Friday, 24 October 2014

Bye-Bye, Miss Perfectionist!

As soon as I awoke from the deepest, warmest and loveliest sleep earlier this morning, a glimpse of panic - for a mere, yet seemingly long second - flickered through me, before slipping away. Then I placed my head down on the pillow and exhaled a sigh of relief: panic certainly wasn't destined to affect me today. Instead, I've been inflicted by such an overwhelming stream of emotions - happiness, pride, gladness and many more which I cannot put a name to - that, if it were to arise, panic would be sitting at the very bottom of the pile. After all, why would I need to fly into a storm of worry if it is no longer - or at least temporarily - unneeded? Ah, that's the pleasure of half-term: everything, including the frightfully early starts, go out the window. Literally.

A while after listening to Ed Sheeran in bed - which might have brought upon me a curse that binds me as a loyal, Sing-a-long fan - I finally mustered the strength to drag myself out of bed, resisting the urge to return to my safe haven for another few minutes. Sure, I might tell myself that, if I close my eyes for what seems like a few seconds, it won't have a knock-on effect on what I need to do, yet the result is often more or less against my wishes: how can such a perfectionist bear to be racing around like a Formula 1 car in a frantic panic after having a lie-in on a school day? Ugh, the thought - and possibilities behind it - of being caught off-guard sends shivers down my spine!

Anyway, it's about time that Miss Perfectionist (a.k.a moi, unless you didn't receive the well-written memo) does go back to bed while her fun-seeking and not-so-perfect sister, Miss I-Don't-Give-A-Damn, re-emerges from her bedroom in the style of a bleary-eyed teenager and conjures a spell consisting of fun, pleasure and significantly more magic than the Charmed Ones could muster.

Miss Perfectionist has been working non-stop for nearly the past two months, the effects of which are becoming more noticeable each day; her eyebrows, once heralded as Cara Delevingne's muse, look as overgrown as a forest planted with bushes, perhaps more out-of-control than Hollywood's wildest child. Despite her efforts to steer clear of energy boosting drinks that might make her develop a bullish nature, Miss Perfectionist has struggled to keep alert, run at the speed of light and perform at her highest possible function. Instead of paying attention to her teachers in class, she dreams of going on a break where stress, flagging levels of energy and indeed hairy problems don't exist. And, having lost precious moments to fighting her trademark impatience, her wish has come true: a holiday beckons.

While she is away, the other Miss - whose interests lie in starting (and certainly enjoying) parties - will be taking over, squeezing as much juice from the upcoming week and few days as she can. Although her personality might be different to self-confessed goodie-two-shoes, Miss Fun (the other name would take her the whole of next week to write down) still retains the lovable traits that define her sister - except that they are maxified and given a special touch while the party-seeker has claimed the throne.

The bottom line is that, now that stress can thankfully be pushed to one side, I wish to return to my fun-loving roots and jump into a pool floating in a bed of enjoyment. I want to remember what it feels like to swim in a icy-cool pool, shivering as I dip my toes into sub-zero temperatures and embrace the chill that sneaks up on me. I feel alive when submerged in such an environment or, in fact, anywhere that produces a feeling that cannot be shrugged off the moment that I walk out of the place which produced it.

Emotions run high when I'm visiting new and familiar places; it's a break from the ordinary, escaping routines I would give up in a heartbeat. My heartbeat quickens at the thought of going on a journey, which I'm keen on doing this and next week because time - which, depending on circumstances, I either appreciate or reserved the deepest hatred for - is the source of my excitement. While it is sitting next to me, I shall gain the most out of its presence, using its magic for my personal benefit. Otherwise, I will be soaked like a damp sponge in disappointment if I don't use it once I'm out of time: a heavy feeling that, like a miserably grey cloud, would probably hang over me for ages to come.

Since Miss Perfectionist has given up the fight and slipped into her (perfectly straight) bed, I'm readier than ever to throw myself into a bowl of joy. Whether it is in the form of days-out, taking it easy at home or whittling the hours away in a KitchenAid mixer, I'll get my slice of happiness one way or another - you can be assured this fun-loving girl will not be tricked by time.

She will love every second, minute, hour, day and week of it. I certainly will.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Why My Body is Tingling with Excitement and Cannot Wait to Be Free - Half-Term Beckons!

