Last week I did my last swap box with Elly from A Hufflepuff’s Thoughts!! It was a bit sad to send off the last parcel but I’m glad I won’t have to visit the Post Office again for a while because 5 trips in a month is too many! I really enjoyed finding things to send to Elly, as I did with the other four, but it was definitely harder to find things to send to bloggers within the UK than it was to send them abroad – I actually had to go in the touristy shops in town and buy some souvenirs which was an odd experience. Anyway, this is what Elly sent me all the way from Yorkshire!
Firstly, she sent me a lovely little notebook with a kind-of map of the Yorkshire Dales on it. I loved this because a) I love maps b) I love exploring and c) the hiking sheep is really cool! I haven’t decided what I want to use the notebook for yet (I have so many notebooks I haven’t started yet because I don’t want to ruin them with my ramblings) but I did take it away with me to Wales last weekend with the intention of doodling/sketching some of the scenery but in the end I was so busy, I didn’t have a spare five minutes to draw (sad times I know).
Next there was a pen and a pencil from York Castle Museum inscribed with the phrase ‘the truth and nothing but the truth…’ which in case you didn’t know is part of the oath you have to say when giving evidence in court. I think these are really cool and I’ve put them with my ‘awesome stationary from awesome places’ collection (I always try to buy some stationary whenever I go somewhere new because ~memories~).
Elly also sent me a pair of quote mark earrings which she bought on her trip to Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare’s birthplace). THESE ARE SO CUTE I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. They have also now become my ‘lucky earrings’ because I wore them to both the A Level and GCSE results days and both days went really well (you can read about my GCSE results day here). Elly also has a pair of these earrings which I think is really cool and ultimate #internetfriendshipgoals.
Moving on to the edible part of the swap box, Elly sent me some delicious-looking chocolate with ‘chocolate beans’ a.k.a. Smarties in! It looks sooooo nice. I haven’t tried any yet because I had to wait until I’d taken the photos for this post but now I’ve written this I can, and will, eat it! *Disappears for a couple of hours*.
She also sent me some strawberry (or is it raspberry? My mind has gone blank. I’m guessing strawberry because raspberry would be blue) bonbons which are some of her favourite sweets apparently! I’ve never tried this flavour of bonbons before so I can’t wait to see what they taste like.
THIS IS SO BRILLIANT I CAN’T. Siriously though, look at how awesome this Harry Potter ‘Always’ sign with the Deathly Hallows symbol is!!!! And it’s in my favourite colours, I just love it so much! Thank you Elly! I have a little fandom corner in my bedroom and this fits in perfectly (you can never have too much Harry Potter stuff, am I right?).
Lastly was a little card that Elly painted when she was younger of typical Yorkshire scenery. I think it’s really pretty and reminds me so much of the view from my grandparents house in Yorkshire. (Also Elly’s handwriting is just handwriting goals. It’s sooo nice).
Here’s a picture of everything she sent me altogether (well almost everything – I forgot to take the Harry Potter sign off of my wall so it’s not in the photo).
I’d like to thank Elly so much for everything she sent me because it is all so lovely! I’d also like to thank Just A Blank Space, Rebecca, Eve and Michelle again who I also exchanged swap boxes with over the summer. It has been a really great experience and I’m so glad I have such amazing blogger friends who were willing to take part!
I think swap boxes are something I’d want to do again at some point in the future but perhaps when I have a job because I kind of accidentally ended up spending around £40 on everything (including postage) of the money my grandparents gave me for the summer holidays. Oops. But I’m pleased I spent my summer money on doing this because I think giving gifts to people is such a lovely thing to do and I’ve really enjoyed the whole experience. I feel like I’ve learnt a lot more about my blogging friends and their respective countries and counties through doing the swap boxes and I’ll cherish everything they sent me forever. So thank you again guys! ❤
Almost a month ago now, Victoria (hermionefowl) from Addlepates and Booknerds, Eve (appletaile) from Twist in the Taile and I launched the Finding Our Feet Project with the aim of uniting the teens and young people of the blogosphere by creating a video comprising of short messages of advice/support for other teens, with the theme of finding our place (or ‘feet’) in the world.
Why you might ask? Well, being a teenager is hard and we face many struggles throughout our teenage years, not only due to the process of growing up it’s self but with the added pressure and expectations kindly (haha…NO) provided by our parents, schools and just society in general. Sometimes we just need to be reminded that we are not alone. We hope that the end product – a YouTube video – will serve as a reminder that no matter where you are in the world, the teen blogosphere is always here to support you.
So, we asked you to send in short video clips of you walking and a message of advice/support that you’d like to share with other young people and like the amazing people you are, you did! Victoria, Eve and myself are very happy to say that after weeks of editing and organising, the Finding Our Feet Project video is now finished!
