Monday, 30 March 2015

Starting the Holidays

Am I trapped in an endless dream, far away from the sweet clutches of reality, or should I apply more faith into what my eyes are showing me? Today, I have woken up to the loveliest spell of sunshine that I've seen in ages - which is magnified even more whilst I lie on my bed in nowhere other than my bedroom. 

However, it's just occurred to me that it is a Monday, which leads me to ask quite an important question: aren't I supposed to be somewhere else? In fact, if I have a quick flick through my timetable, I ought to be listening to Paramore's Brand New Eyes on constant repeat in Performing Arts right now. Oh dear, getting my first detention as I assume my new role as senior prefect is so not going to look good on my record!

Then, if I peer a bit closer into the date at the bottom of my desktop screen, it says that today is 30th March. Wait, if I broke up for the Easter holidays on 27th, surely I don't need to be in school at all? Phew. Try trusting me with information at this time in the morning - you'd never survive if I was in charge!

As the relief wears off, excitement moves in like a cheerful neighbour: I've got two weeks off school!!! Usually, you'd never catch me using three exclamation points at the same time, but I can always make room for a remarkable exception - how often is it when I'm granted such a long break from studying? 

Oh yes, studying. Let's quietly crawl away from that word, which symbolises many hours of effort, sweat and certainly several glasses full with salty tears... Nah, as much as it pains me to say it, I doubt that I'm going to avoid studying anytime soon. Typically, I like to give myself a relaxing break away from textbooks and revision notes during most half-terms and two week holidays, but unfortunately it isn't on offer this time. Why? Just like all the other year groups at school, I've got several mock exams coming up that commence in fabulous style on the day I return in a fortnights' time. Gulp. 

Like a damsel-in-distress in a horror film, I'm shivering with fear at the prospect of sitting exams which, despite not being anything like the GCSE exams I'll have the honour of going through next year, could significantly affect which sets I'll be placed in in the near future. Although I have no problems with the likes of English Language/Literature, French (mainly the only exam that I'm really looking forward to), Sociology and even Science (as my teacher has assured me that, regardless of the grade I'll get, I stand quite a decent chance of moving up a set), I'm freaking out like a hysterical diva over my two Maths mock exams. 

For starters, I wasn't even told that I was going to have two mock exams - perhaps because my teacher anticipated my having a complete meltdown if he dared to let it slip during class! Furthermore, I don't have the faintest clue about what the exams will cover, which is stopping me from revising the subject. Sure, I might not have skipped up and down the hall like a kangaroo when I finally received my mock exam timetable last Friday, yet there is no way that I want to fail - even in the subjects that I detest with a vengeance. And, to make matters much worse, I can't even find past papers on the examination board's website which provides my Maths course - simply a wonderful beginning to a potentially traumatic ending...

Still, I'm not going to allow one tiny thing - OK, I'll admit that it's a bit bigger than that - ruin the two weeks ahead of me, which I'm keen to relish as though each day is the last. In the meantime, I'm going to combine an equal mixture of revision time (starting today with an oh-so-enjoyable French reading paper - a super easy A* within twenty minutes!) - and playtime. In my world, 'playtime' can mean anything such as listening to music, watching TV and gazing adoringly at the Lindt bunnies that I've only got until Thursday to wait for. 

Obviously, I think that mock exams can be rather unfair because they heavily impose on your holidays which, if my calculations are correct, will affect my life for another three years when I hopefully sit my GCSEs, AS-Levels and A2-Levels. Also, I'm considering whether to go to university or not, so I've got quite a few years until my Easter holidays and summers will be exam-free.

Before I do anything else, let's just focus on today and, for my benefit, try not to think too far in advance. As if I want to regret not focusing enough on the present day in the future - there is too much fun to not miss!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Tuesday Tunes - Being Queen

It's a question that. at one point or another in our lives, we are faced with, yet we often don't give much thought to what it represents when it is posed to us: who are you?