Like the nostalgic scent of the sea, my tastebuds are tingling as a sweet, irresistible flavour lands on the tip of my tongue, filling me with as much happiness as a bag of Jelly Babies could provide. Despite not having reached the finish line, I'm so near to approaching it that my body has been lit by a wild flame and cannot shrug off the sense of excitement that hangs heavily in the air. Elation is bubbling to the surface and, at any moment, could burst through the layer that separates it from the outside world, tasting freedom at long last.

I am only less than a day away from my body experiencing these thrilling sensations, yet I can already sense it in not only the air, but all that surrounds me. The workbooks that I begrudge carrying are no longer pages seething with my personal hell, or at least a date with a D-grade Devil; the early starts in the dark don't suddenly seem as black as a punk's wardrobe; and the happiness I placed in a box after sunny summer eased into chilly days is about to be returned to me, being held where it belongs.

Ah, the joys of half-term!

For weeks, fantasies consisting of visiting places that, nine times out of ten, are always affected by heavy, misery-inducing downpours of rain (as ever a non-waterproof mascara's best friend) have dragged me onto a journey to Dreamland. As I gazed out the window on the school bus the other day (and couldn't see much because of condensation caused by the rain; at least one useful thing I've picked up from Physics, I began to feel an ache - call it a craving even crazier than the urge to devour a box of Ferrero Rocciers - to try new things. And, among that list, travelling is one of them.

If if hasn't already occurred to you, parking yourself in the most uncomfortable chair in an non-air-conditioned classroom for hours upon hours five times a week robs you of much more than the time you could spend playing Minecraft on your Xbox (e.g. my block-obsessed brother). Unless I go to town at the weekend, I'm constantly trapped in a cycle which is ruled by boredom: nothing is enjoyable. As much as I love being at home and would swap my Maths classroom for my bedroom without a second thought, I'm almost bored to sleep if there is a lack of variety of locations.

From Monday morning to Friday afternoon, my entire life is practically played out in school and home. Anywhere else is otherwise regarded as a precious treat: finding the time (and patience to slip out of my uniform as speedily as Super-Woman) to pop out after school can be quite a struggle, especially when I'm sinking in a swamp loaded with assignments, homework and revision. Therefore, I'm truly not showcasing my wannabe comedienne by declaring that my life revolves around school before it begins and after it ends each week - I put my entire heart and soul into everything that involves my education!

After seven weeks, it is not in the least surprising that I need a break. Or, if I could have my own way, a fortnight stay at a five star Parisian hotel would restore my spirits within no time! If life was slightly more ideal, taking another six weeks off would replenish me perfectly and perhaps save me from another outbreak of the seasonal coughs, colds and sore throats that define school as a germ magnet (which, against my will, my immune system is drawn to).

However, I cannot afford to place my hopes into the summer holidays revisiting me almost a year in advance because it will not happen  regardless of the many times I add it to my Christmas list. From Friday, a week and a few days is all that I'll get - there is no question about how I will make the most out of every second that can be truly claimed as my own. Then I'll have to hold onto the week before Christmas to enjoy another late lie-in in Comfort Heaven (a.k.a. my bed), with thankfully another week tagged on. The ultimate goal right now is crossing the line - behind which offers me a dream that seemed such a distance away at the beginning of term - tomorrow afternoon when the final bell of the day rings throughout campus, signalling the end of the bound-to-be-awkward first term back in the school environment.

Twenty four hours in advance, I can somewhat taste the satisfaction on my lips: it's like imagining the flavour of a juicy burger which, although you might not have one anywhere near your mouth, can nonetheless be tasted. Yet, however amazing and as wild as a jungle it might be, your imagination cannot really live up to the joys of reality: once you get your hands on happiness, your emotions will be flooded like a river. I am counting the hours until the banks burst and elation spills out of my body; no longer shall it be contained in a locked box for I will open it!

And, to be honest, I haven't really given much thought to what I'll do - and perhaps feel - after I leap on the bus and open the door upon getting home. Sleeping, baking coffee cupcakes and, if weather permits, travelling to various towns and cities are the main ones on my must-do list, yet relaxing isn't particularly an activity that has to be listed. You just do it - the end. Although I've become pretty inexperienced at it, learning how to rewind will be my main priority for the next week which, as those life-changing exams become a term nearer, could potentially save me from the very depth of exam stress in months to come.

Without a doubt, I will preserve some time to enjoying my favourite activity: blogging. It really bothers me that school gets in the way of my ultimate entertainment, yet I'll be spoilt with plenty of time to spend my hours away in front of a laptop, hopefully doing something more productive than gazing at the whole of H&M's online catalogue.

