blogging, Year highlights

2015 in a nutshell…

I¬†am back. And this time I mean it. I know I have said “sorry for that absence” about 100 times this year, but this time I am going to stick with it. I think when I started this blog just over a year ago (which, wow), I thought it would be a lot easier to maintain. All these lifestyle bloggers that post once or twice a day while still doing so much in their life give a sense that they fit their blog into their life easily, and are still successful in every aspect. But while this may be the case for some people, I simply have not been able to crack it. Creating content, just thinking of what to write about, takes time, more than I thought. Time that I don’t necessarily have all year round, especially during term time. So, I’ve come up with a plan of action for this year. Instead of attempting (and failing) at what I initially thought I would do, daily(ish) blogging, I’m going to aim to post once a week, maybe twice if you’re lucky ūüôā

So its 2016 huh. Where did 2015 go?! It seemed like it was just yesterday I was doing this post last year. But lo and behold its the beginning of January 2016, so cue all the “New Year, New Me” posts and stuff with their new fitness routines attached or whatever. And while I applaud the 1% of people who actually stick to their goals for this year, to the 99% of us who unsurprisingly give up in the first month, it doesn’t matter. Just be you, and do what you want to do. Hopefully that is what will make you happy anyway.

In accordance with my apparently bitter view on new years resolutions, I want to use this post, not to look forward, but to reflect on the good things that happened in 2015. It wasn’t exactly the best year of my life, and I was also very inactive, so I would like to show you what I got up to last year. And in the light of “a picture speaks a thousand words”, my intentions for the rest of the post is for it to be mostly pictures, but we shall see. So in a final cheers, but good riddance to 2015, I would like to say bring on 2016!

So 2015 started with a trip to the Saatchi gallery, which was a great way to see my group of friends again, and just have a somewhat cultured and relaxing day out. Here’s a selection from the exhibits, and if you look closely you might be able to see me ūüôā

In February was my trip to Salamanca, in Spain as part of my Spanish GCSE course. It was the first time I had been to Spain, and as you can see from these pictures, it was beautiful and an amazing holiday.

Then in March was one of my closest friend’s 16th birthday, so we went into London for a surprise evening – first the Ice Bar

Followed by the Criterion, which was a delicious way to end a great night.

April was kicked off to a great start, when my friend and I went to see Emma Stevens perform for the 3rd time, this time at the Bush hall in Shepherds bush. Bonus: we also met her for the 3rd time that night!

Probably one of the most important things to happen in 2015 was in June, exactly a week before my birthday. I finished my GCSEs. As you can imagine, that afternoon and the week that followed I took advantage of my newfound freedom by going out with my friends A LOT.

Of course, that Friday, the 19th of June, was my birthday. Here’s two of my presents, and the cool lighting from the end of GCSEs party. Plus, some photos from my work experience in the fashion and beauty marketing department in John Lewis.

When school finally finished for the year, on the 1st of July I went and got a change: I dyed my hair pastel pink! I loved it so much, I wish it had stayed in longer though. I was aiming for the 1st picture (courtesy of pinterest, follow me!) and it took over 4 hours to go from picture 2 to picture 4, but I fell in love with the result. The day after I had a celebratory picnic with my friends, and we had a bit of a photoshoot to say the least. I still have the blonde on my ends, and this little taste of my first colouring experience has made me hungry for more. I now have official hair envy of any cool colour haired person I see anywhere. Watch this space for more hair changes in the (hopefully) near future!

