The Sunday Post #10 | Bristol with the Girls, Exam Pressure & More


I haven't done one of these posts in a while because (as sad as it sounds) for what felt like ages there wasn't a huge about to update you on! However I felt it had been far too long and wanted to have a catch up now my exams are out of the way (for now, at least) so today's is a bit of a bumper post...

Exam Pressure

I've mentioned a few times that as part of the graduate scheme I'm on, I have to obtain professional qualifications. I'm cramming becoming ACII-qualified, which normally takes 5-6 years, into 2 so it's an intense time to say the least. And that's not even taking into account the effort put into my day job and the travel involved. Luckily next time round it shouldn't be quite as full-on because I have found it pretty tough. It's strange because when you're doing professional qualifications, pretty much no one cares what mark you got as long as you pass and you're doing so many at once (this time round I've had 4) that you have to get used to not having the time you'd ideally like to dedicate to each topic and just knowing enough to pass.

As I said last time, during exam period I couldn't sustain my blogging schedule so went down to posting 3 times a week, however you may have noticed that as of this week I'm back to 4! It feels like a huge weight off my shoulders to have my weekends back to spend with friends and family, as well as being able to put more time into my blog. It was so rubbish having to spend all of my spare time studying and having to say no to just about every fun thing that came up in the meantime. I don't want to relax too much as it'll benefit me in the long-run to get ahead on my coursework for the next round of exams, however I do plan of giving myself June and some of July off completely.

One of the hardest parts of all this studying was how little I've been able to see my boyfriend during it. We wen't from seeing each other at least every other weekend to not seeing each other for over a month at a time (he lives in St Albans, I live in Manchester). However we survived it and although I'm in no rush to do it again, it's good to know that when you need to you always have Skype and if you set aside time for each other, it goes pretty fast.

One of the minor up sides of exams is that you get to go away on workshops, which inevitably leads to nights out. Although on the night before an exam it's advisable to get an early night, sometimes if you have a 2-day workshop you can have a bit of fun! Last time was Leeds and although it was brief, it did remind me what a fan I am of that city. I stayed in perhaps the worst hotel I've ever been to in my life though. I suppose a £40-a-night Ibis Budget was never going to be great but it really did resemble an Amsterdam hostel and barely had any lighting. I feel like I stayed out late playing beer pong all night to avoid going back to it!

Bristol with the Girls

It feels like ages ago but I think my last Sunday Post went up whilst I was there so I never got to talk about my first ever trip to Bristol! I managed to get a direct train and had a really productive blogging and studying session on the way down, which is always a plus. We got some really good weather and in the space of one weekend managed to eat and drink our way around the city. We visited Boston Tea Party for a really late brunch once we'd all arrived and I had a really yummy smoothie and smoked salmon with scrambled egg. We went out for dinner (and of course cocktails!) at my favourite chain restaurant Wahaca, which does nice, light Mexican food and has plenty of vegetarian options then went on to a few other places for more drinks. We were originally going to a Thai tapas place which sounded amazing but we didn't book ahead and they were unfortunately full for the evening. Next time... The next day before we all headed back off home we had ale, cider and potentially the best pizza of my whole entire life at The Stable. If you're ever in Bristol then this is a must-visit place for food! We had a nice little wander around the waterfront in the sun and got some extremely unhealthy but rather yummy frozen yoghurt at a place called Angel Berry.

It was really great to spend some time with all the girls, as we are going away for my friend's birthday and along with my good friends from university, her 'home friends' (yes, I still call it that!) are coming. I'd never met a couple of them so it was nice to all spend some time together before we go next month and they're a lovely group of girls. I think we will all be hanging out in London for the weekend when this post goes up too!


Bank Holiday Weekends

Spring means one thing for me: lots of Bank Holidays! We've been lucky enough here in the UK to have two recently and myself and my boyfriend seem to have settled into a little habit of going to the Trafford Centre for breakfast, a film and shopping. It's a great way to spend a day because everything is under one roof.

The Monthly Viewing

On our first trip we went to see Batman vs Superman. It was not my choice, I actually think I only went because my boyfriend wanted to see it so much that he offered to pay! (And the cinema is expensive these days...) I have to say it was one of the worst films I've see in a long time. Every tense and dramatic moment just came across as cringe-y, there was barely a story line and the actors didn't even seem to want to be there! In fact, the best thing about the entire thing was Wonder Woman's eyebrow game.

