//What I’m wearing in Marseille//

So a few posts ago, I mentioned I’ll be heading off to the Côte d’Azur in a few weeks (eek!), more specifically to Marseille. Since it’s going to be between 25-30°C – temperatures that we never really get in British summers (apart from last week when it was 28°C for two days then we had a huge thunder storm) – I found myself in need of lightweight, summer-y clothes to wear and hence went on a little shopping sprees! 

Disclaimer: I’m not great at photographing clothing and only had a small desk to use as a white background, hence why I couldn’t fit the whole items of clothing in the pictures, so do bear with!

Tops:

Stripey and plain white t-shirts with lace detail

I actually bought these t-shirts last year from Primark for £4 each, but they’re fairly thin and light-coloured so they look more summery than the majority of my t-shirts. I also bought another white t-shirt similar to the one pictured above from Sainsbury’s, but this one is made of cotton so hopefully will be cooler on the hotter days. 

Pale blue tunic top with white embroidery

This blue tunic-type top also came from Sainsbury’s. I fell in love with it when I first saw it, and it’s the perfect top to take with me as it’s soooo lightweight but because it’s blue, it’s can’t see through it either. Also I love how it’s a bit different from the generic t-shirts that I usually wear. It did cost me £13, but it was reduced from £18, and it’s something I could wear all year round.

Dark green zip hoodie

I got this zip hoodie in New Look at Christmas in a sale for £7. I know it seems a bit odd to take a hoodie to the Mediterranean, but my teacher suggested it just incase it gets cold in the evening or the weather isn’t as nice as it usually is. I probably won’t wear it, but it’s best to be prepared!
Bottoms:

Monochrome shorts with lace hems

So I got these shorts a few months ago when I went up to Primark – for £4 I think – and thought they’d be perfect to wear on the beach. My teacher told us that it’s fine to wear more “revealing” clothing on the beach, but when walking around the city we need to cover up a bit, so I won’t be wearing these accept when we go to the beach in the evenings to cool off as they are quite short on me (struggles of being tall). I’m still on the look out for a suitable pair of shorts to wear that are knee-length and lightweight, so if you know anywhere I could look let me know! I am going down to Primark again next week so I can have e another look in there as well and see if I can find anything.

Dress:

White dress with orange, yellow and blue paisley pattern.

So I also bought this dress last year, from a shop called Store Twenty One which is a sort of budget clothing chain in the UK. The dress is fairly long – it comes down to just above my knees – but is the perfect length to wear in Marseille as it’s quite dignified. Also, it’s a very lightweight, floaty material again which helps to keep me cool. I think it probably cost me around £8-£10, but I can’t remember since it was a year ago!

Nightwear:

Green pyjama set with cacti print and

Okay so I didn’t *necessarily* need to get new pyjamas, as I already have a few sets of summer pyjamas, but when I saw this cute cacti vest and shorts set in Sainsbury’s, I couldn’t resist. Plus they had a pretty good sale on for bank holiday weekend, meaning I picked up this set for just £7.50 which I think is pretty good value!

Swimwear:

Black and white polkadot tankini

Due to the heat, we’ll be going down to the beach that’s 5 minutes walk from the youth hostel to see and cool off in the evenings. Therefore I dug out my black and white polkadot tankini (I’m not a bikini person) I bought a few years ago from Store Twenty One and luckily it still fits! 
Accessories:

Polyester fedora hat from Deichman

As it will be very hot and sunny in Marseille, I decided to invest in a new hat. Usually I wear baseball caps on holiday, but I find they make my head really hot, and I saw this in Deichmann for £7 and thought it was the perfect alternative! It’s a little bit big for my head, meaning that my head doesn’t overheat and it’s very comfortable. However I will have to make sure I hold onto it when we go on a boat trip to the Chateau d’If!

Tortoiseshell sunglasses

These sunglasses are prescription sunglasses from Specsavers which I got for free with a buy one get one free voucher last year (my m bought a normal pair of glasses for herself then gave me the voucher). They’re actually a really nice tortoiseshell pattern, but it’s hard to see in the photo! 

