Friday, 8 July 2016

June Wrap-Up

So June is over, and July has begun. I can't believe I'm already about two months into my summer holiday, in a way I keep on saying I don't know what I've done. But I relaunched my blog and was proud of all my posts throughout June and I've started my novel - as well as had a holiday, moved out of Uni, found a house for next year and have started catching up with friends back home. June was a good month and although I don't think July will be as exciting - I am working for most of it, I plan to really focus time on my novel and just enjoy another month of Summer. 

I read a fair amount in June,  although I hit a week's reading slump in the middle - I tried to start Jane Austen's Persuasion, but I'm still not in the mood to read classics, I'm now waiting for my uni reading lists before I start reading classics again. The last week was my best, being on a festival/ party holiday I hadn't planned to read as much as I did but as seven hour beach day on my last day served me well. So here are the books I read:

(I'm rating them out of 5, and giving the Goodreads rating out of 5.)

The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Hapgood - My rating, 3. Goodread, 3.6.

The Square Root of Summer follows Gottie the summer after her Grandfather has died and her dealings with time. She's marked by losing her Grandfather, her past love Jason and her best friend who moved away when they were twelve, Thomas. 
I loved the premise of this book - a big loss in the family, a past relationship and a promise for a new one however I struggled with the time travel and physics parts. Gottie has a summer project to see if she can figure out who to time travel, and her grandfather's old diaries help - it is about discovering moments of the past, looking to the future and living in the present. The setting of this book, in this cooky family with a hippie brother and a best friend who loves to cook was lovely, it has such lovely summery vibes, that I almost felt the time travel was not necessary and often confused me, therefore I rated it 3/5.

One by Sarah Crossan - My rating, 4. Goodreads, 4.16.

I loved this book, and read it in one day. 
It follows Grace and Tippi, who are conjoined twins, as they go to high school for the first time. Written in verse from Grace's point of view it is such a unique point of view and book. It had me laughing and it had me crying, I can't expand much more on it to be honest. In one way I wished it was written in prose so we could dive deeper into the characters but I understand how unique and how it worked so well to be written in free verse. An easy read but a heartwrencher at the same time, I would seriously recommend reading this book this summer. 

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard - My rating, 5. Goodreads, 4.

"Anyone, anything, can betray anyone. Even your own heart."

This book. Wow. I loved it. So much. 
I connected with the world a lot in Red Queen (once I got into it - as written in my May wrap-up) and I was so eager to read the sequel after the ending of Red Queen. And it didn't disappoint. Now I'm not going to go into much detail about the world and plot of this book, as that means spoilers for the first book. But it started with a jam packed awesome action scene that started the book off as it meant to go on. The relationships throughout this book were really interesting as they took many twists and turns, the main character Mare slightly annoyed me with some of her decisions but that is her flaw, and flawed characters make books great. I cannot wait for the third book, Kings Cage, to be released in 2017.

When We Collided by Emery Lord - My rating, 4. Goodreads, 3.8.

When We Collided is one of those summery beach reads. It follows Jonah, a boy who's struggling to deal with the death of his father whilst trying to keep his family afloat whilst his mother deals with depression, then the wild Vivi who is enthusiastic and happy and lively but has bipolar disorder - and this book is a summer love story of when the two characters collided.
I laughed and I cried at this book (when I say cry, I mean sobbing in the middle of a very busy Croatian beach trying to hide my tears under my sunglasses...) I loved the character Jonah, he was so kind and thoughtful but also so innocent and vulnerable, his family was also crafted in a heartwarming way. However in a way I struggled with the character Vivi, I loved that Emery showcases bipolar in this book but in a way it felt like it didn't need to be a love story. I'm not too sure if I'm making any sense but Vivi was the light in the dark to Jonah and because of that, it was a really beautiful story. 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Mas - My rating, 4, Goodreads 4.3.

