Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Why I always still be a bit of a countryside girl

There will always be something of a country girl in me. 

However much I love London, and I do, I really really do, coming home for Christmas reminded me that I will always have a special place in my heart for views of the countryside. Outside my childhood bedroom stands Ivinghoe Beacon, a relatively big hill that has an imprint of a lion drawn in sand, even though I’ve been on hundred of hideously cold and long walks up throughout my nineteen years, I think it’s as you spend time away from things you realise how precious they really are. Looking from my window you just see rows and rows of fields before the beacon, sometimes they have hay bails in, sometimes cows (you just don’t want the cows to come into your garden, that’s a whole other story…) but it’s peaceful, unmoving and still at all times. At night I can peek out my curtain and most often see the moon and the stars.
I still can’t quite comprehend the infinite number of stars that are in the sky every night. Everytime I look at stars, I feel a sense of calm rush over me. I know that whatever happens, if you just look up, the stars will always be there to welcome. On a clear night in the countryside the stars are crystal clear, and that’s what I miss when being in London, always being able to see the stars.
Even the most annoying things I’ve grown to almost love – the birds tweeting early in the morning, the horrid smell of cow manure, the awkward moments in the village pub when you pretend to know everybody but in reality know one other person who isn’t your family.

Sure, when I’m here I get annoyed about a bunch of things - living so far away from friends, not having the tube ( or any public transport) in walking distance and being away from the hustle and bustle of the city. But coming back home after three months has made me realise that this is home. That, however happy I feel when I look out my window in London and see Canary Wharf, a part of me will always love the quiet and remote feeling you have when you live in a tiny countryside village.

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Sunday, 3 January 2016

Finding my way

I’ve recently found myself asking what do I want my blog to be about?

And the answer is – anything and everything that interests me. I want to write about my world, the thoughts that are scattered around my messy brain, the places I like the most, the books I enjoy reading, my friends, my feelings. It’s hard to know how much you should put on the Internet, in a way I want my blog to be more of a personal journal, but I’m aware that it can only be so personal with everyone and anyone able to read it. But I’ve grown since I started writing this blog four years ago. I love fashion, and I love fashion blogging but if I’m honest, my passions have grown with me. Fashion blogging and outfit posts will always be close to my heart as that’s what started my blogging journey off but, things can change.
If someone asked me what I wanted to do with my life one or two years ago I would say be a fashion journalist without hesitation. However in the past six months or so I’ve realised that yes, I love fashion, but I wouldn’t say it was my passion. God knows what I’ll do with my life when I graduate in three years but I hope that it is something to do with writing – be it books, magazines, newspapers, even blogging! I love writing about things and that’s the direction I want this blog to develop.
In a way I want to write about books, but my fear is, and always has been is that people know much more than me so what right do I have to comment on a well known book? I’ve come to realise, that as an English literature student – and just as a human, I have every right to comment and have my own opinion on anything. I’m scared at putting my own judgements out there, but if I do eventually write for a living – whether it be any kind of journalist, author or absolutely anything– I need to be confident in myself.

So here it is -  new year, new blog? Not exactly, I’m evolving and growing as a human being and so is my voice and I just want to open this blog up to that change and not feel penned down by the expectations of being a fashion blogger. I’m a blogger, not caged in to one category but just trying to figure my way in the blogging world!

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Reflections on 2015

2015 has been the best year of my life. I finished senior school, said goodbye to my dance school, had an amazing summer and started university. As similar to last year's post I’m going to talk through my year and the best parts of it - I know this post is so long but I didn't want to leave anything out, congrats to you if you make it to the end! 

