Monday, 30 January 2017

January 2017 | Monthly Wrap Up

Whilst January has been its normal struggle, it hasn’t actually been all that bad.

Favourite part?


I’ve spent a lot of time with friends this month, and I love them all so much. They make me feel so comfortable and appreciated! At the beginning of the month (literally the year) was spent with friends and I remember being so happy when the countdown into the New Year’s finished. A few days after that, some family came round and it was lovely seeing them after a long time.




This month my friend Anna starred in a local Youth Theatre production of the play Consensual and she was great! I thoroughly enjoyed the play and found it very thought provoking, so would definitely recommend to any of you.

I also started volunteering at my local library as part of my Silver D of E Award and I’m really enjoying it so far!

Best read?


This month, I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I thought it was very interesting and definitely engaging, although I don’t think I liked any of the characters, which was kind of weird! I also started reading Emotions of a Book by Guido Parisi,

Favourite tunes?


It seems like I’ve been singing the Singin’ in the Rain soundtrack constantly this month, but maybe that’s because I have been…

What did I learn?


That I can do A levels. Kind of. I can at least do decently in mocks.

What’s happening next month?


February is looking quite good so far! My friends and I are going to see Billy Elliot, I have a D of E practice walk and I’m going to a Foyles event in London. Also Valentine’s Day, which I’m hopefully going to be spending with my friends.

My friends Anna, Nicola and I have a project in the works at the moment, but more on that later!

What’s been on my mind?


My subjects, the future, trying to improve my poetry. I’ve been revising a lot of my poems to add more meaning to them and make them read better.

Favourite blogger/vlogger?


I have hardly watched any YouTube this month as I’ve been watching FRIENDS again (I have nearly finished watching the entire show again).  However, I have been loving Nia from The Cardiff Cwtch. I obviously love supporting my fellow Welsh bloggers, but I also love her content! Everyone go check her blog out!

Favourite post?


I have to say either My 2016 or On Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, both of which I loved reminiscing and appreciating the events of the past years and of two ladies who mean a lot to me.

Biggest inspiration?


The thought of wanting to improve the art I create and the thought of future experiences thanks to my hard work.

However, my biggest inspiration this month has been the major opposition to Trump's presidency, particularly the Women's March. Although I couldn't go, my heart was lifted by the movement and I have to admit I choked up a few times while looking through at the pictures of several of the marches. Hopefully, I'll get to go to a march in March.


Any other favourites?


As I said before, I’ve nearly finished watching FRIENDS again! I have also been loving a load of hand creams at the moment since I was given a lot of them for Christmas, all of which smell amazing!



If you liked this post you might like: December 2016 | Monthly Wrap Up

Friday, 27 January 2017

My Day in Numbers


Day: 27/ 01/ 2017

Cups of Tea: 4

Slice of Pizza: 4 ½

FRIENDS episodes: 7

Lessons: 2

Hours spent on a bus: 2

Blog posts written: 1 ½

Hours spent in college: 8

Eye rolls at something Trump said/did: 500000000000000



What has your day looked like?




If you liked this post you might like: Day in the Life | 30 July 2016

Monday, 23 January 2017

On Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher

We’re all aware of the number of celebrity deaths that occurred in 2016 – they seemed to be every other day – but the ones that struck me most came at the end of the year: that of Carrie Fisher and, a day later, her mother Debbie Reynolds.

Credit

Both of these women have been present throughout my childhood and have come to mean a great deal to me over the years; Debbie, as Kathy Selden, my sassy triple threat in a yellow raincoat, and Carrie, as my badass general/princess with her hair wrapped in buns on either side of her head. In that time, they have become to mean different things to me, but equally as important.

