Textual Analysis – Drag Queen edition.

In this particular blog post I shall be dissecting part of the lyrics of RuPaul’s infamous Mash-Up from All Star’s 2 – Read U Wrote U. Regarding the lyrics as a form of beat poetry, the 3rd stanza – written by Brian McCook – will be the focus of our study. Why? Because why the fuck not?

The stanza is book-ended with the author’s pseudonym Yekaterina (Petrovna) Zamolodchikova. This reminds the reader that this is a biographical piece.

Yekaterina Petrovna Zamolodchikova
But your dad just calls me Katya

In previous works, McCook mentions Olympic gymnast [Elena} Zamolodchikova as one of his inspirations. One could look on this as transferred epithet of both the fluidity of the body, expressed in both McCook and Zamolodchikova, as well as the fluidity of gender demonstrated in his performance of the piece. Loosely translated, Petrovna means ‘rock.’ McCook’s intentions behind this name are not clear, however one could translate it has having a strong foundation, possibly by Anastasia Beverly Hills… “Yekaterina” is a Russian name with Greek origins, meaning “pure” or “wholesome.” The use of irony is clear here, as it is directly juxtaposed with the implications that Katya has slept with the readers’ fathers. The whore.

Before analysing the lyrics of the song, it is important to look at the structure of the poem. The verse follows a strict AAB CCB DDB EEB… pattern. This pattern is most commonly seen in a ballad. Ballads are a great way to tell stories, and are often used to convey a deeply meaningful event in life. We are introduced the character of Katya in the first line of the verse with a physical description.

I’m the bright red scare with the long blonde hair
Always keep ’em coming back for more

Here, McCook addresses the reader indirectly with the use of “’em” – which the reader feels to be part of. This is a common technique used in ballads as the reader can insert themselves into the story immediately, and can relate to it more easily. We also see the mention of her “long blonde hair” – a nod to Katya’s Russian heritage and femininity. The term “bright red scare” has connotations beyond the red clothes Katya typically wears. In the West “red scare” was a term synonymous with the fear of communism. That being said, the colour red has had a positive association long before it’s correlation to Communism. The words ‘red’ and ‘beautiful’ are similar in Russian, yet another reminder of the physicality of the author.

You’re a basic ass hoe and it’s your time to go
So bitch let me show you the door

Here, the context of the piece becomes evident. The author is reading the reader for filth, and placing the piece directly in a competition setting. Her intentions and implications are clear – Katya believes that she is superior to the reader, yet is humble enough to escort a bitch out. It shows a level of class that Katya possesses…

Cause it’s me whose getting laid and I’m always getting paid;
The only high class Russian whore
I’m a scorching hot mess in a skin tight dress
That’s a rash, not a herpes sore

The following lines of the stanza immediately re-enforce the marrying of Katya and class. However, the cognitive dissonance is evident to the reader, with the juxtaposition of ‘high class,’ ‘whore,’ and ‘mess.’ Again, the threat of communism is there  multiple times. Once, with the mention of ‘scorching’ – giving connotations of the redness associated with it. The second time we are introduced to the concept in a more graphic way, whereby the reader is reminded on communism through the redness of herpes a rash.

Lenin in the streets, Dostoyevsky in the sheets
Baby, are you ready for this Cold War?

Lenin stated that the new Soviet Union was surrounded by a “hostile capitalist encirclement”, and he viewed diplomacy as a weapon to keep Soviet enemies divided. The struggle between communism and capitalism is real child, highlighting the issues within drag race itself, a show built on building a community for massive gain. Are we ready for that? Yes gawd. Dostoyevsky himself wrote many erotic letters to his lover long after they were married, showing himself to be the original sexter, and therefore someone you want in the sheets. He believed that the world was hungry for sex, and while he may not have approved, he was right.

In conclusion, Russian through this we see an autobiographical journey of a competition, sprinkled with some history and linguistics. UNNnnhhh.