Usually, I would just declare my first name (which, perhaps to your extremely great disappointment, I have no intentions of letting slip anytime soon) before proceeding to mentioning my surname if the situation requires it. Then, if my surname still does not satisfy the one questioning me (by now I would be dangerously hovering to the exploding-like-a-volcano area), I would stop in my tracks for several seconds and truly think about what I'm being asked.

What makes me who I am? There is a whole planet to explore when that question is put towards me because there are so many answers that I could give: the descriptions are endless! However, if I'm really keen on having my dinner before bedtime, I'm afraid that travelling the equivalent of Africa within the realms of my capacious mind is hardly an option; condensing my words into several sentences is quite necessary for the sake of going to bed with a satisfied appetite, I think!

Having offered myself several moments to consider the question in depth, here is my carefully laid-out response: I'm a sixteen year old girl, whose life revolves around sleeping, learning, watching TV (particularly documentaries on birth and kentucky fried chicken, though obviously not on just one programme!) and constantly resisting the urge to duck my head into bags of oh-so-moreish Maltesers.

In addition to my fabulous habits, I also run my own blog, which I spoil like a pampered dog (pets of which I've never had), whilst trying to maintain a somewhat existent social life in between studying for crucial exams that will ultimately determine which path I shall follow in a years' time.

Furthermore, my parents would describe me as hard-working, pleasant and cheerful, whereas my brother might toss words such as hormonal and bad-tempered in my face like a badly thrown pancake in a vain attempt to wind me up (though this only tends to occur when Sky Sports News has almost nothing interesting to report).

And finally, I gained the status of a prefect at school just over twenty four hours ago, which basically means that I can boss people about and claim the title of Queen Bee, leading a life as exciting as Regina George's (albeit in a dark navy, not bubblegum pink, uniform). Anything more I need to tell you?

OK, let's stop rattling on about questions and who you are because, at long last, I've reached the gloriously tasty sauce flowing within the middle of the warm chocolate pudding - being a prefect! Just a day ago, I found out that my role as a prefect was confirmed, which has made me part of a team of approximately twenty or so other prefects within my house. So, I've barely had any time to honestly process all that has recently happened because, in a way, it is somewhat dream-like; for a horrible short period of time, I even feared that I wouldn't become a prefect because so many other people had applied for the same role. Fortunately, those who either put themselves forward or had been nominated by teachers were accepted, so there was no need for any X Factor-style boot camps which, ultimately, would have been rather upsetting for everybody involved.

Also, I applied for the role ages ago and had, to an extent, slightly forgotten about it until yesterday, when I missed my first lesson (unfortunately English - sadly not the dreaded Maths test that I'll be sitting on Thursday morning!) to attend a training course which described what the year-long role holds. From next term, I'll be starting my prefect duties, gradually taking over from the present Year 11 prefects who will be devoting more of their time to preparing to their exams in May and June. Up until roughly around this point next year, I'll be carrying out my prefect duties, which range from patrolling my house's floors, attending parents' evenings and establishing a reputation as a role model to whom the younger years can look up.

All in all, I'm really excited about being a prefect, especially as several of my friends have the same role so it's wonderful to be able to share the experience with some close mates. Doesn't everything always seem easier when you have your friends to accompany you? After the Easter holidays, I will receive my badge, which will show my status to the other pupils. While I'm looking forward to wearing it, Mum's worried that I'll forget to take it off when she washes my blazer in the washing machine! Unlike the phone that I nearly forgot to take out of my pocket one time, I'll be extra careful with my prefect badge!

Thus leads me to one last thing: music. In my mind, I'm an all-powerful and unbeatable force of power, who radiates with as much regality as a member of the Royal Family. Within the playground, I am a Queen. So, doesn't a Queen deserve some songs which are a fitting tribute to her high class status? Away with the music, darling!

Lorde - Royals

Lana Del Rey - National Anthem

Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX - Fancy

Saturday, 21 March 2015

It's Getting Hot in Here!

