Saturday, 29 June 2013

Clouds are oceans, drifting in time

It's been a pretty great week. I've caught up with all schoolwork I missed for uni open days and I didn't get a lot of homework for the weekend. Isn't it sad how it's predominantly things which happen at school that determine your mood? It is.

On Thursday, I donated blood for the first time. I think everyone should do it. It takes about five minutes to take the questionnaire beforehand, and about ten minutes to have the blood taken. It's nothing. It doesn't hurt and is beneficial to so many people. Anyway, I'm not going to try and push my views onto you but I really do think it's so so so worthwhile!

I've spent my day drinking cherry PepsiMax which is a bloody gift from god, running a 5k, and sunbathing. I'm currently glued to the TV watching Laura Robson at Wimbledon. I feel a new girl crush developing. Next year, I hope to go to Wimbledon and watch from the big hill since it's only twenty minutes on the bus from my house. I would go now, but you know, school. We're not actually learning anything right now, it's a bit of a weird post-exams, pre-summer period so it's essentially a waste of time.

Ooh yay, Laura Robson just won! That's my cue to go and clean the garden chairs for a BBQ we're having in about an hour. I'll leave you with my new obsession, The Good Natured, and their song 5-HT.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

University Open Days

I've been on quite a few open days to various unis recently. Two weeks ago, we went up to Chester which is a bloody long drive away, something like five hours. It's also around 200 miles away from home but there are trains so it's not a big problem. The campus was pretty nice and the accommodation was lovely - really spacious and bright and airy. With a garden. Bonus! I really liked the look of it and it's all fairly campus based which is something I really like. The town is also absolutely lovely and I know I sound like such an old lady right now, but the architecture is amazing.

On Wednesday, I took a look around the Royal Holloway, University of London. Oh my god. It's so beautiful, and also mega hard to get into which isn't so good. It's about an hour's drive from my home which is good but they don't really do the course I want which is a bit of shame - they do English lit with creative writing but not English language with it, bummer, especially as the lecturers were so passionate and animated. The accommodation is fab, all sparkly and modern but with eight people to a flat. Is that a bit much? I don't know. Anyway, like Chester, everything is all in one place and it looks like Hogwarts. Both inside and outside. The only problem is that there are two villages near it and nothing else. Wave goodbye to nightlife. I don't think I'll be applying to here but it's absolutely beautiful and just looking around it was a treat. (Plus I got a free notepad, pen, bag, and bar of chocolate!)

Yesterday I visited the University Gloucestershire which was my first choice when I shortlisted a few unis, and is still my first choice having been there. It's just over two hours away from home which is perfect, I think. The Francis Hall Close campus is for humanities so it's the one we visited and I absolutely loved it. This uni has so much more of a community vibe than the others I've been to or read about and the facilities are amazing. The content of the course is also exactly the kind of thing I'm interested in and so many of the lecturers have books or research papers published. It's inspiring. The accommodation is kind of bleh but apparently it's average and the only other two I have to compare it to are exceptional. Either way, I don't mind a great deal because the course is exactly what I want.

I have a few more open days booked for a few months' time for Essex, Hertfordshire and Anglia Ruskin which I'm pretty excited for. If you're at this uni-hunting stage, which ones are you interested in? 

Song of the day:

Wasting My Young Years - London Grammar

Friday, 21 June 2013


I know next to nothing about relationships, having never been in one. I help out at a Brownie pack where I go by the name of Ladybird because all leaders "must" have a woodland creature name. I'm not sure a ladybird qualifies as a woodland creature but anyway, I digress. One of the girls, aged seven, said to me "Ladybird, do you have a boyfriend?" and I said "no, Amelia, I do not". She looked a little bit surprised. "But how old are you?!" she asked. "Seventeen" I told her. And then said said "what?! You're seventeen and you don't have a boyfriend? You should do by this age". And then she ran off to play British Bulldog with the other Brownies. I was left standing there like, oh my god, what has this seven year old just said? I was kind of shocked.

Shocked mainly by the fact that someone who's only been at school for two years already has this preconception that by seventeen, you should be in a relationship. Where do young children get this idea from? I suppose it's mainly television programmes which create the impression that all teenagers have a boyfriend and it's abnormal not to. It was her use of the word "should" that surprised me. Why "should" I have to be in a relationship? I think it's a little worrying that such young girls already have this idea in their heads. Are they going to be under pressure to get a boyfriend, just because it's what's expected from them?

