Italian Adventures

The other week I returned from my first holiday in about three years. I had a wonderful week with my family in Italy – somewhere I’ve never been before. I will be writing individual posts for each day that I spent out there. I’ll aim to do them daily, but depending on how busy/lazy I get they might not be that punctual.

 

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Day out in London

This post was supposed to go up yesterday (Tuesday 10th June), but I had so little concentration after travelling through London all day, proofreading a bit and knowing I had to get up at half 5 the next morning, so I jotted down what I wanted to write in my notebook so I wouldn’t miss anything.

Yesterday my mum and I were meant to be going to London to see a filming of the programme Q.I.. Unfortunately, I got an email the night before saying that the recording had been postponed until today. I have a feeling that the death of Rik Mayall may have had something to do with it, so even though it was frustrating (as we had booked the train tickets and couldn’t make it to today’s recording), I completely understand. I wouldn’t want to go to work the day after the death of a friend either.

When we found out about the postponement Mum phoned up the train company to see if she could get a refund on the 40 quid that had been spent on the tickets. However, due to ridiculous refund charges Mum would only get back a whole…wait for it…75p. This is because the train company charges £10 each way for a refund. My tickets cost me £8 each way. There was a heated discussion between my mum and the person on the other end of the phone which meant that we pretty much had to go to London the next day. There was talk of changing the tickets to another day but we had to leave both home and London at the same times as were on the purchased tickets.

I phoned my friend when Mum was on the phone to ask if she wanted to meet me in London. She agreed, but couldn’t make it until about half 2 because of her having to go to an excavation site to clear up after a few weeks of digging and discovering pottery and skeletons. Mum booked an earlier ticket back from Liverpool Street because she didn’t fancy staying in London all day.

We got the train at about half 10. We both thought that the the tickets were for half 10 but then a ticket inspector told us they were for 10:33 and that we should make sure to get the train that our ticket allows us to get on. He didn’t fine us or anything like that, but it was a little frustrating, especially after the hassle with the tickets the night before.

The advantage of getting the train that we did was that the train went straight to Liverpool St with no stops, not even to Stratford. We were sat opposite a couple with a very cute young baby girl. She was so well behaved throughout the entire journey and was perfectly happy being entertained with a crisp packet (which she eventually yanked and got crumbs everywhere) and a packet of Polos. There was a younger guy sitting across the way from me reading a book. I had a look at his hands and saw that his nails were incredibly long. Long as claws. Not a look I would personally go for but he didn’t go out that day with the intention of impressing me.

The front page of the papers were covered with the image of Rik Mayall, following his death. There was a quote it one of them from his comedy partner Adrian Edmonson, calling him a selfish bastard. I loved what I saw of Mayall’s work (Bottom, The Young Ones and Drop Dead Fred). I found him so eloquent and just simply ridiculous. He died suddenly at 56 and was found by his wife. At first they were unaware of what it was that killed him but I heard today that it may have been something to do with an accident he had 16 years ago which left him in a coma. I’ll link an article here and you can also read his obituary.

Mum and I arrived in London about 45 minutes after leaving the station. I paid for both our railcards so that my friend could have one when I saw her later should she need it. We got on the tube to Marble Arch where we saw a homeless man with a large beard and pungent aroma sitting a few inches away from the entrance. We went to M&S and looked around the womenswear department. We looked at a few maxi dresses and Mum was after a scarf to go with a white dress. I’ve tried on a few maxi dresses, but the shape of my body does not allow them to flatter my figure. I am relatively slim with wide hips, meaning that maxi dresses just don’t look the way they should on me.

We got some lunch and then walked over to Hyde Park. I didn’t realise how close it is to Marble Arch. Between the area of the Arch and the grass there was a long line of horses. There was one that was having its feet “sorted” (sorry I am not informed on horsey lingo). Here’s a photo so you have more of an idea of what I’m talking about. DSC_0049

 

I’ve done a bit of Googling but still can’t pinpoint what this was was. If you know more about this then feel free to leave a comment and enlighten me!

