Friday, 16 June 2017

A Room in New York // short story

Hello everyone,

Again, I am sorry for my repeated absence. I've never been too good at getting blog posts up on time. Oh well. I'll keep trying.

I have a new one for you this week: a short story that I wrote. It was actually for an English assignment but I liked it so much that I thought I would share it with you. I is inspired by an Edward Hopper oil painting called A Room in New York that he made in 1940. Our teacher showed us the picture as an option for a prompt and I really liked the feel of it. Please feel free to give feedback, it might even get me a better grade!

 I crouched on the balcony, trembling slightly. The October night was menacingly bitter, and in my hurry I hadn’t had the time to stop and put on my overcoat. Besides, there was little I could do to control my unease. My hands hadn’t yet stopped trembling, to the point that I had taken to sitting on them for a while in a futile attempt to keep them still. I had lost all feeling in my lower legs, and my breath curled before my face in a wispy cloud. Despite the late hour, there was still lots of chatter from the street three stories below. The air smelt brisk and refreshing, as it does only in Autumn. Peering over the lip of the windowsill, I watched them. They had hardly spoken at all in the last hour, evidently choosing instead to entertain themselves independently. The only sound from the living room was the occasional flutter of a crisp newspaper page being turned accompanied by the dissonant notes of Victoria’s musical frustrations. It appeared that they hardly spoke at all, ever, because in the past few nights I had heard them speak to each other only when strictly necessary. Returning home together at eight, they would sit quietly for half an hour, Victoria attempting to play the piano, Lawrence reading his newspaper. Then, at half past the hour, Victoria would go into the kitchen and start preparing dinner. Half an hour later they would eat together at the small dining table in the kitchen, afterwards returning to the living room for further leisure activities. At ten o’clock they went to bed. I couldn’t imagine a life so structured, so devoid of interest that I did exactly the same thing every day without even keeping up a lively conversation at the same time. It looked awful.

I shuffled my feet around, trying to regain circulation in my extremities without attracting any attention. It was almost ten o’clock, so they would be retiring for the evening soon. Hopefully soon anyway; I didn’t think that I could take any more of the cold. I rubbed my hands together, blowing at them to try and warm them up. Somehow, simultaneously, but without talking, they both put away their respective things and exited through the tall wooden door directly opposite me. Annoyingly, though, not forgetting to close the window. Finally, I let out a large sigh of relief. I waited there for almost another hour, just to be safe. It was time to put the plan into action. The windows of the apartment were so old and plagued with cracks that all it took was a bit of leverage with a screw driver and they sprung open. I climbed in cautiously, taking care not to disturb anything. The floorboards creaked back at me in protest as I crept across them. It had to be here by now. The package had been sent from Washington almost a week ago. We didn’t have any more time to spare.

Hands still trembling, I made quick work of searching all of the draws and cabinets. The varnished armoire, the coffee table and the side tables yielded nothing. Moving into the kitchen, I immediately noticed it. Carelessly placed upon the dining table: like she didn’t even know what was in it. 

The End,

Saturday, 13 May 2017

What motivates you? // tips and discussion

Bonjour tout le monde,

Well I've been a little (or perhaps a lot) absent for the past two months. In the mean time I've done some pretty cool stuff, like going to Italy, doing a charity fundraiser that I organised with my friends and eating a lot of chocolate. But hello I'm back and today I would like to talk about motivation. What motivates you? What motivates me? Why is motivation something that is so difficult to attain sometimes?

Personally for me I feel like I have two types of motivation: the positively inspired motivation that makes me dream and reach for my goals, and the 'dear life I'm taking absolutely none of your sh*t' motivation. They both have their advantages. The first one is useful for most circumstances. It's the sort of thing that motivates me to practise piano, and read books on new things and try and pay attention in lessons on the first week back after a long summer holiday. The second one is useful when I need to give myself a (metaphorical) kick in the but to get moving and start doing stuff because I'm not going to reach my goals if I work towards them. I'll give you an example of where the two of them come into play.

Scenario 1:
Peggy aspires to go to Cambridge University and study natural sciences. It's a huge dream of hers and she is prepared to work as hard as she possibly can to achieve the necessary GCSE's and A level's to get in.

*Observe the presence of motivation type 1*

Despite this Peggy is currently lying on her bedroom floor staring at the ceiling and listening to sad music. She tells herself that she will never achieve anything.

*Motivation type 2 kicks in*

Peggy realises precisely how pathetic she is being right now and decides that no way on Earth is life stopping her from achieving what she wants, so she's going to stop putting herself down about getting a mediocre score in her physics test and do some more revision so she does better next time, because she is taking absolutely none of life's sh*t and besides life is too short to spend prolonged periods of time staring at the ceiling and feeling sorry for yourself.

This happened around 3 hours ago, and since then I've gotten a good amount of studying and homework done. Motivation is quite amazing.

I find it helpful to thing of your life as a challenge with the universe itself. It's constantly trying to put you down just to annoy you. Of course you are a super tough capable person and you are taking none of that rubbish so you are going to get on with what you need to do to prove everyone wrong, even the universe itself.

