Friday, 25 April 2014

Andalucian Adventures Part 2- Birds Galore

I finished Part 1 of my Andalucian adventures having just climbed a mahoosive mountain (I jest not, go take a look at that thing!). Our next stop was Donana National Park where we visited a wetlands site which was pretty serene, I mean just look at that! 

They had several strategically placed hides around the site and as we were pretty much the only visitors there at the time, we got to see plenty of wildlife! 

Like this little fella who if my ID skills serve me correctly is a 'Little Egret' 

He spent a lot of the time we were watching him fishing but unfortunately I didn't have quick enough reaction times to get an action shot of him in the process! (So this is him just before he took a plunge!)

This is perhaps one of my favourite photographs of the entire trip because I spent a lot of my trip pointing my camera at a butterfly, only for it to fly off just as I hit the shutter! I haven't managed to ID this butterfly yet so if there are any butterfly experts out there then any help would be greatly appreciated!

Right back to the birds! This is a Glossy Ibis and there were quite a few of them around at various hides but considering we were there about 5pm it is quite normal to see a lot of them on the reedbed at that time of the day. It is a shame because this photograph doesn't capture the true glossiness of the feathers of this bird!

The scenery of the wetlands took my breath away, there were picture perfect spots around every corner I turned and I am really regretting not getting snap happy for once in my life!

It amused me because the White Storks build their nests on pylons which looks really comical from a distance (in fact I found most of the mannerisms of the storks to be amusing!)

My final shot of the day! We then returned back to the hotel in El Rocio (a little town that resembles something out of an old western movie, no really, google it!) but the next morning we decided that as the group had loved our visit to the wetlands the previous day we would go out before breakfast (cue 7am starts!) and return for a morning bird watch. But oh boy was it worth it! 

For one thing we saw a Bittern and a Night heron; then we left the hide to see this beautiful sun rise through the woods and returned back to the hotel where I FINALLY got my first cuppa in Spain, I was having serious withdrawals by this point!

Writing this post has made me really nostalgic for my Field Trip and despite the pile of work I now have to do- I would do it again in a heart beat!

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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

TAG: 8 Nerdy Facts About Me

The lovely Joelle from February Girl shared her 'Inner Nerd' challenge for bloggers on Twitter last night and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to give it a go. I am a bit of a self confessed nerd after all!

So here are my 8 nerdy (and somewhat cringe worthy facts!)

1. I have read my Harry Potter books so much they fell apart
...Literally! So when my parents got me a new boxed set for my 21st Birthday, this is what happened!

2. I own 5 Filofax organisers and counting!
Most people don't understand the concept of owning one Filofax never mind multiple but I don't seem to be able to get enough lately!

3. I secretly wish that my life was a black and white movie sometimes
Preferably one that looks a bit like this...

4. I'm a massive Taylor Swift fan
This isn't necessarily nerdy per se but for a 21 year old, I think its borderline geeky!

5. I have willingly visited and researched a Mammoth Museum 
In Barcelona, whilst on holiday... yup!

6.  My ideal job would be to take over this guy
(David Attenborough for the less nerdy)

7.  I don't understand which colours go together and frequently have to send my mum pictures of my outfts before I leave the house!

8. I do Zoology and go on Field Trips to places like this

So thats my eight nerdy facts! If you've also done the tag I'd love it if you posted the link in the comments below! :)

Monday, 21 April 2014

Andalucian Adventures Part 1- Views to die for

It has been little over a week since I returned from my university field trip to the National Parks of southern Spain, and after a good bath and plenty of catching up on sleep I have finally gotten around to sharing some of what I got up to with you all! Before I went on the trip I thought that I might gather enough material to fill one post full of what I did but now that I am sitting down to write it, it's going to be at least 3... eeep (well I did see an amazing amount of stuff packed into 10 days!) 

 After a hideous 2am meet up at the bus with little sleep beforehand as I was waaaaay to paranoid that I would somehow manage to sleep through the gazillion alarms I had set followed by a 6.40am flight from Manchester to Malaga then another 3 hour bus journey to our final location, the view in the picture above was very much appreciated. I'm telling you, eating dinner to that sunset is something that I will never forget, ever. 

We stayed at a place called Tajo del Aguila which was just the most serine place I think I have ever stayed and I really would reccomend it as a base for those who want to explore the natural surroundings of the area, I mean you really don't have to venture far, this view of the flora was taken walking down to the onsite lake!

And this little fellow (ID: Iberian wall lizard) was also spotted just basking in the sun at the side of the path and was quite ammenable to us all sitting and taking a photograph of it. I always get jealous of Mediterranean areas and other countries that have cute little reptiles running around all over the place (providing they cannot kill me that is!) 

Then there was some sunbathing by the lake (and swimming for those brave enough to jump in and embrace the cold water... you guessed it, I was not one of those people!) before heading back up to the hill for dinner and a much needed early night. 

