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

Sunday, 30 November 2014

On 'Learning Life'


The other day my lovely Gran was giving me one of her famous pep talks, trying to cheer me up as I was being a bit grumpy. My Gran's always been such a wise person and I feel so grateful that I'm so close to her, it's a relationship that I know is rare and precious. Anyway, in the middle of our talk she suddenly said (in Romanian, which is why it doesn't make as much sense in English) "you're learning life right now, Anna". And, although that sounds a little strange directly translated into English, it really resonated with me. I've always been told that this period of life (late teens) is such an important time because it's when you begin to decide who and how you're going to be. I like to think of it as a time of becoming. And while I don't spend every minute reflecting on who I am/who I'm becoming, there's a definite sense of it in the back of my mind. So when my Gran said that to me the other day, it made me realise that I am learning life, in an odd way. Every decision I make and situation I'm in is ultimately shaping my future and every day I'm learning something new about this world we inhabit. I'm finding out both things about myself and about this life I live all the time. And really, it's my decision how I respond to that, how I act and what I do with this life I've been given. I want to have courage. To dare to do things I normally brush off and don't give a second glance at. The more I think about it the more I realise that I sometimes limit myself, and I don't want to do that anymore. It seems to me, from what I've learnt of life, that it's incredibly short, and beautiful, and painful at times. But the real sense I get is that all of it is worth it in the end. Maybe that's just blind optimism, I don't know. What I do know is that I don't want to look back at my life in however many years and feel as though I passed on great opportunities and didn't meet my potential because I chose the simple way. Because the thing is, life isn't simple, or at least, I think it isn't. From what I've experienced, it's bloody complicated, but that's the beauty of it. Beauty in complexity. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I wholeheartedly agree with that. But, I must say, I think there is an objective beauty in a life well-lived, in chances taken, and joy shared.

(This has been a bit of a sentimental and mish-mashed post, I just wanted to get down what's been floating around my head the past few days into a big splurge like I used to do; so here it is.)

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Let's Catch Up

I've been hidden under a 'school pile' for the past few days, made up of history coursework, politics revision, and philosophy essays - not a nice place to be at all. As it's getting closer to Christmas (don't try and stop me being excited, it's less than a month away now!) I seem to be getting equally more and more stressed as I am excited. There's so much I need to do before the holidays and yet I don't really want to be doing it, I'd much rather be curled up in bed with a Costa Orange Hot Chocolate and Elf playing on my laptop. Nevertheless, I have managed to fit in a few pretty fun things between all the work I've been trudging through...

Last Friday I went for dinner at Wagamama with the girls, which was a really nice evening out. We've all been so busy recently that we hadn't really spent some proper time together in a while, making it much-needed and a hilarious evening. Then on Saturday Harry's family introduced me to Gogglebox and I must admit, having been sceptical of how entertaining watching other people watch tv could be, I was very much won over!

The highlight of the past week, however, was definitely meeting McBusted on Monday. Yes, it did involve standing in the cold on a Monday evening for two hours by the end of which I felt like my toes were going to fall off, BUT I essentially got to meet my childhood favourites (and current favourites, for that matter). Tom Fletcher seemed like such a genuine guy, he was just as lovely as he comes across as being so it was really sweet to meet him especially!

Yesterday was my friend Emma's 18th birthday so we ordered a giant Millie's cookie to go along with our present for her. It's safe to say Emma (and the rest of us) very much appreciated it, especially having it on a Tuesday lunchtime when you'll usually find me exhausted and dreaming of the weekend.

I don't think much else has gone on really, the next few days will equally be a mix of work and play - I really must try to get the work done first though! Hopefully next time I'll write less of a bits and pieces post and you'll find me a little sooner, preferably not under what feels like a massive pile of work...

Sunday, 16 November 2014

On Winter Mornings

Life's been a little hectic, of late. Isn't it always around this time of year though? Things are a bit difficult at the moment and while I said in my last post that I felt I was growing, I now feel as though I lost sight of myself and who I want to be a little, but I'm hoping to put that right.

I decided to let myself have a slow morning today and really take things in before starting some revision for a test, and it was really lovely to potter around and clear my head a bit. I woke up, read for a while in bed (the best way to start the day, fyi) and, when I felt ready to, I got out of bed and made myself my favourite porridge, as pictured. 

