Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher

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Billy and Me, Giovanna Fletcher’s debut novel, is quite simply a romance novel. It focuses upon a small town / village girl Sophie May and Billy, a famous actor. The basis for the story line is pretty much ‘can these two total opposites successfully be together in a committed relationship?’ Alongside this though, the reader is teased with a secret that Sophie May is anxious to divulge to her love interest, Billy.

I enjoyed this novel, but only to an extent. I liked the concept behind the story, the idea of exploring whether two opposites can really be happy together. I liked the exploration of family bonds and relationships that Fletcher uses alongside the main story line. I liked the contrasting worlds that Fletcher presented between Sophie May’s life and Billy’s life. And I liked the first half of the novel – maybe a little less than that though. Harsh? Maybe. But I just could not stomach the character of Sophie May. At the beginning of the novel I was optimistic for her character but as time went on I just felt this huge dislike for her build and build. Now, if this dislike in the main character had been built on purpose, I may have been able to accept it. However, I do not believe that this was Fletcher’s intentions. To me, it appears Fletcher was desperately trying to make the reader feel sympathy for Sophie May and her situation, but I feel the intense effort in trying to accomplish this let the character down.

A big part of the story line in Billy and Me is the secret that Sophie May holds from Billy. This is built up for some of the novel, however Sophie May soon divulges said secret to the reader (Billy still being unaware). Although this story telling technique is often very effective, I felt this to heighten my dislike for Sophie May. This is because I was aware of her secret and why she was panicking at times, however I just could not justify her responses and worry over the said event. Maybe I’ve read too many crime and thriller novels, but I wanted the secret to be far more gripping, and a little less underwhelming.

I tend to pick up romance novels as a break from the intense reads that I am required to read on my university course. I find the romance genre to be full of easy reads, something I can just relax with, both mentally and physically. So, I did not pick up Billy and Me thinking it would be a world changing piece of work, I was simply hoping for an ‘easy read’. However, due to my complete dislike for the main character I found this novel to be far from an ‘easy read’. I was constantly rolling my eyes at the character’s actions and thoughts, and crying for the women everywhere, because of the way the novel portrays us.

Billy and Me is therefore a novel that I would struggle to recommend to a friend. However, if you are somebody who does not get too irked by characters in books maybe you’ll have some luck with this novel. Although I have been disappointed with the novel i would love to hear what you think about Fletcher’s story and characters. Maybe you’ll help to open my eyes and heart to Fletcher’s creation…maybe.

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The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

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The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is a collection of short stories by Stephen King. This is his sixth published collection of short stories. Some of the stories included in the collection however have been printed or have been previously available online. For example Blockade Billy can be found published alone and Mile 51 and Ur have been available on Kindle. Although this is the case, in an author’s note at the beginning of the publication King writes ‘some of these stories have been previously published, but that doesn’t mean they were done then’. Thus, as readers we are given the understanding that there could be changes and improvements to the stories, that they should not be overlooked.

Although I am nowhere near an expert in King’s work, and have only ready a small number of his publications, I am a fan of his. Therefore, when I came across this publication of short stories, I did not hesitate to purchase it. I do not often read short stories however at a time when I was not ready to commit to a full length novel I thought The Bazaar of Bad Dreams would be perfect. This was because I figured that short stories would be a low commitment. However, upon reading the first couple of stories I could not put the book down. I found each story was so well written, engaging and gripping that I did not want to cease reading them. Understandably, I do have favourites in the collection. These being, Ur, The Little Green God of Agony, and Obits. Although these are three stories which are extremely different, all three presented a different reality. Ur, presenting a story about alternative realities, The Little Green God of Agony, a story displaying an exorcism type event and Obits about a columnist who can kill people by writing their obituaries. These were three concepts which intrigued me the most and found that I could not pause from reading. From these three stories alone, you can see just how diverse this collection of King’s work is.

The diversity in this collection is something which thoroughly surprised me. As somebody who thinks of Stephen King and only pictures horror, I have been pleasantly surprised. I have been introduced to new sides of King, sides that I did not know existed. Thus, I am more inclined to delve further into his many literary works and discover how much more King can surprise and challenge my initial perceptions of him and his writing.

