December 2015 | Monthly Wrap Up

Wednesday 30 December 2015

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Oh, December, you have flown by...

Favourite part?

Seeing some of my friends and family in Wales for a weekend! Practically the whole weekend was spent laughing and I loved it. Great to see them, as always.

And then obviously Star Wars and Christmas were good too.

Best read?

Lost for Words by Edward St. Aubyn - I absolutely loved this book! It was all about the judges of an Elysian prize, the authors who had submitted their books for the prize and the people who surrounded them. It was brilliant and shows that great literature doesn’t always get the recognition/prizes. 

I’ve also been reading a lot of John Betjeman poems lately. And I listened to an abridged audiobook of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, which I am now slightly obsessed with.

Favourite tunes?

Dodie Clark’s cover of I Feel Fine by the Beatles is fab! Also been loving any Christmas song performed by Tom, Gi and Carrie Fletcher. They’re actually brilliant.

What did I learn?

That I can time manage well at times but I need to get on with certain things. Hot chocolates are good, no matter where you are and little kids in coffee shops always tend to be told the same things by their parents. Seriously, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard ‘Be quiet *child’s name*, or we’ll just go home!’ or ‘*So-and-so* stop that! People are looking at you.’

What’s happening next month?

New January means the new year, so who knows. But I have mock exams to look forward to and plenty of revision before and after that. More coursework to do, more revision sessions to attend - I have plenty of blog posts planned so I hope to get those written and scheduled soon for you. Don’t be surprised if I end up missing one or two posts - my workload is massive and some things have to be sacrificed. Sorry… But after my mocks I'm having a spa day with my mum - and I'm so excited for it!

What’s been on my mind?

Exams, mocks and getting coursework done! Also not having enough time to read and write and pining after words. I need more creative words in my life, not just mitochondria or ostinato! I’ve also been thinking more of my novel and family.

Favourite blogger/vlogger?

I’ve been watching Emma Blackery a lot this month. I’ve watched her for a while but she has grown on me a lot lately. I have watched all her vlogmas videos (even though she stopped doing them part way through the month) and I am trying to choose my next foundation using her reviews on her second channel. 

Please look at Katieswaytohappy. It’s my friend’s blog and she’s really posted some great content this month!

Favourite post?

This one’s quite tough as I’ve loved my posts this month. However, I’d probably have to say either My Past Selves, I Wish Life Were a Musical or Be Childlike Again - even though I really enjoyed looking back at the goals I set myself at the start of the year. To be frank, I have liked quite a lot of my posts this month.

Biggest inspiration?

Inspiration’s been a bit thin on the ground this month - it’s kind of been squashed out of me by all my academic commitments - but I’ve found a few. I felt quite inspired when I went Christmas shopping on my own the other week. I loved watching everyone going around, doing their business, and the little ways we spread kindness among our society.

Any other favourites?

My Maybelline Colour Sensational lipstick in the shade Divine Wine (975)! I bought it at the beginning of the month and love it! The colour's just so pretty!


This is my last post of 2015! It's been a great year and I look forward to what 2016 will bring. See you all next year.

Jemima x

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I Wish Life Were a Musical

Monday 28 December 2015

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I wish life were a musical. I wish I could express each and every emotion I possess through the medium of song. To let a whole audience know of my feelings. People can learn much of a character, I think, from the lyrics they sing and the way in which they sing them.

I wish that there weren’t dull moments in life. We would always be on stage - always something to do and say. We never seem to go off stage though. We constantly have an audience, even if that may only be our own, uninterested, consciences.

We don’t seem to notice the extras in our lives, when they enhance our live’s show enormously. They deserve much more credit than they are given, and we should try as hard as we can to rectify that.

“Why can’t we make life a musical?” I ask myself as I write. But I have come to the realisation that it is. Granted, we may not take part in elaborate and outspoken group dane numbers, but we will (and do) perform to ourselves in the shower or other times when we are on our own - when getting dressed, perhaps, or when drying our hair. Our lives do not always have an enthralling plot, but we can have an enjoyable one, at least. Even if those enjoyable moments are short and seemingly insignificant. Those times in which we dance with friends, or sing with siblings until our lungs are dry from air; dramatic scenes that cause an onlooker to turn their head and gape.