Having lunch in Hyde Park with my mum was really lovely. There is a stack of deck chairs there which you pay to sit on, so we just sat on the grass in the sun. There were a few strapping young shirtless men going for a run as were so many other people…except they had all their clothes on. We were sat near a place called Speaker’s Corner. Mum said that it used to be a place where people could sit and speak their mind about anyone and no one could stop you. I think I might need my own Speaker’s Corner.

At about quarter to two Mum and I got back on the train to Liverpool Street. I could have stayed in Oxford Street but I needed Mum’s travelcard. I said goodbye to her then jumped straight on the tube to King’s Cross. Admittedly, I killed a few minutes before getting on the train playing Farm Heroes Saga. I had about an hour before my friend arrived, so lingering around aimlessly wasn’t hurting anyone.

When I got to King’s Cross I sat and read Wild by Jay Griffiths. After reading Eat. Pray Love. I was interested in travel writing so picked up a copy of this book from Selfridges last Summer when I came to London with my then boyfriend. I had read a few pages, but always ended up back at the end after putting it down for too long.

After getting confused as to where to meet her, I eventually found my friend. I asked her what she wanted to do but she wasn’t fussed so we went to the Natural History Museum. I noticed that the Piccadilly Line is actually quite handy because it has South Kensington (for the museum), Knightsbridge (Harrods), Leicester Square and Covent Garden.

Anyway, when we got to the museum we saw outside in a white tent that there was some sort of butterfly house which was about a fiver entry. We walked around the museum looking first at the dinosaurs then at the mammals, followed by human biology. I suggested going to the Sherlock Holmes museum next because we’d both never been before. There was a bit of tube confusion, naturally, but we got there in the end.

The museum itself was a little smaller than I imagined and exists in an old house that is protected by the government. It has two floors (three if you cound the ground floor as the first floor) and a gift shop in a tiny building next door. There is also what we thought was a coffee shop next door, but we realised that it was being used for storage.

We were both quite hungry when we got out of the museum so went to Pret that sat just opposite one of the entrances of Baker Street station. I had never been before and was impressed with my caramel latte. We sat outside and talked for a bit. Then we talked about people watching and wondering about the ordinary people that we cross. We pointed out people (not in the literal sense) and made guesses about them. For example, the man in the tweed jacket, waistcoat and denim jeans worked at a museum and the lady who walked in to Pret had just been to the gym straight from work and was going to then go back home and watch television in her pyjamas with her cat.

My train was due to leave at about ten past seven. On our way back we picked up a copy of the London Evening Standard each. I wanted the stories, my friend wanted the puzzles. The paper was filled with news about the Stop Rape in Conflict campaign.

We spoke on the train on the way to King’s Cross, where my friend was due to get off. My stop was only a few after her’s. I’m seeing her again next week when she’s home for the weekend. When I got off at Liverpool Street I saw a couple that I work with. They got an earlier train to me because I was not going to risk getting an earlier train than my ticket allowed and get fined, so I got on my train and started reading the paper. Very few pages were without articles on the campaign.

There were several stops on the train before it stopped in my town. I then had to get on another train to get to a stop that was closer to my house. I don’t fancy walking forty minutes back to my house when someone was murdered a few weeks ago along the route that I would walk.

I was so tired when I got home and still had to proofread some work for my stepdad and have a shower and get my uniform ready for my 7am start. I managed it, though, and was not a zombie when I got to work the next day.

Thanks for reading!

xxx

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Keeping Busy

I have been back from university for two weeks. For a few days of one week I was at my dad’s keeping busy by doing the washing, looking after my stepmum’s mum and mucking out ponies. This would lead me to feel like I’d done something productive with my time and make me genuinely tired when the day was up. Admittedly, I would be feeling awful from hayfever but I didn’t mind so much because I’d been out in the fresh air doing something mildly productive. However, sitting on my bum in my house with no real reason to go outside has begun to dig at me. I mean, I went to town today to get Dad’s birthday and Father’s Day presents, some food and some cards, but that was it. I also did some dusting in the living room and cleaned the bathroom again, but I still don’t feel that I’ve done anything productive.

