26 May 2015

Overcoming long car journeys

Long car journeys are easily in the top ten things I hate most in the world. Just after the likes of sexism, racism, transphobia etc. I get headaches, I get bored and I get impatient to the point of annoying everyone else inside the little metal box with me. As soon as an hour has passed of being sat in a stuffy car with 3G that drops every two miles I'm almost annoyed enough to be willing to give up the prospect of the holiday that lies ahead of me. Almost.

In a couple of days I'm going to be travelling to England's take on paradise - The Lake District. I promise I'm beyond excited to be able to spend some time with my family and my boyfriend in such a beautiful place, but the impending doom of a six hour car journey looms over me nonetheless. So I'm planning more for this car journey than I have for all of my A-Level exams put together. I want to be mentally and physically ready for the torture, so that I can overcome and prosper with the help of ibuprofen and the thought of the hot shower at the end of it.


Here's what I'm taking with me:

Tablets and Water: 

I will be taking every precautionary measure to avoid headaches including keeping completely hydrated and sleeping for 90% of the time. But history shows that those things don't necessary help, so a pack of headache tablets will also be making their way into my bag.

Camera: 

I'm well known for my obsessive documentation of holidays and day trips. The car journey is no exception.

School Work: 

As much as I would love to ignore my upcoming exams for the entirety of my holiday, I will be doing revision in the car. I can't waste 6 hours of sitting still and not invest some of it into getting me the grades that I need for uni!

My Kindle: 

There's not really anywhere I don't take my kindle. But its a must for long car journeys (providing you're not the driver!) in order to stave off boredom.

My purse:

More specifically, money. God knows I am stopping at each service station and filling myself up with every food known to man.

Moisturiser, lip balm and chewing gum: 

Long periods of time sitting still just make you feel icky. I'm hoping that all of the above will  keep me feeling relatively alive and maybe even kind of good.

Headphones: 

I am stocking up my iTunes library this evening because music has the ability to make everything better. Plus, I'm not a big fan of listening to my parent's choice of radio station for the whole time (no offence, Mum). If all else fails, I can ignore the world and pretend that I'm being played my own personal concert.

24 May 2015

Writing through life

Twitter has become the world's journal. As soon as an inspired thought hits us, whether we're in the bath or on the bus, we squeeze it into 140 characters and send it flying into the world of instantly gratifying social media. Listen, I'm not judging and I use "us" for a reason. With other 24,000 tweets to my name I am not an exception to the rule. But I do love writing long winded, sometimes unintelligible pieces by hand - the kind of thing that you need three pages of a journal for or the ability to overcome the daily tweet limit.

Whether or not my twitter usage and my journaling have a negative correlation I can't say. But I can say that I have slacked on all things hand written in 2015. So with a new journal in hand, it's time to up my writing game to embrace creating things that nobody will ever read and all of the benefits that accompany that.



Catharsis   

I have been lucky enough to inherit a family trait of suppressing my emotions until they burst through the nonchalant exterior into the world usually in the form of uncontrollable tears. So when I can't talk, I write. Emotions are notoriously hard to verbalise and scribbling your soul onto a piece of paper is a glorious form of catharsis. 


Future inspiration 

Old journal entries are usually one of two things: Painfully embarrassing or just inspiring. There tends, unfortunately, to be little in-between. I can pretty much put aside all of 2011 Beth's musings regrading Sixth Form "hotties" but as the years progress some of the things I wrote in haste actually have potential to be turned into more substantial pieces. 

Memories 

If nothing else, journals give you a chance to look back to the past in a way that your memory just won't allow. I'd love to say I can remember 2015 frame by frame, but I've been too busy memorising Blake and Hamlet quotes for my A2 exams instead. If I'd written every time something vaguely interesting happened I'm sure it would all be a lot clearer. Like a lexical photo album. 

23 May 2015

Written by me: Kintsukuroi

I've decided to start a new series here on Curly and Wordy, sharing some of my more poetic written work with anybody who cares to read. This is the stuff that isn't going to change the world anytime soon but that gives an insight into my soul and the way that I think.

To start off the "written by me" series is this piece: Kintsukuroi.


18 May 2015

How to make life take a breath and calm down

I used to stress. A lot. About things that I can't even remember now. I don't know where it came from but for as long as I can remember I had a serious inability to stay calm in high pressure (or even mid-pressure) situations. Luckily for me and my blood pressure, I think I've finally grown out of it since starting Sixth Form. I've learnt that as much as a little fear is good for the grades, excessive worrying will get you nowhere nearer to achieving any goals. 

So I taught myself a few infallible ways to clam down



Taking a bath 

Preferably with some kind of Lush product and a few too many candles. Baths are the holy grail of relaxation. They are yoga without the gym gear or the flexibility. They warm you up, calm you down and can leave you smelling like a personified sweet shop. 

