Sunday, 6 March 2016

Little Miss Stressed

Over the past few days, I have transformed into something which, in many ways, terrifies me as much as growing so much body hair that could suggest that I'm turning into a werewolf (which, before you get any super crazy ideas, I'm NOT): a human stressball. As squeaky and compressed as a football, stress has been playing an even greater role in my life of late which, for the record, I am not at all happy about - in fact, the very fact that I'm as close as a new driver skirting dangerously near a motorway to losing control of my erratic emotions scares me in more ways than mere words could explain. 

Well, I suppose that everyone who has ever been exposed to stress - either in safe or worryingly toxic levels - will know that it simply doesn't appear out of nowhere like a sale on the H&M website, which leads me to asking the all-important question: what is causing me to freak out like a toddler being introduced to their so-called 'friend' (albeit secret nemesis), broccoli? To put it bluntly, exams and work (which Rihanna sang about perfectly in her recent single, providing a bit of mid-week amusement during her performance at the BRIT Awards) are dragging me down a slippery slope towards panic and hysteria at the moment. 

Hmm, not very surprising, is it? As my first exam is set to take place NEXT month - cue the threatening-looking capitals being used to emphasise this vital fact - I absolutely cannot escape the truth that my future will be determined by how I perform in my eighteen-odd examinations, which are now weeks, instead of oh-so-distant months, away. 

OK, you might argue that getting consumed by a bit of stress is perfectly natural - albeit unlike Kylie Jenner's lips, I must add - because it symbolises how seriously I take my exams, which should only serve as a means of motivating me until the bloody and gory end. In an ideal word, perhaps I would believe in such an ethos because stress never fails to remind me of what my priorities are - in which revising algebraic fractions is more important than catching up on The Vampire Diaries on a Sunday evening - and has actually helped me when my focus and determination have been urgently required. 

For example, I had one of my actual exams - this for my English Language GCSE (technically iGCSE if you want its specific title, but qualifications are qualifications, right?) - earlier this week which, as a speaking and listening assessment, accounted for 20% of my overall marks which, despite not sounding like an awful lot, could make the difference between an A or A* - the buzzword of the year that I've been worshipping like a Belieber paying tribute to their favourite singer (needn't say who he is). As I've got such high expectations of myself, in addition to the pressure of achieving the six B grades that will hopefully land me a place at my first-choice sixth form, I really wanted to do as well as I possibly could in my exam - and, to my heartfelt relief, I did! Bagging 30/30 within the space of ten minutes, I have paved further way to the success that will land on my feet in August: a dream that is showing greater promise of coming true. 

So, as you may be wondering, why am I mentioning this? Well, if it wasn't for getting a little bit stressed out about perfecting my speech and tone whilst speaking, I probably would never have achieved a good mark, let alone all of the ones that I managed to achieve. This simply goes to show that, in small doses (and I'm not kidding when I specifically say 'small'!), stress can be beneficial - an advantage that I'm currently struggling to get onto my side. 

Once again, the Book of Reason is making an appearance, explaining why stress seems to be hell-bent on driving me around the bend at a time when I absolutely don't need it - along with every other teenager across the country who should be working hard in anticipation of their upcoming examinations. For months, I've been fighting for my right to concentrate and focus in my lessons at school because disruption has been taking control. From people tossing pens (one of which 'accidentally' flew onto my head the other day) to noise levels in lessons being as loud as a KISS concert, I face a battle to pay attention to my work on a daily basis which, from time to time, I find emotionally draining. 

Thus, I relish every second I spend at home in between my time outside of the house - peace radiates through the walls, providing me with the most relaxing environment that I could ever dream of having whilst indulging in my studying needs (unless one of my four cats decides to hold a conversation with me while I'm answering an exam question, that is!). In fact, I've grown increasingly nostalgic over my years spent as a 'home-schooler' recently because it is only now that I've become to appreciate how lucky I was to work in peace for the best part of seven years; this time two years ago, never could I have visualised how noisy and disruptive a school environment would be!

Until my upcoming exams are over, I would be quite happy to reside in one of those nature retreats where nobody talks or makes any noise though, unless I happen to find a briefcase piled with thousands of hundred pound notes any time soon, my chances of escaping the daily noises (which certainly contributes to hassle) for a short while are remarkably slim. Still, I've just got to address stress whenever it appears, instead of fighting against it - at the end of the day, I wasn't born to become a boxer, so why fight against the things which cannot be fought? Well, I guess that stress can be fought, yet I tend to do so in a way where I ignore its presence, which is NOT GOOD whatsoever!