I started this book after hearing so many rave reviews about the sequel, A Court of Mist and Fury, that I just felt the need to be a part of this series - and I'm so glad I did. A fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast follows Feyre, a human huntress who, in payment for her killing of a wolf, is dragged past the wall and into the world of faeries. But not 'happy-go-lucky' faeries, a dark world of faeries - her captor, Tamlin is one of the High Seven Lords, a lethal and immortal faerie whom their kind once ruled the world.
Sarah J Mas's writing and plotting is amazing, it has so many twists and turns and subtle changes of relationships that it gives you so many feels. I loved the change in the relationship between Tamlin and Feyre - and also Lucien, possibly my favourite characters. Although I did find it get a bit slow nearer the end, I really enjoyed this book and raced through it extremely quickly. 

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Manson - My rating, 4.5, Goodreads, 4.1.

I read this book in a day - that is how good it is. I loved it. 
It follows Andie, a politicians daughter who has her summer all planned out - to go to a medical summer school in preparation for her senior year. However after her father becomes involved in a political scandal she is forced to re-think. It is the perfect summer book, it makes you want to go and hug all your friends and go on a massive scavenger hunt together. It makes you want to go and watch movies with dad. It makes you want to find a boyfriend who is a writer (well, I already wanted that before the book, this just exaggerated it...) It makes you want to expect the unexpected and take joy in it. Clark is possibly one of my favourite love interest's in a contemporary book ever, and is definitely my favourite guy out of all the books in June. If you want a fun-filled book packed with family, friends and romance this summer, pick up The Unexpected Everything and you won't regret it. 

My To Be Read list for July:

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Mas
The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L Armentrout

I haven't got that many other books planned but I'm sure I'll find something. I know I've recently started writing much longer blog posts in bit of a sporadic posting pattern but I'm just getting my head back into the blogging game properly - as well as working on my novel - and just finding my way again, and I seem to have a lot to say in each post! 
Hope you've had a good first week of July, Speak soon, Christina. x

(Also, Thanks to my brother Matthew for taking the photo's for this post!)


Saturday, 25 June 2016

I’m an English literature student, I read ‘Young Adult’ books, and I’m not ashamed.

I’m an English literature student, I read ‘Young Adult’ books, and I’m not ashamed.

Ever since University lectures finished way back in April I have been on a reading sprint. I found a different appreciation for literature. I love my degree and all forms of literature however, since I was about fourteen I have been encouraged by my school teachers and mum to widen my range of reading to literary classics. And I did, and I loved them. Studying Pride and Prejudice in year eleven introduced me to the exciting world of Jane Austen, whom I now love. Throughout this year my degree has enabled me to read a broad range of literary classics – Great Expectations, Frankenstein and Robinson Crusoe. My knowledge of literature was broadened to a huge span that makes me excited to study it for another two years and research even further.

However once my lectures finished I suddenly found myself at the liberty to read whatever I wanted, and that thrilled me, I was instantly drawn back to my old favourite category of Young Adult fiction. I found 'booktube' - people like Sasha and Emma who are obsessed with books and Young Adult fiction that I felt inspired and excited to dive into this world.

Young Adult fiction seems to have a stigma attached in the literary world, people assume that because it is centred around teenagers, they are easier to read and do not deal with deep and meaningful subjects, or do not challenge the reader, or do not make them think. People assume everything ends happily in a YA novel, which, if you’ve read Divergent (spoiler alert) it definitely doesn’t.

At the beginning of June I went to a book panel at Waterstones Piccadilly as part of the #ThisiswhoIam tour, and the author Leila Sales stated that to define a YA book it has to be three things:
1)   The protagonist is a teen
2)   The ending needs to have some kind of hope
3)   To be published by a YA imprint.

Many people think YA books are exactly like The Hunger Games, and are all dystopian novels. However YA just means the protagonist is a teenager! There are still all the sub-genre’s such as contemporary, dystopian, fantasy, historical fiction – and if they are from an immediate point of view of a teenager, they are YA!

