A blog about travel, books and navigating your twenties in one piece

Friday, 31 May 2013

Month 05

Guess what? I'm actually doing this month's end of month post on time! I'm going out for dinner with my best friends in a couple of hours, which I'm sure will be filled with laughing and much-needed catching up as we're used to seeing each other almost every day and it's been about a week now since we last saw each other. Anyway, that's besides the point.

In May I...

Read: I finished You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane, which was a read I really enjoyed - it was interesting to see McFarlane explore the idea of 'the one that got away'. I then proceeded to read The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I have a feeling I could ramble on about the greatness of this book for a very long time. It made me see things from a completely different perspective and though some parts were upsetting I thought it was imperative that I read on, and I'm so glad I did - a remarkable book, I must see the film. Next was The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I wanted to read this before the significantly anticipated film. I was pleasantly surprised b how much I enjoyed it, the book is very short but incredibly well-written. I finished The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith this morning, it's one of those books that keeps you captivated for the entirety of it and although is possibly considered 'light-reading', explored some really interesting topics that I found I could relate to. I've since started An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. I'm only a few pages in but I can already tell I'm going to adore this book as much as I adore Green's other novels.

Watched for the first time: The Winslow Boy at The Old Vic which I wrote about here. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which I actually had no choice in watching - there was a group of us and we were outnumbered - but I loved it, anything with Stephen Fry in it's got to be worth watching in my opinion. Finally, The Great Gatsby. Apparently it's been receiving awful reviews, which I fail to believe is reality having seen the film. I saw it on Monday with Harry and we both loved it, Leonardo DiCaprio was stunning as always, as were the rest of the cast. I thought it was wonderfully done and am eager for it to be released on DVD as soon as possible.

Bought (clothes): I haven't had much time to shop as I've been cooped up revising, but I had some time last weekend so headed to Topshop to get a few things. I bought this white lace skirt, this black skater skirt (I needed new skirts!) and this t-shirt.

In school: I went to my year group's concert for The Royal Marsden, where a boy in my year is currently being treated, it was a truly wonderful night. We had our leavers' service, during which our form tutors and head of year sung for us and memories were recounted. After we got out leavers' hoodies and began our exams. For our last citizenship lesson a Christian rapper called Jahaziel came in to perform for us, I've never really seen much Christian rap. I believe in God and I'm not ashamed to say it but I'm not as religious as many people are. But this man was so inspiring, watching him perform, with no shame or embarrassment whatsoever in talking about his difficult past and his faith made me in complete awe of him. It was a really nice last citizenship lesson. We had our last official day of secondary school, which I wrote about properly on Wednesday.

Out of school: I introduced Harry to my God-family, which I really enjoyed. My friend James came back from Australia for a flying visit, it was great to briefly see him. I went to see my new house on Saturday, which felt odd but I liked it, I think I'm really going to be happy there. I also received a lovely card from my sister wishing me good luck for exams, it made me smile a lot.

I hope you all had a wonderful May!


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

New Beginnings

I've been horrifyingly overloaded with work/revision/exams as of late, hence lots of absences from this space sadly. But I'm back tonight as I've taken some time off from revising history. A lot of pretty great stuff has happened after the past few weeks but I just wanted to write about one thing today. I had my last day at secondary school last week. I mean, we still have exams, prom and whatnot but we had our last official day. That reality still surprises me. However, I had the most wonderful last few days with incredible people that I have no doubt I won't be forgetting for a very long time.

It was even more so poignant for me as obviously I'm moving to London this Summer, which although is not far away from where I currently live at all, is still a particularly daunting thought. As I've written before, I'm still in two minds about the move, torn between knowing I'm going to experience completely new things and fiercely wanting things to stay the way they are. But I'm slowly learning that change is inevitable in life and even if I stayed exactly where I am something would change soon enough. And really the important things won't end just because I'm going to be forty minutes further away than usual.

Lots of people in my year group have bought books for others to write in, I loved the idea and so bought one myself. Reading people's messages to me has made me endlessly happy. I know that whenever I feel down about myself or am having a rough day I'll be able to read them and feel a little better.

I was also given a homemade personal bookmark by my English teacher. She has taught my class for three years now and is one of the most inspiring people I have the pleasure of knowing. Her belief in every individual in our class has helped immensely, she also has never-ending life lessons to impart on us which have always been of use to me even when I didn't expect they would.

Really I've had the most wonderful five years of my life. I've grown into myself more than I ever knew I would be able to, and I can't wait to do that some more. But most importantly I have met some of the most amazing people, both teachers and students, that have made my life filled with much more happiness than I thought possible. And I'd much rather be sad to leave because I have been blessed enough to experience this than desperate to leave as soon as possible because it had been the longest, horrible five years. I can't wait to spend more time with these people, and that's what is really important.


Saturday, 11 May 2013

The Winslow Boy

Last Saturday Harry and I went to The Old Vic theatre in London to see The Winslow Boy by Terence Rattigan. I've previously seen The Browning Version and Cause Célèbre by Rattigan and they were both wonderful so I was really looking forward to it.

This is the description from The Old Vic website about The Winslow Boy: "Driven by a passionate belief in justice whatever the personal cost, Arthur Winslow sets out to prove his son's innocence when he is accused of theft. This moving story pits the rights of the individual against the will of the state. A fight for truth, played out under the media spotlight, tests one family to its very limit."

I have always been fascinated by the concept of law and justice, for a long time I was sure I wanted to be a barrister - I did a week's work experience at Lamb Chambers last year, thoroughly enjoying the entire week. For me there's a significant nobility in fighting for what you believe is right, to make sure justice is served, no matter the cost. Of course, life is rarely that simple. What with lawyers often having to fight cases they don't truly believe in and frequently for the wrong side, that idea I had is not as desirable as I used to think. 

