A crazy August

My promise to myself of updating my blog every week this summer has uhh…not quite happened.  But I’m telling myself that’s a good thing – this summer has been so relaxing and after A Levels, that was exactly what I needed.

Saying that, last month was incredibly hectic and I think honestly I’m still recovering from it XD.  My emotions were all over the place and justifiably so – I was ridiculously happy to get into uni although my grades were a very bittersweet feeling.  Combine that with the early feeling of impostor syndrome and a building sense of panic about how unprepared I am for uni in terms of basic life skills, PLUS knowing that several of my friends are moving literally hundreds of miles away very soon, I was…a little bit all over the place.

I visited Durham with my family at the beginning of August.  Durham has been on my to-visit list for ages and I was really glad to finally get there!

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Zaps Burrito

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As you can see, the city is beautiful!  It felt much more like a town than a city – similar vibes to York, although it also seemed smaller.  We stopped off at Zaps burritos for lunch, and I greatly approved of their veggie choices: I had a sweet potato and halloumi combo and it was lovely (if unusual in a burrito).

I’ve also visited friends in Derby a few times this summer – I’m going slightly off-topic here since I didn’t visit at all in August, but over the summer I’ve been down 3 times.  If you’re ever in Cromford, a cute little village not far from Derby itself, I highly recommend popping into Scarthin Books.  My friend introduced me to this wonderful shop where every wall is covered in either books or art, and I’m so excited to go back again and buy some goodies.  There’s also a really nice cafe above the bookshop which serves vegan cake, if that is what your heart desires 🙂

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The view from Scarthin, looking over Cromford!

Back to August.  I’ve been on a few nights out and I’ve started enjoying them (and drinking too) – the realisation of this has massively surprised me! A few weeks ago I wrote on Twitter that I was worried I’d feel left out on Freshers’ Week because I didn’t really like drinking, but now I’ve found drinks that I actually like the taste of, I’m quite excited.

I went on holiday with my friends too, and whilst overall it was a great experience, it was definitely also a learning curve.  7 of us went, and we stayed in a town near Malaga.  At first I was concerned that having such a large group would mean that we’d split into two groups and before going on the holiday I felt that was a negative thing, but in reality it turned out for the best.  As it was a fairly big group, we could split up and still be safe and together, but doing whatever we want.  If you’re considering going on holiday with your friends next summer I would bear that in mind – for a lot of us in our group, this was our first holiday without parents so we all had different ideas of what we should do, but going in a larger group means that probably 9 times out 10, there’ll be at least one other person who wants the same as you.  Also, strength in numbers in case of emergency – one of my friends was mugged, and I’m so glad that there were a few of us so that we could help her as quickly as possible.

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This month I also went to Leeds Fest! I’ve wanted to go to a festival since I was literally about 10, and this was my first one ever.  Of course, being me, there was a whole drama – I can’t seem to do much without getting myself into sticky situations – and we ended up having to walk 7 miles to get to Bramham, in the middle of a heatwave.  Because of this we missed The Hunna, who I was really excited to see 😦 I’m not going to lie, I thought at first I’d wasted my money as the first few hours of being at Leeds Fest were kinda painful – it was about 30 degrees, the queues for water were so long and I was exhausted from the walk and annoyed about missing The Hunna, but when it cooled down I had the best time.  I’ve also found some of my new favourite music from going, such as Anderson Paak – I really loved his performance.  Blossoms were fab, Billie Eilish was amazing, and the beginning of the day just added to the overall adventure, I suppose 😉

I also took a trip to London with my family.  Normally we go abroad for the summer, but due to medical issues this year we couldn’t, although honestly I’m not that sad.  We had an amazing time in London – it was the perfect mix between doing all the touristy stuff and going to lesser-known places too.  We visited the Natural History Museum because I really wanted to see the giant moon installation there; we also embarked on our own Hugh Grant pilgrimage by looking round Notting Hill, and found his college in Oxford (which is about an hour on the train from London!).  We went to Greenwich and I bought some upcycled shirts from the market (extortionately overpriced, but I’m proud to say I haggled the price down a bit!) which has inspired me to try and modify clothing before shoving it in a charity bag.

