30 July 2014

Fighting Fire With Fire

Don't do it. No matter how tempting it is, just don't do it. 

I've always told myself to stay away from conflict, stay calm and don't let people get to me. Ever since I was little, my parents have told me to take the high road and don't argue back; just walk away. In general, I've managed this. I hate conflict and, even though I can be insanely stubborn, I usually try to make myself admit my mistakes and apologise before stuff gets out of hand. It can be tough but I'd much rather just apologise than lose a friend. However, recently, I messed up and fought fire with fire when I really should have taken a step back and thought about everything for a while. It wasn't smart and it's really made me realise that retaliating is rarely the best idea. In my case, it was huge mistake and has probably left some real damage on both sides. Please learn from my mistakes.

When someone is insulting you, it's incredibly easy to fight back and give them everything you've got. It becomes a sort of competition where each person is trying to out-do the other with every insult and remark, and before long, it gets out of hand. Once it gets out of hand, it's a lot harder to undo. Think about it; you wouldn't try to put out a fire by adding more fuel, right? It would just grow when what you should actually be focusing on is putting it out. Arguments are the same; by fighting back, it's only going to grow. I know that it's much easier said than done but next time you find yourself in an argument, just think before you speak and really try to take a step back, rather than fighting fire with fire. Retaliating is tempting but it's not so attractive when you realise you've said things you can never take back. 

It's not worth it.

28 July 2014

On Self-Worth, Friendship and Competition

I've been noticing a pattern recently when it comes to friendships, where some people seem to think that their value is determined by how many friends they have. They name-drop, constantly talk to their old friends about all their new friends, and feel the need to be friends with absolutely everyone. The thought of being left out of something is scary for them and unless they can name 10 new names in every conversation, they aren't happy. Some people are yet to realise that it's better to have a small group of amazing, close-knit friends, than having a phone full of contacts you would never even think of texting, let alone having a serious, 3-hour-long conversation with. It may be cliche but quality really is better than quantity, especially when it comes to friendships. 

I've been realising that, for some people, friendship is a competition. They aren't happy unless they can name more people than someone else. They aren't happy unless they've been to more parties that month than their friend. They aren't happy unless they can name-drop. Friendship isn't a competition in any way, shape or form and by making it a competition, the value is taken away completely. What is a friendship if you're just in it for the status? Superficial; that's what it is. I don't know how else to get this across...but I swear; your value and self-worth is not determined by how many people you can call a 'friend'. Friendship ain't a competition. Friends aren't friends if it's all about numbers and, despite what some people may think, you won't actually find happiness at the end of a list of 200 phone-contacts.

Lots of love, Cat

26 July 2014

Currently I'm...#10

Like I said in Currently I'm...#9, I've been in a real reading slump recently. Saying that, I finally finished reading The Silver Lining's Playbook by Matthew Quick last night. It was brilliant from start to finish and I would highly recommend it, whether you've seen the film adaptation or not (unless you're offended by strong language because there is a lot of that).

Listening To:
Like I said a couple of posts back, I've been seriously loving Bombay Bicycle Club recently and when I was giving my room a mini re-vamp the other day, I listened to I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose on repeat. I've also kinda rediscovered my love for You Me At Six so I've been listening to them more than normal over the past few days. The main thing I've been listening to since Wednesday is Belle and Sebastian. I know it's been since Wednesday because I had the pleasure of seeing them live that day. In all honesty, I was kinda dragged there by my family but the gig made me realise that I actually like Belle and Sebastian a lot more than I thought I did. :'D It's hard to pick favourites because they've been together since 1996 and have released 8 studio albums, so there are quite a few songs to pick from... Saying that, I'd recommend Piazza New York Catcher, If You Find Yourself Caught In Love, Expectations, The Boy With The Arab Strap and The Wrong Girl. They have a lot of good stuff.

I've been watching the same TV as usual: University Challenge and Catfish on Mondays, and Glee and The Secret Life Of Students on Thursdays. Now, I usually feature a couple of specific YouTube channels in these posts but a few days ago, I was introduced to a YouTube video which beats all other YouTube videos. I won't say much but it's an amazing cover of Call Your Girlfriend, using the beat from the cup song. It's wonderful. I laughed. I cried. It's here.

