Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Hard Decisions

I've made quite a difficult decision. I think i'm going to move my blog from here to wordpress. I'm not sure whether this is going to be a long lasting change or not so for september I'm going to try out wordpress and see what I think of it as a sight; through the design and such. This will stay up and running but for the time being I want to see what wordpress is like. The link for my new blog is: please have a look and continue to support me.

Love you all

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Results Day

The time of the year that all students dread has passed, for A-Level students at least, once more. Today I got my A-Level results and even though my place at drama school was confirmed many moons ago; I could stop being nervous.

I want to break down what i've been doing for the past two years, now that it's over and I don't mind sharing that sort of information on the internet. In 2014 I auditioned to get into a specialist performing, creative and productive arts school called Birmingham Ormiston Academy. I took part in a two day audition with fifty other potentials who had all applied to get in, there had been another two days for the other sixty or so potentials. Those two days were incredibly tough. So tough that people would break down in tears and others would walk out the room and not come back. But even though it was incredibly difficult, and exhausting, I adored every minute of it. A few weeks later I found out that I had gotten in and could take a BTEC Level Three Extended Diploma in Musical Theatre, this is the equivalent to doing three A-Levels. My parents had one condition in allowing me to go. This was that I had to do two a-levels alongside, both because that's what I would be doing if i'd stayed at my old school and so that I had something to fall back on if I decided that I didn't want to do musical theatre any more.

Little did I know how tiring that would become, but i'll go into that later.

I got my GCSEs, a few minor disappoints but nothing that would stop me from doing what I loved, and then I was onto BOA. Walking through those doors that first day was absolutely terrifying. I have social anxiety, something that I didn't truly realise until I was flung head first into a school where I knew no one. Basically, I didn't talk to anyone but teachers for about six weeks (unless I was spoken to, of course, i'm awkward not ignorant). Alongside this I did something that only five percent of people in my whole year did ... two a-levels and our pathway. Musical Theatre is the longest pathway taking up 15 hours. On top of this I had two a-levels of five hours each. The school week at Boa is 28 hours long. If you're good at maths then you will have discovered that that gave me 3 hours of frees. That's it. Some of my friends had 13 hours to do nothing (additional A-leveld were not compulsory after all) and I had 3 hours to do work for at least five different units for MT and then work (and revision) for my additionals. You can imagine that I was extremely stressed when Christmas came. But I didn't even think about dropping either of my additionals. I love both English and Geography and although there were times when all I wanted to do was cry I knew that I couldn't give up.

Alongside all of this I was constantly preparing for the ever approaching auditions and possible working career. That meant that I attended both classical and musical theatre singing lessons for at least four hours, drama and dance lessons too. Not to mention all the practicing that had to be done outside of these commitments and through all this I was teaching my own classes at my dance school. Basically I had no time at all. Yet I some how managed to get every unit of work for all three on time, sometimes even early, without having to pull a single all-nighter. I started revising for all of my exams in the summer holidays last year (we did both our ASs and A2s at the end of Year 13) and I started to do research for the upcoming year too so that I would be as prepared as possible.

I worked my little arse off; giving myself very little free time for anything but reading and writing. But I didn't care. I'm not a party person, I don't drink so I wasn't bothered that I missed out on house parties or huge gigs or anything. I'd rather spend that time memories quotes or finally figuring that difficult section out in my latest solo. I didn't mind. People told me that I needed to socialise more. But, to be honest, I didn't care. I was sorting out my future which some people I know still haven't done.

My time at BOA changed me for the better. I've made friends there that I wouldn't have dared to talk to had I been at any other school. I cut my hair into a bob so that i'd have a whole new wave of confidence. I accepted myself as I am and that has made me into a much better person that I was too years ago. The staff there, at times, were more like friends than teachers and would help me out in anyway I needed and there are some people who I now view as family because of how close we've gotten and I'm terrified to think that I won't be seeing them again all the time (maybe not ever again). These are people that I would see every day without fault and worked in such close quarters with. they really are a family for me and I'm going to miss them like crazy. Not to mention that I was able to go on two once in a life time trips which just helped me relax before the stress of exams kicked in.

