Monday, 31 December 2012

let go of your fears, say happy new year

So it's officially 2013. I don't think it has quite the same ring to it as 2012 did, but we shall see. When I posted about 2011 coming to an end on my old blog last year(?) I also quoted the same song as the title of this post, which I will embed at the bottom of my ramblings for you all, along with Tim Minchin's 'What Was '06 For?' because even though it's way out of date now, it's still pretty damn sensible. Happy new year and all ;)

2012 was a strange year. I imagine I could probably leave this post there and a lot of you would agree. This year, I met two of my all-time favourite comedians, plus a more recent favourite comedian, I received a Diana Award and I started university. There were some brilliant moments that I will remember forever, but as with every year, there were some fairly horrendous moments that I would rather like to forget.

I think I grew as a person a lot in 2012. When I left school in 2010 it felt terrifying being out in the big, wide world and starting college... but little did I know that in actual fact, leaving college would be the true start of 'right, you're all alone in this big world, so what are you going to do?' When I left college and started university, it was really the first time I didn't have any of my friends around to depend on when I needed somebody. I somehow managed to muddle my way through my first semester and was lucky enough to meet some lovely people who I like to think are now my friends. 

Particularly in the last quarter of this year, I seem to have adopted the new attitude of ''just go for it''. I made more social plans than in 2011 and found myself confiding in somebody I barely knew, the results of which were a lot more pleasant than I kind of expected. I also found the courage to do things I have needed to do for a long time, but refused to acknowledge... and it's still a scary process, but I know I'll get there in the end. I feel different, and I feel more capable.

While I look back over the year and remember lots of sad moments, I can also be thankful for so many things and so many people. To those who were there in the darkest moments - all of those hours spent crying in the lab over a period of about a week, drives for coffee and late-night FB conversations - you know who you are and I can never tell you how much I value you all. Thank you. 

I'm confident that 2013 will be different. It will be a year of moving away from the past and moving towards the future, towards different people and different memories. I think I'm ready for it, I think I'm ready to be refreshed and different. 

Whoever you are, I hope you can smile when you look back over 2012 and that 2013 will bring you even more smiles.


Monday, 17 December 2012


20 scary days since the first step.

26 precious hours with a dear friend who lives far away. 

1 ridiculous fear about to be conquered.

11 weeks of university completed.

4 small gestures of thanks.

1 beautiful song, many tears.

26 heartbreaking reasons to appreciate every single moment.

40 pounds spent on food for this weekend.

1 huge perspective-check.

2 hours spent decorating my grandma's Christmas tree and talking about life.

7 things left on my to-do list.

A million reasons to be thankful.


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

fearful child, have faith in brighter days

I'm not even going to formally address the fact that I haven't been writing on here much anymore. I'm busy. That's kind of it. I've also been putting off properly writing about university because honestly, it's not an easy post to write.

All I know is that the months past few months have been, for the most part, good. I feel like I know who I am a lot more than when I left college. Unfortunately, that also means that while the post-college haze has been clearing, I've slowly been realising lots of things. I've had to seek help from lots of different people recently, and that feels very strange.

So what have I learnt? Primarily, I've learnt that I don't want to continue with my current degree. I love Spanish as a language and I've met some lovely people through my course, but it just isn't right for me. I also like Linguistics (and the department is great) but dropping to single honours Linguistics and Phonetics significantly narrows my career prospects, plus I'm not particularly thrilled by the idea of doing that anyway. I'm still trying to figure out what I do want to do, but I think the fact that I'm writing all of this down says a lot. 

Truthfully, I think most people are really struggling to keep up with everything at the moment, and those who aren't are either massively gifted or not really doing enough. It feels very strange working on coursework for a course that I know I won't continue, but that's just how it is. 

It's scary not really knowing what you want. When I decided on Spanish as a degree, I was still at college, feeling (and being treated like) absolute crap and languages were fun. It was easy to say ''well that's what I'll do then'' because languages, and the MFL department, were where I felt 'safe'. Now I've distanced myself from all of that, I think I'm actually going back to a few years ago where I could clearly define the things I was interested in. 

While I'm trying to figure out where I'm going, I'm also trying to focus on the good things. Things like...

The last event on my autumn/winter 2012 comedy schedule... Seeing and meeting the fantastic Josh Widdicombe (and the unexpected yet fabulous Suzi Ruffell) on the 14th. I laughed so hard that my poor stomach thought I had an illness. Brilliant and highly recommended. The company I had (Poppy and Eliza) also brilliant and recommended. #PoppyplaysMonopolyonatrain #Elizasleepsintheshower 

Sticking with a theme, finally switching round the 'banner' above my desk. Just for people like Poppy, who actually care...
L to R tickets: Russell Howard, Jon Richardson, Daniel Sloss (last year), Mark Watson (2010), Mark Watson (this year), Rhod Gilbert, Josh Widdicombe, Daniel Sloss (this year).
L to R posters: Mark Watson (this year), Alun Cochrane, Daniel Sloss (this year), Josh Widdicombe, Jon Richardson, Mark Watson (2010), Rhod Gilbert. 
Yes, I'm aware there's a gap on the left where ideally another poster would be, but I'm a poster short it would seem. Poppy is rescuing me with a 'spare' she has from when we saw Daniel Sloss last year, and this is why I love my CT. 

