November 2019 | Monthly Wrap Up

Friday 29 November 2019

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November has just been deadlines. They take over everything.

Favourite part?

Getting all my deadlines done?! Well, to be honest that was at 11:30 at night and I went and made myself toast and went to bed straight after. The simplest things are sometimes the best!

Apart from that, I’ve also been to see some shows with one of my modules. I’m gutted that it’s nearly over as I’m going to have to actually pay to go to the theatre now?? A bit rude. This month we went to see an amateur production of Pride and Prejudice – which was a bit weird in the way the script was put together and which I didn’t really enjoy due to that – and a National Theatre Live Screening of Present Laughter, which was actually incredible. It left me in a daze and I would love to see it again if I am ever able to. 

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I’ve done lots of planning and carrying out various different sessions and events for NEST and ongoing things for FemSoc – including a film night, an 80s Mixer Fundraiser among others. The ones that have happened seem to have gone well, and each one if definitely a learning curve. 

This month I’ve been trying to get myself back into yoga. I was so on it in the first half of the year, but during summer and since I’ve been back at uni it’s just kind of dropped off my daily routine. My room is slightly too small for it at the moment so I’ve been making more of an effort to go to classes and I’m going to use the lounge for yoga (let’s hope my housemates don’t mind!). I can see how much it helps me, both physically and mentally, so it’s definitely a self-care priority at the moment. I’ve also been to more netball sessions with my course society team, and that’s super fun to just give it a go even though I’m by far not the best netball player there is. 

One week I ended up going to 4 different protests. The first against a racist incident on campus, another for democracy in Hong Kong, the next with Reclaim the Night which had a post-march panel which was really interesting, and then I’ve been on the UCU picket lines and at a UCU Strike Social event to support academic staff at my uni. I do love a good protest after all.

Somewhere in all that I’ve managed to have chill evenings with friends, video call friends from home and my family, and somehow ensure that my mental health didn’t make a massive dip. Woop for working self-care mechanisms (not sure what I’m doing right, but obviously something’s working!).

Best read?

Most of what I have read this month has been a shit-ton of journal articles. The best and worst part of my course is that I can go from reading about 18thcentury proto British feminism to 2019 revolutionary Sudan in one afternoon. 

Later on for my course, I’m (still) reading the Turkish Embassy Letters by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Common Sense by Thomas Paine. I’ll finish them soon. I’ve just got to set aside time to finish them. 

I finished reading David Nicholls’ Sweet Sorrow whilst waiting for some washing to finish. Overall, I did enjoy the book. Having started it in August, there was a massive gap between reading any of it, but I think if I hadn’t been interrupted by the start of uni I would have enjoyed it much more. It was sweet and a little heartbreaking (as the title would suggest) but in a way that was overall, I think, rather happy. It’s truly about the sweet sorrow of growing up, realizing your parents are actual people, drifting away from childhood friends, etc.

I’m also still reading Why I No Longer Talk to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge, and I’ve started 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak, both of which are absolutely brilliant. 

Favourite tunes?

This season is Stevie Nicks season and I won’t hear anything different. 

Image found here

Favourite watch?

I’ve watched a series and a bit of Mad Men, but have kind of given up on it. It was interesting but I don’t know, didn’t really hook me in the same way other shows have. I then rewatched the final series of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, because sometimes you just need to watch one of your faves. That show is like an old friend to me know (as sad as it sounds) and watching it is like having a virtual hug. In some ways it gives me hope. 

I’ve also been to the cinema a couple of times this month! I first went to see Judy – the biopic of Judy Garland in the last years of her life. It was incredible. I cried so much. I mean I cry at so many films, but I cried loads at this film. It was utterly heartbreaking in so many ways and I feel like I may need a lot of time before I see it again. If Renee Zellwegger doesn’t at least get nominated for an Oscar then I’ll be raging. 

