What Applying to University has Taught Me

This is a bit of a different turn from last weeks post and that’s chill with me. I applied to university very spontaneously and after the deadline. No one thought I would get any offers, let alone the three I did get, and it was actually a really nice confidence boost in my abilities and the future I wanted right before exams. I’m really grateful I applied cause otherwise I wouldn’t be about to start my first year at one of the top five classics departments in the UK. I told myself that if I got no offers for my initial application – which I fully expected btw – then I would apply through clearing and see what I could get. And if nothing came of that then I would continue with my a-levels and apply again in September. If anything I would lose £23 or gain the opportunity to go to university. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. I could see teachers doubting me, and my friends and you know what? I did it anyway and got everything I wanted. There’s something to be said for taking the risk. If you want something enough and try hard enough to get it then you will most likely get it – and maybe even get more than you expected to, at least that was the case for me.

You probably will get rejected. And I don’t just mean about University, but that is the example I will be using. I spent weeks phoning up so many universities that I lost count, to see who would accept me, the likelyhood of anyone accepting me and whether this was a pipe dream and I should wait a year and apply with a more realistic application. I was rejected by almost every university and so I decided to put it on hold for a while. Then I got my EPQ grade and thought I might as well try again. I got a positive response from one uni and so I put my all into applying. Because it took so long for that uni to make a decision on my application I applied to two more on a whim. Those two actually responded quicker and with offer’s I could actually fulfill. The initial university didn’t seem to understand my situation offerent me something I just could not fulfill. Ultimately I chose the university that responded to me the quickest. I’ll be going to the university that was most eager to take a chance on me and I wouldn’t have found it if I hadn’t been rejected so many times. Basically, you need to be rejected to find somewhere that actually wants you. If I had gone with the first university who was positive about me I would have ended up somewhere that made me unhappy and that would not have been fair to me, the university or the people around me. I am glad I kept searching and found probably the perfect place for me to be, with some of the top lecturers and honestly the most beautiful campus.

If you think you can do something then you 100% do it and not listen to anyone else. No one else knows truly how determined and stubborn and capable you are until you show them by putting your mind to something and prove them wrong. You just gotta prove them wrong mate. So many of my teachers were supportive but their support always came with a caveat and it just felt like the didn’t believe in me. All of them would ask if this is really what I wanted and they all put their opinions of my life of higher importance than the support they really should have been giving. I do appreciate their realistic outlooks but I really wish I could tell them all how well I have done despite the fact that they didn’t really think I could do it. More often than not you’re going to have to prove yourself to others, and whilst the only person you really should be proving yourself to is yourself, sometimes it’s nice to show people you’re more capable than they thought. But tht doesn’t define your worth. The only person who can define your worth is you.

I hope you got something out of this and that you realise you are so much more than your grades and a lot of universities and others do acknowledge that. The education system in the UK is a full mess and I am glad to be out of the government run part of it. I know that this is the correct next stage of my life and where I am meant to be for the next three years. I hope that you all find that place. Good luck with your next steps and remember that being rejected a lot isn’t the end of everything, it’s probably the beginning of something spectacular.

Chloe

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling or Where I ramble about Harry Potter in general for a few hundred words…

I recently re-read this for a project me and some mates are working on and I had legit forgotten how much I loved this book. It is easily in my top 3 favourite Harry Potter books without a doubt.

I have a weird relationship with the Harry Potter series, both book and movies. The movies I seriously cannot remember more than snippets of any of them and I know for a fact that I have seen all of them. I think between maybe 4 and 6 I fully can remember none of them at all. Aside from like 30 seconds of Goblet of Fire. The books I have read some more than others because I started on the fifth one because that was all that was available to me. I was trapped in Spain for a week and my cousin had brought the 5th, 6th and 7th Harry Potter books with him. When I got sick of rereading Alex Rider for the ninth time I decided to read the HP books and my cousin picked up Alex Rider. And so I have read those three and the first one, and now the 4th more than the 2nd and 3rd. Which is a weird position to be in tbh. I read the 1st after seeing Cursed Child and I decided that I needed to re-read it for sentimentality and then went no further because boy do I have a lot of books on my to-read shelf.

This book is one of my favourites for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s actually one of the funniest ones for what happens. It also explores the relationship between Harry, Hermione and Ron quite well and introduces the idea of Ron and Hermione to the reader. I think if I was to re-read the series I would find some more hints dropped by Rowling towards Ron and Hermione. I like that Hermione is the glue that holds them together, but I also don’t like this one bit because it’s often the woman who holds relationships together and I don’t like that it is on her again. Also Ron treats her really badly whilst he tries to figure out what he’s feeling. I don’t even know if it could be said that he makes it up to her.

