Must Watch TED Talks

2:46 PM

I'm sure a lot of people have watched or at the very least, heard of TED talks. But for those who haven't these are essentially small talks/lectures given on a wide range of topics by a wide range of people. I really enjoy watching TED talks and I love when people recommend one to me. That is the basis of this blog post, I wanted to show you my favourite TED talks that I have watched. All of these I have liked for different reasons whether it be how powerful they were or just that the topic was incredibly interesting.

This was actually the first ever TED talk that I encountered. I can't quite remember how I stumbled upon it, most likely from googling about psychopathy. This talk was so incredibly interesting that it made me buy Jon Ronsons book called "The Psychopath Test" and subsequently buy more of his books. He is essentially a journalist and he always writes/talks about the most interesting topics. Nothing he has ever spoke about has ever been dull. There was actually the chance to meet him in Liverpool when he bought out his most recent book and I sincerely regret not going.

I actually watched this TED talk following on from meeting her at the BPS conference in Liverpool in 2015 after she gave a small talk surrounding this subject and I absolutely adored it. I had never thought about laughter in such a way before, I had never questioned why we laugh until Sophies' talk and she speaks wonderfully.

How can I mention TED talks without mentioning this incredible man? A lot of people know his book; The man who mistook his wife for a hat. As well as the film "Awakenings" which was based on his memoir. I currently own four of his books and I am hoping to eventually own them all. If someone would to ask me to recommend them one TED talk to watch, it would probably be this one. Unfortunately, Oliver Sacks passed away last year. But his work will continue to inspire and provoke thoughts and questions that no one had ever considered before. I adore his work. 

Susan Cain is the author of "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a world that can't stop talking". I have had this book on my wishlist for a very long time and after watching her TED talk, I wanted the book even more. I would classify myself as an introvert, so her talk really spoke to me and inspired me. Not only was she an introvert herself who was stood infront of all these people, giving a talk. But she was also an introvert who was speaking about how being an introvert isn't a bad thing. As someone who has always been told to be more confident, it is nice to listen to someone who is talking about the benefits of being introverted.

If you have any suggestions on TED talks please leave in the comments below, tell me what your "must-watch" talks?

Blog Post Help

50 Blog Post Ideas.

1:23 PM

I don't know about you but one of the things that I struggle with a lot of the time is coming up with ideas of what to write about on my blog. So I decided to challenge myself to come up with a list of 50 blog post ideas! Hoping that this will help a lot of new and experienced bloggers and maybe even myself in the future.

1. Review a book.
2. Write about a trip/event.
3. Lookbook/Outfit of the day/week.
4. Review makeup.
5. Top 10 list; videogame, books, magazine, shops, places, anything!
6. Guest Post.
7. Interview.
8. Gift Ideas; birthdays, for him, for her, Christmas.
9. Tags.
10. Favourite places to get DLC for a certain game e.g. the sims custom content.
11. A current hot topic/affair that's happening in the world.
12. Teach about a subject; writing about something that you know a lot about, help newbies!
13. Tutorials; How-to do something.
14. Swatches of makeup.
15. Hauls; what have you bought recently? Books, videogames, stationery.
16. Tips; about anything! organisation, time management, surviving university.
17. Comparing brands; two skincare brands, two makeup brands, two clothing brands?
18. Advice post.
19. Diary post.
20. Tips about getting into certain jobs; CV advice, qualifications.
21. "what not to do" posts e.g. What to avoid when writing essays.
22. Life hacks.
23. Research; whats new in a certain area, whats the best places to read about it.
24. Review a film/ TV show.
25. Information post; an example on my blog is my serial killer Sunday.
26. Features; have something that is a big topic you can keep running e.g. psych bites
27. Myth-busting.
28. Quiz; lets face it, we all do the buzzfeed quizzes.
29. Overview; pick an event in history e.g. a war, invention and summarise it with the key points.
30. Bucket List.
31. Fictional places you'd like to visit.
32. Personal collection tour; games, books, popfigures, cards.
33. Food Recipes; especially healthy ones!
34. Summary of someone elses work; author, psychologist, scientist.
35. Pros and Cons.
36. A- Z list.
37. A Glossary; especially if your blog has some terms a layman may not understand.
38. FAQ.
39. Giveaway/Competition.
40. "For beginners" post.
41. "What I've learnt"
42. Challenges.
43. Blog anniversary; include stats like your most popular posts, your views etc.
44. "What I got for my birthday"
45. "Best websites for..."
46. DIY posts.
47. Testing tricks from pinterest/tumblr.
48. "The Ultimate Guide to..."
49. Cheat Sheet
50. Current Favourites.


