Matka – An expedition to Finland. Part #3.

imageThe last bit of our expedition was very different to what we had imagined. Looking online, Rovaniemi looked lovely and interesting. In reality, it was just like any other city in England!
Due to the time that we went, the tourist trips were mostly shut. Too late for winter, too early for summer! After walking around on the first morning, we headed into tourist information and managed to book ourselves onto a snow shoeing tour. It was fun but not as difficult or ‘extreme’ as expected. The guide that we had was brilliant, and told us so much information about the area, about Finland and his experiences. Rovaniemi was very warm, and had no snow. We drove out of the city about half an hour away and had knee deep snow in places!

Rovaniemi itself had some really pretty parts, but also some not so nice parts. Just like any city, right? This river was huge, and parts were still frozen from the winter, and there were also chunks of ice just floating around! We saw one traditional Finnish restaurant in Rovaniemi, but it was just so expensive that we didn’t have the money for it.

On our second day, we visited the Santa Village, as advised by the guide! It’s what most people come to Rovaniemi for… Due to the season, it was a little disappointing. The gift shops and buildings were lovely, but I guess the place just looks so much better in the winter and in the evening. I am glad that we went though, because otherwise I’d just be regretting it!

One thing that I loved, and this was the same in Helsinki (airport!), was the packaging designs in the supermarkets! Everything for kids just looked so cute! I actually saved a couple of cartons/wrappers to put in my travel journal.

Last but not least, Rovaniemi was covered in all kinds of cool graffiti. The images really helped to brighten up the area, and I loved seeing them. I’ll just let the photos do the talking…

So, that was the end of our expedition. To get back to Kajaani for our flight, we had to get two trains and it was around a 5 hour journey. Not too fun, but with a good book and nice scenery it’s all fine! Here’s a wagtail seen at Kajaani station! It came so close – clearly used to people!

Overall, the expedition was an amazing experience and I’m so happy to have had the chance! I would definitely visit Martinselkosen and the Boreal Wildlife Centre again. Lovely people, place and predators! Next time I’d maybe look at another place in the Arctic Circle – probably wouldn’t bother with Rovaniemi again! Although, Santa’s Village would be great in the winter. Hope you enjoyed looking at these photos!

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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!

What’s happening?

Eat, work, sleep, repeat. These past two weeks have just gone so slowly, yet I have been so busy. If I’m not at university in lectures, I’m out filming for an assignment or in work. I haven’t had much time to just ‘be’, and I’m really looking forward to this assignment being handed in on Friday, and then going home on the 10th! In that time, I’m hoping to get a few posts drafted up. I’m also hoping to write a lot more book reviews in the near future. I have so many new books that I need to read, and I’m going to try to review as many as I can.

In the mean time, here’s a glance at my last week or so…

Discovered that the River Eden had flooded Rickerby park last week – the whole area had just turned into a massive river. // Started reading The Wind in The Willows, finally! // Cleared my desk and it’s actually still clear!

Finished and handed in my Animal Behaviour assignment. // Watched the Oscars last night on a live stream for the first time! Though going to bed at 5am after a full day of work, and having to get up at 8:30am on Monday morning was not a good idea. // Had a well deserved Nandos with friends yesterday, after doing a lot of editing!

Staying organised at University with a diary.

imageJanuary is the time to buy a new yearly diary, telling yourself that you will stay organised this year round… By mid-January, that diary lies forgotten and all thoughts of organisation have flown out of the window! Here are some tips that I think are useful when trying to keep a diary.

Finding the right set-up

To make a diary work for you, there are a few different things to think about. What size do you need? If you have big writing, you may need a bigger size to fit everything in. You may want a small one that will easily fit into a small bag. What style of diary do you want? This could be in a hardback form, softback, ring bound, wire bound… There are so many varieties to choose from. Then there’s the actual weekly layout. You can have a day per page, week on one page, week on two pages… All you need is to look around and find the set-up and layout that works for you. This is where a filofax or similar style binder comes in handy – I changed my diary layout so many times last year, but I’ve finally found one that works for me!

Looking ahead

Every week I look at my timetable online, and then write down all lectures in my weekly diary. This means that I know what is happening during the week, and I can make other plans around that. This also fits in with my monthly calendar, as on here I will write down any upcoming deadlines, trips or anything else university related that I need to remember.

Using a colour code

You may have noticed, in the above photos or if you’re a regular visitor on my blog, that I use a colour code. All of my university related diary entries are green. This follows over onto the monthly calendar. Reminders are pink, personal in blue and fitness in purple. When glancing at my diary, I can immediately find what I need as the colour stands out. This is made easy with a 4-colour pen. If you look in most stationery shops, you will find them! I’ve used Bic and Papermate, and currently Papermate is the one I use!

For me, these three things are a great help to staying organised at university. My Filofax has been a great help in planning everything out, keeping track of my deadlines and seeing what times I have free. As long as you write everything in (which doesn’t take long!) you’ll always have something to refer to. It’s also a good idea to write down contact details for lecturers (if needed) or opening times for places such as the library so that information is always accessible.

