Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Experience: it's gained in retrospect.

Winter Wonderland

 
I'm back! Back after a 2 month-blogging-break, and first term at university!

I was right, by the way, about having limited time whilst at university. I think my decision not to blog during term-time was a good call, I've kind of missed it, but in a weird way, seeing as I've been living at a mile a minute, it's only now that I can really sit back and reflect on an incredible 8 weeks.

I've been to concerts; talks, lectures delivered by people who wrote my course books, comedy nights (too funny to forget), cocktail nights (too good to remember clearly - just kidding! I only had two :P) and even a carol concert in the college chapel! Not to mention the standard clubbing nights, or the multitude of nights in which "staying in [college]"was actually the beginning of a great night out (in somebody else's building/ staircase party!)

University life is exactly what I hoped and worked for. No, it isn't - it's better. I feel as though I've learnt so much - and not merely in an academic sense - although I've also read approximately 100 books and journal articles!

Contrary to popular (read: media) expectations though, student life for me (I can't answer for my friends at other universities...) is not restricted to a week-long alcohol-fuelled party, with an assignment on the side, perhaps. Oh no.

I have without a doubt worked the hardest that I have ever worked in my life this past term. I'm talking everyday (well, except those 3 days at the end of term when I only had meetings to attend, seeing as I spent some of my Fresher's week beginning work, I got to do some Christmas shopping!) and for around 6 hours a day. Seriously, not including library runs across town, lectures, classes etc. But I live for it, - that's another thing I've learnt from the past term - I couldn't have it any other way. Maybe then, it's a good thing that where I am we're made to work constantly, we're reminded that that's what we're there for. And ultimately, £9,000 a year would be a very expensive party!

So, all of this work, all of this "play", where does that leave me? Well, I'll tell you. Though I may have been preoccupied with work whilst I was physically at university (the irony!) I can now tell you that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and in the last few days at home I have indeed been missing university life (and, admittedly, the independence and freedom that comes with it) which I think is mark of just how much perspective/ friends/ knowledge experience I've gained over the past 2 months.
 

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Not all those who wander are lost;

Not all those who wander are lost;


I'm leaving. I leave home in around 3 days time, and I'll be leaving this blog for about 2 months (e.g., the duration of my first term). That might seem weird, but I'm really going to be cutting down the amount of time I spend on the internet when I'm at university, firstly, because I won't have time, (work, new friends(?), societies, clubs, volunterring(!), and learning to live away from home!) and secondly because this blog reminds me of being at home and anticipating university, even as far back as my post-GCSE summer. Now I'm actually going to the university I always wanted to, I want to really live my life there, rather than through this blog.

However - this is not goodbye! I will be updating at the end of every term, which, to be fair, is still every 8 weeks, after all, I can't see myself completely giving up something that's given my such a great creative outlet these past 2 years. This blog has been a bit of fun to me, I've updated it fairly regularly with pictures I've made and photos I've taken. I don't talk about politics, or even my opinions on things in particular, I do talk about my life, but I'd like to think that I haven't given away too much information about myself!

I've loved having somewhere to post anything, especially random thoughts and pictures which probably don't make sense, which act as tiny vignettes (Google it) of the past 2 and 1/4 years! I apologise at how boring some of the posts must be for other people to read, but to me they act as a straight line from the recent past to where I am today, and for that I'm happy, proud even. For once.

Next week I'll begin again, as I did once upon a time with this blog, except instead of the virtual world, with it's limitless possibilities and millions of people, it'll be the real me that steps out afresh, into pastures new, and a world in which the surroundings, people and daily timetable are different. Perhaps then, as far as "limitless possibilites" are concerned, my new university life will not be so different from the internet. Perhaps. For that reason then, or that freedom should I say, I'm not afraid, in fact, I'm excited!

“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”
Carl Bard


Don't wait for me. I'll be back soon.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Edinburgh trip and my tips for Fresher's!

I think I'll start with my Edinburgh photos, consdering that I did go to Scotland 3 weeks ago, and I still haven't really sorted my photos out nicely. However, I've chosen the best of them, (I would like to point out that it was very dark some of the time when we were there, hence some of the pictures appearing so gloomy...I'd like to think that it just adds a moody atmosphere!) and here they are, showing some of the most famous and striking scenes of the Scottish capital;







 
Yet, due to a random turn of events, we also ended up being in Edinburgh during the hottest week in Septemeber ever recorded there - what are the chances?
 
Anway, some of the landmarks in the above photos are (from top); St.Mary's cathedral, Prince's Street gardens, the back of the Royal Mile (as seen from Prince's Street) and some of the oldest buildings of the University of Edinburgh. Scotland has a much more varied and interesting history than I've ever really thought about before, especially with John Know and Mary Stuart. The city was also in some parts just as beautiful as London, Oxford or Cambridge, and was a much quieter capital city than I've ever been to, but that turned out to be a very nice thing for tourists like us (the Primark in Prince's street was less crowded than my local Primark, in a pretty insignificant town!).
 
I've now been to the capitals of England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland all within 6 months! I think I've been to about 7 capital cities in my entire life; London, Edinburgh, Dublin, Paris, Paphos, Tunis and Palma (Majorca)...so that's not loads, but a lot of the places I've been to (Murcia, Barcelona, Crete, other Greek islands, Venice, somewhere in Mexico, Ibiza) are just big or famous cities that are not actually the capital of that country, although I think Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia.
 