I'm aware this is probably the worst photo I've ever taken. It looks a little bit like a photo frame and a glass have just had an argument or something. In reality, it was just tidy for once (and that frame is so big that I can stash things behind it...) The frame will eventually be a chalkboard (when our damn weather allows me to paint it) but the quote will be the same. It may as well say ''I  Josh Groban" because that is one of his many lyrics that I could have quoted as my favourite. It reminds me of Y11, solitary but wonderful drives and that one time Jess and I drove through Ackworth when I dropped her off and we were silent as we listened to his music. 

Lastly, meet my new baby everybody. What can I say? I'd been debating it for months and my laptop pretty much went ''hey, Rachel, I'm tired of this, just do it already'' so when Apple had their sale on Friday I finally gave in. It arrived yesterday (a day early, I might add, bonus points for Apple on that one) and I'm already in love with it. I'm also already convinced that I will never go back to a regular PC. I figured out that it comes with GarageBand pre-installed and if I could describe how excited my dad got when I broke the news, I would, but I genuinely can't. Let's just say ''we'll have to hook my guitar up to it at the weekend'' is now on a loop.

So, to sum up:
Trying to figure out what I want to but also very thankful for the things that have made me smile recently.

SOTD is You Are Young - Keane and, to continue an old but recently forgotten tradition, is also the source of my title. 

I hope everybody is well. What's made you smile recently? Let me know :) 


Saturday, 10 November 2012

recently: instagram

1. I bought 5 mini buckets in Hobbycraft because I thought they were 'cute'. If anybody can cure me of my shopping issues then please comment below...

2. I dug out my 'Croatia' ring for the first time in probably a year these past two weeks. I made it after I got back from Croatia and had coins that couldn't be changed back into British currency. Here's a little fact: that coin has climbed a mountain/kayaked on the Adriatic Sea/kayaked on Croatian rivers with me.

3. Sophie's annual bonfire party last Saturday was...interesting. This is what happens when your friend has a dad who works somewhere with huge cardboard cut outs of Robbie Savage.  

4. Lyrics from Timmy the Dog's (Tim Minchin) 'Happy Boy', which always come into my head when I'm having a rough time (see the post before last).

5. In the midst of my mid-week semi-nervous breakdown, I went for a nighttime drive and ended up drinking an awful hot chocolate in the car park of my closest McDonald's... and then the car wouldn't start and my parents had to come. The darkest hour is just before the dawn, and all that.

6. One of the many advantages of being close to someone who works in a department store is that they earn beauty points when they buy products... and they accumulate to the point where, in my case, you end up with a free Chanel lipstick. As Charlie Sheen would say, winning.

7. I spent an hour and a half sitting in a Starbucks in Leeds on Thursday afternoon while I had time to kill between Icelandic ending and meeting the Spanishy  (yes, that is a word... or at least to me it is) people for tapas. There are few places as welcoming as a cosy coffee shop.

8. My second city is beautiful at night, especially when the German market is there.

9. After finishing our tapas, we ended up watching the Christmas lights switch on ceremony thingy, where we witnessed fireworks, Tyler James, some guy from Calendar news and a terrible band from Britain's Got Talent.

10. Miss Dusty has been particularly affectionate and excitable recently. If only humans behaved like animals, life would be much more simple...

11. Miss Dusty also likes posing, as is evident in this shot where I think she probably spotted a tiny rabbit (aka her reflection, she's done it before) on my screen and thought ''ooh''.

12. I took my hair down today and it was unexpectedly wavy. I'm also wearing my freebie Chanel lipstick and clearly I felt quite vein.

SOTD is my attempt to claw back something summery, and nothing says 'summery' quite like something Hawaiian.

Aloha nui loa,


P.S. Don't you just love the real meaning of 'aloha'? If you don't, read this and then you probably will...

Friday, 9 November 2012

the lunch bunch... circa may 2010

I found some old video footage earlier whilst rooting around in old files on the hard drive and thought I'd share... Don't we all look...interesting? We went bowling on the day we left school, and then Zoe and Danny had a race and a few of them did the YMCA while standing on huge rocks. Contrary to popular belief, this is normal behaviour for The Lunch Bunch.

(I don't know I'm wearing the plastic tiara I received in my party bag in our last Spanish lesson/language party, though evidently I'm not the weirdest one so it's all good...)


