Celebrating the end of University … (Stephanie’s Blog)

Since mid-July life has been a whirlwind rush of essentially ‘growing up’ and making decisions… This was prompted by the abrupt arrival of Graduation which has been creeping up on us all! Student life is officially over but it was a lovely day… Graduation day was a lovely sunny July day and perfect for photos! Luckily there was no rain and it so-happened to be my 21st Birthday on this day too! It was a fun-filled day of celebrations, friends, laughter, tears, food and drink! It was sad to say goodbye but it was said in such a happy way with short but sweet speeches that weren’t long and boring (like my Brother’s graduation day!)

 

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Using your senses… (Stephanie’s Blog)

Last week I had an interesting and unique dining experience at “Dans le Noir” – a restaurant completely in the dark! It was in London and it is something I read about a while back and have since been wanting to go… So me and my Mum booked a table and along we went.

On arrival you are introduced to the restaurant in a lit-lounge and asked to choose a menu type (which were labelled by colour) the four menus were “vegetarian”, “meat”, “seafood” or “chefs surprise!” Naturally all of it was surprising as it was in the dark and before eating we never saw the full extent of the menu. We both chose the Chefs Surprise and I also chose the Surprise Cocktail! After a brief-wander around the lounge we were introduced to our waiter (all of the Waiters are blind…) and you really feel like you are experiencing life how they do.

We were directed to our table with a bit of “we are turning left, we are going through a curtain now…” but other than those directions we simply had our hand on the person in front’s shoulder and had to trust our Waiter. Asher (as he was called) was amazing and his spatial awareness was amazing. He took my Mum around to her seat and left me completely in the dark but he managed to come back and find exactly where I was stood, take my hand, and take me around to my side of the table. The atmosphere was quiet when we first arrived but it got busier and noisier.

We were given a quick run-through of where everything was, a jug of water to our left, glasses to our right, knives, forks, serviettes etc! Asher then brought us some bread which I must admit, with my heavy-handedness I managed to tip the basked slightly but luckily nothing fell out. I’m clumsy in the light, never mind the dark… Pouring water was a challenge but luckily it wasn’t your typical jug with a handle, it was a carafe (the wine jugs with no handles.) But it was an odd feeling have to place my finger in the glass to know when to stop pouring and when it was full. The option with our ordered-drinks was that we had them in the lounge or they would be brought to our table when we were seated. We had them brought to our table and therefore didn’t see them but mine was a delicious, Malibu-esque cocktail and i thoroughly enjoyed it.

Our starters arrived and it was delicious – the food was something I really couldn’t fault. My Mum and I both knew that it was some kind of raw fish and cucumber salad and I could taste honey. My guess was that it was salmon as that is a fish I am familiar with eating raw and the texture.

After our starters Asher collected the plates (I don’t mean to sound patronising but again it is admirable and amazing how he knew where the plates were and the cutlery, how and when to pick them up!) He checked everything was okay and we said it was delicious, he explained that the main courses wouldn’t be too long. In the interlude between starter and main course another couple came and joined our table. (We were aware that depending on party-sizes the tables were shared but this wasn’t an issue for us.) The couple were lovely, the woman had been before and the man was very hungry so he consumed a lot od bread in a short space of time. Similarly to radio, but hearing people’s voices and not seeing them is a crucial part of the experience but the most bewildering part also.

The main courses arrived and although we couldn’t see the presentation, you could appreciate that the presentation was amazing from the way it felt on the plate. With the starter and the main course we both started using knives and forks but we did resort to using our hands at one point – the restaurant advertise it as “eating with your hands in the dark” so this was expected and obviously the way to do it! The main course was a red meat – we thought perhaps lamb, cous cous, a potato-type vegetable but not quite potato and a sweet fruit/vegetable with a slight skin to it. This main course was delicious, we both cleared the plates and you simply could not complain. The quality was better than most chain-restaurants and even some of the michelin-starred restaurants I have eaten it. Not being able to see what everything was really heightened the use of other senses, you could feel the texture of things and the smell of the food on arrival prior to the overall taste was just such an experience in itself.

Throughout the meal we were chatting away to this couple next to us and weirdly, she asked us what we were wearing so we could see each other in the lounge after the meal, but it was a great idea. They were a course behind us but we did catch up with them at the end. Prior to this though we had our dessert to come which was served in a pot (naturally feeling the plate first) and tapping inside the pot with the spoon I felt the hard, crispy topping of burnt sugar… Crème brûlée!!