Navy kimono with pink and lilac floral pattern

(This was so hard to take a photo of as it kept sliding off the desk I was using as a background 😂 so here’s a better photo of me wearing the kimono + dress + hat)

I picked up this floral kimono from Store Twenty One as well for £4, and I’m really pleased with it! Again, it’s a very lightweight, sheer material and the pattern means it goes with just about any top. It’ll be great to throw on over my dress (so I don’t get burnt due to it’s thin straps) or a t-shirt in the event that I get a bit cold or just want something thin to take the sun off me. It’s very summery and I love it!

Pink and white floral canvas handbag

This handbag also came from Store Twenty One. I think it cost me £12, but there was a buy one get one half price offer, meaning I got the kimono for half price (it was originally £8). I got this because my current handbags would be too small to carry around the bottle of water, suncream, sunglasses, camera, phone and purse I’ll need to take around with me whilst I’m there, and again I find rucksacks can make you really hot and I’d prefer to have my valuables to hand for safety and practicality reasons. This bag has loads of sapce and pockets inside, which I’m really pleased about, and because it’s canvas I’ll be able to easily fit it in my suitcase to take on the plane (hooray for only being able to take hand luggage!).

Footwear:

Blue pineapple flip flops

These pineapple flip flops will be perfect for going down to the beach in the evenings, and will be easy to fit in the nooks and crannies of my suitcase. I got them from Store Twenty One a couple of years ago.

Navy blue lightweight trainers with white sole

Navy blue lightweight trainers with white sole

I got these lightweight trainers a few months ago in another sale from Sainsbury’s for £8. They’re really comfy and practical and I basically wear them all the time at the moment. I’m not sure if they’ll be too hot to take to Marseille, but we’re going to be doing a lot of walking so I’ll need comfy shoes even if it means having hot feet. 
So, that’s what I’ll be taking with me clothes/accessories-wise! I’m so excited about going, I may even do another post nearer the time of other things I’m taking. I don’t go abroad often, I’m fact this will only be the third time, so it’s all pretty exciting for me. The last time I went abroad was to Berlin in 2015, a couple of days after I started my previous (and first) blog, so it’ll be exciting to be able to write about my adventure when I get back, and show you all photos of the beautiful scenery of course! I’m a little nervous about having to speak French to ACTUAL French people whilst I’m over there, but I think it’ll be a really great experience for me and my class mates. 🙂 

I hope you enjoyed and good bye for now! I have four exams next week, and oke the week after, but then after that I am exam free and I’ll have much more time to blog again! See you on the other side amigos!

//How to keep up with language-learning over summer…//

For many students in the UK and across the world, the summer holidays are approaching quicker than ever. Many of you, like me, are probably studying a foreign language at school or college at the moment, and may be wondering how you will survive going back to school in September after 6+ weeks without having foreign language lessons (well I certainly am anyway, maybe I’m just weird haha).

So, as a year 12 student studying A Level French – and taking my exams next summer due to the linear A Levels – who needs to ensure I’m still practicing French over summer, I come bearing a list of ways to keep up language practice, so by the time it gets to September you (hopefully) haven’t forgotten it all! I’ve come up with a few ideas about how you can practice each aspect of language learning – reading, writing, listening and speaking – so hopefully they’ll be helpful to some of you.

1. Reading

Reading is a really, really great way to keep up language practice. I mean, if you’re a bookworm like me, then why not read books in your target language? Books are relaxing to read, and you can find a genre or author that interests you – there are so many foreign language book lists on Goodreads! Even just reading a couple of pages a day will help make sure you’re being exposed to the language and the more you read, the more vocab you’ll learn and the more you will see grammar rules in practice; basically, it will give you a better grasp of how the written language is formed!

It can be hard to find books that are the right level for your skills in your target language. If you’re just starting out, children’s books are a good idea as they’ll have more simple vocabulary and sentence structures. But if you’re at GCSE level or A Level, you could try reading version of books you’ve already read in English in your target language – for example last summer after I finished GCSE French, I read the first Harry Potter book in French. Often you’re local library will have at least some foreign language books, or you can use their online catalogue to reserve books and get them delivered to your library.

Also I think most A Level foreign language specifications will have a set book list, as you will usually have to study a book as part of the course, but that doesn’t mean you can’t read the other books on the list too!

