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My Self Care Routine

 

Hey everyone and welcome back to another blog post! It's been a minute since I posted anything, but I don't want to bore anyone with yet another update post, but I do want to give you guys a few updates nonetheless!

1) I've now finished my first year of university, and I finished top of my class! (I'm so proud of this fact I want to tell as many people as I can hehe.) We spent this last academic year learning Chinese and even though it was challenging at times, I powered through and now I'm on the other side!

2) I'm completely done with the previous semester, and now I'm on a long summer break. I'll (hopefully) be travelling around my city and to other provinces around China too, so look forward to seeing that!

3) Next semester, I begin my major, which if you don't know by now, is medicine! I want to do a whole post on why I decided to apply for medicine, and why I came to China, so look forward to that too!

Now we can get into this post: my self-care routine. Saying I've just gone through one of the most challenging years of my life is an understatement: I have no words to describe how tough it's been since September, which is why I devised a routine to help me get through it all. I hope you enjoy this post!


CLEAN UP AND DO LAUNDRY
The very first thing I do is begin tidying up around the room. I have a roommate, which in China means sharing an actual room with someone, not just a flat, so we split cleaning evenly. Other than the areas we both share, I also clean up my personal areas, like my desk, bed and wardrobe.

I fold up clothes, put my desk in order and change my beddings to give a fresh new vibe. I also take this time to do laundry and hang the wet clothes out on the balcony (tumble dryers aren't really common over here, especially in university dorms, but since it's summer and incredibly hot, all my clothes will be dry the next day!) Cleaning is something so therapeutic to me, and it's just the act of doing it that already makes me start feeling much calmer.

SHOWER AND SKINCARE
The next thing I do is my skincare routine, then take a really hot shower. I like to wash my face out of the shower because the water in there is way too hot to be good for your face, and I love to listen to music while I do it. I promise I will have a post up soon with all my favourite products, so look forward to that!

My full skincare routine currently goes like this: cleanse, exfoliate, clay mask, toner, sheet mask, serum, moisturiser.

After my clay mask but before the toner, I hop in the shower and use my niacinamide body scrub. I ordered it online and I use it 3 to 4 times a week, ever since I got a ton of mosquito bites that have left some gnarly scars, but I haven't used it long enough to see any serious effects. It does leave my skin super soft though and has a lovely smell so I'll continue using it!

When I hop out of the shower, I continue with the rest of my skincare routine.

TEA AND NAILS
Doing my nails, especially when they're chipped and looking a bit worse for wear, makes me feel so much better! I don't know what it is but I always make sure to do this if I'm feeling stressed and it improves my mood greatly. While I'm doing this I either have a cup of milk tea or black tea nearby and I'm sipping on that, listening to a podcast or some music and doing my nails. Sounds absolutely perfect if you ask me!

I get all my nail polishes from Miniso because I decided to leave all the ones from the UK back home so I could try new colours out here, and so far I've loved all the ones I've bought.


WATCH SOMETHING INSPIRING OR MOTIVATING
Once my nails are dry and looking pretty, I like to head to my bed and bring out my tablet to watch some YouTube videos. I love the channel Jubilee for their thought provoking videos about differences amongst different groups of society (definitely one to check out!) I also love my usual YouTubers like Lavendaire for when I need that dose of inspiration.

I'll typically spend an hour watching these videos, which sounds like an awfully long time but honestly if I need to fully chill out and enjoy myself that day, I don't look at the time and stress myself out even more. I watch for as long as I need to, especially the week our exams were wrapping up I definitely needed this time in the evening to just be a potato and do something chill.

VISIT MY FRIENDS
Depending on how the evening progresses, I may feel like popping into my friend's rooms and hanging out here for a while too. One of the best things about living in uni accommodation is that everyone from class lives a few doors down, and if you need anything you can just knock on their door. I've got classmates on every floor of the building and some even live right next door so it's great to go visit someone or have them come see me when we're stressed out and needing to vent.