I love crème brûlée and as a dessert we enjoy making at home and eating out, we feel we are quite the connoisseurs! The first spoonful was amazing, rich and creamy and just plain delicious. With a light scent and perfumed-flavour I assumed it was rose-flavoured. Either way it was gorgeous and even more so with every spoonful!! Safe to say we used our fingers to make sure we hadn’t missed a bit…

Back into the lounge at the end of the meal, we were asked what we thought we had eaten – some of our responses got some laughs! We said everything I have written above that we thought we tasted, experiences, smelt and ate. We were shown photos of the meals so we could relate with our eye-sight saying “oh that was what was in the bottom left-hand corner…”

The starters were raw fish and a cucumber salad with a honey-dressing but there were two fish, tuna and swordfish! Exciting things I hadn’t eaten before.

The main courses however, our guesses were miles off, it was in fact a trio of meats – Zebra, Ostrich and Beef. Served with cous cous, caramelised onions and pumpkin! The vegetables reflected and explained further what we thought but we had no idea there were or even could have been three different meats…

And the dessert was of course crème brûlée but it wasn’t rose flavour, but it was a flower – it was lavender. Delicious!

This experience has definitely shown me not to judge by what is on a menu or automatically assume it is something I don’t like without trying it. Other than the crème brûlée, I wouldn’t have chosen a single aspect of that meal had I read it on a menu but it goes to show we make mental images and judge too easily! I would definitely go again and thoroughly enjoyed my experience. A very pleasant surprise and experience.

We also met the couple in the lounge just before we left and they looked nothing like what I had imagined, for some reason I pictured a middle-aged couple, however that could not have been further from what I saw when I met them – two lovely, young, mid-twenty year olds!

Surprises and learning curves all round…

University Reflection… (Stephanie’s Blog)

This feels like the Blog I have written in a while and it is probably true as I have had a whirlwind few weeks, from finally finishing University officially, going on Holiday and then returning to celebrate Friend’s 21st Birthdays and then GETTING MY OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY RESULT.

 

In 13 Days I will be at the beautiful Edge Hill University Campus graduating with a 2:1 classification Degree in Advertising! I am very proud and I have had an amazing three years balancing part-time jobs, my studies, my social life and hobbies without loosing touch with any aspects of my life!

I have moved back home and am yet to unpack properly (awful I know!) but it is so different, in the past three years I have lived in halls with lots of people but an en suite and the only communal area was the kitchen, then into a four-bedroomed house with three girls and then in third year I lived in a seven-bedroomed house with five girls and one boy!

Ormskirk as a town and Edge Hill as a University, as all Universities do, has had it’s ups and downs and it has grown and developed so much since I have studied there! I have some fabulous memories which I will take with me and University has had a massive impact on the person I am today!!

Goodbye Ormskirk (Stephanie’s Blog)

Firstly – apologies to all my readers and followers that I haven’t been blogging as regularly recently; it has been a hectic few months! Third year has kept me busy and working hard, however it is finally all over and it is time to move home and take a breather.

… And as everyone keeps reminding me – it’s time to start making the next steps towards working or volunteering or travelling or whatever I decide. I have left my lovely student house in Ormskirk and moved back down South to Windsor and gosh there is a noticeable regional difference now.

It is weird getting used to being back with my parents, turning the music down, being more tidy, eating proper meals (apparently anything-on-toast isn’t acceptable here) and doing things more promptly!

The price is probably the next obvious thing, Uni was cheap and so was Ormskirk, the prices down here are ridiculous, however the job opportunities seem to be better. Of course London and the suburbs down here are THE advertising hub which will be great for me. The plan was to travel, but then I saw a job advert and something has told me to apply – if I don’t get it, I will be booking plane tickets instead though!

 

Graduation is the 17th July which is super exciting and we are yet to find out what classification of degree we have achieved (keep your fingers and toes crossed for me please everyone!) But I have sorted out the hiring of gowns and mortar boards and whatnot, so it’s just the outfit and organising to do now! It is also on my 21st Birthday which will be doubly exciting. Unfortunately I am THAT clumsy person who will probably go fall over or forget to shake someone’s hand or walk the wrong way or do something, anything that could go wrong!

