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.

:))

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.

“i’m fine”

There’s a saying that bad things come in threes and if that’s the case, I’ve been hit twice over recently. I’m full to bursting point with emotions, so much so that I’ve not quite come to terms yet with how I actually feel. All I know is that I’ve been experiencing a sort of emptiness lately.

I’m not going to go into what’s been going in a lot of detail because a) is anyone that bothered really? Everyone has their own issues and me offloading mine onto you probably isn’t going to help much, and b) some of it is personal to me and my family. Several (quite frankly) shiz things have happened, all in close proximity to one another and I’ve been struggling a lot, especially in the last few days, with accepting change and moving on.

I’m going to call the title of this post “I’m fine” because that’s the main reason I’m writing this. As soon as anyone asks me how I am, I’ll automatically answer I’m fine, even when I’m so far from it and I think this is applicable to a lot of people. I’d so much rather cry on my own, tucked up in bed with all the lights off, than admit to someone that I’m not alright (precisely what I’ve been doing lately). We all seem to bottle up our issues which perpetuates them, making them much worse.

Admitting you’re not happy at the moment is the first step to things improving. When I say that, I don’t necessarily mean even admitting it to others; just acknowledging how you’re feeling is progress. I always project this persona of being completely happy with myself, my life and everything and everyone around me, both online and offline, and subconsciously I begin to believe this is the truth. Keeping in tune with your emotions and allowing yourself to feel them is so, so vital. You won’t always be happy and that’s absolutely OK. Take the evening off and relax, do something you enjoy.

Furthermore, invalidating how you’re feeling is as equally damaging as ignoring your feelings. Questioning why you’re so bothered about something is a sign of your passion, and we need to stop misinterpreting that as a sign of weakness.

Follow my Twitter for some truly inspirational content 😉

We have to learn to accept bad days, bad weeks even, but as humans we have a tendency to let a bad day or week dwell on our mind. Don’t let negative emotions characterise and define a period of your life. Life is really, really hard sometimes but your mindset is so important. There are always positives to be taken out of a negative time. I promise. Sometimes, you just have to look a little harder than normal.

Talk to people. Vent your frustrations at your friends or, if you’re not comfortable with that, write it down. Journal. Open an anonymous twitter account and let everything out. I can’t stress enough how cathartic I find writing – there’s something about seeing your thoughts written down on paper that completely calms the mind. Life feels a lot more manageable that way, when you’re not lugging around conflicting thoughts and emotions.

Have a look on Spotify too, and flick through some of their ready-made playlists. Belt out some Adele or do some crazy head-banging to a rock playlist. It helps (trust me!) and when you hear someone voicing exactly how you’re feeling, you feel less alone. It’s comforting, knowing that you’re not the only person to have ever had their heart broken 😉

I’ve had my fair share of heartbreak recently but yesterday it really dawned on me that I’m sad…about a boy. Then I realised, if somebody doesn’t like me for who I am then, ya know, it wasn’t going to work out anyway so it’s probably for the best (even if, right now, it feels like the end of the world). Better things (and people!) will come out of it. I can’t emphasise this enough: you are enough on your own – you shouldn’t need anybody else to be comfortable and happy with yourself. Boys/girls will come and go in your life, and whilst it is hard to accept moving on at the time, better people are on their way. And in the meantime, enjoy the single life! Be happy with your own company! Take yourself out for a meal! At the end of the day, you’re the only person who will stay with you throughout your life, so you might as well be happy 😉

I wrote most of this post yesterday. I was in quite a good headspace – things felt like they’d finally clicked into place. Whilst I’m still a lil bit sad, I’m well aware that things are going to improve, and quickly – you just have to believe that the bad phases of life are only temporary (because they are!). Have hope x

2018 – what I’ve loved, learned, done and become

I say it every year, and today is going to be no different – this year has been easily one of the best of my life.

2018 has been packed full of adventures, achievements and amazing memories. I always feel really sentimental at the end of the year; I’m lucky to lead an incredibly privileged and exciting life and I feel so grateful for all of the experiences I’ve had.