I've never really felt pressurised into being in a relationship. I have seven, what I would call, close friends. Only one is in a serious relationship and has been with his girlfriend for nine months, and another is with a guy, but it's only really casual. Is this representative for every teenager in Britain, that only one in seven is in a serious relationship? Because when I think about it, hardly anyone I know has something serious going on. This brings me to another point. What's the use of being in a relationship if it's only casual? To quote from my favourite book Adorkable by Sarra Manning, "whether it's football or A-level Physics or dating, what's the point of doing anything if you're going to do it in a half-arsed way?" If you're going to be totally committed to someone, then great. If not, why are you wasting your time? 

One of my closest friends is currently "seeing" a guy. He's a total commitment-phobe and hates the idea of being labelled as someone's boyfriend. He's slept with a lot of girls and likes to play around and - here's the kicker - wants to keep it that way. This friend of mine is fairly traditional in her values with regards to relationships. She wants to be official and totally exclusive but he's having none of it. They're actually out right now as I type this, and she's asking him if she can call him her boyfriend even if he won't say she's his girlfriend. It's all a bit ridiculous but I think she wants the label to make herself feel better about it. But having the label doesn't really change the dynamic of your relationship. It doesn't make it any more serious if it's not what both of you want. I kind of want to tell her to just leave it, stop wasting her time.

A different friend of mine said "all relationships now start and end because of uni". Never has a truer word been spoken. Perhaps this can't be applied to every school, but it can definitely be applied to ours. Our sixth form is just an extension of the lower school and I've known 97% of the people there for six years now, therefore it's highly unlikely I'll suddenly be madly attracted to anyone. Any relationships that begin now are likely started with the thought "oh, we have uni next year, better get together while we still can". People then think it will last forever but inevitably, a few months into being at different universities, they'll be like "well, being a hundred miles apart isn't working" and end it. I'm not trying to slate or devalue anyone's relationship but I just don't see anything starting at this age working in the long run.

Two friends of mine have now been together for over three years. They were thirteen when they got together and are now seventeen. A lot of people say they don't know how they're not bored of each other and I'm kind of inclined to agree. Of course this isn't to say there should be a cap on how long you can stay with someone at a certain age, but maybe it's not healthy to spend that much time around someone while you're still so young. Again, I'm not criticising anything, these are just my thoughts. I'd like to reiterate that I'm a total relationship virgin and these are just discussions I've had and observations I'd made. Please feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments, particularly if you disagree with something in here! I'd love to hear other people's views.

Song of the day:

Lovers - The Good Natured

(This has been on repeat for nearly the whole day and it's very fitting for this topic, so enjoy!)

Monday, 17 June 2013

The Handmaid's Tale

"Night falls. Or has fallen. Why is it that night falls, instead of rising, like the dawn? Yet if you look east, at sunset, you can see night rising, not falling; darkness lifting into the sky, up from the horizon, like a black sun behind cloudcover. Like smoke from an unseen fire, a line of fire just below the horizon, brushfire or a burning city. Maybe night falls because it's heavy, a thick curtain pulled up over the eyes." - Margaret Atwood

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The India House

"The purpose of the young is not to reproduce the errors of the old; they must rebel and do something new and all of their own" - William Palmer

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The Sunshine Blogger Award

The fabulous Kimmy at www. has nominated me for the Sunshine Award which is so lovely of her. I suppose I feel a little bit proud and definitely honoured, and it's just put me in a great mood, so thank you a billion, Kimmy! 

One nominates a person for this award if they feel that their blog "positively and creatively inspires others in the blogosphere" so it's doubly fantastic that Kimmy feels I qualify for this. Thank you, thank you! Kimmy has asked some questions which I will answer and then I think I have to come up with ten for my nominee too. It's very complicated, you see, all this awards business with which I'm not entirely familiar.

1. Who is your favourite philosopher? 

In all honesty, I'm not really into philosophy and it's not something I know an acceptable-to-write-about-it amount of, so I'll just put a quote I heard and hope it suffices. I was in my history class today and a boy was missing because he hates the teacher (to be honest, I'm not a fan of her either) and never bothers to come to her classes. He has serious attitude problems. A girl, supposedly one of his friends, said "oh Karl's not here, he does have issues though". And our teacher said "everyone has issues. It's just how you deal with them". I don't like her but I've never agreed more with anything she's ever said. I almost started clapping. Everyone has problems and everyone goes through unpleasant things - yes, some are more unpleasant than others - but it's ultimately how you choose to deal with things that affects the outcome. Well, not necessarily the outcome, but definitely the severity of the impact it has on you. So while my teacher isn't a philosopher, this something I wholeheartedly agree with.