  • Back in January 2015 I had one of the best days of my life, my 18th birthday. Friends and family all came for an afternoon celebration of eating food, drinking wine and catching up. My most memorable moment from that day is my dad’s speech, it just touched me and it’s something I don’t think I’ll ever forget. The next month was dominated by the year 13 ski trip I went on with my friends. I learnt a few things here – I don’t like to ski! I was a novice at skiing and I didn’t take too well to it. Basically, I won’t be skiing anytime soon again. However I did enjoy it! I shared a room with two of my best friends Bryony and Ella and we had some cracking laughs. A couple weeks after we got back Bryony and I had our joint 18th party which was amazing. It was a smooth sailing party that I think everyone enjoyed - I know I did! 
  • From March to May my life was taken up by dance competitions and school work, but that was okay! I knew they both were coming to an end and it was just hitting me. So I tried to enjoy every moment of dancing on stage and sitting in the common room surrounded by my friends!
  • May was a weird month. Our last days of school crept up on us, it was such a bittersweet moment. I mean – we were leaving school! What I dreamed off forever, we were moving on, getting on with the rest of our lives, I would have thought I would be buzzing. And I was. But quite a big part of me felt sad. I’ve seen these girls everyday for the past seven years and once the last day of school was over, everything would be different. The last day of school was one of the best days.
  • The next few weeks were dominated by exams and dance competitions. Luckily for me I only had 3 exams so had plenty of time to balance everything. Half term was All England Semi- Finals which we went in determined to do our best but thought it was unlikely our dance school would get much through to the finals – however we got 28 dances through in total!! 
  • Another of my proudest achievements came in June when Ink, the school magazine that I was Editor in Chief of, won 'Best online magazine' at the shine media awards! I was so proud of our team as we had worked so hard over the past year on Ink and it was something I am so passionate about so to get the award was such an achievement.
  • Then some more of my ‘last’ moments came about - In July I went on a girlie holiday to Ayia Napa, had our ‘Final Fling’ (our school’s version of Prom) and my last dance show. All of these have been highlights of my year with so many memories made that it’s hard to recall specifics!
  • All England Finals were possibly one of my favourite moments of the year. I danced in five group dances and dancing all of them honestly felt like an honour. To dance next to these girls who I love with all my heart – some of them I’ve been dancing with since I was five – and for the last time was emotional. I knew these were my last moments as being part of LHTS and I tried to savour every minute of it. The fact that we won senior contemporary groups was the glory moment. We won. We were judged to be the best contemporary group in the country, that is crazy, it still hasn’t sunk in if I’m honest! At this moment I was so thankful to be part of this school. I remember driving back in the coach with everyone on the last day and one of the mums saying ‘it’s over’ or something along those lines, and I just burst into tears. The fact that I was leaving the school was hertbreaking and I couldn’t really fathom life without it! (read my post about dancing here)
  • But life went on and Madeleine, Matthew and I went to join my mum and dad out in Sicily for the best chilled relaxing week. Although we got stung to death by bugs and had the loudest air conditioning, this week was so nice. Just to have these moments with my family I tried to treasure. I knew that by the time we got home Madeleine would be moving to London and Matthew and I to uni not long after that any moment with the five of us would be scarce, so these were precious!
  • When I got back my results of my Alevels finally came through - AAB and off to Queen Mary's. I almost couldn't believe it, the thought of actually moving to London seemed like a dream for so long and all the hard work I put in over the past year paid off. All the blood,sweat and tears were definitely worth it!
  • V festival was a weekend of celebrations. I went with two of my friends from dancing, Becky and Emily an stayed in my aunts house with my cousins and met up with Bryony and Ella at the festival. This was such a great weekend as I had my best friends surrounding me and with the knowledge that as soon as we returned Emily would be off to dance college, it was the last hurrah. My best moment was just before Paloma Faith, the last act on the Sunday – Becky, Emily and I went on this rockety roller coaster and were so hyper and giggly that we thought it was the best ride we’d ever been on. It was just one of those moment, you know? That you know you will remember and you know will stand out amongst other big moments. 
  • After V life suddenly felt like a waiting game, I was packing everything up, saying goodbye to everyone and having our actual last moments. I had such mixed feelings about leaving, I didn’t want everything to change at all, it scared me, but I was so excited. Forever I’ve been saying I want to leave school and move out of this village, but when the moment came I was scared, excited and nervous all mixed in one.
  • Since I started Uni life has been a blur. I love it. I love uni, I’ve found some great friends – through my flat, through my course and through cheerleading. I love living in London, I’m actually living my dream, to be able to just pop on the underground and be in central London in ten minutes is amazing. I like what I’m studying, I’ve found modules I thought would be boring actually really interesting. I’ve struggled with some essays but have spent time on others and it’s paid off. I’ve learnt so much from cheerleading (as you can see here) and already made friends who I can tell will be with me for the long haul.