What I’ve loved in 2018

I feel like this year was my “year of realising things”, in the words of Kylie. Particularly with regards to my taste in music, I’ve found the artists and genres I love, whereas in previous years some of what I “liked” stemmed from what was cool to like. One thing I have loved is this year I finally gave in to a free trial of Spotify Premium, and I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I became dependent on it! I’ve discovered Jorja Smith and Rex Orange County (both of whom I now ADORE) through using Spotify premium (honestly I don’t know how I’ve not discovered them up til now) and my love for The Wombats has resulted in me buying tickets to their tour in January, waheyyy.

I’ve fallen in love again with reading. Not that I ever fell out of love with it per se, but this year I’m head-over-heels for it. I’ve been reading a lot of classic literature this year, partly in preparation for uni next year but also just for fun, and I’ve found some of my fav books from doing so. I’m writing this post on 29th December so we’ve just celebrated Christmas – I was given 3 books as gifts, and then with some of the money I was given I’ve ordered 12 more from World of Books. 12. In hindsight maybe that’s a little bit ridiculous but I’m also SO excited to read them all. Another thing I’ve loved this year is buying books second-hand (I wrote a post about why you should buy pre-loved books which you can read by clicking here); there’s something thrilling in walking into a charity shop not knowing what you’re going to find, then coming out with 3 or 4 books you’ve been looking for for a while.

I’ve loved not having exams this year. I had mocks in July which I found slightly stressful (more due to their timing than for the actual exams, as I had various open days and holidays and not a lot of time to revise). Next year a lot of my focus is going to be on doing well in my A Levels, but this year, it’s been such a relief to not have to be revising intensely. I feel like I really needed a less-pressured year than GCSE year.

On a lighter note – TV! I’ve loved The Apprentice and The Great British Bake Off and I’ve watched some amazing films this year too; Paddington 2 was great and Mamma Mia Here We Go Again was incredible. Some of these films were watched with my friends – we had a cancelled alpaca trek so decided to go to the York cinema, then the film we wanted to watch was cancelled so we ended up on The Spy Who Dumped Me, which turned out to be fab. Mamma Mia 2 was also iconic; picture two rows of 17 year olds all bopping along and singing all the lyrics…amazing.

The long, frickin’ hot summer we had. I. N. C. R. E. D. I. B. L. E. It was 37°c whilst I was in Berlin – not good news, being a ginger. Saying that though, I love the heat and sun so I was flourishing in summer.

What I’ve learned in 2018

“I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth. I hold myself extremely blest – blest beyond what language can express.” – Jane Eyre

This year I’ve concentrated on self-growth a lot. I’m seeing life as one big lesson, an experience which you can learn from and ultimately which will make you a better, more developed (and maybe more wise?!) person. I read somewhere that you should “fill your life with love” and I’ve decided, that’s going to be my motto for 2019. What else should you live for? Life is so short so we all really need to live for our loves. Mindset = everything. Let’s stay positive.

I’ve learned that worrying gets you nowhere helpful. In fact, it makes you suffer twice, in the words of Newt Scamander. I need to live life fully, embrace it and stop worrying because… I can’t think of any other (non-cringey) way to put this, I’m so sorry…YOLO. You only live once, so what’s the point in wasting time worrying?

You can be unapologetically yourself and you should be comfortable with that. It’s hard sometimes, but your friends and family should know the real you and not some version or facade that you feel you have to project. Be y o u, and be confident being you.

There’s a silver living to every black cloud. If something bad or unwanted happens, it’s to make room for a desired, positive thing.

Finally, I’ve learned that whenever I fall completely head over heels for a musician or band, they’ll always, always be on tour, meaning that I can’t get tickets to see them. It’s a nightmare guys, honestly.

What I’ve done in 2018

I’ve done a lot – I’m 80% sure on the night before I publish this post I’ll be frantically adding all the experiences I’ve forgotten to include.

