The book club: March

It’s finally the Easter holidays and my aim is to have read at least 2 books by the end, so hopefully next month’s post will be full with mini book reviews!! This month I’ve really enjoyed The Power, by Naomi Alderman – it was such a gripping storyline, I’d read it within days!

If you’re an astute reader of mine (actually, you don’t even have to be that astute because I say it practically every other sentence), my dream uni is Cambridge to do a degree in Linguistics, so I’ve been fuelling my interest in that this month by finally getting round to finishing Linguistics – A Very Short Introduction, by PH Matthews. I’m entering an essay competition and I’m hoping that reading around the subject a lot will help me with that, and in turn with my UCAS personal statement.

Next week we’re going to Stratford upon Avon so I felt it only right to delve into Hamlet, and I’m also going to start The Picture of Dorian Gray within the next few days which I’m really excited to read!

Playlist #1

  • Sanctify – Years & Years
  • Feel It Still – Portugal. The Man
  • Reverie – isaac gracie
  • IDGAF – Dua Lipa
  • Alors Alors – Bigflo & Oli
  • Paramedic! – SOB X RBE
  • Toothpaste Kisses – The Maccabees
  • Comptine d’un autre été, l’après-midi – Yann Tiersen
  • Silence – Marshmello ft Khalid
  • These Days – Rudimental, Jess Glynne, Macklemore
  • Decline – RAYE
  • Strangers – Sigrid
  • Cheetah Tongue – The Wombats
  • Let’s Dance to Joy Division – The Wombats

I have a very eclectic taste in music – some of my favourite tunes are quite dirge-like, yet I also love a lot of bouncy, happy songs, and as well, some are in a language I don’t speak and haven’t spoken for over 3 years 😂 Looking back through the list I feel like a lot of these artists are quite obscure (my 14-year-old-self’s internal wannabe-indie gal would be so proud) but if you haven’t heard of the song/artist on any of them, definitely have a listen! I’m interested – what is your current playlist like? It can’t just be me who has one that goes from eerie atmospheric to indie to dance to pop, surely?!

A little study with me

Hey! I only had one lesson today, and that was period one, so I was able to come home early and do some more of my own studying, and I thought it’d be cool to write it up as a Study with Me – I see a lot of these sorts of videos on YouTube but since writing (at the moment) is more my thing, I decided to just put it on my blog.

So, I had English Language today and that was my first and only lesson. After it had finished, I went to my school’s study centre to do a bit of englang revision (englang = English language) just because we have a test coming up next week, so I thought I’d do some now in case I don’t have time this weekend. I actually had to finish this at home because I underestimated how much content there is in the language and gender topic, I seem to have endless theories to learn!!

When I got home, I put the final touches to the englang revision, ate some lunch and watched a few videos on YouTube, then got straight back into studying. I first finished off an essay I needed to do – a comparison on Frankenstein and The Handmaid’s Tale – for englit, and then I completed a speech I had to write as a mock englang coursework piece.

My next job was to relax for a little while, because that essay had taken it out of me! I felt it was quite an awkward question and my answer was a bit woolly because the only valid points I had all kind of stemmed from each other, so I feel as though I’ve practically written the same point in 3 different paragraphs 😂 hopefully it’ll be ok though!

(Mini shoutout to myself – my instagram is @carascam!)

Next week I have 3 assessments in various subjects, but I’m most apprehensive for geography since it’s so precise and technical, and there’s so much to learn. I decided my time would be spent most wisely revising the Coasts topic of my geography A Level so I did that for a while, and then I just re-read through the englang notes for a second time to make sure I’d fully absorbed them.

I called it a day at that point – my way of gauging when to have breaks is how much my back hurts, because my posture is so bad when I’m concentrating! I just forget to sit up straight so I end up slumping; I decided to go downstairs and watch TV whilst doing some gentle stretches to loosen up. I was going to also put some revision notes onto Quizlet, but as it’s nearly 8 o’clock now and I haven’t done that, I think I’ll give it a miss for today 😉

Let me know if you liked this post and would like to see more similar to it – I’m struggling for ideas again at the moment, and even worse I’m struggling for time to think of ideas!!

One year on.

March 18th 2017. One small, seemingly insignificant day which actually, changed a lot of things.

