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

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Month 07

So it's already the last day of July and although I still have another month left of holidays before school starts I have a feeling it's going to pass annoyingly quickly. I had the most wonderful time with my friends in Wales - it was exactly what I needed, but I'm planning to write about that properly soon.

In July I...

Read: Finished The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. I absolutely loved it, such an interesting read which I won't write more about as I fear I'm one of the last people around to have only just read it. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver. This is the second in a trilogy which starts with Delirium, I was unsure for a long time about whether or not I really wanted to read this second one as I adored the first one so much and believe it had a fantastic ending that I was worried continuing it would be unnecessary and ruin the story. But alas, curiosity won once again. However, I'm not all that sure what to make of it. I loved the same concept which it retained (the books are set in the future when love is believed to be a disease), I find that idea fascinating. Sadly though, although it was well-written and kept me interested, I do think that it ruined the story a little and that there was no need for the sequels. I'll probably end up reading the third one at some point, simply to find out what happens. Between a Mother and Her Child by Elizabeth Noble. I've read a number of Noble's books before and have immensely enjoyed each one, as I also did this one. It's a story about a family and how they deal with the loss of their son/brother when he is killed in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. I know, not all that cheery. It is set about two years after the tragedy and I found the story and the way it was written incredibly intriguing. I have found that in all of Noble's novels she has a way of making me really care for the characters, it's a real gift and holds me captivated every time I pick up one of her books. I have also just started The Friendship Test by Elizabeth Noble. I'm only a little of the way in but it's about four friends who met at university and their lives years later. So far I'm not enjoying it as much as I did Between a Mother and Her Child. However, I'm definitely enjoying it and am looking forward to seeing what happens.

Watched for the first time: Like Crazy: I remember seeing the advert for this a couple of years ago and wanting to watch it; I finally did. I really enjoyed it, definitely not one of my favourite films, but I think it's worth watching. Private Lives: the wonderful Coward play which I wrote about here. One Day: I read this book about two years ago and adored it so I finally got around to seeing the film, and despite Anne Hathaway's wavering British accent I loved her and the film. Despicable Me 2: I'm not even ashamed, I loved the first and now having seen it, I loved the second too.

Bought (clothes): Two dresses: one and two.

In school: I helped with the new year sevens' induction day, it was a little odd as it's almost as if they're our new year group and we used to be them. But I enjoyed helping it out, I can't believe we were once that small!

Out of school: - went bowling and didn't lose this is a major achievement - had lunch at Bill's with two of my lovely friends - spent a day helping out at my dad's school - helped at my friend Rosie's church stall, we were making and serving crepes, I loved it! - went out with Harry and his family to celebrate his Nan's birthday - went on a hilarious trip to Ikea with my best friends - went to watch the X Factor auditions - went on an amazing holiday to Wales - started Italian lessons with an incredible teacher as I'm starting a level in September

Also I have been listening to Wakey Wakey non-stop all month, I love them. Here are my favourite four songs, if you have time have a listen: one, two, three, four.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Private Lives

Last Saturday I was lucky enough to wander down to the Gielgud Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue to see a performance of Noël Coward's "Private Lives" with my mum. The sun was shining, depicting how stunning London can be when the weather gives it half a chance. The play stars Toby Stephens and Anna Chancellor and is a wonderful play.

This is how it is described on the theatre's website: "Elyot (Toby Stephens) and Amanda (Anna Chancellor) are glamorous, rich, reckless... and divorced. Five years later, their love for one another is unexpectedly rekindled when they take adjoining suites of a French hotel while honeymooning with their new spouses Victor (Anthony Calf) and Sibyl (Anna-Louise Plowman). This chance encounter instantly reignites their passion and they fling themselves headlong into a whirlwind of love and lust once more, without a thought for partners present or turbulences past."

It is no secret that I adore going to the theatre; as I have no doubt I've made evident by often writing about it on here whenever I go. I've previously seen Toby Stephens in "The Real Thing" by Tom Stoppard and Anna Chancellor in "The Browning Version" by Terence Rattigan, both of which I thought they were impeccable in. However, I had no idea that they would be so impressive when acting together.

