Sunday, 21 May 2017

The 52 Lists Project // Week 20

Happy Sunday everyone! It's officially less than a week now until my exams are over and I literally cannot wait. After saying last week that I'd keep the post short and sweet and then completely and utterly failing, this week I'm actually going to stick to that so on with the list...


"List the things that make your spirit feel free." This felt a little counter-intuitive to write when my spirit most definitely does not feel free so the list is a little sparse but here are the things that came to mind ::

  • Yoga
  • Long walks
  • Being by the sea
  • Laughing
  • Saying yes to things
  • Skipping  

I really wasn't lying when I told you today would be a short one! What things make your spirit feel free? I think I could do with some inspiration for that right now...

Sunday, 14 May 2017

The 52 Lists Project // Week 19

I was supposed to write this yesterday so that it would be up nice and early, as usual, but alas last night I ended up watching Princess Diaries 2 (which btw has to be one of my favourite films ever) and today I've been revising all day for my first exam on Tuesday. So instead I'm bringing you this week's list late in the afternoon but hopefully it will get you all fired up and inspired for the coming week when you hear about the inspiring people I'm about to talk about!

This week's prompt is: "List the people you most want to be like." and I mentioned quite a few of them in last week's post so I'll try and keep it short and sweet here because I genuinely think I could go on about how much I admire them all damn day when, really, you should just go and check them out yourselves if you haven't already. On with the list...

  • My Mum - Ok so you might think that this is super cringe but my Mum has to be my biggest inspiration. I have never met someone who works harder and she has always sacrificed everything to make sure that I have the best opportunities, taught me what's important in life and that I should never apologise for who I am to anyone. I hope that one day I'll be half the incredible woman she is.
  • Michelle Obama - From my Mum to Michelle Obama, now there's two people I never thought I'd see on the same list but it just goes to show you don't have to be as famous as Michelle Obama to make a difference or inspire someone. I feel like I don't even need to begin to explain why Michelle Obama is on this list, she's an incredible human who has done so much for girls' rights everywhere and is such an inspiration. 
  • Emma Gannon - I've read Emma's blog for a couple of years now and have been more and more in awe of her and the work that she does. From her blog to her wonderful podcast to her book to a huge number of other projects she always seems to be working away at, Emma is someone who's taught me that when I graduate I can do anything that I want to if I'm willing to put in the work and that I should never apologise for being a woman who wants a great career and isn't afraid to go after it. Also I met her last month at her podcast recording with the lovely Gemma Cairney and the best thing of all is that she's as amazing in real life - so friendly and easy to talk to, if you're not following her work I don't know what you're doing. 
  • Emma Watson - I love everything that Emma Watson does. Her HeForShe speech at the UN is something I'll never forget because the first time I watched it is probably the first time I understood what feminism is, how important it is and that my voice can make a difference. She's such a great advocate and also she was the *perfect* Belle in Beauty & the Beast so enough said about why I want to be like her.
  • John and Hank Green - John and Hank Green do the most important work. On their Vlogbrothers channel they make some of the most hilarious videos and some of the most educational ones I've ever watched. Hank (I believe) set up CrashCourse, a YouTube channel which makes educational videos that people can watch for free on subjects from English to History to Science (I'm loving their mythology series at the moment!). Every year they run Project For Awesome which raises money for a number of wonderful charities. I could go on and on but I'll stop there. They're a breath of fresh air in what can be an incredibly depressing world. 
  • Jess Phillips - If you don't know, Jess Phillips is currently the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley. She used to work for Women's Aid and since becoming an MP has written what looks like an incredibly book (I'm yet to read it but want to asap!), Everywoman, and I just adore everything she stands for. She's a woman who isn't afraid to speak her mind and is doing amazing work. I wouldn't necessarily identify as Labour (or any political party for that matter) but I appreciate and admire the work she's doing so much.
  • Caitlin Moran - How could I write this list and not include Caitlin Moran?! Her work speaks for itself and if you haven't read How to Be A Woman stop whatever you're doing and pick it up now - it's a must.
  • Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton - These two women are incredibly inspiring in their own rights but I wanted to put them together because their podcast, The High Low (formerly the PanDolly Podcast), is my absolute favourite thing. Their discussions range from the intellectual to the, shall we say, slightly less intellectual, but they are all wonderful and incredibly well thought out. They're unafraid to tackle topics that desperately need talking about such as the impact of fame, ethics within the fashion industry and why it's important to shout about things like women, such as Sykes, going against the grain and not taking their husband's surnames (while also acknowledging that you don't have to do so to be a feminist). Aside from The High Low, anything they both write is stunning and I can't recommend it enough.
  • Meg Fee - I've written countless times about how amazing Meg's writing is. She's got a book coming out next year that I cannot wait to get my hands on and, more than being one of the best writers whose work I've ever been blessed enough to come across, she uses her voice for such good and I hope that one day I can write as eloquently as she does about body image, policy and politics, to name a few things she discusses. 

