Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Living With The Plague (a.k.a. Common Cold)

Unless you happened to spare a thought or two for me as I failed to make an appearance on my blog yesterday, I will be as proud as punch to fill you in on what has recently occurred in my life since I promoted my text speak-loathing beliefs two days ago. Despite my world hardly being turned upside down - or indeed taken on a trip down under, for that matter - I have nonetheless been struggling to grasp the simplest of all things which, as you will discover in a moment, is easily understandable. Or so I like to believe.

  • On Monday afternoon, the life-threatening plague - otherwise referred to as a common cold by doctors, in case your heart plummeted at the possibility of my being dangerously ill - took me by surprise, draining me of any reserved energy to write on my blog or even do the easiest things in life. Not only have I grown accustomed to blowing my nose at fifteen minute or so intervals which, in turn, has irritated the sensitive skin to a painfully raw state, but my throat is drier than the traditionally dry British sense of humour and indulging in my passion of talking until the moment I go to bed has all but been abandoned since I began raiding half of the medicine cabinet. 
  • Although I used to preserve a secret love for the throat-soothing lozenges called Strepsils because of the sweet and, in a sense, hunger-satisfying orange/blackcurrant flavour, I've officially broken off my passion for the medicine as, like many things, it merely reminds me of the reason for which I suck one every few hours. Yes, Little Miss Unwell just doesn't want to face up to the well-known fact that she is under the weather, though this needn't disrupt her from creating a thousand and one excuses for which she deserves an extra large scoop of vanilla ice cream. Seriously, it frightens me what I'm capable of doing whenever throat-cooling ice cream is on the agenda - especially if I get my hands onto the scooper. 
  • Gaining a decent night's sleep has all but been a beloved luxury which has been ripped away from my hands since I developed a runny nose and aching throat two days ago, leaving me prone to lashing out thanks to my easy-to-snap temper and noticeable exhaustion. Right now, I'm tired of hearing about Google Glass supposedly being a 'revolutionary' moment in the technology moment because, unless a £1,000 or so appeared in the bank account overnight, it will be of absolutely no use to me; finding out a comfortable way of getting to sleep without my nose dripping onto the covers would be automatically heralded as a miracle. And a very pocket-friendly one, too.
  • As school holidays traditionally signify that a week or two of boring TV programmes and terrible weather (in my opinion, it's as terrible as the so-called April Showers if a swarm of buzzing flies appear on a brighter-than-jewels Spring day) lie in wait, I have never known boredom like ever before because, not only do I feel incapable of doing anything, I have no idea about what I probably can do, which therefore leads to a five minute sulk dedicated to frustration. In general, life throws plenty of problems which, unless job agencies begin to recruit official problem solvers, only you can sort out, but reaching a solution for the most basic matters in everyday living suddenly becomes ten times harder when a painful ache throbs in your temples and an itch-like desire to scramble into bed is too difficult to ignore. Sadly, falling prey to one of the world's most common - and least dangerous, though my inner sulker would prefer to turn a blind eye towards it - illnesses has created an unanimous struggle relating to my making what are typically deemed as easy-peasy decisions. Choosing which bear to sleep with in the warm comfort of my bed - either a pink Care Bear or elegant meerkat will gain the prestigious title of being my bedroom buddy for a night - hasn't never been more difficult.
So, it is rather fair to say that I am indeed feeling pretty unwell thanks to catching a bout of the annual flu several days ago, and it has significantly reflected on my mood because, after going through tons and tons of toilet rolls as a means of blowing my nose (who knows what the bill for Kleenex tissues would be if I used them instead), I'm both physically and emotionally tired of being unwell. Also, what irritates me above everything else is that my symptoms suddenly appeared out of nowhere, which came as a dreadfully unpleasant surprise after lunchtime on Monday, so my struggle against getting my head around the fact that Miss Pillpopper - since being inspired to increase my uptake of body-strengthening pills last year, I've been taking a daily multivitamin and zinc supplement every morning which, despite letting me down on one unfortunate occasion such like this, has overall protected me from system-affecting illnesses - has lost a bit of her energetic spark continues. 

Like 99.9% of people on this planet, I have never enjoyed being ill because it evokes a childlike person hidden in the deepest parts of myself to reach the surface, forcing my typically mature persona to take a back seat until all of my infected germs are destroyed and I return to appreciating fine health for hopefully a long, illness-free time. Within the space of several hours, I transform into a whiny, unhappy monster whose demands for her sore throat 'to be taken away' cannot be fulfilled, which embarrasses me deeply once I reach beyond the initial stages of being unwell. 

Unless my wishes of receiving a new book or a slice of my favourite comfort food (at the moment, a square of dark chocolate seems to do the hard-to-perfect trick) come true, hardly anything lifts me from the despair and anger which places a firm grip upon me, and it is only once I clear my body and mind of the nasty virus preying on the infected areas that I'm able to take my first steps towards freeing myself of a temporary, yet seemingly endless sickness. In other words, placing my nose at risk of bursting several blood vessels by blowing out the yucky-looking germs is mandatory towards my beating a virus which has no right to invade my body, regardless of however much pain I may go through to achieve my goals of kicking out the unwanted visitor. 

As you would expect, the first day of being unwell is typically one filled with struggle, tiredness and inevitably annoyance because you just don't want to be sick, but now that I've gotten past that day (which, despite beginning to go downhill on Monday, was actually yesterday) dealing with my runny nose and sore throat becomes a sort of second nature to me. Yeah, I may sometimes feel like thrusting my hands into the air as my nose drips like a water fountain minutes after being blowed as ferociously as The Big Bad Wolf destructing several houses, but unfortunately that's part of being unwell - and indulging in self-pity does not guarantee an escape from it, though I would be over the moon if that was ever the case. 

Anyway, I doubt that I will bother to go beyond this cold-themed discussion because my thoughts have hardly strayed from my on-going malady, but I hope that if you are feeling as bad as I do (or happen to feel this way in the future), you don't feel quite so alone in your terror of battling an ordinary virus. Unlike yesterday, I've made more of an effort to keep myself occupied by baking a batch of oat crunchies (thanks to the feature of demerara sugar, they have a toffee-like flavour) and, of course, mentioning my ill perils here which, in many ways, has acted as a better medicine in comparison to the countless spoonfuls of Calpol and fruity lozenges I've recently consumed. 

Being victimized by catching a common cold has ignited a new-found desire to break away from tradition and do what I want - whilst abiding by the Law, bien sûr - so today I'm not bothered in the slightest about writing a long-as-Les-Misérables essay. Instead, I've uploaded several pictures of the things which have been most relevant in my life over the past few days, albeit I received one or two confused looks from my father and little brother when I took several snaps of blackcurrant-flavoured (or rather blood-coloured) cough medicine. One like me should always be supervised whilst being influenced by medicine of any sort - especially if I'm taking pictures of it! And little Barticles has discovered the joys of watching TV on the comfy sofa à la Homer Simpson...

