Write On! online

Today, 4.30am
I finally put finishing touches on "my" website. For our Words by the Water magazine "Write On!", I got volunteered to build a website. With limited time and zero help (except for some last minute help during the break on Thursday - Thank you so much guys!) I built a website. It's not "mine", because we all contributed copy, but it definitely feels like it's mine as I was the only one caring about it.

The result can be seen here: www.write-on.uk.tp

Not bad for someone with (attested) zero html skills, eh?

I know that the Useful Links don't work, but I've had it with this site. Somebody else can sort it out. I'm off to Wales for some much needed Quality Time!

Magazine down, Website to go...

Write On! was published today! Yeah-haaaa!

It looks amazing and for once we haven't screwed up pages or designs. The magazine's are already on their way down to Keswick to be distributed around town for "Words by the Water" which starts tomorrow.

However, I still need to build half of the website. I had some valuable help today during the break (and was left to work on my own when Paul Teague from BBC Cumbria held his lecture) but it wasn't enough. I've been editing the site for hours, but there's always something that has a glitch. Although I am creating it on a free editing site, the formatting plays up and some colour values resist to be changed.

I will need to get it done tonight, as the festival starts tomorrow and I will leave for Wales in the morning.

Pancake Day

OK - it's Pancake Day. For me, that's a new one! We call it "Veilchendienstag" and nothing ever happens (except maybe for curing your Rosenmontag-hangover) in Germany.

My cooking skills are pretty much limited to pasta, rice and well, pancakes! ;)
My New Zealand host family wanted to adopt me for my pancakes, though they are not as good as my grandma's.... Hers are amazing and mine will probably never be able to compete against hers - they're really fluffy and light and they were my childhood favourite meal!

Nontheless, I've asked my grandma to shed some light on her recipe. So here it is, world exclusive! For the first time ever, the secret "Kaufmann-family pancake recipe" in Hanna Kaufmann's original version, for you to try.

(If you DO try it, I'll come over and sample it - my lifelong experience with the original version qualifys me to judge, I think!) ;)

Prepare each pancake separatly in a beaker.

- 100ml water
- 3 big spoons of flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Shake beaker till dough is completely smooth.

Put oil in a pan and heat on full power (not too much oil - the dough shouldn't "swim" in the oil). When heated, put dough into the pan and keep on highest heat until the dough on top starts to dry. Put a lid on the pan. Turn the pan around, let the pancake slide off the lid and back into the pan the other way up. Reduce heat by half. Put lid on pan and do not lift the lid for approx. 7 minutes. ENJOY!

If everything went according to plan, you should now be about to tuck into a golden-brown, fluffy pancake. If not, you're like me and probably need some tuition from my granny as well ;)

Serving suggestions:
- sugar & lime juice
- Nutella or any other chocolate sauce
- banana, bacon and maple syrup
- apples
- sugar & cinnamon
- vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce (as a "Palatschinken")
- and many more....

"Adiemus"

I finally found out what this song is called! I just love it!

It's "Adiemus" performed by Ysgol Glanaethwy on BBC's "Last Choir Standing"



Gave me goose bumps!

One of those days...

Who hasn't had "one of those days"?

It starts with not being able to fall asleep at night - you just toss and turn till your alarm clock says 7 o'clock and there's no use trying to shut your eyes again. You get up and don't even attempt to make coffee... the coke you try to down instead gives you a proper headrush and leaves you with a major headache.

You go to uni, but you're not quite sure how you managed to cross the park. You feel, and probably look, like a zombie. Of course, the computer you choose for the day's work is the slowest of the bunch. There is just enough lose change in your pocket to buy some breakfast. You go for the Bacon Roll greasy goodness (it does feel like a hangover, after all, doesn't it - though you haven't been drinking) and another bottle of coke. You've gotta wake up sometime, you figure. So you tuck into your food, just to find that the nice lady gave you the two most burned slices of bacon she could find. Thanks. And you spill some coke on your scarf, but luckily nobody was watching.

It's your turn to get feedback on an assessment you handed in before Christmas. You know you're shite at html (although you're the webmaster for the magazine you're creating) but you believe you did an alright job, considering you were ill (and out of the country to get treatment)for the entire length of the module and taught yourself online how to fullfil requirements. That's when your teacher turns around, says that he didn't get your sick note and that to him, you're just a lazy arse and then he goes and rips your work apart - you've failed miserably.





