Monday, 30 December 2013

30. Winter Warmers

Hello everyone, I did a post in summer about some of my favourite fashion finds and have decided to do a similar one for winter too. I love winter because it's nice to wrap up warm in lots of layers of clothing but I hate how my hands and feet are always cold no matter what I do. I went to see my GP about this earlier in the year and after several blood tests, they found nothing (surprise surprise) and they just recommended exercise. I am such a hypochondriac I know! I thought I would share my purchases with you because they are rather lovely and I've attempted to limit the damage to my bank balance :P

Last week, my Mum sent me out with THE most random shopping list ever so after doing some Prokaryotic Microbiology revision I decided to pop to our local Asda. She wanted fairy cakes, latex gloves, Lockets (cough sweets), tomatoes, chillies, Ribena and a melon! Whilst I was there, I remembered that I needed some slippers because I didn't have any and wearing bed socks gives me the most terrible foot cramps. These caught my eye as the red and white love hearts remind me of the heart shaped Haribo sweets. They're only £5 so you can't go wrong really! They are really cosy and appear to be good quality compared to some of the more expensive slippers I've seen on the high street. I like the fact that they're navy all over so won't get stained easily. The sole also has good grip.

 I spotted this next item in one of Zoella's videos when she went on a trip to Topshop with Tanya Burr. I love watching their videos so much! My big winter coat this year is a duck egg blue duffle coat but I was looking for a jacket but I didn't know what type of jacket to get but when I saw it, I knew it had to be this.The lovely Zoella's jacket is in the lighter wash but as my duffle coat is already a pale blue, I thought I would purchase the darker wash. I've had an absolute nightmare trying to find a nice scarf to go with my coat so I'm really grateful for this borg lined collar. Also, I love the fact it has 4 pockets and the bottom ones easily fit in my gloves and phone. As always with Topshop, the finishing is of a high standard so I can see this jacket lasting a long time and becoming a staple wardrobe piece making it worth the £58 (£52.50 with the student discount). I bought it in a petite size 12 and I'm 5ft 4.5 (yes the half an inch is important) and I'm a size 10-12 and it is a perfect fit and I've worn it almost every day this week.
Another Topshop purchase now- an Oh My Love oversized cardigan in wine. I absolutely adore this! It is a great alternative to a Christmas jumper because of the lovely colour and golden buttons which remind me of baubles. It can be dressed down with some Chelsea boots, a t-shirt and skinny jeans. It can also be worn on top of a pinafore dress with a shirt for a really cute look with some knitted tights and brogues or Chelsea boots. The cardigan was £35 but I just had a look on the Oh My Love website and it is now £15 and available in wine, cream and grey. I'm tempted to buy the other 2 colours now!

The next item is my Christmas dress! It is the textured knit dress from Next in the camel colour, also available in green and black too. This dress is really simple and versatile because you can accessorise it in different ways for different purposes. I wore it with tights, my denim jacket and green monk shoes for a casual look but for work or a formal occasion, you could wear it with heels, a belt and a nice statement necklace. It is a real staple piece and the colour just goes with everything. My only criticism of this dress which may be an advantage to others is that it is quite long. As you can see, it goes way past my knees but I'd say if you were about 5'6 or 5'7 upwards then it's totally fine. The dress was £28.

The final winter warmer I'm going to share with you is my favourite pair of boots this winter. They are the Red or Dead Summum boots in tan. I have worn them most days since I bought them back In October-ish and they are brilliant. The faux shearling lining keeps my feet toasty and as they are leather boots, my feet won't get wet in the Manchester rain either. You honestly can't lose with these boots and I would recommend them to anyone! Also, the sole has excellent grip so snow, come at me bro! I bought mine from Schuh and they are priced at £115 but again, if you are entitled to a student discount, they come in at £103.50. If you're going to buy a pair of boots this winter then it make it this one, I can't fault them.They will also go really well with the jacket and the dress above!
I hope this post has been of use to you and as ever, feel free to comment below and also share this post. Any knitted scarf suggestions will be more than welcome! Take care.

