Southampton: A Fresher’s Guide

So I’ve been living and studying in Southampton for two years now and as part of going into my third year and presenting a Freshers’ radio piece on Southampton, I’ve put together this minute guide about three of my favourite areas; Nightlife, Lifestyle and Shopping.  So if you’re a fresher, a local or a stranger I hope this helps you discover the wonderful city that Southampton is :)

Nightlife

Jesters

Jesters; you know, I’m really not sure if there are any words.  Southampton hearsay tells me that its officially the worst night club in the UK.  Set underground with a dance floor the size of a kitchen and an amazing outdoor/smoking area, in the two years I’ve been there I’ve seen sex against walls, people vomit and continue dancing and people sitting in their own urine.  Rough right?!  But amazing.  To me, Jesters really is unique.  You can turn up in a bodycon and heels, skinnies and converse, fancy dress or tracksuits and be accepted, be allowed entry .. and probably even pull if you wanted to.  Its the place in Southampton you go to drink, to dance, to chat, to meet people, to play games.  It is just incredible, so much fun and you know what?  I think the saying genuinely applies: it really is so so bad, its so so good.

 

Oceana

Oceana is a chain of nightclubs around the country.  I’d never been to one before Uni before and in Freshers alone I saw Katy B, S Club 3 and 5ive (well 2wo..) perform live.  It’s huge and you go to dance, well I go to dance anyway.  They have two main dance rooms, one is a giant ‘Ice Box’ where the play slow grooves, R and B (gosh , I feel old) and the like and the other … is a Disco Room; one of the best rooms in the south of England I’m sure of it.  An illuminated dance floor, interactive DJs and a whole lot of singing it really is just a great, fun night out.  Be cafeful not to ask for a soft drink though, one barman went all Coyote on me once: Hell No, H2O!  Nightmare, but a great night.

Reflex

Do you see a pattern?  Bella’s general favourite night club spots are places she can wear jeans, boogie on down and generally have a great time.  Reflex is no different, I think its officially an 80s club but it plays old school tunes non stop, with another illuminated floor, a lush VIP area and … poles.  Yes, the wonder of poles in night clubs.  Making the most average of humans believe they are an Ibiza paid dancer gyrating, shimmying up it; flipping embarrassing, but again, a flipping lot of fun.

Lifestyle

Southampton Common

When you look at a map of Southampton, the Common is basically the giant green bit in the middle.  A wonderful recreation area, with a lake, a park, walkways, skateways, jog routes, carnivals held there; just a really great central area.  I’ve been for gorgeous evening walks there, had snow fights, played football in the scorching sun (Southampton gets great weather by the way), eaten far too many ice creams than I care to admit, and ogled at men in rugby training.  The Common, I believe as the youngsters say, is where its at.

Hamble

I’m pretty sure Hamble is a well kept secret for Southamptoners.  When I first moved there and googled ‘beach’, this is what came up.  Its about a fifteen minute drive from the centre but I’m not really sure if beach is the best way to describe it.  Its more like a pebbled shore.  But it is kinda cultural, it has ancient ruins of a sort and lots of beautiful walks and a sailing club.  A really nice afternoon out if you fancy it.

New Forest

Gosh, do I really need to tell you about the New Forest?  I’ve been going every year since I was born but it was just last year that I took the boyfriend for the first time, and since then we’ve had some great days out there.  He was just bewildered that just twenty minutes (I drive fast, okay?!) from the centre are cattle grids, hills, greenery, sunsets and wait for it … wild horses.  Nuts right?!  More like beautiful.  Just go, okay?!

Shopping

Westquay

When I say Westquay, I mean just the general Southampton City Centre shopping area.  It has all your favourites; Topshop, Urban Outfitters, an amazing Boots, New Look, Zara etc.  Other personal highlights include the gorgeous John Lewis I can get lost in for hours as well as the Waterstones/Costa which is great for a chilled cuppa and a read.  Westquay is the main centre which is connected to Above Bar Street which has the rest of the shops.  Make sure you check out Above Bar around Christmas time for the amazing German market, mulled wine and chocolate smothered loveliness galore!