Another way of practicing your reading is by reading magazines. There’s a really good French magazine called “Ça m’intresse” which covers a load of current themes in society, and a lot of topics relevant to A Level. You’ll have to order them online unless your school or college has them in the library, but one copy would cost roughly £5 including delivery costs, or you can download the digital copy which is obviously cheaper. If not, you can always read articles in your target language on news websites (and Ça m’intresse even has a range of free articles on their website which you can read too).

2. Writing

Keeping up with writing practice can be quite time-consuming and tedious, but it will help you to recal all of the grammar rules and tenses you need to know, as well as practice vocab.

Some simple ways of practicing writing would be to write a few sentences at the end of each week, talking about what you’ve done that week and what you plan to next week. In the run up to my exams, I’ve been doing this by trying to write a sentence in each French tense at the end of each week in my diary.

You could also write some blog posts in your target language, which I will definitely be doing over the summer.

Or, if you do read some articles in your target language over the summer, you could practise summarising the foreign language articles using synonyms which will help both your writing and be good practice for exams (as certainly in French A Level exams we are required to read short passages and summarise them in our own words).

Another thing you could do is set up a Twitter account in your target language, and try tweeting in the language you are learning. You can also follow native speakers or newspaper/magazine accounts in your target language, which will help with your reading too.

3. Listening

Practicing your listening skills doesn’t have to mean sitting down and doing listening past papers and activities provided by your exam board – the internet offers a variety of ways to practice listening!

Firstly, you can listen to international radio stations on your phone or the internet, which is a great way to test your listening skills and discover artists who sing in your target language. Some French radio stations which I listen to include Radio Nostalgie (which you can listen to for free via their mobile app – they play a mixture of 70s/80s/90s music) but there is a huge list here that includes French radio stations that broadcast anything from news to pop to classical music.

Another way is by listening to music in your target language itself. This can sometimes be difficult to find, but there are some good Spotify foreign language playlists – and I’ve created my own French one which I may write a post about in the future!

The there’s also the wealth of foreign language resources provided by YouTube. Sometimes it’s possible to watch old films and TV series in your target language on here for free. For example I watched a French  series called “Extra” which was made specifically for French language learners, so it uses fairly simple language and comedy to help you understand. Also there will be many YouTubers who are native speakers of your target language – one French YouTuber I’ve started watching recently is Anatastesia – she makes a wide variety of videos, many in French so hopefully there’ll be something you like!

Finally buying and watching DVDs in your target language – or films on Netflix – will be invaluable practice for your listening skills. You may have to watch the films with English subtitles or watch them multiple times to understand fully, but it will be great practice and it will also immerse you into the culture of your target language as well. I recently bought some second-hand French DVDs on Amazon for 10p with £1.20 delivery  – so they’re not always expensive! I may also do a separate post on French film recommendations at some point too as I’ve watched quite a few french films – some better than others haha.

4. Speaking

Speaking may seem to be one of the hardest things to practice, because often you don’t have someone to hand that can speak your target language and are willing to have a conversation with you. But, do not fear, because actually talking to yourself is also good practice. For example, you could just challenge yourself to talk for 60 seconds in your target language each day about what you’ve been doing or what the weather’s like etc. If you want, you can record yourself speaking and see your progress. Sometimes even just narrating what’s going on in the moment in your target language helps!

Speaking is actually a lot easier to practice than you might think – for example you don’t have to focus on reading a foreign language book, or remember spellings and accent placements as you do when you’re reading or writing. Speaking practice can be as quick and simple as you want it to be.

Another great resource for speaking practice I’ve found recently is the website and app “Forvo”. Within this app, you can practice your pronunciation. You chose a level to start at – I recommend choosing beginner whatever your level as it you’ll learn more vocab – and you’ll be shown a virtual flashcard with a word in your target language on it. Then you have to say that word, flip the card, hear how a native speaker pronounces it then you can rate whether you failed, were good or found it easy etc. Then the app will keep bringing up the words you struggle with until you’ve rated them easy, then you can move on and learn new words. I highly recommend it, as pronounciation is a large part of speaking a foreign language, and learning how to say things properly can really boost your confidence in speaking your target language.