So that's pretty much ended my travelling for the year, unless I win the lottery, because my student loan approval has arrived, and believe me, the lottery is the only way that I'm going anywhere in a hurry! That brings me onto my next subject, my tips for Fresher's (or should I say, Fresher's-in-waiting) which are by no means comprehensive, especially as I don't have much experience, but just a few things that I would advise any other people currently waiting to university to do;
 
  • Get a student back account. Several of my friends have left this very late, and may miss out on a free overdraft, which can come in very useful when waiting for your next loan installment!
  • Look in advance at which clubs and societies your university offers, and which you might like to join. Fresher's fair is going to be insane, you don't want to sign up for things in the heat of the moment, which could cost you a lot more than a whole load of annoying mail on your university email account! It could also decide what you're going to pack, like sports clothes or a swimming costume as the need may be.
  • Get ahead. If your course has a reading list, with millions of books on it, don't be intimidated. Order a couple of the cheap books from Amazon or Abbebooks or similar and look through them in the days before you arrive, it'll make you feel better about doing nothing (educational)all summer and get rid of the "I don't know anything!" panic.
  • Write a buying list and a packing list. The buying list is of things you need to get (think about the type of accomodation you're in, if you have an ensuite or a kitchen, this will be different to if you have neither, like me), and the packing list is for when you're making sure you haven't forgotten anything. Here's a great list: http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki/What_To_Take_To_University
  • Make friends before you go? The Student Room is great for this, you can speak to people on your course, or at your uni, weeks in advance, so that at least in some small way, you don't feel like you're going it alone. The website is free to sign up to, and you can go on it as little or often as you want, or you can just lurk on threads, if you're really scared of talking to people...you never know, you might find your future flat-mate! This is also extremely useful, as I've been able to ask people doing my course which books are really needed, and which I can manage without, although I've still had to spend a lot of money on books, it's saved me about £20!
  • Read this article as a great point of reference: http://www.independent.co.uk/student/into-university/freshers-guide-17-things-you-need-to-know-902619.html
  • And lastly - enjoy yourself! Whether Fresher's (the drinking, partying side of it people always seem to focus on) is your thing or not, the main thing to remember is that it only ever lasts for about a week, and soon you'll be back into the oh-so-familiar routine of trying to juggle studying and your social life, except you'll be living somewhere entirely new, with new friends and all of your new societies and clubs to welcome you into university life!
 
 

Friday, 14 September 2012

The Sea/ Farewell Summer

The Sea/ Farewell Summer

I probably won't see the sea or a beach until next summer...:(


Can no longer deny that summer is well and truly over. Not only is the good weather gone, but my friends are beginning to move into their university halls, as of tomorrow - good luck to them! As for myself, having ridiculously short terms means that I won't be moving out for another three weeks, which is annoying, as I'm now impatient to start (I've been away from school for nearly 4 months,!) and my friends are all leaving town.

However, the last few days have given my the chance to pause, whilst buying uni stuff (which I could leave until later, but I'd rather do now :p) and remember all of the great times I've had since my exams finished. Although I may be bored now, I think the break from such intense studying was a good idea, as I'm now interested, motivated and ready to throw myself back into full-time learning again.

This summer hasn't just been a waiting period between two stages of my life, it's given me a chance to properly relax, earn a little bit of money, travel, and do all of the nonsense that I don't allow myself time for in term-time. (You never don't have the time for something, you simply choose whether or not you're going to prioritise it with the time that you do have, in my opinion).

In recent times I've re-visited my past (went to my school's Awards evening, met up to say last goodbyes to people leaving this week, and will probably do the same next week) and got a glimpse into my future (went to my university town to get some stuff yesterday, and some more scholarship information arrived today!) but most importantly I've learnt to enjoy the present, and what's left of my time at home.

I'm still counting the days though...less than three week's until Fresher's!

 

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Summer 2012 Book review

The virgin suicides - Jeffrey Eugenides
 
Now I'm one of the "lucky" people whose university does not start until October, and therefore for me, it could be argued that I still have a good three weeks left of summer. However, I disagree with this opinion for several reasons, mainly the fact that as I currently have no job and am having to give up driving lessons due to the expense I have very little to do, aside from go out with friends and spend yet more money *rolls eyes*. See, I'm not even officially at university yet, and my financial situation means that I'm already living the student lifestyle.
 
Anyway, back to the main point, which is that I'm going to review my favourite books of summer 2012, which I've read from June until now, September. Some of the books are quite well known, some of them are classics or popular in modern culture (you'll see the ones I mean) but I'm going to go through the ones that have really meant the most to me, and have been the most memorable.
 
List of all of the books I've read this summer;
 
  • The Hunger Games trilogy - Suzanne Collins
  • Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe
  • Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
  • One Hundreds Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Lighthousekeeping - Jeanette Winterson
  • Black Dogs - Ian McEwan
  • The Silver Blade - Sally Gardner
  • Swamplandia! - Karen Russell
  • Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
  • Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
  • The diving bell and the butterfly - Jean-Dominique Bauby
  • The good man Jesus and the scoundrel Christ - Philip Pullman
  • Love in the time of cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • The almost moon - Alice Sebold
  • The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
  • The Help - Kathryn Stockett
  • The Virgin Suicides - Jeffrey Eugenides
  • The Scarlet Letter - Nathanial Hawthorne
  • The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
  • The Remains of the day - Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Katherine - Anya Seton

So that's 23 books in total, I'm impressed! I obviously love reading anyway, and when I was at school, especially in the last 6 months, the only thing I read were my English lit. and History books, in particular the novels that I had to know for my Gothic exam! It's been great to spend the last 3 months or so reading fiction that I've heard many people talk about, or even just books that caught my eye, and so now I'm going to go through some of the books that I really feel are worth recommendation;

  1. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

This book is so short that no one has an excuse not to read it. It is on most GCSE English specifications, but I didn't study it at school, and so perhaps was able to enjoy it more than most people my age. However, what I really appreciated about this book was the simplicity of Steinbeck's style and the honesty of his subject. The historical background is that of the "dust bowl", in America, and the hardship and struggle of migrating farm workers (also seen on a more epic scale in Grapes of Wrath) but what affected me most was the relationship between Lennie and George, and if you've read the book before then you'll understand. It's not overly emotional, it's not described in a way that is visual beautiful, but this novel is real and expressionate, it is passionate without preaching and descriptive without being sentimental, that's the only way I can adequately summarise it, but believe me, upon completion it is easy to see why it is considered Steinbeck's best work!


2. The Virgin Suicides - Jeffrey Eugenides

The image for this post is designed for this book , and I have included stills from the 1990s film of the same name.