As a way of cheering myself up (and increasing my calorie intake, albeit unintentionally), I decided to give these oat crunchies - as featured in Delia Smith's fantastic Cakes book - a go earlier today, and I can proudly tell you that they taste like a buttery, oh-so-sweet dream! In case you were wondering why a piece of the tin has mysteriously disappeared, I couldn't resist waiting until the entire batch had cooled down, so I had to taste one of them. Like always.

Since my throat began to feel like an overcooked roast potato on Monday, these lozenges have been my go-to saviour and have thankfully decreased the swelling in my mouth, whilst giving me a five minute-long burst of blackcurrant sweetness. Nice.

Despite being classified as a health-conscious young adult/stroppy teenager, this fact hasn't prevented me from consuming an E number-riddled, sugary cough syrup which is indeed aimed towards young children. Like the lozenges above, this medicine is blackcurrant-flavoured which, as I have long guessed, contributes to soothing a painful throat, but looks like blood once I pour a drop onto the plastic spoon which comes with the box. Another reason why my mess-prone self should avoid the colour white at all costs. 

Although he may not come with a burst of paracetamol or guarantee to take away my painfully cold foes, little Bart never fails to cheer me up when I cannot imagine gaining the slightest sense of happiness - in this picture, he was having a decent snooze on the sofa in our living room, which set me into a contagious fit (hopefully one without nasty germs) of giggles! Yesterday, Bart landed himself into trouble when he was caught taking a bite from my mum's plant which is on the verge of flowering, but I couldn't bring myself to be angered by his wild antics because he was literally the only thing who raised a smile on my lips. Hail the potato couch Barticles!

Simply by having a classic old rant about my hassles (and sneezing tendencies), I'm already beginning to feel better because giving myself something both fulfilling and fun to do - as you probably know off heart, writing is my joie de vivre - offers me the opportunity to escape the perils of illness, albeit a fairly harmless one. 

Now, when will my plague go away? 

Monday, 14 April 2014

My Failure in Learning Text Speak

If the title of this blog is supposed to remind you of a certain aspect, my journalist wannabe self ought to embrace all things relating to modern teenage life because I am an adolescent after all, so staying true to long-respected traditions such as getting the blues, breaking away from the shadow of adults and creating my own (legal) identity should be as easy as sticking my head into a tub of Ben and Jerry's cookie dough ice cream, right? Um, not exactly, if you can even bring yourself to believe my words.

Although I hardly ever let anybody forget the world-famous fact that I am indeed going through 'the hardest time in my life' (ditto yet another overused cliché), there are several things about modern day teenagers which my brain-training self struggles to grasp. For example, I've never quite gotten my head around the reason for which the 'idols' of British boy band One Direction have gained an enormous amount of popularity and a loyal legion of screaming fans across the world - especially as they are often targeted towards girls my own age - but the sight of Harry Styles singing a love ballad doesn't stir the slightest twinge of excitement within me and confirms my once-hidden beliefs that I am immune to any singers who earn more money than a selfless carer or unpaid volunteer at a donation-reliant charity. 

If I had the time (and the remarkable ability to sit at my desk for the rest of the day without getting a paralyzing cramp), I could probably discuss my noticeable differences from what many would deem as an 'average' teenager, but I'm mostly proud about standing out from the crowd because following one's self-made path is often ignored by teens who are more vulnerable to failing prey to peer pressure which, in my opinion, ought to be banished from future generations. Anyway, I'm not seeking to start a hotter-than-a-chilli rant over the perils of copying others blinded by stupidity and an extreme lack of intelligence because there is one particular subject which, like the great (hotel-staying) explorer Bear Grylls, I'm dancing like a drunken fool on an empty dancefloor at the prospect of looking into one well-known aspect of teenage life which many have either grown to love and hate with a fierce passion: text speak. 

Ah, where would we busy-bees have ended up if text speak hadn't been created? Like a ready meal, text speak only promotes the intriguing, yet lazy message of convenience to those whose priorities lie beyond using standard grammar and, as the years have passed by and more people have bought mobile phones, it seems that text speak is unlikely to disappear into the shadows as plenty of language-appreciating people - and myself noless - have hoped for a very long time. 

When I got my first mobile at the age of twelve, I was greatly excited about being able to contact my friends via sending a short, yet sweet-as-sugar text message because, by then, writing a long and often unread email had lost its grip upon me, and texting struck me as a more convenient way of staying touch with the people I knew. But, unlike others who may have immediately been sucked into the popularized trends surrounding text messaging and anything holding the slightest association to the internet, I steered clear of abbreviating my words or certain expressions as I just didn't like the sight of it. In my eyes, saying brb (a.k.a. be right back) instead of writing it properly looked as messy as an unmade bed - and you wouldn't want to witness my nerves spiralling out of control if I fail to make my bed as soon as I get up! And, unless you have never thought about it, text speak signals a level of immaturity which is often my greatest source of irritation; in other words, if you know how to assert your words in the English language, I doubt that making an effort with expressing yourself properly will hardly rob you of your 'precious' time! 

Thankfully, that's enough on my heated opinion because, regardless of whatever spills out of my lips, text speak will inevitably continue to be used by millions of teenagers - and trend-following adults, whose pretence at speaking like youths is heralded as the greatest form of embarrassment - so getting myself into a Homer Simpsons-inspired rage will unfortunately be of no use. However, my study-loving self - who has been starved of all learning sources due to this week's Easter holidays - would enjoy nothing more than to indulge in a new form of learning by getting to grips with commonly used text expressions, so I hopefully will avoid being made to feel embarrassed once I enroll in a nearby secondary school. But, despite my intention to read up on this modern day culture, there is no possible way that I will ever be tempted to use it in my own text messages - besides, my parents would never allow me to throw away all of my life-long efforts to maintain good (and easily understood) communication!

Down below is a small list of various expressions and symbols which form an extremely large part of text speak, some of which may even be unused nowadays. How am I - a self-confessed grammar lover - supposed to realize that, like the themes at each Dolce & Gabbana collection, text expressions vary at various times? And, as always, I can never quite resist keeping my mouth shut when it comes to expressing myself (minus a symbol whose meaning I'm unlikely to ever understand)...

