summer

"When was a time you were most happy?"
"This summer. Now. These past few months. All of it"

I have been living in the most golden euphoria. In love with my city, my life, my friends, myself (for the most part) nd just living in an ethereal bubble.
Everyone deserves to feel happy nd at peace; obviously there's the yin and the yang and you've gotta have the bad to feel the good blah blah but I think I was pretty fucking ready for my yang.



It has been a ceaseless blur of nights out and days at work and a constant go and busy-ness and so many plans and adventures and trips and I have adored spending nights with my friends and knowing they are there for good and have laughed and reminisced and spent it all either drunk, hungover, at work or in the sun. What a lit way to spend your days. I've hardly slept and definitely haven't stopped but idk, its been sick. And I now have 2 weeks to focus on everything that was neglected, re-centre, sleep and prepare.

best bits:
listening to getting curious in my hungover naps
spending (pretty much) every single wage in the same bar (visited >4x per week lmao)
lying on a scottish beach with my fam in the beating sun
golden light on my wall
walking home too late nd hearing the birds singing nd the sun coming up and realising you're fucked
a night out that will never be forgotten
brunch the next day nd evie on my doorstep at 7am
eating pasta in Buda with my babes
the flight home from Buda (messy)
breakfast with my brother and sister
breakfast with my bffs who agreed to meet at 8am so we could see each other
a weird date and the messy entangled-ness that ensued but also the fun
corsican sun and corsican food and corsican mountains
reading in the sun
eating bread in the sun
sleeping in the sun, especially on the beach
floating in the sea
breaking my self-enforced drinking ban to watch the world cup nd drink beer on holiday
moroccan sun
moroccan palais
siestas by the pool
flying over africa with a sick view and realising how much I've grown
meeting my pals in the pub straight off the train, suitcase in hand, nd their excitement
seeing mamma mia 2 (for free)
a night of a problematic free tequila shot nd sunday nights in our fave bar
discovering the best club in newc (msa for anyone who's wondering)
walking along the quayside hungover nd crying at how much i love my city
a day in edinburgh
a sole walk on the beach
an eve watching shrek and eating takeaways
sitting on the street at 4am chatting shit
cooking pasta with libby and drinking too much gin
exploring nottinghill with dalal
driving nd freedom
seeing an old friend nd feeling happy that she'll be in Oxford to cure my loneliness
running in the evening sun
a day spent in the rain in scotland playing games and eating and not much else
drinking wine in Paris
eating picnics in Paris in the sun and reading
walking along the seine at 3am
monet's waterlilies
finally deciding how i like my coffee (soya cappuccino)
eating mexican food with a friend i haven't seen in years and catching up on the lost time
drinking trebles with my babes 1 last time then dancing to disco until the sun came up
guilty feminist nd the feeling of total safety and warmth and activism that surrounds the audience of that podcast (if u ever wanna feel good about society/need a safe space, go to a live show)

It has been the best. summer. ever.
I feel so lucky because its been so mint but I also worked so hard to make it like that so I guess you reap what you sow???
The nights are dark and cold and its scary but I think I have enough warmth and love from these months of joy to see me through. And when its lonely or its too much or I am returning to the sadistic ways of my previous academic self, I shall return to Jardin du Luxembourg, in the sun, or the Moroccan poolside, or a room full of my best pals and trebles, or my bed with my cat and peace, and remember there is so much more to life than it seems.


What were the best parts of your summer???

If you want more in-depth accounts of my summer adventures (because who wouldn't?!!?) check out this, this and this. Oh, and this.

musings #5

As I write this I am sitting in the library, surrounded by literature of the Reformation, attempting to rekindle my studious streak, after a year of getting drunk and reading trashy chick lit.
I've decided I like libraries, their calm sense of focus. Maybe I am looking forward to the resumption of education.



"remember to be tender"

Life is strange, I suppose when is it not.