The play was absolutely hilarious and although it is likely that that is mainly down to Coward's excellent writing, I truly believe that Anna Chancellor and Toby Stephens' quality of acting and on-stage relationship made it all the more hilarious to watch. I had never heard of this play before I went to see it but I already desperately want to go again, it is not only a comedy that genuinely had me crying with laughter throughout, it also touches on more profound ideas such as the difficulty of love and unhealthy relationships if you read between the lines of what is portrayed on stage.

[source here]

I believe this play must incredibly significant to Toby Stephens as his mother and father (Maggie Smith and Robert Stephens) played the protagonists in 1972 (as you can see in the picture above), which I found very interesting to discover as Smith went to watch it recently. "Private Lives" lead me to think about the highs and lows of relationships and how fascinating I find the way in which humans interact with one another. The plot is excellent and believable, the script is flawless and hilarious, and the acting could not have been more stunning. It was a lovely day out, and if you get the chance to go to see it yourself, don't think twice.

I'm going to Wales for a week with my best friends on Saturday which I am immensely looking forward to so I doubt I'll blog until I get back, I hope you all have a lovely time whatever you're doing in this beautiful weather while I'm gone!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

On Change

For the past few months, since I've known that I would be moving from Surrey to London and going to a completely new school in September, I've found it somewhat more difficult than I believed I would to describe how I feel about these changes. I feel as though I've been holding my feelings in slightly, although I have opened up more about it to a few special people in my life. Keeping things back is very out of character for me. Not that I usually go around broadcasting every intimate detail of my life, just that I normally know how to talk about it with the people I choose to.

I also feel like it has been quite a while since I last sat at my computer, hit the 'new post' button and just typed everything out that's bothering me. I used to do that all the time and I miss it. I suppose I'm more conscious now than I was in the past that I publish these words on the internet, where anyone can find them should they choose to look. But really, thinking about it, this is honest, this is my life and these are my words so I don't mind who wants to read.

Now that we've moved I do feel more at ease with the idea of it all as I truly love our new place, it's wonderful. I also really look forward to having people round, it has a fantastic garden that I hope I will spend many of these beautiful summer evenings in with the special people in my life. However, as I am now here, I am often finding myself worrying about the future; what will happen when I start my new school, how I'll be able to handle the workload, making new friends and keeping up with the amazing ones I already have.

I know this incessant worrying won't benefit me one bit, but I find it very difficult to stop although I'm really trying. I want to live in the present as I have this incredible summer which has only just started and so much that I could do should I put my mind to it. I would much rather concentrate on that and enjoy it as much as possible after two years of bloody hard work. I struggle with this because change terrifies me. I know how illogical that sounds - if we never changed, we would never make any progress, we would never be able to grow in ourselves and with other people. But I suppose I'm finding it hard to adjust at the moment. It's the fear of the unknown really.

I'm hoping that by typing some of this out I will feel a little better about it, because I know that I've got to learn to stop worrying about things that are out of my control. Only time will tell what will happen next year. And that's okay. It's life, so really it's good that I am learning this sooner instead of later. In a few months I will have the answers to my worries, but right now I need to focus on what's directly in front of me, in the present and enjoy every wonderful moment, because change is a part of life.

Monday, 8 July 2013


A week ago on Friday I awoke to a typically gloomy, miserable English morning. This type of too-common-for-its-own-good British weather tends to put me in a terrible mood, not that I can complain at the moment, the weather for the past few days has more than made up for it. However, this form of weather is not ideal when it is your prom day.

I suppose it's a very American thing, the end-of-school prom. And in all honesty I wasn't looking forward to it all that much. Sure, I'd bought my dress, booked to get my make up professionally done at Benefit and everything else one stereotypically does in order to prepare for prom, but I wasn't expecting to actually enjoy the occasion. The weather on the morning of it confirmed this for me - that it could be alright, but it didn't make me think it would be an evening I would never forget.

In fact it was. Once the panic of getting ready was over, myself and my best friends met at Sean's for some photos. We were all a little nervous when we went to meet about 70 other people from our year to go to the hotel where our prom was taking place in an old double decker bus, but we weren't sure as to why. The bus journey was excellent if not a little bumpy. Following the journey we met the rest of our year and teachers outside the hotel and many more photos were taken.

