17 January 2015

My Goals For 2015

I've never really bought into the whole 'new year, new me' phenomenon but I do like the idea of a fresh start and a new beginning so I find it difficult to end a year without making a few resolutions. Saying that, I focus more on goals than I do resolutions. There's just something about setting goals for myself that I've always liked - I enjoy having something to strive for, something to keep me motivated. I've set goals for myself for as long as I can remember and it's by no means just a New Year's thing for me, but I like to take advantage of the New Year's mentality and write myself a list of goals, aims and resolutions as the year comes to an end. This year, I thought I'd try something a bit different and share my goals with you lovely people, then maybe you can follow and share some of your own. I'd love to hear about them! ♥

Be more positive:
I'm a positive person in general - it's something I've really focused on over the past few years and I feel like I'm almost at the point of happiness and positivity that I want to be at. However, there are still a few things that get me down for no reason and I quite often catch myself over-thinking things until they're very negative which is something I want to work on. I really struggle to be around negative people so the last thing I want is to become negative myself. Cheesy way to kick off this post but what can I say? Positivity is damn important.

Read 25 books:
It's no secret that I love reading but I have a strong feeling that this year is going to be a busy one so I might not have quite as much time to read as I have done in the past. I read 38 books in 2014 so I thought 25 would be a nice, achievable goal for 2015.

Stress less, care less & have fun:
Pretty self-explanatory but I'm basically just sick and tired of holding myself back and stopping myself from having fun, just because of unnecessary worries and reservations. Last year, I finally realised that people don't actually care if you're having a bad hair day and ever since I started caring a lot less about the small, silly things like that, I became a whole lot happier. I want to keep that up and just focus on having a good time this year. 

Learn Dutch (complete Duolingo course):
In October of last year, I discovered the language app, Duolingo, and started to teach myself Dutch but life got pretty busy in November and December so it got pushed to the side. This year, I'm determined to get back on track with it and try to complete the course. I've always wanted to learn another language but I struggled with both French and Mandarin so hopefully Dutch suits me better. It's kind of a dream of mine to visit Holland in the future so I'm sure Dutch will come in handy one day.

Buy less crap & save more:
I've always been pretty good when it comes to saving instead of spending but I want to take this further in 2015 and only buy what I really need. Unfortunately, this might mean cutting my Costa intake down to once a fortnight instead of twice weekly... There's quite a lot I need to be saving for at the moment so I'm going to try to save a lot this year and spend less than I did last year.

Do more:
2014 was a great year as far as experiencing things and going places is concerned but I really want to push myself in 2015 and do even more. There are so many things I want to experience but I've been holding myself back (mainly because of anxiety) so I'm determined to change that this year and actually do things.

I have a feeling that 2015 is going to be a good year... I hope it treats you well!
Lots of love, Cat

6 January 2015

Currently I'm...#19

A couple of nights ago, I finished reading This Book Is Gay by James Dawson which, overall, was pretty good. I don't know how well-suited I was to the book because I already knew 90% of what was being written about but it was still interesting and I can definitely see how it could really help out a lot of people. It's about time there was a book specifically about sexuality. Now, I'm reading How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran which I'm absolutely loving. It took a while to get into but I'm right into it now and it's brilliant. Get it read.

I got quite a few DVDs for Christmas and in the sales afterwards so I haven't exactly been struggling for things to watch. The past few months, I've been mildly obsessed with John Hughes films from the 80s, especially The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty In Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful. I just love the way he worked. John Hughes just gets me... I'll slap myself so you don't have to. :'D Also, Pulp Fiction is a new love of mine (Tarantino is a genius when it comes to dialogue. I realise now that I didn't know what I was talking about before I saw Pulp Fiction) and I re-watched Once a few nights ago which reminded me that it's absolutely beautiful. There's something quite inspirational about Once if you know some of the back-story because it was made on a really small budget and the attitude of the cast and crew just seems to down-to-earth and humble. Other than film, I'd been re-watching season 1 of My Mad Fat Diary (for the third time) until a couple of days ago, then I moved onto season 2 (for the second time). 

Listening To...
A lot of Jamie T but that's not exactly a new development. Also, tacky 90s boy-bands but again, not really a new thing. I was writing my dissertation last night and I put on a playlist of boy-band anthems to get me through but I ended up writing precisely 2 words of my dissertation in an hour and a half because I was really getting into the music. Boy-bands from the 90s and early 2000's are devastatingly under-appreciated...

