Saturday, 24 January 2015

(Failing to) Overcome Barriers - Badly!

Phew, I'm soooooo exhausted - no wonder that I'm counting my lucky stars that the weekend has finally arrived! At long last, spare time is sold in such ginormous quantities that the actual figure would send your head into a speedy spin... yet, I ask myself, how do you make the most of it? Squeezing every single second out of time like obtaining the zesty juice from a lemon is a secret that has forever intrigued me, but I'm not any nearer towards discovering its tantalising truth: of all the moments in my life, I really need to find out.

As our urges to listen to one's business spiral out of control, I'll explain before you start pounding on my door, promising to pay me upfront for several sentences to be uttered from my lips (an offer which I'd find a bit hard to resist!). Next weekend marks the end of my year-long tenure as a fifteen year old as I celebrate my big (as it is often described) Sweet 16th. And, as I tend to find by the time that my birthday rolls around the corner every year, I have no idea on what to do. At all.

There are so many words that I could use to describe my annoyance with having not even a miniscule hint of an idea on what I can do to celebrate my 16th in what I'd like to call sophisticated style (which I'm definitely not saying for the sake of using alliteration as my English teacher often advises in writing) - in other words, not spending the entire day trapped in a play centre that would have been my equivalent of paradise around ten years ago! When I'm writing stories or blogging, very little puts a dent to my constant stream of ideas, yet other things - especially major ones such as once-in-a-lifetime birthdays - create more fuss than I can be bothered to deal with.

Honestly, I hardly feel motivated to think about my birthday right now because I don't have the faintest clue on what to do, a problem of which is driving me around the bend like a whole weekend devoted to the FA Cup: I must be very deserving of winning a medal for my efforts to not scream! All that I'm certain of is that, whatever happens, I have to be doing something, but that 'something' is as much of a mystery as a Victoria Secret model's 'naturally' svelte waist.

Maybe the excitement of anticipating my birthday - which has definitely been in the works for quite some time - has finally caught up with me, albeit at the most unfortunate and least convenient time. Society regards your 16th as all-important occasion and that stereotype is heavily played on in books and films, such as the 80s teen classic Sixteen Candles which perfectly depicts the trouble of celebrating one of the greatest birthdays in your life - and trying to live up to the 'ideal' image that is inserted into your mind. As cringe-worthy as it may sound, I dream of having a birthday identical to a film, in which the heroine gets the boy or wears such a fabulous dress that all the girls at her school are practically seething with envy. Obviously, that's the trouble with comparing your life to a John Hughes movie, but those films which I deeply love have somehow caught me out in between fantasy and reality - hence why nothing seems to be good enough to do on my birthday.

If only I'd identified this fault sooner - plenty of exaggerated sighs, see-through stares and comments dripping with sarcasm like a dripping tap could have been prevented! But, on reflection, I'm struggling to see how that would have been possible because of being so wrapped up (like my new-and-so-far only birthday present, a Sony Xperia smartphone) in everything completely unrelated to birthdays, gifts and relatively healthy-ish chocolate cakes, such as school. Though the process is drawing closer towards ending with each passing day, I'm still in the transition of settling into my new school, which has practically defined me ever since the new term began several weeks ago. It is so easy to lose myself in the likes of Animal Farm, French terms and, though I wince as I write it, graph lines that everything else can be simply forgotten about; unfortunately, sorting out my birthday has fallen into this category! Although my priorities may be in order at school, I doubt that the same can be said about planning what will so far be my biggest birthday...

Never mind looking back on the past: the question is what I must do is resolve this problem? Once again, I am as lost as a hiker in the Sahara Desert on coming up with any reasonable suggestions, let alone reaching a decision. Like a chocolate addict, I'm deprived of what inspires me most, creating a blockage that I feel incapable of getting past.

Despite living in the area for almost a year, I'm still relatively new to discovering new places and what is in them; only the day before I went back to school did I visit the cinema for the first time in over a year, so it takes a while to try things out! Annoyingly, absolutely no films of interest to me on being shown at the cinema on my birthday, which always occurs each year - bad luck or what? And, because of my birthday falling on a Sunday, shops are only open for six hours or less, which pretty much limits my options of spending hours in an out-of-town shopping centre. Oh, what will I do?

