Monday, 1 September 2014

Birthdays and Meetings - The Last Days of Summer

In case you had neither guessed it nor knew about the life that I lead behind this electronic screen, birthdays are regarded as super-important in my family. Whatever time of the year, all of us sit down together - apart from the cats, who are usually chasing one another in my bedroom (a.k.a. the Kitty Jungle) - to open cards and presents in front of one another, basking in joy over that special somebody receiving a gift on their birthday.

For years, that routine has never changed for any of us - therefore, I feel like I've stepped back in time for the first few hours on my birthday - and I don't expect it to in the near future, but what truly amazes me is that this tradition is also shared with my cats. Yes, the two little rascals, one of whom takes after Bart Simpson and the other a street-wise feline on the 60s cartoon Top Cat, are entitled to the same treatment that the humans receive - and long shall they be treated like kings!

Despite their constant antics, their affectionate ways have melted my heart into a slushy mess, making it virtually impossible to ever stay angry with them for long. Even when they've deliberately knocked over ornaments off my shelf. And keep stalking me whenever a carrot - of the things in the world, a non-fishy vegetable - is in sight. But, like my even more irritating younger brother, I love my cats because they always provide the company and affection that I seek whenever I want it.

So, is it any wonder that, as they turn a year old today, my family and I are celebrating their first birthday? Regardless of their unhumanly fur and painfully sharp claws, they are essential part of the family, who are equally as special as the rest of us. Although they might not share our bloodline (otherwise I probably would've grown a tail long before now), Bart and Benny are treated and respected just as well - or, at times, even better - as my brother and I.

Personally, I don't care about what other people think about a cat's position in a family because my opinion - and endless outpouring of love - is all that matters. Like their predecessors, Tom and Jerry, Bart and Benny have gotten so used to human life that they have been partly humanized. Bart has taken after Peter Pan in the sense that he will never grow up - and we shall never encourage him to! On the opposite end of the scale, Benny is reserved like myself, but springs to life whenever in contact with his brother, whom he loves dearly. My younger brother might deserve a little telling-off from time to time, yet you wouldn't need to be told twice that, in whatever situation, you can always count on me to defend him. In a way, Benny reminds me of my mum due to his tendency to protect and stand up for baby Bart - if it wasn't for being born a boy, Benny would been a perfect mother!

As they are so special to every single one of us, we feel that we owe it to them to celebrate their first birthday. Due to being born outdoors, none of us are certain as to which day Bart and Benny came into the world, but we settled on 1st September because a) it wouldn't clash with the beginning of the school year so the whole family could celebrate with the birthday boys and b) I generally like the first day on a new month, perhaps because of being born on one myself.

Earlier this morning, we opened two separate cards - a monkey-themed one for Bart and a chic blue theme for Benny - and read them out to the cats who, five seconds after we starting speaking out loud, were more interested in returning to their after-breakfast sleep. Seeing the figure '1' on the cards alerted me to a truth that could have been easily forgotten: around this time last year, my two precious friends had entered the world whilst living outdoors, with no access to food, water or shelter. The fortnight that followed before an animal rescue charity saved them will have been the most traumatic time in their short, yet already difficult lives. I really hope that they have long forgotten about their past and have moved on, but hope doesn't truly dispel my fears.

Unless they develop the ability to talk or even tweet, I will never find out what their first few weeks of life were like, and how it affected them. Besides, would I truly want to know? Letting my imagination run wild at the beginning startled me to say the least: if I discovered what actually happened to them, it would break my heart. Life should never be difficult for any animal, let alone a vulnerable kitten  I'm just glad that Bart and Benny are safe and sound in our home, protected from whatever placed them in danger this time last year.

Anyway, my beloved kittens - whose status has since graduated from 'kitten' to 'juvenile cat' - will have to make do with spending the afternoon alone while I go to meet up with an old friend whom I haven't seen for seven years. On the off-chance that your head spinning around like a crazed disco ball, I am indeed telling the truth - seven years of growing up, getting older and entering adolescence have passed since I last met up with this friend, who I acquainted at the age of five. I'm expecting plenty of 'how much you've grown' and 'you look exactly like your mother' when I catch up with my friend and her family, who will also be meeting my own (minus the cats, of course).

Ever since I moved house - to the same county in which I lived as a youngster - I've been dying to hang out with my friend, whose primary school I used to attend. What with starting a new school, visiting places and being busy in general, finding the time to meet her has proved difficult, but a date was finally set a couple of weeks ago. And now my impatience to see her - which has steadily grown over the course of seven years (and counting) - is close to bursting!

