The musings and misadventures of a girl unprepared

Friday, 27 September 2013

Get Busy Living

The past week has been a bit of a blur. I'm now back at uni, though my classes don't start until the 30th, as I'm President of my university's German Society this year. It has been a fantastic week, I don't remember being this busy since I was in high school and I used to take on absolutely everything and anything I could get my hands on! Today is my first and only day off in the next couple of weeks, so I'm spending it relaxing and catching up with my flatmates from last year. Oh and of course gorging on Nando's lovely lovely chicken.

As much as I love the freedom of travelling, it's nice to have a little routine and grounding at the moment to get my head back into gear for my second year. I've had a society event/meeting/talk pretty much every day so far and I've surprised myself with how much I've loved having structure in my days. I find that sometimes the laid back (sometimes borderline lazy) attitude can actually become a little tiresome. Even when I'm travelling I love to plan things for each day and find if I spend too many days just chilling out I become irritable and start to inhabit characteristics one would associate with someone who has far too much on their plate. It's almost like I get tired of being lazy.

However I suppose once term starts and I have to forfeit sleep time for work time I'll look back at this post with my 'What was I thinking?!' expression and pray for the days when I could choose exactly how I wanted to spend my time. I suppose it's like anything else; having a balance between the hectic organised lifestyle and the chilled-out-do-what-you-want attitude is key. Plus it makes you appreciate each one a little more (I think my liver in particular would agree on this point).

Our first event of the week was Oktoberfest last Saturday night, at which I took it upon myself to cover everyone in German face paint and a fair few people ended up dancing on the tables. We held the event at Bierschenke, a German pub just off the Strand that is run by the wonderful Oliver. I suppose it's not a particularly great place for tourists that want to experience a traditional 'English' night out on visiting London, but to be fair, as London is one of the most international cities in the world, you could claim you are getting the true 'London' experience. Also it's a lot of fun especially for those who prefer a slightly more chilled out pub-like atmosphere to that of a sweaty, crowded club.

(instagram @kclgermansoc)

Table dancing to the live Oompah Band.

I had planned my first trip in the UK for this weekend, a short night or two stay in Bristol, purely because it's only a 2 hour drive and £4 ticket fee on the Megabus from London. However I managed to party myself into a coma (surprisingly not from alcohol but just plain exhaustion) on Wednesday night and managed to oversleep and miss my bus on Thursday morning. I do plan on starting my weekend trips soon though, though I reckon I'm less likely to miss them once I've settled back into uni life a little more. If you have any suggestions on where is nice to visit please let me know! I've visited pretty much no where in the South or East at all.

So after a rather crazy week I'm very much looking forward to having a few days off and the opportunity to get myself ready for starting back at uni on Monday. Somehow I think I've managed to have a busier Freshers this year than last year and my body isn't best pleased about it... I'm getting far too old for this :P

Monday, 16 September 2013

Failing At My Bucket List

I'm heading back to uni next week so I thought I'd do a little 'review of my summer' post for ya'll and myself, to see how I got on.

On rereading my 'Summer To-Do List' post I realise that I've actually not done a whole lot in the way of what I set out to do. But then sticking to the plan has never really been my thing I suppose.

Unfortunately I still don't know how to say that really long welsh town name, but I'll work on it I promise. Also I don't actually own any cinnamon/am a massive scaredy cat so haven't plucked up the courage to do the cinnamon challenge yet. Furthermore I've watched loads of films and read a fair few books but I don't think any are actually in the 'top 100'. Typical. Oh and I haven't bought any of my uni books yet and have done very little work on my language skills. Wowzers, even for me that is an impressively epic fail.

I realise I've been rather lax on the vlogging front too. I did say it was just an experiment, so maybe I'll pick it up again once I'm more established in London, since at the moment I'm backwards and forwards between there and Preston almost every week. I am currently working on a proper long one though, of all the bits and pieces from my travels that I filmed over summer, so I'll try and get that up here ASAP.

