On Instagram and Introspection

One of my biggest guilty pleasures is stalking myself on the Internet. From being a Myspace kid, to my short lived YouTube career, to curating my life on Instagram – I am so guilty of checking what I was doing one, three, or even seven years ago.

Which makes me wonder why I’m currently so aware of the idea of “aesthetic”. I may not be a gazillionaire fashion blogger who supports their lifestyle with Instagram, but for whatever reason, my Instagram seems to have developed a theme. What can I say? I’m a content producer both by day and by night. Keeping it on brand is practically second nature to me.

If I use Instagram as a means to keep tabs on my past self, I’m my own biggest audience. Something deep down is directing what content I choose to share online. Sure, a couple of hundred other people are watching too, but a lot of this is for thirty year old Rosy. Photo albums are obsolete. Part of the fun of nostalgia is now looking at how many likes a post got, as well as the picture itself.

Or maybe this is just me and I’m totally weird/self-absorbed/kinda pathetic. Your call.

When I lived in Madrid, for example, my feed was bright. Because isn’t that what the life of an expat in Spain is supposed to be? If Hemingway had an Instagram, it would be sun kissed and vibrant and warm. Old Ernie and I both liked to criticise Spain, but we definitely wanted to immortalise the country in its best light.

Screen Shot 2017-05-13 at 17.06.31

Sure, in Madrid I did all these things. I ate pink lollies and drank iced coffee (when it became gentrified enough to get it, that is) and wore floaty dresses. My life was significantly sunnier than its English equivalent and I wanted to remember that. But my life in Madrid on social media is definitely not the life I had. I was unhealthy and unhappy. From the major lack of vegetarian options to the comfort eating to dull the pain of teaching English or unpaid internships, Madrid had its downs. But unless I screenshotted my empty bank account, you can’t portray that life on Instagram.

Screen Shot 2017-05-13 at 17.06.58

Which brings us to my time in Brighton. The sky is grey, my clothes are black, and I’m still drinking my iced coffee. The colours may be more muted, but I’m so much happier here. I’m not sitting around carefully curating my life to look back on. I’m living in the now and posting it as an afterthought. Whilst I only chose to share the best of Madrid, for me, all of Brighton is the best. I may have only been here for five months but I’m already much happier than I ever was in Hull or Madrid.

I can post a picture of my work desk and planner because for once in my life, my work makes me happy. I’m sharing food pictures because, get this, vegetarian food is everywhere. Who would have thought? Not Spain! Who needs pretty dresses? I’m wearing all black and I’m digging it.

So thank you, Brighton. For making me evaluate my social media choices. And more importantly, for making me realise how happy I am here.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll post a picture of seagull or a bagel – and Future Rosy will know without a doubt that whatever the subject ends up being, Past Rosy was pretty freaking happy with it.

Brighton, So Far

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

So I moved to Brighton. Not as dramatic as my move to Madrid three years ago but much, much harder. Although in Madrid I had to deal with language barriers, reentering education, and, well, the Spanish. In Brighton I have to live with the uncertainty that everything leading up to now has been for nothing. Sure, you might think I’m being overdramatic, but…

Hi, my name’s Rosy Parrish and I think I’m finally entering my quarter life crisis.

I thought I’d experienced my quarter life crisis already. Multiple times. When I first moved abroad, when I turned down a well paying teaching gig for an unpaid internship, when I decided to move back to the UK. Pretty much every second of the last three years. And maybe I was in a crisis and this is just the peak of it. Or maybe that was nothing compared to what’s about to come.

Brighton was a huge whim. I’d never even been to the city before I started flying over for interviews. I knew one person here. To me it was just this whimsical seaside town full of quirky street art and indie coffee houses. But it seemed like a good fit. And I don’t regret that part of the decision at all. Brighton is the perfect place for me and although I’ve only been here a month, I can’t imagine myself leaving any time soon. I never felt that way with Madrid. That was always like biding my time until something better came along and appeasing myself by going on about all the ~culture~ I was experiencing.

Currently I’m a freelance writer. I sit on my bed all day because my desk doesn’t have a chair yet and type away. Sometimes I take a break to apply for a proper job. Sometime I watch How I Met Your Mother on Netflix because it soothes me into thinking it will all get better. If I were to watch Girls right now, I’d probably cry. The Avenue Q song ‘What Do You Do With A BA In English?’ makes my stomach do backflips. This is not where I thought I’d be at the age of 24. With £25,000 in student loans and working from my bedroom in a shared flat.

