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

Sunday, 26 February 2017

The 52 Lists Project // Week 08

This week has been both fun and stressful in equal measure. I'm getting to that point in the uni term where deadlines are looming and if I don't get a wiggle on I'll soon be overwhelmed with all the work I need to do - first world problems, ey? It just feels like there aren't enough hours in the day right now but I've been here many times before and I always manage to pull through so I just need to get on with it!

Because I've been feeling like this, these list posts are all I have time for right now which is a shame but it's better than not blogging at all and I am really enjoying writing them so it'll just have to do for the moment.

This week's prompt is: "List your favourite quotes." 

If you knew me when I was thirteen-fifteen you'll know that I was obsessed with quotes. In fact, the walls of my bedroom were covered in pretty print-outs of all the quotes I loved most. I was well and truly in that moody, misunderstood teenage phase and felt like the quotes I had up on my walls could summarise everything I was feeling far better than I ever could!

Ever since then, quotes have always had a special place in my life (I always have a list of my favourite ones on my phone which I add to whenever I find a new one that resonates with me!) which sounds like an odd thing to say but there's something so motivating and comforting in seeing other, often very respected, people say the things that you need to hear or that you relate to yourself. So here are my current favourite quotes:

  • "Comparison is the thief of joy." - Theodore Roosevelt
  • "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt 
  • "We read to know that we are not alone." - C.S. Lewis
  • "He who does not weep does not see." - Les Miserables
  • "But how could you live and have no story to tell?" - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • "Happiness doesn't reside in any other person, it's within you." - Unknown
  • "Sometimes you have to be uncomfortable to transform." - Beyonce
  • "Nothing has really happened until it is written down." - Virginia Woolf
  • "We accept the love we think we deserve." - Stephen Chbosky 

I hope you're all having a lovely and slow Sunday morning - unfortunately I'm off to the library to make a dent in my assignments but hopefully I'll have some time to relax properly this evening! 

Sunday, 19 February 2017

The 52 Lists Project // Week 07

Yesterday was my twentieth birthday and I had the most wonderful day with both my family and my friends. I'm feeling incredibly grateful to have people that are so amazing in my life right now and so this week's prompt could not be more fitting.

This week's list is: "List all the people who brighten your day." 

As I've probably said a million times before, there's nothing more important to me than my friends and family and, since you're supposedly a product of the five people you spend the most time with, I think there's no benefit at all in wasting time on people who make you feel crap, especially because it will likely impact the person you'll become.

Because I believe in that wholeheartedly, most of the people I'm close to have brightened my day on too many occasions to count and so writing this list was both an easy and lovely thing to do, reminding me how lucky I am to have them all in my life!

  • Mum & Buni - I'm so incredibly close with my Mum and Grandma and when I'm at home they never fail to teach me to be the best I can be one minute and make me laugh non-stop the next. I honestly don't know what I'd do without them.
  • My sisters - Having sisters who are significantly older than me means that we never had the bickering stage and instead they're always there for me with their stellar advice and never judging natures. All three of them are great and I love them very much.
  • My nieces and nephews - Who better to brighten your day? My nieces and nephews have such a zest for life and I feel so lucky to be their aunty. One example of how wonderful they are is from this Christmas just gone - my nephew, Alfie, who's nearly nine, ran to the shop down the road from my sister's to spend his own pocket money buying me a box of chocolates to take home when I was leaving, having stayed there over Christmas, completely of his own accord - it was just the sweetest. 
  • The Barcelona girls - These nine girls feel god-sent to me. They've seen me at my best and definitely at my worst over the past few years and, having been at uni for a year and a half now, I know how rare it is to have such a solid and amazing group of friends back home so feel very special to have them in my life. Our Whatsapp group chat gives me life and has kept me going no matter what's happening in my life at any given moment.
  • Ellie - I don't know what I'd do without Ellie. She has just made Exeter for me. It's funny because we're so similar in some ways and in others so different but getting to live with someone who's your best friend and who you know you can go to with anything - be it to chat about however I'm feeling, wanting to spontaneously bake banana bread or watch Taylor Swift's tour DVDs - is just a privilege and she definitely brightens my day.
  • Tom, Nathan and Gus - As much as these three irritate me sometimes and love nothing more than to wind me up, knowing and living with them is like having the brothers I never had. They often make me laugh until I'm literally crying, always put up with me being a mess and look out for me no matter what so it's safe to say they 99% of the time make me a happier person.
  • Sarah - Sarah is a recent friend who I met in a history seminar last term but she's quickly become one of my closest. I feel like I can talk to her about anything and she's someone who is just inherently good-natured and kind and our evenings spent at each other's houses over the past few weeks where we've laughed, baked and danced around her kitchen like crazy people have honestly been some of the best moments of this year of uni so far. 
  • Mackinlay - From a recently-made friend to one I've known since I was thirteen, Mackinlay is and will always be one of my closest friends. We've known each other for so long and I know her family so well that I feel like we're essentially family and I've never met someone as strong, driven or caring as her. We don't talk anywhere near as much as we used to because of distance and all the many things going on in our lives but when we do it's like nothing's ever changed and we're just two thirteen-year-olds again with our awful sense of humours. 