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Little Venice in Paddington – you wouldn’t believe this is Central London!

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We’re over halfway through September now and honestly, it still feels like an indulgence not to be doing stuff every day.  August well and truly exhausted me.  I’m trying to get back to top form so that I can start uni on a high (and hopefully survive Freshers’ Week…).  I’m battling my way through my uni reading list and the books I thought I’d enjoy least are actually some of my favourites so far, which is very encouraging… I promise (and that is an actual promise!) to write at least 2 more posts before I leave for uni next weekend.

Hope you’re all fine and dandy,

X

Results Day

I wasn’t going to write anything about Results Day because I’m in a very conflicted state of mind about my grades.  In one sense, I’m ecstatic – I got into my first choice uni on a course that I’m incredibly excited to start – but Results Day just felt so underwhelming after 2 years of hard work.

Throughout Sixth Form I’ve had a lot of problems with teachers; a lot of the staff at my school were very unambitious and really didn’t push us at all.  One of my teachers was absent a lot (I mean, a lot) and in Year 12, I had 4 different teachers for English Language due to maternity leaves/new jobs etc.  So it’s safe to say the actual teaching of my A Levels was unbalanced, at the very least.  Me, and several other students raised concerns – our parents did too, since we were going home so stressed about effectively having to teach ourselves large portions of the syllabus – to the extent of going to see the headteacher and yet…nothing changed.

The reason I’m so disappointed with my grades (one in particular) is purely because of the sheer amount of effort I put into teaching myself effectively half of 3 A Levels (I will admit, some of my teachers were fantastic and so helpful, but others were the binary opposite).  I’m not writing this post as a sob story or as an excuse for why I maybe didn’t do as well as I could have done.  I know full well that there was nothing more I personally could have done to get better grades.  My grades aren’t even bad, they’re just not what I was expecting or hoping for, and they’re really not reflective of the amount of time and effort I put into them.

Anyway.  C’est la vie.  I was one mark off an A in English Literature so I’m trying to get that remarked (although my school is being very unhelpful and so the earliest my papers will actually be sent off to be remarked is 21st August, a full 6 days after Results Day).  I’d really been hoping for an A* in English Literature (and honestly, I kind of expected one – English has always been my strong subject, I’d received full marks in my coursework and I came out of the exams feeling relatively confident – which maybe shows I need to not expect things and not take things for granted!!) and I worked so hard for one, since I’m going to be doing a degree in it, but I just don’t feel like my work paid off.  A B is still a good grade and I’m happy that I got it as it’s still allowed me to get to where I want to go next year; it’s just the perfectionist in me wanted higher.

I got into my favourite uni though, so I’m not really sure how much that annoying little B matters.  Next month I’m going to be studying English Literature at the University of York, and I’m so excited.  I’m so grateful too, because I really thought I wouldn’t get on to the course – they ask for an A minimum in English Literature, so I think I’ve scraped through by the skin of my teeth.  I’m worried I’m going to feel like an impostor because of this, even though I know I’m perfectly capable (I was only a mark off an A, after all) but I think when I meet new people who’ve all got As and A*s, I think I’ll be left feeling a little inferior.

** I want to add a little disclaimer before I end this post.  I’m well aware that the grades I received are good grades and by saying I’m unhappy with what I got, in no way am I trying to diminish their value.  I am a perfectionist, always have been and I’m fairly sure I always will be, and I’ve always set my hopes on being the best and getting the best grades etc.  Additionally, with the struggle of having to self-teach a big chunk of my A Levels, I feel annoyed at myself for not having been able to do a better job at teaching (which is ridiculous because it shouldn’t have been almost completely down to me in the first place) but there we are.  I think essentially, I’m greedy with perfectionism – I knew all along that if I didn’t get 3 a*s I’d be disappointed, but I also can’t really blame myself, because the teaching standards at my school honestly were shambolic.**

I hope this makes sense – I feel like I’ve rambled on a bit.  Whilst I feel like I could have (and maybe should have) done better, there was no way physically or mentally I could have done more revision, so at the very least I’m satisfied that I gave A Levels my best shot despite the numerous hurdles and proud that the grades I got are very good regardless.  I’m going to uni next month and I genuinely can’t wait, so I’m going to just try to forget about the monumental pain in the arse A Levels were and move on to bigger and better things (first class degree, here I come ;)…)