Ikea

Ikea, what can I say?  I have been known to go just for dinner (meatballs, dahling) then for breakfast the next day, I love it that much.  Aside from the great tasting, great costing food, even if you can’t afford/don’t need a thing, its great for a wander around.  If you’ve never been, go!  Personal favourites are the apartments you can wander around and the marketplace for candles, fake flowers and paintings.

Portswood Charity Shops

Portswood is basically the student area of Southampton where 95% of those in private rented accommodation who are Uni students will live.  Whilst its not the most desirable area in the world, the charity shops are cracking.  I would say there are perhaps 10 or 11.  I find myself casually popping in on my way to the supermarket, or devoting entire afternoons to trawling around picking up tit bits.  The fashion is good, the home ware is good, the furniture is extrememly good and as far as charity shop pricings go .. its up there.

 

So a baby guide.  Enjoy Southampton, I most certainly do!

 

 

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Sunshine Polkadots

Cheeky outfit post:

 

Waistcoat – French Connection (Charity Shop)

Boob Tube – New Look

Necklace – Thailand

Skirt – Vintage/Charity Shop

Anklet – Thailand

Dolly Shoes – Office

Watch – Swatch

Stay tuned for some nail art tips, how summer 2012 has gone and my review of Southampton!  Blog loving ;)

Party Life: Fashion

So, I think I intended to tell you about Southampton night life, but I’m going to leave that for the Southampton specific post.  Here’s some of my party life fashion moments.   I don’t know HOW many times you have seen this outfit, but this is seriously how fantastically versatile it is!  Top from Topshop, Culottes from Urban Outfitters – bish bash bosh!  This is a pretty standard summer clubbing outfit for me.  Something that doesn’t show too much leg, but that doesn’t need tights and will show off my waist.  FYI this was taken in Jesters, which I’m sure you will hear more about in the Southampton post.   So you can only see half this outfit, but it’s still a goodun.  The statement necklace is from East and the top is actually a full on body corset that I needed for dance, from Florence and Fred.  The high waisted shorts are TK Maxx.  Every single outfit I wear clubbing is with flats.  I would love to be able to wear heels, but I just can’t.  How can I do the worm in heels eh?!  Ah, a heels shot!  However, I did only wear the heels for pre-drinking to get me in the mood, then it was straight into flats before heading out the door.  The boob tube and the heels are New Look and the high waisted shorts are River Island.  High waisted shorts are pretty much a clubbing staple for me.  They’re comfortable, suck in your tum and mean you can do the worm without flashing your panties.  Win.

 

A slightly more official looking photo.  This was for a Dinner Dance for my Performing Arts Society at Uni.  The dress was a fiver in TK Maxx, the heels (I sat down ALL night, hurrah!) are Schuh and the blazer was borrowed from my housemate.  Boyfriend wears .. Topman.

 

Karaoke buzz!  This was for a night out in Carlisle which was just great fun.  The top is TK Maxx and the high waisted shorts (seeing a pattern here?!) are Topshop.

So there’s a quick round up of Party Life fashion – stay tuned to hear more about Soton nightlife!

Back to Blogging

So it’s always Summer that leaves me for lack of blogging.  Mainly because I’m either working, travelling or being lazy and this summer in particular, it’s been a combination of all three.  So I’ve decided to set myself a challenge.  I’m gonna take the things I love writing about, make a list, and over the next few weeks, try and write about as much as I can, as often as I can.  I’m heading into third year at University which will be hectic, dramatic and crazy, and I find blogging to be SUCH a great release.  So here goes:

1)  Musical Palette

2)  Party Life

3)  Southampton

4)  Urban Outfitters Obsession

5)  What I’m Wearing Week

6)  Winter Wishlist

7)  Tour Of My Handbag

8)  Tour Of My Makeup Bag

9)  Charity Shop Tour

10)  Something On My Heart

11)  Travel Hopes and Dreams

12)  A TV Show I Love

13)  Movie Mayhem

14)  The Four Hour Body

So there’s 14 topics there, 14 days of blogging?  Pfft I don’t think so.  In the next two weeks I have to support boyfriend through his exams, go to Edinburgh for a holiday (I know right, HOW unfair?!) and do some serious studying.  So I will aim to blog where and when I can.  Also guys, any readers, please email me/message me/tweet me if you have any requests of things for me to write about :)  Love!

