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

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

On 2013

Oh 2013, what a year you've been. How quickly you've gone and how much you've affected me. I don't quite know how to sum you up in a few paragraphs but here goes nothing.

This year has, without a doubt, been the best year of my life. At the end of last year I wrote about how much I felt I'd grown as a person in 2012. And that was wonderful. It was the first year that I really felt like I was beginning to understand who I am. But 2013 has been kinder still. Having grown into myself more in 2012, 2013 allowed me to be myself. Apologies if I'm talking what seems to be a load of nonsense but I suppose you can't really be yourself unless you know yourself, so I've been much more confident and happy this year.

It has also brought the biggest change of my life so far. Moving house and school is a pretty big one, even if it is only about half an hour away from where I used to live. But it's also turned out to be great. And a year ago I couldn't bear the thought of that change, which in itself has taught me so much.

So 2013 consisted of: - throwing up on new year's day (not due to alcohol, I still have no idea why!) - my 16th birthday - going to the theatre 5 times (I think) - my new niece Iona being born - doing my GCSE exams - finishing my secondary school - prom - getting my GCSE results - moving house - going on holiday to Wales with my best friends - going to Yorkshire to my sister's with Harry - starting a new school and a levels - being with Harry for over a year - not having McDonald's

There are many other things that this year has consisted of, but I just wanted to scratch the surface with those. Have a brilliant New Year's Eve, and Happy New Year. I'm off to spend New Year's Eve with some friends. I'll leave you with some highlights of my 2013:


Saturday, 28 December 2013

On What Read In 2013

I hope you all had wonderful Christmases - I most certainly did and really enjoyed spending a few days in Yorkshire at my sister's.

It's that time of year again where the year is nearly over and I'm feeling very reflective and shocked at how quickly the year has passed, sound at all familiar?

But I thought before inevitably writing a post in which I reflect on 2013 as a whole I'd write one first about what I've read this year. If I wrote a review of each one this would be like a book itself rather than a post so I'll just put the titles, authors, a link to the book and what I rated it out of 5. You can always find me at Goodreads to see what I'm currently reading here.

This year I read:

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 4/5
2. Back Story by David Mitchell 4/5
3. Camp David by David Walliams 3/5
4. Paper Towns by John Green 4/5
5. Is It Just Me? by Miranda Hart 3/5
6. Emma by Jane Austen 3/5
7. Atonement by Ian McEwan 4/5
8. You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane 3/5
9. The Help by Kathryn Stockett 5/5

10. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 4/5
12. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green 4/5
13. The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult 4/5
15. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver 3/5
16. Between a Mother and Her Child by Elizabeth Noble 4/5
17. The Friendship Test by Elizabeth Noble 3/5
18. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker 3/5

19 Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer 4/5
20. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer 4/5
21. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath 4/5
22. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 3/5
23. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess 3/5
24. Call The Midwife by Jennifer Worth 4/5
25. Him & Me by Jack and Michael Whitehall 3/5
26. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh 1/5
27. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro 4/5

And currently reading:

28. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I'm quite pleased with myself for the number of books I've managed to read this year considering how busy I've been. Also just a side note - don't go too closely by what I've rated them out of 5; I often find it difficult to rate books out of 5 so if  you're particularly interested in any but unsure of whether to add them to your list drop me an email and I'll let you know in more detail what I thought. 

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

On Christmas Eve

So Christmas Eve is here again. When I was little it was a day of huge anticipation and excitement. And now that I'm older it's still a day of huge anticipation and excitement although maybe not quite on the same level as it was then. I've always thought the magic of Christmas is seen in children. Whenever I see my niece and nephews at Christmas I see the little glint in their eyes because they know Father Christmas is coming/has come and it's the most exciting thing in their world at that moment when nothing else matters and I remember when that was me, and what a special time of year Christmas really is.

From here.

I personally am a Christian, as I think I've written on here before and so when it comes to the Christmas period I do think about the whole reason behind this wonderful holiday but even so, I think that this time of year is a time to hug those special people in our lives a little tighter than usual and count our blessings for how lucky so many of us are and to remember those that aren't as lucky and keep them in our hearts as well.

I will spending my Christmas Eve finishing off some homework (boo!), wrapping all my presents for everyone and then going for lunch with my mum (yay!) and coming home to open my presents with her and my gran. I explained in this post exactly a year ago today why Christmas Eve is more important in Romania (where my maternal side of the family is from), meaning we open our presents on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day and also what I was feeling at this time last year if you're interested!