The next morning after breakfast we all met on the patio ready to walk up the hill to the bus and whilst we were waiting for the slackers to hurry up- we came across this little guy which is a Rhinocerous beetle, pretty cool huh! 

Next up was my first mountain walk of the trip (I kid you not, I walked to the top of this- yes me, the girl who dodged PE in high school) It was a fun and very tiring walk with a smidge of getting lost in the mist but the amount of things that I saw totally makes up for it! I mean we saw an iberian deer!

There were tonnes and tonnes of pretty plants along the walk and I fear that if I stopped to photograph them all then I would still be up climbing the mountain now! This one really stuck out to me though, just because its different and I don't feel like I have seen anything quite like it here in the UK. 

I was amazed at how many creepy crawlies we came across whilst turning over rocks, this Harvest  Man Spider being a prime example. But fear not, we were responsible biologists and made sure to put any rocks back in the same position that we found them so that we didn't disturb any habitats or disrupt their micro-climates too much! 

This is another example of our finds from rock turning, believe it or not this is actually a Lizard, designed to look like a worm... pretty clever no? For those of you who are interested, it is a Slow worm Lizard and did a really cool defensive behaviour of flicking itself back and forwards frantically... the idea being that a predator (such as a bird) would not be able to actually get a hold of it. 

After a lunch break and more climbing we reached the top and stopped to admire just how peaceful and deserted it was... sometimes it really is a nice feeling to be able to look down and be like... I walked up here. 

All of that occurred in just 48 hours, madness! If you're doing a course which ever offers a Field Trip then I wholeheartedly recommend that you go (even if you live off of beans on toast for a month!) I'm already missing my field trip antics (and selfies!)

I hope you enjoyed Part 1... stay tuned for the next instalment shortly! 

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Do You Really Need to Take a Filofax when Travelling?

Whilst deciding what to take with me on my Field Trip to Andalucia with the University I found myself questioning whether or not I truly needed to take my Filofax with me. I had a hefty pile of guide books, camera accessories, binoculars and walking gear that I needed to fit into my far too small of a suitcase and backpack and my Filofax was, taking up too much space (and weight... but that's another post!). Truth be told it only ended up making the cut because I was going straight to my parents house for my Easter break after returning from Spain and decided that it really would be needed at that point.

Pretty much all of my life is within the bounds of my organiser and so into the backpack it went... for the record, I did also consider taking the monkey in the picture too but I decided that might be a step too far. I had incredibly limited wifi in the rural hotels and spent most of my days half way up a mountain turning over rocks looking for creepy crawlies but to my amazement I found myself referring to my Filofax on multiple occasions. My dissertation supervisor emailed me to arrange a post Easter break meet up and I am one of those people who if I don't write something like that down straight away, then I will forget... and that is certainly not the way I want my dissertation to start! Friends from home were also texting asking when I was free and it was really handy to be able to just look in my diary and see exactly when I could go, rather than waiting for half an hour for my phone to connect to the wifi and I could check my google calendar.

So despite the funny look that I got from the airport security for having a Filofax on what was essentially a walking holiday, I really am glad that I took it with me. With the amount of work I have to complete over my Easter 'holiday' too I would have probably struggled to stay sane (and on top of everything) this week if I couldn't compile to do list after to do list!

Do you take your Filofax everywhere? Even on holidays and Field Trips?

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Friday, 11 April 2014

Being in a Long Distance Relationship

I took a gap year after my A-Levels because I just didn't feel like I was quite ready for University just yet and it was honestly one of the best decisions I have ever made! At the start of my gap year I met my lovely boyfriend, C, and today marks our 2 and a half year anniversary! Sadly I am in Spain for the occasion but I am sure we will have a chance for our anniversary date when I am back! 

Although I don't go to University too far from home it is still hard not being able to see the one you love at the drop of the hat and the opportunities for spontaneity are limited because everything has to be carefully planned out in advance. 

I am lucky in the sense that I get to see C at least once a fortnight, however it is usually for less than 24 hours which kind of sucks sometimes- thankfully university has lovely long summers which really aren't that far away now! By the time I get back from my Field Trip in Andalucia it will be over 3 weeks since I have seen C because he got the lurgy the weekend before I went so suggested I stay away in case I too became sick, especially with my upcoming Field Trip. I think 3 weeks may possibly be the longest we have gone without seeing each other, ever!

C really is a wonderful boyfriend and I am so glad  that I met him- although if he is reading this then he is probably puking into a bucket as we speak because he is not the soppy romantic type. I know he loves me though and that is what matters. 

University seems to thrust a lot of people into LDR and I am quite lucky that I can C as often as I do and when I saw the image above on Pinterest it reminded me of C. Being in a LDR means that you appreciate  the simpler things in relationships, like cuddling on the couch watching a movie or breakfast in bed on a lazy weekend day. Some days of lectures are made much easier by the fact that I know at the end of the day I get to hop on a train and at the end of the journey I see C.

So happy anniversary C! 

Friday, 4 April 2014

Off On An Adventure!