For me, academic exams are never the best experience. I can do amazingly in all the mocks that are thrown my way and then i'll sit down in that hall and suddenly something just goes *click* and everything in the world that could possibly go wrong does. I worked my arse off for months on end whilst some people would pick up a book a few hours before the exam and be sorted. I spent very little time with my friends and family and I opened that envelope this morning expecting to see it all being paid off. For my BTEC it did. I got D*D*D* which is the highest grade possible (the equivalent to three A*s) and I was over the moon. Though I've known that for a while because my place at drama school was firmly confirmed about a month and a half ago tell me these grades. But then I looked at my two A-levels. Two subjects that I had poured my blood, sweat and tears into over two years and I got two Cs.

Now I know that sees aren't a bad thing. In fact they are exceptionally good. They meant that i'd passed and could flaunt them with style. But I expected so much more. Yes, I got the equivalent of A*A*A*CC which is amazing but those two Cs just looked so horrible. I went into BOA by myself and grinned my way through it. Sure there was no hiding that I was disappointed to my teachers and friends, they could all see it and I think that maybe they too had been expecting something more, but none of them could see how much it affected me. On my way in I'd been seeing Facebook posts from friends at my old school on how they had gotten A*AAA or A*ABB and stuff like that and they released on the news that thousands of people had gotten high grades. It had blown up my expectations and then this envelope told me. No. You've gotten two Cs. I'd left the house every day at 6:30 and not gotten in till 7 at night. Some nights it'd be even later if I went to classes. I revised anywhere I could and did everything that I could possibly do so that I would be prepared for what was going to happen. And all that work counted for two Cs. I had a friend who didn't even bother revising for her final two exams because she knew she was probably going to fail who's now appealing her results since she's two marks off an A. How is any of that far?

But then I read something earlier. There are so many people who may have gotten higher or lower grades than me who can't go to uni because they don't fit the criteria. My place was unconditional from the start and I've know since November of last year. Yeah I could be disappointed but it wasn't going to mould my life like it would for so many others. I'm going to my dream drama school in September and that'll hopefully go onto a career where no one will even look at my results. They won't care all they will care about is the package in front of them; me.

So, for those of you out there who are reading this. Whether that be for future results days or the GCSE results that are just around the corner. Really it doesn't matter. You can work as hard as you possibly can and whether that means you come out with an A* or a U it doesn't matter. Because your life will find a way to go the path that it is supposed to and all you have to do is keep your eyes open and let it. These envelopes don't determine your life or who you are. Don't let how you were in that exam determine the rest of your future. If you're going for a job interview then be confident and give them a reason to love you so that they ignore those results. Find something you love doing and fight for everything you've got and I know that you will be able to have the best life possible!

Book Total of 2016 - 64

Sunday, 7 August 2016

A Little Update On Life and Stuff

I haven't sat down and just talked to you all for a while and I thought I would talk to you about the things going on in my life. Surprisingly, things haven't been all that hectic of late. My A-Levels are officially over and done with (though I still need to wait for my results with a week and a bit to go) meaning that I can just relax until I move to London for uni/drama school.

I'm going to do Musical Theatre at one of my dream schools and I am beyond ecstatic about everything that is going on. I've been getting my stuff from plates to bedding and it's really exciting. I'm getting to plan a whole life for myself which will hopefully fold out into an amazing career; as long as i'm prepared to work my arse off to do so.

This time last year I uploaded a post called 'Something Just Dawned On Me' and in that I talked about my stress towards the pending future and everything revolving around UCAS and me not actually wanting to grow up. Now I'm not the only person who has ever felt that way, I know. UCAS can be incredibly stressful from choosing the courses that are right for you to writing your personal statement. So I was wondering if people would mind me doing a little theme all about Uni. When I move in in September i'll talk about moving in and choosing rooms and societies and everything like that. They'll obviously be musical theatre themed in a way because that's what my degree is but other than that they'll be accessible to everyone. Is that something you'd all interested in? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Is anyone else going to uni or college this year and moving out? Please tell me that you're as nervous as I am!

