Reflecting on Change

Isn’t it strange when you look back at how your life was in the past, even the recent past, and realise how much has changed in that short time. Our lives are constantly changing, and we’re always learning more about ourselves, others and the world around us. I look back even a year ago and see changes in myself, let alone a few years ago. I know I’m still in that young experimental stage, but I think everyone experiences these realisations of change and can reflect in this way.

I find it crazy how so many people come in and out of our lives. We say it’s for the best which I guess is true, because we hold onto the people who we get on best with, those who understand us and prove themselves to be good friends. When we realise people aren’t who we thought they were, we have to learn to let go for our own happiness. Along with this, people sadly drift apart. I’ve experienced a lot of this in my life. It’s strange looking back at old friendships. There are people who I went to primary school with who I never even spoke to at secondary school. And there’s people I went to secondary school with who I no longer see or speak to now. It’s strange how you can go from being so close to someone, then them not being in your life. But the people you share experiences with, and the people who don’t continue to be in your life are all there for a reason and make us the person we are. It’s a strange world. Old friendships can make us see what is best for us and who deserves to have us in their life. And I’m so lucky to have found such a great bunch. I think I’m at that age now where my friendship groups are a lot more settled. Obviously they’re not set in stone, and I still have the stage of meeting people once I’m in a full time job. But I’ve done school and sixth form, I’m at university. So more people will come into my life, but I’m definitely not going to let go of the incredible girls I have already.

Another thing I’ve seen change is in terms of individual style. Make-up for instance is a big one. This is one of the main results of being at that experimental age I think, and it’s exciting trying new products and finding new ways of doing my make-up. Whereas (stereotypical, I know, so I may be wrong) when us women get older, we stick to what we know because we’ve done all this experimenting and have a more set-in-stone daily routine. Even looking back at my blog posts from a year ago, my make-up routine and the products I use have changed massively, which is crazy as it was only a short time ago. I should probably do an updated post just to demonstrate how different it is! I’ve got a lot more into beauty recently, and read a lot more blog posts and watch YouTube videos (I’m loving Zoella and Tanya Burr). I feel like I’m getting a little more clued up every day, and I’m definitely no expert in make-up but I don’t feel quite so clueless as I have done in the past. It will be scary to see how much of a difference there is again next year.

I think in general as well, you start to feel in yourself that you’ve grown up. You come to the point where you realise you’re older now and you have more responsibilities and you have to mature, at least in some aspects of your life (you can always act like a child sometimes, no matter how old you are!). Once I got out of the typical teenage phase, I have noticed recently in myself that I think about things more maturely, I do more to help round the house without being asked… Little things like that which do actually make a big difference.

We see so many changes in our lives and it’s always interesting (yet scary) to think about how our lives will be in the future. The people we’ll have in our lives, our tastes and interests, our attitude towards life. Growing up and getting older is of course a big reason for this, but so many things can happen which change aspects of our life. Even something such as finding a new band you like can make a difference. Going to concerts and events has actually led to me meeting some of my closest friends. It’s like you can be in a pub and meet the person you then spend the rest of your life with. An experience can completely change your perspective on life. You never know what’s round the corner, but there’s sure to be plenty of changes for you to look back on.

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Mid-Year Outlook

As we reach half-way through the year, it’s interesting to look back at the year so far. 2016 is absolutely flying by, yet so much has been packed into it. On a global level, there’s been plenty of misery and heartbreak- famous deaths, tragic events and conflict. It’s scary to think of how  much has happened in the world this year when we’re only half-way through it. I know it’s just left people wondering what else could possibly happen, and it’s scary to think about all the negatives so far in 2016.

On a personal level, I’ve done so much work to complete my second year of university. I get my overall mark for the year next week, so that will finalise my penultimate year! It’s crazy that in a few months I’ll be starting my final year and getting ready to complete this part of my life. It’s going to be a long year of my dissertation, final exams and a lot of stress to make sure I get the best possible results I can. I have a few months of summer so I should probably make the most of this. As well as taking chill time and enjoying myself, I need to be sensible and prepare for what’s to come. This includes thinking of dissertation ideas, finding work experience and getting closer to deciding on my future career path. It’s all very scary but that’s how this adult life is!