After I got my hair done, it was pretty much time for me to pack up and on the Sunday I flew to Australia by myself, for the first time ever. I was nervous, and I think I had a bit of a panic in Westfield with my mum on the Friday, and I started to cry a little bit. But when I was actually at the airport and boarding the plane, it was quite exciting. For any first time solo flyers under 18, if you or your parents are nervous about it, try to see if you can get accompanied, especially if you are stopping on the way. My mum got it for me as¬†I was stopping in Singapore for 3 hours and she wanted to ensure I¬†got to my next plane, but it was actually great as¬†I was taken to a private¬†lounge and given a phone to call my parents. Don’t let flying alone discourage you from doing something you want to do, as it was a great life experience for me,¬†and I had the best time in Australia with all my family (my parents are Australian if you didn’t know.) That week I stayed at my grandma’s with my American cousins who I hardly see, so it was great to have some bonding time with them essentially, as well as see everyone else who I hadn’t seen in 2 years. (Also, the amazingly delicious food is from my uncle’s restaurant, Citron, in Brisbane.)

The following week my family arrived in Brisbane and it was go-go-go basically. That weekend the whole family (minus 4 people) went to O’Reilly’s as an early 80th birthday present for my grandma, and it was so much fun with everyone in the same place. We went on the zipwire, with a (not quite) near-death experience for me when my attachment almost fell off the wire, and went for a walk through the hillsides that had paths that just seemed too treacherous for us to take. Bonus, all of our cabins had a hot tub, so at 11:00pm on the first night¬†3 cousins and I discovered that ‘waterproof’ playing cards were, in fact, not waterproof, after stupidly dipping them into the Jacuzzi. (The views were also beautiful, and yes that is a snake in¬†one of the last pictures.)

When we got back from O’Reilly’s, it was practically time for the American family to leave, which was sad. We¬†took them to airport, got coffee, and that was pretty much it. I hate saying goodbye. They left on my cousin’s birthday, so we had a dinner for him the night before. I wore my new boots (!!) and my staple ripped jeans, of course.

But then it was our turn to say goodbye, well temporarily. We went up to Hervey Bay, a four hour car journey from Brisbane, to visit my grandparents. They live on the beach, so most of these pictures will probably be beach sunsets. Enjoy!

Back in Brisbane, there was only a week and a half left, then we were flying home. This was the busiest time, trying to do everything we wanted to, like the Ekka (turns out I went 3 times this summer), go to the Gold Coast, as well as work experience at the Australian with my uncle for me. I am pleased to say, I have now got 2 published articles, one co-written in the Australian, and another I wrote for a local newspaper. It was an amazing experience, and interesting to see how everything, including the writing, works. But it was a challenge to say the least!

A few days after we got back to London, it was results day. If you want to see what that day was like for me, click here. But there wasn’t much time for celebration, as the next day we were at Kings Cross station meeting my friend and her family to go to Edinburgh.¬† We were performing Lorca’s ‘Blood Wedding’ in the Edinburgh fringe festival, and I am so glad I did. it was an amazing holiday, and¬†when we weren’t performing, we saw as many shows as possible. My favourites were 360 Allstars and, one I didn’t want to end, Dorian Gray.

After Edinburgh it was basically the end of my holidays. So I started sixth form, which is so much harder than I expected. One good thing to happen this term – the One Direction concert. I’ve written a post about it so I will just leave you to stare at their beautiful faces (my feelings were displayed clearly in the last picture.)

¬†During October half term, the whole first week I spent in bed watching various things, but my cousin arrived in the second week, forcing me out of bed. We went into London and did some touristy stuff, but one night we went to see Coasts, which was so much fun, and a great time out after my procedure on my knee the week before. I was then pressured into getting my ears pierced by my family (just kidding I wanted it done, I just hadn’t got round to it.)

A major part of this term was my role of deputy stage manager in my school play, ‘Oh what a lovely war!’ It took up a lot of my time, so I couldn’t do as much work as I wanted to and was very stressful, but for the most part it was really enjoyable. In the show I actually¬†operated the revolve, to add to the circus vibe, which I did not expect at all. It was my first show not acting, and I think I made the right choice. ¬†Finally though the show finished in mid-November, and the week later my friends and I went to see¬†Disclosure at Ally Pally, my first concert there and it was amazing.