Book Total of 2016 - 64

Monday, 1 August 2016

Reading Wrap Up | July 2016

I'm rather impressed with the amount of books that I've read this month. I've been on full holiday mode, hence the lack of updates, without even leaving my house, and I think that me getting to read 14 books in that time is rather impressive really. 

Some of the books this month we first time reads, some rereads. I loved some; I hated others. But I'm going to explore that in more detail .... now. 

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by C.S. Lewis. 
I haven't picked this book up since I was about five years old but it was so wonderful to read it again. I felt like a little girl again, immersing myself in a world that I couldn't really remember. To follow Alice once more as she travelled down the rabbit hole to Wonderland was just brilliant. And I doubt I need to explain why I gave this *****

Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, by C.S. Lewis. 
To be honest, I couldn't exactly remember what happened in this book. I know I read it when I was a little girl but the events didn't stick out in my mind. It actually felt like I was reading it for the first time; allowing me to view a story that I didn't know and it truly was beautiful. C.S. Lewis does have the whimsical writing style that is addictive no matter the reader's age. Hence why this also deserved *****

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by Frank Baum
I didn't read this book as a child. Sure I knew the story, like everyone else in the world. But this was a first time read which I'm rather ashamed about. But I did adore this. I all but absorbed the tale of Dorothy and her adventures in Oz in a matter of hours. Also something that I really enjoyed reading aloud, it just has that effortless tone to it that has to be read to a group. For me, I read it to my dog and he seemed to enjoy it just as much as me. Another book that undoubtably needs *****

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, by J.K. Rowling (audiobook)
These are stories that I will come back to again and again and again but never have I listened to them in audiobook form. There were a few little pronunciations that annoyed me somewhat - although it was titled under the Philosopher's Stone, it actually was the Sorcerer's Stone (American Edition) so some words had been changed to suit a different audience as well as the narrator not knowing how to say some words. But I can get over that because of how wonderful the story is and the narrator's acting was just ... perfect. How could I give this anything less than *****

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling (audiobook)
To have this on in the background whilst I was busy ironing and doing other tasks like this just made everything better. Some of the same grievances apply to this as with the previous book. But I can get over that because ... well because it's Harry Potter so it's going to get *****

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling (audiobook)
As things begin to get darker, I can really appreciate hearing this out loud as it lets me see deeper into the world that our Queen created. I literally lay on my bed listening to this for hours on end; feeling the suspense and emotions of all the different characters, especially Sirius Black. The delivery alone deserved *****

Inferno, by Dan Brown 
The first of the ten books that I want to read this summer. This book is set in the heart of Italy and follows the story of Harvard Professor Robert Langdon as he is drawn into an ever-growing mystery surrounding on of history's most famous masterpieces .... Dante's Inferno. 
Once again, Dan Brown has received his writing peak, something that was slightly lacking in The Lost Symbol and I found myself guessing through every little twist and turn; wondering what was happening as the book progressed. Truly, I didn't understand it until that final twist and I'm still dumbstruck by it all. 
This has been the most realistic of all of Brown's works, something that could scarily happen at some point in the future. It was brilliant, but there were a few plot holes and it took a long time to get into, hence why I have given it ****

Graceling, by Kristin Cashore
The second book to be read out of the ten reads for the summer. This follows the tale of people gifted with unlikely abilities known as Graces, inclu
ding one girl called Katsa. She can kill a man with her bare hands and has been used as the King's thug for a long time. But then something changes and Katsa decides that she must make her own choices; discovering the truth about her grace along the way. 
This wasn't my cup of tea. It was completely unique and I can understand why so many people adore it. But it just wasn't for me. I can appreciate the writing style and how much detail she placed in the world building. But I just couldn't love it. It's strange really. But I can see why people would like it as much as they do so I've given it ****, even though I couldn't grip it I can still see the amazing talent that it took to write it. 

