New York: Day 1

I can't believe it's been a month since I've been to New York. Cries. I love cities and New York has been at the top of my bucket list for a long time. As I turned 21 in February I thought this trip would be an amazing way to celebrate and remember my birthday. So on the 20th of February me and David set off on our 8 hour flight to the Big Apple. We flew to New York with Delta Airlines who were amazing. I'd highly recommend this airline if you're ever travelling to America. The staff were lovely and there were hundreds of films and TV shows to keep us entertained—we even got upgraded on the way back which made us feel very important.

It was the first time either of us had ever visited New York and we loved it so much! We decided to stay on Times Square in The Row Hotel as I love being in the hustle and bustle of it all.  The day we arrived was a Saturday, so naturally everywhere was heaving. The whole place had this insane atmosphere; there's literally nothing like Times Square.

As we had arrived quite late we spent the rest of the day mooching around Times Square, I slipped in and out of a few shops and we watched the sun go down from the top of the Empire State. Nothing could of prepared me for how windy it was going to be up there, but still amazing.

We were up really early on our first day because of the time difference, so we decided to take full advantage and go on a 10am boat trip to see Lady Lib. Again, very windy, but it was cool to see such an iconic landmark and I was feeding my inner tourist.

We then made our way to the Highline; an old railroad that had been turned into a park and walkway. It was a lovely way to see the city and escape the belligerent beeping and business of the roads. We walked until we reached Chelsea, as we wanted to visit the food market. This was a great place for lunch as it offered so much variety. We opted for a “Japanese inspired Mexican”, immediately followed by a crepe from the neighbouring stand—Nutella, obviously.

The highlight of this day was seeing the Friends apartment. Although the show wasn't actually filmed in New York, this is the building they used for the outside shots of the apartment. I am a huge Friends fan so this was a must for me and I was so excited to find it.

We spent the rest of the day exploring the city, hemorrhaging just enough money in Soho before settling on somewhere for dinner. We ended up going to Tacombi; a Mexican with a cool atmosphere and expensive tiny tacos.

We finished our evening laughing and drinking at the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village. I’d never been to a comedy show before, so the whole experience was new to me. The setting was cosy and intimate, and all the comedians we saw were hilarious. I’d highly recommend going if you're ever in New York; they have shows every night and the ticket prices are reasonably cheap in the week.

I love that first day of excitement you get when you’re exploring somewhere new, and this was definitely one of my favourite days. We both preferred Chelsea over Times Square (where we stayed), as it was much more chilled.I hope you enjoyed reading what I got up to on my first day in New York, and I look forward to sharing the rest of my trip with you.

Have you ever been to New York? Any recommendations on places I should visit if I ever go back?

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Becoming You

You're not alone if you don't know who you are or what you're doing.

Welcome to the quarter life crisis. I'm one of the millions of 20 something year old's who are currently involuntarily going through it. The annoying thing is, no one gives you any warning. All I'd ever heard about was the mid life crisis and then all of a sudden I'm having a quarter life crisis?  I suppose it's okay though because it's normal and I think most people go through it at some point. Still, it's hard not to press the self destruction button.

When I finished my A levels, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I spent the last three years working, and nothing was changing except my age. I was never fully happy because I felt like I wasn't doing what I was supposed to be doing, but I had no idea what it was I wanted to do. It was a very confusing and frustrating time; everyone around me seemed to be going to uni and furthering their careers, whilst I was still stuck in the same situations since my 18th. I felt like I hadn’t achieved anything, frequently asking myself ‘what am i doing with my life?’ I decided it was time to do something.

So if you're stuck in a rut, here's a few tips on kicking that self-loathing addiction:

I think a good starting point is to find your skills and talents and nurture them. What are you good at and what do you enjoy? Do more of what feels right for YOU. Sometimes other people may think they know what's best for you but only you can know what feels right. You have to be in control of your own choices and decisions. Spend some time each week putting time into what you love and you will start to feel happier and more motivated. Think about your strengths and weaknesses and what you’re passionate about. This can take time, some people may figure things out quickly and others may take more time, but don’t be thrown off if it takes a while for you to figure things out.

One thing I personally struggle with is deciding on one thing to concentrate on and pursue, I feel I have too many interests that I can’t commit to just one and instead end up doing nothing at all. So now I put time and effort into all my interests and try to further and develop my skills in everything I love. Don’t feel pressured into chasing just one goal if you have a few, otherwise you could be preventing yourself from doing anything at all.

Embrace jealousy. When we see someone doing what they love and becoming successful at it we cant help but feel jealous. I think sometimes we spend so much time obsessing over someone else's life that we forget to concentrate on our own. All that wasted energy spent drooling over someones instagram could be put into pursuing our own goals. The difference between you and these successful people is that that they concentrated on themselves and believed they could do it. So instead of being jealous of someone elses success, be inspired by it. Everyone has to start somewhere so let the success of someone doing what they love inspire you to start doing the same.

Set achievable goals. You’re never going to get where you want to be overnight and I think this is where a lot of us lose our motivation. Sometimes the bigger picture can seem so far out of reach that we end up doing nothing because we think its unachievable. So instead set yourself small, achievable goals that all go towards that bigger picture. This will help keep you motivated and stop yourself from giving up.
Stop making excuses for yourself and why you can't do things. I was the worlds worst person for doing this, my favourite was 'I'm not good enough' but how do we know that unless we try and push ourselves to be good enough. It's so easy to come up with reasons as to why you can't do things or be the person you want to be, but this leads to nothing. You will never progress or achieve the things you want if you constantly make excuses as to why you can't. However, if you start believing in yourself and believing you can do things you will start feeling better in yourself and you will start to become more motivated.