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The Student Link-Up

When do you start revising?

As May draws closer, you are sure to see lots of panicked students worrying about their upcoming exams. There’s always that one exam where you didn’t revise as much as you should, or you just don’t understand it, and the whole lead up to it becomes extremely stressful. Now why am I talking about exams in May when it’s still January?

I started my Animal Behaviour module this afternoon, and 65% of my total grade for that module will be from a 2h30 exam. To say I am worried is an understatement! I had two exams last year in Ecology, and I did okay – I got a 2:1 equivalent in both – but I expected to do better… I actually thought I had done way better in the second exam, but got a higher score in my first one! This exam in May is an essay one – there are two questions worth 50 points each. That’s what I’m worried about.

So, this year I’m starting my revision way earlier than usual! Now I am really interested in animal behaviour, so I do think I will find this module way more interesting and fun to do. Yesterday, in preparation, I wrote down all the learning outcomes, assignment notes and the recommended reading list. Having this in the front of my book will give me something to refer to, and it’s always there!

imageI’m planning to do a lot more background reading this time, from books and journals online. I’ve also made it a goal to write up my lecture notes every week in a new revision book, adding more research and definitions to give me a good revision guide. This will make me go over each topic every week, and I’m hoping to do more research until I have a full understanding of each thing. Then, I can just go back to my notes and refresh my mind with small index cards and whatever.

It sounds like a good plan to me, so I’m hoping I keep it up and it works!

My Week #49

Well, this week was just exhausting! I just didn’t really relax all week, and I still feel tired! Home for a few days – will be putting the Christmas tree up tonight – and then back into uni/work. I can’t wait for Christmas and the 2 weeks off!

Testing new pens…

During Freshers week, I managed to get three pens in a goody bag from Rymans. I did not buy these pens, but I didn’t receive them in exchange for a review either – I just thought I would show them and give my opinions!

Now I had been wanting to try the Frixion Highlighters for a while, so I was pleased to see this in the bag. It works pretty well, once you’ve let it dry! I tried erasing it straight away, and it smudged a little. The highlighter actually rubbed out better over the liquid rollerball, instead of over the ballpoint as I was expecting. You can see that the blue ballpoint has smudged a little. Again, this could be because I didn’t wait long enough… You can also get a pink and green highlighter in this range.

I’ve never heard of Schneider before, but I really love this pen – the Slider Edge! I have to say that I am a huge fan of ballpoint, and I don’t really like using liquid/gel inks. The only thing that I have against this pen is that it’s too thick – I would personally have gone for the Fine or Medium point rather than Extra Wide. I will probably buy the Fine one at some point – I need a good blue ballpoint. The Extra Wide range has quite a few colours to choose from. These sort of remind me of the Staedtler Fineliners, just in a ballpoint style. You can see the range of XB here. The Fine and Medium tips only have the base colours. The leaflet that I got also states that the black ink is waterproof, which is interesting!

The Uni-ball eye needle is nice, but as I said above, this type of pen isn’t really one I like to use. I think the bend resistant nib is a good idea, and I like that the nib is also quite thin. I have the fine tip, which is 0.5mm. It comes in a range of colours, including violet and pink as well as the usual black, blue, red and green. They do the same pen in a micro tip which is 0.3mm. This pen only has the four base colours though.

Here is a bleed through test on cotton cream Filofax paper… As you can see, no show through at all. (This is where I first tested the highlighter eraser, and think the highlighter ink was too wet and smudged the paper lines!)

Quite a good selection of goodies I think! My favourite pen is the Schneider, but I can definitely see the Frixion highlighter coming in handy! Will definitely use that in my university notes!

Hi-Tec Tian W* Walking Shoe Review – The test.

*I received these walking shoes in exchange for an honest review of the item.

Okay so it has been a couple of weeks now, and I aimed to get this up sooner but I just didn’t use the shoes enough to properly review them in use! The Hi-Tec Tian W walking shoes are available here!

Having been outdoors most of this week, I have been able to get out with them. Anyway, for the most part they are really comfortable. They don’t feel too heavy on your feet, and they are thick enough to protect your feet from feeling every bump on the ground! I did experience a lot of rubbing on my heels though today, and I had socks that were covering my heels. I now have almost-blisters… They’re just a little sore and red.

The grip on the shoe seems to be pretty good. Everything felt fine on wet mud as well as loose soils. I had no problem walking up hills either. Walking through long, wet grass, I didn’t feel any water come through. The shoes turned a darker colour so I imagine they were quite damp on top but that didn’t come through to my socks. I haven’t tested them in heavy rain though!

Looking a little dirty after a morning of trampling around fields and woodland!

After a full day’s outdoor field class.

So all in all, I do quite like this shoe, although I imagine it will take a few wears to properly wear them in… They’re made out of a stiff material so everything is a little rigid. Great for support, but does lower the comfort a little! You can see in the above photo that there is a big crease halfway down This was uncomfortable in the morning as it was pressing against my little toe, but that discomfort seemed to disappear by the time I got to university!

Hi-Tec Website


  • 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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