Feeling just slightly suicidal, you try to get money out of the ATM at uni to buy a chocolate bar - endorphins or "joy hormons" are just what you need, right? Well, because you had to book train tickets for your sister the night before, you've gone into your non-existent overdraft and can't get money out. So you try your other card - and realise you forgot your PIN. What to do? Bang your head against the wall? Buy alcohol ("Me and my best friend, Johnny Walker")? - You can't, you're broke. The person you want to hug is 200 miles away. Tough. Go figure.

Your half-hearted attempt of doing some work on the magazine comes to a standstill when your computer freezes on you. Then again, all you did was click buttons and icons randomly to see what they do. Though you like to think you're quite smart on the odd occasion (and your friends constantly take the piss out of you for being too organised as part of your - what shall we call it - "cultural upbringing"), your brain just isn't up for the challenge. It's obvious that the day isn't going anywhere. So you make your way home.

Although you know that half the public path in the park consists of puddles you take the chance. You nearly slip on the mud, manage to keep yourself upright, though. That's when you step into the puddle you tried to avoid in the first place and get your feet soaking wet as your shoes are not waterproof. For the rest of the way home your shoes make this weird squishy noise and dogs look at you funny, thinking you're a toy or that you've got a toy in your hand, at least.

Home. Safe harbour. Nearly there! Outside your door, you notice that the pocket in your coat has a hole in it... your keys are stuck between the inner and outer layer of your coat. Finally inside, you almost fall up the stairs. Almost! Oh yeah, and you'd better find a few coins as you're running dangerously low on toilet paper.

To be honest, I've had better days! I'm home now, and will curl up on my bed, try and do some work. First I might abuse my pillow as a substitute voodoo doll though, and just pretend it's a certain I.T. "whiz"....

If anyone needs me, I'll be in bed - at least nothing can happen there!
(Unless of course my framed poster decides to come crushing down, which would be - well - just perfect, I guess...)

But on a happier note: Author Kapka Kassabova has just agreed to meet me next Monday to have a coffee with me and a chat about being a travel journalist. A silver lining after all!

Kölle Alaaf!

Everything that could just went wrong today. I'm usually alright, homesickness-wise, but since today is Rosenmontag - a German holiday - it really hit home.

On the way back through the park I hummed "Wo mir sin is Kölle" ("Where we are is Cologne") and "Die Karawane zieht weiter" ("The convoy moves on") to myself - both songs I listen to once a year and not really because I like the music, but they are just party of Karneval.

This is what it was like in Köln today. "Kölle Alaaf!"






Wish I could have been there!

Viva Colonia! - "Dat Trömmelche jeht!"

"Kölle Alaaf!" and "Solig lot jonn!"

It's the fifth season in Germany - "Karneval"!

Since the 11th November of last year, the "Kölsche Jecken" have been preparing for tomorrow: "Ruusemondaach" they call it in the regional dialect of Cologne "Kölsch". (Rosenmontag / Rose Monday is what everybody else calls it). Especially in the German "Rheinland" region (between Köln (Cologne) and Düsseldorf), this is one of the most important holidays of the year. There will be street parades with massive, themed floats, candy will be thrown into the crowds, Karnevalsongs will be sung and everybody will dress up and have a good time. The parade in Köln is seen as THE Karneval parade and most of the songs and shows come from there as well.

So-called "Prunksitzungen" have been on TV since November, with comedians performing mostly in "Kölsch" in front of a festival committee. Bands like "Höhner", "Bläck Föös" and "De Räuber" are all from Köln and their best-known songs are all about the city of Köln and Karneval - and nonsense songs for Karneval as well. Kölle Alaaf!



When I was a kid, I loved the dressing up. The Solinger street parade was a laugh, though. The route was too short, the streets too narrow and we'd leave as soon as the last float came past. I haven't celebrated Karneval properly as an adult yet - but I'd like to some day. I'd also love to spend a Rosenmontag in Köln and experience the parade there - even though moving through the city and getting there and back will be really difficult. For the "Rosenmontagszug", everything in Köln comes to a standstill.

Don't believe me?? This is the "Kölner Rosenmontagszug" from 2006 with "Höhner" performing "Viva Colonia"...



With that in mind: A threefold "Kölle Alaaf, Kölle alaaf, Kölle alaaf!" and "Solig lot jonn, Solig lot jonn, Solig lot jonn!"

Review: "Wetlands" - Charlotte Roche

By Cornelia Kaufmann

18-years-old Helen Memel has to go to hospital after an intimate shaving accident. Once in her room, she dedicates herself to parts of her body that are not usually considered ladylike.
“Wetlands” is the wonderfully wild story of a girl, who is as epicurean as she is vulnerable.

