General

Happy 2014!

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope you had a good new year’s eve and I hope you have a wonderful and successful 2014 ūüôā

Things have been really hectic for me recently and I’m thinking about taking a little break from blogging. Not a permanent one or anything, just so time away from it. I’ve been feeling really guilty about not writing and it has been weighing on my mind. So rather than turn blogging into a chore I thought it would be good to take a proper break from it all and come back feeling refreshed!

I hope you all have a fantastic start the new year!

Sophie x

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Currently…

Apparently I’m forming a bad habit. Whenever I’m feeling a bit low, or a bit fed up, or a bit muddled, I end up watching several episodes of Sex and the City. I’m telling you, it’s an awful habit.

I don’t want to be one of¬†those¬†bloggers but I am sorry for disappearing from the face of the earth (or at least the internet) a lot has happened since getting back from Nice and I’ve been busy actually living my life and completely forgetting to take my camera anywhere! To sum it up in one sentence: I moved house and am now living with one of my favourite people in my new student house, waiting excitedly for the other three to arrive so that we can start the year together. I’ve also been spending a lot of time with some of my other favourite people and I have to say that I am enjoying this summer.

A lot has changed for me over the past few months but I am regrouping and I know this year will be fantastic. My one current housemate is a tiny blonde, also called Sophie, who I love because she brought me out of my shell, helped me be a little more selfish and she makes me take a step back and learn to be more laid back.¬†Now is not the time to go into why I’m feeling a bit muddled, it’s not a very interesting story, but with so much going on right now feelings are fleeting. I have a feeling this year will be incredibly busy what with finals, my dissertation, teacher training applications, volunteering (hopefully), working in the English department library, along with attempting to maintain some kind of social life!

To help me get back into blogging here is a ‘currently’ post:

Reading…

I got to read for fun whilst away in Nice but I have to be honest and say that I’ve been struggling with reading since I’ve been back home. I think it’s a mixture of having been quite busy, when I have some time free Soph and I just spend it lounging on our amazing tiger(!) print sofas gossiping away, it’s also because I’ve started working on my dissertation in earnest so I’m struggling to read my course books on top of that. The only thing I’ve really enjoyed reading recently is The Vagenda magazine which has me giggling away with its refreshing take on being a woman and its healthy attitude towards feminism. How can you not find pleasure in reading an article entitled ‘FYI: The Perfect Woman Wears a Beret, is Unspoilt by Feminism, and Doesn’t Have AIDS‘? (Just so you know I am clearly imperfect as I only qualify for the last statement). But other than that, I am in a reading funk. However¬†I have a plan to get myself back into reading: get started on the reading list for my children’s literature! Because who doesn’t want to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (again), The Jungle Books, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?

Listening to… 

I’ve been very eclectic with my music tastes this month. I am either listening to ‘going out’ music when getting ready in the evening, in which case out come tracks like Rudimental’s Waiting All Night, Zedd’s¬†Clarity, and Lana Del Ray’s¬†Summertime Sadness.¬†Sometimes a girl just needs something loud and fast passed to get her in the mood for a night on the town ;-). If I’m not listening to club music (who am I again?) then I have been listening to songs with lyrics that speak to me. My current loves include Roberta Flack’s¬†Killing Me Softly With His Song,¬†A Fine Frenzy’s¬†Almost Lover,¬†Birdy’s¬†I’ll Never Forget You,¬†and one of my favourite songs John Legend’s Ordinary People.¬†Who knows what is going on in my head right now!

Watching…

I was really poorly this weekend and spent most of the weekend curled up in a blanket trying to sleep. Being poorly always makes me miss home so I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic for my childhood… perfect timing then for The Great British Bake Off to start again! I think that anyone who knows me at all in real life or who has read my blog for a while will know to what extent I adore this programme. Last Tuesday’s episode was bread week and I enjoyed watching the technical challenge of baking Paul Hollywood’s English muffins, whilst eating my own English muffin. Ridiculously satisfying.

Eating…

The aforementioned English muffin. As well as a lot of guacamole because I am now in my student house therefore I can eat as many avocados as I please without parents rolling their eyes at my lack of variety. Spending money on food is something I find scarily easy to do so I’m trying to be careful with my budget but I am enjoying cooking for myself again. We’ll see how long that lasts when term starts up again and I actually have lectures to attend!

Dreaming of…

There is one thing I can’t stop myself daydreaming about the minute I have a pause… Nice. I promised you a recap post and that will definitely happen this weekend when I get a chance to go home to scan in the photos from the family camera. I miss the beautiful panoramas, I miss the sea air, I miss the bright midday sun, I miss the smell of suncream, I miss the beaches, I miss the balmy evenings, I miss the crowed markets, I miss the restaurants spilling out into town squares, I miss the ice creams, I even miss the buses…

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Just a little sneak peak of the beauty of Nice…

What are your currently-s? Do you ever have trouble getting into books? Do the lyrics of your favourite songs matter to you?

