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Everyone has those special books that changed their opinions on reading. They’re those memorable books that either enthralled you as a little kid or changed your mind completely about reading – going from being a bore to something that excited you.

For me, there are three books that changed my opinion on reading and turned me into the book enthusiast I am today. These are those books.

Disclaimer: As always, links marked with a asterisks (*) are affiliate links. 



Charlotte’s Web by E.B White

Charlotte’s spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter.

This was the first ever novel I read on my own. I was young, probably about seven or eight and just enthralled by the story. I just remember not being able to put the book down and feeling so invested in Wilbur, Charlotte and Fern and their world. It was a book that really got me interested in reading, simply because I was so sucked in to the world that was so different from my own. I genuinely cared for the characters, and well, if you’ve read Charlotte’s Web*, you’ll know why I was absolutely devastated by the ending.

This is a book I still hold near and dear to my heart. Even the movie tugs at my heart strings every time I see it.

Related: Books to Read in 2018

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis

Journeys to the end of the world, fantastic creatures, and epic battles between good and evil—what more could any reader ask for in one book?

When I was eight, I hated my teacher. It was a personal vendetta because he only ever chose the boys for the student of the week awards handed out at our weekly assembly. Still to this day, I dislike him a little but there is one thing I’m thankful for. He introduced me to The Chronicles of Narnia*. It was read to us for the last fifteen or so minutes of the day before dismissal. I was instantly intrigued and by the time we were three or four chapters in I had begged mum to buy me my own copy so I could read ahead.

I did read ahead. And then I read the second book and the third. And the fourth, fifth, sixth and final book. All before the class had even finished reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe*.

The Chronicles of Narnia were the first set of books that I refused to put down. I hated doing anything that wasn’t reading these books. This series showed me an entirely new world that sucked me in and took over my entire life at eight years old.

Harry Potter by J.K Rowling

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard.

It wouldn’t be right to write a post about books that turned me into a lover of books, if I didn’t include The Harry Potter Series*.

My introduction to Harry Potter wasn’t as typical as everyone else. I was nine or ten years old and the hype of the Harry Potter books had overtaken the entire world. Since the internet and social media weren’t as prominent in everyone’s life, I had no clue about any of that. Due to an unfortunate work accident though, my mum had injured her back and was completely bed bound for a few weeks. I remember she asked my aunty and I to go buy her some books to read and I was instantly drawn into the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone* display at the store, so we picked her up a copy.

She read it. And then read it again to me. And then I read it on my own. Over and Over again.

Thankfully, at this time in 2003, there were already four books released in the series, and the magic of Harry Potter completely overtook our lives. I remember sitting in bed with my mum, just talking about everything that happened and about what we thought was coming up next. I even remember the excitement of going to the bookstore to pick up The Order of The Phoenix, dressed up as Hermione Granger, of course.

These books are still so special to me. Partly because they’re books that are so special as part of my childhood, but because it’s also something I shared with my mum. I still find myself reading them again when I have nothing else to read.

What are the special books that shaped you into the reader you are today?

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The post The 3 Books That Got Me Into Reading appeared first on Bookish and Bright.

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I don’t drink alcohol.

It’s such a normal statement but you wouldn’t believe the shock and disbelief you get met with when you tell people this, especially as a young 20-something university student.

It’s weird when you go out with friends, turn down the offer of a drink and have everyone look at you like there’s something wrong. There’s not. I just don’t drink alcohol. I think what’s weird is that I have to explain that there’s no reason for my choice to abstain from drinking – It’s not a religious choice, I’m not pregnant, I don’t have a medical condition and I’m not a recovering alcoholic. I just don’t see the fun in getting drunk.

It’s crazy to me that it’s more acceptable in today’s society to binge drink regularly than it is to abstain from alcohol. Binge drinking is a new cultural norm and apparently, that’s just meant to be accepted and bought into.

I’ve witnessed, both in person and through the media, the damage that alcohol can inflict. I know friends and family members who have battled alcoholism and alcohol caused diseases or have seriously injured themselves under the influence, I went to school with someone who drove a high powered vehicle while drunk and killed themselves, I’ve witnessed a one-punch attack right in front of me on a night out. All incidents that have not only impacted the individual themselves but friends, family and even strangers around them. All incidents that wouldn’t have occurred if it weren’t for alcohol.

Yet somehow this is just accepted as part of today’s societal norms? Crazy.

I don’t want to obey cultural norms and drink because apparently that’s the only way you can have fun. I don’t want to have to drink because everyone else does. I don’t like that. I’d much rather stay sober, enjoy the night knowing that I’m not putting myself or anyone else at risk and wake up without a hangover and a million regrets.

It’s often remarked that I’m wasting my youth by not enjoying it. That I’m not living up to the university student life. I couldn’t disagree more. I’m living my life to the fullest, enjoying making memories and spending time with friends and family, albeit sober, and enjoying the university life. I don’t think alcohol makes any difference. I also don’t think alcohol consumption should be a marker of a life well enjoyed.

I don’t drink alcohol because I don’t want to. It’s really just that simple.

So, I’d love to hear your own thoughts on this. Are you a drinker? Sometimes, often? Do you care about whether other people drink or not? Let me know your thoughts!

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The post Why I Don’t Drink Alcohol appeared first on Bookish and Bright.

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January 2018 is almost over, which means it’s that time of the month I share with you some of the things have been happening in my life lately. WHAT I DID Reached Milestones on Twitter, Pinterest & my Email List.

This is most definitely not a big deal to a majority of people but as I mentioned in my 2018 goals post, last year was not a good year for blog and social media growth here at Bookish and Bright. So, the fact that I finally hit 600 followers on Twitter, 6000 followers on Pinterest and 700 email list subscribers is a huge deal to me. It kind of validates the fact that you’re all enjoying my content and posts and that yes, all this hard work is indeed worth it.

Started Actively Using Instagram Again

My January goal was to post on Instagram everyday, something I haven’t done since probably March 2016. There were two reasons for this.

  1. Instagram is my biggest platform and I hated using it.
  2. The algorithm was kicking my butt.

There was only one real way to overcome both of these things and that was to post more regularly. It’s been surprisingly easy to post everyday and I’m back to seeing growth in both followers and engagement, which is a change from last year, so that’s been nice as well. I’ve also started a secondary account for things that aren’t study/book related which I’m slowly getting the hang of, so you should check that out as well!

Exercised Somewhat Regularly

One of my 2018 goals was to change my lifestyle a little and become healthier. It’s taken me the entirety of January but I think I’ve finally found a routine that works and I’ve now been exercising six days a week. It’s strange because I’m not the most athletic person, nor am I the type of person who has ever enjoyed working out but I’m really loving going for a run or working out at the gym and I think it’s had a really good effect on both my mood and my mental health. We’ll have to wait and see how I manage to juggle everything when Uni goes back and the semester starts but so far, so good!

Started Taking More Photos

I am ridiculously self conscious. I over analyse every photo of myself to the point that I can’t post it because I think I can already assume peoples thoughts based on my own negative self thinking. It’s ridiculous and I don’t know why I do it but it’s caused me to just not take photos – not only of myself but of my experiences. I decided at the beginning of the month that I wanted to document 2018 a bit better and that meant taking more photos, selfies included. While I’ve felt like a fool for majority of the time, and I’ve seriously had to stop myself from staring at photos and thinking negative things, I managed to take a bunch of photos and selfies and enjoy it! It’s so nice to be able to scroll through my camera roll and just have positive memories. While I’m not quite to the point where I’m posting them everywhere on the internet, I’m taking this as my biggest win this month.


