Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Book Review: Reconstructing Amelia

Title: Reconstructing Amelia
Author: Kimberly McCreight 
Publisher: HaperCollins
Release Date: April 2013
Pages: 405
Service: Bought
Format: Kindle
Buy: Amazon
Author Twitter: @kimberlymccreight

'Stressed out single mother and law firm partner, Kate, is in the meeting of her career when she is interrupted by a telephone call to say that her teenaged daughter, Amelia, has been suspended from her exclusive Brooklyn prep school for cheating on an exam. Torn between her head and her heart, she eventually arrives at St. Grace's an hour late, to be greeted by siren wailing and ambulance lights blazing Her daughter has jumped off of the roof of the school, apparently in shame of being caught. 

A grieving Kate can't accept that her daughter would kill herself. It was just the two of them and Amelia would never leave her alone like this. And so begins the investigation that takes her deep into Amelia's private world, into her journal, her email account and the mind of a troubled girl. 

Then Kate receives an anonymous test simply saying: AMELIA DIDN'T JUMP. Is someone playing with her, or has she been right all along?

I had so many mixed feelings about this book. There were points where I loved it but towards the end I was left feeling disappointed. 

McCreight had such an amazing way to connect with the reader. She managed to write heart wrenching descriptions of Kate's grief and you couldn't help but to feel that emptiness as you tried to understand what she was going through. The chapters would interchange between Kate investigating her daughter's death and Amelia's life in the weeks leading up to her death. Between the alternating point of views, we got given the chance to be able to try and piece together what we thought had happened to Amelia before reaching the ending. 

What I loved about this book what that at every point where you thought that you were sure of something, McCreight would add a little piece of information that changed the way you thought about the entire case. It really kept me on my toes when I was reading and I was desperate to find out what was going to happen at the end. 

The ending, however, made my excitement about the book die out. There was so much more that I wanted from it, so much more that I think would have given the book the justice it deserved. But in the end, it left me feeling a little deflated and I put the book down wishing that there was an alternate ending.  

There were subjects in the book, relating to mental health, that were only ever suggested to. I would have loved to see a slightly more in depth description of how it related to the plot of the story. It was briefly skimmed over in two separate cases and I feel that there was a lot more scope to really tie it into the story and really thicken the plot from it.

I feel like the epilogue to the book didn't really tie up all the ends that it needed to. I completely understand writers wanting the reader to be able to come to their own conclusions but there were things left in the middle of the story that just needed to see some closure and we really didn't get it. 

Overall, I did enjoy the book but there were so many things that I was still waiting for when I had put my tablet down. 

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Friday, 19 August 2016

Looking Back At: Year 12

Displays have been taken down, chairs are up on tables, summer is well and truly underway and I have officially finished year 12. The past academic year was filled with so many new experiences and meeting a load of new people. It's been such a great school year and here's what's been happening. 

I decided to go to sixth form instead of going to the local college and that meant me changing schools and not having any of my old friends who had opted for college or a more popular sixth form. It was daunting to start in a new place along with having to start A Levels but I wouldn't change it for the world. After a week or so, I managed to settle in pretty quickly and find people in my classes that I got along with. 

It would be a lie for me to say that A Levels started off pretty easily for me. Whilst it wasn't difficult for me to settle in to sixth form life, I did struggle adjusting to the pace of my lessons and the amount of work that was needed. My first mock exam in my maths class was so disappointing for me but it gave me a push in the right direction and I was more determined than ever to make sure that my January mock exams were better. Thankfully, I managed to turn my maths grade around in two months and my maths teacher was more than happy with me. 

It's been a year that has gone by so quickly but if I'm completely honest I've enjoyed it so much more than any of my years in secondary school. It's been the first time where I feel like I've completely enjoyed all of my classes, I've loved the challenge of my lessons and I feel like I have a group of friends that I feel comfortable with and fit in with. 

This entire year has been a little bit hectic with everything going on. However, towards the end of the year, I had the chance to apply for the senior prefect team and managed to get a place on there as well as becoming the Head of the Year 12 Prefects. I've gone to HE+ meetings, had the chance to visit Cambridge and had some amazing evenings with my friends. 

