July favourites

So, summer’s a thing now, I guess, I mean I live in London, so anytime it stops raining, I just label it summer and sprawl my limbs over the table in my garden, reading.

Most people go to exotic beach areas, and rack up the population and spray tan, but I prefer to stay in my little London home town, and spend the summer like every other day, pale and unavailable.

I’m often somewhere in the house reading a new book, or listening to music, or on a rare day, catching a new movie. And this month, has produced some diamonds for lil’ anti social ol’ me.

Let’s start with music. 

The vamps New album is the only thing that has caused me to pause the 90’s tunes and rejoin my age group for a brief month. They were also signing albums in London, and thanks to my impeccable taste in great friends, they got me one, at the expense that they stole one of my funny stories to tell them, but hey, I’m a sharer.

Also this month, Spider-Man Homecoming came out, which was easily my favourite thing this month, and favourite film this year. I’ve seen it three times this month (the day it premiered, the day after and yesterday) and I fear if I go to the cinema anymore they will start banning me from movies.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child turned one this month, and although I’m not the biggest fan of it, Harry potter as a whole deserves a place in the list, plus it was J.K Rowlings birthday.

For all the books I’ve read this month, I needed tea or some beverage to accompany it, and everyone knows the only way to drink, is out of a fashionable novelty mug. The Disney store is my favourite place for novelty mugs, they recently stocked the ones available in The Disney Parks, and so I have a collection to start.

Jasmine is not my favourite Disney princess, but her mug was the prettiest of them all, the shade of turquoise isn’t at all captured in the photo, and truly is a shade that needs to be seen in person. The detailing of all the princess’ mugs is truly worth the price. And if like me, you cannot go to the parks, it’s a great alternative. I plan on picking up Ursula and Rapunzel soon, and then have them all eventually.

And finally, It was my brother’s birthday at the end of the month, so we went to a theme park. I faced my fear of heights, and had a great time, I even met a Lion, some reindeers, and the gruffalo. My favourite moment of the whole day, was the panda show, which I embarrassed myself with, thinking they were real pandas. They were just people dressed up.

Adventure time with jess 

Most fifteen year old boys aren’t fussed about their birthdays, they just request new video games and to be left alone with a slice of cake. Not my brother. 

For his fifteenth, he wanted to take us all to a theme park and because it was his birthday, we all had to go on his choice of rides. Being a generally fearful person, I had to make alterations to the agreement, in that if I went and went on all the rides, we would go to sea life and the zoo as well.

The rides were ridiculously high off the ground, and even though I thought I would cry, I didn’t, and we actually had a decent family day out.

The first ride we went on, was called the Monkey swingers. Which essentially straps you in a seat like a swing, and lifts you up high off the ground and swings you in a circle, as some of you go up and some of you go down. What they neglected to mention was that there were water jets, that sprayed quite violently at you, as I was sat on the inside, I remained dry, but my poor soggy sister got the worst of it. Especially when she turned to me to speak and got a mouthful of water.

Next up, we went on a ride that would pit us all against each other in a friendly bit of competition. It was a game much like Tomb Raider, where you had to shoot the lights out with your laser gun. Me and my brother were trying to distract each other, but thanks to my extreme focus, I beat them all by a good 400 points. I got 1440 points and ended up on the leader board. 

We then found a nice easy child’s ride to go on, which seemed to be affecting the children more than we all thought. As we all lined up, a few children were coming out of line crying, or worse throwing up. Once we actually got into the carriage and took off on the train like ride, I too wanted to cry. It essentially took you around a track but tilted you towards fire and water as you went around. Since me and my sister decided to go in one carriage, our weight wasn’t balanced and so we had to force ourselves to stay upright in fear of dying.

Thankfully, my dad and brother too wanted a break and we headed over to sea life, which was the most magical experience ever. 

We saw ‘Dory’ and ‘Nemo’

Sea horses

A wide range of fish

But my personal favourite was the shark tank and sting rays.

We also went to the zoo, and saw reindeers, otters and the sea lion show, which made me feel terrible for them, unfortunately I missed the Gorilla feeding and the tigers, but I saw the lions so it more than made up for it.

