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

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

On What I'd Do If I Won The Lottery

1. Buy my family really great houses
2. Travel around Italy and buy myself a house in Venice
3. Become a teacher and have that as my career
4. Get a pug and a beagle puppy
5. Go to university
6. Buy a car (I saw my dream one at Mercedes Benz World a couple of years ago)
7. Find a space to buy for my Mum to set up her own psychotherapy practice
8. Open a bookshop with a cafe
9. Split some donations across my most treasured charities
10. Visit all the places I've always dreamed of
11. Go to a lot of concerts, definitely a lot


Monday, 28 April 2014

On My Friday

Last Friday, after school finished, I hurried home in an attempt to beat my Dad so that I could change before he picked me up (which gave me about three minutes to change, whoops!) and drove me to Becky's. Since I've moved to London, Dad's been a real sweetie in giving me lifts back to Surrey to see Harry and my friends, which takes 45 minutes or so. The journey was really nice, we caught up on everything since he went away to France over Easter, talked about my sisters and he told me lots of stories from when I was little and before I was born. I love those talks we have, I've not had them as much since my parents divorced so whenever I do they're extra lovely.

I'd been invited to one of Harry's friend's 18th birthday party but Harry had to work so I got ready with Becky, Emma and Kate and he came to the party later. Having dropped off my pyjamas at Harry's, I got to Becky's and we chatted a bit, catching up on the past few months. I was looking forward to the party all week as it had been full of tests and it was the perfect break from such a long week. We had pizza for dinner and then Emma curled my hair. It normally drops out really quickly after it's been curled, which is very irritating, but it stayed in for most of the night, which I was really happy with. Emma's incredible at make up so whenever she's there before a party I ask her to do mine, which makes me very happy.

Once we were all ready we had a few drinks, took about a million photos and somehow managed to turn up at the party an hour late. It was really fun though, I recently wrote about how much I love getting ready for parties and this one was no exception. It turned out to be a great night, we talked to some new people at the party and Harry turned up after work, there was even some awfully embarrassing dancing, but what's a night without that?!

At about 12:30am Harry, Becky, Emma and I walked back to Harry's, in what felt like the freezing cold, and he gave us girls his bed and slept downstairs, in the morning bringing us each a cup of tea, what a gentleman! The girls went home after cups of tea and Harry and I did some revision before watching Frozen with his sister. Frozen arrived on Lovefilm this week and I have a feeling I won't be parting with it for a while (I should really just buy it!), I love the soundtrack and pretty much everything about it. I explained to Harry how hard I found it to resist singing along when we watched it on Saturday, but managed to restrain myself once I'd concluded it probably wasn't the best idea.

It was a lovely couple of days and just what I needed at that time, now I'm back to revision and very grateful for the coming three-day weekend.

Sunday, 27 April 2014



Reading: I'm slowly making my way through Cannery Row by John Steinbeck (even though it's only 148 pages long!). My Dad bought me this a few years ago, and has been reminding me to read it ever since. I've finally got around to starting it and although I'm not that far in, I have to say I'm not too sure I really get it. I'm definitely going to try and finish it because it's so short that I feel like I should really give it a chance but at the moment I'm not predicting to come away thinking it's a great book and telling everyone I know that they must read it immediately like I do with some books.

Eating: A variety of things. Apples, creme eggs, sausage sandwiches, paninis, salmon - not all at the same time! It's crazy how some days I can be incredibly healthy and others are just designated 'fat days', especially in the exam period. For some reason I've been thinking about it more than usual recently and once I've got my exams out the way I really want to get in some more exercise and start running again. It frustrates me a lot that during the exam period I hardly ever feel like I have any time when, of course, I could make some time to go for a run, but I don't feel like I can when I'm revising, it's a strange and illogical feeling but I'm hoping to rectify it when exams finish with lots of healthy eating and exercise.

Thinking about: Summer. I feel like I say it all year round but I just can't wait for summer. For eight weeks of relaxing and recharging for next year. After such a work-heavy year I'm determined to make this summer the best one yet and thinking about that helps to keep me motivated about the rest of the year. Also I've been thinking about time, which I've written about before. It's definitely a cliche but I long for there to be more hours in the day. To be able to just be more, but also go and spend time with loved ones, write more and study. I feel like time is passing me by more and more and that scares me and makes me a bit sad. I guess I just have to try and soak up every moment, appreciate the present and stop living in the past or future.