However, in this play the idea I had about law and justice is what underlies the entire play. I was completely in awe of the barrister, played by Peter Sullivan, the character's methods and beliefs were at times humorous and admirable for the duration of the play and most of all, it reminded me why I highly commend the job barristers do. The father, Arthur Winslow, was an incredible character. His sheer determination to fight for his son inspired me. 

As I've written previously, I love the theatre for the way it never fails to make me think. It always challenges my perspective and I think that is important sometimes, to take a step back and realise the vastness of views on so many topics, the vastness of people. The acting was, once again, impeccable, I'm not much of a critic but I highly recommend going if you have the chance.  It was also indescribably lovely to get away from revision for a bit, doing something I love. I hope you're all having relaxing weekends, it was nice last week to be able to wear more Summery clothes last weekend, I'm depressed that the gloomy weather seems to be back - at least for now. 


Saturday, 4 May 2013


When I stop and think about it, which I have been finding myself doing a lot recently, time is an incredibly strange concept. I often wonder what it would be like if the concept of time was completely lost, so time didn't exist at all. Would we be less stressed? Would we have more time for what's truly important? Or would we be confused and become a mess as a race?

I went to a concert at my school last night, entirely by my year group, as we attempted to raise money for The Royal Marsden. A boy in my year group was diagnosed with cancer in December and it was a real shock for my year. I won't pretend that I've ever been very close with him, I've simply sat next to him in a few lessons on occasion. But it was a shock nonetheless. I never expected to be facing this at my age. The fact that he now has to put his GCSEs on hold and go through intense chemotherapy treatment at The Royal Marsden in order to keep his health is daunting. It doesn't feel right, I feel very naive for saying this when I know there are cancer patients that are merely babies but, I feel as if we're too young for this. 

There are three more weeks left at my school until I leave for study leave. It will be the end of five years at my secondary school. I've been feeling alright about it, I know I'm getting a completely new start in London in September. Whilst that partly scares me, it also excites me in some ways. I have the opportunity to start completely afresh. And it could be great. But last night, when I was watching the immense talent of my year, listening to the cheers as we all supported each other just as we have for these five years and seeing the teachers who have been there for us through thick and thin, I was filled with a sadness which I didn't see coming. I have been so blessed here and I can't honestly imagine it ending so soon. 

That is when I began to think about time again. We label it as three weeks, but if time didn't exist we might not know when it would come. There is something about it that fascinates me. My whole life is shaped by time; plans, exams, school. And I like that, there's a security in me knowing exactly when some things are going to happen that makes me feel more confident. I'm definitely one of those people that likes to have my plans in place, it makes me feel on edge to not know what's going to happen. So if there was no idea of time, maybe I'd be more laid back as a person, more easy going. But then again, I wonder whether anything would get done, would we still have the motivation to do the things that we must? 

I woke up early and this was on my mind so I thought I would come and write it all out. I apologise if none of it makes any sense! Today I'm off to see The Winslow Boy at The Old Vic in London today with Harry. I'm really looking forward to it, I have no doubt I'll be writing about it sometime soon. I hope you all have lovely bank holiday weekends!


Thursday, 2 May 2013

Month 04

Sorry this is a couple of days late, my life has been filled with revision, I was planning on writing it last night but my new niece was born yesterday and I was so over the moon with excitement that I never got round to it, oops!

In April I...

Read: I finished Atonement by Ian McEwan, I thought it was incredibly well-written, the story was excellent and I am now desperate to see the film. I've since begun to read You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane and am about halfway through, it's a story about 'the one that got away' and meeting them again years later when they're married. I'm really enjoying it, it's not too intense but the story is very interesting and I can't wait to find out how it ends.

Watched for the first time: Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World - This film took me a while to get into. However, when the story developed I loved it. Besides any film that stars Keira Knightly and Steve Carell gets instant approval from me. Agnes Of God - This was the play we were given for my performance exam in drama and our teacher asked us to watch it so we could see the film adaptation. It's an incredibly interesting, moving and intense story and the acting was impeccable. Ratatouille - I had never seen this film before, which saddened me. So when it was on tv the other week I made sure to record it and wasn't disappointed, Disney and Pixar films always put a smile on my face. Toy Story - I know, it's ridiculous that I had not seen it. I'd seen two and three but somehow one had managed to pass me by: I blame my parents, they never bought it for me ;) But of course I loved it. Hotel Rwanda - We finally finished this film, which I wrote about when we first began to watch it here. It is an extremely thought-provoking film and truly made me realise how lucky I am and how harsh this world can, unfortunately, be.

Bought (clothes): I bought a new dress from Boohoo for a party which I will post below. This isn't an item of clothing but I think it kind of counts: I ordered this leather saddle bag from Zatchels as they had a 50% off discount day in celebration of their second birthday and I am a little bit in love with it.

At school: I had my GCSE drama exam, which didn't go as smoothly as planned but I did the best I could so I'm trying not to beat myself up about it. I finished my French GCSE and have had lots of mocks before my exams which start in two weeks!

Out of school: I had Easter holidays, stayed at my sister's in Yorkshire, began revision, went to a party, it was my Gran's 81st birthday, got conjunctivitis and a bacterial infection, not much of a good health month! I'm sure there's more but I'm much too tired to think of anything else so I'll post some pictures from the past month to try and remind myself, I hope you all had lovely Aprils too :)

Longingly looking out my window at the wonderful weather when I was stuck inside revising.

My lovely Gran on her birthday.

Yummy cherries.

The dress I bought from Boohoo.

A picture of Harry and I at the party.

My beautiful new niece Iona Sapphire, born on the 1st May 2013.

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