Sunday, 4 November 2012

past is past

I really hoped that my next post would be something fun and interesting (and I'm working on that one, but the shocking northern weather is really holding me back at the moment) that I'm planning to share when I can. Unfortunately, today has 100% matched the stereotype of a depressing, rainy Sunday and my mood very much reflects the weather and atmosphere today.

Something's been niggling away at me all week and I realised why and what it was today. I read an article some time around the beginning of the week, and it was one of those articles that you wish you hadn't read because it evokes emotions and opinions that you'd managed to bury deep within you.

But, truthfully, the contents of the article and its effect on me remind me that sometimes you can't do anything more than to try and cover it up.

I suppose it doesn't help that a year ago things were very different to how they are now. A year ago it was the beginning of another cycle of turning up at college every day and wondering if I would make it to the end of the day without crying, of practically running from room to room because any amount of time spent outside the trusty language lab made me stop breathing with anxiety.

I'm thankful that now I'm at university and I even manage to commute there and back relatively anxiety-free, but every now and then life gives me those little reminders that take me back to certain dates...dates that I would very much like to forget. And it's ironic, because Tuesday March 13th was one of the best days of my life - because I met one of my favourite comedians in the evening - but I very vividly remember the light hours of the day and sitting and shaking in an unwelcoming little office in what was virtually a shed with Sophie and Aiden, not really knowing what I was supposed to do because it was all so ridiculous. It was worse than that, but I'm not entirely sure I want the internet to know about everything else.

It's difficult looking back because even though I know I'm in a much better place now, events that have occurred in the last two years still shape the way I behave. I'm still pretty much silent throughout every day unless I'm around people I trust. I still don't volunteer to speak in lectures, seminars or language tutorials. For now, though, I'm coping. I know I'm coping because I've made it through six weeks of university and this is the first time I've felt unsure about anything. Because of that fact alone, I know things will be OK in the long run.

I'm going to leave you with a newer version of my absolute favourite song. I've probably posted this on here before, but it's relevant and, quite frankly, if you can't even find one thing that you like about this song then chances are we wouldn't get along. I'm also hugely grateful to whoever uploaded it in the first place because I must watch it every day... It's inspirational and beautiful, and the new version is brilliant. I love both versions to listen to when I feel sad. What do you like to do when you feel down?

I also hope that everybody who reads this is well and happy, but if things aren't great then please remember that you are not alone and things do get better.


Sunday, 28 October 2012

busy... happy...

I haven't checked, but it seems to me that every post at the moment starts with ''apologies for not blogging recently''. I could be wrong, but it feels that way.

Truthfully, I haven't been blogging because I've been busy living and loving university.The whole idea of enjoying uni is a strange concept to me, but I'm going with it because to be honest, it's fun. Next week is reading week and while I'm looking forward to it, it's going to be a bit strange because I get to see some friends on Saturday at Sophie's bonfire party. I don't think I've let myself think about the fact that everybody is scattered all over the country now.

Here's what I've been up to recently...

Top to bottom, left to right:

1. I've been very much enjoying autumn and all of the wonderful colours that come with it. I even braved this colour lipstick to uni.
2. My first Topshop nail polish purchases, Gypsy Night and Brazil. The fact that I have Fridays off is very dangerous for my shopping habits.
3. Came home (from shopping...ahem...) on Friday to find this sitting on the mat in the hallway. As expected, Loreen's debut album is incredible.
4. I've really been loving the moments where I'm on a train and this song comes on. There are few things as wonderful as drifting into your own little world, listening to this, surrounded by falling leaves.
5. Commuting. I am pretty much an expert regarding East Coast trains right now.
6. Last Sunday (the fact that it's a week ago now really makes me sad), Poppy and I went to see Mark Watson live in Sheffield. Mark is one of my favourite comedians and also happens to be a brilliant author. We met him after his show and he signed my books. I really do recommend that you look him up because the show was hilarious and he's also lovely. Win-win.
7. My first assignments were due in last week and the week before. How fun.
8. Saturday 13th was my sort-of-cousin's 18th birthday party. I'm not sure I like the fact that everybody's growing up now.
9. This is what the inside of a Hebrew textbook looks like, just in case any of you were wondering. I finally got this in class last Monday and it's so exciting. I love our Hebrew class - there are only 8 of us and we have two hours together every Monday where we ask each other awkward questions in Hebrew and tell random stories in our five minute break.
10. It snowed here in the early hours of Saturday morning... as in... actual snow... in October. I assume this is one of the many disadvantages to living ''up north'', except I've never lived ''down south'' so I can't really compare.

I hope everybody in the blogging world is well. I do hope to be back soon with something a bit more interesting, but we'll have to see how busy I am. I bought some crafting goodies in Hobbycraft this afternoon and I have two projects lined up, so I might write something on those up if they go well ;-)

SOTD is Keane - On the Road. It makes me happy every morning when I'm on the bus (bleh) and that's good enough to want to share it with you all. Hope you enjoy :-)

Thanks for reading,


Monday, 15 October 2012


So, it's been a while since I last posted. I started university a month ago and I only have the time to write today because I've had to take the day off ill. I don't know if it's 'freshers' flu' or just 'flu' but I feel like rubbish and I've almost completely lost my voice... Not the best thing to happen when you have two assignments due in within the next week... But never mind.