Haunting, tragic and oddly familiar, the almost unique narrative style of this book, combined with the supposedly ordinary 1970s suburban American setting has drawn me to this book again and again. The title hints at what the book is based around, and yet the strange thing is the book is as much as celebration of life as it is of death. The book is not about suicide in particular, but about the effects of a series of events on a group of teenage boys which lead up to, and continue after the suicide of Lisbon sisters. You'd think reading a novel where you already know the ending would be boring, but this is not the case, the back story and sweeping narrative commentary creates an engaging story, with comments inserted from the narrators in the future, as they collectively recount their teenage years, discussing objects that they have stored away with their memories, and moving the story forward with information regarding their personal investigation and obsession with the Lisbon girls. This book has a fantastic style, I can't stress that enough, and even if you don't like stories involving suicide or death, or teenagers in particular, there is something about the retrospective narration and bittersweet adolescence reminiscence that will hold your attention.

3. The diving bell and the butterfly - Jean-Dominique Bauby


Another short book which had the ability to make me fall back in love with life again. It is based on a true story, and it was written by a man who, after suffering a terrible stroke, can only use his eyelids to blink and communicate with the outside world. If you have ever felt alone inside your head then this is the book for you. There is a residing, melancholic tone throughout the narrative (which I'm sure readers will forgive given the context) and yet you will not look at your boring, nine-'til-five rountine in the same way again after reading this incredible story and simply being grateful for the fact that you are indeed alive. The book shows how it is possible to remain stationary and yet travel to a thousand places, and to be immobile and yet in full flight in your imagination. It's a book about triumph and disaster, about guilt and innocence, fate and determination. It is one of the most personal and (perhaps confusingly) universal books I have ever read.

4. One Hundreds Years of Solitude & Love in the time of cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez


I have grouped these two books together because I love the way that Marquez tells a story, and the things I liked about each book are common to them both. Personally, I preferred the plot in Love in the time of cholera  and some of the characters in One Hundreds Years of Solitude as bizarre as that seems. Marquez has the ability to make you completely change your mind about a character, to switch allegiance between lovers, to see two sides of an internal conflict, reflected in the violence which was based on the Columbian civil war. The magical surrealism in One Hundreds Years of Solitude is astounding, but I have to say that the repetition of character names through different generations became very hard to follow! Love in the time of cholera is a spirited story which cannot be labelled as a straightforward romance, but rather as a chronicle of the struggle of two people to accept their love for each other, in varying circumstances and through the very separate paths of their lives. The narration in these novels switches between dreamy prose, depicting images of vibrant colour, and sharp dialogue, in which much more is implied than is ever spoken.

5. The Scarlet Letter - Nathanial Hawthorne

People should not be put off this novel by the fact that most people have claimed to have read it (in reality they've just seen the film with Gary Oldman and Demi Moore in it and presumed that it is a true replication of the book!) or that the story was written nearly 200 years ago. The novel is still as accessible today, even for teenagers, and the writing style is really not a barrier - in fact I found Dracula written in 1897, much harder to understand in places - and some of the detail and emotion seems even more poignant today without the cliched similes of today's writing. Ultimately this is not just a Hollywood love story, it's about religion versus morality, the justice of crime and punishment and the harsh reality of life for those who first settled in America. The story focuses around the isolation and exclusion of a woman from a community, and a man from himself. It will challenge your perception of right and wrong, and reminds us that in several hundred years we will be questioning what is supposedly above repute today.

6. The Remains of the day - Kazuo Ishiguro

If you like Downton Abbey, or feel that in a past life you lived and worked in an old English house, than you'll love this book as much as I did. Or, if you enjoy stories about memories, and memory itself, and if you like reading about people who are so clearly trying to make a future out of a near-forgotten past. The book is told through the lofty and matter-of-fact narration of an aging butler, who reflects on his life of service, and that of his father too. It could be read as a love story, but to be honest it is more a tale of missed opportunities and of regret, and the type of revelation that can only come to us later in life. Ishiguro sets all of this against the backdrop of the English West country, and in the aftermath of the second world war, in which the lines of friendship and international relations have become irrevocably blurred. Using a type of personal reflection and quiet contemplation that made Never Let me go such a success Ishiguro engages the reader in a very English and entirely absorbing fictional memoir.

7.  Katherine - Anya Seton

Written in the 1950s and based around the life of Katherine Swynford, a 12th century noble, you may think that I've put too much of my personal interest in history into this choice. On the other hand, I would argue that this historical romance, although not 100% accurate, is incredibly well researched for its time, I actually liked that mentions of fleas and various diseases and dirt feature because in so many modern historical fiction it seems that whilst all of the pageantry of medieval life is preserved, the real-life details are neglected. This book works on several levels, on one level it is a simple rags to riches tale with some historical truth, on another it is a romantic version of the life of the Duke of Lancaster, John of Gaunt, but surpassing all of the emotions and quasi-historic facts, my favourite part of this book was the journey that the character of Katherine goes on, in the life that Seton has imagined for her. The book, in this case, might well have been about any female, real or imaginary, but for me the historical background and reference to dramatic events in English history (the Black Death, the Peasants' Revolt of 1381) made it a truly memorable read.


If you agree/ disagree with any of my opinions on these books, feel free to comment! Also, if you have read anything especially good this summer, including some of the books I've read and didn't talk about in detail, let me know!

Friday, 31 August 2012

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-19421257

I don't usually post about random news stories, but this one really got to me. Normally, I read articles online, and take an average of around 5-10 minutes to click on something else, move on, and forget about it. However, something really affected me about this tragedy, I don't know if it's because; I was thinking about the concept of "YOLO" again,  because I'm thinking about moving into the next stage of my life (university) or whether the sense of human loss and complete injustice is just so obvious after reading it.

Clearly, once several moments had past and I had time to concerntrate I began to think about what a horrible, horrible shock this must have been, not just to those who witnessed the event, but to the parents and family of this young woman, whose life was ended so quickly, and without any kind of explanation, other than perhaps an inexorable fate. May she rest in peace.

