Saturday, 28 February 2015

Making a Statement

After a week spent in the wilderness, it's about time that I skip up the stairs to my bedroom, kick off my slippers (whilst trying to not hit one of my cats like a flying missile) and return to what I love doing most: blogging. Yes, my delightful readers, I've been absent from the bloggersphere - if the Oxford English Dictionary will even allow me to make such a word - for an entire week which, knowing the amount of posts I publish each week, is quite horrifying. Seriously, there used to be a time when I couldn't have imagined staying away from this blog for much longer than a day, let alone a whole week: whatever has since changed my mind?

Well, life has a tendency to creep up on you like a bad smell which, once you are aware of it, sends you into an uncontrollable coughing fit that is beyond your control. As much as I like to take responsibility for my actions, some things unfortunately don't fall into this category: they simply happen. This past week, for example, just went the way that it was destined to - busier than a girl used to spending her Sunday afternoons playing The Sims 2 could deal with, but somehow settles into a routine that I accept and unashamedly follow.

The routine? If you actually bother to look at the date on the corner of your Windows desktop, you will see that it is now at the end of February; - a.k.a. term-time. For another month, I'll be working harder than an excessively paid reality TV star with revision (for my year group has been blessed with mock exams after gorging on Lindt bunnies during the Easter holidays), homework and extra-curricular activities, more of which I'm getting involved with this term.

Two days ago, I accidently got myself roped into working for a Performing Arts student council, having only turned up to practise for a play that my group will be performing next Thursday evening. Even though I'm now happy to be representing the student voice (and getting to wear a decent badge that will spice up my blazer), the pile of work - and requirement of effort - is steadily increasing. Although the work isn't necessarily physical - or doesn't involve the use of Excel, which I've grown to hate with a passion in ICT - I'm having to push myself further in order to keep myself afloat in everything else. And you know what? It is tough. Waking up at literally the crack of dawn and not getting home until nearly five once a week mentally and physically exhausts me, especially when I've had the honour of sitting through lessons that I don't particularly like (though thankfully those are very few).

In recent weeks, I've had to consider my priorities because, at the end of the day, something's gotta give! With exams getting nearer and nearer, sorting myself out will ensure that my stress levels don't reach highly toxic levels which, if I'm still borderline with a C in Maths this time next year, will already be reasonably plentiful. I might have many great ambitions and dreams that I would love to bring about, but I can't claim to be Superwoman: nobody, regardless of their gender, is really able to live up to their favourite superhero. Part of me hopes that I might discover that I'm an X-Men mutant and possess a brilliant power that I could use for my advantage, yet reality is unlikely to suit my needs. Instead, I'm going to have to alter several things in order to address the most important things in my life.

So, as you are scratching your head (and leave scratches that only your sharp-clawed cat could leave behind), what am I saying? In short, I've decided that I'm going to limit the amount of time spent blogging because, if I always allowed myself to write here whenever I felt like it during the week, I'd never go to bed before midnight. Decisions like these are never easy, and I hate having to make them, but I wasn't kidding by declaring that something has to give - it truly has to. Unless I related it to romantic poems and sociological studies, blogging isn't going to earn me As in my GCSEs next year, which I'm so determined to succeed in. A year-and-a-quarter might be away from that all-important exam period, yet I've realised that burying my head in the sand won't stop that time from coming. The sooner I accept it, the sooner I'll be able to do something about it - in the form of revision, of course.

OK, I definitely sound like a geek, but do I care? No. A week with hardly any homework is still as exhausting as one packed with pre-test revision and exam-style questions, so it is unsurprising that I'm half asleep when I stumble through the door after getting home. And, to be honest, what with so little spare time of late, I haven't been able to think of much to write about. Long ago, it occurred to me that less is more - well, at least for when I put my foundation on. Anyway, that fact isn't just limited to make-up: you can apply to your life.