What I've learnt on my PhD; Part One.

12:04 PM

Well, it has certainly been a while since I posted on my blog, and if you don't follow any of my social media then you probably won't be aware that I was offered a place on a fully funded PhD course completely out of the blue at the university in which I studied my undergraduate degree (yes I have now graduated!) and have been working on it since July. My PhD is three years long with one year being an MPhil (Masters of Research) and then having to write a transfer report to get onto the next two years, which is essentially the PhD part. The topic is within educational psychology and I'm currently in the middle of writing my research proposal and ethics form, what fun! So, I thought I would share some things that I have learnt so far.

1. Don't panic, you'll learn along the way. 
I have had a lot of "now what?" "How am I supposed to do that?" "How do I do this?" even within the first few months, I felt very lost because there is no definitive guidance. There is no one there that is going to hold your hand, tell you when your deadlines are, tell you what to do and how to do it. Yes, supervisors are there to help you but they expect you to be quite independent, the whole point of a PhD is to develop your independence and ability as a researcher, which you certainly aren't going to get if you're running to your supervisor for every little thing. But don't panic! The university will generally run little day courses, you'll talk to other students, you'll get sent emails about events and you'll eventually start to figure out what's going on.

2. Scheduling yourself is hard. 
I would consider myself quite an organised person, which is obviously a very beneficial trait to have on a PhD, but what you may not realise is the amount of self-discipline it takes to give yourself a "work day". In my university, you can either work in what is called the "research hub" where researchers in the faculty have access to computers, printers, a little kitchen etc. Or you can do your work from home. As I don't live in the city that my university is located, I do all my work from home unless I specifically have to go in for some reason, this means I have to give myself a work day. I have to wake myself up, I have to tell myself to start work at 9am, tell myself to have dinner at 12pm and get back to work at 1pm, and allow myself to finish at 5pm. With no one there to tell you off, supervise what you're doing, there will be a tendency to give yourself longer breaks, sometimes sleep in. If it works better for you, maybe just tell yourself what you need to get done each day, or tell yourself how many hours work you have to do, but the point is... it's very difficult.

3. It's completely normal to feel like you're not good enough.
So often I have felt like I'm not smart enough, that I don't know enough about a subject and that people will find this out and not want me to do my PhD anymore! And that's totally normal. It's what's known as "imposter syndrome" or "fraud syndrome" and is defined as a high achieving individual being worried that they will be exposed as a "fraud" i.e. not being good enough. I've read about it in numerous articles about what to expect on a PhD and I've felt it several times already. You just have to remind yourself that you have gotten onto the course, therefore the university must believe that you are capable of doing a PhD and working to that level. But it is okay to feel this way, and I'm not the only one who has.

4. Don't be scared of asking questions.
At the very start of my PhD I felt like I had a million questions that I wanted to ask but didn't want to be a nuisance. Don't be afraid of asking questions. Supervisors will be aware that you will be a little lost at the start, so it's okay to ask a few questions here and there. But my advice is, try and find the answer yourself first before asking the supervisor, because if the answer turns out to be written on your university website or within the student area, then they will know that you hadn't bothered to look yourself!

5. Supervisors will make you a priority.
I am amazed at how quickly supervisors reply to your emails and how readily available they are for meetings any time you need one. I thought that it would be difficult to make meetings so I was often emailing supervisors ahead of time to try and make sure I get a meeting in, but they are always available for you when they can, one of my supervisors even replies to my emails when hes supposed to be off work! I really appreciate how quickly they respond.