Listening: Ever since Sara Bareilles' new album The Blessed Unrest was released I haven't been able to get it out of my head. I love every song. There's such a mixture and one for almost every mood I'm in that are perfect to sing along to, especially in the shower. And of course the Frozen soundtrack.

Watching: One Tree Hill. I tend to rotate between Dawson's Creek and One Tree Hill among all the other shows I watch with my Mum. I can watch both of these series over and over and never get bored. So at the moment I'm on One Tree Hill and loving it just as much as I always have. I love the way that almost every episode starts or ends with a quote, and I really do think this show helped me to grow up - I know, pass me the sick bucket!

Loving: A lot of things. But right now, I think it's the opportunity to spend time with people. And laughter. There's nothing like it in the world; not being able to stop laughing because you find something so hilarious. For me that's 9 out of 10 times accompanied by my favourite people who make me cry with laughter on a regular basis, I don't know what I'd do without them.

The inspiration for this 'Currently' post comes from Megan

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

On The Things I'm Grateful For

1. Wonderful family and friends
2. That I live in London
3. The bursary that's given me the opportunity to go to a school my Mum and I would have never been able to afford otherwise
4. My lovely home
5. Opportunities 
6. Harry, and how happy he makes me
7. Books
8. Having this space to write whatever I'm feeling
9. Tea
10. Laughter making everything seem a little better
11. Sunny days
12. Music and the way it inspires me
13. Going to the theatre and marveling at the talent I see there
14. Second chances (when they're deserved)
15. Hope

Saturday, 19 April 2014

On Journal Day #09

"How would you say your upbringing or background has shaped your idea of beauty? Were you taught to apply makeup or do you hair by your mother or friends? If not, where did you observe what is now your norm as far as beauty practices? And although most of us have been inundated by different cultural beauty "norms" via the media, would you say that television and magazines have had a strong impact on shaping what you think of as beautiful? This week, write about your idea of beauty- how your background has shaped it and what that means for you today."

Before a party last year

Beauty is a concept that I feel is so incorporated into our society today. And yet it seems a little odd to me, because it's so subjective. Of course, it's incredible to have those moments where you stop and think 'wow, that truly is beautiful' and I personally think no compliment matches the one of someone telling you you're beautiful. Because, for me, beauty is about more than the physical, it's about being beautiful to someone, both in looks and spirit. And I don't think there's a greater compliment than that.

When I was little I was never really aware of make up. My Mum's never really been a big fan, and only ever worn blusher and lipstick here and there, not even mascara. So I was never categorically aware of it, even if I used to read girly magazines for kids I never thought anything of make up. I remember my primary school started having discos and I think that was probably one of the first times I wore make up, but only ever a tiny bit of eye shadow and lip gloss. Last time I was at my sister's, my niece was doing the exact same thing for the first time for a party and it brought back fond memories of how exciting that was. 

I suppose I first started wearing make up in secondary school. I got there and suddenly loads of girls my age were wearing it, some more than others, but, having never really thought about it before, I was a bit taken aback. I found it exciting though, for a time. I started wearing mascara and eyeliner on my waterline, which I think looks absolutely awful on me now! I think I go through phases; sometimes I love make up and will wear it almost every day but at others I just can't be bothered at all. There was a six month or so period when I wore a full face of make up to school, every single day. Honestly, I'm not sure why. I didn't really notice how it had become more a part of my concept of beauty that girls wear make up. But then, again, I toned it down and have spent the last few years of my life almost always wearing no make up to school whatsoever. And I love that. Because I personally just can't be bothered on a school day, when I have to get up early, to put on make up. I just don't care, I feel like I'm going there to learn and I don't want to wear make up for that. I get that some people do and don't have anything against it. But that's not to say that I don't love putting on make up, because I do. I'm a typical girl when it comes to that, whenever there's a party, or dinner or just going out at the weekend, I can't wait to get all dressed up and do my make up.

