June 2017 | Monthly Wrap Up

Friday, 30 June 2017

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Thank god exams are over!

Favourite part?

To be fair, this month has been exam and coursework centric, so I haven’t been able to have much time for much else. Which is why I can’t wait for the summer to properly begin!

I did love the heat wave, however, as much as I complained, I loved being able to sunbathe, eat ice creams and play Frisbee outside with my friends.

Speaking of the heat, I can’t believe I managed my Silver D of E expedition in 30-degree weather. It was a struggle, but I did enjoy it (the bits when I wasn’t walking up a hill or walking at all). Exmoor is such a beautiful place, and I would love to go back and visit it properly some day.

Best read?

At the beginning of the month, I finished reading Darcy’s Story by Janet Aylmer (again). My favourite story retold through the eyes of one of my favourite characters (I will never deny my love for Mr. Darcy) will always help me when I’m stressed. If you’re looking for something original though, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this book as it is mostly regurgitated Austen quotes, although I do love it anyway, probably for that precise reason.

I also reread The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood for my English course, as I thought that I should refamiliarise myself with it as I haven’t revised in months. I would recommend it to anyone who thinks feminism shouldn’t exist.

Currently, I’m reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. It’s a shock gothic novel and I’m really enjoying it so far – I’ll update once I’ve finished it!

Favourite tunes?

Melodrama by Lorde is an incredible piece of art. She is a truly talented writer and musician. I am in awe of her.


Favourite watch?

A few weeks ago, my dad recommended watching Gran Torino (directed by and starring Clint Eastwood), so my family and I watched it together. Please watch it – it doesn’t necessarily end how you think it will and is a beautiful story about overcoming prejudice and the main character, Walt’s character arc and development is so lovely to watch.

TV wise, I have finished Downton Abbey (again) and am about half way through the third series of Sex and the City (Carrie so doesn’t deserve Aidan, he’s a gem who needs protecting). I’ve nearly caught up with Brooklyn-99 and am proud to say that I’ve got my family hooked. No one can resist Jake Peralta and the gang!


What did I learn?

Exmoor is hilly, man.

What’s happening next month?

I’m going to Berlin with my college next week, which I am so excited for! I can’t wait to go and explore a city and country that I’ve never been to before but looks so so interesting. I finish college in little over two weeks and then I’m free for the summer – which, of course, means more revision of the first year, coursework, research and continuing college, but you know: freedom. I’m also going to see the UK tour of The Addams Family with a few friends and I’m ridiculously excited – I love the actors in it and the music so much. I know it’s going to be great.

What’s been on my mind?

Exams and coursework. I feel like this is the same every month, but that's the reality of sixth form.

Favourite blogger/vlogger?

I’ve really been loving Melanie Murphy’s videos recently. She’s so honest and open and I really love her relaxed tone. She’s really great to watch, particularly at times like now when I’m super stressed with A Levels.

Favourite post?

I’ll be honest, I haven’t posted as much as I have planned this month due to exams, coursework and all the extra work that comes with starting my second year at college but I’m doing my best! I might have to say 5 Underrated ABBA Songs as it basically just gave me an excuse to listen to ABBA for a whole evening instead of revising.

Biggest inspiration?

72% youth turnout at the election.

Any other favourites?

Dark chocolate. I’ve had so many cravings for it this month. It’s all that is good in this world. 

If you liked this post you might like: May 2017 | Monthly Wrap Up

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5 Underrated ABBA Songs

Friday, 23 June 2017

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It’s no secret that I love ABBA – they’re probably my favourite band of all time – and I’m singing one of their songs if not the La La Land soundtrack. Here are some songs of theirs that I don’t think get enough love.

Original Picture Credit

1. When All is Said and Done

I feel like a lot of people were put off this song because of Pierce Brosnan’s rendition of it in the 2007 Mamma Mia! Film and I want to try to put those people back on track. The original version is much more upbeat (and better sung, as I hope would be obvious). I love the harmonies between Frida (Anni-Frid) and Agnetha and I think that the lyrics are incredible – a true testament to Bjorn, who wrote this song about the divorce of Frida and Benny – and really suit a more acoustic version as the one they attempted in Mamma Mia, though I’d like to see a better version in the future maybe (no offence Pierce!).

2. The Day Before You Came

Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good story-song! This one is great. It describes the daily routine of a woman (sung by Agnetha) before she met the person she would now fall in love with. I just love getting wrapped up in the character and the little details they mention in the lyrics are what I live for. It actually inspired me to write my Day in the Life post, as I find the ordinary and seemingly mundane so fascinating. I just love story songs so much! 

3. Cassandra

For this, I just want to say: I’m soorryy Cassandra that no one believed youuuuuu!!!!

With that done, this song is based on the Greek mythological story of Cassandra, who was given to King Agamemnon as a slave and mistress. So, if you’re into Classics, this may be interesting for you!