No, I am sure, our lives are, indeed, musicals. From when we first enter centre stage tis when we exit it all those years after.

Picture found without text at 'credit'

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5 things I want to say to you this Christmas

Friday 25 December 2015

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1. Jingle bells...

Jingle bells, jingle all the way! Hey!

2. Doctor Who is on at 17:15.

The important things… At least, in the UK, i don’t know what time it’s playing in America or any other country in the world for that matter. It may only play in the UK. I’m sure you’ll know if it’s being broadcast where you are! (River Song’s back - yay!)

3. I hope that those of you who do not celebrate Christmas still have a good day.

This time of year is for spreading joy and kindness - celebrating Christmas or not shouldn’t intervene with that.

4. The tinsel overload will end at some point in January.

It’s inevitable every year.

5. I wish you all a very happy Christmas.

And I’ll write to you all again on Monday, the official Boxing Day.

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My 2015

Wednesday 23 December 2015

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2015 has been a great year for me - in many ways. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that it has been one of my favourite years. And a year like that is quite nice to look back on. So, here we go…

In January of this year I went to an event where one of my favourite authors, David Nicholls, discussed his latest book, Us, among other things such as his career and his other works. He signed 3 of my books (I was so excited I basically couldn’t say anything) and then we all went back to watch the film version of his most famous book (and my favourite of his), One Day. It was one of those rare occasions when the film version is just as good as the book. Even if Anne Hathaway’s Yorkshire/general English accent varied a bit.

Then, in February, I was part of the school’s production of Sound of Music. I was in the pit band playing my violin and I felt amazed that I was playing what was practically the soundtrack to my childhood. It was a great week and it made me feel like I’d properly become part of something. also, in February I went skiing for a week in Bulgaria. Bulgaria is a country I had never been to been to before, seeing as my family usually go to Italy, and it was a nice change. 

In the Easter holidays I went down to stay with my grandparents for a week, so that I could spend more time with them and my friends in Wales. It was probably one of the busiest yet enjoyable weeks of my life. I saw so many of my friends and had so many laughs. Once I came home, my family and I went to London for a few days. Having only been to London once or twice prior to this I was really excited. I honestly don’t know how we crammed so much onto only 3 days! We saw Wicked (and I have been obsessed ever since), went to the Tower of London )which was absolutely fascinating!), went on the London Eye and to Madame Tussaud’s (where me and my mum “met” Colin Firth) and to Covent Garden (which is a place I absolutely fell in love with and would love to go back to! We even stopped off at Foyles bookshop in Charing Cross. If you are a booklover, just go there. Take my word for it, it’s one of the best bookshops I’ve ever been in.

But then in May I started my blog. Yes, on 11 May my first blog post went up. 7 months ago that, happened, I can’t quite believe it! 83 posts later I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has read any of my posts or followed my blog in anyway. I hope you enjoy my content!

And then I moved again. In June we had all packed up from our house and brought it all to our new one, which was more permanent. Another change, but it was nice to have all my furniture and belongings back - it made it feel more like home.

Also in June, I saw 5SOS in Cardiff with my friend, Catrin. They are truly incredible live and Hey Violet smashed it as a support act. THEY WERE JUST SO GOOD!!

In July I competed my mock exams and then went on to complete my Duke of Edinburgh Bronze expedition. I have now fully competed my Bronze D of E and am in the process of doing my Silver Award. At the end of July I visited Lake Garda for a week with my old school’s orchestra. I absolutely love that place!! It was so beautiful and it was great to be among my friends again - most of whom I hadn’t seen for months. 

I spent a lot of last summer with my family. We had a few weeks where we were tourists in our area and explored places more than we would otherwise have done. I went back down to my grandparents’, this time accompanied by my brother, and we stayed there for slightly over 2 weeks.  Again, I was back with my Welsh friends and on the beach - one of my favourite places to be. 

Then September came around, and I was flooded with coursework, deadlines and exam dates. The stress levels rocked through the roof but I survived. 

Then October took over. It was definitely Autumn, all the leaves were golden and clinging onto their trees. As the Rugby World Cup was taking place in England, my family had acquired tickets to see the Japan vs. Samoa match - which was incredible! Japan absolutely dominated, which is not to say that Samoa played badly - Japan had almost constant possession and played so well as a team. There was a fab atmosphere at the stadium and it was a overall great day.