This month I turn 20 and will no longer be a teenager. I hope to make a good start to my 20s as it’s the start of another exciting chapter. I was speaking to my parents the other week about how your 20s is a time where a lot of things can happen- settling down, finding your career, buying your first home. It’s an important time of my life but I’m hoping it will be fun and I’m looking forward to celebrating and welcoming in this new decade.

For the second half of 2016, there are some things I want to do so I can look back and think of it as a great year of my life:

  • Be organised and prepared to avoid last-minute stresses. Hopefully this will come into play when I start back at university!
  • Keep building up my confidence in all aspects of my life, including in driving (see my previous blog post Confessions of a Girl Who Lacks Confidence)
  • Make every effort on a social level. I think we are all guilty of social laziness sometimes. I can be lazy with my texting and go too long before realising I should catch up with a friend. Text people more regularly and arrange more meet-ups. Also there’s those times you just don’t feel like being sociable and going out but I need to remember that I always enjoy it when I’m out!
  • Go to the gym more! I’m paying for a membership so I really should be making more use of this because I’m not going to get the body I want sat on my sofa watching Netflix
  • And finally… Make the most of every day! 2016 has definitely taught us so far that life is too short and you never know what is around the corner. Have fun, do what you love and spend time with those you love whilst you still can

How are you going to spend the second half of your 2016?

Have a lovely weekend all,

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Confessions of a Girl Who Lacks Confidence

So this is probably the most personal blog post I’ve done so far. I’ve always been pretty shy until  you get to know me, then I feel comfortable enough to be myself around you. I don’t like the attention being on me and I’m just an awkward person. I worry a lot too which is never fun. I wanted to talk about some of the feelings I have and what goes on in my head a lot of the time.

One thing that bothers me is my lack of confidence when I’m with a large group of people. It’s fine if I know them all very well, but usually when there is a big group, there are people I’m not particularly close to. I’m one of those people who only feels truly comfortable when I’m with people I know well and can be myself around. This is why I prefer to have a small, close group of friends- that’s like my safety blanket. During my last years of school, our group got pretty big, but I’d stick with my best friends. When I get invited out, I never am keen to go unless I know one of my closest friends will be there too. So I apologise to those who I stick to like glue and don’t leave alone when we go out. I don’t mean to be annoying, I just feel comfortable around you, so take it as a compliment.

I don’t have much belief in what I do. I worry about doing the right things and making the right decisions. I like to check with people before I do things so I know what I’m doing isn’t stupid and I’ve had that reassurance. I’m awful at making decisions most of the time anyway, and use the phrase ‘I don’t mind’ far too often! I know I need to realise that I am capable of doing things, stop worrying so much and hold my head up and act confident and be decisive because I should have belief in my own abilities and decisions.

One aspect of my life which is impacted by my constant worry is driving. I passed my driving test at the start of last year, but to this day it still terrifies me. I wish more than anything I was one of those who enjoyed driving but instead I’ve always tried to avoid it as much as I can, which is completely the wrong thing to do. I don’t know what it is, I think it’s just the fear knowing how dangerous it can be and thinking that I’m not good enough to deal with any situation on the road. Once I’m driving it’s usually absolutely fine, it’s just the initial thought and I get myself worked up. But I’m getting better. I’m making myself do it more recently and I’m looking to buy my own car which should encourage me to drive more and keep gaining confidence. It probably sounds silly, but it’s all just part of my lack of confidence, and trust me, it frustrates me a lot!

It’s not fun being an awkward person who worries a lot and has no confidence in themself. But that’s the way I am and hopefully one day I’ll be able to accept that more and fight the doubts in my head. I do my best to act more confident than I feel inside so hopefully it works, but this is me being honest. If you sympathise with me, then we’re in this together!