4. Soldiers

This is an anti-war song with a beautiful melody, I think. It was written around the time of the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan and of the Cold War in general, so shows a plea against the breakout of violence on either side.

5. Hole in Your Soul

I find this song to be so fun. It’s different from what most people would first think of when associating a type of music with ABBA, as this is often referred to as a rock and roll song. A great song to dance along to.

What are some ABBA songs you think don’t get enough appreciation? Or any underrated song by another artist for that matter!

If you liked this post you might like: 5 Songs That Make Me Cry
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5 Blogging Goals: Revisited

Friday, 16 June 2017

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Time to review my blogging goals for the year. Here’s how I’m doing:

1. Reach 50, 000 views

I accomplished this very early on in the year! My views had a boost at the beginning of the year, but have recently declined due to my focus on exams, revision, coursework and other projects. But they’re increasing every day and I am currently at 64, 964 total views (at the time of writing) for all you nosy lot.

2. Publish 90 posts

This one I’ll hopefully complete, seeing as I now have around 50 posts published and it’s over half way through the year. I have lots of posts planned (basically until September time) and if I can get them pre-written, I know that will help me keep on track before I hit properly start my second year of A levels.

3. Write at least 10 political posts

I have written 6 political blog posts (from the time of writing), and I have a few more planned to write, so I don’t think this one will be a huge problem to achieve.

4. Try to do 2 sponsored posts

I haven’t done this one yet. I’m still not very confident about approaching brands, but I have received some books for review and hopefully, this will be easier to accomplish once I’m 18 in October.

5. Do another collab

Completed! Back in February, myself and Ashleigh (Love Ashleigh, previously Not a Typical Teenager) did a collab all about the different subjects we study at A Level (for me, humanities, and for her, science and maths). I really enjoyed it and hope it helped anyone currently in education!

This is how my blogging goals are going, how has your progress gone?

If you liked this post you might like: My 2017 Goals: Revisited

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My Thoughts on the General Election

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or aren’t British), you’ll probably be aware that the UK had a general election last week. On June 8, 650 constituencies voted for their new MPs, who would represent them in the new Parliament formed (after the state opening by the Queen on 19 June 2017, although I think that has been delayed – so much for strength and stability, eh).
The fact that there was an election this year at all is a point of controversy, due to the fact that Theresa May herself had promised that an emergency election would not be called earlier this year, and the fact that it violates the Fixed Term Parliament Act passed in 2011, which set out 5 year terms for every Parliament, so that PMs (i.e. Tony Blair, Thatcher, all those lads) could not call an election when they were doing well in opinion polls so as to get a further majority and gain more control over Parliament as a whole because of that.

During this election, however, it has brought to my attention how much the political education in this country is lacking, through no fault of anyones but the education system (I will be continuing this point in a later post on why political education in schools is so necessary). So here’s a quick run-down on the system:

  • There are 650 constituencies in the UK, each of which is represented by an elected MP in the House of Commons

  • MPs are elected through a system called First Past the Post (again, which I’ll be talking about in more depth in a later post), which simply requires the most votes to win (so the winning candidate doesn’t need at least half the votes to win. In theory, this could mean the winning candidate only has 1 vote more than the candidate who was second to them).

  • For a government to be formed, the winning party needs a majority of the seats in the House of Commons (at the moment, this means at least 326 seats).

  • A majority is needed in order for the government to get their laws passed by the Commons easily and to be productive and powerful.

  • If no party has a majority (known as a hung parliament), then the largest party can form a minority government, although they are normally propped up by a smaller party through a Supply and Confidence Agreement, or can form a formal coalition with another party (as was seen in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition of 2010-2015).

So that’s the basics, so anyone who may have been a bit confused before. If you’re not too sure on what the different UK parties stand for, then check out Charlotte’s post, where she does a quick summary of each party as well as a recap on some of the stuff I’ve already mentioned.

Now onto what happened on the 8th June.

Having returned home from my final AS Government & Politics exam (love how it was on that day, can I just say), I got into my pajamas and brought my duvet to my sofa where I settled down for the night. Staying up to watch the election is a tradition that my parents have had since I can remember, and this year was the first time I did the same (although, my mum did go to bed at her normal time as well as my dad going to bed a few hours later, so I effectively watched it alone (with my cat) for a lot of time). I loved watching the votes come in and I hope that I can now make this my own tradition.

(I’ll let you know now that the party I support are the Greens, they are all that I stand for in this world, but to my dismay, they don’t get enough support or recognition as they should (again, this is the subject of another blog post I have planned). However, as they don’t win seats in anywhere except Brighton Pavilion, so my alternative

At 10pm the exit poll was announced on the BBC. The poll that made the country collectively gasp and stay up longer than they had planned. I, personally, had planned on going to bed straight away if the polls had predicted a Tory landslide, but to my delight, they predicted a hung parliament, with the Tories predicted 314 seats, compared to their previous 330. This poll ended up being pretty accurate, with a hung parliament being the final outcome: the Conservatives had 318 seats and Labour had 266 seats, despite there being a 1.5% difference in their proportions of the popular vote.

