5 things I learned from moving

Friday 29 May 2015

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In August of last year, I moved from a small village in Wales, where I had lived all my life, to a very different environment in England. Being transplanted from a place where I was happy and had some of the best friends a person could ever ask for, into a place that frankly seemed alien to me and was filled with strangers – that was very scary for me. No matter how much comfort and consolation I received from my friends, family, or anyone who knew of my leaving, I still felt like my heart had been ripped out and I was consumed by a dreaded anticipation for the moment that I would first enter my new school. A school where no one would like me, no one would even want to talk to me and they would all sneer at me and exile me from their ranks.

Fortunately for me, this school was not in existence.

I have learned many things from the move and I thought that I would share them, as some of you may be going through a similar thing. The things I have learned can be adapted to different situations, whether you’re moving job, school, going to university or wherever, I hope these can help you feel more at ease in your new surroundings.


1. People love difference

Although I was not moving out of the UK, Wales and England are still separate countries and with any distance comes different accents, slang, cultures, traditions and customs. My accent was probably the first thing to be noticed by anyone – simple ways I pronounced words enthralled people and, to be fair, it still comes up now even after I’ve been here nearly a year.

People just love to find out more about things they aren’t used to. It’s just the way we are. We have an urge to find out about new customs and how things are done in places we have never been before. If new people are brought up in conversation, it’s likely that the other person will want to know about them. They’ll want to know about your friends back home and the place you lived and went to school in before they knew you. If they’re not asking questions in a creepy way, it’s most likely that they’re just being friendly and inquisitive.

2. People are usually more than willing to make friends

Yes, not everyone will like you: but that’s fine, and they don’t necessarily have to have a reason. You don’t like everyone do you? However, since I’ve been in a new school most of the people I have met have been warm and friendly towards me. They’ve included me in conversations and been open to me. In general, humans can be ridiculously nice and we tend to forget that due to a few unsavoury individuals.

3. Fear can hold you back in a number of ways

Fear. It’s a horrible thing. The fears of being laughed at, of no one liking me, of not seeing my best friends anymore, and of failure were the ones I faced most when I moved (and, indeed afterwards as well). Initially, it held me back from attempting to even talk to people, and from getting my voice heard. Over time, I have come out of my shell somewhat; I put my hand up more in class, shared my opinions and have even let some people hear my feminist rants. Because I lost some of my fears I was able to be myself around people more than I would otherwise have done. I am not a naturally loud person, but I can have strong opinions and want to be heard (one reason why I started this blog) and having feared other people stopped me from doing that.

And on the fear of not seeing your friends, just remember this: if you’re truly friends then you will see them. The friends who didn’t care as much as you thought will come clear to you. Don’t give up on your best friends, though, the ones who you know truly count; when you’re back with them after months of separation and nothing in your relationship seems to have changed, be thankful for friends like them. You may not see them as often as you would like but it’ll happen. Count yourself lucky that we live in a world of social media, which makes it easier than ever to stay in contact with people.

Yes, you will miss your friends. So much that it hurts. But you can see them every so often, and you can still talk to them, even if it is through a screen.

4. Change is not always bad

I have never been fond of change, always been determined to see the bad side and never the good, until the good finally appears. For god's sake, don’t be like me! Change can be good and as much as I understand that, it can be hard to practise this in real life.

The change may seem daunting at first, but once it is in full swing and you start to reap the benefits, it’ll seem much better – believe me.

5. It’s not the end of the world

It may seem like everything is a bit of a shambles at the moment, and they may be so, but you don’t need to get yourself in a tizzy over it. Try and look on the bright side as much as you can and never get too down about it, otherwise, you’ll start wallowing in self-pity. Even if things seem really bad, there’s time to improve them.

You can always move back to that certain place when the time is right, you can see people who are special to you when you want and life will carry on. The world will keep spinning no matter what you’re doing and you have to keep going with it; live out your life just as well as you would have done if you hadn’t been put into this new situation, or live an even better one. This change could be the change that opens the door to something incredible.