Like a turkey at Christmas, you appreciate what you have while it is here. Doesn't life become boring if you stick to the same things all the time? I think that blogging every now and again is much more fun when I do it less often because I've had more time to consider what I want to talk about. There isn't much that is worse than logging on with such high aspirations because they are crushed once you realise that you have absolutely nothing to write about. If I'm going to give up some time to write, I'm definitely not going to waste it by staring at my laptop's screen for half an hour, unable to type a single word.

At the end of the day, I'm still me, but I'm focusing on other things - which involve tons of writing (English coursework included) - which need more of my attention. And, obviously, I really enjoy my downtime: mini Victoria Sponge muffins anyone? It's just that not all of it has to be devoted to writing, which I'm going to appreciate more in the future.

Well, let's enjoy the weekend while it is here, and resist all the bags of Maryland cookies crying to be devoured by my chocolate-abstaining self. Hopefully, Easter will get here before I succumb to my chocolate cravings!

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Introducing...

First of all, I need to get this off my chest: this entry which you are about to read is long-overdue, and I am ashamed to have avoided getting down to writing it for so long. Even though there have been many obstacles blocking my path along the way, I really can't refer to them as excuses because I only have myself to blame. 

Living in a culture in which we humans are allowed to indulge in our instinctive laziness, I've been spending too much time of late sleeping than actually doing anything worthwhile. And, most importantly, I owe it to two of my favourite petit furries to give them the attention that they definitely deserve. 

Surely you have guessed by now who I'm talking about, or do I have to drop another furry bomb until you get the idea? Well, they might still be on the dainty size, yet their voices and irresistible charm is known of around the world. Know it yet? OK, I'll reveal the answer: my kittens, Teddy and George. 

Whenever I let slip to anybody that I have two kittens, I'm often greeted with squeals of delight and more awws than one can be expected to handle; like puppies, kittens possess this magic which makes people want to cuddle them, for babies are simply the cutest creatures ever. Hopefully, my imagination isn't leading me astray as I picture you doubling over in excitement, gushing over the oh-so-tiny paws and silky soft fur which masks their beauty!

Anyway, I've got plenty to disclose about my precious two, who have been part of my family since last October. Ironically, I fell ill with a cold on the day that we were supposed to pick them up which was during term-time, so I've since believed that having the sniffles was a blessing in disguise because I was able to spend time with the kitties as they settled into their new home. 

Now aged six months, Teddy - a grey tabby whose face is sweeter than all the strawberry bon bons you could buy in a sweet shop - and George - who I like to think of as the Dark Night because of his night-black fur and tough-looking face - are enjoying life, whose early beginnings were quite horrible to say the least. Dumped outside a shop in a nearby city with their mother and two siblings, Teddy and George didn't have the greatest start to life as you would hope, but they were quickly rescued by an animal charity who, without a doubt, saved their lives. Yet, just by looking at them, you wouldn't think that they entered the world in a cardboard box. Luckily, they hardly stayed there for any length of time, so I doubt that they would have any memories of that. 

Originally, my family had only wanted to adopt Teddy, who we first met when he was only nine days old. At such a tender age, Teddy's ears hadn't popped up and his head was as round as an egg; I'd never met a kitten so young, but I was instantly smitten by his adorable face! Several weeks on, though, we realised what a great bond that Teddy had with George who, unlike his other siblings, had not yet found a home, and it pained us to consider how he would feel if Teddy left him behind. Besides, we had always adopted kittens in pairs because we feel that knowing somebody from birth is essential to their happiness, so it wasn't long before we made up our minds to adopt George. 

Not even eight weeks old when they came home, Teddy and George easily settled in their new home, fascinated with all the toys that they could play with. On the other hand, my two older cats, Bart and Benny, were facing a unique crisis: socialising with other cats. Having expected plenty of hisses and yowls, I wasn't at all surprised when Bart and Benny avoided their food for a little while, and hid away from the kittens, whose time was mainly devoted to sleeping. Such innocent things, yet Bart and Benny were scared stiff of them! With a bit of time, they eventually came around and began to get friendlier towards the new arrivals who, whether they were being hugged or hissed at, were unfazed by the elder two's peculiar behaviour.