Catch me when I fall…

One of the most reassuring things you need to know when moving away from home or even just starting University is that there will be support available. This comes in so many different forms from Edge Hill…

You are never on your own, there is always someone to talk to or someone that can help you. Edge Hill can support you financially if necessary and they offer short term loans, there is career support where you can learn how to enhance your CV and get involved with loads of projects and gain more qualifications. This department also help you to obtain part time jobs, work at Summer Camps, get the necessary placements and they will even help you after graduation with graduate jobs!

In terms of making friends and not feeling alone or lost when first coming to University, Edge Hill has a diverse range of socials and societies which you can get involved in and meet like-minded people. You can attend these to get to know people, play that sport you love, read books together, play those board games you like or to discuss religion! There truly is something for everyone. From Chess Society to Football/Hockey/Canoeing… And if there isn’t one that suits you, simply tell the Student Union and they can do their best to find others with the same interests.

The Student Union as a whole offer a lot of support with your social life, night life, any problems you have with your course, your lecturers, the buildings or anything! If you do have any specific course or module problems then you can speak to your Lecturers or Head of Department who are always on-hand and willing to help. If, for whatever reason, you do not want to go to them then you can talk to your Course Representative who will be someone in your class who can then take it to the Student Board at their monthly meetings.

If accommodation is the problem, we have a team at Edge Hill who deal with accommodation specifically and they can help you find on-campus or off-campus living, whether you want to be alone, with all girls or all boys or have your own bathroom there are loads of different types of halls! Each year Edge Hill produce a housing list too which helps you find off-campus accommodation after your first year study and you can find reputable, tired and tested housing and landlords!

Any problem you have; big or small, is no worry here at Edge Hill, there will always be someone to guide, advise, help and sometimes even completely solve your problems! And don’t forget you will make some of the best friends that you will be in contact with for life at University so you will always have them to support you too!

 

The End is getting nearer…

So as I have now had my final week of official Lectures, it is time to relax in the Sunshine, finish off my creative projects and celebrate three years of University being nearly over.

Although it is sad and emotional and we aren’t all ready to leave in one respect, in another, we are so ready to leave. Edge Hill has given us some brilliant, crazy memories and friends which hopefully we will take with us to the future but it has also prepared us in our own individual sectors, to go into the big wide world and work. The Students that have been on Placement, whether it be in Schools, Nurseries, Advertising/PR Agencies or large Businesses have all come back so positively and ready to take on the Challenge.

I handed in my 11,000 word assignment – THE Dissertation – which you will hear about from the moment you start Uni to the moment you leave. And, we all say it, every year, but, BE PREPARED. If I had done more of my dissertation pre-hand-in-week then it would have been a breeze but as usual I was left running around after a broken printer, finding paper and praying my hard-drive would work! Well let’s all hope everyone else is better prepared and that I learn from my lesson. The most important thing is that I got it finished and reached the deadline (we won’t talk about how many minutes I did or didn’t have to spare!!) And while I sit back and relax and do some drawings in the Sun, I hope those of you revising, do exams (at any academic or non-academic level) have some time to enjoy the Sun! Good Luck!

EHU recognises excellence and potential… (Stephanie’s Blog)

Here at Edge Hill, there is a lot of support and encouragement to achieve, express creativity or other talents and to give something back to the community.

This is demonstrated particularly through Edge Hill’s scholarships which are awarded to recognise what we, as Students, can and do for ourselves, others, the University and the Community. There are a variety of scholarships from high-achievers scholarships to volunteering scholarships and everything in-between.

 

Entrance Scholarships celebrate your personal commitment to anything outside of your University Studies – a great way to show off your skills and how you use your time effectively whilst studying; this can be anything from your expansive ICT Skills, the Sport that you compete for, the Volunteering you take part in, and if you think you have something worth rewarding, you can always apply/nominate or be nominated for this Scholarship.

 

The high-achievers within Edge Hill are recognised and rewarded for their outstanding performance, grades, improvement throughout their studies.

Edge Hill also support and encourage Students to take part in The National Scholarship Programme which is suitable for those high performing students from lower income families.

And there is also scope for you to be involved in The Liverpool Scholarship which rewards students from EHU who rank highly within the UCAS Tariff Board.
These Scholarships are suitable for anyone and everyone to apply for and give it a shot – they give you that extra bit of financial support throughout your time at EHU, as well as rewarding and recognising your excellence and contribution to the University. Any Student who is lucky enough to have a Scholarship will often be invited to a fun-filled evening awards ceremony too which is a great social event! And don’t forget – this will all look superb on your CV so be sure to nominate yourself or your friends if you think you deserve it!