I save it for special occasions, and that makes it more fun for me and the novelty of getting ready for parties never wears off. A lot of people say that getting ready for parties is more fun than the actual parties themselves. And I agree sometimes. It's that ritual of all the girls getting together, playing and singing along to something like Taylor Swift and doing our make up and hair. I've been lucky enough not to really be affected by the media's perception of beauty. I guess it's just gone straight over my head. And sure, I feel insecure at times. But I also don't feel like I have to look like that model in whatever magazine. The way I see it, I can't change my looks (as much as I sometimes think I'd like to) so I try not to get caught up on them. There's better things I could be doing. That's much easier said than done, I know. But I think we need to remember that beauty is completely subjective and that it's not just about the physical. I don't want my niece to get to her teens and feel like she has to wear make up to be beautiful, because she doesn't and there's so much more to it than that. So I sincerely hope that our society doesn't have too much influence, and that we don't feel the need to go on diets, exercise non-stop and cover our faces in make up to be beautiful, because that just wouldn't be it.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

On My Perfect Weekend

1. Have a lie-in that seem to be so impossible during term-time weekends
2. Spend an hour or so reading in bed with a cup of tea
3. Go for an early-morning facial
4. Have a picnic on a beach with the people I love the most, where, of course, the sun would be shining
5. Pass hours laughing and soaking up the sun
6. Make and eat a delicious home-cooked dinner
7. Play board games and tell stories until an unspeakable time in the morning
8. Fall fast asleep with a massive grin on my face

Thursday, 10 April 2014

On Journal Day #08

"Would you consider yourself a religious person? Quite simply- what do you believe happens when you die? Have you always believed this? Do your current beliefs align with what you were taught as a child? And if not, what was the turning point? This week, talk about your religion or spiritual beliefs (or perhaps your lack of), and try to sum up, if you can, what you believe happens 'next.'"

Firstly I just want to say that everything I've written in this post are completely my personal beliefs, I don't claim to be right, in fact, I have no idea at all if I'm right. I respect everybody's beliefs, or lack thereof if that's the case, and I think that it's great that we live in a world where we are so diverse and, for the most part, people are allowed to express their own beliefs. 

From here

I had was brought up Roman Catholic, I did my first Holy Communion, Confession, and went to Church every Sunday with my Mum from as early as I can remember. But then, when I hit the age of about 11 or so I started to not like going to Church so much. Whenever I did go, I'd somehow end up feeling guilty. I didn't even know what for. But at that age, it was a very disconcerting feeling, especially when you don't know what you've done wrong. So I stopped going to Church with my Mum after that and luckily my Mum isn't the type to make me go so it was never a problem, we actually both slowly ended up not going anymore, even though my Mum has always had a much stronger faith than me.

I think it was also around that age, maybe 12 or 13, that I started becoming more aware than I ever had before of death. It started to scare me and there was a period of time when I used to get almost panic attacks about dying quite a lot. In those months when I was feeling like that, I started to question religion and my faith, realising that I'd never thought about it before, that really I only believed in God because I'd been brought up with the belief and never considered any other option. For about a year or two in that period of time I just wasn't sure. I wasn't sure whether I believed in God, what happened after death, any of it. But then I found a comfort, prayer. There were times when I was scared, tired or just having a bad day and I would find myself praying, without even thinking about it, and it would comfort me to 'know' that someone had a plan for me. And since then I have had faith, and still do, in the belief that there is a God. I wouldn't consider myself to be a traditional Christian though, I don't go to Church and never got confirmed but I do have faith and often pray.

Sometimes I get asked 'but what if there is no God and you're just talking to yourself when you pray?', which is a fair question. And yet, for me, that doesn't matter. I could be completely wrong with my faith, and I'm happy to admit that. But that's what faith is about, believing in something despite the fact that there is no concrete evidence to say that it is 100% true, otherwise it would just be fact, and there's no faith necessary to believe that. So now, I like to believe that there's a heaven and that that's where we go when we die. I hate to think that when we die it's just nothing, it would kind of seem to me like nothing had a real purpose, and I don't think that that's true. Although, of course, it absolutely could be and I could just be being optimistic.