Picture credit

I then went to see Judy and Punch. Bit of a theme of protagonists called Judy here. Judy and Punch was a story of two puppeteers, inspired by the infamous puppet show Punch and Judy. It was dark, and had some funny moments, and was quite ridiculous at parts, but overall it was a tale of those who had been put down by society and ensuring that the perpetrators of sexual violence and abuse feel the consequences of their actions. 

I also watched the new series of The Crown. I’m always skeptical of The Crown for obvious reasons, but as much as I dislike the monarchy I do love the show. The two episodes based in Wales were, for me at least, the best. Although that may just be my Welsh bias. The Aberfan episode had me sobbing from the first shot to well after the credits had ended, and the episode Tywysog Cymru made me cry in a way I haven’t in ages just because of the focus that it gave to Wales. Yes, I may have been a tad hormonal, tired and stressed but ah well. I think I need to head back to Wales soon. 

What did I learn?

I need to actually schedule myself breaks otherwise won’t take them. Genuinely, gotta keep on top of that self-care! Also that I can do things. Imposter syndrome has been real this month, so I need to keep telling myself that I am capable, I can do it, and I can do it well. 

What’s happening next month?

Obviously, Christmas. But that seems like ages away at the moment. In the first week of the month is the event which I’ve helped organize! It’s an 80s Mixer which is in aid of N.E.S.T. – an organisation you may have seen me talk about before (you will have definitely heard me talk about it if you know me in real life), which does a lot of work with refugees and asylum seekers in the North East. I’m in the minor-panic stage at the moment that it won’t go well, but I’m sure it will! Ask me about it this time next week and hopefully I’ll be able to talk much more happily about it!

I’ll also be sending off my postal vote this week. I think this may be my third vote in the past year?! We love that stable political system. I won’t tell you who to vote for, you’re intelligent people and can do that for yourselves. Just don’t vote Tory!

What’s been on my mind?

The 80s Mixer! Organising an event just consumes you. Also all the topics of my deadlines – colonialism in Sudan, gender reversals in When Harry Met Sally and how irritating Mary Astell is. And just general stressing about the upcoming election. Can you tell it’s been quite a stress month??!

Favourite blogger/vlogger?

Melanie Murphy and Hannah Witton as per usual. To be honest, I haven’t really watched or read much this month. It’s more been TV and films. 

Favourite post?

There haven’t been any others. Aahh, I know. It’s been deadline season; I’ll do better in December (hopefully).

Biggest inspiration?

The love I have for some of the things I do. Mostly N.E.S.T. and some of the things we’ve done with Feminist Society, but also with my degree becoming more specialized, being able to research and write about topics I’m really interested in and passionate about.

Any other favourites?

Almond butter on top of porridge. Oof it’s so good. Oh and gram flour pizza! I’ve got the hang of it now and it’s so tasty! I’ve always said this section is really my food favourites…

If you liked this post you might like: September/October 2019 | Monthly Wrap Up

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September/October 2019 | Monthly Wrap Up

Wednesday 30 October 2019

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So this is my first Wrap Up as a twenty-something. Weird, huh. 

Favourite part?

The beginning of September feels like ages ago now. In early September, I went to a local food festival with my mum (had a great paella with vegan chorizo pieces in it!), met up with friends for lunch, tried new recipes… I saw the National Theatre Live broadcast of Fleabag at the cinema and oh my god was it amazing! I also went to see the Downton Abbey film with my mum, and both of us were by far the youngest in the cinema – probably with our ages combined! Just before I headed back up to Newcastle, I went to a house party with some of my friends from college – it was so great to see them as it was difficult to organize things over summer as everyone was either working with conflicting schedules or away, so it was lovely to be able to catch up with everyone!