I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who took part in the project and of course to my wonderful editors, brainstormers, advisers and friends Victoria and Eve for helping make the project more than I could have ever imagined. ❤
The video is up on my YouTube channel – Em Is Lost – for you all to watch and it will stay there forever. We hope that the video will represent all that we wanted it to and will remind you that you are not alone, not ever. So, without further or do, here is the finished video. 🙂
Something that I’ve noticed during my teenage years is that a lot of adults tend to doubt our abilities of making sensible decisions for our future. I have been in many situations where I’ve been told that I ‘don’t know what I’m doing’ in certain situations so therefore am not capable of making the right decision or where it is assumed that because I am young I ‘don’t know what I want’ in life yet. I’ve mainly encountered stuff like this at school such as, for example, we had to choose which subjects to take for GCSE and teachers kept getting involved and trying to persuade you take certain subjects and to not take others, depending on what they think is best for you. I had my mind set on taking Triple Science, History, Geography and French but on multiple occasions my friends and teachers were trying to get me take Art. In the end I stuck with my original choices but I soon came to realise that I didn’t like science at all and wished I’d taken art instead. My point is, back then I was only 12 so was very confused about EVERYTHING and my teachers were trying to push me in the direction of science because I was good at it. If they’d just let me, and the rest of my year group, make up our own minds about which subjects we wanted to do for GCSE instead of ‘targeting’ people who were good at certain subjects then I might of ended up not taking Triple Science and doing something like German or Sociology which would have interested me more.
When I reached Year 10 and the time came to start thinking about what we’d do after we’d finished school, we were bombarded with information about all of the local colleges and sixth forms and had various assemblies where representatives from each visited and basically advertised their facilities to us and seemed so determined to get us to go to there college that we left with the impression that unless we went to college xyz we would all do badly and end up with bad jobs. That probably doesn’t make much sense but that’s what it felt like. They were so focused on reminding us to ‘make the right decision’ and stating that their college is ‘best for you’ that a lot of people, my friends included, were torn between various colleges which all promised to be the best place for them. My friend had her heart set on a newly-built STEM college but when she visited for the taster day, it was nothing like it had been advertised to us and she decided to go to a different college. I was kind of the opposite – before going to the taster day for the college I’ve just enrolled in, I really didn’t like the sound of it at all but because it was the only college that did the A Levels I wanted to do, I went to the taster day anyway and ended up really liking it. It’s just frustrating how the various educational establishments were desperate to ensure we made the right decisions that we weren’t allowed to form our own opinions of the places because they didn’t trust us to make such decisions by ourselves.
Another example of when I’ve been considered ‘incapable’ of making important decisions about my future occurred today, as a matter of fact, when I went to enroll in college. For ages my school had told us that we ‘must take 4 A Level course at college’ so I’d decided I wanted to study Geography, History, French and Law. Then when I went to the taster day for college back in July, we were told that we ‘can’t take 4 A Levels’ because it would be ‘too demanding’ with the new linear system, which is fair enough and I wasn’t overly bothered about that because I’d gone off the idea of studying law anyway so decided to just do Geography, French and History. Fast forward a month to yesterday when I got my GCSE results and got way better grades than I’d expected and I still had my mind made up on these three A Levels, despite my teacher trying to persuade me to take A2 Government and Politics as I’d taken the first year of the course this year and got an A. She seemed a bit disappointed when I told her what A Levels I’d be studying at college because she thought I’d do really well if I’d carried on with Government and Politics and it would be good for me (I do kind of want to carry on with this subject because I really enjoyed it but unfortunately the qualification I did was a different exam board to the one the college does and it would be quite complicated to sort out).
Anyway, when I went to college to enroll this morning, first I had to show my GCSE results that I collected yesterday to a member of staff, who happened to be the maths teacher. Firstly, he congratulated me on my results then he asked me which A Levels I wanted to take, to which I answered French, Geography and History. Then after that he looked really annoyed and started going on about how there was a ‘problem’ because I’m apparently wasting my academic ability by not doing four A Levels and that I’d do ‘much better if I did four’ because it would ‘motivate me to work hard’. He asked me why I decided to only take three A Levels and I said it was because I wanted to focus on these three subjects to do as best as I can and that there wasn’t really a fourth I was interested in. He thought that was ‘ridiculous’ and started suggesting a fourth A Level I could take such as English Literature or Maths. I was determined to stand my ground because after all he had literally only just met me and he can’t claim to know what’s ‘best’ for me just by looking at my exam results because no one can be defined by their grades. Yet still he couldn’t accept that I’d thought through all the possibilities and had made up my own mind about what subjects I wanted to take according to what I thought was the right decision to help me get to where I want to be in the future. Eventually he let me go and carry on with my enrollment after bringing a few other members of staff into the conversation and saying ‘you’ll find that you’ll regret not taking four A Levels in a few weeks time when you start college’. I had a massive rant to my friend over texts after this as I had to wait for 45 minutes to submit my bursary application and she reassured me that I’d done the right thing in standing my ground.
