September/October 2019 | Monthly Wrap Up

Wednesday 30 October 2019

No comments
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

Read More

Me at 20

Thursday 10 October 2019

No comments
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

Read More