Tuesday, 23 February 2016

experiencing life with social media

Hello there.

After having an assembly today on how we should look up from our phones and experience the real world, I decided to write this post.

Because social media ISN'T A BAD THING.

Yes, we should spend time with our friends and family, speak face to face, go outside and enjoy the world without a phone in between us and it. But social media isn't the negative thing the majority of the older generation seem to make it out to be.

For a start, if the older generation had had the kind of technology and social networking sites that we have now, they too would have been constantly checking Twitter and scrolling through Instagram in their free time. But because they didn't have the kinds of opportunities that our generation have, they have the opportunity to act high and mighty because they played outside when they were my age. 

I agree that toddlers should play outside instead of watching videos on an iPad, and young children should experience grazed knees and tag and building dens out of mud, leaves and twigs. What I don't agree with is the negativity felt towards teenagers and young adults using social media constantly.

Yes, it isn't good to be constantly on your phone, and yes, it shouldn't stop us from experiencing the world.

But for some people, social media is a way for them to escape the world, because for them, the real world isn't that great.

People who struggle with making friends, or feel alone in their normal life can become friends with people online who have similar interests and genuinely care about that person. For that person, social media can become an escape and a life line. Because it's either be alone and scared to go into school.

Or be happy and go into school knowing that once it's over, they can disappear from this loneliness onto the internet, where their real friends are.

I'm not saying social media is a long-term solution to bullying, or loneliness at school or at home, but it is something to help people meet other people, to make friends, and to express themselves while life isn't the best.

I'm lucky enough to just enjoy social media for what it is - I don't have to use it to compensate for what is lacking in my every-day life. I have an amazing family, wonderful friends and a great school life. I can blog when I want, which is a sort of escape, because I can talk about things that I don't feel I can with other people - usually because I can't find the right words in the moment, but I can when I have time to think before I type. I can Instagram photos of my friends and my dog and me, and then I can switch accounts to my bookstagram and smile at the wonderful comments my followers leave me. I can gaze in utter shock at the little follower count next to my username reading 2051. I can go onto Twitter and quickly type out a pun, or something embarrassing I did, or an angry response to sexism in the media. I can Snapchat one of my best friends, who I met through Instagram - and who I'll be meeting in a few months time - and can talk to her about my day and hear about hers, which makes it feel like I see her every day. (by the way, if you want to follow Anna, her blog is here - annasbookish.blogspot.com - and her bookstagram is @annasbookish. She's amazing and I love her dearly)

I can go on social media and say what I want to say, write what I want to write, post what I want to post, be who I want to be - which is who I truly am.

I know one of people's main concerns about social media is that everything is staged, and only our best bits are revealed to the world. We get an airbrushed look at other people's lives, and are never exposed to any gloomy days where life is rubbish and you just want to lie in bed with a blanket and Netflix.

But I am who I am on social media. I don't pretend, I don't hide. I explain that I didn't post a photo because school is hectic and I'm under a lot of pressure. I apologise for not replying to a direct message because I had a rubbish day and I didn't feel like doing anything other than lying on the floor, staring at the ceiling.

I find I can be my purest and realest me online, because I'm around people that like me for me. Anna has seen some of my worst days and still loves me. My real-life friends have stuck with me for 5 years, and my family will always lovely, despite all the arguments we've had and the things we've said.

The point I am trying to make with these extremely long post is that: yes, go outside, and yes, experience life. But don't think experiencing life means putting down the phone. Because my life is infinitely more special with my 2051 followers, and Anna, and her Snapchats, and my pictures, and you guys, and this small blog, and my hilarious 2am tweets, and the comments under my photos.

So maybe think about what you've gained from social media next time someone makes a judgy comment about having your phone glued to your hands. Because I sure as hell have gained more than I've lost.

Thank you all for reading. x

(While we're discussing social media, if you want to follow me on anything, my links are on the left under 'Let's Socialise' and on my Contact page.)

Saturday, 20 February 2016

rip Harper Lee

Before I start, I'd just like to say: I hope you all like my new(ish) design. I haven't changed the actual design, or the layout, but I created a new header - I'm so in love with the cursive font - and I've added photos to my About and Contact page. Have a browse, if you want. :)

As some of you may have heard, Harper Lee died yesterday (19th February), at the age of 89. I studied To Kill A Mockingbird last year for the first 50% of my English Literature GCSE, but honestly, it didn't feel like work.

