Keeping organised on travels!

Well, as you may have read/seen online, I am heading off to Finland! This trip is a university self-led expedition, and I’m going with two others in my group. Our aim of the trip is to see and photograph/film bears. However, I’m also hoping to see lots of other wildlife, get some nice landscapes/starscapes and some timelapse videos! The second half (or ‘alf – as I said in my expectations video!) will take us up to Rovaniemi, which is just on the edge of the Arctic Circle. It’s not very likely mid-April, but I am kind of hoping to see the Northern Lights! Let’s hope they’re feeling generous ;)

Right now, I am making my way down to London, ready for the early flight on Wednesday morning!

Anyway, over the past 6 months or so I’ve been using a pocket mode Filofax to plan this expedition, and it will be coming with me! (Thanks to Janet @ This Bugs Life! – The Filofax Project)

One of the main tabs in the filofax will of course be the ‘important’ tab. Here I’m writing down things like my passport info, insurance info, emergency contacts and the like… Just in case!

Under my travel tab I have written down every step of my travel. So I have all the times, the places I’m going and the places I will be next… I feel so much more comfortable travelling when I can look at something and see all the times at a glance! On the other side of this page has the travel information for when I’m actually in Finland.

The itinerary section has a piece of notepaper with the general plans, and behind the empty timetable I also have some WO2P diary pages so I can write what we’re doing each day.

And finally, I have my passport in the pocket, my train tickets to London and also have my EHIC card in the plastic wallet on the left!

All organised with the important information all written down… I think I’m ready!

My Week #15

Had a nice week back at home, then two long days at work… And I’m off to Finland in three days! There will be a post up about that on Tuesday!

Photo Friday #14

It’s Friday already?! Today I’m heading back up to Carlisle for my last weekend at work before I go to Finland. Just 4 days until I’m heading down to London for the flights!

Here’s another guest Photo Friday guest post – I’ll get right into it!

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Hello I’m Louise and I currently study Wildlife and Media at the University of Cumbria. I have a keen interest in horses and wildlife and after university I hope to join an existing equine photography business, photographing wildlife in my spare time, working my way up to start my own business. Here are a selection of my equine and wildlife photos:

1. Great Spotted Woodpecker – I took this photo last summer when at home when I spotted an active woodpeckers nest very close to a children’s park. As we walk the dog past this tree every afternoon I saw the pair of great spotted woodpeckers regularly and even saw the young poke there heads outside! I spent ages looking up at the trees fascinated by the close encounters with these woodpeckers and I hope to see them around again this summer.

2. New Forest Foal – A photo from last summers day trip to the New Forest! This picture was taken in Lyndhurst and I only came across it this year (after picking out a few favourites from the 200+ pictures I came home with last year). The foal didn’t seem to fussed at all by my presence just dozed the whole time!

3. Natural Environment – Again a photo from last summers day trip to the New Forest! This was taken in Beaulieu and was the first stop for the trip, one of my first pictures from the new forest…happens to be one of my personal favourites.

4. Early Rise – Taken last summer, I was out the door at 4am in the morning for this and am very pleased I managed to see about 4 foxes this morning! Certainly gets the adrenaline going, this is my favourite from the day, I heard a rustle coming from behind the bushes so stunk up on the fox…snapped a picture held eye contact for a couple of seconds and then off popped the fox….I then turned around to see another fox behind me, caught me by surprise anyway!

5. By the sea – Taken at Maryport in Cumbria on a day trip out whilst family were visiting me at university!. I spotted a large group of oystercatcher by the seas edge and couldn’t resist laying down and shuffling closer to get a few snaps.

6. Seal – Who could resist this face? Taken on a day trip to the Farne Islands, this seal popped its head out the water and kept its eye on the boat (either posing or wondering what the hell we were all doing). I used a 5DMark 2 borrowed from the university for this photo along with my own 300mm.

The majority of photos are taken on my own Canon 500D with a f.4, 300mm.

If you like my photos feel free to check more out at either : http://www.louisegroomphotography.co.uk or http://www.facebook.com/louisegroomphotography

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So yep, Louise is on my university course and well, aren’t these photos awesome!

(Interested in doing one of these posts? Contact me!)

Book Review: A Heart Bent Out of Shape*

image- Emylia Hall

I have been putting off writing this review because honestly I just do not know where to start! I’m going to do my best, without spoiling anything!