I love Hermione so much. She knows what she wants and how to get there and she doesn’t let Ron or Harry stop her. I appreciate that she lets them stick up for her to Snape but also takes no shit and punches Malfoy in an earlier book. Honestly, the best bit in the entire series. That and Snape finally dying. That was truly the best moment, and Dumbledore dying… okay maybe those are the top three moments with Hermione punching Malfoy coming right at the top.

I think I’ve said before that I really hate Dumbledore. He’s an excellent character but possibly one of the worst people in the book series. Arguably worse than Voldemort but that might just be me.

In this book we see the rise of Voldemort after like 15 years of struggling to survive and honestly Rowling wrote this villain really well. Well, she wrote all of her villains well. But I really love how Voldemort talks and the way he is described. She really did well on that front.

Cedric dying really triggers the rest of the deaths. This is the beginning of the dying in this series. The first three books are definitely more child friendly, but this one is where you can see Rowling allowing her audience to grow with the books. She knows that they can handly Cedric’s death and so she uses it to trigger the beginning of the tragedies. When I used to marathon these books I would always skip over Sirius and Dumbledore’s deaths because they made me cry to hard and I knew what was coming. Now I think if I was to go back and re-read the entire series I would only skip over Sirius’, but perhaps he deserves better than that?

It was weird to me how Barty Crouch Junior new how to act to keep the suspicion off of himself as Mad Eye Moody. Like what are the odds that he had all of those mannerisms down and the knowledge, and like I get that he had Mad Eye trapped in his own chest but if he was hit with a question that he had to answer right away and didn’t know the answer? Then he was pretty screwed. Honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Barty Crouch jr had a Drama GCSE cause he sure deserved one after that performance. Cause he sure did put on a performance.

I really loved our brush with two of the other magical academies. It would have been really nice to have been introduced to some others, whether it just be through a mention or having more than three schools in the competition. I like that it got a bit more wordly in this book, but I think it would be really nice if JK Rowling was to continue in the Wizarding World she did it elsewhere and not just focussing on Harry Potter characters cause honestly, shes milked that so much that the cow is dead.

Basically this book is great and it really marks a turning point for the rest of the series which I really appreciate. Rowling is maturing the tone of her wrtiting as her characters and readers also mature which I really like. It makes it feel more accessible to a wider range of readers. This is a good development in the series and I just wish I could read this series for the first time at this age to see how I would view it and how different that view would be.

Chloe

Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

This book is incredible. It is simply beautiful. I have never found a world I wanted to live in more. It is so complex. It is literally the definition of top-notch high fantasy. It is probably the best world building I am ever going to read. There is so much dedication to building and detailing both the human and physical aspects of the world. How beautifully it is done is breath-taking. I can only hope to one day be half as good as Shannon.

The characters had depth. They were complex and messed up and good and morally grey. That isn’t something that can always be said. A lot of times authors forget that the ‘goodies’ have to also be complex and not pure heroes. Ead fought for something she wasn’t meant to. She gave up all she knew for love, but she also lied to everyone she knew for nine(?) years about her religion. She said that she believed in something she didn’t and she converted to something she had no reason to believe in. She did what she believed was best and fought for her what she wanted. I really like how she and Sabran didn’t throw everything to the wind for love and that they recognised that they still had responsibilities to their people and that that had to come first. That shows not only their maturity but also the authors, because a lot of authors forget that these ‘heroes’ still have a role to play in their world after they have fought the dragon or taken down the evil government. A lot of times they leave it to others and go off into the sunset, but that’s just not realistic and often times really not fitting with the characters they have created. These characters are gonna want to see their revolution through to the end even if that means putting their love on hold for however long they deem fit. Ead and Sabran explicitly made that decision to do so and I found that I respected their characters more for it. It showed that they were actually mature, strong women who were well developed and whose author understood them and wasn’t just playing towards the readers.

