Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Bring Back The Letter

Handwriting is a curious thing. We're born humans with two arms, two legs, and such. We're made of the same ingredients - an egg cell, a sperm cell. Yet, we're all so vastly different. No one is quite alike. Twins can be identical in appearance but end up acquiring different tastes and likes. The ways we're nurtured, and our experiences and methods of learning affect our personalities and actions. 

Handwriting is curious to me because everyone's is different. So many styles of writing exist. You're not conscious of picking a writing style, it just flows. As a child when you're learning how to write letters and form words and sentences, how you write is how you write. We all learn how to write in the same ways yet the way you write is distinctive from anyone else. Children begin to learn to write in cursive, then when their writing develops it bounds off into another personal style. Some children stick with cursive. 

Handwriting has character, its own personality. 

It widely differs in size. I would say my own handwriting is on the larger side. My sister on the other hand, as I watch her write out revision notes, her writing is tiny. Her one page of writing would be 3-4 pages for me. 

It differs in style. People have various ways of writing letters. I write my 'A''s different to most other people, they often get mistaken for the number two. My sister does her 'Z's in such a peculiar way I can't understand the movement of a pen to make it.

Do you dot your 'i's? Do you cross your 'T's?  

Remember in school, when you were like 12 and every girl used to dot their 'i's with a heart?

The pressure placed on the pen creates a different style. Thicker, deeper, angrier letters. Whilst little pressure on the pen could denote a sensitive type. 

Whether you write pointed or rounded letters. Whether your writing is slanted. 

Can you tell I've studied the English Language deeply? I did it at A-Level. My interest in the English Language has stemmed from years of reading book after book and writing stories. 

It is fascinating to see how other people write, how their personality shines through. 

I like to look at handwritten letters. Wishing for writing letters to be a popular correspondence again. With the arrival of technology and social media, connecting with people has changed, we communicate via keyboard, instead of the traditional pen and paper. 

Being a writer, I like knowing how other writer's write. Their methods and tips etc. 

J.K Rowling's handwritten writing plans.

Sylvia Plath's draft of famous poem Ariel. 

Lewis Carroll's handwritten manuscript. 

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Goals for The Rest of The Year

How is it September!!! How is my second year of university imminent!! 2017 has flown by. It's been hectic, productive, stressful and exciting. I've had a lot of wonderful opportunities and spent a lot of time with myself learning about how I manage to be alone. (Thanks to university and being thrown into the deep end of independence)

As a way of remaining in control of my life and keeping focus I've been setting myself goals. This summer spent at home I've had a lot of time to think about what I like doing, what I'm good at and learning new things. So for the remaining three or so months of 2017, here are some of my goals. 

  1. Keep up with running. I have been running 3 times a week and upping my mileage slowly. Got some serious half marathon goals for next Spring. 
  2. Blogging once a week. All summer I've been trying to update my blog weekly and I plan for it to continue when I start the new academic term.  
  3. I appear to have a lot of writing projects on the go. Writing makes me happy and calm. My main WIP is at 18k, the goal is to write every day even if it's 100 words or 1,000.
  4. Treat myself more. This doesn't mean dropping excessive amounts of money on self care and bath bombs. Relaxation in the form of a long hot bath, although going back to uni means showering... Ugh. Buying myself coffee or making my own face mask at home. 
  5. Buy more yarn so I continue with my knitting projects, learn new stitches and make everyone in my life a chunky scarf for Christmas. 
  6. Learn embroidery. I have the equipment and supplies. I have Youtube tutorials to help me. 
  7. Find a small part time job whilst studying. It has to fit around my timetable, which isn't hard considering I only have one day a week to start with. I've already been applying and have interviews lined up. 
  8. Join a sports based society/team at uni. Deciding between rugby and kickboxing. 
  9. Explore Bath more. Bath is a richly historic city with gorgeous buildings. There's so much to see and do. On my to-see list is the Jane Austen Centre, she spent a period of her life in Bath writing novels, bathing in the spas and socialising. Also making the list is The Holborne Museum, The Royal Crescent and a Bath Ghost Tour.
  10. Finish re-reading Harry Potter. I rarely re-read so I have taken it upon myself to try for this magical series. Currently reading Prisoner of Azkaban. The series is making me laugh, cry and feel like I'm actually a part of the Hogwarts adventure. (A girl can dream)
  11. To-do lists reduce my stress levels and it's almost thrilling to tick tasks off, especially when the academic year starts and I have to juggle assignments and reading.