It's not nice to think that perhaps the way that you will die has been decided since the day you were born, is it? I suppose that depends to what extent you believe in pre-determinism and stuff though. Either way, this has kind of been a wake up call for me, I've spent the last few days going out for the occasional dinner, going to the theatre, but doing nothing much productive, now however, I feel motivated to have a proper sort through all of my stuff in preparation to leave home in a month, and after that I'm going to start packing to go away for a couple of days.

After all, who knows how much time I have left, or any of us, for that matter.

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
― Francis Scott Fitzgerald,  The Great Gatsby

Friday, 24 August 2012

What goes around comes around!

Blue chic

I was originally going to use this post to talk about the image above, the composition, colours, patterns, and objects in this set, which is nice enough, and one of my best I'd like to think. However, I have discovered something incredible and much more interesting!

I was searching for a title for this post, and noted that recently the quote "and the rest is rust and stardust" keeps being used on tags, posts and picture captions recently so I decided to look it up online. I discovered that this quote actually comes from Vladimir Nabokov's, Lolita, Chapter 25, Humbert's Wanted poem. This fact, whilst interesting, is only the beginning!

I typed the quote into Google, being the curious soul that I am, and found a Tumblr* link with the same title. Tumblr has always fascinated me, because it has the ability to simultaneously amuse and confuse me, and so I love looking at people's Tumblr pages, usually consisting of deep, meaningful quotes in coloured boxes and borders, and pictures of teenage girls, often with their faces hidden, in various states of dress. Anyway, I clicked on the link, and began my habitual scroll.**

And then, to my absolute astonishment, I saw an image that I had once used to edit with GIMP, featured on some strange Tumblr page, whose owner is probably living hundreds of miles away, and will probably never speak to me, or know of me, let alone meet me!

The image has been reposted, liked and commented on thousands of times.
It seems strange that the concept, the idea, has now come full-circle to me! Here's the evidence;

My original post, Feb 2011:




The Tumblr I found the image on today, August 2012:

The number of people who have interacted with this image!: http://drivemysoull.tumblr.com/post/29216309677



 
*I love Tumblr, but unfortunately I can't make it work. I've tried setting up an account, but if I can't make things work, then I can't make things my own, and then they just don't work for me. I had a Tumblr account for a couple of days though, to try it out, and I had a single, solitary follower! Sorry in advance, if you are that follower, and are wondering what on earth happened to that weird, half-established Tumblr page that you were following! I'll remain forever grateful for that single person, who, for a couple of days, made sure that my Tumblr was not a complete failure!
**I love scrolling Tumblr pages, with rows and rows of images to consider, they're the best because they require the least clicking - very addictive though, it's like constantly spinning a wheel - how do you know when to stop?
 

Friday, 17 August 2012

Just another day, that I had the best day of my life.

Just another day, that I had the best day of my life.

Celebratory set!


I feel like I've been waiting my whole life to post this, honestly.

Dream

Dream

So, we all have dreams don't we? Funnily enough, although we dream at night, most of our true dreams are things that we carry around during the day, in our thoughts, and in my case this is definitely true - I'd spent the whole week, throughout driving lessons (somewhat distracting!), working, even trips to the cinema (!) thinking about Results day, and what it could possibly mean for me and my friends, but mostly, I must confess, what it would mean for my own future.

Well, there's no doubt that yesterday was one of the most dramatic days of my life, I'd gone to bed at 1 in the morning, and kept waking up, woke up properly at about 6 and had about 1/2 an hour's sleep when my friend rings me to tell me that UCAS track has updated online!

About 5 minutes later, I find out something incredible.

My place at university had been confirmed.

Now, I had no idea of my grades, but after that point I didn't really care, I just kept logging on and off to check that I wasn't still dreaming, having been sleep deprived for several days! The day, however, just got better, my sister got ABCC in her AS results, despite only being predicted BCC, my friends all got into their first or second choice universities, or were able to find spaces at very good universities (University of East Anglia for example) through Clearing within an hour or so. AND, my final grades were A*A*A :o well over what I needed to get in - AAA.

It was incredible, I'm talking; champagne, photos, crying, laughing, lunch AND dinner out, about a million phone calls and a great evening with my friends and family. Seriously, seeing my teachers happy and my family proud was the best thing ever, and yesterday was without a doubt one of the best days of my life. Being able to talk about university without using the word "if" in the same sentence is fantastic, and even better is being able to get excited about the direction my life is going in for the next 3 years, it makes years of hard work and pressure really worth it.

So, the moral of the story is, if you have a dream, work hard and don't let go. Yes, you'll spend some days crying, and some days smiling, you'll have moments of satisfaction and despair (my lowest grade was ironically in History, after an exam paper that had me very worried for 8 weeks! But I got my A and that's all that counts :D). It'll be worth it all, I promise you, being able to look back over the past 4 years or so and have no major regrets is a great feeling. I think several people in my year realised a little too late that working a bit harder, putting in the extra effort and never giving up might have made a real difference to their results.

People might look at someone with As and A*s and think they're a genius, which could be true, but it mostly likely isn't. I know I could have never achieved those grades without solid hard work, and an average of 10 hours of revision a day in the peak of my exams, not even counting the months of coursework and revision leading up to that! I chose to make academia my life, and everyone else must choose what they wish to do with their own life, and, as long as it's their own choice then they've made a good decision, I'd say.

Would I do all of that work over again to get where I am today? Of course!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

When will I get my A-level results? What is the weather like here? Is there life on other planets? Read on to find out the answer to two of these three very important questions...

Girly Summer 2012

If only I had something more interesting to write about, than the fact that it's 4 days until I get my A2 results, and time has never gone so slowly! But I don't. Recently here the weather has improved (well, until tomorrow that is) and so I've been making the most of bing outside! I can't believe that the London 2012 Olympics is nearly over, after all of the preparation, hype, build up and then the spectacular event itself! It has proved me with a great distraction these last two weeks :p. Hayfever aside, I really love the summer, being able to wear nicer clothes (summer clothes are so much more attractive than practical winter clothes!), go out when I want, generally do what I want...it's a good life, though sometimes I do miss the routine of school.