After the party, I had a couple of days left at work before packing up my stuff (my life is basically just books and clothes at this point), and heading back up to Newcastle in plenty of time before uni started. It was almost relieving to be back up here? I don’t know, I felt a little bit purposeless over the summer, so I think it was the having a sense of purpose and direction again that really lifted my mood when I was back. I had a few days to myself to try and get my room and everything sorted before my flatmates came back and Freshers’ Week began. It was hectic, and exhausting, but hopefully the time I spent at various stalls helped with recruitment. I also attended the General Strike for Climate on September 20. I was in awe at how many people turned up (and also loved seeing some of my lecturers in the middle of the crowd). The crowds were huge – the traffic lights were stopped for ages as the crowds kept coming and crossing the road as one huge swarm. Amazing!

A day or two after the Freshers’ Fair I went along to Lush’s Christmas Launch event. It was an early start, but it was well worth it. Staff members were dressed up as elves and brought us through several demos involving their new festive products. We made our own bath bombs and bubble bars, as well as trying out the body conditioners, soaps, moisturisers and all sorts of new goodies they have available. They have expanded their Snow Fairy range as well as made new huge new bath bombs called Amazeballs, which have fizzers and all sorts of stuff inside which comes out when it’s dissolving. At the end of the event we were given a goody bag with another bath bomb and some small bits and pieces from elsewhere, and got to take home the pieces we’d made earlier (all #gifted). I did cave and buy a few more things whilst I was there, but to be fair, I have used them a fai amount. I got myself one of the Yognog Body Conditioner (it smells incredible!) as well as one of their polar bear bath bombs. I had a great time and want to say a huge thank you to Lush for having us for the morning! (side note: pls sponsor me Lush, I love you...)

My friend Ali and I went to go and see Sindhu Vee’s stand up show at The Stand. It was lovely having a really chill evening out, and Sindhu was amazing as ever. Eshaan Akbar came on as a warm up act, and he was brilliant. I’d never heard of him before so I was fab to hear a set by someone completely new.  

At the beginning of October, I spent the weekend away in the middle of the Northumbrian countryside. I went away as part of a leadership with a student run organisation called N.E.S.T. which I got involved with last year and am now taking a more active role in (for those of you wondering what on earth NEST is, we aim to support and empower refugees in the North East through providing free English language lessons and other activities). We had a great time doing team activities, trying to cook on a shoddy campfire, seeing birds of prey and walking around the Kielder area in the rain. Even if we did escape actually camping overnight for the shelter of a nearby village hall. 

One of the upsides of one of my modules is that I get to go and see loads of shows for free! So far I’ve been to see the all-female cast of Pride and Prejudice (*sort of), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (NT Live broadcast), a cabaret response to the film The Craft, and am going to see another show on the day this post goes live! 

And yes, as I mentioned earlier, I turned 20 this month! The Pride and Prejudice show I saw as part of my course, I went to see on the evening before my birthday. It felt pretty fitting to be watching an incredibly feminist and hilarious adaptation of my favourite novel (potentially the novel that defined my teens even) in my last hours as a teenager, especially seeing as I spent much of my early teenage years discovering and developing my love for Jane Austen and her works (along with the films, TV series, book and all the other adaptations there are out there in the world). 

I had a lovely day. It was very relaxed, and I had a great time going to the pub with a couple of friends before going out for a meal at a vegan restaurant I hadn’t tried yet with a slightly wider group (my housemates along with 3 other friends). The next evening we had a house party for my birthday. It wasn’t huge, but it was great having people I know in all sorts of different areas of my life in the same room, and my housemate Jude made me a tasty cake!

Best read?

I have to admit I’ve not been reading as much as I would have liked to. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read a lot, but those have been mostly for my course and not books per se, mostly articles and shorter pieces. One novel I did read as part of course though, was Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe. I enjoyed this book much more than I’d expected – it’s such a wild ride, especially for a female character at that time. She’s kind of an incredible character, but also it’s quite heartbreaking at times. 

On the train on the way back up to Newcastle, I read Malala’s We are Displaced, an incredible anthology of young girls’ experiences of being displaced, whether that’s internally or externally and becoming a refugee. Inspiring, heartbreaking and hopeful, it’s an amazing read I would recommend to anyone. 

