Sunday, 25 October 2015

Pitied, feared and avoided

“They say he was disturbed – someone to be pitied, feared and avoided.”


But at the end of the day he was still human. He just wore his demons on his sleeve, where some like to wear their heart. His face was of a wretched inky misery, and his eyes were of a depth one could get lost in, only to never return. The silence of the words he didn’t say blared out from his soul and his body hung loose as if it were drawn out; as if life had such all the living out of him. His skin a grey ashen, heavy-looking, solemn. His fingers thin, matching his silhouetted body. His hair, a musky black, messy, unkempt. No one should have to hold the memories he does, the memories that are imprinted into his skull, the memories that he cannot escape from. No one should have to experience the things he did, the things he lived through, when there was still life left in him. No one should have to hold themselves up the way he does, as if his thin body weighs a hundred stone, and he has lost the energy to hold it up right. No one should live the way does, because he isn’t really living, his life was taken away from him a long time ago. They say he was disturbed – someone to be pitied, feared and avoided. But at the end of the day he was still human. He just surrendered a long time ago, and no part of him could be retrieved. 
Source: We Heart It

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Sunday, 11 October 2015

To hold a pen is to be at war

“To hold a pen is to be at war”

To hold a pen is to be at war. To write a word is to be in the midst of battle. To write a page is to be relentless. War doesn’t solve anything, it is no more meaningful than words on a page. But words can change people. Words have the mystical power to kill a person within a second. So can war. Words can be seen as a jumble of 26 letters. War can be seen as a fight for the better race. Life is up to interpretation. One can gain the same from a word than the world can from a war. Nothing.        
*Disclaimer - please don't use/edit my work without my express permission and please don't share it without it being credited and sourced back to me - this was just something I wrote a little while ago - I know it's not perfect, it was never supposed to be. The main idea behind this was to draw links between writing and war; to create a chain of thought; to make you question meaning and meaninglessness...*

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Sunday, 27 September 2015

The Academy First Days | The Ghost Bird Series | Book 2 | My Thoughts

The Academy, First Days, Book 2 from The Ghost Bird Series by C.L. Stone.
Sang Sorenson used to be the invisible girl in class. As a new student to Ashley Waters High School, Sang hopes that her new friends will be the change she’s been craving and will make fitting in a breeze.

But Academy students aren’t there to take it easy. The high school is overcrowded and rife with violence. When fights begin, Sang will uncover the true reason the boys traded in their private school life for a public one. 

This year, Sang will no longer be invisible. This year, Sang is a target.

The principal and vice principal are hot to take Sang down, and her own mother is determined to entrap Sang forever in her belief that the safest place to be is in the shadows. Despite this, Nathan, Luke, Kota, North, Silas, Victor, and Gabriel will discover Sang’s unyielding loyalty.

And they will sorely need it.

The Academy, supremely influential.

After reading the first book back in June, I thought it was about time to move on to the second book in this series. (The books come as E-books which I purchase on iBooks.) The first book slapped me in the face with my low expectations and I realized that this series was a lot more than I thought it would be, so I thought I would repeat what I did with the first book - record my thoughts after each chapter. This way, you can read my worries, concerns, expectations, thoughts and opinions as and when I reach each chapter. I have just finished reading the book today so I thought I would now compile my thoughts into another book related blog post. Consider this a slight twist on your bog-standard book review!
The Academy First Days - (may contain spoilers)

Monday

Following the leader - If you haven't read the first book, you won't understand this book. It carries straight on from where the first book left off, there's not much introduction so you really would have had to read the first book in order to grasp an understanding of this one.

Misery Loves - Sang's mother is the most melodramatic character I think I have ever read about in a book. If I were Sang I would just run away and never come back. So far there hasn't been much of a story line, but I'm still hopeful :)

Polaris - This chapter ends Monday really well, it concludes everything that happens and gives a bit of closure on Sang's punishment. It was a really sweet chapter but I still can't see the plot moving anywhere, maybe I'm just too impatient!

Tuesday

First day - uggghh Greg.

Unusual classmates - I'm really interested in North's past and character, I really like how he's more present in this chapter as he's probably one of my favourite characters. Mr Blackbourne however, I really dislike, I find him creepy and what 19 year old has a job as a music teacher?! It all seems a little strange and too unrealistic.

Hungry - Not much happens in this chapter, it just sort of follow their day at school, I'm not really sure when a proper story-line will come in but not much has happened so far. Mr McCoy is a really odd character though, I'm not really sure what I think of him.

Flirting - So now Dr. Green is supposedly 19?! Teachers can't be that young..! And his behaviour towards Sang - a student?! Dr. Green does not seem like a teacher and he certainly isn't acting like one. And how can he possibly be a doctor..?