2015 has been amazing. So many things in my life has changed, but its all been good. I’ve learnt a lot and – as I said last year – Life goes on. I’ve learnt how to enjoy my own company, I’ve learnt time management (or so I like to think) and I think uni has overall made me more confident in myself.  
I haven’t focused all my time onto my blog, but over the past few months my life has been changing so much that my blog hasn’t been my first priority, and that’s okay. You have to live life in the moment and that’s what I’ve been trying to do. I don’t know what life will throw at me the next year but if it is anything like the past year I’m sure it will be just as good. 

I'm going into 2016 with a positive attitude. I really believe if you set your mind to something you can do it. I've got so many things I want to achieve - do well in my first year of uni, progress lots in cheerleading and overall fitness, find a part-time job, focus more time on my blog, travel, and just enjoy life! 

Happy New Year everyone, I hope 2016 is your best year yet. 

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Falling in love with a new sport

I fallen in love with a new sport. Last April I wrote a piece about the importance of being a team and I linked it all to dance - for as long as I can remember, dancing has been my life - but when I finished school last July, it was time to say goodbye to dance. And that broke me, it was so hard to leave everyone there (even though I know they are always there for me to go back to) and I found it weird to not dance over the summer. Come September when I packed up my things to go to Uni I was stuck, I knew there was a cheerleading and a dance team and I knew I couldn't really do both. 

I chose cheerleading, and it's been the best decision I've made this year. The thing is, I've danced since I was three and always with the same people and the thought of not doing it with LHTS was too frightening, plus I wanted to try something new. So now I've gone from part of the 'LHTS Army' to the 'Queen Mary's Angels' and I couldn't be happier.

Cheerleading is hard. Don't go thinking it's some kind of wave your pom poms round, cheer for a sports team (although I would love to do that..!) Think more of a mixture of gymnastics, weight-lifting (but with people) and dance. Training's long and tough, you stretch, you tumble, you stunt and occasionally you dance. All building to create a routine to compete in three competitions come February. It builds muscle, creates friends and brings a great sense of accomplishment. 

Dancing was always about the lines, technique and the gracefulness however cheer is more about strength, power and technique. I've never been strong, before my back surgery and after, I've lacked having core strength and I've struggled lifting things, but cheer has made me strong. It hurts, god, the conditioning hurts but after doing it twice a week (at least) every week since the end of September, I can definitely see an improvement!
If I think back to the first session when I struggled with just two press-ups to yesterday, when I finally got a two man stunt (mainly me lifting one flyer with the support of one other person.) After a lot of fails and a whole lot of help, I still managed it and comparing that to September, I'm amazed.

I have so much further to go, I'm on an all-girl level 2 team which is hard. However on Sunday I travelled to support our 'elite' team ( a co-ed Level 3 team) I was amazed and inspired all in one. They are amazing: the way they hit their stunts so smoothly, the fast, clean and gravity defying tumbling - all with a happiest (and sassiest) of grins on their face was breathtaking. It inspired me. 
Not only to be stronger, mentally and physically, but it just made me happy that I've found a new family.

At my dance school we were such a close family and it's a similar feeling at QMA. Everyone is so friendly, welcoming and motivating that having a range of abilities is no problem. We motivate, help and advise each other to be the best that we can be. I've already made such close friends at cheerleading and the thought that I get to spend another three years training and improving with them at my side makes me so excited and motivated to give it my best.

People were skeptical when I told them I would join cheerleading because of my back. I knew I wanted to join QMA ever since I heard of Queen Mary's but always had a niggle of doubt that my back couldn't take it. But I, and everyone else, was wrong. It makes me stronger and more aware of my body. Yes, my back still aches occasionally, that is never going to change, but the muscles that I've built have strengthened my back and my confidence in myself - scoliosis will never hold me back! 

One piece of advice I've always heard given to people going to university is to join a sports team or a society and I couldn't agree more! I'm so excited to get stronger, more confident and work towards the best we can be with my team.  It's sad to wave dancing goodbye but it has given me the basics that I look forward to using over the next three years when I fulfil my childhood dream of being a cheerleader!

(If you wanna see Elite's routine check it out here, its amazing!) 