Everyone seems to have different ideas for what makes the yummiest porridge and, for me, it has to be with pear compote, bananas and some runny honey drizzled over the top - the perfect thing to lure me out of bed in the morning and warm me up. 

Feeling warmed up and energised, I thought I'd go for a quick run while I had the opportunity to and stopped to take a quick photo of these beautiful trees. Now, I've never been one to really appreciate nature (a streak I inherited from my Mum), but there's something about seeing how the leaves have changed on a crisp, winter morning, that just made me stop in my tracks so I could get a photo of it. 

Here's to slow, peaceful mornings that make the rest of the day spent working just that bit easier.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Currently #04


Reading :: I've just finished The Shock of The Fall by Nathan Filer. I thought it was such a well-written and poignant book that left me with a lot to think about - definitely my kind of book. I feel like the topic of mental illness in a book and in general is one that needs to be handled with care and respect and, for me, Filer did an impeccable job. I've seen a lot of people talking about this so I won't go on, but I would definitely recommend it if you're considering picking it up! Since finishing that I've picked up Allegiant by Veronica Roth and am almost halfway through it, two days later. I read the first two books in the Divergent trilogy when they came out a couple of years ago and loved them and the world Roth creates. Having almost completely forgotten the plot, however, I decided to read the first two again before starting the last one so I would be up to speed. I won't say more than that their concept has and does intrigue me and I'll be sad to come to the end of the trilogy, especially as my friend Lucy has warned me it's a little heartbreaking! It's safe to say that since my last 'currently' post, I have definitely been making the most of reading just for myself again and it's been really great.

Eating :: Porridge. And apples with sultanas. And cookies. (Not all at the same time.) I think I'll probably be dedicating a post to my current love affair with porridge soon, it's just the perfect autumn/winter breakfast and is the only thing that will get me out of bed in the mornings at the moment. Also my favourite thing to snack on at the moment, when I actually manage to avoid chocolate and cake, are apples and sultanas. They're just a really nice combination and quick fix when I'm a bit peckish and want something to tide me over. Similarly, cookies do just as good a job, and are good literally whenever, wherever, whatever my mood. They may not be quite as healthy as apples but nevertheless when I feel like I deserve a treat which I seem to a lot lately, they do just the job.

Thinking about :: Change and growing. I've been quite reflective of late, I think it's coming up to that time of year again where I endlessly think about the year passing and what I've achieved/what I've loved and what I hope to do in the next year. I really get the sense that I'm growing as a person a lot at the moment, which I know sounds like an odd thing to say, and I can't quite put my finger on what I mean by that myself yet, it's just what I feel. I think I'm becoming more 'myself', if that makes any sense, and am actually enjoying the process of learning a little more about who that is.

Watching :: The Downton Abbey series finale and Made in Chelsea. Downton always seems to go far too quickly for my liking but I think it's been another great series, that forever makes me want to grow up/live in the 1920s! Made in Chelsea is the perfect 'fix' when I'm exhausted and want to switch off a bit and get lost in whether or not Louise has cheated on Alik... or the other way round, what do people think?!

Loving :: The feeling that Christmas isn't too far off. For some reason I'm feeling extra excited this year, and as soon as Halloween was over I felt like Christmas was just around the corner. I'm loving all the Christmas adverts coming out, Costa and Starbucks' festive drinks, and thinking about visiting Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park again, it's such a lovely time of year. Mind you, I've only bought one present so far so I need to get a move on if I want to be organised!

Monday, 3 November 2014

On Halloween

I don't usually do much for Halloween - I remember dressing up once with my Dad one year when I was little and carving pumpkins but apart from that we've never really made a huge deal out of it and I've usually stayed in. This year, however, my friend Alex had a little gathering, and it turned out to be a really nice evening.

As you can see, I dressed up as a cat which, admittedly, didn't involve an abundance of effort but was a really fun thing to dress up as and is, of course, a classic Halloween look. The night was spent playing a few drinking games, dancing and singing to some classics, and trying to avoid (and failing miserably) hitting a wooden pole when swinging myself on Alex's swing. All in all, a fab night with some lovelies. I'm definitely up for doing it all again, or something similar, next Halloween!

It was also so nice to catch up with Rosie and Hannah and spend a couple of nights with them talking about the future and everything else that's been on our minds/happening in our lives. Those girls really do make my heart happy and they're really something special when it comes to being my best friends. 
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