Cut & Coloured My Hair

I like being a blonde. I hate the maintenance and cost of being a blonde. It’s not fun to spend five hours at the hairdressers getting bleach foiled into your hair and realising you’re spending more than some people earn in a week on your hair. So, I did what any self respecting 24 year old would do and just didn’t fix my hair for almost a year. It wasn’t pretty but I was so indecisive with whether I wanted to continue being a blonde or i just said screw it and dyed it back to brown, that I couldn’t make an appointment until I made up my mind. Finally, earlier this month I got sick of the regrowth and my hairs inability to just not look like a birds nest and fixed my hair.

I’m still a blonde, albeit a different tone of blonde and it’s the same length I always get it cut to but I feel good again (even if my bank balance doesn’t) and maybe next time I’ll be less of a chicken and do something different!

WHAT I LOVE Bullet Journaling

If you’ve read any of my other Bullet Journaling posts (See: Why the Bullet Journal Didn’t Work For Me & How to Start a Bullet Journal) , you’ll know I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Bullet Journaling since 2015. Well, this month I’ve finally fallen completely in love with using my Bullet Journal. I used it consistently through out the month and I’ve already started prepping and changing things for February. If you want to see more about my Bullet Journal, I post about it pretty regularly on Instagram, or let me know if you’d like to see a flip-through video or post here on the blog!

Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM

For Christmas I was lucky enough to be gifted a Louis Vuitton Neverfull MM. It’s a bag I’ve had my eye on for about a year now and was saving up to buy as a graduation present to myself. The plan is to use it as my Uni bag because I cannot wait until graduation to use it, but I’ve been using it as my everyday bag since semesters not back yet and I’m in love. It holds so much, is comfortable to carry, goes with every outfit and since there’s no zips or fiddly bits, it’s so easy to grab things in and out of. An added bonus is that it comes with a little pouch which I’ve been using as a easy grab and go kind of bag to hold my phone, cards and cash for when I don’t want or need to carry around a big bag.

Yarrawonga

This Christmas holiday period was a bit of a hot mess for my family with work, school and sport commitments and as such, we didn’t get to do our annual summer holiday. So, last minute, we decided to take a girls road trip up the the border of Victoria and New South Wales and spend the last weekend before my little sister goes back to school at Yarrawonga.

It’s a 3 and a bit hour drive from Melbourne but it’s such a great holiday spot. It’s the perfect little place for our family because my little sister is an adrenaline junkie and the rest of us are definitely not and Yarrawonga offers everything. We went water skiing, speed boating, did the aquatic playground,  went swimming, shopped, explored the foreshore and ate some really good food. A perfect mix of adrenaline, anxiety and relaxation!

Writing

I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a novel for years. I’m talking nearly a decade now. I’ve started writing several different ideas that have popped into my head over this time but I always get discouraged and side tracked, so it never really gets anywhere. This month I’ve just been able to work on an idea I’ve had stuck in my head for almost a year and while I’m not a great writer and it’s not perfect, I’m really enjoying doing this for me.

WHAT I’VE READ

You can follow what I’m reading and see my ongoing thoughts on books here on Goodreads!

Disclaimer: Links marked with an asterisk are affiliate links. 

The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

The Edge of Everything* was one of those books that I saw hyped up on the internet, bought and then forgot about on my bookshelf. I ended up giving it 3/5 stars, mostly because I liked the idea of the underworld and the premise of X’s character but it was predictable and kind of boring.

Bend by Kivrin Wilson

I downloaded this one from the free section of the apple book store while we were on holiday because I was bored out of my brain. I’m not gonna lie, I downloaded this one because it looked the least smutty but boy was I wrong. This book 100% needs a NSFW warning. It was a quick, easy holiday read that wasn’t the worst so it got a 3/5 stars as well.

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

I wrote about The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F*ck* in my Books To Read in 2018 post and holy crap, I am glad I finally got around to reading it. The basic premise is that you only have a limited number of f*cks to give and the great thing about that is that you get to chose what you want to give a f*ck about. Funny, insightful and lots of great one-liners, I would highly, highly recommend this book to anyone. 4.5/5 stars!

WHAT I’M EATING AND DRINKING Breakfast

I’ve never been a big fan of breakfast. My Granddad used to joke about my 9AM rule because I’ve never been able to eat before then and it become a thing for the family to count down until 9AM when I would feel alive enough to want to eat. Obviously, my schedule often means that I’m not within reach of food that late in the morning, so skipping breakfast is quite normal for me but not anymore! Living a healthier lifestyle means that I’ve had to adapt and change some old habits, so I’ve been forcing myself to eat within half an hour to an hour of waking up. My go-to breakfast is granola, yoghurt and some fresh fruit but I’m also a fan of a quick piece of wholegrain toast and some almond butter. I’ve noticed such a change in my energy levels and my snacking since I’ve started eating breakfast, so I’m gonna try to stick to this one.

Mexican Food

I’ve had the biggest craving for Mexican food this month. Burritos, Taco’s, Enchilada’s, Nacho’s, I want all of it. We went to a great little restaurant that does tiny deconstructed pulled pork burritos which not only looked great for Instagram but also tasted amazing and now I cannot stop craving pulled pork burritos. I’ve been googling some recipes, so if I find an easy one that’s also healthy, you’ll probably see it here on the blog soon!

Water

As part of my healthy living 2k18 goal, I decided I wasn’t going to drink anything but water. I failed that on the first day when I downed three Caramel Macchiatos from Starbucks but I have increased my water intake significantly. I haven’t done anything special, just started carrying a water bottle everywhere and have made the choice to order water when out instead of soda or anything else. So far I’m feeling good about it but I know I could still definitely do more. Maybe I’ll make it my goal for February to only drink water… and coffee because I can’t live without coffee.

WHAT I’M WEARING Cotton On Body Loop Back Crop Tight Leggings

I’m a massive fan of active wear. Yes, even when I’m not working out. It’s just so damn comfortable and effortless. I’ve pretty much been wearing these leggings all month. They’re cute, not in your face active wear, there’s no obnoxious branding and they’re so damn comfortable. On a whole, I’d really recommend Cotton On Body’s active wear – really cute, really cheap and doesn’t wear out.

Summer Dresses

Obviously being Summer, I’ve been living in Summer dresses. The more floral the better, to be honest. If I was less self-conscious (see beginning of post) I’d post a few #OOTD’s here, but I’m not so you’ll just have to do with some links of dresses I’ve been obsessively wearing over the past month. Enjoy.

Cotton On Woven Mini Dress  Forever New Alessandra Broderie Dress

WHAT I BOUGHT Benefit They’re Real Mascara

I tried a sample of the Benefit They’re Real Mascara about a year ago and despite loving it, I just never bought the full size because of the cost. But New Year, New Me decided to splurge a little and just buy it. Not much to say because it’s kind of a cult classic and everything’s already been said but it makes my eyelashes look good and it doesn’t smudge all over my face. I like it.

New Laptop Case

I’ve neglected my laptop for a while, just throwing it in my bag and hoping for the best. I decided it was time to buy a case for it. There are so many places to buy cool laptop cases for but my go-to is always eBay. There’s so many on eBay and I’ve never had a bad experience, plus it’s so cheap. You can find the exact one I ordered here (if it’s not available you can find a similar one by searching for ‘rose quartz laptop case’!)

I also added a bunch of stickers from Redbubble to my case to personalise it a bit. If you want to know where any of the specific stickers are from, let me know and I’ll find the specific ones I ordered.