This approach may not work for everyone, but I do find it quite useful for myself. But I'm interested to know, what motivates you? For me it's the desire to get into Cambridge. Let me know in the comments.

Also, and this is rather random, I find the song 'Almost There' from the Princess and the Frog to be very good at giving me motivation to work!

The End,

Friday, 31 March 2017

Reducing travel anxiety // tips

Hello everyone,

Or should I say: ciao a tutti? That's right, I'm going to Italy tomorrow and while half of me is super excited the other part of me is incredibly anxious.

In recent months I've been getting more and more anxious, but I never really experienced anxiety around travelling before. I've been travelling all my life, so it's something I'm used to. However, the prospect of this trip to Italy has left me feeling really anxious and I don't know why. Maybe it's because it's my first time travelling overseas without my parents (I'm not counting my little weekend trip to France with school when I was eleven). Maybe it's because I'm going with school and I find that stressful. It's not because I'm scared of planes, that's never bothered me. I'm perplexed as to where this is coming from.

Nevertheless, I want to make the most out of this amazing opportunity which I am really grateful for, so I need to find ways to reduce my anxiety so that it doesn't spoil my trip, because I can't be having that. I can't pretend that these tips are tried and tested by me, these are just some things that I have thought of that I will be using this trip and I'll see how they go. Even so the idea of doing or having these things with me has reduced my stress levels already, even though I'm still at home.

The trick here is to take items with you that you find comforting, for example, I'm taking my own pillowcase. This may sound silly, or maybe a little weird but the reason that I'm bringing it is because it smells like home and like my own bed, which can be comforting when you're away. I'm also taking my most favourite pyjama top so that I can be nice and comfortable at night. I like to listen to audiobooks when I go to sleep so I've downloaded them onto my iPod so that I can listen to them at night. I'm taking my notebook with me that I like to write and draw in, as well as a book to read.

Another thing that I find helps me is to leave everything sorted at home. For me this means making sure that my room is tidy, my laundry is done, and that there aren't any other tasks that I need to do which I will be stressing about while away. Make sure that everything is sorted so that you can enjoy your trip with peace of mind and come home to a nice clean space.

When packing, make sure that you have a list of everything you will need to take with you, even down to the most obvious things. This means that you won't be worrying that you've forgotten something. I like to write my list a week or two before I pack so that if I've forgotten to write something down I have time to remember it before I start packing. You can take this list with you to ensure that when you're returning you don't leave anything in the place you were staying.

If you start getting anxious, take some deep breaths and think about why you are going on this trip. Think about everything you will gain for the experience, and how lucky you are that you have the opportunity to go.

Happy and safe travels,
The End,

Friday, 10 March 2017

Ça roule ma poule // thoughts

Hello everyone,

I hope that you have all had an absolutely splendiferous (yes I made that up) week. Mine has been pretty okay, but I'm especially looking forward to this weekend because I'm meeting up with my best friend from primary school who I haven't seen in person for five years! The irritating part is that my social anxiety is going a bit mad, and I really don't want to turn up and just start having a panic attack in front of someone I haven't spoken to in person for half a decade, so hopefully I will stay calm enough that everything will be okay. Hopefully. I'll let you know next week. But, nevertheless, I'm super crazy very much excited.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Fun ways to work out that aren't the gym // tips

Hello everyone,

I hope that you have had a fantastic week, and that you fall asleep early tonight and your skin clears up. Just spreading a few small wishes (although asking my skin to clear up seems rather a large wish). I have had a great week (thank you for asking), I'm feeling very positive at the moment, and also very grateful, which has put me in a joyful mood all week. Today I'm here to talk about exercise! Yay! I'm sure that some of you love it and some of you equally hate it. Some of you might even want to shoot me when I say that I love exercising. I really do though. I love the exhilarating feeling and noticing muscles in places I didn't have muscles before. While I do go to the gym once or twice a week, it is not my primary form of exercises, mainly because if I go too often I get extremely bored. Inspired by this, and the difficulty of exercising during winter I have compiled some ways to exercise that aren't just running, but by all means run if you enjoy it. Sadly I can't any more because I was injuring myself badly :(

Friday, 24 February 2017

My top book series of all time // list

Hello everyone,

I hope that you have had an absolutely splendid week, and even if you haven't I hope that you can take some time to look of yourself this weekend. I realised that I haven't actually spoken about books yet on this blog, which is strange because my old blog was purely focused on books. So today I'm going to do a post that I have written before but I always enjoy reading these lists, so here's a lovely list for you lot today, and maybe you'll find something interesting to read!

Friday, 17 February 2017

My (kind of) epiphany // thoughts

Hello everyone,

I hope you've had a lovely week so far! I'm very much looking forward to tomorrow because I am going to see my best friend who lives a while away from me, and I don't usually get to see her very often so I am very grateful that this opportunity has come up and I am going to have a great day tomorrow. Also, I'm on holiday this week so yippee no school!