic started to hit the world. While it was only this final term that was taught online, it was one of the most important terms of my University career and it certainly opened my eyes to just how resilient students, tutors, and University departments can be. 

During my time getting used to this new mode of teaching, I found a few ways to make the most of online learning during that all-important final term, and hopefully, those tips can help the next round of students grappling with their University subjects.

macbook air beside gold study lamp and spiral notebooks with motivational print in background desk aesthetic
Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash

Look smart

Even though you’re not going into class at University, looking smart and feeling ready for class is an important step to succeeding in your online classes. For me, if I’ve got my make-up and outfit on (just as I would if I went to University in person) I automatically feel more awake, more productive, and ready to start learning.

Obviously different routines work for different people- and some people love working in their pyjamas! But when you “arrive” at a class feeling smart and ready, I personally think it impacts the quality of work you can achieve.

Do the work beforehand

This is a big one. Of course, not every class can be your best! I’ve definitely been guilty of skimping on the reading before a class if I’ve been out with friends a lot that week, or if I’ve not been very well. 

However, I think sometimes it’s easy to feel that we need to prepare less if we don’t have to go into classes in person. We don’t have that shameful moment where everyone else has done the work, and we don’t feel stressed if the teacher picks on us and we flounder a little. 

But just because you can hide behind your keyboard, it doesn’t mean you should put in less work beforehand, and it’s a central part of making the most of your University experience!

Put your phone away

When classes aren’t in person, I think it’s super easy to lose concentration! During my final term, I often caught myself messaging my boyfriend or checking the news instead of concentrating on my Zoom call or online work. And if the tutor didn’t insist that people put on their cameras, it was the perfect excuse to check Twitter.

So, I think a great way to make the most of your lessons is to put away your phone and get rid of all distractions while you work!

Write up your notes afterwards

Making the most of online learning is all about finding opportunities instead of cursing the fact that you can’t see your teachers or classmates in person (which let’s be honest, isn’t ideal).

If things are online, it means they’re often recorded- which gives you a chance to replay the material in your own time! And after a class, you have more time to write up your notes or clarify certain concepts. Instead of running home or popping to another class, you’re sitting in the comfort of your own home.

Just because teaching is online doesn’t mean you get less contact with your tutors, as you can email or phone them to discuss your work- and it’s always possible to create group chats with your classmates and make the most of this time online.

Limit interruptions!

Interruptions are an annoying part of working online, especially if you’re engaging with other classmates during a Zoom call. So make sure to tell anyone you live with- friends, family, or housemates- that you’re starting an online lesson.

Finding a space you can work well is also important, and however, you work best you need to decide where to set up your computer for online classes. At the moment, it’s harder to make our way to the library or University cafĂ© to work - so make sure to find a space with plenty of light, good Wifi, and easy access to snacks!

About the Blogger:

Eleanor is a blogger, writer, and avid reader from Sheffield. She has recently graduated from a degree at the University of York, and she’s since spent time working on her blog. She loves writing regular lifestyle posts and reviewing books and films that she’s enjoyed. Be sure to check her out via her social media and blog!

Pinterest: @notsomoderngirl

How have you been finding adjusting to online university? Do you have any tips that you use for online learning?

If you want to see more University-related posts you might enjoy what I wish I'd known before starting university and what to expect from your first year at university

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Shop Small: Christmas Gift Guide 2020

Christmas is fast approaching and now more than ever it is so important to help small businesses. I'm so excited for Christmas this year and, I've tried to spend more time researching the perfect presents for everyone in my life and I've tried to shop small. This has become a rather large gift guide and, there are some absolutely amazing small businesses in here so you're sure to find something that suits everyone. I hope you find something that you like for the festive season and remember to shop small!

red christmas bauble on brown paper christmas present
Photo by Mel Poole on Unsplash

For the Candle Lover:

Inside the Fragrance

Inside the Frangrance is run by the lovely Alisha who has some absolutely amazing scents to choose from. I have bought some of her wax melts for some people for Christmas and they look incredible - I love the design of the wax melts and they smell amazing. I'm a huge fan of all her Christmas scents and I love anything cinnamon related so some of her Christmas wax melts are a big win for me! 