2. What is your favourite number? 

Thirty eight. A lot of people are like oh that's weird, but (I hope I don't sound stupid saying this) it seems to follow me around. I came 38th in my first London Mini Marathon and 38th in County Cross Country Championships three months later. My three favourite books have thirty eight chapters. A beautiful house I've always wanted to move in to is number 38. There's so much more, I've just gone totally blank!

3. What is your favourite animal?

In all honesty, I'm not really an animal person. I'd probably have to pick a pug because I think they look adorable and hilarious at the same time. If you got me a well-trained pug, I'd be very happy.

4. What are your facebook and twitter? too, just because)

5. What is your favourite time of day?

Probably the evening, 4pm onwards, really. It's when I've got home from school and have put on my chav tracksuit to lie around in (I'm not proud). It's when I have my snacktime and pig out. But a lot of the significant things in my life seem to occur in the evening and I also like looking at the stars. Who doesn't?

6. What is your favourite holiday?

My mum is from an island on a lake in the south of Germany called Lindau, and every year we go there to visit our family. It's so beautiful and I may do a post on it later on. The people are lovely, the little shops are fabulous, and the sunsets at the lake are gorgeous.

7. What is your favourite physical activity?

Eating. Walking from the bus stop to McDonald's and back again. Shuffling to the fridge. In all seriousness, probably running because you burn a crazy good amount of calories (thus making room for the McDonald's). I love the feeling you get after it, a kind of delicious-feeling tiredness.

8. What is your favourite non-alcoholic drink?

Peach ice tea. Hands down.

9. What is your favourite flower?

Can I be mega cliche and say a rose? I think they're beautiful. I love any colour; white, cream, yellow, red, orange, pink. They also smell divine. If I get married and can afford to do so, I'll have bouquets of roses left-right-and-centre.

10. What is your passion?

Reading. Without a shadow of a doubt. Again, it's so cliche but I love feeling like I'm getting lost in a book. You know it's a great one when it's all you can think about and the characters and events are flying around inside your head for days after you've finished it.

And there end my questions. Thank you again Kimmy, I loved answering these. My nominee for the Sunshine Blogger Award is Jess at I met Jess on here in October (oh how time flies!) and we met up in person in February. She's absolutely lovely and I really enjoy reading her blog and seeing what she's getting up to (not in a stalker way, promise). Her posts are always really bubbly and she definitely deserves this.

I'm not really sure if I'm meant to set some new questions for my fabulous nominee but I'll do it anyway!

1. What was the best day of your life?
2. Your favourite thing about your bedroom?
3. Your proudest achievement to date?
4. Favourite TV show?
5. Something you're addicted to? (or practically addicted to!)
6. Who's your celebrity crush?
7. Where do you hope to be in ten years' time?
8. Your favourite ever smell?
9. Something you own more than twenty of?
10. If you had to pick one song to start the "soundtrack to your life", what would it be?

I've really enjoyed doing this and I hope you all have found it interesting reading this. Go and follow Kimmy and Jess, they're both great!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Survive - Alex Morel

As I write this, I am crying. Sobbing, in fact. Once again, I have been reduced to a snivelling, emotional wreck by a book. A beautiful book by Alex Morel called Survive. I didn't really know what it was about when I put it on my birthday list but it had been featured on one of my favourite reading websites ( which is always a good thing. It turns out that it features a plane crash and is a tragic tale of suicide, loss and survival.

I've never really understood suicide, and why people do it,  and what could possibly drive them into ending everything they've ever known. But Survive has made me understand which is something I'm grateful for. I like to think that having read it, I'm a lot more sympathetic towards people suffering from suicidal thoughts like Jane, the main character. Morel also deals with other types of illness and the impacts they have on others. I cried more than once whilst reading this.

Upon beginning the book, I disliked Jane. The story was narrated by her (which usually makes me connect with the character) but as her back story wasn't presented until later on, I didn't understand much of her reasoning and it frustrated me. I grew to love her, however, watching the changes she went through as the story progressed. Seeing her grow into an almost entirely different character was something I really enjoyed. Although there isn't much dialogue in the novel, it's not hard to see her growing connection with Paul, the only other survivor and I instantly loved his character. He was strong and brave and the rock that Jane needed. He was the catalyst for her transformation from an introverted, cynical, suicidal girl to a fearless warrior.

I'm so glad I read Survive. Although its events are predominantly upsetting, I'm now beginning to see that parts of it are also inspiring. I think the main message of it is just never give up - but perhaps also that life isn't fair and you just have to come to terms with that, accepting things as they are.