"collecting tiny moments of joy to help confront the chaos"

I'm feeling a lot of things, primarily an overwhelming sense of emotional tenderness. Not sadness, just emotions. An episode of Rebelliously Tiny taught me about emotion and openness and how its okay if your innate response is to cry if you walk along the river and are hit by a love for your city, or if you are lying in bed tired from a lack of sleep, or if you hear a song that reminds you of a happy day. So I am attempting to embrace this tenderness, allow it to empower me not terrify me. I watched Sierra Burgess is a Loser and felt sad that my life will never replicate a teen coming-of-age movie and probably need to spend a bit more time telling myself I love myself in the mirror. Because, as What a Time to Be Aone taught me, no one else is going to do it if I can't. Expectation is haunting, and I think much of my expectation is unrealistic. I need to learn to let it be, but this is all part of the self discovery. I have had a euphoric summer (didnt I say?) and have had the happiest months of my life ever (so much more to come on this) and now I've just got to confront the reality that life is going to change. And its a good change and its exciting, but its scary. And that's okay.

"tender hearts work hard"

What else.
I got my hair cut to establish a new self to confront this new dimension, I am unable to picture this new self which is distressing for a brain that seeks to find reason and justification in everything. I've been on some hilarious nights out that have rolled into one mass of drunken memories and have been enjoying work. I've eaten too much cereal, not done enough exercise, spent too much money, laughed until my stomach ached and napped a lot. I am refusing to admit my emotions about university (a blur of imposter syndrome, fear about friends, fear about food, fear about enjoyment, fear about mental health, excitement for new people, excitement for new experiences, excitement for education, excitement for sitting in libraries drinking coffee, excitement for independence) and repeatedly tell anyone who asks that I "haven't really thought about it yet".

"moving forward with uncertainty and enthusiasm"

But really, I'm just rolling with the chaos of life. Understanding that euphoria and fear, peace and sadness, excitement and overwhelm, can exist mutually.
That emotions are dimensional, that I am too.

***
For all of you who are too moving on a new chapter, its scary and its overwhelming and the unknown is daunting. But its growth and its movement and, as this Rookie quote reminded me:
"sometimes pushing yourself leads you to discover a whole new dimension to the world; other times it just adds another item to the list of supposedly fun things you'll never do again. But the thing is, there's no way to predict the result of any leap of faith until you take it".
We are brave and we can tackle this adventure.

paris

Its a remarkably autumnal September morning. The date marks things I don't want to happen (return to work for the final month, September in general, uni) and I'm lying in bed, surrounded by stress-inducing mess, refusing to move until 10:30 and the manic rush to make it to work in time.
I'm dreaming of the past, the 2 weeks of holiday I jam packed with a trip to London, a visit to my grandparents, a weekend in Scotland and a paradisiacal adventure to Paris. The latter induces the strongest longing.






The trip was symbolic; Libby was my gap year g (despite living 300 miles away) nd it was a homage to our experiences and adventures and the challenge and growth of our years out. We were celebrating surviving and conquering some of our most testing days, and where better to do it in my favourite city in the golden sun of late summer, drinking wine and slipping into a faux Parisian life.







It was fucking magical, as though it exists in an ethereal paradise, to which my memories don't belong.
Our weekend was filled with minimal sleep and trains and croissants and coffee and pasta and reading in the sun and picnics in stunning spots and endless photo taking and walking and metro trips and laughing and wine drinking and relishing in the peace of Monet's water lilies and the beauty of Paris and hours sitting on the banks of the Seine in golden hour and indecisive coffee traipses and trying to recreate the most cliched Parisian stereotypes (see: stripes, skinny cigs, red, white & blue) vulnerable and intimate conversations (s/o to Libby for encouraging me to do dis)
and speaking broken French and outfit crises and ice cream eating and feeling very, very happy.