Grace Etc

Grace Etc sells vegan-friendly and cruelty-free candles in some amazing scents! She sells Movie Night scented candles which sound incredible and perfect for someone who's a film fan too! If you're reminiscing about holiday season then there's also a Lime in the Coconut candle which sounds like the perfect scent if you know someone who wishes they were abroad! 

For the Foodie:


Vinny's vegan snack boxes sound incredible! You can purchase a single box or gift a subscription to someone if you want to make Christmas happen for every month of the year. They allow you to pick your own snacks for the box or you can leave it as a surprise. I think this is such a cool idea and I love that they support independent vegan food brands too. I'm such a big snacker myself and I always find myself wandering the food aisles for something new to try so Vinny gives you the chance to find a new favourite snack every single month!

Slab & Tipple

If you like chocolate then this is the Christmas gift for you! Slap & Tipple handmake all of their chocolates and they really do have a flavour for everyone! Some of my favourites are white chocolate with honeycomb, milk chocolate with salt (I'm a big fan of salted chocolate!) and dark chocolate with raspberry! They even have a vegan range and sell handmade fudge so if you know someone with a sweet tooth then check out Slab & Tipple!

Treat Trunk

If you know someone who is looking to try some healthier snacks or is too busy to create their own snacks then Treat Trunk have you covered. You can gift a one-off box or buy a subscription which means a whole bunch of healthy snacks will be delivered to your loved one's door. I love how they focus on picking healthier alternatives to what you might regularly snack on so it's a great Christmas gift that also allows you to discover some healthy and delicious brands!

For the Home Lover:

Benji's Shop

Benji's shop have some absolutely gorgeous bits and bobs that are perfect for Christmas! I have found myself scouring their website in the past few months looking as there are so many items that I love (*hint to any of my family reading this*)! They sell so many lovely pieces for around the home and their Christmas decorations are so cute too! Some particular favourites of mine are the Woodland Planter, Silver Moonshine Earrings and any of their mugs or bowls. I genuinely love the entire website so much so that I could buy everything on their website if I'm not careful!

For the Drink Lover:

Say it with Champers

If you fancy going one better than just a bottle of bubbly for Christmas then look no further than Say it with Champers. They let you the personalise the label of your bottle to tailor it to whoever you wish to gift it to which is such a cool concept! Personalised gifts are some of my favourites to receive and if you know someone who is a fan of champagne then this is perfect to make their gift extra special!

Friary Drinks

Friary Drinks have some absolutely amazing sounding drinks flavours that I have already purchased a few for my family for Christmas which I am sure they will love on Christmas day! Their Christmas range have so many incredible sounding flavours in their whiskey and gin liqueurs that are perfect for your festive tipple - ginger, apple, cinnamon, cloves, orange and nutmeg! If you want to buy an alcoholic beverage that screams Christmas then Friary Drinks have got you covered!

For the Fashion Lover:

Sew Totes

I absolutely love a good tote bag and use them all the time when I'm at uni as they're so handy for so many things. Sew Totes have the most adorable designs, I am a particular fan of the star sign totes as I'm a sucker for anything with Libra on it! Bry even makes personalised designs so you can create the perfect tote bag for someone in your life! They make such a fab gift and are perfect for Christmas!

So that's it for this mammoth small business gift guide! Like I said earlier there are some absolutely incredible businesses out there with some amazing and unique gifts that really will suit everyone. I hope you've found some Christmas present inspiration and found something that you love. I've personally loved shopping smaller this Christmas and found it so rewarding buying things I know someone will love but also supporting small businesses too!

Have you been shopping smaller this Christmas? How's your Christmas shopping going? 

If you're after more Christmas content then check out some of my favourite Christmas films on Netflix!

Saturday, 14 November 2020

6 Tips to Stay Organised at University

AD: This post contains sponsored content

Updated January 2021

I'm currently in my final year at university now (which is scary as the real world is looming) and in that time I have managed to survive my first couple of years and have learnt to adopt some ways that really help me to stay organised. With the switch to online university, it's more important than ever to keep on top of your university work and find ways that work for you to stay organised. Here are the best tips that I've been using to stay productive whilst at university.

white notebook next to silver macbook and mug of coffee
Photo by Reina Lovefull on Unsplash

Organisation Tip 1: Ask for help

This is something I never used to do that much in first year as I was always the type of person who never asked or needed much help in school. However, university is a completely different way of learning and your lecturers are there to help you if you don't understand something, want some extra time to discuss a query, or even if you found something incredibly interesting and want to discuss it further. More often than not in my third year, I will email my lecturers or attend their office hours to sound out ideas for an essay if I'm struggling or want an opinion. They are more than happy to give you some advice and steer you in the right direction. This really helps me to stay on track if I get stuck and usually after a quick 10-minute meeting you have a much clearer idea of what to do and where to go next that it will stop you from getting stressed and letting everything else you have to do get on top of you as well!

