Be Nice It's Tuesday


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Why I Love August

11August It seems strange to me to start with a picture from home when writing about August, because for me, August has always meant one thing. Scotland. When my Mum’s parents were recently married, they first found a beach on the North-West coast of Scotland for their Summer Holiday, and they kept going back. My Mum and her brothers went every year as children. And I have been there with at least some members of my family every year for my whole life. We usually spend 2-4 weeks there, and often stay a few nights somewhere else in Scotland on the way up. You don’t have to know me for long to know how much I love my Summer Holidays in Scotland, and, as well as it just being a family tradition, there are various reasons why. First off it is such a stunningly beautiful part of the world: soft, golden sand; fascinatingly shaped mountains; sparkling seas and lochs; cute white houses…even in bad weather (which is a lot of the time, but not as much as you may expect) there is always something to see. Then there are the people. As well as my cousins – on the years that they are there the same time as us – we have lots of friends who go up every year, children of the people my mum made friends with there as a child. These are people I’ve known most my life, who I rarely see anywhere else, and a lot of them I wouldn’t get on with in school, but there it doesn’t matter how different we all are. And everyone there is friendly, so most years I meet some new people, who often come back again. And thirdly there is actually quite a lot to do there. Swimming or boating, walking, mountain climbing, lots of cafes, ceilidhs, playing cards, reading, watching films, bonfires, a fair bit of drinking and chatting to friends in the evening. There are places you can drive to and things to do, but I like it best when I am just on my own relaxing. When my family go out for the day and I have the caravan to myself and can listen to my music, read, do sudokus, play patience, just chill. I love laying in bed and hearing the waves lull me to sleep. And I love the times, especially early in the morning, when I can walk on the beaches, no one else is around, I collect shells, feel the sand between my toes, paddle in the sea, and I just think. I feel like being there always just cleanses and resets me, leaving me completely at peace.

But, unfortunately, I don’t get to spend the whole of August in Scotland. In fact this year felt very strange; we didn’t go camping on the way up, just had a night in my sister’s flat in Edinburgh, and I left after only a week and a half to come home for results, so I suddenly found I had over half of August left at home. But that’s something else which I try to love about August. Results day. Except for year 9 when I’d just sat one GCSE and got an A* in it, every year there is bound to be some disappointment when it comes to getting results. But there’s also such a feeling of relief and achievement, and happiness when you see other people have done well. And it’s just a great excuse to celebrate.

The weather in August isn’t always quite what we’d want, but I love going for walks near my house when it is sunny in August, and butterflies flutter by, and dandelion seeds are floating along on the gentle breeze, and all the colours seem so bright and vivid.

My song for August is Going Home by Runrig, because it just sums up how I feel when we’re traveling up to Scotland for the Summer Holiday.

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Summer in Yorkshire

I live in a village in Yorkshire (North England). Admittedly we don’t tend to get much summer here. But when we do, it is beautiful. These are some photographs I’ve taken around my house over the past three summers. While looking at them I would recommend listening to this beautiful song by The Saw Doctors.IMG_1366 IMG_1373 IMG_1493 IMG_1510 IMG_1514 IMG_1519 IMG_1525 IMG_1528 IMG_1544 IMG_1546 IMG_1548 IMG_1872 IMG_1878 IMG_1884 IMG_3375 IMG_3392 IMG_3397 IMG_3565 IMG_4091 IMG_4093 IMG_4151

I know there are a lot of photos here, I just couldn’t narrow it down. If you enjoyed this then please like it, because I love taking photographs and want to share them, but only if people will be interested in that. Have a nice day 🙂