Instead of re-exploring the points that I've already made, I'll put this matter aside and hope that I will be spared the misery of struggling to sort it out over the next week. Since focusing all my energies on it, my chances of finding that perfect activity have significantly fallen - as some people find, the best ideas come to you when you least expect it. Well, I just hope that tactic works in my favour and, obviously, in time for my most fabulous ever birthday next Sunday...

Thursday, 22 January 2015

The World Needs More...

The world needs many things, like food, water, housing and education: also known as the boring things. Yawn!

But wait a second - aren't there other things that we simply can't survive without or need more of? Of course! There are numerous things that I can think of which this planet ought to provide in greater amounts, such as...

Kittens

Look at the image of a young, squealing kitten. How could your heart not melt into a slushy mess?! If I spent all day Googling pictures of 'kittens', I would forever be clearing up the mush that my animal-loving heart would be spilling all over the (cream-coloured) carpet!
Kittens evoke such a powerful happiness within me because they symbolise the one thing that I will always adore: cuteness. Oh, how boring and miserable the world would be if cuteness was wiped from existence! They are such friendly and loveable creatures, who happen to possess the sweetest looks ever... if that isn't happiness, do you honestly know what it is?
Along with the cuteness thing (which kittens definitely have going on), you'd be a world-class idiot to forget the oh-so-obvious fact that kittens love to play - like a teenager's impulse to stay in bed until the early hours of the afternoon, kittens cannot suppress the urge to run around like fools high on cans of Redbull. And, whether you are doing your homework or tucked in bed, kittens won't cater to your needs - hence why we treat them like the babies that they truly are!
Despite the many paw prints that are often left on the table and the distracting cries that they are so professional at producing (usually at the least convenient times!), I love kittens and I cherish every single moment that I spend with them because, even though time tends to go by way too slowly, they transform into adults before you even blink. Though their chunky baby faces may have disappeared by then, their cuteness - and most definitely their mischievous nature - is still intact, and may even be more defined than before!

Spare time

The greatest curse of the teenage years, a lack of spare time can drive a mini adult (or young adult, depending on how tiny you refer to yourself as!) into despair. Or, as I often find, results in a massive tantrum that not even a Hollywood drama queen can replicate. Just don't even go there, OK?
Although we teenagers love having a good o' fashioned moan about boredom, the moaning tendencies dramatically worsen if we are deprived of what I consider to be our human right: spare time. How can we develop a sense of fun if we never have a spare second away from the gruelling world of school, classes and the general things that occupy us in our day-to-day lives? Even watching TV for half an hour is savoured like a luxurious chocolate truffle: I appreciate every mouthful that I taste, knowing that it is a short-lived reprieve from reality.
Plus, if we never have any spare time, how are we expected to use it wisely when we do have it? Lack of experience is never great for anybody, and those being given spare time are no exception - in fact, it can turn into a full-blown nightmare if you don't know to enjoy your spare time, which then leads to boredom and the already-mentioned tearjerker tantrums.
Although working hard is extremely important, I still think that a few more breaks in and out of school life would motivate teenagers to be even more hard-working, proving that there isn't an unequal ratio of work and play as some of us wonder.
Spare time is an asset to society because it owns a key that many other things cannot open: happiness!

Chocolate

Why even bother going into full detail on this one? Everyone must know how deeply I adore cocoa and the fine chocolate that is produced from its flavoursome beans - the more the better!

However...

I'd like to see less of the cheaply produced chocolate bars, such as Cadbury's and Hershey's, which taste absolutely vile when compared to the likes of less sugary chocolate. Despite my allegiance to chocolate, it doesn't mean that all types will be defended by me - Creme Eggs better watch out!

Love (though not entirely because of this very yummy-looking cupcake)

Without love, how can we ever establish peace? Without peace, does the world stand a chance of striking a friendship with happiness? The list could go on forever, but I'll cut this one short because only one thing matters: love.
Love is essential in practically everything we do - helping others, making friends, even cooking a meal! If anything apart from science keeps the world spinning, love would undoubtedly be its power source - how else would our hearts beat so passionately?
It is the root of my passions, which keeps them alive and makes me into a stronger being. Even though I don't really give it a second thought, I realise the strength that love has and appreciate the gifts that it has handed over to me throughout my life.
But do we need more of it? Of course. If the world is constantly evolving, so is love, hence our requirement for greater amounts of it. The population figures are forever rising, our technology never stops expanding and our intelligence has yet to be given an impossible challenge... For as long as this world exists, our need for love will never die - only when love has beaten its last heart beat is the moment when we no longer need it.



Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Poems

Written by LikeATeen - Copyright LikeATeen 2015

Without

'Love is not love without heat
A fire that warms you like a genial hug
Passion is not passion without intensity
which burns like a fierce flame
Style is not style without sophistication 
An image that we uncontrollably crave to live up to 
Desire is not desire without yearning
which aches like the remains a broken heart
Irreplaceable and forever unbeaten.'

What Lies

'Childhood is a glorious gift
As my mother usually says
There you embark on the learning tree
A fascinating figure
You climb, you fall and you get back on again
Teaching you lessons that school doesn't provide
Yet taking on responsibilities is far from easy
and, at times, rather scary
Oh, why didn't my mother tell me that?
The piercing panic that sets in like superglue when you get a bad report record
The traumatic nightmares as haunting as ghosts because you don't know a thing about nuclei
And the moment when you realise that it isn't quite a glorious gift after all
What lies!

Adulthood is a thrilling time
As your father loves to tell you
There are so many experiences in the world
waiting to be enjoyed your fun-seeking self
Parties, friendships, opportunities, maybe a dash of love...
Oh why, didn't my father warn me of the drawbacks to love?
The stinging sadness when that boy doesn't call
The harrowing heartbreak that hits your heart like a bullet if he ignores you
his love-filled stare focused elsewhere
And the exact second when, once the booze has worn off, it dawns on you that it isn't quite a thrilling time after all
What lies!

What lies upon you are two pressurising periods in your life
that forever stay with you, like a tattoo permanently etched on your skin
There are thrills to get high on and glory to bask in like a spell of warm sunshine
But we cannot escape our fate: learning about humanity
What lies we are told by not realising sooner!'

Changes

'There are moments when I laugh
and light up the room with a glow brighter than a candle's shadow
Or I plaster on my greatest grin
sharing the sunshine that shimmers within myself among those surrounding me
All is well when happiness is blessing me with her warm embrace
planting her positive seeds in my nature like one growing a flower

Yet all changes when I remain silent
sending a chilly message to those who dare to surround me
Or I release a heart-wrenching sob
My body vibrating with sprinkles of sadness instead of sunshine
Nothing could be more wrong than when misery has broken in my soul
stealing my possessions and the person whom I know inside out
and leaving only my remains behind in its wake

Like the weather, I flit between various states
Sunny spells one day, torrential rain the next
How the changes exhaust me!'


'

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Dealing with Annoying Brothers

How I survive every single day is as mystifying as an episode of Sherlock: I simply don't know how I do it. Not to draw comparisons to a forgettable Sarah Jessica Parker film, but it does amaze me how I get through the day without exploding into a hot, lava-like mess.

The reason why? I am the sister of a younger, deeply annoying brother whose main ambition in life is mostly to drive me around the bend - a full-time occupation with no paid leave. As if my brother even cares about being paid a wage - the angry look on my face is worth more than an entire year's salary!

Irritating your older and typically female sibling appears to be a trait instilled into most young males, or so I feel: very few boys I know are exempt from the have-to-annoy-a-girl-gene, which makes all girls' childhoods an absolute atrocity when growing up with a brother. My parents may sternly tell my brother off when he takes his jokes way too far, but it doesn't prevent him from trespassing into illegal territory on another occasion: like a stick, he keeps prodding me with it over and over again.

Hence why I ask myself how I keep my cool and don't erupt like a volcano every single time that my brother flashes a cheeky grin that faintly masks his devilish nature. Years of experience may significantly help, but I nonetheless get as annoyed as my eight year old self when my brother decides to talk over my favourite TV programmes - a habit which even my parents are immune from. Instead of hoping that he would grow out of his let's-annoy-LikeATeen tendencies, I now spend my time praying that he won't live up to his highly irritating persona: if only I appreciated the mind-occupying powers of weekend football a bit more.