I never thought I'd see the day where I say that I've been enjoying public transport but here it is...that day has arrived. If you've been here for a while, you'll know that I have a fear of trains (especially train stations) and, until quite recently, I had a fear of buses. I couldn't even think about getting on a bus by myself without freaking out and Rachel will be able to tell you that until a couple of months ago, I couldn't even press the button to get the bus to stop. As for trains, I couldn't think about trains for more than a minute without feeling incredibly anxious and the thought of actually getting on one was terrifying for me. Now, I can say that I've been on 4 trains in the space of 2 weeks and I've been on multiple buses by myself in the past couple of months. I know stuff like that isn't a big deal for a lot of people but I'm pretty proud of myself and I feel like it's real progress. ^_^

Lots of love, Cat

23 July 2014

My Room: Piano-Corner

Penguin classics poster - Waterstones (actually wrapping paper) // 'Follow Your Heart' plaque - Morrisons // 'Catriona' canvas - handmade by my friend // Paramore poster - HMV // Jars and bottles - IKEA // Candle - IKEA // Photo frame - TK Maxx // 'All You Need Is Love' jar - B&M Home Stores // Green tin plant pot - B&M Home Stores

Recently, I did a little bit of re-arranging in my room just to freshen stuff up for Summer. It had been a while since I'd moved anything around (or given it a good clean, to be honest) so I spent a couple of hours in my room on Tuesday, doing a bit of adjusting and listening to 'I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose' by Bombay Bicycle Club on repeat. The last time I did any sort of room tour post was back in May 2013 and a ridiculous amount has changed since then (also, that post is dreadful) so it's definitely time for an update. I thought it might be nice to change things up a bit this time, though, and do a few posts about different parts of my room instead of one huge post. Firstly, I thought I would feature my piano-corner. ♥

I've had my electric piano since Christmas 2012 (I named it Fletcher) and, although I don't practice anywhere near as much as I should, I love having it in my room. I think I'll probably get more use out of it now that I'm taking higher music at school (for anyone wondering, I've been taking piano lessons for 10 years but I suck when it comes to practicing). :3 The ukulele in the photos is my first ukulele (I named it Gus), and my only soprano ukulele, and I've had it for about 4 years but only started playing a couple of years ago. My other uke, Finn, isn't kept over there but you've all seen him before. ^_^ The photos don't show this at all well but there's a little note stand thing behind the bottles, jars and Beanie Baby (that one is Corsage (I used to collect them, haha)), holding my ticket from TFIOS Live last February. It was wonderful and I love having the ticket on display. Also, the photo frame holds my 5th year school photo with my amazing friends. I love that photo a ridiculous amount. The jars on my piano are filled with hairbands and clips and the jars/bottles on my shelf are filled with coppers. I have a weird love for glass...what can I say? :'D

I love that corner of my room and I really think that this is the best it's looked. Hopefully I've listed everything above but if there's anything you have any questions about, please ask!

Lots of love, Cat

21 July 2014

Currently I'm...#9

This time last year, I was practically living in a hammock up North. ♥

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick. I've been meaning to read it since I saw the film last December but I've had quite a hard time getting hold of the cover I want (the light blue one). Then I found it in Sainsbury's for £3 which is pretty damn awesome. I'm only 6 or so chapters in so far but I'm really enjoying it. For some strange reason, I haven't been reading much the past fortnight...I started off my holidays by reading 5 books in 3 days, then fell into a bit of a slump. It sucks.

University Challenge is back on so I've been obsessing over that but YouTube-wise, it's been all about Mike Falzone and Jackson Perkins. Jackson made this amazing video about his opinions towards personal appearance which I would highly recommend watching. He's a talented one, he is. 

Listening To:
I'll stop talking about Jackson Perkins soon but I've been listening to his music a lot the past week or so. You can download a few of his covers for free off his Bandcamp (you should!) and he has some amazing original stuff on his channel. My favourite cover is probably 'Til Kingdom Come' but his cover of 'Speechless' with Jack Spriggs is great too...you know what? They're all great. Other than Jackson Perkins, I've been listening to Paramore a bit more than normal and I'm listening to Tom Rosenthal as I type. To be honest, I'm usually listening to Tom Rosenthal when I type.

My newest Paramore poster! :D I bought another Paramore poster in HMV yesterday and it's gorgeous. It's the poster based off the artwork for their self-titled album and I'm mildly in love with it. On the down-side, I had to spend 2 hours last night/this morning (1am is technically the morning) re-arranging everything on my walls to fit it in nicely... I might do another post about the stuff on my walls at some point, haha. ^_^ Also, my lovely friend Lucy recently started a new lifestyle blog called 'Lucy The Reader' and it's absolutely gorgeous. Check it out here!