HP Sprocket Photo Printer

The HP Sprocket* was my very first purchase of the year and I do not regret it one bit. It’s just a mini photo printer, kind of like an Instax Mini Camera except that you print the photo’s straight from your phone. It’s such a neat little device for memory keeping and bullet journaling, which is how I’ve mostly been using mine. It’s not the greatest quality but I wasn’t really expecting it to be, so that doesn’t bother me. I love it because it’s so convenient, pretty cheap and the photo’s print onto sticker paper which makes them so easy to stick into my bullet journal.

WHAT I’M LISTENING TO

I’m not going to explain my song choices, because I don’t really have any rhyme or reason to why I like them, other than I just do! I feel like this month’s choices are a mix between good work out songs and chill, holiday tunes. Enjoy!

What are some of your favourites this month?

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The post Life LatelyJanuary appeared first on Bookish and Bright.

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Semester One 2018 is about to begin, and as it is my very final semester of undergraduate studies, I thought it would be an appropriate time to share some of the things I consider to be essentials for getting through University.

I’ve written a list of things that have either gotten me through those ridiculously boring lectures or the long days of studying in the library over the past two and a half years. Hopefully, they’ll help you out too!

As Always, links marked with an asterisk are affiliate links!

Portable Phone Charger

I think I’ve talked about this being a necessity in other posts but seriously, if you have a commute, long days or your just prone to draining your phone battery, get your hands on a portable charger*. While it’s not exactly impossible to find a powerpoint to plug your phone and charger into, it’s not always the most convenient of options, so a portable charger just makes everything so much easier.

Reusable Coffee Cup

I mentioned this in my Gift Guide For Students because I think it’s such a practical, useful thing to have as a student. Firstly, if you’re a caffeine addict like myself, it’s more environmentally friendly than disposable coffee cups but also because you can get discounts for using them at most coffee shops and cafes. Who doesn’t love a cheap coffee? My personal favourites are the Keep Cups because they come in a variety of designs and colours, you have the ability to replace individual parts if something breaks, they come in a variety of sizes – which makes it perfect for every order imaginable and they’re customisable!

Laptop

I get asked quite a bit if I’d recommend a laptop over either a desktop or a tablet for every day university work and my answer every time is a big fat YES. I’m not saying you need to get something top of the range or even an apple branded Macbook, whatever works with your budget and has the capability to run some basic word processing program will work just fine. The only reason I think a laptop is better than a desktop computer or tablet is the convenience. You can take a laptop with you anywhere and work – lecture theatre, library, study hall, park, wherever! While a tablet or iPad gives you the same freedom, I don’t recommend it because often times you’ll need to buy or download software for a class and it’s rarely available on tablets. For me, Laptops are your safest bet to get you through a three or four year degree without any issues!

Loose change

This might sound a little crazy since everything is electronic now but loose change comes in handy – parking, coffee, snacks, water, fundraising events on campus, vending machines, the list really is endless. Keeping a few spare coins or some cash in your bag will always be handy.

Water Bottle

For much the same reason as a reusable coffee cup, bringing your own water bottle is not only good for the environment but it saves you money! There’s always places to refill your bottle on campus and there are so many out there that you’re bound to find a cute water bottle that fits in your bag perfectly!

Budgeting tip for all my broke students out there – if you want cold water all day long but can’t afford a fancy bottle, fill your water bottle half way with water and stick it in the freezer overnight, when you want to use it, fill the rest of it with water and not only will you have ice cold water all day, but you can actually drink it without waiting for it to defrost!

Earphones

An obvious essential for commuting, library sessions, listening to music or online class work. I’ve had the same cheap pair for nearly three years now, which are still going strong but I’d also highly recommend buying noise cancelling headphones* if you live in shared housing or tend to study in busy areas. Trust me, they will be worth it!

Favourite Spot in the Library

You’ll spend a lot of time in the library, so it’s probably a good idea you find a space where you enjoy to study. I’d definitely recommend somewhere you get some natural light, somewhere not too loud and where you’re within reach of amenities such as the printer, bathroom and vending machines but not close enough to be annoyed by the constant foot traffic that occurs around those areas. It’ll probably take you a little bit of time to find your perfect spot but once you do, you’ll be studying like a beast in no time!

Reference Guide

Learning how to reference correctly is so important. Not only is it a great way to get some easy marks on those essays, it also helps you to avoid accidental plagiarism and stops you from getting into some big trouble. As a Psychology student, all of my classes use APA formatting and in my first year I picked up the APA referencing guide*, which has saved my butt on several occasions. I will say, most referencing guides are available online for free or through your library but having your own copy to abuse is such a help in the middle of the stress fuelled essay writing sessions.

SelfControl

I’ve talked about SelfControl before in my Study Apps post but seriously, if you’re prone to getting distracted whilst working on your computer, this little app will quickly become an essential. It basically stops you from accessing any websites you put into it meaning you can’t go to google scholar to start researching and then suddenly end up in the whirlpool of distracting youtube videos. It’s also free which is another plus!

Favourite Coffee Shop

As a student the best coffee shop isn’t necessarily the one with the best coffee. Ideally, it needs to be good, cheap and have quick service. Bonus points to the coffee shops that discount if you bring in your own cup and/or do loyalty cards where you get a freebie after buying a certain number of coffees!

Lost on Campus App

I’m 99.9% sure this is only available for Australian Universities but Lost On Campus is basically a GPS to get you around campus. It’s super user friendly, will help you find the most difficult of classrooms all over campus and it’s free! I’ve used this app religiously at the beginning of nearly every semester because no matter how hard I try, I always have a class in some obscure part of campus that I cannot find and it has always gotten me there on time without any stress!

Notebook

Doesn’t matter if you’re all about taking electronic notes or if you’re an avid notebook devotee, I think it’s important to have a little notebook* in your bag. You’ll find it super useful for jotting down contact information of group members for assignments, to-do lists, reminders, those pesky first week back get-to-know you activities, etc. There is always a need for some paper, so if you’re not a notebook user, make sure you have some paper accessible.

Pen

Much like above, it’s always handy to have a spare pen* stored away in a pocket of your bag just in case. That way if you forget your pencil case or something, you’re not left in the lurch without a pen. It also comes in handy if you’re an electronic notetaker and you come across a situation where you need a pen!

Planner/Bullet Journal/Calendar app

One of the easiest ways to stay on top of things at university or college, is to keep organised. Whatever method this is for you – Planner, Bullet Journal or electronic calendars – make sure you’re using it effectively and staying on top of deadlines. My biggest tip here is to set a reminder for exactly one week before the due date, so even if you do happen to forget, you’ll leave yourself adequate time to get everything done.

Copy of the Syllabus

I have mentioned a million and one times both on the blog and on my various social media accounts, how using your syllabus is a guaranteed way to get good grades. Seriously, it tells you absolutely everything from due dates, policy and guidelines on submitting work late, contact information for both the lecturer, tutors and coordinators and even university policy on plagiarism. This is your go to guide for everything you need to know about the subjects you are taking and simply reading it can help you understand what’s expected of you better.

You can read more about how I use my syllabus to prep for class in my How To Use Your Syllabus To Improve Your Grades post! 

A Way to Uniwind

This is probably the most important thing, that I think is overlooked by many students, when it comes to University essentials. University is stressful and you need a way that you can just unload all of that stress, otherwise you risk burning out. There are so many simple things you can do that include watching an episode or two of your favourite TV show, going to the gym, writing a blog post or even just stepping away from your desk and doing something not school related.

What are your University or College essentials?

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My entire life I’ve been one of those lucky people who seemed to be blessed with perfect skin despite doing nothing to care for it.