Without having to be told, people do change - and I'm expecting to be taken aback when I catch up with my friend, by not only appearances and fashion sense (it is fair to say that fuschia was removed from wardrobe many years ago), but also our beliefs and interests. Having a heavy-going discussion on the phone cannot be compared to a heart-to-heart together which, no matter what, will never be replaced by the likes of social media and texting. I've been restrained by phones, texting and letters for years, which have passed without my knowing it. So, I will be taking a huge step towards freedom by ridding myself of these restraints when that moment finally comes. I hope that it is as special as I've been dreaming of it to be since I was eight years old.

Today has been and will continue to be a day filled with special moments that will firmly remain in my memory for years to come. As my beloved furry friends get a year older - albeit not wiser! - I will be going back in time, returning to a friend who was very important to me when I was younger. Just don't mention the rain...

Friday, 29 August 2014

J'adore... Music

Long time, no see! For too many months, I've made no mention about one of my finest loves - as declared in the title - which, as there has been a noticeable lack of variety of late, is in great need of returning.

Tastes fluctuate like celebrities' waistlines on a constant basis, depending on my mood and interests at the time. Even if I fall madly in love with a specific genre and can never imagine living without it, I'd definitely get bored if it was all that I ever listened to. Change is always appreciated when it comes to music and, thankfully, themes are either increasing in or losing popularity all the time. Would I be giving myself many options if I only stuck to the classics, ignoring the many modern tracks that have defined my generation?

Typically, I prefer older songs to newer ones because they have already stood the test of time; despite her superstar status at the moment, who is to say that Rihanna will be remembered in two or three decades' time? The reason for my preference is that, unlike plenty of the current chart hits, neither the vocals nor the beat were compromised in order to make the Top 10 - nothing winds me up more than electronic-sounding songs, which share no resemblances with proper music! 

However, you could always remind me that I have a fondness for Lady Gaga, whose majority of songs fall within the EDM (electronic dance music) genre, but her powerful vocals are among the best in music right now. Personally, it just depends whether I'll like a song or not, regardless of its genre - though I'll make an exception for rap which is a definite no-no!

Songs often represent something meaningful to me, which explains why I always have several stored in my memory at any time. Whether it is singing along to Get Lucky while my mum fills up the car at the petrol station or discovering a catchy remix of West Coast on my new music app, these memories play a role in my life. I might be growing up and contending with numerous things at the same time, yet music is just as important as everything else - particularly so if it relates to my Science test!

Today, though, I would like to represent the best - and my current favourites - of songs from a particular genre, instead of randomly choosing tracks on YouTube for the pure sake of it. Pop, r&b, soul, rock, you name it... I've listened to almost all genres at one point, or even more!

Best of... Pop
Taylor Swift - Shake It Off

Best of Hip-Hop...
Ariana Grande - Problem

Best of... Soul
Sade - When Am I Going to Make A Living

Best of... Alternative Rock
Paramore - Decode

Best of... Jazz
Kelis - Jerk Ribs

Thursday, 28 August 2014

What Type of Worker Are You?

The world is constantly changing, along with its seven billion and counting occupants. One of our confirmed destinies is that, whatever happens, we will evolve one way or another - whether it is by getting older (an unavoidable event), moving up the career ladder or developing new skills. Unlike our childhood selves, we might no longer whoop with joy when we finally master how to use the new printer properly but, like the horse-loving supermarket Tesco's slogan, every little helps. Each lesson - minor or massive - aids us on our journey towards becoming intelligent, thoughtful and downright cool people; indeed, the smallest things can make a huge difference!

Despite our consistent role in evolvement, it doesn't mean that every single person will end up the same like everybody else. Individuality is a wonderful thing in life because not only are we never bored with ourselves, but there is little chance of falling asleep when talking to crowds of doppelgangers who seriously lack variety. Therefore, all of us possess our good and bad points which we become aware of from an early age, but the responsibility of choosing which path we wish to follow is gradually handed to us as we get older. It's our life, so we have the right to decide what to do with it, but how will we make the most of our control?

Personally, responsibility often strikes me as intimidating because, if reality returns to bite you one day, you can neither deny nor blame somebody else for your mistakes. Of course, glowing halos float above our heads if all goes swimmingly and we use our responsibility in a wise manner, but life is unpredictable nonetheless - and how can we determine what way circumstances will go?