Results topped what has been an amazing year so as Year 13 dawns, I'm going in a little more confident compared to what I started last year with, a spring in my step and a new determination to get through sixth form and apply to university. 

Good luck to everyone that is going to be starting a new school year. I would love to hear what your favourite parts of the year were! 

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Thursday, 2 June 2016

Book Review: The Versions of Us

Title: The Versions of Us
Author: Laura Barnett
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Release Date: June 4th 2015
Pages: 401
Service: Bought
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository 
Author Twitter: @laura_jbarnett

'What if you had said yes?... Jim and Eva are nineteen and students at Cambridge, when their paths first cross in 1958. Jim is walking along a lane when a woman approaching him on a bicycle swerves to avoid a dog. What happens next will determine the rest of their lives. We follow three different versions of their future - together and apart - as their love story takes on different incarnations and twists and turns to the conclusion in the present day.'

'The Versions of Us' was a book that I had heard a lot about from people around me and it was always one of the front facing books whenever I walked into Waterstones but one that I never seemed to pick up. Eventually, whilst I was away in Cambridge for a trip, I ended up deciding that I was going to buy it and see what everyone was raving about. 

We end up following three different versions of Jim and Eva's life from when the first met each other in university to much later in their adult life. We see how the smallest changes in the decisions they make impact their lives and the routes they end up taking. 

For a while, I was put off of reading any kind of book that heavily involved romance. I couldn't find one that worked at the right pace for me, was somewhat realistic and that I was able to enjoy at the same time. Ultimately, I thought I would just give them a break which was why I ended up putting of reading this book for so long. 'The Versions of Us' managed to draw me back into the world of romantic literature and showed how beautifully and elegantly they could be executed. Barnett wrote the story in such an amazing way that I became emotionally attached to the characters very quickly. Every feeling of anger, heartbreak and happiness felt by Jim and Eva was also felt by me. 

I did find that it wasn't the kind of book that I was able to put down and easily pick up  from where I left off. For me, it took me a little bit of time to be able to recall what happened in each version of the story so I knew exactly what was going on in each chapter. So, I'd definitely say to read this book when you know you have a lot of time because exam season is definitely not that time!

There was such a good pace throughout the book as you moved across the years with Jim and Eva. Laura Barnett put them both through trials that everyday people have to go through which made it all the more enjoyable to read. It was nice to be able to get my teeth into a book where the characters all have flaws that they need to deal with but not in a way that made them unrealistic and hard to relate to. 

The novel was heartbreaking and I was holding back tears as I finished the last chapter and shut the book. It ended up giving me a lot to think about long after I had put the book down but those are the kind of books, A lot of emotions were invoked and it lead me to winder the different versions of my own life had I decided upon things differently.

This is definitely a book that I will be recommending to anyone I know! 


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Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Book Review: Binge

Title: Binge
Author: Tyler Oakley
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Release Date: 20/10/2015
Pages: 307
Service: Bought
Format: Hardback 
Buy: Book Depository 
Author Twitter: @tyleroakley

'Pop culture phenomenon. social rights advocate, and the most prominent LGBTQ+ voice on YouTube, Tyler Oakley brings you his first collection of witty, personal, and hilarious essays. 

For someone who made a career out of over-sharing on the Internet, Tyler has a shocking number of personal mishaps and shenanigans to reveal is his first book: experiencing a legitimate rage blackout in a Cheesecake Factory; negotiating a tense standoff with a White House official; crashing a car in front of his entire high school, in an Arby's uniform; projectile vomiting while bartering with a grandmother; and so much more. In Binge, Tyler delivers his best untold, hilariously side-splitting moments with the trademark flair that made him a star.  

Tyler Oakley's 'Binge' was a book that managed to evoke a lot of emotions inside of me. It's hard to write a review of this book without giving too much away and that's the last thing I want to do. Tyler one of the few YouTubers that I follow and I love his videos. His sheer honesty about everything is something that makes me go back to watch every new video. His book was something that I was pretty excited for as soon as I heard about it and knowing that they were going to be essays about his life, I wondered what else he had to tell us that he hadn't already shared. 