Have you felt the dramatic heat that has suddenly swept through your home, making you sweat harder than an hour of ridiculously painful aerobics? Tout a coup, I'm asking myself why, during what I've long considered to be a 'safe-from-the-terror-that-is-the-summer-season' month, the temperature has hit new heights which I never knew existed. 

But I know that asking you - or anybody else, for that matter - about the heat is pointless because, unless you find yourself swimming in the same pool as me, you are otherwise immune to its horrible side effects like a contagious and certainly callous cold. This heat that I've been feeling has, to an extent, been gradually getting hotter and hotter for some time now, simmering away like a saucepan filled with out-of-a-can soup in the background. Now, as it reaches boiling point, I'm starting to lose all connection that I've always had with all the things I enjoy: frustratingly, the expression that all eager parents detest with a passion, 'I can't', is frequently escaping from my lips. Like a bubble, I'm trapped within a universe that denies me virtually no opportunities to poke my head outside and gain some proper fresh air. 

My problem? It is one that every teenager of my age faces at one point or another within their lifetime: exams. Gulp. The slightest pronunciation of the first syllable - ex, which can obviously be applied to anything - instantly sends shivers of ice cold fear up my spine, turning me into a shaking wreck before I even realise it! And that's before I even reach the second syllable, which announces the thing that I've been dreading all long. 

More sinister than an episode of Luther, exams are the number one enemy of all teachers who, beneath the 'I've-got-a-hundred-and-sixty-two-likes-on-my-Facebook-profile-picture' bravado, are secretly more scared of answering a question on radioactivity than having their Facebook account shut down by their appalled parents. And, judging by the amount of Facebook-themed conversations that tend to crop up around my classmates, social media is a massive deal in a young person's life, though I am a fabulous exception to that rule. Still, if my Science teacher dares to mention the word 'exam', the whole class goes silent, hushed like one would be at a sombre funeral. 

Seriously, if you want to get somebody's attention, breathe exam on their necks and all feelings of peace will die straight away!

Right now, I'm hearing more and more about exams as the time towards actually sitting them - yes, this means that I will be devoting endless hours to sitting in the Great Hall, with little more than a pen, pencil and a half-sane mind as my sole equipment - approaches quicker than an Australian bushfire. Is it terrifying? Absolutely. No other words are needed to express how frightening the prospect of preparing, sitting and living life after an exam will be like; sometimes, you can't be more honest that sticking to the feelings that stick to you like a badly glued-in piece of paper. 

The thing is that these aren't actual real exams or not at least like the end-of-course GCSE examinations that I'll have the wonderful honour of sitting in a years' time. By this, I mean that these exams are only mocks - ironically a word associated with teasing scornfully - and therefore won't have any influence on my overall grades. Thankfully, I have something - just an ever-so-slight symbol of relief - to be happy about: nothing will deter my determination to pass Maths next summer! 

However, I really can't afford to slip into my flip flops and comfiest pair of shoes quite yet: regardless of what quite a few of my classmates think, these mocks are not for messing around in. Consisting of papers and questions from previous GCSE exams, mocks are the real thing, and give a rough indication as to which grade you'll achieve in a years' time. Of course, getting an A* might be a huge ask before you even reach the halfway point in your course, yet mocks can highlight faults that need to be addressed before it's too late - and failure potentially blocks your path to success. 

When considering this point of view, I do see the need for mock exams because they can put you onto the right path towards good grades. With a year to go before the real thing, you should have plenty of time to boost your confidence and perform better in examinations which, come the following summer, you should be treating with as much respect as you would towards the Queen. 

Still, is it fair to declare that the first time is always the hardest? With no previous experience under your belt, the entire concept of staring at several pieces of paper for possibly up to two hours can send your already revision-mad brain into overdrive. Although expectations tend to remain relatively high, I think that a bit of lenience should be given because, unlike Year 11 pupils, we haven't had the benefit of a full two years education. Yet it doesn't mean that we are relieved of some of the pressure that is placed upon us - regardless of their significance, we are still expected to do reasonably well!