At least I'm making some progress in terms of subduing my stress, which is definitely helped by writing about it. Oh my gosh, I absolutely cannot stand the fact that I haven't written anything or blogged for ages, yet time just seems to be eaten away like a male adolescent chomping down on a Big Mac; there is never enough of it! Hm, perhaps a little for searching around for mini packets of Oreo biscuits whenever cravings seize hold of my senses, but I could try a bit harder in relation to my writing duties...

Oreos or not, I'm already feeling a bit less stressed - by starting a conversation about it. 

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Releasing My Half-Term Rant

At. Long. Last. Half-term is here!!!

Like a six year old enduring the sweetest sugar high that one can only dream of experiencing, I'm somewhat bouncing off the walls because of the very fact that I have one delightful week away from early starts, packed lunches (as there are only so many times that I can gaze at a box of dry-as-paper raisins without wanting to cry!) and homework.

OK, my physical movements might not necessarily reflect my oh-so-energetic feelings, but undoubtedly I'm over the moon that a single week of relaxation (albeit to a certain extent) has been offered to me like one winning the Lottery jackpot, which I'm so grateful for! To be honest, simply having the opportunity to paint my nails a startlingly bold shade of black is more than enough to set me in an extremely vibrant mood because, on one of a few occasions, I honestly feel like myself again; instead of being clad in a uniform that I neither like (as the skirt I have to wear truly resembles baggy curtains, which is clearly a major fashion faux pas) nor feel comfortable in, I'm free to wear as much make-up, skinny jeans and indeed eye-popping nail varnishes as my heart desires for a couple of days, which I'll certainly make the most of.

Without a doubt, the seemingly 'insignificant' things in life truly make a difference and, with a matter of weeks instead of hundreds of months until the living hell that is my exam period is finally over, I know better than to take anything for granted.

Consequently, my upcoming exams are to blame for my rather quiet stance on the blogging front of late, which frustrates me far more than any half-teary-eyed apologies could ever convey because I constantly need to keep on top of my numerous priorities and responsibilities - a role that, at times, I would be quite relieved to scream au revoir to like a celebrity throwing a hissy fit on the red carpet. Therefore, I can't always indulge in the activities that my heart aches to participate in - blogging included - because, while I'm still up to my eyeballs in thousands of revision cards and past exam questions, my job remains unfinished and will stay so until approximately half ten on the morning of Friday 17th June, which will signal the very end of my exams and time at my current school. Even at this present time, the faintest thought of that day fills me with more delight than a half-litre bottle of Pepsi Max ever could - such positivity injects a much-needed boast of morality during the difficult moments in which I occasionally ask myself whether all of my suffering has been worth it.

Well, to put it bluntly, my suffering is not yet over and, in some ways, is only going to worsen over this next week; not at all helped or supported by an astonishing lack of leadership at my school! Upon receiving a revision timetable to fill in with my exam dates earlier this week, it rather magically dawned on me that my Sociology teacher - who had taken over from my previous one after the summer, who was undoubtedly one of the best and kindest teachers I've had - had not taught my class a single bit of a particular unit that accounts for 60% of the overall marks on the second exam paper.

Considering that ONLY fourteen weeks remain until my two Sociology exams - which, unlike the majority of my subjects, is 100% exam-based - are held, realising that you need to learn a major unit from scratch definitely deserves to create a major panic!!! In fact, I ought to be at a stage where I'm simply revising what I should have already been taught - as is the case in nearly all of my subjects - yet these roles seem to have been reversed. And, to further contribute to my ever-growing fireball of adolescent angst, my teacher was absent from my annual Parent's Evening earlier this week - what an idyllic way of preparing me for my closer-than-ever exams!

While I'm fighting the urge to explode like a volcano and spill my lava - or acid-infused words - all over the ones who lit my anger into a raging inferno, I realise that the only way that I can move forward is working through whatever needs to be done; primarily studying the Sociology unit toute seule which, as I developed an invaluable ability to work independently during my seven years of home-schooling, will hardly faze me. Still, juggling my Sociology studies with revising for another round of mock exams - albeit solely on Maths and English, one of which will take place on a Monday morning over the course of four weeks - and general revision is an unwelcome addition to my endless hassles, especially as it should have never arisen in the first place!

In fact, one of my teachers - Performing Arts - told me at Parent's Evening to relax a bit more because of having already done so much work (this really is not an exaggeration - my 10.500 word essay on Wicked certainly proves so!), which I would absolutely love to do as getting worked up and stressed out is a perfect cocktail for disaster, yet what am I supposed to do if the ones to whom I should apparently 'look up to' let me down? I'm tired of relying on people - particularly teachers who are paid thousands of pounds for knowing what they and their pupils should be doing - when, if I increasingly embraced my home-schooling heritage, I could get on with my work alone.

