Dear 2015

Dear 2015,

Another one done, crossed off, completed.
My how fast you flew by, allowing little time to breathe and relax and what feels like no opportunity to find peace.
You were always going to present challenges and obstacles, I was expecting that and I suppose, looking back as the final curtain draws, you were good.
Things I expected to push me to the very edge were actually where I found most happiness and friendship-I can do it again, you remind me.
The New year  invited a gold tinted memory, a morning sunset at the beach and, ridiculously and ashamedly, the beginning of revision. Dark nights growing shorter with the promise of summer, days spent in pyjamas working away. You brought my favourite book in the month of February which I ran home to read, my first gig and a night trip to Edinburgh. One of my favourite days spent with Alice doing our usual cafĂ© crawl goes down in fond memory.
Spring is always the perfect season, bright crisp mornings, hopes that better things are on their way and March continued much like the others. Along with many other months, I spent it in failed attempts to run and get outside, choosing to spend my hours blogging and writing. I began my first attempt at a longer story which, almost a year on, is still ticking on. (Future self: Look at "Pick a country"-I hope you've thought of a name).
I look back over the months of March and April with happiness, although they were tainted with the stress and panic that appears to have ___ this whole year, I felt stable and as though there were some vague ideas of what I was doing. A repeated highlight was of course the annual trip to Southwold, a place where I feel at home and yearn to spend everyday. I remember you brought some good reads that I look back on, desperate to find something similar.  A new experience of Go-Karting which, after a panic about the helmet, was exceptionally fun and I hope to repeat.
May, you brought the realisation that what I knew was coming to the end, that I was growing up and things were "getting serious". Although you saw the beginning of exams, remember, I did rather enjoy these weeks. Everyone working together, a sense of support, and, although the tears exams brought, part of me rather enjoyed them (yes). I poured every last ounce into my textiles coursework which, thank goodness, I came out with full marks in.
June began with the worst exams of all but you epitomised at the height of adolescent summer. Nights spent with the warmth of both summer and alcohol running through our veins, dancing so hard because really, we had nothing to loose. The last day of school as we knew it, a lunchtime doing what felt like family portraits that I look back at with eternal love, and of course Prom, which I go into more detail about here. One of those memories, so simple but so happy, is lying in a best friends conservatory, laughing and talking until we saw the rise of the next days sun, thinking what is the point of sleeping.
I got dragged away into the bliss of summer and my days dwindled away, spent watching Wimbledon, colouring, evenings in the park, adventures, exploring abandoned buildings, laughs, parties, BBQ's. A picnic with Alice which, once again if you are reading this, makes me jolly happy to look back on.
You, 2015, did however bring a feeling of pressure. "I should be having fun, shouldn't be spending precious moments alone not really doing much". You didnt allow me to enjoy it as I thought I should, I was expected to spend 12 weeks partying and laughing and not spend one second alone. I suppose this is the cause of my lack of peace. I did make new friends, adding to our growing group and sensed a drift in our tight 4 piece pact.
There were some amazing moments however, a trip camping with my best friends, Edinburgh festival, evenings at the beach, a holiday in Scotland, an attempt up Ben Nevis, a visit from Maddie, adventures in London but I felt so much expectation. Summer closed with a group trip to Durham and then the funniest evening at various parties.
And since then life has been much the same, a repeat of work, expectation, failure and this bloody pressure I cannot relieve. I have submersed myself fully in A-levels, working too hard and constricting myself too much. I did thoroughly enjoy watching the Rugby World Cup which has to be one of my guilty pleasures. I even managed to begin running before school-finally. Alas, the chill of Autumn did bring new adventures, my first flight alone (well, without a parent) which has to be my greatest achievement of the year along with a truly harrowing trip, a bedroom revamp to kickstart my motivation, a visit to Brighton and a slow slide into Christmas...and many other memories that drift away into a haze of contentment.
2015, you close with a sense of slight unease-a repeat of the pressures of summer, fears of friendships and exams and surpassing expectations.
But you have been good.
I have adventured and laughed and partied and cried and stressed and loved but it will go down in memory.
Thank you 2015, its been a roller coaster but we are rolling into the 16th with anticipation.
Please be good.