One year ago yesterday, my friend committed suicide. She lived around the corner from me, and I saw the air ambulance that came for her. At the time, I obviously didn’t know it was for her and I said ‘wow, that’s so cool!’ because it’s not everyday you see a huge helicopter hanging down outside your bedroom window – thank god. Never have I regretted saying something more.

It sounds like such a cliche, but her death really has made me realise how mortal we all are, and how precious every single day is. We need to appreciate life for how beautiful it is, because one action on one day can have such an impact on so many people.

I miss you. The amount of times I’ve seen ‘you’ in places I’m not expecting has been crazy – in Primark, the school toilets, around town. The amount of times I’ve been expecting her to jump out and say this past year has just been a joke is ridiculous too. She was just the sort of person who was always there and always having a laugh. And then, one day, she wasn’t. And it’s so, so hard to get used to.

I was going to write a lot more on this post because I thought in a way it’d be therapeutic, but actually it’s just made me cry more. If you take one thing away though, please let it be this – my friend, a 16 year old seemingly happy girl, killed herself. Please, please be aware of each other, your friends, your family, because under the surface we sometimes have no idea what’s going on.

My beautiful angel, I hope you’re happier up there. We miss you so much. I’ll never forget our times talking in pigeon to each other, playing the piano together, eating breakfast in Austria together everyday…rest in peace 🌹

The enchanted forest

It was Mother’s Day on Sunday so my family and I took my mum out to the seaside, primarily just for a walk, chips and a slice of gluten free cake – mine was churros flavoured, and delicious 😋 we went to Redcar and whilst there’s not much to do there normally, during the Beast from the East storms a petrified forest from thousands of years ago had been uncovered on part of the beach which is so so cool!!

It was kind of other-worldly, it felt like we were walking on another planet! The lumps in the ground that you can see are actually tree stumps and barks from this forest, and a shipwrecked boat had also been uncovered, although the tide was too far in when we visited so I unfortunately didn’t get to see it.

It was quite a surreal experience if I’m honest – I never imagined I’d stand on top of an ancient woodland! My mum kept saying it was magical and that it was an ‘enchanted forest’, and I actually really like the sound of that, hence the name of this post 😊

life updates

Bonsoir! It feels like a long time since I’ve written anything (it’s been a few days, I guess…) because the last few weeks have just been really weird and disjointed to be honest. So I thought today I’d just basically spill my mind onto my blog – do you ever get the feeling that you have so much stuff to remember or so many things to do that you’re near to bursting?! Because I feel like that at the moment 😂

Ok, where to start?! Recently, I’ve had 5 days off school for various reasons which I think is primarily why my brain is so confused at the moment: I don’t know where I am or where I’m meant to be haha! It’s weird how nothing out of the ordinary happens for ages, then suddenly lots of things come along at once – I haven’t been on a school trip since last September, for example, and now suddenly I have 3 trips in 3 weeks! Last Tuesday, I went on a school trip to Saltaire for geography which was a fun, but dare I say unusual, day – I was told by a lady dressed head-to-toe in Victorian attire that I have ‘luminous urine’ because i have red hair, I counted a lot of pedestrians and I also ate some very nice pizza 😋

The week before that, we were in the grip of ‘the beast from the east’, so we had 2 snow days meaning that I was able to go sledging!! Whoop whoop! And then, we had another snow day last Thursday too – which I wasn’t entirely sure was necessary, since most of the snow had actually melted, or was melting, at 11.30 😐 but anyway! The next day we had a training day so in reality I had a 4-day weekend – not bad, haha!!

Me, attempting to sledge 😅😂

This week I’m also going on another geography trip, this time to the Holderness coast to look at erosional and depositional landforms. The week after THAT, I’m visiting the Newcastle football stadium for an Oxbridge conference with some of the students in my year, which gives us more information on applying to either Oxford or Cambridge as well as detailed insights into various courses, so that’ll be fun and hopefully helpful!

Moving on from school and academia-related topics, the new Years & Years song, Sanctify, came out this week and I. Am. Ob. Sessed. I’ve been waiting so long for this – literally since I went to their Communion tour in 2015 – but their new song was definitely worth the wait. If you haven’t heard it already, I would head right on over to Youtube or Spotify!!