However, neither I nor any other students in my position should be forced to adopt this attitude, which just reiterates the failures present in the chaotic education system; I only hope that I can enter this sector and improve the problems that are currently destroying the teaching profession like a flesh-eating plague.

Rant over, I'm nonetheless determined to not allow any barriers - especially ones that needn't exist - stop me from achieving my aspirations, which will only improve how deserving I and fellow people like myself are of the success we crave. Besides, I'm looking forward to chilling out by meeting up with an old friend of mine, who I met in primary school around twelve years ago - even just saying that makes me feel so old! Shopping, eating out and chatting about how we're doing is exactly the kind of therapy I need; how I wish that Wednesday was already here!

As the rest of Sunday awaits, I shall be returning to my Sociology studies - which, for the record, isn't that difficult to revise for because it rather relies on the principles of common sense - before crimping my hair, so here's hoping that I won't resemble a gothic poodle in a little while!

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Pre-Birthday Celebrations... Well, Kinda!

So. It's Sunday evening and I'm sitting rather awkwardly on this wooden chair/shoe holder (its specific title has either slipped from my frazzled brain or I've yet to come across it in my dictionary) whilst sniffing the chocolate cake-scented air, which is heavy with the atmosphere that is typical in the hours before a major event.

Such as my 17th birthday which, in four hours' time, will finally arrive, and will mark a further step towards adulthood which, as turning 18 is generally viewed as the all-important milestone in one's life, will be my final birthday before I become an adult - a fact that I really can't get my head around. Well, I might sometimes feel much older than my years (particularly in some of my classes at school where the boys may shout and get carried away with their primary school-inspired humour, while I'm literally resisting the urge to scream at them like a teacher - but then again, wouldn't most girls feel the same?), yet seeing a new and bigger number that represents my age somewhat terrifies me because I'm once again getting further away from the sweet comfort blanket that is childhood, which I sometimes feel slipped too quickly out of my fingers before I could truly appreciate it.

Then again, does everyone take their childhood for granted? While we are living it, such an innocent period in our lives feels eternal and, if you were anything like myself at the age of nine, you would wonder whether you were forever condemned to be assigned to stomach-churning pink clothes and Hannah Montana merchandise (despite detesting it with a passion, skirts with the show's logo still found their way onto my skirts!) because your age dictates as to what levels of sophistication and maturity you can be exposed to.

Even as a youngster, I craved to be older because it symbolised excitement - something that remains present in my extremely long wishlist as it provides a welcome escape from the dramas and hassles of everyday life, which certainly doesn't surprise me when pretty much all of this week has been devoted to finishing my Performing Arts coursework in time for Tuesday! Seriously, you will discover yourself wrapped up in dreams and wishes when piles of panic-inducing coursework land on your lap...

In addition to this, I've been fighting 'the lurgy' - otherwise known as the common cold and awfully sore throat - all week, which kick-started in epic style last Sunday when I struggled to swallow anything without a jolt of agonising pain bolting through my mouth. Ouch. Despite this pain passing, I've also had to contend with the sniffles (thanks to my school switching the heating on full blast while the UK faces its mildest winter in history - whilst turning it off when it is as chilling as torturing your shampooed hair with an ultra cold rinse - and a dreadfully sore throat, which is to blame for my current inability to talk for more than five seconds without sounding like a Dalek whose voice is breaking like that of an male teenager. Not so nice, is it?

Still, the show - or at least my birthday - must go on, especially if an Aero and Revel-adorned chocolate cake will be the star of the show tomorrow after I return from an exhausting day at school where, hopefully, some people will have remembered that it is my birthday. Unlike a number of people in my year, I haven't taken it upon myself to brag about my birthday to the entire world (e.g. every single teenager in the local town via Facebook) because such an occasion is one out of millions of birthdays that take place every day and may not get any recognition, which I find tremendously sad because no one - regardless of gender, sexuality, race or so-called 'class' - should receive more or less attention on the most important day in their lives.

Yet, as a teenager, a bit of attention - of the decent kind, of course - would be welcome, especially as I've always made an effort to say 'Happy Birthday' to anyone whose birthday I knew fell on that day in the past. Nevertheless, I won't shed bucket loads of tears if few people return such polite gestures - at least I know that I possess the strength to not lower myself to such ignorant behaviour!

Birthdays are birthdays, and I'm looking forward to enjoying a peaceful, albeit slightly chocolate-mad one this year. With so much going on at the moment - such as revision, completing remaining bits of coursework (hurrah!) and battling what seems to be a particularly nefarious mutation of the common cold - I've had little time to write about how I'm feeling, which is ironic because my voice is too creaky and weak to speak properly, yet I will make more of an effort in the near future thanks to half-term approaching in a fortnight's time. Yay!