6. You actually get the opportunity to teach/lecture/Mark assignments, but you don't have to!
Due to the fact that I want my career path to be within academia and I would like to lecture and conduct research, this is a big plus for me. You get the opportunity to take a course which gives you a qualification and more fancy letters after your name and it means that you can assist in teaching, marking assignments and in the later years of your PhD you can even lecture. But if that's not your thing, don't panic, it's not something you have to do and I was asked if I wanted to do it in my initial meeting.

7. Even though there is no formal teaching on a PhD, there are lots of courses run by the university to help you.
I got asked by numerous members of my family "what days are you in for lectures?" when I first started, as what most people don't realise is that there are no formal sessions; no lectures, no tutorials, no workshops.Anything that you do go in university for, you arrange yourself. My university has what is called a "Researcher Development Programme" and they run numerous courses, that are usually a day or two long, that you can book onto if you think it could be something useful. I am going to be taking full advantage of these courses, even if I don't think it would be useful in my current project, I'm making the most of my PhD and gathering as much information as I can. As who knows, in the future, it might be useful to say that I'd done a little course in something.

8. Jotters are a lot more useful than you think.
I'm one of those people that is obsessed with stationery. I will buy notebooks left, right and centre just because I thought it was pretty or I liked the organisation of it. Recently, after watching a few of JeansThoughts videos on her PhD experience, I decided to give jotters a go. I'd never used jotters before and was very much a person that just loved to write in huge notebooks, but jotters are actually really helpful. Because they're so small they fill up quicker so its easier to split your work, they're more compact if you need to take one around with you rather than carrying a huge notebook and it gives my brain its need for notebooks as they're usually in packs of three.

9. Two screens makes life a whole lot easier.
Probably the biggest thing I have learnt and one that I would recommend every PhD/Masters and maybe even undergrad student do. Is to get two monitors. At first you might think, whats the point in that? Think about it. One screen you will have open your journal article and on the other screen you can have your word document where you're typing your notes, its easier for referencing, its easier for splitting your work up so its not a cramped screen, and it just makes the whole process of writing a lot easier and smoother than it does if you had just one screen.

10. Endnote will be your best friend.
I had never heard of this programme until starting my PhD and it was mentioned by a girl who I was introduced to when I was deciding whether or not to take the offer. She told me that if I used Endnote from the start it would make my life so much easier, because she had only recently began to use it. What is Endnote? Well, its a programme specifically designed to make referencing easier. You know that thing that you hate doing at the end of every essay? This does it for you. You have what is called an "Endnote library" and you add references to it, which you can attach PDFs to, you tell endnote what type it is e.g. journal article, report, conference paper etc. You type in all the details of the reference and save it. Then, when you are typing your essay in microsoft word and you need to cite something, you go to the endnote tab, click insert citation and search for the reference you need. Not only does it cite the reference for you, it also creates a reference list which it updates every time you have a new reference! There are thousands of referencing styles that are programmed into Endnote and thousands more that you can download off the Endnote website. Take advantage of it, its amazing!

I still have a lot to learn, after all I've only been there for 3 months, but i'd like to share my journey with you as I have read a lot of these posts recently and have found them both helful and comforting. I hope someone else does too!

book review

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

11:09 AM

Star Rating: 5/5
Title: Speak
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Publisher: Hodder
Pages: 240 
Genre: Young Adult

Where to buy:
From her first moment at Merryweather High, Melinda Sordino knows she's an outcast. She busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't know glare at her. No one knows why she called the police, and she can't get out the words to explain. So she retreats into her head, determined not to think about it. But, try as she might, it just won't go away.
After reading Wintergirls I was a bit skeptical about reading another book, because I have found sometimes it is a mistake to read the most loved book by an author as compared to all the others, it just doesn't compare. However, I loved speak, I think I enjoyed Wintergirls more because I can relate to it a lot more than Speak. Although, this is such a fantastic book that it is still highly recommended.

I just want to quickly mention that this book deals with a very sensitive subject which may be triggering for some people. It is beneficial to do extra research about this book if you think that you may have some difficulty with the themes surrounding it.

Laurie Halse Anderson handles the subject really incredibly. Her writing is just so beautiful and her characters are so well rounded and they just seem like I am reading about a real person. Reading this book has proved to me just how brilliant of an author Laurie Halse Anderson is, she takes such raw, sensitive, real life subjects and she creates stories that just show the trauma and the backlash surrounding these events. It is hard for me to talk about this book without giving too much away, but I just want to say that this book is amazing and definitely worth a read.