HOWEVER, I did manage to fulfil a few of my goals, the main one being on Friday night, by having my big 21st birthday party :) thanks again to all the wonderful people who made it so special. And yes it was Alice in Wonderland themed and yes I had my face painted. Got a problem with that?

With Dad and Grandad, the three generations of Storeys. Love love love :)

The fam. I love this picture although we all look kinda possessed. If anyone knows how to fix that I'd be extremely grateful!

As a birthday present my lovely older sister bought me two tickets to see Les Miserables in November on the West End!! So that's another rather exciting goal to tick off too :) I've also signed up for beginnners Arabic classes at uni this term - a birthday present to myself, yes I am a massive geek - have applied for the London Marathon (what is wrong with me?) and have started writing a some stuff that may or may not turn into a book... but that's super duper top secret for the time being ;)

I can't BELIEVE how fast the summer has gone and how much has happened to me... Time really does fly. Oooo and I should probably let you all know that I have also bought a tent and various bits of camping gear with my birthday money, so I can travel the UK at weekends. I figure that I haven't seen as much of my home as I would like to and there must be so many exciting places to explore!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

'Do what you love and fuck the rest'

I know I don't usually swear, but that quote didn't seem half as powerful when censored.

This morning I was on one of many trains I've had to catch in the past few weeks. Trains are probably my favourite mode of transport; for some reason I can really let my mind wander when staring out of the window watching the countryside whizz by. Sometimes I think about nothing in particular, doodle dream (my name for somewhere between a lucid dream and a daydream) and perhaps consider what I'm going to have for tea. Mostly though, I let my thoughts meander all over the place, tangling and untangling and creating pretty patterns inside my head until I can suss out what the hell is going on.

Today was one of the latter.

As you may have guessed from my posts over the last six months or so, I haven't been at my best. I've been pretty down for various reasons but it was only this morning that it really hit home that I can't carry on like this.

'Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile' - Albert Einstein

Now I am no advocate for inherent, thoughtless selfishness. In fact due to some intense Christian upbringing it's been drilled into my skull for my entire life to be as selfless as possible. But I've finally realised that although good old Albert was right, if no one EVER put themselves first the world would be a considerably more miserable place. Plus the quote doesn't go, 'Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile, even at the expense of neglecting yourself'.

These thoughts were sparked by a conversation that I had with a good friend not long ago, who was struggling to balance his time between everything he felt he had to do and was consequently not able to do what he wanted to do. When he was offloading to me, the comparison to my former self was uncanny. Never stopping, trying to please everybody, without pausing to consider what I really wanted. Seeing the situation as an outsider really made me reflect on my own priorities. 

Whilst I've slowed down a lot now, I'm still very much in the 'trying to keep everyone else happy' zone. And guess where I am? On the outside of the happy zone, running around the edges trying push people back if they begin to slide a little, totally exhausting myself and letting down the people I care about the most. 

The truth is, the people you care about the most are the ones that probably care about you the most. Meaning when they see you running around the happy circle like a madman, you're never going to be able to make them happy. And why? Because they just want YOU to be happy.

“The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it's all that matters' - Audrey Hepburn 

It can be difficult accepting that you can't be responsible for how everyone else feels. However, there is 0 doubt that you are responsible for you. I've learned that, despite how much I'd like it to be true, you can't rely on other people to make you happy. It isn't really fair on either party. To be happy deep down, like truly happy, you have to do what you love. Sometimes you're going to hurt people and let them down, but you know what? THAT'S OK. If life was just peachy all the time we'd never appreciate the good stuff.