I hope if you got your results they were what you wanted! And even if they weren’t, like me you’ll end up where you’re meant to go anyway.  Maybe the most important thing A Levels have taught me is that education is crucial, but grades aren’t the be-all and end-all – the people around you and your own goals and ambitions are 🙂

 

Review: Vox by Christina Dalcher

My friends bought Vox for me as part of my birthday present – they know that the way to my heart is books. I don’t normally write reviews for specific books but I think Vox is a very important read, particularly because of the current political and social climate, and I really want to draw as many people’s attention to it (and the problems it discusses) as possible.

*Whilst I want to review Vox, I’m also very conscious of how annoying spoilers are – so if you are yet to read this masterpiece (and I really recommend you do!) I won’t be giving any hints of what happens.*

ELLE’s quote on the cover – “a petrifying reimagining of The Handmaid’s Tale” – perfectly encapsulates the essence of Vox, and I thought it was similar in parts to Alderman’s The Power too. There are many parallels, most notably the subjugation of women, although the methods of subversion differ – in The Handmaid’s Tale, women are oppressed through sexuality, split from their families and placed into a warped theocracy; in Vox, women are essentially absent from all roles in life, as their speech is limited to 100 words per day. As I was reading, I felt as though I was reading The Handmaid’s Tale set nowadays – and it’s scary that the research used to control people in Vox is well-understood by scientists today, meaning theoretically the events aren’t that far outside the realm of possibility. Whilst it may seem somewhat unlikely, the thing is: it’s possible. Science has become so advanced that whole populations can be controlled by it.

The President in Vox is comparable to Trump, in my opinion – manipulative, selfish and interested merely in acting for his own gain. Further, like The Handmaid’s Tale, Vox is set in the USA, a supposedly democratic, equal society – the main events are in Washington DC, showing how corrupt our authoritative institutions are perhaps. I’m afraid to say it, but such an outcome really isn’t that implausible – look at Trump’s segregation and his fear-mongering, and how his (and other Republicans’) ideologies have shattered the relative peace and stability of America. Dystopian novels might not be dystopian for that much longer – before long, it could be reality.

The aspect of Vox I liked the most was that despite its warning, Dalcher also implores us to act against these evil leaders and influences. By literally taking away women’s voices, she highlights the importance of speaking up before it’s too late. Of course, maybe Vox is an extreme situation – in reality, our voices might never be literally taken away – but equally, we should speak up against oppression before our voices mean nothing.

I think everyone needs to read Vox. It’s such an important book, so so resonant in our society, and whilst it is a dystopian novel it’s also not too far from reality. Whilst direct action is sometimes tricky, Dalcher warns us about simply letting things slide. Even those who aren’t affected firsthand by the loss of voice in Vox should be protesting, acting against the President, instead of just succumbing – and that’s the same with our society. Even when something isn’t having a direct impact on you, stand up for what is right.

in limbo

I was talking to one of my best friends about the strangeness of the period of time between the end of Sixth Form and the beginning of uni, and that conversation made me realise how displaced I feel at the moment. Partly it’s due to waiting sooo long for summer, and now it’s here it feels kind of underwhelming – although I’ll explain that later. I feel as though I’m just waiting now for the next stage; Results Day and uni.

Towards the end of A Levels, the thought of 4 months off education seemed like such a fab reward for all of the stress and effort over the last few years. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying summer and trying to make the most of it, but it just feels so temporary, and regardless of what I’m doing or who I’m with, there’s always the slight worry about the future. I can’t stop thinking about how transient this period is and how quickly it’ll be over, which often then initiates an existential crisis as I’m not focusing on the things I want to do – instead, I’m thinking about the future.

As well, I genuinely don’t know what grades I’ll have got in my exams. Sometimes after an exam, you know for certain that it went really well – none of mine did. They were all good but I don’t feel like any of them were outstanding. In my head, at the end of September I’ll be starting at the University of York, but even that is possibly not going to happen. It feels like I’m just waiting for something, but I’m not even sure what that something is because, until Results Day, I have no firm idea of where I’m going to be spending the next 3 years of my life.

