August 2016 | Monthly Wrap Up

Wednesday 31 August 2016

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I don't even know what August has been. A bit of a mess I suppose.

Favourite part?

Surely it must have been my family holiday in Croatia: a stunning place, perfect for relaxing and exploring. 

Best read?

Ooh, this one’s going to be hard as I’ve read lots of books this month. Out of all of them, I think I’d say In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. I was captured by it completely! However, I also read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler, This Modern Love by Will Darbyshire and Wicked by Gregory Maguire. 

Favourite tunes?

I’ve been obsessed with ABBA and Rumours by Fleetwood Mac this month. However, I’ve already posted something about my summer music obsessions, so if you want to know more click here to read it!

What did I learn?

Does realising that I’m actually growing up count? I’m not freaking out about it as much as I have been. Progress!

What’s happening next month?

12 days free then I start college. Bring on A Levels! Before that, though, Katie and I are going to Bath on the 1st and I’m sure I’ll do some other things before going to college.

What’s been on my mind?

Results for the most part. Either that or one of the books I’ve been reading or finding time to seem friends. 

Favourite blogger/vlogger?

While I was away I obviously didn’t get much chance to watch many YouTube videos or read many blog posts. So I’ve been watching some of my old favourites: Carrie Fletcher, Dodie Clark, Hannah Witton etc. Some of my favourite bloggers have been my TOE girls, who have been amazing friends this month. Also a shoutout to Whitney’s snapchats - the best!

Favourite post?

A Day in the Life | 30 July 2016; it was something different and I really enjoyed writing it and it felt really honest. Also, I really like Je Suis Epuisée. I love sharing my poetry with you guys.

Biggest inspiration?

Difficult. I’ve been reading lots of blog posts about improving my writing and being more productive in a day and I really want to start getting more accomplished, particularly in regards to my novel. I really want to complete it and finish my characters’ story arcs but then I stop writing it and focus on something else, which really isn’t good for productivity!

Any other favourites?

Monster Munch oh my god. I’ve probably eaten way too many lately. TV-wise, my family and I have just started watching the second series of The Flash and have now finished FRIENDS. That was a sad time. Ooh, I bought this denim skirt at the end of July too, which I’ve been wearing almost constantly (apart from my holiday). I’m practically attached to it.

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Albums I've Been Obsessed With This Summer

Monday 29 August 2016

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This summer, there have been a few albums I’ve been absolutely obsessed with! They’ve been on repeat while I’ve been doing anything; from laying by the pool to sorting out my room.

1. Gold (+ More Gold) by ABBA

I’ve been a massive ABBA fan for ages. I love Mamma Mia! the musical and have watched the film so many times I can’t count. After seeing it live in the West End (oh my god it was so good!) I started singing ABBA songs almost constantly.There’s no denying it: I am the dancing queen.

2. Rumours by Fleetwood Mac

I first became aware of this album after I watched the episode of Glee it featured in. After watching it for the second time around the middle of the summer, I looked up the original on YouTube and have been obsessed ever since! Secondhand News, Songbird, Go Your Own Way and Dreams are standouts for me but I’m so in love with the whole album it’s ridiculous! My favourite thing to use as a soundtrack for a summer’s day.

3. We Are The Pipettes by The Pipettes

My family’s 2006 summer obsession was reignited in me after I discovered the CD lurking at the back of a shelf. A great pop album by a band that deserves way more attention! (Even though I’ve no idea if they are still together as this album did come out 10 years ago and, as far as I know, my family we some of the only ones who listened to it.) If you want fun, upbeat pop music, look no further!

What music have you been loving this summer? I'd love to have some recommendations!

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A Fairy Tale | A Poem

Friday 26 August 2016

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I am a daring knight
saving a prince from a dragon.

I am valiant and brave;
I am kind and bold

Travelling the land of olde.
I joust and fight,

absorbing every roar from the crowd.

I know wizards and witches,
trolls and giants and dwarves.

Those near me, call to me,
for they know I am able to free

them from their troubles.

I am about to save a prince from a dragon,
until I close the book 

and the story has gone.

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In Cold Blood by Truman Capote | Review

Wednesday 24 August 2016

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“The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call “out there.” 

One of my holiday reads while I was in Dubrovnik was In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, an author more well-known for his work of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. At a college introductory day I became aware of this book, as it was one of the books I would have studied had I attended that college. We read an extract of it and were told the basic storyline: the true story of a Kansas family murdered in their home. Fact written as fiction. Of course I was intrigued.

“Time rarely weighed upon him, for he had many methods of passing it.” 

Capote had me gripped from the very beginning. The writing really built up the anticipation leading up to the murders. It would describe a scene that appeared perfectly happy and then add another line on the end that brought the reality back to you with a jolt. For example, after the description of Nancy’s bedroom and showing her laying out the dress she was going to wear the next day then Capote telling us that “it was the dress in which she was to buried.” Things like that hit you hard and make you more aware of the story the book follows and the fact that it actually happened.

“Imagination, of course, can open any door—turn the key and let terror walk right in.”