Teenagers are honest narrators. They have a sense of the world like no other – like that they are the only people that matter, that the world is at their fingertips, like they could change the world. They don’t have taxes, or a family to support that turns their world into worry. They are finding out how they stand out. They are falling in love for the first time, an honest raw type of emotion. They are relatable, immediate and exciting.
However they are not afraid to talk openly about hard subjects. YA books increase peoples knowledge around certain subjects - they have definitely increased my knowledge about abuse, for example from Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard, anxiety and panic attacks from Girl Online by Zoe Sugg and suicide from The Programme by Suzanne Young.
My two favourite genre’s of YA are contemporary and dystopian. I was first introduced to Dystopian through The Hunger Games and the hype it got throughout all media. I then went on to read and love the Crossed series by Ally Condle, Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Selection by Kiera Cass and, more recently, the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard (my new obsession.) I also followed many teenagers into the pits of the Shadowhunter world (The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices and The Last Artifices) by Cassandra Clare.
All these books are not happy-go-lucky. The authors have created in-depth different worlds with different problems. The worlds may be different to what the readers know, but the emotions and relationships are similar to what teenagers face. Like Alec’s battle with his sexuality in The Mortal Instruments series, like Mare’s difficulty with trust in Red Queen and America’s defiance against rules in The Selection series – the characters are relatable. These books take you to a different world. They let you escape from your worries and pain and open you to realisation that you are not alone.

Young Adult contemporary is possibly my favourite sub-genre (although that is a bold statement to make!) I started with Sarah Dessen in my early teens, I could not put these books down, the characters and the various settings of different small towns in America, and the sweet but challenging romances – they just have the perfect mix of everything. I then moved onto Stephanie Perkins books, which have such lovely characters and twists and turns in their romances. However in the last year or so I’ve broadened my horizons to books which tackle a range of difficult topics, (which I think reflects the publishing world being more open to diverse subjects) such as All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Young Adult contemporaries teach you to see the positive side in everything, they whisk you away to a new town with exciting characters and more often than not, a great love story!

One of my favourite characters, the gorgeous Will Herondale from The Infernal Devices series says,  ‘It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone.' 
Whether your a teenager or an adult, Young Adult Fiction is there for you. Even if you love Jane Austen as much as I do, go and try out a new book, I promise you - if it is one I've mentioned in this post, you will not be disappointed!

I'm off on holiday today so I'm away from the blog for a week, but go and follow me on instagram and follow me on snapchat (Christinastorey) for updates! Have a lovely week - and go read! Christina x


Thursday, 23 June 2016

Lost Boy

I'm still living in the past to be honest. Still dreaming of the last two weeks I had in London. Still dreaming of the laughs and giggles we had, the days we explored our city until our feet bled (okay, only my feet bled from these sandals - but they look cute, so they were worth the pain.) But I've already talked about how great this day was in a blog post (and video which you can check out here.)

So I wanted to come to you today with a good old outfit post. Throwing it back to my early days of blogging where all I did was outfit posts. I still love fashion, and still love creating outfits from various pieces. This off the shoulder black dress is a piece I got from Missguided last summer and I still love it. Its a very versatile piece, so here I wore it for a day trip but last summer I wore it over bikini's for trips to the beach and for chilling around the pool. The extra embrodied edges add a lovely boho type feel to it. It's a perfect dress to wear to a festival!  On Saturday I'm going to Hideout festival in Croatia, and I can't wait. Not only for the sun and the music, but to be able to dress all summer-y. I've done a lot of shopping in Primark who had a great selection of denim shorts, and had an Asos delivery of some tops today.

The past week has been really relatively quiet, as I'm back from Uni but none of my siblings are home, and my parents are at work. I've spent most days relaxing at home, working on my novel and going to the gym. Apart from the last day or so when I've fallen into the Gossip Girl hole again. I started season 6 yesterday and finished it today. It just reminded me how much I love it, and how much I love New York. A couple of my friends and some bloggers have all been snapchatting New York recently and I forgot how much I love it. I've just watched the first episode of Teen Wolf and can tell that I already will love it, Netflix is a slippery slope kids. 
Also, I'm going to be snapchatting my holiday in Croatia, so feel free to add me 'Christinastorey.' The title of this post is an ode to one of my favourite songs at the moment - Lost Boy by Ruth B. Hope you've had a good week, Christina x

Dress and Shoes: Misguided. Necklace - Pull and Bear. Glasses - H&M.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

I'm (attempting) to write a novel!