Advertisements

A day in the life of a grad student.

08:00 – I am awake. My alarm will not snooze any more and I have 15 minutes to shower, get dressed, eat something healthy, do some squats, mentally prepare for the day ahead and then meet my friend to walk into uni.

08:11 – My shower is Katy Perry. Hot and then cold. It is not pleasant.

08:12 – My flatmate fills the kettle to make tea, scorching me to within an inch of my life in the room next door and forcing me out the shower.

08:12 – Shit I’m going to be so late.

08:16 – I am one minute late but I am dressed. I have not eaten yet, I have a large tea bouncing in my hand and my hair is still wet with last nights make up dripping down my face. Am I hungover? I recall the three beers I had last night and consider that I’m maybe just tired.

08:18 – My friend slept in so I head off. I am grumpy and slightly damp. I remember I haven’t put deodorant on. The last time I put it on may have been days ago.

08:25 – I also didn’t do my squats. I walk a little faster to maybe make up for it but I know it won’t make a difference. I dream of cheese twists and Twix’s.

08:45 – I arrive at the library and find a computer with the optimum position. I’m right at the wall. There is no one around. I beam triumphantly and then I remember that it’s Saturday and of course no one is in. I consider doing squats in the toilet whist I put on deodorant.

09:00 – The cafe opens. I have budgeted £2 for tea today. Fortunately this isn’t my first all day library session as a marketing post grad, so I know how to stretch this money. The last time I was home my mother gave be portable shot glasses. I repurposed them into tea carriers.

teaOh, you think I’m joking? By taking tea bags and milk like this I can get 8 cups of tea out of my £2. That’s right. Eight times more tea than if I hadn’t bothered. I am pleased with myself. I am so thrifty. I hate Starbucks.

10:30 – I turn off my phone in an attempt to focus on my dissertation proposal. I’m not one for facebook but I find myself on the weird part of youtube, not concentrating.

11:00 – I check instagram for the 400th time in the past 2 hours and find that I have a new follower. I stalk them, tastefully liking at least two of their recent photos before deciding that it’s ok if they follow me but I probably won’t return the favour. I feel smug. And powerful. I’m winning at a game that no one else is playing.

12:30 – I realise that I have been staring out of the window for over seven minutes. I think of the game seven minutes in heaven and remember 13 going on 30, the movie with Jennifer Garner. I think of Juno, which Jennifer Garner was also in. I remember that song by Barry Louise Porter, All I want is you. I think about I think of other songs that have the lyric If I were…

13:00 –  I’m contemplating how sweet it is that all that Tevye would want is to have a seat by the Eastern wall, if he was a rich man. I’d want a lot more than that. Like a flat in Park Circus that has a mezzanine.

13:01 – I wonder who Yente would choose for me….

13:03 – I search for musicals on Spotify.

13:14 – I get paranoid that people are staring at me sometimes. I know that I’m wearing a men’s XXL shirt and leggings but there is a girl in here wearing jodhpurs and a flower crown. I am not the weirdest one here.

13:16 – I can’t get over how catchy Rocky Horror’s Time warp is! I can’t stop seat dancing.

13:16 – I realise why people are staring.

14:00 – My stomach growls loudly enough for the girl next time me to shift her eyes over to me without moving her head from it’s resting position on her hand. I have written 1600 words of my proposal. My eyes are sore.

14:05 – I settle down to lunch. It is a disappointing cold fish cake left over from last nights vigorous and spontaneous desire to cook something with substance. I choke down a spoonful of chia seeds in a feeble attempt to trick my body into thinking it’s full. For some reason I think they are good for me so I keep shovelling them in. They are tasteless, and lack substance. Much like my proposal…

15:30 – I finally remove the chia seeds from my teeth. My tongue hurts. I should visit the dentist next time I’m home.

16:00 – It’s hour seven. I see people just coming into the library and I scoff. Amateurs. The libary madness is setting in. They are at the beginning. I am the end.