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me... Well, at least writing instead of singing along won't hurt my voice!

Sunday, 3 January 2016

The Late Sunday Night 'Holidays are ending!' Panic

The end is nigh. Or near, whatever 'nigh' is actually supposed to mean, though I don't literally mean the end in the sense that the zombie virus will rapidly mutate and spread like a particularly strong wave of 'Belieber' fever throughout the nation, destroying all that society has long associated with mankind. Hmm. These are exactly the kind of reasons I come up to justify why I deserve far more sleep than I'm currently getting which, for the past fortnight, has transformed me into a somewhat nocturnal creature with deathly pale skin and glistening red lips (thanks to constant applications of Rimmel lipstick, nonetheless) to match my oh-so-scary appearance. 

Even though my casual style might have connotations of Halloween when, technically, it is still Christmas (despite literally 99.9% of the population groaning at the thought of seeing another tub of Celebrations), I suppose that my thoughts have remained focused on Christmas which, as of Tuesday, is over for me. Well, in the sense that I've got the joy of returning to rising out of bed like half-asleep Dracula at six in the morning for the pleasure of revising and studying with a renewed agility at school - a routine that will remain in place until mid-February. Yay. 

Unfortunately, I'm all too aware of the fact that I'll be celebrating my 17th birthday - which, before the thought even dares to pop into your mind, will not entail any driving lessons or half beaten-up cars - in the comfort of the classroom on a freaking MONDAY. *yelps hysterically* And, as is typical with adolescents, I'm as enthusiastic as Garfield the lasagne-devouring cat about facing the first and rather intimidating day of the week; an attitude which I'm nevertheless so sure will guide me through my weekly Maths mock that just so happens to take place every single Monday morning!!!

Oh yeah, please don't assume that those three exclamation marks symbolise my gregarious elation over having the honour of gazing at questions which I truly do not know the answers to just mere hours after emerging from my bed. Really, birthdays and school are a nefarious mixture that only brings horror to all associated parties, let alone the birthday boy or girl. Well, I've figured that I'll do most of my celebrating the weekend before my birthday because a) time won't be limited to just a few hours after coming home from school and b) I won't be in a ten mile radius of a shuttlecock (as badminton, which I swear looks like the HARDEST game I'll ever play in my life, will be taking centre stage in my P.E. lessons in the upcoming term)!

Anyway, my birthday is nowhere in sight for a couple of weeks yet, though the pressure will certainly be placed on my famously indecisive self before I even know it to start looking for potential gifts. Yet another chore that I'm not so thrilled about doing... 

With tomorrow being the very last day in my two week Christmas holiday, I guess that I'm feeling a little bit sorry for myself because having time to relax and remember that my sole purpose in life isn't to achieve A*s like athletes winning gold medals at the Olympics has enabled me to put things into perspective. By that, I'm increasingly feeling more confident about not being seen as 'popular' by my peers who, for the record, are actually a year younger than me: a fact that is sometimes easily forgotten, even though my differences with them is never surprising. So what if people whom I don't particularly like can't be bothered to like my profile picture on Facebook which, to be honest, I only uploaded so that the public can see what I look like and not confuse me with another person who shares my name - definitely not for the purpose of exposing my body in a similar manner to a Page 3 model! Too often, I've been disgusted by the way that quite a few people, namely girls, post selfies which so obviously exploit their, ahem, features so that they can gain a few extra 'likes', which I strongly believe are over-rated and quite a pathetic and meaningless indication of one's so-called 'popularity'. 

You want my honest opinion on popularity? It can go and be blown into millions of little shreds because it means absolutely nothing! Too many teens assume that popularity instantly buys happiness or at least a comfortable seat on the table that so many people at school are dying to sit at, yet it is on a par with liquid foundation: it only conceals the cracks within your persona which, from the angle I've settled myself at, is pretty obvious. In the past few weeks, I've witnessed a group of what the majority of my year would consider to be the It girls - the ones that could possibly win the 'coveted' title of Prom Queen in a few months' time - fall out, for reasons which I don't know and am not at all interested in finding out because it is none of my business (though I wish some people could adopt this philosophy so that they aren't pestering me about my life). Although I've sometimes wished that I could have shared just a little bit of the friendship that these girls had, I realise now that anything could have blown it apart - because popularity is fragile. Why do you think that celebrities such as Britney Spears or Justin Bieber have fallen apart when their fame - the ultimate popularity status - wrecked with their happiness? 