Jeffrey Dahmer

12:00 AM

Warning: Do not read these posts if you are easily affected by gore/abuse. Read at your own risk.

I've had a few people say to me that they really loved my Serial Killer Sunday and that it was one of the things they really loved reading on my blog, therefore as I am now doing Forensic Psychology as one of my modules and are getting more information on Serial Killers, I thought I would bring it back! 

Year's active: 1978 - 1991
Number of Killings: 17
Killing method: There are a multiple different methods of murder Dahmer would delve into including the use of a powersaw, strangulation and injections of acid. However, the majority of his murders were followed by cannibalism and necrophilia
Year caught: 1991
Where now: Murdered in Prison in 1994.

Jeffrey Dahmer was born on May 21st 1960 in Wisconsin, USA. He is an incredibly infamous serial killer that many people will have heard of. There is a film that was created about him called Dahmer where he is portrayed by Jeremy Renner (you may have seen him in the avengers playing hawkeye) and there are numerous books and documentaries. Dahmer grew up in West Allis, Wisconsin with his mother, father and brother. His mother suffered from several illnesses and craved constant attention from her husband, she even attempted suicide. This ultimately lead to Dahmer being very reserved as he had little attention and was neglected by his parents.

From a young age, Dahmer had an interest in animals and collected large insects such as butterflies. Later, he started to collect animal carcasses from the side of roads which he would dissect in his home. His father later taught him how to preserve animal bones.
Once Dahmer became an adolescent he came to the realisation that he was in fact homosexual, but kept this a secret from his parents. He had several fantasies of knocking men unconscious and dissecting them as he had his animals earlier in life.

Dahmer committed his first murder at the age of 18, he picked up an 18 year old hitchhicker and invited him to his home where he lived alone. The pair drank together and listened to music and when the man wanted to leave, Dahmer bludgeoned him with a dumbbell and strangled him to death. Dahmer then stripped the clothes off the man and masturbated over his body.

All of Dahmers known victims were males, he has spoken openly about the majority of them, though it is well known that serial killers will not reveal every detail as they like to keep some things for themselves. A lot of Dahmers killings were opportunistic, of people that were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Dahmers murders escalated the more that he was able to get away with, he started to dismember and preserve body parts. The later murders he started to keep certain parts within his freezer in order to later consume them. He later also started to document his killings, taking Polaroid photos of the dismemberment process as well as also becoming more creative in his killings and using methods such as using drugs to render his victims unconscious.

Dahmer was caught as one of his intended victims managed to escape and contact the police. Once the police entered the apartment they found Dahmers Polaroids and were able to determine they were taken in that very apartment as the decor was the same. Dahmer attempted to fight the officers and resist arrest. Once Dahmer was handcuffed, one of the officers discovered a severed head within the freezer and called for back-up. After a thorough search of the apartment by the Investigation Bureau, 7 skulls, hearts and other parts were found as well as 74 photos.

Dahmer eventually confessed to his crimes, and was placed in confinement for his own safety. There was an attempt on his life with a razor blade but he managed to survive this assault. He was later attacked in a bathroom by two men which ultimately lead to his death.

What do you think of Dahmer? Why do you think he confessed to everything? Leave comments below!


Psychology; Where to begin.

11:45 AM

I know I have been away for a very long time, but I have had a lot of university work, personal problems and very little motivation to write anything. Recently, however, I was inspired by Jean from BookishThoughts where she made a video on what books to start with if you want to get into Ancient History. I loved this idea, really enjoyed the video (added a few of them to my wishlist) and wanted to create my own version for those who want to dive into the world of Psychology! Some are very general, some are more specific, but these are books which I recommend starting with if you want to get into the topic, or if you just have a general interest in some areas. Note: these are definitely not all the books that I deem to be important in Psychology, just the ones that I think most people would find interesting and a good start into Psychology. Lets begin shall we!