Academics first. I sent off my UCAS Application to 5 universities. I received an interview offer from the University of Cambridge, and got offers from the other 4 unis too (buzzing!!!). I went on a road trip around Warwickshire and Herefordshire. I visited Shakespeare’s house. I saw a play at the Royal Shakespeare Company (The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich). I visited Amsterdam again. I also had a fab time in Den Haag, exploring a city that was completely new to me. I went to Spain. I made it onto Spanish TV (it’s only a glimpse but hey, it counts!). I explored Berlin, another city I’ve never visited before and, like with Den Haag, one I completely fell in love with. I was nominated for the UK Blog Awards *screeeeeams*. I’ve read some amazing books, and I’ve watched some incredible films. I’ve had my heart broken a lil bit, but I’ve also had some of the best times with my friends and family.

What I’ve become in 2018

I like to think that I’ve always been quite a calm, laidback kind of person but this year I’ve become more chilled. I’m trying not to base my moods on other people’s actions – for example, getting annoyed when people leave me on read lol – which used to really affect my mood. I’ve become more content with independence. I think I’ve become more time efficient?! I know now that you don’t have to be revising for every waking minute of the day, and that the key to maximising my time is getting rid of distractions and really focusing for shorter periods of time.

I think I’ve become stronger in terms of my fears. They have much much less control over me than they used to, and I’m so inexpressibly proud of myself for that.

My goals for 2019

  • Change the way I procrastinate – you might look at this and think “whatttt??? She’s encouraging procrastination?!” And yeah, I am in a way. It’d be unrealistic of me to say I want to stop procrastinating because we all know that that is literally never going to happen. Instead, I want to change what I do when I procrastinate. Normally, I’d just flick over social media for hours. In 2019, I want to do something productive but fun and relaxing, such as painting or writing.
  • Run more often – this isn’t going to be a hard resolution to complete, because I only run about once in every 6 months lol. I want to become fitter and I have no excuse not to run – and I bought some Grace Fit resistance bands so even if I don’t want to run, I’ll have something to do at home!
  • Keep up with my bullet journal

Thank you to my family for everything we’ve done this year, all the places we’ve visited and all the fun times. Thank you to E, B, M, G and D for being some of the best friends. I’m excited for our holiday next year (lol if we ever get one booked!!! C’mon guys!) Thanks to S for putting up with my existential dilemmas and constantly giving me life advice. Thank you M for always cheering me up, for providing mathematical memes I don’t have a chance of understanding and for always insulting my choice of subject. Thanks B for a great year and please, let’s do what we said. To A, thanks for being an excellent form buddy. Thank you to Z, A and N as well, for being amazing friends and people. You all constantly crack me up.

None of my friends or family know about my blog but sooner or later they’ll find it. And when they do, I’d like them to realise how much of an impact they’ve all had on my life. I love them and I’m so grateful.

Happy New Year!

September + October book club

Since going back to school in September, reading (unfortunately) has taken a step back – as much as I love it I just find it hard sometimes to sit down and read because I’m always thinking of school! Over the course of the next few months, my book club posts are going to become much more sporadic: instead of posting a bimonthly round-up of everything I’ve read, I’ll probably wait until I have 5 or 6 books to talk about which, judging by how little I’ve read recently, will be around every 3 to 4 months.

I was talking to my English Language teacher about dystopian fiction and how much I love it and she recommended me a book called Station Eleven which I hadn’t heard of. I told her I’d look into it because her summary of it sounded really interesting. I forgot to look actually, but I’m glad about that because in my next lesson with her she’d bought it for me! *cue heart melting* I really really enjoyed reading Station Eleven; there are several different viewpoints and settings which the narrative flicks between, and you’re left trying to figure out how all of the characters interconnect which I love! I won’t give away many spoilers, but around the time that I started reading it a plane was put into quarantine, and I was genuinely so immersed in the story that I thought it had started to come to life (a scary thought, huh).