It doesn't matter that so many people before them have made ridiculous and reckless decisions, which should serve as an eternal reminder for how to not lead your lives, yet numerous adolescents nonetheless follow a path towards sacrificing their individuality - as precious and priceless as your virginity, if you really want to appreciate its value - for the sake of fitting in with a crowd of people whom, if they weren't labelled as the popular guys, you don't particularly like. And can that truly be the recipe for happiness? Few things in life are free and, although standing up for your own beliefs might single you out as the 'weirdo' at school, you can hold your head up high and be proud of having such a wise head on your shoulders - besides, the most fascinating people in society are the ones who refuse to conform. There's a reason why the majority of famous people are famous: their talents stand out. As if yours will be if you simply adopt the airs and graces (or lack of) of your 'peers'!

Rant over, I'm more than ready to shrug off the unfairness and inequality that defines school life for the sake of focusing on my exams, the first of which takes place in exactly four months' time. Gulp. Exams are only as terrifying as you make them out to be, yet if I carry on revising and putting in as much effort as I have done for the past year, my only problem will be remembering life without exams by the time they officially finish at approximately ten in the morning on Friday 17th June. Like I wasn't going to remember the date when my summer of freedom and adventure begins!

What else is there to say? I'm looking ahead to a positive year and Tuesday is just the beginnings to a means of an end. Let battle commence!

Friday, 1 January 2016

New Year, New Outlook, New Chances

As of 5.44pm, which is the time when I commenced writing this entry, I have been living in 2016 - a year brimming with possibilities and opportunities for none other than moi, though I do hope that your 2016 shines as brightly too - for seventeen hours and forty-four minutes, which doesn't even account the numerous hours I devoted to sleeping off my late night euphoria in bed this morning. Needless to say, I was rather reluctant to separate myself from sheets of sheer warmth (which definitely counteracts my lizard-like chilliness) at 10.30am, especially when New Year had already come and gone in such a rush!

Still, I wasn't the only person to have been enchanted by the fantastic firework display which brought London and indeed the whole of the UK (if you weren't already dropping off into a slumber by then) to a standstill for ten magical minutes as the nation were blown away by crackles and pops of colourful delights that lit up the city's sky. Moments like those somehow make me believe for a short while that anything is pretty much possible because I suppose that I never really let my expectations become too grand, perhaps in fear of being disappointed: hardly the ideal emotion you want to be experiencing as a new year kicks off.

Nevertheless, I proudly and discreetly maintain my childhood passion for magic which, in recent years, has been boosted by watching spell-binding programmes such as Charmed and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (though Willow's temporary descent into black magic doesn't really represent the kind of magic my heart believes in). Although you might struggle to understand why the likes of Phoebe Halliwell or Willow Rosenburg have to do with New Year celebrations, I think that they fit perfectly. Why? Whenever the New Year approaches, I start to cling to these optimistic beliefs that all of my dreams - including the less realistic ones, such as getting my hands on a Louis Vuitton bag (though, let's face it, the nearest I will get to one is gazing at its picture on the Harrods website) - will come true, pretty much in a similar way to my fairy godmother appearing and casting spells of absolute joy for me.

Fortunately, my thoughts and beliefs have developed a more, well, sophisticated taste in recent years, and I think that I've pretty much persuaded my mum that I'm no longer obsessed with hovering cars becoming the upcoming year's latest creation (though Back of the Future's lack of reliable predictions secretly annoys me!). Still. Even when problems may be looming in the faraway distance, I nonetheless hope for success - or at least a sprinkling of positivity - to be awaiting around the corner. Personally, magic symbolises happiness for me because, if I had just a little bit of it, plenty of good would be injected into my life, which would of course produce a very happy year.

Besides, one of the few things that I do like about New Year is that, for once, pretty much everyone is united with the intention of goodwill for not only themselves, but other people. Too easily I can forget about all of the people surrounding me either at school or at home because transporting myself to Sky Go or Revision Mania (albeit not on quite a pleasurable par with Sleepyland) is sometimes much easier than noticing others; occasionally, all that I want to see is myself. And well, is that really so bad? Deep down inside of us, I cannot shrug off the feeling that we automatically view our needs as more important than those of other people because we possess a disguised instinct for always defending ourselves; regardless of whether they share our likeable personalities or interests, we will usually take care of ourselves first before we even consider the plight of another person.