A Heart Bent Out of Shape follows Hadley Dunn, and so far her life has been quite normal. She has a nice family, friends, and loves her study subject of choice – literature. Her decision to spend a year studying in Lausanne, a beautiful Swiss city, changes everything. Once living in the city, she falls in love with everything about it, and the place just seems magical. The descriptions of everything make you want to visit – you wish you could experience all these new things, just like Hadley. It does help that the writing is great, and you really can envisage the city, the shops that are described and the university. The idea of studying a year abroad is a fascinating one to me, that’s for sure!

Anyway, Hadley lives in a student flat, and here she meets Kristina. A Danish girl, Kristina is so different to Hadley and the two of them form a strong bond, becoming close friends instantly. Of course, sometimes things don’t go to plan… When a tragedy strikes, Hadley’s life is turned upside down. Everything changes, and you can sense it in the writing. You can feel the despair and the sadness coming from Hadley, and even though that sounds incredibly depressing, it made for a really good read in my opinion! I felt like I went through the emotions that she did. (Though maybe not AS much hahah!)

Struggling, Hadley turns to the one person she can trust, and lines begin to blur. She starts to put pieces of the puzzle together and the answers don’t match up – can she ever trust anyone again? The story follows her as she begins her journey in a new city with new friends and the dangers of falling in love.

All in all, I loved this book. It made me laugh, cry and I almost throw it across the room in anger… Always a good sign if you ask me! One twist in the book – I loved it. I didn’t know whether my guess would be right or wrong and it didn’t disappoint. Would definitely recommend this book if you love a good (sort of chick-lit) mystery with a bit of romance!

*I received this book in exchange for a review on Bookbridgr, thanks to Headline.

My Week #14

Well, this week has been a little strange. I’ve been feeling busy, but I haven’t really had a lot to do… Doesn’t help that my ribs have been hurting all week though! I’ve pulled something, bruised the muscle or possibly even cracked a rib. Who knows? All I know is that it’s really painful!

I tried to do some prettier writing, and I’m definitely going to try some more aha. I quite like how it looks! Also picked up camera equipment for my expedition. I have the Canon 7D and a 24mm lens to play with – they’re awesome! I’m really hoping to upgrade my 500D to a 7D. Possibly the (rumoured!) new one! It’s only 9 days until my expedition now, and I really can’t wait! Anyone ever been to the north of Finland? I’m talking about the ‘wilder’ areas, and the Arctic Circle hahah.

Other happy news – I’m going home tonight! Can’t wait to have a rest at home and see my family!

Photo Friday #13

Hello! You may have seen my last Photo Friday post where I mentioned that I wanted to have some guest posts (I’m still wanting people!)… Well, here is the first one!

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Sascha is an 18 year old Law with French student from London who has a passion for all things creative, particularly photography and blogging. You can read about her adventures at her own blog www.feathersandbutterflies.wordpress.com

I’ve always had an interest in capturing beautiful moments across the globe and that is what sparked my interest in travel photography. These 6 photos are a collection of what I think have been my best adventures over the past couple of years. They’re mainly wildlife photography because, let’s face it, nothing is more beautiful than nature.

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Now isn’t it nice to see something different? I love seeing other people’s photography and hearing the reasons behind it. So thanks Sascha for being the first – great post!

If you want to do a guest post you can contact me on twitter @katehlouise or email katie_halsall@yahoo.co.uk (:

Tidy Desk Day – National Stationery Week 2014

This week is National Stationery Week, and each day has had a different theme. Today is Tidy Desk Day. Now I very rarely have a tidy desk. I will sort everything out, but very quickly random items will amass on the desk. Receipts, papers, pens, bobbles, tissues, medicines, moisturisers… The list goes on! Today I figured I would tidy everything up, and start afresh! (How long will it last?!)

Now I have also changed things around. What you can’t see on the photos is that I had a couple of notebooks behind my laptop, empty bottles and my pen pots. It was getting a little cluttered. The notebooks moved back onto their actual shelf, the bottles in the bin and I decided to stick my pen pots on the other side of the desk. I’m also using my 21st mug to hold bobbles, clips and moisturiser for easy access. Work lanyard/keys/pen have gone into the black drawers – here’s to hoping that I don’t forget them this weekend! All the random papers have been binned and my headphones have been put into a drawer.

Doesn’t it just look so much neater! Today I’m having a Disney film marathon through Netflix, and attempting to do more Animal Behaviour revision!

Apologies for the phone camera quality – I wasn’t originally going to do a blog post on it!