Drinking tea 

Basically a bath for the inside of your body. I personally think there's a tea for every occasion and the one for a stressful occasion is Camomile and Maple. But hey, whatever floats your boat. 

Writing anything and everything that's not school related 

This isn't for everybody but for me writing is the best therapy. I'm very bad at verbalising emotions but if you give me a pen and paper I will write the hell out of them. 

Painting my nails 

My nails are never painted. I am not always Instagram ready to showcase my morning smoothie held against a pretty background. Frankly, I don't have the time or patience. But when I'm stressed I force myself to have the time and patience. I figure, if you can give yourself a perfect manicure without giving up and having it smudge, you can write that essay too. 

Reading anything and everything that's not school related 

There's nothing more wonderful than swapping Shakespeare for something I can actually read for ten minutes straight without having to google the meaning of obscure words. To be honest, Hamlet just needs to get on with it and stop thinking so damn much. After studying such texts, reading the works of David Nicholls and Jonas Jonasson seem simply indulgent. 

Playing with my little sister 

4 year olds are so beautifully care free. So spending 20 minutes or more playing with my sister Lucie, making camps out of bed covers and building lego skyscrapers, shifts things nicely back into perspective. 

17 May 2015

"Being nice gets you nowhere"

Young adults are fed a simple lie that can inhibit them for the rest of their lives - "being nice gets you nowhere."

Frankly, being nice can get you plenty of places and when you get there you'll be able to celebrate with your numerous friends and perhaps a large glass of champagne purchased by said friends who decided you deserve it because you're just so darn nice. What will those that were stepping on people to get to the top be doing? Well, firstly they'll be standing on a pile of people which can't be too comfy or safety conscious. Secondly, they will be all alone and probably feeling somewhat deflated.

One of the key aspects of a successful life, I think, is being able to nurture your opportunities. I'm sorry to be cliché but sometimes when you're talking about life you need a good plant based analogy. If you want a flower to grow then you give to it. You give it water, sunshine and a nice place to sit. Similarly, if you want your opportunities to grow in life you have to nurture them. Sometimes those opportunities are people. But you have to give to them a little first. Show them you care, give them compliments when they deserve them and help them to achieve their dreams. Suddenly, and you'll be surprised how quickly it happens, you're not striving alone to succeed anymore. You have someone else just as eager as yourself for you to do well in life and they will find ways of helping you.

I whole heartedly believe that when you are nice, nice things will happen back. Not because of Karma but because the people you touch on the way will be there to give you a boost. And I'm not saying that you should be nice to people just to help yourself in the future. What I'm saying is that opportunities are the byproduct of being genuinely nice to people and unpolluted in your care for them. Don't think about how someone can help you, just know that if you're nice it will all work out in the end.


14 May 2015

A picture a day

I'm feeling inspired. As part of the "25 before I'm 20" list I created I said that one of the things I'm determined to do is take a picture every day for a year. I want the picture to represent that day in a single frame so that I can put them into a book or album that reflects a whole year of my life visually. At first I thought the best day to start would be January 2016 but actually my life is about to undergo a much bigger shift now than it will be at the New year.

Yesterday was the last day of my schooling life. After 7 years I'm leaving the school that bought me into my teenage years, through my GCSEs and into my A-Levels. In the next couple of months I'll be leaving home and heading off to uni. Basically, everything's changing. So it seemed silly to not document such a momentous period just for the sake of following the convention of starting something new in January. From now on I will take a picture everyday for 365 day. 

It starts here, dressed up as barbies and more than a little emotional: 




10 May 2015

25 before I'm 20



1. Go stargazing/camp under the stars
2. Watch the sun rise or set
3. Go phone/laptop/internet free for 24 hours
4. Go skinny dipping
5. Go to a festival
6. Go to gay pride
7. Go on a protest march for something I care about
8. Get (relatively) good at yoga
9. Get a "signature cake" that I can bake really well
10. Go to paris
11. Publish some writing
12. See a ballet
13. Have a spa day
14. Kiss under the mistletoe
15. Slow dance
16. Do some volunteer work
17. Be vegetarian for at least a month
18. Go to a spoken word meet
19. Participate in NaNoWriMo
20. Give blood
21. Get better at running
22. Go on my first holiday without my parents
23. Learn to tie a tie
24. Leave books in random places for strangers
25. Take a photo to represent each day for 365 days and put them in an album



Positive thoughts to take into the week #3


9 May 2015

How to make revision relatively bearable

Study leave will go one of two ways:

a. It will allow you to work hard and thrive when exam time comes around or
b. It will allow you to have a lie in and use Twitter a whole lot more since there's no rules against it

There's literally no in between. Once you've hit that slippery slope of "5 more minutes in my cosy cocoon" and "maybe Russell Brand has updated his twitter" there's no stopping you. It will soon turn into "a day in bed is good for the soul" and "let's watch the past 5 episodes of the Trews". Nobody starts study leave wanting to be a B but unfortunately it's a lot more fun than being an A. Brutal honesty allows me to admit to myself that most of the time revision is bloody boring. Like, gouge your own eyes out boring. And I'm not going to lie to you and tell you that the important thing to do is "make revision fun!! :)" because frankly that's less likely than a Conservative government protecting the NHS. What I am going to tell you however is how to make revision bearable to the point where it leaves you feeling a certain level of satisfied in the evening.