Currently: Listening:--//Reading:The Reluctant Fundamentalist//Loving: Being off school//Lusting: Dungarees

***apologies if this post is kinda moany and annoying-its for my personal reflection on one of my solemn evenings when I get real nostalgic lol

A tour of my bookshelves

Books are wonderfully aesthetic and completely personal. Everyone has a different collection of different editions, all with different stories of their ownership and a different treatment. Some fold the pages,break the spine, annotate the pages (that's me) while others keep them beautifully pristine.
Stories with in stories.
I feel I will be adding to this collection, probably for the rest of my life. I will link each book to their page on Goodreads, where you can read a description and ratings etc and for any that I already have a review, I shall of course link it.
So let's begin.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-J.K Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire-J.K Rowling
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince-JK.Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix-J.K Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban-J.K Rowling
Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone-J.K Rowling (sorry they aren't in order and one's missing)
The Last Fighting Tommy-Harry Patch
The Book Thief-Markus Zusak--review
My Sister Lives on the Mantle Piece-Annabel Pitcher
Ketchup Clouds-Annabel Pitcher--review
Will Grayson, Will Grayson-John Green
The Fault In Our Stars-John Green--review
Looking For Alaska-John Green
PaperTowns-John Green
Shock of the Fall-Nathan Filer
The Perks of Being a Wallflower-Stephen Chbosky--review
The Silverlinings Play Book-Matthew Quick--review
Wonder-Raquel. J. Palacio
Eleanor and Park-Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl-Rainbow Rowell
All the Bright Places-Jennifer Niven--review
I'll Give You the Sun-Jandy Nelson--review
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl-Jesse Andrews
The lovely Bones-Alice Sebold--review
Savvy-Ingrid Law
The Help-Kathryn Stockett--review
No and Me-Delphine de Vigan
The Garbage King-Elizabeth Laird
Uglies-Scott Westerfield 
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit-Judith Kerr
Bombs on Aunt Dainty-Judith Kerr
A Streetcat Named Bob-James Bowden
Artichoke Hearts-Sita Bramachari
The Ant Colony-Jenny Valentine
Counting in 7's-Holly Goldberg Sloan
Hunger Games-Suzanne Collins 
Hunger Games, Catching Fire-Suzanne Collins
Hunger Games,Mocking Jay-Suzanne Collins
The Maze Runner-James Dashner
Divergent-Veronica Roth
The Little Stranger-Sarah Waters
The Great Gatsby-F. Scott Fitzgerald
Gorsky- Vesna Goldsworthy
To Kill A Mockingbird-Harper Lee--review
1984-George Orwell--review
Animal Farm-George Orwell
Of Mice and Men-John Steinbeck
The Crucible-Arthur Miller
A Streetcar Named Desire
The Picture of Dorian Gray-Oscar Wilde
Go Set a Watchman-Harper Lee---review
A guide to Paris-DK
Chill-Deborah Reber
First World War Poems
The Book Thief-Markus Zusak (I have two copies)
What I was-Meg Rosoff (this is, hands down, the weirdest book I have ever read)
One Day-David Nicholls
All the Truth Thats in Me-Julie Berry
Once-Morris Gleitzman
The Lord of the Flies-William Golding
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes-Arthur Conan Doyle
Room-Emma Donoghue
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas-John Boyne
Black Swan Green-David Mitchell
Restless-William Boyd--review
Elsewhere-Gabrielle Zevin--review
We Were Liars- E. Lockhart--review
Brave New World-Aldous Huxley
Heaven on Earth-101 Happy Poems-Wendy Cope
Rogets Thesaurus
Children's Miscellany
Birdsong-Sebastian Faulks
The Knife of Never Letting Go-Patrick Ness
The Storied Life of A.J Fikry-Gabrielle Zevin
The Uncommon Reader-Alan Bennet
Banksy New York
Deliciously Ella-Ella Woodward
A Century In Photographs-The Times
Secret Garden Colouring Book-Johanna Basford
Make-Cath Kidston
Kirstie's Vintage Home-Kirstie Allsopp
Homemade-Ros Badger and Elspeth Thompson
Simple and Delicious Cupcakes
642 Things to Write About-San Francisco Writers Grotto---review
Listography-All I Hope to Do in Lists-Lisa Nola
Collins French Dictionary and Grammar
The Pocket Scavenger-Keri Smith
Cancer-Your Personal Horoscope 2015

