Photo Friday #16

(Photo by Louise Groom!)

Since getting back from Finland, I haven’t had much time to sort through all of the photos. I have an exam on the 6th so my main priority is revision at the moment! Once that’s over, I still have two assignments to complete for the 16th May, so if I get time I will post some Finland photos up! They will appear eventually…

Anyway, here’s a preview! Click the link at the bottom to see it on my 500px page.


Home comforts.

Living away from home at University is great. You’re finally independent, you experience new things and it just makes you grow as a person. However, sometimes, you just want to be at home. It’s hard to make a university town feel like home when you’re missing half of your belongings and you don’t have any family near! I love Carlisle and I’d quite happily stay there – if the rest of my family came up to join me! I’ve been at home since Monday, and will be heading back to Carlisle tomorrow. It has been nice to just spend time with my boyfriend and the rest of my family, despite how little time I’ve had!

My mum had left these flowers in my room for when I got back – how lovely!

I do miss Charlie when I’m away.

I miss having an actual bookshelf in my room when I’m in Carlisle… The green book is one I re-discovered yesterday and contains writing ideas/prompts. Will definitely be looking to it for ideas.

Today I went into town with my mum, and we had a nice little walk around the park. It’s finally beginning to feel like spring. I saw my first bumblebee of 2014!

Anyone else get a little homesick at university? How do you cope with being away from home?

Photo Friday #9

Photograph Hello again. by Katie Halsall on 500px

Bit of a cop out this week, but I’m just wondering if there’s anything that you would want me to cover! I’d love to get some feedback – which parts of photography do you struggle with?

Anyway, the photo above is mine… Taken with my 100mm macro and not cropped at all!

Photo Friday #8

This week, I thought I’d do something a little different… I know many people struggle with the basics of photography and using a DSLR – you have to start somewhere! Here’s a little info on aperture!

So firstly, the aperture is simply the size of the hole in which light is allowed through. The wider the hole, the more light is allowed in. Now this is where it gets confusing. (At least, it confused me at first!) The smaller the number, the wider the hole and vice versa. This means that an aperture of f5.6 is wider, and will let in a lot more light than an aperture of f18.

Aperture also controls the depth of field. This determines how much of your photograph will be in focus. Generally, the wider the aperture, the smaller the depth of field. Thus, a photo taken at f5.6 will have shallow depth of field, whereas one taken at f18 will have a larger depth of field. You can see this in the photos below! In the photos taken at f18, the fence is more in focus.

Now, in the photo below I’ve taken these shots with my kit lens. The fence behind the subject was around 3 metres away. All photos were done at 55mm focal length. The main difference is that the left hand side photos were taken from roughly 2 metres away, and the right hand side photos were taken from less than a metre away. You can see that distance also changes the depth of field.

A mistake that I’ve seen a lot (and I did it too!) is using too wide of an aperture. I got my 50mm f1.8 lens and used it on f1.8 for ages! However, doing so means that not a lot of your photo is in focus, unless you manage to get it right. Moving back and zooming in a little will help to get that shallow depth of field.

imageFor example, this photo (yes, it is a chicken – bare with me xD) was taken at 214mm f9.0. You can see that it has a very shallow depth of field – the background is completely blurred. I think I was around 2-3 metres away from the chicken here… If I had taken it closer, and at 70mm, the background would not have been so blurred.

And macro – well, that needs a whole new post to attempt to explain about the very shallow depth of field you get. I try to stay above f8 for macro, although sometimes with the light available it isn’t possible. The snail photo was at f10, and the frog was at f6.3 so you can see that sometimes a wider aperture can work!

Well, I’m really bad at explaining things. I hope this was of some help to you, and if not, definitely comment with questions! I’m happy to answer anything you’re struggling with.

Reading – A Book Haul

Over the past two weeks I have picked up quite a few books… 10 to be exact! (In the photo below, lets just ignore the bottom two books – I already owned those!) Now it seems like a a lot, especially when I’m trying to save up, but these books were however very cheap. A lot of the books here are really random, and I hadn’t heard anything about them before picking them up… Some may not be great, but that’s all in the fun of choosing a random book!

It started with The Innocents. I was in a charity shop and just decided to have a look – this one was 50p.
Then my boyfriend visited and very kindly bought me The Butterfly Isles and Otter Country as an early Valentines gift. These were the most expensive, but Waterstones had a 20% off everything sale…

Here’s where the fun starts… I nipped into The Works because they’re having a massive sale (not sure if this is every shop or just Carlisle’s, as the Carlisle one almost got closed down). I chose The Hesperides Tree and The Alchemist . I’ve read the latter, but I thought it was just a book that I should own… Anyway, I got to the till and the two books totalled to £1. I was amazed. Obviously, I had to go back another day. This time I picked up Madame Depardieu and the Beautiful Strangers, Ruby Red, Moths That Drink Elephants Tears…, The Inn at the Top and Eve Green. These five books totalled to £3.49. So yes, from The Works I have managed to grab 7 books for a measly £4.49! I just couldn’t resist. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re a poor student like me and you’re trying to build up your book collection!