As the biggest things that I've ever had to face have been end-of-term tests, I'm nervous at the thought of sitting something as intimidating as a mock exam because, ultimately, it will influence which sets I'll be placed into in Year 11, which could have an affect on the grades that I'll be taught to aim for. Therefore, the likes of English, Science and Sociology - subjects which I like and a few of which I'm keen to study at sixth form - are really important to me, and I won't settle for anything below a C (though, as I'm sitting a foundation paper in Science, the highest I can get is a C). 

Also, this term has been so heavy-going that I've hardly had a break from my typical routine of getting up, going to school, possibly staying on for revision or coursework catch-up sessions after the day is over, coming home, having dinner and then going to bed for several weeks. My weekends are a sweet honeymoon from weekday drama, which is getting increasingly repetitive and predictable like a badly-written soap opera - just give me some variety, please! 

Luckily, I only have one more week to go before I break up for Easter, so at least I'll have plenty of lie-ins in between revision sessions as my mocks commence on the first day of the new term next month. Eek! What with exam stress, I can't really trust myself to be stuck in a room alone with my two Lindt bunnies, which will definitely come in handy when the volume of a sphere becomes too much to handle...

Like many things, exams are a learning curve in themselves, and it is only now that I've truly had to face up to them. Well, it's better to address my fears sooner than later, isn't it? Sure, I could do with a bit more time, but I'm secretly desperate to get them over and done with; I'm not the type of person who likes waiting, especially if it is for something that I begrudge with a passion! 

In the meantime, I shall open all the windows in the house, breathe in the fresh March air and perhaps treat myself to more refreshing salads in a vain attempt to cool myself down. If the heat remains, I'll just have to find a way around working with it instead of letting it control me. Only I like to be in control - as if stress deserves to take charge! 

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Having a Look in my Diary...

For once, I thought that, instead of sticking to my usual routine of transforming several thousand words into an essay, I would actually talk about what this blog's name says: life as a modern teenager.

OK, describing my fetish for crimped hair might have given you a glimpse into the hairstyle-part of my life, but it doesn't tell you what is truly going on beneath the surface (or the dry, sand-like bits sometimes lurking in my scalp), does it? Life goes far beyond crimpers, which colour lipstick you put on and how traumatically you fight the urge to hide yourself in the sweets cupboard after the longest day ever at school; there are treasures and gems hidden behind doors, disguised in ornaments that we lay our eyes on more than we realise and waiting to be discovered by none other than ourselves.

In this day and age, life is forever evolving for young people, whose opportunities and responsibilities are constantly increasing like a pile of unwashed laundry. By this, I mean that there is greater pressure than ever to succeed in our learning, which is at its most important right now. If we achieve the necessary grades, so many doors are opened to us, revealing paths that will hopefully lead us to a bright and happy future. As naturally optimistic people who never fail to express enthusiasm in the future, teenagers are excited about what life in twenty, ten or even five years' time could hold.

However, the teenage years are not guaranteed to be a smooth transition into adulthood because we have many obstacles to leap over like an Olympic athlete first - and what is more terrifying than sitting numerous exams to reach the other side? At times, I have to pinch myself to confirm that I'm not trapped in a remake of Scream, where terror (though not necessarily in the form of a ghoulish mask) stalks me wherever I go. As wonderful as learning usually is, the pressure that comes with showing off your knowledge has the potential to occasionally enter frightening territory - eek!

Although I often force myself to resist the urge to scream like a howling victim in a horror film, I have found peace - as light and fluffy as the first bite into a vanilla marshmallow - by writing. Like my cats popping their claws into a balloon, writing releases the anxiety that, if I let myself fly into full drama-queen mode, would truly overwhelm me.