I have also been reading David Nicholls’ latest novel, Sweet Sorrow. I have been a fan of David Nicholls for a long time now (I met him at a book event almost 4 years ago now) so had to get my hands on this book. I still haven’t finished it yet (other things have got in the way), but it’s a lovely read and I can’t wait to finish it!

I’ve also been slowly reading Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge. This book was the pick for the Feminist Book Club I’ve been running as part of my work on the committee for my uni’s Feminist Society. It’s such an eye-opening book – for so many people in so many ways, and I include myself in that. The event was fantastic. It was honestly so great to just sit in the back of a room and hear black women discussing their experiences, highlighting issues and providing suggestions of solutions. 

I am falling way behind on my yearly reading challenge, but you never know hopefully I can scrape it back! 

Favourite tunes?

Taylor Swift’s Lover (again), Singin’ in the Rain, The Beatles. I’ve found a great playlist of Jane Austen film/TV series soundtracks which is great to work to.

Favourite watch?

I finished watching Grey’s Anatomy for the second time. Well, I say finished, I haven’t got access to the 15thseries, so I’m just going to wait a while until it comes available somewhere. 

I have also been watching the 4thseries of The Good Place, Bake Off (on and on, I don’ think series has been as good), Strictly (mostly on catch up but I’ve still seen every week’s show) as well as Living With Yourself (weird and wonderful) as well as a couple of films and documentaries here and there. Practically all of the documentaries I’ve watched have been linked with my Politics of the Middle East module, and some of them have actually been addicting in the same way a binge-worthy TV show is. 

What did I learn?

I really need to keep an eye on myself so that I’m not burning out. I just need to chill. Also, if you know something is going to cause your skin to react DON’T F*CKING DO IT!! I swear to god, you know what’s going to happen and you’re just going to have ‘You Stupid Bitch’ from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ looping around in your head the next morning.

What’s happening next month?

It’s essay season! Yeah that’s going to be my life these next few weeks. 

What’s been on my mind?

I don’t even know to be honest. Still the politics stress/eco anxiety, trying to stay on top of everything. I’ve realized I do a lot and I need to figure out how to manage all that as well as giving my academic commitments priority.

Favourite blogger/vlogger?

Leena Norms, Hannah Witton, Melanie Murphy, all my usual faves!

Favourite post?

Well it’d either have to be my Advice to Freshers or Birthday post (I’ve not been great in terms of keeping on top of blog posts). It’d probably have to be my birthday post. I always love doing them, and it’s fun to reflect on how I’ve grown and changed in the past year. 

Biggest inspiration?

Knowing that the things I’m doing can have a really positive impact on the world as well as the amazing things the people around me are accomplishing.

Any other favourites?

Mug cakes have come back into my life. Oh yes, it’s that time again. Since moving to a different area of Newcastle, I’ve had more opportunity to explore and find new vegan cafes (including some fabulous pancakes)! Also hydrocortisone cream. It’s god damn miracle cream and my saviour. 

If you liked this post you might like: August 2019 | Monthly Wrap Up

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Me at 20

Thursday 10 October 2019

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Today, I turn 20. Well that’s weird. No longer a teenager huh. When you’re younger ‘your twenties’ seems so far off, so alien. In your head you have an imaginary version of yourself, all hypothetical and adult – they have their shit together, they look and well, are, cool. And their feet reach the end of the bed. 

None of that happened. Now, 20-year-old me is real and still not very adult, and my feet still don’t reach the end of the bed.

I am now in my second year of uni. I won’t lie, it’s odd not being the newbies anymore. People ask me directions or questions about the uni projects I’m involved in and I know the answers. I love being back in Newcastle. And it’s great to be in a new house, out of first year halls and with new opportunities to explore new areas of the city more easily. I am feeling overwhelmed being back, even though it’s only been about three weeks (even if it’s only about 2 actually in uni doing stuff). It’s a very different overwhelmed than last year, though. Now, the place and most of the people are familiar to me, I just seem to have way more on my plate in terms of both academics as well as in other areas of my life.