Trust me when I say that there's a lot. There were chapters that I balled my eyes out to, ones where I physically laughed out loud but these stories remind you that Tyler is just a regular person. He dealt with the troubles of High School like we all have, cope with love and heartbreak and shows us how fame was not something that he's used to but something that he's learning to deal with and love along with the way. 

 I loved how he didn't decide to put these essays into chronological order just to make it into autobiography. It's just a collection of his essays in the most Tyler Oakley way possible. And whilst YouTubers books are ones that I don't have the tendency to read, I'm so glad that I decided to pick up this one. Some of the messages that were sent across in this book were ones that I know will help me when days are going so well and some of them will just remind me to laugh when things go horrendously wrong. 

Definitely a book to pick up if you want to know a little bit more about Tyler and laugh out loud! 

Rating: ★1/2
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Saturday, 26 March 2016

Book Review: The Queen of the Tearling

Title: The Queen of the Tearling
Publisher: Bantam
Series: The Tearling Trilogy #1
Release Date: 16/07/2015
Pages: 512
Service: Bought
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository

'Kelsea Glynn is the sole heir to the throne of Tearling but has been raised in secret by foster parents after her mother – Queen Elyssa, as vain as she was stupid – was murdered for ruining her kingdom. For 18 years, the Tearling has been ruled by Kelsea’s uncle in the role of Regent however he is but the debauched puppet of the Red Queen, the sorceress-tyrant of neighbouring realm of Mortmesme. On Kelsea’s 19th birthday, the tattered remnants of her mother’s guard - each pledged to defend the queen to the death - arrive to bring this most un-regal young woman out of hiding...

And so begins her journey back to her kingdom’s heart, to claim the throne, earn the loyalty of her people, overturn her mother’s legacy and redeem the Tearling from the forces of corruption and dark magic that are threatening to destroy it. But Kelsea's story is not just about her learning the true nature of her inheritance - it's about a heroine who must learn to acknowledge and live with the realities of coming of age in all its insecurities and attractions, alongside the ethical dilemmas of ruling justly and fairly while simply trying to stay alive...

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

My A-Z of advice

When I saw this writing prompt I was really interested in it and wanted to use it as a post. So, I decided why not! I'm going to do a whole A-Z list of advice, some which might be serious, some a little more light-hearted. 

Always have code names ready, you'll never know when you're going to need them. 
Bubbles are a great way to stop feeling stressed.
Cake can solve everything if you let it. 
Don't end on a bad note with people. 
Eventually, everything will fall into place. 
Fancy food is not always the best food. 
Generic advice is sometimes the best advice.
Heavy objects should not be handled alone if you can't carry them. 
In times of doubt, dance it out! 
Jokes that are corny are the best ones to make. 
Kit kats are worth taking a break for.
Love without holding yourself back 
Movies are great to curl up and watch when you aren't feeling well. 
Never insult a Hufflepuff.
Oranges are hard to peel but are worth the struggle! 
Photos can be a huge pain sometimes but take a lot of them. You won't regret it. 
Questions aren't stupid if you're want to know more. 
Risks are sometimes worth taking. You just need to know which ones you want to take. 
Smile at everyone, no matter how bad your day is. 
Travel the world and see everything that you want to see. 
Underline titles or teachers will spend ten minutes telling your class the importance of it. 
Vicks is great when you have a blocked nose. 
When in doubt, flip a coin. You'll know what you want the result to be. 
Xylophones are very respectable instruments. 
Yell when you need to but not at the people you love. 
Zebra crossings are there for a reason. 

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Saturday, 19 March 2016

Top Ten: Book Series' I'm Dying To Finish (#1)

Books are an amazing thing but the only problem that I have with them is that half of the time when I pick a book up, I don't actually realise that it's part of a series. And sometimes I have to wait a while to get the next book in the series. Here are the top ten book series' that I am dying to finish. 

                                                      1) The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

I've only read the first book in the series and I loved it. My sister has the other two books but I haven't gotten around to borrowing them off of her yet. But hopefully I'm going to read them soon. The first book had me completely take in. 