Alongside each story, King offers up an intimate author’s note which introduces each tale to the reader. This is something I have not yet come across and thus makes each short story more unique and personal. As we discover where the idea for the story stemmed from and why King felt the need to write the following story. This draws us, as readers, closer to the author, enabling us understanding of the mindset and the feelings King had whilst writing the stories. Something which is so rarely done with the literature we read.

Out of the publications I have read recently The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is one of my favourites. It is perfect for those who do not wish to commit to a full-length novel, for those who are die hard King fans and those who may not have read King’s work before. The amount of diversity King offers us as a reader means that there is something for everyone. And I would highly recommend you find your ‘bad dream’.

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Enduring Love by Ian McEwan

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Enduring Love is a novel written by British writer Ian McEwan. The story revolves around two strangers whose lives become entangled following a deadly incident. Although the novel has received mixed reviews, I have found this novel to be extremely thought provoking and engaging. The gripping events of McEwan’s first chapter excellently sets up the continuation of the novel. McEwan’s writing in this chapter is beautiful and emotional thus we experience the events alongside McEwan’s main characters Joe and Clarissa. We are brought along on the journey of coming to terms with the events of the first chapter. We, alongside the characters, are faced with questions of love, trust, and moral dilemmas.

What I enjoyed about this novel is how the relationship between Joe, Clarissa and Jed, three of the people present at the ‘incident’, is portrayed. As the novel progresses from the initial chapter we learn that Jed has become obsessed with Joe, and thus becomes Joe’s stalker. However, when reading the novel I found myself questioning what was the true reality of the situation. This is because I found, through the conversations between Joe and Clarissa and conversations between Joe and Jed, I begun to question what was really happening. Was there more than meets the eye? (so to speak).

However, although I thoroughly enjoyed the journey this novel took me on, I was a little disappointed with the ending. I felt it ended a little flat. For the length of time this novel took to tell its story you cannot help but be a little disappointed with its conclusion. I was definitely hoping for a little more than McEwan gave us.

The novel is brilliant in the way it demonstrates our mortality and questions themes of love, trust, and morality. It is a novel that provokes thought and reasoning from the reader, thus it makes an interesting read. I am a big fan of Ian McEwan, however, if you’re new to his work I would recommend starting with one of his other novels. (maybe, Atonement) As although Enduring Love is engaging, the novel does fall flat towards the end. It is therefore not a novel to judge Ian McEwan’s work on, as he has written many other excellent pieces of work. (Atonement, The Child in Time, Saturday)

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Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

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Birdsong is the second novel in Sebastian Faulks’ French trilogy. Preceded by The Girl at the Lion d’Or and succeeded by Charlotte Gray. Although each novel is not directly linked, the novels relate in term of their themes and subject matters; they all graphically portray characters’ lives during war time. Birdsong is set around the First World War. The story itself centres around the character Stephen Wraysford who arrives in the French town of Amiens in 1910. Throughout the novel, we see the twist and turns of Stephen’s life, from his love affair which tears a family apart, to his participation in the war itself.

Birdsong is a novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. It is a novel which keeps you on your toes and guessing about where the story is heading from beginning to end. The contrasts Faulks creates between life prior to the war and during the war is fascinating. By using vivid imagery, we as readers, get a thorough image of what life was like for soldiers fighting in the war. However, what Faulks does often and brilliantly, during more grotesque war scenes is leave many chapters on cliff hangers, by moving on to something new in the next. This you may feel is counterproductive, you may think how can you get a true grasp of the story this way. But Faulks writes in such a way that he divulges just enough information to understand the horrors of the war without making the reader feel so grotesque and so repulsed that they cannot continue with the story. This I feel was extremely effective in my reading of the novel as this technique continuously made me want to progress further and further with the novel.

As somebody who finds The Great War to be an extremely interesting topic I am a little bias when it comes to speaking about this novel. However, if you are going to read any piece of fiction that revisits this era I encourage you to make it Faulks’ novel. The descriptive language, the tone and passion that pours from the book makes this novel one in a million.

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End note: Working Title Films (BBC) produced a two-part adaptation of Birdsong in 2012. The adaptation starred the likes of Eddie Redmayne, Richard Madden and Clémence Poésy. 