Although there are many more I could have listed here these are the people brightening my days the most at the moment. I'd really encourage you to write your own list like this if you're ever feeling down or just need reminding of the great people you have in your life - it made me feel hugely happy writing it!


Sunday, 12 February 2017

The 52 Lists Project // Week 06

I have officially only got six days left until I will be a teenager no more and it's only just starting to hit me how incredibly odd that feels! I mean, if you think about it, the last age I turned before hitting the teens was twelve when you are most definitely still a child, not even a young adult. And now soon I'll be entering my third decade and truly waving goodbye to any claim to not being a grown-up, how utterly, utterly mad!

Anyway, I hope you've all had a fabulous week. Dartmoor last weekend was just lovely - we went to Shaldon, which is beautiful, ate a lot of food and played a ridiculous amount of Articulate - I'd love to write up a post about the weekend soon but we'll see if I can pin down some time to do it, life is crazy busy right now but I'm loving it!

And, speaking of Articulate (what a great segway, right? ;)), this week's prompt is "List the ways you love to have fun".

  • Dancing - I'm quite a self-conscious person so I have to be with the right people and in the mood for it, but, if I am, there's nothing more fun than dancing to your favourite songs with your best friends.
  • Ditto with karaoke - I love to sing but I can't hold a tune for the life of me. However, put me in a room with my best friends and a duet from High School Musical blasting through the speakers and I will be unstoppable and honestly having the time of my life.
  • Playing board games - I'm one of those annoying and competitive people when it comes to board games, I just love them and can think of no better way to spend an afternoon or evening than playing Cluedo, Monopoly or Scene It with my friends. 
  • Dinner parties - Dinner parties are ultimately food and a group of great people. You're generally in the comfort of your or someone else's home which is a definite plus and I think they're just more fun than going to a restaurant because of that. My friend had a dinner party on Thursday and it was genuinely one of the funnest nights I've had in ages.
  • Road trips - Admittedly, I haven't done many of these yet, especially since my friends and I have only been able to drive for a couple of years, and I don't like to be the driver, but road trips are so much fun! Of course you need a good playlist, snacks and a group of people you love but, once you've got those things, it's a recipe for an amazing trip.
  • Shopping - Shopping can be stressful, tiring and dull at times but, when you're really in the mood to shop, it's such a fun outing! I have so many memories of shopping with my Mum, sister or friends and trying on so many outfits together that I really treasure because they were such great days. So, although I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with shopping, on a good day, it's definitely something that I see as being really fun. 
  • Movie nights - Recently Ellie and I have been trying to make our way through the Hollywood classics that we've never seen. A great film paired with a bowl of Ben & Jerry's makes for a great evening and I've been really enjoying this little tradition we've got going this term!
  • Spontaneous plans - Since I'm such a planner it's rare for me to make plans with someone spontaneously so when it does happen I'm incredibly excitable and hyper, making whatever we end up doing all the more fun! 