That whole experience was enough to put me off enrolling in college all together but luckily the rest of the staff were much more welcoming and understanding. After I’d escaped the wrath of the maths teacher, one member of staff even said to me that she ‘doesn’t blame me for not wanting to do four A Levels’ – THANK YOU.
That just proves that some adults don’t trust teenagers to make the right decisions for our futures because they are ‘older and wiser’ so apparently know what’s best for everyone at first sight. I’m confident that I made the right decision by sticking with just Geography, History and French though as I don’t see the point of taking an extra subject just for the sake of not ‘wasting’ my academic abilities. there wasn’t another subject I really wanted to take anyway and A Levels are hard enough as it is , whether you’re doing a subject you’re interested in or not. I didn’t want to have to spend time working on a subject I don’t really care about, especially not if that meant compromising the amount of time I’d be able to spend on the subjects that are important to me. I suspect this won’t be the end of this ‘problem’ though and that when I actually start college in a few weeks the maths teacher will hunt me down and continue his efforts but at least, for now, I’m doing what I want to be doing.
I just think that the older generation just need to have more faith in teenagers that we know what we are doing with our futures and accept that we’re fully responsible for the outcome. The same goes for giving teenagers responsibilities too. I think we just need to cut teenagers some slack, you know? We have enough to deal what with having to cope with transitioning from a child into an adult and working out where we fit in society without being constantly doubted on our own decisions.
Have you experienced anything similar? Do you think teenagers should be able to be trusted to make their own decisions more freely? Let me know!
So as you can probably guess, I didn’t really sleep much last night and the ridiculous heat didn’t help either. BUT I managed to wake up in time – even before my alarm went off for once! I originally thought I was getting my results at 10am but the school changed it to 9:30am so I had to rush out, meet my friends then head over to school for the last time ever eek!
We didn’t have to listen to a massive speech from the principal this time like we did on results day last year – he just said a few words then let everyone go and collect our envelopes.
I literally almost got crushed going to get my results because our whole year group (around 250 people) were sat on the tiered seating in the school hall and EVERYONE tried to shove their way down the steps at once to get to the tables where out results were layed out. Once I’d picked up my results I found my friends and we went outside to open them.
I was extremely nervous about opening my results because I found physics and maths really tough so was expecting to be disappointed but the grades I got were better than I ever could have imagined. All of my friends did really well and passed everything they needed to and I am so proud of them!
What kind of annoyed me though was that as soon as I opened my results and had barely looked at them, let alone let it all sink in, the head of school came over to me saying that she’d been looking for me as I was on her ‘list of high flyers’ (because the teachers get to look at our grades before us she had obviously.already had time to compare everyone’s results) and she was making such a fuss getting the photographer from the local newspaper to take a picture of me and two other girls who got similar results and it was really stressing me out a) because I don’t like being pressured to do things b) because I didn’t even want my photo taken and c) because I hadn’t even had the chance to tell my friends what I’d got before I was whisked off to the photographer.
What’s worse was that I had to have my photo taken with a girl that I’ve never really liked – she is always so arrogant and literally thinks she’s the best at everything. She’s the type of person that is extremely smart and isn’t afraid to let everyone know it or use it to make other people feel bad and inadequate. I really, really can’t stand her. I already knew that I’d have to put up with her for the next two years of college in my a level French class because only around 5-10 people take French so I wouldn’t be able to avoid her. I thought today might have been a chance to kind of move on from secondary school and act more friendly towards each other so it would be less awkward at college but after we had had our photo taken, I turned to her and was about to congratulate her but she was giving me the most horrible glare ever (because obviously she wasn’t happy with the fact that other people had achieved as good results as her). I said to myself ‘so this is how it’s going to be then’ and I just walked off because now I know that we’re never going to be “friends”and she’ll never treat me as an equal and if there is one thing I’ve learnt from secondary school, it’s that you don’t waste time on people who clearly aren’t worth it.
Aside from that, I have had a lovely day celebrating with my friends. Our school hired an ice cream van so we all got free ice creams, chatted to teachers and friends for a bit, then headed to my friend’s house.