Anyway, the wisest and kindest thing to do - for the sake of keeping your sanity in check - is to not focus on the things that are controlled more by luck than ourselves, otherwise panic will seize us. We cannot tell whether an all-mighty storm will rain on the day that we want to go on a picnic, and it isn't worth worrying ourselves sick about failing to be more responsible when we couldn't have done more.

Instead, we ought to pay attention to what we can influence and create via our own control which, compared to minor things such as the weather, are endless. If our responsibility is all that guarantees success, why not throw our entire heart and soul into achieving our goals - and opening many doors that were previously locked?

Yes, that's right, you word-reading brainiac. If 'achieve' is mentioned anywhere here, you know what you're in for. Studying. Hard.

Studying is the essence of my being, which pumps me up like an Ibiza anthem and gets my heart beating more wildly than a rigorous workout at the gym. The prospect of achieving what I seek - here is where 'success' comes in - makes the hours I spend at my desk writing in notebooks and revising for exams worthwhile. Otherwise, I might not be so bothered about doing well because the benefits that come with trying hard always motivate me.

Like an employee heading out to work each day in order to pay the bills, I study with an aim to enter the journalism industry in several years time - and succeeding at school is paramount if I ever wish to become a journalist. With a week to go until the new school year begins, I'm on the verge of starting my two years of GCSE coursework which, as all adults will know, is an extremely important time in your education. Not only do I crave success, but I desperately need it. It's vital. Besides, doing well fills me with more happiness than the finest tasting chocolate bar in the world ever would - what price can you place upon your happiness and academic confidence?

Over the summer, I've been figuring out the different types of workers that you usually find at school, college or even work. Individuality is important in this because our unique quirks can influence the way in which you perceive things and how you work. Somewhere, there will always be the Lisa Simpsons, party animals and nervous nail biters. But our personalities are not necessarily 'wrong' because mistakes are destined to be made by anybody - it's how we fare in the tests which matter most.

The Manic Panicker
Easily one of my allocated personalities, the Manic Panicker is the girl who freaks out at the slightest mention of exams and tests. Therefore, the letters 'e' and 't' fill her with dread in case they are related with school and end-of-the-year - just stopped myself there!
She is the type of girl who wants to do well (exactly like myself) yet trembles at the thought of being trapped in a capacious hall for two hours, with only a desk, a pen and pieces of paper for company. Success might come at the expense of her nerves for she cannot bear the thought of failing - it's the scariest F word in her vocabulary!
However, she turns into a pussycat once the thing that she is scared of - examinations - are over. That gut-wrenching feeling in her stomach fades away within a click of a finger, while relief automatically floods through her.
The Manic Panicker means well, but is definitely not a person you would want to hang around before The Nightmare - exam season - has begun! Unless you are a panicker in disguise...

The Fun-Seeker
Better known as the opposite of the Manic Panicker, the Fun-Seeker adores all things, um, fun. Regardless of the living hell that takes place in the Spring, a Fun-Seeker is still on the lookout for having a good time, whose relaxed attitude is a breath of fresh air to fellow stressed pupils.
She takes a chilled approach to her studies by not focusing too heavily on them, and would rather discover an awesome hangout instead of the meaning of 'y' in French. Soooo not me! Surprisingly though, the Fun-Seeker often manages to do well in her exams which, when you think about it, makes plenty of sense.
By separating yourself from exam fever every now and then, your brain is refreshed by the time that you return to your studies, which helps you to absorb information more efficiently. It's a tactic that I'd like to achieve, but some people are better at it than others - lucky them!
And you needn't think twice about who would be holding the Party of the Decade after exams are over - by the end of the night, everybody would have turned into professional Fun-Seekers!

The Procrastinator 
At one point or another in our lives, we simply cannot be bothered to do anything. Including the important stuff. Unless the cycle is broken, we might be given the status of a Procrastinator, whose duties are to hum and haw over what they are too lazy to be getting on with.
Procrastinating affects us in so many ways, but it can particularly affect your confidence. What if it prevents you from achieving good grades or becoming a more confident individual? However hard that it might be, you have break the cycle that it standing in your way of working hard. It doesn't benefit anybody, most importantly yourself.
We often don't realize that we are falling in this trap until, one day, it occurs to us. The best way to keep an eye on it is to stick to a regular routine. Study after school for an hour or so - no buts!
Keeping things regular will gradually build up your confidence to banish the Procrastinator away, which can be applied to all aspects of life, let alone school.