Oh well, it's about time that I get on with some work (of the stuffing-your-mouth-with-spicy-Tennessee-style-sausages kind) before being completely swept up by the urge to write. One more day until my dream comes true - freedom here I come!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Quelle Semaine!

Besides from the numerous perils associated with tests, the past few days truly justify this entry's title: what a week it has been! From attending dance classes (and nearly collapsing onto the floor as I staggered out the studio) to unearthing a shocking secret, I have been getting to grips with plenty of stuff recently and, while I'm taking a short break, the fun never stops. Well, how can you achieve joy if it is not relentless, albeit constantly full-on? 

Anyway, not all swinging parties possess enough energy to carry on until the early hours of the morning (or, if you think about it, a dull afternoon), so I'm making the most of some countryside peace while I can. Phew. Even processing all that has happened in my oh-so-frantic mind is producing a person much sweatier than a gym could handle; if anything else is added to the tower-tall pile, my head might explode like a bag of compressed crisps! 

Before I lose myself in opinions regarding parties, peace and strangely enough cheese-flavoured crisps, I will drag myself back to the road which I was originally heading. And that road involves much more than I could ever have expected, such as:
  1. One of my new nine week old kittens, Teddie, who I've been calling my little princess since adopting her a fortnight ago, is a boy.
  2. Until this week, I had absolutely no idea that mock exams will take place in January, the thought of which freak the hell out of me. Even more so than watching The Walking Dead in the dark (worse so sans company).
  3. According to the 'rents (yeah, such a noughties-tastic expression), I need to sort out my Christmas list fast. In other words, I must browse the likes of Amazon and ASOS to discover the Gift of Heavenly Gifts and learn how to construct a list on an Excel document. God help me!
  4. And lastly, Christmas. Need I say more?
For some people, they might not bat an eyelid if faced with what I've placed on my list (which, unlike my Christmas one, perhaps should not be given so much attention), but they are the things that I've managed to think about besides exams, revision and pre-school jitters in the morning this week. Yeah, this week will forever define my life and remain influential as the years pass by - sarcasm alert!

What shocked me to the core above everything else was, upon a trip to the vets' for his (how alien it seems to say it) first vaccination, Teddie was declared a boy after being checked by two vets, who were perhaps as surprised as my mum felt. I didn't have the slightest clue about Teddie's gender until my mum came home a while after I got off the school bus; when finally told, my mouth was literally hanging on the floor!

Even when I look at him, Teddie just looks so... girly. OK, 'girly' might be one of the most stereotypical words, yet I'm not kidding. He looks as cute, fragile and sweet as a female cat, or so I would imagine - had his, ahem, privates not been discovered, he would have been the family's first female kitty, which I had been praying and hoping for years. Of course, I still love him as much as I did before the discovery, yet my mind has somewhat been frozen in time: I haven't quite progressed from the 'Shocked' stage to taking steps towards 'Acceptance', as other matters have distracted me of late. Still, what a massive surprise - no wonder that I'm still reeling from it!

As for mocks, I'm as clueless as Cher Horowitz regarding what the exams will be like: even though they won't be the actual proper thing, piles of pressure will be heaped onto you like a stack of hay, won't it? Oh well, I've just completed several end-of-term tests, so January is firmly rooted in the future for some time yet - one thing at a time, I think!

And Christmas? Apart from a pair of Babyliss Crimpers, I can barely remember anything else that I included on my list. Which either proves how bad my memory is or the lack of presence of toys that used to dominated my dreams, conversations and thoughts as Christmas approached. To avoid any potential postal strikes, my parents prefer to purchase presents early - which, if it wasn't for my lack of ideas, I'm completely for - yet it does bother me so greatly if no ideas spring to mind when I need them most. I hope that I won't be stuck for inspiration until the very last minute; maybe a shopping trip in the city would clear up some fog in my mind (hint, hint)?

All in all, the past few days have been very busy indeed. Luckily, I've found the time to squeeze in a Zumba class, some TV and completing my only homework assignment of the week (sadly, my puppy-eyed look was not such a convincing winner as I previously believed) at 10pm, along with sleeping, writing and blending eye shadows. 

Whatever you think is impossible is possible if you put some effort into making it a reality - whether it is throwing yourself into exhaustive work or leaping out of the sofa! Though, on such a relaxing day like Saturday, I'm prepared to bend the rules slightly...