I've been intending to do this post for a while now, but I wanted to wait until I felt that I could write it honestly and have enough to say.

I started uni on the 17th and had a week of intro meetings before actual lectures started on the 24th. I'm only in 4 days a week, with 6 hours straight on a Monday (and if you're thinking ''that's awful!" I've heard it all before), 1 hour on a Tuesday and Wednesday and 4 hours on a Thursday. I didn't move out, so my commute takes about an hour and a half. Whenever I tell people this they look at me like I'm mad but I honestly couldn't have coped with moving out so I'm happy with the commute and I actually don't mind it that much at all.

My degree is joint honours BA Spanish and Linguistics, and because at my university you get spare credits to choose electives from any department, I also have modules in Beginner's Modern Hebrew and Icelandic Language and Culture. So far, I'm enjoying my course although the workload is a bit difficult to manage when so much is supposed to be done at home. On a Monday when I have 6 hours straight of lectures, I get home at 7pm and it's just impossible to then dedicate time to doing more work. I still don't regret choosing to stay at home, though. I am also looking forward to reading week, ha!

Socially, university is miles ahead of college. It's actually nice being able to leave my house, go to uni and come home without seeing people who know much about me. I was worried that I'd struggle with the social aspect of it, and not moving out certainly made me feel a little more lonely in the first two weeks when everybody else seemed to know people and I didn't.

I think since starting university I've learnt a lot, but I think the quote above is true. It's easy to feel judged and to judge other people in the first few weeks of something new, but it's also important to remember that everybody else is feeling the same way and while you're worrying about people not liking you or finding you weird, everybody else will be too.

I'm aware this is getting a little long, so I'll wrap things up now. Overall, I really think I've started to settle in and enjoy it. I've got through almost a month without hating anything, being upset or wanting to leave, so already it's going better than college did.

If you started university this September too, I hope it's going well for you all too :)

Thanks for reading,

R x

P.S. Do you like the new design? ;)

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

birthday shopping

Apologies for how long it has taken me to get this posted, I properly started uni on Monday and I've only just found time to actually sit down and write this.

My birthday was on the 18th and I turned 19. So far, I prefer it to 18 - mainly because there's no drama this year. My mum and I went shopping on my actual birthday as I didn't have to be at uni that day and I thought I'd show those of you who are beauty-minded a few things that I bought with my birthday money...

Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Beguile
I seem to have lost my mind slightly in recent months. With the exception of nail polishes, I never used to like glitter. Now, if it sparkles I'll probably buy it. The glittery pigments were all extremely pretty, but this one was 'plain' enough for me to know that I'll use it on a regular basis. This looks lovely just patted over eyeshadow and unlike some glittery eyeshadows (UD Sidecar, I'm looking at you) it doesn't end up all over your face.

MAC Cremesheen lipstick in Creme Cup
Here's a little story for you... I bought Hue (also by MAC) for college prom and while I do love the colour, it is occasionally slightly too light on my lips and the formula is a bit...meh. To me, Creme Cup is a slightly more pink version of Hue, and the formulation is tons better. I also noticed that it stays on my lips for several hours, which is incredibly rare with me.

Nails Inc 'Nail Jewellery' nail polish in Diamond Arcade
You know what I said about glitter? Yeah, you see it now, right? The photo doesn't really do it justice, but this polish comprises of differently shaped pieces of glitter. I tried to take a photo of it over a plain white polish, but that photo doesn't do it justice either...

I suppose you can kind of see the difference in the pieces of glitter. Those nails looked much prettier in 'real life'. But even though it's a real pain to photograph, this polish is still absolutely gorgeous and perfect if you love a good glitter polish. The wear was decent (I'd say about 5 days before it started to look like I needed to either re-do it or change it completely) but that was without a top coat.

So, they were just a couple of purchases that I thought I'd share. I had a nice, low-key birthday this year, which was definitely necessary during a week of rushing between meetings and making new friends/acquaintances.

SOTD is Daughtry's 'Start of Something Good'.

Hope you're all having a good week :)


P.S. Jess did the coffee talk tag, go and read it here :)

Friday, 21 September 2012

coffee talk

Hi guys :) I'm back after a long week of commuting and fairly dull 'induction meetings' with a cute little tag - the 'coffee talk tag'. I was tagged by the lovely Gabriella of Love From Londres, whose blog is one of my favourites. The tag itself is all about autumn (or fall, depending on where you're from), so without further ado here's the tag :)

1. It's finally autumn, what are you most looking forward to in this season?
All of the colours - autumn is without doubt the best season for being able to step outside and be mesmerised by the colours of the trees etc. I'm also looking forward to the whole ''it's cold and rainy so I'm going to snuggle in bed even though it's only 7pm'' thing.

