Saturday 22 June 2019

Oz Adventure: Living in Brisbane

Another chapter of my Oz adventure is coming to a close so I figured it was a perfect time to write another blog post and catch up on the past three months!

Story Bridge

So last time I wrote I was just about to start my job at Gelato Messina, and it was great. I've been working there for the past three months and have found it to be a really positive experience. The people I met were lovely, they were from all over the world and it was a very relaxed atmosphere. Unfortunately the hours didn't really add up to what I needed to save money. So in early May I decided to look for another job to fit around Messina. I was extremely lucky to get an all-rounder position at a cafe for weekdays mornings. It was weird how quickly I got that job compared to the month it took me to get my first job. However I'm so glad I was able to get the cafe job, it has been a lifesaver and means I'm able to leave Brisbane a month earlier than originally planned.

The other main thing in my life since I last wrote is my boyfriend, Tom, (which still feels weird to say, let alone type!) We'd actually just got together the last time I wrote but it was so brand new it felt weird to shout it out to world, which it still does but he's become such a big part of my life that I want to explain why 'I' has turned to 'we.' It's definitely an unusual start to a relationship - living in the same room and being together 24/7. It's intense and could definitely go horrendously wrong but we are  lucky and it's gone very, very right.

As well as working, April was spent exploring more of Brisbane. We had lots of barbeques  around the city- at Kangaroo Point, Roma Street Parklands and Southbank. Most Sundays were spent exploring new places like Bulimba and Redcliffe (our Redcliffe trip is possibly one of my favourite days in Australia so far.) The weekday evenings were spent in the hostel getting competitive at Killer Pool and the pub quiz, as well as many movie and card game nights. Midway through April Tom had his birthday so we treated ourselves and stayed in an Airbnb for two nights which was so lovely, it was great to have our own space, get away from the hostel and just relax. I did also have another spout of tonsillitis which meant I was bed bound for a few days, but I spent it watching Harry Potter so it had its perks.

The first two weeks of May were fab, we had a day trip to the Botanical Gardens by Mount-Cootha which was a lovely break from fast-pace city life. Tom and I also had a spontaneous trip to Byron Bay as we both had a weekend off work. This is definitely one of my favourite couple of days in Australia so far. We rented bikes, ate amazing food, drank wine on the beach, stared at the stars, climbed up to the lighthouse, Tom nearly trod on a snake and we saw wild dolphins. I think its definitely the happiest I've been in Australia.

Byron Bay Lighthouse

The next week we realised that Tom's job was not continuing which caused some panic as I hadn't got enough money to travel further but, he didn't have a job. We both started cleaning for the hostel in exchange for accommodation in an effort to save money quicker. This was such a saviour for me as although the next three weeks were 50 hour work weeks, it meant I was able to achieve my money goal in a much shorter time.  Tom ended up getting a construction job for a month so we decided to leave Brisbane at the end of that job and travel up the coast - which we are doing on Monday!

Kangaroo Point

It's odd that I've been in Brisbane for over four months now. I’ve been in the same hostel all this time, some friends have been constantly there and others have come and gone as they travelled through Brisbane. I've met some really amazing people here that I know I will either see somewhere else in Oz or back home. It's bittersweet leaving Brisbane, I'm so excited for the adventures to come but I feel so comfortable here, comfortable in my job, my relationship, my living situation that it honestly scares me a little that I'm leaving.

I don't know what our plan is after we get to Cairns. Ideally we will travel to Melbourne or Perth to work some more to save up to do the West Coast but one thing I've learnt about this backpacking lifestyle - you can't really plan anything. That part is completely out of my comfort zone but I'm learning to live with it. I feel so happy right now with my life and really do feel like I'm thriving in Australia, who knows what comes next but I'm sure I'll update this blog once I know!

Thanks for reading,
Christina xox


Wednesday 13 March 2019

My first two months in Australia

Heathrow Airport at the beginning of my adventures

Well, I haven't written on here in absolutely ages , but that's okay. My blog is just here for me to write whenever I feel like it, and it's there for whoever wants to read it. If you know me, and you most probably do because why else would you read this, you probably know that I'm currently on a 'gap year' type thing after Uni travelling round Australia (basically just running away from actual adult life.) After Uni I was just so tired and I was apprehensive of starting my career straight away so I decided to save up some money and to make 2019 a year of travelling.