The image above (another one of my creations on Polyvore) includes classic summer images, and a floral-themed outfit, complete with a matching clutch! I think my favourite part about it is the use of gold frames and the peachy-pink coloured blossom and flowers, it's a very romantic look, and it really shows up the summer sunlight filtering through the pictures, which is just perfect for a dreamy summer afternoon :)

Monday, 6 August 2012

March

Rose-tinted heaven

Rose-tinted heaven
Rose-tinted heaven

Found some of my old polyvore images from earlier in the year that I never got to publish on here, despite it being close to 1 'o' clock in the morning, I thought - why not? I need a good old clear out of my drafts, or "ghost posts" as I prefer to call them. Here are some creations that I never found the words for.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

London 2012 - Olympic fever!

London 2012

London 2012

I have returned! And in the last week, I've been in and out of London twice, braving the Tube and trains around central London, including Euston, Victoria, the Circle, Northern and District lines, all whilst carrying a handbag, suitcase and another carrier bag full of books and shoes (i.e, my life in a bag, essentially) - I think that this deserves some kind of recognition! I went over near Canterbury to my Dad's, in case anyone was wondering who on earth would go through such travel chaos at a time like this.

Oh, and it turns out that Victoria is in the direction of the Olympic Park, and I also had the stops for Horseguards' Parade and Hyde Park to navigate around, but I did it, albeit having to literally stop and take cover with my suitcase at times, when the crowds became unbearable, and then I scurried like a little mouse to the stairs, before the next tube could come in!

Whilst I was at the coast I had time to look around the Turner contemporary gallery in Margate, go to the beach at Deal, and walk through Canterbury. Pretty good, except for the weather, I have genuinely never seen a sunny day in Kent, it's like a geographical black hole, or maybe I'm just unlucky.

Anyway, back to London 2012 and team GB. When I left, they had only 1 silver medal I think? What a difference 5 days makes! Currently 3rd on the medal table (which could change in a week) which is an amazing feat considering the size of our population, compared to the USA, Russia or China, which just goes to show, quality over quantity every time. (The same is true of Olympic medals I have discovered, it matters less the no. of silver and bronze, it's all about the GOLD.)

Unless of course, you are discussing Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice;

"All that glisters is not gold."

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Creativity takes courage

Creativity takes courage

Quote by the French* artist Henri Matisse, whose work I studied during my days of GCSE Art & Design! The title of this post is relevant to 3 things;

a) The above image is my first shaped set ever! I've never made anything like it on Polyvore, and I really like the fact that it isn't square and that the pieces don't quite fit perfectly, I think it adds something. Trying something new or different requires creative courage.

b) Today I watched my sister's performance (at my town's theatre) which was written for the Olympic culture festival, and so my sister and her friends are the original cast! Standing up on stage, reciting lines and acting, in front of the actual playwright and associated press (tonight was the first time that the play has been performed) takes massive courage.

c) I've been watching the London 2012 Olympics (well, I love watching sport on TV, and I am mildly patriotic, I watched the Diamond Jubilee, Royal Wedding etc.) since the Opening ceremony** and the amount of creativity and courage involved in the Olympics is really inspirational. It's not just Danny Boyle's opening ceremony which was creative - every dive, gymnastics/trampolining routine, dressage performance, every athlete's requires artist design. It's not just the competitors who need courage either, the organisers, and so that decided to make the 2012 Olympics so eccentric and so different to any really seen before must have had courage too.

Therefore these two things, as illustrated by the above examples, go hand in hand.


*Speaking of the French - what a good night for their swimmers! Well done for winning against some pretty tight odds and even fiercer competition!

**I absolutely loved the Opening ceremony, seeing as some reviews have been mixed about it. It wasn't a complete spectacle, like Beijing, but it wasn't supposed to be, it represented the people of Britain, all people, and the crazy British sense of humour. It focused on some of the darkest parts of our recent social history (mistreatment of workers during the industrial revolution, Suffragettes, World Wars) but then reminded the world what Britain has given to everyone, the internet being the most incredible and appropriate example, considering that you are reading this online! Sure, some of it was confusing and chaotic, but so is life - even athletes are not machines, we're all human, and that's what binds us all, regardless of nation, country, language. Isn't that what the Olympics is really about?

Regardless, GO TEAM GB!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Photos

I've been spending some of my time recently taking photos, of things that I know I can use on Polyvore, Tumblr etc. Anyway, I'm going to post these images up here because they're interesting in themselves (not merely a means to an end!) and they're for anyone to use if interested, just credit (I don't even know what that means...) or post a link back to here! (That's more straightfoward I think :)

Taking photos of random things I find in/ around my house is a good way to kill a couple of bored, job-less, hours a day, and I can convince myself that this is somehow productive, as these images may prove useful in later life...













I made the collage myself out of leaflets from my local library! Desperate times call for desperate measures! Also, the beautiful text and illustrations are from an old copy of my dad's "The complete works Shakespeare, illustrated".

Every day is a small victory in the game of Life and Death.

Every day is a small victory in the game of Life and Death.

So, there you have it. Another few days of summer have passed, the weather has improved, and my life? Well, it's pretty average at the moment, although all of this boredom has led to some creative advances (see above piece for evidence!). Other than that I've been doing some more work, looking for another part time job and taking driving lessons...not exactly thrilling is it?

I've been spending a lot of time in my local park (well, technically not my local park, but the one near my city centre) for an International Festival, and on another day when I had a picnic with my friends. This is quite standard, nothing out of the ordinary (well, the International Festival itself is, but not my presence there - I go practically every year since it's on my doorstep!) EXCEPT I used to spend loads of time there 2 years ago, during my GCSE summer, it's sometimes like the past 2 years never happened (which is a crazy idea), the amount of similarities between my post-16 summer and post A-level summer - it must be the extraordinary length of time causing these parallels!

Strange when that happens, when you KNOW loads of time has passed, for example, since I was 16, and then suddenly something happens, and you remember something, a memory, a moment, in such striking clarity that it's as if no time has passed at all...