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Sometimes taking a break is better

Sometimes a break is needed. Whether it be from work, a place or even a person. Although over the last month or so I've felt pangs of guilt for not keeping up to date with my blog after a while I realised that there must be a reason why even though I felt guilty, I wasn't writing. For a while I blamed it on being busy and not having time but I've come to realise this week that if you make time for something, you can do it. This week has been jam packed as I've got three large essays in for Sunday and after feeling down about my first marked essay, I've been extremely motivated to do my best this week. So every day since last Friday, apart from Tuesday (when I have a six hour day of lectures and seminars) I've been in the library for between three to five hours. I've learned that if you make time for something, it can happen. This morning I got up at 8, was in the library at 9, worked until one 1:30 then came back. That's when it clicked, I've been avoiding my blog, not because I didn't have time, but because I wasn't as in love with it as I was over the summer and didn't put aside a part of my week to get on top of it. So this afternoon I've been brainstorming, working out how I can take my blog from a teenage girl in the country with her mum taking photos to a young adult in London balancing uni, cheerleading and having a social life and I've realised my content needs to adapt. 
I've got someone who is more than happy to take outfit photo's so that will be continuing, but my style has changed since uni. I have to wear clothes everyday, I can't buy new pieces every other week and my style may not be as different as it once was, but that is just how I've changed this year. I am reading a tonne of different material every week and I'm hoping I can integrate what I'm learning somehow into my blog. I'm living in London, the world is at my fingertips and although there are still so many places I need to discover, I figure I can offer a unique point of view of London from a students perspective.  I'm doing an English degree, I love being creative and I love writing and I just needed to remind myself of that and I think taking this break has revitalised me and I'm hoping my blog can change and adapt to my new lifestyle and hopefully you all stick around and enjoy a change. 

 I know you've seen this quote from me hundreds of times but it's on my wall at uni and I don't think I have ever related it to my blog. But I should have, if I dedicate my time and put my heart into this blog there is no way it is going to sink.

Now Watching //One Tree Hill, I am obsessed. 
Now Listening // Check out my November playlist here (basically a typical teenage girl playlist...I'm not ashamed.)

Sunday, 1 November 2015

My week in photos #9

This week was super busy but also super good. On Tuesday night my flatmates and I spontaneously decided to go and see Suffragette at the Genesis cinema - a quaint cinema just a 15 minute walk away from campus with cheaply priced student tickets. I loved the film, I have always found the struggle of the Suffragette's really interesting as well as the fight for equality so this film definitely was going to be up my street. It portrayed the whole struggle of the movement very well and highlighted the lengths women went too, it was also interesting at the end when a list of countries and the year the vote was given to women in them came up, there were definitely some surprising ones! The film wasn't jam packed with action or anything, it was a subtle insight into the fight that the actors and directors portrayed beautifully. 
Wednesday was a really good day, I had a lovely lunch with Madeleine at my favourite little cafe - The Chesterfield - it was just such a relaxed time chatting and catching up with her. It's weird, for the past two years we've shared every little detail of each others day with each other and even though we're in the same city, it's different and I do miss her! Wednesday night was a big Cheerleading social where we all got dressed up as zombie cheerleaders and danced the night away, apart from losing my ID and debit card, it was a pretty great night. Friday and Saturday were both very busy, most of Friday I spent at Shakespeare's Globe. I've been there a few times before and saw Richard II two weeks ago but we had a workshop and a tour of the stage, it was so exciting standing on the stage and learning the history of Shakespeare's theatre. Yesterday I travelled back home to go to my old dancing school's prize giving. I was ridiculously excited to see everyone and it didn't disappoint. It was odd to be back there and not be dancing or not know all the little dramas and inside jokes but seeing everyone and watching them all dance was just so nice. Last night was spent in the comfort of home which is also really weird, Uni almost seems like a dream but I go back tonight ready for another busy week! How's your week been? Hope your having a relaxing Sunday and not a day full of work like me!

Now Reading // Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Now Watching // I have finished Reign! So now just waiting for the weekly episodes from The Vampire Diaries, Downton Abbey, Reign and Once Upon a Time.
Now Listening // I'm not afraid to say I love Justin Bieber's new song 'Sorry.'

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Fake it until you make it

Jumper - M&S. Jeans - Topshop. Jacket and Boots - New Look. 