One of those books that only has you reading the title and you're already intrigued. This has come up in several of my lectures and the title is exactly as it sounds. Oliver Sacks discusses a wide variety of neurological disorders in this book, the one in which is the main focus is the man who literally thought his wife was a hat and tried to put her on, it sounds incredibly strange but trust me it is an incredibly interesting read and one which will come up time and time again throughout psychology.

One of the most colourful, fun, captivating books that I have come across that sums up all the main ideas of Psychology. This is one of those books that you can delve into here and there or you can read it cover to cover. It has all the main experiments, psychologists and ideas in here and it is explained so incredibly simply that anyone who has any interest in the topic would be able to pick it up and read it. It has a wide range of topics in this one from social to cognitive psychology as well as explaining the origins and definitions of these terms. Love this one, would definitely be my first recommendation for you newbies out there.

This book is a lot more black and white, has a lot more text to read through and therefore is slightly more advanced in its writing style than the Psychology Book. I really like this book too though, it keeps to the point and makes things really easy to understand. I thought I would give the option of the two books as then it is all about personal preference which you would prefer, they both contain similar content, though I do think the Psychology book may have slightly more areas than this one.

I remember being recommended this book in one of my lectures to read over the holidays, I thought it sounded interesting so I went on a hunt to find it and it is actually in HMV of all places. This book is a really light read, anyone would be able to understand it and its actually really interesting! It talks about a wide range of weird and wonderful experiments that have actually happened, such as the experiments on dead bodies that inspired Mary Shelley's Frankenstein or literally, as the title explains, giving acid (LSD) to elephants. This is a really wonderful book for anyone and everyone who is interested in the area.

Michel Foucault is a very famous name when it comes to psychology, i'm sure that some of you may have heard of him even if you have not studied psychology before. I think this is one of his most famous works and it is an incredibly interesting one. In this book, Foucault discusses what it means to be mad as well as how our attitudes have changed towards madness over the years, one time mentally ill people were considered a threat and locked away and treated so poorly, to now. However, this book was written in 1965 so it isn't as up to date on the views of madness as we are as a society now, so bare that in mind if you decide to read this one, an interesting read none the less.

At the start of my undergraduate degree, this was recommended to be read as a starting point before the course even began. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is going onto, or is in the middle of, an undergraduate degree. You have all the key psychologists in there, with a bit of background on them as well as what they are most known for. This is really useful when you start to come across these figures in your lectures and already you know quite a bit about them. I would say if someone was to ask me for one book to get them started in Psychology, this would be the first that came to mind.

Probably one of the first Psychology books that I ever read, as I remember my college teacher telling us about it after we watched clips from the Stanford Prison Experiment (really interesting experiment, google it, but be warned it is pretty horrific) and I asked for it for Christmas from my mum. This book discusses the idea of how an ordinary, good person can turn evil. If you think about it, why did the soldiers in Nazi Germany kill all those people? This book helps to answer questions like that, though it is quite a scary one as it does make you think that anyone has the capacity to be evil, given the right circumstances.

I realise the name "Sigmund Freud" has a lot of either negative or nonsense ideas surrounding him. Yes, he did believe in some bizarre concepts such as the Oedipus Complex (google it, seriously.) and he did have the idea of dream analysis (he was on a lot of cocaine okay) and us psychology students do get frustrated when everyone who has never done psychology before only ever thinks of him... However, one of his most famous books and one which is still considered to be relevant today is Civilisation and its Discontents. Basically, in this book Freud discusses the impact of civilization and its rules upon an individual, he discusses the ideas of our "primitive" instincts which can't be stopped. Its a very hard read and can be quite difficult, but if you grasp the feeling of the book then its definitely worth it and an interesting one at that.

If someone asked me for recommendations in terms of Forensic Psychology, this would probably be one of the first ones that I would shove in their face. I've not actually read this cover to cover but I have read quite a large chunk of it over the years and I now finally own my own copy! Adrian Raine is one of the leading psychologists in this field, looking at the differences in biology between criminals/non-criminals, psychopaths/non-psychopaths. It may not be the easiest read, but it is definitely a really interesting one.

I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope this has given you some good starting points into the wonderful world of Psychology! If you have any questions, or want recommendations within a certain field then feel free to send me a tweet or message! Thanks for reading.