What is your favourite book? Any I need to add to my collection?
Katie x

Currently: Listening: Spotify Christmas playlists//Reading: Counting in 7's--Charlottee Bronte-Jane Eyre//Loving: sleeping//Lusting: sleep

Current Favourites

I have given myself the pleasure of doing all my work during the week so I can spend this weekend re-lax-ing. Bliss.
I took the opportunity to take some photos and, after initially just taking snaps of my outfit, I decided I would do a capsule of some of the fashion and beauty items I am loving.
H&M scarf
I have spoken about this scarf before and the happiness it brought; its so large and soft and cosy. Its like a blanket, I have, at school, been known for whipping it out and wrapping it round me like a blanket. Its all about comfort. They have so many lovely scarves in H&M at the moment, if you are looking for one, that's your place.

 Bomber Jacket
There is a new vintage shop in Newcastle and its bloody good. Its tiny and really hidden away but has the best gems. I bought this men's bomber jacket a month or two ago for £10 and I love it. Its incredibly easy to wear but unfortunately I've had to hang it up as its too cold to wear now.

 Hershel Rucksack
I used to use this bag for school, it was beautiful and I loved it but, with all the folders and books I have to carry to school, it was causing real damage to my shoulders. So, in order to balance the weight out, I bought this rucksack. I really like it, its very simple but the red zips add a bit of detail and I love the pinstripe lining.
Garnier BB cream
This is a barely there product, but I like that. It adds a nice healthy glow to your skin and evens out any areas of discolouration. I apply this with either my fingers or the Zoeva 102 Silk finish brush when I just want a bit more in my skin.

Maybelline Colour Show Shadow in Copper Rush
This is a 'shop-my-stash' product-I hadn't used this for ages but have fallen back in love. It's incredibly creamy so definitely works best applied with fingers. The boldness of it can be altered, creating either a slight brush of shimmer or, what I like best, can be built up into a full eye of glitter.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara
I really didn't like this mascara at the start, I didnt feel it lived up to its hype. However, it has had sometime to get drier (I always think mascaras are better for that) and builds a lot of boldness. It does clump slightly but I use another mascara to separate out my lashes. Plus, its good value.

Mac Teddy Liner
This was purchased on a bit of a whim however I really like it. Its a dark bronze shade which is perfect if I am either doing a browny eye (as black is often too harsh) or want something a little more subtle. I also really like it on its own in the waterline as it wears down into a distressed, messy kinda look. Thumbs up.

Music: I don't think my love for Ben Howard will ever die, this and this are my current favourites.
Film: I've been to see Spectre twice in the past week. It is fabulous-I absolutely loved it.

What are your current favourites?
Katie x

DIY// Granola

I adore granola, either as a breakfast cereal a topping but had increasingly found the one I ate far too sweet. So I decided I would make my own. Its both wonderfully easy and delicious.
You will need:
-175g Pecans
-120g Almonds
-200g Rolled Oats (the larger the oat the better I would say)
-a good couple of handfuls o' Raisins/Sultanas
-150g Pumpkin seeds
-150g Sunflower seeds
-3 teaspoons Cinnamon/Mixed Spice
-2 tbsp oil (I used rapeseed because it doesnt taste of anything; I reckon you could use any as long as it doesnt tastee (so not olive!))
-3 tbsp Agave Nectar/Maple Syrup/Honey (any kind of sweetener, you could use sugar but a) refined sugar ain't as healthy and b) it wouldn't create the same crispiness but I'm sure it would work)

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Mix all your dry ingredients in a bowl (minus the raisins) and add the oil and sweetener. Mix it all together until the oats, seeds and nuts are well coated.
Spread it out on the lined flat tray (I used grease-proof paper)-make sure it is well spread out so it bakes evenly. Pop it in the oven for around 30 minutes but turn the oats every so often so they all toast. You are looking for golden, dry oats.
Leave it to cool then add the raisins.

easy peasy

In other, less delicious and somewhat pointless news the weekend has rewardingly rolled around but I once again feel as though I have wasted it.
But I bought a new scarf. So maybe I didn't. The scarf will probably have a post of its own because its big and beautiful. And very warm.
After avoiding shopping for an impressive amount of time, I am getting itchy feet (ew) to snazz up my wardrobe a little, while justifying it by the amount I feel I am working my butt off at the moment.
Maybe that's a positive of doing all these bloody essays.