Niclays and Jannart are honestly possibly the best thing about this book. They were an established gay couple who had unknown acceptance and when Jannart died it really messed Niclays up. I’m not saying that that’s a good thing, but I do believe that it is an important piece of representation. It is actually really nice to see LGBT couples being represented in the same way as straight couples – not the having to keep the relationship secret part, that part sucks, but the pining and doing dodge things in the name of love. That’s where it’s at. Also I kind of respect Niclays. He would do whatever it took to get what he wanted. Even if it meant breaking a bunch of laws and moral codes. He is a really great morally grey character. Although he did completely change his character at one point and I was hella confused. That seemed a bit too spur of the moment and I would have really loved to have read it from his perspective. That would have probably been more enlightening. The other characters weren’t at all surprised by his change of heart which also really confused me. But c’est la vie. I probably missed something that made it make more sense.

Margeret and Loth are the bomb. Honestly I loved them both so much. And I especially love how Loth fought with his religion and beliefs and whilst he thought Ead was a heretic he worked with her and slowly learned to accept her beliefs. Margeret was awesome. She was happily herself and she was unapologetic about who she loved, both in friends and lovers and that is really great. She put a lot of importance on her friendships and didn’t put other women down when they were doing better than her in a shorter amount of time. She knew what she wanted and worked to get it. I love her. And I am also really sad that she didn’t get the happily ever after she had pictured for herself when the war was over. But she also didn’t wallow in the grief. She let herself grieve, but she also got on with her life and that shows a truly strong character. I just really love Margeret. Loth is a difficult one. He obviously went against what his parents wanted for him, although at the end of the book we see him trying to take on the role he was meant to even though it was obvious that that was the last thing he wanted. I really respect that. And the fact that he lost his best friend Kit quite early on and yet he still had the strength to keep going. He willingly infected himself with something that could kill him for the greater good and followed a woman he no longer knew or trusted also for that good. That is really important and self-sacrificing but not in a pathetic attention seeking way which a lot of people do.

Tane is a legit boss. I want to be like her when I grow up. She is so conflicted and morally grey and she is trying her best to be a good person and I love her for that. She tried to forgive herself and she feels so so guilty for what she has done and I love her so much. Also her relationship with her dragon was wonderful. I really loved the parallels between the societies on their dragons and the way that they treated them. I loved the fact that the Eastern World had such a different culture that was obviously so well researched. Tane was so so wonderful and she had a great amount of development throughout the book that was so obvious. I really love how the two worlds collided and that she was willing to set aside her differences to work with Ead. I think that showed a great amount of maturity. [At this point I know I am repeating myself but I honestly don’t know how else to express myself yanno] Tane clearly was so dedicated to her craft and her future and I really appreciate that she didn’t let anything stand in her way or stop her from getting what she wanted, until she had no choice but to answer for her crimes. Also the fact that Nicalys Roos was the linking factor for all of these characters is super wild lol. Just thought I would put that out there. Well Niclays and then the Nameless One. I just thought that Tane was a really admirable character and I want to read more of her story and what she has gotten up to since the book has finished. I know that Shannon wants to tell more stories from this world and I really hope that Tane’s is one of them. That would be really awesome.

Cast of Characters and Maps!!!! This was so dope. So few modern fantasy books have a cast of characters and I really love that Shannon included one in hers. It was truly what I needed to make this behemoth of a book perfect and exactly what I needed. The maps where stunning and the dragon illustration at the front stunning. I want to know who illustrated these and thank them so much because if I ever publish high fantasy they would be exactly who I wold want to do the maps. Like seriously. The fact that there were three pages of maps was perfection and I am in love. Like seriously in love.

The world building was seriously impressive and I know I mentioned that earlier, but I thought I would throw that out again because it is so nice to be able to tell that authors have done actual research into the cultures they are trying to emulate and that they aren’t just winging it or using Wikipedia. Thank you Samantha Shannon for making this the best book you could and doing the all important research. We all greatly thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Thank you so much Samantha Shannon for creating such an awe inspiring piece of literature. You are breath taking. I can only hope to be half as good as you when I grow up.

Thank you,

Chloe

There is something to be said for spontaneity

Without spontaneity I wouldn’t have my university place, I wouldn’t have started going to my favourite workout class ever and I wouldn’t have started blogging. And honestly, so much more. I love being spontaneous. It’s one of the best things I have given myself freedom to do.

But of course some spontaneity has to be planned and you know what I am 100% down for planned spontaneity. That may be oxymoronic, but I stand by it. Without planned spontaneity I wouldn’t be going to the beach today, I wouldn’t be going to Amsterdam or Glasgow this summer and that would be really bad. I wouldn’t get to see friends or family.

There is honestly so much to be said for just going with the flow and putting the opportunity in place to go wild in the future. I book Amsterdam all the way back in December/January because my friend sent me an email with hotel suggestions for a holiday we hadn’t even planned yet. I said definitely and a few days later it was booked.