Whilst I am glad that the Conservatives didn’t get a returned or heightened majority, I do think that a hung parliament is the opposite of what we need right now heading into Brexit negotiations, and as much as I would have wanted a left-led Brexit, there’s no doubt at the moment that that’s probably not going to happen (as much as many Labour members and politicians like to say they are preparing for time in government or could form a minority government, any government they would form at the moment would need the backing of practically every party that isn’t Conservative to stay afloat, so is pretty unlikely).

So, how are the Conservatives going to pass their legislation through the Commons if they don’t have a majority? I hear you ask. Well, the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party), who have been described as the Tories’ ‘soulmates’ in Parliament, gained 10 seats in Northern Ireland (with their Republican rivals Sinn Fein winning all other available Northern Irish seats, and consequently obliterating all third parties in NI), more than enough Theresa May needs to have a slim majority. Obviously, this is a chance she could not miss. I don’t think they are entering into an official coalition, but the DUP have agreed to give their support to Theresa May and her party (or ‘Team’ as she liked to say during her election campaign), although the terms of this haven’t been properly laid out yet, at least not to the public.

Who are the DUP? I know that many people have the that exact question since the election, and what their gaining more power could do to impact us as a country. Well, they are an extreme unionist party in Northern Ireland, the opposite of Sinn Fein whose end goal is a united Ireland. And just like Sinn Fein, they have their own terrorist links, but instead of the IRA, they are closely linked to many unionist paramilitary groups, including the Ulster Resistance – something I find quite amusing at the irony of a large part of the Conservatives’ attack on Jeremy Corbyn for being a ‘terrorist sympathiser’. Some of the DUP’s beliefs include that of complete anti-abortion (demonstrated by the restrictive laws surrounding abortion in Northern Ireland) anti-LGBT+ and climate change deniers (*shudders*), which I will leave you to make of as you will, but they have the potential to cause harmful damage to ideals and tolerance in the UK. I know that many members of the Tory party, including senior members like Ruth Davidson, have spoken out against their regressive beliefs and to persist on the importance of maintaining and improving LGBT and women’s rights in our country, and to spread the message globally, although to me that is not enough until those at the very top stand up to their allies in a strong and stable manner.

Parliament is in chaos at the moment, and you could be feeling a bit helpless. Here are some things you could do:

1. Email your MP – honestly, if my MP doesn’t start addressing me by my first name soon I’ll be surprised – call them out on any issue, on everything they do that you don’t agree with, let them know what you want, they’re there to represent you after all.

You can find contact details for MPs on this google doc.

2. Sign petitions, protest, join a group that will stand up to them (e.g. Amnesty Int. etc., there are loads out there)

3. Educate others so they can make more informed choices later on.


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My 2017 Goals: Revisited

Monday, 12 June 2017

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It's about half way through the year, so I thought it would be an ideal time to see how I was getting on with my goals for the year.

1. Visit 4 museums

So far, I’ve visited one: The British Museum, on a trip with my college in March. Hopefully, I can find some more perhaps a bit more locally to me, or maybe some of the free ones in London.

2. See 3 shows

Completed! I saw the UK tour of Billy Elliot in February with a group of friends, and it was incredible! I then saw 3 shows that my friends were part of: Consensual, Alice (as in, Alice in Wonderland, except a dance version) and Tomb with a View. Later on, in July, I’m going to see the UK tour of the Addams Family with some friends and I am so excited!

3. Finish my Silver Duke of Edinburgh

This one is nearly certain. I’ve nearly completed my 6 months of volunteering at my local library and, later on this week, will be going on my final expedition. Then I am done with D of E for good.

4. Have a final draft of my novel

Ha! Yeah, okay...

5. Visit a city I’ve never been to before

So far, this hasn’t happened. But in a few weeks I’ll be in Berlin with my college and later on in the year I’ll be heading to a least 4 new cities to visit prospective universities, all of which I can’t wait to explore and discover!

6. Finish my GoodReads book challenge

I seem to be on track for some of these ones, being already past the 50% mark. This should be easier with wider reading for my A levels and books I’ve been sent by some publishers for review along with my ever-growing TBR list.

7. Wear only makeup that is cruelty-free

I’ve done pretty well with this so far. I have only bought cruelty free makeup (a may do a post on that later on) and have got to know some of the good brands quite well I think, although I’m always open for new recommendations. I am still using up some old lipsticks and eyeliners that I had before, but eventually those will be finished (it will take a while for the lipsticks) and my makeup bag can truly be cruelty free.

How are your yearly goals going?

If you liked this post you might like: My 2017 Goals

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