Thursday, 19 July 2012

End of an era

100 Followers! :D


I had my Year 13 prom last week, and it's really hit me that it's the end of an era, the prom is a milestone in itself, because throughout your school years you never consider that one day it will be you leaving, it will be your turn at the Year 13 Prom (which you will have spent the time since the Year 11 Prom hearing about)...and now it's over I feel like I really, definitely have left secondary school. Strange.

All of the effort was worth it though, and contrary to popular belief, everything, clothes, shoes, bag, hair and make-up, the ticket to prom itself did cost just under £100, and anyone spending much more than that, is in my opinion, slightly over the top. I hate news articles with teenage girls and their mothers claiming that Prom is the most important night of their lives, and therefore they must have a £200 dress, or £50 nails. In what way does that increase the importance of the night, or what it represents?

In other news, I managed to see another £5 show, the lion, the witch and the wardrobe with Mousetrap (a threatre group working mainly in London to help young people see shows) which was in Kensington Gardens, and in a 360 degree threatre which moved kind of like a cinema, but with a circular stage as well - it was incredible! The special effects (visuals, puppets, lighting, fake snow) were so varied that I found myself really engaged in the entire show, which is unusual for me, because although I like theatre, I can never usually stay focused for the whole thing, I do tend to "zone out" for 5 minutes or so.

So, this image, I got the idea of strawberries and red from Wimbledon, watching the tennis last week, and then I found those pictures of Emma Watson in a white dress, and so I combined the floral dress with the wedges at the bottom as well, the frame is a template, but I think it works well, not exactly as a masterpiece, but the way that it makes you naturally want to look straight at the lower picture of Emma Watson, and at the strawberries. They must be the "focal points" for this picture, I think.

This was my post for the end of last week, sadly, something messed up when I was publishing it, and so I'm publishing it again, now, out of chronological order, sorry for any confusion but currently there doesn't seem to be a way to change the order of published posts on Blogger!

It's not procrastination; it's a higher form of planning.

It's not procrastination; it's a higher form of planning.

So, the last week has been pretty standard, in fact, nothing much has happened except that I visited my old first school, for their final assembly (the school is closing at the end of this term to be re-opened with my old middle school as a combined school) to give out an award to a little boy who has made some amazing academic progress! Bless, his mum looked so happy when he won his award, as did all of the children, who didn't really realise the significance of the assembly, but did very much like the look of the prizes!

Time moves much too quickly, just 10 years ago that would have been me, sitting cross-legged on the floor, eager-eyed and staring up at the teachers at the front of the hall! It feels as much like yesterday as it does a whole lifetime ago. The building was still so familiar, although much of the decoration itself has been changed, improved, updated, and I even got to speak again to some staff who had known me when I was 4!

To disorientate myself further, with my work I was showing some foreign students around the city where my Firm university choice is. It was a good day out (I love the city, obviously, otherwise I would not have made the university there my firm choice!) but also, by association, it was a little angsty, I just want my results now so that I know whether I'll ever get to live there or not! Strange, knowing that I might well live there for 3 years, but I might well not visit again for another 10 years, if I don't get in, because I can't bear to see it again if I'm rejected, it'll be too raw.

There you have it. I feel completely in limbo :/ within 48 hours I revisited memories of my first school days, and then walked around the city that, by October, may well be my new university home. However, at the moment I am unfortunately stuck somewhere between archaic memories and distant hopes for the future, which can only be solidified by my results on the 16th of August. Until then, I fear, I am completely lost at sea.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

2 Years Later...

Fairytale
My most recent Polyvore design

2 Years ago today I started this blog, beginning with images (coincidentally, images that I started using when I first opened my Polyvore account, at around the same time) from my GCSE Art and Design course. It started as a blog about art, concerning the creation of different types of artwork that I'd learnt about, but now my blog is much more about myself, somehow, and how this increasingly is shown through my art.

So basically, where as the the art did all the talking previously, now I do the talking, and the art is simply a more visual explanation for my thoughts.

I'd like to think that I've learnt a lot, since that 16 year old, bored after GCSEs (although admittedly I am very bored after leaving school, and genuinely cannot wait to get my results, go to university and start learning again, but that's just me I think) who had little direction in life other than some mediocre artwork and a random blog. Not that the art has really improved dramatically, although it has evolved somewhat (I primarily use Polyvore rather than GIMP to make images, and rather than photo manipulation I tend to use internet images and "arrange" them into bigger pieces rather than create the components themselves from scratch if you know what I mean).

This post is a pretty big milestone then, certainly, I know there are much older blogs around, but as far as Blogspot is concerned, the average lifespan of a blog seems to be under 2 years, so I think it's an achievement that I have continued to update this, if only for its consistency rather than for any extraordinary content, after all I'm not trying to change the world, I just want some way to record the things that I do and that I find interesting, I'm not fussed about having 100s of followers, although of course I like the idea that at least someone is reading what I write.

At this point I'd like to thank my actual followers (currently at around 15 I think?) for putting up with this nonsense, in the hope that they find something (if only occasionally) worth reading on here. As a side note, I have had over 3,900 views on this blog, which is far more than if I had decided to never publish it!

So here we are, I'm not world famous, I'm not a celebrated blogger or by any means a talented artist, I'm not a budding author or even an exceptional writer, but I am I believe, much closer than I was 2 years ago to finding myself, though if there's one thing I can be accused of, it's forgetting the past in favour of obsessing over the future, as opposed to say, living in the moment. (Ironic for a potential History student, right?)

For example, I tend to forget or overlook the things I've already achieved, the work I've done, however small, and instead I worry about what the future holds, where will my life go next etc. (to be fair, until I get my A2 results I don't even know where I'm going to be living in 2 months!) This however, is no way to live, there needs to be more of a balance I think, between positive reflection and active (but not anxious) anticipation of the future. That can be my target for the next year, until this blog's next milestone ;)

Maroon 5's song Payphone actually sums up the above scenario pretty well;

"You turned your back on tomorrow
Cause you forgot yesterday..."


