Friday, 27 May 2016

My Summer Plans 2016


I'm currently procrastinating the packing I need to do for my trip to Italy (which I'll just be back from when you're reading this) and so, while my mind's on summer but I haven't quite mustered up the energy to try and restrain myself for overpacking (a tendency I very much have), I thought I'd share with you today my summer plans. Summer has to be one of my favourite seasons. I guess, since I've spent the majority of my life in school/education, it's the season I associate with having the most freedom and the only time of the year in which I can properly relax without feeling guilty about not working on whatever assignment I've usually been given! This year, being my longest Summer break to date thanks to early exams and a uni rather than a school Summer holiday, I decided I wanted to make it the best Summer yet. I've been saving money since November and it has really paid off because I've got planned a pretty amazing one, even if I do say so myself!

1 // Verona - Obviously I've just got back from Verona which is the first stop of the Summer with my Mum and, given that I basically want to be Italian, I'm very excited for this and have no doubt that I will have eaten all the food and tried to speak all the Italian but will do a write up of the trip asap!

2 // Enchanted Garden Ball - I'm heading back to Exeter today so that I can celebrate finishing first year and the end of exams properly with all my friends who hadn't finished when I came back to London last week and we've all got tickets to this thing called the Enchanted Garden Ball. It looks incredible and I can't wait to get a bit dressed up with everyone and really mark the end of first year!

3 // Family Reunion - If you've been a long-time reader of the blog you'll probably know that I have three older half-sisters, one of which, Tai, moved to New Zealand quite a few years ago now (I've lost track completely). Well, since I last saw her at her wedding nearly FIVE YEARS AGO she's had two beautiful babies which means not only have I not seen her since I was FOURTEEN, sorry but I can't get my head around this, but I've not yet met two of my nieces. Tai is coming with the two of them in June and will be staying with my oldest sister in Yorkshire so me and my sister Meg are going to stay there for a week to catch up with everyone. It'll be the first time in five years the four of us will all be together and, although I have no doubt it'll be a bit of a mad house with all of us and five kids including my eldest sister's three, I can't wait to see everyone!

4 // Wimbledon Tennis Championships - I'm not sure whether I've mentioned this on here yet but this year I'm working at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships and I'm actually really excited about it. Wimbledon's so close to me and the championships are only around twenty days including the qualifiers so it seemed like the perfect Summer job to give me some spending money for my holidays! I'm sure there'll be very long days but I think the atmosphere will be amazing and I'm looking forward to it.

5 // Romania - Again, something I'm sure you'll know about me if you've been around these parts for a while, but my Mum is Romanian and we like to go and visit every couple of years to see both family and friends. I love going there, the food is amazing and the weather is incredible and it's just so nice to be able to see where my Mum grew up and the people she grew up with who she's still friends with today.

6 // Busted Concert - It's really happening. Busted are doing a reunion tour (as I'm sure everyone and their dog knows) and I'm going! Busted's 'A Present For Everyone' was the first album I ever bought and I remember being heartbroken when they broke up so, as you can imagine, going to see them live is sort of a childhood dream come true and I cannot wait.

7 // Cornwall - One of my schoolfriends has a house in Rock in Cornwall and we're (nine of us) lucky enough to be going to stay in it for a few days at the start of August and I could not be more excited. As you can imagine, it's pretty hard to find some dates all of us can do so the fact that we'll have a few all together makes my heart happy. It's been odd not seeing their faces every day this year as I have for the last two years so a few days with a house to ourselves, the beach and many portions of fish and chips and Pimms sounds perfect to me.

8 // Paris - Straight after Cornwall (it's a hard life, eh?) I'm heading to Paris with my lovely friend Rosie. I *love* Paris and the last time I went was actually on a school trip with Rosie when I was fifteen. We decided four years was far too long ago and so we're going to stay there for three nights to make up for it. I'll hopefully get to visit my Dad as well who now lives about forty minutes outside of Paris and I have to say I'm dreaming of it already; such a magical city.

9 // Boardmasters Festival - This isn't completely set in stone, but I'm hoping to go to Boardmasters Festival in Cornwall with a couple of friends. I know, Cornwall again as well as having spent most of the year in Devon?! All I can say is I've fallen in love with the south west of the country, would love to explore it more, and the line up + atmosphere I've heard Boardmasters has = a festival that's very much on my wishlist at the moment.

10 // Budapest - Finally, towards the latter half of August, myself and two of my friends are going to Budapest for four nights. I've heard such great things about Budapest and so I'm really excited to explore a completely unknown-to-me city with two of my bests.