I've been in Australia for two months now and it has been such a rollercoaster of a ride. Right now I'm in Brisbane, and I've been here for a month. I decided, along with the friends I've made to stop here to get some work, settle down for a bit and save up some money, and after a lot (and I mean a lot) of searching, I finally got a job! I start working in a Gelato store mid next week so this week I am just chilling. I decided to use this time to write because I know my future self will be annoyed if I haven't got any written thoughts about my time here (and my attempt at keeping a diary failed within the first week.)

When I boarded my first plane in January I was panicked and excited and scared and anxious but proud of myself. I just could not believe that I was doing this - flying across the world to be away from my family, to be on my own, surrounded by people I've never met before for a whole year - and it was all my own choice. I stopped off in Dubai to see my sister for a few days before I continued to Australia so I had a little taste of home before officially going my own way. My first day in Australia was a bit of a blur. I did a group introduction tour for a week as soon as I arrived called Ozintro (another thing I'll recommend and explain in a different post) so my first day was spent awkwardly meeting these people and asking everyone the exact same questions. 'Where are you from?' 'How old are you?' 'How long do you think you'll be in Australia?' Ozintro was the best thing I could have done and has honestly made the past two months amazing. After spending a week in Sydney for the tour and another week exploring the city to be there for Australia day I travelled up the coast with two girls, plus bumped into lots of other people from my group along the way - and met loads of new exciting people!

View from Luna Park in Sydney
Harbour Bridge and The Opera House

A few of my highlights from Sydney were
  • Catching a Catamaran around the Harbour and swimming to a little beach.
  • Surf Lesson in Port Stephens (followed by two thirds of the whole group getting ill, not a fun experience, but definitely an unforgettable memory.)
  • Playing football on the beach after an amazing BBQ.
  • Days spent exploring Bondi Beach and Manly beach.
  • An evening spent walking over the Harbour bridge and watching the sunset from Luna park.
Attempting to be Surfers Gals at Spot X
Struggling against the wind
I then travelled to Spot X Surf camp in Arrawarra Beach, some of my highlights were
  • Succeeding and failing at Surfing.
  • Nights spent lying on the beach looking at the Milky Way and watching for shooting stars.
  • Seeing wild Kangaroo's at a local golf club.
  • Getting bed bugs (once again, not a happy memory but a memory at least.)
  • Drunken nights playing drinking games such as Stack cup.
  • Playing countless games on cards (Cheat, Irish snap, Spoons) with a great group of girls.

From Spot X we then travelled to Byron Bay where I actually had Tonsilitis. This meant I didn't really do Byron Bay as much as I wish I had. Most of my friends say that Byron Bay is their favourite place that we have visited and although I loved the few bits I did see, I mostly spent it in bed or lounging around the hostel. So I really want to head back there for a weekend to have another explore!

From Byron we visited Surfers Paradise. I was definitely feeling better here and just felt happy and content that I found these two girls (Missie and Becca) that I could be an absolute weirdo with and it be okay. We went on a bar crawl in the evening which was just a weird, and not great experience (the best part was leaving the club early to get pizza and singing Dancing Queen wandering down the street.) This was also the first hostel we had a pool in so it was absolutely lovely to have a break from a sandy beach and to chill out by a pool. Before we left we went up the Skypoint deck which had some amazing views and made the 48 hours we spent there feel productive.
Skydeck in Surfers Paradise

And then I came to Brisbane! Where I have spent most of my time in the Library searching for jobs, or sunbathing by the lagoon. The first two weeks were great as lots of friends that we had met along the coast were travelling through the city but the last two weeks there has definitely been some ups and downs. Finding a job is hard and I really needed one so I was feeling quite stressed and anxious. The thought of finishing up the coast on little money and having to go home straight after was a horrid thought and when my friends all had jobs and I didn't, I panicked. But you just have to persevere and eventually something will go right, and it did! I'm excited to start, to settle into a routine of work and chill, to feel productive and to earn some money.

