Placement Year Hacks I: A Guide to Commuting

Whilst I love every part of my work placement, the commute to and from the busy city is something I definitely do not look forward to; commuters tightly packed into carriages like sardines, delays affecting your route and the screaming four year old who refuses every one of the bribes offered by his parent in exchange for silence. Though we have no control over these factors, there are a few things that I have learnt carrying around can make commuting slightly more bearable, detailed from left to right, top to bottom.

Photo 13-08-2016, 09 45 40

  1. A tote bag: A lot of the time I will pick up things for dinner on the way home and carrying a tote around eliminates having to carry (and pay for) plastic bags. And for those of us who don’t have desks we can leave smart shoes under, you can use this to carry those too (I’d highly recommend commuting in comfortable footwear!)
  2. A good read: Commutes can be long so I suggest carrying something which can help pass the time. I like to read as it means I don’t miss any announcements as I would with headphones in, and it also gives me a chance to disconnect in the day.
  3. Keys: Keep these in a separate pocket of your bag to avoid rummaging around later!
  4. Wallet: I’d be interested to hear why someone doesn’t carry this around
  5. Mints: No one wants to smell what you had for lunch
  6. Side Pocket 1: The emergency stuff: I keep these things in the zipped pocket of my bag so they don’t get lost among the 200 other items in my bag:
    1. Hair Ties: We all need a hair tie some day, just remember to replace them once used!
    2. John Frieda Frizz Ease: I’m blessed with naturally very frizzy hair that only John can handle, this travel size is a life saver!
    3. Hand Sanitizer: I personally wouldn’t want everyone on the central line touching my desk
    4. Hand Cream: Hand sanitizer can dry out your hands so it’s best to follow through with hand cream
    5. Nail file: When you break one (wow this post is making me realise I really care about my hands)
    6. Tide to go: I’m a messy eater and this instant stain remover prevents everyone from knowing that
  7. Emergency tea stash: I’m British. And particular about the teas I drink.
  8. Flask: I carry tea in the mornings and water after that, it’s never a good idea to travel without water, especially when the weather is a little warmer
  9. Headphones: Don’t be that person who plays videos out loud
  10. Charge bar: For the days I’m not organised enough to make sure my phone is fully charged before leaving the house
  11. Side Pocket 2: Work ID & Oyster: Again, keep these in a separate pocket so you’re not faffing around trying to find them!

NB: I don’t carry an umbrella because I find them difficult so opt for a coat with a hood instead, I also don’t carry dry shampoo as I have this at my desk, with a travelo so I don’t have to carry a perfume bottle

April Thoughts:

Jan: LHR ⇄ MAD

Feb: LHR ⇄ YVR

March: New Job

April: Settling back into being home

2016 is flying by (pun clearly intended). As well as learning about the world of local government, I’ve been learning to enjoy the added benefits of working in Public Policy for a national organisation; being in Parliament so often, travelling around the country, networking, and of course, being closer to family and friends.

'No joy on earth brings greater pleasure than that of a Grandchild to love and to treasure ~ '
‘No joy on earth brings greater pleasure than that of a Grandchild to love and to treasure ~ ‘


Congratulations to my brother Jas and beautiful new bhabi (sister-in-law) Kiran! I’m so happy you found each other; your wedding was out of this world. Can’t wait to return to Canada soon; hopefully for your baby shower in a couple of months’ time! #JKBabyShowerSoonCome #GetAMoveOn

#ItsOfficial #IHadTheBestSeat #HeyyBhabs
#ItsOfficial # JK2016 #IHadTheBestSeat #HeyyBhabs #Vancouver #PGBoyPOCOGirl

#Antes que morir, quiero…

Whilst in Gran Vía for brunch, a friend and I came across a pop-up event entitled ‘Antes que morir, quiero..’ a phrase which translates to mean ‘Before I die, I want to..’ which ended up being a wall full of individuals’ thoughts on exactly this, in several different languages.

After some more research, it came to my attention that this movement was an international project started by artist Candy Chang in New Orleans which quickly spread all over the world.


Photo 31-10-2015, 14 46 35

Raksha Bandhan:

Raksha Bandhan is an Indian festival which celebrates the love, duties and responsibilities between a brother and sister. The tradition dictates sisters should tie a Rakhi (I don’t know how to describe this other than a colourful string) around her brother’s wrist to affirm their relationship; for her brother, a sister is expressing her love and hope for the well-being of her brother and in return, the brother pledges to protect his sister from danger, evil and harm.

Though many argue the ritual teaches girls from a young age that they will always need the men in their lives to protect them and this works against much of the progress feminism has made – especially within the last decade – I think we should focus on the other side of the argument; how this festival brings families and siblings of all ages together.

For many years I have witnessed my mother be reunited with her siblings who all live in different continents through the Rakhris that are tied in person and those that are sent in the mail sometimes up to weeks in advance to make sure they arrive on time. Raksha Bandhan reminds us to take time out of our busy schedules to appreciate our siblings; and reminds us the love we share with them is one of a kind.

 ~ Happy Raksha Bandhan to all of those who celebrated ~

'To the outside world we all grow old but it is our siblings that remind us of each other's hearts, the family secrets, feuds, loves and laughs and how we ultimately live outside the touch of time.' #HappyRakshaBandhan
‘To the outside world we all grow old but it is our siblings that remind us of each other’s hearts, the family secrets, feuds, loves and laughs and how we ultimately live outside the touch of time.’ #HappyRakshaBandhan

Big Camp 2015:

Having a father who was in the military means camping during the summer is a must. Unlike my sister, I welcomed this experience with open arms hoping the trip would allow me to disconnect from the world for a while. The Big Camp is an annual event organised by the National Trust (an organisation which works in a similar way to The English Heritage) where activities are based around the idea of family fun, some of which included a night walk, campfire games and marshmallow toasting. Despite the four broken nails, tent trouble and returning to an abundance of notifications, The Big Camp was thoroughly enjoyable.



Staying Focused:

It’s that time again: early mornings and late nights in the library, living off of the Tesco Meal Deal diet and of course, procrastinating. The final exam season of the year is normally the one I find hardest – the weather’s warming up so the last thing you want to do is be in doors all day staring at a book or screen, the pressure is on with most modules having their biggest assessment this season and your friends at other Universities always seem to finish before you leaving you trying to live vicariously through their Snap-stories. Staying focused can be difficult, to say the least.

One of the things I find most useful is thinking about why I started in the first place and remembering the bigger picture: things that seem like the small steps now, often end up being the big ones when you look back. You don’t have to know exactly where you want to be in 5 or 10 years’ time, just have a rough idea of career and personal goals. Think of all the hard work you’ve done this far, it’d all be worth nothing if you decide to give up now. It gets difficult, but if it were easy, everyone would do it. Above all, remember to keep positive – every day may not be good but there is something good in every day.


p.s. the signs in the library are getting even better:

Really makes you think what people have been up to
Really makes you think what people have been up to