16:01 – Isn’t that a bible passage? I am the first and the last, the first and the beginning, the alpha and the omega.

16:02 – It is. Corinthians 22:13.

16:02 – So is the love is patient love is kind thing… I thought that was from sex and the city.

16:04 – I feel guilty for not knowing that…. I feel the Catholic guilt.

16:05 – I remember the time I lied to my parents when I was three and a half and feel guilty.

16:10 – I am shame spiralling big time. I’m remembering every stupid thing I have ever done ever. I am so stupid.

16:11 – I thought that the Falkland Islands were where Orkney was.

16:12 – Like, how did I not know that. What have I been doing with my life. Why am I even here.

16:30 – I stare blankly at the screen, the mouse pulsating at the last place I stopped typing. How did I even get into this post grad. I am a fully fledged idiot. I thought that Carrie Bradshaw made up the most prolific love quotation of all time…

16:40 – I snap out of it. I have written 2000 words today. Good job that this thing isn’t due in for another 2 days because normally I’m way further behind. That’s the spirit.

17:00 – I’m an adult, I whisper, as I order 7 crackle candles from eBay.

17:30 – I wish there was eBay Prime, so I could get my crackley candles tomorrow. I simply cannot wait. I am a millennial. What is waiting…?

18:45 – I’m somehow 1/3rd of the way through Waiting for Godot.

18:46 – I’m Waiting for God-almighty is that the time? It’s nearly hour 9. NINE Hours in the libary.

19:00 – To quote Beckett “The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh.” For each one who begins to enter the library, somewhere else another leaves. I.e. SEE YA BITCHES, I’M OUT.

19:09 – I wish I’d pee’d before my long walk home. 8 large Starbucks teas really take a toll on you.

19:28 – God I’m so healthy. All this walking and good eating. I’m part of the elite.

19:30 – I arrive home and my flatmate is trying to order Dumpling Monkey but her boyfriend isn’t up for it…

19:31 – It’s actually rude to NOT help her out actually. I’m just being a supportive friend. I’m a saint, really.

20:20 – Dumpling overload. I am queen dumpling. DumpKing. Ok… maybe not.

20:31 – Time for Netflix and beer.

20:32 – Ha! You thought I was gonna say Netflix and Chill. The only thing that’s chilling here is my god damn PBR.

22:00 – Ok, this is a reasonable bed time. I’ll start to get ready for be- HOLY SHIT DID I SAVE MY PROPOSAL.

23:50 – Just a few tweaks added to it. It’s almost perfect now.

00:00 – Too late for a beer? Nah

00:04 – Wow did I really only write 2000 words today? I should get some rest and get up early to work on it tomorrow.

00:30 – Beer break

00:58 – Beer break

01:00 – Beer break

01:30 – There. 1000 extra words of pish make up for it. Tomorrow I can call it editing and it’ll seem like I’m doing someth-hick……………

 

Pre-grad gripes.

I am a soon to be graduate. In the worst possible era to be a soon to be graduate. Despite 92.2% of graduates becoming employed within 6 months of graduation in 2010 at my university, I do not hold out much hope for myself.

The reasons are fairly simple. I’m an sporadically motivated Faculty of Arts student. I chose my degree at the age of 16, and as Imagea sufferer of chronic decimal blindness (you need to read some Douglas Coupland books if you don’t know that reference) I did not fast forward to what 22 year old me might want to do. What she wants to do is watch Netflix and drink copious volumes of tea for a living. I guess Netflix didn’t exist when I was 16 and my view of the internet was restricted to Bebo, MySpace and YouTube. I still drank a lot of tea though. I’m British, sue me.