Feeding a Giraffe at Australia Zoo
In my happy place at Southbank in Brisbane

The past two months have been incredible, it's been mainly ups but of course, there has been some down moments but everyday I find myself thinking back to this time last year when I was knee deep in university work and all I wanted to do was go to Australia, and I'm here, and I'm happy and I still just can't really believe it. As much as I do love exploring new places, it's the people that really make travelling incredible and I have been so lucky to meet some people who are just the funniest, weirdest and most caring people. I genuinely don't think I would have been as happy as I have been the past two months without them, and I consider myself so lucky to have met them!

So thanks for reading a lengthy, fairly boring blog post but it really does feel good to write again.
I figured when I am just here living in this beautiful city on the other world I'll attempt to write some more but if you want to see what I'm getting up to day by day, definitely check out my instagram where I'm posting photos everyday (I also had an absolute nightmare uploading photos for this post s please look at my insta for more photos!)


Friday 29 June 2018

Recent Wrap-up #2


So I've been quite behind on my 'Recent reading wrap-up' series as I said I would upload it every other week, yet here I am four weeks later! I have read a ridiculous amount of books in the past month and I didn't want to post my reviews until I was fully caught up but I'm starting to realise that the is just a bit pointless! So below are a collection of mini reviews of some of the books I've read in the past month, hope you enjoy! 

Bookshop Girl, Chloe Coles

Bookshop Girl follows Paige Turner as she embarks on a mission to save the only bookshop in her town where her and her best friend work. I saw someone link it back to Louise Rennison and I totally agree, it had all the humour and awkwardness of teenage life but also showcased some great friendships. I didn’t love this book, but potentially if I was a young teenager I would. I felt the characters were slightly underdeveloped and the plot a little too simple, but I did really appreciate all the quirks you find out when you work in a bookshop. I read this book so quickly that I’ll definitely pick up the second one in the series. 

Troublemakers, Catherine Barter

Alena lives in East London with her brother and her brother’s boyfriend who have been her guardians since her mother died when she was three. This book was such a fresh new read, the family relationships and dynamics were so interesting and well-written, I struggled to relate, and with the immaturity of the protagonist that I actually wished we knew more about her brother and her brother’s boyfriend! It’s set in East London, which is a place I am obviously very familiar with, which I loved! It’s always great to be able to imagine a real life place when reading a novel. 

Boy Underwater, Adam Baron 

I read this as it is Waterstones Children’s book of the month for June and really enjoyed it. I haven’t read a novel aimed at 9-12 year old’s since I was that age so took a bit of time to adjust but I truthfully recommend this book to customers on a daily basis. It has some great humour and some the plot took me by surprise, I appreciated how it dealt with tougher subjects and made mental health just a normal problem that everyone deals with. This is such a lovely book for young girls and boys. 

Emery lord, Open Road Summer

Emery Lord’s book always do something to me, and this is my favourite of her’s that I have read. The main character was flawed and complicated, the best friend was pure and good-hearted and the love interest was literal swoon worthy and all that I would want in a guy. Lol at me saying that, I’m cringing at myself don’t you worry. But it made me feel things. Made me feel things for old love, new love and barriers being broken. It reminded me of the beauty of being vulnerable, of the fact that however much you plan, your future is unknown, and the fact you don’t know the future, shouldn’t hold you back from going after something you want! This was such a lovely, summer read but that made me feel all types of emotions and really contemplate life. 

The Summer of Us, Cecilia Vinesse

This book meant so much more to me than I thought it would. We follow a group of five friends; Rae, Aubrey, Clara, Jonah and Gabe on their interrailing trip around Europe the summer between the end of high school and beginning of college. It was very much a character based novel over a plot based novel – my favourite. Plus just such a summery read. But it dug deeper as well, it tugged on heartstrings between friends, and that feeling that nothing wil ever be the same once you leave somewhere and the knowledge that you have to learn to live with that, that the future may be scary, and the past may be nostalgic but you have to live in the present. The relationships between all the characters were glorious and well played out, I was rooting for the couples so much! Plus just all the adventures in all the different cities bought me back to my interrailing trip last year – I loved reading about places that I’ve been too! Honestly this book was a dream, a perfect summer adventure filled romantic love and friendship story. If you need a book to escape to, I would definitely recommend this. 