Some of my most treasured memories include:
drinking in our apartment, feeling at ease to be totally emotionally vulnerable and wishing time could stop
opening the shutters to see the morning sun and hear the shouts of Paris waking
our picnic in Garden de tuillieres
walking through the streets of Paris at 3am
our meal on the final night, feeling suave and pretending we could actually afford to eat there lmao
reading with wine in hand and the sun on our faces
the eurostar there, excited nd consuming good-ass snacks

I love Paris and this trip reinforced my adoration. It is undeniably stylish and sophisticated and I could stare at the architecture and walk along the banks of the river and explore the parks endlessly. My next dream is to study at the Sorbonne and I refuse to admit its unrealism. I will. One day.

I owe this girl a lot of thanks nd love for saving my gap year, soothing my loneliness, spending hours existentialising with me and just being the best. And I also owe a lot of thanks and madness to blogging nd this site nd the internet which has given me literal friends for life and provided mad opportunities and just given me somewhere to escape when its is all too much.


reading material

Despite having no money that I can actually viably spend (thanks to expensive uni purchases, spenny trips nd lack of self control) I have managed to accumulate a large number of new books. Alongside an introduction to the reformation and a second copy of The Good Immigrant to give as a gift (because that book is so. fucking. good – informative and shocking, so accessible and rich with information and experience that makes you check every bit of your privilege – check! it! out!), I also picked up these 2 winners.


What a time to be alone – Chidera Eggerue
This has been dominating my twitter feed nd insta lately and I knew I couldn't rest until I bought it. I've been going through a slight life crisis (shock!) and figured some motivational literature about why I am 'already enough' was exactly what I needed.
Chidera Eggerue started the #saggyboobsmatter campaign (advocating for body confidence and acceptance) and she's overall just a badass bitch dominating the internet. What a time to be alone is all about teaching us that we are entirely enough as we are, learning to understand ourselves and our worth and how to deal better with those around us in a way that lifts everyone.
I'm so down to read this over the next few days and learn (hopefully) how to make peace with myself. I am always kinda dubious about self-help books but this one feels much more like a guiding confidante, accepting and acknowledging mistakes and putting the power back in you.


The unwomanly face of war – Svetlana Alexievich
Someone recommended this on insta but it is just my kinda book. Soviet history + feminism, yeh boi. Svetlana grew up in the Soviet Union, surrounded by the 500,000 women who had helped out in the monumental war effort but whose stories were untold. This book is a documentation of interviews she carried out with Soviet women; their experiences in war, the efforts they went to and the utter lack of acknowledgement. It has a strong underlying message that these stories deserve to be heard but that for many years, no one bothered to listen. The manuscript was completed in 1983 but was left unpublished, going against the 'official history' of the war. It wasn't until perestroika nd the collapse of the USSR that the voices could finally be heard. I can't wait to read this on the train tomorrow and learn of the stories of our sisters that went completely untold.

In the final month, before Oxford, before the resumption of education and the chaos that will ensue, I plan to read in every possible moment and, with both these books at hand, I doubt I'll want to do much else.

What are you reading at the moment?

home


Last week, in a fire of fury, I drove to the beach alone. And sat.
And I've been thinking about it ever since. About how calm it was and how timeless nature is. About how soothing the ceaseless waves are and about how the space allows the mind to run. 

I've been thinking a lot about how much I'll miss where I live when I soon leave. The identity and the grit and the gaudiness and the industrialised spirit that fights on despite no funding and total governmental ignorance, the city that exists entirely from its nightlife, the accent, the escape, the beach, the fields, my room and its view, the hills nd the cows, the towering streets, the iconic bridges, the same pub we visit 4 times a week, the cheap drinks, the feeling of home

Home is perhaps a transitory concept. Something that exists within you, exists within others. But this, for the moment, is my home. And when I return I breathe a sigh of relief at its ease, its effortless sense of self, its comfort. 
I'm so excited for new things and new people and new places and I thrive off change. But, after years of feeling like I don't belong here, hate it here, dreaming of moving away, this year has taught me that I do belong and just how magical a sense of home is. 

