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Saturday, 20 May 2017

Time flies when you're having a boogey...

' spirits heightened whenever I felt in my pocket the key to this apartment; with all its gloom, it was still a place of my own, the first, and my books were there, and jars of pencil to sharpen, everything I needed, so I felt, to become the writer I wanted to be.' (Breakfast at Tiffany's)

HOW ON EARTH IS IT MID MAY? How on earth do I have a week left of Uni? And how on earth has my exam crept up on me this quickly? WHERE HAVE 19 YEARS OF MY LIFE GONE?

The reality of how fast the last 9 months have sped past is hitting me harder than that 3 day treble hangover from freshers. Today I thought I'd just have a scroll through my camera roll (classic procrastination technique)and reflect on the hundreds of photos I've accumulated since September. 
...I'm feeling nostalgic.

I know this blogpost has probably come at a bad time for the many of you revising for exams (sorry), so my aim was to keep it short and sweet. But then again, who the hell can condense a year's worth of boppers into one blissful track? 
Some of you will be undergoing the torturous process of A Levels (I pray for you), some will be enduring Uni exams, whilst others of you are working your butt off to save some dolla. Aren't we a bunch of hard workers. 
Anyway, I thought I'd compile a post about my experience of first year in an attempt to inspire those hoping to go, or just to entertain the rest of ya. It's been one of the most challenging, adventurous and, frankly, FUN years of my life. So here it is.  

Everyone tells you to join societies, buy the official wristband (DON'T) and to gatecrash flat parties. Bar the wristband, they're not wrong. You need to meet as many people as you can from the start, because the reality is that the person you thought you would be best buds with is no longer on the scene by the end of the year. It just happens. I made the mistake of signing up to LOADS of societies and not sticking to one (why the hell did I think I would be good at Lacrosse?). 

That said, don't get stuck in your flat. Sure, that Netflix series is great and I'm sure your dressing gown is comfy, but every once in a while get out your comfort zone. (Aside: I'm going to get SO criticised by my family for this, so I may as well confess that I LIVE in my dressing gown.)

My friend Kate and I sashayed across to the Baltic contemporary Art Gallery after procrastinating it for months. And it. was. fab!! I'm not saying art galleries are everyone's cup of tea, but trips out like these make that 9 grand worth every penny. Immerse yourself in your city.

Appreciate your surroundings. I know I've mentioned it on my blog before, but I will never get over the incredible sunsets that seep in through my window. I really am going to miss my Uni room (and this window in particular). It has a kind of urban vibe and I LOVE blogging away at my desk with the hum of city life filtering through my window. I'm easily amused.

I also remember being petrified of not finding people with the same interests as me. Of not having someone to go for a coffee and a catch up with. Of not having someone who can comfort you on your down days (we all have them).
The truth is, everyone finds their feet at different times, and some feet need to make a U-turn before they arrive at their destination. Some of my friends from home settled in immediately and I worried I would lose them to their new pallies. Fear not, FaceTime and Facebook are good at what they do. Some people have their honeymoon phase during freshers week, but personally I've loved second term even more. I count myself super lucky to have met the sass queens I now class as sisters and, cheesy as it may sound, it feels like we've known each other for years. (Who would've thought a Scouser, an Irish lass and a broad Yorkshire gal would be able to understand each other's accents?)

Anyway, you never stop meeting people throughout the course of the year. Recently I met my friend's friends (does that make sense?) from her hometown and tagged along on their night out. And what a hilarious lot they are. Having different groups of buddies is essential so that when one chum falls down, you can scout out another trooper to hit the club with.

Yeah, you may also worry that you won't have a routine like you did at home, you worry you'll become a slacker (sadly everyone is in first year) and you worry you'll miss amigos from home. But you make new traditions. Washing day is Sunday, productive day is Wednesday and Pizza Express dates with your flatmate are... well, just regular.

And let me tell you, returning to family and friends has never been better. You learn to cherish every single one of your friendships. (Ilkley Spoons you better be ready for a lot of reuniting...)

Also, GO TO THE FORMAL! It's a chance to get your glad rags on, have a decent meal and to celebrate surviving those 3a.m breakdowns. We had a ball!! (Bet you've not seen that captioned on anyone's instagram photo...)

So here's my advice:

1. yes, eat that. (It's first year, you're allowed to get fat)
2. introduce friends to friends (you can never have too many)  
3. live in the moment. You're young, sassy and you've made it this far... stop stressing about not being smart enough.