We always visit each other with the intention of only staying for a couple of hours max, but the thing about being around people that make you happy is hours and hours will go by and before you know it, it's already 1am and you're still having fun!

CALL PEOPLE BACK HOME
As much as I love everyone I've met here, I also love talking to everyone back home. I think it's important to not forget about your friends from back home once you go to uni, especially if you're studying abroad like me, you should make extra effort to keep in touch with everyone.

Taking to people back home makes me feel so much more at ease and it's nice to tell everyone how uni is going. If anyone can't catch me because of the insane time difference, waking up to messages is also a lovely thing to look forward to.

By the end of the evening (or late late night) I'm tired out and ready for bed! This routine kept me sane during exam season and even now that our exams are over, it's nice to do a few times a week because self care should be a habitual thing, not something you go to when things aren't going so great.

If there are any types of blog posts you'd like to see, definitely leave them in the comments below and I'll be sure to make if happen! Now that it's the summer break I've got time to spend on my blog, which is something I've looked forward to for a long long time.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and I'll see you all in the next one!



How I'm Learning Chinese


I've been studying Chinese for 7 months now and it's been an amazing journey so far! I've gone from knowing basic words like 你好 (nǐhǎo), which just means hello, to making long sentences with correct grammar. My situation is different now because I'm in class 5 days a week, compared to when I was learning Korean by myself at home.

Back then, I studied languages because I liked it, but now I'm studying it because this summer I have my final exams, then I can start my major! With that in mind, the way I'm studying Chinese isn't necessarily the same as others studying a language but some things are the same anyway!

This semester, class is early in the morning, and on Tuesdays it's in the afternoon. We learn around 30 new words each lesson, how to write them, their meanings and how to use the word correctly. 

This semester I'm taking Spoken Chinese, Comprehensive Chinese, and Chinese Listening, and it's around 30 words per lesson. Once a week we have dictations, where the teacher will call out the word, we write it down and hand the whole test in for marking. We also get given homework everyday and it's a pain to finish when I wanna go out and do other things hehe.

Homework is usually to answer questions from our textbooks, write paragraphs using the grammar we learned, or to write the Hanzi (Chinese character) out stroke by stroke.

When I'm done with my homework, I then start studying previous lessons Hanzi and go over them at least four times, and I do this everyday. 

To practise my reading, I read and re-read texts in the textbook, song lyrics, and subtitles on Chinese vloggers YouTube videos or in shows or films. To get better at listening I listen to songs (which is my favorite way to practise!), and I also use audio files sent in our class group chat. For speaking, living in China is practise enough!


Sometimes if there's something my teacher said that I just can't understand, or the textbook doesn't help either, I turn to YouTube channels to help me out! This has been happening more frequently this semester because the classes are more in-depth, but after one video I can get the hang of how to use that word or that grammar just fine! Let me know if you're curious about which channels I love on YouTube!

Everyday, I also head to a study group with my friends. We've kept it relatively small, and we spend a couple of hours going over HSK material. HSK is the Chinese proficiency exam we have to take at the end of this semester, and it's super important we pass because only then can we begin studying our majors! It's a nationwide exam that all foreign students take in China to test their level of Chinese. Since we really can't afford to fail this exam, we've taken it upon ourselves to study all the HSK content we can before our exam in June.

Other than that, I also chat to my Chinese friends using only Chinese. I've got a friend from back home in England who I chat to everyday and she helps me correct grammar or make my sentences sound more natural, and I'm so grateful for her! Regular conversations we'd be having in English just this time last year are now in Chinese, which I think is pretty cool.

People tend think learning Chinese is impossible, or any Asian language for that matter, but it's not true! I think if you have the passion for it, you can learn any language in the world; you just have to push yourself to do well. 

I was definitely afraid in my first class but now I get excited to head to class and learn even more because I have a genuine interest in it!

I hope you enjoyed this post, and I'll see you in the next one!

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Blogging


I've been blogging for around a year and some months, and when I first started fleshing out ideas for this blog, there were certain things I just didn't know that I wish I did back then.