2) The Anna and the French Kiss Series by Stephanie Perkins

Yet another trilogy where I have only read the first book. I've only got it in ebook version and I really want the three books in hardback. I cannot stop raving about 'Anna and the French Kiss' so I can't wait to see what the next two books in the series hold. 

3) The Eve Summer Sequence by G&P Gallacher

The next book hasn't come out yet, so I'm only able to read the first book. The next one should be coming out soon and I can't wait to read it. It was such a nice read that had me hooked from the very start and there are so many more things that I want to know about so book two, please come along soon! 

4) The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien 

I was dying to read the first book and I fell in love with it instantly. 'The Fellowship of the Ring' was so well written and I loved all the settings. I knew it was a book that I had to pick up after reading 'The Hobbit' and now I just need to get my hands on the next two books. 

5) The Cirque Du Freak Series by Darren Shan 

This is a slightly longer series, but one that I still want to finish! 'A Living Nightmare' was ever-so-slightly creepy but still really enjoyable. It's a story that I still really want to follow and finish.

6) The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini 

I've got all of the books in the the house and I've read and reread Eragon and gotten halfway through 'Eldest'. I have no idea why I ended up putting it down but I'm really looking forward to reading the whole series and seeing what happens to Eragon. 

7) Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard 

This book series is quite big (there are a few more books than the picture shows) so it might take me a little while to finish off but I am determined to get to the end. My sister got me the first book after we watched the show and I wanted to see what the book was like. I ended up getting the second one but I'm in the debate at the moment since wherever I look I can't find the last few books in the covers that I have, which is bugging me a lot. So, I'm going to have to see what happens with the covers with those before I get them. 

8) The Percy Jackson Series 

I got the first book from my uncle at Christmas and now I'm hooked. One of my friends loves the series and talks to me about it and it's made me want to get the rest. As well as that, I love learning about Greek Mythology and the books teach you some parts of it. 

9) The Discworld Series by Terry Pratchet

There are currently 41 books in the Discworld series, and I only have two books. I love the world that Terry Pratchett has created and the books I've got are in the middle of the series Even though you can read the books as stand alones, I want to get the first book and work my way slowly through the whole series. 

10) The School for Good and Evil Trilogy by Soman Chainani 

I really did love the first book, since it took fairy tales in a completely new twist. But the first book left it on a bit of a cliff hanger so I'm dying to find out what's going to go on at the schools. I've heard a few things floating around the place but I want to find out before I get any spoilers. 

So, those are the top ten book series' that I am dying to finish. What are yours?

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Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Book Review: Eragon

Title: Eragon 
Author: Christopher Paolini 
Publisher: Random House Children's Publishing 
Series: The Inheritance Cycle #1
Release Date: 28/08/2003
Pages: 503 
Service: Bought 
Format: Paperback 
Buy: Book Depository 
Author Twitter: @paolini

'When Eragon finds a polished stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling , Eragon soon realises he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hand.  

'Eragon' follows the story of the Eragon and a dragon as the make their way through Alagaesia trying to figure out what the King of the Empire, Galbatorix, is doing, trying to defeat Urgals along the way. From the moment you open the book, you are transported into their world.

Paolini does not hesitate to throw you into the world he has created and slowly feeds you information to get to grips on Alagaesia and its history. The world was created beautifully and you're able to see the effort he put into creating it. As you are taken through villages, traipsing across desserts and battling your way to the Varden, Paolini has made sure that you have a clear picture about where Eragon is on his journey. 

The book, admittedly, does have a lot of information but not in a way that it feels as though it's all being thrown at you with no time to digest what is going on. Information is given at exactly the right time and it triggered thoughts and theories about what was going to happen next. 

It didn't take long for me to get attached to any of the characters. Eragon was a character that did get on my nerves at times as he didn't seem as grateful about things as he could be and seemed to take many things for granted. I don't think for me, there was a character that I really got attached to. More than emotions, we got thoughts of the character and their actions. 

There were parts where it was hard to push through the book. Things did seem to drag on a little but thankfully, they didn't carry on for too long. 