Sometimes, it's easy to forget that your hormones can take advantage of you, but the one thing that you should always try to remember is that only yourself is able to control them. Though there are times when we wonder whether we are being tugged at like a puppet, we have the independence and freedom to tell ourselves that a hissy fit is not called for. Still, I suppose that we might fall into the old way of thinking that our parents are in charge of our behaviour as was the case years ago!

Anyway, today I'd like to offer you an insight into a diary-like entry of mine, which will give you a free pass into accessing the thoughts and mind of a modern teen. Based on my thoughts and feelings from the past week, now is mainly the first time that I can let them go (rather like Princess Elsa!) without exploding like a volcano in my bedroom. As if my mum deserves to be cleaning up hot lava the day before Mother's Day...

Dear Diary, (which, by the way, I NEVER say when writing in my diary - it is such a eight year old thing, you know?)

I. Am. Absolutely. Exhausted. No kidding. After nearly a week of early starts, styling my hair into a look which isn't far off a poodle's fur and rushing out the door quicker than Usain Bolt at nearly eight thirty in the morning, I seriously need to catch up on some sleep. Sleep! Even though I stayed in bed until ten this morning (despite technically being awake since eight), I could transport myself to the Land of Rest at this very moment. Now, I'm really kicking myself for staying up until past eleven last night - no wonder I feel like I've got a hangover! 

On another subject, I amazed myself by not having a heart attack before attending my weekly Zumba class last night. Was it the night before's shocking episode of Revenge or the out-of-the-blue realisation that I have to catch up on The Vampire Diaries? Neither! Whilst playing with my phone (as always before an extremely intensive workout), I checked the calendar for 24th April, which is a Friday. 

My heart in my mouth, I had to keep my cool in a room full of parents and young children. HOW is it fair that I, a hard-working teen, has to be sitting a mock exam on a FRIDAY?! Does this world have any compassion for me or what? So much for getting pumped up for the weekend - I'll have the greatest ever hurdle to overcome before I reach it!

Oh yes, how could I abandon mentioning it? After two brilliant weeks off for Easter, I will be sitting my mock exams, which will determine which sets (who can influence the grades and standards you aim for) I'll be in next year. Although 'mock' means that, unlike a GCSE exam, don't go towards your grade, they aren't something to be laughed about - definitely not a crying-with-hysterical-laughter matter! 

And the most terrifying thing of all? I've never even sat an exam. Don't even expect me to count the stupid 11+ exam I sat when I was ten, which undermined the abilities of home-educated pupils - mock exams are far more important! So far, I only know the rough dates of my Core Science and Sociology exam (which unfortunately falls on 24th April - what a super fun Friday that will be!), and I have absolutely no idea when I'll get my exam timetable. In fact, I doubt that I'll have exams in Performing Arts and ICT, but I'm freaking out at the thought of the Math exam/s - I'm not even sure how many I'll have!

Ugh, I sometimes feel like a show pony who is forever being glammed up and put through its pace to be marked on perfection: beneath the frost-like surface, pressure is swimming within me. Yet, to my amazement, I'm getting on with it fine - but doesn't everybody find a way around tough things like these? 

At the end of the day, I just know that all of this effort will be worth it - and the thought of attending my first day of sixth form (and leading a Maths-free life!) keeps me going when I feel that all is impossible. Learning it might be difficult, but I'm being taught about the importance of working hard to get what you want. Hopefully in a years' time, it will pay off big time. As if I'll settle for anything less!


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Giving Up One Thing... And Starting Another Habit

There is something that I feel the urgent need to own up to something, like a kid who has snatched several chocolate coins from a bowl while your eyes were focused on the TV and immediately feels guilty afterwards. I feel as though something very heavy is leaning uncomfortably on my chest, blocking all airways as I try to leap over the hurdles that red-handed, no-doubt-who-did-it guilt plays on my conscience. 