However, 22 year old me also has a will to work. When I have a task to do I do it. When I have a job I freaking work. I am the queen of unskilled labour. Charity shop girl. Check. Kitchen Porter. Check. Hospital cleaner. Check. Followed by a magnitude of jobs such as teachers assistant (in Spain, thank you!), waitress, silver service waitress, receptionist/tour guide/chef/cleaner (again, but this time in Portugal), flyer-hander-outer, a bouncer at school rugby matches, debates hostess. It stretched to unofficial pub crawl leader. I’m currently an ironer. I iron things. Have you ever taken a jumper with fringe trim into a dry cleaners? Then you are Satan. Bitches are hard to iron.

The picture above is something I’m fairly proud of. Over a three day period I applied to all the places you see chicken scrawled in the picture. Side note, I’m pleased I learnt how to write before the internet, because I just don’t think I’d how to spell otherwise. Kids have it easy these days. Anyway. I applied to 19 positions, 12 of which were in Lisbon. I heard back “No” from 6 of them, split equally between Glasgow and Lisbon. They were all in the tourism industry, stating I could do all hours bla bla bla. And nada. What’s even more insulting is that 13 didn’t even bother with a response. I applied for some graduate positions earlier in the year, online, and one sent me a rejection email which said “Thank you so much for coming in for your interview”. I looked around at my room, which I hadn’t left for a few days and was suddenly panicked I had been a victim of job fraud. How bad would it be if the person frauding me couldn’t even get the god damn job.

Basically I’m sick of the “What are you doing after university?”/”Are you ready for the big bad world?” questions. With my degree (Hispanic Studies) everything thinks there are two career paths. And ONLY two.

  1. Teacher
  2. Translator

Are those my options? Have I worked for five whole years to have two options? Can’t I just work in a bar in Madrid or maybe become a professional surfer in Peniche? Professional bed tester at Bed, Bath and Beyond? Original Netflix productions script reviewer? 

The answer is probably not. Because this generation of arts students are being royally seen to. They cut the funding (anyone remember the Hetherington Occupation? I was there…) then they cut the strings of hope. Ok, that was dramatic but you see my point. I just think it’s a shame that there are so many intelligent people in the arts that won’t get the job they deserve. Like me, god dammit.

So… If any of you know someone in need of a “motivated and punctual individual” who is actually pretty good at analysing texts and films… Hit me up. I’ll be there with bells on. And my hair out of my face wearing modest work outfit with sensible shoes. Presentable…

Glasgow at a glance

Being in your final year of university really clips your wings, travelwise. You can do all the money saving tips you can, but deadlines and coursework are always going to get in the way. So I’ve decided to get to know my own city better.

ImageI currently live in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest (but not capital…) city. 2014 is going to be a great time to be in Glasgow. The Commonwealth games, the VMAs, and Radio One’s big weekend are all held here this year! So if you’re gonna head here at some point make it this summer, especially if you’re interested in free ticket festivals.

I have lived here, on and off, for five years now, and I have found myself stuck within my comfort zone. So I made a small questionnaire and circulated it amongst some very kind people (to whom I now owe a beverage) to get some different places to go. This may turn into a mini series, it depends how many replies I get!

The first and very prompt response was my festival friend Kerry, who is a 22 year old working towards a BA Hons in Visual Arts at Glasgow Kelvin College and lives in the West End (a wise choice indeed). I asked her seven questions about Glasgow hot spots to which only a couple of our answers were the same. Great minds and all that. She has a very interesting project coming up which has had a lot of attention on social media sites, I think Gordon Ramsey has even participated. People are asked to send in a post-it with a drawing of their image of Scotland. You can do so too! until opening night in Kelvin College on March 6th 2014, and will remain open until the 14th – you should all check it out!

Best place for a first date?

I’ve always imagined The Stand on a Red Raw night would be perfect! You’ve got the intervals and the start to chat and work out if you like the person but then if it’s going badly you’ve got comedy acts performing so you don’t need to talk!

My first date with my current boyfriend was to Cafe Anduluz. It went really well, I think the tapas dishes make for conversation and sharing made it intimate but not weird. Plus great atmosphere and West End staff are awesome. We’re now regulars!