This book is perfect for anyone who enjoys 'The Lord of the Rings' an amazing book for anyone who loves fantasy and wants to get lost in a journey between a boy and his dragon. 

Favourite Quote: 


Saturday, 12 March 2016

Book Review: The Elephant in the Garden

Title: The Elephant in the Garden 
Author: Michael Mopurgo 
Publisher: HarperCollins 
Release Date: 09/06/2011
Pages: 233
Service: Gift 
Format: Paperback 
Buy: Book Depository

'Lizzie and Karl's mother is a zoo keeper; the family has become attached to an orphaned elephant named Marlene, who will be destroyed as a precautionary measure so she and the other animals don't run wild should the zoo be hit by bombs. The family persuades the zoo director to let Marlene stay in their garden instead. When the city is bombed, the family flees with thousands of others, but how can  they walk the same route with an elephant in tow, and keep themselves safe? Along the way, they meet Peter, a Canadian navigator who risks his own capture to save the family.  

Admittedly, Michael Mopurgo's book may be aimed for a younger reader than myself, but age was not something that stopped me from reading this book. I was give a box set of his for my 13th birthday and for some reason I had never gotten the chance to read any of them, I'm glad I finally got around to picking one out from there. 

'The Elephant in the Garden' tells the story of Elizabeth who is in a nursing home to one of the nurses and her son, Karl. She talks about her time in World War Two in Germany and how her and her family escaped the city of Dresden after it was bombed along with and elephant. 

There were a good few reasons that I enjoyed this story. It was just a book that you good read and just enjoy. It showed how strong family values and how this small family of three had to pull through a very harsh winter. How things weren't always easy but they did it as a family. It taught people the importance of family, even in the hardest of times. 

What I did really like about this book is that it showed World War Two from the German civilian's point of view which I think is something that people need to read and learn about. Sometimes, I think people forget that the people of Germany still had to live through the war like everyone else and not everyone agreed with what was going on. Personally, I think this book will be able to show younger readers and older readers exactly like. 

Mopurgo's writing style was something that I really did enjoy reading. It was quite easy to read and had a really nice flow to it. It wasn't patronising and it drew you into the plot. 

Though it wasn't a book that I'm head over heels in love with. I still did enjoy it and I think it's a book for someone who loves reading about civilians in the war without it being all too heavy.

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Saturday, 5 March 2016

Movie Review: Twilight

Title: Twilight 
Based On: Stephanie Meyer's - Twilight 
Running Time: 122 minutes 
Director: Catherine Hardwicke 
Writer: Melissa Rosenberg 
Stars: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke 

'Bella Swan has always been a little bit different. Never one to run with the crowd, Bella never cared about fitting in with the trendy, plastic girls at her Phoenix, Arizona high school. When her mother remarried and Bella chooses to live with her father in the rainy little town of Forks, Washington, she didn't expect much of anything to change. But things do change when she meets the mysterious and dazzlingly beautiful Edward Cullen. For Edward is nothing like any boy she's ever met. 

He's nothing like anyone she's ever met, period. He's intelligent and witty, and he seems to see straight into her soul. In no time at all, they are swept up in a passionate and decidedly unorthodox romance - unorthodox because Edward really isn't like the other boys. He can run faster than a mountain lion. He can stop a moving car with his bare hands. Oh, and he hasn't aged since 1918. Like all vampires, he's immortal. That's right - vampire. But he doesn't have fangs - that's just in the movies. And he doesn't drink human blood, though Edward and his family are unique among vampires in that lifestyle choice. 

To Edward, Bella is that thing he has waited 90 years for - a soul mate. But the closer they get, the more Edward must struggle to resist the primal pull of her scent, which could send him into an uncontrollable frenzy. Somehow or other, they will have to manage their unmanageable love. But when unexpected visitors come to town and realize that there is a human among them Edward must fight to save Bella? A modern, visual, and visceral Romeo and Juliet story of the ultimate forbidden love affair - between vampire and mortal.'