2. Which autumn item in your closet are you most looking forward to pulling out?
Because we don't really have a summer here, my clothing hasn't really changed from winter until now. I'm looking forward to wearing my beautiful new boots from Zara more. 

3. Since Halloween is the first holiday to celebrate, we all get treated with a horror movie marathon all month long. What is your favourite scary movie to watch?
I really hate horror films (though obviously if you love them then that's totally cool). I just can't understand why people would want to be scared. The closest I've ever got to a horror film is Pan's Labyrinth. Sad, but true.

4. What is your favourite autumn treat?
Since I rarely drink coffee during the summer months, a grande caramel macchiato from Starbucks. That, and my hot buttered rum shower gel by Philosophy. 

5. Now that summer is finally over, what will you miss about it?
As dull as it may sound, the hours of daylight. Now that I'm commuting, 3 hours of my day are spent walking, on the train or on the bus, and the other hours will often be spent at uni. I can just tell that I'm going to miss the amount of daylight we get during the summer as I always feel it makes the days seem longer.

6. Which make-up/beauty products do you love for autumn?
Without a doubt my Nails Inc polish in Madison Avenue. I believe it's been discontinued now, but it might be available on Ebay. It's basically just the most gorgeous deep forest green and is the perfect autumn shade for me.

7. What have you recently bought in preparation for the autumn season?
The Zara boots I mentioned and, because I'm in the UK, an umbrella. Ha.

8. Have you ever been trick or treating?
Yes :) I was usually a witch (in fact, I think I was only ever a witch) and the last time I went was when I was in year 8.

9. Name the first 5 things that come to mind when you think of autumn...
Leaves (a bit obvious)
Lamps (to make the room all cosy)
Edinburgh (I went to Edinburgh last October)
Josh Groban (such an autumn/winter musician, his music always starts the transition to winter)
Stand-up comedy (it's become something of a tradition for me to see live comedy in autumn/early winter and it isn't the same without it [this year is Mark Watson with Poppy :D])

10. What is your favourite season and why?
Summer (when we have a decent one) or autumn. I really don't like winter, and our spring is often just the same as winter.

Once again, I tag Jess and Beckie :) But do feel free to do it yourself and leave me a link in the comments :)

Thanks for reading :)


Sunday, 16 September 2012

onwards and upwards

I can't be the only person who still watches Pooh Bear...
I wish I had a good excuse for my blogging absence, but I'm afraid I haven't. After all of the pre and post results day hype, I've mainly just been buying a wardrobe and a desk (woo!) and finding that time has passed far too quickly for my liking.

On Friday, I went over to my friend Sophie's house to drop something off. She moved to uni on Saturday and the whole thing really got me thinking...

It's sad that everybody is going their separate ways. When we left school we all believed that we were, but now it's actually true. I read the quote in the picture a few days ago on Tumblr (yes, I track the Winnie the Pooh tag, what of it...?) and it definitely appeared at the right time. Yes, it's sad, but it's also exciting. What sort of friend would I be if I put my own sadness and anxiety over the fact that my friends (and myself) are all moving away to achieve something that their hearts were set on months, if not years, ago? I think my answer is 'not a very good one'. 

But truthfully, I am lucky. I'm lucky to have both friends who are moving away and friends who are staying exactly where they've always been. I'm lucky that I don't have to move away from it all myself (and I'm not even thinking about my year abroad so we're forgetting about that for now...)

Tomorrow is my 'first' day at uni. I put that in quote marks because the term officially starts next Monday, but I have three induction meetings this week. Quite frankly, I'm terrified. My anxiety levels are ridiculously high just thinking about the commute there and back and I'm worrying that I won't recognise the people I've arranged to meet before the meeting. I'm even wearing my 'hola' necklace so that people can spot me, but I suppose that has practical advantages so I can let that one go. 

L to R: Jess, Poppy, me, Sophie and Billie. Love them all.
I'm also lucky that I got to see most of my friends before they move (I say that, but Jess and Poppy [the two on the left] aren't moving away, which pleases me immensely). It's my birthday on Tuesday (the 18th) but we got together on the 8th before people moved away for Mexican food (and a surprise birthday cocktail courtesy of Chiquito). As basic as this sounds, people are good, and when you meet the right ones then you'll know that you want them to stick around and you'll try your hardest to make sure they want you to too. 

So, this week? I'm at a Spanish meeting tomorrow where I'll be meeting one of my fellow Eurovision nerds from Twitter (if you read this, hola Jack!), shopping with mi madre on my birthday, meeting some linguistic nerds at the linguistics meeting and seeing Jess for a catch up on Wednesday, going to another Spanish meeting on Thursday and then seeing Fern (and I think Eliza?) on Friday. And then presumably sleeping all day Saturday because I'll be exhausted.

