Be Nice It's Tuesday

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2016 Reading Challenge: February

Book: Starter for Ten by David Nichols

Why I read it: In September I saw a shop with ‘2 for £5’ on books, and this was one of the ones I chose (the other was The Castle by Franz Kafka). I’d been wanting to read something by him, and it seemed a good one just when I was starting uni. And at the beginning of February I finally got round to reading it.

Basic plot: In 1985 a young man from a poor background starts university where he joins the University Challenge team and falls in love with a beautiful rich girl on the team. It’s a bit of a rom-com, but not soppy, and also has a lot about class in it.

Who it’s aimed at: I’d say most young adults/adults really, perhaps especially people who were at uni in the 80s.

Would I recommend it?: I enjoyed this book, and think it’s a good one to read, but at the same time it did make me feel a bit sad. And I’m not sure it would have inspired much optimism for me if I had read it before or just after starting university. So I think it depends on the person, but overall it is a good book.


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Thursday Chat

Today is a Thursday, which is often one of my more relaxed days, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to just write a general post about my life at the moment.

On Thursdays I have two classes, the first is Russian speaking at 9am, which I have been struggling with lately as my pronunciation keeps being criticised. However today’s assessment went a lot better than the last one, so that was good. I then have a two hour gap, during which I sit with some course mates and do work, before our Russian aural class, which is also quite hard. But then by 1 o’clock I am finished at uni and can come back to my flat. Then I never have too much work that urgently needs doing for Friday, which is why I can afford to take it easy.

I have quite a lot of exciting things going on in my life at the moment. Last weekend one of my old school friends got married! Unfortunately I couldn’t be there because trains are so expensive, but I wish them all the best. I still can’t get my head round the fact that we were in classes together less than three years ago, and now I’m still just going to classes while she has a husband and a house and pets. I goes to show what different paths people’s lives can take.

One thing I do need to do this evening is pack a bag. Tomorrow I am going to London for the weekend, because my sister and I have tickets to the West End closing night of Miss Saigon (it was her Birthday and Christmas present from me). I’m so excited to see one of my favourite musicals for (probably) the last time, and it will be lovely to get away for a weekend and see my sister and other family.

I’ve started planning holidays for this spring and summer. I’ve been saving all year hoping to go inter-railing, but then I realised I didn’t really have anyone to go with, and there were other issues with it. That’s still a possibility, but I am going to Switzerland for a few days with my parents over Easter, and my sisters and I might go away together in the summer.

Before Christmas I had found a group of people to live with next year, but we were having a lot of trouble finding a house – they disappear so quickly when all the students are trying to rent at the same time. But we finally found one which isn’t perfect, but it’s very nice and I now can’t wait to move in with these friends and have an actual house.

One slight blight in my life at the moment is the lack of bourbon creams. A big biscuit factory in Britain was flooded a month or so ago, so there is a shortage of biscuits such as bourbons and custard creams. To be honest, I’m surprised Britain is still functioning.

As I hope you can tell, I’m doing well at the moment and am happier than I was a month ago. Now I should probably go and do some of the work I’ll miss over the weekend, or at least practise my cello. But it’s more likely I’ll watch another episode of Death in Paradise.

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Songs to Start the Day With

Getting up in the morning is something which a lot of people find exceptionally difficult. But the way you get up and how you start your day can have a big impact on your mood for the rest of the day. I’m usually in a rush in the morning, but here are some songs which I think can help you start the day well:

  1. The Circle of Life from The Lion King
    I don’t think I could deal with this every day, but if I’m setting the alarm on my iPod rather than my alarm clock, for whatever reason, I have this as the alarm sound. There is nothing quite so epic to wake up to.
  2. Good Day by Ron Pope
    I’ve mentioned this song before, it is one of my favourite songs ever. It’s so uplifting and I listen to it before leaving the house in the morning I really believe it is going to be a good day.
  3. What’s the Worst That Could Happen? by Dodie Clark
    This is just a really calming and inspiring song. It makes you want to go out and do everything you’ve been planning to do but putting off. The line ‘You can and will do something great today’ has helped me get going on many days.

I’m sure I’ve missed loads from here, let me know in the comments if you have a song that helps you to start the day. And I hope your day goes well 🙂

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Shrove Tuesday

It’s pancake day! I’ve just been making pancakes from scratch completely alone for the first time – before I’ve always had my Dad helping. It started out badly, but I did begin to get the hang of it, and I think I made some progress:

This year for Lent I have decided to give getting take out. I don’t get it that often, but more than I used to at home. This seems like the perfect thing to give up, as the times when it will really tempt me are the times when it’s least convenient to be tested; when I’m getting in late and I’m too tired and hungry to cook, when I’ve had a few drinks and really crave chips, and aren’t necessarily in complete control, and when my friends are getting it and it would be so nice and easy to just do the same. In addition it will hopefully mean I’m eating a bit more healthily, and will save some money which I’ll donate to a charity, tbc. but probably something supporting homeless people.

I hope that if you had pancakes they turned out better than my first ones, and good luck if you’re giving anything up for Lent 🙂

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Embrace the Weather

The British like to complain about the weather. Today has been particularly stormy and people contemplate staying safe and warm inside. If they have to, they go outside and hurry along, head bowed, hood up, huddled as they splash through the rain and buffering wind. Behaving like that, it’s no wonder the weather makes them miserable.

So go out and dance in the street. Turn your face upwards and smile. Let the wind mess up your hair, laugh as the rain seeps into your shoe. Feel the power and energy invigorate you. Embrace the weather. Because it is this kind of weather that truly makes you feel alive.


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2016 Reading Challenge: January

First post in a new series and I’m already a few days late. Oops.

When I was younger I read all the time. I was constantly re-reading books over and over, partly because I like doing that, but also because whenever I got a new book I would get through it in a few days. In my first year at college I read most days on the bus, but by second year A-Levels had got on top of me and I was too tired. And although I read quite a lot over the summer, I’ve got completely out of the habit since starting uni. By the time you’ve done all your work – a lot of which involves reading – it’s just so much easier to watch something instead.

But I want to get back to reading more, so when I saw a picture of a ‘2016 Reading Challenge’ I thought I’d give it a go. It was a list with 12 descriptions of books, things like ‘a book you should have read at school’ ‘a book recommended by a bookshop assistant’. It looked good in theory, but after thinking about it I realised how many of them would involve buying new books, which I can’t afford to do every month, and I didn’t want to be forced to choose books that would fit into a category. So instead I’m just going to read a book every month and write something about it. So here is January’s:

Book: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Why I read it: I got this book in my Christmas stocking this year. I get a book every year and Father (well in this case probably Mother) Christmas is usually very good at choosing books for me.

Basic plot: Two strangers are stuck in a lift/elevator together and get talking. They then both end up travelling to various different places and communicate with postcards.

Who it’s aimed at: From the cover I think this book was probably meant to be for teenage girls, but I see no reason why it should be; there are equally main male and female characters and I’m sure some guys would love it, just as some girls wouldn’t. Age is quite flexible, I can imagine myself enjoying it as a 13 year old, but reading it now having more life experiences, especially of landing in a new place far away from people who are important to you, I related to it in a very different way.

Would I recommend it?: Yes, yes, yes! I loved it, couldn’t put it down, think I finished in under 24 hours. It’s a really beautifully and cleverly written story which makes you feel things.