***
Unsurprisingly, life is fucking busy. I have 12 hours home until the next adventure and am using the emerging restlessness to type up some words to look back on when I'm lost. I want to tell you about the books I've read and the things I've watched and the trips I've been on, and the time will come. But until then, 
what does home mean to you?

a funk

This is a melancholic interjection in the summer thrill to centre the emotions and recognise a sense of dejection. Its a sort of heavy blueness that has been on and off in the past few weeks. Its nothing, and it will pass.
But my head feels cloudy and weighted and there are niggling thoughts that are chipping away at my rationale. Namely: aesthetic insecurities, academic insecurities, future, romance love and the timeline, friends, uni, lack of sleep, end of summer and the fun, food nd exercise.
That seems to cover most bases.
So this summer is lit but the past few days haven't been and I know I need sleep nd perhaps a few consecutive nights in but there is an internal fear that I have to squeeze every drop of fun out of this summer. Saying yes to everything, burning the candle at both ends, until my skin rages with angered blemishes and my brain is screaming at me to stop.
The cerebral mantra is dominating in its sly tongue, managing to create inferiority in every aspect nd its getting me down.

So really I am just fucking terrified for uni and the 2 weeks before uni, I'm scared about being so far from home and scared about eating and surviving, definitely scared about my mental health (because it was shit last time I was in education) and making friends. I am craving romantic engagement or just some fun nd attention (lol), fucking hating that I can't breach the subject of love without qualifying it with humour to maintain the unbreakable boundary, trying and failing and exploring my fear of intimacy and openness and suffering in its repercussions, dreaming of August being over for no understandable reason and hating myself for it, getting myself down for the things I haven't done, feeling very very very scared about growing up (adulthood, what the fuck is that), wondering why there are still so many topics, thoughts and worries that feel too big to verbalise and understanding that this isn't healthy, feeling angered at dicks who say humanities are 'flaky' (fuck u, just watch me change the world) and probably just needing sleep and to see my mum.

I want to cry every time I think about summer being over because I hate winter and the darkness and summer is where I belong and the coldness and long nights get me down. My soul needs sun and its soon gonna be gone. I have had unimaginable amounts of fun the past 2 months and my brain can't stop telling me its over and I know that this is just the yin and the yang and of course the come down had to happen but it fucking hurts when it does.

I'm being dramatic nd revelling in my privileged pity. But writing is cathartic and grounding, and this is my diary.
Hope you're all well, the fun and sun will come back.

marrakech in film






















I don't even know how to begin this post, other than my tan is fading and I am craving the blistering heat*** of northern Africa.
Marrakech is chaotically beautiful, and 4 days spent there with Dalal were a blissful adventure. I feel like the charm of the city is so perfectly captured in film, it evokes the rustic magic of the medina, with its fading red buildings and winding souks of stalls and watermelons and donkeys and carts and snake charmers. The faded exposure gives a sense of times before and walking the streets of Marrakech has a similar effect.
The adventure was filled with 20p orange juice and problematic henna and 3 hour siestas by the pool and oases of calm and vibrant colours and a lost (and found) phone and mad roads and long taxi journeys for which we both slept solidly and tagine and mint tea and photoshoots and tiles and long walks and postcards and refreshing swimming and some questionable french (on my part obvs) and too much cat calling and a lot of very cute kittens and a mission to find the cheapest water and an utter adoration of the heat and all those little things you can't quite put into words.

The sun terrace of our Riad felt like a haven of utter tranquility, with our claimed sun beds, magical views over the city and a rare silence. We spent hours, after wandering the streets, lounging, reading and talking and swimming, before adventuring into the Moroccan night (which is an experience like no other–think snake charmers, monkeys on chains ( :( ), horses, stalls, street sellers, traditional musicians, dancers, a constant noise of excitement nd busy-ness). We would then return and sit by the pool and talk until fatigue got the best of us.
This trip marked my first out of Europe and, in a totally naive and ignorant way, I adored how different it was. This was definitely enhanced by the fact that we stayed in the Medina, as oppose to the new city, but everything was so exciting and contrasting (typified by me shouting: "oh my god its a camel!" approximately 2 minutes after meeting Dalal) and refreshing. A couple of the disposables are taken at Ouzoud falls (approx 3 hours out of Marrakech) and, when I wasn't sleeping, the journey was a fascinating realisation in just how rural and traditional Morocco is, with people riding donkeys, pushing carts and herding their goats along the main road.