The older I get the more I realise that life is just a series of flukes one after the other. I used to spend so much time thinking would this have happened if I did a different degree? Went to another uni? Didn’t move to Spain? Hadn’t failed GCSE maths? But now I just feel that life is chaotic and I just need to deal with it. Sure, this isn’t the ideal situation for me right now. But if I’d picked a different degree or decided against teaching English, I wouldn’t have had the experiences I’ve got right now. As stagnant as my time in Madrid felt, I know I experienced a life that many others can only dream of. I became friends with interesting people and captured myself a cute European boyfriend and I know the city will always welcome me back with open arms.

So I may not be writing in a swish city office wearing a cool blazer; but I’m writing on my bed wearing a dinosaur t-shirt. So I guess I’m doing okay.

I have faith that eventually I’ll get my cool job and my cool blazer because goddammit I’ve done 16 months of unpaid internships now and if that’s not seen as dedication to my art then I’ll probably just explode anyway.

Making Friends As An Adult: Bumble BFF


“Do you guys know each other?”

“We met on Bumble”

“…”

“Oh, there’s a BFF feature for friends!”

Sometimes I forget that not everyone meets their friends online. It’s still seen as strange and a little bit psycho-killery. But anyone who thinks that is wrong.

In 2017, how the hell are we supposed to meet anyone anymore? Once you’re out of education, you’re left with flatshares and work colleagues to form the ultimate #SquadGoals-level friend. You’re stuck choosing from people who have no guarantee they’ll like the same things as you. That’s why I’m fully for shopping for friends on the Internet.

When I was 14 I made a friend on MySpace and traveled to meet up with her. At 15 I became nocturnal to hang out with my American YouTube friends. And after a brief period of normality making friends at university… in my twenties I was back on the Internet. After all, I’d met my boyfriend on Tinder and everyone accepted that as the norm – why couldn’t I make platonic friends this way too?

I’ve written about my experiences with Bumble BFF before and in Madrid it worked out well for me. So with the second major move in my life (back to the UK, but further south than I’ve ever been before – whaddup Brighton), I was back on the Friend Dating scene. What can I say? I like swiping.

Moving to a new city is hard… especially when you take a risk and move there without a job lined up. I spend my days applying for jobs and sneaking in a few HIMYM episodes on Netflix. The app provides me a sense of normality that I just don’t have here yet. I have people to talk to (albeit through a screen), but they give me advice on good coffee and tell me about their job struggles when they first moved here. Without Bumble BFF I would probably be going insane right about now. And as with Tinder, sometimes these online meetings go well, and your Friend Courting continues into the real world.

So I’m going to keep singing the praises of making friends online. As a teenager, I made some of my best friends on the Internet. People who lived entire continents away and who I wouldn’t have known existed at any other time. On a smaller scale, this works in a city too. Why should I miss out on a great friendship just because we didn’t meet at a coffee shop like we might have had to ten years ago? Forget your prejudices of how weird it is to judge someone over a picture and a bio, if you can do it to find your ~true love~, you can do it to find your next gal pal too. It’s convenient, chill, and just all round cool.

BRB, gonna go swipe right some more.

The Best Of 2016


Since David Bowie left the mortal realm, the world has become a terrible place. But despite this, I thought it was important to look back at my personal positives of 2016… no matter how sad I am that Carrie Fisher is dead. 2016 was a year of big changes for me. After months of agonising over the decision, I decided it was time to repatriate myself back into British life. I’d gotten a tad complacent with everything… so obviously my brain decided to change it all at once. 2nd times a charm, right?

So, in order, I bring you my highlights of 2016.

Visiting Florence

I’ve wanted to visit Italy for as long as I can remember – and after almost two years of living on the continent, I finally got my chance. I traveled round the country by train – and although the trip was slightly derailed by the destruction of my passport – Florence was by far my favourite desintation. I saw amazing architecture, did fantastic shopping, marvelled at incredible art… and saw creepy fetus mannequins from the 19th century. I will definitely be back.