Monday, 25 August 2014

The Trouble With The End of The Summer

Whether you like it or not, most things eventually reach an end. That's simply how life works. A cycle cannot last for all eternity - it exists for the purpose of being broken and re-created once again. Things change, either out of choice or beyond our greatest control. 

So, as summer begins the process of fading into the past, an ache is beginning to be felt deep inside of me. Despite the occasional afternoons that were devoted to boredom and the hours I've spent studying at my desk, I've loved my summer holidays. A break from my first term at secondary school kept me going during those first couple of weeks, in which I felt like an awkward mess whose lack of knowledge about school life put me on edge. At home, I know where things stand, along with noticing a sense of comfort because I'm always happy to be where I rightfully belong. Hopefully that feeling will be felt while I'm at school within time, but the initial settling-in period is never guaranteed to be a smooth ride, especially after a hiatus of seven years from all types of school - both primary and secondary. 

Now that a new week has begun, the first day back at school is in sight: next Friday, I'll be re-starting Year 10. As I've already mentioned in the past, I originally started Year 10 last September, yet missed out on nearly a year's worth of vital coursework by the time I moved house several months ago. In order to keep my dreams of gaining excellent GCSEs alive, going back a year was a fact that I had to face up to - otherwise, how would I have coped with the pressure of adjusting to school life and studying in Year 11, the most traumatic year in one's education? 

Since getting Year 9 and its pre-GCSE excitement over and done with, I'm thrilled that, after ages of waiting rather patiently, I'm on the verge of starting the coursework that I felt compelled to go back a year for. Once my thoughts are wandering in the land of revision books, my niggling thoughts over whether holding myself back an academic year will be instantly banished. As long as I'm taking steps towards achieving GCSE success, I'm happy - extending my compulsory education by an extra year will no longer seem like a sentence because, once I've immersed myself in the nitty and gritty of it, pleasure overcomes the misery some people might have otherwise felt. 

Perhaps I'm the only person who will declare her love of learning out loud, but it doesn't bother me at all. This summer has equipped me with time to pour over the events of the past term, which has boosted my confidence in the sense that I know how to deal with what I might face. Boys seeking a relationship with me? A polite, yet firm no should ward off any joking questions - unless they are truly the most irritating boys in a 50-mile radius! Girls remarking about my knee-length skirts and shoes with a slight, yet stylish 'heel'? A slight smile curved on my buxom lips, while my darkened eyes mist over like fog; proof that, regardless of the matter, you wouldn't want to mess with me. And the imbeciles in general? Like Taylor Swift's latest single, I'll just shake it off - why should I bother thinking about their pathetic actions which neither benefit nor make me happy?

Besides, September shall mark the return of extra-curricular activities and lunchtime clubs which had unfortunately finished by the time I started in June. Believe me, lunch would definitely have lost its status as a drag had I been able to attend a club during that time, but nevermind! So far, I'm interested in joining the school newspaper (which will benefit both my English and Media Studies courses), the Debate club and the Maths club, for the purpose of developing more confidence in my least favourite subject. One thing that I need to remember is that time should be used wisely, especially because GCSE coursework will the be- and end-all of my life. Don't get me wrong, I'm itching with impatience to get on with the work, but my entire focus will be placed upon studying for the next two or so years - too many activities could provide the perfect distraction when I should really be completing a project!

All in all, the prospect of full-time learning coming back next week excites me, yet part of me yearns for the holidays to last a bit longer. It's a craving that many, if not the majority of all pupils have by the time that the end of August is fastly approaching. Travelling on sunny afternoons, enjoying the laziest of all lie-ins and licking the creamiest ice creams are memories whose existence shall forever remain in the summer, which don't have a place in the cooler and school-focused autumn. As much as I adore watching leaves fly away from trees every September, it is a reminder of what is destined to come very shortly: school is nearly here. 

If I ever think about it, the differences between school and home education aren't particularly great. As I've experienced with several of my classmates, plenty of people (wrongly) assume that you can stay in bed until midday if you're educated at home. From a young age, I preferred to get up early in order to study - lie-ins were strictly reserved for weekends and holidays. If they became a regular part of daily routine, how would I ever appreciate an extra hour or so in my bed? In case you or somebody else has yet to realize, home education is exactly like school because you wake up for the same purpose every weekday: to learn. The environment and certainly the atmosphere - and don't even mention the noise - are worlds apart, but the ideas remain the same. My nerves were similar when the summer holidays ended whilst being home-schooled, and it has hardly changed since I've returned to school. 