My friends mum was so happy and excited that when we walked through the door she hugged us and kissed us all on the cheek lol 😂 We spent the rest of the day eating chips from the local fish and chip shop, chatting, playing pool, Irish snap and Monopoly, having pillow/beanbag fights and just generally being really hyper and weird.
I left my friend’s house at like 5pm and when I got back my mum wasn’t very happy because I’d spent all day out with my friends (even though she knew I was going to do that anyway) and the rest of my family just seem a bit miserable (I think my sister is annoyed because I got higher grades than her and udk what’s up with everyone else). But other than that I’ve had a great day.
I hope everyone else’s exam results were what you were hoping for and remember that all the thousands of facts and statistics and knowledge you gained whilst studying for these exams is worth so much more than just one letter. At the end of the day the aim of school is to leave with more knowledge than you’ve started and the knowledge and skills you take away from school is what’s important and what determines your success. 🙂
The featured image us of a street in Oxford and at the moment I am probably more proud of how that photo turned out than I am of my results. It still hasn’t sunk in and I’ve been in a constant state of shock all day!
Hi everyone, Victoria here fromAddlepates and Book Nerds! This is a post to say thank you to my wonderful Em for doing a guest post on my blog. Yeah, it was ages ago, I’m very unorganised…
I asked bloggers to come and talk about things they love on my blog, so I thought I’d do the same for them. Other than reading, which is the obvious, I love making YouTube videos. I started my channel very recently, but I’ve found myself addicted to making all the new things. I have so many pages lying all over the place with ideas for my next videos – some are scripted, some are bullet point lists, some just vaguely say “midnight”, and I expect future me to know what I’m on about.
My favourite part of the process is editing. Sure, filming is okay. I’m still getting used to the idea of sitting and talking to myself for long periods of time, and I ramble a lot if I don’t have a solid plan. Editing, though, means I get to cut all that waffle out. I make myself look very coherent and casual, which is not at all how I come across in the rough copy. I don’t do much editing in terms of lighting and filters etc, but it’s handy to know that when the sun is flickering through and ruining my great shot, I can get rid of it when I sit down at my computer. Adding music is always the final step for me, and it’s such a great feeling when I finally get to it. Once I’ve added the music, I feel like the whole video is pulled together. Plus, I MADE A THING! It’s not the same feeling you get when you write a blog post, because so much more work goes into it. Also, it’s so new for me, it’s a much bigger achievement.
Another great thing about my channel is that I can be completely me. Blogging is a lot more controlled, and at least in my case, I talk about things instead of myself. On my channel I make a mistake, laugh at myself, and let everyone else laugh at me too. I could never do that on my blog! I’m being me, and every subscriber I get is subscribing because they like me, not just because they like the books I review. To be a YouTuber you have to have so much self confidence, and while I don’t have that at all, every thumbs up makes it grow a little bit.
As you probably should know, the 2016 Olympic Games are currently taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Around this time four years ago, it was London’s turn to host the Olympics and I have to say that this years Olympics is definitely bringing back lots of nostalgia from London 2012.
I don’t actually remember when it was announced that London were going to host the 2012 Summer Olympic Games but I must have been aware of it as I designed my own version of what the Olympic Park should look like (although in hindsight I think it might have been more suited to hamsters than athletes).
I think one of the first things I can actually remember about the London 2012 Olympics is in my first year of secondary school (2011) we did a whole project on the Olympics in geography where we learnt about how the park was being built and the costs and benefits of the UK hosting it. We even got to design our own mascots too (I just went searching through piles of old school books to find mine but it wasn’t anywhere to be seen).
Later on in the year during school charity month, I even got the opportunity to hold the Olympic Torch and have my photo taken with it as a boy from my school who was in the older years was actually carrying the torch in the Olympic Torch relay so he used it to raise money for the charity my school was supporting that year.
Then in the summer holidays of 2011 I remember going to London and seeing the Olympic and Paralympic countdown clock in Trafalgar Square and going to the British Museum where they had replicas of the London 2012 Olympic medals. I also remember London’s Paddington Station had a London 2012 shop (which was closed when we got there because we had a late train). But, in traditional British fashion it was grey and gloomy so my photos aren’t that great.
Then later on in 2011 (actually this could have happened before I went to London but I can’t really remember) I went on a Scout camp to Austria – which was one of the best experiences of my life – and on the cross-channel ferry on the way back we looked round the shops and I bought a Wenlock (the Olympic mascot) figurine. It was a really weird experience because EVERYONE was buying Olympic stuff and I think that was when it dawned on me that the Olympics were coming and there wasn’t long to wait!
I can’t remember when exactly, but me and my family put in bids for tickets for various events and were lucky enough to get tickets for two womens football matches and a days worth of rowing.