After wasting a precious week of my life to tests, end-of-term assessments and puzzling questions that brought on a headache that not even a dose of Calpol to cure, like a candle, I'm burnt out. Gone are my fantastic levels of energy that are at their peak once a new week commences; an exhaustion unlike what I've ever experienced has taken hold. My heart throbs with envy at the thought of animals preparing for several months of utter peace - and relentless sleep - as winter approaches, a dream which I wish would come true at this moment in time. I'm tired, drained and more than slightly sleepy: as this morning has revealed to me, ten undisturbed hours of rest is exactly what I need. All the time. Yet what do I do if time does not offer me the privilege of spending my whole life in bed, especially when important work - and hours spent in a half-broken chair - must be completed?

Cry, my head whispers, its longing to unleash its drama queen stronger than ever. Or, if I dared to pay attention to my heart - which, unlike my head, has perhaps not been affected by slight levels of insanity - I should simply accept what I have to do, even if becoming a contestant on I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! seems much more appealing.

And what I have had to do this week is the cause of my banging headache, drooping eyelids and potentially the biggest spot outbreak from which I've suffered in years. Seriously, I would consider making a claim against school if another spot - the colour of my anger, which reddens like a lit flare - appears on my face because all of this work is not fair. Before you even dare to answer back to me, let me get my view across first: it truly isn't!

Ah, this madness can be solely blamed on the tests that I have been obliged to sit this week at school which, according to my teachers, helps them to determine our abilities and which grades we might achieve when we finally take our GCSEs. Apart from Catering and Media, a test - or controlled assessment, as was the case in English - has been forced down my throat in every subject, including the ones that I hadn't been told about. Well, not even the most superstitious can expect teenagers to analyze their minds and find out what their intentions shall be - so why should school toss yet another exam question our way without letting us revise beforehand?

Tests are yet another part of the school system that I have no true desire to accept, but am somewhat obliged to acknowledge in order to reach the end goal: achieving success in my GCSEs. As I'm now nearing the end of Term One in the first year of GCSE work, more steps have been taken towards escaping my school and getting nearer to the sixth form of my dreams in town. Still, I have every right to complain about my dislikes and anger towards the unjust system whilst walking on the path towards The Dream to Beat All Dreams, don't I?

Along with the conformists, disruptive kids and teachers possessing little or no sense of controlling their classes (if they even bother to show up), tests have joined the highly coveted list of Overwhelming Negatives of School Life. If luck falls on my shoulders, maybe The Sunday Times might publish it in tomorrow's edition which, compared to the Richest Under 30s list, would make a pleasant change, wouldn't it?

Anyway, you would have to have fallen in the deepest sleep ever recorded to not get the gist of my argument: this week would preferably be tossed into a deep-as-a-Subway-sandwich hole and buried in the woods, never to emerge and haunt my life again. The sooner it is over, the happier I will be, a sensation of which will flood my veins with pure, hot relief. Getting further away from the negatives puts my mind at ease, though it significantly helps that the worst - providing enough obstacles to fill an Olympic stadium - is over.

As you might have expected, I become a nervous wreck if an assessment or a test is lurking in the shadows, awaiting its moment to pounce on me like a vicious animal. I get worried, j'ai les jetons and I panic bigtime - looming tests hang over me like a rainy cloud, making me unable to think of anything else nor temporarily escape my nerves.

However, I've discovered this week that anticipating a test is more nerve-wracking than actually sitting the test itself. Last week, my Maths teacher informed the class that we would be sitting a GCSE paper in seven days' time which, perhaps in his mind, was a means of kick-starting an ambition to revise. Yet it somewhat had an opposite effect on me: I did revise for the test and began to worship my workbook like a bible instead of treating it as a possession of the Devil, but nonetheless alarm bells rang through my head like an irritating ringtone.

Whether or not it is linked to my impatient nature, I might never know, but a panic as feverish as a sudden craving for chocolate chip cookies (preferably with a hazelnut filling and from Lidi, of course) seizes me if a clock begins to tick towards my impending doom. In order to ignore my tendency towards being impatient (whilst pulling off a highly annoying act), you would have to be pretty good at not analyzing anybody's personality - mine, on one hand, are outrageously obvious! In the past, I've always interpreted emotions related to tests as pure panic: from day one, I have never considered it any other way. But could my panic also be derived from impatience? Maybe so.

If possible, I will always choose to get something I seriously dislike - such as a cold in the lead-up to Christmas - over and out of the way as quickly as I can. Why? It will stick to my conscience like a pretty girl attached to Harry Styles' arm. Whenever it relates to somebody as important as a test, you would be hard-pressed to witness my forgetting about it until that moment comes. Although I may have a break from time to time, that test - or, in fact, anything at all - will still be floating around in the back of my mind, unready to be flushed out of my system.