That being said, had I known then what I know now, I still would have started my blog! It's been an amazing way to get my thoughts out there while discovering some amazing people at the same time and I love that my life decided to take me in this direction. 

The first thing I wish I knew was how time consuming this whole thing would be. Back when I was living in England, I was on my gap year so I had all the time in the world. I only got to know how stressful it could get when I was busy that day and couldn't dedicate 100% of my time. Moving to Zambia, I had relatives to meet and places to see and this is when I was thrown in the deep end. Now I'm in uni, finding time to juggle everything is only possible by keeping myself organised.


If I manage to stay on top of everything, I'm able to breathe and not freak out but the amount of time it takes for writing, driving traffic to the blog, and other things is huge and I wish I had known that.

The next thing I wish I knew was how people you know in real life will be supportive about it! I was so scared to share this with people I knew in real life but once I shared it with a friend, I received such lovely feedback and I didn't know I would!

Now, my blog link is in all my personal Twitter and Instagram accounts and if anyone wants to have a look, they can! (Checking analytics, I can see that quite a few do, which just blows my mind). I've also had a few friends follow my blog Instagram and it's so heartwarming to get feedback and support from them. 

Had I known this, I would have told people much sooner!

Thirdly, I wish I knew that photography is something to work hard at, again and again.

The standard for blog photos has me stumped because I just can't seem to take aesthetic enough photos for posts. 

Now, I'm looking to improve my photography through Instagram, and this includes the type of photos and editing too. I take advantage of sunny days and free time to improve my photography.

I thought it'd be easy to snap a picture of anything and have it look good but that's not the case!


Another thing I wish I knew is how difficult and intimidating navigating through the blogging community is.

As a small blogger, attempting to talk to another blogger makes me so nervous and so many thoughts go through my head beforehand and I unfortunately talk myself out of it a lot of the time.

I've gotten better than I was before; I can shoot someone an Instagram DM or respond to their tweet without too much of a heart attack, but I definitely wish I was much better at it. It looked so easy from the outside looking in but now I'm in and I see how scary it is!

Finally, the last thing I wish I knew before I started blogging is that completion is better than perfection, and starting is better than nothing.

Sometimes I think about a post I've drafted so much I can talk myself out of publishing it. But, for something to improve, you have to first begin working on it otherwise it'll remain in that state you don't want it to be in anyway!

This fear of wanting everything to be perfect is something I'm working on because it can just leave you not growing and in the same position you were in weeks or months ago. 

We've all heard "perfection doesn't exist" a million times, but it's true! Just get on with that thing that you're afraid of ending up less than perfect, whether it's starting a YouTube channel, writing an essay, or cooking a meal you've been really wanting to.

Those are 5 things I wish I knew before I started blogging, and like I said, even if I knew them all before, I still would have started my blog 100%. 

What are some things you wish you knew before you started your blog?


My Personal Fashion Rules


I'm definitely not a fashion blogger, and I think I can just about manage to get myself looking put together on a daily basis. Even though fashion just isn't on my radar, I have some personal 'rules' that I follow when I'm putting together an outfit in the morning.

I say 'rules' because I don't think you should limit your fashion choices or or feel like you should wear what you're expected to. I'm not here to be some type of fashion police, which is why I'm sharing my personal rules!

Comfort Over Everything
I value my comfort much more than how I look, and that's why my 99% of the time, I'm in a pair of jeans and trainers and a top that fits the weather. I'm a student and living in a new country, so I'm usually running around either to class early in the morning, or wanting to explore the city. 

If what I'm wearing isn't comfortable, I will swap it for something that is, and when I'm shopping I keep this in mind too. 

Not to say that I don't wear something just for the aesthetic of it but those occasions are few and far between!

Subtle Accessories
When I want to take my basic outfit to level two, I add a few accessories. I prefer subtle jewellery and a simple watch but depending on how I feel, a necklace and the type of bag I'm carrying will change the look.

I love love love rings and I'm almost always wearing a few on my hands. Paired with a simple watch, I can have a pretty nice looking outfit overall (at least I think so anyway!).