Selfishness, which is pretty much the only word that I can think of to describe my point (even though I don't see it in such a negative way), is brilliant for achieving your personal successes and remaining level-headed when focusing on a particular target. Obviously, I get to express some of my typical teenage selfishness by spending hours cooped up in my bedroom at a time for my studies, which might deprive me of some precious time that I could otherwise use for hanging out with my family and friends, yet it isn't selfish at all because it is benefitting me. If only goodness can come out of it, selfishness - or awareness of your own needs - should be celebrated for enabling society to develop their own abilities and confidence in themselves. Well, sometimes we need to learn certain things from ourselves instead of from others - a point that I will definitely remember whilst revising for my exams over the next few months!

However, forgetting about our own needs for a little while and embracing other people's happiness instead simply contributes to the magic of New Year which, despite only really lasting for one evening, warms you up a bit and gives you an incentive to look back at New Year's Eve in a positive light for years' to come. OK, people often reminisce about how many shots of vodka they could drink until they shared a hedgehog's bed - a green, leafy bush - to finish off their New Year, yet there is a hidden message behind the last day - and indeed the first - of the new year which, if you look between the lines, is only awaiting to be recognised and valued.

Here's to a very positive and Happy New Year, albeit one declared officially eighteen hours and twenty one minutes later!

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

My Favourite Songs of 2015

As two days remain until 2015 ends with what I hope will be a bang (albeit of the safe sort, of course!), I'd like to reflect on the treasures that have been sustained over this long and, undoubtedly, busy year. Those treasures? None other than the songs which have brought musical heaven to my very ears, who have adored and fallen in love with genres and singers whose music I might have previously dismissed because of my adolescent ignorance. Ouch, strong words those might be when describing my typically oh-so-fabulous self, yet admitting to my faults is alright if I've corrected them, isn't it?

Nevertheless, 2015 has represented a year of adventure, mystery and discovery in various aspects of my life which, depending on how I've felt at the time, has either delighted or terrified me. Oh, how can I turn a blind eye to the unforgivable terrors of algebra mayhem or sense-blinding panic induced by countless deadlines for piles of work? Despite my occasional struggles, music has always remained as one of my true friends which, as a teenager who loves nothing more than delving into her fantasies, dreams and imaginary worlds from time to time, has provided the perfect antidote to preserving my sanity for the occasions when I've needed it most!

Thanks to receiving a brilliant Sony Xperia phone for my 16th birthday in February, my undeniable passion for music has been increasingly invigorated because of having access to the Walkman music player, which has instilled a greater sense of respect for music within me as I can now dive into my thrilling musical fantasies beyond my bedroom. Especially as I approach my exams next summer, being able to listen to the likes of Lana Del Rey (whose riveting Freak is literally tattooed on my brain) and Madonna whilst completing coursework or revising 'dull' subjects such as Physics has truly spiced up my learning, which is keeping me motivated until I leap over the final hurdle and wave bye-bye to scientific calculators forever. Although that beloved moment may seem millions of miles away right now, music is definitely the best distraction that I could possibly find!

Besides, I feel that 2015 has marked the year in which I've slowly moved away from relying on the old classics, such as Madonna's timeless Erotica (which might strike some as an eccentric choice because it is rarely discussed with the same awe that is typically applied to the likes of Like a Virgin or Like a Prayer) or Sade's Love Deluxe, to satisfy my musical cravings to embracing present day music, which still captures the essence of love, passion and exhilaration that creates an eternal love affair for the art for the ears.

In particular, I've become obsessed with some dance tracks which, despite being rather different to the ones released around two decades ago, embody the same energy that a song needs to make you get up (which is much harder nowadays when the likes of Netflix are tempting you to watch another episode of Orange is the New Black) and dance. OK, I'm sure that dancing around my bedroom in leopard print pyjamas with one of my four sleep-enchanted cats dozing on my bed justifies why Calvin Harris or David Guetta produce music to transform a lifeless nightclub into the vibrant soul of the night, yet I love feeling so free and happy for a couple of minutes at a time where I don't care about what I look like (obviously as long as the curtains are drawn in!) and I only focus about having a good time.

Even though the relentless hassles of studying, responsibilities and chores might sometimes lead to me to wonder whether adolescence is simply destined to be the most stressful and spottiest stage in my entire life, dancing away my stresses to a dance song's heartbeat reminds me of what little I know about the world; mainly, my responsibilities extend to peeling a bag of brussel sprouts for the Sunday roast each week, which is literally nothing when compared to roles required when one becomes fully responsible for themselves as an independent adult. Still, any sort of responsibility is bound to be intimidating at any age, and teenagers like myself are no exception! At least I have the comfort of being assured that, as soon as I plug in my headphones and lose myself to the rhythm of a song, all of my worries are washed away like one gulping down the fizzy contents of a can of Coca Cola.