Painful secrets - Okay. I'm 1/4 of the way through the book and I'm pretty sure I'm getting some plot line here, so that's pretty fun. I'm really intrigued by what goes on in this chapter - more mystery is created about the Academy and Sang starts to ask the questions she's been keeping to herself. In this chapter Sang also questions herself which is really upsetting to see, her family is so negative around her that it's sad to see her starting to think the same way and I feel like she's starting to doubt who she is. This is probably the best chapter of the book so far :)

Deeper - Okay, now I'm really curious about the Academy. I noticed this in the last book but C.L. Stone is really good at creating suspense and curiosity in the reader which is exactly what he achieved with this chapter. This chapter may have been one of the shortest but it was really able to create a lot of mystery surrounding the boys and the Academy.

Wednesday

No Longer Invisible - I feel like the majority of the chapter was just filler, but I really liked some of the description towards the end of the chapter.

Whatever you need - This chapter has really hooked me into reading more. Sang has finally been let in a little more and I feel like the mystery surrounding The Academy is starting to be revealed.

Notes and Proposals - I feel like Sang is too naive, overly naive, completely and utterly naive. It's becoming quite frustrating to be honest. I know the point of portraying her like this is to show how trapped she's been - not getting the chance to see the outside world and interact with others, but it's getting a bit patronising now...

Tooth and Nail - A lot happens in this chapter and it really kept me hooked. Sang gets involved in a huge fight and really tries to stand up for herself. What I didn't like about this was that in the end she couldn't stand up for herself. The guys had to come in and save the day. Which admittedly is fine, Sang has no real experience of the outside world, how was she supposed to know what to do!? But it just frustrates me that it seems she can't do anything for herself.
I guess I'm just used to reading books with strong female leads who tend to be trained in kickboxing, and advanced sciences (Ally Carter in looking at you).
I just wish Sang would do something for herself for once.

Swinging Hammers - I have to say, I'm really not a fan of these little nicknames that are starting to pop up for Sang. The feel really forced and uncomfortable and some of the things the guys say to her are really awkward. The characters aren't fluid in this book and the way they are with Sang is really weird sometimes.

Grounded - This was such a good chapter, it was nice to see the guys let Sang into their 'Academy' lives a bit more and her let them into hers. Luke was so sweet at the end, staying with her whilst she suffered through her mother's punishments.

Thursday

Inappropriate - I feel like most of this was just a filler chapter, so it was quite boring to read. Mr. McCoy did raise some suspicion however, and I'm interested to see how the Academy works around him and what he's up to.

One of Us - Sang is really being let into the group now, and although she is incredibly dependent on them it's still nice to see her with a large circle of friends.

Change of Plans - Finally I can see a story line! Sang is going to get the chance to be more independent and she's been let into the Academy and now knows a little more. I think I'm finally starting to warm up to her character now that she's been given the opportunity to be more independent and limit her own vulnerability.

Bait - Sang really takes initiative when she's talking with her sister, I feel like she's becoming more confident and becoming a stronger character. I feel like the story is really progressing, I just wished this would have happened earlier in the book as it took so long for a plot line to show.

Friday

Alone - Sang's character is becoming a lot more stronger, which is great because I hate to see such weak and helpless female protagonists. This chapter's really sweet and I really like the way the story is heading.

Trouble - I don't really have much to say about this chapter, apart from that I'm intrigued to keep reading :)

Friday Fall - Friday Fall is vicious. I don't know what kind of school they go to, but it has messed up traditions. This chapter really made me proud of Sang, she fell from a two story building and then went back up to fight those who threw her off the balcony. - Finally she's showing some initiative and strength! 

Double Grounded - Sang is not a helpless weak stereotypical 'do nothing' girl! She actually has substance to her and I honestly feel so relieved.

A - I've finished the book and I still don't know what the Academy is! It's so intriguing though and the chapter really showed just how powerful Sang is to the others. For the entirety of this book I considered her to be really weak and quite a limp character; I didn't realize how much power she'd acquired and what she is capable of doing.

I didn't realize how much actually happened in the book itself. The story covers less than a week; Monday-Friday, and the previous book covers a similar time period. As a result the books flow on from one another really easily, continuing where the last left off. But because so much happens, it honestly feels like the books is covering weeks if not months.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to continue reading the books in this series, there's so much curiosity surrounding the Academy I think it would be hard for me to avoid reading the next book!
Some of my favourite quotes from the book - 
"Death would have been gentler."

"Somehow, amid all the other things going on, he sought me out in the darkness."

"In my mind, the dark mystery school I envisioned the Academy being was full of ninjas all sparring in silence."

"I was no longer invisible."

"His eyes demanded my answer, unrelenting."

"Guilt for their charity etched into me, prickling my skin."

"Anything hurt?"
I shook my head. Nothing outside of my lip and cheek and my own pride. "I'm fine."