Mancunian Sheep x

29. Week 2 of the Christmas holidays.

Hello everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones and are looking forward to seeing 2013 out! As I promised in a previous post, I will do a weekly update during the Christmas hols and use it as a bit of a revision break. Hope you're all well. Truth be told, I've been revising everyday this week except Christmas so haven't had any fun days out with my friends like last week. I did however watch the Toy Story trilogy for the first time this week as it was on BBC One for Christmas. I must be the last child born in the 1990s to have watched them. They were fantastic and I can honestly empathise with Andy because I still have the vast majority of my childhood toys and I swear they are real. Especially as I am an only child, I have had so many fun times with them over the years. You don't know how deep and meaningful some of the conversations I've had with Peggy and Jenny over the years have been. 

This week  I managed to revise 12 virology lectures, 4 animal physiology lectures, 4 genetics lectures AND a partridge in a pear tree (haha, couldn't resist sorry). I haven't talked much about my degree on here so thought I'd tell you all a little about what it's like to revise when you're a biologist. In my virology course there seems to be a lot of content on HIV and as there are two types of HIV, we looked at how they differ in terms areas of evolution and geographical incidence which was quite interesting because it appears that HIV-1 is responsible for the HIV-1 global pandemic and is most likely to have entered the human population from the common chimpanzee or gorillas whereas HIV-2 is restricted to West Africa and is likely to have entered the human population from Sooty Mangabeys which happen to reside in West Africa. Revising virology also made me appreciate the diverse range of vaccines there is and how polio vaccines became contaminated by SIV (a virus similar to HIV found in non human primates) in the USA and meant millions of people were infected with SIV because the vaccines were developed using a cell culture from monkey kidney cells. We also looked at antiviral drugs and how difficult they are to develop due to viruses being so different to each other in terms of their genome and how they replicate. The only antiviral I have ever used is acyclovir (Zovirax) for cold sores which are caused by the alpha herpes virus. Did you know that once you are infected by the alpha herpes virus it will stay within your body forever? My lecturer calls it a friend for life. I'm not gonna lie everyone, I'm quite impressed by how much stuff I'm remembering from revision. 

Genetics is my least favourite module this semester and the lectures I revised this week were on procedures routinely performed on model organisms such as Drosophila (fruitflies) in the lab to determine gene function so I'm not going to make you all suffer. 

Animal physiology is great and makes me feel like Sir David Attenborough <3 This week I looked at reproduction. Interestingly, some fish can change sex and one such species is the clownfish (yay Nemo!). Clownfish are protandrous which means they are born as males but eventually become females when the highest female in the hierarchy of their group dies. You do known what this means don't you? Finding Nemo was all a lie! When Coral died, Marlin would have become Nemo's Mum!

The only day I took "off" this week was of course, Christmas Day. I made Christmas dinner all by myself for the third year running, woo, domestic goddess or what? Whilst preparing the vegetables, I discovered that carrots are more difficult to peel than parsnips but are easier to cut. Has anybody else also found this issue? So most of the morning was spent making the Christmas dinner which consisted of sprouts, carrots, parnsips, potatoes, gravy and chicken. We didn't bother with a dessert just because of all the chocolate boxes. I loved all the presents my friends got me as usual. I particularly liked how there were a few themes running among them. One example was my friend bought me a really cute teapot with cosy and my other friend bought me a magnificent box of teas from Whittards of Chelsea. My other friend bought me a really cute ceramic owl and photo frame with a photo of us in it which was great as I've been looking for some nice bits and pieces to decorate my room with since I had it done in summer. The owl, which I've named Andy, doubles up as a money box. He lives with my flock who have been very welcoming. Christmas telly was a bit of a let down this year in my opinion. The films on BBC One (blimey, how many times have I mentioned BBC One in this post?!) on Christmas Eve were all good. On Christmas Day, I thoroughly enjoyed the Doctor Who Christmas special and it was the first one I had watched with Matt Smith in it because prior to this year, I'd stopped watching after David Tennant had left. After Wednesday's special, I was  gutted that I hadn't watched more of Matt's episodes because his performance was just superb and I was in tears during his monologues and that moment Clara had with her gran- oh my word. I was crying into my hot chocolate when Handle died too- not a pretty sight. Clara and Matt had such a brilliant on screen partnership and I'm not sure how well that will work with Peter but we will just have to wait and see until autumn as I've promised to give him a chance after the regret I felt with missing out on watching Matt's reign.