My answer to this was essentially the same. Tuesday nights or “Red Raw” at the Stand are always a great mix of cringe and entertainment. It’s so cheap and fun. I’m also a huge fan of Cafe Andaluz. Check their website as they usually have a deal on!

Best place for a cheap meal?

Cocktail & Burger on Sauchihall Street! £5 lunch deal with bottomless soft drink! Plus 10% for students and if you have the SRC app on your phone. They used to do 2 for 1.. but I have a feeling they’ve stopped. Really cool atmosphere and they showcase local art students too.

While I’m fundamentally against the SRC app (even though I have one and use it) I can’t really turn my nose up at a place that cheap!

Best place to go all out/best night?

I like a cheesy, cheap and cheerful night out… Bamboo!! Love a bit of horrible R ‘n’ B with some classic cheese thrown in.

Bamboo is definitely cheap and cheerful! Try Disco Badger on Fridays for some truly awful great tunes. Just don’t sign up to anything because they text you all the time and make you feel like you have friends.

Best place to go with your significant others parents?

Kelvingrove Art Gallery! If you’re struggling with conversation you can just pretend you’re really into a piece of art… and it’s usually pretty PC so not much to be offended by if you want to make a good impression.

Good advice and a good location, it’s a stunning building! Plus it’s free 😀

Best place to go with children?

I am stumped……… I took my sister to Scotstoun to see Glasgow Warriors and that was pretty fun! Science Centre still entertains me so that would be good fun!

When I was little I remember that the Science Centre was a big event. An adult can get in for just under a tenner and kids and students are obviously cheaper! 

Hidden gems?

The Flying Duck! Just across from the Cineworld. They do life drawing classes on a Tuesday evening and Jazz on a Thursday! Pretty neat huh.

Bajo. A really god awful shooters bar on Bath Street. It’s so bad, but so cheap and because not many people know of it or like it you get served so quickly!! Pornstars are my fave. And the staff are really chatty and when you start spending too much money they start to bring your drinks to your table. lawl.

Cafe Anduluz. I’m not sure it’s a hidden Gem.. but it’s my favourite restaurant, tapas baby.

I only recently discovered the Flying Duck! It’s a great wee gem, they have lots of board games as well, which can usually be turned into drinking games. I’ve never heard of Bajo, but that’s the reason I had this idea! I need to get down there…

A place you couldn’t pay me to go to.

Campus.
Southside – my nemesis

Yeahh, the Southside isn’t great. Venture over the the Citz theatre though! And Campus… well it’s “a frat house” it’s cheap and crap, but don’t knock it till you try it! (Though you probably will knock it after anyways.

So a big thank you to Kerry! Go and check out her Post it project or send one in yourselves!

If anyone here is from Glasgow or knows it well and thinks that they can also do it justice please let me know in the comments!

Planning the GART (Great American Road Trip) pt. 1

Image

For a while now I’ve been 100% obsessed with America, particularly the South. Maybe it’s the introduction I’ve had to Netflix, and therefore classic American shows like Man v Food, Modern Family, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, and RuPaul’s Drag Race (there is no hint of sarcasm there, I genuinely adore these shows). A personal goal of mine is to do a Man v Food trip across the states, eating at all the restaurants he goes to. That is the dream.

However I am still just a student, and I do not have the funds for such extravagant travel yet. A friend and I are planning a Route XYZ trip across America in the summer sometime and, man, is it the most complicated thing? Probably. So I’ve decided that (mainly for my own benefit) I’m going to list the Routes and highlights of each trip, featuring Man v Food’s food stops. Websites that have been particularly helpful with this and deserve a huge shout out are Road Trip USA and Road Kill Customs. And of course the classic Trip Advisor for timing advice etc.