I am now splitting my time between being a bookseller at Waterstones and working at a local pub/restaurant so any spare time I have at the moment is spent reading/ sunbathing in the garden and I'm really okay with that. So I would apologise for the lack of posts but actually, I've just been enjoying settling into my new life back at home and haven't felt the need or worry to post consistently - I'll just post when I can. I've read some really really great books over the past two weeks that I'm excited to share soon!

Hope everyone has a good weekend! I'll be working two 12 hour days - luckily I enjoy both of my jobs! Let me know what books you've recently been reading! Christina xox


Friday 15 June 2018

What I've learnt about friendships

This year I have learnt how to let go of one-sided friendships. I’ve had lots of different conversations with some of my university friends recently about friendships and what we should do when a friendship isn’t equal, or doesn’t make you happy. Now, I’ve had quite a bumpy ride with friends and friendship groups my whole life really, all I ever wanted to do was please my friends, but sometimes life happens or personality’s clash. Eventually I realised that a friendship needs to be equal and I like to think I’ve learnt what it takes to maintain good relationships with the people who you value the most (obviously I’m only 21 and I am well aware that I don’t know everything about life, but I wanted to share my thoughts of friendship as I move into a different chapter in my life). 

With most of my friendships throughout my life I have been the one who organises things – whether it is an activity or what film we are going to watch. I have a side of me that needs to be in control and organised, and this has flowed into my friendships. However, I’ve found that with me taking control in organising things, sometimes friends stop trying and just wait for me to organise when we meet up, and it hit me in the past six months that I’m fed up of being the only one who ever suggests to do something (which I therefore feel like I’m the only one making an effort in the friendship.) For example, there have been moments in my long term friendships when I decided I’m not going to be the person who texts first, I’m going to wait until they message me, but in reality, that experiment actually is quite sad and has gone with me not speaking to that person for a month or so, then finally giving in and texting with a passive aggressive ‘we haven’t spoken in so long!’ Some of those friendships have continued but others just haven’t; not because something happened, but I gave up trying to push for a friendship that wasn’t natural, or two-sided. Other friendships survive on a text every month, but those are the people who although I don’t speak to them everyday, I just know that they are there. All friendships are different, but this is just a trend I’ve noticed.

At university I often became close with someone through an activity – whether that’s because I saw them weekly in a seminar, or through clubs/work - and once that ended I tried to continue the friendship because I genuinely really wanted to, but sometimes people just don’t reciprocate and after a long while, I just stopped trying. And I’m not saying this to paint myself as a great person or anything, maybe I’m a hypocrite and maybe I never tried with a friend and I was the reason we grew apart. But I am just describing what I have noticed over the past year and what I’ve learnt from it: You have to put in effort for a good, balanced friendship.

I’ve never really properly argued or fallen out with anyone, all my friendships just grow apart because of the way life has taken us. In a sense, it almost feels worse. It’s such a horrible sinking feeling when you realise you’ve grown apart from someone you used to speak to everyday. Some friendships withstand distance and can survive on occasional texts, others just can’t, and that’s okay. Every person you’ve had in your life was there for a reason. 

But what I do preach is that if someone wants to be your friend, they will try – they will make time for you, they will text you, they will care about you – and if they don’t, then go and find someone else because everyone is worthy enough to have a best friend that they can text absolutely anything to. 

I have had this blog post written for about two weeks but was actually quite nervous to post it. I’ve always wanted to write more personal posts on my blog, but have been scared with how much to share and conscious of the people in my life. The topic of friendship is something that has grown incredibly interesting and important for me and I just wanted to share my thoughts. I’d love to know anyone else’s thoughts on one-sided friendships and what it takes to maintain a good friendship. Feel free to drop a comment down below, or tweet me your thoughts!

Thanks so much to Nicole for snapping these fab photo's! 

Friday 25 May 2018

Recent Reading Wrap-Up #1

I am powering through so many books at the moment and I love it. The thing with my new job is that I *have* to read, but I can read anything I want. Like what?! That is honestly just the dream. So, below are my small reviews of the books I have demolished in the past two weeks. I have given spoiler warnings before each book (and please be kind as these are my first mini reviews I’ve written in a while and I forgot how hard they are to write!) So grab a cup of tea/coffee/whatever takes your fancy and have a scroll.