Today's SOTD is Lemar - Invincible. I watched some show on ITV and he was featured, and it reminded me that I'd been meaning to download the song.

Hope you all have a good week, particularly if you're also all nervy about starting uni!

Thanks for reading,


Friday, 31 August 2012

own your words

There literally is not a day that goes by without something on my Facebook news feed angering me, and I bet a lot of you feel the same way. The internet is now arguably the biggest form of communication for people my age, which also means that it is the biggest platform for expressing opinions. I don't have an issue with that when opinions are expressed respectfully, but here's why I had an issue tonight...

A 'friend' (by which I mean somebody who I am 'friends' with only in order to be polite) liked a photo that was a screenshot of a conversation between two people. One of them had posted it in order to humiliate the other, an objective that she mainly achieved. Over 400 people also liked this photo and joined in with the denigration of a school girl. Granted, the school girl had made a comment on something else that the poster had taken offensively, but that isn't the point. If somebody offends or upsets you, you have two choices: you can act like a grown-up, or you can act like a small child. Too many people opt for the latter choice, it seems. But we'll come back to that.

According to Beatbullying, in 2006 69% of children in the UK reported being bullied, 87% of parents reported that their child had been bullied in the past 12 months, 20% reported bullying others, and 85% had witnessed bullying (with 82% trying to intervene). Just imagine how much those figures could have risen between then and now. Twitter, Tumblr and other sites (e.g. Formspring) have become much more popular, bringing with them a whole host of new problems. Furthermore, according to the Telegraph in November last year, a third of teenagers have now been affected by cyber-bullying.

It's a third too many.

I think it's fair to say that most of the people joining in with the bullying of this girl via a Facebook photo did not comment with the intention of being labelled as bullies. I genuinely don't think that the majority of bullying occurs because people want to earn that label. Call me naïve, but I can't help but lean towards the "these statistics wouldn't be so high if social networking sites took responsibility for keeping their users safe" side of the fence. In fact, I'm almost entirely sitting on that side of the fence.

Last year (I believe), Facebook announced changes to their reporting system in order to make it easier to report things like cyber-bullying, offensive groups etc. Has it done much? No, I don't believe so. Even a 10-section guide on 'how to stop bullying on Facebook' (link: here) ends by saying "it is unfortunate that Facebook does not take their own abuse policy seriously". This is the grim truth that Facebook users have to face if they find themselves in the awful position of being bullied.

The thing is, while Facebook should absolutely give more of a damn about its users, its users should also realise that everything they type and publish on that site, whether by comment, status update or private message, belongs to them. They own those words, however unpleasant they may be.

Would you want to own a an expensive, broken phone full of important work contacts? No, you'd replace it or fix it. What about a broken fridge full of rotting food? No, you'd probably start by throwing away the food and then get it fixed. I doubt you'd also want to own hideous insults and disgusting comments about a complete stranger, the life, struggles and feelings of whom you are oblivious to. It's the same principle. Surely the people we are and our values and behaviour are worth the most of all, and certainly much more than the few seconds we may feel from putting others down.  

So, back to acting like a grown-up or a small child. In brief, grown-up = ignoring, reporting, blocking/deleting, telling an appropriate adult/teacher/the police (in extreme cases, of course) or messaging the person who has offended you to try and resolve the issue; small child = posting photos, status updates, comments, tweets, etc etc with the obvious intention of humiliating a person (who is clearly identified), deliberately continuing something that should have been resolved very quickly and simply, creating 'hate' groups, 'bantering' (by which I mean comments that are purely offensive, as opposed to sarcastic comments between people who know and actually like each other) about a person you don't know or only vaguely know through somebody else. My list could go on, but I'm sure you understand what I mean.

Wouldn't you rather own your own respectful, level-headed words than the words of someone filled with misplaced anger and hatred? I know I would.

What are your thoughts on cyber-bullying and Facebook? Do you think it should do more or do you believe the individual is always responsible? Let me know in the comments below (respectful comments only though, please - all opinions are always welcome as long as they're stated respectfully :)).

Thanks for taking the time to read,


Monday, 27 August 2012

what next?

Hi guys :) Apologies for the absence. My laptop died on me and I ended up taking it for repair. Almost two weeks ago (and that has passed ridiculously quickly, can time just slow down a bit please?) it was A-Level results day. I got A*/A/B/B (English Language, Psychology, Spanish, Extended Project) and got into my firm choice of university :)

Results day itself was actually really lovely. It was so nice to see everybody again and see all of my friends get into their firm choices too. It helped that my friend Sophie sent me a text saying "TRACK IS UP!!!!!!!!" prior to 8am (which is the time UCAS gave us) so I already knew I had my place before actually knowing my results.