‘The Message’ – Stephanie’s Blog

Recently, we have had a lot of ‘informal’ lectures and therefore I don’t have much lecture-related topics to post on. However over Easter I was helping with some PR/Advertising work for a new start-up company. Before we could progress any further with their work we had to define ‘the message.’ This is the key thing that they want to get across to the audience and prospective clients through the use of Press and Advertising…

This morning I was watching the best adverts of the week (these can be found frequently on The Guardian website) and I came across a beautiful advert. Personally, I think it is very clever, but as the ever critical person, I think it could have been so much more powerful for a better brand! I love the fact that the message is ‘Good things should last forever’ – I think that is one of the most powerful messages I have seen on an advertising campaign in a long while and it does work for Vodafone.

There is a lot of hype surrounding this advertising campaign on the social media and through the newspapers and advertising news so give it a watch and you can make your own opinions!!

 

Inappropriate… Or is it? (Stephanie’s Blog)

Happy Easter Break!

I hope everyone is having a well deserved rest as well as keeping up with the studying! Hope you all had a great Easter Weekend and didn’t consume too much chocolate…

 

So I had the weekend off work myself and then it’s back to business and back to University Assignments. It is so scary how close to the end I am now. My final deadline is less a month away but still 8000 words away…

I know I mentioned before that I was doing my final 10,000 word Assignment (my Dissertation) on sexual messages in advertising. Well I am still doing this – broadly, but looking more into how sex sells and how the representations of both genders have changed and diversified over the recent years.

Through all my reading I have discovered some really interesting stuff and some great examples of adverts. It seems in this day and age we are becoming more numb to the effects of sexual content and therefore it is being more widely used – specifically in the Advertising Industry.

… Next time you read a magazine or watch television, look at the adverts and count how many you think are sexual? This could be anything from nudity, to seductive eye contact with the audience, innuendos or anything you deem sexual. But then think, do you find these adverts more powerful?

We have always known and following feminist movement, we have been fully aware of the negative representation of women in the media – often referred to as the ‘Male Gaze’ but now we see a shift in which men are being objectified too. This is now the ‘Female Gaze’ which we have seen in recent Aero adverts, Diet Coke…

Below is an example of an advert that shocked me when I was driving into London on a huge billboard I see the word ‘Pussy’ which obviously has several connotations so I was confused – but as the strap-line says, it’s my mind that isn’t pure! And I won’t go too much in to detail and you, as the audience, read in to it as you will but ‘cunningly delicious’ is very close together and could be mistaken for a sexual word that is very similar…

Next time you see and advert – THINK. Sex is all around us because it is the biggest selling point and it evokes a biological reaction in every human!

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House of Lords Debates and Greenwashing Consumers…

It feels like ages since I wrote a Blog but that is because it was that hectic time of the year again when everyone was heading home and work was due in!
Luckily I am slightly ahead of work at the moment and today our Graduation Dates were released – mine is on my 21st Birthday so at least all my friends will be there…

So what have I been up to recently? Well following getting lots of work done I got my feedback for my House of Lords debate for my Politics Module. I got a good 2:1 which I was so pleased with and I have now taken to study the House of Lords further, following this assignment and I am writing a 3000 word essay for another piece of work.

My title is ‘How would a reformation of the House of Lords improve the overall Parliamentary set-up of the United Kingdom?’

… You may be wondering exactly what this has to do with my course and in all honesty, I can say I have no idea! However, there must be method behind the madness. Despite moaning about this Module and failing to see any relevance for the first few weeks, now I have done well in one section I am starting to enjoy it. And if I gain nothing but a good grade in the module and a well-rounded knowledge of basic Politics and more specifically on the House of Lords. Some of my facts might help me win a Pub Quiz or two in future.

Within this module we were meant to look more specifically at Media Policies and the regulation of Advertising but due to the diverse people in this Module – there are so many different courses – this wasn’t as easy as hoped. Although I have learnt more about “greenwashing” the term used when a company use “green” (environmental) advertising to trick consumers that they are environmentally-friendly and some other advertising politics. Either way I am glad I now can join in when people talk about politics and it has set me up better for future…

As I imagine many of you are unfamiliar with greenwashing (as I was) I shall write a Blog on it next week, it is important to society and canbe quite interesting…