As I mentioned before, summer has been underwhelming in some aspects so far. After the initial novelty, I realised I needed a job quite desperately to be able to afford any of the things I have planned with my friends. But even when I’m with my friends, it’s like there’s an egg-timer constantly running in the background. I’m also in a transitional stage avec boys and relationships and all that fun stuff. I really like someone but I’m not sure what his intentions are – I don’t know whether he wants a full-on relationship or just a bit of fun over summer, y’know (that sounds so gross and crude and cringey, but hopefully you get my point!)

I think I’ve outgrown my house and definitely I’ve outgrown my town. I’ve lived here for 18 years now and I’m ready for a change, but equally that change is going to signify the beginning of The Rest Of My Life and that’s a scary (but somewhat welcome and relieving) thought.

I don’t really know what I’m getting at by writing this post. I feel really lost. I don’t even really enjoy writing at the moment, hence the lack of blog posts. I just feel like I’m kind of -existing- and that’s it. I’m just waiting for the next chapter to start. I am having fun, but also it feels artificial in a way, kind of forced – it’s just a way of killing time before uni. Writing that last sentence is such a depressing thought but that’s honestly how it feels – I’m just in limbo, waiting for Results Day, really.

An assortment of songs (and I’m back!!!)

Wow…it really has been a while. Life has been manic, quite frankly, and in the crazy buzz of finishing school and preparing for A Levels, I’ve completely and utterly abandoned my blog.

I’m not going to lie, I have missed writing – I know I’m not the most consistent of bloggers but I find it so cathartic when I do get the chance to write something. I knew though, if I tried to fit blogging into my revision schedule, I’d have a full-on meltdown.

But anyway! I’m back! And I’m better than ever! I’m going to write a sort of life update post soon to elaborate on the happenings of the past few months (and I still haven’t written my Madrid travel guide either…), but overall I think my exams were ok – I’m proud of the fact that I didn’t cry at all during exam season (or at least, not because of exams) and I didn’t come out of any exams thinking ‘god, what a disaster’, so *hopefully* I’ll get the grades I need for uni.

Although I didn’t cry, I’ll happily admit I’ve had a bit of an identity crisis throughout the last few months, which finally culminated in me deleting all of my Spotify playlists the day before my first exam – a weird coping mechanism but hey, whatever works for you, right?! Despite really wanting to devote a few hours to completely remaking them, I knew I didn’t have the time and so during the past week I’ve got them all sorted out – and I’M SO HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS.

I’m in two minds writing this post – part of me thinks explaining the context and backgrounds of all of my new playlists is a teensy, tiny, liiiitle bit extra and unnecessary but equally, music is such a big part of my life (cringe) that I want people to understand why certain songs/genres make me feel a certain way, yknow? No, I don’t either, to be honest. I just like writing, and I like music, and I like writing about music… and here we are. I think essentially, I’m just going to be introducing you to each playlist and then it’s up to you whether you follow or not (although I’m going to start using Spotify as a social media now, I’ve decided – a summer goal/project, if you will – so I’ll be following back anybody who follows me 😉)

So, let’s get started. First things first – my username. I’m currently working under the *slightly* embarrassing username of carastar123 – please don’t laugh, I thought it was so cool when I was 12 or 13.

DANCEY

This is my least-finished playlist, purely because the songs that would fit best into it aren’t songs I listen to the most. But sometimes it just feels fab to dance around in your room (a common occurrence during exam season – another coping mechanism haha) so I wanted to have a playlist that I can just whack on and let off some steam.

CARA THINKS SHE’S COOL

I named this playlist in honour of my 15 year old self, who listened solely to obscure, unknown or ‘edgy’ artists in the (vain) hope of seeming cool haha – needless to say, it didn’t work out and I wasted a lot of time trying to enjoy music that just wasn’t to my taste. This playlist, however, is quite the opposite – very cool, and very very very much to my taste. Generally it features more popular/well-known ‘indie’ bands, such as catfish and the bottlemen, the hunna, viola beach, the wombats etc, but there are also a few lesser-known bands/artists. I’m very much in love with this playlist, and I’m sure past Cara would think present Cara was so cool for listening to this type of music.

