2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Phenomenon of Not Enjoying University

Today I’m going to speak about something that has pretty much changed me completely in the last couple of years. It’s quite personal to me and while I don’t mind speaking about it, I am aware that there are always going to be people that just can’t understand the impact of what’s happened. This monumental ‘event’ was university and the whole crock of shite that came along with that.

Looking back, I didn’t quite consider how much of a leap leaving school was: 2010 was probably the happiest year of my life up until September. Then, although I was going to uni locally in Liverpool, I took the attitude of ‘obviously I’m not living at home during uni, partaaaayyyy’ and moved my little self over into halls. My room was lovely, in fact the flat was really nice for student halls. The problems started when freshers actually got going, and I realised I was completely and utterly not fitting into student life.

I still had my old job (I can’t survive on student loan alone!) and so was coming back over to the flat late some nights. On nights when I’d come back at 1am, all I would want to do was sleep, but music would be blaring and a flat filled with smoke would await me – when I picked a non smoking flat for my hatred of the smell. They were nice people, don’t get me wrong (and at least their music taste was good) but I spent many a night in my room alone wondering why I wasn’t the same as everybody else.

Watching friends uploading hundreds of photos and chatting about all their new best friends (‘OMG, we just click you know, we have so much in common, she’s amazing’) and wondering why I wasn’t as excited as everybody else about…well, anything. To make it twice as bad, the fact that I do a Combined course at uni meant everybody in each subject was already grouped off and I really put myself out there trying to speak to people. Each time, I was rebuffed and never saw them again.

To cut the ramble, it culminated in me feeling down all the time. I literally couldn’t pick myself up – even the course wasn’t, and still isn’t, what I expected – and eventually, the worst of it came when I sat in my room, with one of my best friends at the time, and just cried without knowing why (he felt awkward to say the least). I made the decision to move back home. It was so hard, mainly because I didn’t want to seem like a failure in comparison to all my friends that were loving itbut also not to burden my family. A lot of people will say this is bad, that I should have stuck it out but for me, this was the right decision. Even when I moved home, my depression continued for a good few months and the amount of times I went into my mums bedroom, lay on the bed and just cried were numerous and distressing. I tried not to tell anybody unless I had to, or said it was for money reasons.

A few months later, when I was starting to get a bit better, I found out something that my boyfriend had done (involving, of course, a ‘best friend’ and some inappropriate not-at-all friendly messages, stereotype much?) which sent me right back down again. I’ve had my sister say to me over and over about how I’m a failure and I can’t cope with ‘normal’ things.

Most people have been supportive, even if they can’t understand. People say things like ‘oh I’ve just been really lucky’ or ‘you should have moved into the actual uni halls’ but in hindsight, I think that maybe I was expecting too much and I never would have enjoyed it, and the person who I am now is confident enough to admit that. I just want other people to understand why I feel that way too.

I’ve learned to cope, and although I don’t enjoy uni loads still, I have people in my lectures that I can speak to and get on with. Some amazing friends outside of uni, people I work with and people that understand what I’m going through have helped me so much through this. Having Lauren come back from Japan in November (and start uni the next year) really helped me to accept that it’s okay not to have the typical student experience. Similarly, when I met Hollie a few months ago, it was great to show her that it’s okay not to settle in straight away and it helped me to come to terms with it myself.

I take things week by week and always make plans (I used to like being alone and chilling: a side effect has meant that if I don’t have plans for a day, I feel down and scared all over again). Enjoy the things that you have – I am lucky enough to not do long-distance with my boyfriend, which some other people find really hard. Sometimes I do wish that I’d had the same incredible experiences as others but there’s always a silver lining and while third year is going so fast that I’m scared to go into adult life, I’m hoping my time after uni will be a much happier stage of my life.

It’s okay to feel like this.
A lot of people go through it and hide behind social networking because they don’t want to feel like  they’ve failed as well.
Do what’s right for you and it will never be the wrong decision.
Laura x

Ruby Sparks Film Review!

A quirky looking trailer promised Ruby Sparks to be ‘The True and Impossible Story of a Very Great Love’. It was written by Zoe Kazan, who also plays the part of Ruby, while her real-life boyfriend Paul Dano (most recently seen in Looper, and famously Little Miss Sunshine) plays the part of Calvin, a former writer having trouble in finding inspiration for a new novel.

(Image from Salon.com)

Calvin dreams of a girl who he believes to be impossibly perfect and, given a writing assignment by his therapist, decides to write about her. He gives her a name, age, birthplace and before he knows it, becomes obsessed with this character. One day, she appears in his kitchen and (after a comedic sequence where he tries to figure out if she is real or not), they commence a relationship. While initially seeming like a laughter filled, quirky comedy, it explores whether it is possible to imagine a ‘perfect’ person and cracks soon start to show – especially when he can write anything to change her.