Which is why I'm finding myself disagreeing with Paul, George, John and Ringo. Love ISN'T all you need. Some people are content in their solitude. Love just makes the ride a little sweeter. All you really need is happiness. I don't intend to waste anymore of my life on things that make me unhappy. Chase what you want, do what you love and fuck the rest.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

21 Reasons To Love Being Alive

Today is my TWENTY FIRST BIRTHDAY. Oh lordy that came round rather quickly. I don't know if I really feel all that different, but I think I prefer it to being 20. I'm not doing too much to celebrate today, just seeing some of my favourites and having a scrummy yummy curry for tea :D

Since today is a cause for celebration (for me at least, I'm not forcing you to join in) I thought I'd write something to celebrate life in general for all you lovelies who need something to brighten your day, or just add some sparkle to your already wonderful one! Please add your own at the bottom, you never can have too many :)

1. There's so much world to see

2. Chocolate

3.  Fancy dress parties

4. HUGE woolly scarves

5. That squiggly feeling you get when you kiss someone special.

(Hehehe Josh, sorry about this :P)

6. Live music

7. 'You had to be there' moments

8. The feeling of incredible achievement (/relief/exhaustion) on completing a difficult venture.

This was taken 97km in. I think this might be the closest to death I've ever been.

9. Lazy days

10. Holding hands

11. Who needs shoes?

12. Face paint

13. Dancing all night long

14. Having a family as mad as you are

15. The great outdoors

16. Simple things can be a lot of fun

17. Dreaming up seemingly impossible ventures and trying to see them through

18. Jumping into cold water on a really hot day

(Or in the case of this pic, on a really cold day. We're just hardcore.)

19. Things are still beautiful in the rain

20. Cuddles

21. Having the bestest friends in the entire world.

You see, growing up really doesn't have to be boring :)

Sunday, 1 September 2013

I *HEART* Lisboa

When I was telling people about the cruise and the destinations we'd be visiting, a comment that came up time and time again was 'Ah you're going to Lisbon?! It's supposed to be amazing!'. Seeing as very few people had actually been there, I was a little worried that it's brilliant reputation would be all talk and in fact it would just be another pretty, but relatively no-descript city. Luckily, I needn't have been concerned and Lisbon is now easily one of my favourite European cities, if not the best I've visited.

The city managed to be both simultaneously quaint and vast, with almost very street paved with intricate mosaics and the architecture similar to Madeira's, though somehow with less modernity. It seemed as though every detail of this great city had been carefully considered, giving it the cosy feel despite it's size. Everything seemed to shine as the sun bounced off the numerous white washed walls, reminiscent of the Peruvian city, Arequipa.

I'm such a tourist. But just look at the funky floor!


More mosaics on the main high street.

During our aimless traipsing around, we eventually found directions to the Cathedral, because let's face it, it's not really a holiday without a visit to one of God's houses, is it? The outside was pretty, more resembling a castle than a church. But to be honest, I have seen more spectacular constructions. The inside however, was pretty incredible, with an extremely ornate sacristy and beautiful stain glass windows. I'm not one for supporting the excesses of the church, but even I can't deny it was breathtaking.

Being arty with a candle. We got some rather disapproving looks from the church police for this, but I'd like to think that Jesus had a creative side too.

As usual the picture doesn't really do it justice.

I also loved the tram system in Lisbon. They all looked like the picture below, proper old school with none of the horrible modern updates. It really added to the feel and appeal of the city. There were also tuk-tuks like the ones in South-East Asia that I've heard so much about!

Of course we had to stop for a drinks break in such high temperatures and I was over-joyed to discover that they stocked Somersby Cider, which is the drink I practically lived off in Croatia. So I got all excited and ordered it for everyone to try, only to have Josh burst my bubble and tell me that they APPARENTLY sell it in England to. A special reward to the person who can tell me where.

Whilst sipping away we were also lucky enough to have a free show provided for us, in the form of a gypsy asking other customers for money and the HUUUUUGE waiter trying to get rid of him. It was all quite Carry On, with the little man attempting to fight back against the body builder, scrambling against the massive bulk of muscle, whilst the owner came outside with a baseball bat! Luckily he didn't need to get involved though. It was all rather bizarre.

It's safe to say that I'll be returning to Lisbon in the future, but for a few days next time so I can really explore and soak up the culture. Back to the ship for two more days now before arriving home!