Ok so I have more but I'm going to leave it there because haha do you remember when I wrote that this post was going to be short and sweet? It turns out that once I get going about the people who inspire me and whom I hope to be like one day I can't stop because I get so motivated. I don't know about you but writing this has got me so energised and I think it's so important to not let those who are currently committing such atrocities around the world overshadow those in the public sphere who are using their voices for such good. 

Instead of tearing each other down as so many are in the world at the moment I'd much rather make lists like this and shout about these people so I hope that they inspire you too and remember, as Queen Michelle said herself, "when they go low low, we go high!". 

Sunday, 7 May 2017

The 52 Lists Project // Week 18

I've spent the majority of this week revising and with just under three weeks to go until I'm finally done for the year this week's prompt couldn't have been more appropriate: "List the things that motivate you." 

What I can only wish my studying set up looked like... (source)

One of the things I hate most about exams and the revision period is that it feels like it will never be over and all you can see in front of you is days on end spent nowhere but the library. But, of course, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I've got an amazing summer planned so remembering that and these things is what keeps me going when I'm fed up of writing out essay plans about the philosophy of language for what feels like the one hundredth hour...

  • Thinking about how great it will feel when something is done - It's all about picturing that feeling of sheer relief and freedom when it's all over or you've achieved something you've been working on for a long time. 
  • Myself - In general I'm a really motivated person and fairly good at putting my head down and getting whatever needs to be done done on time so, unless I'm in a really bad headspace, I'm lucky that most of the time if needs be I can give myself a little pep talk that will set me straight if I'm struggling to find motivation.
  • The idea of making progress -  I'm someone who's definitely results-oriented and the biggest demotivator I can think of is when I feel like no matter what I do, I'm not going to make any improvement or progress. So, if when I don't want to do something I know that getting it done will help me to make progress somehow, that can make all the difference for me.
  • My Mum - My Mum is one of my biggest motivators. She's always pushed me, believed in me when I haven't known what I could achieve and is the best at bringing me up when I'm feeling down and lacking any incentive. 
  • The people around me - I'm very lucky to know people who have incredibly hard work ethics who inspire me to do my best too. Knowing that they're working hard helps me to do the same.
  • People I aspire to be like - In a similar vein, there are so many incredible people doing amazing things right now and following their careers encourages me to smash the next stepping stone so that one day I can hopefully be just an inch as successful as them. If you're looking for some kickass people to follow here are a few of my favourites: Emma Gannon, Jess Phillips, Nimco Ali, Caitlin Moran, Hank Green, Leena Norms, Hannah Witton, Bryony Gordon. These are just to name a few of the people who inspire me daily, I could literally go on and on and on...
  • Being in the defining decade - This is a bit of a silly one in a sense but the idea that right now, now that I'm officially in my twenties, is when I'll probably have the most opportunities open to me really motivates me to do my best and to try to take as many of those opportunities as I can. Of course I think that, to an extent (and I'm aware that I say this from a place of huge privilege), opportunities and life are what you make of them and that has no age limit on it. But I will never be this young, with as few responsibilities, as I am right now and that knowledge motivates me to do things like pack my summer full of travel and fun experiences, write that job/internship application I think I'll never get and spend time doing research on things that will help with the final year of my degree so remembering that when I'm lacking motivation can help to give me a real boost. 
  • The belief that hard work pays off - I've had it drilled into me from a very young age that if you put in the work for something, and really give it your all, that will always pay off. That may not necessarily be in the way that you think; you could put your all into something and have it fail, but, in nearly all those cases, the knowledge that I've put in my all and couldn't have done anything else reassures me and I've generally learnt the most important lessons from those occasions. So if I'm flagging on something I remember that hard work is almost always worth it in the end and try and get on with it!