PURE BEAUTY

A piano playlist. So far I haven’t added many pieces to this playlist, but piano music gives me such a sense of calm and tranquility so I wanted a playlist that I can put on at any moment and just feel much more peaceful instantly.

A CERTAIN VIBE, BUT IDK WHAT THE VIBE IS

This is undoubtedly my favourite playlist (and I’ve had a few compliments on it too from other people, woo!). As you can probably guess from the title, I was unsure about the vibe of this one, but it’s the sort of playlist you’d put on in the middle of the afternoon when it’s raining outside to feel cosy. There’s a very mixed selection of artists on here – Dijon, The Wombats, Stornaway, Oh Wonder – it’s kind of folky in some ways, with a little bit of lo-fi music too.

FOR SOMEONE?

I’m not sure how much explaining is necessary here – seems quite self-explanatory, really 😂 maybe I made this playlist with someone in mind, maybe I didn’t… either way, For Someone? is a compilation of lurv songs that make me feel cute and mushy inside. Cringe.

JOURNEYS/W FRIENDS

The idea behind this playlist is essentially so that this summer, when me and my friends are going on mini road trips, we have a selection of songs that will sound fab with all of us singing along, the windows open, the sun shining. That kinda vibe. On this playlist there are just loads of classic singalong tunes as well as a few more indie ones as well, such as by Only the Poets (who me and my friends went to see and fell in love with). Basically, this playlist is for blasting out when you’re with your friends.

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A compilation of songs that never fail to put a smile on my face. There are a few Kooks songs, The Night Cafe, Surface…just general dancey, happy tunes 🙂 I’m not doing a very good job describing this one, but really it’s just a playlist that will always make you happier.

IN THE BACKGROUND

Again, the title is quite self-explanatory – my thinking behind this playlist is sometimes, when you have all your friends round for a chill night in, eating pizza and just chatting, it’s nice to have some background music and so this is exactly what this playlist is for. Mainly the songs on it are quite chilled and low-key although there are a few bops as well…just good to create a bit of an atmosphere!

PARTY

Self-explanatory again – in fact, I’m not even going to say anything more about this, except that it’s a banging playlist. Enjoy.

LO-FI

This used to be my revision playlist, so if you’re looking for a soundtrack to study with, this is the playlist for you! This is a very very chilled, cool playlist to listen to, either as you work or just to have on in the background. I don’t really know much about the lo-fi genre but I love listening to this playlist; like the Pure Beauty playlist, I just feel so calm after hearing it.

And that’s it! I have a few more playlists but they’re private, mainly just messy accumulations of songs. If you want to follow me or a few of my playlists, feel free – my username is carastar123, or you can click here which will take you straight to my page.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for bearing with me through my absence! Hopefully now I have more free time I’ll get back to writing regularly – I truly have missed it haha.

eighteen

It was my birthday on Tuesday and since it was the big 18, I wanted to write a post acknowledging it and honouring my new status of ‘wise old person’. I’ve been in Madrid this week with my family and I also had a little celebration with my pals the week before, so this birthday has definitely been one to remember. I think that’s good though – honestly, in previous years, I’ve not made much of a big deal out of birthdays because I just didn’t have the friends to celebrate it, whereas now I have such a solid group of people around me. Also, I’m starting adulthood as I mean to go – partying and travelling 😉

This will sound morbid although it’s not intended in that way, but I never really expected to reach 18. I think when you’re younger, being 18 is equivalent to being an adult and somehow it never clicked that one day I would be an adult. I always felt like I’d be a child forever, and even though I can do pretty much anything I want now (sorry mum and dad 😉), I also still feel about 3 years old.