Reading Stephen King’s It

Much like visiting Italy, I had always wanted to read It. And although it really didn’t live up to the ‘omg so scary’ reviews I’ve been hearing my entire life, it was huge. Like, physically. And I’m glad I read it. And it makes me feel less terrible about failing my Goodreads Reading Challenge this year. Seriously, it was huge!

Giving up teaching

Although I have never wanted to end up as a teacher, it somehow became my job.  Yet it was always my means of staying in Madrid and getting a pretty decent income. So I stayed. But at the same time I was interviewing for summer camp positions to keep myself fed for the 3 months of Hell I was about to experience, I took a chance and interviewed for an unpaid editorial internship. And got it. Although I then had to decide between teaching and eating and gaining experience in the field I loved and starving – I’m glad I took the risk as it proved I was capable and qualified to do what I loved and gave me the push I needed to leave the safety net of Spain. Even if I did have to eat a lot of pasta to do so.

Seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Seeing this play was a long time coming. I first bought the tickets in October 2015 and spent an agonising year waiting for my time to come. I’ve written about the show in great detail already, so I won’t dwell on it too much, but it was definitely my favourite part of the year. Not only did it fill the empty place in my soul of the waiting for a new Potter release, but my quick trip to London was the catalyst for my eventual return to the UK. Thanks, Harry.

Doing a Brexit of my own

And finally, the most important change for me in 2016, moving back to the UK. Despite being on the top of my game in the ESL world, I knew it was time to move on. So after packing my entire life into two suitcases and a cardboard box, I took the leap and moved back “home”. I write this blogpost to you from my new place in Brighton. I have no idea what’s going to happen next, but I imagine it will begin with job interviews, vegan food, and maybe a new haircut.

Cheers to you, 2017.

The Truth About Unpaid Internships

As someone who thinks there is nothing better in life than reading an epic fantasy, I had a great time studying for an English degree. Reading books, writing about books, arguing about books. BOOKS. Unfortunately, finding myself at age 20 in a cap and gown with no job prospects was a little bit of a “well… shit” moment. Now I am 24 and have managed to find myself some of that much needed experience. And not to bite the hand that feeds me or anything… but I have a lot to say about unpaid internships.

I have had three different internship experiences – all with differing levels of payoff. So I have experienced both the pros and cons of working for free.

The work whenever you like internship

I got my first internship about three months after moving to Madrid. I was settled and happy in my new home but wanted something to do alongside teaching (which I already knew wasn’t my calling). I could already craft hilariously topical tweets and followed social media trends – I just needed a way to prove it to potential employers. This internship was great as it allowed me to do just that alongside my day job. I may not have been getting paid – but I was gaining experience and could work from my bed. The company knew I needed another means of income so let me choose my own hours. All in all it was a pretty great arrangement made for a great internship.

The liberally described internship

Two months after getting my first internship I saw an ad for another one. It was a much more established company and offered the chance to work from their office. Even though it meant I would have to cut down my teaching hours, I took the risk and went for it. I got the job and soon found out I’d be working 20 hours a week (at the time I thought this was inhumane). Of course, unpaid. But whatever, you’ve gotta suffer for your art, right?

So I turn up for my first day of work. I sit at my desk and am ready to start my role as Social Media & Communications Intern. But what exactly is that role? In this company, my job was essentially to sit on Facebook and post a million advertisements to different groups. Imagine doing that. FOR. FOUR. HOURS. Needless to say, it wasn’t exactly what I’d call a social media position. But I hate confrontation and naively thought that maybe I’d get more exciting tasks as time went on. But I didn’t. Two months into the internship and enough was enough. Not only was I not getting paid for my time, but I wasn’t gaining any experience either. I quit and quickly went back to teaching full time. I kept my original internship for another eight months or so but in the end became jaded about the whole idea of being an intern. Where was my money? I thought I was done. But I wasn’t.

The full time employee internship

A whole year and a half later I was facing the prospect of another summer teaching English to camp kids when I saw an ad for an Editorial Internship in my city. It was for three months so I knew it wouldn’t be some never ending pit of despair and figured it’d be a beneficial way to spend the summer. So I interviewed. I got it. I yay’d. Imagine my surprise when I find out that this internship was 40 whole hours a week. More than double what I worked on my €1000 salary as a teacher. But this was the career I wanted, so I was willing to make the sacrifice.