Nowadays, Teddy and George love nothing more than being cuddled - which, unfortunately for us clothing-wearing humans, leaves tons of fur all over the place (due to their being long-haired) - and playing with their toys. Since we adopted them, they have worn collars with bells so that we can hear them before we see them; at times, I wonder whether they can actually run faster than a cheetah! As they are a bit older, I've started to let them hang out in my bedroom from time to time, where they mainly like lying on my bed or looking out the window. They are growing into really lovely cats and are always wonderful company - perhaps I've found my ideal study buddies?

The one and only Teddy, who I affectionately call the Tedster or simply Teddy Bear. Originally thought to have been a girl, I was elated when we brought him home, having always wished to have a female cat. Fast forward a few weeks, I had only just gotten home from school when my mum announced that, upon a visit to the vet's, Teddy was indeed a boy - and my dreams of having a girly cat were shattered!

Still, who would think that Teddy is a boy when he really looks like a girl? Anyway, I've gotten over that grim discovery and (mostly) come to terms with his masculinity. 

Whenever I walk over to him, you can bet your money that he will always start purring wildly, literally dancing in the air because I'm going to give him a massive cuddle, which he adores. He always seem to be in a happy mood, and just wishes to share his happiness with everyone he meets. I mean, just look at his smile - not even Mr Happy can manage a grin quite like Teddy's! 

Perhaps not the greatest picture to capture his beautiful fur, George is somewhat the opposite his vivacious brother Teddy: quiet, more understated and less chatty. However, he is one of the most playful cats that I've ever met - I'm sure that a Formula 1 car couldn't keep up with him when he is chasing one of his toys! 

Funnily, George looks older and wiser above his years (well, he isn't even a year old yet), but he does love receiving attention. In my opinion, I think that he is more of a man's cat; he gets on brilliantly with Dad. But George nonetheless likes a gentle stroke and little treats, hence his more muscular physique. 

Having never had a black cat before, I often struggle to take pictures of him because his entire face blends into his velvety fur, so he tends to look like a shadow! If he ever manages to stay still for a moment, I'll definitely improve on taking pictures of my quiet guy, who is hardly impressed by my phone's flash! 

Finally, you've been introduced to two very special members of my family, who have been dying to meet you since October. They hope to keep you updated as they get older (and possibly even furrier than they currently are!), though their acts of mischief might be kept quiet. Or so they hope...

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Nail Polish Review Time

You know what I've been looking forward to the most about half-term? Along with the lazier-than-you-can-dream-about lie-ins, opportunities to raid the fridge at any given opportunity (obviously when your mum and hungry cats aren't looking in your direction) and numerous hours that you can devote to watching TV instead of completing coursework, half-term represents one very special thing: painting my nails. 

Apart from a slightly pink-coloured top coat, nail polish is otherwise banned during term-time, or so my school's uniform code states; ever since I started there just before Christmas, I've noticed many girls wearing bright and completely noticeable shades on their nails which, if it wasn't for my seething with envy, I would've quite liked. Also, having quickly established a reputation as the 'perfect pupil' - which has been further boosted since an 'outstanding' written report from my teachers arrived in the past last Saturday - I can't really afford to be caught dipping my fingers into blood-red gunk, despite having such a great fetish for it. And, as if that wasn't enough to motivate me to listen to my inner angel, I'm determined to be selected as a senior prefect this year - therefore a squeaky clean record is absolutely essential

Despite loving my nails dearly, I realise that there are more important things in life which deserve greater attention, though nothing can deny that I'm a very vain girl at heart! Still, half-term and holidays are about every six weeks or so, meaning that I'm not short of opportunities to stylize my nails however I wish. 

Instead of going for an extremely bold colour (which is totally against the rules, I know - the red-horned version of myself would be cackling loudly!), I decided to paint my nails a nude, pearly shade two days ago. The reason why? Unlike several of the nail polishes I've purchased of late, this one didn't look unattractively gloopy which, if you are virtually inexperienced with nail painting, can result in your coats being way too thick. 