Best wishes,

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A Holiday Getaway

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So my second year of unviersity is over! It’s the most incredible feeling having all of that stress over for a while now and having more time to chill and do things a lot more exciting than revision and assignments. Although it is pretty terrifying that when I go back I will be in my final year! It was the perfect end to all the stress to get away for a week with my family for a holiday in Devon.

We had a little cottage in the middle of nowhere and it was so beautiful and relaxing there. The whole vibe of the holiday was just so chilled which was exactly what we all needed after a busy and stressful couple of months. We just woke up when we woke up, went out when we were ready and relaxed in the evening without worrying about waking up early in the morning- bliss! We went on coastal walks and visited some of the local beaches and towns. We were so lucky with the weather too, which you always hope for when going on holiday in England, because in an area like this, there wouldn’t have been many options if there had been a lot of rain. There was only actually one day where there was any rain, and even then it didn’t last long, so that was a bonus.

This was my dog’s first holiday which was exciting. We presumed that the experience would be confusing for him and it would take him a couple of days to settle in but he absolutely loved it and felt at home straight away. We had a little garden that he loved sitting out in and would even sit at the gate protectively watching everything going on. He was so good and well-behaved and looked so happy, it made my heat melt.

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It’s always prety rubbish coming home and straight back to reality and it was so lovely to get away for a bit and spend some time with my family. It was so nice to see my parents so relaxed too and not stressed over their work. I’m now looking forward to the rest of my summer ahead as I have months off now. I better get making some plans to keep me entertained!

I hope everyone is well and enjoying their weekend.

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If Music Didn’t Exist…

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For me and many others, music is a big part of life. A day doesn’t go by where I don’t listen to at least one song. It gives me the motivation to get ready in the morning, it gets me through revision or a long journey, it cheers me up when I need to put a smile back on my face and it helps me to relax on a chilled-out evening. It has the power to get people through any situation.

Just imagine if we didn’t have music. Imagine how quiet the world would be. Even just the little things would be so different. How would scenes in TV programmes and films be made so dramatic? And how would we even entertain ourselves? Clubs wouldn’t exist because no one would be dancing without music. We would never be able to attend a concert either. There would be no singing ‘Happy Birthday’ when someone blows their candles out. When you really think about it, you start to realise that music is everywhere we go, and the world would be a very different place if it didn’t exist.

Music helps people deal with their thoughts, their emotions and their struggles. People write songs to explain how they feel and deal with what they are facing. People listen to songs and relate to the lyrics to get them through tough times. Music is not just something we listen to. It is something we feel and it is something very therapeutic to many. Yes, there are other forms of art and ways of expressing and dealing with how we feel, but music genuinely helps people. Music is an extremely powerful thing.

For me personally, my life would be very different without music. It has enabled me to meet some of my closest friends. It brings people together, and having a connection through your shared love of an artist is something truly special. Music is my hobby and going to concerts is my favourite way to spend my time. There is nothing more incredible than hearing your favourite songs live, and it is the most beautiful thing hearing the crowd sing a song back to the artist all together. All of those people are in the same room and sharing that experience because of their love for that artist.  You can’t get much more special than that.

Music for many people is such an important part of their life. But even if for you it isn’t, just think about how different life would be for you without it.

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Little Mix- Get Weird tour review

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Little Mix are one of my favourite artists around right now. I’m in love with their music, their vocals and their stage presence. Their shows are always incredible so I was extremely excited to go to the Get Weird tour in Cardiff and I was definitely not disappointed.

The show began with the girls being flung into the air before going into Grown and the quality of the performance throughout the whole show just continued. I can honestly say that it is one of the best productions I’ve ever seen. The staging and the visuals were incredible, with the hilarious screens during the costume changes which told the story of the show (they could definitely pull off a Little Mix Spice-World-style movie) and the breathtaking quality of the stage props, including huge trees for the creepy forest themed section including Lightning and DNA.