The reason for which I'm both excited and sad about the imminent return of school does not only apply to this, but other aspects of life. Think about Christmas: what do you remember about it? The presents, food, get-togethers... Partly thanks to excessive advertising and our own expectations, we anticipate and think about Christmas months ahead. As time passes, the excitement builds to the height of a building in The City, which keeps us going until the day finally comes. However, as great as the day itself might be, a sense of sadness can fill us up when it begins to slip away. After that ultimate peak, the Christmas season loses that thrilling edge that it possessed before the festivities had begun, which not even New Year's Day can fully recreate. 

What I'm trying to say is that the level of anticipation towards an approaching event - which, in my case, was the summer holidays - reaches its peak long before it comes. Therefore, I was literally kept alive by excitement in the weeks leading up to the final day of term; the prospect of being able to hang out at home kept my spirits up during the hardest moments at school. Yet, despite loving my life at home, I also enjoyed the waiting period - after all, don't all of us love having something to look forward to? 

With less than a fortnight until I wave goodbye to summer, that flat taste you find as you drink the last drops of Coca Cola is becoming unbearingly strong. What I looked forward to for weeks has almost ended, and what a shame it is. 

However, feelings like this don't last forever before my attention has leapt onto something else. Staying indoors as a storm rages outside is the complete opposite of what a summer should look like, but what can I can do about it? I'm as powerless when it comes to pausing time, unless I discover a magical watch whilst rummaging through old possessions. 

In the meantime, I shall cherish each day I have left of my summer holidays before school resumes. Of all days, it is returning on a Friday which, as the weekend follows afterwards, strikes me as extremely pointless. That is probably the opinion held by the other pupils (except the Year 7s and new Sixth Formers), yet nothing can change it. 

There are many problems in the world, ranging from world disasters to local crises. And the end of the summer is yet another one of them.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Thinking Ahead...

Once an idea has popped into my head, getting rid of it is extremely hard. The world seems to grind to a major halt as I begin to obsess over whatever is captivating me, which constantly follows me around like a lost puppy. Although I wouldn't exactly liken this idea to the butter-wouldn't-melt image of a sad-eyed puppy, it has nonetheless stalked me from the moment I first thought about it, an action of which I've since grown to regret. No matter what I do to fill my time, this idea returns to vengeance sooner or later...

Christmas is now on the horizon. Or so my mind thinks. As the country unites in celebration over the current Bank Holiday weekend, one fact is of high importance: this bank holiday is the very last until Christmas in four months' time. And you bet your life on the shops stocking up on mince pies and the must-have toys after this point - summer completely goes out the window by the time that Christmas re-enters our thoughts in the last few months of the year.

Thoughts regarding festivities and seasonal fun have a funny way of holding a grip on you long before you can have a great time, but that is one of the many special things about Christmas. Unlike dozens of chocolate Easter eggs or even my birthday, Christmas is a rarity in the sense that, regardless of what month it is, I always brighten at thought of sitting down to an extra special dinner and ripping open presents in an excited rush.

It thrills me so much that, this time last year, my brother and I had begun writing our Christmas lists. In August. During a warm spell far stickier than a Christmas pudding. Even at the time, I was questioning whether the weather had affected my mental state as I threw myself into the task of adding my dream gifts to my list. But for some reason, I just didn't have the willpower to wait until September to write it out; besides, I lose interest in summertime TV almost as quickly as the holidays start.

As for whether I'll be creating my annual Excel document any time soon, that remains to be seen, yet I'm struggling greatly to take my mind off all things festive. Within weeks, my mum will be baking a Christmas cake - an annual tradition established in 2011 - which will involve my helping to grate the lemons and prepare the brandy-soaked dried fruit. And, of course, catch a whiff of the strong, yet oh-so-addictive brandy itself. Christmas cake would never be the same without a few tablespoons of it!

There are numerous aspects of Christmas which are present long before it is celebrated on 25th December, such as the snow-themed aisles in the supermarkets and reports on pre-Christmas sales. The majority of it relates to advertising and, without a doubt, money - it goes without saying that Christmas is the biggest cash machine around - but the anticipation that we create contributes to the excitement surrounding to the upcoming festive season.