This time was definitely a step up from my previous position – I had my own desk and computer and spinny chair. But most importantly, I had responsibility. In the three months I was there, I actually learnt a lot. I got to develop the skills I already had as well as learning new ones – such as email marketing and exposure to new CMSs. In fact, I was doing so much stuff there that I couldn’t help but wonder – why aren’t I being paid for this? As much as I was learning about the industry, I was also learning about how unfair the whole unpaid intern thing can be. Upon leaving the role, I was asked about any suggestions I had for improving it for future interns. I said that they should pay travel expenses – which for me would have been €60 for the whole time I was there. It’s kind of hard to feel any self worth when supposedly 480 hours of your work isn’t even worth €60 to your employers.

And with that, I officially end my internship journey.

Sure, there are positives to being an intern and I don’t regret any of my jobs. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without them – but that’s the problem, why is it necessary for someone to do all this work just to get a job? I spent three years getting my degree only to discover that entry level jobs want you to have two years experience alongside it. Now I can see why Hermione needed that Time-Turner so badly.

In the future, I hope this changes. I hope that companies stop demanding a PHD and a previous CEO role for an entry level gig and that other businesses start paying their interns at least a travel card and a sandwich for all their hard work. But until then, stay strong little intern babies. Soon you will be in charge and can pay all the future interns as much as you want.

New Year, New Me?

Ugh. I hate myself for even writing that, and it isn’t even what I set out to do this new year. But scrolling through my camera roll just now I’ve realised, damn, I’m a total cliché. I’ve made all the stereotypical January choices this year and I’m kinda loving it. But also I’m the worst. Seriously, look:

The most cringeworthy of all New Years resolutions: excercise. I’ve never been one for these January/gym combinations before… heck, even the most basic of physical excursion makes me want to cry. But my daily treks up five flights of stairs and the loss of my 18 year old metabolism has meant I’ve taken more of an interest in fitness this year. I’ve started RUNNING (holla at the NHS Couch to 5K podcast) in the park and I’m even looking into a gym membership. My favourite part of this new regime is my new running jacket… it has thumb holes! 😀

I’ve always been a fan of juices and smoothies and often force myself to head to a juice bar over a coffee shop in the mornings, but I’ve never really dedicated myself to the cause (my kitchen is totes too small for a blender). But on my way back from my first run, I spotted this little place tucked away on a busy street, and damn, I’m in love. Nothing makes a run more bearable than knowing there’s a nice fresh carrot, banana, and orange juice waiting for you on the other side. This time, I’m okay with being cliché.

TREAT YO SELF. In my case, that means multiple trips to Lush in the span of a month. This isn’t even all of it. Some of it has been repurchases of old favourites (Enzymion moisturiser and Mask of Magnaminty), but the bulk of it has been new babies for me to try. If I’m gonna live in Spain, I might as well smell like it, and The Olive Branch definitely does the job. I also got Ultrabland to give my skin a treat, and Daddio shampoo for this next reason…

Tadaaaaa! New hair! After almost two years of being a begrudging brunette, I’m back to blonde, baby. Well… kind of.  It’s not up to my usual ice princess standard, but we’ll get there (thanks, Daddio). But what better way to start the new year than with a new look? I kinda see why people do this.

So I’m a giant cliché now, who knew? Oddly I’m okay with it.

What Is Home, Baby Don’t Hurt Me?

Get ready, guys. Cause this is where the #FirstWorldProblems start.

Ever since I moved abroad, I’ve had a weird relationship with home. Home here meaning the place I grew up, because after seventeen months, Madrid certainly feels like home now. I jumped on my first plane to Madrid in July 2014 and didn’t come again until the following December. And although I felt pretty settled in España, I remember feeling soooo excited to go home. I compiled lists of the food I wanted to eat, the people I wanted to see, the places I wanted to go. I felt relaxed and content to be back in my teenage bedroom, wearing my teenage clothes (here’s looking at you, Ryan Air baggage allowance), and seeing my teenage friends. But then came January, and I started a new job and met new people and just delved further and further into my Madrid life.

My next visit wasn’t for another eight months. I was still excited for the trip, if not only because of the finance drought faced by all English teachers every summer, but it definitely felt different to Christmas. And I had the realisation that my friends’ careers didn’t give them the luxury to take two weeks off every summer to harass their parents. So off to Madrid I went again, back to the bars I loved and the currency I’d become accustomed to.