A Torch Against the Night, Sabaa Tahir 

Contains spoilers to An Ember in the Ashes, but not a Torch Against the Night. If you’re a fan of YA fantasy and Sarah J Mass or Victoria Aveyard’s book I’d definitely recommend this series. Go read the first novel then come back to this review!

I absolutely loved A Torch Against the Night. I’ve had these books on my bookshelf for two years and finally got around to starting the series in April. After not being entirely won over by the world in An Ember in the Ashes, I loved A Torch Against the Nightand the world Sabaa Tahir continues to build. In a journey to save Laia’s brother from Kauf prison, Elias and Laia meet lots of different characters and obstacles on the way, reuniting with old friends and finding new ones, all whilst having the trail of Martial Soldiers (and Elias’ former best friend, Helene Aquila) eager to catch them. Having the three points of view (Elia, Laia and Helene) made the story very well rounded and it flowed well. As I’m not the greatest fan of fantasy I still struggled with certain magical and otherworldliness elements of it but I learnt to get used to it – The Waiting Place was such an interesting concept. Both Elias and Laia are compelling characters in their own right, but as a pair, they are one of my favourites. Tahir doesn’t shy away from ensuring her characters have flaws and I really appreciated how those flaws impacted the characters.  This was a gripping page-turner with some twists and turns that I did not see coming. I didn’t want this book to be over, and am so glad I only have a few more months until the next one is released!

Clean, Juno Dawson

This review does not contain any spoilers, but TW of addiction and drugs (in the novel.)

This book took me by surprise, and I loved it. I’ve never actually read any of Juno Dawson’s books, but I’ve heard her speak many times at YALC and this book was just as amazing as her panels are. She takes on such a huge topic of addiction, but does it so well. There are so many great pop culture references that situate the novel in contemporary life - from youtubers to Gigi Hadid – this book feels real. But even more than these random references the topic of addiction, a subject rarely tackled in YA fiction, was tackled so well. The ups and downs were shown through all different types of addictions – drugs, sex, food, alcohol –through, what I thought, a realistic view. I loved the filthy rich element of the character’s lives – I’ve heard this novel been described as a mix between Gossip Girl and Girl, Interrupted. Read this book, it’s a fun, easy read, but also an important read, it’s definitely on my list of favourite YA contemporary novels

King’s Cage, Victoria Aveyard

Contains spoilers to all books in the Red Queen series (except War Storm) – honestly, just go and read Red Queen right now if you love any fantasy/dystopian YA series.

I unashamedly LOVED Red Queen (the first in this series) when I read it about three years ago. I loved the world, the characters, the twist and turns (that big one took me by surprise completely.) I still liked Glass Swordand King’s Cage, but perhaps not so much. As with a lot of series, the second and third books become a lot more political, and King’s Cage in particular was a bit too political for me. I understand that the book is about more than just Mare, Cal and Maven, but it’s the relationships between those three that interest me the most and make me continue reading, and I continued reading (in a haste – I read this hefty book in three days) in search for moments between Mare/Cal/Maven. I did love getting Evangeline’s POV (and hope there is more in War Storm) and although I did not find Cameron’s POV exciting, it was necessary to understand the plot. The end shocked me, but not a huge amount, I would love if we were able to read Cal’s POV as I just want to know what’s going on in his head! I’ll definitely be reading War Stormsoon, but mostly because I still love the first book so much that I’m intrigued to see how it all ends. I would love Mare and Cal to end up together, but I actually think it would be more of a statement if Mare ends up alone, and happy to be all on her own and not to rely on anyone – we shall see!

Hope you enjoyed reading the first of my ‘what I’ve been reading posts.’ I loved writing this post so am planning on posting these updates and reviews every two weeks. I shall also be putting these reviews on my Goodreads so be sure to check out my page for some sneak peeks. If you pick any of these books up let me know what you thought of them either in the comments or tweet me! 

Have a lovely weekend, 
Christina xox


Tuesday 22 May 2018

Here's another 'I'm back' post for you, but no seriously, I'm back for good now

Photo taken by the beaut Charlotte (at Roof East, Stratford) 

Remember me? It’s been (once again) a while since I’ve written here but, I’m definitely back. Throughout my last year of uni I had moments of motivation to come back to the blogging world, but they would disappear after one day due to so much going on. So, now I’ve finished with university back in the blogging world for more than just one post. 