 

So Much For a Quick Update…

Along with everything else I have going on, on this site, every now and then I do tend to write a sort of ‘life update’ post. So, if you’re interested what the last couple of weeks has brought me then continue on… (i’ll warn you, this will be a complete random selection of topics)

I’ve been trying to concentrate more on university the last couple of weeks or so. Since it is my third year I don’t want to be staying in the same kind of slump I’ve been continuously in for the last two years. In doing so I have found that I hate being in the house so much! My university hours are ridiculous as it is. I’m only required to be in for >six hours a week img_2079over two days this semester. (And I’m paying nine grand, for what?) So, after my lectures and seminars I’ve been avoiding going back to the house for as long as possible. Usually this is by simply going for a walk. You could say I’m taking the long way home… that is going the complete opposite direction and turning back when I reach the river Mersey! Last week though I saw myself going to Waterstones. I accidentally found a couple of books to buy (The Vegetarian by Han Kang and Alice by Christina Henry) and headed upstairs to the café. I definitely spent more time sat with cappuccinos than I probably should have. The store started off busy, but as time went on and one cappuccino became two, I was left being one of the only ones still there. It was so peaceful though. I’m not usually one to sit in a café reading alone, but I will be doing it again…

To avoid going back to the same store/café two days in a row, the following day, I went to the Central Library in Liverpool. How have I got to my third year, as an English student,inside-the-picton-reading-room and never been to this library. I have always wanted to go here, more so because you can climb to the top and get a great view of the city. However, I also found the Picton Reading Room, which I previously knew nothing about. I must tell you; the room is what dreams are made of. It’s like an old-style library. Completely silent with people working and reading, but you’re surrounded by shelves and shelves of books in a beautiful interior with spiral staircases. When you’re in there it just feels like you’re in another lifetime. I almost felt bad when I had to get my phone out to check the time. Needless to say, I spent a good few hours in there.

dsc_0278Along with these little adventures, I finally ordered and received, an LED Nail Lamp. I have wanted to buy one of these myself for so long. I know some of you may read this and just be angered that I want to do Gel nails as a non-professional on my own at home. But I am a student, I can’t afford to pay for professional nails constantly. I did a lot of research beforehand, bought everything I could possibly need and happen to think I have managed to do a great job! Thus, I will continue to do so. This though has caused me to be constantly looking for gel nail polishes in all colours of the rainbow. (Thank god for Mansion Student and my free Amazon Vouchers!) So, I’m currently waiting for pot after pot of nail colour to arrive in the mail. I’m just praying they arrive as they are shown. Unlike my first gel nail colour, a temperature changing one, which came slightly different from ordered. So, watch out people, things online aren’t always real! I will absolutely be updating you on this amazing purchase in future. (Hopefully once all my colours have arrived)

dsc_0280Completely switch up here, but I just wanted to congratulate myself for half completing one of my summer goals. Yes, my summer goals! If you read my past post where I made a list of goals for me to complete over summer, you’ll be aware that I wanted to read into mythology. This was one of my more ‘random’ goals. However, over the last few years at university I realised so many people around me knew so much about Greek mythology. And my god, how many times was it relevant to discussions on my course?! So, I thought I would be reactive and educate myself on this subject. I’m only what? Two months on from summer? So, I thought now would be perfect time to complete this summer goal. Right? Anyway, I purchased The Penguin Book of Classical Myths written by Jenny March, to achieve this goal. I have begun reading it, although there are so many names it often gets difficult to keep up. It’s definitely going to have to be a read that I completely focus upon. It may take me a little longer than I originally thought. I am though, determined to read it, and actually learn something!

img_2046I have though during the course of the last couple of weeks managed to retrieve some of my ‘lost’ student life. Or my ‘lost’ social life. With Halloween just passing, there have been ample opportunities for some night out fun. Which i can happily say has happened. I really don’t know what has happened this year but we just don’t go out anymore. It’s like us saying we’re going to knuckle down third year has actually happened. Who’d have thought it? Not me. And i certainly don’t like it… Speaking of Halloween, check out this amazing cakes. I had my first cake-a-way recently, and oh my it was amazing. But seriously how do people create these masterpieces?