Layer Up
Another thing I love doing is to layer up my clothing. In winter it's my absolute go-to because when I go from outside where it's cold to indoors where it's warm, I can just shed a few layers, and vice versa.

Opposites 
Finally, I like to wear opposites as in, if I'm wearing something baggy on top, I wear skinny jeans, or if I'm wearing a flowy skirt, I wear a more fitted top. It makes me look much more put together.

I just think wearing clothing that's both baggy or both tight doesn't look good on my 5' 2" self. I've seen some people rock flowy skirts and baggy jumpers and they make it work but for me, it just doesn't work!

As I said above, I'm definitely not a fashion person (hence why this is such a short post hehe) but I do have some steps I take to make myself look a little bit better.

What are your personal fashion rules?

I'll see you in the next one!


How To Save Money On Food With A Student Budget


I've just finished my first semester of university, and I'm about to head into my second, so I know a thing or two about budgeting and saving money, especially on food. It took me a while to get a budgeting system going where I can buy and cook healthy food, without being broke at the end of the month, and I want to share those tips with you today.

Eating healthy is something that is non-negotiable for me. It should definitely be cheaper, but unfortunately we live in a world where fast food is the cheapest and most convenient option. 

That doesn't stop me from trying my best to eat well, even with the added pressure of being a student. Before I moved to China, I watched videos that said it's super difficult to be healthy in China, that fruit is so expensive and that it's better to just have take away all the time. But since coming here I've found that it's not actually that difficult (for me, at least) and I can manage to balance pretty well.

I have a few tips that I use daily when it comes to buying food and still being happy with some money left in the bank. I hope you find them useful!

CREATE A BUDGET AND STICK TO IT
The first thing is to create a budget. I love Aja Dang's YouTube channel because to me, she's like the budgeting guru I've always needed. She creates videos where she outlines her monthly budget, videos that show what she's spending her money on weekly, and tips on how to stick to a budget. Her driving force is that she's aiming to pay off all her student loans, so she's definitely a channel to watch (I was definitely inspired by her to create this post!).

My budget is pretty simple; I look at how much money is going in versus going out and I see what I can cut out so I can have as much as possible. Then, I allocate different amounts of money to different expenses, such as groceries or school equipment, and I only use that amount of money per week on that specific expense.

My budget is weekly, but this can definitely work monthly too. If you allocate money to buying food that's good for you and not to just anything you can get your hands on, then you're more likely to spend money on just that.

Because I know myself, I also have a certain amount of money each week I can spend on junk food, and I am not allowed to go over that no matter what. This makes it easy to have money left at the end of the week to save!

BUY FROM THE MARKET
I buy my vegetables exclusively from the market, and it's a 10 minute walk from the dorm building, which is great! It's so much cheaper to buy from the market compared to a supermarket, so this is definitely something to try if you can.

A definite bonus is that the more I go, the more familiar they become with me and I can haggle cheaper prices!

GO MEAT-FREE
When I cook, I often choose to buy tofu as my protein for the week instead of meat, and it's so. much. cheaper! I can buy tofu for less than ¥3 (less than 40p!!!) and it lasts the whole week. This is compared to chicken which I buy for around ¥10 for a week, or beef (which I only just bought a couple of weeks ago for the first time since coming here), for around ¥20. 

Going meat-free has other benefits too, but the benefit for your pocket is pretty great!

DON'T BUY IMPORTED
Something that I cannot stress enough, especially when you live in East Asian countries, is to not buy imported food, or at least limit the amount of imported goods you buy! They are always going to be more expensive than locally produced food, for example my coconut milk. It's not something I can avoid because I'm lactose intolerant so this is something I add into my budget. My milk comes from Thailand and I haven't been able to find Chinese-brand coconut milk unfortunately.

Some things like Heinz ketchup, or Lays (or Walker's if you're from the UK!) aren't expensive at all, so there's no problem there, but if you can, definitely buy goods from the country you're in!


SHOP ONLINE
Something I love about China is how easy it is to buy whatever you want online.