Our second trip was a little more successful film-wise as we went to see the live-action version of the Jungle Book. The CGI is absolutely amazing and overall it's visually stunning. It's obviously influenced by the Disney version but is quite a bit darker (it's been so long since I read the book that I really can't comment if this adaptation is more faithful to it). I actually think it would be quite scary for children, as a heads-up! I think the voice actors were brilliantly-chosen (Bill Murray as Baloo, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, to name a few) and it all seemed to come together really well. It was exciting and action-packed, even if you know the story. The only thing I found slightly odd were all the different accents; maybe it's because it's live-action as opposed to animated, or maybe it's because I'm older and now notice these things but it was a little jarring to hear a totally American Mowgli!

I recently watched two programmes on BBC iPlayer I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone. They weren't easy to watch but it really opened my eyes to the issues they raised. The first I watched was Murdered by my Boyfriend and every event and scene is based on a real-life story, making it even more heartbreaking. It follows a teenage girl who meets a guy at a party who seems cool, charming and funny, however it soon transpires he has a nasty side to him. It charts over a 5-year period all the times he assaulted her, how he wormed his way back in, all the times she tried to leave him and ultimately the brutal attack that killed her. It really was striking to see the difference between the happy, bubbly character at the start and the complete shell she became by the end. 

After seeing that I braced myself to watch the follow-up: Murdered by my Father. This charts another young girl's story. What also makes it so much worse is that you can see at the start that she has a good relationship with her family; there really is a lot of love there between her and her father. However the expectation is that she will do 'one thing' for him, which is go into an arranged marriage with a family friend. She already has a boyfriend and has nothing in common with her fiancĂ© but tries to go along with it for the sake of her family, though she clearly knows her own mind. Things begin to unravel and her relationship with her father turns sour after her secret relationship is discovered. I won't say any more but the ending is one of the most shocking things I've seen on TV in a while. Although the story is about the female main character, it really does delve into her father's mind too and the fact he seemed to think (right up until the moment of no return) that he was doing right by his family is one of the most harrowing parts of it all.

Despite the obviously spoilers in the names of the programmes, it doesn't dull the impact of their finales when everything comes to a head. It almost makes it more sickening because there's this awful sense of foreboding built through the events leading up to the murders. Both are brutal and unflinching and shine a light on important issues.

There are two amazing, cliff-hanger-y police dramas I've been hooked on recently. The first is Line of Duty, which I'd heard a lot about but never really got round to watching. I hadn't watched the previous series as this was a new story, however the background information I found out afterwards did help me understand it better (thank you to the person who tweeted me that 10-minute catch-up of the series video!) It centres around an officer who investigates corruption in the force. I can't really tell you an outline of it without giving it away because the first episode is almost a red herring. I'll let you find out for yourself but believe me: it's compulsive viewing and there are so many twists and turns! The other is Marcella. It's a sort of Swedish Noir drama with a British twist. It's pretty dark and I think I genuinely let out a squeal at the end of each episode because **** gets real! Again, I don't want to give too much away but the basic outline is: Marcella is a former detective with the Met and it seems a murderer she couldn't catch 10 years ago is back.

Eats

I recently revisited one of my favourite places to eat in Manchester: Artisan. I'd not been there for a good 18 months but I always really rated their food and cocktails. They do a little bit of everything but mostly pizzas, platters and steaks. I have to say that although I loved the little plates we had for a starter, I was a little disappointed with the pizza I had compared with how good they were a year or so ago. However I still had a really nice evening because there's always a great atmosphere in the restaurant and the cocktails were just as good as I remembered!

Both of our little Bank Holdiay Trafford Centre trips started with breakfast at Bill's. I'm a really big fan of their food and although the vegetarian cooked breakfast is gorgeous, my sweet tooth just can't resist the French toast with strawberries and peanut butter. The food is amazing but I have to say that every time I've visited, I've experienced really poor service. They always seem to be under-staffed and you have to wait ages to be served and have an 80% chance of being ignored if you try to ask them for anything. Also on our most recent trip we were told the food would be a 20 minute wait and we said that was fine. Despite the restaurant being only around 40% full, we were seated at a rubbish table next to the fire exit. When I asked if we could go somewhere else I was assured they were all booked. Bizarrely the food came in 5-10 minutes after we ordered and all the tables which were 'booked' were still empty when we left. Make of that what you will. It's such a shame because great food doesn't mean a whole lot if you don't look after your customers properly.