Credit

Singin’ in the Rain is my all-time favourite musical. I love everything about it; from the songs, the dance numbers, the plot and the actors. Those involved in it are genuinely incredible and so so talented. And Star Wars, on the other hand, was always playing in my house as it’s a favourite of my dad’s – a love he passed on to my brother and I. Carrie had also been in some other films I adore – Blues Brothers, When Harry Met Sally, etc., which have become iconic and are truly unforgettable, with her portrayal of characters that I love and make me laugh (less so in Blues Brothers, but never mind…).

The main characters Debbie and Carrie portrayed have inspired me and entertained me for my whole life, and I’m sure will continue to do so as long as I live. And I hope will live on to make future generations laugh and cry.

Kathy Selden. Though Singin’ in the Rain does pit the two main women against each other over Gene Kelly’s character, Don Lockwood, those two women are some of my favourites in any story (and also Jean Hagen is an underappreciated genius, but this post isn’t about here so, maybe another time I’ll talk exclusively about the film). I love Kathy; she seems to be a lovely person, with a great sense of humour and conviction in her own self-worth and ambition (just look at her threat to leave Don at the end of the film, when he would have her sacrificing her career to aid his). As a young girl, it was amazing seeing Reynolds singing and dancing her heart out, and especially keeping up with the boys (who were a lot more experienced than her as she was 19 during filming), proving that women have as much talent and capabilities as men.

Credit

Princess Leia. My general and true royalty. During my childhood, I never saw many women in action or sci-fi films, well, not many anyway. Whilst there are some exceptions, the genres are dominated by men who end up being given more character development than the few women, who in turn end up being categorised as being either ‘macho’ or overly sexualized. This is not the case with Leia. She is able to handle her own in a fight, with weapons if necessary, think on her feet and dash around the Death Star all while maintaining her femininity and not losing sight of herself. This is so important to young (and not-so-young) girls. It’s so important to see complex women, who can be kicking ass yet still be advisory, friendly and deeply flawed. As Leia is a character who never loses her femininity but can still be a highly esteemed and respected character, she sets out a message that in order to be powerful you do not need to be masculine, something I hope I will never forget.

Credit

To me, Leia and Carrie have blurred into one, especially having seen and loved her in interviews and videos I found online (without forgetting her Twitter feed), and that has made me respect and appreciate her even more.

The same would be said for Debbie as, as I’ve grown older, I’ve discovered more about her life, career and fabulous wit, and have made it my mission to see as many of her films as possible.

Credit


The best way to remember these incredible women is to continue the causes they fought for: increasing awareness for mental health, reducing the stigma around it and increasing facilities and resources to help with mental issues, not rest until we have equality for all and to make sure we have a laugh while doing so.

Credit



Friday, 20 January 2017

5 New Books on my Shelf

After Christmas and a good book buying spree, I have a fair few new books on my TBR pile. Here are five of them:

1. Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth


I’ve seen various posts about this on Pinterest, using some of the techniques described by Forsyth and I just wanted to learn more. I also saw it in a few of Leena Norms’ videos and, I think, somewhere else on YouTube but I forget. I honestly have been looking forward to reading for this for so long, it was actually one of the two things I actually asked to have for Christmas. Hopefully, this will help improve my writing and understanding of various techniques, which will be useful as I’m starting to edit my novel now.


2. A Christmas Party by Georgette Heyer


I was given this book for Christmas and it’s a mystery set at a Christmas party (bet you couldn’t guess that!). The blurb reminded me a lot of Cluedo (maybe because we had played that the day before), but I can’t wait to read this – I do love a good murder mystery!

3. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher


I have been a fan of Carrie Fisher for a while. I love her in Star Wars, having grown up watching it a lot because my dad happens to be a massive fan, I love her in When Harry Met Sally and I have more recently grown to love her through her interviews and TV appearances I found on YouTube. I was planning to buy this book as soon as it came out but was waiting until I had some more money. Needless to say, I was really saddened on hearing of her death and I’m so glad to now have this on my shelves.





4. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger


I’ve heard a lot about this book, and I know it’s a classic. I don’t actually know what it’s about but it’s just always intrigued me whenever I’ve seen it mentioned anywhere.

5. Everyman’s Poetry by Emily Dickenson


I want to read as much poetry as I can (I’m kind of craving it) and I know that one of my friends likes Emily Dickenson and that she is regarded as one of the ‘key’ poets. I’ve read a few already and I love them – hopefully the rest are equally as good!






If you liked this post you might like: 5 Books That Changed My Life

Monday, 16 January 2017

Criticising Something You Love

There is at least one thing that all of us completely love, whether it’s a book, a film, a TV show etc. There’s always some sort of creativity to consume, and one that we end up feeling passionate about. When you’re not very attached to something and can view it objectively, you may criticize it and spot its weaknesses, but when you have a strong attachment to or love for something, I feel that that is heightened.

For me, this is most prevalent with the Harry Potter franchise.



I grew up with Harry Potter; my parents would read me the books before I went to bed from when I was very small, they bought me the audiobooks for birthdays and Christmases as they were being released, I still have loads of merchandise that has been collected over the years. I know it sounds ridiculous to some, but I genuinely believe that Harry Potter has made me who I am today, well, for the most part. I am an avid reader, anyone who knows me knows that. I also have a huge love for writing – it’s craft and the shape of words and stories. Those are some of the parts of my character that I believe are one of the most important and that have been aided and allowed to grow by the involvement of Harry Potter in my life.

So, it’s safe to say that I was overly excited about the release of the Cursed Child. I say overly, because I really do not think it was worth the hype. At least, not based on the script anyway. I’m sure it would be much better on stage as some of the effects described in the script seem to be mind-blowing and I have no idea how they do that without special effects! Don't get me wrong, I still desperately want to see it on stage. However, I thought the plot was very weak and some of the characters I love were portrayed in a bad way and characterized badly. To me, it felt like a badly written fanfiction, although I know some people disagree.

I was talking to a friend in one of my classes the other week, and she was saying how you should be looking for good things in something you love, rather than its faults – but I can’t help but disagree. If you love something and something else is released,

To me, finding flaws in things you love is so important, but as a creative person, it is crucial. Many of my friends are creative; we’re writers, actors, poets, film makers, artists, photographers and work with textiles. As long as we want to better ourselves in our craft, we have to continue to see flaws in every piece of art we see, and to learn from those other creators’ mistakes and use them for our own creative growth.

But it’s also good to recognise that no piece of art is perfect – never will be, in my opinion. Finding faults in favourites is something that, I think, demonstrates affection. When it’s in a critiquing sort of way, at least. We’ve all come out of the cinema, having seen a disaster of a film and discussed its many faults with little enthusiasm or ever wanting to see it again. And I think we’ve all walked out of the cinema enthusiastically discussing a film we loved – its many qualities, but also of the things you didn’t like, or thought could have been improved. Interest in the recognition of a favourite piece of art’s faults is healthy. So don’t put anyone down for, while loving something, pointing out its imperfections but allow them to love it in spite of them.




If you liked this post you might like: Why We Need to Talk About Our Periods!

Friday, 13 January 2017

5 Blogging Goals for 2017

My blog has grown a lot in the past year, so why not aim to continue that?

Credit


1. Reach 50,000 views


At the end of this year, my blog’s views were around 26,000, having been at around 7,000ish at the end of 2015. That makes me really proud and I would love to try to double my views next year.

2. Publish 90 posts


That’s 1.7 posts a week, so not too bad. I think I can do that pretty easily. I want to be able to write lots of posts that I’m proud of, so hopefully, I can do that! During exam time it can get difficult, but I've had 

3. Write at least 10 political posts


I want to start articulating my thoughts on issues I’m passionate about and interested in. I love politics (you may have seen that I study it as one of my A Levels) and hope that by writing about current events I can spread education and improve my own personal understanding.