Seven paragraphs later, and I've yet to even list my favourite songs of this year! How time flies when one solely focuses on themselves (though, if I bother to remember, this blog is actually supposed to be about me), but never mind. As ever, you can only judge music upon listening to it, so I won't provide a massive commentary on these tracks, though be aware if anyone called Lana crops up on the list. For her, I could arrive in 2017 by simply discussing the beauty in her music videos...

1. How Deep is Your Love - Calvin Harris and Disciples
One of the biggest songs of the year (for once, not actually my personal opinion!), How Deep is Your Love demonstrates the power that the UK has in the dance music industry. Usually, I'm not too keen on modern day dance music because it sounds too 'robotic', yet what truly helped me to love this song was the captivating vocals of Ina Wroldsen, which perfectly captured the carefree joys of summer. Anyway, I'm partly grateful for this track because it certainly kept my morale up whilst exercising in my school's gym during the summer, which made the agony of doing one too many squats a little less painful. Well, thank you Calvin Harris...

2. All Cried Out - Blonde feat. Alex Newell
I only recently found this gem which, despite being quite short in length, provides me with enough time to revise the melody and lyrics like the countless pages in my Biology revision book - yet, without a doubt, this is far more fun! If only I could hit the high notes as well as Alex Newell, but I'll leave it to the pros!

3. Magnets - Disclosure feat. Lorde
Two years since her award-winning debut release Pure Heroine, there is currently no sign as to when Lorde will drop her sophomore studio album, yet this blow was significantly cushioned by Magnets, her duet with the electronic duo (information handily sourced from Wikipedia) Disclosure which is still as catchy as Yellow Flicker Beat, the theme song for the The Hunger Games - Mockingjay Part 1 that I still sing along to over a year on. Fingers crossed that Lorde's next album will feature music similar to Magnets, which suits her brilliantly - along with my house-hungry tastes!

4. Music to Watch Boys To - Lana Del Rey

Certainly her most enigmatic and enchanting music video yet, Music to Watch Boys To is a mini cinematic delight, evoking questions about boys, lust and pink flamingos that only a philosopher could truly pose. Well, I suppose that Lana is a sort of philosopher in her own right because her music is thought-provoking, albeit in a manner that still results in your cooing to I live to love you, and I love to love you, I live to love you boy under your breath in first period Maths. And, without needing to say it (yet I will because I really can't help myself), this music video is a visual masterpiece; combining black and white imagery with shocking technicolour, MTWBT is a beauty for the eyes, whilst its melody is so relaxing that I could probably adopt it as my bedtime lullaby. If only this song was about when I was a baby - my parents possibly would have had more restful nights...

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Thinking Beyond the Presents (Festive Post!)

As is typical with the festive season, I've been constantly wrapped up in layers of excitement, madness and sheer busyness as the countdown towards Christmas gets as close as the much-awaited release of the new Star Wars film (which, despite mentioning it so it looks as though I've actually bothered to take notice of current affairs of late, I'm not interested in seeing!). And now, with mere hours away until the day that shops, the media and our families will refuse to forget about for what feels like millions of months arrives - doesn't it just amaze you as to how the countdown is nearly up and the hardcore partying (with my cans of Tango Orange, nonetheless) simply awaits? 

To be honest, I've struggled to settle into the festive spirit, if you wish for me to call it such a term, this year than during previous Christmases, for reasons that I can somewhat understand and have absolutely no clue about, like why models always seem to have just missed out on purchasing a sold-out drop-dead gorgeous dress when they stomp down the runaway (though, as a so-called moaner according to my brother, I ought to relate more to it!). 

For starters, studying has consumed me like my brother devouring the richly fruity cake I made the other day for months and, although Christmas is the ideal time to toss my Science revision guides out of the window (for a little while as I'm not that kind of a rebel!), I'm not a robot in the sense that I can switch off my emotions, thoughts and indeed stresses. Like producing a mouth-watering souffle, time is the necessary ingredient in calming myself down as I get used to relaxing during Christmas and forgetting about whether I recognise the difference between infra red and microwaves for at least a couple of days. 

In addition to this, I feel that this year has definitely proved to me that I'm getting old. OK, not the kind where I'll swap my current present ideas of skinny jeans for anti-wrinkle creams so expensive that even thinking about spending a ridiculous amount of money is enough to create a particularly bad case of crow's feet! Instead, the aging blues affect me in the way that Christmas seems to live off the elation and pleasure that is mainly sourced from childhood delight which, as a once Bratz-loving eight year old (whose obsession with toys scarcely more dressed than a Victoria's Secret angel somewhat disturbs me nowadays!), I completely recognise. 

