31 December 2011

Recap of My 2011

2011 has been a very strange year for me. I'm used to following patterns and doing the same things in the same order every week, month and year, with some minor variations. This year saw my world shake as I tried new things and moved onto new life stages. I've enjoyed it for the most part, but it has most certainly been different!


January saw me decide to try and make a quilt. I decided to make it by hand and was perhaps a tad optimistic designing one which contained over 200 6inch squares. It remains an ongoing project.


In February for the very first time my boyfriend and I celebrated his birthday together.


March this year I started my blog. A major move for me as I'm generally quite a shy person, at least when it involves face to face, but having been reading blogs for a while, and being captivated by my younger sister's blog I decided to bite the bullet and give it a go. After reading 'The Name of the Wind' by Patrick Rothfuss and posting my very own review My little Library was born.


The most major event this april was the Royal Wedding. It was major. There was a hoohah. Press from half the world flocked to our country. And it saw the birth of the obsessive culture surrounding Pippa Middleton's behind. I joined the millions who watched the wedding live on television, I only watched the wedding and not any of the reception which was aired afterwards.
On a less major note for most people, but just as important to me, two days prior to the event of the year marked two years together for myself and my boyfriend. It put a major smile on my face, especially when he took me out to dinner at what is possibly my favourite restaurant, Churchs.


I turned 18 this may. Some of my friends came to a picnic in the park for my lunch and others helped me celebrate with my first evening out. My Grandparents also bought me a new digital camera which has helped me no end with this blog, and just taking nice photos in general.

May also marked the start of exam period which was right over half term excluding me from the Scout Camp I very much wanted to go on.


In June I finished my exams and spent the rest of the time being very lazy around the house when I wasn't doing housework for my mum. It was brilliant, I loved being able to just take the time just to read and do nothing.


At the very start of the month My boyfriend took me to Cadbury World, which as a devoted chocolate lover couldn't have been any better!
July also saw two major firsts for me. I started the first job I've ever had at Choices Clothes which is very close to where I live, I couldn't have asked for a better place to have started to learn about the world of work! It was a very traditional setting in many ways with a very much familial feel, which was enhanced as I've known my employers and many of the staff for a long time.
The other major first was that while the rest of my family left for the family holiday as per usual I was left behind.This was my choice as I had been hoping all along to have been able to get some work during the period, but it certainly felt strange.


In August I took an accidental blog-break. This partly stemmed from my new job and university preparations and partly from the fact that I started following a lot of new blogs all at once and found myself backlogged far too much.
I also picked up my A-level results, which I think will be one of the most stressful days I will ever have, and recieved an offer of a place at the University of Hertfordshire.
There was my annual 3-days of helping at a Church holiday club, and a three-day trip to Rome during a heatwave which was an 18th birthday present from my parents. Rome was as brilliant as I ever imagined it to be and it really sparked my imagination.

Then perhaps the geekiest part of my year, but something I loved, I went to Insomnia43 with my boyfriend, a couple of local friends and some online friends. Not only did we have a geekily good time, but we entered and came second in a Minecraft competition when none of us had been playing longer than a month, and most (including me) less than a week! If you watch the round up video you can see both my boyfriend and the back of my head... I felt a little strange as my laptop was less than 1/4 of the size of most peoples machines :S
Finally in August I provoked some friends into agreeing to participate in The Dickens Periodical which was intended as a weekly 'magazine-style' blog collaboration, but which developed into something more monthly.


The end of September saw major upheaval to my life as I moved to university. It wasn't until the end of the month and I didn't much enjoy the buildup to it. My summer job ended and I felt like I was packing my life into a box.


October definately wasn't my favourite month of the past year. I wasn't enjoying living away from home, I was homesick, I didn't enjoy cooking for myself and perhaps the thing I enjoyed least of all was being woken up in the early hours more days than not. The one brightside for me was my course which I absoluetly loved!
My prospect brightened a lot after 4 weeks when I came home for the first time. My parents persuaded me they could come and get me every weekend if I wanted and suddenly life seemed a lot more bearable.


In November I met up with my boyfriend and friends in London to see the fireworks which are held annually. It saw my first foray into solo train travel and gave me an added degree of freedom as I was now able to just get myself to the train station and catch a train home if I felt I couldn't take anymore.