Just give it a chance!
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On the Importance of the Outdoors

Wednesday 27 May 2015

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The majority of us spend a great deal of time indoors. A roof over our heads and the heating settings at our choosing, we have everything we need in our homes. And whenever we don’t have a certain something we can just get into a rooved-vehicle and pop to the shops to get it. My point is,  our time is dominated by our ever so busy lives, and we never seem to enjoy them as much as we could or value the fantastic world around us.
    We spend so much of our time indoors that it can sometimes feel suffocating and confining. Sometimes all we need is a bit of fresh air. Fresh air to calm the mind, stimulate our imagination and make us more aware and appreciative of our surroundings. We need to escape what can occasionally become our monotonous daily routine and take time out to explore. Because with exploring comes new places, new passions, new interests and new friends. When we travel we gain a greater understanding of not just ourselves, but of people and humans as a whole.
    We spend more of our time outdoors, and I believe that we will be a lot better for it. And yes, those of you who know me in real life may call me a hypocrite as I do stay inside too long than I would care to say. 
    However, that is set to change. 
    I’m going to take a walk in the garden more often, bring my book outside instead of reading it on my bed, and just generally do more outside, whether it's having a picnic or going for a long hike. I’ve decided on this for a number of reasons, the main being that being outside has many health benefits – both mentally and physically. I really want to give my imagination a boost, as at times the lack of it can become draining, and what’s the use in writing if there’s no imagination behind it? I also want to add a little change and alteration in my routine. Just by going outdoors more often will switch things up and make tasks that would otherwise have been boring (for example, revision, homework etc.) a bit more colourful.

Tell me what you think of my plan in the comments. Do you think it will have a positive impact on my life?

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The Horrors of the Hangry

Monday 25 May 2015

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    I… I am a member… of the terrifying cult of The Hangry. I scream at passing birds for simply singing and see red when my brother moves, all because I haven’t had a sufficient amount to eat that day. I am not proud of it, and I certainly would change it if I could.
    But that’s the thing: “if I could.”
    I sadly can’t change that aspect of myself. It’s just how my body works.

    I’m so sorry Mum for when you’ve had to cope with me or Dad yelling over the noise of our rumbling stomachs. I’m sorry to my friends and classmates who have had to listen to my rantings about the lateness of our lunch break and who have to watch, helpless, as I slowly and steadily morph into a furious, green (and extremely hungry) Hulk.
   All I ask is for your forgiveness. The forgiveness of anyone who has seen me in, what is possibly my most horrible persona. Please understand that I do not choose to be like this. Please understand that I cannot control it and it’s really not my fault. And above all: please know that I sincerely do not mean any of the things that I say when I am hungry. I tend to shoot insults at anyone who happens to be there and shout without realising it. I can become a disgustingly nasty person at these times, but the majority of it is really just my complaining tummy pleading for food.
    Just, please – let me say this.
   Thank you.
   Thank you for sticking by me and comforting me when my stomach is as bare as Mother Hubbard’s cupboard. Thank you for continuing to be my friend despite the arguments that we all know will come in the run up to lunchtime. Thank you for not insisting that you need to share my food or letting me have a little of yours when I need it. Thank you for feeding me and caring for me and knowing what in need in those dark times. I honestly could not be more grateful.
    And those you are like me in being members of The Hangry Club: keep battling the hunger and try – for heaven’s sake try! - to be patient and nicer to the people around you. I know – believe me I know – it’s not easy but with enough will power I know we can make those dark, starving moments a little lighter.


Do you guys get hangry? Let me know in the comments!

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How to be a writer

Friday 22 May 2015

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Way too often for my liking, I have seen the phrase ‘aspiring writer’ thrown about the Internet. People with bios that include the phrase frustrate me by the mere use of it. I have seen it too frequently and now end up crying out loud to the world:
 “What is wrong with people?”