Also, after spray painting my hair with crazy neon colours for Halloween i decided i really liked pink hair. So i took the plunge and bought some semi permanent ‘candy floss’ hair dye. So currently, yes, i am rocking pink hair. It may look patchy in some lights, it may barely49970927394__f51699fd-3b84-4d7a-a3c0-86e19f412e8c show up in others but i am loving it! Shame that it’ll wash out in a couple of weeks. Who knows, i may do this more often. (probably should have gotten a better photo than that…)

Along with this, doing nails, writing my blogs and everything else I still have university to focus on. The first assignment deadlines are drawing in, and all I can do is question where the beginning of September went. I’m completely unsure of how these last couple of months have passed so quickly! Where is Bernard’s Watch? I need to stop time! It’s scary to think that I will soon be graduating, and I am still not entirely sure what I want to be doing once that happens. Why have I never been one of those people that has their life sorted out? A question that has crossed my mind time and time again. Clearly it has not helped though. Off I go to try and sort that aspect of my life out so,

Until next time…

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The Vegetarian by Han Kang

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The Vegetarian is a novel by Han Kang. I came across this novel, translated by Deborah Smith, in Waterstones. It is not a novel I had heard about before but I just knew I had to give it a read. It also helped that one of the booksellers was saying how gruesome and slightly disturbing the story was!

The novel itself is short so I found myself getting through it quickly. It is split up into three ‘sections’. Each one comes from a different character’s perspective. Sometimes I do find this a little annoying as you can feel as though you are not properly connecting with a protagonist. However, upon reading this novel it is easy to see how keeping it written in a single perspective would just not work. Therefore, I feel it is giving us a more rounded picture as we progress through the novel.

The first section is narrated by Yeong-Hye’s husband, he tells us about his wife who in the first couple of lines he describes as being ‘completely unremarkable in every way.’ He informs the reader of Yeong-Hye’s choice to become a vegetarian. Although he himself is a little confused as to her reasons for this lifestyle choice, we as the reader get glimpses of her reasoning. We are giving the gruesome, slightly disturbing, ‘dream’ Yeong-Hye often refers to.

The second section is darker than the first. It is narrated by Mr Cheung, Yeong-Hye’s brother in law. Mr Cheung is an aspiring artist who becomes fascinated with his sister in law and a birthmark that she potentially has. Through this he asks Yeong-Hye to feature in one of his artistic creations, a video.

The third section is when the novel becomes very weird. It is narrated by Yeong-Hye’s sister and this is when we see the true progression of Yeong-Hye’s vegetarianism. We realise quickly how extreme Yeong-Hye’s desires have become, we learn that she wants to become a tree. Intent on becoming a tree, she refuses food and does some pretty bizarre things. Unaware it seems, how she is hurting those around her.

I found the book extraordinary. More so because it is unlike anything I have ever read before. It’s completely bizarre, but in this I feel it captures the essence of ‘madness’. As Ian McEwan is quoted on the cover: ‘A novel of sexuality and madness that deserves its great success’. For a reader, this ‘madness’ is completely over our heads. I personally found it difficult to keep up with, simply because it is not something I am able to fully understand. I feel this is similar for a lot of people. The point is though, even though it seems bizarre, it all makes sense to Yeong-Hye. Her thoughts, aspirations and actions all make perfect sense. To her they are not madness, but they are reality. This is something I find interesting; everyone’s reality is different. Although yes her actions may be killing her, it leaves me with a bit more of an understanding of what we deem ‘mad’. An understanding that people we brush off as just being ‘mad’ are simply seeing a different reality to the one I am seeing. Does that make it Yeong-Hye’s or anybody else’s fault? Definitely not, they have simply just been giving a different sense of reality.

Although I don’t believe this book is for everybody, it has been blessed with some brilliant reviews: The Guardian called it ‘an extraordinary experience’ and the Independent called it ‘spellbinding’. For this alone I would be enticed to see what the fuss was about. Therefore I encourage you to take a couple of hours and read Han Kang’s The Vegetarian, to see what you make of it yourself.

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One Day by David Nicholls

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The latest novel I have read and have been eager to review is David Nicholls’ One Day. The novel was first published in 2009 so I realise I am late to the party. However, it is a piece of work which I have not had the chance and the motivation to read until very recently.