Despite sometimes reserving a special anger that is only unleashed when he pushes me to the edge, there is no denying that I love my brother because, on the occasions that mischief isn't glinting in his forest green eyes, he is warm, friendly and rather caring, though the latter is often forgotten when he sneakily drinks all of the Diet Cokes before I touch one! Because of this, I somewhat reluctantly accept the saying 'boys will be boys' because, underneath the machoness, a kind-hearted boy exists: the brother whom I admire and adore massively. Sadly, I sometimes lose sight of this when my brother is hellbent on winding me up for his own pleasure - making one lose their temper is hardly what I'd consider to be an admirable act! No wonder why I'll never understand a teenage boy's humour...

Having had a younger brother for fourteen years, I've gradually gained the status of an expert in the keeping-yourself-sane-with-a-wild-monster sector as I've older older and have (unfortunately) been on the receiving end of my brother's unamusing jokes. Sometimes, I've had no choice but to rely on my parents' advice, yet neither of them grew up with a little brother - the past fourteen years of my life have been like an experiment as I've had to figure out methods of keeping my cool all by myself. Not particularly what you may call an easy feat!

If you're in need of getting a grip with younger brother (or even sister) blues, read on for some top quality, tried-and-tested advice. Who knows, it might be a temper-saver...

1) Ignore him
Most likely the advice that you'll be given by your parents, who are so frustrated at hearing you moan that they'll only mention the most glaringly obvious - and ineffective - suggestion. In my experience, ignoring my younger brother sometimes works, though it depends on how determined he is to irritate me beyond belief. If he has little else to do, he will carry on regardless of how much I'm ignoring him, or paying more attention than I usually would to my Chemistry work (which he already knows that I don't particularly like). The more that he remains in my presence, the less patience I have - resulting in my being unable to ignore him for longer than five seconds. Ugh, ignoring somebody extremely distracting is far easier said than done - ignore at your own peril!

2) Yell like mad for help
The most trustworthy trick in the book, yelling at the top of your lungs for your mum and dad - who really cannot ignore a frustrated cry whilst trapped in a car - works wonders. If your dad is around, expect a spine-tingling yell to escape his lips, which makes your brother shake in his fluorescent Nike football boots. The air is suddenly subdued, as your brother's naughtiness is drained away, dripping like a leaking tap. You sit in a corner, fighting the urge to grin like The Joker, pleased to no longer being subjected to an annoying campaign from your number one pest. Such a glorious fantasy - if only your brother bothered to pay attention to your dad's warnings, which are pretty much meaningless at the age of fourteen.

3) Lock your bedroom door
Might seem a bit extreme - and, considering that you haven't done anything wrong, similar than a prisoner would receive - but don't destroy the concept of locking your bedroom door just yet. Sometimes, a lock can be the key (quite literally) to keeping you sane and providing a much-needed break from your younger sibling, who you are obliged to live with. Besides, don't parents hate nothing more than doors being slammed in a rush of adolescence anger? Locking a door not only gives you some distance, but enough distance to cool down and let your irritation fade away... Anger doesn't help anyone, let alone yourself!

4) Remind them of his homework
As soon as I bring up the topic of homework on a Saturday night, all the colour - and intentions to wind me up - drains from my brother's face, replaced with an urge to complete his assignments all evening. Then, as my parents devote themselves to helping him, I slip away into my room, treating myself to a peaceful evening which isn't blighted with piercing yells of 'leave me alone' directed at my sibling!

5) Or mention his football team
Especially if they have lost a match. When you remind your brother that you won't stop talking about their badly-performing team until he leaves you alone, you will be amazed by how desperate he will be to no longer hear about his cherished club - at all costs. For severe cases only - he might get his own back on you if he wants to!

6) Play-fight him
Sometimes, a physical match might be the only way to settle things. Make the most of every second of boxing that you see on late-night TV and don't underestimate your strength - doing so has resulted in actually hurting my brother a bit in the past. And, like a noble winner, don't laugh if your brother starts to cry - save it for later!

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Searching for the Perfect Gift

This month has so far appeared to be rather strange, albeit for reasons which I don't entirely understand. For one thing, Christmas has been zapped out of my life as though it was never celebrated a mere month ago, and society has returned to normality without blinking as much as an eyelid. After months of anticipation, how do we find it within ourselves to forget so quickly? My mind is going into overdrive as I struggle to figure that one out: several aspects of human psychology will perhaps remain as confusing to me as they are to the majority of the population, hence why we rarely question our reactions and interpretations. 