It’s weird, I’ve had this blog for seven years now! I started it in 2011 (please don’t go back and read my first crappy posts) and a small part of me didn’t want to come back to it as I thought - what have I achieved with my blog in seven years? -  But then I realised that I would often lose myself reading posts from four years ago and found myself wishing I had kept up with this documenting of life. I couldn’t, and didn’t want to blog at uni if I’m honest. I wasn’t inspired, all my creative energy was zapped out of me by reading books I didn’t necessarily want to read and planning essays that I had little joy in writing. Not that I didn’t enjoy my course, I did, but academics is just not my passion (that’s a whole other blog post.) Now I’ve had a week and a half since I’ve handed in my dissertation, all my passion for books and writing has come flooding back. 

I’m moving back home to my parent’s house permanently in a couple of weeks, I’ve got a part-time job at Waterstones which is exactly what I wanted. I’m getting a foot into the book industry and five days of work into it, I’m absolutely loving it. I want to take full advantage of this by building up my online portfolio; I want to document what I’m reading, discuss my time at university and share some photography. I just want to read, write and take photos and share it with the world through this little website. 

So yes, my blog may not have achieved that much in the blogging world over the past seven years, but my blog is my way of documenting my life and expressing myself. I love taking photos, hence why I love Instagram so much, but I love writing about life and my blog is the way to do that. I’m planning on posting every Friday with fortnightly book updates and other fashion and lifestyle posts, so if you have any other blog posts you’d like to see please let me know! 

Whilst you’re here, why not go follow my other social media channels – I updated my Goodreads last night, my Instagram is my favourite thing and I’m slowly starting to tweet more! 

Talk soon, 
Christina xox

Wednesday 24 January 2018

The Barbican Observatory

On Sunday, Madeleine and I wanted a 'free and fun' afternoon as A) The January blues had taken full effect and B) I think we are both feeling the need to do London things as we will both be leaving the city summer. So we went to the Barbican Conservatory after I had spotted an article on my university's magazine, Cub, and it was perfect. This free conservatory opens up for four hours to the public most Sundays and it was wonderful, we walked around for just over an hour, I had my camera with you so I took full advantage of the beauty and snapped away. I really wanted to share my photo's on here as I'm not going to lie in saying I'm rather proud of some of them! So grab a cup of coffee and enjoy scrolling.

  I do have an outfit post coming up of the outfit I wore to the conservatory with some trousers that I am in love with. But in the mean time, don't forget to follow my Instagram where I post photo's everyday documenting my final year of uni! Hope you are having a good week, Christina xox


Friday 5 January 2018

My Thoughts on 2018

Happy New Year!

This post is probably a little late but today is my official day off university work. I handed in my last essay yesterday so in celebration I am having a lazy morning in bed and going shopping this afternoon! 
So, because I struggle to not do anything productive in a day I come to you with a blog post talking about the start of 2018 and what I would like to achieve this year. As with many people, I don't like setting out resolutions. I don't like having that pressure, having that sinking feeling that I didn't complete what I wanted to and feel like a failure. So I'm just going to call them my *thoughts* for the year. What I envision and what I hope to accomplish:

Finish my degree with a 2:1 and feel proud of it!

This is my absolute main focus for the first Half of this year I have 126 days left of my degree, 126 days until I hand in my dissertation. Wow, that's a scary thought, but also actually really a welcoming thought. These next few months are going to be tough and are just going to be head-in-the-sand studying to get to that finish line. I will be so unbelievably happy to have finished. To not have anything to read anything, or do essays or feel tied down to finishing a book quickly. I want to do my best so I can be proud of what I accomplish. 

Having a more positive outlook overall

I think a lot of people would describe me as a positive person. And I think I used to be, and I can still seem on the outside. However in the latter part of 2017 I feel like I slowly lost that part of me, I started becoming negative and would worry constantly about things I know can't change. I need to get my positive thinking self back, I need to start weeding out the bad thoughts and ensuring I wake up the day with at least one positive thing to look forward to.