The novel tells the story of the two protagonist’s lives, Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew, over a twenty-year span. Zoning in on one day a year, 15th July (St Swithin’s Day) every year. The novel starts on the day they met, their graduation night. We see Emma struggle with the concept of a ‘one night stand’ in contrast to Dexter’s ‘Lothario’ characteristics, who knows these situations only too well. Over the years we see their friendship go through ups and downs as they progress throughout their own personal lives. Both characters struggle with what they are achieving throughout life and what they are expected to have achieved. Throughout all this though, Nicholls gives us an endearing tale of a close friendship, showcasing their flirtations, banter and often yearning they have for one another.

If your only contact with this novel is through the 2011 adaptation directed by Lone Scherfig, please do not let this hold you back from reading the novel. The film itself I believe got mixed reviews, many people picking up on Anne Hathaway’s (Emma) accent throughout the film. On watching the film, I found she often switches up her British accent, going from a thick northern accent to a far more southern one. Although this can be understandable as British people are known to flip between accents, personally I just feel the accent switches were just far too extreme. I am though not here to review the film but the novel. So, I will just say this: please do not watch the film and believe you have seen all that David Nicholls’ novel has to offer.

What I enjoyed most about this novel was the structure and how Nicholls had crafted it. I have yet to come across another novel which holds a similar writing method. In the way that Nicholls drops in on his characters just one day a year. I was dubious at first, unable to contemplate how Nicholls could create such an in depth and emotional story when we only get glimpses of his protagonist’s lives. I was pleasantly surprised though, i found the characters developed effectively, and with that the story progressed just as well. I found it interesting that we as readers watched the two characters grow from university students and progress into their early and then later adulthood. This I found effective as I am so used to reading novels where we only see just the snippet of a character’s life. We only experience one aspect of their life where some event is going on or something has happened to them. Nicholls’ novel however I feel is far more realistic in that we experience the characters’ numerous ups and downs through their life. We are given the realism in that life doesn’t run smoothly bar one or two negative/happy events. Thus demonstrating that life is far more complicated than that.

This therefore is a book I would recommend. I found that once I started reading it I did struggle to put the novel down. This I feel is always a telling sign as to whether the book is any good or not. After all who wants to continue reading a book that doesn’t entice you in to read more? So whether you are a fan of a good romance novel or simply want to try something new, delving into the world of One Day and experiencing 20 years of Emma and Dexter’s life is definitely something you should be considering.

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The Beginning of the End

And just like that I have made it to my third year of university. I’m not sure how I have got myself here, or why it has gone so quickly. But nevertheless it is here and I am feeling mixed emotions. Happy because I have got myself thus far, but sad that it is nearly over. It is therefore ‘the beginning of the end.’ It’s such a cliché but it honestly does feel like yesterday that I was moving into student halls for my first year. Now here I am, moved in and settled into the house for my final year.

fullsizerenderI am living in the same house as I was last year. However, I have moved rooms in order to maintain the excitement of redecorating an alien space to make it my own. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the new room is significantly larger. I always get a buzz out of redecorating a new room as I feel like it’s part of the experience of moving away. Being able to decorate a space and anything and everything is completely up to you. I’ve also noticed that each year I tend to progress and change styles. Is this me growing up? My first year I can remember my room just felt so chaotic. There was stuff everywhere. Fair enough the room was smaller but still why didn’t I buy storage?! This year though is significantly different. I have been adult enough to buy storage and a mini book-case. I have also gone for, I feel, a very minimalist look. I have left so many clothes and so many ‘things’ that I never wore and never used at home. And my god don’t I feel good about it. Why do we think we need all this stuff? Like I used to pack things with a ‘just in case’ mindset. It’s just crazy. But here I am, having got two years of IMG_1939.JPGpacking experience behind me. I have made progress.

What is also sad about this year is that it was (or should be) the last year I will get to experience freshers as a student. There is a stark contrast between my freshers in third year and my freshers in first year. I didn’t realise it would be quite so bad, but I did find myself only going out twice in the week/two-week freshers. Compare that to first year where I went out more or less every day, yeah there’s a difference. But you know what? I didn’t miss it, and I don’t regret not going out more. I’ve said it for a while now, but I really do think I’m getting to that point where I’d definitely rather have a chill night in than going to a club. Plus, I’d rather keep the money myself than spend it on taxis, alcohol, entry fees and end of the night food. This img_1988lack of going out has even done me good. I decided to give Bootea a go. Just as little detox, try to sort me out a bit. I’m half way through now and I think it’s going well. It hasn’t been nearly as hard as I thought it would be to keep on track and keep drinking the teas. Also, they’re not as disgusting as I have seen a lot of people say. Granted the night-time tea is the best of the two, but the morning isn’t terrible.