The polish? I chose Rimmel London Lycra Pro in White Orchid, which looked like this:
Depending on my mood, I might have found it a tad boring because it hardly looks much different to my nails sans polish, but sometimes - even when your heart is really craving for a splash of grungey purple and Valentine's Day red - keeping it simple is best. Originally, I was tempted to paint my nails a minty colour, but that posed a major problem: what would I wear? Personally, I don't think that pale green co-ordinates well with bright blue jeans which, when I'm hanging out at home, is my wardrobe staple. Perhaps a shade best reserved for when I'm unlikely to be wearing much or am too hot to even consider the pros and cons of the colour green...

Anyway, I used to wear this shade several years ago - even getting away with it when I was actually at primary school - and actually bought it last month because I wanted to treat my nails to a bit of pink magic during term-time. Unfortunately, I never had enough time to paint my nails properly, so this week has been my only opportunity to try the polish at long last. 

My verdict? If you are going to go nude, White Orchid is guaranteed to be your most loyal friend! Pale with a shiny metallic undertone, it certainly attracts attention because your nails look like they have undergone a glamorous makeover, yet it isn't dramatically obvious to the naked eye. From a distance, it appears that I've buffed my nails really well, so I'm hopeful that I'll be able to break the school's rules on the quiet - unlike a jungle green, I'm unlikely to be caught red-handed! 



So far, the polish hasn't chipped, but its resilience will be tested if I wear it to school; what with washing my hands and being in contact with various tools, I'll have to be cautious in order to maintain my perfect manicure! 

Overall, would I recommend White Orchid? For glamour pusses who want an understated look, my answer is one massive YES!


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Saying Farewell Until My Favourite Bunny Arrives

Today marks my one final day of pure, relentless freedom before, within what will seem like a click of a finger, snatched away from my grasp. Letting go will initially be such a great struggle as I get used to living without it - or seeing my beloved treasure placed before my eyes, yet it will not be within my reach. For those who haven't made a vow to abstain from it, they will have the honour of using it to their pleasure while I moan in the shadows, distraught at having no right to enjoy it like the rest of the world.

Still, once I muster the willpower to get out of bed, I will find one precious thing: hope. Created for the purpose of keeping my spirits alive, hope will remind me that, during the worst moments, I will one day be able to regain my freedom. In fact, I only have to wait six-and-a-half weeks before hope redeems me with what I desperately cherish, so it isn't as though I'm waving an eternal farewell or anything; just a bit of patience is needed to keep me relatively sane in the meantime.

Well, isn't there plenty to love about Lent? The day before we chuck out the things that constantly tempt us into a sad-looking box, we have to get through one last glorious day - Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day or Mardi Gras (the last I particularly dislike as I really don't like to associate 'fat' with light and fluffy pancakes) - before the hard part truly begins.

Luckily, I don't have to wait 365 days to tuck into several pancakes - whose texture is fluffier than my kittens' long-haired fur - because I'm quite fortunate to have them several times a year (without a sickening splat of Nutella squeezed on mine!). Pancake Day is always a day that ignites a spark of excitement within me while the winter continues to chill our homes, making summer seem even further away than it can possibly be. Plus, you would have to be fibbing if you claimed to not love pancakes, oozing with freshly squeezed lemon and sprinkles of sweet sugar - how I live for this day every year!

Yet, at the back of my mind, I can't ignore what I'm going to do in the next twenty four hours or so: giving up my beloved chocolate. A decision like this is definitely not made easily, though I didn't really give much consideration to the seriousness of it when I made my mind up several weeks ago; you would be amazed by how distracting a simple Maths test can be! Now Lent is here, it would seem really foolish to change my mind at the last moment, simply because I'm panicking at the prospect of not eating a chocolate chip cookie for six weeks.

Besides, I'm determined to prove one thing to myself: I'm not really that vain. Yes, I might hear you snorting under your breath, but think of it - is there anything more embarrassing than being vain enough to give up before you have even given up? And, whether it motivates me more or not, I have given up chocolate in the past, not tasting a trace of it until Easter Sunday; unlike morphing into a supermodel overnight, abstaining from chocolate is possible!