Gerd/Ermahgerd - Oh My God
When I stumbled across this one on a list of popular text expressions for 2014, my eyebrows nearly rose towards the back of my head as I struggled with great difficulty to understand the meaning of this expression. For all I knew, it probably could have been a foreign word (apparently, gerd relates to a gastroesophageal reflux disease), but never in a million years would I have ever guessed it as 'oh my god'!
Anyway, what is the point of this word if the shorter OMG would save a letter whilst writing a speedy text? In certain ways, gerd sounds like an insult for a reason which I can't quite place my finger upon, and I have a gut instinct that this word won't be around in ten or so years' time. Fingers crossed.

Wut - What 
As soon as I saw this, it took me all my might to avoid screaming with agony at this expression which, unless you haven't already realized, completely breaks all the grammatical rules in our beloved dictionary! Really, would it kill you to spell such as an easily remembered word like what whilst sending a text message or would I be required to wave a £10 note in front of your face? Everything about wut - even typing it sends waves of terror down my spine - is wrong and as nasty as a sickly sweet cup of honey and lemon. If I thought that gerd was the very worst word to have ever been created, I truly have my work cut out with banishing wut from text messaging. Lord help me!

Sup - What's Up?
Unlike the expressions mentioned above, I believe to have already been familiar with this popular greeting, which updates the famed informal expression what's up for the WhatsApp generation, so at least I don't feel like I'm out of my league on this one.
However hard I try to banish the thought from my mind, sup automatically reminds me of the fizzy drink 7Up because I cannot think of another word which shares such a close resemblance, so I seriously doubt that I'd be able to get away with using it minus a reminder of my favourite lemon and lime drink.
And, once again, sup represents more immaturity because it is viewed as a convenient way of asking about somebody's well-being. If you really do care about how your friend or family member is getting on, making a phone call or even seeing them - shock, horror! - surely couldn't be deemed as a waste of time, could it? Only the young may stand a chance of getting away with using sup, though it needs to be said that there are better ways of greeting somebody. Only saying, you know.

LOL - Laugh Out Loud
Okay, I truly know where I stand with LOL because, whether we are young or old, it commonly represents text speak as it is rather easy to drop into an informal message, which can lighten the atmosphere and inject your obviously amused opinion within three letters.
Even the Prime Minister, David Cameron, is alleged to have used LOL in his text messages, though he has since claimed that he believed that the expression translated as lots of love instead. Well, even it appears that the most well-known man in Britain is failing to put his knowledge - as taught at the elite boys' school, Eton College - of the English language whilst communicating with his contacts, so all hopes of maintaining a decent conversation in less than 160 characters have been crushed, don't you believe?
Although I have since begrudged my actions, there was a time when my ten year old self wouldn't have thought twice about injecting lol into a message, particularly as many people were semi-fluent in text speaking, but I quickly progressed beyond that point by forming my own views and, as you would expect, develop a loathing for incorrect grammar.
However, I have no desire to return to my lol-ing ways because, despite what the meaning suggests, I have never laughed out loud whilst reading a text message, so tagging lol seems rather pointless if I'm not staying true to my word.
Just tell me one thing because it really has been preying on my mind recently: has the so-called 'creator' of lol earned any money from his or her expression which has had them laughing all the way to the bank, or are their lives the same as before? Long ago, I faced up to the fact that I will probably never invent a revolutionary item or gadget, but God help me if adding yet another grammar-offending word to the long list of texting expressions were ever my claim to fame.

As you have now read, my hatred towards text speak will continue to burn like a slow, yet heated flame for as long as I live because I don't think that I will ever bring myself to accept it, let alone embrace it with outstretched arms. Along with making a once-in-a-lifetime purchase on a Louis Vuitton bag, all that I want is for proper English grammar to remain intact for the duration of eternity; it would be a massive shame if text speak and informal slang destroyed it one day, though I already fear that the damage has already been done.

And btw - you can work this one yourself - I'm not lol-ing right now!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Sunday Debate: Why Women Are Still Underrepresented

As I put my feet up in front of the TV before switching the channel, my eyes darted towards the screen in wonder of what was currently being aired. Having vaguely heard about The Masters - one of the most prestigious golfing competitions in America, so I've been led to believe - taking place this weekend, I was interested to see a little bit of the popular sport which, if the stunning sight of immaculately cut grass and well-dressed players hadn't reminded you, is mainly geared towards the richer-than-imaginable wealthy people and, as I quickly noticed, men; apart from a female sports presenter standing in the distance, hardly a woman was in sight. 

Perhaps my ever-growing hatred for Sky Sports has reached an inevitable head after years of being forced to watch footballers - male, of course - kick a ball as their overwhelmingly well-paid job, but now this pretence which I tried so hard to turn a blind eye to has all but died because it is no longer as ignorable as it once was: even in this modern day and age, women are still underrepresented in many aspects of life, with an extreme lack of female golfers to say the least. Until now, I don't think that I have ever been swept into such a poisonous wave of misery relating to the underrepresentation of my gender which, despite being 'supposedly' given equal rights to their male counterparts decades ago, still continue to be mistreated and abused in so many ways which I cannot even explain properly - and, as I get older and I near towards the time when I enter womanhood, it concerns me that I could be counted as one of the countless victims of unfair behaviour or prejudice from almost every single part of life. 

In case you assume that I have gone off the bandwagon - despite recently moving to a rather remote village in the glorious countryside, I have not yet laid eyes upon a bandwagon or a rumbling quad bike for that matter - let me clear things for you: in 1928, after decades of campaigning and leading sometimes frightful protests, women were given the right to vote which was hailed as a life-changing and historical event. Indeed, women have never forgotten this moment as the years have passed by because our lives would probably have continued to be determined and controlled by men, the thought of which makes my blood boil so angrily because these women who fought for our generation - some of whom may even be your ancestor, for all I know - should never have been pushed into such a discriminating position in the first place. Oh well, a moaning and spot-covered teenager like myself doesn't have the necessary powers to rewrite history in order to make it a better place for everybody, but perhaps being blessed with such an enviable gift could have prevented women from receiving unjustly levels of prejudice in the 21st century. And, as I will tell you now, you will never doubt for a single moment that inequality was destroyed when The Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928 was drawn up almost ninety years ago. 

From lower wages to offensive harassment, women of all ages haven't been entirely able to escape the discrimination which suffragettes (women who sought the right to vote via organized protest) fought with all their might to enable for future generations which, despite closing the gender gap by a significant level throughout the years, has failed to disappear completely. Unless reading the newspapers isn't listed as one of your must-do hobbies (unlike my Daily Mail-devouring self), more and more articles have been discussing the unfair treatment of women in the work office who, even if they have the same job as a man, are missing out on receiving equal payment - whether you believe in gender inequality continuing to exist in 2014, surely it must strike you as extremely wrong and even offensive to yourself? Although I still have a couple more years of gaining an education at school (a topic of which I'll bring up another time), I nonetheless worry about facing a similar ordeal once I get my hands upon my first job because it seems that nobody - regardless of their age, ability and obviously sex - is immune to being victimized. 