Because sometimes you just need cats…


Feeling ill after a full day out in the cold and windy countryside… My throat and left ear hurt, so I’m worried that it’s going to turn into an ear infection! Ah, the joys of winter. Yes, I refuse to accept that we are still in Autumn – it’s bloody cold outside!

I am now on the hunt for a good hat, scarf and a nice chunky cardigan! (And they need to be affordable for a very poor student! 😉 aha!)

The only thing I like about winter coming is the fact that I can wrap up in lots of layers…

Reader’s Digest Field guide…

I have been looking for a good tree guide for ages, as I really do need one to help me on my course. I mean, it’s not completely necessary but it’s a good ‘skill’ to have! I’ve gotten better at I.D-ing trees in the last year though, during my course. I found this guide on Amazon, and the reviews for it were great so I took a chance and bought it.

Now my Grandad had lots of Reader’s Digest books in his house, and I have looked through a few of them and I think they are probably worth all the money! This book definitely shows it, though I did get it for less than £2. (Bargain!)

There are pages which show different kinds of broad-leaved and coniferous trees, so you can compare the leaf that you have. These then lead you to the pages needed to properly identify it. It seems really useful, though I haven’t actually used it yet!

This is what a typical page looks like. Lots of information included about the trees as well as good images!

So yeah… I like my new book!

Do I need a University Study Plan?

The answer is… yes! I really think I need to have more of a routine this year with my studying, as this year actually matters (you know… last years grades didn’t actually go towards anything). I want better grades than last year, so I definitely need to put more effort in!

imageAnyway, I bought a pack of 10 of these Europa notebooks as they came in 5 colours. I have 5 modules, so I can use a colour per module and keep everything properly separate.
This paper is clairefontaine, so it’s good quality too. I bought all ten for around £11 or something – definitely worth checking out! Last year I used loose paper and it really didn’t work for me. I prefer to have everything together, and in an obvious order.

The plan is to:

– Print out lecture slides before the lecture (if available)
– Write notes on those during the lecture. (I will either file these away or recycle the paper… I don’t know yet)
– Make sure each lecture is written up in corresponding notebook before the end of the week. I want to make sure that I properly understand what I’ve done that week.
– Add more detail in those notes, using books & internet when writing up.
– When it comes to revision, use second notebook to do mind maps, re-write notes etc.

My shelf above my desk contains all important bits that I’ll need – folder, notebooks and my animal/reference books. (More on the way!) The folder is going to be used for handouts for each modules – I don’t usually get a lot so they’ll be fine in here.

Let’s hope I can actually keep to this! Do you plan for university studying?

Back to university!

imageYep, I am back at university! I feel like I haven’t blogged for ages! I have moved into my new flat, and 6/7 of us are here. Now I only actually start on the 23rd, but I’m hoping to get a job in these two weeks! I really need the money, and the three day job with the uni isn’t quite enough!

I’m super happy with my room. It’s nice and airy, unlike last years, and I have an interesting view – my window is so big and pretty! It’s a good size, I have a double bed, plenty of storage space and I’ve also got enough space to practise yoga, so no excuses…

Anyway, one of the best things is that I have a really big desk. I’m going to attempt to keep it quite empty, like in the photo, so that I do have the space to work. It’s good because, when I’m working, I can just move my laptop to the left so it’s in front of the TV, and then I have lots of space to write in! The drawers on the left are also very useful!

Today I also received the photos that I’d ordered, and stuck them onto my wall along with some printed images. I really like how it turned out! (Oh and yes, my room is green, blue and purple…)

My first week back at university is super busy, as I’ve got a week block of one module. The rest of the time I’ll only be in a few days a week! Lots of time to plan my expedition… (and hopefully earn money!)

Product reviews! Part 2.*

(This was supposed to be posted ages ago but it seems like it got stuck in my drafts – sorry! xD)

So, as you can see, this ‘box’ does hold a lot! It feels fairly sturdy, but the sides/bottom are really quite flexible! You could probably squeeze a lot of stuff in, and it would look a little out of shape but would still hold! I’m currently using it to store my towels in, in my bathroom. It’s working really well for that purpose! It’s small enough to not be in the way, but big enough to hold quite few towels! I’ve managed to fit the pack of towels shown on this post, as well as two other towels that I already had in it.

The towels were thinner than I expected them to be, and also smaller (though I didn’t check measurements so that’s my fault!). That said, you get a good range of towels. Two normal sized sheets, two smaller hand towels and two flannels. The colours were bright (well, the blues!), and they brighten up my bathroom!

Now these tumblers are pretty cool, although I haven’t really used them for drinking out of. I think they’re a little unsuitable for that (maybe they’re not supposed to be?!). I’m currently using them to store things in on my bookcase! They look pretty and they’re pretty big as far as tumblers go…

  • 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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