Friday, 31 October 2014

It All Began a Year Ago...

...When I logged onto Blogger on a chilly, very dark October night, slowly dying from boredom as cheap horror films dominated the TV. Halloween - and its spookiness - was hanging heavily in the air but, unlike the year before, it didn't thrill me; by then, my love of plastic bats, black clothing and gothically plum lipstick had ended its decade-long phase.

Desperate to escape the constant re-runs of Treehouse of Horror, an idea popped into my head, presenting itself like a bright and chirpy pitch on Dragons Den minus the cash-rich human dragons. A few years before, I used to run a blog which was solely dedicated to my old cats, the wannabe supermodel Tom and mother hen Jerry. As an imaginative eleven year old, I would spend my free time by writing about their adventures (which rarely travelled beyond the garden) and amusing habits (a cat eating a banana, anyone?). Then, once I was absorbed into the world of high-end fashion, I forgot about it, hence a halt to my blogging activities.

Why blogging entered my thoughts at that particular moment still baffles me as much as the weirdness surrounding Twin Peaks; some things, even those completely unrelated to red curtains and creepy dancing, never make sense. Anyway, desperation got the better of me: blogging was obviously more appealing than paying attention to hungry trick-or-treaters or glancing out the rain-streaked window.

Within minutes, an account - this one in the name of LikeATeen, in reference to Madonna's virginal 80s' hit which I couldn't stop singing along to - was created, before I got down to business. Though I did not realise it at the time, that business was destined to form part of a landmark moment that, a year on, would find itself being spoken about and fondly remembered. And, to recycle a heavily over-used cliche, the rest was history. Need I say more?

Today marks 365 days since I launched Life as a Modern Teen, a year of which has moved at such rapid speed that one foot is still standing in Halloween 2013. I've had my fair share of ups and downs within this time, yet I've gotten through it and become a stronger person because of it. Does it not strike you as amazing that we possess the ability to progress over such a period of time? I'm a year older (albeit unfortunately not even an inch taller!), bursting with more wisdom that I've borrowed and gained from my travels, yet one thing has remained the same: running this blog.

Since LAAMT came into existence, I've faced up to plenty of changes which, as documented in previous entries, have not necessarily guaranteed a simple transition. Of course, life is about change and age grants us the maturity to deal with it effectively, yet certain things did surprise me - as if I could have contained my shock!

For example, I counted down the days to The Big Move at the end of March, which left me no internet connection for three days. As you would have expected, writing about the events surrounding the move was my number one priority as soon as I had access to the internet - I never felt happier when I managed to blog once again!

Several weeks after I settled into a normal routine, I had to acknowledge the fact that, after being educated at home for seven years, it was time to return to school. Making that decision wasn't easy at all because, deep down, I didn't want to give up home-schooling, but there was little choice because of my approaching GCSEs.

At the beginning of June, I found myself attending the local village secondary school, walking into a new, very strange environment for the first time. And well... You know the rest. Recent entries describe how I really feel about the situation, some issues of which are currently on-going. Yet writing about it is my form of therapy: I calm down, look at the problems with a different perspective, and am able to release the stress that would otherwise eat me up if I bottled it up.

In all honesty, I treat this blog like a diary because it is one of those places where I can let my hair down, have a good time and be myself. Whilst stuck in a restrictive environment such as school, I feel so out of place that, by the time that I get home, I undergo a massive personality transformation. Words are my shields and keep me safe from harm whenever I open my mouth - or, whilst online, I type on a keyboard!

Therefore, all that I want to say is that I hope to still be reminiscing over the good times on this day next year, and the anniversaries keep on coming. Blogging is a passion, which I must constantly feed - there shall definitely be more of it!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Shopping, Shopping, Shopping

On the off-chance that you were curious as to my recent whereabouts, I have not actually disappeared off the face of earth (though, during seriously difficult times of struggle with my oh-so-irritating brother, I wish so), but have in fact been spending most of my time in either a car, high speed train or traipsing through a shopping centre that is more packed than a bag of crisps.

For me, shopping is the head of the Royal Family because I worship its highness and regard it as a special treat, which grants me the opportunity to indulge in bags of clothes - the height of luxury. Not only do I appreciate each shopping trip - whether with my family or friends - but I anticipate it with heartfelt excitement, my personality reverting in that of a young child counting down the days to Christmas. If I've been saving my pocket money for a while, I'm like a bottle of champagne about to pop: I need to release the energy which is bubbling beneath the airtight cap, swimming in a sea of fizzy giddiness.