However what hasn’t changed for me this year though is my addiction to shopping. I swear it’s like when people go bungee jumping or take drugs or I dunno. I seem to get some kind of high from spending, which later dwindles once I realise the damage I’ve done. First step of an addiction is admitting to it, right? Maybe by the end of the year I’ll be on my way to getting ‘sober’. Either way though the start of a new uni year in shopping terms only ever means img_1877the latest student fest in Liverpool. This is a great time for people like me. Anywhere and everywhere in town have the greatest student deals, offering crazy discounts. For just one day only it’s impossible to resist. Understandably then, I was unable to. I admit I spent more than intended. However, I did buy some great things. A lot of these I will admit come under the heading of ‘make-up’. I will be writing a blog about all the products I got my hands on. So really? I was just doing research for my blog. It’s all for you! Aside from the make-up though I want to direct attention to two of my favourite purchases so far. First is this gorgeous green knitted dress, perfect for the colder days. I found it in New Look, I think it was only like £20. It’s definitely not something I would usually go for but it is super comfy and just completely on point that I couldn’t resist. Secondly is these amazing trainers I bought. From Primark of all places. I rarely  shop there, and I don’t think I’ve img_1940ever bought a pair of shoes from there. But, I have fallen in love. The image doesn’t do them justice. They are gold and glittering and so ridiculously comfy. It’s hard to comprehend how they only cost £12. I will certainly be checking out their trainer selection more often. Watch this space!

Now the idea is concentrate on uni. Somehow I’ve managed to get a timetable that involves me being in uni only twice a week this semester. So I pray I’m not silly enough to start having the casual ‘sick day’ like I have done the previous two years. I am so far, you’ll be glad to hear, doing well! Time will tell though. I’m also contemplating getting a job alongside my studies. I’m not sure how wise this idea is in third year, but I could do with the extra cash for so many different reasons. If you have had any experience of working alongside img_1936your studies I would love to hear about it! I don’t feel like I have a lot of work to do, this semester I only have four assignments, but there is just so much to read.(the image shows less than a quarter of what i need to read) How is it possible? Because I don’t know anybody that manages to read all of the required reading let alone the recommended. So who decided this was all humanly possible? I’d like to know.

Anyway, I say time and time again but I’m hoping to improve my blogging. The content and the rate, most importantly the rate! When else in my life am i gonna have so much free time to just sit and blog? Maybe this beginning of the end will turn out to simply be the beginning of something great. Who knows? So this is me here saying as the adult I have become, I will do this. (Please Hannah do this) so….

Until next time…

x

I’m a Working Woman

It seems the idea of me blogging on a regular basis has yet to pick up pace. So I apologise on the delay between my last post and this I am posting now. I just need to get into the groove on things, eventually I’ll be writing far too often and just simply annoying everyone. Anyway, enough of me and my failure to keep organised and on with the post…

Me_Before_You_(film)The last couple of weeks have been relatively basic and adventure free. I have been to see ‘Me Before You’ (amazing btw, I would definitely recommend that you catch a showing sometime in the future), I have caught up with some friends, I have spent a day lounging in the sun ‘watching’ cricket and I have also discovered how much I enjoy using lists of threes. (Kinda ruined that one there!) The biggest thing to come out of the last couple of weeks though is my new, yet temporary, job. This has been a long time coming, it feels like years since I first applied. Although in reality only two or three months have passed. The point is though, I am now a working woman.

World_Ocean_Current.jaWhere am I working? And what is my job? I hear you ask. Well, I am a night time supervisor for a language school. Unexpected, right? Tell me about it, it was not the job I set out to acquire but I can say I am glad I decided to apply and proceed through the process. If anything it is going to be a unique addition to my CV and an interesting six weeks ahead.

I won’t lie, I was not 100% certain in what my role would exactly entail, so my first day was a bit odd if not slightly chaotic. That being said though, it was not just my first day, it was the first day for the first group of international students, for the staff and also for the school itself. This was because this is the first year the school has had a camp based in this particular location. Thus, understandably there was a lot for everybody involved to get their head around.