This is quite a daunting post to it publish, but here we go. About a month ago I woke up from a dream and couldn't shake off the feeling that the dream was real. I got thinking about it, and suddenly in my mind I'd come up with a dystopian world and a skeleton of a novel. And that's where my idea for my own novel came from. 
Now I'm no professional writer or anything but I have said for the past two years or so how I'd love to write a book, but now I've finally decided the time is now. I don't know if it's very good- it probably isn't - but this summer I'm focusing on building the world and the characters in depth, and plan to just write - not caring how bad or how good it is, but just get the words onto paper and see where it takes me. And I thought, why not keep my blog up to date on where my novel is going and how the process is for me? So here we go, here is my first instalment of 'Writing with Christina' - I'll probably update it once every two or three weeks this summer (kind of inspired by this series of videos by Christine Riccio.)
I'm going to be very vague about the actual characters/ plot of this book, so this series may not be interesting, but you never know!

World building and character profiles 

My inspiration for my book came from my dream. In my head I had the main two characters and where they were going, but I needed to create the world. This came fairly easy, I started taking messy scribbly notes about the plot, once I'd got the idea of having three main characters - two females and one male, I started figuring out the world. It is a type of dystopian book, which obviously means a complicated world accompanies it, this was so fun to create and imagine. I tried to put a little spin on it, and at the moment as a base to my novel, it works well (in my opinion.)

From here I started writing, I started with an epilogue which flew out of me so quickly and got me very excited to write. However then about 2,000 words in I hit a wall, I wasn't too sure of my characters and their personality. I realised I needed to differentiate between them and make each individual different. So I set out to make character profiles. I've found it hard, with two main female characters, to differ between the two. Now I've finished the narrator's character profile and can see a precise difference between the two. Whilst creating this world/characters I have started an inspiration board on Pinterest. Cassandra Clare (author of the Mortal Instruments and the Shadowhunter world) often does this for her books and I can really see how it helps. It helps vision characters and settings. Here's a link to my pinterest board - you can see the names and overall themes of the novel if you fancy.
I've got three main characters, and having been questioning whether to write the novel from three different point of view's which is something I'm going to decide next week, once I've got all three of their character profiles done.

This is quite scary to shout to the world that I'm writing a novel. There is a slim chance anyone will ever read it (apart from maybe my family) but I wanted, for my blog and for myself, to create a document of my journey, struggles and positives of this huge task! Hope you've had a good week, Christina x


Monday, 13 June 2016

Tower Bridge

You know those days you have where everything just seems perfect? This was one of them.
On Tuesday, as part of our mission to be tourists in our own city during our last week in London before the summer, Lucy, Lyndsey and I headed into central. We planned on going up Monument and Tower Bridge however Monument was closed for maintenance so after a quick stop off in Pret we headed towards Tower Bridge.
Tower Bridge has always been one of my favourite landmarks in London. It's just so traditionally London and so so beautiful - I even have a big poster of it in my bedroom. Walking up to it, the day already felt special. I still can't believe (and I don't think I ever will) that this is the city that I live in. Surrounded by school trips and foreigners and with my camera around my neck, we were tourists for the day. Going up Tower Bridge was amazing because although it is stunning to look at , it also has stunning views! 
When you in Tower Bridge you're able to walk along a corridor on both sides on the bridge, meaning you can see both East and West of London which is pretty cool. The newest feature to the attraction is the glass floor. Having this on both corridors was really exciting, you could look down and see the water and people below, which was strangely relaxing. Then above the glass floor was a massive mirror so you had the reflection of yourself on the glass floor which was slightly freaky but really cool. This was such an easy fun thing to do, and pretty cheap - we prebooked student tickets online for £5:65! A simple but way to see a good view of London.
We then wondered along the Thames and made our way to Maddison Rooftop Terrace. We wanted a great view of St Pauls Cathedral, as it is Lyndsey's favourite building and Lucy was christened there! However as soon as we got to the terrace everyone was leaving as the thunderstorm was just coming in. Us being the stubborn people we are decided it wasn't going to ruin our fun so sheltered under the railing and had one of our favourite moments of the year. We were alone, with St Pauls right in front of us, the London Eye in the distance and could not see another human in sight. We were at the top of London, and everything was quiet - apart from the loud thunder and the noise of the rain hitting the pavement. It was warm, it felt like we could have been in a different country, but with the view of St Pauls, we were definitely in London.
Hope everyone had a good weekend - I moved out of Uni halls and am back home for the summer now - Have a good week! Christina x


