Wednesday, 29 May 2013

10 facts about me

Sorry I didn't post anything on Sunday, I've been a little overloaded with exam work. I thought I'd do a tag though because it looks fun and it means you might learn something about me.

1. I want to become a child psychologist because I love spending time with children and being able to make them happier would make me a very happy person.

2. I'm a bit of a geek and I like playing video games. I especially like Diablo 3 for all  of you fellow nerds out there.

3. I love planning things. For example, I always plan my holidays if I'm going away without my parents.

4. I'm a pretty lazy person. I'd much prefer sitting doing nothing on my computer than working or doing anything constructive.

5. I'm thinking of starting a youtube channel during the summer because I'm going to be doing a gapyear and I think it would be interesting.

6. I have a sister called Freya and she is 2 years and 8 months younger than me. She hates having her photo taken though so I won't put one of her up here just yet.

7. I love animals, in my house there are two dogs, a cat and two fish and my favourite sport used to be horseriding.

8. I have been in the same relationship since I was 15 years old and we're still happy.

9. I was never really very interested in fashion or makeup until last year. Since then it's become a bit of an obsession. In fact, I used to be a bit of a tomboy.

10. My favourite lesson at school has got to be spanish or geography and I will (normally) officially finish secondary school on the 19th of June.

I hope you enjoyed reading that, I certainly enjoyed making it!

Monday, 20 May 2013

Travel: Antwerp

Yesterday, I went to Antwerp with my Mum, my uncle and my aunt. It was lovely. The weather was unexpectedly nice and it was great to spend some relaxed time with family in this stressful exam period.

We wanted to go to the diamond museum but unfortunately it was closed for renovation and it might be for some time. This is not actually mentionned on their website so if you wanted to travel all the way to Antwerp for that, be warned. Never the less, we weren't going to be grumpy because of that so we decided to just have a wonder round the city.

First, we went to the tourist information desk which is in the station. The station is definately worth a visit even if you don't want to catch a train or you don't need to go to the tourist info point. It must be one of the grandest stations in the world. It's enormous and very richly decorated. I will also point out that the people at the information desk are very kind and helpful and they speak fluent english.

After that, we decided we'd wonder towards the historical centre of the town which is by the river. We walked along the main shopping road of the city called the Meir. Although all the shops were closed as it was sunday, it was very nice. They have a huge variety of clothes shops. For example, there was a New Look, a Forever 21 and an Urban Outfitters. Antwerp is one of the best towns in Belgium for shopping as it's a port so it has quite a few international shops and it's also full of edesigners so there are lots of luxury boutiques.

On that road, there is a very nice brasserie. It's a luxury brasserie and considering, it was very reasonably priced. I had a goats cheese salad that was delicious. They also have a variety of burgers, including a veggie one and lots of other choices like steak and pastas. For a belgian restaurant, they had lots of meals for vegetarians so I was very satisfied. The staff was also very nice. I have a feeling that it's called Café Imperial.

We then kept going along the Meir and got to the town's cathedral. It's very grand and has a lot of Rubens paintings in it so you have to pay to visit it properly. You can still go in and go into the prayer bit which is free to see what's inside. It's very big and the architechture of the building is quite spectacular. Outside the cathedral they often host little street shows which are quite fun.

After that we went to the Grote Markt which is where all the old guilds are. So there are quite a few old trade buildings. It's also where the town hall is and that's huge. It's got all the EU flags on it so it's very colourful.

Towards the end of the day, we went for a walk along the riverside. It was lovely and very pretty. Antwerp is quite a green town with lots of trees. You can also go and visit the old fortress on the riverbank but we didn't.

There are a lot of other things to do in Antwerp too. We were only there for the day so we didn't go into any of the museums. But I'd highly recommend Aquatopia, the local aquarium. It's very good if you've got kids with you. The Rubens museum is supposedly very good. It's all about the interiors and the way they lived when Rubens was alive. If you're interested in litterature and books there's a book printing museum. All in all, there is a lot to do in Antwerp and it's a very nice city if you want to visit a belgian town.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

What to do before and during exams

Exam period is on it's way and here are my tips to help get the best results. It's not an easy time for a lot of people, me included, and I find these help a lot.

First of all, you need to organise your work space and papers. I spent a few hours just clearing space a couple of weeks ago and I feel a lot more motivated. It's important to have space, to have everything organised so you don't have to look for it and to be able to study without being distracted. If you have a cluttered environment to work in and a messy file, you won't be able to concentrate on what you're studying and you'll find it hard to find what you're looking for so it won't be as efficient.

After that, make a study plan. But, don't spend days on it because then you're wasting precious study time. It needs to be clear and neat so you feel like it's an achievement when you follow it. It's also another source for motivation to have a good time plan and if you stick to it you'll feel more confident going into an exam which is a lot better than going in a nervous wreck because there's less of a risk that your mind is going to go blank.

Thirdly, give yourself breaks. Every couple of hours, give yourself a 10 to 30 minute break. Do something you like, for example spending some time on the computer or watching tv. A good thing to do is go outside and do a bit of exercise because it burns some physical energy so you won't feel like you need to get up and move as much when your trying to concentrate. Don't give yourself an excessive number of breaks, you're still meant to be studying more than the amount of time you're having a break!