When the days get colder and the evenings become darker at a faster rate, we often long to be no longer plagued by what is perceived as a miserable season - winter - but the most spectacular event is nearing in sight: Christmas. The chills that we usually feel in the autumn has somewhat arrived of late, and I can sense that summer is fading away, with the next season about to begin. Once autumn comes, we are only a few months or so away from winter, in which Christmas falls, and the days appear to slip away beyond our control.

Therefore, Christmas suddenly surrounds us and, like the majority of the population, we find ourselves enclosed in this tight, anxious bubble. Desperation grips us as we seek to purchase gifts for family, friends and ourselves (for Christmas wouldn't be the same without a dose of self-indulgence), and the hectic nature of the season almost pushes us to the edge. Remember that I said almost. Yes, we pile on as much stress as we do pounds before Christmas Day because our minds are operating at ultra-fast speed - if it ever became a possibility, we would beat all the racing cars in the world due to the speedy rate of our thoughts!

Despite the drama that one single day on the calender might cause at our own expense, every groan of frustration, last-minute dash around the shop and late-night ordering on the internet is worth the energy it takes from us. Then, once the sky has darkened and the last scrap of the dinner has been consumed, we can finally relax. Or so it seems to be the case for our parents, whose efforts literally drain them like a bottle of wine. There will be quite a long time until I'll be in charge of organizing the presents, decorations and all that is involved with Christmas - and I shall make the most of it while it lasts!

For now, the only work that I'm obliged to do (which, as fun is the sole requirement, doesn't deserve the title of a chore) is create my wishlist. And, like magical elves, my parents will look at its contents which, fingers crossed, will be nicely wrapped up come Christmas morning. It is a routine that I've known since early childhood, and I'm desperate for it to last for some years because Christmas is the one time when I enjoy regaining my inner child. Everything excites as much as it did when I was five years old, which always makes Christmas such a delight; you needn't ask whether it is my favourite time of the year.

It simply is and I, for one, wish that the countdown would begin soon!

Friday, 22 August 2014

A New Beginning with One Special Friend

After enduring one day bursting with drama, I'm exhausted. Seriously, words are struggling to enter my sluggish brain as I force myself to type whatever letters spill from my fingertips. If a genie could teleport into my bedroom right now, my one and only wish would be to go to bed. At five in the evening. While one of the last bursts of summer sunshine is beaming outside. As if!

Still, some desires should never be ignored, should they? It might seem like a laugh to snort at the thought of slipping into my (Barbie doll pink) pyjamas and fall asleep in bed whilst it's still bright outdoors, but I'm somewhat tempted nonetheless. 

As ever, I was gripped with an idea to wake up early - army style - which, nearly twelve hours on, is a decision that I truly regret. Unless a magic ball was among my possessions, how could I have predicted being trapped in a boiling car for over two hours as I was driven aimlessly in a massive city? Had I know in advance, perhaps I would have stayed at home, but the struggle - and what a struggle it was! - was eventually worth every groan that was uttered under my breath. However, that isn't to say that I've lost my appetite for a late afternoon nap!

Earlier this afternoon, my mum, brother and I travelled to a nearby city with an intention to visit the newest member of our family: a kitten. Whether I've mentioned this in past posts or not, my memory escapes me at this time, but I'll tell the story anyway:

Over a month ago, I met a kitten five days after its birth, and completely fell in love with it. She - for we assumed that she was a girl - was exactly what my family and I had wanted, possessing the loveliest tabby coat which heavily resembled those of my deceased cats, Tom and Jerry. As soon as we saw her for the first time, our minds were made up: she was ours. And, until almost a week ago, nothing could deny it. 

As time wore on, it became apparent that this kitten - whom we couldn't wait to bring home in a month or so - wasn't gaining weight and looked tiny compared to its bigger and striving siblings. I kidded myself that, as the potential runt of the litter, she wasn't getting a look in with her mother's milk and simply needing extra food, hoping against hope that she would be fine. I was wrong. 

Last weekend, I found out that this kitten who, thanks to pictures we had taken of her, had grown to be a part of a family had passed away. A vet believed that she was born with a heart condition which, as time worn on, would have placed a greater strain on her struggling health. 

Initially, I was almost brought to tears upon being told the news because, had this kitten lived, I would have offered her a lifetime of love and affection. It is a future that she will unfortunately never have, but would happiness have awaited her if she continued to fight against her unchangeable condition? More sadness would have inevitably followed if she passed away after my family and I had formally adopted her so, however hard the blow might have been at first, it was for the best. 