I think I may have briefly mentioned a few times that I am off on a Field Trip with my University this Easter and by the time you are all reading this post I will be on my way to Andalusia to spend 10 days looking at the wonderful wildlife there is there... that is assuming I managed to make my 2am start...ouch!

We are going to some pretty rural locations and moving around a fair amount so I am not entirely sure how much internet I will have to blog whilst I am away but I have scheduled some posts so The University Project won't be a ghostown whilst I am off exploring the National Parks of southern Spain. 

Naturally I am taking my camera with me so I will make up for the lack of replying to comments etc with a post (or two!)  showing you all what I got up to whilst I was away! When this Field Trip was arranged there was almost 18 months before we left and so it hasn't quite sunk in yet that I am actually going  really soon! I'm sure that when I am on the coach to the airport it will all feel a lot more real! 

Everyone says that University field trips like the one I am embarking on are once in a life time occurrences and I really hope that I manage to get a lot out of mine! Because of the Field Trip it means that I get a crazily short Easter break from University but I am sure it will be worth it and doing all of my catch up work will be so much easier with the tan I am hopefully going to get.... bye bye looking like a milk bottle! 

Have a lovely 10 days y'all and speak to you when I'm back! 

Thursday, 3 April 2014

What I've been watching lately

The majority of movies I have seen lately have indeed been 'ribbiting' however I was browsing Pinterest with this post sat in my drafts folder and couldn't resist including it! 

Saving Mr Banks
I am not sure why I never got around to seeing this when it was out in cinemas as I am a bit of a Disney fanatic so when Mum came home from the supermarket with it on DVD I barely gave her chance to put the shopping away before I was insisting that we watched it! Luckily it did not disappoint and for the past week I have had the songs from Mary Poppins stuck in my head and I have been obnoxiously humming 'let's go fly a kite' wherever I went! For me I thought that the film was brilliantly casted and it was one of those films I found myself getting lost in.... And let's face it, those are the best kind! 

Evan Almighty
This is one of my go to 'pick me up' films and I was feeling a little overwhelmed by university the other weekend so bribed C into watching this with me and it totally did the trick! Afterwards I felt like I could conquer the world! 

The Amazing Spider-Man
As much as I loved the original Spider-Man films when the trailer for the sequel of this movie was released last month me and C decided it was the perfect excuse to sit down and watch it. It was only the second time I had seen the film and I found myself appreciating a lot more of the smaller details if the film that I overlooked first time around.... I was also inspired by Spider-mans love interest to go out and purchase a pair of over the knee socks, but I have yet to wear them sadly :( 

Uptown Girls 
I had seen a lot of hype on my twitter feed about this movie despite it being fairly old and so after a long day of lectures and scoring myself a pizza and garlic bread combo in the asda reduced section (#studentproblems) I tucked myself up in bed to watch it and I was by no means disappointed! It's the kind of film that has a fairly predictable plot but after a day of lectures I wasn't after anything complex and it still had me laughing and almost in tears at one point.. If you too have never heard of this film then I recommend you check it out! 

What have you all been watching lately? Any recommendations? :) 

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Life Lately #1

The lovely Alice ( sorry I'm confined to a tablet for blogging this week and cannot link properly!) wrote a post this week about where she was in life this time last year and it got me thinking about whether much of my own life had changed over the course of the last 12 months. 

Initially I decided that it hadn't and that I had simply progressed from the first year of university to second year. However all day it was at the back of my mind and I realised quite a lot had changed.

This time last year I had no idea that my nan would be diagnosed with cancer and we would lose her Christmas Day. I had no idea that I wanted to be a teacher. I had barely started reading blogs never mind dreamt of creating my own! I didn't know I would still be with C. I didn't understand quite how crazy second year would turn out to be.... And so much more. 

In 12 months time I will know whether or not I have a place to be a teacher, I will be just a few months shy of graduating, I will hopefully have a drivers license and be looking at buying my own car! I'm sure that if I repeat this list this time next year I will be able to add countless things to it and it really is quite crazy to think how much can change in just 365 days! 

The next 12 months are pretty big for me career wise- I need to work my ass off to make sure I get a 2.1 so I can do teaching, or who knows I might even be able to get that elusive first! I will be completing my PGCE application, attending interviews and ultimately determining whether or not I can pursue the career path I have chosen for myself. 

I will also be turning 22 (and singing a lot of Taylor Swift accordingly) which is a rather grown up sounding age. I will be starting to save for a deposit so my poor parents don't have to put up with me forever! Although anyone who trusts me with an entire place to myself has to be a little insane! 

The picture above was found on Pinterest and I've decided it was a good set of ideals for me to try and follow these next twelve months, I think I will print it off and put it at the front of my filofax to remind me daily as I am one of those people who has a habit of getting caught up in the moment and clouding my view of the bigger picture with copious amounts of stress! 

So who knows what the next twelve months have in store for me but one thing is for sure I am going to do my best to get where I want to and enjoy myself along the way! 

What about you- what plans do you have? :)