What baffles me the most is the yet-to-be-told reason why women haven't been able to wave a final goodbye to the chauvinism which plagued our country and our lives nearly a century ago, but sometimes I get the impression that whilst we make an honest effort to move on and lead our lives, certain people are unwilling to let go of the power which can determine our places in society. Before you get the wrong idea, there are plenty of men for whom I have the greatest appreciation because many have contributed to our world by expressing their wisdom - whether you are young or old, intelligence can only been deemed as invaluable - but it doesn't change the fact that there continues to exist a legion of people who get their hands onto power, which in turn could create an animosity for plenty of us. Why else would the gender gap still be going strong without offering a sign as to it disappearing for good?

Without going over-the-top with frank and perhaps unneeded detail, life itself throws numerous things at you during its course, inevitably strengthening yourself as a person and teaching you lessons which are only taught to those affected by life-changing events. But if a future filled with sexism rife amongst our society is on the cards, life for a woman therefore becomes a hundred times more difficult because our plates - already piled high with the pressures of living up to the preferable image of supermodel-like perfection, steering clear of esteem-destroying failure and one day keeping up with appearances by running a family - are too much to juggle, which leads to this: something has to give. None of this sexism, ageism (how I'm becoming accustomed to words ending with 'ism' remains a mystery) and unfair treatment gains happiness for anybody, except a hefty lawsuit and bad publicity for the bullies involved, but it appears that the message has not yet gotten through - and if it ever does, when will that moment be?

Thanks to the topic of feminism and sexism being mellowed and more digestible to the majority of the public in recent years, I'm hopeful that together - both men and women united - we will finally banish these sexist demons for good by promoting equality wherever we go, from the workplace to sports to even schools, if the idea hadn't occurred to yourself. I'm not calling for a full-on law against all types of banter because some of it is always enjoyed by both sexes and, as British people are renowned for their brilliant sense of humour (so much for avoiding an obviously biased opinion), the last thing I want is to lose sight of such a celebrated part of our heritage and also ourselves at heart. At the end of the day, I find it deeply saddening when a joke is taken too far or is mentioned in a highly upsetting manner because most of it is uncalled for, which should count as a reminder that everybody should be able to distinguish the difference between informal, yet amical banter to a sexist remark - in other words, don't say what you wouldn't want to hear about yourself!

In ten years' or so time, I would love to see more women represented in what are typically classified as 'masculine' sports on TV - though I wouldn't be putting any bets on many receiving a £300,000 weekly cheque like footballer Wayne Rooney because nobody deserves such money - along with womens' rights being rolled out across the world because, despite the great progress we have made and will continue to do in this country, many nations are thousands of miles away from treating women with the dignity and represent which we are entitled to. I'm a teenage girl who wishes for the best for everybody, and nothing angers me more than these basic, yet invaluable rights are violated - only the evilest criminals are worthy of having their rights stripped away within the click of a finger, not law-abiding and honest women. 

Beneath the inch-thick layer of make-up and a smile which would light up the whole of Hollywood, we women possess a strength which, despite not making a regular appearance, runs through our veins like a thoroughbred galloping in what I hope is an animal-friendly horse race. Regardless of often being dismissed as the 'weaker' gender - just why would the majority of us yearn for veiny biceps? - these unfair words couldn't be further away from the truth which only we know deep inside: our emotional strength is priceless and is the source to our finding happiness. Otherwise, how else would suffragettes have survived years of torment in protest for what too many of us take for granted? I'll let you decide on that one. 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Modern Teen Debate: Is Our Generation Under Threat?

Every so often, there comes a time - or rather a life-changing epiphany, which sparkles as brightly as my Tiffany-lookalike jewelled necklace - when my blood boils with a heart-pounding rage after catching wind of something which brings home a profound, unignorable meaning to me, which continues to persist in my thoughts until I can no longer bear to hold my beliefs inside for a moment longer. Call it a burning desire of some sort (when will I break my instilled habit of making references to Lana Del Rey's songs) because, like a fireplace warming one's knuckles during the midst of a cold-as-Ben-and-Jerry's-ice-cream winter, my heart burns with the anger of having something which I hold very dear under threat which, no matter how hard I attempt to focus my attention on a stress-free object, eventually needs to be addressed. And, as you will learn in a moment, the current subject of my blood pressure-rising fury will probably strike you like a bullet piercing the skin, draining you of all your faith in what controls the most meaningful thing which we humans cling to for dear life: our futures.

Thinking about life in five, ten or even a quarter of a century's time is a fair funny thing, I haste to add because I continue to find it an immense struggle to imagine myself - this teenage girl who has spiralled herself into a mess whilst trying to figure out a way to live a happy, yet not entirely spot-free existence - passing beyond the seemingly relentless realms of adolescence and morphing into an adult which, despite the fact that it will eventually occur in a mere few years' time, strikes me as one of the many daydreams which my imaginative self is prone to doing on a dull summer day. Although I haven't entirely embraced the soon-to-be-a-reality truth that adulthood will overtake my ongoing stint in puberty, I nonetheless enjoy zooming a decade or so into the future to catch a glimpse of the person - or rather woman, as the term 'teenager' will no longer apply to my oh-so-grown-up self - whom I aspire to be, as I'm sure that you cannot resist doing whenever the moment takes you.

But, at the end of the day, what I must bear in mind is that I am the one who is choosing to see a beautiful, Hollywood-perfect shot of myself in a ten years' time, which needn't count as an accurate indicator of what is likely to occur within that time period. Instead of facing up to the more probable possibility of squeezing every penny out of monthly wages - or, if the unemployment levels suddenly rocket sky high, receiving a salary which would cover all of the money-draining bills would be out of question - and waiting until middle age or even later to take my first baby steps onto the property later, I'm still at an age where indulging in the satisfying fantasy of marrying a royal prince or becoming the first woman to eradicate the poor nations of hunger counts as a potential possibility, though these dreams are slipping further and further away as I get older. The reason why? Our generation - the ones whom will certainly take control of the government and our parents' job one day in the distant future - is under terrible threat and, despite making countless attempts to get our voices heard, nobody will listen to our cries.