The only way to the future is to remind ourselves of the best parts of the past -

"Who controls the past, controls the future: who controls the present controls the past"

- George Orwell, 1984

Who would have thought Maroon 5 and George Orwell would ever have belonged in the same sentence? Only on this blog!

A tree, a real life representation of Carl Jung's tree of self actualization....just kidding -
(A photograph I took on a shady walkway in Calpe, Alicante, if this picture is rotated it makes a really nice desktop background!)

Monday, 2 July 2012

Alicante, Spain 2012

Alicante, Spain 2012


Just got back from my week's holiday, looking through all of the photos and working out what I'm going to do with the rest of the summer! To summarise the past week;

  • Fiestas, with live music and fireworks on the beach (the Bonfires of St. John)
  • Party in the town where we were staying due to Spain's success in the Euros
  • Private pool at the villa we rented!
  • Shopping at the sea front, sun bathing, actually being able to go swimming in the sea without dying of pneumonia or something similar...
  • Eating out, late, and every night, with cocktails and bars overlooking the sea shore
  • Living on about 4 hours sleep a night, but not caring, and simply getting up the next day at noon to do it all again...(starting to sound like a lyric from Katy Perry's Last Friday Night)
  • Sounds stupid, but I really loved this one night that we just stayed in, and cooked a massive BBQ (there were 11 of us!) and then played music all night, whilst taking photos, and some people jumped into the pool fully clothed

I miss the sun already (welcome back to England, where "summer" usually consists of a month of rain, wind or if you're lucky, tolerable overcast days) but not the heat actually, most days it was above 35 degrees and we're just not used to it, and so we had to keep finding places with air-con, and apply ridiculous amounts of sun tan lotion, which turns oily and attracts insects :s

Honestly, it was a great week, well worthy the mass organisation and months of preparation, just what was needed after exams. I'm not joking, some parts of the trips practically required head counts, and the precision of a military operation, but I'm so glad we did it - and now we have loads of great photos to remember the holiday - the polyvore image above is made of pictures which are a representation of parts of the holiday, not my actual photos (though I have nearly a hundred of those). Regardless, I think the mood of the collage comes across fairly accurately :)

EDIT: found some of my best photos to upload!



Wednesday, 20 June 2012

I'm back :D

I'm back!!!

I'm back!!!

Just finished my exams! In 3 days I'm going on holiday abroad for a week with my friends, so excited! Can't believe it's all over. Considering how important these exams are, I don't think I've done quite well enough :s However, I can just pray that I scrap by...

ANYWAY, I can't think about results now, I'm free, and I need to enjoy myself for a couple of weeks, to make up for all of the stress! I've revised for hundreds of hours over the past 4 months, let alone the work I did the rest of the year, so I think I deserve a break - and now I have until September to do what I want (well, and work, because I need SOME sort of money :p).

Can't tell you how good it is to not be thinking about what I should revise next, or how long until my next break etc. AMAZING.  The collage above is a collection of images that I chose because for me they sum up all of the good parts of a holiday abroad, the relaxation, the excitement, the beautiful surroundings and of course the beach! (This is particularly significant because where I live in England I am really far from the coast, which is ironic, considering it's an island!)

I survived A-levels, and now my life awaits. Until the next stage (counting from Result's Day) I have 6 weeks, in which I can catch up with all of the things that I love, and generally just enjoy life again :')

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. (Gandhi)

Taking a break...

It's been another long week (hence the late-night blog update!) in which I have been to the theatre twice to see Les Miserables and Trojan women. I know, cheerful stuff, right? Anyway, not much else has happened aside from the usual, except for some reason I seem to have spent a lot of time thinking about the brevity of life (ironic, surely thinking about this sort of thing defeats the purpose of living life to the full?) which may or may not have something to do with the fact that I only just learnt that YOLO is not actually some kind of African greeting, it means "You Only Live Once", which I'm guessing most people already know.

The only thing that annoys me about that saying is that recently people my age have been doing stupid things and then justifying it by tagging YOLO after (publicly advertising) whatever (usually reckless) thing that they're doing. Why can't YOLO be used in the context of "I'm helping a friend", YOLO or "I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing", YOLO. I guess the problem with humans is that we are attracted to things that don't conform.

The casual collage above however, has many objects in it that are completely normal, and seem very ordinary. That's the point, the things in my collage are what they seem to be, and the style is determined to be "mainstream" which is paradoxically the opposite these days, that is to say, it's a rarity, it feels like everyone is trying too hard to be "different" or "edgy", and due to this they loose sight of themselves. Speaking of which, I wish I owned half of the objects in the image, especially the vintage suitcase, badges and butterfly pictures, but that's just me.

In the true spirit of YOLO (although I prefer the above quote, captioned on this post) I'll be temporarily abandoning this blog to revise for my final exams, which mean a lot to me. My first exam is in 2 weeks, and I really don't want to keep staying up so late to fit everything in, so I'm cutting a lot of stuff out of my life for the next month and a half or so. I'll be back around the end of June, before I go on holiday (can't wait!:D) but life goes on in the meantime, and I think it'll be over quicker than I realise - especially with the last day of school approaching so soon :o

Don't forget me and I won't forget you! Have a nice few weeks - I'll be back ASAP- wish me luck! ;)

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful.Times are hard for dreamers.

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful.

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful.

This week has been randomly hard for some reason, I don't know why, everything has just felt like it's taking more and more effort to do the things that I would normally do anyway. Strange. Anyway, it's the end of the week now so I'm going to start completely fresh tomorrow, "a new leaf" as it were, and that goes for revision too :s

However, in a strange kind of way, time is on my side. 46 days until my exams end, so that's a month and 2 weeks, just long enough to really focus on revision, but the end is definitely in sight, if you see what I mean, school doesn't feel endless anymore, and I know that soon my life will be completely different. That's motivation enough I guess, only 46 more days of waking up and feeling guility every minute that I'm not studying, and to be honest, I started revising in March, so around 68 days ago, so I've officially done more revision than I have left to do (if that makes sense!)...