Also, this is my very last month as a fifteen year old before I turn sixteen on 1st February - as all the ridiculously huge and pretty-looking cards at the supermarket suggest, a landmark occasion. Recently, I haven't really given much thought to my upcoming birthday, feeling a bit dazed at the prospect of getting a year older again. While Christmas carols and New Year fireworks still sing in my head, thinking about anything else requires much effort, which I've gotten used to each January. 

Still, don't you think that celebrating my birthday is too early an occasion in the year? For one thing, I don't need any more presents because I'm doing fine with the ones I received for Christmas and, after gorging on too many slices of boozy fruit cake and mince pies several weeks before, it wouldn't hurt me to abstain from any cakes (especially of the heavenly chocolatey kind) for a while longer. In other words, I don't feel ready to embrace birthday celebrations - it is the very last thing that I have time to think about while I'm swept into a wave created by the New Year. 

Luckily, I did decide on my main birthday present several months ago, a fabulous Sony Xperia smartphone, which will transform my life from a dull Microsoft existence (I'm now cursing my allegiance to Nokia Lumia!) to a colourful Android reality. In fact, my parents have kindly allowed me to play on my new phone every now and then - mainly whenever my hair is looking nice and I'm in selfie-mode - though there have been one or two occasions when I've used it without uttering a word to anybody. The sooner that I can start using my property without being caught, the better - a perfect reason to look forward to my birthday. 

However, there are no other gifts that I've put on my birthday list, having been drained of ideas after embarking on a mini shopping spree just days before I returned to school. Not only do I not want any, but I really can't purchase any more books because there is too little space in my bedroom: this time, relying on the old favourite just simply isn't good enough. As for the likes of music and DVDs, I've exhausted myself with what I received for Christmas - they are the sort of things that I appreciate small doses of from time to time, otherwise I'd risk getting bored. 

And clothes? Usually, I would yelp with joy at the thought of expanding my wardrobe, but I don't think that I need to do so right now... if the weather sticks to its designated seasons, Spring will be on the horizon within no time. Plus, stocking up on millions of jumpers easily gets repetitive, even if I usually find myself wearing them in August! 

Therefore, it is safe to declare that I'm well and truly stuck for birthday ideas. At this rate, I will only have my new phone to keep me company on my birthday... surely there must be something? Even when it appears that I've been defeated, I still live in hope - giving up is way too easy! But I really have no idea on what that might be...

Seriously, I could do with wandering around a shopping centre this weekend. Even during the two hours or so that I spent at one several weeks ago, I saw so many wonderful things that I'd be proud to receive in a fortnight's time. Perfume is one thing that I particularly love, even though I already have several of my own. Yet a girl can never have too much, can she? It is forever timeless and makes a sophisticated gift; one that I've had my eye on for ages is Ricci Ricci by Nina Ricci (yes, the advert with the girl who wears cat ears, which are enough to seducing me into buying it!), whose scent I absolutely love.  

If all else fails, I could always rely on receiving a surprise present from my family, as I did at Christmas. Usually, I receive little gifts for my birthday - turning sixteen definitely shouldn't be an exception - so I may get something a bit more special this year. Well, who knows? It might even be a lottery ticket which, if I got several correct numbers on it, could potentially be the very best gift that I would ever receive... 

At the end of the day, are birthdays entirely about presents or should I look beyond the surface? I'll be turning sixteen, which definitely doesn't happen everyday, and will mark another landmark in my life (which you are probably sick of hearing by now!). Maturity beckons along with my eligibility to purchase chocolate liqueurs at an out-of-town shopping centre... There are simply several things that cannot be bought in life, even for a birthday. 

The search continues...

Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Benefits of Being Ill

Seemingly weeks after I last caught the non-life-threatening, yet terribly annoying 'plague', my immune system has once again been attacked by violent pathogens who seem hellbent on giving me an awful start to the new year. Cut a long story short, I've got a cold - and I hate everything about it.

Is it really that surprising that I reserve more hatred for the sniffles than football which, unlike a seasonal cold, affects my day-to-day life for nine months at a time, or do I have go into extremely yucky detail to prove my point? Colds turn you into red-faced, weakened babies whose lives revolve around the next dose of Calpol and bowls of chicken noodle soup: like a watch running out of battery, my world comes to an abrupt halt because routine is suddenly disrupted. Disruption is one of my definite pet hates and, as I've learnt this week, you are never immune from it - regardless of the circumstances.