My room is beginning to take shape. I’ve still got some prints to put up on my walls, but that’s the only thing that’s really left to do. They’re from some of my favourite films (as well as one of our Lady Goddess and Saviour Ruth Bader Ginsburg) so hopefully it’ll look really cool when I’m done. I’ve got books piled on every surface possible, my yoga mat permanently on the floor (and it’s not always covered with shoes and bits of paper!), and a plant pot waiting for an inhabitant (I accidentally killed its last one last year, so it’s now time for me to find Enid 2.0). 

I am still vegan, and can’t believe that it’s been nearly a year and a half. Obviously there have been hiccups along the way – none intentional, I might add – but every mistake is a learning curve and helps me improve next time I go somewhere. Let’s just say I now bring snacks everywhere and know to say ‘No cheese!’ when buying anything in Disneyland.  

In my birthday post last year, I mentioned that I was really focusing on trying to change my shopping habits to include less plastic and less fast fashion. And to be fair, I feel like I’ve been relatively successful in that. I will forever be a work in progress in this respect, as sometimes these things are unavoidable. I mean plastic is literally everywhere! I rarely buy clothes anymore, and when I do, most of the time they’ll be second hand or from more ethical high street stores (M&S you are my trouser fave), and very occasionally from smaller independent companies, although that’s very rare due to their prices (very rare as in not happened yet but it’s the goal). I’m currently saving up to buy a cool pair of ethically made trousers from one such company and I’m looking forward to trying it! With every item I now own, I try my best to wear over and over again. It’s definitely made me more creative and bold with my fashion choices. 

My hair is much longer than it was. Last year, it was still pretty short after the major chop I had done at the end of college. Since then I’ve only trimmed it every now and again, so that it now goes down to just below my shoulders. I love having it this length, it means that I can experiment with my hair - and by that I mean I am able to do Leia buns again!

This year, I am definitely more involved in uni outside of my studies. Last May I was elected Social Media Secretary for the Feminist Society – something that combines my two loves: feminism, and oversharing onlinesharing information about the issues I care about online. One of the first things I did with FemSoc was to start up a monthly Feminist Book Club. We held our first book club event two evenings ago, focused around Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I Am No Longer Talking to White People About Race. It went so well and has made me even more excited about the future of this book club and future FemSoc events coming up this year!

I’m also much more involved in a uni volunteer organisation called N.E.S.T. this year. NEST is a project which aims to empower refugees and asylum seekers in the North East through further education in the English language. I went along to lots of NEST sessions last year, but this year my friend and I are the kids’ leads. It’s become such a big part of my life now and I love it so much – I just can’t wait to get back into the swing of things!

In the past year, I’ve really had to figure out how to look after myself mental health-wise. I won’t go into detail but let’s just say it’s been a learning curve I’m still definitely learning from. Now I’m warier of watching my limits, keeping busy but not so much that I burn out, as well as watching any other factors which may have a significant effect in whatever way.

At this moment in my life I feel like I’m more certain of some things and less certain of others. With an emphasis on the latter. I feel like things are getting a tad more serious now, and that’s kinda scary. But hey, I guess I’ll just keep reading interesting books and getting excited about new vegan food and see how we go.

This is me, at 20. 

If you liked this post you might like: Me at 19

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My Advice to Uni Freshers

Monday 9 September 2019

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I'm about to start my second year of university, and I keep thinking back to this time last year when I was just about to move in and had no idea what to expect. I don't claim to be an expert on anything, we're all just fumbling our way through trying to make sure we eat and stay on top of reading. These are just a few things I've learned in the past year and which may be helpful to others.