So this collage, it has all the usual in it (well, usual for me) icons of Paris, pink, cupcakes, tea cups, flowers, blossom, pink, books, some slightly vintage looking things and...the pocket watch in the top left hand corner. I think the watch is important, it shows that things don't go on indefinitely (revision :( ) and serves as a reminder that "come what may, time and hour run through the roughest day".

There you are, that's a very appropriate quote from Macbeth, and therefore I have successfully found a way to intergrate revision and blogging :D

Saturday, 28 April 2012

28.04.12

27.04.12

  by nikigirl on polyvore.com

Well, the April showers have continued, and here we are a week later...I wish I had something more interesting to report, but aside from preparing for exams, schoolwork, and hearing people complain about the weather, this week has not been that eventful. Not that that's a bad thing, necessarily, but there you have it. I created this image ages ago, and for some reason having gotten around to publishing it before now, I think I've just had it saved somewhere and forgot about it. I hope that how my memory works, you know, during an exam when you can't remember something but then it appears really randomly, as if it's been "saved" somewhere, just waiting for the right thought to trigger it.

I think one of my favourite quotes that I have come across this week is by Mary Waldrop, she says;

"It's important that people know what you stand for. It's equally important that they know what you won't stand for."

I think for me this is a definite target, I have a horrible habit of saying yes to things, usually work, or something someone else wants, just for the sake of keeping peace. Although helping people constantly is a good thing, and let's people know that you stand for kindness and helpfulness, I think that there is definitely a time and a place to say no, otherwise you end up with nothing left for yourself!

Another quote I found (Einstein's extension of Parkinson's Law) is one that I'm writing up simply because it describes my life so well at the moment; "A work project expands to fill the space avaliable", it's the same with my revision for the next 6 weeks, it's not about getting a certain amount of revision done, it's about filling all the avaliable space I can with revision, and subsequently re-remembering and learning things constantly, rather than sitting down and saying "I have to do 5 hours a day" or something.

Wish me luck.

Friday, 20 April 2012

April Showers!

April Showers!

April Showers!

Decided to update this today, unusual for a friday night but it means that I have less to do on the weekend! I thought that the title seems appropriate considering the weather in England at the moment, as soon as they declare an official drought it always rains non-stop for days afterwards!

Anyway, the run-up to exams is really speeding up, in fact in 2 months time/ 8 weeks today I will (hopefully!) leave school forever, after my last A2 exam! :o Insane isn't it? Scary times.

Thought I'd share a really great quote that I saw a couple of days ago and really made me think;

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power".
- Abraham Lincoln

It's true, or it seems accurate to me. Well, the saying is true enough for women too, of course...

So this collage has a vintage/ Parisian/ floral look, which suits the current season, Spring, and also reminds me of 2 years ago when I went to Paris for the Easter holidays, and had a really great time! We stayed in an apartment and everything...have to say, since looking at this, I can't help wish that I was back there, away from the rain, and back in time, away from the stress of looming A2 exams.....

Every cloud has a silver lining!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Music is a moral law.

Music is a moral law.


Music has also been described as "the art of thinking with sounds", which I'd argue is accurate for some songs, but much less for others!

So, I've had another good week off school, spending way too much money, restaurants, clubs, clothes, that sort of thing, going out with friends and doing everything except revise properly, which I WILL start in earnest later today. Or maybe tomorrow ;)...NO, definitely today. I promise.

Anyway, it seems my last half-term at school has almost arrived 0.0, I know, when did that happen? It's something I'm strangely apathetic about, actually. It's as if, I should be sad or worried, but actually, although I will be upset on the "last day" of school and everything, at the moment I just want this term over with, so I can do my exams and start summer. Which is an entirely irrational thought, considering how much revision I still have to do, but there it is, my mind is as illogical as ever.

100 years since the Titanic hit that fateful iceberg tonight. I'm sure I'll be watching some of the memorial on television, but the problem I find with things that happened around 100 years ago is that they don't seem real yet. I say "yet", because things that happened say 300 years ago, like the French Revolution, that seems real, and things that happened around 10 years ago, like September the 11th, I remember that, but for some reason a century is just the wrong amount of time for me to imagine, it's like it's just out of living memory and hasn't quite made it's way into history yet. Maybe that's just me. Anyway. I'll be thinking about that this evening, although I can't promise that the whole sentimenality of the event won't be slightly overshadowed by my sadness that Leonardo di Caprio dies in the film, which is historically inaccurate anyway...

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Happy Easter 2012!

Cherry Blossom
Thought that I'd do something different this time and attached a photo I took myself of the trees outside the front of my house, which look great at the moment, but will only last for a couple of days...

The photo captures a moment, the same blossoms in this picture have probably fallen off the tree and died by now. Not to be pessimistic,but just to point out that nothing lasts forever, and that nothing seems as good as it was, or as it is remembered.

Equally though, the best things in life are not things, or at least, not in the material sense. I'm not even sure the best things in life are moments, to be honest. Feelings are a more accurate description, I think the best moments in life are defined by the feelings we attach to them, rather than the events themselves, therefore buying an ice cream or getting a new job or getting the exam result we wanted can all be linked due to the feeling we get from it.

Although, just for the record, I prefer the "I-just-got-the-exams-results-I-wanted" to the "I-just-brought-an-ice cream" feeling, but I do love ice cream :p

I think this rant is my mind subconsciously telling me to get back to revision, and re-focus on the long-term benefit that this will have...when I actually do something...

"The amateur practises until he gets it right; the professional until he never gets it wrong".

Friday, 30 March 2012

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. No one is entitled to their own facts.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. No one is entitled to their own facts.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. No one is entitled to their own facts.

Half term! :) I have survived, once again, until the holidays. Now the word "holiday" is debatable, considering I will probably do as much work at home as I would in school, in preparation for exams, and in light of the work that teachers actually set :/, but hey, I'm at home, and that's about as good as it gets for now.

Strange to think that when it gets to the next holidays (May half-term) I won't be returning to school other than to sit exams! :o Where have my school days gone?

Anyway, this image is spring-like and therefore appropriate, especially considering the hot spell of weather we've just experienced here in England, if only it would last!

I guess all good things come to an end.