Monday, 6 June 2016

May Wrap-up

Now, I don't want to make this blog just about books but I want to introduce a new feature of a 'wrap-up' of books I've read this month, and a quick list of books I plan to read in the up-coming month. (Also sorry but I read most of these on my kindle, so they aren't in the picture.) I figure it's a quick easy way of giving my views on each book without doing a separate post for each! Now this month I read a lot, I'm in a very good reading mode at the moment, I'm feeling motivated to read and am really enjoying the range of different books! So let's jump right in...

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

This book follow two sister's in France during World War II. One is caught up in the French Resistance but the other is just trying to survive in her small village. It is a wonderful story, it really opened my eyes to that point in history, I loved how even though it was a wartime story, it showed the effect war has on civilians. It had high and lows but, that's what make it a fully rounded story. I really enjoyed this historical fiction novel!

The Crown by Kiera Cass

This was the last in The Selection series - one of my favourite series over the past few years. I read it in about two days so honestly, I can't really remember it! It follows Eadlyn in the last few stages of her selection process - Eadlyn, the future queen of Illea, had to pick a husband out of a pool of 35 suitors, having narrowed it down to six suitors in The Crown, we see Eadlyn's struggle with making the biggest decision of her life. As well as seeing her parents, the King and Queen, struggle with health issues whilst ruling the kingdom. I loved this book because we saw the characters we know from the original Selection books, as well as the progression of Illea. It wasn't my favourite Selection book, I didn't particularly warm to any of the suitors of Eadlyn herself, but it was a nice final conclusion of one of my favourite easy read series. 

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

This is a Young Adult Dystopian novel which takes place in a divided world. Where the 'silvers' have silver blood and have different powers to do with the earth, who are thought to be above everyone, they run the government and do the top positions like Lawyers etc. Then the 'Reds' who are normal people who have red blood, they are poor and struggle with money etc. The protagonist, Mare, a red who suddenly find out she has silver powers is thrown into the royal household, betrothed to one prince but has a connection with the other. She has to find her way round the palace, whilst also part of the resistance against the monarchy. This book is amazing, I was hesitant going into it, and it took me a while to get into it, but wow. It is so so good, the characters, world building and plot are incredible and unpredictable. It has elements of The Hunger Games and The Selection but is in no way a similar story. I loved it.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door is an easy summer read. It follows Samantha, a girl with a 'perfect' life who longs to know the manic family next door, the Garretts. Until one evening Jase Garrett climbs on her roof and begins to change her world. It is a very easy read has a lot of elements to do with family and questioning whether you love them just because their your family, even though they are in the wrong. This wasn't my favourite book ever but it was a fun easy read.

Beautiful Broken Things

I did a review of Beautiful Broke Things here, but it follows Caddy going into year 11 with her best friend Rosie by her side. I won't say much as you can read it here but I did really enjoy it!

I've read a lot of Young Adult books this May, which I have really enjoyed but I'm looking forward to reading some classics near the end of June. 
My To Be Read list for June:

The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Haploid
One by Sarah Crossan 
Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
1984 by George Orwell
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson / or Persuasion by Jane Austen (whichever one I feel like to be honest!)

I don't know if this type of post is interesting to anyone, but it's handy for me to keep this record, I hope I've potentially given some recommendations for books or something. I'm enjoying my last week in London before I have to move back home for the summer, hope you have a good week! Christina x


Saturday, 28 May 2016

Book Review: Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

 I bought Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard on Wednesday afternoon, started it on Thursday morning and finished it at 2am on Friday morning. I had tears rolling down my cheeks and a strange lull in my heart. I’m not going to lie, I first picked this book up because of it’s stunning and beautiful cover as well as the vague and captivating tagline ‘I was brave, she was reckless, we were trouble.’ I didn’t expect it to touch me as much as it did.