I buy my sweet potatoes online (the market doesn't have the white ones which I prefer) and they come fresh and they're just as good as buying at the market. I've also seen teas, snacks, meat, breads and other types of food online and it's usually cheaper then buying in-store.

MEAL PREP
Meal prep saves so much money and time, and it's something I know all students have tried at least once before.

I cook once or twice a week, and keep the food in tupperware in the fridge. When I want to eat, I just warm it up and I'm good to go! My favorite things to meal prep are my tofu and broccoli, or any kind of chicken dish as my main meal, along with rice that I also cook for the week. I'll chop vegetables once and keep them in tupperware too and cook them when I'm ready to eat, just because mushy veg isn't very appetising.

Meal prep has changed the game and I strongly advise you to give it a go if you can.

If the thought of eating food you've cooked a few days ago doesn't sound good, then you can prep ingredients too, and cook them when you're ready to eat!

KNOW WHEN THE SALES ARE
Something I look forward to are the sales in Walmart, because it's when I can stock up on staples like rice, oil, meat or snacks. 

If you have sales going on in the supermarkets near you, definitely take advantage of it and buy buy buy and save some money! 

Things I won't eat right away get frozen and that way I just have to defrost and get cooking. One thing I love about China is that things on offer also come with additional goodies, like one 4L bottle of oil can come with a smaller one attached to it, or bottles of drinks come with things like bowls or cutlery. I've even seen toothpaste come with a bowl! 

So, the next time there's a sale near you, take your shopping bags and stock up!

So, those are my tips for how I save money on food, manage to eat healthy, and remain happy and sane at the same time! This is probably a really long blog post, but I had so much to cover and I didn't want to miss anything.

I hope this was helpful for anyone looking to get smarter with food and money, and if you have any other tips, I'd love to hear them below!

I'll see you in the next one!


6 Tips For Creating Content


When I first started my blog, one thing I was definitely afraid of was whether or not I'd be able to keep coming up with content. I was afraid I'd eventually run out of ideas and have to call it quits, but somehow, I've managed to keep coming up with post ideas after all this time (it's been over a year already!).

Sometimes it does seem like I have nothing to post on the blog, but with these sources, I'm always able to have an idea I can flesh out and get up on the blog before long. I hope you enjoy the post!

PINTEREST
Pinterest is the home of creative ideas, and it's perfect for blog posts too. If I'm feeling stuck, I go through my boards and have a look through what I've been pinning lately and get some inspiration from there.

The key word here is inspiration. I don't believe in outright copying content someone else has spent time working on and passing it off as an original idea. I just get a feel of the content and get inspired by it, instead of just copying it outright. Whenever I get inspired by someone else's idea, I always mention it within my own blog post!

Anyway, I go through my boards and get an idea of what I can write about and if that doesn't work, I move onto the next step!

READ OTHER BLOGS
Reading someone else's content is another way I get blog post ideas, and again, this is about being inspired to write, not practically hitting copy and paste.

I love using Bloglovin' to read blog posts, and I always come across interesting posts on Twitter too. Once I've read the post, I always make sure to leave a nice comment telling the blogger I appreciate it.

YOUTUBE VIDEOS
Using YouTube is also similar to reading blogs, and I love it. I've got a post coming soon about budgeting and saving money on food as a student, which was inspired by Aja Dang's video on how to be healthy on a budget. As you can see there's definitely some inspiration taken from her.

Since I'm on YouTube a lot of the time, I always come across video titles that inspire me to write something, so if you haven't used YouTube to get blog post ideas, give it a shot!


CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS
A lot of the blog posts I've written (and are writing) come from conversations I've had in real life, such as Finding Joy in The Small Things, 5 Signs You Need A Social Media Detox, and How To Achieve Your New Year's Goals.

Listening intently to what people are saying is such a dose of inspiration, and when someone sees me whip out my phone to write down what they're saying, they know a blog post is coming (lol). 