I’m not necessarily where I want to be but I’m much happier now that I am doing things I enjoy, things that I think I’m good at. The way I see it is we have one life and it's up to ourselves to decide how to live it to its full potential. It can be hard to figure out what you want to do with your life but even if you don't have a clear plan, which I definitely don't, just do what feels right for you. Start to become the person you want to be and taking small steps towards the bigger goal. Over time what you want may change your ideas and views might change but as long as you keep doing you, you can’t really go wrong.

A guide to: Prague in three days

Day 1 Explore

I always think it's a good idea spending the first day exploring. I'd recommend doing a Segaway tour. If you haven't done it before go early in the morning when its a little quieter to avoid knocking someone off their feet. It's such a fun and quick way to see a lot the city and give yourself a better idea of the layout. The guide will also give you some information on different buildings and areas so it's a good way to learn about the city and its history. There where companies offering these tours everywhere in Prague so you could just book one once you are there.

Visit Wencellas square and Old Town Square. These are the two main squares in Prague, they are only a ten minute walk away from each other but are both completely different. Wencellas square is full of shops and restaurants, there is also a museum right at the top. Old Town square is a lot more quaint with lots of little side streets and cosy restaurants. You can also get a horse and carriage ride from here and see more of the city.

Day 2 Be a tourist

Prague offers so many beautiful sights and these are only a few places you could visit:

-The Astronomical clock in old town square.

- Charles Bridge - The bridge is beautiful to visit at night as you get an amazing view of the river and the city all lit up.

- Prague castle - The walk up there its self is lovely, and you can see the whole of the city below once you get there. Here you can also see the St. Vitus Cathedral, an amazing Gothic looking building which is definitely worth a look inside for the beautiful stained glass windows.

- The old Jewish quarters - One of the oldest surviving Jewish burial grounds in the world.

I'd recommend starting at Wencellas  square and make your way towards the castle through Old Town, where you can see the clock, onto Charles Bridge for great photo opportunities and up to the castle grounds. It's easy to walk to all of these places and I'd highly recommend you do as the city is so beautiful.

End the day with a beer tour, this is a must if you're looking for a good time. Prague is also famous for it's cheap beer so it would be a shame to go all the way there and not try some. I booked one online before I left and it was pretty cheap, the price also included three drinks. It's a really fun way to visit some traditional Czech pubs, sample some of the local beers and meet new people. We had the best time on our tour and ended up staying out after it with two people that we met in our group.

 Day 3 Relax and do some shopping

Have a relaxing day. Walking around a city all day can get very tiring so I always think it's nice to spend the last day a little more relaxed. Old Town square was full of restaurants with outdoor seating where you could sit next to a fire and enjoy a drink. So grab a hot chocolate (they're really amazing in Prague) and spend some time people watching. Also make sure to try a traditional Czech pastry, my favourite was a trdelnik (ask for it with Nutella) so yummy!

Prague is so cheap so you might find yourself left with quite a bit of money so it's the perfect excuse to do a little shopping. There is a great little shopping centre not far from Old Town Square called Palladium, it had so many shops including a Sephora which I was very excited about. Wencelass square is also a good place for shops and again there is another Sephora, my boyfriend just didn't understand how I could go in and out of the same shop so many times in one day.

Finish you trip with a few cocktails. My favourite bar in Prague was the Hemingway Bar. The cocktails where amazing and it had such a cosy atmosphere inside. It's pretty hidden so make sure to google maps it on your way.

So that's my little guide of a few things you could do in Prague and I hope it helps some of you. I didn't want to recommend too many places because I think part of the fun of going away is getting lost and it's really exciting when you discover new places on your own that you've never heard of before.

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Preparing for a uni interview

On Thursday I attended my first ever university interview and I was honestly dreading it all week. I was being interviewed for a Graphic Design and Illustration course so I spent most of the week getting my portfolio ready and trying to make myself as prepared as I could be. The interview itself was a lot less scary than I had expected it to be; more of a casual conversation than the firm grilling I had envisioned in my head.

I'm sure there is a lot of you attending various interviews and it can be quite scary, especially if you have never attended one before. So I thought I'd share with you a few tips on what helped me prepare for mine.

1. Check the university website for information on your interview. This is where I found the address, what I was supposed to bring with me and information on how the interview would plan out. It even gave a rough idea on what I could be asked, so I was able to plan some things I could talk about.

2. Do some research into the course. It's good to refresh your memory on that particular course you are being interviewed for, this way you can tell them what it was that appealed to you and have a few questions prepared to ask them which will help show your interest.

3. Write notes on possible things you could talk about. For me I listed some strengths and weaknesses I have shown throughout my current course and what I have learned so far. I made notes on various pieces of work, how I got my ideas, who inspired me and how I created it etc. They like to get an idea of who you are and learn more about you, so perhaps think of some interests you have aside from the subject you're applying for. Also think about what it is you hope to benefit from the course and what skills you want to develop further. This way you will already have a few ideas of what you could talk about.

4. Speak to someone who has had a similar interview. If you don't know anyone you can look for threads on the Student Room relating to a similar course you're applying for. This might help give some insight into what they're looking for and what you could be asked, so you can prepare yourself a little better.

5.Be positive and try not to over think it. Worrying about it will just cause you stress and make you feel even more anxious. Whereas, it's better to go into the interview feeling calm and confident. If you're like me and do get anxious and nervous before an interview just act like you are confident and it will actually make you feel more confident. I do this in all situations where I get nervous and it really does work. Most of the time they just want to know more about you, and you can't really go wrong talking about yourself. So, show them how amazing you are and remember that it's never as bad as you expect it to be.

So they are the few things that helped me and  I hope they can help some of you to feel more prepared and confident for your interview.

© lottsie

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