"My heart went from pounding a mile a minute, to dead still."

"Normalcy was never my strong suit."

"No rest for the wicked."

"It displaces the burden instead of solving anything."

"For prisoners like us, a key would be like gold."

"She had the power to bring everything he'd worked for down with one single look. Only she didn't know she had that ability, and that made her even more dangerous."


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Sunday, 13 September 2015

Back to School Commandments

Inspired by Sylvia Plath, I have made my own Back to School Commandments.  
Back to School Commandments

1) The next 11 months will be hell, so stay cheerful at all costs. Negativity will NOT be tolerated.

2) Sleep lots, nap if necessary.

3) Just take things 30 seconds at a time.

4) Work stops at 9.00pm. After that, NO MORE!!!

5) Email and ask for extended deadlines if needed, but do not stress about deadlines - you don't even need to, you haven't missed a deadline in your entire life and it's unlikely you will now.

6) Exercise regularly... Or at least try to.

7) Plan revision realistically and adapt if need be. Switch things up every few weeks so as not to get bored of the same routine.

8) Try to attend all lessons, miss lunch if you need to, but try to get to every class.

9) Write more, just write everything down, and when you have no more to write, keep writing. Oh and try to read more too - always have a book on the go, and make time for reading and de-stressing!

10) Stay rested, stay hydrated, and stay cheerful; attitude is everything. Besides, there is a certain clinical satisfaction in seeing just how bad things can get.

p.s. This year is supposedly going to go quick, so just remember that it will soon be over and that your health is supposedly more important than your grades, even if you don't exactly agree with that, just try thinking it... xx Ellen


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Friday, 4 September 2015

The Escape Plan

Year 11 is fast approaching as on the 7th of September I will be forced to return to the prison that most call school. However I have been scheming and planning (as usual), and I have come up with an escape plan.

You must not tell anyone, not even your dog. And you must listen very very closely, as I will not be repeating myself.
(Not my photo, sourced from Pinterest)

Stage 1)
Pack your bags.
This step is fairly straight forward, you will need a black duffel bag, or a body-bag will do - depending on what type of desperate teenager you are, and you will need to pack the following things -
- Cadbury's animal crackers, for the journey
- 3 Galaxy chocolate bars - one for you and two for me.
- A onesie, because who doesn't like footsie pajamas?!
- A black coat, in case it gets a little nippy outside.


Stage 2)
Get yourself ready.
For this step you will need equip yourself with the following attire, otherwise you simply won't fit the part.
- A black leather catsuit - or just black leggings and a top but you will have to accept the fact that you won't look as cool...
- Black Nike trainers - the ones that all the Chavs wear - you know the ones.
- Black eyeliner - don't just buy it, actually put it on, so that you look fancy and mysterious.

Stage 3)
Move out. Go, go, go!
We will leave London at 0855 and will arrive in Siberia at 0500 hours. Then we will trek 3 hours North. Once we reach 'Keptin' we will head West for 1km, until we reach the 'River Mekele.' By the side of the river there is a steel plate located on the ground beneath the snow covering it. The latch opens from the side and leads to a ladder which takes you down to an underground war bunker situated under the river. This will be our base for the foreseeable future.


Stage 4)
Remain in the bunker and avoid all human contact.
This step is also quite self explanatory. The objective is so remove yourself from civilization. Set your responsibilities aside, forget that year 11 is fast approaching and you have exams to take. No one can find you, those exams are no longer a threat to your happiness. They are gone. And as long as you don't return, they won't return.


Stage 5)
Regroup.
At the moment, you are a lone wolf; travelling to find your pack.
This is the stage where you find said pack.
We shall meet in Orto-Surt, which is 2 hours North-East of Keptin. Here we will create further plans to regroup and will look into any paper-trails we have unintentionally created.


Year 11 is no more, your past life of exam stress is no more that a haze in the distance, you have escaped and you can start your new life now.
This is the escape plan, and you have escaped.


I shall meet you at stage five to regroup. We shall start our new lives together as a community of extremely isolated and disheveled teenagers, but hey, at least we will have escaped the looming threat of year 11...

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Friday, 28 August 2015

Writing

Scenario 1 –
You’re feeling creative, so naturally you take your place at your desk, laptop at the ready with a fresh word document open. The curser blinks warily at you, waiting for a sudden jolt of energy to push it along the line you are about to write. But nothing happens. The curser blinks patiently; you tap your finger on the desk, impatiently. Nothing happens; your ideas never existed in the first place, what made you think you could create them now?

Scenario 2 –
You have an idea. In fact, you have many. You run up the stairs two at a time, sit down at your squeaking chair. Your laptop flies open and a new word document is opened. The curser blinks. You look down at your hands, your fingertips are moving slightly with anticipation. But nothing happens. After a while, you look at your word document. You have half a sentence and an emotion. Everything’s gone. The curser blinks, still.