Route 101 – Pacific Coast

Starting in Seattle and ending up in San Diego near the Mexican border, the Pacific Coast Route covers a huge variety of lifestyles in America. It passes three states: Washington; Oregon; and California. The trip itself is roughly 1,540 miles (or 2, 478 kilometres) and should take around 22 days, in a rush. You can do it from Vancouver, if you fancy a Canadian addition to your trip (and who wouldn’t, let’s face it).

You can expect to pass through Olympic National Park, providing that there isn’t another government shut down… There are a number of beautiful beaches, as well as tidal rock-pools. I would recommend taking some time to do the Waterfall Trail because this seems to be one of the main highlights of the park, as well as beautiful.

If you have the time you can take a small detour to Cannon beach, which is about a four hour drive from the National Park. Most of the coastal tows of Oregon are based along Route 101, however Cannon beach is not. You can surf, camp, and view many outdoor theatre shows.

Should you choose to by pass Cannon beach about three and a half hours from Olympic Park you find the city of Portland. And of course, here is my first nod to the legend that is Adam Richman. Portland is the city of mancakes from Stepping Stone Pancakes, delicious doughnuts from VooDoo Doughnuts, which can be customised to order and are open 24/7, nearly 365, and finally Richman’s Great Balls of Fire Challenge at Salvador Molly’s. This challenge consisted of eating five habanero cheese fritters. Man won.

Heading on south you’ll find yourself in the Avenue of the Giants, which is a forest of red wood trees which stretches for 31 miles along the highway in Northern California. You can wine taste, if you’re over 21, wander around art galleries, or camp and trek among these ancient beauties.

Around 3 hours south of the Avenue of the Giants we end up in San Francisco, home of the largest celebration of Gay Pride. if you aren’t there during pride, which is June 28th-29th 2014, you can hit up many of the permanent attractions San Francisco has to offer, such as the Exploratorium, aquariums, or the hundreds of art galleries and museums San Fran has to offer. It was also the city of this amazing stunt. And the 2nd stop of our Man v Food tour! This city round Adam visited Taqueria la Cumbre, birthplace of the mission style burritos, Ike’s Place, where any sandwich filling is possible, and the challenge restaurant being the San Francisco Creamery Co. where food sadly won in the Kitchen Sink Challenge.

Heading further south you’ll pass Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay, however these are not en route. The next stop is Hearst Castle which was founded in 1865, and is an important historical site in California. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy try heading down south for another couple of hours before hitting Santa Barbara. There you can visit Lotus Land, the Zoo, or one of the any beautiful beaches Saint B has to offer. You can also visit the Man v Food spot La Super-Rica Taqueria, which does not have it’s own website page, but by the reviews, it probably should.

Next stop: Hollywood. Or should I say Los Angeles, America’s 2nd most populated city. This city is often referred to as the Creative Capital of the World, with one in every six residents being in the creative industry. The obvious things to do would be to visit Hollywood, including Universal Studios and the Walk of Fame. Here is also a list of places where you can get the best view of the famous Hollywood sign. Check out Pasadena for hotels, Santa Monica for hidden gems and the LAX region for world renowned beaches such as Malibu!

For those of you who don’t really care about the perfect beach body (like myself and no one in LA) the Man V Food tour continues here. We have a cultural mix of foods here, unsurprisingly for such a metropolitan city. El Tepeyac, a true sign that we are approaching the border to Mexico, Philipe the Original, home of the French dip sandwich, and a truck stop called the White Rabbit. Finally, the challenge restaurant Orochon Ramen in Little Tokyo, where man was the victor over a bowl of Special #2 ramen noodles (which just means they were extremely hot).

And finally, a twenty minute drive from the border of Mexico we arrive at the end of the Route 101 in San Diego. Famous attractions here include the San Diego Zoo. I would also recommend a tour of the city by gondola, or if you’re feeling more adventurous you could try snorkelling with La Jolla Kayak.