Talking of scary, I also read We Need to Talk About Kevin. I never usually say this about books, but I hated it. I really and truly hated it. I didn’t connect to any of the characters – not even cute lil Cecelia – and I disliked the whole plot line; you know from the outset that something awful is going to happen, but you have to read alllll the way to the end to find out what it is. Parts made me feel physically sick, such as when Kevin is in the bathroom with the door deliberately left open and his mother can see everything – I won’t go into much more detail, reader, but if you fancy a disturbing read, I recommend. Personally though, I won’t be returning in a hurry 😅

After my draining experience with We Need to Talk About Kevin I decided to relieve my brain a little, so I started Bridget Jones’s Diary. Again, this is unusual, but I preferred the film to the book! Maybe it was the winning combo of Hugh Grant and Colin Firth…who knows? 😉

Finally, I’ve read The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, because I again just wanted something lighthearted. I hadn’t actually read the cover before I started but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it – I’d bought it spontaneously after seeing it for £1 in a charity shop, I hadn’t been specifically looking to buy and read it. That said, I’ve read one of Nelson’s other books and enjoyed that, so I don’t know why I had low expectations – overall though, it was a cute story (if a little weird in parts haha, I’m looking at you Lennie + Toby!)

Currently I’m reading Jane Eyre which I love: I remember, when I was 7 or 8, my mum read it aloud to me because I loved everything about learning and education and Jane is a governess, but I haven’t read it since then and suddenly got the urge.

Have a lovely rest of the week x

(PS – unusually, there are no photos for this post: my apologies!! I’m at school for most of the day everyday and before I leave for school, it’s too dark to take photos. When I come back, the light isn’t great – so enjoy an unrelated photo, plonked in the middle of his post! #makingthebestofthings)

(PPS – I’ve been put through to the second round of the UK Blog Awards, which is SO exciting!! I’ll leave links on all my social media accounts so that you can vote for me if you’d like to – if you do, I’ll be forever grateful! Although I don’t expect to win anything, even to have gone to the second round is such a privilege ❤️❤️)

eighteen things to do in 2018

Welcome to 2018! 2017 was one heck of a year and I learnt a lot from it, but I’m kind of hoping this year will be a liiiittle more steady…

As is tradition, I’ve compiled a list of my resolutions for the year and I’m actually going to try really hard to stick to them – I’ve put a fair amount of time into reflecting on last year so I know that if I stick to these resolutions, hopefully 2018 will be a good one.

  • Read more, instead of spending time on devices – something probably a lot of people can relate to! I realised how much time I waste just scrolling down Instagram or Pinterest and how much more productive I could be if I just put my phone down!
  • Complete my reading list – linking on from the previous resolution!!!!
  • Spread more positivity – there can never be enough happiness in the world, and it doesn’t really take much to compliment someone, does it? 💖💖💖
  • Utilise free periods in school – the more work you do at school, the less you have to do at home ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Know when I’m taking too much on.
  • Limit the amount of procrastination – I could really do with a lot of motivation this year, haha.
  • Continue learning French and Spanish.
  • Record the best part of each day – I don’t know yet whether to film a second of each day and then make a video at the end of the year or just write down my favourite part? I could do with your advice!!
  • Exercise more frequently – ok, this must be the most common New Years resolution EVER but it’s so so easy to just sit on the sofa and do nothing. This year I’m going to change that and try to run weekly and do a little exercise routine every night at home (or maaaaybe start going to the gym, although that might be pushing it a bit far 😉)
  • Watch more films!! – contrary to my other resolutions haha, but I’m always that person who’s not seen the latest film yet and that needs to change!
  • Remember I’m stronger than I think.
  • Drink more water – my poor little kidneys are shrivelling up (probably).
  • Blog weekly (I’m sure you’ll all thank me for that haha)
  • Save 75% of the money I earn – because university is ridiculously expensive!!!
  • Start youtube again – my original plan was to film a few videos and get them uploaded so that I could officially start my channel today but I haven’t got around to it… in my defence, I have over 300 clips from my trip to New York so it takes a while!
  • Be more confident within myself.
  • Stop overthinking any decision – the amount of worrying about any possible outcome of any decision I make is extremely unhelpful.
  • Be happy.