On Monday, my symptoms - blocked nose, painfully burning throat and the like - were beginning to show themselves in their true colours which, sadly for me, were in the form of a high temperature and a lack of sleep. I'd been tossing and turning in bed the night before, whilst burning up like an overheated glass of milk. There was no doubt that I didn't feel well at all, but I'd promised myself the day before that I'd go to school. Too often in the past, I've dismissed learning whenever I felt myself coming down with a slight cold, and would spend the day feeling sorry for myself, swimming in a miserable sea of self-pity. Not exactly the best way to cheer yourself up, is it?

Now I'm a bit older and wiser, I really didn't want to waste a precious day of learning for the sake of boasting about how under the weather I was at home; as many people find, keeping myself occupied usually works wonders. Therefore, as pain sliced through me like a knife chopping a vegetable when I woke up on Monday morning, I managed to slip into my school uniform and somewhat stick to my normal routine - just about. Within minutes, I was fighting to sit down and close my eyes because the fatigue was more overpowering than I'd ever remembered: even when I've only managed an hour or two's sleep in the past, I had never felt so sickened or weak in my life. All the strength that I regularly took for granted had slipped through my fingers, escaping like a criminal on the run: I couldn't do anything.

As time wore on, I found it harder to walk up the stairs and even remain standing, which would be a massive challenge when walking to and from classes at school in a few hours' time. It finally came to a head when I couldn't - and really could not bring myself to do it - dry and style my wet hair, falling onto my bed in an exhausted heap. Losing track of time, I stayed there for over an hour - and didn't go to school. When I woke up a while later, my heart pounded with relief, grateful to not face a day in which I would've stalked the school grounds like a brainless zombie - how could my ghostly self have used her brains?

Then, having slept brilliantly, I went back to school the following day - just as my blocked nose was beginning to establish its new home. My lessons were defined by the noise of my sniffling, a sound which revolted me as I felt so unhygienic: could there be a more obvious way of advertising your illness? Still, I stuck it out, hoping that the worst would be over, and had no doubts over returning yesterday.

Well, let's spare you the most unpleasant details and cut to the chase: yesterday didn't live up to the dreams that I'd had in store for it. From literally the onset, my throat was having its final bonfire while the cold wrecked havoc in my nose, which kept streaming like the River Thames. Wanting to be the strong one, I tried my hardest to ignore it - preferring denial to dealing with the problem - but I found it harder and harder to do so as the day wore on at school.

When I struggled to write anything other than gibberish in English, I knew that I'd had the final straw. If this stupid illness was getting in the way of my work, I had to face it head on - even if it meant giving it the attention that it selfishly craved. Devastatingly, I made an on-the-spot decision to go home halfway through the day. Maybe I might have had the courage to stick it out for a few more hours if I hung around for lunch, but I had grown sick of fighting - I needed a break.

Since then, I've been having a break at home which, one day in, I'm already tired of. Despite not fancying any work, I don't like the thought of doing very little either - ugh, the curse of being caught in between! Personally, I wish that I could fall into a deep sleep and remain so until all these mean-hearted pathogens leave my immune system: time goes by very slowly before you reach that point, by then you will have had enough. End of. I'm both mentally and physically tired of dealing with this cold, which first presented itself last Saturday - WHEN will it leave me alone?

Although illness presents more issues than you can bear to think of, there are one or two benefits of being a bit poorly which, as a smart-thinking teenager, I've already discovered the advantages of. If I don't feel like watching TV or reading a book, all that I can do is think... of ways to make me happier, such as...

1. Persuading your parents for practically anything
No parent likes to hear their precious princess moaning about her reddened nose, so they are eager to wash away the teenage blues at any cost - which certainly comes in handy when you really need a pick-me-up. From DVDs to Oreo cheesecake, very little is off limits when you're ill!

2. Nobody else will hog the TV
Ever wanted to watch TV in the evening but couldn't because of your WWE-obsessed brother? While he is struggling through gruelling tests at school, you have the honour of catching up with your favourite programmes during daylight hours, where you can slouch on the sofa like a proper queen! And, if your parents are still in the mood to cheer you up, they might even let you bring some food and drink into the living room...