Sophie x

Currently…

Reading…

Anything I have the time to lay my hands on. One of my favourite things about the summer holidays is all that free time to read! I finished reading¬†NW¬†by Zadie Smith last week, which I absolutely loved. It’s witty, engaging, and thoughtfully written, I really enjoy Smith’s narrative style. I’m currently researching my dissertation topic and I’m ploughing my way through the chapter in The Madwoman in the Attic¬†entitled ‘The Genesis of Hunger According to Shirley‘. Obviously I can’t just read for my dissertation so I’m also starting to work my way through the list of books for my Modernist module, the first of which is¬†Nightwood¬†by Djuna Barnes. I have no idea what it’s about but I’m looking forward to diving into the unknown (my life is just¬†that¬†exciting!).

Listening to… 

I recently discovered a new (to me) band whose music is equally perfect for perking me up on sunny mornings or relaxing for balmy summer evenings, Of Monsters and Men. I have to say the literary link wasn’t wasted on me either and might have a tiny bit to do with why I was drawn to their music. ‘Little Talks’ is a particularly good wake-up song if you’re like me and it takes some kind of motivation to get out of bed in the morning. I’ve also been listening to the song ‘Swell Window’ by Zee Avi practically on repeat, she has a lovely unique voice and the song just makes me happy.

Watching…

This is a little embarrassing to admit but I’ve been working my way through Sex and the City, which I’ve never actually watched before. I know, I know, it’s the opposite of high brow and there is a lot in it that makes me roll my eyes or even grit my teeth, but I feel like it’s just what I need in light of being newly single… And it is kinda funny! Additionally the sixth series of True Blood has started again so my Monday evenings are always enjoyable (mmm¬†Alexander Skarsg√•rd).

Eating…

Lots of strawberries. I adore the abundance of delicious fresh fruit in the summer and I take full advantage of it. We’re off to Nice in August and I’m so excited about the prospect of fresh juicy peaches. I’ve also been drinking my fair share of fruity rekorderligs, enjoyed in pubs by the river with friends. Laughter (and sometimes alcohol) is the best medicine for heart ache. With the UK seeing so much sunshine it has been the ideal weather for barbecues which has become a bit of family tradition Sunday evenings to replace the roasts. So grateful to have my family supporting me right now ūüôā

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I hope you all enjoyed lovely, sunny weekends! What are your currently-s? Any fantastic books to recommend or music I just have to listen to?

Sophie x

Thank You.

There are some times in our lives when things go wrong and we need all the support we can get from those around us. The last couple of weeks have definitely been one of these times for me and the amount of care and support that I have received from everyone has been amazing. I have never felt so lucky to be surrounded by such kind and wonderful people. I want to say an enormous thank you to all of you who tweeted me, messaged me, and commented on my last post, it all means so much! You really have all made a big difference to how I’ve been handling my emotions. I also want to say an enormous thank you to my family who have been here to support me everyday and thank you to all of my lovely friends who have been texting me constantly and getting me out of the house. I really appreciate all of it.

I don’t know whether it’s the whole of the UK but here in the South East the weather has been absolutely glorious since the weekend, the sun has been shining and it has been warm enough to swan around in shorts and sunbathe. I spent yesterday afternoon soaking in the rays (under a thick layer of factor 50, don’t worry!) and reading my current novel in my deckchair. It was blissful and just the relax I needed after two incredibly intense weeks (I’ll be finally explaining all of that in my next post).

I mentioned the book I’m reading –¬†NW¬†by Zadie Smith – in my currently reading post and I’m really enjoying it, definitely one I recommend. There is something about being outside on a sunny day, surrounded by green and beautiful flowers, that really lifts the spirits. My mother is the chief gardener in our family and our little back garden is so pretty. The stripey deckchair lets me pretend I’m by the sea…

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I’m desperately hoping that this lovely weather will stick around for a few weeks, it’s just so amazing to be in skirts/shorts and t-shirts and to feel the warm sun on my face. It is the little ray of light, literally and metaphorically, that I need in my life right now.

I hope you are all having great weather too and enjoying your week so far!

Sophie x

Where Have I Been?

A good question!

For the past month I have more or less disappeared from the realms of the internet. No blogging, no emails, no tweeting… It comes down to being incredibly busy with university work. I had a 3000 word essay and another 3000 word portfolio to write and put together, then along came exams and I was just completely swamped with it all. I finished my last exam of my second year on Thursday and I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to have finished. I feel as free as a bird ūüėČ

So from now on you can expect regular posts again on my blog and I will be spending tomorrow catching up with all of yours because I have missed you all!