I hope you are all well,
Katie x

Currently: Reading: The Tin Ring-Zdenka Fantlova//Listening: this, this and this (I've had to resort to YouTube music-ahh god)//Loving: my new scarf lol//Lusting: this top and this top (which I will buy when I have finished writing this) (update: I bought the top). I've just been on Asos and add this too


October always rolls round and my days fill up with too many things to do and places to be. Once again, as a way to remember it, here are too many pictures and too many words.

My half term began with celebration at reaching a breathing point and then excitement and trepidation at what lay ahead the next day. I may do a separate post about this, but then again I may not. My friend and I set off at 4:30am the next morning, with 200 people we had met once before, on a day trip to Poland. We were visiting Auschwitz 1 and Birkenau as part of the Holocaust Educational Trust's Lessons From Auschwitz. Its a project that 2 students from schools across the country have the opportunity to take part in, we had to apply with an essay explaining why we should take part in the project. Its ethos is to educate the wider community of the atrocities that took place and continue to pass on what happened as the survivors age, preventing the ideas of Holocaust Denial from taking over.

A photo of the candles we all lit at the end of the ceremony in Birkenau held by a Rabbi that accompanied us

Okay, this is going to be wordy and long. I warn you now.
Its a 4 part project. The first seminar preparing us for what we would see and informing us that there is no one way to react, a talk from a survivor and some things for us to think about. The second was the one-day visit and a follow up seminar to discuss what we felt and discussing our ideas for the Next Steps. Then we have to produce an assembly, discussion or memorial to pass on what we saw.
I don't think words can describe what we saw. It felt like death, everything surrounded you screamed death. The statistics we learned, the stories we heard, the things we saw. They will stick with me forever. I don't feel I can say too much on the visit because words can't describe what you see and feel when you stand, surrounded by cattle sheds, in the remains of an industrial farm of death. But it is horrific. I felt angry and sad and terrified at the power of humans. And shame that we have not learned from our mistakes.
I am so privileged to have had the opportunity to go, with such educated, supportive leaders, to learn of what went on and tell others of our findings and will never forget what I saw and heard.

Understandably, we returned feeling exhausted, mentally and physically and I spent the day not really doing much. We felt it difficult to readjust to the life we live when we returned, feeling guilty for all our luxuries but had to remind ourselves that this is the life we are lucky enough to live. I went to see Suffragette in the evening which I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend.

Next day I embarked on a lone trip to London to see a friend from Oxford. I spent the journey reading  and listening to drunk conversations. We met at Covent Garden and went to 26 Grains in Neal's Yard for brunch. Then we trekked to Colombia Rd flower market and wandered through the elegant resident terraces to Brick lane. It was a wash with people but we picked up juice from a colorful fruit stall and oriental food from a market. We spent the rest of the day exploring Covent Garden, Carnaby Street and, accidentally, the RA.

The next day we drove to Sussex where we visited an outdoor museum that was excellent, wandered around Lewes, waked to the Seven Sisters, embarked on a mad geo-caching adventure in a muddy forest with 4 year olds in more appropriate footwear than I and eaten more cake than the lack of exercise would ever warrant. On our last day we visited Brighton. A day of exploring the Lanes, wandering a long the sea front and eating delicious food in French cafes. I have decided I rather like Brighton.

After our 7 hour drive, I watched the rugby, went to a Hallowe'en party that felt rather anti-climatic, babysat at 9am the next morning and went to the final seminar for the project.
As I write this I am lying in bed, on Monday morning, after a run and enjoying the luxuries of a late start.

What have you been up to?
Katie x

p.s I spent too long editing photos and now I am going to be late for school ahhhh

Currently: Listening: nothing because I have finished my 3 month free trial of Apple Music and deciding whether I can justify signing up?//Reading: Just finished my favourite Great Gatsby (again)--Little Stranger-Sarah Waters//Loving: the beginning of the festivities//Lusting: another week off

What I eat in a day...