So as some of you may know, I am a bit obsessed with One Direction. Because of this, and obviously as they are now currently on their break, their last performance was at the X factor final at Wembley Arena. My friends and I decided to go, as a way of saying goodbye before their break. I will do a post on the process of getting tickets later and of course the event, but I just want to say, no matter what anyone says about them, they are amazing to me.

And last but not least, Christmas day. This year it was just the 5 of us, which hasn’t happened for many years. New family favourite game – Ligretto. Go get it. seriously. You wont regret it. But apart from playing games and spending time with the family, I ate lots and lots of delicious food. (Some of it can be seen below)

So those were my highlights of 2015. Yes it was a good year, but I think school really took its toll on my emotions. I hope everyone had a great Christmas or holiday, and happy new year everyone! I hope 2016 is a great one!

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culture, language, travel

My trip to Salamanca…

So first I should apologise for my unexplained absence from my blog for the past.. ooh I don’t even know. Let’s just say at least a month. It’s been full steam ahead since Christmas with my GCSEs coming up in a little under 3 months!! But I will TRY to post more often than I have been doing, so that we¬†can all be happy ūüôā

As the title probably suggests, last week (in the English half term), I went on a school trip to Salamanca, 200km from Madrid, in Spain. It is essentially a university town, hosting two universities. The town itself was established in 1134, so I suppose you could say it is quite old! It was beautiful and despite there being some stories that worry me, (we will never know what a wild party is until we write on walls with bull’s blood: my advice? Don’t) I still had an amazing time there. Therefore I would highly recommend¬†putting this picturesque town on your bucket list, for sure.

We arrived in Salamanca on Monday evening at about 7:30, after a lengthy 2 hour drive from Madrid airport. We were greeted by our host families, and my roommate and I had a 70 year old lady who lived by herself. At first, we were a bit scared if I’m honest, because we thought that, oh, maybe she is really strict! Or, oh, maybe she won’t talk to us very much! The point of this trip was to speak as much Spanish as possible, so that was a worrying possibility! When we first met her, she didn’t exactly discourage¬†our theories, but when we got to her¬†apartment and started talking we realised she was actually the sweetest person we could ever have hoped for.¬†Plus,¬†when we got home 15 minutes past our curfew one night, she¬†wasn’t mad, which was relieving. ūüôā So thank you to our amazing host, who was such a brilliant¬†cook, and without her I don’t think¬†the experience¬†would have been as good.

A¬†normal day for me in Salamanca: my roommate and I would set our alarms for quarter to 8, and not leave the warmth of our beds until at least 8:20. As you can imagine, we took at least half an hour to get ready, then had to eat breakfast quickly as we had to be at Mester for 9:30, and we would always leave the house late. Yes, we had to run the 7 minute walk a few times.¬†We would go to Mester, a language school, every morning for about 3 hours, where¬†we would have a grammar and conversation lesson, then have about an hour to explore before going home to have lunch. Lunch was the main meal of the day, so we would have an exquisitely made big meal, of various Spanish delicacies. At 4, we would meet our school at Mester for our afternoon activities, which included a walking tour of the town, with churros in an art d√©cor museum, a dance and cooking lesson, and even a tour of both the viejo y nuevo catedral. (Old and new cathedral, in case you didn’t get that) After the activities, we would go exploring the town, which included a massive trip to Carrefour one evening, as well as my roommate buying a pair of green fuzzy creepers for 6 euros, what a bargain! We didn’t fail to notice how cheap everything was, especially the delicious local food (we lived in the bakery alright!) After our large shopping trips, our curfew was 9:30, and we were so tired I think we were thankful to go home!

I had an amazing time in Salamanca, and though it was only February, even the weather was amazing! And to round off my great trip, I took some gorgeous (I think) photos. Have a look for yourself:

street

graffiti

churros

street 2

plaza mayor panorama

front of catedral

cathedral

stained glass window

view from cathedral

view of rooftops

Thank you to my school for organising this trip, and also to my superb host. An amazing first visit to Spain ūüôā

Thanks for reading guys, and if you liked this, please give me a follow! See you soon I hope!