So what am I doing now? Well, I'm frequenting the fresher groups for my university on Facebook and hunting down potential 'coursemates'. I met one on my Linguastars residential last year (hurrah for awkward scenarios in which two people are forced to 'bond' while creating a play in a foreign language) and I 'know' one from Twitter (also hurrah for people who will proudly proclaim their love for ESC).

I'm also hamster sitting for my cousin (who is in fair)...

Truthfully, that really is it at the moment. I'm just starting to make preparations for starting university (my first meeting is the day before my birthday, and the second is the day after...well avoided) and commuting every day (booo!)

If you received A2/AS/GCSE results this summer, I hope you all did well :)

SOTD is Camila's 'Mientes' because it's beautiful and also the source of my blog's title

Hasta luego!


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

liebster award

First things first, half of this post is in orange. I have no idea how or why, but it won't change. Apologies. I'm also using a rubbish keyboard, so the spelling errors are entirely due to sticky keys.

So, you know that ''I'll do it tomorrow'' statement in my last post...that went well, didn't it? Life got in the way, and now my laptop is currently being virus-scanned while I type this on the other computer in the house. Isn't modern technology great...?

Anyway, as promised, here is my Liebster Award post :)

I was tagged by two people, firstly by Gabriella from Love From Londres and then also by Jane from Jane's Jumbles. To quote Gabriella's post "the award recognizes new and upcoming bloggers with less than 200 followers (or friends) who deserve recognition and support for their contribution in the blogosphere." It was lovely of them both to tag me :)

There are a set of rules that we're told to follow, and they go as follows:
- List 11 facts about yourself
- Answer the 11 questions set for you and create 11 questions of your own for the people you tag
- Choose up to 11 bloggers and link them to your post
- Go to their blog and let them know that you nominated them
- No tag backs
- Only bloggers with less than 200 followers

Facts about me
1. My name means 'ewe' and is a Hebrew name. I can also write it using the Hebrew alphabet, which definitely compensates for the odd meaning (רחל).
2. I did a World Challenge in 2010.
3. My ultimate not-so-guilty-pleasure is Eurovision.
4. I can speak Spanish and am teaching myself Swedish.
5. I have a guinea pig called Peanut and a rabbit called Dusty.
6. I have met/interacted with all of my favourite comedians (see photos on sidebars).
7. I have just finished college/sixth form and hated it.
8. I was once rollerbladed over by a member of the girlband All Saints.
9. I once email-interviewed Jason Manford with a friend for our school newspaper.
10. I'm currently going through a real phase of only watching Pushing Daisies.
11. I'm a vegetarian.

Questions from Gabriella:
1. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? - I'd travel to all of the places on mine and my friends' year eight list of random places, but also Sweden and Croatia again.
2. Name something next to you? - Three of my dad's guitars and a Wii Fit board.
3. If you were an animal, which one would you be? - I'd like to be a guinea pig or a duck, no real explanation though.
4. Name your favourite make-up/beauty all time brand? - Drugstore is probably Rimmel, otherwise I quite like Urban Decay.
5. What TV show could you not live without? - Most comedy panel shows, and Not Going Out.
6. Vampires or werewolves? - Neither.
7. Can you speak any other languages? - Spanish. bits of French that I've remembered from school, some Swedish.
8. How many continents in the world have you visited? - Just Europe.
9. If you could change your name, what name would you rather have? - I used to really want a different name but now I actually love my name. I love that I can see the Hebrew-ness in it (i.e. the 'el' ending - Daniel and Harel are two other examples). If I had to pick, I'd use my middle name (Elizabeth)/
10. What is your favourite crisp/potato chip flavour? - Walkers Thai Sweet Chilli Sensations
11. Heels or flats? - Heels for occasions, flats if you're trekking about somewhere.

Questions from Jane:
1. What's your favourite film genre? - I don't really watch films much, but probably romantic comedy.
2. What's your favourite animal? - Rabbits or guinea pigs.
3. If you could be from any other country, what country would it be? - Australia, I just think I'd like it there.
4. What's your dream job? - I'm not realy sure. I think I'd quite like to be a teacher, but there's also a massvie part of me that wants to be a writer.
5. What do you and your friends enjoy doing the most together? - Moaning and going for coffee.
6. Do you play an instrument and if not, what instrument would you like to play? - I don't, but I'd like to be able to play the piano.
7. Do you have any siblings? - I have a younger brother called Daniel (hence his name as an example further up).
8. What's your favourite pizza topping? - Mushroom, but melted cheese actually makes me gag so pizza is always interesting for me.
9. Chocolate or sweets? - Either, but chocolate is more vegetarian-friendly.
10. Which season is your favourite - Without a doubt, summer. I'm really not a fan of winter.
11. How tall are you? - 5'5.