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Queuing

So I’ve been busy packing and shopping for uni, and one thing I needed was a new laptop that doesn’t crash every hour or so. Last weekend my Dad took me to the shop, I eventually chose one, we paid and went out to the car. You would think we could then just drive out the car park and go home, but oh no. This is a big car park. And it was completely full. And it is very badly designed. So we had to wait and queue. We were in our car for over 40 minutes before we finally got out of the car park and onto the road, which is a long time, but there was nothing that anyone could do about it, and most people were being very good, calmly waiting their turn. There were of course a couple of incredibly inconsiderate people who just pushed in front and seemed willing to risk a serious car crash just to get out quicker. But that was high level rudeness. What really struck me was the people who chose to vent their frustration by revving their engines and honking horns repeatedly. This may seem a fairly  reasonable thing to do, I’m sure a lot of people would do it, but what are you really hoping to achieve? It’s bad in terms of engine emissions, and it’s not actually going to help you get through when no one is able to move. The cars at the front couldn’t go through the red light then just say ‘well someone behind me honked their horn so I had to move’. The only effect it had was making the atmosphere of the whole car park feel tense and angry, and generally a less pleasant place to be, than if everyone could just sit listening to their own music and talking to the people in their car. Maybe this is just me being overly sensitive, but it really had an effect on my stress levels. So if you are in a frustrating situation, just remember that taking it out on your surroundings will only make things worse for everyone, probably including yourself.

In other news, tomorrow I set off to go on a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords with my Nana, which I am very excited about. So I will be back home next week, but don’t worry, I’ve set a few posts to be published in my absence, so you’ll hear more from me soon. Until then, stay smiley 🙂


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How Lucky I Am

I promise I will try not to make all of the posts I do in the next few weeks be about moving to uni. But it is a huge thing in my life at the moment, so a lot will be. And a lot will be quite sad and scared because that is how I’m feeling at the moment. But I saw a quote the other day which really resonated with me, and reminded me to think about the amazing, positive side of what I’m going through.

How lucky I am to have something which makes saying goodbye so hard.

Last week one of my friends moved to Holland where he is starting uni this year, and I was rather emotional about him leaving, and I’m not going to see him again until at least Christmas and he might not even come home then. This is someone I haven’t even known for very long; we met in January and he went to a different college so I just saw him at parties and nights out. So if I was that upset by him leaving, I dread to think how I will be when it’s people I’ve known for most of my life. The ones I’ve been seeing six days a week for years. The ones who’ve been through so much with me, who know me and look after me. But I’m going to be upset because I’m lucky enough to have kept these friends for so long, to have these amazing people who are there for me, and with whom I’ve had so many good times.

When thinking about uni I keep wondering how I’m going to cope living without my Dad to do all the shopping and cooking and generally knowing what’s what at all times, and without my Mum to offer lifts when I’m walking in the rain and to help me out and generally both of them there for advice and chat and anything I need. But not everyone is as lucky as I am to have such loving, generous parents, and to get on well with their family.

Another thing I’m going to miss when I move away is the place I live. I’ve lived a lovely, decent sized, if slightly cold and damp, house my whole life, surrounded by beautiful country-side. I’ll miss being able to walk outside and just go for a wander through fields and woods, or on quiet streets in old villages. But I am incredibly lucky even to have a home, let alone live in such a beautiful, safe part of the country.

My Mum was recently talking about when my sisters started school and one of them in particular did not want to go every morning. For a while Mum was embarrassed and confused about it, until she realised that my sister didn’t want to go to school because Mum had looked after her so well at home, so it was actually a positive reflection on her early life.

I am sad about leaving. I am going to miss my friends and family and home, and saying goodbye is going to be immensely hard. But that’s because I’m lucky, because what I have here is so incredible. And what makes me even more lucky is that, in this instance, all of these things will still be here for me. I can always come back home.


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My Self Care Box

Don’tBurstMyBubble recently made a DIY post on making a self-care box. I would highly recommend reading that post here before this one, as she explains much better than me what it is all about.
It is basically a box full of things to cheer you up if/when you need it, and I thought this was an excellent idea. As I have mentioned I will soon be moving away to uni and there are bound to be days when I’m feeling homesick or sad, so I decided to make one to take to uni, as a positive step to ensure that even if I end up with horrible flat-mates and hate my time there, I will still be looked after, so this post is how I have made my own self-care box.

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I started off by making my box. I used the box which some mugs I was given from Cath Kidston came in, and covered it with bits of old paper – book pages, sheet music, maps etc.. I had a lot of these left over from my Art work and smaller boxes I’ve done like this before. As you may be able to see, my room gets incredibly messy when I’m doing things like this; I had a tiny space to sit while I was working, but I was pleased with the end result.
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Then I filled the box. I took a lot of ideas from Don’t Burst My Bubble, but some of hers I didn’t include because I’ll have my books, DVDs, music, photos etc. separate in my room anyway. I also added some other things that I thought of.