Since then, our search for a kitten has resumed, but I'm confident that we have finally found what we were looking for. The journey and many diversions might have contributed to my stress-induced headache, yet the final result was a very happy one indeed: one look at a nine day old kitten, and your heart melts into a liquidy, warm mess! 

A dark brown with patches of tabby fur, the kitten - who, for now, we believe is a girl and will be called Teddie (as my mum says, 'y' for a boy and 'ie' for a girl) - was a little bunch of gorgeousness who adored receiving attention. Well, she'll have to get used to having her picture taken sooner or later! Teddie's fur felt as smooth as silk when I stroked it, and I literally had to drag my fingers away from her because I couldn't stop touching her perfect coat; if I was allowed to, nothing would have stopped me from dragging her around my neck for warmth!

The most defining moment during the visit was holding Teddie in my hands, in which my love affair with her truly hit it off. Instead of darting around for the nearest exit, Teddie remained relaxed as I held onto her, beware of her small, yet sharp claws. Filing them down wouldn't be a bad idea! Throughout the time I spent with her, Teddie didn't have a care in the world and often filled the airspace with her cute meows - if you know anything about cats, hearing a kitten meow is music to your ears! 

And, most importantly of all, Teddie displayed no signs of ill health which, after losing the previous one, makes me breath with a sigh of relief. Even at five days old, the previous kitten kept panting whenever it was picked up, but I passed it off as a result of the then-mild temperatures, but this Teddie looked and, whether such words make sense or not, felt healthy. Unlike the other one, Teddie didn't struggle in anybody's hands nor gave the impression of being gripped by panic. She was calm, chilled and totally relaxed - the complete opposite of what my nerves will be like when I eventually take my GCSEs! 

Due to my dad being unable to take time off work to meet Teddie, I'm hoping that my family and I will see her long before we can bring her home in early October. This time, it is a relief that no niggling, persistent worries about her health won't cloud my mind, which had existed long before the previous kitten's death last week. At the end of the day, health is what matters the most - and, even if it took the death of one precious soul, I will never even consider taking it for granted in the future. 

Some things cannot be controlled, but I'll do whatever is within my power if ever necessary. Above all, I'm euphoric that, in six weeks' or so time, a new bundle of joy will be joining the family - and remain my loyal friend for hopefully a very long time!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Curse of Being a Girl/Crazed Teenager

Whilst scrubbing my hair to an inch of its life earlier this morning, an idea - one which, had I not been entirely infatuated with the recent arrivals in my wardrobe, would have occurred to me sooner - popped into my head. Just like that. And, as I'm itching (an exaggeration, of course) with excitement to tell you all about it, there are absolutely no doubts about whether my idea makes sense. It simply does. Enough said. 

My idea goes like this:
  • With several years of experience as a teenager behind me, I ought to openly discuss the curse which is attached to the package that is adolescence.
  • However, the many dramas that you go through as a teenager are more defined by your gender which, as I'm obviously a girl, might explain why young sweet-faced girls transform into hormonal young adults once puberty rolls around. 
Really, my idea is simple, but will not hold back on the oh-so-true facts that have long defined the teenage years as an absolute nightmare. At times, however, I couldn't imagine feeling happier because of being a teenager; despite the trouble they often bring us and the world itself, those sensitive hormones do come in handy (for positive purposes) from time to time. 

But my hormones - which, like a super-fast roller coaster, are spiralling beyond my control -  have other ideas today: I'm ready to indulge on some cold truths about teenagehood and being a girl. And why, despite my constant complaining about everything that comes with it, I still love my life!

1. We feel, we cry, we moan, we scream and we ache - sometimes for no apparent reason. Damn, we feel everything!
Forever regarded as the gender who is in constant contact with their feelings, there are very few occasions when we can switch off the 'feeling' button and give ourselves a break - a trip to the Maldives would just about do the trick!
What with term dates, money and life itself posing issues of its own, not many of us are privileged to take a break whenever we feel like it. So, very begrudgingly (which we will get back at sooner or later), we have to put up with whatever we are feeling - whether it is the urge to burst into tears (even if we don't know why we want to), moan like a sharp-tongued old lady or practice our screaming abilities for the next Scream film. 
Although the bad feelings are, well, pretty bad, don't forget that there are plenty of great things to feel good about, too. From happiness to falling in love (a feeling of which 99.9% of the female population yearns to have), we can actually be glad that we feel several emotions so strongly - if only the same could be said about the bad ones! 
Yet feeling anything is bound to drain us from time to time because it does feel (pardon the pun) like a full-time job. Unlike boys, at least we possess the maturity to cope with our emotions, even when it seems that we are struggling inside. 
Can you imagine your boyfriend living with our hormones? However much we struggle, we can proudly declare that we make it out in one peace!