You gotta live life to the fullest and both regular old spontaneity and the new and improved planned spontaneity will let you do that. Give it a shot and see where it takes you. Lord know’s it’s improved my life so much. I wouldn’t be donating my eggs or moving to London.

If you are looking to make one change for the rest of this year, then you definitely gotta try planned spontaneity. Because of it I have knarly burns and great memories from a beach day. (Yes I finished writing this after I came home from the beach lol. Whatcha gonna do?)

Only a short post this week, have fun and happy living,

Chloe

Small changes to a low waste lifestyle – if I can do it, you can do it.



I’m really reluctant to say zero waste because that is super difficult for many people to actually achieve and it can get depressing when you realise you are not one of those people. For example, we as a family are putting out one rubbish bag every three weeks, which is a major cut down from where we were before. But that is probably going to be the closest to zero land waste waste we will get. And that is fine, because something is better than nothing and honestly, something can be a really long way away from nothing depending on what that something is.

Honestly, the easiest thing to do is to start carrying one of the millions of reusable water bottles you have at home and actually start using it. By carrying water and refilling whenever you get the chance you will be saving yourself so much money and waste. I don’t think I’ve purchased a bottle of water in like 2 years maybe. I know I’ve bought a few reusable water bottles over the years, but those get used daily and it’s nice to have options for the day or type of bag you’re carrying. Or not as I have often found myself to be in the position of.

The next easy switch to make is to make a point of buying fruit and veggies not in plastic. It may cost a touch more, but you’ll also find yourself with much more choice over how much you want to buy, and by doing it this way you can make a statement to the company that you don’t want your produce to come wrapped in metres of pointless packaging. I think it may surprise you to find out just how much your household waste goes down when you eliminate just that area of plastic waste. Just try it for one week and see how much less waste you end up producing. Through simple steps like this my family was able to cut down our waste, as I mentioned above.

The final one is to use a bamboo toothbrush. This can go in the compost – once you have removed the bristles, unless your bristles are not nylon or some other plastic – which cuts down on some landfill as it can instead be used to help encourage growth in the garden, or, this may not work, but could be burned and turned into charcoal to use as a water purifier. But that may not actually work, so it’s worth checking because apparently I’m too lazy to do that.

Yes I am just giving you three ideas, because three is enough to be starting with and it is amazing how far you can get with a small nudge. Goodness knows we’ve managed to go far. I even sometimes make my own oatmilk and then make cookies with the leftover oats to prevent food waste. And I have also birthed my own sourdough started called Ethel who has now made two batches of delicious crackers and one batch of pancakes which were not as delicious, but I am going to try with a different recipe. I will not give up in finding the perfect pancakes. I’m not a quitter.

I hope you have a successful time with these easy and small changes and begin your journey to low waste living. It’s a pretty bomb experience ngl.

Chloe



My Feeling’s About The Hunger Games

Okay, I’m just going to get a few things out of the way before I start this post:

  1. Katniss is 100%, no doubt about it, of Native American descent and nothing will change my mind regarding this. Obviously if you have different headcannons you go ahead. I’m not the fun police and I expect the same respect from you.
  2. Katniss is 100% asexual. Again, there is nothing you could do to change my mind over this. That is how I read her and I have read those books many many many times. Obviously I am not saying that what she had with Peeta wasn’t real, but I also know that you can be asexual and in a consenting sexual relationship, which her and Peeta’s obviously was.
  3. Katniss ended the book series with PTSD. In fact she probably ended book one with PTSD, it just got more and more severe as the series went on and I appreciate the way Suzanne Collins represented it. It was not horrifically inaccurate and I also appreciate how her friends didn’t tell her to just get on with it, but they tried to work with her to heal and survive the day to day. Also you can tell President Coin was a terrible person by the way she treated Katniss regarding her mental health.

Peeta is super underappreciated character and whilst I absolutely hate his name, I do really thank him as a character. We wouldn’t have been able to see Katniss grow as a person and start to think of others greater than her immediate family (and yes I am including Gale in that, because as problematic as he may be, he still was thought of as family by Katniss). We saw Peeta break and be broken by the Capitol and honestly how he acted in the third book, that he pretty much had no choice but to act that way, is so so heartbreaking. He didn’t know what was real and what had been created by Snow and his goons and that is so soul destroying. Peeta deserved so much better than what he got in these books, but I am grateful that he had someone to help him in his healing and that he was let in by Katniss to help her healing too.