Beneath the half-purple bags below my eyes, I'm still revelling in a buzz that was created by the greatest joy of all yesterday: all of my tests are over. In reference to a poem that I studied last term, The Raven, these tests are nevermore (à la Bart Simpson). Despite being lumbered with Shakespeare homework in my last lesson yesterday, I left school with an ecstatic smile gleaming from my lips, swimming in a sea of joy, elation and pre-weekend excitement. Once the waiting and, as my horrible Maths test proved, the doing are completed, you are free to toss one worry into a bin, uncaring about whether you will come eye-to-eye with the blasted thing ever again.

Plus, my reward - besides from the four packs of cookies that Mum picked up for me during Zumba yesterday evening - is about to handed over to me: half-term. Only four days of compulsory lessons will be attended next week before I'm off to prepare for Halloween, shopping and ten days of very (I say this very dramatically) late starts in the morning.

And afterwards? The prospect of Christmas on the horizon will sooth any blows or more pre-test worries, though I have my questions over whether thinking about crimpers - and what I need to add to my list - will boost my knowledge of Maths!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Don't Worry, It's Just a Test. Yeah, right!

As my eyes droop like a setting sun, I am a meowing cat who, instead of releasing a contented purr, grumbles at the thought of lifting a finger - or, as I'm supposedly clad in a coat of fluffy tabby fur, a paw.

Two days into what could possibly be one of the busiest weeks of this term, my heart aches to return to bed and never leave it until Saturday morning arrives, the day of the week which, in my mind, is when the week truly commences. Instead of being lumped with countless homework assignments which the teachers forget about almost as quickly as they assign them to their unfortunate victims (a.k.a. me), I've been given an insight into the hell that awaits me: assessments.

Or, if you are not quite familiar with the A word, tests shall awaken a flurry of panic in which you are thrust, caught up between failed attempts to remain calm (as it goes without saying, is oh-so-impossible) and having the most stressful time of your life. Yes, those end-of-term assessments which seemed as far away as an A-Lister's residence last month are now upon me and, unless I fall prey to the pathogens floating around my younger brother's system any time soon, I will have to face up to what life - now somewhat a living hell - has in store for me.

Ah, you could declare that I'm tapping into my drama queen and squeezing more out of this scary piece of news than the most desperate soap star would, yet panics like these are somewhat justified once you reach such a point as my own in your education. The next two years are guaranteed to test me (both in the literal and pushing-me-the-very-limit sense), zap me of energy that not even a can of Red Bull can regain and, once the actual GCSE exams are lurking in the unexplored distance, will make me wish that I could avoid the wilderness until the academic frenzy has calmed.

Despite the first term probably being less significant than the ones shortly before mocks, I still take it as seriously as any other term - and perhaps even more so because, in order to establish a decent foundation, a decent beginning can help wonders. If you are bubbling with more confidence than a witch's cauldron as you wait at the starting line, will it not give you a perfect head-start?

Luckily, I feel pretty confident in most of my subjects, though that confidence mainly stems from my enjoyment of learning and isn't necessarily associated with my abilities. However, even the most confident of all people might not have their coveted feature in plentiful qualities once exams - or simple tests - roll around the corner, as fear drains them of the strength to ward off the gripping panics or anxious thoughts as you toss in bed past your bedtime. English may be my strongest and best-loved subjects, yet my passion doesn't mean that no niggling thoughts have not passed through my mind in the run-up to Thursday's assessment; those fears are still bubbling beneath the surface, posing the risk that they might arise at any moment.

And, when I dissect the source of my fear, the reasons involved are pretty obvious: a lack of experience. Having rarely sat any tests whilst educated at home, tests are among some of the things that I've had to get my head around since returning to school and, as I'm at the beginning of the two least test-friendly years of my life, I really have no choice except to embrace it. Or at least accept it and acknowledge the fact that the Charmed Ones would recite a spell from the Book of Shadows that will magically cancel tomorrow's Maths test. Still, there is nothing wrong with hoping so!

Every teenager will discover the perils of education - and, if you are a professional worrier like me, the misery - that is included in the package attached with school life. Though it feels like years ago since it happened, I have sat several tests at the school before and, if the subject was me-friendly, I actually didn't mind sitting a test. My fear washes away if I lose myself in work that I can complete without too many hiccups, so I stand a decent chance of forgetting about my hatred of tests - if only that fear could never arise before I sit them!