Before you immediately assume that I've gotten the wrong end of a pointy witch's broomstick, let me refresh your mind with the recent figures on youth unemployment in the United Kingdom (a.k.a. my native country): according to statistics released on the Parliament website last month, 912,000 youths (aged 16 to 24) are unemployed, which counts as a fifth of youths able to work in the entire country. This means that every one in five of youths don't have a job which, considering that the economy is 'supposedly' returning to normal and life's basic necessities - such as housing, bills, food, to name a few - are continuing to rise at a rapid pace, is crushing news. I was almost lost for words when I stumbled across the figures a while ago because, despite realizing the unemployment is still a massive problem in my country - and throughout the world nonetheless - I hadn't realized how badly it is affecting younger people who, if given an opportunity to hone their skills and fulfill their ambitions, could give so much to society, yet I'm always given the impression that youths are immediately shunned by their elders which breaks my heart so tragically.

Since thousands of young people participated in the London Riots across the country in the summer of 2011, I feel that people have lost faith in our generation because the very worst of us ruined the honest, hard-working reputation which we have relentlessly worked on achieving for years, which has all but destroyed most of my faith in the political system. If the government had cut short their traditional summer holidays in order to sort out the riots which plagued many parts of the country into a heated, criminal madness, perhaps part of our image could have been salvaged from the flames which burnt years' of hard work and an honest living for the poor victims of the riots, whose shops and lives were deeply affected by several yobs' vile actions. But, even if the riots had never taken place, I don't think that it would have made much of an influence on what is threatening our generation like a deadly bout of the Spanish plague: the lack of a good education.

Unless you come from a wealthy background and are in a much-envied position to afford all costs on obtaining the most elite education, this paragraph needn't apply to you, but to those youths whose education solely relies upon the government - otherwise known as a state education. From the first day we attend playgroup or nursery to the moment we wave farewell to our last shift at work before retiring, our lives always include education as a main and vital feature in whatever we do, whether it involves dozing off in Mrs Parker's dull-as-wall-paint maths class or conjuring ideas which could land you a hefty promotion in the office. But what happens if the basic foundation of education is not nurtured like a budding flower in the early years of life - when we reach an age where learning becomes an important focus - which could take us down a path of hardship, struggle and disappointment?

Achievement becomes harder than ever to obtain if we are never exposed to such an uplifting joy at a young age, and it leaves a trail of failure from which we may not entirely avoid throughout our lives. Staying true to our nature, we humans have a tendency to point the finger of blame towards ourselves if something terrible - for example, failing to pass a vital exam heavily affects our self-esteem - occurs, but sometimes we must remind ourselves that we are not always the ones at fault. If our place of education isn't up to the ideal standard, what kind of chance do we stand in fulfilling our ambitions?

Upon searching for local secondary schools since moving to my new home, I have been inundated with numerous results for schools which could potentially offer me a place, yet I have often felt disheartened at the poor selection because of one single detail: the ratings. In England, there is an education authority known as Ofsted who are in charge of rating all of the schools in the country and indeed have the power to shut any underperforming schools down, or convert them into independently-run academies, and it is because of their four-grade ratings - '1 - excellent' is the best you could achieve, whilst '4 - inadequate' immediately signals alarm bells - that I have almost spat my sip of 7Up onto the laptop in pure shock at the results staring in front of me.

Although I'm rather fortunate to reside near several popular and well-graded schools, the rest on offer are ones which I would never dream of attending in a million years', yet there is often a lack of choice for certain people who must make do with what is offered to them. How fair is it to send your child to a school which could significantly affect their learning and rob them of their chances of succeeding in working life? It angers me that these inadequate schools are allowed to carry on teaching hundreds - or, in a few urban areas, thousands - of students because every pupil is entitled to fair and highly satisfactory education, which could give them the perfect start to pursuing whatever they wish to do once their education finishes. Education is priceless, and I wish that the government and the education authorities would stop draining our country and youth of an opportunity which needs to be fulfilled.

If you believed that my rant on school education had reached an end, I'm sorry to prove you wrong because there is yet another dangerous threat hot on our heels, which has already unleashed its poison upon thousands of students in recent years: university fees. As I intend to pursue a career in journalism, attending university doesn't stand out as a massive must because one's skills doesn't necessarily have to be proved by a diploma - newspapers can automatically sense one's writing ability by what they write, so I'm not entirely bothered about going through the once-in-a-life-time university experience.

However, it concerns me that, during a time where the economy is still trying to find its feet and the majority of the population are experiencing money-related issues, students in England are being cornered into having to splash out at least £9,000 per year at most universities. Since when should we have to pay such a ridiculously high amount in order to gain an education? I recognize that taxpayers needn't be burdened by excessive fees, but universities shouldn't raise their eyebrows in surprise if students fail to pay back the interest on their loans, let alone the fees themselves. And, as the current figures of youth unemployment prove, obtaining a good degree at university doesn't necessarily guarantee at a job afterwards, which not only leaves yet another person out of work, but with massive debts which they will struggle to pay off.

At a time where education could be the only shining light in younger people's eyes, the government leave us with no other choice than to turn away from our last glimmer of hope because too few of us are blessed with hundreds of thousand pounds in our back accounts. There are many other things which could cause more damage for generation which I won't even go into, but I think that I have made my point crystal clear: without hope, younger people are left with the remains of the faith we used to place into the powers above us, who fail to treat us with the dignity and respect we rightfully deserve. A part of myself still clings to the hope of a miracle occurring, but that hope diminishes day by day as it becomes apparent that there is no visible way out of the doom which is closing in on our generation.

Will life settle itself in time before the prospect of looking for a job and entering the 16-24 sector becomes a reality, or is it a fantasy taken too far? Like yourself, I hope that I don't join the list of unemployed any time in the future. Let's pray that unemployment becomes a thing of the past for everybody.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Tuesday's Anthems

Thanks to the funniest thing occurring several hours ago - how I prevented my nose from snorting like a camel when Bart the Kitten embarked on a curious search inside the shower remains a Midsomer Murders-inspired mystery - my day has started the very best way possible, switching on the brighter-than-Las-Vegas green light to curve my lips into a wide, if not slightly scary grin. Considering that I was all but sleep-deprived because of tossing and turning like a pancake being flipped in a pan last night, it rather surprises me that I've forgotten all about the bags underneath my sea-blue eyes becoming more profound and bruise-like overnight which, whenever an unfortunate incident like this has occurred in the past, is usually on my mind 24/7 until Dreamland reinforces my nightly access once again.

Perhaps this move has provoked me to give up all things childish and finally grow up into a wiser, albeit a tad exhausted teenager because, after wasting precious moments on suffering from mini panic attacks over the state of my hair - which, at the oh-so-irritating time of the month, looks like it has been dunked into a deep fat fryer (hopefully not the Tefal model which appears to be the main attraction on the Ideal World shopping channel) - and generally giving into my self-obsessed tendencies, there is much more to life than clipping my Eiffel Tower-long toenails or being stuck in my own little bubble the whole time.