Anyway, that's all for this week folks. I will be posting a fashion related post in the next couple of days so watch out for that. All the best for 2014!


Mancunian Sheep x

Sunday, 22 December 2013

28. Top fives of 2013!

Hello everyone, hope you're all ready for Christmas and have done all your shopping and wrapped and distributed your presents for everyone! As you all probably know, I love lists and as we draw closer to 2014, I thought I would look back at some of the highlights of 2013! The lists are ranked with 1 being the highest and 5 being the lowest. Enjoy :) 


1) Arctic Monkeys-  Do I Wanna Know? - I'm just chuffed that the Arctic Monkeys are back and I really hope to see them live one day! Had this song on repeat and I enjoyed listening to it with my air guitar.

2) Macklemore and Ryan Lewis- Can't Hold Us - I don't usually listen to rap music but there's just something about Macklemore, he's really talented! I've not linked the official video because it's 7 minutes long and it takes ages to get to the song!

3) Lana Del Rey- Young and Beautiful - Love Lana's distinct voice and style and the fact that this is from the Gatsby soundtrack makes it even better :D

4) Jake Bugg- What Doesn't Kill You - I saw Jake live a few months ago and he was incredible. This song is short and sweet.

5) Bastille- Pompeii - I love all the Bastille songs that I've heard but this is just ridiculously catchy. Random fact- Dan from Bastille and I share the same birthday!


1) Cath Kidston bus pass holder- Stagecoach do provide a free bus pass holder which is very kind of them but sadly, it started to split in half so I bought this and it is really sturdy! 

2) Living Addington bookcase from Argos- I have well over 100 books and the main reason I had my room decorated over summer was so I could provide them with a proper home because they were in lots of various drawers in both my Mum's and my room before that and I felt sorry for them and was worried about bent corners!

3) Accessorize sterling silver deco turquoise disc ring- I have worn this ring almost everyday since buying it, it just goes with everything and because it is sterling silver, it will last!

4) Umberto Giannini Frizzi Miracle Worker With Argan Oil- I have very thick and long hair (call me Hagrid but I prefer Snape) and it is an absolute nightmare to keep under control but since I bought this, my hair looks nice (even though I might say so myself). I bought this and the John Frieda Frizz-Ease Thermal Protection Hair Serum during the same shopping trip and that was useless and made no difference to my hair.  Although this contains argan oil, it will not leave your hair feeling greasy whatsoever. This product smells wonderful, it can be used on both wet and dry hair but I tend to use it straight after a shower and then either leave it or blow dry my hair. It will last you ages! Even with my hair, I only need 1-2 pumps. The packaging is also great because the pump prevents any spills and ensure that the correct amount is dispensed every time. 

5) Adidas Originals Azurine Low Espadrille- these have to be the most comfortable summer shoes I've ever had. I wore them to death in summer and they are still in top condition. They are very comfortable and I literally walked in them for hours in the hot weather when I went to the RHS Tatton Park flower show and not a blister in sight! The laces hardly ever become undone. They're a really nice alternative to Toms and I love the print on them. A few times, I've been caught out in the summer rain in them and my feet did not get wet despite being in espadrilles. 


1) Andy's win- of course it had to be this. I've been watching and supporting him at Wimbledon from the very start in 2005 and I am ecstatic that he's finally done it!