Busking. In case you missed it, you can read the post about my love for busking HERE. Oh, and you can have a look at the older 'Ticked Off The Bucket List' post about busking HERE. :P I know busking isn't for everyone but I seriously love it and would recommend giving it a go if it's at all possible for you. It's a lot of fun and you'll never know if you like it unless you try it. :3

EDIT: 21/07/2014, at 21:53, Jackson Perkins tweeted me, calling me lovely. My life has been made.

Lots of love, Cat

19 July 2014

Busking: I Like It

You might remember a post I did last October called 'Ticked Off The Bucket List - Busking', where I rambled on about my first time busking and why it was so awesome. Today, I'm kinda revisiting that by rambling on about my second time busking and why I now want to busk all day, every day. :D 

On Thursday, I went out busking again with my friend, Beka. Last time, I stayed at her's the night before so we could get some more practice in and get the bus together but this time, I just got the bus in by myself, with Beka getting on the same bus at the stop outside her house (she lives half an hour away). I feels weird to be able to say that I got a bus alone because, until last month, I was completely unable to get on public transport without someone with me. One thing I didn't quite think through was the looks I would get, getting on a bus at 8am with a ukulele. That was...an experience. :'D We were in Costa by 9am, writing out some last minute chords and getting some caffeine to keep us upright, then out on the street by 9:20am. Like last time, I wasn't actually all that nervous before we started - I had a tiny little panic for a minute but as soon as we started, I was fine. It might seem kinda unlikely but I'm actually ridiculously quiet and socially awkward so it's pretty bizarre that I can stand on a street corner and perform for a load of strangers. It's not as difficult as it seems and I find comfort in the fact that the people who pass will most likely never see me again. So yeah, 10 out of 10, would recommend to a friend (I say that way too often). 

Back in October, we ran into a few real-life trolls (a man who thought music could have a sexual preference and three 12 year-old boys in chinos who said they'd 'gie us 5p fir a gid song' (direct quote)) but this time, we were pretty much left alone. The only hecklers we got were just telling Beka to go and sing on The X-Factor or asking if we knew any Status Quo. We weren't completely fortunate though as an old 6th year walked past at one point, causing me to shout something I probably shouldn't repeat and stop playing mid-song. I wasn't expecting to see him and I wasn't all that happy about it. :'D I think he might have actually passed us during Year 3000.

We played for about 4 hours - 5 if you include breaks - and made just over £30 between us which is a whole lot better than last time. I was really quite worried that the last time was just beginners luck and that we would go home this time with £2.30, some spit and a paperclip. Busking has made me realise that people can actually be very nice and generous...^_^ There were quite a few moments where I wouldn't have given us money because I'm not kidding when I say we were out of practice. We tried though and had fun, and that's all that matters. 

Two days later and my hands are still aching but it was all worth it because I honestly think busking is one of my favourite things now. I said this in the last post but if you play an instrument or sing, I'd seriously recommend that you consider busking - it's such a good experience.

Lots of love, Cat

16 July 2014

I've Been Book-Buying #1

I'm a firm believer that you can never have too many books but even I have to admit that I might have went a little bit crazy over the past few weeks. Before I jump into this, I really need to emphasise the fact that I didn't buy these all in one go. Honestly. Even I wouldn't buy this many books in one trip. Also, quite a few of these were gifts from super lovely people. ^_^
Destined by Aprilynne Pike // Wings by Aprilynne Pike // Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh // The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis // Anne of the Island by L.M Montgomery // Anne of Avonlea by L.M Montgomery // Eleanor Rigby by Douglas Coupland
These are all from a (kinda) local charity shop that I literally use to stock up. They were 3 for £1, like always. The Breadwinner and both Anne of Green Gables books are old favourites, and the two Aprilynne Pike books are ones I've read on my Kindle but wanted physical copies of. I'm pretty damn happy. ^_^

 Persuasion by Jane Austen // Selected Stories by Thomas Hardy // Anne Of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery // Emma by Jane Austen // Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte // The Sea of Adventure by Enid Blyton
These are also from the same charity shop (and the same trip...) and again, were 3 for £1. Anne Of Green Gables is an old obsession and we all know about my odd love for Enid Blyton, but I think Jane Eyre is my favourite here because this is seriously the most beautiful old copy.