Charlotte Roche likes to shock. That is why she pushes the boundaries of bad taste in this book as far as she can. Bodily fluids, crevices, orifices, byproducts and what you can do with them are discussed throughout this novel. The narrator Helen is not afraid to talk about her sexual encounters and preferences; as well as personal hygiene and grooming habits which she thinks are overrated.

Ever since Helen’s parents got divorced, she’s been trying to reunite what should be together. Her stint at the hospital seems like a perfect opportunity and while she’s waiting for her family to show up, she annoys the nurse and takes care of her special avocado pits, which she claims to be objects of female empowerment as well as satisfaction. In a foolish, desperate and dangerous attempt to get her parents to visit her, Helen puts herself at great risk…

Ever since its publication in Germany in February 2008, “Wetlands” (“Feuchtgebiete” in German) has provoked a debate about good and bad taste, sexual taboos and women’s roles in society. Proven to be a bestseller, it is already in its 22nd edition within the first year of its
release.

“Wetlands” has just been published in the UK by Fourth Estate Ltd, in February 2009.

BBC's Odd Box

OK, this BBC Odd Box is a few days old, but I only just found it!

There are Maoris performing a kapa haka, an animal that "goes bonkers in the snow" and bellydancing lessons for pregnant women....

Enjoy! Oh, and here's another!

Listening to the radio

I've been listening to Radio 1 yesterday and today, and managed both times to miss the title of the song that got stuck in my ear for the rest of the day.

So here it is: "Time to pretend" by MGMT!

Nuclear collision

According to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), a British and a French nuclear submarine collided in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean earlier this month.

HMS Vanguard and Le Triomphant are both part of a four-vessel nuclear submarine fleet in their respective countries. At the time of the incident, both were carrying nuclear missiles.
Although both vessels were damaged, none of the collective 240 crew members were reported injured. HMS Vanguard had to be towed back to its base at Faslane on the Firth of Clyde (Scotland), while Le Triomphant came back by its own means to its base at L'Ile Longue near Brest in north-west France.

The United Kingdom and France both assured that nuclear security had not been breached during the collision. However, neither of the two vessels picked up the others sonar signals.

Now, excuse me if I'm wrong, but the Atlantic Ocean seems to be quite a large body of water, given that it's the second largest ocean in the world. What are the chances of two nuclear submarines both diving at the same depth at the same spot in a massively vast ocean??

Furthermore: Shouldn't the sonar system on every ship, let alone a nuclear submarine, work constantly and without fail? Luckily, both vessels were diving at low speeds, so the impact of the collision did not trigger the weapons to detonate. If they had gone any faster, a nuclear catastrophe might have been unavoidable, and would have released vast amounts of radiation, left the ocean polluted and nuclear warheads scattered across the oceanbed.

I guess, the world can count itself lucky that the United Kingdom and France are not nations at war with each other. This incident, accident or not, might have easily triggered a nuclear war.


Dreaming of summer



You know what I like to do on grey winter days like these? I dream about summer.


I dream about an open highway stretching for miles, windows rolled down (or, in the case of my Nissan 100NX - remove the glass roof), sunrays on my face, good friends in the car and these songs on the radio:





Roadtrip, anyone?

Young father

A 13-year-old boy just became a father, the Sun titled today.

The boy's not in puberty yet and still looks like an 8-year-old. The mum's not much older, she is only 15. And just to add: the age of consent in the United Kingdom is 16.

Don't pupils get Sex Education in their Biology classes over here? I had to sit through it when I was 10 and again when I was about 14... Then again, the age of consent where I come from is 14.

According to the article, it was the boy's first time and he got his girlfriend pregnant because they had unprotected sex. At 15, one would think that she's smart enough to either go on the pill, use condoms - or both. Teen magazines are full of tipps, suggestions and advice - Bravo Magazine's "Dr. Sommer" educated generations of us back in Germany! And our mums sat down with us and gave us the "Flower and the bee" talk. In Year 8, we had an AIDS prophylaxis day, we were told all about HIV and AIDS and given a handful of condoms each - aged 14.

Although they both say that they want to be good parents, I doubt they have any idea of what is yet to come! When asked how he planned to support his family financially (he gets GBP 10), he asked what "financially" meant... Do they even understand that their childhoods are over? That it's changing nappies and warming bottles from now on?