LATE NIGHT IDEAS
I know I'm not the only person who goes through this: you're laying in bed, and you're on the verge of sleep when a blog post idea just comes completely out of nowhere!

I love it when this happens, and I just have to get my phone out to write the idea down before it's gone forever. I don't know how to explain this but, if it is something that happens to you, then make sure you write those ideas down too!

I also feel like I get inspired by my daily life and what's going on right now. My post on culture shock came when I was on the subway and I was thinking about how different life is in China compared to the UK. Just being open to what life is showing you is inspiration enough.

COMING UP WITH TITLES FIRST
Finally, I also try coming up with the title of a blog post first, then see if it's something I can work with.

For example, my for my posts beginning with "How To..." I think of different scenarios and see if it's something I can write about, like my How I Practise Mindfulness post. This is a creative idea for getting a post written!

I hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any other ways you get blog post ideas, leave them down below!

I'll see you in the next one!

Photos: Unsplash


3 Days In Wuhan

Last week, I took the train up to Wuhan in Hubei province to visit my cousins. I had the absolute best time and the only thing I regret is that I didn't stay long enough!

I travelled during the Lunar New Year period (aka Chinese New Year), so a lot of the restaurants and stores were closed. Not many people were walking around as normal, but we still managed to venture out and eat!

I have some photos of the restaurants we visited and they're not really the best but I loved the trip so much, I want to share them here too.

The first place we visited when my train arrived was a Japanese curry house called CoCo (老番屋).


I went with the traditional Chicken Katsu Curry, which was so amazing and flavorful.

For the table, we got two small sharing platters with potato wedges, fried chicken, and deep-fried octopus.



Also on the menu was Beef Omurice (stewed beef curry with rice and a fluffy omelette on top), and beef and vegetable curry. Any type of curry you can think of was there!

That evening we then ventured out to another restaurant called Beer Barn.

We got pepperoni pizza, chicken quesedillas, and the juiciest cheeseburger I've ever had.

They also had cocktails, cold drinks, and teas to go around!




This was definitely our favorite place during the whole trip; the vibe of the place was great and the food was the icing on the already amazing cake. We went there every night for dinner!

When in a foreign country and you don't know what to eat, your safest bet is to find the nearest McDonald's, which is what we did!

I decided to try the chicken rice bowl after hearing so much about it, and it did not disappoint!


It's served with rice at the bottom, followed by lettuce, then chicken, then drizzled in mushroom sauce. It was perfection!

On my final night, we went to Show Coffee and Tea (秀玉红茶坊 (汉街店)), which, unlike the name suggests, did not just serve coffee and tea.



I initially had my heart set on the Thai Basil Rice that would come on a sizzling stone plate, but the whole selection of Thai food was unavailable!

I went with the Japanese Beef Rice, and I quickly forgot about what I previously wanted.

For the table, we got a spicy Mexican beef pizza, fries, spring rolls, and mini chicken wraps, along with two jugs of lemon ice tea, and orange ice tea.

Also ordered were steaks, which came with spaghetti, a fried egg, a baked potato, swimming in gravy, all served on a sizzling stone plate.





Probably the best meal I've had in a long long time!

Being in Wuhan was so much fun and I definitely want to venture out and travel a whole lot more this year.

I hope you enjoyed this post, it's very different from my usual, but I loved looking back on this day!

I'll see you in the next one!

Top Apps You'll Need To Survive In China



China is known for having an app for just about anything you can think of. Do you want someone to stand in line for you for a product you've been waiting for? There's an app for that! However if you're coming to China for the first time, then these apps I'm going to show you are the absolute essentials. You'll need to download them before coming here so your stay will run much smoother.

Some of them I'm sure you'll have heard of, but I'm going to explain how they work and how you can use them!

VPN
Undoubtedly the most important app you will download is a VPN. VPN stands for virtual private network, and it changes your IP address to one in a different country so you can access blocked sites. If it sounds illegal, it is, but it's known by the government and all foreigners use them, whether they come for school, work, or travel.