And finally, you can begin to loosen your belts as e come to the end of the Man V Food Pacific Coast Highway tour. Start off at the Lucha Libre Taco Shop: the dining establishment with possibly the best URL on the internet. Move onto Phil’s BBQ, but be sure to check the Queue Cam on their website before you go, because this place can sure as hell get busy. If you can manage one final challenge, Richman hit up the Broken Yolk Cafe, and won the challenge against a 12-egg omelet filled with sautéed onions, mushrooms, chili and so much cheese, also served with 1½ pounds of hash browns and two large pancakes. Be sure to go in the morning as this food joint closes at 3pm.

And so concludes our Man V Food inspired Route 101 tour of the USA. Hopefully this has been of some sort of interest to you guys, I know it does for me!

Non-shoestring travel

I normally restrict myself to travel on a budget. At some points, even an extreme budget. However, recently I got a job, and I’ve been browsing online in my free time and it’s lead my to investigate some more extravagant items. So I’ve compiled a list of travels ideas and gadgets that I will own once I make my millions.

  1. A freaking Shake-Powered Portable Washing Machine. You put your clothes in this shaker and they are cleaned, anywhere. Providing you have a charger. Think about it, you could travel the world with two sets of everything. Two t-shirts, two pants, two pairs of socks. So much room in your bag from everything else.
  2. A Pen Topped Translator. Right now it appears to only be available in Japanese and Chinese, which I can understand because their alphabets are so different. However, if it were available in other languages (Dutch – I just cannot make head nor tail of Dutch) I’d be all over that.
  3. A Solar Charging Backpack. This would bring a whole new realm to glamping (glamorous camping for all you Non Brits.) Imagine Highland camping with fairy lights. Or a small heater. Or a lap top. Endless possibilities
  4. A Water Steriliser. Useful for camping, but also going to those thousands of countries where all that people seem to say about it is “Oh, don’t drink the water!”
  5. While I’m personally not a huge fan of diving, I could easily spend all day snorkelling with these Underwater Camera Goggles.
  6. A Portable Bag Tracker. For those of you who are paranoid about losing luggage.
  7. Not so much a budget blow out, but a nifty idea none the less. This Bottle Top Tripod takes up less room than a normal tripod and dang nifty.
  8. When I was about 8 or 9 years old when the Burj Al Arab hotel opened, and ever since then I’ve been determined to get there.
  9. Luxury cabins from Singapore airlines. Just wow. 

So err, that’s my Christmas wish list. Maybe if I stick with my ironing job for long enough I can squeeze in the Collapsible Pint Glass. Maybe.

Money saving tips for (a Scottish) winter!

It’s the time of year where I have to choose between heat and meat (meat’s expensive here, for those of you who are unaware.) So I took to the internet and the depths of my common sense to come up with some money saving tips. Seeing as some of you are spending winter in different places I figured that some of these might help you stay warm and in the black. 