Which brings us to today: I’m currently in the middle of my third trip to the UK since I moved to Madrid, and this time has been a very different experience. There was no list of food sent to my mum this year, no special requests, or hounding people over texts to see when we could hang out. I’ve just gone with the flow. And it’s taken me these entire three trips back to realise that the main points of my trip home consist of boring things that my inability to speak Spanish stop me from accomplishing in Madrid: getting blood tests, going to the opticians, and getting my birth control on the beauty that is the NHS. Of course, I love seeing my family, friends, and my cat. And I’ll never complain about eating normal bread for a change, but it’s gotten to the point where I’m not counting down with dread to my flight home. Because Madrid is that to me now: home.

This whole post might seem so obvious or so dramatic: but it’s only just really hit me that there wasn’t a distinct moment where I was like ‘this is it, Madrid is my home now’. It happened in bits and stages and it took over a year but yep, guess I’m pretty content with life right now. I’ll take my studio apartment and hour long commute to work over easily accessible vegetarian food for the time being.

Miss you, Madrid, see you in a week.


But I’ll miss this little monster more ❤

5 Things I Wish I Knew During Freshers’ Week

 

183192_1902342362315_5539133_n

I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon of all these ‘x things you should know during Freshers Week’ type posts floating around, because if there’s anything I regret in life, it’s 75% of my university experience. It’s been five years to the day since I rolled up to my first year halls of accommodation, and if I could go back and do it all again, here’s what I’d want to know…

5) You don’t have to change everything about yourself! Real talk, I used university as a way to totally reinvent myself. I was gonna be confident, social, and not a giant nerd. This lasted a total of maybe three months before I crashed and burned and went back to my introverted little bubble. Eventually I discovered a nice medium between the two, but I still wish I hadn’t felt I had to become a completely different person to get people to like me.

4) It’s okay to say no! I knew before university started that I wasn’t a big clubbing person. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about that alcohol, but I’m a bar person through and through. Large crowds make me anxious and I’ve never understood why you’d willingly go somewhere where it’s too loud to hold a conversation. I know, I sound like the life of the party. I tried to force myself to go clubbing multiple times a week to avoid being that person, but as well as taking a major hit to my bank balance, I was completely about dreading two nights of my week. Once I started staying in and discussing the linear logistics of Doctor Who with other likeminded introverts, I was much happier. And those times where I did go out, I enjoyed a hell of a lot more. Go figure.

3) But say yes to things too! WOAAAH WILDCARD. This is advice that I still carry with me to this day: saying yes pays off. You’re 18, living without parents for the first time, this is when you can really figure out this whole life thing. What you like, what you don’t, etc etc etc. Despite my crippling social anxiety, during university I helped write a satirical political sitcom, wrote a controversial (and insanely popular) newspaper article, and argued the finer points of gender identity and existentialism with my lecturers. All things I consider to have shaped who I am today. And this was the year that Netflix reached the UK, so it could have all ended very differently.

2) Make friends outside of your flat! It’s easy to fall into a safety blanket of friendship when you’re all thrown together in the same situation (especially with the aid of Never Have I Ever), but try and make an effort to befriend people other than your flatmates. After your first year you probably won’t speak to half of them again anyway, and it’s always good to have people to sit with in lectures. I definitely had more fun with the people I befriended through common interests rather than a shared kitchen.

1) And finally, don’t start dating someone your first semester and continue doing so until your last. Trust me, it comes from experience. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Remember, university isn’t the real world, so if you mess up that badly you can always start the whole process over again after graduation. Say by, oh I don’t know, moving to Spain. Heh.

My Favourite Language Learning Apps: Spanish

I’ll admit, after almost fourteen months of living in Madrid, my Spanish is pretty terrible. I got complacent. I learnt what I needed to know (restaurant talk, bank talk, basic pleasantries), and then just stopped. Whether it’s because I’m lazy or because shrieking ‘NO HABLO ESPAÑOL’ when people try to engage me in conversation is an introvert’s dream, I’m not entirely sure. But somehow it happened. Occasionally, however, I do go through bursts of inspiration and/or guilt over my terrible language skills, and crack down for a week or two… but it never lasts for long. Especially with a Spanish boyfriend who I can look at expectantly whenever anyone asks me a question. But with a new academic year comes a new eruption of determination. So I figured I’d review my favourites of the countless language learning apps I’ve used over the last year, in the hopes it can help other little clueless expats out there. De nada.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 13.37.27

Duolingo:

Duolingo seems to be everyone’s go-to language learning app, probably because it’s so easily accessible on both mobile and PC. My first experiences with it were a few years ago when I attempted to relearn German… which didn’t go great. But once I decided I was going to move to Spain, I decided to give it another try.