The football was one or two days before the actual opening ceremony for the Olympics as there were so many football matches that they had to start earlier than the rest of the events. But this didn’t mean we didn’t have the Olympic spirit – when we turned up at our local train station to catch the train to Cardiff there were quite a few other people also dressed in Team GB clothing and carrying Union Flags. I have to say though that train journey was probably the worst I’ve been on – it was ridiculously hot that day and the train only had two carriages so we were all squished up for a couple of hours in unbearable heat.
Once we got there there was a huge queue to get into the Millennium Stadium because everyone had to be security checked which took ages.
When we finally got through the gates though the stadium looked even more impressive. Although it was so huge it was difficult to get a good picture of it.
The inside of the stadium was just as impressive although I didn’t get any photos of when it was full.
The first match we watched was Great Britain vs New Zealand and the final score was 1-0 to GB! It was so good to watch our home team win and when we scored the winning goal everyone in the stadium jumped out of their seats to celebrate (even me despite the fact that we were so high up).
After the first match was over, we went off to buy some food because we weren’t allowed to take any into the stadium. But all the food places had such big queues that when we got there the only thing we could buy were some sandwiches (but at least we still ate). It was quite funny actually because someone I recognised from school was sat with their family a few rows in front of us (at this point I didn’t know them as I’d only just started secondary school) but towards the end of secondary school we became friends which was cool.
The second match we watched was Brazil vs Cameroon. According to wiki, an extra 5,000 people came to watch this match (although I’m not sure how because you could only buy tickets for both matches together, not individually). Brazil won 5-0 and it was a great match to watch – much more fast-paced than GB vs NZ as you can see by the final score.
After the football had finished, we made our way out of the stadium and back to the train station. Ont the way we saw lots of people selling flags and hats (although it was a bit late at this point) and there was a large amount of Brazilian supporters in the streets celebrating their victory. We walked past the Team GB womens coach in on the way out but my family didn’t believe me until it was too late to get a signature. We also passed the London 2012 merchandise stands but I don’t think I bought anything there as, again, the queues were so large and by this time it was around 11pm so we just wanted to get home.
After yet more queues at the train station and two trains later we finally got home in the early hours of the morning and although I wouldn’t class myself to be a huge fan of football, it was one of the best experiences of my life.
Then we went to watch the rowing at Eton Dorney, Buckinghamshire around a week later. I was excited to watch this as rowing wasn’t something I’d ever really watched before/knew a lot about.
This time we drove to a park and ride in Buckinghamshire put on especially for the Olympics where we left our car and took a bus to Eton Dorney. I found the buses really exciting because they were all brand new and this was the year that they brought in the new style buses in the UK (I think).
Once we arrived at Eton Dorney I remember there being quite a long walk to get to the entrance of the venue but I’m sure the hoards of people supporting various different countries that were walking along with us kept us occupied. Also the Games Makers were very friendly, helpful and funny and just generally made the whole experience way more exciting. We had to go through airport-style security to enter the venue and I remember there being some incident with a mans watch falling into the tray with my dads bag in whilst it was going through the x-ray machine (not sure if that’s what they are actually called) so that was interesting!
The venue for the rowing was obviously a lot bigger and different than that of the football so the whole experience was slightly different. We didn’t have tickets for the seats at the end of the rowing course but that didn’t matter as we had come prepared with blankets and wellies to sit on the grass verges along with the majority of spectators.
I think we ended up sitting about halfway along the rowing course (I’m not good with technical rowing terms, haha, so correct me if I’m wrong) so we saw the middle of the races but there were plenty of big screens around so we could see the start and finish.
As far as the races go, we saw quite a few as we were there all day.
I think my favourites would have to be the women’s eights race though as it was really exciting seeing so many people racing. We also saw a competitor from Niger, Hamadou Djibo Issaka, who had only been rowing a three months and although he didn’t do that well in his race, the whole crowd was cheering him on.
As well as watching the rowing itself, there was a lot of other stuff to do at Eton Dorney too. There were lots of stalls, including a London 2012 shop where I bought the rowing edition of the London 2012 Olympic 50p coins.
There was also a big marquee with a ‘Get Inspired’ sign on it which was like the theme of the Olympic Games. In there you could have virtual rowing and canoeing races with people using rowing machines and canoeing machines which was fun, even though I was really bad at it!
As we didn’t have specific seats allocated to us, we were free to wander around Eton Dorney so at one point we went down to the start line and watched a few races from there.
We also found the Olympic Rings which everyone was queuing to take pictures by. We approached the rings from the back (which was grey) and we wondered why everyone was queuing around the other side of the rings when you get perfectly good pictures of this side. So us being stupid took loads of family photos with the GREY Olympic Rings in the background, only to discover that the other side of the rings were the COLOURED side…
Whilst we were wandering around, we bumped into Wenlock, the mascot, and took photos with it and we also found a statue of Wenlock too.