I'm 21, and I think I'm too young to have a child! I love kids, but on the other hand, I wanna enjoy my youth as long as I can. I'm not even out of education yet! I have friends who got children when they were 17/18 and they're doing fine, telling me they wouldn't change a thing and I admire them for it! I really do!

Valentine's Day

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, presumably one of the most dreaded days of the year. Lovers are panic-buying bunches of flowers and cards; and heart-shaped toys are shoved into the faces of (happy) singletons. I think it's safe to bet that every restaurant will be fully booked for the evening.

For years, I didn't bother with Valentine's Day. The few boyfriends I had either broke up just before, or I met them just after the 14th February. This year, I am in a relationship, but still, I am not that bothered about flowers or cards. To me, Valentine's Day is like any other day. It's much too commercial for my liking.

I think that Valentine's Day is a synonym for "Florists-of-the-world-united-and-decided-to-sell-more-flowers Day", which, in effect, it is. Card writers, restaurant-owners and heart-shaped toy and teddy manufacturers just jumped on the band-waggon.

Why do people seem to think that February 14th is the only day in the year that you can tell your boyfriend/girlfriend that you love him/her? Is a candle-light dinner surrounded by a handful of more or less happy couples that different from a candle-light dinner any other day? Isn't it the thought that counts?

I've got a date suggestion: 18th June. Who had the idea of putting Valentine's Day into the most depressing month of the year anyway? At least in June it would be warm enough for picnics and outdoor activities... See, I'm a summer child through and through. Besides, my favourite flowers are not even in bloom yet. Not that I care a lot about getting flowers. I mean, it's a nice gesture, but I seem to have a black thumb. I've managed to kill every flower ever given to me in record-time, and that included several cacti. Plastic ones would probably be a safer bet.

And candle-light dinners? Yes, they are quite romantic, but I for one feel uncomfortable when people spend a lot of money just to take me out. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy going on dates and being taken to nice restaurants, but I'd be just as happy to go and get fish 'n' chips. I'd rather sit on the couch with a self-cooked meal or take-away, curl up and watch a film and not be asked by a waiter, whether everything's alright every two minutes.

Do some work

Right, it's time I start writing proper articles again.

I know, I've been lazy about it, but enough is enough! Not only does Informer's travel section need more content, no - this blog needs a few more reviews on it! It probably won't be the case of 1 review a week just yet but I'll give it a try!

Don't expect any great music reviews, though. My knowledge of music has been put to shame by David's "Culture Vulture" blog.... ah well..... I guess, when it comes to music I'm a naive little girl who can point out song title and artist at best, but if not, goes into the shop and asks for that song, that "lala lalalaaaaa lalaa". Kinda sad, isn't it? And yes, that has actually happened once.

Maybe books and films... that's more my "millieu" anyway. But then again, a review of "Casablanca" is hardly breaking news. Maybe I should resurrect my library card. Does Carlisle have a Video Rental somewhere?

Furthermore, I should really keep writing for Karl and submit something to itchy feet.... So many ideas... and that's the problem. I can't be bothered to sit down and actually put pen to paper (or fingers to keys, as at were). See, I made this fabulous plan of when I will be doing what and have not yet been able to stick to it. No more! I know I need to get work down.

Starting now! ... Well, after breakfast... ;)

Second best?? You've gotta be kidding!!

Here's an article on Informer Online about us. Well, at least the Journalism course. Apparently, this is the second best Journalism course in the country...


Good news for journalists

The University of Cumbria’s undergraduate journalism course has been recognised as one of the best in the country.

The BA (Hons) Journalism course has been placed second in the recently published league tables from the National Council for the Training of Journalists. It was pipped at the post by the University of Sheffield.

Students on the 2005/8 course scored well in the NCTJ’s preliminary exams in law, news writing, public affairs and shorthand - widely regarded by many recruiting editors as the essential qualifications for anyone hoping to get their all-important first job in a multimedia newsroom.

The NCTJ, who accredit the Carlisle-based course, points out that the results tables contain useful, factual information that may assist potential students in their decision-making when selecting a course.

Course leader Tony Randall said he was delighted with the result. “This is a tribute to the efforts of the teaching team and the quality and commitment of the students. Results like this show why so many of our students go on to secure excellent jobs in the media.”


I had a good laugh, reading this. Honestly, if we're second best, how bad are the other courses?? I for one don't really think I'm getting my money's worth out of it.

Our newspaper (which looks like a red-top paper and therefore like a tabloid - honestly, the only thing missing is a half-naked girl on page 3) comes out every couple of weeks (while other universities manage to publish weekly), our website is basically a really stupid blog which hasn't been updated since December 2008 and the teaching is a joke most of the time.