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My first priority was to get some nice food into the box. Dairy Milk is a very comforting chocolate, I find, and the added sweetness of the Oreo flavour is sometimes too much, but I think will be perfect in times of need. Jelly Tots just always make me happy – except for some slightly bittersweet Jelly-Tot-related memories. I wanted to also include some Marzipan Ritter Sport Chocolate, but the shop where I buy it was closed.

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For quite a while, when I was still waking up from nightmares reasonably often, but felt too old and responsible to wake my parents up, I would make myself feel better by reading Winnie-the-Pooh. I have a really big book of Winnie-the-Pooh which wouldn’t fit in my box, so my Mum has lent me her very old copy, which is a beautiful book.

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I obviously had to include the little photo book which I got at the end of my #100HappyDays challenge, nothing like 3 months of happiness in one book to remind you of all the good there is in the world. However i was in two minds about whether I should have this notebook. It’s where I had all my friends write messages when I left High School, and then again when I finished college. I thought that reading it might make me more upset if I was missing my old friends, but having had a look through and remembering all the lovely things people said to me, I’m sure it would cheer me up in the long run.

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Then I put in some things to pamper myself; tissues for if I’m crying, a couple of ‘stress relieving’ face-masks, and some spearmint lip balm which is strangely tingly – that always makes me laugh when I use it.

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Teddies/soft toys are always good for cheering up, so I put in my little highland cow. I’ve loved highland cows ever since my sister told me I looked like one when my fringe went over my eyes. I then found this in a shop we go to a lot on holiday, but I couldn’t afford it. My other sister bought it for me, and since then I’ve always taken it when I go away places.

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These were a bit on the expensive side. They’re sweets made using flower remedies made for stress relief. I’ve only used them on odd occasions before, so I don’t know how effective they actually are, but I thought it might be worth having some.

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As you know I love quotes, so I wrote out some of my favourite happy quotes and lyrics, coloured the scraps of paper in, and folded them all up in the box. I also have this wooded heart saying ‘you’re the best’ which one of my friends gave me for my Birthday a few years ago, and is a nice encouragement.

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My sister first made me a chocolate microwave mud-cake last summer. It’s so warm and chocolaty and lovely so I copied out the recipe to go in my box.

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This is a genius idea from Don’tBurstMyBubble, bubbles are just great. There was a tub in my sister’s room where I did all my revision, so when I was getting stuck I’d blow bubbles to relax.

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Finally I got some little things which are especially meaningful to me. A little green dinosaur pencil topper which my friend found in a classroom in year 11. I found it so cute that I kept borrowing it until I eventually just kept it. A candle given to me by my best friend which I will never burn but it looks and smells nice. A shell, one of hundreds which I’ve collected over the years from holidays, mainly my favourite beach where we go in Scotland. The badge is one of a set which our ‘cello section got made. There were two out of six cellists called Jenny in our orchestra, and we were a very close section. We decided we’d all be called Jenny, then we had special Jenny names. As a group we called ourselves ‘the order of the Jeni’ (Jeni being the plural of Jenny) and we made these badges of our logo. The twenty pence is from a bet that my friend and I have had going on all year about whether he would get an A* in maths. He didn’t, I won, but it’s been the source of much fun and amusement in maths lessons all year. Finally the stone is a Red Jasper, a good luck stone, which the councilor at my High School gives to students who’d had meetings with her when they leave school.

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Thank you for reading this rather long post, let me know in the comments what you would put in a self-care box. I really enjoyed making it and would definitely recommend doing one. And just one last thing, while we’re on the topic of Don’tBurstMyBubble, I recently contributed to a post on her blog about things that make people happy. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can read it here.