Organisation Tip 2: Use to-do lists

I am such a huge to-do list user - I write one most days and I find it really helps me to get everything in my head down onto paper so that I know what to do and where to start. Even writing down the smallest tasks like 'do washing' or 'make bed' makes me feel more productive and organised as they're things you can do quickly and get the ball rolling. I also find adding things that aren't study-related helps to keep me motivated as there isn't a huge overwhelming list of university work to do. Writing things down helps you to visualise clearly what to do next and the satisfaction of ticking something off of your to-do list is always a great feeling too!

Organisation Tip 3: Plan your meals and food shop

This is something I'm still working on but making a list of what you plan on cooking for the week and then using that to make a shopping list is a great way to stay organised and also save you some money. This is especially important if you have dietary requirements or follow a vegan diet as you won't always know what's available on campus. I always walk into the shop and get suckered into buying food I don't need or random bits that don't make any meals so planning ahead and thinking about what you might eat is so useful for staying organised and maintaining a balanced diet that doesn't just consist of pasta and pot noodles, especially if you have dietary requirements too!

Organisation Tip 4: Stick to a routine

Making sure you have some sort of routine in your day is good for staying organised. I know that I am definitely a morning person so I make sure to get a decent nights sleep, go to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up at roughly the same time each day. I find that whenever I have a day out of routine my motivation and energy crashes as it feels so out of the ordinary therefore I try to stick as much as possible to get up in the mornings and getting started with my day ASAP. 

Organisation Tip 5: Back up your work

During first year, it's made pretty clear that if you lose your work that is not a good enough excuse for not having work. If you want to stay organised always make sure you have your work saved more than once so if, for whatever reason, something goes wrong and you can't access it you don't have to start all over again. Personally, I always use google docs for whatever work I'm doing as I know that I can always access the latest version wherever I am rather than constantly saving different versions to memory sticks or emailing work across. 

Organisation Tip 6: Use a planner

I am a huge fan of anything stationery related so I absolutely love shopping around for my planner every year and it's something that is a staple for my university life that I'm not sure I could live without! Having a planner saves me at university as I can write down all my deadlines, make a copy of my timetable and write down anything important in my day. It really helps to block out your time and plan what you need to do and when for. I try and carry my planner with me all the time so I can quickly refer back to it or add something new if I need to. It's such a useful tool for staying organised as you can quickly make notes and keep track of where you are.

If you're in the market for a new planner or some new stationery to keep you on track this year at university then the people at Mal Paper have got you covered. They have some absolutely gorgeous pieces to help you stay organised and they're also giving away a £50 voucher in November and December if you enter their competition! All you need to do is sign up to their newsletter and tell them what your number one goal is! If you're looking to treat yourself, or someone else for Christmas then look no further! 

Those are my best and favourite ways of staying organised and keeping productive at university. It takes a while to get used to university life sometimes and you'll soon find what works for you but I hope you've found something there useful! 

What do you do to stay organised? Do you have any tips and tricks for productivity? 

Saturday, 7 November 2020

The 6 Beauty Essentials You Need

Note: This post contains gifted items. All opinions are my own. Affiliate links are used on this page where I may earn money for products mentioned in this post. However, I will only recommend products that I wholeheartedly recommend and believe are of value.

Now, I'm not someone that wears a lot of makeup on a regular basis, unless I'm going somewhere more snazzy. I try to do my makeup as quickly as possible as I can't be bothered for faffing around in the mornings with 16732 different makeup products. My routine takes under 10 minutes I'd say but can be done quicker if I'm in a rush. These are the products that I deem my absolute makeup essentials, though the products and colours I often switch up throughout the seasons. They form the basis of any good makeup look so I'd thought I'd share the beauty basics that you need to have stowed away in your makeup bag!

makeup items close up, cosmetics assorted on white background
Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash


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