Wake up early

No snooze. Just coffee and curtains straight open. If you can do it at school you can do it now. It's all about the long term gain, not instant gratification. I know this at first makes revision seem less bearable, but when it comes 3pm and you've finished your revision whilst your peers are just starting, you can feel pretty damn smug watching re-runs of Catfish.


Pretty pens and pretty paper

I'm sorry I sound like a YouTube beauty guru but they are right (and have killer contour) - pretty stationary does help. I'm statistically 78% more likely to pick up a pink fluffy pen than I am a black Bic. And statistics like that speak for themselves.

Tea

I don't have to say anymore on this matter.

Break it down

You can dance if you want but that's not what I mean. If you try to work for more than an hour straight you are, to put it frankly, a fool. I've been there. I've been that fool. Just trust me when I say that it stops working pretty quickly and your brain will turn more frequently to other things that are actually interesting in comparison (twitter, War and Peace, the deficit).

Sorry, I can't take your call right now

Get rid of your phone for the entirety of your revision session. God, I know, how does one go about removing the superglue from one's hand? I don't care where you put it as long as its out of eyeshot and earshot.

Chill

I've been known to have a stress induced nose bleed every now and then thanks to the likes of History AS revision and English Lit coursework. But those days are behind me. This year I have well and truly taken a chill pill and you should to. I know I sound like your mum but it's actually not the end of the world. If you don't get the 10 pages done today that you wanted then you can probably do it tomorrow. If you don't get the grade you want at the end of all your work, life goes on and it doesn't - despite the suggestions of teachers - dictate your whole future.

8 May 2015

Searching for political silver linings

Yesterday I voted for the first time in the general election. Despite there being a lot less pomp than I expected (really, no round of applause when I put my ballot paper in the box?) it was all rather exciting. Finally, after years of observing from the outskirts of politics, unable to be directly involved due to the disability of my age I could get my hands dirty. My opinions could actually count towards how the country is run for the next five years. That's pretty amazing when you think about. Democracy is cool.



And I actually believed it, perhaps a little naively. I fully believed that the end of the Tory government was coming. I thought that the NHS wouldn't be privatised, food banks wouldn't be needed to give food to the people of Britain and that some kind of compassion would be shown towards the poorer sectors of society who have faced the financial outfall of the Tory government whilst privileged brits and big businesses have avoided taxes with no consequences. After all the support I had seen on social media for Labour and the Greens, I couldn't see how it would go any other way than "goodbye Conservatives". But I was wrong. Maybe those that vote conservative realise that it's not the kind of thing you want to be shouting from the rooftops, which gave me false hope.

But the time has come to suck it up. I've done my complaining and now it's time to recognise that this is how it's going to be for the next five years. Take a breath. Relax. We can get through this together. We will not let Cameron cut our spirits like he cut 866 Sure Start centres and the NHS Direct. In times like this we must look for the positives of the election. I mean look really really hard.

More female MPs 

We're getting somewhere! We had 147 women in parliament and now we have 190. Slowly but surely we're making ground, even if we're still a far cry from having equality in politics. No doubt in a few years time we'll all be dancing around Westminster to "Sisters are doin' it for themselves" by Eurythmics/Aretha Franklin in a celebratory manner.

Caroline Lucas

Don't trust anyone who doesn't have a soft spot for Caroline Lucas. I don't care if they're the biggest UKIP supporter in Britain (not that you should trust them anyway) they should still have a little bit of love for this Green gem. Frankly, she just seems like a thoroughly nice woman who stands for policies that look to protect the people of Britain, spreading a message of tolerance and care. Plus, her voice is that kind of soothing one you want to hear before an exam or a plane journey. Now Brighton get to hear that voice a whole lot more.

Less UKIP

We all officially have permission to laugh in the face of Farage. He didn't even win his own seat in parliament and he certainly didn't cause a "political earthquake" as he misjudged would be the case last year. I won't lie, there was a part of me that was scared that all of Britain's racists would suddenly emerge and doom our country for the next political term. I'm proud of you my fellow non-UKIP voters.