We also saw various members of each nations rowing teams (not sure if they were coaches or not) cycling alongside the water during the races which you don’t get to see when you watch rowing on TV.
I can’t really remember much about leaving the rowing, except we got back on the bus then drove back home but overall watching the rowing was a really great experience and I enjoyed it just as much as the football.
Going to watch the Olympics was, of course, the best part of the London 2012 Games for me, but the hype of hosting the games is something I’m never going to forget. I loved our opening and closing ceremonies and really felt proud to be British. I hope I’ll be able to experience another home games in my lifetime because it was truly amazing.
Obviously in the build up to and during the Olympics there was London 2012 and Team GB merchandise in almost every shop so I did manage to collect quite a lot of stuff. I’ve taken some pictures of some of the stuff here but I know there are various other things around the house that I’ll remember later.
I still can’t believe that all of this happened 4 years ago now!?! It feels like it was yesterday!
Did you go to the London 2012 Olympics or Paralympics? Have you been to any Olympic Games? I’d love to know! 🙂
Why Do We Have So Many Cheese Stores In One Street: A Cheesy Read.
Although I don’t tend to pick up a book that I think will be cheesy (okay I love cheese but cheesy books aren’t really my thing (anymore)), I admit I did read the Gallagher Girls series a few years ago and found that to be quite cheesy (especially the romance) – I think I only read the first four books which I enjoyed at the time but it’s not something I’d read now.
Canal Parade: A Book That Celebrates The LGBT Community.
Okay so I haven’t *technically* read any books specifically with an LGBT theme which I REALLY. NEED. TO. CHANGE. But if you read my post about discovering sexuality a few months ago, you’ll know that (argh I don’t know what I’m trying to say/how to word it) basically I haven’t been interested in (?)/ involved with sexuality and the LGBT community for an overly long time so haven’t had the chance to explore the world of LGBT in fiction (but I definitely want to so if anyone has any recommendations I’d be grateful)! However whilst doing some research earlier I discovered that Albus Dumbledore was gay and fell in love with Gellert Grindelwald (I feel like a bad Potterhead for not spotting this whilst reading the books) so although that is a tenuous link, I’ll have to go with the Harry Potter Series for now. 🙂
Anne Frank House: A Book That Made You Cry.
I have to say I don’t think I’ve ever full-on cried whilst reading a book (although there have been times where I’ve been VERY CLOSE to crying *cough cough* CURSED CHILD!!) but I’ve definitely cried internally a lot of times whilst reading. I’m going to have to go with The Book Thief because there is just a whole lot of sadness in that book (it is still one of my favourite books though so don’t let he sadness put you off).
Red White Blue: Recreate The Dutch Flag Using Books.
The stripes are different thicknesses but I love all three of these books so wanted to use them!
Museum Square: An Artsy Book.
I haven’t read any fictional artsy books (at least I don’t think I have *glares at bookcase to try to find an artsy book* – my memory is really bad when it comes to books and remembering things) so I’ll go with LEGO Harry Potter: Building The Magical World. It’s basically a timeline of the development of LEGO Harry Potter and also explains how they come up with the designs for the LEGO sets and ‘build the magical world’, as well as how they made the video games so it’s kind of artsy, right?
Pigeons, Pigeons Everywhere: An Annoying Character.
I have to say there is probably at least one character in every book I’ve read that annoys me – which I suppose is a sign of good writing on the authors part as they can portray there characters in a way that makes the readers dislike them, which is probably harder than it is to get readers to like characters. I’m going to go with Ender’s Game though as I didn’t feel as if I could connect to any of the characters really and just found most of them relatively annoying.
A few weeks back, I did another swap box, this time with Michelle from The Writing Hufflepuff. I sent her some British things, which you can see in her weekly and monthly wrap-up for July here, and she very kindly sent me some things from The Netherlands!
The Netherlands was a country I didn’t really know much about before starting blogging. It was only when I started to use Twitter for my blog and became friends with Michelle, that I started to learn more and more about the country. Now The Netherlands is definitely a place I want to visit (not just because I have a higher chance of bumping into Douwe Bob there and there are lots of cheese shops) because it looks like such a beautiful country and I’d love to learn more about it’s culture and history.
So, first things first, lets all take a moment to admire how cute Michelle made the packaging. I was surprised that the stickers made it here intact but thankfully they did and it was a nice surprise once my mum had rescued the package from the postwoman got it stuck in the letterbox!