The main 'touristy' bits we did include: le jardin majorelle, le jardin secret (my fave), la maison de la photographie, palais de bahia, katoubia tombs, ouzoud falls, djemaa el-Fna, the medina and probably much much more that I've forgotten in the whirlwind. These were all madly aesthetic but I also adored just wandering the streets and taking in the language and the culture and the chaos.

And, after parting with Dalal (she stayed on in Morocco with family) and 3 hours of intense Moroccan airport security, I kissed goodbye to the blessed sun (I adore the sun) and leaned out the plane window and thought "fuck thats Africa!" and "fuck! I did it!" (dis bitch could't stay away from home (for even a night) until she was 16 lmao). I then cried on the train home because I'd been travelling for 13 hours, because my train was delayed by 2 hours and because its actually a very long way from Marrakech to Newcastle. In true Katie style, I then jumped off the train and straight to the pub to see my friends and break my 3 weeks of sobriety lol.

So here's to an ace 4 days of Moroccan paradise (that ended 2 weeks of general paradise), internet friends who you go on holiday with (?!), sun loving and the immediate resumption of this summer's madness that consists entirely of work, friends, g&t's nd no sleep.


***blistering heat is absolutely no exaggeration, my feet started to spontaneously blister and thus became crispy (yum!). I also had a dramatic nosebleed in the pool which led to a trail of blood running through the riad
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veja



lmao it gives me the same nerves that my dirty shoes are on my white bed sheets.

I was at a complete loss as to what to ask for for my birthday. The options were either an iron, kettle and tea towels for uni (enthralling!) or these. Obvs, I opted for the latter.
And I am in love.

I was introduced to Veja by the queen of ethical blogging (Eleanor) and have dreamed of this very pair ever since. They're more expensive than the usual trainers I would purchase but for obvious reasons, they are worth the investment.

(Side note: does anyone else feel the economic conflict with ethical clothing?? I know Nike/Adidas/most-shoe-brands are shit nd I know my position of economic privilege on a global scale means I shouldn't buy into it but I'm also funding my life on minimum wage jobs/student funds nd even £60 on trainers stings. For me its not even a case of less pieces/better quality because I don't even shop that much but £100+ on items just aint viable for more than a bday present– do you guys feel this? or do you think we should avoid fast/cheap fashion anyway? or is it case of buy ethically or buy nothing?? tell me!!!)

Veja is a french shoe brand that focusses on producing ethical and environmentally friendly trainers. They are made of wild rubber and organic cotton by producers who receive a fair wage (cotton farmers are paid twice the market rate par example) and are unionised to ensure economic stability. They adhere to fair-trade principles, are environmental conscious and are just bossing it.

And ethical benefits, environmental advantages and social responsibility aside (I would be lying if I said all my fashion choices are were guided by ethical principles), they are a peng pair of trainers. I adore the retro vibe that totally makes me feel like I am running around a 80's French gymnase (give me a white tennis skirt and I'll be off) and chunky white trainers are so my thing.  I think these are actually mens and there were so many I could have chosen (I'm obsessed with the white and black/white versions) but they've already received so many compliments and intrigue.
I've paired them with a bretton striped t-shirt dress a few times (this one) and fuck do I enjoy the Parisian vibes it exudes (allowing me to vicariously live my French alter-ego).

As is always the case, they'll not remain white for long and will accidentally be worn on a night out but the memories those marks will evoke will increase their sentimental value. I hope to wear them until they fall apart at the seams, and still continue to patch them back together.