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver // A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess // The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick // Confessions of a Sociopath by M.E Thomas 
I needed We Need To Talk About Kevin mainly because I'm thinking about doing my AH English dissertation on it, comparing it with The Catcher in the Rye (one of my favourite books). I haven't read it yet but I'll get it read before I go back to school in August. A Clockwork Orange is one I've been meaning to read for ages so when I got a £10 WH Smith gift-card from school, I knew I had to buy it. Again, not read it yet. :'D I've wanted to read The Silver Linings Playbook since I saw the film last December but I haven't got round to buying it until now. I'm only a few chapters in but I'm loving it so far. ^_^ Confessions Of A Sociopath is an odd one... I bought it in a service station on my way to York from London on Saturday but I hadn't heard of it before I bought it. It sounds amazing so I can't wait to give it a go. :3

 D.I.Y - Design It Yourself by Ellen Lupton // Just My Type - A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield
You might know that I really love typography and graphic design but for some reason, I hadn't bought any books on it. I bought these two on Amazon for about £4 each and I seriously can't wait to read them. I think D.I.Y - Design It Yourself is going to be the perfect graphic design reference book for me. ^_^

 The Mighty Book Of Boosh // The Pocket Book Of Boosh
I am a huge Mighty Boosh fan and have been for years and for all that time, I've been eying up my sister's Boosh books. Luckily, she finally got rid of them the other day so I rescued them and have been hugging them ever since. 

 Fair Coin by E.C Myers // Quantum Coin by E.C Myers
I have the lovely Holly from Holly Quills and Ivy to thank for these! ^_^

Have you read any of these books? What have you bought recently?
Lots of love, Cat

14 July 2014

Currently I'm...#8

Yesterday, I finished reading Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro which I've actually been meaning to read for years. I read about 100 pages a couple of years ago then put it down for some unknown reason but I've recently re-discovered my love for the film adaptation which made me want to pick the book back up. It's beautifully written and the plot is so original so I would highly recommend it (and the film!). Now, I'm stuck between a few different books but I think I'll probably read The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick. 

Glee! Season 5 has finally returned after it's annoying mid-season hiatus and so far, it's just as wonderful as every other season. I feel like my life has had a Glee-shaped hole for the past 6 months and now it's finally filled again. :3 YouTube-wise, I've been slightly in love with Tessa Violet, JonBeHere and ThisIsNotHolly for the past few weeks. They are incredible and you should watch them. Seriously. 

Listening To:
I've actually been listening to an excessive amount of Bombay Bicycle Club for the past fortnight... I 'borrowed' (stole) two Bombay Bicycle Club CDs from my dad and have kinda had them on repeat ever since. He had 'Flaws' and 'I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose' and they are equally awesome but actually very different from each other. It's weird, but good weird. :'D I think my favourite songs are probably 'Magnet' and 'Dust On The Ground'. They are very good. 

If you follow me on Twitter (@CatHannnahXD (personal) or @TACEblog (blog)) you may know that I spent the last 4 days in England. I was in London until Saturday afternoon and while we were there, we went to an amazing cafe for breakfast twice. I can't remember the name but it's in Crystal Palace and is joined onto an awesome antique shop... Anyway, I tried sourdough for the first time and it was incredible. :P

I guess you could say that I enjoyed my mini-holiday in England. I'll do a more in-depth post soon but it really didn't go to plan and was basically a bit of a disaster but there were a couple of highlights - we saw Les Mis at the Queen's Theatre and I'm not exaggerating when I say it was the best thing I've ever seen. Carrie Fletcher was absolutely amazing as Éponine and the full performance was just flawless. If it's possible, see Les Mis. It's completely worth it. ^_^ Spending Friday in Central London was pretty great too; it's a gorgeous city and I'm so happy I've finally got to spend time there after 17 years of living in Scotland, only about 8 hours away. :'D

Apologies for leaving you all for a full week, that hasn't happened for quite some time and it's nice to be back! I was going to schedule some posts for when I was away but the run-up to the holiday was quite hectic so I didn't have time. Sorry! 

Lots of love, Cat

7 July 2014

2014: 6 Month Summary

2014 got off to a good start with this old blog of mine hitting 300 GFC followers on the 12th of January. I can't quite believe that (over) 300 people actually want to read what I have to say - that's like, triple the amount of people in my year at school. :'D  
Between the 20th and the 4th of February, I struggled through my prelims. Luckily, I got some pretty good results, only failing one subject (maths, naturally)! 
In March, I went go-karting with my friends and ended up throwing the marshal off the side of my cart. He jumped on to help me steer and yeah...he went flying. I may or may not have got the slowest time out of the group.