Find your safe space

Whether that’s a coffee shop, bookshop, wherever. I have two. The first of thse was (and still is) a teahouse right next to my uni. It’s cosy, has some great vegan cakes and more tea than you could ever dream of, and quickly became my go to for practically everything. Meeting friends, a place to read, to kill time, to write a blog post, write an essay. I find it’s so good to have somewhere non-uni related that’s also not my flat (now house) to get away and chill.  The second is Tyneside Cinema, an independent cinema in the middle of Newcastle. I love films, and going to the cinema has always been one of my favourite things to do. My first year at university was the first time I actually went to the cinema by myself and now I go all the time. Okay, that may be partly because of the cheap tickets I’m able to get because of my age but I take full advantage of that because I love going somewhere and being completely absorbed in something else for a couple of hours. The point is that you should find somewhere which feels almost like a warm hug when you need one. 

Look online

The best friend I made at uni, I met online. I saw that she was doing the same course as me on Twitter on results day, followed her and messaged her later on. We had a conversation and met I think at some point in Freshers’, if not the next week. I’m so glad I met her, and if I hadn’t been stalking through my course’s tweets and likes we may not be the friends we are today (despite being on the same course, there are a lot of people you don’t meet even if you have all the same modules). 

You can also find lots of Facebook groups specifically for freshers. There you can find flatmates, other people in your accommodation and people doing your course. I didn’t have a Facebook account until about midway through the year, so I didn’t use those groups but I know that a lot of people found them useful. 

Get involved!

I love my course, don’t get me wrong. I find it interesting, I love debate and discussion and constantly finding out new things. However, some of my favourite things about uni is the extra-curricular stuff. I went to lots of events with the Feminist Society last year and this year I’m their social media manager – something which has given me a bit of purpose over summer as well as got me looking forward to events happening over the next year.

At the beginning of the second semester, I also got involved in a student-run organisation providing free English lessons for refugees and asylum seekers in the local area (as well as sports, trips and activities for children). This has been a huge part of my uni experience, having given me purpose and direction, and has ensured that I make better use of my time by actually getting out of bed at a decent time on the weekend. I’ve genuinely missed

There are so many volunteering opportunities available at practically every university, so you should be able to find something which suits your interests. And if there’s something you want to do which isn’t available? Then start up a society or organisation yourself! Your Student Union should provide you with support on how to do so. 

Explore the area

You may already know the location of your uni for whatever reason, but if you don’t then it’s a great opportunity to explore! There’s so much going on and so many new places and things to discover. Look up places on the internet and on social media before you go, and just have a walk about when you’re there. Even after you’ve been there for a while you’ll still be finding new things!

Use your common room(s)

As I study 2 subjects, I have access to 3 common rooms across the campus. This is actually so useful, and I didn’t quite realise it until later on in the year. I find common rooms useful, not necessarily for working (I end up chatting to people or getting distracted because it’s a more relaxed environment). So for me, they’re a good place to heat up and eat my lunch, get a drink (tea or water) or just somewhere to wait and read a book when I have a short amount of time to kill in between lectures. 

Bulk cook!

I cook a lot. I love it as an activity but it’s also cheaper, more nutritious and really tasty if you know what you’re doing. I always make sure I’ve got some lentil bolognaise and homemade tomato sauce in the freezer (as well as often some kind of veg curry) so that I can easily shove on some pasta and microwave the sauce and a meal will be ready super quickly and with hardly any effort. Of course sometimes it’s nice to have a ready meal every once in a while, but that’s just so unsustainable to do all the time (both in terms of money, nutrition and the environment). You can find loads of great recipes all over the internet – Jack Monroe’s website is a particularly source for all kinds of dietary requirements and amazing food. I’m gradually making my way through one of her cookbooks as well and they’re great!