My teen years were a breeze skin wise, I was lucky if I had a single pimple in a year despite never consistently washing my face, sleeping in my make up and eating my weight in junk food. The only thing I did right by my skin was drink an adequate amount of water and that was mostly because I was living in a warm climate and carried a water bottle everywhere.

When I hit twenty four years old, something in my skin changed. My normally normal to dry skin was suddenly oily, my forehead completely broke out with little tiny under the skin pimples that I could not get rid of and I was beginning to get hormonal break outs on my chin. I don’t know what caused that changed but I knew I needed to learn how to get it all under control and fast.

As a student I don’t have the money to go and visit the dermatologist, so I did the next best thing – google. I found a lovely little community on reddit called Skincare Addiction who are not only extremely helpful but they have some of the best advice and recommendations for nearly every skin problem you can think of. Reading through this reddit was a literal ‘AHA!’ moment. I’d found some genuine recommendations, got some real answers to problems I was having and found products within my budget that are amazing.

Now that I’ve cleared up my skin, figured out a routine that works for me and my skin and have consistently used these products for several months now, I feel like it’s an appropriate time to share what’s worked for me and recommend some of my favourite skin saving products!

Disclaimer: All links marked by a * are affiliate links. 

MORNING SKINCARE ROUTINE

My morning and night routine are vastly different. My morning routine is quick, easy and focuses mostly on prepping my skin for the day. I generally don’t have a lot of time to get ready so I don’t like to use products that need time between applications or steps.

Cleanser

For the longest time I was using Micellar Water as my morning cleanser because I felt like I had to cleanse in the morning since that what everyone told you to do. Only, using Micellar Water as a cleanser was drying my skin out big time and causing break outs in some of the weirdest places (let me tell you, a pimple in the corner of your eye is so uncomfortable!). When I cut the cleanser and instead started using warm water and the TanGo! tan and make up removing cloth, my weird break outs slowly stopped and my skin cleared right up!

Toner

This is a step that so many say is unnecessary but I love the Sukin Hydrating Toner* mostly because as I have drier skin, I feel like it’s important to squeeze in as much moisture into my routine as I can. I don’t notice a huge difference when I don’t use it but it makes my skin more comfortable, so I’m going to continue using it.

Glycolic Acid

I had no clue what Glycolic Acid was or what it did when I was first putting together a skincare routine for myself. Now I can’t live without it. It’s basically a chemical exfoliant that get’s rid of dead skin cells leaving your skin brighter and smoother. It’s perfect for tackling common skincare issues such as acne, discolouration or fine lines. If you’ve never used an acid toner, make sure you slowly incorporate it into your routine, starting out with using it once a week or so and gradually increasing your frequency. Glycolic acid can be quite drying and damaging to your moisture barrier if you don’t use it properly. I currently use The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution* and love it but I’ve also used the Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads* which are also great!

Vitamin C Serum

I use a Vitamin C serum for two reasons. Firstly, it’s meant to be good for dry skin, improving hydration and moisture content and secondly, it’s mean to help protect from UVA and UVB sun rays. I live in Australia, a country with one of the highest rates of Melanoma in the world. While I love that we get some of the greatest weather ever, I have pale skin, so anything I can do to boost my sunscreen and prevent sun damage, you can bet I’m going to do it. I’m currently using the Hylamide C25 Vitamin C Serum* which is nice but kinda of thin and hard to apply. I’m on the hunt for a nice, mid-price range Vitamin C serum, so if you have any recommendations, let me know!

Tip: If you’re going to be using a Glycolic acid and Vitamin C in the same routine, make sure the pH levels are compatible or leave a significant amount of time between steps as the high pH of Glycolic acid can make Vitamin C ineffective!

Moisturiser

Despite having dry skin, I’m surprisingly not too fussy about moisturisers. As long as it’s thick, doesn’t go sticky when it’s dry and it’s not going to break the bank, I’m happy to use whatever. One moisturiser that I’ve found my skin loves is the Simple Skincare Rich Moisturiser*. It’s so ridiculously cheap but it works so well and it dries really fast, meaning I don’t have to wait forever before putting make up on top. It also layers really nicely with both my serum and my SPF which makes getting ready in the morning so much easier.

Sunscreen

This is my last step in my routine before make up. As I said before, sunscreen is so important to me because I do spend a fair bit of time in the sun. I personally prefer to use a separate sunscreen instead of having SPF in my moisturiser only because that way I know I’m getting adequate protection and I can reapply if I need to. I love the La Roche Posay Anthelios XL range, particularly the non-perfumed cream in SPF 50+ as it doesn’t have that gross sunscreen scent and it doesn’t leave a white cast across your face in photos.




NIGHT TIME SKINCARE ROUTINE

My night routine is a lot more focused on cleaning and hydrating. Unlike the morning, it is a little longer and includes a few more steps only simply because I have more time to do so.

Cleanser

I double cleanse every night. I do this simply because I need to remove my make up & sunscreen and then clean my skin. For my first cleanse I’ll either use Micellar Water, if I have a lot of make up to remove or my TanGo make up removing cloth again. Then I’ll go in with either the Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter* or the Sukin Cream Cleanser*. I don’t have a particular reason for choosing one over the other, other than I keep the Sukin one in my shower and the Body Shop one by my sink, so it all depends on where I feel like washing my face.

Toner

Same as in the morning, I use the Sukin Toner again to add some hydration. I do tend to let it dry into my skin for a little longer than in the mornings, though, since I have the time.

Retinoid

At almost 25, I’m becoming aware that my skin’s already showing signs of ageing. Not anything super obvious or noticeable to anyone else, but it’s something that I can see, so I want to prevent those fine lines from turning into wrinkles. Enter Vitamin A or as it’s more commonly called, Retinoid. Retinoid is a form of vitamin A proven to slow down signs of ageing, it’s also used to help with discolouration and blocked pores and I have seen such a difference in my skin since I started using it. There are so many forms or Retinol and Retinoids, that I really recommend you do your research before adding it to your routine to find what will work for you. I’m currently using The Ordinary’s Advanced Retinoid 2%* (which has been renamed to Granactive Retinoid 2% emulsion)  but will be moving up to the Granactive Retinoid 5%* when this bottle runs out.

Eye Cream

This is another step a lot of people say is kind of useless but I find that removing my eye make up and rubbing my eyes makes the skin around my eyes really dry and painful. The only solution I’ve found to ease this is a really thick eye cream. For me that’s the Elizabeth Arden Millennium Eye Renewal Cream but I’ve also used the Simple Skincare Soothing Eye Cream* in the past and highly recommend that as well!

Quick Note: After trying to find a link for you guys to find the Elizabeth Arden Eye Cream and coming up with nothing, I’ve come to realise that it’s probably been discontinued! Such a shame since it is seriously so nice!

Moisturiser

Again, I just use the Simple Skincare Rich moisturiser. I don’t really feel like I need a specific night time moisturiser, when this one works just as well!

Occlusive

Sometimes when the weather’s turned or I haven’t drunk enough water, or I’m experiencing a hormonal break out, my skin will just get ridiculously dry. When that happens, I add an occlusive on top of my moisturiser, to stop the air from basically stealing all of the moisture I’m trying to add in to my skin. This is a little tip I found thanks to reddit and I’ve noticed such a vast difference in my skin since using it. The go to Occlusive for most people is Vaseline but I personally use Lucas Paw Paw Ointment* because I have a huge tub that I don’t really use (and one of it’s main ingredients is petroleum jelly!)

Spot treatments

I generally use my spot treatments at night, straight after cleansing, as per the directions on both.

