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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events

Best night ever…

On the 28th of September, I experienced one of the best nights of my life. Yes, I know how cheesy that sounds, but it honestly was so much fun, and quite emotional actually. One month ago yesterday I went to the One Direction concert at the O2 arena in London. It was so¬†great that I want to share it with you, and no matter what your opinion on the band are, I would really appreciate if you¬†would stick around and share your (positive) thoughts. ūüôā

I have been to a One Direction concert before, last June at Wembley Stadium and, although that was obviously so much fun as well, I just knew this one would be even better. But before¬†the day of the concert there was already a lot of drama, as¬†originally my¬†friend and I were going¬†with my mum and¬†10 year old sister, but about 3 weeks before my family pulled out. So I had got (or so I thought) 2 other girls from my year to come, but when I asked one the week before the concert, she said she couldn’t come. You can imagine how stressed I then felt, because I had a ¬£50 ticket that I had to offload in just over a weekend. Finally, after asking probably about 5 or 6 people, a friend accepted them. That’s when the excitement fully kicked¬†in.

The whole day at school on the Monday I was bubbling with excitement, and every glance at my friends showed we all felt the same. Then 3:45 came, and two friends and I headed back home to ‘beautify ourselves’, and half an hour later, we were rearing to go.. We met our other friend at the train station and, after what felt like the longest 40 minute tube trip I’ve ever experienced¬†to the O2, the four of us practically ran out of the station to collect our tickets.

Before the concert we had about an hour to kill, so we got sushi and waited tentatively, each holding our tickets like they were our lifeline (which, in a way, at that moment they were!) watching the minutes pass on the clock. And of course, waiting in the toilet queue passed a lot of time, with the ladies’ line ridiculously long in comparison to the basically non-existent men’s line. At a few points during the wait we saw girls go into the men’s’ loos, and we were so tempted to join them. But after a long wait and a final exit of the toilets, it was time to go into the arena.

I can’t describe how it felt to go into that arena, and although it was not even half full, the noise and chatter from the multitude of teenage fans was tremendous, and only made us feel more excited. This did not surprise me in the slightest though. What did was the number of young children and men that were there. Now, I’m not saying that males can’t like One Direction and I highly respect those who do, but there were a lot of dads there! There was a girl aged about 5 behind us with her dad, and I felt a bit bad because I knew we would be standing up the whole time. But the bubbling excitement soon distracted us and, after taking a few customary selfies, we settled into our seats and waited for the back up band, Augustana, to come on.

Augustana came on at about 7:30 and performed for roughly half an hour. They were quite good actually, and because I had done my research, I knew a few of their songs so could sing along. They were fun, but of course there was inly one band that the whole stadium wanted to see, and about 55 minutes after Augustana’s last song, the lights were cut and the heart attack-inducing intro music started.

There is honestly no feeling strong enough to explain the emotional journey and excitement that occurs throughout the duration of a One Direction concert. The opening, this time it was Clouds, was… No words can describe it.¬†Even if you¬†lose your voice from screaming so much already, you know¬†you are in for one AMAZING concert. Once the music starts, cue the screams of 50,000¬†people, and about half of those probably cry at least once during the concert.¬†All I can say is that one minute you will laugh your head off because of Harry telling their families to “get off your pretty asses!” Then almost cry with joy because they sing your favourite song (which happens every song because, if you are a true directioner, every song is your favourite!) And of course scream with happiness and excitement every time Harry flips his majestic lion-like mane of luscious hair, and when Niall does his crotch-grab during Midnight Memories, and when Louis and Liam run around the stage chasing each other with silly string or water bottles (which is for the majority of the night.) But the thing that is one of the most enjoyable parts of the night? Singing along to every single song, and dancing and screaming the whole night long.

The only negative feeling you endure the whole night is the feeling of pain when they leave the stage, and you are forced to go home. And yes, post-concert depression is a very real thing.

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Just¬†writing this has got me smiling and reminiscing, wishing I could go to one of their¬†last 3 OTRA shows. They really are great entertainers and¬†an amazing band, whatever people say about them.¬†It was the best night, and even if you are not a fan I assure you with 100% confidence you would enjoy a One Direction concert. I am so excited for their album to come out on the 13th of November, and I will definitely miss them during their break. I can’t wait¬†for their tour in 2017!! ūüôā

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culture, music

There’s only one way to go from here…

Today was a very mixed day for me. I was feeling stressed and tired all day, and during yoga in my last period of school, I wanted nothing more than to just curl up into a ball and sleep. Then I had rehearsals for the production we are putting on of ‘Blood Wedding’, which was even more tiring. The general message here is that I am always tired basically!! ūüôā

At the end of rehearsal,¬†my friend went on her Instagram and gasped, looking directly at me, so I knew something bad must have happened. She read out: ‘Zayn Malik has announced he is leaving One Direction’. And I actually think I stopped breathing for a second. Now, I know how ‘typical soppy teenage girl’¬†I sound and just like any other annoying fan-girl that screams or cries¬†when¬†anything 1D related is mentioned¬†(and hyperventilate whenever we even hear their names). I’m not THAT bad, promise. Well, actually… but anyway, that happened. I was, and still am extremely upset about this. Although I never particularly liked Zayn (not as much as the others anyway), he was still a major part of the group and it just won’t be the same without him. I thought their last album was their best yet (go check out¬† my review here ūüôā : https://madsem13.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/not-just-girly-things/ )¬†and that they were just getting better and better as they matured, but obviously Zayn felt he couldn’t handle his fame anymore. I respect his decision completely, I am just still trying to get my head round the idea of One Direction as a four-piece. Today marked the end of an era in a way.¬†Yes, I know it’s cheesy, but just like when the Beatles broke up, fans are heartbroken. I’m sure you can tell yes, I am one of them.

