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

Saturday, 13 September 2014

On The Things That Bring Me Comfort

1. Hugs with people that make me feel safe and loved.
2. Warm cups of tea.
3. Watching films under the duvet.
4. Reading.
5. Prayer.
6. Knowing I will keep learning until the day I die.
7. My lovely family.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

On Poverty & Homelessness

This no doubt sounds like a pretty ominous post title, but it's something that's been on my mind over the past few days so I wanted to write about it a little. On Friday night when me and Mum were walking around Exeter's town centre, there were quite a few people who were homeless and begging for money. One guy looked especially desperate and I knew to walk past without giving him anything would feel like an incredibly selfish and unkind thing to do. So, although I know there are many reasons why you shouldn't give people on the streets money because they're likely to just spend it on alcohol/drugs, all the shops were shut and I gave him a few pounds.

In the UK we are, on the whole, an incredibly lucky, safe and prosperous country. So, to me, it's never made sense why we see people on the streets, with nowhere to go and nothing to eat. Now that may be incredibly naive of me, but I always used to wonder how they got there. Of course, the most probable answer to that is that, somewhere along the way, probably involving alcohol and/or drugs, they lost everything.

I know that there's recently been a recession and that the cost of living is constantly increasing which can make things difficult for thousands of families and people, but I guess I've just always thought that there are jobs out there for those that really go out and seek them. But my Mum pointed out to me that once people are in that state, they find it hugely difficult to set themselves goals and think about anything that isn't getting them drugs.

My Mum's a psychotherapist, she works in a private hospital with a great addictions unit and so every day she sees people that have ended up in this kind of situation. The terrible thing is, and the thing that makes me feel horrible, is that this kind of treatment isn't available to the masses. As far as I know (and please do correct me if I'm wrong), treatment on the NHS is limited and involves very short periods in which patients are expected to go cold turkey. In most cases, this just isn't feasible. The majority of addicts don't want help, they can't see past a life without drugs, so the idea that they would be able to go entirely without them in such a short period of time seems ridiculous to me.

All I really know is that, walking past that man, my heart broke a little bit. I am a sensitive thing but I truly couldn't stand seeing it, especially in a country where I just don't think it should have to happen. So I really want to do what I can and I'm going to commit to cooking for a homeless drop-in at a local church as often as I can. It's not much, but at the moment, it's the biggest help I can give. Let's just hope that some day there aren't people on the streets and a high standard of treatment is widely available.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

On A Weekend In Exeter

Oddly this is the only photo I took from the weekend, was much too busy taking everything in, but it did make me giggle as Mum and I walked past!

On Friday evening Mum and I met at Paddington station, hopped on a train and headed for Exeter. I had booked to go to the Exeter University open day and we decided to go down the night before as we didn't quite fancy catching a 2:30 hour train to arrive at 9am on the Saturday!

I stupidly didn't take any photos of anything but I was just enjoying some quality time with Mum.We stayed in The Rougemont Hotel, which had a lovely room but was pretty pricey for what it was and considering that breakfast wasn't included.

Once we'd arrived we went for a little wander around the town to get our bearings and have a little look at everything. Having never been to Exeter, I took an almost immediate liking to it, but we soon went back to the hotel to catch some much-needed zzz's.

The next morning Mum and I went for breakfast at Bill's, which was delicious as always. We then walked up to the Exeter University campus, which was a good half an hour walk - perfect after a big breakfast!

We spent the open day going to subject talks, having tours and I even bumped into one of my friends from my old school, so it was really lovely to catch up with him. I suppose it isn't the strangest of places to bump into someone being my age and looking at a university, but it felt crazy to see someone in Exeter when you're both based in London/Surrey!

Later on, I met up with the lovely Lucy, who also went to the open day that day. It was fab to chat with her and catch up on everything with an ice cream in the sun. After catching up, I went and found Mum who had been wandering around talking to subject lecturers, I honestly wouldn't be surprised if she applied herself she loved it so much.

Before we caught the train back to London we had a bit of time for some shopping but before we knew it we were back in London. It was such a nice couple of days, if not also incredibly tiring, and has given me a lot of clarity about universities and where I think I might like to go! 

Saturday, 6 September 2014

On My Morning Week-Day Routine

1. Alarm wakes me up at 6:30am (it is *painful* getting up that early).
2. Crawl to the shower and wash my hair every other day.
3. Put my dressing gown on and brush my hair.
4. If I've washed my hair I blow-dry it, whilst catching up on some blog reading.
5. Grab some weetabix and honey, eat in front of blog reading.
6. Brush my teeth and moisturise my face.
7. Put my suit on.
8. Sort out my hair and face (this is often time-consuming!).
9. Check I've got everything in my bag.
10. Watch some YouTube videos if I have time.
11. If not, get straight out the door!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

On Taking A Step Back

Most of my best friends' 18th birthdays are coming up this year and, me being me, I've tried to be really organised about getting presents. Whenever I've come up with an idea I've been adding it to a list on my phone so that I don't forget it. But I realised the other day that I've got a bit too engrossed in it all. 

The truth of the matter is my best friends don't need a stupidly expensive present to make them happy. That's not what any of it's about. I know Harry would be perfectly happy with a hug and a kiss and a card (although I've got him a proper present!).

Harry was the one to make me realise that these things just aren't as important as the friendships themselves and that I somehow managed to get into my head that all of these presents had to be *perfect*. Of course it would be fab if I could afford to spend more on people and buy all these amazing things, but I've always held that it's the little things that make me the happiest, and I'm sure they're what make my friends happiest too.

And most of those things aren't physical objects. They're the cuddles and laughter and catch-ups when I haven't seen my friends in a while. And when my 18th comes in February, I'd be more than happy with my loved ones' company for it. 

So I've decided to take a step back from it all and remember what's really important, something I hope to do more instinctively.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

On A Week In Dorset

 As I briefly mentioned since getting back, Dorset came at exactly the right time for me. After a few days of feeling a little down in the dumps about summer ending and other little things, getting away with the girls for six days to the beautiful English seaside and two days of sunbathing weather thrown in, I was feeling like a pretty lucky gal.

I think I've just been feeling a little nostalgic over the past few weeks, I've just started my last year ever at school, I've got the whole process of applying to university starting to already stressing out, and I'm busy every weekend until the end of October. I guess it just feels like life has suddenly got so busy. And I don't feel like I've even got time to breathe. Inevitably, not all of this went away on holiday with the girls, feelings have a habit of lurking where they're unwanted, don't they? But it did cheer me up and take my mind off it all for a while.

We stayed in Lyme Regis which is such a beautiful seaside town. I think I'll most-probably always be more of a city girl, but I love escaping to seaside towns for breaks whenever possible. There's something I find so peaceful about being by the sea which is something you just don't get in the same way in London.

As you can probably imagine with six girls on holiday, with three of us sharing a double bed, many films were watched, much food was eaten, and lots of laughing was had. We even threw in the ALS ice bucket challenge and a workout midway through the week, which I was still aching from three days later (my friend Flo is a rower - it's safe to say I'm not letting her lead a workout ever again!).

 Despite the town being stunning, the sun putting his hat on for us (even if only for two days out of six), the many films watched, Frozen sing-a-longs, not losing at mini golf (which is a miracle) and alcohol consumed, the best part of the week was definitely having some much-needed girl time. I really have the most wonderful friends, and after such a busy summer and what's bound to be an even busier year, it was fab to spend some quality time with them before the craziness begins.
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