I’m going to stop rambling now and start compiling a list. I want my future self to look back on this post and think ‘wow, I was smart and down-to-earth and not embarrassing’, which is quite unlike how I see my past self. I know full well online (and often in real life) in the past I’ve put on this persona who is so dissimilar to me, and looking back now, I really regret doing that. I hope I’ll look back and think ‘wow, she had her shizzle together’, and therefore this post will serve as a reminder to get my future shizzle together. I hope I’ll look back and remember how much I grew as a person in my later-teen years and how much I experienced, and realise how much more I’ve grown in the next few years.

Me indulging in the last few hours of my childhood in Retiro Park, Madrid

Be yourself

Something I’m still working on, but something that in the last few years (in 6th form especially) has been so important to me. As I said before, I know I used to put on this cool, cocky persona to try and fit in, but I must have looked so embarrassing and ridiculous because cool and cocky are the complete opposites to what I actually am. I’ll be the girl in the library or the bookshop, reading or writing or listening to music, or the girl at the back of the classroom thinking about where to travel to next. Instead of forcing myself to be loud and assertive, I’ve started encouraging myself to be more confident, and that’s the way to improve. My problem before was that I didn’t have enough confidence to show the real me to my friends/classmates, whereas now (with a little bit of encouragement) I’m much happier being myself, and I know I fit in because I’m being myself.

Be comfortable with yourself

I’ve already mentioned it really, but you have to accept yourself before others can accept you. Had I kept projecting this cocky persona, my life would have been so different – I wouldn’t have the friends I have now and I still wouldn’t like myself, because I’d know it wasn’t really me.

If you’re not happy with something, change it

I’ve realised now that life is incredibly short and so you might as well fill it with happiness. I’m constantly trying to improve myself and make myself the best I can be and whilst I think I’m still quite a way off my ‘best’, it’s satisfying knowing that I’m heading in the right direction. And the same goes for school/friends/relationships – if you’re not happy doing a subject, change it, if you know your friends aren’t really your friends, change it – it’s hard, but you might as well be happy. Short term pain, long term gain.

You might as well do what you want to because life’s so short

A few of my points so far have been quite similar, but when my friend died aged 16 it really hit me how precious and temporary life is. Since then, I’ve realised you have to do things you want to do because tomorrow is never guaranteed.

Do what you love because you love doing it, instead of doing something because of other people’s views/what they want you to do/what’s cool

Again – be yourself. Do your thang in life for yourself and for your own satisfaction, instead of being told what to do. Make your own way, do what you want and I think that’s how you become happiest.

Fringes and frizzy hair don’t mix well

Not as profound, but still very significant. I never seemed to learned that my hair type doesn’t suit fringes and never will, because over the years I’ve had several cut in, each time thinking ‘oh it’ll be fine’. Spoiler: it won’t be fine and you’ll look stupid.

Educate yourself on important matters instead of believing everything you’re told

Something I still need to do more of. When I first wrote that, I meant what school/teachers and parents tell you (saying that, 99% of the time my beliefs are the same as parents – not because they’re my parents though) but then it occurred to me that this also applies to the news. Watching the news does not give you the full story most of the time and even when it does, a lot of the time it’s biased which is why I think it’s so important to research important events/happenings yourself and form your own opinion.

Don’t immediately assume you can’t do something just because you’re not good at it the first time around

Exams aren’t (and shouldn’t take over) your life

As you probably all know – because it’s all I talk about on twitter and on here – I have my A Level exams soon (my first one is a month today…:/). I handled my GCSE exams badly. I completely put my social life on hold, I very rarely took breaks because I felt so guilty when I wasn’t revising, my whole life was consumed by revision. I still remember the first night of summer when I just watched TV and it felt so amazing to relax, and to relax knowing that I didn’t have to worry about exams and grades for the next 4 months. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a perfectionist (very much so!) and I’m trying really hard to get grades I’m proud of but I know now that you need a balance. Even though these exams effectively determine the rest of my life, I’m not too worried about them; naturally I’m nervous but not to the extent of GCSEs (which seems counterintuitive since A Levels are undoubtedly more important). I know that I’ve tried so hard and hopefully my grades will reflect this, but working 14 hour days isn’t healthy or beneficial, and I don’t want to look back on my A Levels (like I did for GCSE) and think I spent way too much revising, and too little time having a life. I’m also just trying to make the best of exam season – yes, it’s a pain, knowing that I should be revising probably more than I am and naturally it’s a stressful time (not just with exams, with uni/social life/trying to book things for summer/getting ready to leave high school behind) but it’s so temporary. In 2 months I’ll have finished and I’ll be free, so I’m just giving exams my best shot but trying not to damage myself in the process.