However, the most important matter of all is discovering that special place which you can rely on to ease those itch-like cravings to open your purse, grab some notes and hear the tills sing as you get your hands on a new, perfect purchase. If not, how can you achieve the maximum pleasure from an activity which millions of women - and men - adore?

Ever since I moved to the village-in-the-middle-of-nowhere over half a year ago, my experiences with shopping centres have been very few and far between - because, unlike where I used to live, I have absolutely no idea where they are located. Or which are the best ones catering to my shopping (especially of the addictive kind) needs.

In fact, the very first shopping centre that I'd visited in more than a year was only checked out several weeks ago, shortly after the new school year began: I sacrificed one of my two weekend lie-ins in order to explore a supposedly new (translated: refurbished) shopping centre based in the nearest city, in the hope of being bedazzled by the just-opened H&M store, the first of its kind to be launched in my county. Compared to the one that I used to go to in my former country - which, according to Wikipedia, is one of the largest in Europe, let alone England - this one was quite disappointing and lacked a special sparkle that used to define shopping as my favourite activity.

Let me rephrase that: the ultimate activity. The sort of hobby for which you would rid all other plans in your diary, getting starry-eyed over the thought of having a six-inch sub at Subway with your healthy eating fanatic mum's permission. Everything else that you do - watching Simpsons marathons in your most embarrassing pyjamas on a Sunday afternoon, kicking a ball about in the park or even being let loose in the sweets' aisle at the supermarket - could be easily defined as boring if compared to the fun, care-free and downright rewarding activity like shopping.

Shopping is our Queen, whereas online purchases are its ladies-in-waiting. Once you get a taste for it, there is no turning back.

Therefore, finding the special place where most or all of your favourite shops are located is a job more important than, for example, completing MyMaths homework (which, even with dodgy scores, doesn't share a spot in the same superior league as shopping). Until yesterday afternoon, I was still drifting from place to place, never really settling on one idea to try out a certain centre or city. Yet luck had prepared several plans for me in the form of meeting up with some old friends of mine yesterday, where we decided to go to a massive shopping centre in a city roughly around forty miles away.

After spending so much time throwing myself into the task of searching, I believe that I've found it - my equivalent of a secret garden, loaded with fast-food chains, rails loaded with cut-price clothing and luxuriously large department stores - at long last.

Minutes after I entered the centre, my head was firmly stuck in a daze: like a baby gazing into the scene lying before it for the first time, I was looking at everything at all angles. Lights shining like a sparklers bore onto me; glass windows created so elegantly established an up-market feeling; and rows upon rows of shops invited me with their enthusiastic greetings, giving sneak peeks into what existed inside their private spaces.

Although walking into such a lively and buzzing place was initially such an alien feeling, it took hardly any space of time until I eased into the atmosphere, and felt as comfortable as one does in their home. As many girls may experience, shopping is such a natural action and, once you embrace the environment in which you are doing it, going from one shop to another can be as easy as walking into your living room: your reflexes don't think twice about it.

And once you establish your territory - needless to say, H&M was my go-to-place - nothing stands in your way of getting down to business. In other words, only fellow shoppers pose potential barriers as you leap from one side of a shop to the other, looking at the clothes surrounding you like a crowd. My heart beat like a speeding car when presented with tables and rails of clothes which, as soon as they were lying in front of me, screamed 'me, me, me!' , begging to be adopted and worn to death by a potential owner. Unsurprisingly, it didn't take long until I gave into weakness - ah, the perils of temptation! - and found myself carrying plenty of clothes and accessories in my hands, dangerously close to running out of hands to hold onto my prized jewels.

As much as I enjoy buying online - easy is perhaps the most over-used word to describe it, but it truly hits the nail on the head - there is a certain magic about walking into a shop and purchasing stuff there-and-then, before taking it home to you. Shops don't drive you around the bend if you are waiting on a delivery to arrive, a problem which affects all shoppers - myself being no exception - at one point or another. Besides, I get a greater kick out of it if I do it every now and then because I perceive it as a treat, not a run-of-the-mill trip like the one you usually take to the supermarket every week. Yesterday was definitely the highlight of the week and will remain a memory to cherish, especially as I shared it with some friends whom I hadn't seen in a while - including one who I last saw at the age of eight!

Now that I've discovered the Chosen One, shopping will take the form of an attractively wrapped present which, once opened, unveils plenty of goodies that maximize my pleasure - and re-establish shopping as the thing to do.