October also brought my 16th birthday. SIXTEEN! A lot of Disney princesses are that age! It’s fair to say I had a little bit of a freak out about that but it’s fine. I’ve kind of been having a “growing-up crisis”, as I’ve named it, lately and you can probably tell that from some of my posts. But I can carry on. I think everyone has those sort of thoughts and that has helped me a lot.

November and December have gone by in a swirl of stress, revision and deadlines. I have enjoyed myself, no doubt, but I think that the workload that was (and is) pressed upon me damaged my creativity. I didn’t write as much because I didn’t have time and when I did have time I just wanted to sleep. But I have had fun along the way.

How was your 2015?

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Did I Complete My 2015 Goals?

Monday 21 December 2015

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At the beginning of this year I set myself 6 goals that I hoped to have completed by 2016. Now, they’re a bit of a mixed bunch and I haven’t completed as many as I would like to have done. So let’s have a look at them more closely!

1. Finish Writing a Novel

Completed? No..

On New Year’s Day I started writing a novel using one idea that had come into my head the previous evening. I worked on that idea for weeks and have thousands of words written in one of my notebooks. I gradually became bored of that idea and well, talked myself into believing it was rubbish, and, inevitably, I stopped developing it. I still have the notebook and what I had written and am slowly writing it up onto my laptop, so that I remember the whole story and to find out exactly how much I had written!

However, in about May I had to write part of a story as part of my English GCSE coursework. I created a set of characters that I completely fell in love with and a setting with themes that really meant (and still mean) a lot to me. After writing the initial 1,000 words for my controlled assessment I began to develop the story of my characters. I began to get to know them and now have a ridiculously good understanding of each of their personalities. I have watched the younger ones grow up and they are now nearly adults. I feel so protective and maternal over them and I’m in no doubt that at some point I’ll end up shedding a tear or two as they reach certain milestones in their lives.

That second project is now at 27,132 words and I hope to carry on with it in 2016!

2. Complete My GoodReads Reading Challenge!

Completed? Unlikely (I completed it on December 31!)

I set myself the target of reading 55 books in 2015. And out of those 55 books I have managed to read 52. At my current rate of book-reading, I doubt that I will manage to read 3 more books in 10 days, but you never know. I’m still happy with the amount that I’ve read, I’m pretty sure that it’s the most I’ve ever read in a year. So I’m quite proud of that.

(I ended up reading 56 books! Gotta thank audiobooks for that!)

3. Smile More

Completed? Yes!

This year I have really worked hard on my self-confidence, self-esteem and overall happiness. Being in new surroundings among people who you have only known for 3 months can make anything 10 times more difficult that it needs to be. I used fake smiles as often as I could, to trick myself and others into thinking I was happy. See, the ‘fake it till you make it’ saying is something I truly believe in now. After weeks, or even months, of pretending to be positive and confident I actually found that I became that character I had wanted to be. My smile became genuine.

4. Be Happy Within Myself

Completed? I’d say so.

This one kind of leads on from number 3. In fact it’s basically the same. Never mind… I’ve finally accepted who I am this year. I’m comfortable with my looks and my body and know that if anyone says anything bad about that then to ignore it - because nothing I can do can change the way I’m built.

Obviously, I still have moments when I feel insecure, but I won’t let that from stopping me achieve my goals.

5. See My Friends More!

Completed? Yeah.

Now, by this I meant my Welsh friends - the ones I can only hope to see a few times a year now that I am living nearly 250 miles away from them. But I have managed to see them as often as possible - admittedly some people I haven’t seen at all and some people only once or twice, however I have seen quite a few of them quite regularly. One person I’ve seen at least five times and I spent an entire week with some of my friends in Lake Garda. I personally think that I’ve done quite well on this one.

6. Practice photography/my violin more

Completed? Kind of.

So, with my increased workload and more frequent exams I haven’t been able to practice my violin as much as I would have hoped to. However, while I haven’t learned my scales or perfected my exam pieces, I have played a lot of other stuff. I played in my school’s production of Sound of Music last (school) year and am currently rehearsing for West Side Story in February. I have played in a string quintet and trio both in Year 11, where we performed in various school events.