The right people will end up in your life – don’t try to hold onto people who don’t want to be there

I’ve not talked about this at all on my blog and I’ve only mentioned it indirectly a few times on twitter but *drum roll please* I’ve had a secret boyfriend for the past 3 and a half years. Or (more accurately now) I’ve had a secret ex-boyfriend. Because we had been together so long, I really struggled when he said he no longer wanted us to be together and looking back on my messages to him in the days (and weeks, tbh) after he broke up with me I was so disappointed, to the point of looking desperate frankly. Partially it was just adapting to being on my own, but more painful was having to face the fact that it’s the end of a big chapter of my life – we’ve both liked each other since we met in year 7 (I’m not joking), started going out in year 9 then broke up around Christmas in 2018, which is a long time of being friends and being together. To not really have either of those things now feels odd and unnatural to be honest. I’ve started to come to terms now with it – I’m fine with being single, I just don’t want to lose him as a friend too, which unfortunately I think is happening but drifting is probably inevitable haha – and again, I’ve realised that wasting my energy wanting people who don’t want me back isn’t the best use of my time. Onwards and upwards! I’m looking forward to meeting some fit English Lit guys at uni 😉

If you fancy someone, tell them

Kind of related, but just go for it. You might lose a tiny little bit of dignity or pride if they say no but hey…is that really such a big deal? In a few years we’ll all be old and we’ll have forgotten all this – you might as well try.

Read as much and as widely as possible

Set as much time as you can aside for friends, family and self growth

I’ve tried to set a rhythm or formula to my life at the moment because with exams coming up every minute is important. 60% of my energy is concentrated on school, and the remaining 40% is focused on friends, family and self-growth (whether that’s a hobby, a new habit you’re trying to implement or doing something to better yourself). Obviously that’s not a hard-and-fast rule and it differs day to day, but I find it helps put into perspective what I’m doing and if I’m spending enough time/too little time on one certain area.

How short life is

It’s so bloody short!!! Do I need to say any more? I’m writing this post at the ripe old age of 18, but I was still in year 5 yesterday, I swear. I can’t comprehend it. Time flies, honestly.

The right decisions are sometimes the hardest to make

And additionally, the right decision doesn’t always feel like the right decision. I know full well that pulling out of my Cambridge interview was the right decision to make, but that didn’t make it any easier. However happy I am at uni, I think I’ll always wonder what my life could have been like, if I had gone to the interview and got a place (which of course is a massive if!!). I think if you can feel in your gut that something isn’t right though, you should trust it, because life has a weird way of working out.

Dreams can easily be goals, and are also not static

Linking on to the topic of Cambridge, last year made me reflect a lot on what I thought was my dream. I realised dreams can change, and can also become goals that are accessible. Since I was about 10 going to Cambridge University was my dream but actually, it was just that – a beautiful dream. A much more realistic dream is going to the University of York and it’s also completely my goal – just 7 exams and AAB in my exams between us 😉

Don’t be embarrassed to tell people about what you love doing

I’m such a big hypocrite for saying that because I love blogging, but I’ve told literally nobody that I do it. I think some people from school have found out but they’ve never mentioned it to me, which I’m perfectly ok with. When I first started, I didn’t tell anyone because we were at the age where doing anything creative or unusual was immediately uncool, which to me at the time was exactly what I didn’t want. Now I just like having a platform that’s completely separate to my school and home life. I’m sure people will find my blog and other social accounts and probably at uni I will be more open about sharing them, but I know that if it came to it now, I wouldn’t be embarrassed to say I blog. I’ve had some amazing things to come from blogging – new friends, nominations for awards and travel inspiration to name just a few! – and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Tie your happiness to places and things instead of people

Because people are unpredictable and can be rubbish, sometimes. However, places can’t let you down, and neither can pizza and chocolate…

I still have a week of my Easter holidays left so I’m going to try and get a few posts prepared for the next few weeks, including my Madrid travel guide. The next 2 months are going to be hectic and I’m going to be stepping up the revision a lot but that’s okay – it’s temporary and it’ll pass so quickly, I know that.