Scenario 3 –
The curser blinks, watching you. It has done for almost three hours now. But you don’t notice, for your eyes have blurred and the pixels on your laptop screen have started to merge and suddenly your consciousness kicks itself and you become aware, again, of the words you still haven’t yet written. The curser blinks. Again.
In one of these scenarios, possibly, on a rare occasion, something different might occur. You might start typing, your long fingers subconsciously moving across the keyboard, forming words you haven’t yet processed in your mind. They work ahead of you, with your mind trying to catch up. Words are typed to create sentences. And then those whole sentences bunch together to create paragraphs. The gears of your mind whirring, your fingers rapidly moving, black pixels being splashed across the once lifeless page; creating. Spilling ink across the page, creating a mark that stains the page with meaning. You take a breath and pause. And you read over what you have written, secretly hoping, pleading, that your words were not just your breath of thought, hoping that your words breathe meaning, allow the reader to disappear from their physical existence for a short while. The curser blinks while you read. Finally, you’ve turned blood into ink.


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Friday, 14 August 2015

Sicily.

This summer I went on holiday to Sicily.
After finally getting round to downloading the photos off my camera, I thought I would create a photo diary of the holiday. It was a lovely week and Sicily is such an incredible place; the weather was lovely as was the food and the people! xx
Roman Amphitheater - Taormina 

The beautiful view from Taormina

A friend <3


Pizza - Il Tocco Pizzeria

Crystal clear
Mount. Etna
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Friday, 7 August 2015

Forgotten Creativity I A Lost Cause

I haven't been writing.
In January I started the 365k365day challenge. The idea is that everyday you write 1000 words; so that by the end of the year, you've written 365,000 words. When included into the daily routine, it creates a forced creativity. Even if what you write is rubbish, at least you're writing something. Even though I knew I could never write 1000 words a day, I liked the challenge's principle of writing daily.
Like I said, I haven't been writing... 

I haven't been reading.
In June I created my Summer Reading List. It's August now, and I haven't read any of those books. In fact, I still haven't finished reading the book I started in May! Last summer I read ten books.
Like I said, I haven't been reading.

I haven't been doing anything creative.
I like to make jewellery, I like to play the violin, I like to paint pretty nail art designs on fake nails, I like to read, I like to write, I like photography. Which of those things have I done this summer? None of them. My creativity has blown out the window, I don't have the will to do anything. Writing seems like an old pastime rather than a much needed form of self-expression. I still haven't read past chapter 17...

All I want to do is sit in bed all day, watching Netflix, avoiding human contact, escaping the real world. Forgetting that I have a summer to experience...

My thoughts are scrambled, as are my words. I have no short stories to publish, I have no books to review. What was supposed to be a summer full of creativity and new projects has morphed into something very bland. As I said to a friend the other day, I feel like stagnant pond water; doing nothing; with no true purpose...

I'm going to leave it there, I already feel as though I've said too much. But I want to leave you with this video I watched earlier, I like it and I think you will too. xx

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Friday, 31 July 2015

A Jar of Honey

A few days ago I visited a small, family owned, honey factory in Sicily near Mount. Etna. I didn't just come to Sicily for honey, I'm actually on holiday at the moment, but anyways...
The company sells freshly made honey, which they allow you to taste. They offer a wide range of products including honey with creams, honey sweets, honey biscuits, pure bee pollen granules and cosmetics including lip balms, creams and soaps. My favourite honeys were the honey with lemon and orange, and the 'honey with cream' with melon.  
As well as selling honey, the company also sells spices, pesto, olive oils, wines and liquors.

Visiting the factory was so interesting, and being able to taste the different honeys was a wonderful experience! It was also lovely to see one of the 750 beehives the company owns (see above). They keep one of the beehives by the factory for people to see and then they dot the rest of the beehives around the volcano and the other nearby areas where there are flowers available for the bees to pollinate. 
After a lot of taste testing I bought two jars of honey; Miele di Arancio (Orange Honey) and Miele Di Limone (Lemon Honey). I also bought some honey biscuits called Fogile Mandorlate and a honey spoon!
I was also given a little leaflet (see below) to tell me what health benefits come from eating the honey. For example, the Miele di Arancio (orange honey) is relaxing and tonic. Sedative suitable for people who suffer from nervousness and anxiety. Against insomnia and headache.
What really makes this business unique is that they tell you exactly what is in the fresh honey you're tasting and they show you exactly how it's made. The honey isn't mass produced and you are able to see how well kept the bees are as the people who own the business understand how important bees are and treat them with care. 

Visiting the small factory was a wonderful experience and is was so lovely to taste freshly made Sicilian honey! You can also ship overseas which is definitely what I'll be doing once I've finished my honey!

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