3. Sleep is your best friend 
Say goodbye to ridiculously early starts and pleas from your parents to get out of bed on time - in fact, you'll be encouraged to stay in bed for much longer than usual! If only I had the pleasure of sleeping under the covers until 10am every school morning!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Mid January's Anthems

Ah, where would I be without music? New York? Milan? Or the same rural (which is a con word for 'in-the-middle-of-freaking-nowhere') village in which I reside? I'm not entirely sure whether music affects your residence, but there is no doubt that it massively contributes to your perked-up mood: it gives you an energy-boosting hit like a Mars bar, albeit without the startling amount of sugar and frosty-eyed threats from your braces-obsessed dentist.

It's been ages since I've last done a feature on my favourite songs which, despite my long-term absence from the topic being completely unacceptable, is due to one very important reason: I've been exploring. Before you leap from 50-foot tall trees with the grace of a gorilla (and hopefully with more dignity than a mostly nu Tarzan) in the jungle that is your wild imagination, I haven't been following in the footsteps of Dora the Explorer, but have instead been embarking on an exhilarating journey. Unlike a trek in a rainforest, mine has mainly been restricted to Spotify, YouTube and a ten minute look in HMV one day during the Christmas holidays. Not quite so Bear Grylls, am I now?

Adolescence may be renowned for its numerous negatives (which I can't even be bothered to go into right now - aren't you sick of imagining what my spots look like?), but there are enough reasons to make us appreciate these wacky and wild years in our lives. Among these is our feverous desire to explore - from clothing shops to music genres, very little is left unexplored (apart from the Barbie department in Toys R Us, obviously). If we aim high enough, we can reach for the prized jewel: the music that not only understands us, but defines us in a way that Gangnam Style never can.

Of late, I've given into the urge to delve into my inner (but better-dressed) Dora the Explorer and rummaged through countless albums in stores and online. Receiving several albums at Christmas provided a thankful boost to my quest, injecting the dash of inspiration that was vital for making it a recipe for success.

Several weeks on, I think that I'm finally getting somewhere - miles away from my starting point, yet a distance to go until my adventure is over - and have discovered plenty of treasure along the way. From sweet-as-candy pop to indie electronica, I've given most genres a go, learning more about my likes and dislikes than ever before. And you know what? I have surprised myself on several occasions. Really, I wouldn't have expected myself to have fallen in love with what I used to consider as 'weird' songs a couple of years ago but, like many things, tastes change. Over time, my passions for some things have either blossomed or died: of all the things in life, your interests are definitely the most unpredictable.

However, do I embrace these changes? Hell yeah! If I like a song, very little will persuade me otherwise: its genre doesn't influence my fondness for it at all. Although I usually refer to them when looking for music, genres can sometimes been unfairly categorised. Had I not taken a leap of faith in the past, I probably would never have been introduced to the many songs that I love. Therefore, we shouldn't limit ourselves by what a song is described as on Wikipedia: as the audience, we have the power to make up our own minds and decide what does and does not work for us. Like food, it's best if you adapt a 'try and see' approach - who knows, a song might become your new anthem!

As for my anthems, I am proud to display the product of my findings in musical research. Do enjoy, relish every lyric and sing along as loudly as you wish - what else can compete with the joy of music?

1. Foster the People - Miss You



Exactly what I'm saying after getting out of my lovely warm bed in the morning...

2. Taylor Swift - Blank Space




Especially worth listening to when Taylor belts out 'I'm a nightmare, dressed as a daydream' - rather like me when I'm in a horrific mood, albeit dressed in fabulous attire comme toujours!

3. Ella Henderson - Ghost 



Tell me of a chorus that is catchier than the one featured in Ghost. Can't think of one? Very little can compete with this, which makes you want to fish out your neon pink hairbrush and sing into it like you would with a microphone. In private and with locked doors, of course.

4. Clean Bandit - Rather Be



The one song that you are guaranteed to find me singing along to whilst washing my hair in the dark at five thirty in the morning. Yes, I'm really that sad!

5. Sia - Chandelier



Music-mad LikeATeen: most mind-blowing music video ever.

Hair-obsessed LikeATeen: Where can I get a wig like that from?