To Kill A Mockingbird is definitely one of my favourite books, and I think it always will be. It's one of those timeless books that was read when it was first published, is read now, and will be read in 50 years time.

It's a book that promotes equality and pure goodness, and Atticus Finch, while fictional, is one of the best role models for anybody. As is Harper Lee - as one of the most famous authors in history, you would expect her to have become egotistical, big-headed, and a lover of the spotlight. Quite the opposite is true - she was rarely seen in the media, and never let the fame and praise on an entire planet go to her head.

She will be missed greatly by all.

RIP Harper Lee.

(Sorry for the short post - I'll write something a bit longer next, but I felt I said all that needed to be said about this tragic passing. Thanks for reading x)

Thursday, 18 February 2016

reintroducing myself

After posting yesterday, I decided to tidy up my blog by finally writing my About and Contact pages. Writing my About page made me realise how much I've changed since I started this blog in 2013.

So I thought I'd reintroduce myself, with some this or that questions. If you want to know more about my personal interests, check out my About page - this post is just going to be quick answers to random questions I thought of or found online.

Cats or Dogs?

I am definitely a dog person! I have a golden retriever called Ruby. I think cats are cute, but definitely dogs!

Tea or Coffee?

Tea!!!!!

Instagram or Twitter?

I love both, and use them regularly, but I think Instagram just because of the friends I've made through my book account, and the fun I have taking and posting photos.

Star Wars or Star Trek?

Pfffttt, Star Wars obviously! Have any of you seen The Force Awakens yet? I've seen it four times, and I cry every time. I've also just finished a Star Wars re-watch marathon. It's one of my favourite franchises.

Kindle or Books?

I was given a kindle for a Christmas present a few years ago - I bought 5 books on it, and then bought all of those books in physical form. Soon after, I gave my kindle to my mum. I just missed the feel of the pages and the smell of a new book.

Team Cap or Team Tony?

Is anybody actually Team Tony? Captain America is clearly on the right side. I'm so excited for Civil War to come out.

Early bird or Night owl?

Night owl - I like my sleep too much to get up early and I always end up scrolling through Instagram until midnight.

Sweets or Chocolate?

I do love sweets, but definitely chocolate. I get tired of sweets really quickly, but I never tire of chocolate.

Marvel or DC Comics?

Marvel. I love Batman - especially the Christopher Nolan trilogy - but Marvel have too many amazing characters, films and TV shows to not be my favourite. Have any of you seen Daredevil or Jessica Jones on Netflix? Or Agent Carter? They're some of my favourite TV shows - I can't wait for the second series of Daredevil and JJ. I've just started watching the second series of Agent Carter, as it's only just airing in the UK.

Sun or Rain?

I love the sun, but I find rain so calming. I love being in bed and listening to a storm outside, or being outside and splashing in puddles. Sunny weather is lovely, and I'd hate it to rain all the time, but it does rain the majority of the time in Wales, so I have to see the positives of it!

Maths or English?

English! I'd love to do English and French at university. Languages fascinate me, but it's definitely the literature aspect of English that makes it my favourite. I think primary school-me would be shocked to hear that I enjoyed Maths during my GCSE years, and that I got an A* in my November exam. I've now dropped Maths, despite my enjoyment of it, to give myself frees where I can focus on my other subjects. So, English.

Summer or Winter?

I think Winter. I prefer being cold than hot. I love snuggling up in blankets and wearing layers and layers of woolly jumpers and thick socks.

Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings?

I loved the LotR films as a child - Legolas my toddler-self's dream man (still is, to be honest) - but Harry Potter is and always will be one of my favourite book series. I'm so excited for the Cursed Child to be published!

Coke or Pepsi?

I don't really have a preference, I'll drink either.

Pancakes or Waffles?

Neither? I hate both of them. Anything made from that weird batter stuff I just... bleurgh. Unless smothered in Nutella and covered in strawberries, I can't eat either of them. Sorry.

Shower or Bath?

I have both regularly, but I think I prefer showers. They're just quicker, and they allow me to dance around while belting out Disney songs.

Ketchup or Mustard?

Ketchup! Mustard is disgusting.