Since becoming the proud new tenants of a beautiful house in an even more pleasant village almost a fortnight ago, my list of positives about getting out of the labyrinth which was my former residence has grown quicker than the kittens' themselves, who are currently undergoing one of their many tiresome growth spurts. For example:
  • Getting my very own en-suite has rapidly proved to be the most wonderful gift which money - or indeed the monthly rent - can buy, simply judging by the plastic cabinet which somehow stores all of my skincare/spot-fighting products. For ages, I was unable to reach into my aged beauty bag in search of my rarely used, yet essential bottle of dry shampoo, but now it gloriously resides next to my £60 hairbrush (the one of which has just begun the long, agonizing process of falling apart) and beloved heat-protectant spray, which is one of my most cherished childhood smells. And - just when you don't expect it to get better, I literally keep you on the edge of your seat - I no longer receive a telling off from The Parents if I dare to yell at the top of my lungs whenever LB half-heartedly threatens to 'mask his territory' in my en-suite which, before anyone gets a word in, is my territory. So, I have all but waved farewell to causing a commotion by gazing at the eye-blinding shininess of my locks in the main bathroom, but I now have a new problem on the agenda: the terrible two, Bart and Benny, have recently developed a habit of visiting the room whenever they wish, which has posed as a problem. Boys - regardless of their species or feline tendencies - always annoy you... just my luck!
  • Talking of kittens, there has definitely been a dramatic improvement in Benny's temperament - and indeed his ever-growing confidence - since moving over a week ago which, bearing in mind that cats are typically creatures of habit (should I hang my head in shame for following a similar way of thinking?), has particularly taken me by surprise. But nonetheless I'm over the moon that Benny has gradually given up his timid ways in order to become confident and actually enjoy our company - whilst struggling to fall asleep last night, Benny entered my bedroom and leapt onto my duvet twice, which counts as proof of his endless progress towards letting go of his once-strong shyness! Benny appreciates the larger bedrooms and kitchen, where he usually spends most of his time sleeping or having a fishy bite to eat, and none of us bat an eyelid when we catch him in the middle of performing a mischievous act with his partner in crime, Bart (otherwise known as Barticles, as I prefer to call him). Now seven months old and a stature not far off from a fully-grown cat, Benny has walked miles away from his tough start in life - originally, he and Bart were classified as semi-feral due to being born outdoors, despite their mother supposedly being domesticated - which makes me burst with pride because it seemed impossible to sit next to him when we brought him home on a cold December day last year. Alas, Benny's journey towards unleashing his soft-as-butter side is reaching a point where we will hopefully be able to stroke him and cuddle him as often as we do with Bart, who laps attention like it's a full-time occupation! I'll know that all of our efforts will be worth it when Benny purrs for the first time, the glorious day of which ought to be coming soon.
  • Unlike the nearby park in my former home, the play area within the heart of the village has not enforced the rather pathetic ban on teenagers sitting on the swings or going down the oh-so-slippery slide, which has given me something remotely entertaining to do whenever my brother kicks his football (undoubtedly purchased from his beloved Sports Direct store) in the main field. And, whether any other teenager has ever felt this way or not, I experience a lighter-than-air feeling of freedom when I sit on a swing which, within a kick of my feet, automatically takes me back to the care-free times of my childhood. Regardless of whether the local council looks down upon younger people by creating such stupid rules - many of which, if they choose to acknowledge it, are always broken behind their backs - nothing will ever stand in my way of embarking a ride to a place which can never be taken away from me: my inner child. 
  • For the fifth consecutive day in a row, not a single fat-coated chip or ready-prepared meal passed through my lips, which is a definite indicator of my life returning to normal. Sorry, but my days of appreciating fast-food as an occasional treat have all but died a significant death, and I've never felt happier about being freed from the tempting clutches of a McDonald's milkshake - let the nutrient-rich times carry on!
If my half-asleep mind could be bothered to awaken from a pre-lunchtime nap in order to supply more positives for my list, I would have added roughly another fifty or so reasons for my happiness here in the heart of the country. But, as today's title suggests, there is more to life than discussing council rules or indeed my battle against McCain chips - in recent weeks (whenever I've had an internet connection or a few decent CDs to play), music has become my refuge from battling stress, moving-related dilemmas and, at the worst of times, myself. Although the tracks featured below are not exactly the lullabies which you would play to sleeping babies, in my opinion I've been listening to more heavenly-sweet lullabies than usual because anything unrelated to my attention-consuming hassles were like the piece of heaven I struggled to find on this planet. 

Random my choices may be - from classic soul to modern EDM, my musical tastes could be put on a par to an iPod shuffle at times - but I associate them with euphoria and the opportunity to break away from modern teenage life for a short while. Enjoy!

1. The Shapeshifters - Lola's Theme

2. Mantronix - Got to Have Your Love

3. Nirvana - Come As You Are

4. Lady Gaga - Alejandro


Monday, 7 April 2014

The Diary of an Angsty Sulker

From time to time during a teenager's life, all that you could possibly wish and ask for - without a guarantee of obtaining it - is to be left to your own devices, completely free of tantrum-provoking younger siblings trying their hardest to wind you up or people constantly questioning the stability of your up-in-the-clouds mind. Whilst staying true to my oh-so-natural tendencies, I'm hardly ever immune to getting the desirous urge to hide away from the world every so often for reasons which don't automatically spring to mind; basically, if I suddenly want to be cooped up in my bedroom without being rudely interrupted for the duration of a miserably grey afternoon, I do all that I possibly can to fulfill my wish as requested though, as many of us quickly learn, some things are easier said than done.

Therefore, this leads me to spill the beans regarding my curiosity for teenagers' natural instinct to run away from the embrace of an often too loud and sociable society at this particular age which, after hitting the big 1-3 over two years ago, my workaholic-style brain hasn't quite figured out nor have made a revolutionary discovery within the scientific lab located within my bedroom. Just why do we have a desire more stronger than we will probably ever know in later life to cut ourselves from the outside world, purely listening to the all-powerful urge to explore life and think alone? If anybody can conjure a reply which wouldn't look out of place on decade-long research, a decently sized cheque containing my pocket money will be bound to arrive on your doorstep, but at this time in our lives, I don't quite believe that anybody is truly capable of distinguishing various feelings and wilder-than-a-feral-animal emotions which are included in the hefty package of being a temper-flaring, yet intelligent adolescent.

As I lie on top of my bed and place one watchful eye upon my door (for those unaware with myopia, this is not an eye-resting exercise; even when one relaxes, two mischievous kittens must always be watched), I'm indulging in my out-of-the-blue need to enjoy some me time without the disruption of my little brother who, when Chelsea aren't being faced the potential prospect of being kicked out of the Champions League or has run out of episodes of the unpleasantly explicit cartoon South Park on the Sky Planner, takes immense pleasure in getting on my nerves by producing noises which I daren't go into full-on detail on this PG-rated blog.