Benzoyl Peroxide

I often get little under the skin ‘hidden’ pimples. They’re colourless, painful and never really come to a head, so the only solution I’ve found is Benzoyl Peroxide. I use the 2.5% Benzac AC treatment and dot it onto a spot to help dry it out and bring it to the surface so I can treat it faster.

Hyrdocolloid bandages

These are my saving grace for getting rid of pimples. They’re these magical, clear, plastic little sticky dots that you stick on pimples after cleansing your skin before you go to bed. When you wake up that pesky pimple has either completely disappeared or has halved in size and is no longer, red, painful and oh so obvious. I don’t know how they work or what they do exactly but all I know is they’re great and everyone needs to know about them. I highly recommend the COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patches* but if you’re on a budget, the hydrocolloid bandages for blisters do the exact same thing (you’ll just need to cut them to size yourself!)

What is your current favourite skincare product?

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The post My Skincare RoutineJanuary 2018 appeared first on Bookish and Bright.

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It’s the start of a new year, which means it’s time for everyone to set their Goodreads reading challenge for 2018!

This year I set my reading goal to 20 books. I’ve come to realise, after failing miserably at reading a book a week last year, that I’m prone to going through phases of reading all the time or not at all. A goal of 20 books is realistic and I’m hoping since I’ve been furiously adding books to my To Be Read pile, that I’ll stay interested in reading this year.

In 2018 I really want to focus on reading more self-help style books in the aims of helping with my anxiety and the massive looming change in my life – graduation. I also want to read more about blogging, social media and business in general. It’s something that I’d love to expand my knowledge on in the hopes that it actually benefits this blog. I’ve also recently been watching a lot of the Gilmore Girls, one of my all time favourite shows, and one of the characters, Rory is a massive fan of classic books. I did a bit of googling and found The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge on Goodreads and while I probably won’t be following along, it’s definitely inspired me to read a few more classics.

Disclaimer: This post does contain affiliate links which are marked with a *.

BLOGGING #GIRLBOSS

#GIRLBOSS proves that being successful isn’t about where you went to college or how popular you were in high school. It’s about trusting your instincts and following your gut; knowing which rules to follow and which to break; when to button up and when to let your freak flag fly.

This book* is not only used as a prop in every bloggers photos, but it’s also raved about as being incredibly inspiring. While I’m not sure if it’s as relevant to the blogging world, a little inspiration can go a long way and I’m really interested in seeing how Sophia Amoruso went from poor college drop out to the CEO of Nasty Gal.

Blog Inc.: Blogging for Passion, Profit and to Create Community.

With roughly 95,000 blogs launched worldwide every 24 hours (BlogPulse), making a fledgling site stand out isn’t easy. This authoritative handbook gives creative hopefuls a leg up.

This is another book* that’s pretty widely raved about. I know that it touches a lot on starting a blog, something I’ve already obviously done, but I started Bookish & Bright on a whim with the help of google. I don’t know much more than the basics when it comes to things like SEO or page ranking or any of that technical stuff. I feel like this would be the perfect book to help me find me feet with the basics of blogging!

Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All

David and Tom Kelley identify the principles and strategies that will allow us to tap into our creative potential in our work lives, and in our personal lives, and allow us to innovate in terms of how we approach and solve problems.  It is a book that will help each of us be more productive and successful in our lives and in our careers.

I’m a naturally creative person. I’m not particularly good at any of it but I love to write, draw, paint, design and make things. The problem is I often feel like I choose not to be creative because I lack the confidence to put anything out there. I also kind of feel like there are some aspects of my life – career and school, mostly – that I would love to learn to be more creative in since they’re so structured. I’m hoping this book* will help me tackle my lack of confidence in my creativity and abilities.

My Blogging Secrets

In ‘My Blogging Secrets’, Amber shares everything she’s learned about blogging, from how to come up with an idea for your blog, to how to persuade people to read it, and – most importantly – how to actually make money from writing about your life.

There are three things I love about this book*.

  1. It’s written by a blogger.
  2. It’s not your typical ‘get quick rich by starting a blog’ type book that tells you everything but actual helpful real life tips.
  3. The cover is perfect for Instagram.

I’m super excited to read this one mostly because it’s written by a blogger not some expert or someone who can give you all the facts and figures but has no experience running a real blog. I’m hoping this will give me some inspiration and guidance to continue growing the blog in 2018.

The Art of Social Media: Power Tips For Power Users.

With more than 100 practical tips, tricks, and insights, Guy and Peg present a ground-up strategy to produce a focused, thorough, and compelling presence on the most popular social-media platforms. They guide you through the steps of building your foundation, amassing your digital assets, going to market, optimizing your profile, attracting more followers, and effectively integrating social media and blogging.

At (almost) 25 years of age, I’d like to think I’m a natural at this social media business. Only, while I can easily start up any social media account, find some friends and post a few updates, I’m not exactly all that knowledgeable on how to actually grow my social media following for Bookish & Bright. I’d love to learn some strategies that actually work to help improve my social media content and following over the upcoming year and I’m hoping The Art of Social Media* can help me achieve that.

SELF-HELP The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck

In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder. Something that kind of comes tied to that is my great ability to overthink absolutely everything. I stress over everything, I care too much about things that shouldn’t even be a fleeting thought and I’m prone to caring to much about what other people think. Honestly, I think it’s part anxiety, part just my personality. So, as you can imagine a book about learning not to give a f*ck* sounds so damn awesome. Plus, it’s been pretty heavily recommended by a few friends and followers over on Instagram!

The Highly Sensitive Person: How To Thrive When The World Overwhelms You

Most of us feel overstimulated every once in a while, but for the Highly Sensitive Person, it’s a way of life. In this groundbreaking book, Dr. Elaine Aron, a clinical psychologist, workshop leader, and an HSP herself, shows you how to identify this trait in yourself and make the most of it in everyday situations.

Look, I’m only slightly ashamed to admit that I’m a Highly Sensitive Person*. I cry so easily, it’s become a bit of a family joke. It’s not something that I’m ashamed about exactly, but it’s something I’d like to learn how to make the most of instead of viewing it as a negative. Here’s hoping this book can help me bring in the crying a little!

Dare

Based on hard science and over 10 years helping people who suffer from anxiety, Barry McDonagh shares his most effective technique in this new book. The DARE technique can be used by everyone, regardless of age or background, to live a life free from anxiety or panic attacks.

I’m a teeny tiny bit skeptical about this book but at the same time I’m willing to try anything. My own (admittedly limited) training in psychology has taught me that anxiety is not easy to overcome with one single technique. There is not timeline, no single treatment or cure, and what might work for one person might not work for anyone else, hence my skepticism about a book that claims to “stop panic attacks and anxiety, boost confidence and put an end to intrusive thoughts”* but as I mentioned in my 2018 goals blog post, I’m kind of at a fork in the road when it comes to managing my anxiety and I’m kind of willing to give this a read to see if it works.

Reasons To Stay Alive

Reasons to Stay Alive is about making the most of your time on earth. In the western world the suicide rate is highest amongst men under the age of 35. Matt Haig could have added to that statistic when, aged 24, he found himself staring at a cliff-edge about to jump off. This is the story of why he didn’t, how he recovered and learned to live with anxiety and depression.

I’m a psychology student who’s currently managing her anxiety and in the past, has dealt with severe depression. While I can tell you a million and one things about both of these disorders, it’s not until you’ve lived with them that you can truly understand them. That’s why this book appeals to me*. It’s the story of someone who has lived through depression and suicide. Real life. Not textbook. Not some professor or expert but reality. This technically falls under the category of self-help book but I’m honestly hoping it’s more of a autobiography!