First things first, the word ‘aspiring’ means that you want to be something, or that you have set something as your goal; you hope to be a specific type of person. I can bet you that the people who have ‘aspiring writer’, ‘aspiring artist’, ‘aspiring photographer', etc. in their social media bios or refer to themselves as such, already are what they ‘aspire’ to be. They probably write, paint - whatever they want to do – almost everyday.
These people need to realise this:

If you write, you’re a writer.
If you paint, you’re a painter.
If you take photographs, you’re a photographer.
If you run, you’re a runner.

Get where I’m going with this?
If you’re one of those people with ‘aspiring’ in their bios – or you refer to yourself as an ‘aspiring *insert occupation here*’ when people ask you what you do – then stop. If you already are what you said you aspire to be, then take away the ‘aspiring’ from your sentence. Instead place it in front of ‘published author’ or ‘professional runner’; that’s really what you aspire to be, if we’re quite honest here. Take the frustrating, two-word title in a bio, and turn it into a one-word title. I’m sure that the latter will represent you more than you think.
 And if you aren’t what you aspire to be… Be it. There’s nothing standing in your way.

Yours sincerely,
A writer.

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"You run like a girl!" Well, yeah...

Wednesday 20 May 2015

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How many times in your life have you heard someone say ‘like a man’ or ‘like a girl’? I bet you it’s more than you could count on your fingers, twice over. Try to think back again. What came to your mind as soon as that person said it?

Maybe it was little girl falling over as she attempted to run? Or perhaps she failed to catch some kind of sports ball? Or perhaps you thought of a dashing young man lifting some heavy object, which then caused his muscles to flex attractively?

Why didn’t you think of Jessica Ennis winning gold in the London Olympics or a local shopkeeper packing things onto his shop’s shelves? Why didn’t you think of the girl who was the ‘sports queen’ in your secondary school or the boy down the road who always carries his little sister on his back, everywhere he goes?

They do everything like a ‘man’ or a ‘girl’ because they just happened to be female or male.

When you think about it, they’re pretty stupid sayings. They simply further our stereotypes of ‘weak females’ and ‘strong men’. You say ‘fight like a girl’ but forget Boudicca, Elizabeth I and Black Widow. You just ‘fight like a man’ but forget the boys in wheelchairs, the men who don’t like sport and don’t have aggressive natures.

The phrase ‘like a girl’ has been constantly used to demote the female image while ‘like a man’ enforces the butch and strong male stereotype that we are all familiar with.

But really if the person who is being told to do something ‘like a man’ just happens to be female then it is physically impossible for them to do that; unless they got a sex change for the 5 minutes needed to tackle that task and then change back once it has been completed. No one is ever going to want a 5-minute sex change however, and therefore telling a woman to do something ‘like a man’ or vice versa is something that is completely impossible for them to do.

These phrases make no sense. They tell someone who identifies as a specific gender to do something 'like' the opposite one. “What can be done?” I hear you ask. Well, the solution is really quite simple: STOP USING THESE GOD DAMN PHRASES!
Stop saying ‘I run like a girl’ because either you will run like a girl whenever you run or will never run like a girl because you are male. Stop using these phrases and stop creating stereotypes in the younger generation’s minds. Stop using these phrases and ‘girls’ will no longer be viewed as ‘weak’ and ‘pathetic’, and ‘men’ will no longer be seen as ‘strong’, ‘dominant’ and ‘superior’. Instead people will be seen as the complex individuals we truly are, not one specific trait taken from a sexist stereotype.
People are people. They are vulnerable and strong and confident and caring and creative and boring and intelligent and witty. They are human.

Stop saying ‘like a girl’ and ‘like a man’; start saying ‘like you.’
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5 Books that Changed my Life

Friday 15 May 2015

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1. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

When I was little under the age of 6, my dad began to read C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe to me. The book enthralled me as the fantastical land of Narnia formed in my young mind. I was hooked from the get go. I loved every minute of it and as my dad started to read more and more of it each night (he wanted to get to a certain part of the book so that I wouldn’t cry when we saw the film in the cinema) I was certainly not one to complain.

