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. 







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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!) 








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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.)

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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.'

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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.

Twitter / Instagram /Tumblr Youtube! Facebook / Bloglovin
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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.


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Thursday, 8 October 2015

Seventies




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!






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Sunday, 27 September 2015

My Week in Photos #7


This week has just been a whirlwind, but I have loved every second of it. The days seem to have merged into one but one week into Uni and I have already got a group of friends who make me laugh at the smallest things. 
My mum and I travelled down to London last Saturday and met with my sister before heading into my new flat. I've been so lucky with the building I live in, its beautiful!
My first reaction when walking into the room was my view, it was a beautifully sunny day and I opened my curtains to the view of the canal, a park opposite and rooftops in the distance - if I look one way out of my window I can even see Canary Wharf! Saturday night was a bit of a fail, I went with three of my other flatmates to go to the on-campus club but went too late and couldn't get in! The rest of the nights have been much better as we slowly got a group of us together and became way closer and comfortable with each other. Myself and two of my flatmates went to Columbia road flower market on Sunday then wondered around Shoreditch before getting an ice coffee. It hadn't sunk in then that I actually live here, it has felt all week that I'm on some kind of school trip or something. But yesterday a group of us went to Camden for the afternoon and getting the tube there it suddenly hit me, that I am living what I have dreamt about for so long. I love it here, I feel settled already and am pretty sure that once I start these lectures and seminars I'm going to be dead but love it even more. Hope your weekend was good!

Now Reading // Uni reading has started and I'm in a rush to finish Robinson Crusoe!

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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

New Beginnings




 Top and Boots - New Look. Skirt - Topshop.

Sorry for the week long absence but it has been one hectic and crazy week! On Saturday I finally moved to Uni and since then I have just been so caught up in my new life that I haven’t had the time to properly sit down and just write. Currently I'm sat in my kitchen (which I share with my four other flatmates) drinking a large cappuccino from the coffee shop on campus that sells Starbucks drinks which is either a godsend or the devil - it's only a 2 minute walk from my flat...

Since Saturday my life feels like it has been on a cycle. I wake up late morning, either explore London or go to a uni event - an induction or freshers fair etc - have a two hour nap, attempt to cook some dinner (which has surprisingly gone well so far) then start the night early and continue until the early morning by going out to the campus bar/club. It’s been busy, but busy doing nothing. On Monday my flatmates and I went to the Ministry of Sound nightclub for a special freshers event which involved a lot of dancing and a lot of talking to random people. That’s my favourite thing about freshers week/ uni so far – how everyone will talk to anyone and making friends is so quick and easy. Today we are off to the freshers fair and a poster sale before going to a quick English lecture. I have a vision that the freshers fair will be like the scene in Pitch Perfect where Fat Amy sits not the floor doing the 'mermaid' however then I think, maybe it won't be, although I did see somewhere that they have free cakes...

This outfit is some of my favourite pieces this Autumn. This skirt is from Topshop and is basically a standard body con skirt but the scalloped details on the bottom just add something a little extra, the material is also quite thick so can either be dressed down or dressed up for a night out - I thought it would be perfect for Uni! This top is also one of my favourite things to throw on at the moment. It is just a basic t-shirt but I lack everyday clothes and this bright colour and scalloped details make it the perfect top to look like I've actually made a bit of effort when, lets be honest, I really haven't! 

Now Watching // My Flatmate and I started One Tree Hill the other day, we're only two episodes in but I can tell I'm going to love it!
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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Sleeveless







Dress - Topshop. Jacket - New Look. Shoes - New Look.

I don't know why I'm obsessed with khaki at the moment. For the past two years or so I've barely worn any colour, it got to the point where I was scared to reach out of my comfort zone and wear something that wasn't monochrome, which is a bit silly really. I mean I have my style, and I know what that is, but it is silly to restrict myself on clothes because I was weirdly nervous. However this Autumn I have branched out a bit and have added some khaki into my wardrobe, and I love it. Its such a muted colour that doesn't scream too loud but is perfect to add a contrast to black. When I was in the fashion cupboard at my work experience I can't even remember how many gilets and sleeveless jackets I saw, so many! They were so popular and I could see the appeal for a sleeveless jacket to add extra warmth in this transitional period but not make you boil like a full on coat would. So I mixed these two new obsessions of mine together and found this jacket from New Look! It's just perfect, and layering it over this sleeveless high neck dress from Topshop works well in this unknown weather England seem to always have at this time of year! 
I'm just having a bit of an errands day today before going out to dinner later. I might actually go to the gym - which I haven't done in two weeks or so because of that horrid cold, but I think it finally might have started to budge! Hope your week is going well, only two more days until Friday!

Now Listening // Halsey's Badlands - I cannot get enough of it!
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Sunday, 13 September 2015

My week in photos #6







I don't even know what has happened this week. On one hand it seems super busy but on the other hand I feel like I've watched a ridiculous amount of Friends that I must have not done anything. The week started with my sisters graduation on Monday night which was lovely to celebrate her achievement of becoming a teacher but didn't give us a proper chance to catch up with each other and left me just wanting more! 
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were spent with school friends - having lunch, going out and having cocktails and dancing until our feet could not take anymore, eating more food and going to the cinema - it was perfectly chilled. I said goodbye to Bryony on Thursday which was quite hard, its weird to think  after the past seven years seeing each other most days we are actually finally moving away to uni! 
Yesterday I got super prepared and shot lots of outfit photos ready to share once I'm at uni, I've got a fair amount of new clothes recently so was nice to shoot some different autumnal outfits. The rest of the past two days all I've done is watch Friends, literally, all the time. I just can never get bored of that programme, and re-watching it from the start is just as funny. I love seeing all the different stories and relationships twist and turn, especially near the beginning of the programme! 
This next week is my final stretch before I leave, next week I'll be writing this round-up from a whole new location, weird doesn't begin to cover it! 
Hope you've all had a relaxing weekend.

Now Reading // Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Now Watching // Friends!
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