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it on my blog but I saw The Greatest Showman a few weeks ago. I’d really like to get your opinion of it – personally, I didn’t see what all of the hype was about for the film itself, but I LOVE the songs! I also thought it was pretty cool because I linked the story to part of A Streetcar Named Desire – when Blanche talks about a Barnum and Bailey world, she’s referring to the circus, and the main character of The Greatest Showman was PT Barnum. Cool, no??

I’m going to write another post tonight or tomorrow which will be published either tomorrow or the day after all about my recent trip to see a petrified forest which has been uncovered by the storms last week and the delicious cake I had, so until then, have lovely days! ✨✨

The book club: February

Hey hey hey, it’s a new month so it’s a new update on the book front 🙂

I’m pretty sure I said this in January as well but February has not been my month for reading. I’ve managed to strain my eyes and I was suffering a little bit with that for about a week so I’ve been trying to limit the amount of reading (and other close work) I do this month to try and help them recover – which I’m sure you’ll be glad to know has worked!!

I finished Birdsong which was so good and I will happily admit, I cried 😂 I won’t give any spoilers, but I thought the naming of the child was just so sentimental and touching and…yeah, I cried.

I’m currently on To Kill a Mockingbird which I love so far; it’s one of those modern classics that I’ve just never read! I’m also reading Linguistics: A Very Short Introduction which is part of the Oxford Very Short Introduction series – I find it very interesting and engaging (as it’s the subject I want to take at uni probably!) but difficult to read in parts. I think it’s just the amount of information you’re being told and how hard you have to concentrate to fully get your head around some of the concepts, but nevertheless I still love it and if you’re interested in languages I definitely recommend!

I’m sorry this has been another short post but as I say, I’ve been struggling a bit with my eyes recently, but hopefully now that they’re feeling a lot better I’ll be able to read more. Let me know what books you’ve been enjoying recently, and if you have any blog post ideas!

Study motivation + the best revision apps

It’s getting to that time of the year where exams suddenly seem terrifyingly close – there’s only 1 full month left now until the A-Level exams start, since today is March 1st!! With that in mind, I figured we’d all need a bit of study motivation…myself included: even though I don’t have actual exams, mock exams are heading my way and I need to do everything I can to prepare properly 🙃

  1. Drink lots of water – maybe this isn’t strictly motivation, but you’ll definitely feel a lot better if you’re hydrated when you’re studying, plus your brain will be more awake so you’ll absorb more information in a shorter space of time.
  2. Don’t panic!! You can do this, I promise! Exams do seem daunting, and they are, but keep reminding yourself that you’re going to ace them and they’ll be over soon enough.
  3. Try lots of styles of revision – some will work for you, some won’t. Weirdly, I’m finding that now, halfway through year 12, a technique is really working for me that last year when I was revising for my GCSEs I wouldn’t have gone near (but I’ll explain that in the apps section in a little while). If you’re bored whilst revising, you’re going to lose concentration so make it fun for yourself! Give yourself regular breaks and treats – I ate a lot of chocolate last summer…😉
  4. Think of why you’re doing this – what’s the bigger picture? I always find thinking of my future uni a somewhat intimidating but definitely motivating mental image to keep referring to.
  5. Strive for the best you can achieve – whilst there are more important things in life than exams (I can’t stress that enough!), they do give you a good grounding and knowledge, and since you only get one go at them, you might as well give them 100%!
  6. Don’t stay up too late thinking about schoolwork – this is ironic, since I’m writing this post at 9.30pm…

When I was revising last year for my GCSEs my favourite technique was to just rewrite my notes and reread them again and again, which, although it worked, was a pain since I was going through notebooks at an astonishing rate! Plus my hand felt like it was constantly about to drop off because I’d written so much, but I felt that physically writing notes down was the only way to properly revise. I stayed right away from online textbooks, ebooks and videos because I just wasn’t comfortable revising through a screen, but this year I’ve actually found using some apps a real bonus to my studies.

  • Forest

Forest is a brilliant app with such a simple concept, yet it’s so effective – you set a timer for how long you want to concentrate for and then can’t leave the app until the time is up, else your tree will die 😦 not only can you grow virtual trees but eventually they translate into real trees being planted in Sub Saharan Africa which is SUCH a great idea.