Being more kind

I don't think anyone would necessarily call me unkind, but I don't think kind is specifically a word that people would use to describe me. I want to care more about people, I want to be there for them, and for them to know I am there for them. I would like to be more forward thinking about what I say, and how this can affect people, or how I can help.

So those are the three things I'm going to try and focus on in 2018. I don't want to put pressure on myself but I just want to being positive and kind throughout life. In my head this forthcoming year is split into two halves - uni and after uni. After university my immediate plan is to look for an easy job back at home and save up some money to go travelling this time next year. I want a gap year, I want a break from everything and I want to travel more! So that is my motivation to get through the next five months (which hopefully I will actually end up enjoying!)

Hope your first week of 2018 has been grand, don't forget to check out my Instagram for new posts everyday! Christina xox


Wednesday 27 December 2017

Books I've read in 2017

For the past few years I have attempted to keep track of what books I've read. I start January with a list and slowly add to it throughout the first month, but once February hits, it completely goes out the window, and this year was no exception. However the other night, I thought I would attempt to get a list together. So I looked on Amazon at my past orders, looked at my university website at my past modules, and tried to remember the books I read over summer because of YALC and the list was created (however not in order).  I'm pretty sure I have missed off a few I read over summer but overall I read at least read 52 books, and I'm really quite proud of that number if I'm honest! So here it is, all the novels I read in 2017: 

  1. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
  2. Baumgartner’s Bombay, Anita Desai
  3. How Hard Can Love Be? Holly Bourne
  4.  Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, Sherman Alexie
  5. Burnt Shadows, Kamila Shamsie
  6. The Inheritance of Loss, Kiran Desai
  7. What Maisie Knew, Henry James
  8.  The Once and Future King, T.H.White (Not all chapter but most)
  9. A Court of Wings and Ruin, Sarah J. Mas
  10.  Lord of Shadows, Cassandra Clare
  11. Idylls of the King, Alfred Lord Tennyson
  12. The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
  13. Tales from a Shadowhunter academy, Cassandra Clare
  14. Wing Jones, Katherine Webber
  15. Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery
  16.  Once and For All, Sarah Dessen
  17. Always and Forever: Lara Jean, Jenny Han
  18. The Upside of Unrequited, Becky Albertalli
  19. A Quiet Kind of Thunder, Sara Barnard
  20. The Truth about Forever, Sarah Dessen [re-read]
  21. This Lullaby, Sarah Dessen [re-read]
  22. The Names They Gave Us, Emery Lord
  23. Geekerella, Ashley Poston
  24. This Raging Light: But Then I Came Back, Estelle Laure
  25.  Malory Towers, Enid Blyton
  26. Peter and Wendy, J.M. Barrie
  27. City of Spades, Colin MacInnes
  28. Girl in pieces, Kathleen Glasgow
  29. This Raging Light, Estella Laure
  30. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Becky Albertalli
  31.  Love & Gelato, Jenna Evans Welch
  32.  The Dark Days Club, Alison Goodman
  33. Mansfield park, Jane Austen
  34.  Lock and Key, Sarah Dessen [re-read]
  35.   Under the Net, Iris Murdoch
  36.  The L-Shaped Room, Lynne Reid Banks
  37. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Alan Sillitoe 
  38.  Disreputable History of Franke Landau Banks, E. Lockhart [re-read]
  39. Am I Normal Yet?, Holly Bourne
  40. Girlhood, Cat Clarke
  41. It Only Happens in the Movies, Holly Bourne
  42. Moxie, Jennifer Mathieu
  43.  The Exact Opposite of Okay, Laura Stevens
  44. Everless, Sarah Holland
  45. One of us is Lying, Karen McManus
  46. Freshers, Lucy Ivison and Tom Ellen
  47. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, Lauren James
  48. The Truth and Lies of Ella Black, Emily Barr
  49. The Hazel Wood, Melissa Albert
  50.   Juniper Lemon’s, The Happiness Index, Julie Israel
  51. The End of the Affair, Graham Greene
  52.  The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins

As you can tell, with my course and my own personal taste, I read quite a range of novels! I had thought I would pick my few favourites, but I honestly am struggling to pick out just a few, so I have put my favourite eleven books in bold, although I would recommend most of these books to anyone! 