I’ve found this review quite hard to write, it’s difficult to write it without spoilers as I wanted to discuss the plotlines etc. It’s more of a discussion rather than a review, but just to warn you there are probably hints of the plot/characters throughout so read at you own risk!

This is Sara Barnard’s debut novel about love, it’s about how deep teenage female friendships bonds can go and the loyalty that comes with them. The protagonist, Caddy goes into year 11 at an all girl’s school with three goals:
1)   To get a real boyfriend
2)   To lose her virginity
3)   To experience a ‘Significant Life Event’
And she expects to do this with her absolute best friend, the sarcastic, trustworthy Rosie. They had always been inseparable, even though they went to different schools. However a new girl at Rosie’s school, Suzanne, threatens to change everything about their lives. The story is about friendship - about how you can be blinded by love and not realise the destructive qualities. It’s manipulative, it’s heart-warming and its heart wrenching all whilst being incredibly realistic and raw.

Caddy is naïve. When I first started it took me a while to be get into. I liked the fact that the protagonist went to an all girls school – especially loved the description of it being an ‘oestrogen prison’ – and I liked the fact it was set in Brighton. It was believable, she was just a normal teenage girl. However she seemed too young at first, normally YA books I enjoy the protagonist is 17 or 18 and develops into a more mature character throughout the book. I felt that Caddy was very young and innocent and didn’t participate in that much character development throughout the book, shown in the last chapter. However I do also think this naivety was needed for the book. It portrays an honest portrayal of a teenager – so eager to be liked and so conscious of everyone around her. She is so eager to look on the positive side, she wants to look after her friend and fix everything. Her loyalty to stick by Suzanne’s side, and defend her (even when she shouldn’t have been defended) shows dedication and a sense of faith that is just so raw and deep when you’re a teenager.

Reading this book I was inside Caddy’s head, but could also have an outside perspective. Sara writes in such a simple way but nevertheless is incredibly clever. I could see the manipulative but loving character of Suzanne so clearly, I could see Caddy’s urge to help and look after her, but also Rosie’s view on this change in their friendship, as well as Caddy’s parents views on how one girl could change everything for their daughter. She wrote with such subtly that really captivated you, I could feel my heart twisting in my chest when I realised Suzanne was changing Caddy, I literally couldn’t put the book down – I mean I turned my light off at 12:30 expecting to go to sleep but fifteen minutes later I turned on my light and read until I finished the book at 2 in the morning. In that sleepy, emotional state I wrote down words I felt about this book – Manipulative, subtle, real, heart-breaking, raw, believable, predictable, honest.

The character of Suzanne is so complicated, untrustworthy but loveable. She had a vulnerability that came with her but also a dark side, Sara Barnard really captivated the way she changed Caddy – for the good and the better. She made her more reckless, more exciting but also put her in danger. There was a romantic beautiful side to the darkness that Suzanne upheld but this book was so real and raw that it scared me. Suzanne’s flippant changes of mood and her ability to put on a mask and hide parts of her life were astounding. Having the narrative from Caddy’s point of view was insightful here as you could see how believable perfect beautiful Suzanne looked.

In most books or films I read/watch there is a romantic love story – and that has always been my favourite part, I love romance and I’m not ashamed to admit it (even if my friends do laugh at me.) This story is a love story, just not the romantic kind but I loved it the exact same amount. It’s a love story between friends. The first line made me laugh – ‘I thought it was a start to a love story. Finally.’ – Just the sarcastic tone instantly drew me in, it almost mocks love story’s, but also shows the unrealistic views they portray. It’s an ironic first line and it really made me laugh.

I don’t know how I feel about the ending to be honest. In a way it was predictable, which should be a bad thing, but it wasn’t – it was needed. The novel needed to be wrapped up, but it wasn’t fully, and that’s what makes it realistic. The ending in a way feels slightly rushed, but that’s life. It was a realistic conclusion, it wasn’t a ‘happily ever after’ situation but a need conclusion of the past year of events. Sorry I know that is a very vague description of the ending, but I don’t want to ruin the book completely!