I mean - I learned how to read and write a long time ago. And we're always told to do things a certain way, but are never shown how to do it in the first place. Our use of multimedia is a joke up till now and I don't think it will improve until we graduate.

Although we are told we're having a say in especially I.O.'s looks, it doesn't matter what we want if nobody can be bothered to go and change it to what we've actually agreed on. So once again: If we're second best, how much worse are the other courses in the UK??


Ideas for I.O....

The Informer Online is the University of Cumbria's student website, the online equivalent to the print version The Informer.

We've just been asked to come up with suggestions and ideas to make the site better, easier to navigate and increase interactivity.

And then I saw this: Oxford's Cherwell, The Guardian's student website of the year 2008. I love their design (Is it just me or does it look a bit like the actual Guardian?) use of colour and how they use multimedia as well as their interactivity!

On the road again...

I rented a car the other day, and went exploring with Lauren. We are travel journalists based in Carlisle, and to our shame, we've never been into the Lake District before.

So I picked up the Vauxhall Corsa in the morning and off we went, along the scenic route to Keswick. Music on and go! As a rule of thumb, whatever car I drive, it never moves an inch without music!

I hadn't been driving a manual in left-hand traffic since I was last in New Zealand, but it all came back pretty fast. Changing gear with my left instead of right hand, driving on the wrong side... it worked just fine! Although I was extra careful on every corner I turned, not to go into the wrong lane!

It felt great to drive again! I miss the feeling of being on the road, going places. I like exploring, zig-zagging around and taking in the view. I love the freedom the car gives me. I can go wherever I want to go, whenever I want to go. Stop anywhere, take a photo, take a breath and continue. As Captain Jack Sparrow said in Pirates of the Caribbean: "What a ship really is, what the Black Pearl really is - is Freedom!" - To me, that's my car!

So we went to Keswick and got there in time for a Full Cumbrian Breakfast. We found this café on the edge of the pedestrian zone. The "Wild Strawberry" is a quaint, nice place, and the breakfast and hot chocolate was excellent, along with the service. After this, we explored the town. We started at Moot Hall and made our way to the Theatre by the Lake. We're creating the official magazine for the "Words by the Water" festival, which will take place in Keswick at the end of February / beginning of March, and wanted to scout the location a bit.

After taking in the view of Derwent Water for a while, we turned around and went back into town. Lauren got some Vox Pops (on the street interviews, for all you non-journalists out there) for her article, while I went window-shopping and came close to buying a pair of designer wellies.

Being girls, we had a hard time trying to avoid the chocolate shop, so we eventually gave in. "Ye Old Friar of Keswick" is located right next door to Moot Hall and offers chocolate pralinées of all sorts. Still, I bought the most random thing there: A teapot, shaped like a giant dice. I guess I am finally embracing British culture.

In the afternoon, we made our way towards Penrith. It's basically the next bigger town worthy of being called a proper town, south of Carlisle. Without a map, we parked the car near the shopping centre and once again went exploring. Funnily enough, we first of all ended up in an charity shop! Both of us like a good second hand store, so we went inside and each found something we deemed worth of buying. (I don't think I have to mention that once again it was the most random thing??).

We had a stroll through town and ended up at the Arcade for another cup of hot chocolate. The arcade's café is located at the very end and out of the way, but was really nice and good quality!

On the way back to Carlisle (on which I practised drving on the motorway in the UK), we stopped off at Warwick Road Tesco. For once, we had a car and could actually buy as much as we wanted without having to think about how to get everything home. I especially stocked up on drinks (of the non-alcoholic kind). Whenever I'm shopping, I miss having a car. I'd love to be able to "fill her up" and stock up on food and drinks.

The next morning, I was running late returning the car. The windshield was frozen, and I didn't have a scraper, so I had to do it by (gloved) hand. And as if that wasn't trouble enough, just as I was about to pull out of the parking spot, a rubbish truck turned into my street, blocking the way. So I had to go down Tullie Street and from there onto Warwick Road. That was not the problem. The problems started when the street I was supposed to drive through turned out to be closed. Having only been a pedestrian in Carlisle for 1 1/2 years, and knowing the walking shortcuts, left me with a lack of orientation and little knowledge of the street map. I knew I would have to go through Hardwicke Circus Roundabout to return the car, and eventually found my way to Georgian Way and into the roundabout. Roundabouts are not that common in Germany, and over there, you drive through them "the wrong way round". I was glad I made it out of there without a scratch. The rest was kid's play in comparison.