  1. Blankets are wonderful. If you sleep with one underneath your duvet it keeps you a lot warmer, so there is no need to have the heating on at night.
  2. I’m also a fan of the old school hot water bottle, though I usually put it in my bed before the whole bed time routine, to let it heat up. 
  3. If you have a odd glove lying around, or a depleted scarf or something similar don’t throw it out. Cut and shape it into a sort of insole shape, tuck it in your shoe and wham, cheap insulation for your feet on early morning frost walks.
  4. Another tip I found on the internet, though I have not tried out as it doesn’t seem appealing to me is to put plastic bags around your socks for if the weather is very wet, as it keeps your feet/socks dry. I just don’t think I could be bothered.
  5. With winter, for me, comes exams. Perfect excuse to hit up the library for a study session and save money on the heating bill! Sitting down for long periods of time allows your body to cool, so it’s important to keep warm while studying.
  6. And at the mention of exams… For those of you who suffer Reynold’s, or are just sensitive souls like me, a handwarmer is the way to go, to stop your hand from freezing up during an essay. However, I think you can make them for next to nothing at home. Take an odd sock or small bag (like one you might get when you buy knock-of specs… ahem…) and fill it with rice. Put it in the microwave for about a minute and a half, depending on your microwave, then pop it in your pocket. Hand warmer.
  7. Invest in an electric heater. Cheap ones cost about £17/$27. Leave it near to your bed for a quick 20 minute blast of heat in the morning to coax you out of bed. I find that my electricity bill is almost always cheaper than the gas, so this way saves you a little bit of cash to celebrate when exams are over.
  8. Hit up charity shops for cosy jumpers. I myself do this at all times of the year…
  9. Eat. It sounds stupid but you do need to eat more in the winter. If you’re worried about weight I recommend porridge, which costs about 60p for 2kgs. Add lots of dried fruit and a bit of honey so sweeten it up. Or salt, if you’re over 50, because that’s a thing in Scotland. I also recommend a winter fruit compote which my mother makes. I’m not going to give you her recipe because one day I will make my millions off of it, but the BBC have a good, cheap version of it.
  10. Keep soups and canned goods in the cupboards and some frozen veg/meat in the freezer. Sometimes it’s too cold to go out and it’s nice to have emergency supplies.
  11. If you live in a flat you can put drinks in a plastic bag and hang them out the window to keep warm if you’re having a party! More room in the fridge for food.
  12. If you’re asthmatic/under or over a certain age/working in the health care profession, you are entitled to a free flu vaccine (in Scotland anyways).  Check your local GP of free clinic to see if anything like that applies to you in your area, as skipping out on the flu can save a lot of money in medicine.
  13. Speaking of medicine, a hot toddy will cure most things from a cold or sore throat to a broken heart. Or so I’m told, I’m not much of a whiskey fan myself. On the same vein, ladies, you can use gin as a mascara thinner if you run out of make up wipes. ho ho ho…
  14. Those those of you who celebrate Christmas, set up a secret santa with friends or colleges and stick to a budget. Alternatively try and make a “homemade pact”, where you give each other gifts you’ve made yourself. You’d be surprised at the nice things you can make at home, like bath bombs, some lovely felt gifts, food, or, if you can, knit something! It means a lot more, and isn’t that time consuming.
  15. If you have a radiator, try not to put sofas/desks in front of it. They really hinder the circulation, and while it might be nice to have cosy feet while you’re working, leaving that little spot seems much colder. You’ll use the same energy to heat up less space, which is just wasteful. 
  16. If you have the heating on, keep doors shut and turn off the radiators in rooms that are not in use. Every little helps!
  17. If you have a car, spray the wind shield with anti-freeze at night, then in the morning you won’t need to chisel ice off as much.
  18. In your car keep anti-freeze, a de-icing tool, a blanket, a first aid kit and a paper copy of ICEs (in case of emergency numbers) and your insurance people. Keep a couple of cereal bars and a big bottle of water wrapped in the blanket (make sure the lid is on tight) and a shovel in the boot (trunk). Winter is a dangerous time on the roads and you never know how long you might have to stay in a place. 
  19. Invest in a flask. Mine isn’t great so it also acts as a heating pad in the library. Most places don’t charge (or charge very little) for hot water, so bring some herbal teas and your own flask to the library. You even get a discount in some Starbucks with your own flask.
  20. Finally, make hay while the sun shines. Or make snowmen while it snows out. Make the most of winter by checking out free activities in your area, or taking a cold walk through the park to take some snaps during Golden Hour (which is now like 3 hours long and pretty early). Make snow men, go ice skating (not on ponds though, too dangerous) and wrap up warm!

I realise that Scotland isn’t the coldest place in the world, and those of you in North America/Canada and Russian are probably scoffing, but most of these will get you through a rough winter in Scotland. We’re entitled to moan because our winter usually lasts until April, and then we just get rain. 

If you have any other tips let me know!Image