And there you have it! I feel so lucky to have such an amazing Summer lined up. While five holidays might seem a little crazy, they're all mini-breaks and I have been saving all year for them. At the end of the day travelling and exploring foreign countries with friends is one of my absolute favourite things to do and so that's what I've prioritised this Summer, and I can't believe it's finally here!

But what about you? What Summer plans have you got and what are you looking forward to? I love hearing about what people are going to do with their time off if they're lucky enough to have some!

Friday, 20 May 2016

Let's Catch Up // Thoughts on Finishing First Year, Getting My First Car & Meeting Jess Lively

(This photo has nothing to do with the post but I just love rainbows and this one out my window the other week made me happy, so sue me ;))

I feel as though it's been the longest time since I've sat down and written a 'what's going on in my life' kinda post and that's mainly because the last couple of months have been so busy that I haven't had all that much of an opportunity to step back for a minute and think about what's been happening! To rectify that, I thought today I'd share a list-style (because when do I not incorporate a list wherever possible?) round-up of all the happenings of late. I love reading these posts myself so I hope you do too. Onto the list...

1 // Finishing first year - On Tuesday I had my last exam for the year which officially means my first year of uni is done! This just isn't right on any level. I genuinely feel as though freshers week was around a month ago and suddenly I'm one-third of the way through my degree?! I was also talking to my friend Ellie about this the other day and, honestly, we both have finished our exams kind of feeling that this year has been a bit of a 'non-year' if that makes any sense. Uni is just so different to A Levels. I know you're probably thinking well, of course it is that's the whole point. But it's odd considering that you're paying so much money that you don't get as much help and it just feels like assignment after assignment without much direction. I mean, I love my course and find it so interesting but it's been a very strange academic year. A fun year for sure, but a bit of an odd one nonetheless.

2 // Work placement at Hodder & Stoughton - I mentioned this briefly but, over my Easter holidays I did a two week work placement in the publicity department of Hodder & Stoughton Publishing House. It was such a lovely two weeks and I left the placement feeling so motivated to get more experience in publishing and confident that it's the industry I want to go into once I've finished my degree. I've always loved books so publishing has been in the back of my mind as something I might enjoy for years but I think it's so important to get experience in something before you can say it's definitely for you. And I feel like I can say that now! The people I worked with at Hodder were all so nice and welcoming and even when I was given slightly more tedious tasks it didn't feel like a huge effort, I just loved working around books and learning about the marketing of them. I've been feeling so inspired lately since doing this placement. They also sent me home with two tote bags worth of books they've published/proofs of books coming out over the summer which was incredible. I know for sure that my reading's sorted for the next year (at least!)...

3 // I GOT A CAR - Probably Definitely the most exciting purchase I have *ever* made but I got a car!!! I passed my driving test nearly two years ago but, since my Mum doesn't drive and Dad lives in France, I haven't been able to drive since as we thought getting a car just for me right before I go to university wouldn't be worth it. And it definitely wouldn't have been for first year because I don't have parking near my halls. But in my house for next year I do have parking and I knew that having a car would make my life so much easier considering Mum doesn't drive so we went for it and I am now the proud owner of a Toyota Yaris. It's tiny and I love it and I cannot believe that I can actually drive myself places. I probably sound so stupid right now but I'm sure any driver will know the feeling of getting your first car, just over the moon with this!

4 // I saw Romeo and Juliet at the Garrick Theatre - On Wednesday I went to see Kenneth Branagh's new production of Romeo and Juliet starring Lily James and Richard Madden with Ellie and oh my was it a good one. Romeo and Juliet is the Shakespeare play that has really dominated my schooling and so is the one I know best (although I can never decide which is my favourite Shakespeare - it's a toss up between R&J and A Midsummer Night's Dream). From being in a school play of it when I was eleven, to watching the Baz Luhrmann film at school when I was thirteen, to studying and writing essays on it for my English GCSE when I was fifteen, I feel as though I know this play pretty well. James and Madden were incredible and I loved the whole production of it, aside from some club music to set the scene of the Capulet party which I thought was a little out of place. But that is far from a reason not to go and see it if you have the opportunity and love the play like I do!