It's a very difficult question, one that people have probably been trying to answer since life began, and definitely an interesting topic to write about. So, if you want to, let me know what you think about it, and what you believe happens when we die.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

On The Things That Kick Start My Soul

Well, cripes (I have never said that before in my entire life, but I'm not going to go and take it back now so there it is, we'll just move along...). I've just realised we're fifteen weeks into 2014, how has that happened?! My friends and I have recently decided that I'm the pensioner of  the group the amount that I talk about this but I honestly can't believe how quickly this year is going. Anyway, here are the things that kick start my soul:

1. Cups of tea in the morning
2. Opening my eyes when I wake up to see the sun streaming through my blinds
3. Reading books that I can't for the life of me put down
4. Laughing until my tummy hurts
5. Pretty flowers in vases
6. Special days with loved ones
7. Picnics in the sun
8. Going to the seaside
9. Butterflies in my tummy
10. Eskimo kisses

Saturday, 5 April 2014

On Life Lately

I broke up last Friday for the Easter Holidays (yay!), but even though I get three weeks for them, I have to revise for exams (boo!), which has put a bit of a damper on them. The trouble with exam time is that I rarely even get the chance to sit and breathe a bit, never mind sit down and write about what's been going on - although that might not be such a bad thing as it's not all that interesting to hear about when your main pastime becomes revision. I spend every free moment I have revising or trying to get out so that I can have a break. So over the next couple of months I'm going to try and keep the features I participate in going, and write normally as much as I can, but sadly it won't be as much as I'd like to.

Anyway, having got that out the way, I thought I'd let you know what I've been up to in the past week or so when I've taken breaks from (read: procrastinating) revising.

01. Last Friday we finished school at midday so the girls and I decided to go out for lunch before going back to my friend Lydia's for a much-needed sleepover. We bought all the essentials: face masks, food and dvds - it was guaranteed to be the relaxing evening we had been waiting for all week!

When we got to Lydia's we were greeted by her two adorable pugs, Tess and Polly, they are just the cutest things ever and I would quite happily take them home with me if Lydia would ever let me. We had a sing and dance to Hairspray, Disney and High School Musical songs, because honestly nothing makes me laugh more than hearing our awful voices combined with even worse dance moves. We had planned to watch a huge pile of movies but in the end only got through High School Musical 3 that my friend Emma hadn't seen, which we thought was disgraceful and decided to put right immediately.

By the end of the film our tummies were all definitely rumbling so we plodded back downstairs and made enchiladas followed by strawberry cheesecake ice cream, if I can't eat chocolate over lent, you can bet I'm going to have the next best thing I can find! Soon enough we were upstairs in bed, 3 of us in a double bed and 3 on the floor and talking about all sorts of things. I'm ashamed to admit that by the time it got to 11:30pm my eyelids were drooping and I drifted off before anyone else. What can I say? It had been a long week!

The next morning Lydia and I cooked bacon, served with scotch pancakes and maple syrup for everyone. It is the absolute best breakfast and I must have it more often. Soon after we all had to rush off home to get a move on with revision, for me especially because I knew I'd be going out on Tuesday.

Tess & Polly looking longingly at our bacon and pancakes

02. On Sunday I went for a facial that Mum treated me to, on Mother's Day of all days she was treating me! It was amazing though and couldn't have come at a better time after a day and a half of revision. That evening my Mum's friend Thea popped in for a visit with her baby, and we celebrated Mother's Day together like that. Mum's never been very big on going all out for Mother's Day and prefers the little things like that, so this was perfect, especially as Thea's always been like a second mum to me.

03. On Tuesday I went to see people at my old school, which was lovely, as always. Afterwards me and my best girl friends went back to Hannah's where my friend Sean joined us for a quick catch up - I love going to see them and talking about everything that's going on, you know that you've got true friends when it doesn't matter if you haven't seen each other for a couple of months and you just slip straight back into how it's always been.

Then I went to Harry's where I spent the night. He'd got back from Spain so I hadn't seen him in just less than two weeks. We had dinner, watched Friends and 50/50, which I really enjoyed despite it being so sad. Soon after that we went off to bed. It had been a great day.