Oh well, some things - especially tests which, once all of them have been sat and completed, will allow me to progress to the next stage - can never be avoided. I'm looking ahead to the future and the test-free prospects that it holds, which provides some relief as I'm torn between jitters and impatience to get the worst over and done with.

There is one thing for sure, though: I won't be offered the privilege of lying in bed until five minutes before the bus turns up tomorrow, however bad that my 'cold' might be...

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Top Three on my Radar

Wherever I am and whatever I'm doing, there is always something bound to be on the radar. Like those chocolate stains that somehow remain concealed on your favourite pair of jeans, what shows up on the radar can keep a low profile then, bam!, you would struggle to believe that it had never really been there - or on the sidelines. 

Although life has been occupying more than you could possibly imagine, I haven't switched off my instincts, which are pretty good at picking up on what truly matters. Of course, I might not be paying much attention to it at the time, yet it enters my mind at one point or another; believe me, you would be putting up one all-mighty struggle if you didn't bother to glimpse into your radar. 

Thus, here begins what I hope shall be a fantastic feature on Life as a Modern Teen, in which I will give you a magic key into what is going in the crazy mind of a teenager. Like leapfrog, I'm jumping from one interest to another at superfast speed (certainly much quicker than the broadband in my middle-of-nowhere village) that it is extremely easy to lose track on my wants, needs and tons of other things that teenagers impulsively crave. 

Not only is the world evolving, but so am I. Into what? One day, it could be a world-famous journalist who is constantly asked for her opinions on international news stations; the next, I dream to live out my childhood fantasy as an X Factor contestant. Until I'm at least 25 years old, my brain is supposedly going through these oh-so-important changes, so I can only expect a decade more of indecisiveness - as ever a welcome addition in the drama that is a self-confessed dramatic teenager's life. 

1. GCSE Options
What with this hovering on the radar is attached a very long story that will take up the rest of my life simply by telling it. Again.
So, I actually started my GCSEs last year while I was home-schooled, and chose English, Maths, ICT, French, Law, Media and English Lit/Psychology (my inner psycho was seriously undecided about the last two). All very decent subjects - especially as Science was nowhere in sight - and I was getting on well as I studied at home.
Then along came The Big Move earlier this year and my world was turned upside down. What with an imminent return to school, varying examination boards and coursework, I made the hardest ever decision in my life: to go back an academic year. 
This decision then involved picking which GCSEs I wanted to take, along with the compulsory ones at my new school. Suddenly, some of the choices that I'd made a year ago were forgotten about or, if I had purchased books on the subject, were tossed into a cardboard box. no longer relevant in my studies. 
In the end, I chose (including the ones I truly detested):
English Language and English Literature
Core Science (originally Btec science, but was changed at the start of September - big fat con!)
History (originally Geography, but chose the former in order to save my life from drowning in essays on rivers)
Catering (a.k.a. Cooking, but not exactly catering for all my culinary needs)
Religious Studies
ICT (not a proper GCSE, but a Cambridge National, whatever that is)
Luckily, I saved several of my original options, such as Media and French, but Law and Psychology were sadly lost causes. My best bet is to study them at a city college at A-Level, but I've since changed my mind about Law because I've lost respect for the justice system. 
On the whole, I'm mainly fine with my revised options, yet feel a bit short-changed as to what was on offer. Catering, for example, was the only subject on one list for which I had a slight preference because I wasn't interested in materials or graphics, but I would gladly swap it for Psychology or Sociology, subjects of which I cannot wait to study in sixth form. 
And ICT? Creating a website on a design programme which very few people have heard of does not address the need to use current systems if you get a job in an office; it is a waste of time.
Sometimes, I guess that you have to accept things as they are, especially if it relates to a matter as important as your GCSEs. 
Yet it hasn't stopped me from begrudging several subjects which, had I been offered more freedom when choosing my options, I would never have opted for. 
If you cannot decide at such an important stage in your life, what is the point of GCSE options? 
Really, I'd like somebody to answer that.