Once done, my brother requested we went on the one ride I was absolutely fearing the existence of. Dragon’s falls. It’s a log ride, that takes you up ridiculous slopes and drops you unexpectedly, which makes your heart literally fall into your stomach on the drop down. I am not kidding when I say I screamed my head off on the way down, although as terrifying as it was, it was easily my favourite ride.

Still soggy, we all decided to dry off on the Ferris wheel and look at the view and catch our breath for a moment. This was quite a big deal for me, because I faced my fear of heights and I am definitely proud of myself for it.

My brother and dad then suggested we break off to do two last rides before the park closed. So, me and my sister went to the gruffalo ride, whilst my brother and dad went on one of the bigger rides.

The gruffalo ride brought back so many childhood memories of reading the book over Christmas, and the visuals were absolutely breathtaking. Again, it was another water ride, but I couldn’t be happier.

We all regrouped at another of the bigger rides, one called the vampire. Which really shook me in ways I never want to speak about again. It took you around the park, not like a nice tour, like a death trap, it literally shot you across the top of buildings and through the trees, I felt like I could star in George And The Jungle.

After a long day of being thrown around, it was nice to be able to keep my feet on the ground for the ride home. My siblings usually always fall asleep on the ride home and I’m usually the one that stays awake and take a in the journey and writes about the day for my memory book, to avoid forgetting anything, but they stayed awake I can only assume because of the adrenaline, and we spent the ride home badly singing to a medley of *NSYNC and Other 90’s boy bands.

Jessica’s Journal #1

Usually when my friend’s move, we stop speaking to each other, never out of anger, but out of age and habit. It was a surprise when one of my only remaining friends dropped on me that she was moving to California at the end of 2016, and so I had a minor personality breakdown and became very guarded, resulting in a lot of flatlined friendships. None of which I regret, upon reflection, my friends were no more than girls at my lunch table.

It’s been a quick year, and out of habit, me and my friend gradually stopped talking and checking in and let the other live their life. July, is her birth month. Which meant we would fall back into each other’s paths. She came back to London and the first thing we did was fuel our weak selves with overpriced coffee and really nice macarons.

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I didn’t realise how much we had to talk about, or how long she had actually been away for, so we spent at least 90 minutes talking about our old friends, and teachers and comparing school ethics (you know, general seventeen year old chatter.)

I got a chance to have my American stereotype questions answered, which seemed never ending because of how much american tv I watch. Turns out she doesn’t wake up naturally flawless, grab her lunch in her brown paper bag and bounce to school for an hour before coming home with an entourage.

The Perks of having a friend that lives in California, is that she goes to Disney and Universal a lot, so she always sends me photos of the Harry Potter events and parts, and because I am some what obsessed with The Simpsons, she goes out of her way to take ‘perfect’ photos of everything and sends them to me for my instagram.

We both like the idea of travelling and so when she went to NY she took some Polaroids for me so I could keep them with me, which was pretty cool and has now motivated me to go to NY more than ever. The goal is to go during the winter, so i can get the full white christmas experience .

Once we finished our drinks, we left, which was probably a great relief to those trying to work. We went shopping for a little while, I spent nearly an hour in the bookstore and an unmentionable amount of money on books that I definitely won’t have time to read this year.

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Once weighed down with books, we decided to settle in the park and just relax on the swings like we used to when we were closer. It was a really nice day out, and the park was pretty much empty, aside from a few dog walkers. We mostly spoke about nothing, musical preferences now and fashion taste. It was nice to see a growth in both us, we were fairly shy kids who would never think to change their hair or their dress sense, but nearly a year later and I’m out for coffee looking like my washing machine houses an alligator.

It definitely made me think about who I want to be in life, and which jobs I want to experience but most of all, my mini reunion taught me that I need to prioritise my friends and my self separately. I need to check on them more, and vice versa. I also need to start doing the things I want to do, and to do that, I need to get my life together.

I need to adopt that chilled back LA lifestyle, and do it. If I want to skate board every where, I should do it without fearing that someone will try to sabotage me, and I need to accept that I can happily listen to NSYNC and Nickelback in the same playlist, because there are no real guidelines to living.