Therefore, there are no excuses: from midnight, absolutely no chocolate will pass through my lips, who shall miss their smudge-like stains dearly. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but life is tough - chocolate is just a blessing which, if I had it all the time, I wouldn't appreciate. And, believe it or not, I'm quite glad to be having a break from it; after a while, all things containing cocoa gets a bit boring!

Here goes... today is my final opportunity to raid the cupboards, find every last scrap of chocolate that I can and stuff myself into a cocoa-induced coma which will keep me unconscious until I'm finally allowed to return to my fabulous-tasting friend in six weeks' time. If it wasn't for feeling a bit under the weather, I might have been tempted to do so, but I already feel like giving up right now. Part of me thinks that I won't be saying the same by the end of the month, but who knows?


Saturday, 14 February 2015

Is Love in the Air? Maybe Next Year...

Like Christmas, it gradually creeps up on you, tip-toeing as gently as one determined to raid the fridge whilst the entire household is fast asleep in bed. You are so absorbed in everything revolving around yourself that you don't bother to glance anywhere other than the revision guides lying on your bed, crying to be read as eagerly as a mediocre copy of 50 Shades of Grey. Then, when there is absolutely no chance of your looking around the room, it hits you harder than a football messing up your oh-so-glamorous hair.

Well, what else could I be talking about? If you dare to give up a minute that would have otherwise been devoted to your Chemistry notes, you will find one very noticeable thing: today's date. A quick glance at your phone or, if your allegiance to One Direction is somehow still going strong (which I'll never ever understand), a calendar, you will discover that today is the fourteenth day of February. Any bells going off yet? Jeez, I'm never going to have a peacefully lazy Saturday - it is Valentine's Day!

Obviously, I'll leave you to the wild shock that will rush through you like a caffeine rush from a can of Red Bull for a moment or two because, possibly like yourself, I cannot believe that Valentine's Day is here. I, a lover of all things lovely, should be screaming with excitement that the only day in the year dedicated to love, chocolates and fluffy teddy bears is taking place right now - how is it possible that I'm not so touched by all this giddiness like I was a year ago?

To my advantage, I think that I have an answer to that question: it is a bit meaningless to me now. Like my childhood passion for half-naked Bratz dolls (though, for the sake of being allowed to buy them, I overlooked their rather revealing dresses), I feel immune to the power that Valentine's Day used to have over me, no longer encouraged by its persuasiveness to make me devour a handful of chocolate truffles.

In a similar way to Christmas, it annoys me that the meaning of love is associated with the colour red, bigger-than-your-bedroom cards and expensive lingerie that would literally put you in the red (though clearly not for romantic reasons!). In my opinion, I don't want love to be defined by what shops and its influenced society believe it should be; if I had to describe love, I would call it original because nothing can compete with it, whereas purchasing the bouquet of roses nearest the Asda entrance is hardly so.

Yes, you can bet that I'll be an absolute pain to satisfy when I get a boyfriend, but it is your role to accept all the qualities and disadvantages of your loved one - no questions asked. A day is a day, and I don't believe that everyone should be pressurised into following it, especially when all the card shops in town pull out all the stops to gain your custom. Love is worth so much more than a so-called 'luxurious' bottle of wine from M&S and a steak which, as you've probably guessed it, is also included in their meal deals. Being bombarded with images of what marketing executives think that love should be is really frustrating because you are racked with sadness if you don't live up to it.

Although sixteen can sometimes been seen as young age to be at the centre of a romantic tale, it doesn't stop my peers and those younger than me from forging relationships. And, you've guessed it, there were plenty of giggles and excitement when roses were handed over to several lucky recipients in form yesterday, sent by a 'secret admirer'. Despite not having an ounce of jealousy for those recipients, I feel that love is a personal thing which is at its natural best when contained between the two people alone, where all feelings can be displayed without a bunch of Year 7s oohing about it among themselves. If the secret admirer had considered that possibility, maybe he would have saved the rose for later...