The other thing I quite like to do to give me some motivation is have a small box of chocolates or a yummy snack in front of me. I tell myself that when I've finished this subject or this chapter then I can have a piece of it. I find it gets you through the harder subjects and the things you really don't like doing.

Another tip is mind maps. These are like diagrams that you can draw, you can also find ways to do them online but I find drawing better because you remember it easier. Basically, in the centre you put your subject, chapter, theme or whatever it is you have to work on and then on the branches you put the important things related to it or that you have to know about it. For example, if you have to study german vocabulary about transport, you'd put the german word for transport in the middle then have all the vocab words on the branches around it and you can also have branches with smaller branches. So you could have transport - cars - vocab about cars. You can also draw pictures around it to help you remember and it's your design so it's sort of how you work which is what I like about it because it makes it a lot easier to remember.

If you're still lacking motivation, think about how much happier you'll be during the holidays if you did well in your exams. You could also think about how proud the people around will be or think about treating yourself if you do well.

During the exams, you have to make sure you're getting enough sleep. I try and get minimum 8 and a half hours, so I have to go to bed at 10 pm. If you can, shut your computer and electronic devices off 15 minutes to half an hour before you go to bed and make sure your things are ready for the next day as soon as you've finished using them.

Finally, I find doing a minimum amount of exercise helps. It just keeps the stress levels a bit lower and takes your mind off things for a while. Even if it's just a quick walk, it's good to get some fresh air. Speaking of fresh air, if you're studying in your room or in an enclosed space, open the curtains and the window. It's much nicer to study in a nice environment than in a dark, hot room. If you want to be even more comfortable, wear comfy clothes like tracky bottoms (joggings/leggings).

And by the way, congratulations to all of you who got to the end of this very long blog post. I hope it helps some of you out there and good luck for your exams!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

A sunny spring weekend

Sorry this is a bit late, it was supposed to go up on sunday but I found myself working. Again. Anyway, I thought you might enjoy reading about what I like to get up to on a sunny day. Luckily, last weekend we had lovely spring weather here in Belgium and it made me very happy.

The first thing I like about it is being able to eat outside. There's just something very relaxing about having lunch, surrounded by greenery, birds, etc. and feeling the sun on your back. It's lovely. That is until the bugs come and buzz around your face but they're not quite here yet so we're making the most of it.

Near where I live

The other thing I like to do is have a wander in the garden. It's really nice just looking at all the new buds and redescovering it after the winter months. It also means I get to watch our pets just potter around, smelling all the new smells. Unfortunately, Harry has to stay tied up otherwise he escapes... Silly dog!

Tufa enjoying the sunshine

Lastly, I love having a nice long walk in the sun. We take Harry with us, because then he does get to do some exercise and have a bit of a sniff. It's very relaxing, not too tiring and a good way to get out of the house and make the most of the weather.

Harry's walk

I have only managed to get a picture of Tufa and Harry, I promise that I will get a picture of Belle, our other dog next time!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

April favourites

Well, that went fast. It feels like only a couple of days have past since new years and here we are in may! But all is good because the weather is getting warmer and the sun is shining! So anyway, it's time for a monthly favourites post and I don't normally blog on a wednesday but the first of may, is a bank holiday in Belgium so I have a day off.

1. Maybelline The Falsies mascara: Now, I have done a whole blog post about this product so if you want some more information you can go and chack that out here: But anyway, I've just been reaching for this this month because such a quick easy fix. I havn't been wearing lots makeup wise because I'm giving my skin a bit of a break. I find this just makes you look more awake and really makes your eyes stand out. Love this product so much.

2. L'Oréal GlamShine Stain Splash in Princess: Apart from the fact that the name is a bit of a mouthful, this is really really nice. It's not drying, it smells nice, it feels light and the staying power is pretty good. Last week I ate a curry and it only needed minimal touching up and curry is quite a messy meal. The colour is really nice for this time of year, it's a corally redish pink colour and I think it's really flattering.

3. Michel et Augustin yoghurt drink: I think you can only get this near where I live but it is so yummy so I had to put it in. It's basically a local, healthy yoghurt drink. It's really thick, quite filling and so so tasty. You can get several different flavours: mango and passion fruit, rasberry and mint and vanilla. My favourite is vanilla because I have a sweet tooth but mango and passion fruit is really nice too. It's really refreshing so perfect for a snack in the spring-summer months!

4. Exercise: I've been doing squats or abs in my room occasionnaly but it wasn't really enough. So I've started doing a bit of running, which I normally hate but I'm actually starting to enjoy it. I had to do some because I have a triathlon next week, nothing major, just a school thing, but my running was apauling so I decided to do some practice. I'm feeling quite a lot better for it and I've only been a couple of times but it's already making a difference.

5. Driving: This one is a bit odd but I started driving end of february and although it's quite a stressful experience because I'm only a beginner I'm really starting to enjoy it. I've had four two-hour sessions with a driving instructor and I'm now practising with my Mum. She seems to be a bit nervous but I think it's fun. Of course I'm not going mental on the roads and I'm driving carefully but I like the idea of being able to get around without having to rely on parents or trains that are always running late.