Do you have any New Years resolutions? I’d be really interested to hear to be honest, I think people’s reflections on life say so much about them! Wishing you all the best for 2018,

Cara xx

Self Confidence

Self confidence is definitely a concept that is much easier to say than to adopt, but it’s an issue particularly prevalent in today’s day and age. I’ve struggled in my younger teenage years with low self confidence, so I know how it feels, but I’m also really happy to say that there is a way to become more confident in yourself and everything you do – the living proof is writing this post, haha! 🙂

The reason I’ve always been a bit low in confidence is due mainly to my body; I’ve always had a fuller figure than my friends and other people I’ve been surrounded by and I felt a lot of pressure especially when I was younger to fit in. I have gingery hair (which I’ve learned now to absolutely love!), my thighs touch, my legs are relatively short for my height and I used to have braces, so I was exactly what I what I didn’t want to look like.

I’m lucky in that I didn’t get a smartphone or any social media (apart from facebook, which I set up when I was 10 and used solely for chatting with my friends – wow, did I think I was cool!!) until I was 13. I think, had I been younger, I would have felt even more pressure to change my body because, you know how it is – you immediately follow the Kardashians, Selena Gomez, every Victoria’s Secret model in the world and see only the very posed, photoshopped images that they portray as real life. However, I think by the time I got Instagram and snapchat and everything else, I’d heard all of my friends worrying about their bodies and talking of diets they were following which they’d seen online and realised that it’s very very easy to believe what you see on social media. Saying that, you can’t help comparing yourself to these images but they’re damaging to your perception of yourself – I remember when I was in Year 10 I frantically tried to find ways to lose weight from my glutes and thighs because I felt so ugly and unworthy, and just uncomfortable with the way I looked.

2 years on, I’ve accepted that this is my body and I should be proud of it. Obviously, that realisation didn’t just come one day – I had to work to make myself believe it.

〰️

Top tips for self-confidence

  • Tell yourself you are beautiful. Truly, you are. Look in the mirror at least 3 times a day and focus on your beauty.
  • Don’t listen to what other people tell you. If you want to do something, wear something, like something, don’t let anybody else’s views stop you from doing that. Remember you’re the only person living your life, and you need to enjoy it.
  • Everybody is different!! Individuality is what makes us…individuals. You’re perfect the way you are.

I’m going to be posting regularly about self confidence because as I’ve already said, it’s something that needs to be worked at and I admit I’m still not 100% confident with myself, so hopefully it’ll help me and some of you guys too!

08.10 – why did I start blogging?

I was thinking the other day, when and why did I actually start blogging? And it took me a while to figure out the answer.

I started my Instagram account (my personal one) in August 2015 and after just a few days on it I fell in love, and I started another account which I believe was called something along the lines of prettylittlestarfall (cringey or what?!)which had some of my favourite photographs I’d taken on (one I remember clearly was of a packet of birthday cake flavoured M&Ms…) although I could be wrong because I’ve been through a lot of accounts 😂

I’ve also been through many, many blogs. My very first one was set up in Year 6 ICT Club, so either late 2011 or early 2012, entitled celebritynewsflash.weebly.com but tragically this domain doesn’t exist anymore (for the purposes of this post I tried and failed to find it😂). My first real blog though came about last year – I’d fallen out with some of my friends, I felt a bit lonely but I also just wanted to try something new and I’m so glad I did!

Blogging has allowed me to express myself (I can hear you screaming “what a cliche!!”) and I feel that my writing skills have improved since I began, meaning that now I write much more for pleasure instead of just because I have to. I’ve met some amazing people online; I continue to be inspired by their work and I aspire to have similar impacts on others.

Cara xx 🌟🌹