Writing this list took longer than I expected because I'm so used to thinking about what makes me happy but fun is something very different. For example, getting a good grade makes me happy, but I wouldn't say that it was fun at all if you asked me. Something that's fun for me brings to mind things that spark sheer joy, without any negatives, and they are much rarer or harder to think of than things that make me happy.

So this week's list was actually really interesting to put together and it was nice to think about things that I enjoy in a different way than just as what makes me happy. I hope you enjoyed reading it and that you're all having a relaxing Sunday!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

The 52 Lists Project // Week 05

So uni work has blown up this week. I have a project proposal due on Tuesday for a 7,000 word history mini-dissertation which has come far too soon into this term meaning I've had a pretty stressful week and tomorrow will be a long day for me trying to get it done! But right now I'm hopefully having a lovely and relaxing weekend away in Dartmoor with my family (I'm writing this on Friday morning because the wifi in the cottage we're staying in is far from the best) so it's all swings and roundabouts, you know? 

I like writing these little check-ins along with the lists every week - it's nice to just have a few sentences to reflect on what's been going on because I haven't had much of a chance to blog about anything else other than the 52 Lists Project recently - so I hope you enjoy reading them too!

Week five's prompt is "List what you would like your life to look like in ten years" and, dear Lord, in ten years I will be two weeks away from turning thirty (!!) which seems just crazy to me right now but it was actually really fun to sit down and think about where I'd like to be in ten years.

Interestingly, I didn't get very specific as to what I want. That's most probably because A. I'm still not really sure what I want to do and, even if I did, the rate at which the workforce and jobs available is changing means that I could literally be doing a job that doesn't exist right now, B. I know I want kids one day but have no idea when/if the time will be right & C. With millenials being told repeatedly that it's going to be all doom and gloom for us, it's hard to know what the world will look like in 2027. 

Ok let's get on with the list because otherwise I am going to FREAK OUT about the future and how uncertain it is...

  • I want to be doing a job that fulfils me and that genuinely makes me want to get out of bed in the morning to do it - like I said, I have no idea what that will be yet but enjoying my job is something that's really important to me so I hope that 29 year old Anna hasn't sold out because London property prices are probably even more through the roof than they already are right now.
  • On that note, I want to be living in London - Preferably in the Putney/Wimbledon/Richmond area, but if we're being realistic probably somewhere in Zone 6 because of stupid stupid house/rent prices, although I have to say I would be very open to living somewhere in Italy or New York if by some magical feat that was possible for whatever reason.
  • Be surrounded by great people - Friends and family are the most important thing in my life so I want to still be prioritising them and only making time for the people who are real gems. I don't want to be making time for anyone's BS unless I absolutely have to.
  • Be in a happy and loving relationship - I know, cringe right? But it's the truth! I'm someone who's happier in a pair and, although I could definitely be happy if I were still single in ten years, this list is what I'd like my life to look like and that includes having hopefully met someone who's great and who thinks I'm great too!
  • Have a dog - Yes, having a dog is one of my life goals and if you don't understand that need then we can't be friends. Dog are just the best and I really hope that in ten years I'm in a position to have one of my own. 
  • I hope that I'm making the time to go to great events - This is kind of a random one but there are always so many great things going on in London that I see/hear about which always seem to be taking place when I'm in Exeter. I've been to a few and Ellie and I are hopefully going to a live recording of Emma Gannon's podcast in April when we're home over Easter (which I'm beyond excited for) so if I am living in London as I hope to be in ten years, I want to be making the most of all the talks and shows it has to offer.
  • Be well-travelled - Travel is something that's super important to me and I really hope that I've done a lot of it and am making the time to still travel as much as I can in ten years - it's one of the things that makes me happiest and so is really worth investing in, and I hope 29 year old me still feels that way!

How weird to think that in ten years I might look back at this list and be in a completely different place to what I'm imagining here, but how exciting too! The next decade of my life is set to be the most defining one I think so really who knows where I'll end up?! Above all though I hope that I've kept my values and integrity, whatever I'm doing, because nothing else matters more than that.

What would you like your life to look like in 2027? It's not as scary to think about as I first imagined so if you feel like sharing what your hopes are for the next ten years I'd love to hear them!
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