The other great thing about this app is that you’re rewarded for meeting your target time in coins, which you can spend on prettied trees and ASMR-worthy noises which relax and stimulate your brain in a white-noise effect. I’m currently saving up for the cherry tree which I’m very excited for 😝 the only downside to this app is that it’s £1.99 on the App Store but free on the Play Store, which is a bit of a con – I don’t know if that’s Apple or the app developers who just want to make some more money from it, but I would still definitely recommend paying £1.99 for it because it truly increases your motivation and concentration.

  • Duolingo

Probably the most popular languages app in the world, but Duolingo makes learning languages easy and accessible but also fun – especially for people like me who aren’t studying a language in depth at school. My only negative of Duolingo is the daily pushy reminder system which gets on my nerves a little bit, but sometimes all you need is an extra boost. (Saying that, I’ve lost my streak, so that’s a shame 😂)

  • Quizlet

Quizlet is a relatively new discovery of mine but I can tell this is going to help me so much nearer to my exams! You can input information onto virtual flash cards or use sets already online – and the great thing is, they’re all there stored on the app all the time! You can also change the format so that you’re being tested or you have to match pairs up which is a cool idea, and definitely brings a little excitement to revision.

So – my top tips for motivating yourself to study: make it fun! Try to savour it (yes, I know that sounds crazy, but you do only get one go at exams so make them count) but don’t panic, and remember that you don’t need to study 24/7 to succeed. Take it easy and you’ll be fine 😊 if you use any of these apps (or any others!) let me know because I’d be really interested!

Cara xx

An adorned adolescent

Credit to Pinterest for the title!! As soon as I saw it (I think it was the title for a magazine article) I felt inspired to write this post so here it is – some of my favourite jewellery, accessories, giving you an insight into my style and fashion…

Sunglasses – NEXT

Being the optimist I am, I thought I should probably buy some sunglasses soon since it’s nearly spring – of course, I live in England, so whether we’ll see any sun is anybody’s guess, but hopefully 🙂 I saw these in Next the other day and I had to buy them; I love the indie/retro vibe they give! Plus I feel like tortoiseshell colours kinda suit me, because my hair is a similar colour?! They’re that awkward size in that they’re slightly too big for my face but not so big that I can call them oversized, however I love them anyway!

Four rings – PANDORA, watch – ICE WATCHES

Silver wave ring – NEW LOOK, rose gold wave rings – NEW LOOK, purple and gold flower ring – JAKARTA (a shop in Spain which I love!), necklace – SWAROVSKI

As you can see I own a fair amount of rings – I feel naked without wearing some! My favourites are my 4 (!! I know – obsessed) Pandora rings, but when I’m feeling like wearing less *serious* jewellery I usually gravitate towards much cheaper ones; my favourites at the moment are the ones shown in the photos which I think were roughly £3 each. I often forget to put necklaces on but my Swarovski one was bought for me by my grandparents and I love it: it dresses up an outfit instantly, even just jeans and a t-shirt. That said, I try not to wear it too much because the thought of its price genuinely terrifies me, so I prefer to keep it safely hung up, out of the way of any damage 😅 my other favourite necklaces are two from the company SILVER and a pendant from LINKS OF LONDON, which I actually didn’t take a photo of for some reason (although, if you’re looking for any jewellery recommendations, both companies have such lovely items so you won’t struggle too much!!)

Silver wave hoops – NEXT, back to front heart earrings – NEXT

Earrings! Possibly my favourite accessory – I feel like you can be bold or keep it simple but still look so classy! I recently had my upper lobes pierced (I had my first ones done in April 2008!) so at the moment I only have tiny silver studs in each, but I’m planning to put my silver wave hoops into the upper piercing when they’re healed, although they might actually be a bit too heavy and big so we’ll see. I bought these from Next as well, plus the back to front style I’m wearing in the right hand side photo too – I’m not sure the best way of describing them! Basically, there’s a small diamond stud, then a heart which is attached to a long post of metal with two holes on, and you have to slide the back of the stud through one of the holes then attach the back. I hope that makes sense! I feel like this sort of style is becoming more trendy so if you don’t know what I mean, probably before long you will 😉

Gold etched hoops – PRIMARK, pink flower studs – PANDORA

Primark for the win! Is there anything you can’t get at Primark? I bought a set of 9 pairs of earrings for £3 and surprisingly, the quality is really good – unlike some of my more expensive earrings (by that I mean particularly the back-to-front earrings) which turn my piercings a delightful shade of green, these are perfect! They do look slightly clunky I admit, but for £3, I can get over that. My pink flower studs are probably my most worn earrings as they’re so practical yet pretty meaning that I can wear them everyday for school or for going out in, and I think they contrast nicely with my upper lobe piercings.