Otherwise, what kind of fashion-obsessed girl would I be? Don't even go there!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Why I Worship H&M

Throughout life, we have been given the pleasure of either witnessing or finding out about the greatest love stories which, like a Disney tale, we completely take to heart. Will we either forget about the love that Romeo and Juliet shared together before their untimely deaths, or even the news stations which sizzled like electricity at the peak of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart's romantic relationship several years ago?

Let's face it: we love love, whether we have fallen into its gracious arms or are intrigued by somebody else's personal affairs. However, love doesn't always present itself in the form of kisses, hugs and all the pleasure that takes place in the sauciest of Hollywood films: it can also be extended to our interests with which, as kind-hearted creatures, we are capable of creating a relationship entangled in passion, excitement and, perhaps without needing to declare it, love.

Love doesn't only exist among two people; it can be focused to another object, regardless of whether it will give it back to you. Sometimes, love might only be felt on one side because the other doesn't have access to emotions - for example, do you really expect that 60 inch Smart TV to give you a hug, despite you loving it so?

We can experience love by replenishing our needs which, in my case, relates to my shopping ones. Especially of the H&M kind.

For several years, I have been a devoted fan of Nordic (or, to be more specific, Swedish) clothing which, as always, must be bought from one of the most famous clothing retailers in the world: H&M. Renowned for its pocket-friendly, yet good ethics policies, H&M is my equivalent of the Queen: I bow and curtsy whenever visiting a store or accessing its website because, in my eyes, it is the height of royalty. Piles of regal-looking clothes adorn the modern shops, whilst my head is caught in a whirlpool of giddiness as I gaze at the latest collections online. If H&M is the Head of State, I am its loyal, humble (and shop-obsessed) servant: a role which I take very seriously.

In case you are bewildered as to why I've suddenly lost my mind and morphed into such a style-conscious creature, it is about time to take a trip down memory lane where my fashion journey - towards success, of course - began.

Before I first encountered H&M, I had recently been introduced to fashion, where my knowledge didn't really go further beyond the realms of Chanel and Dior which, unsurprisingly, were my fantasy choice of shops. For hours, I would lose track of time by simply pouring over pictures of breath-taking outfits in the high-end fashion magazines, wondering how creations so beautiful could ever be worn by a twelve year old girl like myself. That side of fashion was a fantasy which stood very little chance of being lived in an ordinary English town where tracksuits (with three or more toothpaste-esque stripes symbolized your upper status), flesh-baring crop tops and scruffy Converse-wannabe trainers were the locals' take on Versace's latest collection. If I wanted to be stylish, I needed a major wake-up call in realism - otherwise I would never awake from dreams of haute couture gowns!

With a purse loaded with a week's worth of pocket money gripped in my hand, I plunged myself into the shallowest end that could be found in the vast pool of fashion: the cheaper-than-cheap shops. Partly due to the lack of selection available in my town and my ambition to keep costs low, I started a love affair with the likes of New Look and Primark - whose names are literally tattooed on some teenagers' heads - which ended quicker than one of Harry Styles' many romances.

Primark lasted a mere half an hour while I visited a store at the age of eleven, initially amazed with the cheap prices but poor quality and little selection of half-decent styles. Although I did buy one top, my satisfaction turned into full-blown horror after it began to fall apart when during its first wash - needless to say, I learnt a lesson that was more valuable than the shop's entire stock!

As for New Look, I clung a little tighter in the hope that my faith would be redeemed at one point - even now, memories of heartfelt elation when I made my first purchase before Christmas are as rich as ever - but my interest slowly slid away, finally realizing that my initial little-girl excitement that used to fill me like a glass of Coca Cola was not going to be resurrected. Besides, New Look shared several qualities with Primark - the least of all being the short life of its clothing, which resulted in most of my purchases being chucked out to a car boot sale within months of buying (and wasting my money on) them.

Losing hard-earned cash on clothes that, from a distance, looked great but displayed a slight cheapness up close is a horrible feeling that dawns upon you after one purchase too many. Though years of pocket money have since recompensated from what I used to spend at those shops, I cannot help but feel annoyed at myself for making several unwise decisions as an eleven or twelve year old. Ah, if only I'd met H&M - my saviour - a bit sooner, and my woes would never have been so great!

Anyway, my first experience with H&M was shortly before one Christmas, back in the days when I would rob my whole family of their opportunity to access the internet whilst acting on one of my 'shopping-comes-first' moments. Having heard the name before - but not knowing a single thing about it - I logged onto its just-launched website, and browsed its ranges. And, without exaggerating too much, I was amazed - stylish, teen-friendly (in the adults' range) surrounded me from every angle, crying to be added to my wardrobe!