Wandering Star, by Teri Sue Wood
This graphic novel was set in outer space and I thought I would fly through it. It sounded interesting what with the intergalactic war and the various alien races that were visible. But I DNFed it after about 50 pages. It was so dull and the graphics weren't even that great. Hence why I gave it *

Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo
Set in a world that has a near impenetrable darkness plagued with monsters that feast on man flesh that only one person can destroy; and she doesn't even know it yet. 

It took me a few tries to read this, I adored the 'before' chapter that was written in third person but I couldn't get into Alina's thoughts. I just didn't enjoy her as a character. There was no doubt that this book has a good plot line and I did sort of see it coming. Considering that this book was spoiled for me when I first read about it. The relationships seemed forced at times but some of the descriptions were quite amazing really; the different gifts that were created and the monsters I can appreciate them. But overall, I just really didn't love this book. Hence why I gave it ***

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling (audiobook)
This has been my favourite book in the series for as long as I can remember and I was super excited to listen to someone performing it. They did not disappoint and I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat and in tears for several parts. You know which ones I mean. This really does deserve all *****

Mary Poppins, by P.L. Travers
Everyone knows the story of Mary Poppins right? It's a classic. A classic that I'm ashamed to admit I hadn't read before. I flew through this book and it truly opened my eyes to Mary Poppins in a way that I hadn't considered before. She wasn't the sugary sweet character that is depicted by Disney and I'm actually glad that I hadn't read it until now because I think it would have hurt my childhood slightly. A perfect book that's brilliant for everyone, young and old. Definitely a ***** read. 

Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie 
What's more perfect that the boy who can never grow up. Another classic that I haven't read for the longest of time. Who doesn't love Peter Pan and the unforgettable narration of J.M. Barrie. Can't really say more about it other than it deserved *****

So that's my reading month. How many books did you read this month? Meet any new favourites? Feel free to let me know in the comments. 

Book Total of 2016 - 62

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Top Five Wednesday | Most Unlikeable Characters

Here it is, another top five wednesday but this week I'm going to talk about the top five characters that I hate even though they were not designed that way. These are not antagonists or anti heroes. Instead they are either the protagonist or a side character in a particular novel that I hated for some reason.

Cho Chang from Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling
For some reason I have always hated Cho Chang. Maybe because she got in the way of Hinny but for me she was just so horrible. She is such a gold digger. She was only interested in Cedric because he was the Hogwarts Champion and then went for Harry because he could protect her. She was made to seem weak when really I felt that she was bale to manipulate anything to go her way. She just .... I don't know how to describe it really. But I feel as though I'm the only person who dislikes her in the world since people feel sorry for her.
Not me though. I just felt that she was a needy little girl who wanted to be the centre of attention all the time. I mean she doesn't even really apologise for revealing the information about Dumbledore's Army when everyone else was able to resist it.
In my opinion, she was just a selfish little girl who would do anything to get her way ... and I mean anything!

Clary Fray from The Mortal Instruments, by Cassandra Clare
I can't explain why but I never clicked with Clary. I didn't feel sorry for her and I just felt that if she looked at the situation before making rash decisions half the things in the books wouldn't have happened. I mean, I haven't finished the series or anything because it's really not my cup of tea, but I just couldn't stand her as a protagonist at all.

Wolf from The Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer 
Slightly controversial, I know, but this has always been a feeling of mine. There has always been something about Wolf that I didn't like. I don't know why but I just don't love him like the rest of the characters. Maybe because of how we were introduced to him as a character. He just seemed too bigheaded for me and even in Stars Above at the wedding I was just sat there thinking, there's something off about you. I can't explain it, but to me Wolf has always been a character I can't stand!