Although the option to stretch my legs like a just-awoken cat in the lounge downstairs is always available to me, there is something more personal about hanging out in my bedroom which has constantly remained as the 'go-to' area whenever life becomes too much of a needless bother and I'm beyond desperate to find a place which couldn't be further unassociated with the tiny, yet exasperating issues which plague everyday life. Like the kittens' section of the kitchen which they herald as their Games of Yhrones-inspired kingdom, this bedroom could never be mistaken as somebody else's territory because it is mine (obviously the Hello Kitty pillow is a huge reminder of this), and regardless of whether I choose to go, I'm always welcome to returning to my bedroom which is typically the setting for my few-and-far-between 'alone times'.

Even after years of experiencing the need to flee from performing various duties (chopping the tear-streaming onions noless) and wishing I could be wrapped into an unbreakable bubble which would make me immune from communicating or moaning about the lack of digestives left in the biscuit tin, it remains as much of a mystery as does Scooby Doo's ability to constantly stuff himself because of why I may lose the urge to immerse myself into socializing with people and re-emerge into a person whom I don't truly recognize, all former traces of my fun-loving personality disappearing like a relieving breeze.

Since creating this blog, you and I have probably become familiar with my think-on-the-spot temper which flares like an uncontrollable flame (there goes my reason for loathing bonfires) and, at times like these, it can often provoke me to lose all sense of my values and fly into a sulk which everybody knows about. Of course, there is no way that my little brother or parents' can shrug off the abrupt change in the typically peaceful atmosphere when my mood shifts into a style which is hardly ever associated with myself and, beneath the lashings of teenage angst, I'm annoyed by the fact that I give these rarely-seen emotions full rein to do whatever they like, like shamed ministers being granted permission to spend the taxpayers' money on extravagant holidays or meals at critically acclaimed restaurants. Whether I decide to acknowledge the truth or pull the blindfolds down in fear of being riddled with gut-wrenching shame, it is my fault when I wallow in self-pity without offering an acceptable reason for my compulsive actions - but, despite accepting these well-known facts, why do I continue to take a trip down Angsty Lane whenever the moment takes me?

In general, I like to believe - yes, there hasn't even been an actual confirmation relating to my long-followed theory - that, unlike the so-called 'majority' of modern day teenagers, I've always steered clear of unleashing selfishness upon anybody, constantly making an effort to helping others and resisting the temptation to put myself first, a desire of which continues to bubble underneath the surface. So what happens when a wave of compulsive thinking bursts through the surface and consumes me like I gobble a bag of salted pretzels at lunchtime? Without any given warning, I keep to myself, which leads to my losing interest in engaging in what I would usually find fascinating conversations and becoming accustomed to an irritability which even aliens from outer-space galaxies could potentially sense. In other words, I'm a quiet, if not secretly annoyed sulker who relishes nothing more than escaping to the haven known as my bedroom (a.k.a. kingdom/cat-like territory); even a handful of mood-lifting nuts are immune to shifting the angst meddling with my soul, and only time is the cure to destroying the ash-like cloud which is the sole barrier to my finding happiness and, most importantly, myself.

But, as I've learnt through experience and plenty of failures at finding a dreamlike cure, expressing myself through the best outlet possible - such as painting a picture conveying one's emotions, writing or playing a song and, my favourite of all, writing in a diary - truly helps me sort through my mind which, at the worst of times, is as confusing and crazy as the endless amount of aisles in a gigantic Ikea store. When I first sat down to write this around an hour ago, so many unnameable emotions - like annoyance, tiredness and the obvious urge to shut myself away from society - were whirling like a cyclone in my head, but by getting the facts onto paper (or laptop screen, as it should rather be known), I can see beyond the angst which took my breath away a short while ago. And, regardless of the rain pelting on the windows outside and the unlikely possibility of sunshine spilling onto the soaked farmland, a shining light is more visible than I'd given myself enough credit to witness, which truly dispels my fantasy of locking the door shut and staring at the need-to-be-painted wall for several hours.

What amuses me the most is that I lose my temper over the most silliest things known to mankind, which is a definite indicator of my immaturity and the often forgotten fact that I still have an enormous way to go until I morph into an adult, whom I sincerely hope will have long waved goodbye to short-lived bursts of adolescent angst and childish sulks.

Here, along with mastering the art of applying eyeliner properly, is another lesson learnt: I laugh, I smile and I cheer. But I'm not entirely immune to sulking, bursting into mascara-streaked tears and getting annoyed over something which I cannot quite remember.

At the end of the day, I'm a teenager who has yet to finish her education - but do any of us ever completely stop learning?

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Adjustment, Unpacking and a Serving of the Mad Dutchmen's Chips: My Week in a Chicken-Sized Nugget

Purely judging by the longer-than-my-sausage-sized-legs title alone, this particularly crazier-than-a-One-Direction-concert week which I have endured - and, if my eyes can muster the strength to tear away from the oh-so-obvious pile of boxes in my bedroom, is still on-going - is one that I will definitely not be forgetting in a hurry, for both good and bad-as-corrupt-politicians reasons.

On the off-chance that you have been blessed with the priceless gift of avoiding the previous whirlwind of entries which I've posted in recent days, let me get the facts as straight as Little Miss Lucky (a.k.a French-speaking moi) can achieve frizz-free hair without even lifting a honey-dipped finger. Last Friday - otherwise nine days ago, if you make the most of your mathematics and counting-to-three-thousand-and-sixty-two skills - I moved out of the property which I reluctantly referred to as my home after spending seven years of fighting battles against leaks, nearly freezing to a premature death courtesy of a broken boiler and being swept into a wave of contagious misery.

Driving past the county border was undoubtedly one of the happiest moments in my life because a chapter - one of which which had been the source of needless pain (both emotional and physical, if slipping onto the rock-solid floor counted as proof) and almost drove me to losing my hormone-meddled sanity at times - had reached a close, and the place to which I'm now living offered all which many of us wish to obtain during our lives, though it is often overlooked because some people don't recognize the value of being blessed with it: heartfelt happiness entwined with a protective layer of security. As soon as I walked into the doors of my new home, I instantly knew that this place would tick all of the boxes in the imaginary questionnaire with which my previous house failed to comply.