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Cwtched Up With A Classic: Of Mice and Men

My first English Literature exam is in January and my English class has started to read 'Of Mice and Men' to get ready for it, I finished the book a good few weeks ago and all I can say is that I am completely in love with it. 

This book was so much more than I expected it to be and it's one that I'm glad that we're taking into the exam because I enjoyed it which will hopefully mean that the story will stick better in my head. This whole book is based around George and Lennie and the decisions that they make both as a pair and individuals and how that has an effect on their life. There were so many places where the plot surprised me and where I was hoping for the best with some characters. 

One of the main things that I found with this book is that I got really attached to George and Lennie. I found it impossible not to feel for them and wish that they had a better life.Steinbeck created these characters in a way that you can't help but run through every single emotion that they're feeling. George has ended up becoming one of if not my favourite character. I love the way that he's always looking out for Lennie and how he tries to make the both of them happy and stand up for Lennie the best he can. 

It was a really cleverly crafted book. There were a lot of emotional moments and a lot of themes that ran throughout the book. Friendship was an extremely strong theme that continuously ran throughout the book and it was so enjoyable to read. It's the kind of book that I could quite easily just go back to and read again, which is good since I need to re-read it for my exam anyway. 

It was such an enjoyable book though and I'm really glad that I had the chance to read it. 


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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Book Review: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Title: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist 
Author: David Levithan & Rachel Cohn 
Publisher: Ember
Release Date: 28/08/2007
Pages: 183
Service: Gift
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository

'It all started when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who's just walked into his band's show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City - and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Movie Review: Water For Elephants

Title: Water For Elephants 
Based On: Sara Gruen's - 'Water For Elephants' 
Running Time: 120 minutes
Director: Francis Lawrence 
Writer: Richard LaGravenese
Stars: Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, Christoph Waltz

'After his parents' death. Jacob Jankowski is left penniless and homeless. Events lead to him joining the circus as their vet, working under their unstable boss, August, whose violent tendencies give everyone reason to be cautious around him, including his beautiful and quiet wife, Marlena, who August is very possessive of and who Jacob finds himself soon falling in love with.'

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Book Review: Pretty Little Liars

Title: Pretty Little Liars 
Author: Sara Shepard 
Publisher: Atom 
Series: Pretty Little Liars #1
Release Date: 01/11/2010
Pages: 244
Service: Gift
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository 
Author Twitter: @sarabooks

'Three years ago, Alison disappeared after a slumber party, not to be seen since. Her friends at the elite Pennsylvania school mourned her, but they also breathed secret sighs of relief. Each of them guarded a secret that only Alison had known. Now they have other dirty little secrets, secrets that could sink them in their gossip-hungry world. When each of them begins receiving anonymous emails and text messages, panic sets in. Are they being betrayed by some one in their circle? Worse yet: Is Alison back?'

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Wanderlust: Barcelona (#2)

Another place that I am dying to go in Barcelona, Spain and I'm not ashamed to say that this first stemmed from my love of 'Cheetah Girls 2'. The architecture there seems absolutely stunning and I love architecture. I find it really interesting to look at and think about how it was designed and made so that it could still be a safe structure whilst being so unique. 

The Sagrada Familia is definitely a place that I would want to visit. The architecture that go into churches just look so amazing. All the small intricate details both inside and out. You can tell that a lot of thought and time went into it. I also love hearing the stories about the churches as well. When and why it was built and the traditions of the church now. 

The Torre Agbar is a skyscraper that always seems to be seen in any vantage point photographs that I see of Barcelona. It's a 38-story skyscraper that just looks amazing. The way that it looks in the night when the building it all lit up just looks fantastic. It's currently the tallest building in Barcelona at 142 metres high. 

I love looking at botanical gardens and the Jardi Botanic Barcelona looks like the perfect place to just be able to wander around for a while at your own pace if you just want a relaxing day out. 

