Saturday, 28 February 2015

86. What I Will Miss About University

Hello everyone, this week I found out when I graduate (a day before my 21st, eek) and next Friday is my last ever lecture and that got me thinking that I will actually miss many things about university! I thought A-levels went quickly but despite the fact my university course is a year longer, it's gone by even faster! I also received my January exam results this week and I passed everything, woo! So, without further ado, here are some things that I will miss about university:

1) My friends! I have had so many laughs with my university friends and we have so many inside jokes that I actually forget how a couple of them started off. Luckily, the majority of my close friends are from the North West of England so I'm sure we will be having reunions to rival S Club 7's.

2) Academics - I love it when they tell us stories in lectures. A few weeks ago, my genetics lecturer said he preferred Frozen to Jurassic Park as it gets too confusing for him, all I could then think about for the rest of the lecture was him singing Let it Go in Elsa's dress. I'm also convinced that academics have the time turner that Hermione and Harry used in the Prisoner of Azkaban because I have no idea how they have enough hours in the day to lecture, supervise their undergraduate and postgraduate project students, eat, sleep, look after their children, carry out their own research and attend lots of faculty meetings.

3) Education itself - I have been in education for as long as I can remember, literally. I've been in education for almost 18 consecutive years so it will be weird not having to write assignments, revise for exams at Christmas and have lessons/lectures during the week.

4) The big stationery shop in September! I am a lover of all things stationery and now I won't need as much! :(Having fun isn't hard, when you've got a Ryman card!

5) Biology- doing a degree in such a dynamic and broad field, you only really touch the tip of the iceberg when it comes to learning about all things living.

6) Being able to access scientific journals online for free. I might just subscribe to Nature or Nature Reviews Microbiology. Love you long time Google Scholar xo

7) Student discount, obviously! It comes in handy at the cinema and I love it when Amazon randomly decide to give a 5% discount, haha! 

8) Similar to number 7, my Unirider (annual student bus pass). Sometimes I just get on for a couple of stops around campus (lazy I know, but we do have pretty big campus to be fair). 

I've not even left university yet and I'm already missing it if that's even possible! D:

Until next time, take care.

Manucnian Sheep x

Saturday, 21 February 2015

85. 2015 So Far!

Hello everyone, instead of a new post this weekend, I decided to film a video about what I've been up to lately so check it out for all the latest Mancunian Sheep news. I should be going to a very cool place in Manchester next week so watch out for my post on that!

Until next time, take care.

Mancunian Sheep x

Sunday, 15 February 2015

84. Gone Girl Book and Film Review

Hello everyone, I know that I'm very behind with this as Gone Girl was one of the most talked about books last year and the film adaptation was highly anticipated. I read it after my January exams as I was too busy to read it in time for its cinema release.

For those of you who haven't read and/or watched Gone Girl, here's a brief overview of what it's about and I'll try not to provide any spoilers! Nick Dunne is a journalist based in New York where he meets Amy who writes lame quizzes for women's magazines like "What tree are you?". Amy's parents are psychologists and authors who write the children's book series called Amazing Amy. Nick and Amy end up getting married and all is well for a while but eventually, due to the recession, they both lose their jobs which is the start of their marriage problems. They move to Missouri to help Nick's sister, Margo, look after their mother who has cancer and father who has Alzheimer's. Amy lends Nick some money to open up The Bar (yes, a bar called The Bar, creative I know) and they are starting to drift apart. On the day of their fifth wedding anniversary, Amy goes missing from their home. The police question a number of suspects including her ex partners and Amy's childhood friend who became obsessed with her due to the Amazing Amy books. Eventually, Nick is the main suspect and it is not looking good for him at all due to a lot of lies he has told the police, all that is preventing him from being charged is the lack of a body. Every year on their wedding anniversary, Amy sets up a treasure hunt with Nick's present at the end so this year, each clue provides a subtle hint as to what has happened to Amy. The treasure hunt exposes what a manipulative psychopath Amy really is!

Now that I've finally caught up, here's what I thought of both the book and film which I watched the day after finishing the book.

I'll start with the book and honestly, I was disappointed. I really don't understand what the big deal is. First, I wish someone had warned me that it was going to be so filthy, I was not expecting some parts to be so sexually explicit which reminds me, if I see one more post on social media about 50 Shades of S***, I may just explode with fury. I was tempted to stop reading but once I start a book, I have to finish it off (although I still haven't managed to get past page 7 of Life of Pi *yawn*). Second, I found the book quite hard to get into compared to other books that I've read where someone goes missing like Six Years On and A Single Breath which were much more consistent. The twist right at the end which effectively traps Nick was very shocking but the ending did annoy me because after all the lies, it ended too smoothly for everyone involved with nobody being held responsible. Finally, similar to what people have said about the whodunit Lucy Beale storyline in Eastenders, neither Amy nor Lucy are likeable characters so as a reader/viewer, I have no sympathy for them. Having said that, Nick is a real jerk too but I do feel sorry for him at the very end.