In China, apps and websites like the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even WhatsApp are blocked. If you try to connect to any of them, your page will just keep loading for years. However, if you connect to your VPN, you can browse anything that you did back home! It's easy enough but sometimes a pain in the behind!

You can get free VPN's or paid ones. I prefer free ones for now, and I use Turbo VPN and Psiphon Pro. The best paid one I have seen is Express VPN. One thing to note is that sometimes, around Chinese holidays or even just random days, the VPN connection will be so poor for a while. It passes but when it's there, it's super annoying!

Make sure you download this before you come, because it's going to be really hard to get one once you cross over into China!

WeChat (微信)
The next most important app is obviously WeChat. Think of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp all rolled into one. On top of that, imagine being able to buy plane tickets, order food, and pay for things in the shops all within the same app! I hope every single day that other countries begin using WeChat too because it makes life so much more convenient.

WeChat is how everyone communicates here (the WhatsApp element) and how they share what's going on in their lives (the social media element). If you set up your bank details to it too, you'll be able to pay for anything, either in the shops, a restaurant, or online. 

I use it to talk to my friends, ask my teachers questions if I have any, order food, check train tickets, and buy everything I need (and I mean everything, I don't carry cash anymore!). It has so many other features I don't use, like booking taxi's and paying bills but the fact that it's there is pretty amazing! I only wish there was a weather feature to be honest!

Definitely one to download if you're staying long-term! You'll absolutely need it to contact anyone you need!


Pleco
The next most important app for those still learning Chinese like me is Pleco. Pleco is a dictionary that has translations for 99% of things you'll want to translate, either from Chinese to English, or vise versa.

You can draw the character out, search it up, and speak the word too. It's been so useful; if I don't know what to say or how, I type it up and show it to someone who can help!  

There are also options for you to create and save flashcards, which is super useful if you're learning the language! 

On a similar vein, Google Translate is also a great one to download if you want to translate small phrases too! Surprisingly, this one works without VPN!

Baidu (百度)
Baidu is what I'd say is the equivalent to Google. It can do anything Google can do, but what I use it for is translating screenshots on my phone.

I wouldn't say it's a necessity but I find it super useful for when I'm looking at something online and nothing is making sense. It's also great if my VPN connection is terrible that day.

A currency converter app
This one is self explanatory, if you want to convert prices, get a currency converter app! 

All of them work the same if you ask me so it doesn't really matter which one you choose. I like to convert currencies so I know how much money I'll be getting in Chinese Yuan. It's also nice to see how things compare back home!


Amap
My favorite map is definitely Amap. Google maps only works if you're connected with your VPN and none of the addresses are in Chinese.

It's best to download a Chinese map app because everything in real life will be in Chinese anyway. The app also gives me weather updates so I know if it's going to rain this week or not which is pretty cool!

Taobao (淘宝) or Pinduoduo (拼多多) 
Online shopping is a huge market in China and the most popular company is definitely Taobao. Think of eBay and Amazon combined. You can get anything and everything on there and their selection is huge. 

You can buy Chinese products, western products, fresh fruit and veg, electronics, just everything you need!

Pinduoduo is another popular shopping app and I prefer it to Taobao only because I can directly access it from WeChat and it's cheaper too. 

A few times a year all shopping apps have massive sales and I've been able to get some real bargains! I once bought a clothes rack for 15 yuan, approximately £1.60 and a handbag for 11 yuan, around £1.20! The quality is so good too. I know people have fears that the quality of these products won't be good, but I personally have never had that problem.

So those are the absolute essential apps I think you need if you're coming to China. Other people's lists may have different things, but for me and my daily life, I use these the most and they're brilliant!

I hope you enjoyed this post and I'll see you in the next one!


Keeping Myself Organised At Uni


Being organised is something I'm really good at. Since the days of GCSE exams, I've just had to be on top of it. Sometimes it gets difficult juggling everything together, and sooner or later (at least for me) something has to give, whether it's my sleep or social life. But, I do still stand by the statement that I am an organised person and I'm pretty proud about it!