He’s Just Not That Into You

For ages women have come together over coffee, cocktails, or late-night phone chats to analyze the puzzling behavior of men. Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo are here to say that —despite good intentions— you’re wasting your time. Men are not complicated, although they’d like you to think they are. And there are no mixed messages.

Dating in the modern social media & online dating world is harder than you’d think. I’m not hugely concerned about my romantic life, it’s just not the priority at the moment, but I’d still love to give this book* a read just for a little insight if nothing else. Honestly though, if boys could just stop being idiots on Tinder, I’d greatly appreciate it.

CLASSICS The Great Gatsby

For Gatsby—young, handsome, and fabulously rich—always seems alone in the crowd, watching and waiting, though no one knows what for. Beneath the shimmering surface of his life he is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled. And soon this destructive obsession will force his world to unravel.

I read the The Great Gatsby* in High School, right before the movie came out. While I like reading, I always struggle to get into texts that a prescribed for me to read and as you can imagine, with an impending movie my motivation to read this book was low. I’d love to re-read it now that I’m an adult, and also not being forced, to see if I enjoy it as much as everyone I know does.

Rosemary’s Baby

Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse, an ordinary young couple, settle into a New York City apartment, unaware that the elderly neighbors and their bizarre group of friends have taken a disturbing interest in them. But by the time Rosemary discovers the horrifying truth, it may be far too late!

I found Rosemary’s Baby* on the series one list of the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge and was instantly intrigued by the synopsis. A bit creepy but also not your typical murder-mystery kinda creepy – I’m in! It also comes highly recommended from my grandma, which says a lot because she’s where I got my love of reading from!

Great Expectations

In what may be Dickens’s best novel, humble, orphaned Pip is apprenticed to the dirty work of the forge but dares to dream of becoming a gentleman — and one day, under sudden and enigmatic circumstances, he finds himself in possession of “great expectations.”

I kind of put this on my To Be Read list solely so I can say at the end of this year that I’ve read work by Charles Dickens. In my quest to read some of the classics, I have to branch out and read books that I wouldn’t typically go for which is why I added Great Expectations* to my list. It honestly doesn’t sound that bad, I think I’m just a little scared I’ll be in over my head with this one.

Moby Dick

As Ishmael is drawn into Captain Ahab’s obsessive quest to slay the white whale Moby-Dick, he finds himself engaged in a metaphysical struggle between good and evil.

The classic book to beat all classic books*. I feel like this is something I need to read just to understand why it’s the epitome of all classic books. I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little scared to read this one too but I’m hoping I’ll enjoy it more than I expect to.

Macbeth

A brave Scottish general named Macbeth receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the Scottish throne for himself. He is then wracked with guilt and paranoia. Forced to commit more and more murders to protect himself from enmity and suspicion, he soon becomes a tyrannical ruler.

Another one I read in High School and didn’t really appreciate. I strangely really enjoy reading Shakespeare.

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Happy New Years, everyone!

It’s officially 2018 and I could not be happier to see 2017 end. That sounds so extremely pessimistic of me but honestly, 2017 just wasn’t a good year for a lot of us.

Don’t get me wrong, 2017 had it’s good moments but personally, I felt like I spent the entire year just going through the motions. I lost my blogging mojo, was completely overwhelmed by university and let my anxiety get the better of me. I don’t feel as though I made any progress with anything.

A new year means a new chance for progress, though. That’s why I’m so excited for 2018 – I have some big plans to overhaul my entire life and I’m so glad to finally be moving forward with them.

RECLAIM MY BLOG

I didn’t blog much in 2017 despite launching B&B on the first of January. There’s two main reasons for this:

  1. I felt cornered into my old niche.
  2. My work/life balance was a mess.

I relaunched my blog because I didn’t like that I felt forced to write about studying due to my old blog name, Study Break Down. I wanted to write about being a student, books, lifestyle and beauty, so I rebranded to Bookish & Bright in the hopes that would help me broaden my audience. When I relaunched however, all of my stats plummeted, blog, social media, everything. It all dropped so incredibly fast and it was so disheartening to watch. Instead of pushing through with my plan, I went back to what I thought would work and I lost motivation because I wasn’t interested in writing about studying anymore.

It also didn’t help that University overtook my life and I really struggled to find time to do anything other than eat, sleep or study. Let’s just say, I am so glad to see last semester end.

In 2018, I’m graduating. The work/life balance thing might be tricky for a little while but I’m determined to blog regularly this year. I’m also done with caring about what gets me page views and followers, my blog is for me, so I’m going to write about the things that interest me. Hopefully, this will mean more consistency and a wider range of topics talked about here at Bookish & Bright!

GET HEALTHY

Look, I know everyone makes a New Years Resolution to lose weight or exercise more. I’m serious this year, I’m getting in control of my health. I’m almost 25 years old and while I’m lucky to not have ever had any major health issues, I do know that my super sedentary lifestyle is a risk for so many major health issues. While I can’t change the fact that I spend a lot of time sat at a desk, I can change my diet and how often I exercise. I’m not aiming to lose a particular amount of weight, although that would be an added bonus, I’m just planning on making healthier food choices and actually exercising at least three times a week. Let’s hope I can stick to it!

WORK ON MY ANXIETY

I feel like this is another one of those goals I make every single year but I’m very slowly getting there. I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder. It sucks but it’s one of those things I’m coming to terms with and I’m learning how to deal with. Last year I didn’t do too much for my anxiety, I didn’t step outside of my comfort zone too often and I definitely didn’t try to push myself.

This year I think I really need to reassess; if I’m not able to work on my anxiety myself, it may be time to go back to therapy. I have no shame in admitting that, I know that anxiety isn’t a problem I can solve on my own. I do, however, want to give things a go on my own first. I’m hoping to do little things each week to just push myself because I know I can do them and I know anxiety is something I can overcome.

SAVE MONEY

I’m not a massive wild impulse spender. I’m also not the most frugal person ever. 2018 is the year I get my life together and save some money! In 2017, I had a series of expensive unexpected incidents occur and man, it is stressful wondering how far your little amount of income will take you. In 2018, I don’t want to have that stress if an unexpected expense occurs. I’d also like to start thinking of the future and save for a few things that are inevitable – like when my 1998 Volkswagen Golf, also known as the red beast, can no longer push through and I have to replace her.

It’d also be nice to know where my money actually goes (my guesses are food, coffee and Netflix but I can’t be sure), so I’m making a conscious effort to budget and save in 2018!

Those are my four main focuses of 2018! Let me know in the comments below what your goals and aims of 2018 are, or link me to your 2018 goals posts! I’d love to read them!

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Buying gifts for a College or University student can be tricky and while we all love a good gift card, sometimes you just wanna buy something that has a bit more thought and effort behind it.

A few days ago I posted my Stationery Gift Guide which is filled with gift ideas that would work for any student, but I also wanted to do a more through guide to help you buy something useful but also thoughtful for the student in your life. I’ve split the list up into four categories – lifestyle, homewares, study and miscellaneous – to help you find the perfect present!

Again, like all of my posts – any link marked with a * is an affiliate link!

PORTABLE PHOTO PRINTER/INSTANT FILM CAMERA

Technology has evolved to the point that we now always have a camera within arms reach but the downside to this is we no longer print out our photos and appreciate them. A portable photo printer, like the HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer* is the perfect gift for a student since it gives them a way to print out memories and appreciate them! If you want to go a little cheaper, the Instax Mini Camera’s* are super popular, too!