After the murders take place, Capote shows the reactions of the locals - the people who knew the Clutters - as they discover the fate of the people they know and love. It was heartbreaking and you could really sense how distrust spread throughout the community.

“The compulsively superstitious person is also very often a serious believer in fate; that was the case with Perry.” 

An air of mystery is maintained throughout the novel, only explaining the motive in the third out of the four chapters. We’re kept in the dark just as the police are (except that we know from the start who the murderers are). Speaking of the murderers, Capote shows them as being unnervingly human. Perry Smith loved poetry and literature. Dick Hickock had a young family. However, we get to know them and their minds better throughout the novel. It’s quite scary in a way actually.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was one of the best books I’ve read in ages. I’m actually quite glad that I won’t be studying it in the end; I think I’d get tired of it and then dislike it, which would be horrible! I can, however, understand why people mentioned in the book (the families of friends of the murdered and murderers) wouldn’t like the book. There’s a huge amount of detail involved and I know that if I was them I wouldn’t be comfortable with it being made as public as it was.

“And I lay awake wondering if either one was bothered by it - the thought of those four graves.” 

This is a book I would totally recommend to anyone interested. Incredible writing telling a fascinating story.

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10 Days in Dubrovnik

Monday 22 August 2016

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On Saturday I returned home from a 10 day trip to Dubrovnik in Croatia. It was a lovely time spent with my family, full of laughter, books, sun and sea. When I’ve done posts about my travels previously (for examples click here, here and here), it’s normally been a day by day account. Those trips were filled with activities and my experiences going to a whole bunch of new places. This holiday was, well, exactly that: a holiday. There were many days that were literally spent doing nothing. By nothing, I mean reading and lounging around by the pool. As you can probably tell, I can’t really write such a detailed account of those days. Instead, I thought I’d tell you about the other half of the holiday, in which we were a bit more active.

Dubrovnik is an amazing city. The sight as we walked through the gates into the Old Town we breathtaking. The marble main street that shone spectacularly in the sunshine and was lined with restaurants, tourist shops, sweet shops and plenty of other businesses topped by homes of locals who looked out every day onto the sea of bustling tourists below. 

Despite the crowds, Dubrovnik was still one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited. From Stradun, side streets just wide enough to fit two people side by side snaked up the hill or towards the sea. There was so much hidden in those streets, guarded by hundreds of sickeningly steep steps. I think it was mostly residential, however, we visited a war museum in one of them and I saw many tables stood outside what must have been small independent cafés.

One of my favourite things about the city was that there were buskers and live music playing almost everywhere, it seemed. There was a jazz group playing near the harbour, a violin and classical guitar playing all sorts of pieces in a restaurant just outside the city walls, a man playing what I thought was a bouzouki by the water fountain on Stradun and more. As a music lover, this was amazing, particularly seeing some of my favourite instruments being played so well. It also added a lot to the atmosphere of the place, making it quite unique in my eyes. 

The architecture was fantastic and we could admire it properly during our walk of the city walls. Many narrow streets were a great asset, considering how hot it got during the day and many buildings were just so pretty - these were mostly churches or halls. The views of everything in the city could be admired a lot better from the city walls. There were so many other angles and points of view we could see, giving us another interpretation of the city and stunning views of the Adriatic.

We went kayaking twice during our trip. The first time was in the middle of the day and without my mum, who didn’t feel great so instead had a lazy day. The heat combined with the type of kayaks we were using, meant it was exhausting but still fun. We stopped off in a cave further around the coastline, where we ate our sandwiches and snorkelled in the warm and ridiculously clear water. The second time, this time with my mum, we set out later in order to catch the sunset. We used different kayaks this time and were in pairs, which made it a lot easier. I was less tired even though we travelled a further distance, but I enjoyed it more because it was fun to spend a while just paddling and being really relaxed with my brother. Also, the sea looked like something you’d find on Pinterest - just saying.

Another must-do in Dubrovnik is to travel up the hillside on the cable car to get a jaw-dropping view of the area. There’s also a restaurant up there, an amphitheatre and a museum. First, we ate a picnic once we got to the top then looked around for a while then went for a drink in the restaurant.

Have you been to Dubrovnik? Or are you planning to? I would definitely recommend it!

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5 Songs That Make Me Cry

Friday 19 August 2016

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It’s no secret that I can get a bit emotional at times, especially at a good book, film or song. I just can’t help it! Here are 5 songs that tug on my heartstrings.

1. Slipping Through My Fingers by ABBA

I think loads of people find this song emotional and I think it’s quite clear why. The lyrics break my heart and make me want to go hug my parents. 


2. Walk in the Sun by McFly

This one. I think I’ve mentioned somewhere before that this is one of my favourite songs. I discovered it around the time that I was moving and the words just spoke to me. Apart from the fact that it is a beautiful song, I could relate to the lyrics a lot and now always associate it with that time of my life. I can feel myself choking up from the first few chords. This song isn’t all sad, though. It’s got quite a hopeful tone to it. Dammit McFly messing with my emotions.