5 // Meeting Jess Lively - I wrote about how much I love Jess Lively's podcast just the other week and so, when I saw that she was having a London drinks meet-up the day after I got back from Exeter, despite it being straight after Romeo and Juliet, I knew I had to take the opportunity to go considering that she lives in America and so is rarely going to be in London. And I'm so glad I did. I'm never sure whether to go to these kind of events, especially when it means attending alone. But it was the loveliest evening and all the ladies who attended were equally wonderful, I had such great conversations with the women I met and talking to Jess was amazing. It's so nice to be able to meet people you admire and thank them for what they do - and for them to be in real life just how you imagined them to be - such a sweet lady and I'd love to meet her again sometime. It just goes to show, nine times out of ten, it's worth doing the things that are a little out of your comfort zone.

Right, I'd say you're all about caught up! I'm luckng enough to be going to Verona in Italy on Monday with my Mum just for three nights and I *can't* wait - the excitement to eat all the gelato and pasta is very very real. I hope you're all well and that you have a wonderful weekend, whatever you're going to get up to!

Friday, 6 May 2016

My Song of the Moment

So it's been a bit of a crazy week, what with my exams starting on Monday and a few other things that have happened which I'll save for another time. But I wanted to share this song that I haven't been able to stop thinking about since I first heard it a few weeks ago. It's by Sara Bareilles who I absolutely and completely adore. Her music is always stunning and never fails to resonate with me, but I haven't felt as connected to one of her songs as much as this one before. I can't exactly put my finger on what it is about it that resonates with me so much but, thinking about it, I think you'd find it difficult to find even one young woman who doesn't feel some attachment to this song. It's purely and simply a work of art, and I hope you'll like it as much as I do.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

My Favourite Podcasts Part ii

I'm so sorry this wasn't up yesterday as planned, unfortunately I ended up spending my Thursday evening in A&E. I'm all ok which is the main thing, but it's not exactly my idea of a relaxing evening and it meant I just didn't have time to finish some last minute edits to this post to get it up in time. So instead I'm finishing up my favourite podcasts of the moment today. These ones, like Monday's recommendations, are *the bomb* so give them a listen and let me know what you think! In the meantime, if you missed Part i of my favourite podcasts you can read that here.


6 // The Becoming Podcast - I first heard of Laura through the incredible Meg's blog. When Meg praises someone's writing, I'm the first to take her word for how good it will be. And that led me to Laura's blog, Superlatively Rude. As Meg had promised, Laura's writing is just divine and I've read every post she's written since discovering her blog. Through following her since then (bear with me, this is a bit of a tangent-prone story!), I found out about her book, Becoming, which is being published in June this year. It's all about Laura's becoming and how she's grown into the person she is. Out of this idea, The Becoming Podcast was born at the start of this month. And boy, am I obsessed with it. Every episode focuses on a specific person's becoming and I'm learning so much from it. The episode with Daisy Buchanan has to be the highlight for me so far, but you simply must have a listen to this if you haven't already. 


7 // Ctrl Alt Delete - I'll try and make this not so long of a story as the last one but, in a similar vein, I found Emma's blog, Girl Lost in the City, through Laura! Keeping it short and sweet, love her blog, so excited for her book which I believe is out in July, and this podcast is sensational. I listened to the episode with Dawn O'Porter on Wednesday which told me everything I needed to hear at that moment in time. Podcasts have a funny way of doing that I find, and this is definitely worth giving a listen.


8 // Filler - I've mentioned Filler before, in fact, I wrote a whole post on it which you can read here if that takes your fancy. It's a creative industries podcast in which Harry Hitchens and Matt Shore interview people working in range of jobs in the creative industry. Every single episode is so insightful and this podcast is probably the one that I find the most inspiring from the perspective of a student who will, hopefully, be entering the world of work in a few years.


9 // The West Wing Weekly - Subscribing to this podcast may just be the nerdiest thing I've ever done. But I DON'T EVEN CARE! This podcast is hosted by Hrishi Herway and Joshua Malina, who plays Will Bailey in the show. The premise of the podcast is essentially that they go through each episode in order and discuss it, sometimes with guests who have also acted in or worked on The West Wing. I adore The West Wing show and am heartbroken that I've nearly come to the end of it (one more season to go) so this podcast will keep my West Wing fix alive once I've finished the show. A bit of a niche one but if you're a West Wing fan, this one's for you.


10 // Slow Home Podcast - This is a relatively new discovery for me, after reading Jenny's post on it. It's quite similar to The Lively Show (on my list from Monday), in that Brooke interviews similar people. I love the fact that Brooke and her husband also make episodes about projects they're taking on each month. From yoga every day to a month of no sugar, they're really interesting and in this day and age who doesn't like the idea of perfecting the art of slow living?!

So there you have it. Ten podcasts you should most definitely give a listen. Let me know what you think of them if you do! I'm off now, hope you all have a fabulous long weekend.