2. Christmas treats

Despite mostly avoiding supermarkets in recent weeks, I haven't been immune from the sweetest thing that comes with the Autumn page: Christmas treats.
You can mark my words that, within the first week of school in September, boxes of mince pies - whose sell-by date miraculously lasts into November, let alone the actual festive season - and fruit cakes will gradually enter shops and supermarkets. Albeit initially a small selection, it grows and grows until you can get your hands on more glorious treats, including the lovely Italian bread Panettone (pictured above).
Since last year, I've fallen in love with the buttery and fruity dough which defines Panettone, along with the marzipan-flavoured yeast bread Stollen, which my amateur baker is desperate to make herself. In my opinion, dried fruits - currants, sultanas, apricots, you name it - come to life at Christmas, when the flavours are enriched with alcohol or sweet doughs. 
My heart nearly skipped a beat the other day when my mum produced a tiny box of Panettone because I last saw it at the beginning of the year, one of the few leftovers to have survived beyond Christmas. Although my slice was of a Gwyneth Paltrow portion size (if she would ever dare eat such a thing), I was instantly transported to Christmas and the happiness that encaged it. 
Part of me believes that Christmas - and its oh-so-lovely treats - will remain on my radar for a long time...
3. Kittens
At a glance, you would assume that I'm wearing a pair of cool, dungeon-grey trousers that are pleasantly keeping my legs warm in a spell of cold weather. Up close, however, you will notice numerous loose threads dotted all over my trousers, especially around my lap. An atrociousity that I dread the thought of occurring, my face reddens with horror at the sight of my half-ruined trousers. 
But I assure you that it wasn't my fault. In fact, two little people - if I should even be calling them that - are to blame for creating what Anna Wintour would define as a crime against fashion (or the treatment of discounted clothes). 
My eight-week old kittens, Teddie and George, love nothing more than climbing up - and certainly down - my legs, wherever I'm completing my homework, eating a meal or sitting down. Although I adore receiving attention from my two favourite kittens (the other ones are old enough to be called cats, so I'm not offending anybody), I really don't want it in the form of digging their claws into my legs. And leaving plenty of marks on my clothes. 
George, in particular, is the lead-ringer of the duo, whose mission is to play within anything within a kitchen-long radius. This week taught me a vital lesson, which I learnt much more from than the likes of Physics: never wear a hoodie. If a drawstring is in his mighty reach, George will try to catch it or even chew it, leaving his dainty teeth marks behind. And the zip? Even his sister Teddie is fascinated with my zip, which George likes to pull down with either his teeth or paw - the very last thing I want whilst shivering to death!
Despite their crazy behaviour, I love both of them so much and miss them (like crazy, haha!) whilst stuck at school, which I experienced this week. Even when I chuck George in his room for a time out, he still wants to spend time with me - and repeat his wrongful actions at the soonest possibility! Really, I can relate to Teddie because, at times, all that she wants is to go to sleep, while her brother is wrecking havoc!
Hmm, it doesn't take much to think about who does the same towards me...

Exams and Half Term = Curse!

If one single word could define me as a person right now, tired would certainly fit the bill. An word that precisely expresses my early-rising tendencies, hard-working attitude and deep-in-the-gut feeling, tired is perhaps the only word that truly describes me at this very moment because it is unlike any other.

A week of full attendance at a school that I make no secret of disliking (though I rarely, if never declare it in writing) is the ultimate brain-drainer, which burns the energy I gradually regain throughout the weekend within an hour of returning to lessons. 

After ages of sticking my head into workbooks that are occasionally marked by my teachers, an end - or a temporary one, at least - is nearly in sight. That end is the week (with the addition of the Friday and weekend before, of course) that I'll have off from full-blown drama towards the end of October, which I've been anticipating literally from the moment that the term commenced in the first week of September. 

Half-term will be my short-term saviour from the classrooms piled with people who, despite now putting a name to the face, remain as alien and unknown as they were when I first encountered them. They might seem to know everything about me - for people talk, though I'm often the last person to find out - but do I even know where to start with their background and who they truly are behind their rolled-up blazers?

On the other hand, at least I will also be granted ten days of lie-ins as late as I want which, if the entire week could be remodelled on a Saturday morning, would last until the early afternoon! My heart reaches its peak of happiness each Saturday because it is the day that I always wait for, getting even giddier than a little girl counting the days down to Christmas (who, upon thinking about it, was probably me). 

Life would certainly be as easy as tucking into cake (preferably of a calorie-free variety) if it could be altered to suit our tastes, but sadly some of our desires might be pushed aside at times - as much as it might pain us. And yes, a wave of desperation hits me at thought of not getting my man-sized slice of cake. Including, dare I say it, the calorific kind. 