Use libraries and charity shops as much as you’re able to

I am a huge advocate for the use of libraries and charities whenever possible. Textbooks can beare expensive, so if you’re able to keep a book out of the library as long as possible or find the ones you’re looking for in a charity shop for a much cheaper price, then go for it! This is probably a lot easier with humanities rather than sciences – I make no claim on any kind of knowledge on the latter. You’re much likely to find politics, history and literature books in charity shops rather than hardcore science texts. Although obviously they should have all the textbooks required in your university library. Sometimes the stock in the library doesn’t always fit the demand, and you’ll only have the book you need for a fraction of the time you need it for. What I’ve found useful is getting the books you need out early and taking pictures of the pages you need, and then looking over them whenever you need them.

Be open to meeting new people

There are people everywhere at uni, which can be overwhelming if you’re used to smaller places. It’s easy to latch on to the first people you meet and feel obligated to stick to them no matter what because they’re the only bit of familiarity that you now have, but often a week or so later you’ll barely speak to them. You’ll find your crowd, it may just take some time to get there.

It’s okay to feel sad or out of place, and it’s definitely okay to miss home (and to not miss home too)

Whatever feelings your having they’re valid. It’s a whole new situation and that takes some adjusting to. I was excited and happy to move out of my parents’ house and being living on my own (yes it’s not actually on my own but you know what I mean), but I still had moments of really missing my family, my cat, my friends from home… It can actually get really emotional. And that’s okay. It’s also okay to not miss home. And I’ve seriously missed Newastle when I’ve been back home. You can’t win!

Holidays will be hard, but you can hopefully figure that one out your own way

Uni holidays are long. So long. Suddenly you’re back at home after months away, not doing completely your own thing anymore – it can be a lot. I definitely found the readjustment back to living at home, even just temporarily, more difficult than the adjustment to actually starting uni, something no one had ever mentioned to me until I experienced it. I don’t have the answer for how to ‘do’ the holidays, if someone does then please let me know. 

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August 2019 | Monthly Wrap Up

Saturday 31 August 2019

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How has it taken so long for August to finish? It feels like a freakin life time!!
Favourite part?

For some reason, it feels like I’ve done hardly anything this month, however I’ve actually been quite busy. 

Right at the very beginning of August my friend Charlotte and I went up to London to see our friend Lizzi in a preview of the show which she (and her company) brought up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival about a week later. It was great and we were both so proud of her!

Depsite not having seen my friends as much as I would have liked this month, I’ve still seen them a few times, including a great long-awaited coffee catch up and an evening drinks turned spontaneous night out. 

My grandparents also came to visit us for a few days, which was absolutely lovely. We had a great day out in Winchester, looking around the cathedral and going to see the house where Jane Austen died (love a bit of Jane Austen tourism, my no.1 gal).

The next Saturday I spent the day in Cardiff with my family, as my brother and his girlfriend were going to see the Wales v England game, and the reat of us decided to tag along to have a day out. It’s been ages since I’ve been in Wales, so it was really nice to go back to some of my favourite places, more specifically a secondhand bookship and comic store in Castle Arcade which I visit every time I’ve been in Cardiff for years. It’s a tradition now, what can I say.

On the Bank Holiday weekend, my family and I went up to London to watch a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Globe Theatre for my dad’s birthday. It was honestly one of the best things I have ever seen on stage. I was laughing the entire time. It as outrageous, raucous and clever, and the atmosphere was so unique and genuinely electrifying. If I lived in London, I’d be there all the time with £5 standing tickets. 

I’ve done a lot of experimenting with food this month, which is something I absolutely love. One of my favourite things about being vegan is that it forces you to be more creative and experimental with food. Several times at work I’ve seen some of the cakes or traybakes which we’ve been selling, really wanted to eat one but been unable to because of the animal products they contain, then made them at home whenever I next had some free time and the right ingredients. For example, I’ve made some cracking scones and some millionaire shortbread. I’m very proud of how well both turned out and I’ve got some more ideas on how to improve them in the future.