Above all, 14th February doesn't really mean much to me. Sure, it looks and sounds like a nice day to be born on, yet I suppose that I have yet to be touched by its romantic powers - instead of the let's-gorge-on-chocolate ones! Next year might be a completely different story which, of course, would a thrilling tale to tell, but I won't fall head over heels for the commercialised image of Valentine's Day. Still, do I have the heart to say no to a cuddly teddy bear? No way!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

What I Don't Understand

Like 99.9% of the world's population encounters sooner or later during their lifetime, there are many things that I simply don't understand. Whenever they cross my path, I suddenly stop like a car abrupting slowly down in front of a speed camera: however, unlike a moving car, I'm paralysed at the same spot for ages, unable to even inhale.

Unfortunately, panic seizes me if I'm ever confused with something, and it frustrates me more than words could ever describe. With a hunger to be as brainy as possible, I seriously take offense if a baffling issue - typically in the form of an exam question - decides to be practically the hardest thing ever created on the planet, resulting in my being unable to work it out. If I think that finding the answer is beyond my ability, I feel like a failure; if somebody else can understand, why can't I? Well, there is no doubt that I have plenty to learn - and certainly understand - when it comes to human nature!

Whatever I'm doing and wherever I am, I can never be safely protected from the sharp slap that smacks your face like a ridiculously eager clap if my mind suddenly goes blank. In a way, I am a TV which, for no apparent reason, loses its signal and can no longer connect to your favourite channels on Sky: from the moment that wonder nests itself in my mind, I become separated from everything else that glues me to my roots on Earth. Instead of having the honour of tasting it, fear consumes me (though I hope in a more sophisticated way than one gobbling a worryingly juicy burger). Yet, no matter how hard I try to understand it, I get further and further away from reaching my goal - a truth that even now I struggle to process.

To prove this, I devoted at least an hour to revising for a Maths test this morning in the hope that I would get a relatively acceptable grade. Despite understanding some things as easily as a page in French, several topics refused to sink into my brain which was already drowning in pools of knowledge. And my oh-so-dramatic reaction? Pure panic. Sweeter than the buttercream icing on a cupcake, I was close to tears when I finally sat my test a few hours after revising, distraught that I couldn't make out several of the questions. All that time dedicated to reading up formulas and measurement no longer seemed worthwhile, or so my panic led me to think during the worst of it.

However, there comes a point in life when we have to face up to the cold hard truth relating to things that we really dislike - and, you guessed it, failure is on the top of my list! Though potentially failing a test does nothing to improve my confidence in trigonometry, perhaps incidents like these will teach me the importance of accepting failure and, of course, moving on. Instead of burying my head into a pillow (sand would totally mess up my hair, you know!), I should muster the maturity to swallow disappointment, which ought to spur me on to perform better in the future. Obviously, words are word, and living up to them is much harder than letting the syllables fly out of your mouth, yet a start is a start. Maybe some good might come out of today - and one frightfully agonising hour spent in the company of numbers, centimetres and dodgy compasses!

On the other hand, I ought to bear in mind that, despite not being the right person for accomplishing a most atrocious A* equation, I understand many things that some people don't. For example, I was the only person in my French class to have achieved 10/10 in her first coursework draft, which makes my prospects of getting an A* in the actual controlled assessment quite promising. Meanwhile, several of my classmates are being forced to sit an old controlled assessment for the third time because they are still far off a C! Although I tend to keep my achievements to myself, I realise that I possess much-admired strengths, but the fact that I also have weaknesses stops my head from wandering in the clouds too often. As strong as our desire to emulate Superman may be, nobody can be entirely perfect: whether it is done in public or in private, all of us slips up at least once.

Moving on, I've found tons of less important stuff (a.k.a. what I'm definitely not going to be examined on) so difficult to get my head over the years which, after a bit of time and a clearer head, is hardly easier to understand. At times, I've learnt to accept that some things aren't worth understanding, especially if they won't help me complete my Chemistry homework! And, despite the frantic pleas of my wild brainiac, it isn't a crime to be ashamed of. Maybe some things weren't created for the purpose of being understood: they exist to puzzle us and potentially paint humans as unintelligent beings, though I doubt that any alien would have the brains to make such fine chocolate as Lindt do!

