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 The manuscript was completed in 1983 but was left unpublished, going against the 'official history' of the war.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?


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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