4. Try to do 2 sponsored posts



I have worked with companies and PRs this year, but I would love to reach out further and with more companies in the best way I can.

5. Do another collab!


I love working with my fellow bloggers! They’re all so creative and lovely and I feel honoured to call some of them my friends, both in real life and online. Speaking of this one, if any of you are interested in this then do email me!




If you liked this post you might like: My Advice to New Bloggers

Monday, 9 January 2017

My 2016

2016 started off pretty averagely, for me. January saw my GCSE mocks come around – hundreds of 15/16-year-olds freezing in a hall and gym while trying to remember anything they could. However, despite them, January was alright for me. I had a few shopping outings with friends and my mum after being given some vouchers for Christmas! An average month, but good all round I’d say.


February 2016 is a month I hope I never forget, and I would go as far to say that some of its days were the best of my life. During the first part, I took part in my school production of West Side Story, playing my violin in the pit band. That whole week was great, even if exhausting. During the half term, I spent 5 days in Nice, in the south of France, with a wonderful group of friends from school. I was so happy during those few days and I wish I could go back and relive it several times. I’m determined to return to Nice at some point – I just fell in love with the place.






Again, March was a pretty dull one. It was filled with seemingly endless revision and coursework and I’m pretty sure I spent more time in school than at home.


The Easter holidays rolled from March into April, not bringing much of a break of revision mind you. However, I did have more chance to relax over the holidays, which I’m glad to say I did. My family and I went to watch Judgement Day in the Millenium  Principality Stadium. It’s basically a day where 4 local rugby teams compete, which I loved as it had been a while since I’d been to a rugby match!


With May came my blog’s first birthday! That makes me so proud and to think it’s not even that long until the second one! Exams were also in full swing by the end of the month, but I found that I was less stressed than I thought I would be as I’d done a lot of work in the run up to exams, giving me more chance to rest and relax when it came to the actual things (in other terms, it meant I could binge watch all of Downton Abbey. #soznotsoz.)

June was better. I still had exams, but they were less frequent and I had more flexibility with my time and had more of it to focus on each subject. At the beginning of the month, I met Giovanna Fletcher while she was on her book tour in my local Waterstones. That was incredible as I love her books and am a huge fan of her in general. Safe to say, it was a highlight! At the end of the month, I finished my exams and had my prom! It was a good night spent with friends and I genuinely felt so pretty!



In July, the blog Through Our Eyes started and I met an amazing group of bloggers!

Having an extended summer is probably the thing that is most evident about this year, and I enjoyed it thoroughly! I did spend a lot of it lying in bed, or outside in a paddling pool (yeah I’m cool), or on the sofa watching friends, although I did write a lot, read a lot and visit lots of places. My family, some family friends and I went to CenterParcs for a weekend, which was a great way to relax properly after my exams.


Then, I visited some old friends in Wales for roughly 6 days, and as they were all off after exams as well it was great spending more time with them in a place that I love.


After returning home, my nan and I spent 4 days in London. I actually love the city and love it even more, every time I go there. I learned so much and had such a great time! We saw 2 shows (we had planned one but then there was a bit of a change of plans), visited some seriously interesting places such as Shakespeare’s Globe, Westminster Abbey, Hampton Court and the Royal Albert Hall (where I went to my first prom!!). I have to say I loved July.


For 10 days in the middle of August, my family and I went on holiday to Dubrovnik in Croatia. Admittedly, we didn’t spend much of the time being particularly active, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and the old city was both interesting and pretty!


September was the month I started college, but before that, my friend Katie and I went to Bath on a day trip and we both fell in love with the city. A lovely day spent with a lovely person. Starting college also meant meeting lots of new people and getting closer to others I already knew, some of which are now my absolute favourite people! I do remember being really happy in September. It was a good month.


