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!
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 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂
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.
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’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
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.
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
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.
If you’re starting to panic about Christmas presents – or, more accurately, lack of – don’t worry! I’ve compiled a few of my personal recommendations for some of the people in your life…
For the amateur detective:
A classic, but definitely worth the read! Every page brings a new turn to the story and the ending is still unexpected. This is the sort of book that you could easily tear through if you had a few (blissful) hours to yourself. And, maybe this is superficial but I still think it’s important 😉, you can get copies with beautiful covers!
For the feminist/dystopian fan:
If you (or someone you know) enjoyed The Handmaid’s Tale, you’ll love this. The world has been flipped upside down; women discover they have the ultimate power and are able to hurt, even kill, men with a flick of the fingers. A fast-paced, gripping novel, this is sure to go down well as a Christmas present.
For the “I-don’t-read-fiction” friend:
I’m going to be studying English literature and linguistics at uni hopefully, so this was a really interesting read for me. Even if you have no knowledge of linguistics or no plans to study it in future, you’ll enjoy this. Linguistics probably isn’t the first choice of non-fiction for many readers but as language is crucial to everyday life, the topic is intriguing and I guarantee readers will be hooked.
For the young adult:
This is probably in the top 10 books I’ve read in 2018. Being set in a high school makes it all the more appealing; McManus so accurately depicts the different cliques in high schools. It genuinely feels like you could be living in the story. I love how the narration is from different viewpoints as well – you truly get to know the characters (and yet, you also don’t know who to believe!)
For the traveller:
“Us” follows the holiday of a scientist, an artist and their son, an attempt to save their failing family. If you love travel and art, you’ll enjoy this. Several famous galleries and landmarks feature, along with the adventures of each character – for a lighthearted read for anyone, I’d recommend.
For the teenage comedian:
An oldie but a goldie. Need I say more? Everyone loves Adrian Mole and his teenage struggles – a fabuloso Christmas gift, if you ask me 😉
Thanks to my friend for the inspo to write this post 😉 if you buy any of the books I’ve recommended (for yourself or for someone else) let me know what you think!