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I am never failed to be amazed by the vocals of those four girls. During Secret Love Song, Little Me and The End especially, they really do show why they deserved to win X Factor, and they have only improved in the years since. Perrie’s powerful voice blows me away every time, but I love that each girl gets their chance to shine and show off their talent and demonstrate that they all can sing, and very well indeed. I do wish they had included Love Me Or Leave Me though, as it’s one of my favourites on the album and is such a beautiful song that would have showcased their vocals incredibly also.

The girls included a medley of Apache/Fester Skank/Justin Bieber’s Where Are You Now/Beyonce’s Crazy In Love, and even threw some Hotline Bling into the middle of How Ya Doin’. My personal highlights were Lightning (that dance breakdown though!!), Secret Love Song and Black Magic which was the same version as their Brits performance and closed the show as they literally disappeared in a puff of smoke.

I was wondering how Little Mix would beat their Salute tour but they’ve definitely managed it and have put together an incredible show. They are still continuing the tour in the UK right now, before heading to Australia, Asia and Europe. If you’ve managed to get your hands on tickets then you’re definitely in for a treat.

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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Musical- UK Tour review

 

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Hi everyone!

Last week I was lucky enough to watch the Joseph tour when it was at the Playhouse theatre in Weston-Super-Mare. This year it stars X Factor winner Joe McElderry in the lead role. I was excited to see him in this production because people have always said that his voice would be perfect for musical theatre, and he certainly didn’t disappoint. He is perfectly suited to the role with his poweful and effortless voice. He is also brilliant at the acting aspect of the show, which he hasn’t had many chances to show before. Although he has starred in pantomimes and Tommy the Musical recently, this is his first major role in musical theatre. My personal highlight of the show was Joe singing Close Every Door. The emotion and power he put into that song was breathaking and it was a very beautiful and emotional moment.

Joe was joined onstage by Britain’s Got Talent finalist Lucy Kay who also has a very beautiful powerful voice. She was a brilliant choice for the narator and guided the show along through some of the classic songs like ‘Poor Poor Joseph’ and ‘Jacob and Sons’. On BGT, Lucy performed opera songs and during this show she sounded just as brilliant using her operatic voice for musical theatre songs and she is a real talent.

A lovely addition to the show was the choir, which features a different group of children at each venue, this time from the Bristol School of Performing Arts. They were so professional sitting on the stage for the duration of the show and providing harmonies during the songs. They kicked off the second half of the show with their own medley of some of the show’s songs and they did this brilliantly.

Joseph is so uplifting and has a feel-good atmosphere about it. It was my first time seeing a production of the show and I definitely wasn’t disappointed, as it was proven to me why it is such a hugely popular production. There is a lot of humour within the show including Elvis as the Pharoah and some pop-up sheep which gave the audience many laughs and appealed to all ages there. The end of the show was an opportunity for everyone to get up and dance as the cast performed some of the biggest hits again, which was a long fun encore which ended the show perfectly.

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The UK tour is running until July at many venues around the country and I would definitely recommend going to see it for an enjoyable afternoon/evening. The cast are all very talented and fantastic in the show so I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. I have even heard from fans of Joseph who have seen it many times that Joe McElderry is possibly the best Joseph they’ve seen, so book your tickets before it’s too late! You can find all of the details and tickets here.

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The Importance Of Mental Health Awareness

Mental health awareness is something I am so passionate about. Although I am lucky enough to have not experienced it on a personal level, I am surrounded by people who are suffering and I would do anything to help them feel happy. It  frustrates me how overlooked mental health illnesses are and how people aren’t supported to enable them to recover, instead being left to suffer in silence. I was pleased to see a lot of coverage around mental health on the BBC news this evening, which featured David Cameron talking about the crisis in this country. This got me thinking about how I wish that there would be more coverage because it’s almost as if we shy away from talking about the issue, which only makes the situation worse for those who are suffering.

As someone who hopes to teach in the future, I was so sad to hear the recent statistics that 3 children in every classroom have a mental illness. I hope to be able to support my future pupils so that they have support to deal with what they are going through. I’d love to be able to make a difference, but if I can even be a support for someone and to help them through a tough time then I will feel fulfillment from that.