I start work again on Sunday doing an 8 hour shift. I think I’ll feel better when I’m back at work because I’ll be out of the house, socialising and earning myself some money. As I said in my previous blog post I only work two days a week, alternating between Wednesdays and Saturdays, working every Sunday. Apparently the men’s department of the store has extra hours going so I’m going to ask about that. I’ll also ask around other departments and see what they’ve got. This will earn me a decent amount of money a week. I was also considering getting a job at a bar or a pub (my town has plenty) to give me even more money if the extra hours at my first job are scarce. However, I’ll see how the extra hours at my current job work out. Plus from experience the hours working in bars and pubs are unpredictable (my friend once didn’t finish work until 6am). 

When I’m at home on my own not really doing anything then I feel like I’m sort of wasting time. It’s not a nice feeling not doing anything when you could be going out or working. Well, it is for me at least. I kind of feel trapped. Or stuck. Stuck in one place, staring at the same four walls feeling like I could be doing something. I could be on a road trip. I could be out with my friends. I could be taking photographs in the woods with watering eyes and a runny nose. That’s why I’m aiming to work hard and keep busy during this break from university so I can not feel so guilty about the days that I do spend at home all day because I want to earn it.

I already have some things planned, and some other plans up in the air. Tomorrow we’re going to have a barbecue at the beach to celebrate my stepdad’s birthday. On Sunday I am back at work. I might also go to the gym afterwards, but that’s a maybe. On Monday evening I’m going out for a leaving do. On Tuesday I’m going to London with my mum to see a recording of Q.I. We’re spending the whole day down there more or less so we might go sight seeing. I’ll take my camera, keeping it close to my chest. I have nothing planned from Wednesday onwards. 

My “up in the air” plans consist of going to London again. This time with my best friend who I haven’t seen in ages and is staying in her university accommodation over the Summer because of work commitments. I also hope to take driving lessons again, once I start work again. I’m gonna aim for a lesson once a week for an hour. This will hopefully increase my confidence on the road. I know that I can drive and I really want to pass my driving test. I don’t think I’ve actually driven in well over a year and I used to doing it. Again, there’s the potential cosplay photo shoot with my friend. If that goes ahead then I will be one very happy bunny.

When I was a kid I could very easily just sit about all day and watch TV or play The Sims 2 or something but not anymore. Now I’m a lot older I feel that I have some sort of purpose. Don’t worry, there’s not going to be a dramatic rendition of “Go The Distance” from Disney’s Hercules to follow this. I just feel like I have the drive to actually do things and work as hard as I can. I’m having one of those times where I feel like I have to make my life amazing. I want to travel. I want to write. I want to live

This post is going in to a subject that I’d rather save for another time :) Tomorrow I will be a productive little bee and clean my room. I’m making progress with what I have: a tiny room with lots of stuff. I’ve donated so many clothes to charity I think that the charity shop won’t need to restock on women’s clothes for a few months. I might even post a picture tomorrow to show how it looks. It can look tidy. I know because I’ve seen it and it will be tidy!

Goodnight :) xxxx

 

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A Catch Up

Two weeks ago I finished my first year at university. Even though, looking back, my first day seems like it happened ages ago, I feel that the year has gone quite quickly. There were two long terms and then after Easter I was only back for four weeks, then headed home again for a 3 month long Summer.

I managed to get my job back. It’s two days a week, working every other Saturday and every other Wednesday and working every Sunday. Luckily I work in a shop that has quite a few other departments so I might be able to go to them and get some extra hours. This will give me money for days out and holiday spending money for when I go to Italy in August.

For a few days in the first week of me being back I stayed with my dad. My stepmum and my sister went away for a week, leaving my other sister behind. Don’t worry, my other sister didn’t want to go away. The nature of that holiday was a little immature for her so she said she’d rather stay behind. I don’t blame her either.