2) Passing my practical driving test- earlier this year, I gave up with driving. In March, I failed my third attempt and I was utterly heartbroken. I rang one of my closest friends and cried on the phone to her for 2 hours. I would just like to thank you Soleil for putting up with my snotty moans if you're reading this  :) I gave it my all and prepared to the best of my ability and when that wasn't enough I thought I am done with this shit, I am no longer wasting my time and money just to feel miserable and like a complete failure. In September, one of my other lovely friends, Michael, passed his driving test first time with the AA Driving School and he strongly recommended them. I thought to myself I either give this my best shot or risk losing my theory and having to retake that too(you have to pass your practical test within 2 years of passing your theory test and my theory test was due to expire in February 2014). I took the plunge and rang the AA and was astonished by how much my amazing instructor covered in a 2 hour lesson compared to my previous 2 instructors. He didn't knock my confidence like my second instructor or spend hours of lessons on the same route like my first. My AA instructor could cover all the manoeuvres in a couple of locations and cover 2-3 test routes. He balanced the time we spent on driving and manoeuvres really well. Having the perfect driving instructor made a massive difference but I also did a few things differently- I told nobody except my Mum that I had started driving again or when my test was to take the weight of expectation off my shoulders and I didn't fret over a mistake I'd made or if a lesson hadn't gone as well as the others.   

3) Meeting John Whaite- as regular readers are aware, I love baking and thoroughly enjoy watching Great British Bake Off. Last year's series was so good and I love John Whaite who was crowned champion so when he was doing a book signing at the Trafford Centre in April, I couldn't miss it! He was very humble and friendly when my friend, Soleil and I met him just as he was on screen. He's currently working on his second book (hoorah!) so I may go to his second book signing if he does one near me again- watch this space!

4) Passing my first year at university- I'm glad I made it to second year, I know I complain about university a lot but in all honesty, I'm not entirely sure what I would be doing if I wasn't there now. It was a relief that my hard work paid off. Let's hope it continues to do so until summer 2015 so I can graduate and enter the big bad grown up world, argh! D:

5) Raising over £160 for the Mental Health Foundation with some of my course mates at university in just one day! I know it doesn't sound like much but not only did we raise some money for a fantastic cause, we also spread awareness about depression at university by distributing depression symptom cards to staff and students. Many students suffer from the condition and I myself ended up rather depressed earlier this year. We had so much fun baking lots of goodies for the bake sale too. I've been passionate about charity and volunteering from a young age. When I wanted to pursue medicine as a career as a child, I dreamt of going to Africa and helping orphans. In Year 8, I spoke about Sir Bob Geldof being my inspiration in front of my entire year group during the public speaking competition. The charity do some amazing work in a society where mental health is often overlooked and stigmatized despite it being the 21st century. Please feel free to donate to the Mental Health Foundation.


1) About Time- this has to be my favourite film of all time (sorry Bride Wars). It was just such a beautiful storyline and I loved the time travel element which has never been done before in a romantic comedy, as far as I am aware. I'm so annoyed that this won't be released on DVD until February 2014! If you haven't already seen it then please do, I won't say too much because I don't want to spoil it for you.

2) The Great Gatsby- of course this had to make it to my top 5. Leonardo Di Caprio was definitely THE man to play Gatsby. The parties were just as extravagant as described in the book too. I am still on the search for the perfect flapper dress.

3) Catching Fire- this was my favourite book of the trilogy because the games were more shocking than ever with it being the Quarter Quell and also because I loved all of the new characters and how well they were integrated. The film was really good on the whole and there were some scenes like the poisonous gas where it was done exactly as I had imagined whilst reading the book. My only criticism is that I wish they had spent longer on the actual games rather than spend ages at the start showing the uprising in the districts.

4) The Bling Ring- I'll be honest, I only went to watch this for Emma Watson as I have no interest in Paris Hilton. It was a really funny film which I didn't expect with it being about crime but some of the quotes from the film are the best since Mean Girls. One highlight was Emma's character saying: "I wanna rob".