Ooooh – Cheeky Boom Boom!

What Happened In June

Now, I know June isn’t officially over, but as of tomorrow, yes, TOMORROW, I am departing to Thailand for a month!  So here’s what I’ve been up to.

1)  Cornwall!  As I blogged about, road trip with the boyfriend for sun, sea, sand and surfing.

2)  As exams ended at Uni, the nights out began!  Here’s a rare official snap of us (we never normally go to places nice enough to have an in house photographer) at a place called Orange Rooms in Southampton.  I’m on the right wearing an Orange Bodycon Dress from Topshop.

3)  More nights out!  But this was actually our last ever night out as a house, wah!  I’ve had such an amazing year living there and will genuinely miss everyone so much.  I’m bottom right wearing top – Topshop and shorts – Urban Outfitters.

4)  Some more cheeky nail art.  I couldn’t decide which colour, so I went for both!

5)  Ah, Wedding Season.  I’ve been to two weddings in the last two weeks and this has been my outfit for both of them (give me a break, completely different ends of the country, completely different sets of people and I AM a poor student on a budget!).  The dress is Miss Selfridge and the heels are New Look.

6)  Here’s a family snap from my cousin’s Wedding in Carlisle on Saturday.  This is more or less everyone from my Dad’s side of the family, love this picture.

7)  A picture from the Wedding the week before, they had a photo booth!  Best idea.

8)  The morning after my cousin’s Wedding.  We found half the buffet in our bedroom!

Anyway, I’ll try and blog again before we fly off but if not, love and leave!

What’s Happened In May … So Far!

Basically, May has been SUCH a hectic month, it always it.  The sun is just beginning to show its gorgeous face, exams are looming, there’s far too much work to be done … thus the inevitable need for distraction and fun!

 

1)  We went to Thorpe Park!  It was very weird actually, we drove down for the day in the cold, wet and wind and seeing as Thorpe Park is very close to my home, it was very bizarre to drive all that way and not actually go home.  Here shows Emily (being the most sensibly dressed out of us all wearing proper waterproof hiking gear), Eimear (in her famous Southampton Scarf who she supports to the death), Jamie (in wellies, a very good idea) and myself (in Dorothy Perkins denim jacket (WHY did I think that was a good idea?!), Topshop dress, Florence and Fred jeggings (again, WHY?!) and Reebok trainers (and what?!)).  It was an amazing day, especially seeing as Eimear had never been before.  Because the weather was so awful there was barely anyone there, meaning we got on every ride in about ten minutes, amaze!

2)  Draw Something!  I’ve recently discovered this Android App, and its amazing!  Basically, the idea is that its quite like Pictionary, you draw something for someone and they draw something back and you gain points to buy more colours and words … simples!

3)  STA Travel!  For those of you who don’t know, the boyfriend and I have booked to go backpacking around Thailand for a month (where I will TRY and blog but I have no idea how successful I will be), meaning countless trips in and out of STA Travel in Southampton, in fact we’ve got another one tomorrow.  I just love it in there.  Everyone that works there is so cool and friendly and has been to millions of places and just done the most amazing things, I want to be in their gang!  If you’ve ever booking a far flung hol, I would absolutely recommend it.

4)  My beautiful new Cath Kidston bag :)  I had quite a bit of money from my Birthday left over and was desperate for this bag in the white with the spring colour flowers, but alas, it had sold out EVERYWHERE.  So after many hours or scouring the internet high and low, I found the brown version which I still absolutely LOVE.  A Summer and Winter bag, that’s waterproof and won’t get dirty.  Score.