So that’s it, they are my opinions on The Beautiful Broken Things – an easy but captivating read that has complex characters that make the book. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, it is a great YA contemporary novel. Speak soon, Christina x

Thanks to Lyndsey for shooting these photo's! 


Sunday, 22 May 2016

Why Girl Squads are Important

Empowered women, empower women.

There has been a lot of media speculation the past year about ‘Girls Squads’ and whether they empower women or just exclude them. Obviously I know everyone has different opinions and experiences about this subject but I wanted to discuss what I think, and how that has changed since going to university.

I saw a quote the other day that said ‘Girls compete with each other, Women empower each other’ and it got me thinking about my experience with groups of girls and how in the past two years, I have come to appreciate the strong independent women I surround myself with.

Although I’ve loved finding a new group of friends this year I want to take a moment and appreciate my old friends. I remember back when I was 15 (I don’t understand how that is four years ago) I wanted to be in a friendship group with guys, I created a perfect picture in my head and at that time, I don’t think I appreciated my group of girls as much as I should have. However I’ve now come to realise how amazing that group of girls are. We spent seven years together and made so many memories that it’s hard to remember all of them. The great thing is that although we don’t see each other everyday like we used to, we know we are always there for each other. Our teenage years are some of our hardest but I did it with this great group of girls by my side. Yeah, we went through a lot of stupid little fights, but we came out the other side. I am so excited to go on holiday with them all for a week at the end of June, I can’t wait to make new memories and catch up on the past year.

Sports – Dancing and Cheerleading has always played a huge part in my life, and most of the time it was the people surrounding me that made it so great. My Cheer team this year, Destiny, was a huge part of making me realise how strong women can be. I was in an all-girl team, meaning we didn’t have the natural strength that men normally bring to cheer, it meant we had to work out butts off to score high. We fought hard for our right to be on the mat, we overcame obstacles, we powered through pain and but we became stronger because of it. We lifted each other up, mentally and physically, and we rocked the floor. When I danced we would also normally be just girls (sometimes with one or two guys) and we could create something beautiful, something so serene and gentle. I spent years dancing next to my best friends and once again, although I don't see or speak to them everyday they still inspire me in many ways. Both Cheerleading and Dancing taught me strength in different ways, and its the fact that when you perform, your surrounded by a group of girls who you know are going to catch you if you fall, which makes it great.

Going to university this year taught me a lot of things and the ‘Cheer Senoritas’ were a huge part of that. Now, I’m still not 100% sure why we call ourselves that, it’s just the name of our group message that has stuck. They taught me to be comfortable in my own skin. They taught me that you don’t have to wear a full face of make-up every time you go out. They taught me that it’s okay to be fully interested and passionate in what you are studying. They taught me it’s okay to have strong views or opinions. They taught me that it is okay for you to do what you need to do. We are all different, none of us have the exact same personality, but that is what makes a group special. We appreciate one another and lift up each other, we boost each others confidence when we need it most, but are also there to comfort each other through the hard and stressful moments.
We all accept each other for who we are and somehow we all just fit together like pieces in a puzzle. I am eternally grateful to find these girls this year, and I know, whatever next year throws at us that we will all still be there for each other.

I know this blog post is a bit random, and technically is just me talking about how much I love my friends, but I wanted to highlight that ‘Girl Squads’ are good. Yes, people can be bitchy but, that's just a fact of life. I wanted to highlight the positive aspects of them and take a second to appreciate these women.  

As a group of girls or women we have the power to support someone. We can show them that we are always there for them no matter what. We can believe in them to chase their dreams. We can be inspired and motivated by their achievements. We can boost someones confidence with just one single complement. A single person has the ability to comfort someone when they are crying, but a group gives that person someone to lean on at all hours. Be that person, be in that group of inspiring women and be that inspiring woman. Groups of women or girls shouldn't be intimidating or scary, they should be full of laughter and smiles that radiate friendliness and inclusiveness. I've learnt a lot the past two years, but the most valuable thing I've learnt is how important it is to have a group of friends who you can lean on!

Hope this hasn't been too much of a ramble! And you all have a good start to the week, Christina x

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