5) Run Fatboy Run- Okay I know that this film wasn't released in 2013 but I watched it for the first time this year and it's become one of my all time favourite films. It was just a really cute film, it was like a modern day fairy tale with the happy ending. It also reminded me of About a Boy a bit.


1) Seventy-Seven: My Road to Wimbledon Glory by Andy Murray- go on Andy, topping yet another of my top fives! In all honesty, I've been busy with revision and catching up with friends that I'm yet to finish this book but from what I've read so far, it has not let me down. Andy shares some wonderful photos and gives his personal insight on his very successful 2012 and 2013.

2) The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald- I read it for the first time before going to watch the film and it is meticulously written. It is such a complex yet simple plot and reflects how cruel reality is. I'm looking forward to reading Fitzgerald's other works in Summer 2014 hopefully!

3) John Whaite Bakes: Recipes for Every Day and Every Mood by John Whaite. As I've mentioned previously in another post, I love the use of fresh fruit in many of the recipes and what makes John's book so unique is the way he has based recipes on moods which is brilliant for a baking student like myself when you can experience a wide range of emotions in a very short space of time!

4) The Fault in our Stars by John Green- this book really makes you value life. I am really excited for the film adaptation which will be out in 2014. Although it is aimed at teenagers, it really has a sentimental value appropriate to all ages. I strongly recommend it (I'm refraining from commenting extensively on the books and films because I don't want to spoil them for those of you who haven't read/seen them).

5) Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre. I read Bad Science which is Ben's other book a few years ago and loved how well he explains science to all audiences and how he has optional sections for those who would prefer some additional detail. He really highlights medical ethics which popular science books haven't previously done. Ben brings attentions to some shocking cases and I'm glad he names and shames such despicable medical practice and exploitation of patients. I really hope he writes more books.


1) Peep Show- I've only caught a few random episodes of this on 4Music late at night when I cannot sleep and it is hilarious. I can't say much about it but I plan on watching all 8 or so series over summer. Another random fact for you- David Mitchell and I share the same birthday.
This is so me.

2) Llamas with Hats- one word- KARL!!! This made me love llamas more than before, I typed llamas into YouTube and this was the first result. Remember- "Friendship is two good friends munching on a well cooked face together".

3) Nails Inc- I am slightly embarassed to share how I discovered Nails Inc but here goes- I was flicking through the TV channels during the Easter break and when QVC came on, there were some women painting their nails and I started watching and fell in love with the lush colours and the quintessentially British names.

4) A certain area in the university library- the university library is huge so my friend and I decided to go exploring so like Sheldon, we could find the perfect spot. I am going to be a bit mean and not mention where the spot is because if there is anyone reading who attends the same university as I do then I don't want my secret spot to be taken over by lots of people. It is nice to have found an optimum learning environment where I can spend hours studying efficiently during stupidly long periods between lectures.

5) Greg James' parody videos- I am a regular listener of Greg James' weekday afternoon BBC Radio 1 show and he is one cheeky chappy. Whenever he makes a parody music video, he goes all out and leaves me in tears of laughter. Here is my favourite one because the lyrics are so true and it is much better than the original :P

Phew, what a post! If you have managed to make it this far then give yourself a pat on the back and treat yourself to a mince pie (or a snack/ beverage of your choice). Have a great Christmas and all the very best of 2014. Thank you for reading and making 2013 Mancunian Sheep's most successful year yet. Take care.
Mancunian Sheep x