On the 22nd, I had the best night of my life when I went to see Fall Out Boy and New Politics on the Save Rock & Roll tour. 7 years of Fall Out Boy love had been leading up to it and I wasn't at all disappointed. They were incredible. 
My beautiful puppy turned 2 on the 1st of April. ^_^
On the 5th, I saw Divergent with my friends, only a few months after reading the book. It was pretty damn great to see it brought to life on the big screen.
I studied like my life depended on it all through April and May, thanks to the joy that is Higher exams.

On the 18th of April, I saw McBusted with my friends and again, had an insane time. Busted and McFly were two of my first loves and seeing them live together was so good. 
I took a selfie with a stranger called Jordan.
On the 6th of June, I went to my 5th year prom and had an amazing time. Everyone looked so gorgeous! :')
I started 6th year on the 9th of June and realised that I'm growing up.
In admin, I fell asleep on my desk and woke up to the teacher shouting 'HANNAH, SIT UP PLEASE'. Ehm, my name isn't Hannah.

James Bourne followed me on Twitter.
I bought and fell in love with a silver faux leather bomber jacket.
On the 3rd of June, I finally got on a bus alone and spent a few hours in town before walking home with a peppermint tea from Costa. Seems small but it's good progress as far as my fear of public transport goes. ^_^
The Fault In Our Stars was finally made into a movie. I saw it the night it was released and spent the full time in shock because TFIOS was actually like, playing in front of me.

I bought the coat of my dreams in TK Maxx for £8.
Matt Edmondson tweeted me.
At some point in the year, I discovered my overwhelming adoration for chai lattes.
This might sound lame but, in the past 6 months, I've actually made some new friends. :3
Basically, the first half of the year has been awesome.

5 July 2014

Monthly Round-Up - June 2014

June went way too quickly but overall, it was a pretty great month. I read a few books (which were all brilliant), spent some time with my friends, went to prom, finally saw The Fault In Our Stars and published quite a few posts, some of which were pretty big and personal. I thought I would compile all 10 posts from June, so you can catch up easily (if you want to...). I hope June treated you well and that July is even better. ^_^

Did you have a favourite post from the month?
Lots of love, Cat

2 July 2014

On Leaving, Growing Up & Missed Opportunites

On the 9th of June, I officially became a 6th year (the last year of school) and to say that scares me is a huge understatement. The old 6th years officially left quite a few weeks ago but it's only really sinking in now. I guess I've been living in denial a little bit... As weird as it seems, I felt ridiculously sad on their last day. The night before the last day, I wrote a note on my phone at like, 2am and I just found it again. It's a little bit odd but I thought I'd share it with you nonetheless.

The 6th years leaving isn't upsetting because they're my friends*, it's upsetting because they represent missed opportunities. I'll miss having them there; their presence is comforting and it reminded me that there's someone older to hold more responsibility than me.  The best way I can think to describe it is by referring to a quote from The Great Gatsby (thank you, Higher English): Nick says that he is in the "consoling proximity of millionaires" and, for me, the 6th years are the millionaires. Their presence is really comforting and being in their 'proximity' is all I really needed. Now, they're off doing fancy adult things like going to uni and getting jobs and they've left me behind. As lame as this sounds, they were my security blanket. 

It's unlikely that I'll ever see any of them again*. I feel like I took them for granted and should have built up relationships when I had the chance. Now it's too late because I'm no longer going to be trapped in the same building as them for 7 hours everyday. There's something admirable and almost glamorous about the sixth years... Wow, that was pathetic. :'D 

They act as a reminder that I'm growing up and getting older; it'll be me leaving this time next year. They're not that much older than I am and they're probably just as confused but, somehow, they seem so much more put together. I still don't know what I want to do when I leave school...I'm all over the place, to be honest. The 6th years leaving has just reminded me that it's my turn next and it's going to come way quicker than it should.

Edit: This post was written a few weeks ago but I've been unsure about publishing it because it's quite personal and maybe a little bit embarrassing... I've decided to share it because I have a feeling that I'm not the only person who feels this way, whether you're in your last year of school or not. I've just read over the post and found that I need to add a couple of side-notes. * Since the 6th years leaving, I have actually seen a small group of them again so I guess it's not as bad as I was initially expecting. Also, I do consider one of the old 6th years as a friend and have for 6 months or so, I just didn't realise it when I was writing the post. 

Lots of love, Cat
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