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A Family of Three

Almost twenty-two years ago, my mum gave birth to twin girls. I know little about the following three and a half years, since I didn’t exist at the time, but then I was born, and we became a happy family of five.
I’m not going to say that I’ve never fallen out or been annoyed with my sisters or parents; there have been some problems over the years. And when I was young I trusted my big sisters completely, which I probably shouldn’t have done, since it led to things such as me spending most my life in the smallest bedroom, getting in trouble for opening a Christmas present which my sister handed on Christmas Eve, telling me it was Christmas Day, and having to watch their choice of films because I believed that the actors played the whole film out every time you watched a video, and that they were too tired or busy to do my choice.
And of course it wasn’t easy a) being the youngest – my bedroom adjoins the TV room so I would be able to hear them all enjoying the film I wasn’t allowed to watch, and my achievements are often overlooked because my sisters have already done that, and b) having twins as sisters; they were always very close and I often felt like the fifth wheel in our family.
Nevertheless, I generally got on well with my sisters, and I think the older we got the more they became my friends. I  will always be grateful to them for the way they let me hang around with them sometimes when they were with their friends, at an age where I was still probably annoying and too young to really join in the conversation, but I always say to friends who are annoyed with younger siblings, if you’re nice to the, they will grow up and stop annoying you. My sisters are also very generous in buying me presents, we all share clothes and shoes, we tell each other a lot.
When I was 15 I started year 11 at school, and my sisters were starting university. They both chose different Scottish unis, so are quite close to one another, but far away from home. I was devastated about them leaving, and the fact that both went at once meant it had a huge impact.The timing of them leaving was also bad, as it was only a few weeks before my best friend was taken into Hospital and I didn’t see her for months, so all of a sudden I’d lost three incredibly important people who, before then, had just been there for my whole life. It was a very lonely time for me. I still miss them a lot when they’re away, and the longer they’ve been at uni for, the less often they come home. This summer we’ve had just two nights of all five of us together, and that is not enough in my opinion.
However, it hasn’t all been as bad as I imagined. If anything I’ve got with them even better since they left; I’ve had some really fun trips up to Scotland to see them; it makes it all the more exciting when we do see each other; and actually I have enjoyed experiencing life as an only child in our family of three. I stayed in my tiny bedroom because I’d just got it how I wanted it when they left, and I couldn’t really face all the hassle of changing bedrooms. But I have had a bit more space to work, I get in the bathroom when I want to, it’s easier to use the kitchen. And although sometimes my parents drive me round the bend, I feel like I know them a lot better having lived just the three of us. I also occasionally get random presents, which is easier for them to do for one person than three, or I get a say in food shopping or house decorating and other decisions. And I have to say I do quite like it when my sisters come home and I know where things are in the house, what’s been going on in the village, I have in jokes with our parents, which my sisters don’t get. All in all, it’s been a good three years.
But now it’s my turn to leave. And things are going to be different again. I think it must be strange for my parents, after twenty-two years to go back to it just being the two of them. But as before, I’m sure there will be things about it they enjoy and things they miss. My sisters are both planning visits to me during my first term of uni, and I know we will always see each other as much as is possible, but I also know that’s likely to keep getting less and less. But we’ll come to that when we come to that. For now, I wish my sisters were home right now which they were supposed to be, but I’m just glad I have had such a wonderful family in which to grow up.


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The Meaning of Life

I remember clearly an occasion, I was about 7 or 8 at the time, when I was walking around the Co-op trying to decide what the point of living was.

You go to school so you can get a job so you can earn money so you can pay for your house and food so you don’t die. Was that it? Was the reason for everything we do in life just to survive for as long as possible, before just dying anyway? Maybe you have children along the way, and look after them so the human race can survive as long as possible, but even that will die eventually. I almost thought that was it, especially when I thought of those charity adverts on TV, people in Africa spending everyday just trying to get food and water so that their children and they can survive.

But then I thought no. Because once people have enough money to afford what is needed to survive, they don’t stop. People keep wanting more money, not just the wealth-obsessed ‘greedy’ people, no one is content with just barely surviving for as long as they can.

I knew that money couldn’t be all there was to life though, so I thought about what people do with extra money. I used mine to buy toys. I indirectly used mum and dad’s to go on holidays and be in clubs and have music lessons. So people spend money on buying things, nice things like house decorations, and doing things that they find fun.

And that’s when in struck me. Maybe the purpose of being alive was just to have fun. Beyond just surviving, everything we do is aimed towards making ourselves and/or other people happy.

In 10 years I have not wavered from this conviction that the meaning of life is to enjoy it, and that is why I try so hard to be happy and spread happiness. Because i think everyone deserves to live, not just survive.