I asked some people who suffer with mental health illnesses what the one thing they feel would help them was, and there was a very prominent theme. Everyone talked about people actually seeing the conditions as real illnesses and understanding the seriousness of what they are going through, rather than just being told “you’re fine”. It was mentioned about educating children in schools so that we have a knowledge early on about what these conditions are like, how to deal with them and how to support your loved ones experiencing it. This includes those conditions that are not as well known and very little people have knowledge of. For example, Trichotillomania is a condition where the person feels compelled to pull their hair out, but is not known about like anxiety, eating disorders etc. There was also discussion around how we should be able to discuss these issues instead of being afraid to use words like depression. By acting as if these are forbidden words and subjects, it means that people who need support are too worried to reach out for it and talk to their friends and family, in case of being judged for it. Even doctors don’t seem to give appropriate help, with someone telling me all they want is for doctors to actually recognise the signs and symptoms. Overall, people just want mental illnesses to be seen as the serious illnesses they are, and for people to understand them to give them the appropriate support.

It is incredibly sad knowing that I have friends going through this every day and that, although I can be there for them, I can’t actually take their suffering away. We still have a long way to go, as demonstrated by the people who responded to my question, but I hope that one day soon, life will be easier for those suffering with their mental health. I don’t want to be frustrated forever about how people aren’t getting the required support, and them having useless trips to the doctors. As a society, we need to recognise that we can help people to live happier lives and recover from their tough times.

To all you sufferers out there: Stay strong and we will get you through this!

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(Related to this topic, my friend Sky has recently started a blog where she shares her experiences of suffering with anxiety. Take a look here: Sky Blu)

January 2016 Favourites

So the first month of the year is over already, how scary! It’s that time where I look back at some of my favourites from this month.

Favourite Moments

  • Seeing in the new year with my best friends
  • Surprising one of my friends by turning up in her town (see here)
  • Finishing semester 1 exams

Favourite Music

  • Sia- This Is Acting: This album only came out a few days ago but it has definitely met my expectations and I can’t stop listening to it. I’m especially loving Move Your Body.
  • Little Mix- Secret Love Song: This hasn’t officially been released as single yet but it’s already a hit in the charts even getting up to number 3 on iTunes. I love the main version featuring Jason Derulo, but Part 2 is incredible

Favourite TV

  • Making A Murderer- The latest Netflix obsession and I’m gripped, it’s so interesting! I feel so emotionally involved in it though, it’s definitely making me angry
  • Pretty Little Liars- the new season has started this month with the 5 year time jump, which I was wary about but I’m loving it and it remains my favourite TV series

January has been a crazy month and I’m looking forward to seeing what February has to bring. I’m back at university tomorrow so it’s going to be a struggle getting back into work again!

What have your January favourites been?

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A Surprise Trip

Long distance friendships can be tough and it’s horrible not being able to see each other whenever you want to, but that also makes these types of friendships even more special. This is why it was so exciting to go and surprise one of my friends this week by turning up in her town. Myself and my friend Shanna had been planning on surprising Sky for a while, and with us both having the week off and it being her birthday next week, this was the perfect time to do it.

As we were on the train, we filmed a video message explaining that her ‘parcel’ arriving that day was actually us and it was a ‘butterflies in our stomachs’ moment waiting for the video to send with the bad signal and to see her reaction. It was the best feeling seeing how shocked she was and knowing we were putting a big smile on her face. We had the typical cute group hug when we got off the train and it was just so good to see Sky again! I hadn’t seen her since July, and for Shanna it had been almost a year and a half so it was definitely good to be reunited!

We spent the day chilling and taking lots of selfies (standard) and just enjoying the day together. I absolutely love putting a smile on my friends’ faces so being able to do something so special that was a complete surprise was amazing and we all had so much fun. You can talk to each other every day but there is nothing quite like actually seeing each other, and with long distance friendships you really do treasure every moment. Hopefully it won’t be so long next time!

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