The part of Calvin is played endearingly at first by Dano, but there comes a point midway through the film where I began to dislike the character intensely. I won’t put any spoilers here in case you haven’t seen it, but for me, even the more emotional scenes towards the end of the film didn’t ease the distaste I started feeling for him. Ruby however, is full of life and instantly likable as the cute, Zooey Deschanel-esque girl that every one of us secretly dreams of being.

I really enjoyed this film (particularly a cute supporting role from Antonio Banderas) and felt I could really relate to a lot of it. Writers block, imagining a dream person, even wishing you could take away somebodies faults – only to realise, that if you were to replace them with something else, they would become a different person altogether. My boyfriend also enjoyed it, as it’s not your typical soppy love story, but really worked to get you emotionally involved with the characters and story on screen. Overall – go and see it.

Side note;
I’ve never reviewed a film on my blog before and it’s high time I started. I’m lucky enough to go to the cinema for free most of the time so I see a LOT of films – good and bad. For me, reviewing isn’t about critical acclaim or technical camera work, but if I enjoyed and believed in the film.

If you’d like to see more film talk, do let me know! I love reading your comments!
Love, Laura x

My Poland Adventure!

Hey guys! I’m back from my week long blogging break (I have to admit, I did miss writing!) and feeling a little chilly in England again.  This is going to be photo heavy – most are my own, any others are from somebody I went with.

It was surprisingly warmer than you’d expect when you think of Poland – luckily as we did a lot of walking! Never seen so many churches in my life, there was one wherever you looked! It was amazingly cheap at the same time as seeming expensive (if that makes sense at all). The UK exchange worked out around 4.5 zlotti to a pound, so a bill for an entire meal at 200zl worked out at about £7 each! Needless to say, we drank and ate a ridiculous amount…

There was some beautiful bars, and I definitely found ‘my drink’ in one that did a cocktail called the ‘Gryffindor’. The Harry Potter nerd in me will never die!

As well as looking around the old town and market square and visiting a shopping centre, we were lucky enough to visit Aushwitz, Birkenau and the Wieliczka Salt Mine. It was a ridiculously sunny day when we visited Aushwitz and Birkenau, which felt wrong considering the atrocities which had taken place there. Even when I was there, it was unimaginable that I was standing in the actual place that so many people had died, particularly when we went into the gas chamber bunker. Almost everything there was original, not a reconstruction. I didn’t get many pictures inside out of respect, but here are some;

After this, we needed some severe cheering up so went onto some beautiful little bars around the city. We had to drag ourselves to the Salt Mine the next day, and personally I wasn’t expecting much. But I have eaten my words – it’s incredible! The amount of sculptures made of salt and the detail in them is just amazing, as well as a chapel hundreds of feet underground that you can actually get married in. If you follow my instagram, you’ll probably find a lot more pictures of that (@lauragois!)

So yeah, overall I had an amazing time – it was much prettier than I ever expected! I’ve wanted to go for a couple of years now, and am really glad I got to go with some of my good friends! 

Love Bites: The Travel Bug

Lately I’m feeling the urge to just get away. Unusually much. I’m normally a homebody – I like my comfort and stress free routine, without worrying about being broke and missing people that I love lots. So I’m going to have to take them with me (kicking and screaming? Hopefully not with the places on my list!). I’ve already been to several places I love, and feel lucky to have been to: particularly Madeira as it is so familiar to me now, surrounded by family there.

It’s my third year of uni now; while that means work is getting a lot more serious and maximum concentration is really needed, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about what’s next for me. I don’t want to rush into a career when I still feel like a baby. I haven’t experienced the world, and inside me there’s this weird feeling that thinks maybe if I do explore, I’ll find stuff about myself I didn’t know, and consequently what I want to do with my life.

I LOVE London. First on my agenda, is to go back again. And again. And again. I love the rush, buzz, the immense amount of things to do and places to explore. Planning a shopping trip with my favourites is making me want to jump up and down in happiness! 

Poland next week will be entirely different from anywhere else; I’m imagining it to have a relaxed vibe like Amsterdam, but the history of the place is going to add another layer of depth to it; particularly our planned visit to Auschwitz – but more on that when I return next week I’m sure!

Planning a trip after exams is keeping me sane this year I think! It’s come down to a frenzied desire to go to Bali/Hawaii/Fiji that’s going to have to be fulfilled very shortly. But I think after reading blog posts about her time in Japan, we’re pretty much decided that Lauren will be showing me around for two weeks in June! And I’m mega excited to go somewhere that frankly, I never thought I’d want to go.