Within seconds, I was drawn towards a baby pink top with puffed sleeves (thought definitely not à la Dynasty), the sight of which made me backtrack on a decision to cut out pink clothing. As it was nearing Christmas time, I added the top to my Christmas list - and, until around a year ago, I was still wearing it, albeit in a different style to how I used to wear it as an eleven year old. Not bad for a top that only cost just under £8 - no kidding! Several years on, the top was still as soft as when I ripped open the packaging on Christmas Day, which was the base of a life-changing epiphany for me: spending little doesn't always mean that you get little back.

Think of the German supermarkets Aldi and Lidl which, despite their rock-bottom prices, have established solid reputations for their high quality products that don't break the bank. If they can do it, why should it be impossible in the world of fashion? Of course, H&M do sell some expensive stuff, such as leather handbags or pieces created in a collaboration with a well-known designer (remember Versace? How I would have loved to have gotten my hands on the dresses!), but the majority of their clothing are accessible to the likes of a budget conscious teenager, who still gains plenty from the styles. H&M lives up to those dreams that would dominate my sleeping hours when fashion first took my world by storm: I might not spend too much money on what I buy, but I'm not short-changed.

Besides, most of the stuff that I buy (typically on the internet, as I don't necessarily have the time to visit the just-opened store in the nearest city) are discounted, as were the majority of the order that I placed yesterday which, in less than two months' time, will be resting underneath the Christmas tree. A self-confessed bargainista, my eyes light up like a Jack-A-Lantern if I encounter a sale, which can be smelt from a far distance away - even the internet is no exception! Also, H&M usually offers its online customers a discount code, which knocks several pounds off the total sum of an order, or suddenly discounts a certain range (right now is coats, scarves, gloves and hats) come Monday morning. Talk about a decent way of treating its loyal subjects - a.k.a. me!

Last Christmas, I adored H&M to the extent that I even splashed on a copy of The Sims 2: H&M Fashion Stuff game, which offered my Sims the opportunity to shop in H&M stores and wear their amazing clothes. As you are probably thinking, my only video game must feature H&M in one form or another! Still, it did nicely spice up my game...

Love comes in many forms, yet is equally important whether it lies among people, interests, objects or indeed clothing retailers. I will make no secret of it: I love H&M. And, as I show off the great garments that sit proudly in my wardrobe, I'm proud of it. Well, wouldn't any fashionista say so?

Sunday, 26 October 2014

All Hail the Christmas List Contenders

Every Autumn marks a milestone which ignites the annual excitement that spreads like the warming heat from a burning fire, sending elation (along with the unwelcome addition of impatience) into overdrive: writing my Christmas list. 

A joy that has never quite lost its edge as I've gotten older, I gain plenty of pleasure from simply writing several potential gifts - in the form of an Excel document, of course - onto my list, acting on inspiration whenever it takes me. While some traditions have been given up over the years - as if a Youth Dew-wearing teenager can truly get away with visiting Santa Claus, despite the promise of receiving a 'free' gift (courtesy of your parents' wallets) - constructing my list around this time of year never gets boring, and remains a tradition which I happily embrace. 

October is the perfect time of year that I can take a break from doing my chores, work and the like in order to think about what I want: exactly suiting the needs of a self-obsessed teen! At this point, I no longer hide my head in shame if caught browsing Amazon in search of a library load of books which could be found wrapped underneath the Christmas tree several months on - everyone, including myself, are all for a slight dose of self-indulgence come Christmas time! 

Since hitting the two-months-to-go milestone yesterday, Christmas has been playing more and more on my mind as the need to complete my list has strengthened overnight, becoming quite an irritating itch that not the reliable Sudacrem can sooth. Until I've sorted out this must-be-done-soon task, Christmas won't cease to exist in my thoughts because I cannot bear to ignore something which, in my world, is absolutely important. 

Although plenty of people - if not the majority of the population - leave their Christmas shopping until the last minute, this is definitely not how I like to function, especially when it comes to such a busy season - cue a potential strike from some grumpy-faced postmen! Like my consumption of chocolate, purchasing my Christmas presents early is a habit which I can't bring myself to break: nor will my parents allow it! In fact, my mum and dad are now telling me to get a move on with sorting out my list, even though it is in far better condition than my brother's. which literally contains a Playstation and nothing else. 

As these instructions play on my mind like a soap opera storyline, it is about time that I stop procrastinating and commence my mission, in which I aspire to gain plenty of LikeATeen-approved gifts that will put a massive smile on my face come the morning of 25th December. Yet one thing begs the question: what will those presents be? Hmm, maybe I will embark on a journey to determine what I'll be unwrapping in 59 days' time - and what I will certainly not including on my list!