When I opened the package, I was greeted by a mass of Dutch toilet paper which Michelle had use to protect all the items and keep them in place. Being the sentimental person that I am, I just had to keep a little bit of the toilet paper as a memento!
I wish I’d taken a picture of all the toilet paper when I first opened it because it literally looked like I’d just unwrapped a mummy 😂😂
Anyway, I think the first things that I took out of the envelope where the food items (I suppose because they were heaviest they sort of fell out first – either that or I just naturally gravitate towards food which wouldn’t surprise me).
The packet on the left – ‘gemengde peren’ – translates as mixed pears (I kind of guessed the pear bit form the picture, also ‘peren’ looks a bit like ‘pear’). In the middle is a pack of mini stroop wafels or syrup wafels in English. Me and my family tried these the other day – we heated them up and had some vanilla ice cream with them and they were absolutely delicious. I’ve just googled it and apparently you can buy stroop wafels in Tescos (not sure about other British supermarkets) so I’ll definitely be getting more of them soon! Then on the right are some ‘roomboterwafels’ which translates to butter waffles. I opened this packet when I first got the parcel so I’ve nearly finished them now but I can safely say they are very nice (and look like mini Tardis’/LEGO bricks). I haven’t tried the gemengde peren yet but I’ll let you know how they taste when I do!
Next there was a cute paper bag with a little Miffy magnet inside! I used to watch Miffy as a child and I’d forgotten all about it until Michelle sent me this so I’m so glad she reminded me about the little rabbit I used to love.
Also the paper in the shape of Van Gough’s bed is so cool!
Then there was a pair of clogs on a key ring. I think this key ring wins the prize of being the most Dutch key ring ever as it includes clogs, windmills and Delftware. (My friend who is going on a scout camp to The Netherlands next year is determined to bring back clogs and Delftware with her so I expect this isn’t the last I’ll be seeing of it)!
Michelle also sent me a klein Nederlands woordenboek (little Dutch dictionary) which I think is such a lovely idea, especially as Dutch is a lovely language which I’d like to add to the the list of languages I want to learn.
Again I love the usage of stickers in the dictionary and the inclusion of very important phrases such as ‘Ik ben een grote fan (I am a big fan)’ which I will need when I meet Douwe (not that that’s likely but I can dream!) and ‘ Ik hou van Herman (I love Herman)’ who I’ll talk more about later.
Next there was an envelope which was also very cute (EVERYTHING IS CUTE OKAY DON’T JUDGE ME).
Inside was a lovely letter, a cute (again, I really need to find a good synonym for cute) little cat ‘poëzieplaatje’, a picture of some Dutch houses and a completely awesome Em + Herman wearing traditional Dutch clothing bookmark. (If you’re wondering who Herman is, you should probably read this).
Finally here is everything together:
To finsih I’d like to thank Michelle so much for sending me all of this because I really love it all so much and I know I keep saying this but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing these swap boxes and I’ll cherish all of these things forever. ❤
You can read about my other swap boxes with Just A Blank Space, Eve, and Rebecca too!
I’d never been to Oxford before so it’s fair to say I was a bit gobsmacked by the beauty of the city when we arrived. It literally felt like I’d stepped back into the past as every single building had this kind of Gothic feel to it due to the extraordinary architecture. However beautiful the narrow streets were, they did cause a bit of a problem with parking the minibus so we just had to pull up quickly outside Lincoln College (which was the college we were supposed to be visiting) and jump out. Unfortunately my school’s minibus’ weren’t designed for tall people so when it was my turn to jump out of the minibus, I hit my head on the roof/door frame. Fun.
Anyway, we then headed through one of the numerous Hogwarts-y door ways which were so huge even Hagrid would have been able to fit through. The doorway led – to our surprise – to Jesus College (it was kind of surprising how easy it was for a group 10 teenagers and a teacher-who’s-not-actually-a-teacher to walk into the wrong college and loiter in the entrance hall for a few minutes before anyone noticed) but we were soon pointed in the direction of Lincoln College. When we arrived at Lincoln, we were greeted by our tour guide, an Oxford graduate, who then took us back to Jesus College because Lincoln College was full up. So basically we spent the first 20 minutes in Oxford wandering round in circles!
Once we eventually got there (and after some interesting incidents invovling pitch-black toilets, phone lights and shadows – nothing more need be said) we went into a lecture theatre and joined a group of students from another school not too far from mine to find out more about the university and what studying there could offer.
That’s when it finally began to sink in that I was sat in Oxford University – one of the top universities in the world – surrounded by people who, like me, were considered to be possible future Oxford students.
I kind of have mixed feelings about the experience as a whole. It did feel good to be in an environment where we were constantly being encouraged and inspired to have high aspirations yet I couldn’t help but feel out of place. I felt the same whilst we had a tour of Jesus and Lincoln College’s too. The colleges themselves were incredibly pretty, and so were their accompanying libraries.