December was a month I had been counting down until. For the first time I was able to come home for longer than just a weekend. It didn't disappoint, days of being able to sleep interrupted and more time working at Choices. Christmas was brilliant, seeing all of my family, and getting brilliant presents. One of the favourites of mine, and perhaps the most Trivial was my brand new Klein bottle.

What's in store for 2012...?

In 2012 I'm hoping;
  • To settle in at Uni more still.
  • To read 52 books as part of a Charity challenge my friend and I set ourselves, to find out more head here.
  • To publish 12 more issues of The Dickens Periodical.
  • To pass my first year at Uni without needing to retake anything, with a Mechanics module coming up this could be a challenge.
  • To go swimming 3 times a week.
  • To start cooking healthy food for myself.
  • To finish making the quilt squares for my very first quilt.
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!


30 December 2011


Christmas this year was unusual. This was mostly due to the fact that being away from home for the first time I missed out on a lot of things which normally signify the build up to Christmas to me.
It was also because this year I decided to make a lot of my Christmas presents, having left it all until the last minute and being unable to use a sewing machine on them until a week before Christmas, meant that I didn't manage everything I'd planned, and ended up buying last minute presents for quite a few people. Maybe I'll do better next year...

I left the presents so late that one present I was sewing before and after the midnight mass service at my Church while my boyfriend set up and cleared away and still had finishing to do the following morning, fortunately it was done before I needed to give it to my Nan.

The other thing that was unusual this year was the volume of foodstuffs I was given... and how little I've actually touched it!

Christmas meant some great presents too, I got a Klein bottle which to my geekiness is absolutely amazing, a World of Warcraft Calender so that I can understand more of the random stuff my guild talks about, and plenty of book vouchers which have been put to a good use which I'll be announcing shortly.

Hope your Christmas was as good.


16 December 2011

A Feast For Crows - George.R.R.Martin

This is the last of these books I'll be able to borrow from my God-dad. I feel kind of repentent as I've had it since my birthday, which is the beginning of May, but have only just finished it. However he did loan me practically the whole series in one go which coerced me into reading them in a more condesed fashion than I'd planned.

I'm not sure if I think this book was brilliant or dreadful. It was certainly well written and contained large amounts of material for some characters I really love. However it essentially cut out some of my favourite characters, and in my honest opinion it had far too much cersei.

This book made me angry, a fact I think is primarily due to the fact that Cersei's chapters filled possibly 1/3 of the novel. I hate her schemeing. However the situations she sets up which are essentially doomed to failure as anyone can see, except her who thinks they make her some kind of genius. A fact which amuses me slightly.

The other factor which made me angry with this book is the general level of despair. It is beginning, at this point in the series, to me at least, to seem as though none of the characters may experience a happy ending. At first I thought it was interesting that you just can't tell who the next seemingly essential character to be killed off would be, and on some levels I still do. But I would personally like it for at least one character to come out of this novel with their own slice of 'happy-ever-after'. It's beginning to seem not justs improbable but impossible.

I am still hooked.

I will keep reading.


13 December 2011


I think I am perhaps a bit unusual for my generation, in that I really don't like spending money. I know that there are still a lot of things I can do to improve on this front, but spending money, particularly large amounts of money, is something I find particularly stressful. You may read this and think, hey large amounts of money, that stresses everyone out. This is true I think. But for me a large amount of money would be anything over £20.

£20 being considered a stressful amount of money to spend makes any number of situations stress in point:
  • Doing the grocery shopping, while this can come in at £15  or less it's likely it will be more
  • Paying rent, as I've only done this once so far, and will only have to do it 3 times over the course of the academic year, I can say this stressed me out no end. Fortunately it included Utilities in the cost.
  • Buying a textbook which I NEED for Uni, £50
I think this has to do with the fact that I am at heart a saver. I've been saving my money for as long as I can remember. I think I must've been about 8 when I started putting my birthday and Christmas money into a savings account to 'reduce my Uni debts'. It only took me a little while to realise that the government would give me that money without questions to fund my studies, and then all I'd have to do would be to repay it.