However, my mind hasn't just leapt to thoughts of school-free days as yet because, during next week, I'll be facing an enemy for whom I reserve the sincerest feelings of hatred. If you assumed that pieces of paper beholding your idea of hell were restrained until the end of the year, how I begrudge letting you in on a secret: you're wrong! 

From English to the mother of all horrors, Maths, I shall be sitting assessments in various subjects next week, as a means of finding out how I'm getting on with my work, the thought of which sends shivers down my spine. Although these tests are minor and a hundred times less scary than the exams (including several actual GCSEs) that I will sit next summer, I still detest these tests because they are attached with unnecessary stress - how is it fair that I revise stuff that has barely been explored by the teacher, who is mainly responsible for instilling their lessons into our brains?

Leaping from one subject to another is exactly like leapfrog; we never stay in one place for enough time. And, at this point of the year, our brains are still adjusting to the new subjects that we are studying, especially the ones that we chose as GCSE options and were previously not on the curriculum. Therefore, is it any wonder that Maths is my biggest bugbear of all?

In fact, Maths has been winding me up from day one some of it does not make sense: whenever my teacher is describing it, I struggle to translate the words into English or, at a push, French. Not only am I half-bored to death, but two-thirds of my Maths lessons are held in the final period of the day, so my mind is mainly focused on getting home - and as far away from the insane world of equations as possible.

You see. the subjects I automatically toss into the oh-so-boring category - Maths, Physics (which is unfortunately among my tests next week) and, if I've found myself lost in translation, occasionally Biology - neither strike me as entertaining nor will be influential on my future career as a journalist. The teachers might sometimes put their chairs on top of the desk to explain why the colour red looks like red, but I forget all about it as soon as I walk out the classroom, my life not magnificently changed by what I've been 'taught'.

It saddens me that, while I'm so far away from sitting the majority of my GCSEs in Year 11, I'm already starting to feel like a guinea pig, whose only worth is take tests that are hardly meaningful and waste valuable time that could be dedicated to having a proper lesson.

Despite sharing the emotions of a rodent, please be assured that I'm not freaking out about English which, compared to my other tests, is the very least of my worries. In fact, I'm rather looking forward to letting rip whilst writing my rant - the theme of the assessment - next Thursday because the words have been burning inside of me for weeks, the flames getting hotter and hotter as the momentum has increased. And the theme? Discrimination against the home-schooled. As it is a subject that I feel very strongly about, you can merely imagine how I will tore into those who have discriminated against me - and hopefully gain a good grade by not holding back!

And, believe it or not, I'm quite annoyed that I will probably not be sitting a test in French which is my second-favourite subject after English, or my two GCSE options, Catering and Media. Saying that, I doubt that you can be tested on an episode of Sherlock (which I watched and fell in love with in Media) in an actual exam, though I would always prefer to discuss Benedict Cumberbatch's dashing looks than the reasons linked with battered fish evaporating in a cardboard box in Physics. Besides, most of my classmates in top-set French are predicted a C - the minimum pass grade - so it might look a bit embarrassing if they failed a test, though I would happily sit it for fun!

What I really dislike about exams is the anticipation that grows stronger than the most stubborn weed, which is almost as nerve-wracking as the actual exam itself. Luckily, I partly killed some anticipation yesterday by sitting a History test which, thanks to revising with my dad the night before (who absorbs historical facts like football scores), greatly relieved my nerves. As I swapped Geography for History almost halfway through the term, I hope that my grade won't be too heavily affected, yet I feel much more enthusiastic about the history of medicine rather than the functioning of rivers.

If I truly had the courage to do it, I wouldn't put it pass myself to talk about exams, half-term and curses all day, but a packet of Strepsils would be needed to relieve a sore throat. Although I'm still fighting the remains of an ugly cold, I soldiered on through the sniffles and cravings to sip my way through a bottle of Calpol - and got some important work done.

As much as I enjoy having the occasional day off, my mind wanders to what I'm missing out on, which possibly makes me sound like the most boring person in the world. On the whole, I'm a working person: doing very little or nothing simply isn't for me. But having that option taken away from you? Illness, including minor colds and tickly throats, can create more bother than necessary, but I got through the worst of it.

While part of myself freaks out big-time at the prospect of tests next week, I hope to bear in mind that, in less than a fortnight, half-term will have arrived. Lie-ins, days out and even Halloween (whose spooky-themed sweets I no longer enjoy, but get a kick out of gazing at) are no longer too far away, instead on the nearing horizon.

In the meantime, I shall be battling the curse of termly tests and all that is entailed with them!