Pros:

  • The language tree is a great way to quickly see which areas you need to work on. It’s bright and clear and not cluttered, which doesn’t make you feel overwhelmed by everything you need to learn.
  • The point based system makes it like a game, and if you’re as competitive as I am, earning those lingots is a great way to get motivated when you feel like skipping a day. Particularly with the chance to ‘buy’ extra levels, such as the flirting pack, which I love to terrorise my boyfriend with.
  • The comments on the questions make it really seem like a community. Sometimes the example sentences on Duolingo are odd to say the least, and seeing what other people had to say about the hilarious statements is a good way to remind yourself that other people are going through the same thing.

Cons:

  • Along with the strange sentence choices, some of the topics on Duolingo are a bit useless. In the job category I learnt about soldiers and commanders and lieutenants, words that I barely ever use in English, whilst completely skipping out professions such as butcher and baker and, uh, candlestick maker?
  • The fluency percentage thing. There is no way in hell I have 47% fluency in Spanish. 4.7% maybe, but not this. How is this even worked out?
  • THAT DAMN OWL. It looks so disappointed when you miss a day, that I’ve found myself not going on the site for weeks because I can’t deal with his judgemental little face. Thank you, uncanny valley.

Verdict: Duolingo is a great starting point for language learning, and also a great supplement to other services, but as a whole it just doesn’t do enough to help you really learn a language. For vocabulary stuff, it’s great, but I found that it didn’t help progress my grammar at all, so I ended up talking like a simpleton all day (whereas now I can speak like a toddler, yeaaaah).

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 13.37.46

Cat Spanish:

Cat Spanish was my first paid language learning app, and you can only use it on your mobile. I am a very visual learner, so Cat Spanish was great for me, as it uses hilarious and adorable cat pictures to help you remember phrases easier. It probably helps if, like me, you are obsessed with cats. This app is definitely more a memorisation type of learning, rather than teaching you to figure things out for yourself, and although that might not be everyone’s way of learning, to me it really helped me find my confidence and gave me a basis to work off of.

Pros:

  • Lolcat-esque images that relate to specific phrases. If you’re a visual learner, a cat rolling around in toilet paper might help you remember what to say if you need toilet paper (which came in useful for me when I couldn’t reach it in a store).
  • Small levels which feel manageable. The app only introduces a couple of phrases at a time, so you’re not overwhelmed by words and grammar and pronunciation.
  • It’s in Castilian Spanish! Most of the language apps I’ve tried have been in South American Spanish, which is completely useless for me living in Spain. My biggest language app pet peeve is that developers don’t clearly mark which continent their language is for. Cat Spanish means I can actually use the phrases I learn in confidence knowing that people will understand me (other than my awful pronunciation, of course).

Cons:

  • Sooooo much repetition. I know that repetition is key to learning languages (spoiler alert, I’m an English teacher), but this app really takes it to a whole new level. I find myself screaming ‘yes, yes, I’ve got it now THANK YOU’ at my phone when it’s asking me a question for the millionth time. This is particularly relevant in the part where you have a conversation with a cat… they don’t flow fluently and even if I didn’t know the answer it would be easy to guess anyway because they give you all three choices. Come on guys, give me a challenge.
  • Refers to itself as a ‘social language learning app’ but for those of us who don’t have FB friends also using the app (or don’t like connecting absolutely every account we make to FB), social doesn’t even come into it. It paired me up with some random people who I guess downloaded it at the same time as me, but they stopped using the app months ago. So for me, this is the most solitary of all three apps I use.

Verdict: This was the first app that really got me to stick my teeth into learning Spanish, and acted as a great stepping stone to me -finally- starting to understand the language. For me, the memorisation technique works really well, but other people might prefer a more grammar based approach. I love this app, and think it’s worth the money, but it will all depend on what learning style works for you.