Newt from The Maze Runner, by James Dashner
Shots have definitely been fired! I'm sorry but for some reason I didn't ever click with Newt. Everyone in the world seemed to love him but I just didn't like him. I always felt like there was something in the background, that he was suddenly going to be the evil one in the group. Maybe that was an original plot line or something, but when I first started to read this series I just sort of sat there and thought 'I don't like you.'
Please don't kill me!

Dorien from Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas
Now before you all scream at me, let me explain. This was my feeling before the end of Heir of Fire. Now I just feel sorry. If you've read the books you will understand. But up until that point I just didn't like his character. I felt like he was such a spoilt brat and that he had to get his way the whole time. I couldn't stand him. Hate is probably too strong a word for how I felt about him, but I just didn't like him.
Looking back I can see that it was difficult for him but that doesn't mean that I actually liked him. I certainly didn't like him with Celaena. I didn't like Celaena with Chaol either but that's another story.

In fact, I think it was these two gentlemen when they were infatuated with Celaena that made me not like them. Their relationship felt forced and that annoyed me ... so maybe that's why I didn't really like Dorien initially. Now I feel sorry for him (but he still isn't one of my favourite characters ever!)

And that's me done, what characters do you hate even though they are supposed to be completely loveable characters? Feel free to let me know!

Book Total of 2016 - 61

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Top Five Wednesday | Most Recent Additions to Your Wishlist

Here I am back with another Top Five Wednesday and this week I'm going to talk about the five books that I really want to get my hands on; the ones I recently added to my wishlist. I'm doing the Read Five Before You Buy challenge to help me attempt to cut down my never ending tbr pile (and to help me save money, I'm a student after all) but that doesn't mean that there aren't so many books that I want to own. Most of the books that I'm so excited about are ones that aren't due to be released for a bit. So I thought I'd share those with you in no particular order.
  • The Cursed Child, by J.K. Rowling. 
This is a play that is currently performing in two parts on the West End and talks place after the events of Harry Potter. I'm guessing about twenty years after, don't quote me on that please. I've purposefully ignored everything about this just so that I know find out what it is about for myself when I get chance to read it because I can't afford to actually go and see it because ... it's expensive and i'm a student. I feel like I'm repeating myself.
This comes out at the end of the month, on Mrs Rowling's and Harry's birthday and hopefully I will be able to get my hands on it as soon as possible.
  • Heartless, by Marissa Meyer. 
I believe that this is a standalone novel that is based around the backstory of the Red Queen from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Marissa Meyer is probably one of my favourite authors so I cannot wait for November to come along and I can get my hands on this beautiful piece of work!
  • Gemina, by Amie Kaufman and Andrew Kristoff
My top read of last year was Illuminae which is a space opera of sorts that was written in a completely unique way, taken from email extracts and cctv recordings and I fell in love with the characters and the events. It was breathtaking. Especially since it distracted me from a lot of waiting in hospitals for different X-rays at that moment in time. Since then I've been waiting for Gemina so it is obviously going to be at the top of my waiting list. I'm just praying that I'm not overhyping it in my mind because then I might not enjoy it.
  • Empire of Storms, by Sarah J. Maas
Earlier this year I all but marathoned the Throne of Glass Series. Yes, I am ashamed that i've only just started reading this series but oh my god how I've loved it. And since I finished Queen of Shadows I just needed to get my hands on the next book and it looks so pretty! Ahh! Why is the release date so far away?
  • Tales of the Peculiar, by Ransom Riggs 
Another series that I was really late coming to read was Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Trilogy which I finished back in February and I adored it. Even though I'm annoyed that I got the hardback of Library of Souls, the final book, because they said that the paperback wouldn't be in the UK for a couple of months. They lied it was out like the next week. But hey, enough about that. The Tales of the Peculiar is a novel, I think, that contains the different stories in The Tales of the Peculiar which are mentioned in the trilogy so I'm dying to get my hands on this beautiful book which won't be out for a few months! Now that is a really reader problem!

What about you? What book are at the top of your wishlist?