2. Our bodies define our femininity and are constantly scrutinized. We can never avoid the glare of the camera!
Perhaps the greatest curse of being a teenage girl is our body, which poses major issues once we hit puberty. 
Do you ever remember what your body was like as a young child, or how you felt about it? If you're anything like me, you wouldn't recall anything and, when you're a kid, that's great; at that age, you only care about playing with your friends and leading a care-free life. It's a shame that adolescence doesn't promise that care-free existence that you dream of before you hit your teenage years, but that applies to both genders, though it is fair to say that girls get a harder time of it. 
Why? Not only are there a billion and one new things to try out - make-up, clothes, hair-styles, etc - but we suddenly become aware of what we see in the mirror: our bodies. From the moment we are awakened to body types and the most desirable ones, there is no turning back; for a while, we can ignore our reflections (or, better still, get rid of all the mirrors in the house), but it will eventually come back to haunt us like a ghost. And, once the preferred body shape has been determined, an urge to develop it takes hold. 
Whether it involves gorging on all of the quarter-pounders in the world or gaining a degree in calorie-counting, becoming conscious of what we consume - and treat our bodies - is a very easy trap to fall into. And, if you take it too far, you will then know how a mouse feels when it is trapped. 
But (I say this very loudly), there is a way that you avoid the glare of the camera whilst being happy: don't give in. If other girls or your friends are obsessed with their figures, nothing is to say that you should follow the crowd. It's their issue, not yours! 
Eat well, exercise when you can (Zumba classes at school would be my dream P.E. lesson) and be grateful for your body. Some people sadly lose limbs or suffer from illness, but you should appreciate what your body can do, rather than how it looks. OK, those words are easier said than applied into real-life circumstances, yet it is a fact that is easily forgotten. 
As for the femininity bit, girls do look a certain way, but we could also say the same about boys. We are who we are and, if we relieved ourselves of the pressure to 'look perfect', the world would be a better place. Without exasperated strops!

3. We are always referred to the 'weaker sex' by men - even though they would never survive childbirth!
Sexist, rude and downright offensive. I, alongside the entire female population, am tired of being called 'weak' because of being born as a girl - in this day and age, sexism should no longer exist, nor should we still be talking about it when it ought to have been banished long ago. But here I am, complaining about the thoughtless comments that grown-up men and young boys make, surely without their minds processing what they say.
It drives me around the bend when I hear boys picking on one another, joking that they play football 'like a girl'. Harmless those words might seem but, once you dig beyond the surface, you cannot escape the true meaning which is disguised by the joking tone: being a girl displays weakness which men and boys cannot neither respect nor ignore. Sometimes, I speak up and ask what is the big deal about playing like a girl, but my words make no difference - urgh, my blood pressure shoots up at the thought of it!
So, I have got a little trick up my sleeve which proves whether a man or boy is as strong as he believes. As a documentary lover, I quite like to watch One Born Every Minute, which documents the births of babies. Therefore, you see the mother (sometimes in rather indecent positions) in labour before the baby pops out - not exactly the most beautiful of all spectacles! 
Whenever I'm watching it, I call my younger brother into the living room, in the hope of finding out whether they could bear catching a glimpse of the blood and whatever. And, so far, I have never been disappointed: my brother freaks out if I tell him that I'm watching the show, so he avoids the TV at all costs! 
This proves my theory: boys might joke about girls being weak, but they display their weak side by refusing to watch a show in which women are at their strongest!

4. Fridge, watch out - my cravings are on the prowl!
Courtesy of Docburnsteins, Docakilah, Good to Know, First News, and Solution Stork.
Do I need to explain why I get these cravings, or should I let the pictures do the talking? 
I rest my case.

5. The Ultimate curse.
Courtesy of
The tears, the aches, the grumpiness, the happiness, the drama and it.
Why else would a teenage girl be cursed? 

But there are some things that I love about being a teenage girl, such as...


Having brilliant hair (thanks to this)


Wearing make-up 


And being happy

What more could I ask for?