I thought that to introduce myself back into blogging gently I’d just fill you in on what I have been doing when I wasn’t revising. Here are a few Instagram snaps from the last few weeks:

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Breakfasts recently. I have to start the day well when I have little to look forward to!

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Typical: the weather is gorgeous during exams. At least this means I get to enjoy eating outside in the sunshine.

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Poppy was my constant revision companion | Quiche | I have a lovely mother who buys me motivational treats!

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Spring flowers | Fancy dress beginning with ‘A’ for Aimee’s birthday party, I am Alice | Avatar anyone?

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Making the most of the sunshine | We took a break and cycled to a pub, my dinner was rather classy for pub grub. The main was amazing. 

Well I hope you’ve all been having some nice weather, recently between grey days we’ve enjoyed a lot of lovely sunshine and even some warm temperatures! Now that I’m free I’m spending a week resting and seeing lots of friends from home before I start reading up for next years modules and my dissertation. Stay tuned for book reviews, May’s monthly favourites, and hopefully some recaps of summer fun ūüôā

Sophie x

The Sun Has Got His Hat Off.

Well last weekend the English weather was somewhat blissful. The sun was shining and the temperatures even soared up to 20¬įC (which is rather impressive for May in England!). As a result everyone’s mood lifted, people in the streets were¬†smilier, and the general mood was brighter. The trees have suddenly burst into life with tiny leaves and gorgeous blossom, and everything is greener.

Unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worse this week and the sky outside my window is currently very grey. But seeing how I’m writing my final essay whilst still wearing my dressing gown at 4pm on a Sunday, I suppose the weather doesn’t matter a great deal. My hand-in date is this coming Wednesday so I’m pretty much counting down the hours till then when I’ll actually have time to leave the house again and do something to my appearance other than pulling my hair up! I have two exams in the two weeks following from my deadline but with a week in between them they’re not worrying me too much.

I’m hoping that the sunshine will make another appearance once my deadline passes but in the meantime I’m going to stare wistfully at the photos I took of the lovely flowers in the garden last weekend and imagine the warmth against my skin…

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Is the sun shining where you are? Have you been able to enjoy any good weather recently? Favourite thing to do out in the sun?

Sophie x

Currently…

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Reading…

I’ve been stuck with my reading lately. I’ve just started an essay on¬†amatory verse (in simple terms: love poetry) and as such I’ve had very little time to read actual books in between my research and poetry reading! Studying literature at uni can have its major downsides and having little to no time to read outside of the course is definitely one of them! So I’ve only just managed to finish¬†This Isn’t the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You by Jon McGregor despite starting it several weeks ago(!) but I really enjoyed it. I will be reviewing it in the next few weeks so watch out for that. I’m now starting George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs Warren’s Profession¬†which we’re studying next week in my Victorian module.

Listening to… 

As I have been so poorly lately, I’ve needed something to help lift my spirits. There’s only really one song that can do it for me: Rusted Root’s Send Me On My Way. It’s just so happy and uplifting, plus there’s the nostalgia – it just takes me back to watching Matilda as a child! I’ve also been really enjoying Daughter’s EP His Young Heart which is just beautiful.

Watching…

In my illness I’ve ended up watching quite a lot of TV and films, I have to admit Mamma Mia was definitely watched (I adore¬†that film), as were Sense and Sensibility, Runaway Bride, and When Harry Met Sally… I’ve also caught up with Paul Hollywood’s Breads which always makes me want to go down to the kitchen and get kneading. If you have any fun, lighthearted films to recommend then I’m all ears.

Eating…

I had¬†the¬†most beautiful cupcake earlier today (I instagramed it –¬†@loveliveandlearn) ¬†that my mother kindly brought me back from the farmers’ market this morning. It was just so lovely to look at that I almost didn’t want to eat it… It was really tasty too so obviously I did end up eating it! Today the weather was actually springlike for the first time so after a brilliant talk on Jane Austen in St John’s College in Cambridge, my lovely friend Sophie and I decided to have a picnic nearby in the sunshine so I ate an avocado sandwich and a strawberry and vanilla smoothie – delicious.

Wishing for…

The summer! Having a taste of warmer weather has made me seriously pine for the sunshine and the months of long days with time off and holidays away. This summer my family is off to Barcelona for a week and I am so so excited, I’ve been once before and fell in love with the¬†vibrancy¬†of the city along with its stunning architecture and delicious seafood.

What are your currently-s?

Sophie x