I'm weird. I'm sometimes shy. I'm sometimes loud. I sometimes dance in the middle of the kitchen, sing my heart out to random songs or make the weirdest noises when I'm bored. But, that's me. And back home people knew I was odd but in a way I was always scared of people judging me, not wanting to be friends with me and just avoiding me if I acted myself. However at Uni, I'm surrounded by these guys 24/7 that I have had to be nothing but myself, and they accept that (or at least I think they do.) They ignore my random outbursts of dance, laugh at my singing and (I hope to think) appreciate my loudness. Within the first week they knew that I like to be organised - I'm always the one asking questions on the group chat. I am very clumsy - Freshers week was a whole new level, I think they were surprised that we didn't end up in A&E by the end of the week. I can be very loud - when I don't know people I can act two ways, I can be quiet and go on my phone and ignore the world around me or I can be loud and ask the most random questions to fill the silence, and that's what I had to do. Now we're all comfortable with each other and they know me and I know them, I've loved just being myself. I feel the most confident I have ever felt, being thrown into a sea of unknown people means you have to fake confidence. "Fake it until you make it" I faked confidence when I arrived but throughout the last five weeks I have actually become confident in myself.

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Sunday, 25 October 2015

My Week in Photos #8

Gosh, it feels like a while since I last blogged. I've got into a routine now here at Uni, I've got into the swing of things having settled well and found my feet. However one thing I've still left out of my routine is my blog so to try and ease myself back into it I'm going to return to my good old weekly round up.
This week was another busy but good week. Tuesday evening was exciting as one of the friends I've made at Uni, Arjun, returned from being away for two weeks so we threw him a small welcome back party which was just lovely as it reminded me of freshers week but we're all so much more comfortable with each other now its easier to relax and have a good time. Wednesday night I had a cheerleading social where we went bowling, it was fun but I did manage to get the worst score out of everyone, a good solid 33 (when the person who one our game got 108...).
On Thursday morning I had to travel home briefly to visit the physio which meant I could have lunch with my mum. Which was lovely, it meant I had such good food (seriously, if you live near St Albans, you need to go to The Waffle House asap) and could spend some time with my mum which was so lovely because I used to spend so much of my time with her and she was a constant in my life. However coming to uni has obviously changed that, I haven't really been homesick but nevertheless seeing her made me happy. 
 On Friday evening, after a tough three and a half hours of cheer practice a couple of us went to this random bar called 'Silk Stockings.' It only opened three weeks ago but it was such a lovely find, it served great cocktails (if you picked the right one) had lovely waiters and a pleasing decor, we were all happy that we ventured to a new place for a night out doing something different. I spent yesterday afternoon at 'Tumble camp' which was so hard but so rewarding, after just doing Cheerleading for a couple of weeks I can already see an improvement in my fitness, strength and skills! Yesterday evening had to be spent having some a bath and watching a film in bed, just what I needed!
This next week seems very busy, but that's just what I like. I seem to have a thing where I overwork myself, at school I was always stretched between dancing and schoolwork and here it's no different. There is so much more work, cheer is very intense meaning I'm struggling to write my blog, yet alone the uni magazine! However I know at some point it will all slot into place, I'd much rather be too busy that too bored. Hope your weeks all turn out to be fab, I cannot believe it's nearly November!

Now Reading // I've just started Reading Frankenstein for one of my modules and am liking it so far.
Now watching // Still Reign - I love it!
Now Listening // I've got Jamie Lawson's album on repeat.

Thursday, 8 October 2015


Top - M&S. Skirt, Shoes - New Look. 

It’s weird, my life has changed so much in the past three weeks that I don’t know how to write here anymore. I was in such the swing of blogging over the summer as I prepared to move but now I’ve got here and I’m having the time of my life but I’m struggling to write. It’s also time management, most of the time I’m reading, at cheer practice, or just sitting and chatting to my friends (most of the time with a little bit of alcohol…) And because we’ve got into the habit of just sitting in the kitchen chatting when none of us have much to do, that would be the time I would blog. However I don’t want to miss out, we’re still all getting to know each other and I just love spending time with them!
This outfit gives me a kind of seventies vibe, I think it’s the A-line skirt matched with the roll neck. I really want to start wearing my roll neck more but it has just been too warm! Which I know I shouldn’t say as in two weeks I’ll probably be complaining about how cold it is but I can’t wait to crack out my woolly jumpers and scarves! Hope your having a good week, hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of blogging soon!

Now Watching // Reign - I love it, history and drama mixed into one!