This is the tofu bowl I had for my lunch when we visited the Tate. It was miso-ginger and (I think!) deep-fried, and it was deeeee-lish!
I’ve also tried a new slow cook baked bean recipe and I can’t wait to make a vat of the stuff at uni. It was so sweet and tasty, I could genuinely eat bowls of the stuff. I’ve also experimented more with tofu marinates and methods of cooking it, as well as a lentil-sundried tomato mix which turned out to be really delicious.

Best read?

I first read Daughter by Maya Angelou – an emotional and heartwarming read by an incredible woman. I just love her.

The next book I read was Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal, and it is definitely in the running to be my favourite book of the year. One thing I’m doing this year as part of my role as he social media manager for my university’s Feminist Society, I am running a monthly book club, and I chose this book to be our first read. You can read my full book club review of it here. 

Next, I read Be the Change by Gina Martin, a toolkit for all activists. I genuinely couldn’t put this down, I was reading it whenever possible, something I don't tend to get from non-fiction books. It was fascinating and so useful and relevant to my life and wat I'm doing at the moment. Anyone who wants to make a difference, organise a campaign or want to do live more ethically then this book will definitely help!

I then read This Is Not a Drill by Extinction Rebellion, a collection of essays written by members of Extinction Rebellion, climate scientists and activists as well as a couple of MPs. The facts are so real in this book; it really leaves you nowhere to hide. This was a devastating read, particularly as it coincided with the beginning of the burning of the Amazon Rainforest. Please read and please act. 

I am now currently reading Insufficiently Welsh by Griff Rhys Jones and Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls. The first book I am reading in pieces, as he discusses one part of Wales at a time. It’s heartwarming for me, I always feel a bit of comfort when reading about my home country

Favourite tunes?

I mostly listened to The Beatles this month until the release of Taylor Swift’s most recent album, Lover. Since then I’ve just been listening to T-Swift on repeat. 


Favourite watch?

This month I’ve been rewatching Grey’s Anatomy (this time with my family) and Agent Carter (oh Peggy, I miss you), as well as Grace and Frankie. I also watched all of Good Omens with my dad and honest to go it was so good. I absolutely loved it and will be watching it again and definitely reading the book as soon as I am able. 

I am also currently watching Mindhunters on Netflix. The haracters are so interesting, it’s so tense and fascinating. For anyone who finds serial killers interesting, you will love this.

What did I learn?

That although I can try my hardest in whatever way to help improve the world, sometimes the big things happen and you feel like any difference you may have made has been for nothing.

What’s happening next month?

BACK TO UNI!!!!!! Genuinely though, I am so excited to get back to uni. I need a bit more structure and purpose in my life. Get me back to Newcastle. 

What’s been on my mind?

Honestly? Newcastle. Missing my friends (both from uni and from where I live as schedules conflict a lot). Also stress from the bloody state of the world. Eco-anxiety is real folks. As well as fascism/dictatorship anxiety. Woop, thank you Boris Johnson, you dickhead. 

Favourite blogger/vlogger?

Melanie Merphy, Hannah Witton, Madeleine Olivia, Venetia Falconer… I can’t think of anyone I haven’t mentioned previously.

Favourite post?

Why Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a Modern Feminist Cult Classic. I loved writing about one of my absolute favourite shows and just wish I could’ve got more in. It’s not a perfect post and I didn’t include some points I wish I did but otherwise it would’ve been extremely long. I’m really proud of it anyway, and I hope you guys like it!

Biggest inspiration?

A little girl making the decision to go veggie when I was serving her at work. It was great and I was (and still am) so proud of her for not eating the ‘meat jelly’. The world seems pretty dim at the moment and it’s taking a lot for me to stay above ground sometimes. I’m trying to hold onto any little piece of hope possible. 

Any other favourites?

Almonds. Particularly almond butter stuffed in dates. Man those are good. Honest to god I’m obsessed, and I freaking love making almond butter. Next, I’m going to try making some of my own chocolate spread.

If you liked this post you might like: July 2019 | Monthly Wrap Up

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