My stepmum’s mother lives with them. She’s 90/91 and had a stroke a few years ago, leaving her unable to convey certain words. She got it across to me that she can think of what she wants to say but is unable to say it. I only partially imagine what it’s like because I sometimes have something that I want to say in my head but can’t get it out – making me feel a bit stupid. Anyway, like I said, she lives with them and is quite happy just sitting in front of the telly. It would personally drive me up the wall, but I’m 70 years younger. I helped out with her a little bit. I sometimes got her morning drinks ready and just refilled her cups of tea throughout the day.

Because my sisters have horses, as does my dad, we went down to the yard every evening to muck out and my sister had to ride three horses because obviously my other sister was away and my dad injured himself on his horse. I say injured when it was really just a pulled muscle in his groin. At 54 your body isn’t as faithful as it used to be. So yeah, I was hay and straw bitch for a few days. That was a pain in the arse because my hayfever acted up like hell and so I woke up the next morning feeling awful.

I could have ridden Dad’s horse as well but he said I wasn’t experienced enough and wouldn’t let me out without a lead rein, so I just did the boring jobs. He also kept reminding me to be careful and “stay away from the hind legs”. Stuff I know already. He was so cautious it began to get annoying. Of course, it’s nice to know that your parent is looking out for you and making sure you don’t get hurt, but it gets annoying when it steps in to the categories of “underestimating every inch of common sense you have” and “making a situation out to be more dangerous than it actually is”. This was the same for when me and my friend took my sister out. He interrogated me, it seemed, to make sure we were gonna be safe. My mum trusts me completely and lets me do whatever, so being questioned about every “grown up” thing I was doing was annoying.

I messaged a friend about doing a cosplay photo shoot. She goes to cons and I need to get some practice in with my new camera as it hasn’t really been taken out for a test drive yet. Hopefully I can also develop my photoshop skills by putting effects on the photos. My friend has cosplayed Castiel from Supernatural so if I could put some wings and blue eyes in a photo then I will be very, very pleased with myself.

Over the Summer, I aim to write at least two stories. They don’t have to be too long, I just want them to be of a very high standard. I wrote a good short story for my AS English Language and Literature, which helped me to get a B in that module. Hopefully my skills have expanded since then and not dried up from lack of practice.

I’ll also be blogging more. I have more time so I can gather my thoughts and write them down on here properly, instead of just rambling whenever I need to let of steam. I’ll be reviewing books and products, so don’t worry!

I’m going to finish my glass of wine then go to bed. N’night! xxx

 

 

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Writing

For one of my most recent modules at university we had to write a three minute screenplay. We had to write a synopsis, followed by a treatment and then concluded with the actual screenplay itself. As part of our coursework we had to read someone else’s script and then write a report on it, discussing how well it was written and whether or not we’d consider the script or the writer.

I really enjoyed this module as it allowed me to be creative by thinking of my own story based on the brief and then bringing it to life. My group ended up filming my screenplay, with some minor practicality adjustments (we were unable to get hold of a house and a young child to play the son). So this got me to thinking about writing more. Writing, for me at least, is something that is not only fun, but is also productive as it is a skill I need for the area of work I want to go in to.

I may have mentioned in my first post of this blog that I was considering doing reviews. I have taken some notes on the books I have read in the past few months and am considering reviewing them. I will be trying to avoid spoilers whilst being as articulate, honest and informative as I possibly can. The books I plan on reviewing are The Fault in Our Stars, A Street Cat Named BobThe Shock of the Fall and The Help. I may also do a blog post about Eat. Pray. Love. That post may end up being a mix of personal reflection as well as a review. This is because I personally feel that it is a fantastic book to read if you are feeling a bit lost and unsure of your life. The book reviews will hopefully allow me to improve my professional writing. Doing reviews on a regular basis will also maybe mean that I have to stick to my own deadlines, improving my time-keeping, blah blah yaddah yaddah.