Since starting my blog I have had to take more pictures, in order to make my posts look prettier than they would otherwise have done. I’ve taken any more pictures than I would otherwise have done, but I don’t know whether the quality of them has improved or not.

So about 4.5 out of the 6 completed. Not bad, I'd say.

Did you complete your goals for 2015? Tell me in the comments!

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5 things I have learnt this week

Friday 18 December 2015

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1. That no one can think straight at the end of term - especially Year 11s!

Over the past few days I have noticed myself and my peers making even more silly mistakes than we normally do. This is primarily down to our workload either coming to a slight decrease or multiple deadlines looming in front of us. This afternoon it'll all be over... for 2 weeks at least.

2. That I overwork myself a hell of a lot!

Seriously, Jemima, relax and take a break. You can’t do everything all at once. Your head can’t cope with it.

3. Northanger Abbey is pretty fantastic.

I have listened to the audiobook of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey a few times this week and it’s fair to say Austen never disappoints! Admittedly it was an abridged version, but I still love and hate the characters in the way I would expect from an Austen novel. Also happy 240th birthday to Jane Austen for Wednesday! 

4. Shopping on your own and just doing things on your own can be really rewarding and relaxing mentally.

On Sunday I went Christmas shopping in my local shopping centre. By going on my own I could take things at my own pace and decide where and when I wanted to go - I didn’t have to follow with anyone else’s thoughts and preferences, which, while it sounds a bit ignorant, is actually great. I actually loved sitting by myself as I had my food and felt revitalised with the company of myself (even if there were hundreds of other shoppers around me).

5. Lavender definitely makes you more sleepy!

When I went shopping, I bought some lavender pillows to be in my bedroom - particularly on my bed. Since having them there I have slept better, and with my busy timetable of GCSEs and thinking of the future, any better sleep is a true blessing to me!

What have you learnt this week?

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When You Need to Shout and Scream

Monday 14 December 2015

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I find that I am more able to communicate my outrage at the little things in life with a loud voice and violent arm movements than I am when I try to use written words to convey my feelings. Somehow they don’t come out the way I want them to when I’ve written them down most of the time. But then again, I tend to stumble over most sentences I try to string together in speech.

However, somehow - somehow those trips and falls help me to show my inner frustration. I’m allowed to mess up because I’m speaking uncontrollably - speaking through my annoyance and anger. Verbal vomit that has a point.

Maybe that’s the nature of frustration - or perhaps it’s just the way our brains process it. Or maybe it’s only my brain that does this. 

I think that hand gestures, grunts and stutters (even when they are unintentionally done) show people how I’m feeling much better than a sentence barely hanging together by the seams. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the written word can be the only way to get an emotion out of your chest and any random reader will be able to connect with you immediately. To be frank that’s most often the case. However, there are times when a good yell, scream or rant is needed. So don’t hold back if you’re feeling too full of emotion.

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5 Fab Jane Austen Quotes

Friday 11 December 2015

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As you may or may not know, I am a huge fan of Jane Austen. She is one of my favourite writers, and I love the stories she tells and how they still reflect human and societal behaviour today. I love the way she uses language and her words simply enthral me. Plus, Mr Darcy - how could I not love the person who created Mr Darcy? So, here are 5 of my favourite quotes from Jane Austen herself:

Picture found on

1. ‘Love is not love which alters when its alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove.’

What she’s saying here is that having a real love for somebody means that you accept their flaws and any changes they may go through. Accepting them for who they are is paramount. Love doesn’t alter after one small alteration in their character.

2. ‘If I loved you less I might be able to talk about it more.’

Oh, Knightley… He and Emma had been friends for years and he began to fall for her 4 years before her book was set. By the time he eventually told her of his feelings, his love had become so strong he felt he couldn’t express it into words. Pretty powerful stuff in my opinion. Some things don't need to be said.

3. ‘Friendship is certainly the finest balm for pangs of disappointed love.’

The ultimate back-up for the saying 'mates before dates'. Your friends should always stand by you when you are going through a heartbreak and you should never abandon your friends for anyone. Even though Austen used this line ironically in the context of Northanger Abbey.

4. ‘A woman, especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.’