I just realised something. Katniss’ mental health is almost entirely pushed to the side to focus on Peeta and his healing. Like as soon as Peeta is fully in the picture again it’s all about him. Like, I may be writing this review 5 years after I last read this book series, but my book memory is pretty good and this feels right. That’s a bit messed up that the main female character’s needs are pushed to the side to focus on the main male character in the love pairing. I’m a bit less happy with Collins after this realisation. I mean if I’m wrong (and I hope I am) then I am more than happy to reconsider my stance, but until then, I am not happy.

I think Gale is a super important character. He is there for Katniss to explore and learn what she does and doesn’t want and what her boundaries are and I think that that is why she is such a strong, independent character. He helps her say ‘fuck you’ to social norms and I am so grateful she had that chance. He is also an excellent example of a morally grey character and he does some really fucked up shit and then blames it on war which I think is possibly a really good approximation of actual humanity in terrible situations. For once we weren’t given a character who only does good things and comes out looking like a saint and actually does nothing to help anyone. I’m not saying that what Gale did was right and that Katniss ever had to forgive him, but at the same time I’m not saying he’s irredeemable. Because he just isn’t.

A lot of people always bring up the love triangle aspect of the films and how ironic that that was what the Capitol and our media chose to focus on and how it was a way of brainwashing the population and making them more comfortable with the situation and giving them something to fight for. And whilst I agree with the sentiment, I also kind of enjoy what happened. Because it really did give us, the readers, a chance to see fiction directly mirrored in reality.

I think that’s all I have for the moment, I may create a part two where I look at how truly fucked up the Capitol is and the whole district situation, but I feel like I should have a reread of them before then. So honestly, expect that never. Probably.

Chloe

My feelings about Twilight

Twilight creates mixed feelings for me and they’re mostly positive if I am honest. I have reviewed Twilight before here, which is definitely worth a read if you’re interested. I’ll be briefly looking at the whole series here, so you might want to read the close review of the first book first. I’ll be waiting here until you’re done.

So, assuming you’ve read the review and you may or may not agree with me, I have opinions that are both out of and in line with the views I stated in this review. Yes, I do think that Edward and Bella are about as well adjusted as two year olds, but at the same time, Bella really went after the future she wanted and freaking got it. You don’t see many youths doing that and she went and fuckin did it. She’s rich and immortal and has a v hot husband and all the time in the world. Isn’t that the ultimate goal tho? I wouldn’t exactly mind any of those things. Sure she might have had to sacrifice a few things, but she really kept the most important things: her dad, her man and her man’s money. Also her child. And her most important friends. So really, she truly the won the game of life. And even though her husband is actually pretty shit at respecting her boundaries and not being abusive, I’m sure she will just leave him eventually once she’s realised her self-worth.

Bella is honestly that bitch and the movies do her no justice. So thank you Stephanie Meyer for writing Bella as the iconic bitch every 13 year old wanted to be, but at the same time, not thank you. Because you put her in a really abusive place and gave her no pets. Like who fuckin lives their lives with only having like goldfish or something cause I’m pretty sure that’s all Bella had growing up. At least give her a hamster or a rabbit and some guinea pigs or something. She looked after her mother for 17 years, you think she wasn’t also capable of taking care of an animal that isn’t as erratic as her mother is.

Also Renee is a bad mother, even by my high standards. Like sure she’s not the absolute worst, but she sure as heck threw Bella up rather than raised her. In fact I think you could even argue for the fact that Bella threw herself up with barely an involvement from Renee and I get that she was a single parent but she could really, frankly, barely be called a parent. But that’s just my opinion. Charlie was a better dad, he didn’t make Bella clean up after him and be on top of his shit as well as her own like Renee did. I think I need more time to fully evaluate this and I need receipts so I guess I know what I am doing this summer lol. You know what? Fuck it. I am going to write an essay analysing the parenting in the Twilight Series and I am also going to use direct quotes and maybe see if there are other critics to tie in. I think I might enjoy writing academic essays too much? But then again that might not be a thing.

Overall, this book series is an actual mess and I love it because it brings me comfort in the dark times and has no unnecessary main character deaths. Honestly, I know that Twilight has some seriously questionable parts and cant be extremely damaging to young girls, and guys, understanding of a healthy relationship, but I just love it so much and can always rely on it to be a good read when I need it.

Peach out guys,

have fun and happy reading,

Chloe