What are your plans for the rest of 2017? 

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Fav Books Read This Year So Far

You should all know by now how much I read. There is always a book in my bag. No matter where I'm going or who I'm with, a book accompanies me. Who knows when the opportunity may arise for me to read a chapter? 

Somehow I've read a staggering 38 books this year, so far. With three months to go, I reckon I'll read a hell of a lot more, although bear in mind I will be returning to university this month which means more writing, more studying and less recreational reading. Saying that, studying creative writing means my course surrounds writing (Duh!) and reading. I remember during first year a lecturer telling us that if you're reading and someone questions your lack of studying, you can simply say reading is part of my course. 

A few of my favourites include 

Young adult: 

The Graces by Laura Eve - a thrilling young adult novel about witches, with stunning descriptions. The Graces are three siblings, Summer, Fenrin and Thalia and the story unfolds around secrets, rumours and superstitions. Need I say any more? 

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland - Written through the perspective of teenage boy Henry (Yay young adult, switching it up sometimes) as he falls in love for the first time. This was my favourite because you don't often see the other side, the males perspective of young love and heartbreak. Full review here

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - Oh my goodness. This book!!! Starr unfortunately witnesses her best friend shot dead by a white policeman. I was gripped by its raw emotion and brutal honesty about the treatment of POC by the police. A very important read!

Non- Fiction

Running Free by Richard Askwith - I run, I love running. Running Free is an account of Askwith's experiences with running, all the different kinds, the downfalls, the highs and some excellent tips for fellow runners. An inspiring read.

Science Fiction 

Station Eleven by Emily St.John Mandel - Jumping between now and then, before and after, of an apocalyptic world. The world as they know it ends after a Georgia Flu epidemic, a group of survivors name themselves The Travelling Symphony and travel their surrounding cities performing plays for other remaining survivors. A story of survival. It is hauntingly terrifying and surreal.    


The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware - A mystery well written. A travel journalist gets the opportunity to travel to Norway on a brand new luxury cruise liner, but when she hears a loud splash from the next cabin she suspects it was a body and it wasn't an accident. A thrilling story with many twists and turns that left me wanting to scream.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Bye August, Hello Autumn

August is over, a busy, fun filled month to say the least. As much as I loved it I'm glad it's behind me. I need autumn. I want autumn. Ready for chunky jumpers, the colours outside and the anticipation for Halloween, Christmas and my 22nd birthday. I'm excited for September. I'm moving back to Bath in the next couple of weeks and my second year of university begins. I'm seeing Neil Hilborn live in Bristol tomorrow, so there's a great start to the month. 

Over August, 

I bought these gorgeous embroidered/printed (?) boots from Primark for only £10!!! I'm dying for cooler weather to wear them everywhere! 

I have ran a total of 27 miles. 

Podcasts I've been listening to and loving are The Debrief, Run, Selfie, Repeat  and Ctrl Alt Delete. 

I have read 5 books: The Other Us, The Sellout, Everyone is Watching, Everything, Everything (Review here) and The Woman in Cabin 10. 

Films watched: Baby Driver (Swooning over Ansel Elgort), The Edge of Seventeen, Dope, Nightcrawler, World War Z (Zombies) and Arrival (Aliens).

My writing projects have been well underway. Reached 15k on my novel, it's becoming my favourite thing to write. I've been writing daily, whether that be blog posts, ramblings of thoughts, poetry or stories. And making fantastic use of my typewriter.

Ruby and I finally secured a house for second year. Although we've had a LOT of trouble with the organisation from the estate agents I'm hoping everything goes to plan and we move in very soon. It's a stunning house, we'll be living in the first floor apartment. Which will be heavily decorated with fairy lights, succulents and candles. 

Trips to IKEA, family dog walking to various parks around Hertfordshire, picnics and a hot air balloon festival in Northampton. Oh, and a lot of wine consumption. 

(Rickmansworth Park with my family)

(Silly restuarant toilet selfie w/ my sister)

(Extremely drunk selfie) 

(Candid of my new rain coat, grabbed in the New Look sale)

How has August treated you? What are you looking forward to in September?

Monday, 28 August 2017

Everything, Everything - Nicola Yoon | | Book Review

Everything, Everything is a YA novel about Madeline Whittier, an 18 year old girl who hasn't left her house for seventeen years. You see, she suffers from a rare yet ironically famous disease called Severe Combined Immunodeficiency meaning she's allergic to the world. Which sounds absolutely insane and unfathomable but Madeline can be allergic to anything in the outside world. She lives a very isolated life, home-schooled through Skype, spending most of her days reading, with her mum or with her nurse Carla.  