Being at university means I am organised in a different way compared to the way I was previously and being a language student on top of that means there's a whole new system of doing things. I've got 4 main ways I keep myself together and I wanna share them with you! 

GOOGLE CALENDAR
I have been using Google Cal for years now and it's what I prefer when it comes to calendars. Having a digital calendar means I can add things, take things out and swap them around without scribbling anywhere and having it look messy - it's just easier and I can take it anywhere.

I colour code everything depending on what it is, and I add everything to my calendar. I schedule in my classes, my school breaks, when a blog post is going up, when my rent is due, people's birthdays, school events, any travelling I plan on doing, and appointments. Having everything colour coded first of all looks really pretty, but it's also a good visual tool to see when something is happening.

I add absolutely everything in there so I can be accountable and informed about anything going on. It also makes it really hard to forget things!


BULLET JOURNAL
In addition to my Cal, I also use my bullet journal (see post here!). I have to admit, the excitement of having a bullet journal wore off after some time and now I just use it for my daily to-do lists.


I don't add in habit trackers or any of those fancy spreads because right now I simply don't need them. The general rule of thumb is to only add spreads you'll actually need and use, and I don't need or use any of them!

In addition to my daily to-do lists, the only spreads I do add are my semester at a glance, where I put in all the events of the current semester, and my daily class schedule. Other than that, it's pretty basic and minimal.

For all things relating to school, I use one notebook during class and one after.


In class, I write notes on what my teacher is talking about. We have one topic per lesson and we learn approximately 20 new words per lesson, so I just make rough notes in my class notebook. These notes are a mess of English and Chinese so I try not to be too fancy with it and write as I like.

I don't use any note-taking systems like I did in sixth form because it's only language and I can retain information this way.

After class, I have another notebook where I re-write my notes. I write 99% of these notes in Chinese because it helps me learn and I now know the Chinese meaning from class earlier that day. This is where I add highlighter and coloured pens to make the information stand out and also to look a bit more pretty!

That's pretty much how I stay organised at university! It's not complicated at all and it keeps me from forgetting crucial info!

How do you keep yourself organised?

Stir Fried Tofu & Broccoli | Recipe


I love any dish that's quick and easy, and I'm sure you guys all know that too based on my previous recipes. This one is so simple and was done in under 30 minutes, and I'm so happy with how it turned out!

Tofu is a big part of my diet now and because it's cheap and available everywhere, I'm able to eat it as much as I want! 

This recipe can include any vegetables you'd like, I just used what looked good at the market that day and it happened to be broccoli and bok choy. 

Now, I didn't use any measurements, I did this all by eye so I'll give rough estimates of what I used!

You'll need:
2.5 cup cooked tofu
1 cup broccoli
1 head of bok choy
2 cloves of garlic
1 green chili
1tbsp oyster sauce
1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
1.5 tbsp ketchup
Salt
Black pepper

Now onto the recipe!

First of all, if you can't find pre-cooked tofu, then half a block is fine. Over here, tofu is sold pre-fried so that's just what I get. If you're using the block, then first squeeze as much water out by putting a weight on top of it, like a can of beans, for 30 minutes.

Chop it into cubes and coat in some corn flour to get it crispy once you fry. Frying it is so simple, just heat a bit of oil in a pan and place your tofu pieces in there and cook until they're brown on all sides. Then drain them on a paper towel to get rid of the excess oil and set aside.

Now, boil your broccoli and bok choy for around 3 minutes, just until the broccoli is cooked through but still crunchy. Drain out any excess water and begin frying in a bit of oil with your chopped garlic and chili. If you don't like spice, then you can leave it out!

Fry for 2 minutes, then add your soy sauce, oyster sauce and ketchup and mix together. Add in your cooked tofu and a splash of water to make it a bit more soupy. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste.

Mix everything together about a minute and then you're done! You can add more water if you don't want it too dry, or you can leave it the way it is. I've seen some recipes that call for sugar, honey or syrup, but I think ketchup adds that sweetness just fine too!

Serve it with rice and you've got yourself a meal!

I'll see you in the next one!