I've been into spoken word poetry for quite a while now but until about a week ago, I only really knew about a few people including Harry Hitchens and Lucy Evenden. I know now that I'd really been missing out because I recently stumbled across Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye and sweet lord, they are genuinely incredible. If you follow me on twitter (@TACEblog or @CatHannnahXD), you've probably noticed me being extra pretentious and annoying recently by regularly tweeting lines from poems by Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye. Sorry about that... I'd highly recommend checking them out though because their poetry is absolutely gorgeous. I can't choose my favourites but An Origin Story, When Love Arrives, Repetition and B are probably a good place to start. 

Lots of love, Cat

1 January 2015

2014: One Of The Best

I can't quite describe just how good 2014 was. It's odd because as I was planning this post, I was getting annoyed with myself as I realised that, until about March, I did absolutely nothing. The thing is though, I didn't feel that way at the time and I was the happiest I'd been for a while. For the majority of the year, though, I was pretty busy. For me, 2014 was a year of getting stuff done and just generally achieving things as I pushed myself a lot more and made a real effort to get over fears and experience things I'd usually be scared to try. That made 2014 amazing for me and I can't wait for 2015 to come so I can keep pushing myself and doing all the things I've always wanted to do.  2014's made me realise that the world isn't that scary afterall and that my anxiety can't control me. I hope 2014 was amazing for you too - 
please tell me all about your year in the comments! 

The year got off to a slow start as I spent most of January either studying for my prelims or sitting in an exam hall, doing my prelims. It kinda sucked but luckily, I did well in my prelims and only failed one (maths, naturally). January also brought a blogging milestone as I hit 300 GFC followers so a massive thank you for that! I also went to a Jack Vettriano exhibition at Kelvingrove which was lovely and saw The Delivery Man with some friends for a friend's 16th birthday. I was serious when I said that the year got off to a slow start... Reading-wise, I got through 6 books that month: The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg, Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, Divergent by Veronica Roth, and Once and Then, both by Morris Gleitzman. 

February was another slow one as I pretty much just recovered from my prelims and fell back into the usual routine of waking up, going to school for 8 hours, coming home, doing homework then going to bed. February is usually a boring month, I find. Valentine's Day was a thing and, as always, it was uneventful (haven't got a card since I was 11, ha). Had a couple shopping trips with friends, saw a few films and read 5 books, falling back in love with Enid Blyton. I read Now by Morris Gleitzman, Stop What You're Doing & Read This, and The Faraway Tree trilogy by Enid Blyton which are easily three of my all-time favourite books. So yeah, an incredibly mundane month... It gets better, I swear.

Now it picks up! March brought my school's science fair which I was helping out at, pi day which my maths teacher really threw himself into and a few prom-themed shopping trips. Rachel and I also hosted Divergent Week and I went go-karting with some friends for a friend's 17th birthday, where I came last and threw the marshal off the side of my kart... The highlight of the month was easily when I went to see Fall Out Boy on the 22nd when they came to Glasgow as part of their Save Rock & Roll Tour. FOB have been my favourite band for a good 7 or 8 years so actually getting to see them live was absolutely unbelievable. To make it even better, they were being supported by New Politics. Reading-wise, I got through Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. 

My adorable westie puppy officially stopped being a puppy on the 1st of April when she turned 2. She'll always be a baby to me, though. ♥ I also went to see Divergent which definitely lived up to my high expectations, and had a wee dinner out with my friends to celebrate the start of the Easter holidays. Unfortunately, I had my first Higher exam at the end of the month but it went better than I was expecting. Like with March, there was a massive highlight: seeing McBusted. It was a brilliant gig and although I don't really like McBusted now, it was amazing all the same. I only read one book in April because I was in a horrible reading slump; The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides.
Check out: Iconemesis iPhone 4 Case Review // Santoro London Review

May was literally just spent studying and sitting exams but when I was procrastinating, I read a whole lot. I read Daily Rituals by Mason Currey, Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman, and The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Then I re-read Anna & the French Kiss and Lola & the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. Exam season was really quite stressful this year but it went relatively well and went quickly.

June was a good one. Once all my exams were over, I went back to school and moved up into 6th year which was both awesome and scary.  June also brought Wimbledon which, as always, was one of the highlights of my year. The TFiOS movie was released and like I've said before, it didn't quite live up to its expectations but was a great film all the same. I spent lots of time with my friends and ate 1kg of Greek yoghurt in 3 days (long story), then got a bus by myself for the first time which was a big step towards overcoming my fear of public transport. What was the highlight of June? PROM. It was such a lovely night and everyone looked so beautiful. In June, I read Breakfast At Tiffany's by Truman Capote, The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger and Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, which were all great.