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

27. Hallelujah!

Hello everyone, hope you're all well and not too stressed out with Christmas preparations! I've still got a few more presents to buy but I'm not worrying too much as there are still 8 days until Christmas. I finished for the Christmas break last Friday and it's only day 4 but these holidays are going really well so far (touch wood). 
Firstly, I did my weekly weigh in and discovered that I've lost 18 pounds this year without being on any faddy diets or going to the gym. I'm now 3 pounds away from my target weight! :D Yes, I do realise that I'll probably end up putting it all back on over Christmas and comfort eating during exams but for now I'm pretty chuffed that my thighs aren't as thunderous and I'm looking forward to wearing my new dress for Christmas! 
Secondly, as most of you are already aware I am a huge Andy Murray fan so obviously I was over the moon when the cheeky chappy won the BBC Sport's Personality of the Year award on Sunday night. Nobody but him deserved it this year. A very worthy winner! Also, I love what Judy was wearing. It was hilarious when she had to step in for him to give a little interview as he was in the shower. On Saturday afternoon, I read the first 4 chapters on Andy's new autobiography in little over 2 hours. That just shows how good it is and if you're stuck on what to buy someone for Christmas, but them a copy of Seventy Seven!

To round off a pretty successful year for both Andy and I, yesterday, I PASSED MY PRACTICAL DRIVING TEST! When the examiner told me I had passed, I shouted "Hallelujah!". It's such a relief that I've passed because it's one more thing ticked off the adult to-do list I suppose. I was very nervous before my test and had a very restless night's sleep. When I measured my resting heart rate after breakfast yesterday morning, it was 112bpm! Luckily, during the test, I didn't feel nervous at all. I'd just like to say a massive thank you to the AA Driving School, particularly my instructor, John. If any of you are considering learning to drive then I strongly recommend them, they are worth every penny! I started taking lessons in September and nobody knew except my Mum so everyone was shocked when I told them yesterday :P Good luck to all of you taking lessons or with approaching theory/practical tests. Don't let the nerves get to you and keep at it :)
I have quite a busy few days because on Thursday, I'm going to watch the Jeremy Kyle show so you might spot me in the audience ;) On Friday, I'm catching up with 2 of my lovely friends for a Christmas Cafe Crawl and probably the last one of 2013 and I'm also meeting up with another of my friends to exchange presents and go for lunch at Teacup in the Northern Quarter. It's nice to have a bit of a social life after a hectic semester and before I really get stuck into revision for my five January exams :'( I'm easing myself in this week. If any of you have exams then best of luck and I hope your revision goes well!
I will do my very best to post a weekly update for you all during the Christmas break. Take care.
Mancunian Sheep x

Monday, 9 December 2013

26. Exciting news- summer project 2014!

Hello everyone! This post will be short and sweet because I'm in the middle of writing a 7 page lab report on antibiotics (Captain Fun Times, I know!). Anyway, whist reading scientific journals on E.coli, I had a brainwave so decided to post it on here so I couldn't back out.
I will leave you in suspense for a bit to explain how I came to this decision. For the past 5 years since education became really serious with GCSEs, A-levels and now university, I spend so much term time looking forward to summer so I can do lots of amazing things which never seem to happen. I mean don't get me wrong, Wimbledon will always be THE highlight of my summer (especially 2013) but I just wish my summer was more productive. I always seem to read a lot during summer and catch up with my friends but inevitably, I am getting older and want to get as much out of life as possible before I have to REALLY grow up. Think of this as a coming of age post. 
I have decided to take the plunge and start making YouTube vlogs. As soon as my final summer exam is over, I am going to buy a decent quality camcorder and start making YouTube videos.
Now you're probably thinking why are you telling us this, it's only December?! Well, I thought that if I shared it with you all then I wouldn't be able to chicken out. A few ideas I've had for videos include doing daily videos during Wimbledon (I've applied for tickets so here's hoping that I can actually film my trip down to SW19), baking and fashion hauls. For those of you who know me in person know that I never shut up so I think I'll have a lot of editing to do :P
You guys helped me come to this decision because as we edge closer to 2014, I've taken a look at the stats for my posts on here to see what is popular and that's helped me with video ideas.
Also, today I found out that 4 of my friends and I will be in The Jeremy Kyle show audience next Thursday. I wonder how many of you will spot the Mancunian Sheep on TV :P
Anyway, I best get back to this lab report. I finish for Christmas this Friday so expect a couple of festive posts but please bear with as I have 5 exams in January.
Take care.
Mancunian Sheep x