I did like the layout of the book with one chapter from Nick's point of view and the next followed from Amy's perspective and so on. Also, there is a delay in how the two tell their story with Nick beginning his side from the day Amy goes missing and Amy starting from the day she met Nick for the first time but eventually, they are both telling the story at the same time. The book is also split into three sections to coincide with a major event. Despite not being a fan of either Amy or Nick, I did like Margo because she is so selfless and straight talking. She stands by Nick even when more and more evidence is stacking up against him. The other character that I liked was Nick's lawyer, Tanner Bolt. He's very laid back but is very good at what he does. There's a funny scene in the film which features Tanner that I will mention below.

Personally, I think there are much better thrillers involving a missing wife/husband such as the two I've mentioned above so overall I give Gone Girl the novel:

3/5 for being unnecessarily long and dirty but having some good twists.

Some of you may be thinking why I decided to watch the film if I didn't enjoy the book well, I did so for a couple of reasons:
1) I have this thing where if I have read a book which has a movie adaptation, then I have to watch it to see if the story is how I imagined.
2) I wanted to give the story a second chance and see if the film was any better than the book.

Unfortunately, I was wrong and didn't find the film to be much better than the book. As you may have heard, Rosamund Pike has been nominated for an Oscar in the best actress in a leading role category for her performance as Amy. Now I'm sure that Pike is a fabulous actress but I really don't think this was the role for her. As a British actress, her accent wasn't the only thing that I found unconvincing. I just found her very stiff and passive which is the opposite of the character's personality and the same goes for Ben Affleck who played Nick. Also starring in the film was Neil Patrick Harris who most of you will know as Barney from HIMYM, it was refreshing to see him play such a different character. Neil plays Desi Collings who is Amy's ex, a suspect and also Amy's confidante. Poor Desi comes to a particularly gory end in a scene that is different to the book and it also happens to be my least favourite scene, it was truly horrific. Neil's acting was much better than Rosamund's and Ben's in my opinion. I shall try to end on a positive by mentioning my favourite scene with Tanner Bolt. He was helping Nick to prepare for a TV interview and appeal and every time Nick said something wrong which made him appear guilty, Tanner started throwing sweets at him. In the book, it was actually Tanner's wife throwing the sweets but they didn't include her at all in the film. Another thing that I liked about the film was how it started and ended in the same way which was quite clever. Nick was stroking the back of Amy's head and thinking the same questions : "What are you thinking? "What's going on inside your head?" in both the opening and closing scenes.

My favourites- Tanner and Margo.
I give Gone Girl the film 2/5 because the changes made to the story line like the gruesome end of Desi mentioned above did not improve it. I'm glad I didn't wait to buy it on DVD as it would have gone straight to Oxfam, thanks to Amazon Instant Video!

Have you read and/or watched Gone Girl? If so, what did you think of it? Also, if you haven't read/ watched it then don't let me put you off, everyone's different and you may love it (the same goes for any other book/ film reviews on here).

Until next time, take care.

Mancunian Sheep x

Saturday, 14 February 2015

83. Products That I've Used Up and Repurchased

Hello everyone! It's been a while since I did a beauty related post and as I need to buy some of these products again soon, I thought I may as well share them with you. I don't wear any makeup apart from lip balm/ lip gloss and nail polish so these are all hair care and skin care products!

1) Witch Hazel Oil Control Foaming Face Wash - I used to use the Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Cleansing Foam and this is a much cheaper alternative and is just as effective (if not more) as the Clinique one. I have combination skin with an oily T-zone and normal cheeks, overall my face can be a bit drier in winter and a bit more oily in summer. Since using the Witch Hazel face wash, I no longer wake up with excess oil on my forehead and skin whereas with the Clinique one, I had to use it as part of their 3 step system to achieve a similar effect.

2) Whenever I get a breakout, Clinique's Anti-Blemish All Over Clearing Treatment (phew what an unnecessarily long name!) is the only thing that I've found so far that will calm and soothe my skin. I only use it when required rather than daily. I've found it to be particularly effective on my skin when I get large and painful bumpy spots on my chin. What makes this so good is that it is moisturising without causing more spots and medicating without being too harsh on your skin and leaving it dry. This is going to sound disgusting (but I'm sure I'm not the only one) but because it is moisturising, it stops you picking at your spots too which obviously aids the healing process! 

3) Soap and Glory Hand Food - My hands are always cold in winter and the skin also tends to get a little dry. This is amazing as it isn't greasy so won't leave any nasty finger prints on your phone or keyboard and the smell lasts for ages. I personally find that even after washing my hands a couple of times, the softening effect it has on my skin is still there. They do a larger 125 ml tube but I prefer this smaller 50 ml one as it is perfect to pop in your bag to use throughout the day!