Finally I want to talk about the app HelloTalk. This app fundamentally allows you to talk to native speakers over message or through voice recordings. At first I was a little skeptical about how safe the app would be, but generally my experience so far has been good! I think you have to be at least 13 to use the app, and after you’ve put in your age, it’ll only allow people within a 2-3 year age difference to you to be able to find your profile and contact you. It also has all the options for blocking people if needs be. So far, it’s been very useful to me. It’ll show you native speakers who are most suited to you based on age and competency level in their target language, and you can the see their profiles and see their interests to find a suitable language partner. Everyone I’ve talked to already seems really friendly, and I find their voice recording option really useful, as I’ve been able to send and receive voice messages from a native speaker in Algeria over the past few days. Also with the text messages, your language partner can correct your mistakes using their great correction feature, which has been really useful too! All I would say is to make sure you don’t put personal details on their, as with any platform that allows you to come into contact with strangers, and obviously if anyone is acting inappropriately towards you, block and report them.

So, that’s pretty much exhausted my tips for keeping up language practice over the summer holidays, but if you have any more to share, let me know below and best of luck to ayone taking exmas at the moment. 🙂

//The Five Senses Tag//

The awesome Dani from Life of Teen Girls created a tag – the five senses tag (incase you couldn’t tell from the title). I think this tag looks really cool and I can’t wait to give it a go so thank you Dani for making this and nominating me!

Rules:
– Thank the person who nominated you
– For each of the five senses (or as many as you do) describe five of your favorite things having to do with that sense. AKA your five favorite smells, sounds, etc.
– Nominate five other people to do this tag

Sight:

  • Rolling waves that sparkle in the sunlight.
  • Sunsets – I am addicted to sunsets, just look at my Instagram for proof!! (@em_is_lost99)
  • Patterns. Not any inparticular, I just really like patterned things.
  • New books that haven’t been opened.
  • Watercolour paintings because they look so beautiful and remind me of the sea/water.

Sounds:

  • Liquid sounds – words with ‘l’ sounds in them like lollipop and illustrous (if that’s how you spell it).
  • Sea crashing on rocks or sand.
  • The sound of acoustic guitars because it sounds so natural and pure.
  • Birdsong in the morning (just not too early, I need my sleep!)
  • The motorway – I find it really soothing for some reason.

Smells:

  • New books (I just like book, ok?)
  • Freshly baked bread.
  • Sun cream (don’t ask).
  • Campfires.
  • Mango and papaya.

Tastes:

  • Chocolate – obviously.
  • Apple pie.
  • Cornish pasties.
  •  Anything with pastry.
  • Peaches.

Things to feel:

  • Sand at the beach.
  • Feathers.
  • Smooth notebooks.
  • Computer keyboards – I don’t know why, I just like the feel of the keys.
  • Grass.

So that’s the end of the Five Senses Tag (booooo) but I do get to tag five awesome people to try it out themselves!!

I’m nominating:

Tea lover Jess

Sophie Samantha

Diversion 3000

Just A Blank Space

Happy Alex

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 🙂

 

//Concerts, prom and leaving school…//

Where do I start? This week has literally been the busiest week of my life. It doesn’t even feel like I had my last two exams this week, on Monday and Wednesday – exams feel like they were years ago (well…not quite years but you get the point). I officially left school this week which was sad but it feels good to be free now and actually have time to do the things I love like blogging and sleeping and drawing and sleeping and playing instruments and sleeping…did I mention sleeping? I’m also getting back into rereading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows which I started before exams but had to abandon whilst I was revising. I’m currently waiting to pick up a French copy of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone from the library and I can’t wait to actually work on improving my French over the summer. Anyway, let me talk you through this week.

Monday: chemistry exam ugh.

Tuesday: t-shirt signing day. It’s a tradition at my school that all the school leavers sign (and basically just ruin) each others school t-shirts. It’s quite cool because it gives you something to remember the school and all the friends you made there by. Also the canteen gave us FREE CAKE. I know, I was as shocked as you. The food at my school is usually REALLY overpriced but here they were handing out unlimited free cake. Amazing.