It's always been a lovely tradition of ours and makes Christmas Eve that much more exciting. I have no doubt after opening our presents we'll crack on Bridget Jones' Diary or Love Actually which has become a ritual of ours every year.

I'm off to my sister's in Yorkshire tomorrow morning so won't be posting for a few days so have a fabulous Christmas wherever you are and whoever you're with and I'll hopefully be back soon.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

On Late-Night Thoughts

Firstly I'd just like to point out how I shamefully consider 10pm to be late - I'm almost completely sure that I go from the two extremes of being like a 5 year old and then suddenly like a middle-aged person. It's ridiculous, almost automatically at about 10:30pm if I'm at home my eyes begin to droop and before I know it I'm asleep on the sofa if I don't get to my bed first.

Anyway, I have a feeling this post is going to be a lot of bits and pieces thrown together so bear with me if you can. I realised it's been a long time since I've just sat at my computer and written whatever comes into my head at the time and I miss it, so here we are.

1) I've just watched the Strictly Come Dancing final with my mum and doing that always makes me feel quite nostalgic, especially as this year all the previous Strictly champions spoke about their experiences in and since Strictly. I have practically been brought up on Strictly and seeing all of them talk took me back to all those years, I think my mum and I have been watching it ever since I was 8 years old. That's actually half my life, which seems crazy.

From here.

Strictly just has this (for want of a better word) 'thing' about it that means the whole family can watch it. It's not about the drama or exploitation of people; it's just about the dancing and everyone sharing in its beauty. And I think it's lovely. Sorry for sounding like a soppy old sod but it's nice to think back to when I was 8 or 9 years old and fell in love with this programme. Just like many other little girls, I'm sure, I longed to wear those beautiful gowns and have my hair and make up done and learn to dance as gracefully as they do. Unfortunately for me, I am frankly the opposite of graceful and I struggle to stop myself from falling over on a day to day basis so I doubt the quickstep or the salsa would agree with me; as much as I wish they would.

At the same time as it making me look back to when I was 8, I look forward to myself in maybe 10 or 20 years if the show is still going, and maybe I'll still be watching it. Quite probably getting very ahead of myself, which is a bad tendency of mine I'll admit. But it would be nice nevertheless.

2) I am so ridiculously happy to be in the Christmas holidays and can't wait to go up to my sister's in Yorkshire for Christmas, even if I have homework lurking over me which I'm slowly getting through. Slowly being the key word there. Here's us at Christmas last year:

3) A Christmas present from mum was a facial which I actually had today (it's not cheating having my present before Christmas, promise!). It was amazing and so nice to lie there for an hour and just relax after such a stressful and tiring term, now my skin feels so lovely and soft. Would definitely recommend it if you've been feeling stressed lately.

4) I have actually bought all my Christmas presents, with time to spare and before Christmas Eve which I think may be a personal best so I'm chuffed about that. On the subject of Christmas I went to Winter Wonderland on Monday in Hyde Park which was stunning, just as it was last year.

From here.

5) Feeling a bit nostalgic as I am, it's made me realise just how lucky I am. This year has not been easy, not that any really are, but I really do think it's been the best year of my life nonetheless. Moving has been the biggest change I've gone through but it's also taught me so much and made me appreciate the people I have in my life. It is these people that have made my year the wonderful year it has been and I am so grateful to them for being who they are.

There we have it, I'm sure they're enough ramblings to last you right through Christmas to new year! I'll hopefully be back before I go off to Yorkshire to write something or other, but if I'm not I hope you all have a very merry Christmas surrounded by the people you love.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

On A Word From The Wise #2

I wrote my first post on this wonderful book of quotes here, so if you missed that post I explain everything in the first one. I thought I'd have done more of these by now but once again time seems to have run away with me so this is only my second post on it but today I thought I'd open my book and share with you another one or two quotes that feel quite relevant to my life right now.

I looked up the education and learning section because this term has been really intense and after a week of mocks which have completely tired me out and made me hope that I'll never have to revise again, although unfortunately I will, I just need some time to relax and stop for a while. Which it is true I will get from Friday thank goodness, when I break up for the Christmas holidays.

"Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say only the cat died nobly." - Arnold Edinborough

I must say, I am a very curious person. I can't stand to be given a hint of something and not be told more, which I know isn't necessarily a very good trait to have. But it definitely helps me learn. It makes me interested and motivates me. I've discovered this year I have an absolute love for philosophy like no subject I've ever been taught about before. The basis of it the entire subject is curiosity. And it absolutely fascinates me, I love finding out more and more about the world around us and where it may have come from. Some people may say that this is a complete waste of life and I should just accept that the world is there. Even if that is true, the discussion and curiosity it brings fills me with interest and so I love this quote, because for me, that is wonderful education.

"Must we always teach our children with books? Let them look at the stars and the mountains above. Let them look at the waters and the trees and flowers on earth. Then they will begin to think, and to think is the beginning of a real education." - David Polis

Now I adore books and am not for one second suggesting that this quote isn't slightly naive. But I do think it's also got an ounce of truth within it. I think that sometimes we can get too focused on constantly studying and forget to live a little. I don't deny that learning from books can be great and it is where we get the highest education from. Nevertheless, our education would mean nothing if we didn't live, if we didn't go out and see the world around us. So I really liked this quote and the premise behind it.

There we have it, I hope that in the Christmas holidays I'll be able to take the time to look at the stars above a little, just as Polis suggests.

(Just as a quick side note that doesn't really belong in this post but I've put in anyway is that you may have noticed - although I doubt it will make a huge difference to you - that I have deleted all of my posts from before I had RMS redesigned about a year ago now, this is just because I realised that I have written a few things in them that are from a long time ago when I didn't know as much as I know now that I just didn't feel comfortable having on the internet for everyone to see. So don't panic if you noticed, I really did write them, I've just decided to revert them to drafts for the time being!)

Sunday, 8 December 2013

On One Year Passed

I realised a few days ago that I don't tend to (or at least I don't think I do) share all that much about mine and Harry's relationship on here. And for the most part I think that's right. Relationships are private, special and incredibly intimate things. He's often mentioned on here, just in that I share things we've been up to, but not so much little details of us. I wanted to make an exception of that today because on Friday it was our one year anniversary. I'd just like to write in advance before I properly begin that I apologise for the inevitable cringeyness of this post; I am an overly a slightly soppy person. 

This year has gone so unbelievably fast, which I know everyone is on the brink of or already saying as 2013 will soon be over, but I just don't know where it's gone. It genuinely feels like yesterday that I was going to Harry's house for the first time and was so nervous about meeting his family. Anyway, after a long week of mocks it would be an understatement to say that I was eagerly anticipating celebrating mine and Harry's one year anniversary on the Friday evening. When I got to his he was his wonderful, charming self and he took my bag and began to cook me dinner. Stupidly I didn't take a picture of it because I couldn't wait to eat it but it was amazing; he's starting to make me think he's a much better cook than I am (which admittedly isn't all that difficult, but still!). Then he gave me my present for our anniversary and Christmas and with it a letter for me that embarrassingly brought tears to my eyes after reading it, I told you I was soppy!

I don't want to go into too much detail of our evening but it really was perfect. It was so 'us', I would much prefer to spend a wonderful night in just be together than go out. Harry just gets me, like no one else really. We find the same stupid things funny and I never feel like I have to pretend around him. I am just me, plain old me and I feel great when I'm with him. He makes me feel more confident, I think I'm an introvert by nature so it's wonderful to be with someone who's probably the opposite to bring me out of my shell a bit more than I usually would be. All the little things are what make the biggest difference though, him opening the door for me, always knowing when I'm upset or not feeling right about something, making me feel better when that happens, listening, never failing to make me laugh, giving the best hugs around, even waking me up with a cup of tea in the morning when I stay at his. I could carry on but I think you get the picture, and I think he knows how wonderful I think he is so he doesn't need me to finish that list on here.

It is the most lovely thing to have him there, to brighten up my day and make me feel safe. I watched Tom Daley's video the other day, which I have no doubt many of you have seen, and while he was describing how he felt about the boy he's dating I realised it's exactly the same way and the same happiness I feel with Harry. Because really, love is all the same. It doesn't matter who it's with, but if you feel it, you feel incredible, even when things are rough. And I for one feel so lucky and grateful to be experiencing it, because it truly is the thing that makes me the happiest.

So thank you Harry, for the most amazing year and as described on Friday after a glass and a half of cider "this is the best life of my night". Still don't know how that happened but I couldn't be happier right now.

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