I could definitely feel just how peaceful an environment Oxford University would be to study in and how rewarding it would be to live and study somewhere like this after putting in all the effort it would take to get there. Yet I couldn’t imagine myself being there. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from going to university open days with my sister, it’s that some places just don’t feel ‘right’. And Oxford was one of them.
I’m not sure if it’s because I am very self critical when it comes to my acedemic abilities and was constantly questioning why I had been invited on the trip throughout the day, or if it was because Oxford is so different to anywhere else I’ve been and I’d never given studying at Oxford University much thought until the actual day of the trip.
Aside from this, something else visiting Oxford made me realise is that it’s not perhaps as elitest as I thought. Obviously it still is in the sense that their entry requirements and very, very high, but just the fact that my school has been targeted by Oxford as a school that could, and has, provide the university with future students shows that background isn’t as important as it once was. My school itself is in a fairly nice area, but the rest of my town is really not that nice of a place or at least not the type of place you’d expect people to have high aspirations.
Another thing I noticed is that the vast majority of the students from my school, and the other local school that we were grouped with, were female. In fact, there were only four boys in a group of around 30. I thought this was quite interesting as it just goes to show how encouraging and assisting girls to aspire high in terms of education (which is something my school, and probably many others in the UK, had been. doing increasingly over the past few years) has worked. I do feel as though girls do tend to be encouraged to aim high at school more than boys do, but that is a subject I’ll talk about another time.
So, overall, what I learnt from visiting Oxford University is that although it may not be the right place for me, it really does live up to it’s reputation of being a top educational establishment, getting into Oxford requires a lot of hard work and committment, it’s not as elitest as it used to be as it gives the impression that anyone of any background would be welcomed there and it is basically Hogwarts.:)
(Oh and also that there is a bakery in Oxford that makes really nice white chocolate chip cookies – thanks to the awesome teacher-who’s-not-really-a-teacher who bought us all cookies.)
A few weeks ago me and Rebecca from Monthly Marker did a swap box where we sent each other stuff from our respective counties (as we both live in the UK). I really should have written this post up a long time ago but I’ve been very lazy busy hence why I’ve only just got round to taking the photos for this so I could actually write it. Anyway, here is what Rebecca very kindly sent me in her Yorkshire-themed box!
First of all here’s the actual box itself:
I love the little message on the inside of the lid – ‘hello 🙂 take a peek inside’.
The first thing I opened was this cute little envelope which had a card inside it, detailing the origins of all of the other items in the box (and a very awesome unicorn).
Then there was a lovely drinks mat with a squirrel on it (because you are most likely to see red squirrels in the Yorkshire Dales) and an awesome squirrel key ring! I’ve always liked squirrels, ever since I went to Brownsea Island when I was young and saw a red squirrel for the first time. I’ve never seen a red squirrel since so I’ll have to go up to the Yorkshire Dales sometime to try and spot one! I did, however, see a lot of grey squirrels in the main park in town the other day. I mean, there were literally loads of them – they kept popping out of bushes and trees near the back of the park and me and my sister counted about 9 squirrels within about a meter radius of us! It was just a liiittle bit creepy though as they kept following us around the park…
Anyway, next there was a Chocolate Covered Kendal Mint Cake. I’ve heard of Kendal Minrt Cake before – my grandparents live up in Yorkshire and my grandpa is a keen walker (I’m pretty sure he doesn’t walk anywhere without a Kendal Mint Cake) – but I’ve never actually tried it! I’m waiting for the perfect moment to eat it – I’m thinking I might take it on holiday to Pembrokeshire (South Wales) in a few weeks so I can enjoy eating after exploring the coastline there.
Then there was a packet of Rhubarb and Custard sweets which I absolutely LOVE. I never get fed up of them – they are one of my favourite type of sweets ever. Although I do love sweets, I hardly ever actually buy them – only for special occasions – so I haven’t had rhubarb and custard sweets in ageeeeees and I can’t wait to tuck into them!
Lastly, but certainly not least, was a little glass sheep which is really, REALLY cute and I couldn’t help but name it Kendal! I introduced Kendal to another, slighter larger, sheep that was previously sat on my keyboard stand (the sheep is magnetic) but since becoming god friends with Kendal, the sheep couldn’t bare to be apart from eachother so they are now sat on my shelf together!
And finally a picture of the entire contents of the box together. 🙂
I really love everything Rebecca sent me and I’m so grateful that she wanted to do a swap box with me! So I’d like to thank her a lot for sending me all this awesome stuff! ❤