So the purpose for my savings changed. It became my 'house deposit', in many ways this is laughable as although I always saved about 90% of all the money I got for birthday and Christmas I've never been in a position to save anywhere near the amount I would need to be able put a deposit on a house.

I guess I am a homemaker. Because the only big purchase I really want to make is a house I can call home. I hope that dream will come true one day. For now though, I've started a new saving initiative;

A Penny Jar!


10 December 2011

The Cretan Runner - George Pdychoundakis

I don't think I'll ever be able to call this one of my favourite books, as it was way too rooted in facts to suit my taste. However I wouldn't say that I didn't enjoy it.

This book was the autobiography of George Psychoundakis. He seems to me a person whose life no-one would under normal circumstances take any interest in. However his story shares similarities with that of Anne Frank and other 'ordinary' people who experienced something a little bit different.

The Autobiography runs solely from 1941, when the Germans first occupied Crete, to their leaving the island at the very end of WWII. It showed me a completely different viewpoint and a different side to the war than the one you tend to think of. In thinking of the War you tend to think, Britain, France, Germany and Russia, The Holocaust and Eastern Europe. You tend to give little thought to the fact that it was, as the name states, literally a global war. There are very few countries who were not affected.

I bought the book over a year ago for some background reading for History Coursework. I soon realised that it was essentially irrelevent to either of my topics, and as such put it down. I didn't pick it up again until about a fortnight ago, but I'm glad that I did. It was very interesting learning about such a different aspect of the war, and how the resistance fought against the Germans.

Although he's called himself a runner, he seems more to have hiked than run, something which I can't hold against him, as he did the job of a runner, while having to deal with the rocky landscape of Crete.

I have only two issues with this book. The first is that it was originally written in Greek, and in places it hasn't translated very well making it an effort to read. The second is that in parts of the book it becomes little more than a list of names, both of people and places, which mean little to anyone who didn't know them and their settings. Although where possible there have been attempts to rectify this, it could make it a tad slow placed.

I would reccomend this book to anyone with an interest in wartime history. It's a brilliant source of a different perspective.


5 December 2011

The Trial and Tribulations of Train Travel

You've probably gathered by now that I would much prefer to go home as often as possible than stay at University so it should come as no surprise that I decided to go home this weekend. The easiest way for me to do this, for my family more than myself, although it does mean extra nights of good sleep for me, is to catch the train home on the friday evening and back to the university on the monday morning.

This weekend that was what I did. The journey home went, as it always has, smoothly. There was a minor hiccup when I had to change as I was unsure where the platform I needed was, and the train was slightly more than comfortably crowded. It's been a while since I've seen a train that crowded. But the point was that we made it to my destination without any major crises on my part.

The journey back was less of a smooth ride. For a start my dad was taking me to the station, but he was then going on to drop my sister at her sixth form college. This meant that we had to wait for her, and ended up leaving possibly a full 5 minutes later than intended. We got to the station and I figured out what platform I needed, lo and behold they announce my train is now in the station. This is a situation which would normally lead to me running to make sure I don't miss it, but that becomes slightly less practical when you're carrying two heavy bags that you're already struggling to lug up the stairs. I really need to get a suitcase!

I made it onto the train I'd planned to catch, if I hadn't then it wouldn't have been the end of the world as I had an all day open single, however it was by  mere seconds, I think the train left slightly early. If I'd missed the train I honestly think I might've cried.

The actual journey was effortless, a little crowded at points, but smooth sailing. There weren't even any delays which I thanked my lucky stars for as the last time I made this Journey less than 5 minutes after the second train leaving the station we were delayed for a full 25 minutes. No-ones fault but it ended up in needing a second train-change as the one I was on had to change routes to go straight through the small station I needed on it's way to London.

Today though my trials were not to end with nearly missing a train, because on my way out of the station the machine ate my ticket. Fortunately for me I don't need it again,  and there was a kind gentleman who saw what happened and opened the gate for me.

After that I nearly fell onto every person on the bus due to being overbalanced by my heavy bags and got back to the University to discover that today we're having room inspections. All I can say is thank goodness I tidied up before I left on friday!

Off to have a lecture now...