Over Easter weekend I also re-visited one of the best restaurants in the Northern Quarter with two very good friends. It doesn't look like much from the outside and the service is a little...odd but bear with me because the food at Ning is so good! It's Thai and Malaysian and is also really reasonably priced, with a good cocktail menu. Naturally we ended up at Turtle Bay after for 2 for 1 cocktails!

I know I mention it all the time but if you haven't visited Cote Brasserie and sampled their £12 menu: do it! We went for a bit of a belated Mother's Day meal there a few weeks back and it was as amazing as ever. They do really good quality French food and nice portion sizes. Although it's a bargain menu, you could almost forget that until the bill arrives!


As a little side-note I'm off away to New York (!!!) at the start of June and Spain at the end of June so if you'd like to come along on those trips with me then make sure you're following me on Instagram.


Have you watched any of my favourite shows or checked out any of these places to eat?



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44 comments

  1. I don't know how you manage your schedule with so much on. I can manage two at the best of times. Though I'm an expert procrastinator. I really want to see the jungle book though, looks amazing! We don't have a bills near us but always wanted to try it xx

    Tamz | http://www.throughneweyesx.com

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    1. Haha! Yeah I would definitely catch the Jungle Book whilst it's still at the cinema as it's visually stunning! xx

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  2. OMG,the exam sounds stressing. i don't know how could you function but I hope you can make it!

    Selene Addicted

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  3. New York and Spain, so jealous, that will be incredible! I loved Jungle book too, the animation was just incredible! Hope you are doing well in the exams, just think they will all be over soon! :)

    Erin || MakeErinOver

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  4. You've don't me so well to sustain your blogging when you've been so busy! I love reading these posts and your food recommendations for around Manchester, I've never been to the Artisian, Bills or Ning so I'm definitely going to add them to my places to eat out next list!

    Lucy | lucyalana.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Aw thanks! And yeah there's always new places to discover :) xx

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  5. I live in NY , Have fun !!! your are going to love it . I agree movies these days are pricey. Here its around $15 which is a lot. I usually ask my hubby once the movie comes out on dvd to download it for me . I actually do want to watch batman vs Superman...

    http://villemo20.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you :) I can see it being a fun one to watch on DVD when you're not taking it too seriously! xx

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  6. Really enjoyed this post, I know all about exam pressure too.. it's all over before you know it though. I think your blog is lovely also, let me know if you want to follow each other! x

    adelelydia.blogspot.com

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  7. Seems like you really had a lot of things to accomplish. Goodluck dear! :)

    Mhaan <3 | Mommy Rockin' In Style Blog

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  8. I started watching Line of Duty but i just couldn't get into it. I watched Murdered by my father - i completely agree with you, draw dropping! I've been watching the 100 Code, its seriously messed up! I noticed your back to posting 4 days a week, I'm very happy about it :) xx

    LPage Beauty

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    1. Ooh I've not checked that one out- I'll have to! xx

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  9. Oooooh I'm so excited to see your holiday pictures on Instagram - I really want to head to New York in the next few years. I've always found that I get poor service at Bills and it's really put me off going back there recently! I haven't been to Bristol in forever, but you've made me want to head back asap for all the yummy food now.

    Steph - www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

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    1. Yeah it sucks as it food is so good :( xx

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  10. Working, blogging and exams?! I don't know how you do it girl, hats off to you! :D! I finally saw Jungle Book last night and loved it too - Rob wants to see Batman vs Superman too and, like you, I'm totally not keen, haha!

    Style Sunrise☀

    :)
    x

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    1. Haha it might be one for a tipsy night in with a takeaway :') xx

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  11. I really wanted to see the jungle book and was so diapoibted when I didn't get the chance! Hopefully it will still be as good on TV than in the cinema! Also , I go to Bristol quite a lot as my aunt lives there so will definitely check out that restaurant- can't beat a good pizza!

    www.mybeautyandbrownies.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. It's amazing. Drooling just thinking about it now haha! xx

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  12. i seriously applaud you for being able to post 3 times a week while studying for your exams at the same time! i just finished all my exams at uni and didn't post for a month! i wanted to see batman vs superman but noone i know has said that it was very good so i decided against it!
    m0llylouise.com

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    1. Aw thank you :) and yes I didn't think it was very good - if you want to see it it's definitely one to catch on Blinkbox or whatever instead of paying £10 to watch at the cinema xx

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  13. It's amazing how you can upload 3 posts in a week during exams while I can barely even upload two with school days! It's weird how you and many others didn't like BvS, I actually loved it haha!