Movies or Reading?

I think this is pretty obvious, but reading. Obviously I love films, but there's nothing quite like reading words and imagining new worlds, characters and relationships, playing out scenes in your head and smiling at the love or hate or worry you feel for fictional people.

I hope you enjoyed this post. I just thought I'd do a short post to reintroduce myself, as I have changed since the last time I talked about me as a person. I also have a lot of work to do today - including the reshelving of all of my books (I had to stack them on my floor as I've changed my bookcase for a floor-to-ceiling one) and just general school work.

I'll post something better - and a bit more thought out - soon. Hopefully tomorrow!

Thank you for reading. Please comment below if you agree, or disagree, with any of my answers. x

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

how time flies

Why, hello there!

So, a results day (all A*s I'm happy to announce), 2 maths exams, a christmas, 2 english language exams and a valentine's day later - how have you all been?

I think my only excuse for not posting is time. Time is relative, but it always seems to run out for everyone. I wake up at 6:30 for school, and suddenly it's 9pm and all I've done is worked. I've left myself no time for the things I love and enjoy: reading has been neglected for quite a few months, blogging has been shoved under the metaphorical bed in the cluttered room that is my life and writing hasn't been a part of my life for several years.

Time is something that I find difficult to juggle. It's like I'm sat at a pottery wheel, and time is a lump of clay in front of me. But, as proven by my 7 year old self, I'm rather bad at pottery. I think I've made a decent bowl and then suddenly the wheel speeds up and the clay - or time, in this analogy - flies off the wheel and I'm out of clay/time.

This was taken mere moments before the clay flew off the wheel. Yup, it wasn't just an analogy - it actually happened.

So hobbies, passions and anything that isn't school related has been pushed aside as I focus on molding the little time I have left around school work so I don't crash and burn during summer exams.

But I'm stressed and I'm tired and I woke up at 3am this morning with a burning desire to write something. And so, after a whole day of clearing my bookshelf, re-shelving books onto my new (larger) bookshelf, working on my art exam, making flashcards and notes on Nazi Germany and running around making tea for family members, I sat down in my room with my laptop, took a breath, and started this post.

I'm not sure what made me wake up, what urged me to write, what made my heart pound frantically against my chest from the need to just write something, but I think an aspect of it was an email I received from my dad.

On February 15th this year, I went to a National History Museum about 20 minutes from where I live. It's not a normal museum - they take apart buildings from various parts of history, brick by brick, and then rebuild them on their grounds, putting the bricks in the exact order they were originally in, until the building is now on their grounds. They have a lake and streams, with a wonderful willow tree, and old buildings scattered everywhere.

I've been there many, many times, but I went with my dad for the specific purpose of taking photos for my aforementioned art exam project. While taking a photo, my dad took a photo of me, standing on a rock in the middle of a stream with my camera in hand. At the time, he mentioned remembering taking a similar photo around the same area.

The next day, he emailed me the photo he took, plus one from February 16th 2008. Of me in the exact same place.



These photos, 8 years and 1 day apart, show me how far I've come, how far I have to go, and how fast time flies. At 8 years old, I probably felt like I'd never be more stressed. That class test was probably stressing me out, or an argument among friends might have seemed like the biggest worry that I would ever have in my life.

And now, at 16 years old, these exams seem like the most important thing in my life, this year feels like the be-all and end-all, my GCSEs have priority over everything else in my life - whether that's hobbies, friends, family or just my own happiness.

My point is, time passes too quickly for me to sacrifice my own happiness for academic results. And I know, after I publish this post, shut down my laptop, tell my family I love them, go to sleep and start another day, I won't change anything. But it feels really nice to write this down. It feels nice to write again.

Sorry for the long post. But I hope you're glad I'm back - I know I am! I'm hoping to give myself more time to do the things I love, but if I can only manage one, I choose blogging.

I think I'll change what I'm posting. I'll post things like this, but I think I'll also start posting book and film reviews, so that this blog links in with my Instagram account @fiction.and.tea (it's focused on books, if you couldn't guess) I have a slideshow of my feed over on the left, so if you like the look of it, do give me a follow - there's a link under my 'Let's Socialise' section.

If you'd like to, comment your blog links below, or any thoughts you have. Thank you for reading x