Back to the point about the screenplays. That part of the module inspired me to come up with my own short films to write synopsis’ and treatments about before putting my ideas on to paper with a view to having them shot. I have also considered writing short stories which I would then adapt in to screenplays. My course is allowing us creative freedom over the next few weeks. I have the gorgeous notebook at my side right now just waiting to be filled with whatever crazy ideas I come up with. I might start doing, say, 2 blog posts a week. One will be what I’ve been up to during that week and the other will be a book review or something else (possibly a weekly favourite post).

OH, ON THE SUBJECT OF WHAT I’VE BEEN UP TO

I PASSED MY FIRST JITSU GRADING!!!

I went to my very first grading in Wolverhampton with two other people and our Sensei. I was so nervous, but didn’t let it take over. We were put under pressure and challenged, but it paid off in the end. Now that I actually have my first coloured belt I feel a lot more confident. I’ve proved to myself that I can work hard and achieve something. Pay attention, 14-year-old self.

Goodnight :)   X

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What type of film maker do I want to be?

I’ve thought about this question since standing up in front of my year by a lecturer when presenting my poorly-photoshopped logo of Impala antlers with the line title ‘Impala Films’ placed just off-centre between the two antlers.

I stood there in silence, completely lost for words. I hadn’t even thought about this. I thought that my film company would just produce work that I did. So I just said “Anything, really”. Smoooooth.

So lately I’ve been taking some serious thought in to the type of film maker I want to be. I have always loved documentary and music videos. Documentary allows the film maker to portray the world – accurately or inaccurately – as they want it, while music videos visually represent the message that the song conveys, reinforcing the lyrics (unless it’s a Bon Jovi video).

I spoke to my friend Mathew a month or so ago about doing a short documentary film about his interests in circus and fire performance. He agreed to it and I am currently writing out notes for the production, e.g. the shots and shooting locations. I’ll also be interviewing Mat so his voiceover will narrate the documentary. This makes the documentary more personal as Mat is telling the viewer his story in his own words: not his words manipulated and then told by someone else.

I have been inspired by the popular Facebook page Humans of New York – where a person or group are photographed and have a brief story about themselves – and my most recent university group project has inspired me to find people with interesting stories and display them in a creative, visual way. I feel that if I build up a portfolio of short films about people then I can make documentary film my core specialist genre.

 

 

 

 

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Overdue resolutions

I slacked off immensely over the Christmas break and over these past four weeks of my second semester. I’ve been busy!

University has picked up since we came back from our break. Although the more frequent assignments have been a little stressful, it’s also been fun. I feel that a little bit more work to do makes me feel more productive on my days off and also makes me more grateful of any free time I have. I plan to be productive when I’m not busy, though. I’ve decided to read more and write in a personal notebook any ideas I may have for a project which I can do in the Easter and Summer holidays. For instance, I plan on making a short documentary about my friend who breaths fire. No, his name is not Smaug and he is not a dragon.

With regards to reading, I recently read The Fault in our Stars by John Green. It’s the first book which has made me cry and it only took three days for me to read it. I read it in my free time, meaning it only actually took me about 6…ish hours to read. That’s good for me because I barely ever read!

So, resolution number 1 is read more! Finishing a book is a really satisfying feeling but also is quite sad because in some cases you don’t want the book to end (hence why I’m slowing down on my Supernatural intake). It’s a satisfying feeling because you feel you’ve accomplished something, like when you finally finish a piece of coursework, only in this case it’s less of a chore. Also, it leaves a lot to your imagination and has no time limit.

Number 2 is blog more! In order to avoid a harsh routine of only living the life of a student who has nothing to do besides assigned work, I’m going to try and write more…on this blog and my Uni blog. I’ll be using this blog for my thoughts/arguments in order to try and be more vocal (hence the title Trying to think and be articulate at the same time). I’ve been considering writing a blog post on how, quite often, sales assistants are treated like shit.

3! Write! I purchased a gorgeous simplistic notebook from WHSmith and I’m going to use it specifically for writing down any creative ideas I have, no matter how silly or ambitious. It’ll be my own independent book which isn’t in any way attached to University.

Oh, and I’m continuing my Spanish!

xx

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