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culture, London, travel

London is my city…

Hey my amazing readers! Today I had the day off school, and my friends and I decided to go into London, because, why not? I LOVE MY CITY!

We met at the station and even though¬†I was late,¬†(of course) I¬†wasn’t last though! ūüôā We got on the London Kunderground (as we have begun to call it, because, as we finally realised today, it is not completely underground – fun fact ūüôā ) and went to Chinatown for lunch. My friend from Hong Kong basically ordered for us all, but I was disappointed because, although I speak Chinese, I can only speak (little bits of) mandarin and the restaurant was Cantonese. Ah well, it was still amazing seeing my friend ‘in her element’ in effect, and all of us watched her in awe. (so no, it wasn’t just weird me) I had never been to Chinatown before, so this was such an amazing experience for me. This is one of the many things I love about London. The fact there is practically a microscopic China (food-wise anyway) in the centre of London, is just, well, awesome. Now I can see the comments rolling in saying there are Chinatowns everywhere, and yes, I know. But what I’m trying to say is, its not just Chinatown. You walk two streets and you can get Italian. Walk further down that street and you can choose from probably upwards of¬†twenty different cuisines. This is what I love. The humongous range of cultures and nations represented, not only through the people living and visiting the city, but also through the medium of food. As well as living in what is practically known as the centre of the world, I get to try cuisines from loads and loads of different cultures and countries around the world. Who wouldn’t love this? Especially for¬†a person my age, this opportunity is brilliant and we can take advantage of this as much as we want. So if anyone is visiting/planning to visit London, definitely buy lots of different types of food!! (The markets also do delish street food, as well as the markets themselves! Another recommendation.)

One of my weaknesses is photo booths. Not that I have actually been in that many, but I love the whole concept of them. So, in Chinatown, imagine my excitement as we searched through this tardis-like cute Japanese shop for this photo booth, to finally stumble upon it, and finding out that you can decorate the pictures with cool backgrounds and foregrounds and cartoons and stars and¬†afros and… and… Sorry. You can see my excitement. In true Japanese style (according to my Japanese friend) the photo booth had all these cool things that no English photo booth has, so take note British photo booth makers! Things like this; you wouldn’t find them anywhere else (unless in East Asia, obviously!) which makes them all the more exciting! And the fact that we kind of went on an adventure to find it makes it even more… magical in a way? I know it sounds stupid, it is ONLY a photo booth, but the way we found it is such a brilliant way to find things that only you will know about. Which makes you seem pretty cool, for sure ūüôā Especially in London, sometimes the best way to find hidden treasures is to get a bit lost, and not have a clue where you’re going. You will probably find all the best things this way. I know I want to continue doing this!

A tradition lately amongst people my age: bubble tea. Normally from Bubbleology, but other places are just as cool, if not better. The recent phenomenon has spread like wildfire, with my personal favourite being passionfruit fruit tea with strawberry popping boba, hold the tapioca please. But there are plenty of options; milk tea, fruit tea, with or without tapioca, with or without jelly/popping boba, or the infamous mystery tea. Oooooooh. So there¬†is something (delicious!) for everyone basically. And this is coming from someone who can’t stand tea and accidentally ordered 0% sugar.

Covent Garden: the home of street artists. Also the home of classy, upmarket shops and restaurants. And public toilets that cost 50p to enter. Moral of the story: if you are not in the mood for spending copious amounts of money, maybe don’t come here? Unless you have an extremely high level of self-control. In which case, this is quite a necessity to visit I guess, if anything just to take a selfie with the floating building.

I hope this has given you a taster of why I love my city, London. I would love to hear what you are amazed by where you live, in London, or even your favourite holiday destination. And any of your fave (secret or not) places to¬†go to in London, I would love to know so I can scope them out, maybe even discovering a few more hideouts along the way ūüôā Thanks for reading, get commenting!! x

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