Now that I am in the rental company's database, I think I will be going on more trips. If I can find two or three people to come along, we can split the costs and each pay less than a tenner for a day out. Sounds like a plan to anyone??

Stressed, much?

Well, it's been quite a busy day, really.

In the morning, we worked on our magazine "Write On" for the Words by the Water festival in Keswick. I've just sent off the last email interview for it. For my stories (and by the looks of the flatplan, a whole page is attributed to my articles) I 'm interviewing travel writers Kapka Kassabova and Vesna Maric, who each just published a memoir. "Street without a name" recounts Kapka's teenage years in communist Bulgaria, while "Bluebird" is Vesna's memoir of her childhood in Bosnia during the war and how she became a refugee in the UK. I'm still reading through the books, but the reviews will follow on here in a little while.

Then my daily dealings with BT continued. We have been without the internet for over a week now. We should have been switched back on, Friday 6am, but our rooter is dead and not receiving or sending any signals anymore. I've called BT several times about it and filed a complaint yesterday and suddenly they call me and we'll get a new rooter by Thursday.... talk about pressing the right buttons....

On my way home through town, I had to sort out all my money (it's that time of the month) and the queue was endlessly long! However, later when I went to Zavvi's I noticed that they are clearing out! Everything is 25% off the marked price and the marked prices are already discounted! I couldn't help myself. Bought 4 Sex and the City Season box sets and 1 CSI NY one for less than a 10er each! Talk about a bargain!

I'm currently at Fusehill Street Campus, in the 24/7 Computer room. It's getting annoying, having to walk over to uni just to check emails. But I had to check the pick-up location for the rental car tomorrow (oh gosh.... I haven't driven in left-hand traffic and manual cars for aaaaaaages!!!) which by the way is somewhere completely different from where the company says it is; sent those email interviews off, get directions for the roadtrip etc.

Now home for a shower and my nice, warm fleece blanket... it's still freezing out there, but yesterday's snow has completely disappeared again and the sun rays seem to get warmer! Spring's around the corner!

Winter Wonderland

Wow! It just started snowing last night and it hasn't stopped yet!


I didn't realise until I looked out my bathroom window this morning, thinking "I don't think our neighbour painted his yard white?!?!" Walking to uni this morning, we had to make our way through Rickerby Park and approx 15cm of powder snow! It's amazing, really, how nice Carlisle can be under this white blanket. Everything is clean and fresh.



However, they closed uni today at 2pm, because of the blizzard, so that everybody could get home safely. Funny thing is: By the time everyone left, it stopped snowing for a bit! And they didn't tell us journalists about it all, either.


There we were, sitting in the News Room, busy building pages on QuarkXpress (I only had 1 pic to go...) - at 3pm. A security guard came checking, and kicked us out into the cold. Ah well...

It was nice coming back through the park. The air clear, we were able to walk across the field (which we couldn't for ages, because it was all soaking wet!) and everywhere were families, out enjoying the snow and kids playing on sledges.


But I hope the roads will be clear on Wednesday. I just rented a car for the day, to go on a little roadtrip with Lauren towards Keswick and the Lake District. It's a manual, and I haven't driven a manual since I got back from the USA and I haven't really driven on the left-hand side since I left New Zealand in 2007 (Except for 2 hours on the motorway where I didn't have to turn off somewhere).

Time to get organised

I know that I really need to put in more work for uni in order to get a decent degree at the end of it. Otherwise, I would have wasted a lot of money for nothing.

I actually started to keep a reflective journal and last night I sat down and planned my entire week. This will mean, that I do not really have time to go out, but then again, I seldomly do. For each lecture, I planned some revision time, in which I will copy my notes and work through them. There will also be time each day to read the set textbooks and work on assignments. If I do a little every day, I don't need to rush at the end when dealines are looming. I found out that I need a kind of schedule to stick to, otherwise I won't do anything.

Tuesday afternoons and Wednesdays will be spend writing articles, researching etc. And in the evenings, I will teach myself Russian and Chinese, and practise my French and Spanish - I need to work on my languages. It's really quite shocking that I can't say a single sentence in French after 4 years of studying the language. If I start learning Russian and Chinese now, I might actually be able to get by once I'm graduated from university.

As a Travel Journalist, I think I can't know enough languages. And until now, I've always managed to get alright grades for my studies, but I know I can do better than that! So maybe sticking to this schedule will work. Keep your fingers crossed!

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