    Yousra | Mystic Tales

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  14. Your exams sound like a ton of work but I'm sure it will be worth it in the long run! Have fun on your current/next girls trip, I need to take one of those soon x

    www.beautyfromkatie.blogspot.com

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    1. I'm sure it will be and thank you :) xx

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  15. You're doing soooo well coping with the stress of exams, full time work and blogging too! Honestly you're really inspiring me to try and stay on top of my blogging schedule a lot better, come September when I'll be on a similar schedule! hahahaha wonder woman's brow game really made me chuckle!
    I have to say, to some level murdered by my father is relating to my current situation in real life, which made it that much harder to watch, tears were rolling down my cheeks throughout...the social stigmas of not marrying exactly who your parents suggest (usually someone not picked in the best interest for YOU but for what other people think works well for them) is still huge in some south asian british communities and it is absolutely infuriating...*sigh*

    Iqra | The Blushing Giraffe x

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    1. Aw thank you :) I'm sure you'll work it out as you go along!
      It was such a heartbreaking story and I can imagine that it feeling so 'close to home' just takes that to another level. I hope that with each generation these attitudes are diluted but it's awful to think of all the intelligent young women with their whole lives in front of them suffering in the meantime...xx

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  16. You are doing so well! I cannot manage to upload 3 posts/per week :S

    www.salmashaheensblog.com

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  17. I live in Bristol and I've only been to The Stable once on a work's night out and it was so good! I love visiting the waterfront on a sunny day, it's amazing :) xo

    Char | www.charslittleblog.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Yes I definitely want to go back there on a sunny day :) xx

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  18. I'm in awe of how much you manage to fit into life! What stage are you at with your exams now? xx

    Beautylymin| Bobbi Brown Define & Glow Palette Gift Set Giveaway

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    1. Haha thank you :) I'm currently Certificate level, if all goes well I will get my Diploma towards the end of this year and my Advanced Diploma 12 months or so after that! xx

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  19. You're an amazing lady being able to fit in your graduate scheme with 3-4 blog posts a week, as well as a relationship! Thankfully my boyfriend lives in London too so we can see each other every other day or so, but working full time I struggle with posting just 3 times a week! I've loved Line of Duty and Marcella too - I definitely need to watch the other two shows you've recommended!

    I Z Z I S A U R | a beauty, lifestyle and food blog by Izzy

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    1. Thank you! You just have to go with whatever works for you :) xx

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  20. Hi Jasmine,

    I loved this post, I had never read one of your previous Sunday post and it's nice to get to know you better through this. I'm in a long distance relationship with my boyfriend who is English and lives in London. We see each other every three weeks (in London, where he lives or in Italy, where I live), but you are extremely lucky to have him close to you, though you don't see each other every day and have been apart for a month.
    I wish you good luck for your exams, I don't know what ACII is, so maybe you can help me figure it out. Is it related to insurance? Let me know, because I'm curious. Nice to see that you do so many things, I don't know how you find the time to write 4 posts a week, take the photos, edit them etc., but you are very passionate about this blog so it's probably easier for you, despite being very busy. If I were in Manchester I would go to some of the places you recommended but unfortunately I'm too far to do it.

    Wishing you a good start of the week xx

    Silvia
    www.theskincabinet.com

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    1. Oh wow - I don't know how you do it, London and Manchester are bad enough to deal with!

      Yeah I definitely think my blogging schedule comes from a real love and passion - it doesn't feel like work so I definitely make time for it :)

      And yes the ACII is for the insurance industry. Are you in it/looking to go into it? xx

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    2. Not really, I was wondering what it was because we don't have anything similar in Italy.

      Yes the distance is something difficult to cope with, but at the same time we knew from the beginning that it wasn't going to stop us. Plus we both live in places with airports (London obv) with direct connections...and we probably spend more time together than other couples xx

      Silvia

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  21. You my dear are an inspiration to up and coming bloggers. I hope I can juggle as much as you are ;)

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