The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria looks like such a vibrant and exciting place to go. Local markets of different countries are something that I want to see a lot more of when I go away on holiday and this one just looks like it's bursting with life. 
Those are just a few of the things that I would love to go and see if I get the chance to go and see Barcelona but there are a few other things that are on the list. 
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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Coping With My First Term in Sixth Form

My first term in sixth form was probably one of the scariest things I have experienced for a lot of reasons. It was an entirely new school for me and I pretty much knew no one there, A Levels just seemed like a daunting prospect to me and the school was massive compared to my old one. But now it's all done and dusted with and I can say that I survived that first term. 

Settling in wasn't as much of a challenge as I thought it would be. I quickly got to know the people n my form class and classes and started to make friends and it didn't take me long to find a group of friends that I got a long with pretty well and individually were in my classes as well. One of the biggest hurdles to get through when joining a new school seemed to be cleared after three weeks of being there and I could not have been more grateful. 

My subjects seemed to be a completely different ball game compared to GCSE but that was something that I had been prepared for. I knew that it was going to be a pretty big leap going to GCSE to A Level but experiencing it was completely different. Maths was an entirely new syllabus for me since I hadn't done additional maths but it was something that I knew had to adjust to quickly. Whilst physics and maths were subjects that I found myself falling in love with even more, biology was a subject that I really wasn't enjoying and if anything, I was dreading my lessons so much. After two weeks of trying to get through the lessons, I realised that maybe this wasn't the subject for me and I decided to have a chat with my head of year to swap my subject around. I initially wanted to swap Biology around for History but it turned out that the History class was completely full with people moving into the class. So, in the end I decided that I would swap to Economics instead. That came with it's ow task of copying two weeks of the course up and trying to catch up with the basics that were right at the start of the course. I managed to get my head around it all though and enjoyed it a lot more than I did Biology. 

Towards the beginning of the term I decided that I was going to sign up to become a Prefect. The title doesn't particularly entail much and is mostly me having to make sure none of the lower school come into the building during lunchtime for half an hour once a week and help out the Parents' Evening and Open Evenings. As well as that, I managed to get a space on the HE+ program which is a scheme that's run by Cambridge University to teach students in Year 12 out of the syllabus and give them advice on applying to Russell Group Universities. Even though it's not the most exciting Tuesday evening, I have people there that help me get through it. 

Altogether, my first term in sixth form was enjoyable but still very stressful. I don't think anything was going to prepare me for what A Levels were going to bring with them but I'm slowly adjusting to them and getting use to them. 

I hope everyone's having a good second term back in school/college right now and everything has settled down.
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Saturday, 6 February 2016

Looking Back At: January 2016

What's Been Going On?

For me, January is always a month that's slow to go by and it's never the happiest of months after the high energy of Christmas quickly come crashing down. Heading back to school does nothing to help that either and after finishing my first term in sixth form the school thought that it would be a great time to start mock exams off. So, heading back to school was exactly a cheerful experience at the beginning of the month. Thankfully, I only had four mocks to sit: two maths, one economics and one for physics. And respectively I ended up getting 2 As, a B and a C which I was definitely pleased with. 

Other than that, it's been a pretty quiet month. I've seen the arrival of my new bookcase which I was extremely excited for. My room had been painted in August and since then my books have been residing in boxes in my parents' room since I haven't been able to find a bookcase that I've liked and would fit in my room since I haven't got much space. But I finally found one and nothing has brought me greater joy than to see my book all lined up on shelves. 

I've been slowly getting myself back into blogging and it's been helping me find a balance between school work and just having me time again. It's been so nice to just be able to write since all of my subjects are maths based. Hopefully, I'm going to be able to keep this up for now, even if I'm just posting twice a month to start of with until I get back into the swing of things again. 


I'm so glad that this has been a month that I've slowly been able to get back into reading. I set my reading challenge a lot lower than previous years, down to 15 books but I had to make it realistic. I've been so busy with sixth form, I wasn't sure how much time I would have to read when summer came along and towards the end of the year when I'll hopefully be applying to Uni. But, whilst it's been quiet I thought I would get a head start. 

So, here's what I've managed to read:  
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo 
  • Binge by Tyler Oakley 
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K Rowling 
And I'm currently reading: 
  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 
  • The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen 


A photo posted by Saira Ahmed (@sai_498) on

I hope you all have had a good start to the year! 

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