In case you happen to be interested, I really don't understand:

  • why teenage boys can be so grumpy (and pout better than any hungry-looking model)
  • the undisclosed reason for which Jennifer Lawrence can't simply stick to brown hair dye, which looks much better on her than being blonde
  • the meaning of Maths (Countdown included)
  • why chocolate can't be a little less calorific 
  • my interest in nuclear science (especially when I can't remember how the whole menstrual cycle works)
  • why Lana Del Rey went from high-glam pop to moody blues in her latest album, Ultraviolence, which possessed less charm that her oh-so-brilliant Born to Die
Who knows, you might be lucky enough to understand some of this! Oh well, better luck next time...

Saturday, 7 February 2015

After nearly reaching the end of my first week as a sixteen year old, I can't resist asking myself this insightful question: how do I feel? 

Well, my answer is perhaps not quite an answer, but a question that is aimed at myself - how am I supposed to feel? Apart from being a year old according to my birth certificate, I still feel the same as I did this time last week; despite leaping to my sixteenth year on this planet, my identity has changed very little. 

Still, my heart does flutter a little wildly when, like a tornado appearing out of nowhere, it suddenly occurs to me that I am sixteen years old - after spending ages in the seemingly forever-long childhood phase, adulthood isn't too far away now, which poses so much excitement in my life. In many ways, the years seem to have passed by at a snail's pace - slow and rather sluggish - yet I sometimes look around my bedroom and half-expect to see Bratz dolls littered all over my bed, curious as to how I/ve grown up so quickly. 

Like many things, time is so confusing and, if I bothered to devote all my time to understanding it, I would remain as baffled as ever, but I'm just glad to have reached a thrilling stage that opens many doors to me. OK, I might have to wait another year until I can legally learn how to drive, yet I have less than 365 days until I'm able to do so - all my years of wanting to pop around to Asda toute seule will eventually be here! In the meantime, the law allows me to purchase chocolate liquors, though I really don't like any liquors - or, in some instances, have no interest in tasting them, especially when mixed with chocolate that is perfectly fine in its natural form!

Most importantly of all, I feel a bit more grown-up and more confident in myself since celebrating my birthday last Sunday: over the years, I've come a long way, which fills me with pride because I've done and achieved so much. Yet, as a sixteen year old, there is still so much that I want to do - now is only the beginning of my adventures!

One adventure that I'm anticipating greatly is my school trip to France at the end of June, which I found out at the end of last week. As I've never been abroad before, I couldn't help but get my hopes up about crossing the channel to the country that I've wanted to visit ever I started to learn the French language almost four years ago. Fortunately, my school has a residence centre in the country so the fee was extraordinarily cheap - and, like myself, my family couldn't afford to say no to it!

Although my French adventure won't commence for almost five months, the anticipation of exploring a different culture and trying new things, such as mountain biking (which I'm slightly nervous about as I don't know how to ride a bike!), is building inside of me. Hopefully, that excitement will keep my spirit going when I sit mock exams in several months' time, potentially providing a delightful distraction from the bugs and insects that love nothing more than to wreck my summer! 

But the best thing about the trip? It marks another landmark - learning new things independently with the company of other people who, as I've already noticed in my lessons, should provide plenty of laughs! I'll be away from my native land and family for four nights which, despite loving the prospect of experiencing the French way of life, fills me with a bit of uneasiness, but isn't that expected when you are discovering the unknown? 

This year, I want to be more daring and adventurous in what I do because, despite feeling a bit uneasy about being in unfamiliar territory, I get such a kick from proving to myself that I can do it - it is a cycle that I'd love to keep repeating because I never get bored of it! The trip to France might be my first act, yet I really don't want it to stop there. Even the little things - such as spending an afternoon in town with my friends - aren't forgotten: in one way or another, everything matters enormously. 

In the meantime, I shall be as bold as I wish as I search for my nano-sized hairdryer and straighteners that will accompany me on my trip - as the French are renowned for their timeless style, there is no way that I'm going to rough it for several days! 

Let my sixteenth year be one of adventure, excitement and tons of fun - I have no intention of doing anything lightly!