Representation for LGTB Britain 

130 of the people standing for parliament were openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Compare this to the last Tory outright win of 1992 when gay people couldn't get married and schools were told they couldn't "promote homosexuality" and that's a big step forward! Still underrepresented no doubt, but the LGTB community is having more of an impact on the UK's political landscape.

4 May 2015

Positive thoughts to take into the week #2


3 May 2015

The world's best (easy) salad

I love salads. I know to most people that sentence is probably sacrilegious but don’t get me wrong, I also love a huge dominoes pizza (stuffed crust, naturally). There’s just something lovely about enjoying a big bowl of food that you know is also doing your body good and doesn’t leave you in a calorie coma. And when I say “big” bowl, I mean big. I do not scrimp when it comes to food. I buy and use a plethora of veggies, leaves and seeds to make a salad that is a far cry from that iceberg lettuce crap. What’s the point of food if it doesn’t make you want to dance because it tastes so good? And that’s just what my favourite (easy) salad does… 



Ingredients
Spinach 
Curly Kale (yes, raw) 
Parsely 
Cherry tomatoes 
Avocado 
Mixed seeds 
Feta cheese 
Garlic dressing (greek yogurt and garlic powder to taste)

2 May 2015

Why "breakfast dates" are so important

"Date" and "dinner" are two words that I imagine would precede one and other in a game of word association. In the same way that "cheese" and "wine" would. I'm pretty sure that as soon as 90% of the population find themselves in the situation where they have to organise a date with a current or possible partner, they phone up their closest fancy restaurant. The other 10% think about what films are long enough to allow for several snogging sessions and they are 13 years old.

But I think we're missing a trick here. I think the rest of the population are yet to discover the wonder of breakfast dates. I'll give you a minute to get over the fact that you may have to actually get out of bed purely to experience such a phenomenon. I promise, it's worth it. 



Firstly, Breakfast dates set you up for the day ahead. They are to your mentality what Weetabix is to your digestive system. As nice as a "Good morning beautiful" text at 7am is, actually being within touching distance of your significant other is like taking that feeling and putting it on steroids. You get the chance to talk about what the next 24 hours has in store for you with someone who can motivate you and make you feel mentally ready to face a barrage of emails or 3 essays on the Italian revolution. 

It also means you can actually get stuff done. A dinner date can mean that I will lay in on the grounds of needing beauty sleep, watch the Coronation Street omnibus to calm my nerves (no, I don't actually follow it) and by 4pm convince myself I have no time for work because I need to go into pamper mode. On the other hand, breakfast dates force me to wake up, sort my appearance out and get to my destination all within about 30 minutes. No time for nerves. And plenty of time afterwards for me to get work done since breakfast doesn't usually have three courses. 

If it's for a first date it gives you a much easier way to get out if things go wrong. Even if you can't "escape" with the excuse that work want you in early, then you can certainly take comfort in the knowledge that this experience will be a lot shorter than that of a full on meal out. 

Finally, it means you get to see what this person is like in the morning. If things are going to get serious you need to know that he doesn't turn into Mr Darcy circa the first 200 pages of Pride and Prejudice before his double espresso. 

1 May 2015

Managing relationships and school

“Don’t do it” 
“Put your education first” 
“You don’t know what love is anyway” 

Listen, I can understand the concern of adults - they just want what’s best for us. But I whole heartedly believe that it’s possible to have a relationship without it effecting you academic record while you’re still in school. Maybe I’m bias as I am at school and I do have a boyfriend, but I feel as though I’m able to manage spending enough time swimming through copious amounts of revision notes whilst also seeing the person that keeps me sane amid this regularly. It’s really not so hard. And as far as I can tell, I won’t be failing my exams any time soon. 

How I think it can be done: 

1. Compare Schedules. Talk to each other. I see my boyfriend at the most obscure times imaginable. We meet up at 11:30pm on Saturday nights to see each other after he’s finished work. Tomorrow I’m waking up early to drive over to his house and have breakfast with him before I get my revision on. In his breaks he comes round and I stop revising for two hours to enjoy his company. We work around what one and other needs to do and then we sketch ourselves into those plans. 

2. Understand. You are not going to see them everyday. You just won’t. Hamlet has too many acts, Blake has too many poems and Hinduism has too many philosophies for you to be left with enough time to see them 7 days a week. Equally, understand that the other person in this relationship has responsibilities too that will not permit them to drive over to your house each day to give you chocolate and a kiss. Suck it up.


3. Motivate each other. I don’t believe anyone should be with a person that doesn’t motivate them to be a better version of them than they already are. My boyfriend motivates me like no other. He refuses to FaceTime me if I have school work and he tells me regularly how amazing it is that I’m striving hard for something I want to do - study Literature at university. If you don’t motivate each other to work hard then you’ll undoubtedly end up lounging around and basking in one and other’s awesomeness instead of finishing Part B of your essay question.