5)  Now, to any chefs out there, do you remember that rush, that satisfaction the first time you cooked a proper meal, and it was delicious and people enjoyed it?  I experienced that for the first time this May Bank Holiday.  After a failed attempt to go to a Boot Fair (that had already closed by the time we got there, at 10.30am pffftttt), we decided to have a quick Tesco run and whilst in there, I was struck by inspiration.  May Day Bank Holiday = Roast Dinner, and so the quest began.  After four hours running around our absolutely tiny kitchen that I share with 8 others, yelling profanities having filled up every single hob and oven shelf much to the annoyance of the housies, I did it.  And it was incredible.

6)  Southampton in the sun!  After 18 months of living here, I walked to town for the first time and it was delightful.  Normally I get the bus or drive but in the sun I thought, hey, let’s walk.  And it was lovely, sun and Southampton = perfect combo.

7)  I’ve officially handed in all of my Second Year Coursework – hurrah!  So inevitably this called for a 10.30am trip to the pub to drink pints and play pool, and not leave all day.  Lush.

8)  And this weekend, the weather was so divine and the boyfriend and I were getting so stressed out about work and exams we decided to just escape and head off to the New Forest for the day, which was absolutely beautiful.  We found a few villages and bought lots of ice cream, got scared by lots of horses before we found a clearing where we played cards, played frisbee and got burnt.  Bliss.

 

Titanic 3D

Titanic

So right now marks the 100th Anniversary of the sailing, and alas, the sinking of the HMS Titanic.  Being a Southampton citizen I think I’m feeling this a lot more than regular people so decided to drag the boyfriend to see Titanic on the big screen … in 3D.  I love the movie; I know I love the movie.  It never fails to bring a tear to my eye, I can recite every line (my favourites being: ‘Take her to see Mr Murdoch’ and ‘Is anyone alive out there?’  Yes, I know I’m sad) and I dance along every time to Irish Party in 3rd Class.  And I own the James Horner soundtrack.  So imagine my excitement when it was rereleased in 3D, if nothing else but to see a 3D boob; I could not wait.

So every other film I’ve seen at the cinema in 3D (Avatar, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and of course, Tin Tin), I have seen under the influence of a little bit of alcohol.  You crazy person!  I hear the cries.  But no, it generally makes for, in my opinion, better overall viewing and entertainment.  If I’m watching a movie in my own home, I will do so with a few glasses of wine, so why not in the cinema too?  Exactly.

So I decanted my Pinot into a Buxton and skipped off to the cinema wearing my comfiest, warmest outfit (cinemas are freezing!) and settled into the film.  For some reason, it was so much funnier!  Now, I don’t know if I’m just a ditz and missed all the jokes the first time so only laughed along cause the man did, but it was just so comical!  I think seeing the guy from Thunderbirds in HD was funny enough in its own right to be honest.

But the action scenes! AMAZING!  Other than the scene where everyone is flapping about in the sea dying and you can totally see the edge of the swimming pool in the background, they were so real.  So incredible.  I.  Was.  Sobbing.  I mean, actually sobbing.  The kind of sobbing where you stop and can’t breathe for a moment then erupts again.  It was embarrassing. But maybe that what 3D does?  Generic, cliché and predictable … but makes everything come a bit more to life?  Makes everything just that bit better?  I think so.

HMS

But seriously for a minute now, the Titanic means a lot to me.  I have no personal links to it, but every few months when I had down to Southampton docks to visit my Doctor I look around at all the pubs thinking which one Jack Dawson won his ticket in.  When I’ve accidentally slept with my window open and a cruise liner horn wakes me up I instantly think of the Titanic.  When my bus drives by the Titanic Museum I always think, I MUST get off and go inside.  And I tell you what, I’m going to.

So Titanic in 3D was amazing but RIP HMS Titanic and all the souls lost upon it, you are all in my prayers.