 

 

June Favourites

The Killers released new music and made my year, so shout out to 2017 for blessing us all with that. ‘The Man’ is such a great song, and I already know it is going to be on an endless loop at every radio station, but I don’t have a problem with it, in fact, I encourage it, I hope the song get’s played so much that I learn to hate the Killer’s and I become one of those ‘I only know Mr Brightside’ people.

Sticking to the subject of music, All Time Low released Their new album, Last Young Renegade, and although it isn’t my favourite album of theirs, I do truly appreciate it and there are some really great songs on the album. And so, I got the vinyl as an exam present. My Favourite songs from the album, at the moment, have to be Last Young Renegade and Drugs and Candy.

hp 20

Moving into Books and other media, I have been so obsessed with the Harry potter 20th edition copies, that if someone were to steal my technology, all they would find is a gallery full of Hufflepuff book covers, because I just cannot deal with how beautiful it is. The illustrations, the writing, the hard back covers’ spines. Ugh, yes.

The Couple Next Door

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena has also been one of my favourite books this month, I always thought the ‘read it in one sitting’ thing was a cliche used by writers in the weekly newspaper to give the book an ‘original’ review, but I really did read it in one sitting. I’m kind of disappointed that I cracked the case by chapter three, but as far as thrillers go, I highly recommend reading it.

peanuts x vans

This month has been a fairly lazy one for me, because I now have a two month wait for my exam results, so I have just been catching up on sleep and movies.  But When I do make the effort to go outside, I have been loving the Peanut x vans collaboration. I chose the sk8-hi all black ones, because they looked the most casual and easily compatible of the collection, but I also picked up the long sleeve peanut shirt, because the simplicity of it, and the fact that it probably wouldn’t be around forever pushed me into dropping a lot of money at the vans store.

BMO socks

Obviously, to wear cool shoes, you need cool socks, and this month, I have been in love with my Adventure Time socks, they have been a main feature on my instagram, both my feed and my story, they are super cheap and are just really fun.

pottermore print

Lastly, we have this beautiful print from pottermore, which I plan on framing and buying more of. It is the scene from chamber of secrets where Ron and Harry are in the ford anglia, and the colours are so pretty and the art work itself is so detailed. The greatest part of this, is the affordability. It was only £20, which For the quality, and the size, is definitely going to make me buy more, and eventually have a room full of framed Harry potter art work pieces.

Arriving at The Burrow

I left the link in case you want to look through the variety of art work and drool, like I did when I first saw them.

Ah, potter fans. Always looking out for each other.

Picnic in the park

For My friend’s Birthday, we decided to spend the evening in the park and have a picnic and catch up, because we hadn’t seen each other since January, which isn’t uncommon at all, we both just disappear for weeks and catch up eventually. When I say we went on a picnic, I mean we had the wicker basket, the plaid blanket, the plastic cutlery, the cups that fold into each other for easier storage, to be fair, The Picnic turned out to be more of a Harry Potter party, but I had no complaints.

There are so many benefits to having a friend that also loves Harry Potter, because It means I get to replicate the food in the movies, and since it was her Birthday, I decided to bake her the same cake that Harry gets from Hagrid.

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I also bought her a Newt and Dumbledore pop vinyl because she is in the process of redecorating her room, which means new shelves, which is kind of a specialty of mine.

We have that kind of friendship where we start talking about one thing, and then we roll into seven other things, and before we know it, we had been sat in the park for three hours.

The Park that we went to had a playground, but it is predominantly a dog park, with tennis courts and basketball space. So, naturally, we were in the centre of the dogs attention, which means they would beeline for us, and I’m kind of terrified of dogs, but my friend is a massive dog person, which means she was sat there encouraging them to run at us. Obviously they obliged.

So, I’m drinking out of my cup and this adorable bundle of fur comes running over to us, and he sits in front of us, just staring staring at me My friend starts being a dog whisperer, because next thing I know, there are three more dogs sat in front of us staring. So My friend starts caring for the other three dogs, rubbing their stomachs and making really weird noises at them and the first dog that came over starts creeping towards me, and I register that it wants me to pat him, but he’s big and scary, and when I’m sat down I’m tiny and vulnerable, so I pull my cup up to drink from it, and the dog starts nuzzling against my hand, and as soft and cute as he was, I dropped my cup down myself out of fear. Thankfully, the owners were nearby and took their dogs back from us after laughing at my irrational fear of them.