I am somewhat of a magpie and I am attracted to anything silver and sparkly so I own *maybe* too many items of jewellery but hey – will I stop buying new stuff? Definitely not 😉

A “lovely” family day out

Not.

I’m currently sat on my bed, in a pig onesie, eating a bar of dairy milk to recuperate, and if that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about our disastrous trip out, I don’t know what does.

Maybe I’m exaggerating slightly – besides the mud, getting lost and a lot of barbed wire, it was lovely really 😂

Shoutout to my dad for being my personal photographer!!

So, since it’s half term, my family and I decided to go to Saltburn, a pretty seaside town; there’s not loads to do there, so we figured we’d just have a walk around, buy some chips for lunch and then go to the neighbouring town of Redcar where there’s a delicious gluten-free cake cafe (my mum is a coeliac – allergic to gluten – so finding nice places for her to eat is always important!). From my town, Saltburn is about an hour’s drive away and honestly, that was probably the highlight of the day.

As you can see, Saltburn is very pretty and picturesque so we decided to have a wander along the beach after getting some chips for lunch – very nice!! I’d say we walked for about a mile then followed a sign up the cliff – a sign which said “coastal path” – to go back to the car.

Clearly, my definition of a coastal path was very different to whoever inscribed that sign 😂I personally would say a coastal path conjures up images of a gravel lined lane, surrounded perhaps by some grass and straw-type plants (‘straw-type plants’?! Says the a-level geographer? Tut tut cara, you should know better!), a slight breeze, blazing sunshine and spectacular views. The reality of this so-called coastal path was quite a contrast – picture some patches of land that may once have been fields, but are now so sodden and waterlogged they’re more like lakes, flimsy wooden stiles and a lot of barbed wire, and you get a pretty accurate image.

After trudging half a mile or so in this horrible sticky mud we were slightly worried about our safety, given that we were 200 metres above sea level and slipping around on precarious cliff tops. Being the outdoors-adventurer type of family (again, not) we reverted to the ignorant optimistic approach – surely it can’t get any worse?”

Ah, but of course it can.

We carried on regardless, and met another family along the way with a child about 7 years old, who’d just lost his shoe to the mud and was crying saying that he wanted to go home. I honestly don’t think I’d ever empathised more with someone. I was seriously starting to wonder whether the air ambulance would mind if we asked for a lift, but luckily we didn’t have to resort to that 😂.

As you can just about make out, the hollows in the mud show how deep and sticky this stuff was! Like, our shoes were nearly being sucked off and that’s not an exaggeration; I feared for my Nikes. But, there were some amazing views!

Still, we carried on; at one point, my dad ripped his coat on some barbed wire, my brother nearly slipped down the cliff and my mum wasn’t so happy about our decision to come this way. Somehow though, all four of us managed to stay on our feet – sure, we slid, skidded and splashed but nobody actually fell over.

Eventually we got to another field/lake, and there was no way to go over the fence around it – and even if we could have somehow straddled it, we’d have needed swimming costumes on. At this point, we gave up our pretence of being hardy Englishmen and turned back.Add another 2 miles or so of trudging through the mud, then another 2 finding a lane back to where we’d parked the car, and you get one very tired and unhappy family 😂luckily, we’d parked near a Sainsbury’s so a much needed Wispa bar was bought – always a silver lining, hey?!

Maybe I am being, in typical characteristic style, a little over dramatic, but it was a loooong day. And to top it off, we didn’t even get to the GF-cafe!! 😦 looking back already though I can tell it’s going to be one of those trips that stays in my memory for a long time – maybe not completely for the right reasons, but it’s another story to tell in the future I guess!

Cara xx

(By the way – I upgraded my blog! And I’m very happy with it so far, although expect some more little changes in the near future)