Madeline wants to escape and explore. Go to school, make friends. Sit outside in the grass, breathe fresh air. Is it worth the risk of being deathly ill?

A new family move in across the road. Meet Olly, the mysterious new boy. The boy who dresses head to toe in black. The boy who moves his body easily and impossibly. The boy Madeline may just fall in love with.

Sometimes romance in YA irritates me. It feels over the top, obsessive and unrealistic. I'm not criticising young adult fiction. I love it with all my heart. I understand why it's written. First love is obsessive. You've never felt anything like it before, every feeling goes from 0-100 pretty quick. Yet still, I read some YA and I hate it. I hate how quickly characters fall in love. Maybe it's simply me, no longer a teenager and slightly pessimistic. I felt this strongly with both of Yoon's novels, Everything, Everything and The Sun Is Also A Star. It happens too quickly and puts me off. 

Despite my doubts, Madeline and Olly's developing relationship is cute and equally as dangerous. I liked Olly's sub-plot, his support for his sister and mum because his dad is an arsehole. Olly has nothing but a positive effect on Madeline, yet he is a constant threat to her health. He is careful, funny and adorable. Let's not forget the little dimple on his face or his Atlantic Ocean blue eyes. 

The plot twist/revelation at the end was unexpected and completely threw me off. It might be an extremely strong attitude towards the book but it ruined it for me. I felt livid. It was unnecessary. 

The books layout is definitely what kept me reading. Adorable illustrations drawn by the author's husband, they depict Madeline's feelings and plans, almost like a visual diary. 

There's a rock solid Bundt cake, a trip to Hawaii and a heavily detailed architecture model of a shopping centre involving an astronaut. All in all, the story is interesting, imaginative and hopeful.

I rated it 3/5 on Goodreads!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Do you play the drums?

I like to believe I can out-run depression. Getting out of the house, hearing my feet pound the pavement and feeling high on endorphins. Feeling accomplished and strong after a run. A rush of euphoria. Like anything is possible. Like all my goals and dreams are under my nose waiting for me to reach out and grab them. 

Running is my lifeline. It keeps me sane. However, my mind doesn't always allow me to feel motivated to get out of bed and go. Every day I fight against my thoughts. Every day I fight the voice telling me to not bother, it's too much effort, you're never going to be able to achieve a half marathon.

Just run. Drink some water. Put on your gym clothes. Tie your shoes up. And go. Go!  Pep talks and positive affirmations. You can do this. Remember your goals. 

Yesterday's run for example. I slept badly the night before. I woke up feeling off. Feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. Feeling sad for no particular reason. I got up, had breakfast but ended up back in bed an hour later and slept until late afternoon. It wasn't a satisfying sleep, it made me more tired and defeated. 4pm I had lunch, walked my dog with my sister and perked up slightly. Spending time with my sister always has a positive result on my mood. She makes me laugh until I cry. We talked about the TV shows we're currently invested in (Me, Broad City, her, Bates Motel) and we talked about the latest Taylor Swift news. Nature helped too. The fresh air, the chill breeze reminding me autumn is close. The freedom of the outdoors. 

I put on my running clothes and did it. The simple act of putting the clothes on motivates me, cos now I'm suitably dressed and laced up it's too late to back out now. Do you know how hard it can be to get a sports bra on? It's a wrestling match with my own body most days. 

I ran 3.2km/2 miles along the canal. The sun was beginning to set. The wind felt glorious against my skin. I stopped for a breath on top of a small white bridge when a man approached me. I was apprehensive at first, it was late evening and there weren't many people around. Good run, he said. I laughed and said yes, amid some heavy breathes. He said he runs, 5 miles at a time. We spoke about routes along the canal and I told him I was training for a half marathon. Held to his body with gorgeous pieces of fabric were drums. He asked if I had ever played drums. I laughed and shook my head. He was going to his friends boat to play drums with him. After exchanging names ( I forgot his though) and goodbyes I felt extremely calm, happy and grateful. I could tell he had a kind soul. His eyes sparkled as he spoke and he was full of passion. 

Sometimes all you need is a tiny shift of perspective. For me, it's always meeting a random person and talking to them like I've known them for years.