Ripping open teddy bear-patterned wrapping paper to find a Disney Princess mini oven (albeit years before The Great British Bake-Off graced our screens), travelling to a Toys 'R' Us in the middle of nowhere to choose which Bratz dolls my heart most desired for Christmas and receiving gifts that I had no slightest clue about until Christmas Day (unless my brother, ever the daredevil, decided to fill me in on the 'goss' upon 'accidentally' visiting the so-called 'secret' room beforehand) - these moments are not only the most magical memories that one could ever dream of experiencing, yet they are specifically for children which, as I closely approach my 17th birthday, I no longer identify as. 

Does it disappoint me to no longer be treated to special trips to mighty toy stores so that I can select which dolls or toys that spark a wave of happiness to splash within me, or I've now indeed progressed to using real (ridiculously hot) ovens instead of feeling like a pint-sized Nigella Lawson for producing a batch of mediocre, yet sweetly-flavoured cakes in my mini oven? Mostly, I'm grateful for progressing onto newer horizons because I now reserve the freedom to be more selective with what I want as I'm not limited to one specific category - a delightful mixture of books, CDs, clothes and lip glosses appeared on my Christmas list this year, which I suppose is more varied than the Barbie- or Bratz-addled ones I used to have as a pink-clad youngster. If anything, at least I can pride myself upon being able to make cakes and treats that no one in my family will pretend to like because they are actual food - there are only so many times that you can pretend that a limp-looking 'cake' out of a pink sachet is on a par with a homemade Victoria sponge, especially when you are no longer nine years old! 

Nevertheless, Christmas reminds me of how quickly I'm growing up which, like many things, both thrills and terrifies me at the same time; occasionally, I wish that Christmas could be like it used to be when I used to receive plenty of 'surprise' presents which, as pretty much anything girly went down a treat, I always loved. Despite reserving some of my budget for my parents to spend on a surprise gift, I travelled into nearest city yesterday to spend that budget however I wanted because they really couldn't think of anything that I might have liked. This once more proves the difficulties of shopping for teenagers - unsurprisingly, if I can't figure out what I want, it is very unlikely that anyone else can decide for me! Besides, I can comfort myself with knowing that I didn't impulse-buy which, when parents look for Christmas gifts to give to their children, must be rather tempting because it might look better to get something as modern day Christmas tradition seems to dictate that one must buy as many items, regardless of their crappiness, for their loved ones, even if they will probably turn their nose up to it or politely utter 'thank you' after receiving it before returning their 907th round of Flappy Bird.  

Sure, part of me might truly crave a surprise every once in a while - though I truly wouldn't be able to tell you what kind of one my heart craves like the voracious yearning for a Louis Vuitton bag - yet I'd rather receive things that I want instead of getting something which could possibly disappoint me, hence why I tend to prefer receiving money instead of gifts from relatives or friends because hardly anyone, let alone myself, has the precise answer to my shopping desires. Still, I'd never turn my nose up to a Dolce & Gabbana dress...

Since discussing my growing pains with Christmas today, I suppose that I'm feeling more 'Christmassy' than I previously did because Christmas can be presented in numerous ways, yet still retain its festive and certainly fun-tasting flavour. It might no longer taste as sweet and sugary as it did when I used to be presented with bags upon bags of chocolate coins (which I so wish could be used when paying for my shopping - well, everyone deserves a bit of sweetness here and then, don't they?), tubes of addictive Smarties or juicy Fruit Pastilles and selection boxes that contained my favourite chocolates, such as a plain yet extraordinary Cadbury's bar, a bag of Maltesers and Galaxy minstrels - yet Christmas is still Christmas in whatever shape or form you want it to be as you get older, which I should never lose focus of. 

Nowadays, my Christmases are more under-stated, quieter and (thankfully) less destructive towards my metabolism as I lose my taste for certain chocolates or sweets (though a novelty container of berry-flavoured Jelly Babies found their way into the shopping bag yesterday), yet I nonetheless appreciate them just as much as I always have and will. It's just that I now see beyond the presents, and fully appreciate the importance and beauty of the food, music, films (even the ones that I shouldn't really admit to watching at this age; Disney is to blame for that!) and spending time with my family. And also realising that I'm indeed not an exam machine and I deserve time to relax at home - and what better time to do that than at Christmas?

All in all, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a brilliant New Year that I hope is filled with as much positivity, good luck and happiness as you deserve. Also, thanks for reading my blog which, despite taking a back seat from working on it for the past few months, still means a lot to me as it has proven to be the best possible platform for releasing the furious vibes that only one can experience during a spectacularly bad teenage meltdown. Here's to a fantastic (and minimally moan-free) 2016!