The night involved a buffet, talking with everyone and teachers, more photos and some outrageously bad dancing. I never thought I would dance as badly as I did that night in public, I have no doubt I will be hiding from any videos of it for the rest of my life. But everyone was doing the same and in that moment I looked around and once again was in awe of the amazing people I have been privileged enough to have in my life for the past five years. It really was a wonderful evening. Dancing with everyone, a thousand photos and wonderful conversation; prom is not a night I believe I will ever forget.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Month 06

Okay so this is four days late - the reason for this is that I moved house last Saturday and am now officially a London resident! It's all been rather chaotic, meaning this is the first real chance I've had since the move to sit down and type away for a while. I'll do a proper post soon I promise but first I wanted to round up what I've been up to in June. Still in complete denial that it is already July, time goes much too fast for my liking. 

In June I...

Read: Finished An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. This is another beautiful Green book that captivated me from beginning to end, the way it presents relationships and the nature of humans greatly fascinated me and I would highly recommend reading it yourself. I then proceeded to read The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult. I have read a large number of Picoult books and thoroughly enjoyed them all, I was even lucky enough to go to a BBC radio recording last year in which she was interviewed about My Sister's Keeper and then meet her afterwards. Her books are always intense, exploring tough and sensitive subjects. But the thing I love about Jodi Picoult is that for every single book she writes she undertakes research for them meticulously, which I believe is vital when writing about the sort of topics she does. It makes them so much more believable and gives an insight into people's lives and relationships. The Tenth Circle is about a rape and the aftermath of this. It is heartbreaking and tough and real. I loved the way that Picoult wrote parts from each main characters' perspective, I find it makes it much more insightful. It isn't my favourite book by her but I found it difficult to put down and thought it was a wonderful story. Now I have nearly finished The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. This is a very well-read book. People have been telling me to read it for years and I've finally got round to it. I can see why they told me to read it. Written from the perspective of a teenager with Aspergers, this book could not be more interesting to me. I don't want to write too much about it as so many people have read it but I am loving this book immensely. 

Watched for the first time: The Help. Having read the wonderful book last month I knew I wanted to finally watch the film. It was stunning. Heartbreaking, but stunning. I want to watch it again and again, I can't stress enough how imperative I believe it to be that films like this are watched, it reminded me of how blessed I am and how cruel but also beautiful humans can be. Skyfall: this is a film that people have talked about endlessly for the past year or so which I never watched. I have never seen another James Bond film, I know - I must live under a rock or something! But actually I enjoyed it. It was a bit cheesy but I like cheesy films so it was a pretty good match. The acting was great and I wasn't bored for a second. Before Sunrise: this is the first in the now trilogy of films that my mum has been raving about to me for years now. As the third one has recently come out she wanted me to get a move on so we could see it together. I liked it. It was based on a very interesting concept - meeting a stranger, falling in love, and possibly never seeing them again - and although it wasn't incredible I would like to see the next two. Sweet Bird of Youth - this is currently on at The Old Vic. It is incredibly sad but brilliant to watch, I was lucky enough to get tickets in the second row for only £12 each as I'm under 25. I'm hoping to write about this properly soon. 

Bought (clothes): Just two new tops from New Look. I hadn't been in there for ages but desperately needed some new tops as the long-awaited English summer finally seems to be gracing us with its presence and New Look had a lot of nice ones so mission accomplished. 

In school: I finished my GCSE exams after what feels like months of revision, now I'll just have to anxiously dread wait for results day on the 22nd August. Went for a lovely form meal which I wrote about here. On Friday I had my prom which was the most lovely evening but which I hope to write about properly soon. 

Out of school: - went swimming with Harry - had my makeup done at Benefit for prom - went to an end of exams party - went for the new students' day at my new school and found it's easier to talk to new people than I originally thought - moved house

June was pretty packed and full of ups and downs as I've found the build up to moving particularly difficult. Now that I'm here I'm starting to feel a lot more settled, maybe everything will be okay! 

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