The karaoke bar across the park, next to all of the shops, started opening, and we could hear someone singing Mr. Brightside, and we eventually joined them from our spot in the park, and before we knew it, we had gotten through everything from NSYNC and One Direction to Celine Dion and High School Musical.

Overall, something as simple as a picnic and a karaoke session managed to improve my day and it just really makes me feel less stressed about simple things, and it’s really nice to catch up with people that I haven’t seen in a while and hear about something other than math problems and camera angles.

Recent Reads Of 2017

I haven’t read as many books as I would have liked this year, but I wasn’t really expecting to fail my maths exam last June, and have this many distractions. And so, as I sadly gazed at my TBR list, I thought of all the books I have read so far, and which ones were great and deserve recognition and which ones deserve to be thrown at a wall repeatedly.

January:

It was my birthday in January, meaning I got a few new books, usually, I don’t drop my current read for a new one, but I got the Greatest Cases Of Sherlock Holmes and whatever I was in the middle of reading, was thrown to the side until I finished Sherlock. Because Sherlock is a priority. I find it really refreshing to be able to read the cases for myself, and have ones that didn’t become episodes or movies. The penguin covers are also the prettiest things I have ever set my eyes upon.

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I also started reading Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven, because I loved All The Bright Places and thought her new stuff would be just as emotive and great, and I was correct. I love how she takes characters that would never meet and gives them more than a conversation. In some way, she rewrites their lives and it is just so powerful, that despite it being YA I love it and could read her work forever.

February:

I finished reading The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins and contrary to popular belief, the movie was shit. This book is a prime example that some books need to stay books. I originally had no intention of watching the movie, but someone said that it was really good. We are no longer friends. The book was intense, and there were so many moments I was convinced I had cracked the plot, and then another piece of information gets thrown at you, that makes your theory sound ridiculous.

March:

 

I got a little Disney obsessed in March, because of the release of Beauty and the Beast. Saying that, I bought the BATB book and decided to read it, because I had only ever seen the movies, and I am so glad I did. Not only is the cover the prettiest colour of red ever, but the story was so refreshing to read and have in front of me.

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Sticking to the Disney theme, I also read Peter Pan by J.M Barrie Which was the first time I had read it since I was 8. My Uncle bought me Peter pan for my 8th Birthday, and it was my favourite disney movie as a child, so I would read the book every day, and take it to school with me and read it in class when I was excused from social events and class combining activities.

April:

I always try to read the book before I buy it to avoid spending money on books I will probably never read, so I make the long trek all the way to the library and find books that are on my TBR list.

First up, I found Dark Places  by Gillian Flynn, and since I loved Gone Girl so so much, I assumed I would like her other work too, but this book just kind of disappointed me. I couldn’t place it. It might have been the writing style, or the movie but something in the book did not sit well with me. I was also disappointed when I correctly guessed who the murderer was by the end of chapter three, because I had to wait until the end to celebrate with my misery.

May:

It was exam season, so the only book I read was my Maths textbook.

June:

Quite a few books I have read this month, were the books I bought in May, but some I found in the library, when I was supposed to be revising but instead wandered and looked at the books instead.

Into the water by Paula Hawkins was my first purchase of May, but I had to put it on hold, so Once I started reading it, it took me a while to get used to. There are many points of view in the book, so the narrative is always changing, and I personally struggle to keep up with who is who. The concept of the book, was enjoyable. Any thriller or dark themed book is enjoyable to me, and I did like the story, I just wouldn’t label it my favourite of the year.

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YOU by Caroline Kepnes was suggested to me by a friend, who knew of my love for thrillers. I was promised a mixture of gone girl, with the excitement and depth of Girl on the train, and after finishing the book, I was left feeling a little underwhelmed by the ending. There is no denying the creepiness of the main character, I mean he stalked a girl he had a two second encounter with, and murdered people for no justifiable reason. I’m unsure whether the narrative was supposed to be angsty, because the description was of a teenage boy in love with an elder woman, so the language would be of expected, but it came across as though the author had an issue with many other authors and had many uncomfortable female encounters and so one day decided to create a diss book. The final chapter caused me to actually throw my book at the wall, because it ends on a cliff hanger, and I don’t really know whether I want to read the second book or not.