Another good one, if not one of the best. I went to London with my family for a few days, mainly just to see Les Mis. The actual trip as a whole wasn't the best but Les Mis was absolutely amazing so it more than made up for everything that didn't go to plan. At the time, it was all a bit of a disaster but looking back, it's kinda hilarious. We'd planned to stay in York for a night before going home from London but there was a mix-up with hotels so we had nowhere to stay and ended up deciding to drive home, only to find that the motorway going North was shut, meaning that we were essentially trapped in the South of England. We needed to drive further South to get to the nearest hotel which was in Leeds. We then got ridiculously lost in Leeds and arrived at our hotel at 3am, after my dad had been driving for about 8 hours straight, but our rooms were on floors 14 and 15 and the lifts were broken so we walked up 30 flights of stairs with heavy suitcases at 3am. I think I peed myself laughing. Apart from that, July brought some awesome day-trips and a day out busking with my friend, Beka, as well as a drastic haircut and the one year anniversary of Cory Monteith's death. I also got to see Belle & Sebastian at the Kelvingrove Bandstand which was incredible. July was brilliant. It was a great month for reading too, as I got through 7 books: Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith, Educating Rita by Willy Russell, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, and the Summer trilogy (The Summer I Turned Pretty, It's Not Summer Without You and We'll Always Have Summer) by Jenny Han, which I re-read every year.

The summer holidays ended in August but not before I got my exam results, The Great British Bake Off returned, I turned 17 and this little blog of mine turned 7! Results day was absolutely terrifying (as always) but I ended up getting AABBD which was a massive relief. I had a lovely birthday a few days after results day, then TACE turned 7 a couple of days later. I still can't quite believe that I've been blogging for over 7 years... To make up for the failure that was London, we went to Pitlochry for a weekend in August which was a lot more relaxing than the London/Leeds fiasco, then I went back to school as a 6th year. I was a bit of a reading slump in August, so I only re-read Amy by Mary Hooper and read One More Thing by B.J. Novak (one of my favourite people). Overall, August was the perfect end to a great summer.

September got off to a great start with the 3rd being one of my favourite days of the full year. I went up to Glasgow for Glasgow Uni's open day with a few friends, meaning that I had to get the train and the subway, another huge step towards getting over my public transport fear. The uni was beautiful and I left feeling a bit less nervous about the full uni thing, then we went to get bubble tea from Tempo Tea Bar before getting the train home. When I was in the uni, a lovely girl called Alison came over and said she reads my blog, which pretty much made my year. ♥ Later on in the month, I went back to Glasgow with my advanced higher english class to visit the Mitchell Library and Kelvingrove (my second home) which was another lovely day. Then my friend/wife, Nicole, turned 17 and had a house party, which involved me falling into a giant gift bag and cutting up my leg (definitely sober). I read one book in September: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, which was great.

October was a lot calmer and I only really went out a few times as most of the month was spent doing homework. My friend, Emily, turned 17 and had some friends over which was lovely, and I went to see 'Love, Rosie' with Rachel (such a cute film), but that was about it. I read three books in October, two wonderful ones and one really bad one (in my opinion): Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson, #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. I really didn't like Speak but the other two were absolutely brilliant.

This was probably the busiest month of the year for me and I'm still kinda recovering from it because I'm not exaggerating when I say that I was busy every single weekend. I started off the month by having some friends over, then I had a weekend of parties when two of my friends turned 17. That weekend practically killed me (and my liver). Then it was Children In Need which is a massive event at my school where the seniors all dress up and organise a big show to fund-raise. I dressed as a fawn this year and we raised a good 9K for charity. The next weekend brought another house party for no real reason and the following one brought another house party...again for no apparent reason. One Saturday was a little photoshoot-day with Beka for higher photography, and another was a movie-night with a couple of friends. Then I went out for dinner with the girls to celebrate our friend, Emily, leaving school and moving on to an apprenticeship. I didn't actually finish a single book in November which kinda sucks but it was an awesome month spent with my friends. ♥

December rounded the year off nicely with another few parties and days out. It kicked off with a trip to Princes Square with my higher music class, the senior choir and the school's musical theatre group to sing Christmas songs to raise money for Quarriers. Before our slot for singing we were let loose in Glasgow to get lunch and go shopping so I went off with a few friends and we got lunch (and food poisoning), then tried to shop for a while but it became kinda obvious that we were all getting ill pretty quickly. We got back to Princes Square to meet up with some of the guys from our class, I passed my peppermint tea off to a couple of them and then we had to sing, whilst feeling like we were going to throw up. It was hilarious, to be honest. :'D It was a great day, despite the food poisoning. The following weekend brought another house party then it was the last week of school before the Christmas holiday. I had a Christmas-y night in with some friends on Sunday, then it was time for the annual Secret Santa exchange on Monday, before actual Christmas a few days later. A couple of days after Christmas, I had a friend's 18th which was brilliant and the year came to an end as I brought 2015 in with my friends.
Check out: Christmas 2014 

Lots of love, Cat

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