For reasons yet revealed to me, my gut instinct has ignited a long-ignored signal to release all the fear which once controlled me as it is no longer needed or, as my ever-expanding mind has learnt in recent weeks, wanted because all of which I've ever longed to obtain is merely lying around the corner, awaiting to be appreciated as I've always intended to do so. Why, as the words are probably dancing on the tip of your tongue, did I feel petrified of what the future held for me, allowing sweat-inducing terror to trickle down my face as a constant reminder of my ever-so-poor weakness? As everything I used to latch my hands upon suddenly was snatched away and twisted my world into a manic blur, I couldn't resist falling prey to my initial feelings of fear because I struggled to hold onto the ounce of hope which, after weeks of searching for a new home and crossing my fingers at any spare moment, restored my faith in humanity and life itself due to having been a victim of disappointment in the past. Like those who only know far too well about getting caught up in a violent game of pain, one never wishes to undergo a similar treatment again - after all, who, regardless of their past history or associations with hope-destroying disasters, would have such an eager desire to be caught unaware by an emotionally damaging blow to one's hopes?

As I can proudly tell you right now, I'm writing at my desk for the first time since moving into my new home last week - for several days, snuggling into the fluffy, comforting embrace of the pillows on my bed have become my go-to place for getting my knees deep in some serious writing tasks - and happiness hasn't quite shone as vibrantly as it currently does which, from time to time, can be almost as blinding as the bedroom's main lights. Considering that moving house has long been embraced as one of the most stressful events which we are likely to undergo throughout life, this move was indeed far easier than all the past ones combined because I didn't experience the usual emotions of loss, grief and longing to return to the town which, in a way, has been the making of myself as the person whom I'm currently on the path to becoming.

Apart from the Chinese takeaway which played an important role in creating my passion for Asian cuisine - come on, who could not fall in love with chicken balls if fried in a mouth-watering batter? - I don't miss anything about my old town because it never flowed with my way of thinking or views of leading a good-natured life, though many may potentially disagree with my opinion of the place. Everyone has a right to express their individuality because, like having free speech and stocking up on as many bottles of foul-scented hair gels as one likes (my James Bond-inspired brother, not me), it is a basic human right as the matter of Law will forever remind us, but were the residents truly obliged to don every single pair of striped tracksuit bottoms wherever they went?

So far, my experience in a village over one hundred and fifty miles away from my old residence has mainly gone smoothly, despite getting caught out by the lack of copies of The Daily Mail sold at the one-and-only newsagents' located within a reasonable walking distance on several occasions this week. Waking up to the baaas of sheep yelling at the newborn babies to have their breakfast in the morning has become somewhat of a revelation because, over the space of seven years, I've adjusted to the ground-shaking thump of cars speeding around what was deemed to be a 'quiet' housing estate, yet I appear to be settling to this new change within my life by extending a typical weekend lie-in to thirty minutes which would probably have been unachieveable in my old home.

Simply by popping my head into my bedroom every so often, it would take the mind of an underwhelmed genius - a genius purely by keeping his or her head's screwed on tight regardless of the sight before them - to avoid feeling overwhelmed by all of these changes which have tossed the once fairly peaceful life of mine into the air, especially as my dream of moving all this way seemed extremely likely this time last month. As I persistently ask myself, when will LikeATeen return to what she does best - live life as a modern teen? Right now, I may be taking the same amount of breaths as normal and living doesn't count as a problem for me, but I'm not quite out of the wilderness thanks to holding onto my beliefs that everything is an overly realistic, yet not real-as-you-would-expect dream from which I ought to have awaken days ago.

Even though my brother pinched my arm rather painfully whilst taking a stroll in the park the other day, it is fair to say that I'm still a thousand miles or so away from accepting the truth which is so obviously lying in front of me: my life has changed forever. There is no turning back, unless a six hour+ walk down the nearest motorway doesn't make me waver in my mud-splattered high heels. And you know what? I cannot express my relief at the prospect of having waved goodbye to a time when hope had all but been diminished like a dying flame - beneath my poorly applied layer of powdery foundation, deep down I always knew that a change as dramatic as this one was needed, otherwise I would have remained tangled in the labyrinth for yet another unwanted moment. Like getting my head around the meaning of pie (unless it refers to my mum's fantastic apple-flavoured variety, I don't understand it), it is bound to take some time until I've fully settled into this refreshed life which is waiting to be explored by the disguised, yet alive explorer pounding within me.

Before I lose track of my original intentions, there are bucket loads of news which I've been bursting like an over-pressurized water meter since my family and I officially became the new tenants of our lovely home last Friday, some of which I've mentioned in more recent posts. For example, I once reserved a passion for indulging on a rare takeaway, you needn't question my loathing of fast food after tucking into battered fish and chips (one lesson I immediately learnt was to never get the chips from the Mad Dutchman in the village; it was impossible to know what to expect!), supermarket-bought pizzas and purse-draining, yet disappointing meals at the local pub within the space of several days. Unlike the millions of teenagers who confess to treating themselves to such lavish delicacies like those I just mentioned, I grew sick of it after one single serving - and good riddance! What with precious time being dedicated to cleaning our new home and starting the seemingly endless task of unpacking the boxes, cooking a meal at home has been the least of our thoughts, but even my little brother - who eats like there is no tomorrow at the best of times - have developed a longing ache for a meal which is neither fried in thousands of weight-gaining calories nor become allies with a freezer. Just don't mention the weighing scales unless you wish to wreck the closer-than-ever bond which we have formed throughout the lifespan of my blog. Please.

On the topic of unpacking all that I hold dear - from mood-relaxing CDs to the copy of The Vampire Diaries which my dad has so far failed to find, I'm not joking when I declare the task of unpacking as more stressful than the move itself - I'm beginning to breathe more lightly and smile for probably the first time in weeks because my trustworthy hair curling tool now resides in the bottom of my wardrobe, instead of an unreachable box which merely contributes to the recycling phenomenon. Last night was a particular highlight because Wonderwoman - otherwise known as my can-do-anything mother - installed a plastic cabinet which now takes pride in my en-suite, enabling the usage of my storing half of Superdrug's toiletries section in a few drawers which have already been crammed to an inch of their life; although you may not take a moment or two to think about it, the small things in life truly matter because they are essential to our functioning like normal, sleepy-eyed people. And if cluttering my cupboards with piles of papers and unused dandy brushes is a requirement to achieving the satisfaction which comes with fulfilling such a boring, yet necessary task, so be it. Oh wait - did I really mean that?

Hopefully, I'll stop obsessing over the state of my bedroom and Bart the Kitten's habit of rolling onto the unclean kitchen floor which has probably never befriended the likes of a hoover for several years as the days pass by, which will reflect in what I choose to discuss on my blog in the future. So, this is my new, improved life and it has taken me one exhausting week to reach where I am, constantly on the search to climb higher than I ever believed imaginable.

Now, is discovering the long-lost Pyrex dishes high enough a task?