The problem? Ever since I gave up my beloved chocolate - produced from the finest-tasting beans in the world which, unlike the hideous-looking red kidney beans, aren't pumped with protein or blood pressure-raising levels of fibre - three weeks ago, I've been hoping to give my body a break from treats. By 'treats', I don't mean the fish-flavoured ones that my four cats happily devour every day, assuming that Felix biscuits are as much of a right as sleeping in class is (which, ever since education was created, is definitely a major no-no)! For humans anyway, biscuits, cakes and occasionally sweets are what I would classify as treats because, unlike the several portions of fruit and vegetables that I consume each day, they are supposed to be in small quantities and eaten every now and then. 

Reading this, you would think that abstaining from all things sweet for most of the time is a straightforward affair, undoubtedly easier than bluffing your way through a Biology exam, but that merely highlights an error in your judgement: you are wrong. Hear the sirens screeching louder than a rejected X Factor contestant's voice in the background? That just reiterates my point - steering clear of what was created with the purpose of tempting you is far from easy work!

Also, I suppose that we are more vulnerable to such sweet things when we have given up something, albeit not necessarily a product that falls into the treats category, because we feel a bit emptier than usual. And guess what? If we feed our vulnerability, one terrible thing happens: an addiction is formed. 

Ugh, I can't begin to point how determined I was to make Lent a more positive occasion, instead of whinging about the many branded chocolate-flavoured biscuits that I cannot touch, sniff, nibble and eat for another three-and-a-half weeks, but something more sinister ruined my golden opportunity. The beast? None other than Jammie Dodgers - a jam-flavoured biscuit that, until now, I had hardly ever placed in my mouth (which, during periods of manic hunger, I use as a somewhat invalid excuse to make up an entire childhood's worth of packets for) - and fig rolls, along with a few wine gums added to the mixture! 

Usually, you can guarantee that I will turn my nose up at any processed biscuits that you encounter in the supermarket aisles because a) they are often expensive, b) the longer-than-a-supermodel's-legs list of ingredients is not only a massive pain to read but contains many words which I don't feel comfortable about consuming and c) homemade always taste better. Hence why I would dive into a tub of freshly made gingersnaps whenever I bothered to devote a Saturday morning to making them - the shop-bought variety aren't worth a second glance!

However, curiosity - and the remains of my longing for chocolate - tricked me into trying these biscuits several weeks ago. Might as well give it a go, I absent-mindedly thought, assuming that I would either spit the mouthful out or stay as far away as possible from the packet afterwards. Before I knew it, I literally formed an allegiance to what would soon become an empty-packet of biscuits (who, by the way, were finished off by my brother - not even a bag of Haribos can truly be mine!). 

Like lust, I am hopeful that my new-found passion for biscuits and occasionally wine gums/fizzy Haribo sweets (whose name I can never be bothered to remember) will subside once Lent draws to an end, which I'm relieved to declare is now less than a month away. I'm really unsure on how much longer I can rely on fig rolls to sooth my chocolate cravings because, believe or not, I get bored rather easily! 

So, how would I describe my so-called 'detox'? Up until now, pretty good with plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts and protein, though Jammie Dodgers have literally created a food group of their own. Definitely feeling purer and lighter than ever!

Saturday, 7 March 2015

The Hair Diaries

You wanna know a secret? Well, perhaps it isn't exactly the best-kept one, but I'll reveal it anyway: my hair is my life. Before you can even doubt what I've just declared, my short, chocolate-coloured locks are my heartbeat, keeping the blood flowing just like my heart does. When my mane gets itself into a knotted tangle, a heart attack - filled with nightmares of pulling the knot out painfully - occurs until the drama cools down. All in all, my hair is a love affair that never seems to find a way of ending; even when I'm in my most distracted state, thinking about or styling my glorious locks drags me out of a daydream.

Still, I'm not really the only girl to cherish her hair like an It-girl adores a Chanel handbag, am I? Adolescence has blessed me with a passion for taking care of my mane, which I wear with more pride than one clad in a figure-fitting dress (though I would never have the heart to say 'no' to!). Now that I'm more than old enough to style my hair myself, I'm hardly ever short of opportunities to play with it, providing endless hours of pleasure as I experiment with new looks.