REUSABLE COFFEE CUP

Coffee is an essential as a student but disposable coffee cups are literally destroying the environment. In order to get that guilt-free caffeine hit, the perfect solution is a reusable coffee mug. My absolute favourite are the Keep Cups* because you’re able to customise it, there’s a variety of types and colours and you can buy individual pieces, so if you lose or break your lid, you don’t have to replace the whole cup!

LUSH GOODIES

Sometimes all you need after a long week filled with classes and deadlines is a little bit of self-care in the form of pretty smelling soap or a colour changing bath bomb. Lush are the master of cool bath goodies and they’re often slightly out of budget for students, which makes them a great gift! They have a bunch of different gift sets available for Christmas for a variety of budgets!

SKINCARE

This is something that I will admit, you do need to approach with caution. Not everyone’s skin is the same and not everyone reacts in the same way to products but I feel like skincare is something students overlook because it’s not often that budget friendly. If you want to buy someone some skincare I’d highly recommend checking out the Skincare Addiction Reddit Forum as they have an amazing recommendations section, broken down into skin types and skin issues. Personally, I feel like you can’t go wrong with a product or two from The Ordinary as they’re not only super cheap, but there products are super simple and easy to use too!

REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE

If there’s one thing I know about students, it’s that we tend not to drink enough water. These days there’s so many cool, reusable water bottles out there but the S’well bottles* are ridiculously popular. They come in a variety of sizes and designs (You can even buy personalised bottles on Etsy!) which makes them the perfect gift for students!

WALLET OR CARD HOLDER

The thing about being a student is that you tend to amass a lot of cards – student ID, bus pass, public transport card, Bank card, store cards, the list goes on. A wallet is a nice gift, since it’s something that most people overlook buying for themselves in favour of buying other things. Personally I use, and love, my wallet from Guess* which has lasted me over four years now. A card holder* is also a handy gift for those who don’t want to carry cash or want to carry their cards separately. There’s a lot out their on the internet, ranging from the super expensive to the super cheap, so you’re bound to find one that fits into your gift buying budget!

NETFLIX OR SPOTIFY PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION

All work and no play leads to student burnout, so the perfect gift for a student is a Netflix or Spotify Premium subscription, obviously! Not overly expensive and there’s several plans to fit every budget, buying the student in your life a Netflix or Spotify Premium subscription will definitely go down a treat!

PERSONALISED PHONE CASE

There’s always that one person that has everything and is ridiculously hard to shop for. Enter, the personalised phone case to save the day! My favourite place to buy phone cases is Casetify, who not only have a huge range of cases for a variety of technology, but they also do personalised cases! A perfect and unique present for anybody!

PYJAMAS

I feel like once you hit 20, gifts like pyjamas, socks and underwear are finally appreciated because they’re things you don’t want to spend your own money on. This makes them the perfect present for cash-strapped students! My all time favourite place to buy pyjamas is Peter Alexander. They have the nicest, softest most comfortable pyjamas that don’t fray, break down or fade in two or three washes. They also not only stock the basics but have changing ranges based upon current trends!

NEW BEDDING

There’s nothing nicer than getting into bed with brand new, clean bedding. Alas, this is another one of those things that us students don’t tend to buy ourselves very often. A set like this one* makes the perfect present to help change up a dorm room or bedroom and makes decorating super easy since it’s all together! If you don’t want to go all out, a new duvet cover* or comforter also make good presents, as do novelty pillow cases*!

DESK ORGANISER

Students spend a lot of time at a desk, so what better present than a desk organiser? My personal favourites are the acrylic desk organisers* but I also love these sets from OfficeWorks that not only have desk organiser but also a pen organisers, paper organiser and a magazine holder. Cheap and useful, there’s no student out there wouldn’t appreciate a desk organiser this Christmas.

WALL PRINTS

There’s no better way to decorate a dorm room or first apartment than wall prints! Redbubble is a hugely popular site for inexpensive prints and there’s so many different ones! From quotes, fandom favourites and illustrations, you’ll find something for everyone! Bonus if you add in some 3M hooks or velcro and a frame to make displaying the print even easier!

THROW BLANKETS

Everyone loves a fluffy throw blanket* and if they say they don’t, they’re lying. A cute and stylish way to jazz up a dorm room, bedroom or even living room, a throw blanket is a cheap and cheerful gift that every college or university student will love. Obviously there’s a million out there, but I’m low-key in love with this bulky knit one*… hint, hint family.

FAIRY LIGHTS

I’m a huge fan of fairy lights. They’re just super pretty, super cheap and they make a space feel so comforting and cosy! My favourite are these copper string lights*, which I currently have draped over my bedhead but there are so many out there – from novelty, to colourful, to classic, fairy lights are such a cute gift to jazz up any space!

CANDLES

Candles are a inexpensive and easy gift for everyone! I’m not going to reccomend any since there’s a million places out there you can buy them from but I will say, if you’re a fellow Australian, the Target three wick candles are not only super cheap, they also smell amazing! Definitely pick some up if you can!

COFFEE MUG

I said it above, and I’ll say it below in a moment, students love caffeine. Coffee mugs are a cute, budget gift that you really can’t mess up. You can choose between fandom mugs*, comedy mugs*, or even just a set of classic mugs for the student who may have moved out into their own place for the first time!

COFFEE MAKER

My caffeine addiction is clearly showing in this gift guide but goodness me, coffee makers are glorious. Buying a student a coffee maker is an extremely thoughtful gift, you’re not only helping them survive the long nights and early mornings but you’re also helping them save money and reducing environmental waste from disposable cups!  I personally have a Nespresso Machine* and I adore it so much but a smaller and cheaper machine much like this* would be perfect for most people!

PLANNER

Being a student means that you’re constantly busy. This is when a planner comes in handy. There are a whole lot of planners out there to fit into every budget but you can’t really go wrong with the basic ring binder style planner*. They come in variety of colours and designs, the inserts are customisable and when the end of the year rolls around, you can replace the inserts and continue using the planner!

STATIONERY

I’m not gonna talk about this one too much because I already have a whole gift guide dedicated to talking about giving stationery as a gift but I don’t think there’s a student out there who wouldn’t appreciate some new pens!

LAPTOP CASE OR SLEEVE

A laptop case or sleeve is the perfect gift for a student! We all tend to carry our laptops everywhere with us and as such, they need to be properly protected! I use this really pretty laptop case from Typo* but I’m also really in love with these clip on hardcases* that customise and protect Macbook’s. Laptop Sleeves* are also great as they offer protection without being bulky and they’re super cheap!

PORTABLE CHARGER

There’s nothing worst than your phone dying in the middle of a long day of classes. That’s why it’s handy to have a portable phone charger*. There’s are a great gift because they’re just so useful and anyone can use them, provided you have the right cord! Perfect for students who have long days or for those of us who are known to be pretty useless at charging our phones!

PRINTER

Printers these days are so cheap and if you’re a fan of printing notes instead of handwriting, then owning a printer can save you a lot of money printing on campus! I’ve loved and used both Canon and Epson in the past, but you can’t really go past the HP Deskjet for $35*! 

HEADPHONES

Again, another really practical gift for students. I’d reccomend giving some noise cancelling headphones* for those hardcore library study sessions but if they don’t fit into your budget, a simple pair of in ear headphones* work great for a multitude of purposes!

BACKPACK

I’m a recent convert to the backpack as my university bag after being a long time tote user. A practical but useful gift, I highly recommend the Mimco Backpacks if you can splurge but if you’re looking for something a little more budget friendly, these laptop bags* are practical and cute!