Questions I'm setting:
1. What made you decide to start a blog?
2. Name a song that means something to you (and state why if you like)
3. Are/were you a student? If so, what do/did you study?
4. If you had to set yourself one goal for life, what would it be?
5. Somebody has made you your ultimate 3-course meal, what would the courses be?
6. If you could choose any language to speak (in addition to the language[s] you already speak), which would you choose and why?
7. What is your biggest pet peeve?
8. What is something you're particularly proud of?
9. Which would you rather see live? Stand-up comedy, live music or a play?
10. How old will you be in 5 years?
11. If you had two children tomorrow, a boy and a girl, what would you name them?

Who I'm tagging:
Because a lot of the blogs I would have tagged have already done it, I'm just going to tag Beckie (Procrastination) and Jess (do you believe in hallucinations?), who I know, and invite anybody reading this to do the tag too :)

Thanks for reading


Thursday, 9 August 2012

i want the whole world to celebrate

Title, as always, is a lyric taken from SOTD which can be found at the bottom of the post :)

If you're like me and currently waiting for your A-Level (or AS) exam results (next Thursday), or you're waiting for your GCSE results (sometime after next Thursday, I'm guessing?), then you might be finding yourself becoming increasingly irritated at the headlines already.

Last night, I saw a tweet by ITV News saying "new university tuition fees may be deterring students, according to an Independent Commission on Fees study". Aside from stating the absolute obvious, it really irritated me. Every year there's a whole host of headlines that just scare students. This, coupled with the ridiculous series of recent headlines referring to this year's exams such as ''examiners told to fix grades'', is something I always get annoyed about.

I had a huge rant on Tumblr, but to sum it up here's what I think:
  • The press needs to shut up about exams both until results day and afterwards too. Yes, it's proven that exams are easier than they 'used to be', but that's because exam boards have let their standards slip and isn't something we need to be discussing on a day when the vast majority of 16/17/18 year olds in England are picking up results that, to them, define their future. Let's just leave them all to celebrate for at least a day before we bring out pieces on statistics and have people that are supposedly knowledgable going ''well, yes, the exams were easy''. My reply to that ridiculous statement is always "well, no, they're not - we still face the same pressures you adults faced, we still experience the same fear when we open our results and we still worked damn hard for our grades despite anything in our personal lives that might have stopped us achieving".
  • Us young people also need to shut up too. Whenever exams are going on, anybody who's already done their GCSEs whinges about people doing their GCSEs finding them difficult. The same goes for A2 students about AS students. Yes, fair enough, you're finding your higher level exams tough, but then you also found your GCSEs tough because at the time, it was the toughest situation you'd faced academically. And, contrary to the popular belief held amongst people my age, it's OK for people waiting for GCSE results to be nervous - I'm pretty sure we all were, werent' we? Have a bit of understanding, please. And if you already do, well done, your lack of whiney Facebook statuses about ''GCSE kids'' would definitely be welcome on my Facebook home page around the time of exams.
Anyway, the whole annoyance got me thinking about the fact that we're never really allowed to celebrate our achievements in public (if that makes no sense, hang on, it will in a minute). Even now, you could be hugely proud of something you achieved 5 years ago, but if you told people about it you'd probably be seen as bragging about it. I don't really understand why we have such a negative attitude towards achievement - if a friend or classmate fails their test/exam/whatever, I can almost guarantee that at some point, with one person, their sadness about it has irritated you. Similarly, if somebody does really well in something and talks about it a lot - because they're so happy - I bet a lot of you will have been irritated by that too. And I'm not saying that I'm not guilty of doing it too, because trust me I have. The fact that pretty much all of us do it kind of excuses it, but every now and then I think it's nice to just think about the good things people do.

If you're on Google+, you might know that in the profile section, you can fill out something on your ''bragging rights''. One of the things that I wrote in there is ''technically published author'', because I am. I have a short story that was printed in a book in something like 2008/2009. Quite a few people around my age had their stories published in this book, and 10 of us also had them published in the local paper. If I read it back now, it's terrible, but at the time the fact that it was chosen to both be published in the first place and then also chosen as part of the top 10 was just the most amazing thing to me. It's not the sort of thing you tell someone when you first meet them though, is it? And I bet that most people I met after leaving school won't know about it.

It makes me sad that there's a guarantee that on my results day, and then again on the GCSE results day, the headlines will be somehow negative. It's a day to celebrate - it's a day when you can say ''look, this is what I did even though this, this and this happened''...

...So, is there anything you're particularly proud of? Did you ever get exam results that you weren't expecting that made you happy? Is there something you accomplished that others didn't seem to care about? No matter how big or small the achievement, feel free to share it in the comments and we can all celebrate it with you :)

It's been a while since the last one, but today's SOTD is mainly just because it fits with the post :)

Good luck in advance if you're expecting exam results sometime soon, I hope you all get the grades you're hoping for.


P.S. I need to say a big thank you to Gabriella and Jane for nominating me for the Liebster award, I'll have my post up tomorrow :)