No sleepNow since I arrived with only the basic understanding of what I would be doing between the hours of 22:00 and 06:00 I was very much unprepared. By unprepared I mean I had no plan of how I was to fill up my time. The basic role of my job is to ensure the students are in their rooms, behaving/sleeping and kept safe. Therefore apart from the routine patrols around the accommodation block I found myself having a lot of time on my hands. It sounds easy, right? Nope, not at all. Throughout all hours you need to be continuously alert and aware of your surroundings. Pretty obviously this means no sleeping. Which for someone like myself, who likes their sleep, it is pretty difficult. I’ll be completely honest, on that first night I didn’t think I was going to make it. I started hitting the wall at around half three, I had to keep myself busy to push past that onset of drowsiness. Luckily though, I got through it.

After the experience of my first night I decided I would turn up better prepared for day two. Before leaving for work on that day I packed a bag full of all of the essentials. These included my laptop for writing, watching Netflix and general internet browsing. Food, because over 9 hours working and travel time is pretty lengthy. Green tea and a mug, because well how could anybody do all nighters without tea? An extension cord, as the only plug sockets are on the completely wrong side of the room. (handy). A book, pretty self-explanatory. Pro Plus for an extra kick of caffeine when I start to hit the wall. Lastly, I included my phone charger, in case of a ‘my phones died’ emergency. With all of this I felt far more confident for the night ahead, knowing there will always be something to occupy my mind. Suffice to say, day two went by a lot quicker and I am a lot more confident in my ability to make it through the next six weeks without dying from the nocturnal lifestyle.Time-goes-fast

Although I have only just begun on this 6 week journey I would definitely advise people to think more outside the box when it comes to applying for jobs. Whether you need a temporary job over the summer, or a bit of weekly pocket money it is definitely worthwhile to consider roles you have never previously thought about. Why go straight to the usual waiting on, or bar tending? I can’t begin to tell you the amount of people that have questioned my choice of job this summer. All I can see is a unique way to earn some extra money, an experience which is teaching me to spend and enjoy time alone, and practical improvement to my ability to concentrate for extended periods of time. All three which are going to be extremely beneficial. So if you take anything from this short blog update, take this:

Try something different. Challenge yourself. Dare to be different.

 

Until next time…

x

Summer Goals

So the last nine months have flown by, I’ve submitted countless assignments, read numerous novels, poems, academic journals, and finally my second year of university is over. Suddenly my summer is here, and I am faced with days, weeks and months of freedom. This has got me thinking: what am I to do with this time? I’ve decided I do not want to waste it like I have so many years before. Thus I have decided to set myself some summer goals. A list of things I hope to have accomplished, places I hope to visit, along with day to day targets. The problem I have though is that I say these things but rarely do I carry them out. This post therefore is my way of attempting to stick to my word. I hope that writing these goals down in a public domain will encourage me to take them more seriously.