LAPTOP DECAL

Everyone has a laptop at college and university, so why wouldn’t you decorate it and make it unique? Etsy has a huuuuuge range of Macbook and laptop decals, as do Ebay, so you’re guaranteed to find something to fit the person you’re shopping for!

EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE

An extremely practical gift but so, so useful! External Hard Drives* are one of those things that are often overlooked when shopping for school supplies and then when you have the misfortune of losing a 5000 word essay the night before it’s due, you wish you had bought one and backed up all your hard work. 1TB is more than enough for the average person, obviously this depends on what you’re studying or putting on it!

CONTRIBUTE TO A BIG EXPENSE

Being a student means you’re always on a budget. Big expenses can be hard to manage and often come at the worst of times, so if you’re out of ideas, ask if there’s something you can help contribute to. Things like car servicing, new laptops or computers, textbooks, student loans, deposit for a rental or even flights home for the holidays are all big expenses as a student and having someone contribute can make a huge difference.

CANDY

Small but always appreciated! Buying someone their favourite candy always goes down well!

BOOKS

If the person you’re buying for is an avid reader, you really can’t go wrong with buying a book or two! My favourite cheap bookstores are Amazon* and bookdepository.com and if you want to be super thoughtful, buy them or one of your favourite books and write in the cover the reasons why you think they’d enjoy it too! Easy, cheap and thoughtful!

WEEKEND AWAY

If you want to do something special, organise a weekend away! It doesn’t have to be far, or expensive but sometimes a night or two away from the stress of school, work and home is the perfect thing to unwind! Add in a cheap hotel or motel, some good company and some chocolate and you’ve got the perfect weekend to remember forever!

DONATE TO A CHARITY IN THEIR NAME

If you cannot think of anything else to buy, this is a really thoughtful idea. Perfect for the person who has everything, donating to a local charity in someones name is really sweet and benefits someone in need! Extra brownie points if it’s to a charity that the person strongly supports!

There you go! My 2018 College Student Gift Guide! If you’re a student, let me know what you think of this list and if what you’re asking for Christmas in the comments below!

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I love printables and I love free things. What’s better than when these two things combine and you find a free printable designed to help you get through a semester of studying?

The most popular posts on Bookish and Bright are my Favourite Free Study Printables and Free Study PrintablesPart Two posts, so clearly you all love a good study printable as well. Today, for the sixth day of Blogmas, I’m sharing more of my favourite printables, this time both studying related and a few for student life, since you all can’t get enough!

Unlike my previous posts – there’s no real rhyme or reason to the order, I’ve just stockpiled a bunch of printables recently and want to share the love!

Habit Tracker from vestiblr

Printable Washi from gucci-studies

Printable Cornell Note sheets – lined, partially lined & blank from quantumheels

Daily Planner, Goal Planner & Weekly Budget Planner from from-qin-to-qing-and-further

Semester Planner  from studentstoolbox

Project Tracker from studybeshy

Exam Season Prep from nerdastically

Study Progress from studyguideverified

Weekly Planner from studyingmeblr

Time Management Quadrant  from quantumheels

Language Learning Tracker from languageaficionado

Monthly Overview from study-haven

Binder Labels from code-bug

To-Do Tracker from reallystudies

DIY Basic Planner & Planer Kit from study-with-sam-and-dean

No Spend Challenge from bumblebeasy

Savings and Budget Tracker from spanishland

Experiment Write Up from alistudys

Kanji Practice from japanesebenkyou

Formula List from eintsein

Definitions from haphazardstudy

A bunch of minimal printables including Book Tracker, Exam Prep, Glossary and Life Plan from exohypernova

Grade Tracker from candydsgn

Overcoming the Curve of Forgetting Printable from studyquill

Weekly Planner from bunykid

Weekly Task Planner from natastudies

Handwriting Practice – Cursive from harper-duke

Daily Planner from studyblrbunny

To-Do Lists from apricotstudying

School Supplies List from candydsgn

Pomodoro Trackers by imanowlstudent

Revision Log & Google Sheet from studykyt

Essay Planner from fourleafclover6813

Study Stickers from nerdastically

Assignment Feedback Printable from bestudy

Those are some of my favourite free printables at the moment. If you have a printable you want added to the list, leave me a link in the comments below and I’ll be sure to add it as soon as I possibly can!

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The post Free Printables To Get You Through The Semester appeared first on Bookish and Bright.

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It’s difficult in the best of times to stay on top of your to-do list and keep on top of all your work but that all becomes so much more difficult over the holidays.

In an ideal world, we’d all be on top of our work, with nothing to do over the Christmas Break but to enjoy spending time with our friends and family, but unfortunately that very rarely happens. Most of us either have deadlines looming in the new year, or homework due the moment break is over and add on top of that all of the stress and chaos that occurs over Christmas and New Years, it can be hard to get work done.

There are a few things you can do, though, to help you keep on top of your school or college work while still being able to enjoy the holidays:

  1. Schedule. Scheduling in time to do homework is probably the last thing you want to do over break but it’s so important if you have deadlines coming up. It also helps if you pencil in family or other commitments so you know when you’ll be able to get work done. For me, I prefer to just schedule certain tasks to get done on specific days, instead of allowing a specific time out of my day to do things to keep things a bit more flexible.
  2. Be realistic. If you’re travelling for the holidays, it’s probably not realistic to plan to write a 7000 word essay in three days. Keep in mind the holidays are busy and things won’t always go to plan, so make sure you leave a bit of time in you schedule to catch up on things if plans change.
  3. Take breaks. Christmas is all about spending time with family, make sure you leave time to actually enjoy the holidays and aren’t burning yourself out over break by overworking. If you’re stuck for what to do over your study break, I have a post filled with quick things to do on a study break. 
  4. Multitask. Can you read while your family are watching a Christmas movie? Can you listen to online lectures while traveling? Can you take notes while everyones playing a board game or cooking? It may not be the most productive trying to work with others in the room or while  doing something else but its better than nothing.
  5. Take advantage of traveling. If you’re traveling this Christmas, either by plane, car, train or bus, take advantage of that down time and try to get a big chunk of work done while you’ve got nothing else to do.
  6. Get your family involved. Got exams coming up? Get your family members to quiz you on your exam topic. Make it a game for younger cousins or siblings. If you’ve got an essay or assignment, get them to proof read or take a minute or two to explain the topic you’re writing about to see if they can add in a different point of view or argument.
  7. Get the bulk of work done before break. This seems obvious but if you can, try and leave only quick, easy and little tasks to do over break. Things like editing essays, reading through flash cards, studying for exams or reading a few chapters of a novel, etc are the kind of things you should try and leave for completion over break as they’re not time consuming. Obviously that’s not always possible but if you can avoid doing things like finishing a huge lab report or reading an entire textbook over Christmas, that’s best.
  8. Get a study group together. If you’re not going anywhere or you have friends or family who also need to get work done, why not get together and do it? You can catch up and spend time with loved ones while also getting work done, it’s a win-win situation!
  9. Don’t waste what little down time you have. You have very limited down time over the holidays. If you’re not cooking, shopping, partaking in Christmas/holiday traditions, spending time with family or doing everything else that needs to be done, get your notebooks, laptop and pens out and get to work. It’s so tempting to veg out on the couch and watch Christmas movies on Netflix but remember, you can do that after you get everything done!
  10. Work at night or early morning. It’s not the most ideal to work late into the night or getting up early to get things done but this way you can leave your days free to really enjoy spending time with your family.

Hopefully those tips help you get some work done over the Christmas break! Let me know if you have any tips on how to get things done over the holidays, I’m going to need all the help I can get!

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The post How To Study Over Christmas Break appeared first on Bookish and Bright.

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