4) Sticking with Soap and Glory, I also cannot get enough of the Righteous Butter. I actually bought this travel sized one in a 3 for 2 offer a few months ago with the hand food and Hand Maid hand sanitizer but think I'm going to buy the bigger pot this time as it is the best moisturiser ever and just sinks into your skin without leaving a greasy residue. Again, the gorgeous smell lasts for ages too! 

5) Now onto hair products! I don't blowdry my hair very often, I used to every time I washed my hair from 2009-2012 and this left my hair quite damaged but, the two products mentioned below have rescued it. I've also stopped washing my hair in the mornings/ before I go out so it has enough time to naturally dry. When I do rarely blowdry my hair, I have found the John Frieda Frizz Ease Thermal Protection Hair Serum to be much more effective than the Tresseme/ Vo5 thermal protection hair sprays. I highly recommend this as it does exactly what it says on the tin. Even when I'm not blowdrying my hair, I still use this as it does tame my hair to be fair. It isn't greasy and a little goes a long way. If you do decide to use it, make sure you concentrate on your ends and not your roots.

6) And last but by no means least, this product has been described by many as liquid gold and I absolutely agree. As I now leave my hair to naturally dry, I've found that the Moroccanoil Treatment helps my hair to dry quicker, makes it shiny and it just feels so much healthier. Before using it, it was frizzy and I had a lot of baby/ fly away hairs which has now gone. I buy the 25ml bottle from the salon where I get my hair cut because it is in a glass bottle (which is the only thing I would change about this product) so I'm worried about smashing a larger bottle. Also, when I had long hair last year, a bottle would last me 3 months and since getting my hair cut to shoulder length, this bottle has lasted almost 6 months! Again, a little goes a long way! I know that there are a lot of hair products on the market with Argan/ Moroccan Oil in them and I've used the Umberto Giannini Miracle Worker with Argan Oil and honestly, although the MoroccanOil treatment is a little pricey, it is worth it as this is the pure and natural product so is much more effective. 

Which products have you used up and repurchased? Have you used any of the products mentioned in this post? Comment below and let me know! Also, watch out for my book and film review as well as a lifestyle change post which will be up in a few days!

Until next time, take care.
Mancunian Sheep x

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

82. Room 101

Hello everyone, I'm sorry to have neglected my blog, I've just been very busy with writing up lectures, preparing for finals, coursework and my antibiotic resistance project as well as visiting my Mum in hospital and attending various appointments with her. I feel like all I've been doing is moaning on The Life of a Mancunian Sheep lately but don't worry this is the last rant (she says). I've been busy making a few lifestyle changes that I will update you all on in a separate post later this week (hopefully) and a couple of book/ film reviews so watch out for those!

I don't watch much television due to the aforementioned but always make time for Room 101 (I was really looking forward to it last Friday but the rugby changed the schedules). For those of you who aren't familiar with Room 101, it is a television show based on a concept initially mentioned by George Orwell in 1984. In 1984, it is a room where the Ministry of Love places the prisoner in a room containing their worst fears/ most hated items. If you haven't read 1984 then I strongly recommend it, it's a real eye opener! I loved it when Miranda was on Room 101 and she put vegetables out of context into Room 101 and hated the idea of beetroot/ courgette cake. Haha!

I do complain about lots of things but choosing three things to abolish forever was quite difficult. Here are the three things I would put into Room 101 after much deliberation.

1) Paying to view scientific literature. As a biology student, I need to access a lot of scientific journal articles for my assignments and lecture readings. Now my university is brilliant as it has subscribed and paid for so many journals but there are always some that we don't have access to. In my opinion, all scientific literature should be open access to everyone and a price should not be put on knowledge. Nature have produced a new open access journal all about Parkinson's disease so good on them which you can check out here! I hope more journals follow suit

2) People who stand at pedestrian crossings like absolute lemons without pressing the button. Do they think that traffic lights are alive and can see that there's someone waiting to cross? These are then also the people who step out just as the lights turn green so not only are they thick, they're also suicidal.

3) Businesses next to the same type in close proximity in residential areas. This is quite a specific one so let me explain! In Manchester, a prime example of this is the horror that is the Curry Mile. What annoys me the most about this is the lack of creativity and how inconvenient it must be for local residents. I mean I'm all for a bit of healthy competition and not having a monopoly but the Curry Mile and the A6 running through Longsight and Levenshulme are ridiculous. In some places, it is acceptable to have several of the same businesses in close proximity. For example, in the city centre; there is a Costa Coffee, Cafe Nero, another Costa coffee inside Primark all next to each other AND a Starbucks opposite but that's because there is demand in a busy area. I think three should be the maximum for a business type within half a kilometre in a residential area.

What would you put in Room 101?

Until next time, take care.

Mancunian Sheep x