Last but not least. My boyfriend and I already had an idyllic holiday in Lanzarote in June. Instead of Christmas presents (as we both usually ask for completely random/useless things, if anything at all), we are booking ourselves a mini break in January! A city, or somewhere snowy and pretty. Then onto planning another blissful summer holiday.

Then it’s time for reality, and real life to kick in….

So guys, if you’ve stuck with this spontaneous (and rather rambling) post for this long, this is where I need you. I need recommendations, and places from your wishlists to make myself a bucket list of locations, if you will. (NYC is already up there, and any opportunity I take to go there, I will snatch with both hands and be at the airport before you can blink an eye). So hit me up, inspire me…..

A/W Jewellery Rave!

At some point last year, I realised I owned basically no jewellery. This had to change.

Me on the London Eye wearing The Apple (Topshop)

I’ve been accessorizing with one key necklace – favourites of the past year include the Apple (Topshop), Leaf (Accessorize), Rings (Topshop) and Cuckoo Clock (available here). They’re all gold and make a simple outfit a little more noticeable. People have stopped me upon occasion and asked where they’re from (which I found very flustering!) 

With a new season, comes new trends, and unless you haven’t been to the shops/opened a magazine for the last few months, you’ll know that the two key pieces for this season are crosses and spikes.

I’m going to say it now. I don’t like the crosses and don’t think I’ll be purchasing any pieces with it on. Not that they’re horrible or anything (!) but just that…I’m not religious, and I know it doesn’t have to mean you are, but for me it’s not very appealing. 

But I will be embracing the studded/spiked trend in jewellery. I try to buy clothes that I’ll be able to wear for a long time, so probably won’t be investing in much studded clothing (if anybody knows where to get a biker jacket without studs, I’m all ears!), but will be bringing my clothes up to date with jewellery.


Set of 9 Earrings – Freedom at Topshop, £8.50


Necklace – Freedom at Topshop, £12.50


Bracelet – New Look, £6.99

These are my three most recent purchases and I’ve already worn the necklace loads! I love Topshop necklaces, however after lots of wear, the gold does start to rub off the chain leaving it half silver 😦 but it’s so pretty I can’t help myself!

What jewellery are you going to be wearing this winter?

What Music Means to Me.

There aren’t too many people around that don’t love music. No matter the genre or popularity, it appeals to almost every single person in one way or another. In societies where people are incredibly poor, they sing and make music to bring their communities together. Some people make incredible amounts of money from making music. It’s a shared love and everybody has their own individual take on it.

I listen to different types of music. I’ll listen to the chart, rock, classical, ‘indie’ and enjoy it all. Getting laughed at for having Classic FM tuned on my car radio to getting startled looks when guitar and drums blast out from it; it’s typical and you can’t escape the preconceptions of what people expect of you. But challenging them is something that I find fun and if something makes you happy, it shouldn’t matter what it is. I suppose this kind of applies to most other areas of life too.

Music at gigs should be loud, hot and as long as you have enough space to bounce up and down, a good time is pretty much guaranteed. I’ve been to concerts of massive artists in seated areas, and while they put on an amazing show, it’s not the same as being down in the crowd. It’s a feeling of anonymity and freedom to scream, dance, sing, jump. And you come out so filled with happiness and adrenaline, you feel like you’re floating on air. Especially when you meet the lead singer of your favourite band….ahhhh. Love you Josh.

Music in headphones is private. You can go loud and blot out the world, or give it a gentle soundtrack on a long journey. Slow and sad for when you’re chilled and calm. So bouncy that it makes you smile, tap your feet and want to sing along (usually in my head). Attracting strange looks from people when you laugh to yourself at a happy memory associated with the song. You walk a little bit lighter and happier with music playing in your ears.

When a song I really love comes on – especially when you aren’t expecting it, like on the radio or a TV show – I get really, really happy. A lightness inside. Usually, I’ll close my eyes and just listen, not think. Examples of these songs for me are :-

I Giorni – Ludovico Einaudi
Welcome to the Black Parade
 – My Chemical Romance
Young Blood – The Naked and Famous
Many of Horror – Biffy Clyro
The Great Escape – Boys Like Girls
Say You Don’t Want It – One Night Only
El Tango de Roxanne – Moulin Rouge Version
Liquid Confidence – You Me at Six
Brat Pack – The Rocket Summer
We Found Love – Rihanna and Calvin Harris
Swan Lake Soundtrack

Does anybody else have songs that make them feel this way?

A thing that people find unique is relating to songs. Lyrics posted on MSN, Twitter, Facebook status’s with a situation that seems to relate exactly to how we are thinking and feeling. And the beauty of that is it touches people differently. But the fact that it can touch so many people means that it’s universal. Being able to write a song and affect so many people with it must be incredible.

For me, it is a way to remember good times. Use it to get you through bad times Associate emotions with songs, happy or sad. And it will be a part of me for my whole life.