I hope everyone’s ok, and happy Easter!

The book club

peep the exam timetable…bleurrghh

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a couple of weeks now, but school is so busy and the very little free time I have at the mo is spent trying to relax, not focusing on blogging/social media. Yesterday though I decided enough was enough – I can only abandon my blog for so long without beginning to feel guilty about the lack of content haha, so here we are.

I’m going to be discussing a few of the books I’ve read recently so I think I’ll start off with my least favourite – although when I say least favourite, I don’t mean that I disliked it. Call Me By Your Name has such a hype around it, but honestly…I was disappointed?? I know I’ve said this before, but I think because everybody seemed to fall head over heels for it (and Timothee Chalamet) I also expected to fall completely in love with it. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy it and I’m going to watch the film soon, plus it’s inspired me to go and live in Italy for a summer in the hope of meeting someone like Oliver but…out of everything I’ve read recently, it would probably be at the bottom of my to-read-again pile.

Moving from left to right, I read A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde because I went to see a screening of it at the cinema with my friends (although long story short I never actually got the see it because the file corrupted). I loved the sense of glamour and mystery throughout (typical Wilde, am I right) and I’m really excited to read some more of his plays – I bought the collection of his plays in Oxfam for £2, winner!! And speaking of Oscar Wilde, I’ve also been reading more of his short stories although I’m sort of struggling with them. They’re like nursery rhymes in book form, so there’s no real plot to a lot of them which makes them quite relaxing to read, but also (dare I say it?!) kind of boring in parts. Uh huh. Yep. I just called classic literature boring. I’m ashamed of myself too, dw. I’m going to start Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime soon though, which I’m hoping will have more of a plotline to it, so I’ll let you know how I get on with that.

For my English Lit A Level I Study A Streetcar Named Desire so, since exams are looming upon us, I thought I should probably reread it. I know I’ve spoken about if before on my blog so I’m not going to go into masses of detail, but even though I’ve read it 3 or 4 times now, I still truly love it and on each reread I find something new/interesting to consider.

On the American Lit theme, I recently read Breakfast at Tiffany’s which I honestly read in about 2 hours: it just gripped me (and I’ll take any excuse not to revise). It reminded me a lot of The Great Gatsby with its materialistic society and flawed/false identities and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it – although I really want to know the cat’s name haha.

And finally… White Teeth. Eleanor and Lucy both suggested I read it and I saw that it’s on one of the modules I’ll be taking at uni so I thought I’d give it a go. I loved it!! I found the concept of trying to uphold your roots really interesting, maybe because it’s something that I’m unfamiliar with (SPOILERS AHEAD: what I mean here is, I was born in England to an English family and apart from holidays abroad and travelling, I’ve only really been exposed to one culture, whereas White Teeth follows the journey of migrants settling into England whilst trying to uphold the beliefs/ideals of their old country which starkly contrast to English ideals.) I think I read White Teeth at the perfect time really; what with the “migrant crisis” (crisis yikes I hate that phrase so much) and increasing numbers of wars and conflicts and terrorist attacks, it felt very poignant and applicable throughout.

In terms of what I’m reading now, I currently have 2 books on the go – One Day by David Nicholls and Cherry Crush by Cathy Cassidy. Yep, you read that right, a (hopefully) soon-to-be English Lit uni student is reading a 9 year old’s book. I’m having another declutter and Cherry Crush is on the ‘donate to charity’ pile, but when I was younger it was my favourite book so I didn’t want to get rid of it without reading it again.

I’m also supposedly on a book ban, however in the last month or so I may or may not have bought 6 books. I have mixed feelings because I know that I will read them and I’ll enjoy reading them, but at the moment I just don’t have time and it’s frustrating to see so many unread books on my shelves. Plus, I’m meant to be saving money for uni and summer but… oh well! I’m obsessed.

What are you currently reading? And what are you planning to read next? I hope everybody’s well, and have a lovely week xx