 As a child I adored the idea of talking animals that could laugh and talk as if they too were human; the centaurs and talking lions and beavers amazed me and I honestly wanted Mr. Tumnus as my best friend.

2.  Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

I have a lot to thank J.K. Rowling for. I think it was chiefly her books that got me into reading and started my love of books. It was she who sparked my love for storytelling, for punctuation, for language and for the written word. Her skills taught me some of the most valuable lessons in life and I genuinely don’t know who I would be today had I not been such an enthusiastic Potterhead growing up. 

I have learnt so much from these novels – these novels that seem like child’s play to so many, yet mean a great deal to many more. As she has passed down so much of her knowledge to people like myself, I feel that I am indebted to J. K. Rowling, for helping shape my personality and inspire me to be passionate about the things that I love.

3. Girls are Best by Sandi Toksvig

I can’t remember when or how this book first came into my life, however, I know that I first read it when I was about 10 or 11. With the history books being dominated by male figures this book opened my eyes to some of the incredible things women have achieved through the years. Whether it is the invention of the bra or some badass and unknown queen, I can tell you they’re probably mentioned in here. 

So many women with notable and outstanding achievements have not had their story told and this book tells them. As it is truly a book for someone of that age it did not take me too long to read, however its impact lasted a lot longer. 

This was the book that gave me inspiration to do what I wanted to do with my life, having gained the knowledge that my gender should never hold me back. It sparked a feminist attitude in me at a young age; an attitude I am glad to say hasn’t ceased yet.

4. Elizabeth I and her conquests by Margaret Simpson

While we’re on the subject of badass queens: most of you won’t know that I have held a love for history (and the Tudor era in particular) for years. This love, I believe, first grew when I read this book. A book bought for me by my grandparents at a village fete. A funny, but also factual account of Elizabeth I’s life, it intrigued me as a young reader and I was eager to learn more. It started something in me that I hope will never leave: an adoration for history and the knowledge of what happened in the past.

Margaret Simpson’s Dead Famous series has included many people, and although I have not read any more of them, I hope that I will in the future.

5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

So we’ve had the first biggie (Harry Potter) and now we’re onto the second - and I don’t quite know where to start.

A few years ago, my parents gave me a kindle for my birthday. They had already put on some books that they thought or knew that I would enjoy, or, in some cases, already loved to pieces. A few of Jane Austen’s novels were featured among those and soon enough, I fell in love with her writing (or maybe that was Mr. Darcy…). I began to read more and more of her books, some of them over and over again, until my family diagnosed me as obsessed. This book was, in a way, my stepping-stone into classic literature – opening up a whole new world of fictional lands to me

What books books have changed your life? Please tell me in the comments - I'd love to know!

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The Ponderings of a Daydreamer

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been fascinated by the human mind. Not in some weird zombie “LET ME EAT YOUR BRAINS ARGHH!” way - no, I’m not that crazy – but in a “Wow we’re actually pretty amazing,” way. The different ways and perspectives in which we see the world captivate me. The fact that each and every being alive has different opinions on everything, different habits and hobbies and loves and dreams has always seemed incredulous to me.
   Sometimes, when I have spent too long pondering such things, I slip into the land of daydream – a place I would be quite happy to be lost in for hours. I daydream about the goings on in the brain of the person sitting next to me, or behind me, or in front of me, or just a random person in the room. I dream how things must look from their perspective and how they view the same things that I am viewing. Often I imagine myself as that person (taking the phrase ‘put yourself in someone else’s shoes’ a bit too seriously!) and construct the images and sounds of their thoughts, which for all I know, could be drifting just as much as my own are.

   We humans are odd and curious things: we create conversations with ourselves in our heads and form strong opinions on things that really, we couldn’t care less about. We spend our whole lives wanting to achieve the unknown and using our imagination to the maximum, even if it may not feel like it all the time. We get attached to things that our minds have created, whether it is a fictional character from a book, TV series or film, or an ideal scenario or life that we have built up over time.

    Our minds are amazing. We should try to remember that from time to time.

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