On a brighter note, I reread Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s stone, because I got the House Editions in Celebration of the 20th Anniversary. I love it, and it is by far my favourite series ever, movies and such. I have nothing but admiration for J.K Rowling, whether that be the way she holds herself and her beliefs or her story writing. Harry potter is such a classic, and cannot be dismissed based on how many times I’ve read it before. The chess match, The Dursley’s and just the beginning of Harry’s life never fails to amaze me, and I am endlessly jealous of never being cast in the movies or being able to write it before J.K Rowling did.

 

Happy Fathers Day

To Dad,

The praise I have for you, cannot be confined to an a4 piece of card that I know you will take out of the envelope once and leave on the floor of your car. Being a dad cannot be easy, you probably fear me growing up, because of the dangers outside, but I think you know that I’m more than capable of handling them, thanks to the determination and fight you instilled in me at a young age. I know that sometimes, I need your help with the small things like homework and kicking technology into life, but soon, I’ll be at the age where I no longer have homework, and I’ll start reading instruction manuals on my own.

I know that every time we sit in silence, you have something you want to say, but instead you compare me to you. You tell me that I’m an exact mould of you, that my nose and my frown remind you of me, and if your mother was still here, she would love me like a daughter, instead of a granddaughter. You would tell me stories about your family, and show obvious favoritism towards your youngest brother, because you’re his protector, you remind me that I need to protect my youngest brother, because I have the biggest heart in the family, and wouldn’t think twice about fighting someone who deserves it.

I know over the seventeen years, it has been difficult, but you were there for me when I first tried to ride a bike, when I won the skipping race on sports day, and you were by my hospital bed when I needed you to be. You were outside the room when I was in the MRI machine, and you were with me when we got my results.

My mother may not see your value, but I do. The person I am currently, has everything to do with how you raised me. Not getting to see you everyday, made me more independent, and when I did get to see you, you dedicated your time and your energy into making us all smile.

It may not mean much to you, but when I couldn’t sleep and you would drive me around in the car whilst I played the ukulele in the backseat until I felt sleepy, is one of my fondest memories of you. We didn’t need to document it on camera, or post it online, because I remember every second of it. The car would be silent, and the skies were nearly black, and sometimes you would request a song, and sing along to it.

You don’t get nearly enough praise as you deserve, and I too am guilty of it. I may not be the most emotional person, but like you, I learn to deal with things alone, and not cry over them. I don’t communicate my love with words, but I do with actions. You were the first person I hugged after eight years, because you didn’t make me feel alienated about my fears and my anxiety. You sat in the waiting room of every therapy session, you listened with respect and understanding for what I was going through, and in turn, you opened up to me about how you were feeling.

Above all, I admire your strength. I know there is a sadness inside of you, but you don’t want to let it out because you don’t want to hurt us. You are in pain, but you do not let it kill you.

I miss you, Dad. But I know you will come home soon, and you will track mud beneath your doc martens onto the white carpets, and you will smile with your cigarette rolled between your teeth, and wave with your fisherman sweater rolled above your wrist. You will drop your car keys on the counter and join us on the couch whilst we play some crappy family quiz show. For a moment, I will catch you staring at us all, willing to do this everyday, but then you look at the time and you leave again. You collect your keys from the counter, and yell a goodbye as you close the door, not bothering to wait for a reply.

I’m not angry with you, dad. I could never be angry with you, because you’ve always been there for me, even when you weren’t allowed to be. You need your space, you need to walk your dog, and smoke your cigarettes, without feeling like it’s wrong to do so. I’m sorry that mother doesn’t smoke, and I’m afraid of dogs, but she understands, and she needs her space too. She needs to read her books and do her charity work.

You were polar opposites, but you made me, your little bundle of features and quirks. I took your nose, and your frown and your attitude, but I also took mother’s passion for books and her willingness to help people. You may not be sat here with us celebrating your day with cake and company, but you are at home with the things that make you happiest. Perhaps You are fishing, Unaware that at home we have a present on the counter for you, and a brain full of praises.

Happy Father’s day, Dad. With many more to come.