So what have I learnt most during my time as a fresher in Newcastle? I've learnt that home is no longer a place. It's the feeling of hopping off the train and being excited about being there. 

(WARNING: still be careful when you tell your mum you're going 'home' when referring to Uni. She'll get worried that you'll never return.)

But I hope that whatever your plans for the future are, you find a way to have a blooming good laugh. And remember, if something doesn't work out, something better will sneak up when you least expect it.

Newcastle, you've treated me well. You've seen me in streams of tears (from laughter I assure you); you've witnessed me rocking my PJ's to Tesco and you've been exposed to some of my ugliest hangovers known to man.
So, thank you.

Nonetheless, Yorkshire, I'm ready for ya. I'm ready for your surplus of green, for your FRESH tasting water and for one of your hearty Yorkshire roasts.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The year of the [fiery] Rooster..

'"I'm not smirking. I'm smiling."'

3 months into 2017, the year of the Fire Rooster. Or as I thought my  flatmate said, the "year of the chicken" (admittedly, I scoffed at the thought of a chicken signifying fidelity and punctuality). Ironically and in typical Holly style fashion, this blogpost was meant to be written and uploaded about 2 months ago. I guess the Rooster hasn't kicked into action for me yet...

Even more ironically, my last blogpost was about my first few months at Uni, whereas I feel this one is veering towards a frightened fresher with little time left in first year. Time just flies by when you're an English student luxuriously indulging in Brontë novels and catching up with chums in cafes in all our contact-free hours. (Oh, and did I mention the perpetual cycle of essays?)

Sure, every year we make the same resolutions to make more effort with certain people, try a different look and to stay more organised. In classic January fashion, I detoxed, ditched the food baby and died at the gym... 

My favourite form of 'detox' was a spa day with my Mum. I really feel I benefitted from the menthol air of the steam room and the dainty sandwiches to refuel subsidised energy levels... Sauntering around in fluffy robes and slippers really does take it out of you.

More recently, I also tried being veggie for lent but 8 days in and I was unconsciously tucking into a cheese and ham panini (oops). I need my protein anyway, right? (In all honesty I think I was just using choc fingers as a substitute to my 'lacking diet'.

Okay, there's no denying that the whole detox regime is not for me. But diet aside, I can wholeheartedly commit to one thing - travel. I've concluded that punctuality and a tight schedule is essential for this, so perhaps the Rooster will benefit me after all. 

Within just a few days of 2017, my friend and I bopped on down to London town for the day. Short
 but sweet, as is generally the case with city breaks, the day consisted of shopping, drinking and eating (we classed Oxford Street's Topshop as our famous landmark). Of course, the day flew by all too quickly as we caught up with Uni gossip amidst flinging clothes over the top of our changing rooms.   

But this city trip was just a taster of things to come in 2017 luckily! This summer promises plenty more travel, with a family holiday booked to New York, Boston and Cape Cod. (I'm already scouring the internet for the places with the fluffiest stacks of pancakes and copious cups of coffee.) Anyone who knows me (or just reads this blog) will be fully aware that I developed a profound love for New York at the age of just 12. Since then, I've been twice more and each time the Big Apple has invited me to explore new aspects of its charm, so I'm looking forward to it opening up more of its secrets to me. The other places we're visiting are completely new to us, so top tips from anyone are welcome...

Shortly after this big trip, I'll be 'rehydrating' with a glass of sangria alongside my two best chums in the bustling city of Barcelona. We're yet to plan our schedule but we'll be sure to absorb some of the city's finest culture, like Gaudí's park, amidst our cocktails and tapas. To tell you the truth, just under a year since studying Spanish in A Levels and I can already feel the language slipping, so I'll be glad to embrace this sassy language once again!

Okay, so it may seem late to be making resolutions, 
but I've decided to make my 2017 the year of laughter. (It's doing a pretty good job so far.) From Uni, to returning home for a long summer, to exploring new places, I'm ensuring my amigos and I leave a little bit of laughter wherever we go.

But resolutions can have a habit of forcing us to over-analyse blunders, or projecting us too far into the future. I don't want to live in the past frankly, and I don't want to be wishing away the future. So this year I'm living in the present (hopefully punctually) and appreciating every minute. So, I guess what I'm saying is carpe diem in 2017. Seize the day, boys.