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 13.38.31

Memrise:

The most recent app I’ve tried, but definitely my favourite (and actually from the people behind Cat Spanish). I’ve been using this app all summer now and feel I’ve progressed more with Spanish in these last few months than the entire year I’ve been here. Like Duolingo, you can use both the mobile app or the website, set a daily goal, and keep up your learning streak… but for some reason it just works so much better for me.

Pros:

  • Whereas other language learning apps start at the very beginning, Memrise offers a whole variety of courses so you can start at whatever level you feel comfortable at. I’m currently dabbling in two different levels, so it really feels like a more personalised course than the others. Yay.
  • The option to skip levels is really useful. Sometimes constantly failing on one aspect makes you not want to continue, so when ser vs estar was getting too much for me, I jumped ahead to the next level, and went back to tackle the earlier level later.
  • The review option actually seems to work. As in, the things it chooses are phrases that I probably should be reviewing at that time. Unlike Duolingo which seems to make you review everything every damn day. It just makes using this app an actual pleasant thing to do instead of something I dread. Go Memrise!
  • When you’re struggling with a word or phrase, you get the option to pair it with a ‘meme’ to help you remember it. More of that good ol’ visual learning stuff again! For me, the word for wrong is an angry avocado.

Cons:

  • Sometimes I don’t really understand the order it teaches things in. Like taking a million different levels to teach me the numbers, something I learnt myself before I used this app in about ten minutes, but trying to cram every variety of ser and estar into one level. One of these things is not like the other.

Verdict: Memrise pretty much gives you the best of both worlds mixing traditional and visual learning together depending on when you need it. I feel as if Memrise is more customisable than other apps I’ve tried, making it more enjoyable to use as I actually feel like I’m getting somewhere. More enjoyable to use, better Spanish skills. Yay!

So I think it’s pretty obvious which tool is my favourite. Memrise just ticks all the boxes for me, and although I’m still guilty of skipping a day every now and then, I’m more dedicated to this app than I have been the others (owl or no owl). I’d recommend Memrise to anyone trying to improve their language skills, particularly the Spanish course. Of course, I’m supplementing my use of this site with a textbook and activities of my own creation (as well as, y’know, going outside and interacting with Spanish people), but I like to consider Memrise the centre of my current language learning endeavour, and I doubt I’d be as learning as much without it there to guide me.

A Cliché First Grownup Apartment Inspiration Post

So as I covered in my last post, I’m a total real proper grownup now. Kinda. Because I’ve said hasta luego to my roommates and I live in a studio now. Yay? But with moving apartments, a quick visit to the UK, and that whole pesky not-getting-paid-til-October thing, decorating the new place has been taking a bit of a backseat. In case you don’t stalk me all over social media (ummm, why not?), I moved from my spacey four bed shared apartment to a cute lil studio apartment with my boyfriend. So not only do I have to learn how to fit everything in such a small space, I have to take another person’s design preferences into account. Gross.

My apartment is a good size for two people to live comfortably, but it’s a loft apartment, which means dealing with a sloped ceiling and giant beams all over the place. My main issue is finding suitable storage, without everything looking too cluttered or bleh. So until the elusive paycheck makes it return, I’m left just stalking Apartment Therapy and Pinterest. So consider this one of those cliché apartment inspiration posts. You’re welcome.

My walls are white and I have an ugly-ass printed sofa that needs covering. And I want pillows. Lots of pillows. As well as trying to make my clothing rail less of an eyesore (seriously, they aren’t as Pinterest-worthy when they have your entire closet crammed on it). So the plan for the time being is little splashes of colours and prints and patterns, a stark contrast from the monochrome fortress that was my last room. I’ve already started on an ~art wall~ on the partition wall that separates the kitchen and lounge. Seriously, I told you it was gonna be cliché.

 tumblr_ndz09laMmz1r6kaa9o3_1280tumblr_n2zx63gLet1r6kaa9o5_1280tumblr_ntj239sKLj1rrcm6ho1_1280 tumblr_ntgbo6pxDn1r6kaa9o4_1280

5036c2efe266b90c9b0002f6._w.540_

{"key":"m5"}
{“key”:”m5″}

Okay, so maybe I’m not as completely over the monochrome thing as I made out. But whatever. Current wishlist items include an elephant print blanket, cute storage boxes, and some fairylights.