October was a mixed month. My birthday was such a good day, I felt so loved and happy. A family member was injured near the beginning of the month though and the problems that came from that dragged out over the course of the next two months (they’re alright now, though!). I did enjoy seeing more of my friends in half term at various Halloween parties and just in general.


In November I finished the first draft of my first novel – definitely something I will remember forever! Two of my friends had birthdays, so we went out for meals that were lovely! Fantastic Beasts also came out and obviously had to see it straight away. I entered my first poetry competition. However, I won’t lie, I did spend a lot of time working in November.


December was a tired month. I worked and ground myself down, so I was glad I had the Christmas break coming up (even though I was ill for basically the first week). Christmas was lovely, spent with family and where we visited friends, eating food, reading and watching TV. When we came back, a group of friends and I went to London for one of my friend’s birthday. We saw Wicked (a musical we all adore!) and then had a meal on Southbank, which was amazing despite the poor weather!



Globally, I’m very aware that 2016 was a crappy year: Brexit, Trump, humanitarian crises and all the deaths should just about cover it.  And I can’t pretend that I haven’t been saddened and affected by that – some of the people that have unknowingly been a huge part of my childhood and whom I have looked up to and have inspired me (Alan Rickman, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds). I may write a post about some of them at some point. While the world may not be in good shape, I have experienced a lot this year and I now feel very happy; I have developed a love for poetry, have succeeded in my exams and have visited lots of places, spent a lot of time with friends and become much more interest in politics. In order to make this year better, we have to keep fighting for our beliefs and what’s right against what’s been happening in all areas of the world.




If you liked this post you might like: My 2015

Friday, 6 January 2017

December 2016 | Monthly Wrap Up

December has drained me. Honestly, it has. But it’s had its good moments too.

Favourite part?


I mean, it has to be the time between Christmas and New Year. I spent Christmas with my grandparents, and it was so nice not to have to do anything except eat and be with family. While we were visiting them, we saw a load of our old friends, spending hours with them over a long lunch. 



Then, on the 29th, 5 friends and I took the train up to London for one of my friend’s birthday. We saw a matinee of Wicked (which I would recommend to anyone it’s so GOOD!! This time was the second time I’d seen it and I love it even more), then had our food at the Giraffe restaurant on South Bank, which was lovely. I had such a good day then and I want to go back to it! New Year’s Eve was great, as well!





Best read?


This month, I finished reading The Odyssey for my Classics course and And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou, I read the screenplay of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and I started reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I loved reading the screenplay, and have seen the film twice, as I loved seeing little extras mentioned in the screenplay I didn’t notice during my first viewing.


Favourite tunes?


CHRISTMAS SONGS!!

What did I learn?


That Winnie the Pooh is the perfect remedy for flu.

What’s happening next month?


I’ve started back at college and have just completed my week of mocks, which I think have gone reasonably well. January’s generally a bit of a boring one, though, isn’t it? Ooh - and La La Land is being released next month, what!! So excited for that it's unreal.

What’s been on my mind?


Friends, family, EXAMS!! 

Favourite blogger/vlogger?


So many of my favourite vloggers did Vlogmas this year! These include Angela Innes, CarrieHope Fletcher, PetesJams, Tom and Gi Fletcher and Vlognukkah was done for the first time by Hannah Witton! I’ve been spoilt for choice this month.

Favourite post?


I loved writing My Year in Books. It was such a great way to look back on the year and remember all the stories I'd consumed and what I'd thought of them. I think that's going to become an annual post.

Biggest inspiration?


I’ve just been trying my hardest to get my work done to a decent standard and have been a lot less creative since finishing the first draft of my novel. However, I am now making the outline of another novel which was prompted by a discussion with my friends on a train back from London.


Any other favourites?



Strictly finished (cry every time) and if I haven’t said it before, I will, I am always obsessed with that show and its side show, It Takes Two. But now I have to wait another year…

Also, Rogue One. Rogue. One.




If you liked this post you might like: November 2016 | Monthly Wrap Up