Ok so I wrote a lot more than I expected. It turns out that spending time writing something to motivate you to revise is a great way to procrastinate revision... And on that note I'm going to take my own advice here and try and get back to it. I hope you're all having a lovely weekend!

Sunday, 30 April 2017

The 52 Lists Project // Week 17

Happy Sunday! I hope you're having a wonderful bank holiday weekend. I'm spending mine revising which isn't all that much fun but in less than a month now I'll be free for summer so I can't really complain!

I can't get over the fact that today is the last day of April. This holiday has gone so quickly and, although I'm really ready to go back to Exeter on Tuesday, this month has felt so short, I don't know if it's just me or what.

Anyway, this week's list is a bit of a somber one: "List the difficult moments in your past that have shaped you for the better." But the fact is, although all these things were difficult, they have made me the person I am today and for that I'm incredibly grateful, so here they are...

  • My parents divorcing when I was six - No child wants their parents to have to divorce and having it happen is for the most part a horrible experience. But both my Mum and Dad are so much better off for it and, in the long run, I was much happier for it too.
  • My first break up - My first boyfriend (if you can really call it that, I was fourteen!) were together for only around three months but when he broke up with me I was absolutely devastated in that classic, teenage way. I thought the world was ending. It's so funny looking back on it now! But I learnt a lot about myself from that, and about boys, and both of those lessons have been very helpful.
  • Moving house and changing schools when I was sixteen - My Mum and I moved from Surrey to south-west London just before I started my A Levels and I was distraught. I adored my old school and all of my friends there and we'd lived in Surrey since I was three, so essentially my whole life. That, and starting a new school where everyone had already known each other for five years, was incredibly daunting to me and I was so upset for months. But, as things tend to, it all worked out for the best and I met the most wonderful people at my new school and wouldn't live anywhere but London now!
  • A Levels - As much as I loved the two years in which I took my A Levels they were also so damn stressful. So much pressure was put on me and my friends and, while it definitely paid off and I learnt so much from them and the stress of exams, at the time they were incredibly hard.
  • My first proper relationship ending - This break up was different to the first one in 100 ways. I mean, firstly, we were together for two and a half years and, to make it worse, it ended horribly and in the middle of my A Level exams. It wasn't easy to deal with but I knew I'd be ok this time, that life would move on and that I had so much ahead of me. The way it ended taught me a lot about what I want out of life and relationships.
  • First term at university - Adding this to the list might sound strange because Freshers is generally thought of as one big party where you have no responsibilities. And it is fun. But it's also really hard. You're typically living away from home at the first time with total strangers in a place you don't know very well and drinking quite a lot. That's a big deal. And, while I enjoyed it, it was also a difficult period in my life. I was coming to terms with a lot about myself and doing it in an environment that wasn't the most secure. It did, however, also involve meeting loads of amazing new people, learning a lot more about who I am and how to ask for help so I'll always remember it fondly I'm sure.
  • Going for a few sessions of therapy - I don't know whether I've ever written about the fact that I've had a few sessions of therapy before. I'd been in the past to help deal with my parents divorce but the time I'm talking about was just after my first term of university (hence the reference for learning how to ask for help earlier). I felt pretty lost around Christmas 2015 and wanted to work some things out with someone completely external. My Mum, being a therapist herself, was so unbelievably supportive and kindly paid for me to have a few sessions of therapy and, although it was scary, I am so grateful for those few hours. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it. In fact, I think the world would be a much better and happier place if we all did ask for it a bit more, and those sessions taught me so much. 

So there you have it. Overall I know, of course, how lucky and privileged I am and that I haven't gone through anything that's incredibly traumatic or of any comparison to what awful things many people go through every day. 

But, nonetheless, all of these things were very difficult at the time of going through them. And I suppose all these things go to show that, in my experience, we always learn the most when faced with periods of our life that challenge us to the core.