  • Let’s start of easy, I aim to drink more water. I always find over the winter I fail to drink enough water. My skin goes horrible, I feel sluggish and just genuinely have the winter blues. Thus I will revitalise and replenish, and use the summer to flush out many unwanted toxins. – Though I am not looking forward to the initial breakouts from the toxins being flushed out.
  • DSC_0231.JPGI want to read more books. I spend the rest of the year focussing on the books I study for my degree that I feel now is the time to focus on the pleasure side of reading. Over the last couple of months I have been in and out of charity stores picking up some potentially great reads. Thus I have a lot of material to get through and this summer I hope is the time that I do just that.
  • I hope to go on more walks. Last Summer I was fairly skint from my fresher’s year at university, so I spent so much time discovering new places and going on walks. However this stopped as summer drew to an end and university took over my life once again. Over summer I hope to get back to this. I’m not sure I’ll go quite all out and walk the 15 odd miles along the canal I did last year. However I do hope to at least go on numerous smaller walks.
  • I really want to finish my room by the time I go back to university for my third year. I recently moved rooms at home which called for a completely décor overhaul. The majority of it is completed however there are still numerous finishing touches I need to complete. I feel having these all completed prior to my return to Liverpool will set my mind at ease. Therefore I will be able to return knowing nothing else needs to be done.
  • DSC_0218.JPGKeep my cactus alive has to be on this list. I have just bought a cute little potted cactus for my bedroom. However me being somebody who lacks a green thumb I’m a little anxious when it comes to keeping it alive. To my advantage though I have read they do not actually take a lot of looking after, so I hope this does go well.
  • At some point I hope to go camping. Now this is something I’ve be yearning to do for a while. I mean I’ll be satisfied even if it’s just a one night trip to Shell Island. Camping is something that I grew up doing every year as a family, and for a number of years now I haven’t done it. Thus it’ll be refreshing to spend some time, even if limited, going back to basics.
  • Something which I have attempted this year already but failed to complete is a week-long technology break. Thus I really hope to commit to this challenge once again, and instead of cracking half way through, I hope to fight the urge and complete the challenge wholly. (Although I’m not entirely sure I’ll ever be able to completely remove Netflix from my life for a whole week)
  • 181_1I want to visit Stonehenge. Ok, as random as this is, I have a number of places in the UK that I want to visit for the first time or visit again. One of these places is Stonehenge, which I have not visited in a very long time. It is one of the many places in the UK which has an intriguing history and has inspired many for various reasons. Therefore I want to find a day that I can head down there once again and experience the monument for myself.
  • roman-bathsAnother place I want to visit is Bath. Again, this is a strange one. I have for a while though wanted to visit the Roman Baths. Thus I finally hope to get down there and make this visit.
  • I will drink less alcohol. Last summer I went completely T-total, and I must say it felt great. Not only for the accomplishment, but in myself. I did however find that I began to avoid any social interaction which may have put me in the position of drinking again. (apparently I have no self-control when I’m with friends) This year though I will not be quite as extreme, I will aim to find a middle ground. (how much of an alcoholic does this make me look? but i promise you, i am not one)
  • I aim to learn about Greek mythology. You begin to learn about this stuff in school but my knowledge is fairly minimum. For some reason though this bothers me. Therefore by the end of summer I hope to have built on my foundational knowledge of this topic. Even if this means purchasing a dummies guide to mythology!Fall-of-Pha-thon-greek-mythology-2996236-800-584.jpg
  • This year I also want to be prepared for university. Usually when the academic year comes along I am anything but prepared. This time I will be heading into my final year, therefore this is prime time to turn up completely prepared. So from purchasing the novels and texts I will be studying, to identifying when I will be in attendance to classes even to making sure I have everything I need before I leave home, (because I always forget something) I will have done it!
  • I want to go to the beach. This is completely elementary so it should be easy to tick off the list. It’s actually so easy that I shouldn’t even need to include it. The problem is though with no holiday’s planned and sunny weather in England being limited, trips to the beach are fairly uncommon for me. Thus I am writing it down in hope that this goal will amount to something!
  • 11165285_10155537420080167_3859231176794751836_n.jpgwmsp-logoO9ltLgzWI want to go to the zoo and the safari park. Personally, I love a good day trip to somewhere like the zoo or a safari park. It is probably one of my favourite places to visit. Usually we head to Chester Zoo and West Midlands Safari Park, so these will probably be the places I will head to this summer. The best thing about WMSP though? They give you a free ticket to return again in the future!
  • Since I am coming up to the most important and the last year of my education I feel it is important to establish some future goals. Thus this summer I will zone in on what I am looking to achieve once I have finished university. Therefore I will look into things like careers, extracurricular programmes I could take part in and potential post graduate courses.
  • I also hope to be more experimental with cooking. I recently bought the ever so popular ‘Lean in 15’ recipe book; and although I have tried out one or two of the recipes I have yet to conquer any bigger ones. So this summer I will strive to recreate some of Joe Wicks’ delicious recipesDSC_0237.JPG
  • I will end this list with: blogging. I hope that over the summer I will actively make blogging a part of my life. Thus I hope to be consistent with posts and imaginative with my post ideas!

I feel like I have plenty of time to accomplish most if not all of these points, and I’ll probably end up adding to this list in future. So we’ll see how it goes and I’ll keep you informed as to how they are going. The most interesting thing though will be when I look back at the end of summer to see just how well I have done. If you have any goals that you are aiming to accomplish this summer do share, I’m always up for more ideas!

Until next time…

x