To be honest, I am especially gutted about this as I’m going to see them in September, and I would have loved to see¬†One Direction¬†even just one more time altogether. But best wishes to Zayn, and to the boys of 1D who will carry on as a four, we believe in you! Defy everyone and bounce back with a bang, because you will always have supporters in your loving Directioners!

I know this will be a bit of a controversial post as people seem to either feel very strongly for or against them, but just think if this was your favourite band, and how you would feel. I felt a duty as a directioner (I guess you could call me that) to write this, and I’m sorry if you didn’t enjoy it, but please like/comment/follow me for some new and exciting posts coming up! Thanks for reading!

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beauty, books, fashion, music

(Not) Just girly things…

So today I wanted to try something a bit different, and do a couple of product reviews. And as it was just Christmas, what better time to rate some things I got! I would like to do some more of these in the future, so any comments/ideas would be appreciated.

First things first: the U.Spicy make up brushes. In case you were wondering, yes I am one of those girls who wears makeup, like the majority of my friends. I don’t wear a lot, just concealer if I need it (I usually do as spots are an unfortunate side effect of being a teenager) and matte powder. And often mascara. I might do a further post about my normal face routine, so I¬†will leave it at that. Make up does start to become very popular amongst teenagers at an increasingly young age, now it’s considered weird if 13 year olds don’t wear it! But I didn’t start regularly wearing it until about a year and a half ago, which was actually pretty late amongst everyone in my year at school. So as I have only been wearing it for a short time period, my brush collection was, to say the least, rubbish. The brushes were either from cheapy kits or a starter make up case I got about 4 years ago (and most of these are now broken). They were very bristly and my powder brush almost ruined the powder itself, but, not knowing better, I thought this was normal. Until I unwrapped the beautiful purple box on Christmas morning.

As I looked at it, I was VERY confused ¬†and I had absolutely no idea what it was, and as I slowly slid open the box, I literally gasped at the magic inside. Inside, there were 10 brushes, 5 large and 5 small, and they can be used for every single make up technique you could ever imagine. The black hairs have ombred white tips, and I swear it was like in a movie when triumphant music plays as I stared in awe at them. It was probably kind of ridiculous how excited I was (and still am) to try them out, but then I removed one of the brushes from the plastic casing. THEY WERE SO SOFT! And fluffy. Automatically I loved them even more. So when it came to getting ready for lunch on Christmas, I rushed upstairs and actually had to read the booklet to decide which brush to apply my powder with (I think I chose the wrong one though). Again they amazed me by how soft and easy to use they are. What I’m trying to say is, if anyone wants to get some new make up brushes, I would highly recommend these ones.

Moving on: ‘Four’, by One Direction. Yes, I am a directioner. I have all ‘four’ of their albums (pun intended), and went to their concert last June! Even better, I’m going again later this year!! So excited!! One direction is like my guilty pleasure, so please can no one write any negative comments about them please, as it won’t discourage me from them at all.

The album ‘Four’ was one I had been looking forward to owning for quite a while, as I have listened to it on Spotify (which i ADORE) many a time. The music is so different from their previous albums, and has a really rejuvenated feel¬†to it, like they have completely changed their look. (Which I guess they have, hello hair!!) The first song, ‘Steal my Girl’, has a really strong piano riff and is just simply amazing! I love all of their alums, but this one is different. I know people who didn’t like One Direction before ‘Four’, and has since completely changed their view on the band. I think it’s because it has a bit of a more rocky sound and even some folky songs, and despite the weird topic of ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, (when you fall in love with your kidnapper, yeah weird, I know) the songs are very relatable, as well as having lost their pop element. This allows their music to appeal to a wider demographic, which I think is quite clever. Good on them for breaking stereotypes! So before anyone writes off this album just because its One Direction, I would give this a go, because honestly, it’s really¬†good (i’m not being biased here) and all the songs are very catchy.

Lastly, ‘Girl Online’ by Zoe Sugg. For anyone who doesn’t watch YouTube, (don’t. You will get addicted ūüôā ) Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, is a major blogger/vlogger, and YouTuber with over 6 million subscribers to her YouTube channel. She released her first book in November (I think?) and because I just started this bad boy, I was kind of interested in it. I started reading it on the 28th, and by the 29th I had read almost half of it. I think that speaks for itself honestly. I haven’t had any time to read any more since yesterday, but it was so gripping, and easy to read as well. Also, the protagonist, Penny, is my age, so I find it completely relatable, which is great to discover in a book. Penny basically lives my dream, when she gets to New York that is, and it is just such a sweet, yet touching, story. Penny herself is a blogger, and the blog posts included add to the storyline a lot. I kind of felt like it was Zoe herself living it which was quite cool, whether it was intended or not, I have no idea. I also find it inspiring that Zoe incorporates her experiences with her panic attacks into the character of Penny, as it allows the reader to understand better what they are like, hopefully gaining knowledge about how to support someone having one, or how to deal with one yourself. It adds depth to an otherwise quite, shallow (?) novel. Saying that, this is a great read, and I can’t wait to find out how it ends!

This was just a trial to see if I could do things like this, if you liked it or wanted to leave a comment it would be much appreciated! Thanks for reading guys, and have a good end of 2014!

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