I am a lover of food; I love preparing it, I love eating it, I love photographing it. 90% of the time I eat what I consider to be healthy, I rarely eat crisps, sweets etc but if I do eat anything sugary it tends to be cake because damn does my mum make a good carrot cake. Of course, with school its hard to maintain a particularly exciting meal plan, usually sticking with the same thing for breakfast and lunch. I figured you wouldn't want to see my sandwiches so I decided to do this on a Saturday.
Here is my day in food:

Dorset Cereal Simply Nutty Museli
Alpro Almond milk

I am actually lactose intolerant but have decided, even if I wasn't, I would still drink almond milk. Its a lot better for you and tastes so much nicer in my opinion.This Dorset Cereal is my absolute favourite muesli, or even cereal, ever. Its not an exciting cereal but man its delicious.

Homemade humus/houmous(?)
Toasted Ciabatta
Asian Coleslaw
Guacamole (which you can't see because the avocados were too ripe and looked funky)
Houmous: 1 tin of chickpeas, a teaspoon of Tahini (you can use peanut butter), 1 tablespoon of olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, 1 clove of garlic, salt and pepper: put it all in a liquidizer and blend until smooth
Asian Coleslaw: cabbage + carrot grated with soy sauce, honey and ginger
Guacamole: Avocado, tomatoes, chilli, lemon, garlic

A Nakd bar*
These are great, they are so natural, with just dried fruit and nuts and taste amazing. They give me so much energy and I can last with just one of these. I got mine directly from Natural Balance Foods, a website that stocks energy foods, and blummin tasty ones at that. I got sent a selection of flavours which is great because I can try them all-so far Cashew Cookie and Pecan Pie are my favourite. They are also dairy free which for me is a win!

Supper (tea?):
Cous Cous (with pomegranate, harrissa paste, pistachios etc)
Roasted pepper and tomatoes
These are my favourite kind of meals, much lighter than other wintery meals and, in my opinion, a lot more flavoursome. I think this food is more summery which makes me sad as it reminds me that we are actually in October...
I would also in the day, eat many pieces of fruit and 3 cups of tea but I didn't think pears were that interesting to photograph.
What do you eat in a day? What is your favourite meal?
Katie x

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Currently: Listening: Ben Howard-The Fear//Reading: Great Gatsby-F. Scott Fitzgerald (ahh it will forever be my favourite)//Loving: My bed//Lusting: half term to come quicker

*I was sent these products to review, all opinions however remain  my own

Room Updates

My room had been looking a little tired, everything was similar to how it had been 2 years previous and, for someone who needs constant change, this was annoying me. Some features had also become impractical such as a desk that resulted in my doing all my GCSE revision on the floor due to it being too small, a chest of drawers that had one functioning draw and a pile of clothes that had no where to live. 
So the transformations began.

Mirror: found on gumtree, painted white
Drawers: Local pine furniture maker
Lamp: Ikea
Bowl: Tiger (£1-I wish I had bought more but I was going on the train after)
Jewelry bowl: Ikea
Camera: Fujifilm Instax 8

 For anyone with limited space or pedantic problems about room space, this is the perfect solution. I have mine drilled onto the back of my door so it takes up virtually no space.
Rail: Ikea
Hangers: Ikea

This area may require a little more explanation:
So this is where I spend 90% of my evenings, so I relish in it looking nice. A lot of the pieces you see in this area have been collected such as the motivational quotes (made by Alice), the K (made by a friend) and other little bits. I have pinned a clip up to hold papers in which I have found incredibly useful. I also went through a phase of printing every photo I took so ended up with hundreds and no idea what to do with them. I decided in order to display them and not damage my white walls, I would pin them up. Under my desk I keep pointless bits; make up packaging, magazines; things I don't really know what else to do with.
Lamp: Ikea
Desk: Ikea
Drawers: Ikea
Green boxes and file: Ikea
Chair: Gumtree (painted blue)
 K candle: Oliver Bonas
Little pegs: John Lewis (Christmas craft section)

Full room tour (a little out of date)
Post dedicated to my memory line

I hope maybe this has given you some room inspo or, if not, you got the satisfaction of looking around someone elses room-I love to be nosey.
I now need to shower as I have a party and am still in my pyjamas. Ahh
Katie x
Currently: Listening: Ben Howard-Conrad//Reading: Just finished Gorksy-Vesna Goldsworthy//Loving: Museli// Lusting: Piercings

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