Wednesday: physics exam. Enough said. It was horrible grrrrrr. BUT in the evening I went to listen to an outdoor James Bay concert (I couldn’t go because my sister had an exam the next day so we stood outside and listened to most of it). James’ voice is actually so beautiful live and it’s made me want to actually go to one of his concerts even more now. I took a few videos which I will *fingers crossed* be editing and uploading on my YouTube channel soon!!

Thursday: PROMMMMMMMMM!!!!!! I was so nervous waiting around all day to get ready for prom that the only way I could stay calm was by spending 3 hours sketching James Bay.
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I was so relieved when it got to 3pm and I could start doing my hair and makeup which actually turned out exactly how I wanted it!! Me and my friends decided to hire a Buick Electra to take us to prom so we could turn up in style. However our plan kind of failed as we went for a drive along the beach before going to the school and got stuck in rush hour traffic. So we ended up being the last people to arrive at school and by that time the carpark was so crowded that I doubt barely anyone was able to actually see our car arriving. Plus people were too busy taking photos of them and their friends. But the car did do a wheel spin on the way out which turned some heads!!

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Prom was honestly the best night of my life. We had to get a coach from the school to the venue but the venue was absolutely stunning and well worth all the travelling. Everyone looked so beautiful at prom and at first it was hard to recognise who everyone was! I kept getting my friends names muddled up throughout the night, probably because I was so tired!

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The stage and dance floor

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We had a three course meal which was delicious in every way, especially the blackberry cheesecake. Me and my friends literally danced and sang for the whole night. We spent the whole time on the dance floor, dancing like crazy and it was amazing. I think all the other people in my year group who don’t know me that well were really surprised to see me actually dancing because I’m usually really quiet and shy but on the way to prom, something just clicked and I suddenly stopped caring about what people thought of me and I think I’ve gained a lot of self-confidence since then too which is great!

Friday: I felt like a zombie after prom (I ended up going to sleep after midnight) but had to drag myself out of bed to take part in the leavers festival at my school. Another tradition is that all the year 11s dress up in fancy dress and parade tgrough the school on any transport they can think of. Me and two of my friends decided to dress up as super heroes on bikes. I was Captain America so wore a blue t-shirt with a silver star pinned to it and made a shield as well as wearing a blue tutu. It was really fun and surprisingly I didn’t feel at all embarassed, despite having the majority of the school watching us. Afterwards everyone went into the hall for our final leavers assembly where we watched videos that each tutor group had made and watched out official prom photo from the night before. It was quite emotional but definitely a good send off. We hung around in the school for a while after the assembly because we just didn’t know what to do with ourselves now that we were finally free!!

Saturday: yesterday I went to a Catfish and the Bottlemen concert and ahhhhh it was sooooo good!!!! I haven’t been listening for them for too long – about 2 or 3 months – but I fell in love with their music immediately. Seeing them live was absolutely brilliant – they were really lively and their voices wee just as amazing as they are on their albums. Also the band themselves were really nice and cool (and good looking!) and great to watch. The atmosphere of the concert itself was a bit too wild for me – we managed to get in the front row on the right hand side and I’m so glad I wasn’t in the middle of the crowd as I don’t think I would have survived that mosh pit! I am now even more in love with Catfish and the Bottlemen arghhhh they were just soooooo good!! As with James Bay, I took some video clips and am hoping to make a YouTube video out of them too. I took some pictures and they actually came out quite well as we were at the front. I queued for like 20 mins after the concert to buy merch and came hone with a huge (and I mean huge – the only place it fits is on my bedroom door)The Ride poster (their new album which is No.1 in the UK at the moment). Now I’m having concert withdrawal symptoms 😂it was just BEYOND WORDS. What I’ve written could never do justice to it.

So, that’s how busy my week has been!! Despite now being thoroughly exhausted after 4 late nights in a row, I have loved every second of this week and wouldn’t change it for the world. I hope you’ve all had a great week too! 🙂

 

//Longing for Summer//

I long to feel again the spirit of adventure,

Course through my body from peak to foot,

Traversing its meandering course, winding, flooding

Through my veins from the source – the heart.