The Disaster Presents

An expert in what you might consider as ghastly disasters, I am the go-to person if you want to find out what you should not give to an ashen-faced teenager at Christmas, unless you get a hit out of becoming their arch-nemesis - I doubt that is a likely possibility!

Everybody, unless you are the Queen, have received a dodgy gift at one point or another and, if we even bother with politeness, we plaster on the sickliest smile after unwrapping a gift that will end up at the charity shop the following day. Whether this is a ritual that all children go through, I really don't know, but isn't it strange that we do experience these embarrassing and oh-so-awkward moments, especially at such a jolly time like Christmas? 

As great as it is to use common sense whilst picking presents for teenagers, I realize that there are times when you - and perhaps young adults themselves - don't know whether a gift will receive a flood of heartfelt 'thank yous' or the stomach-churning eye-roll/'why-the-hell-have-you-given-this-to-me?' look. 

Personally, adults should avoid purchasing CDs for their children unless they have been specifically asked to purchase one because, nine times of ten, it could result in a major fail. For example, would a heavy metal lover raise a grin after opening a copy of Katy Perry's Prism? Unless they have a secret penchant for Dark Horse, I doubt it!

Clothes can sometimes be disastrous if no attention is paid to personal style, size, practicality or even the brand; wearing Primark is more than a few pegs below Juicy Couture! Girls are perhaps known as the fussier ones compared to the more laidback boys, yet the only piece of clothing that my parents can buy for my brother is a Chelsea kit - everything else is off-limits! Still, you can't really go wrong if you pay attention to your teenage daughter's subtle hint about that party-perfect dress from her favourite clothing shop... 

And, for old times' sake, do not make the legendary mistake of buying gifts aimed at kids for teenagers. Just don't. Colouring-in sets, toys (albeit a Kiss-themed Hello Kitty plush is an exception) and cat-themed jigsaw puzzles (even the hugest cat lover like me reserved little passion for the most boring game known to mankind) are among the gifts that teenagers will never forgive you for - it could go down in history! 

My Kind of Gifts

BaByliss 2165BU Pro Crimper 210, 
£19.99 at Amazon

Forever obsessed with the appearance, texture and cleanliness of my hair, it is no wonder that I'm also conscious about the style of it: to date, I currently have one curling wand, a set of rollers and the fabulous Curl Secret that was on the top of my Christmas list last year. 

Having what I've usually regarded as straight 'n' boring hair, I have been on the lookout for various tools that will transform my look - typically in the form of curling. Before I got my first curling wand at the age of eleven, I truly thought that curling would revolutionize my life and banish the boring title to which my hair was attached. 

Although I loved the results that curling offered me, there were several problems that I encountered, such as
  • There was absolutely no way that I could curl my hair in a hurry (e,g. before school) because I would need to devote at least an hour to curling every single strand of hair on my head. As much as I love my hair, spending longer than half-an-hour on styling it struck me as excessive!
  • If used too frequently, my hair would dry out and its texture would be similar to a stack of hay: deprived of any moisture or softness. 
  • Whenever I used the Curl Secret, my hair would get tangled if I dared to place large pieces all at once, which meant that I would have to curl smaller pieces - therefore taking more time! 
Besides, I wanted to give another style a go, so I was instantly drawn to these crimpers whilst browsing on Amazon (where else?) several weeks ago. 

Perfect for straight hair, these crimpers give your hair a unique texture without robbing you of too much time to achieve the desired look. This means that, instead of relying on straighteners each morning, I could crimp my hair before going school! 

Also, OCD won't get the better of me if I didn't crimp every single section of hair, unlike curling it which would look like a mess if I forgot to curl the back or wherever. Crimping looks simple, fast and cool at the same time - easiness without the hassle!

'Spoilt' Jumper
£5.99, H&M

This jumper has a leopard print pattern - my most adored print of all time - and includes the word which defines clothes-obsessed teenagers. Sure, I might not necessarily deserve a reminder of it, but this is clothing at its very finest - at cut-throat prices! 

Me spoilt? Never. If I'm wearing this jumper? Oh yes!

Pop Art Clutch Bag
£9.99, New Look
Multicoloured Pop Art Zip Top Clutch | New Look
A secret lover of pop art, I nearly fell head over heels when I saw this clutch bag because of its quirkiness and very eye-catching appeal. 

I've never had a clutch bag before - having believed that they are too formal to be carried at other times apart from parties and special occasions - but this one could be used at any time: it's definitely the kind of bag I'd introduce to my expanding collection!

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...