*Cough cough*…

5. ‘I must tell you how ardently I admire and love you.’

*Swoon*. I could have filled this post with Mr Darcy quotes, you should count yourself lucky this is the only one. One of my favourite Jane Austen scenes ever - possibly my favourite of them all. It’s so full of tension and misunderstanding and it completely flips the readers’ and Lizzy’s opinions on the characters in question. And Mr Darcy is just, yeah. My literary crush.

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Be Childlike Again

Wednesday 9 December 2015

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Have you ever met a person who makes you feel like you’re a child again? A five year old who has just picked up their favourite toy - bursting with an excitement and innocence you haven’t felt in a while. You’re suddenly inquisitive about everything you see and optimistic about the prospects the world holds for you; it’s the type of optimism you thought you had but never felt. The knowledge that you had presumed you owned, was now put into perspective, yet your confidence in that knowledge grew and doubled by the second. You feel small. But not insignificant. Everything seems good, you are happy and the world is peaceful. Nothing bad ever happens.

But then that person leaves, and all the self-doubt, worry and concern you held before comes rushing back. You are now big again, with all the knowledge in the world resting in your worried little mind. You are no longer that five year old bouncing up and down with glee. You are you, standing still, staring into mid-air at nothing in particular.

“Are you okay?” your friend asks you - concerned at the glazed sheen that has been screening you eyes for the past minute.

“Yes,” you reply. “I’m fine,” you say, although you are bored and unimportant. “Yes,” you say, although the world is a terrible place filled with bad people who do horrible things. Nothing is new and all the sparkle in the world has shrivelled up into a dry, dull black ball of nothingness.

“I’m fine,” you say. “I just zoomed out for a moment. Daydreaming.”

“Let’s go catch up with them,” your friend says, gesturing to the door out of which that person had just left and starting towards it. “You know, I’ve never met someone quite like them before.”

“No,” you say. “Neither have I.”

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My Past Selves

Monday 7 December 2015

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My 16-year-old self has more spots than my 14-year-old self, or even my 15-year-old self. But she is more comfortable with a face full of harsh, red blemishes than the 14-year-old who would sweat and panic over one tiny zit. It wouldn’t even be classed as a zit; in reality they were slightly discoloured hills on my skin, barely able to be awarded the title of red - of a spot. 

My 16-year-old self sometimes walks around make-up free, despite her pock-marked face! My 13-year-old self would sometimes do the same, but she felt more shy about her perfect skin than my 16-year-old self’s varied one. My 14-year-old self had thin thighs that she felt were “too skinny” and  a relatively flat chest. Now my 16-year-old self has boobs that jiggle when she dances and thighs that wiggle when she walks. 

My 13-year-old self was insecure about her likes and dislikes - that things that made her her, she thought that her reading habit and bookish obsessions would cause people to think less of her. But now her 16-year-old self is proud of her hobbies and her colourful bookshelf and will usually be happy to share the things she has written, in the hope that someone will enjoy reading them as she has enjoyed writing them.

But my 16-year-old self is still secure. She still has days when she is scared and doubts her self worth; she still feels conscious about changing for PE in case anyone looks disparagingly upon her body. She is confident but still has insecurities. She knows everyone has insecurities now matter how confident they may seem - and that is what makes her confident. She has accepted herself for who she is and I am proud of her for that. 

However, that doesn’t mean that I am not proud of my other selves; the spotless 13-year-old, the 14-year-old with “too skinny” legs, and the 15-year-old who felt lost and out of place, with no sense of direction. I am proud of them.

I am proud of my 13-year-old self for letting herself become more confident around people.

I am proud of my 14-year-old self for achieving the feeling of security and bliss around the friends I still love to bits today, for discovering more of her passions and letting others know about them. 

I am proud of my 15-year-old self in so many ways. Having recently been her, her troubles are still fresh in my mind. The heartbreak my 14-year-old self felt at having to leave my home rippled into my 15-year-old self’s thoughts. She didn’t feel right - she was uncomfortable. She felt empty for a while until she took the time to glue herself back together, piece by piece. I am proud of her for triumphing over the troubles my past selves struggled against and I want to congratulate her for that.

Now, all that I hope is that my 16-year-old self, and all my selves to come, will do them proud.

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