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I long to feel again the Earth’s breath,

As it kisses my cheeks on a long summer’s day,

Knotting the wispy, floating strands

Of my wild, adventurous locks as it goes.

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I long to feel again the fiery heat singe my soles,

As I stumble to the sea, anxious to feel,

The sea-salty depths cleanse my parched soul,

As the waves lap at my ankles.

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I long to see again the soft apple blades,

Prickling the sky as they waft,

Hypnotised by the fresh breeze,

Dancing under the sun’s spotlight in all their glory.

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I long to see again the blazing reds and oranges,

As the sun tears up the horizon – explodes,

Igniting the kindling that lines my soul,

Sparking the fire that burns on and on.

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I long to see again ploughed beginnings,

Of journeys and memories engraved, embroidered,

In to the vast, pastel tapestry of sky,

Criss-crossing tracks to endless destinations.

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I long to hear again the dawn chorus,

The chirping, squawking, twit-twoo-ing symphony,

Composed by mother nature herself,

And performed to early ears and wakening skies.

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I long to hear again the pitter-patter,

The tears that trickle down weather-beaten canvas,

Relief from the merciless summer’s heat,

A steady, melodic lullaby.

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I long to hear again the clashing, attrition,

Pummelling of stray soles on pebble beach’s,

The song of the sea amplified by it’s fossils,

Admired by it’s be holders.

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I long to smell again the dreamy tang,

Of lusciously scented strawberries and cream tsunami’s,

Warmed by the rays, cooled by the breeze,

Enjoyed with a refreshing citrus fizz.

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I long to smell again the vinegar oceans,

That swamp golden, crispy, delicious chips,

And accompany the crunchy, bronze batter,

Encasing the tender flesh of the sea.

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I long to smell again unmistakable,

Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, raspberry –

Heaven upon a cone,

Topped with hundreds and thousands, millions and billions.

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I long to taste again the joy of sunny days,

Of days spent at the mercy of sizzling rays,

The adrenaline of time well spent,

Laughing, talking, living.

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I long to taste again the meaty air,

That rises elegantly, temptingly,

Anticipation of a feast brews,

Tantalising taste buds, enticing all.

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I long to taste again the summer,

The salty skies and fresh meadows,

The zingy sunlight that settles on my lips,

Reminding me of why I love summer.

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Just a quick poem – I felt in the mood for poetry for some reason which is a rare occurrence so I thought I should take advantage of it!! I’ve just finished my last day of school before my spring ‘break’. Although it’s not going to be much of a break after all as I have a mountain of homework to do + revision + I have to go into school to do extra revision on some days anyway. 😦 However, it is my 1 year blogoversary on the 11th April and I can’t wait for you guys to see my blogoversary post (which may or may not include a voice recording!!! *fingers crossed*). I’m also planning to do a 20 mile cycle ride next weekend which I am looking forward to and am going to this all-you-can-eat restaurant with cuisines form around the world at some point so that will be relaxing for a bit!

Aside from that, I’m not planning anything for the two-week break due to all the school work I have to do. But, hey ho, I guess the work will help with exams. And OH MY GOSH I HAD THE REALISATION TODAY. Y’know like when you have exams in a few months and you have known about them for ages and have been preparing for them for a while but you have only just realised that this is it, this is all you have been working for for the past 3 years and that it is ACTUALLY happening – in a few months times you would have sat all of your exams and left school? Well…yeah THAT happened today.

Also I got complimented by my French teacher to day which was slightly awkward – she just came up to me and said ‘Ah Em you’ve really bloomed haven’t you? You have really nice skin and you are looking really good.’ It was SO awkward but she is really nice and I one of my favourite teachers so it could have been worse!

Anyway, gotta stop procrastinating now and go and do some Politics revision, hope you’ve had a nice day and have a lovely weekend!

 

//Is it summer yet?//

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View from my window.

Don’t you just love those days when you open your eyes and the sun is shining through your curtains, making your whole bedroom glow? And when you open your curtains, the sky is bright blue for as far as you can see? I do.

These are the days that make you think ‘today is going to be a good day’ and make you wonder if you’ve skipped forward four months and woken up in summer. (Until you go outside and realise it’s still a cold, British winter).

Days like this are the best.

Em @em_is_lost99