However, that doesn't stop me from wishing that I could be a bit more imaginative with my hair style which mostly depends on whether it is during term-time or the holidays. Since receiving a pair of crimpers at Christmas, I've been transporting myself to the 80s' on multiple occasions by injecting a bit of life in my naturally dead-straight (and, in my opinion, slightly boring) hair, which gives me quite a unique look. The result? My hair develops a thicker texture which enables it to stay relatively grease-free for another day - as all straight-haired beauties will at one point or another discover, is a curse!

Ah, I've lost count over the amount of times that I've wasted on simply moaning about greasy hair, which has affected my life for so many years and blah, blah, blah. Already, I can tell that you've stopped listening to me - as if I'm surprised! Anyway, having to contend with as much grease as deep-fried chicken on your head is significantly tougher than writing a Sociology essay because, no matter how hard you fight against it, nature has a brilliantly devastating way of winning the battle. Sometimes, you have to force yourself to accept nature for what it is, a word of which my mum possibly wouldn't be pleased to read about on here, but you get the message, right?

Therefore, getting my crimpers was a revelation - how was it possible that I had not encountered them sooner? Like magic, my hair would increase in volume and be full of bounce which, if I just stuck to using my straighteners, would have been borderline impossible. Sure, I might have looked like a cross between a human and a poodle when I used the crimpers for the first few times, but I easily adapted my look, which has become my go-to style for school. Instead of tying my relatively short hair into a ponytail which, within a few hours, would tend to fall apart, I can leave my hair down. Although I see the benefits of ponytails - especially for when a heatwave dominates the atmosphere during the hot-and-sticky summer - I much prefer leaving my hair loose because it looks more natural, whereas I get quite obsessive about tying every single hair (big and small) in a ponytail. Seriously, I'm known to stress out big time if I find a hair sticking out in a ponytail, which gives me an excuse to choke on five minute-long squirts of hair spray to stick it down!

Yet, like most things, crimping isn't immune from the negative thinker within me, which has been alerted to a problem or two. For one thing, I have to make sure that spray plenty of mousse onto my hair before crimping it because the crimpers get pretty hot, increasing the risk of my hair being dried out from the high heat. Luckily, I haven't had this problem, but I'm wary nonetheless - once your hair gets damaged, the amount of effort you put in to redeem its former healthy glory is enormous, isn't it? As if I have time to stare at my reflection in the mirror any more than I currently do...

Despite the dangers, I crimp my hair around three to four times a week and, apart from Fridays (as I go to Zumba in the evening and wash my sweaty hair the following day, I can't be bothered to devote nearly half an hour to crimping it like a pro), I hardly bother straightening it. After years of complaining of my 'boring' and 'lifeless' straight hair, I'm relishing a new look which has given me a fresh identity - and plenty of fun! Sometimes, I fancy the idea of leaving my hair in its natural state, but crimping presents more freedom - in terms of how I can style my hair - than straighteners can.

Besides, I get a kick out of looking different in a class packed with straight-haired girls, whose desire to suppress their individuality shields their naturally beautiful hairstyles. I find nothing wrong with curls, waves or straight locks: if that is what nature gives us, let's celebrate it! But copying the same hairstyle does wind me up because it's as though only look is acceptable, and others are looked down upon for expressing their diversity. Maybe I had enough of blending into a crowd - albeit with little effort - which might have pushed me into crimping my hair, just for the sake of making a statement. Anyway, who cares? Whenever I get bored with crimping, I'll simply return to my straighteners or, if I can be bothered to style it for over an hour, my curlers!

Lastly, I have many years ahead of me to experiment with various tools, gadgets or whatever will be hitting the shelves in the future, but crimping appears to be my go-to style at the moment. Quick, effortless and, in a slight way, similar to straightening, I enjoy getting a glimpse into how I would have looked had I been born in the 80s. Still, as a lover of the decade, I'm definitely not complaining!