Book Total of 2016 - 56

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Top Ten Books I Want To Read This Summer

My long summer has been underway for about two weeks now and that means one thing, reading. So I thought that I would share with you the top ten books that I want to get to this summer. This isn't a tbr because I can never ever stick to them but just a few books that are on my shelf that, so long as I don't get stuck in a reading slump, I want to read. Let's get started in no particular order.

Graceling, by Kristin Cashore
This follows Katsa who has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight - she's a Gravelling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. Even though she is the King's niece she is forced to work as a thug.

I picked this up when I was in a reading slump a few months ago but I was in a slump so I couldn't read it. But so many people love it and I really want to read it. Hence why it's on this list.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
This gigantic books is set in 1806, with the Napoleonic War as a backdrop, and most people believe that England is all but dead. That is until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers. Jonathan Strange, a practicing magician, becomes Norrell's student and they join forces in the war against France. But Strange is ever drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic, straining his partnership with Norrell, and putting at risk everything else he holds dear.

This is an enormous book that I've been putting off for some time just because of the immense size. It sounds really interesting and people who've read it always say that it is brilliant. But it is huge!

A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin 
Summers soon decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

Really I just want read the whole series, well the books that are out at the moment anyway. But I think that the first book is probably the best to get started. I have read a few of the books yet rereading them all with give me a broader insight on the world once more. I do adore the tv show anyway but I just want to see the tiny details that Martin is so famous for.

It, by Stephen King 
To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, it was just their home town: familiar, well ordered for the most part. A good place to live. But it was the children that saw and felt how horribly different Derry can be. In the drains, IT lurks and will take on the the shape of your deepest darkest fear.

I've wanted to read this for so long but every time I pick it up and my mind goes in a sort of fear; at both the immense size and the content. But I want to read it so that's not going to stop me!

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, by Jules Verne 
My desire to read more classics this year is continued with Captain Nemo and the Nautilus. But Nemo is out for revenge and no one will get in his way.
This is something that I've wanted to read for so long and this time I'm actually going to read it.

Flowers in the Attic, by V. C. Andrews 
This thriller tells four children who are hidden away from the world in their grandmother's attic whilst their mother is away. But they soon realise that they may never be allowed out again.

I found this and immediately made it a part of my collection but this blurb has been stuck in my head for so long that I want to read it before this summer ends! It just sounds amazing.

The Shining Girls, by Lauren Beukes
Harper Curtis is a killer who stepped out of the past. Kirby Mazrachi is the girl who was never meant to have a future. Kirby is the last shining girl, one of the bright young women whose lives Harper is destined to snuff out after he stumbled on a House in the era of Depression Chicago that opens on to other times. Harper is the ultimate hunter, vanishing into another time after each murder, untraceable. That is until his last victim survives and Kirby must bring her would be killer to justice.

This was a book that I bought for about three pounds in hardback at the works, bargain, and I liked the sound of it. But it's just sat there on my shelf for ages until now. I am going to pick it up this summer!

Inferno, by Dan Brown
In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centred around one of history's most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces ... Dante's Inferno.

It's been over a year since I read a Dan Brown book and, though they are hard to get into, I always find them extremely gripping and they do turn my head a bit. So, since they are fairly long, I know that a long summer holiday will be the best time to read one of these books.

A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J. Maas
Eyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court - but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human and she can't forget what she had to do to survive. Not to mention the bargain she had made with the High Lord of the Night Court which she will be taken to so that she can spend part of the year with him.

I attempted to pick up a few months ago but I couldn't concentrate because of how much work I had to do. But now that I basically have nothing to do then I know that I'll definitely be able to read it at last!

Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Not its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee; Alina Starkov.

When I picked this up originally I was entering a reading slump so I couldn't get into it at all. But so many people rave about this trilogy that I need to give it a go!

So there are the books that I want to read this summer. What about you? Anything fairly major that you feel like reading during the summer holidays this year?

Book Total of 2016 - 54