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas, surrounded by friends, family and lots of food. I had a lovely few days break, however it's already back to essay writing for me as I've got 6,000 words due in next Thursday! But it makes it so much better being surrounded by home comforts and all my family. I'll hopefully write my year round-up, or 2018 hopes soon. Christina xox


Thursday 14 December 2017

Nearing the end of another chapter

I remember that feeling in the last year of school that you knew it was the last chapter of that part of your life, and I felt so nostalgic and confused. Because on one hand, I was so excited for the next chapter, but also,  I didn't want to leave my school, dance school and living at home and say goodbye to the things that made me feel most comfortable.

And a friend reminded me of that feeling today, and I realised, I'm having it all over again in my third and final year of University. I think that's why I felt the need to document my life over on Instagram by taking a photo every day - to acknowledge to myself and the world, that this part of my life will be over at some point soon, and I'm not quite ready for that yet.

Now this term has not been nice at all. It's included many breakdowns, much stress and a lot of feeling down, I'm not going to lie to you. Third year is F****** hard (I'm sorry about the profanity but it's how I honestly feel.) A part of me just wants to be done with uni, and already be on the other side of the world, meeting new people which I will (fingers crossed) be next year!
 Quite a large part of me also is just so over never being finished with work, always having another novel I need to read and always having something I should be working on. However another part of me is sad (who knew one person could hold all these different feelings!) I had my last seminar with my favourite tutor today and whenever I think of the fact I won't actually be learning new things next year it does make me grateful of life right now. Because I do like my course, however much stress its giving me at the moment, I do really like it. I love reading novels, I love learning about history linking with novels and I love my dissertation topic. So although I am so ready to say goodbye to essays, there is a part of me that isn't ready to say goodbye to studying texts. Then there is uni life - my job at the student union bar and my cheerleading club - things I am no way ready to say goodbye to and the thought that they will go on next year without me is very disheartening at the moment.

Life's weird basically, I have so many contrasting feelings about Uni at the moment. Who knows what life will be like this time next year but right now I just need to get through the next week - write one essay and get a good start on my two other ones, then finally Christmas will be here!


Monday 13 November 2017

Snapshots from Home

Sometimes all you need to do is curl up with a blanket, watch a Disney film on your mum's sofa and zone out from the world for a bit.

Last week I wrote about how I was struggling with motivation etc, but the thing that got me through was the idea of a weekend in the countryside at home, I thought it was all that I needed - and it was. It's now Monday morning and I'm almost feeling back up to scratch. So, I thought I'd share some snapshots from my weekend at home.

This weekend was a break from everything. A break from the rush of London, a break from the library and a break from work. I struggled to fully relax but when, on Saturday afternoon I could have gone and read a book for my course or snuggled up on the sofa and watch Frozen - I watched Frozen. I worried I was wasting the day, but also, I just wanted to sing-a-long to Let It Go if I'm honest, so I did.  I didn't do much at home - the main events were going to a local pub for food, going on a country walk and heading to Primark to get my fancy dress costume for this week - but that was lovely. I could catch up with Madeleine, see the new kitchen we got done over the summer and get catch up with everything!

So now I'm going into the second half of the uni term, I've got five weeks of uni ahead of me and a heck load of work but it's okay. I'm excited for cheer at the moment, we got our team name and we are doing All-Girl Level 3, a level that QMA have never entered before - so that's a new challenge that I'm excited to be a part of. Plus, I'm looking forward to getting back to work, I had the week of with it being reading week but I've got a shift this evening and I'm actually kind of looking forward to it! So, life is okay, sorry for my slight breakdown last week (and the worry it caused my Dad) but I've got my positive pants on for this week and I'm taking it one day at a time!

Also I have be loving some new albums this week so thought I'd share with you:

Kelsey Bellerini's new album, Unapologetically, is beautiful! My favourites are 'In Between', 'Legends' and 'Music.' If you are a fan of old school country Taylor Swift I would definitely recommend her! The other album I am loving is Niall Horan's, Flicker album. My favourites are 'Seeing Blind', 'On My Own' and 'Too Much To Ask.' Such a lovely chilled album with some great lyrics!  

Don't forget to follow my Instagram to keep up with my photo-a-day challenge!

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