04. On Wednesday while Harry went into College I sneaked in some revision so that I wouldn't feel guilty for having the day before off, I'm terrible about that. Then I went to meet Harry and his friends for lunch in the park and after we went back to his again to watch 10 Things I Hate About You before my Dad picked me up and drove me home.

05. Last night I went out for dinner with the girls at Wagamama's. It was such a great night and the food was delicious, as it always is there. After being so used now to seeing them almost every day, even a week of not seeing each other means that when we do there's non-stop chatter about whatever we've been doing, which made for a hilarious evening.

Phew, that's a lot of writing! I'd say you're fully caught up on pretty much everything that I've been doing lately, which is an impressive amount for me considering the revision. I hope you all have wonderful weekends and I'll no doubt be back soon xo

Friday, 4 April 2014

On Making Some Changes

This is just a very quick post to show you what I've had in the pipeline for the last couple of months around here. For a while now I've wanted to change my blog name and around the start of this year I came up with this one and quickly got in touch with the lovely Isobel (link on my 'about me' page if you want to find out more about her!) to design this beauty for me. 

I've bought a domain name as well, as you can probably see, and for someone who is awful at what I perceive to be bloody tricky IT things (which is, of course, a new technical term), I actually managed to do it and hopefully there will be no problems with it. It should even redirect you to here if you type in my old domain. So let me know what you think of the new look and name - I'll be back soon to talk about what I've been up to lately.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

On Journal Day #07

"Do you use social media in your daily life? Do you think it adds to your relationships with others, or takes away from them? And furthermore, do you think social media adds more positive or negative to your life? Write about your relationship with social media, and talk a bit about how you got started, and what role it plays in your world."

From here

I wrote about this a little just a couple of weeks ago, in fact, as I've written about this topic briefly a few times, I'll leave a link at the bottom of this post for other ones I've previously written on the subject of technology and social media if you're at all interested!

From here

I use social media everyday, and on different days it has different effects on my life. Sometimes I love it and think it's the best invention in the world, and at other times it frustrates me to the point where I long to have grown up in a world where sending letters to contact people was the norm. 

Today, for instance, I'm liking social media, I woke up this morning to a picture on Facebook of my beautiful little niece who was born last year and who I have yet to meet because my sister moved to New Zealand a few years ago and is bringing her up there. In that sense, it's amazing - I feel so blessed to be able to see snippets of their life even if I can't physically be there, as much as I'd like to. It's the same with so many other people I know and love that live all over the world. I really do think it's incredible that we can stay in touch so easily. I also love it because, to be perfectly honest, I'm a pretty nosy person (as I think most bloggers are!) and I like going on Instagram and Twitter and seeing what people are doing/thinking/eating. It allows me to capture so many moments and share them with people, that I don't think I'd be able to do otherwise. As someone who loves looking back on memories, this is amazing and something I know I will treasure for years to come.

But then again sometimes social media gets me down and frustrates me. I think it can make us lazy. Instead of actually making the effort to meet with a loved one, we might just send them a Facebook message, tweet or a Skype call, which can so easily become routine. And while all of these things are great and amazing and everything, they're not quite the same as meeting someone in person. I also can't stand that social media gives people a platform to hide behind, so that they can hurt others. For some reason people aren't afraid to tear others down on the internet, because they're hiding behind a screen. I think that those people think that it's okay because they don't physically say what they're typing so maybe they don't understand how horrible they're being. But it disgusts me to see what some people write that they'd never say in person (I hope). Twitter and Instagram distract me so easily, and I can spend hours on there instead of actually living, or going out and doing something. I think social media can also make us feel crappy about our own lives, because other people's can make theirs look so 'perfect'. On rough days I can find it hard to remember that people filter out what they put on there, just like I do too, we don;t want to share absolutely everything that goes on in our lives, so people's can look perfect, but it doesn't mean they are.

So social media can be both my inspiration and my downfall, if you like. It gives me the opportunity to discover so many new things and, frankly, I don't think I'll be closing down my social media accounts anytime soon - there's just too much to say/share/see!

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