3. Sick of Losing Soulmates by Dodie Clark

I love Dodie. She’s one of my favourite YouTubers. When I watched the video of her singing this song, I could feel her pain as she sang it. A very special song written by a very special person. 


4. You’ve Got a Friend by James Taylor

Again, another song that came to me at the time of my moving. And again, this one isn't just sad. In fact, I would consider it to be a happy song; a comforting song. It reminded me that I’ve got friends around me and that I wouldn’t lose touch with the friends who mattered. Very comforting for a 14-year-old who thought she’d lost everything.

5. Songbird by Fleetwood Mac

I first heard this song sung by Naya Rivera in Glee but have listened to it a lot in the past few weeks as I've become obsessed with Rumours. It's so heartbreakingly beautiful and is definitely one of my favourite songs from the album.


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6 Blog Posts I Love

Wednesday 17 August 2016

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I’ve been blogging for a while now. In May, I had my first blogiversary, so I suppose I can now be considered an established blogger. And seeing as I hit another milestone the other week, after publishing my 150th post, I thought it would be quite nice to discuss some of my personal favourite blog posts that I’ve published here on Another Ranting Reader.

1. How to Time Travel

I love this one because the concept I talked about still blows my mind. I love the fact that pictures are essentially time capsules and that each and everyone has a hidden back story to it that we may never know. Ugh, I just love it. Love it love it love it. I feel like I could go on about this topic way less comprehensively so I’ll stop. 

2. Why We All Need to Dream

This one was written during my exams at a point when I was ready to explode due to the amount of career/future talk my school had given us throughout the year. All I want to do is write and so when I did explode, that’s what I did, and this post was born.

3. My Nocturnal Paradise

I wrote this ages ago. I think it was actually about a year and a half ago. This poem was originally a short piece, like some of the other posts I’ve published (e.g. I’m a night owl), but after writing it I cut it down into smaller lines and changed it into a poem and to me, it seemed much better suited to that format. As my first (albeit not my best) poem published on my blog, this one means a lot to me. 

4. Why We Need To Talk About Our Periods!

My most popular post. Some people who know me in real life will know that I like to talk about periods and try to de-stigmatise them. They’re nothing to be ashamed about after all. After a while, it dawned on me that I should write a post on the subject, as it’s something I’m quite passionate discussing. I can’t believe I didn’t write this post sooner actually. 

5. To Shave Or Not To Shave

Again, this is something I’m really glad I talked about. I don’t really discuss this in real life but I think it’s important that no one should feel pressured to have a “hairless” body, particularly if they don’t want to. Everything should be about choice, not societal expectations.

6. Thoughts from 00:32, 1 January 2016

Out of all my posts, this is one of the ones I remember writing most clearly. It was spontaneously written. I was settling into a camp bed in my living room, wrapping myself up in a sleeping bag, as I’d given my bed up to one of the guests we had staying with us for New Year’s. I remember thinking how crazy it is that we celebrate time. How odd yet amazing that is. I just had to write it down, or those thoughts would be gone by the time I woke up.

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Why Am I a Feminist? | A Fabulous Feminist

Monday 15 August 2016

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My blog’s name is A fabulous feminist. Why? Because I’m a feminist, and maybe a little fabulous? Whatever the case, the alliteration was too good to pass up. 

When Jemima asked me to guest write on her blog, I was really excited and pondered what I should write about. I thought about my blog, and what was at the very core of it, and this post was born. 
Why am I feminist? For many reasons, a few of which I’ll illustrate here, that you may be familiar with, or may deepen your understanding of what feminism is. 

First of all, I am a feminist because I believe that all people, regardless of their gender, deserve equal rights and opportunities. That is what feminism is about— equality! It really is as simple as that. Unfortunately, though, the word alone causes people to refute it, declaring it to be misandry, associating the word with ‘man-hating’, something which, funnily enough, is not equality, and thusly not feminism. 

Secondly, I am a feminist because, as related to the above reason, I see the contempt toward the word ‘feminism' as it is directly linked to women, and not men, and the reaction to this by many is anger. People argue that if feminism is about equality, why is it called feminism? This distaste furthers the knowledge that we live in a patriarchal society, that a word that is linked to women is rebuked because of that very reason. This view is even more ridiculous when you remember that we are all a part of ‘mankind’. Mankind.
Feminism is about equality, and if you can’t handle the word, don’t focus on it. Think about the ideology behind it.

Thirdly, I am a feminist because I understand that there is inequality amongst the genders, in all countries of the world, and I believe that is unacceptable. Not only do I believe it, I know it is. I see that there is a wage gap. That men are often valued above women in the job industry. That men are told they can’t be sensitive. That men and women are stereotyped beyond excusability. And I will not stand for it. 

To be a feminist, you simply are a person who believes that all people should be treated equally. There is no disclaimer that says you must identify yourself as a feminist, and complete some kind of initiation ritual! If you believe that all genders deserve to be treated equally then you are a feminist

So, why am I a feminist? Because I believe that all genders should be treated equally. In short, I’m a human being. 


Please go over and have a look at Anna's blog, A Fabulous Feminist. I love her posts and think that you guys will too!

Jemima x

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