Books in March

Well, this ‘Books in’ post is a little different – I actually reviewed every book this month! I’ll do a little summary and the links will link to the review! It feels a little pointless to post a second review, so I’m going to show what I rated them and you can just click on the links to view my review.

image# The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight – Jenny Valentine

“Chap is a 16 year old runaway, and when he is mistaken for a missing boy he takes on the identity, hoping to gain the family and friends that he’d never had. He discovers that everything is not as it seems, and someone has a dark secret.”

This book was quite an easy read, but it still had some twists to make your mind think!

My rating: 3/5 stars.

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image# Further Confessions of a GP – Benjamin Daniels

“It is what it says… Basically the diary of a GP and each chapter is a short anecdote.”

Definitely a book to read when you’re busy – short chapters mean that you can take advantage of those few free minutes during the day! Always funny reading about silly stories and the strange encounters that GPs have!

My rating: 3/5 stars.

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image# Precious Thing – Colette McBeth

“Precious Thing tells us the story of Rachel and Clara, best friends who do everything together as young girls. They’re 14/15 when they first meet and become inseparable until Clara is hospitalised in a psychiatric institution. Seven years later, Rachel is a successful tv reporter and is working when she discovers that Clara has gone missing.”

I really enjoyed the way this was written, and I think the mystery worked.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

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image# The Hunters – Chris Kuzneski

I’ve realised that I haven’t actually reviewed this one!

“The Hunters: a team of renegades – an ex-military leader, a historian, a computer whiz, a weapons expert and a thief – financed by a billionaire philanthropist are tasked with finding the world’s most legendary treasures.”

Admittedly, it took me a little to get into this book. Once I was a quarter in though, I really enjoyed it. Each character was different and brought a different feel to the team. The book includes some good action, a bit of mystery and some history. Not knowing a lot about this time, I’m not sure if that’s why I didn’t get into straight away. I was hooked for most of the story though and I’m really looking forward to the next book!

My rating: 4/5 stars.

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image# Spree – Michael Morley

“There’s a murderer about, and Jake Mottram, head of the FBI Spree Killer Unit is trying to find him. Angie Holmes is a psychological profiler, primarily focusing on serial killers. This latest attack on the city is sending everyone crazy, and Jake and Angie are struggling to see eye to eye.”

This one had to be my favourite of the month. There was always something happening, and I really did feel like I was in there with the characters. I like this type of book because you form ideas when the characters do, and you’re also trying to solve it as you read.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

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image# The Baby’s Coming – Virginia Howes

“Virginia Howes became a midwife quite late really, compared to the usual. After working with the NHS for a few years, she decided that she wanted to go independent. This book tells us about Virginia’s life, her journey to becoming a midwife and working independently.”

I love a good book about babies! I enjoy reading about real life, and what happens.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

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image# A Heart Bent Out of Shape – Emylia Hall

“All in all, I loved this book. It made me laugh, cry and I almost throw it across the room in anger… Always a good sign if you ask me! One twist in the book – I loved it. I didn’t know whether my guess would be right or wrong and it didn’t disappoint. Would definitely recommend this book if you love a good (sort of chick-lit) mystery with a bit of romance!”

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Book Review: The Baby’s Coming*

image- Virginia Howes

Well, I don’t need to say it again do I? I love these kinds of books. Now one about a midwife is right up my street! Virginia Howes became a midwife quite late really, compared to the usual. After working with the NHS for a few years, she decided that she wanted to go independent. Now to me, her vision of birth seems a lot better. Who wouldn’t want a nice relaxing birth at home?! I’ve never really thought about it much, but I do know that I love the idea of having a water birth! Anyway, let’s get back to the present – I’m definitely not getting pregnant soon!

This book tells us about Virginia’s life, her journey to becoming a midwife and working independently. There are so many stories; some nice and calm, some very dramatic! As I’ve said before, I do like to read little anecdotes like this. Obviously I can’t relate to being pregnant or giving birth, but you feel like you know what’s going on. The writing just immerses you in.

The chapters in this book are actually quite long for this type of book. It was more like the length of a regular story. I liked this, but it also meant that I couldn’t just have a quick read – I can’t be the only one who hates to leave a story in the middle of a chapter right? This did however make me sit down for longer.

I can’t really say much more! If you love to read about real life and babies, this book is for you!

My Week #13

Bit of a boring week, seemingly! Random fact – I actually wrote cake instead of week at first because cake was offered… I realised as I was eating said cake.

Another annoying random fact – I wrote on the sticky that there was a train at 13:48… It was actually at 13:33. I had to wait around for the 15:34 one xD Sometimes having a Filofax doesn’t mean you are organised ;)


  • I am 21 years old, currently studying Wildlife and Media at University and blogging about life, stationery, Filofax, fitness and more.

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