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Controlling Pre-Performance Panic (Badly)

Oh. My. Gosh. At this very moment, I am trembling in shock, shaking more furiously than the most energetic dancer you could ever lay your eyes on. Deep down, I just know that panic will be pulsing through me at any moment before I have to try myself to stifle tiny, cat-like screams. Or, to be more accurate, yowls of terror.

Can it really be a day away? All this planning, preparation and practise is on the verge of being done away with by the end of the tomorrow -  and I'm thrust into the spotlight with absolutely nowhere to hide. What if the worst comes to the worst and I fluff my lines, landing myself in a pool of embarrassment deeper than the Black Sea? The shame of standing on a pitch black stage with an audience staring at me in wonder, unable to comprehend my epic fail (which might even trend on Twitter for all I know) from which I'll be unable to escape in a hurry. And don't even get me started on my fear of falling off the the stage which, compared to the hall beneath it, is as menacing as Mount Everest...

OK, do you get what I mean? Tomorrow is going to be a very important day for me. No kidding. For the first time in my life, I'm actually going to be getting on a stage and act, somewhat to the extent that my life - and actual GCSE grade - depends on it. So, fancy slipping your feet into my shoes in the next twenty four hours or so? Nah, didn't think so!

Ever since January, my Performing Arts class and I have been working on a play that, along with other year groups, we will perform in front of our families and fellow students (who, let's face it, are more likely to video the hilarious bits for YouTube to screen). Originally, our performance was supposed to have been held at the end of last term, but it was pushed back to the beginning of March which, to my surprise, has suddenly arrived. Like all the things we half look forward to and half dread, tomorrow's performance has gradually crept up on me, but its significance has hit me particularly hard in the past week as my class has held the last few rehearsals and we've started to prepare ourselves for what will happen tomorrow night.

For anybody who has ever performed in more than their primary school's nativity, getting up on stage, switching into a different character and acting like millions of parents aren't staring at you is tough. Personally, I don't see why we shouldn't receive medals for our outstanding bravery - without a doubt, it's certainly braver than attempting to increase the speed on a treadmill, isn't it? However, our awards are slightly different to that: they are marks that will contribute to our overall GCSE grade. So, all fantasies of giggling like a hysterical toddler on stage are automatically destroyed, unless I like the idea of getting a U in my coursework. And, obviously, my panic alone isn't worth a U, is it?

Although my coursework marks mean a tremendous amount to me, what matters most at the moment is actually remembering the few lines that I have. Unlike some of the words uttered by the other characters, mine can't really afford to be messed up; in fact, I say mine whilst standing at the very front of the stage, personally addressing the audience. As much as I want to see them, my brain will turn into a pile of lumpy, mashed potato-like mush if I dare to lock eyes with my family! Also, to my misfortune, my brother will be there, who takes advantage of any opportunity to laugh out loud, but I hope that he will know better than to do so about me!

Besides from my lines, I'm also participating as an extra in at least half of the scenes, which involves quick costume changes. Ugh, how I've grown to hate slipping out of jumpers, cardigans and blazers in the past two days alone - the floor, covered in heaps of clothing, look like a disaster zone! Had I known about the many costume changes. perhaps I would've thought twice about taking part in so many scenes because I'm notorious for being slow when getting changed. Really, nobody can blame for getting up at the crack of dawn in the mornings; it takes me about five minutes to slip my legs into a pair of tights!

Still, I realise that, sooner or later, I am going to perform because that is what the GCSE requires - and I've got a year to go until I hold my final performance, so I hope that I'll be bursting with confidence long before then! I simply couldn't have imagined being able to do something as courageous as this a year ago, which makes me so pleased about how far I've progressed within a few months. Performing Arts is renowned for boosting your confidence: albeit gradually, I'm starting to understand that, which is definitely having a positive effect on me!

Oh well, I might as well practise my lines before I take it easy for the evening. Like everyone in showbiz, let's hope that I break a leg, though not literally!