being a bookworm

Reader,

I am a complete bookworm. Not only that, but my obsession with reading and writing is such a big part of my life that its sort of become ingrained as part of my identity. 

Anyone who’s found their passion in life could tell you how much it influences them and who they become and for me that thing has always been books.

Nothing makes me happier than getting lost in a novel, spending hours gushing over the genius writer that came up with the sentence that punched me in the gut or wasting hours in book shops taking secret sniffs of that new book smell.

My hobbys of blogging and youtube all revolve around my love of reading and writing and when anyone asks me about myself I find it difficult to think of things I do that are outside that field.

I get irked by all of the things typically bookworm like cliff hangers and when the covers change half way through a series. I read books critically because of my degree and have reached a stage where not having an opinion on a book I’ve read is non-existant. If I love a book or hate one, I’ll give you and in depth analysis of why, even if you didn’t ask for one ; )

My personality and world has largely been shape by the countless books I sped through in my early teens, my life long dream all starting with a love of John Green novels.

My point? When I say I’m a bookworm, I don’t just mean that I like to read, most true bookworms don’t. A bookworm is just kind of who I am, or at least a massive root to a lot of the parts of me that you might not even imagine stem from it. For better or for worse, I’m a book nerd through and through.

What hobby has helped define you? What do you love?

Leigh-Ann

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my degree

Reader,

If you don’t know already, though I’d have thought you would, I’m studying a creative writing degree at university. I made the decision to change from being a joint honours Creative Writing and English Literature student to a single honours Creative Writing last year. I love my degree, even in the moments when I don’t ; ) , and I wanted to talk about it with you.

I study my subject at a creative and arts based university which means I’m surrounded by creative people every day. I question myself and my choice to do a creative degree as well as the questioning of others every day but I always come to the conclusion that not only was it the only degree for me, but that it’s a great degree to have, particularly for someone with just high writing ambitions as myself.

My course so far has focused on strengthening and increasing the reach and honing of my writing skill. We are pushed to writing things well out of our comfort zone, and work shopping our writing with our fellow students is a massive part of the course. Studying writing, at least in my opinion, is a bit different because of where you start when you come to university. In terms of the creative writing skill, most people are self taught when they come to uni. Aside from writing the occasional story in English Lit at school, most writers on the course discovered the writing community online or from books and authors they love, and learned the lingo by immersion in that community. The course that I’m taking has very much been based on the idea that we’re in need of a recap of the rules in order to break them and the first year I found I didn’t learn anything new so much as learnt how to make the writing I was already doing far far better.

This year is more about honing in and trying new things, at least for me. I’ve picked modules that support what I’ve always wanted to write, as well as modules that force me into fields that are more of a new interest. This year is far more about learning career skills in terms of writing, and I’ve embraced that by taking an open module that allows me to do a work placement as part of my course. I’m still not sure what I want to do after uni yet, but I know I want to write as a career and this year is allowing me to explore all of the ways that I can do that.

Another thing that’s been great about my degree and specifically my university is that we’re taught by successful and established writers and are constantly shown examples of how people who’ve done our exact course have gone on to be successful published writers. The connections our uni has to great writers, editors and members of the publishing industry give me the confidence to pursue my passion with the knowledge that a job will follow, whatever that might be.

There are lectures and lecturers that really inspire me and of course ones that are a bit more lacking. There are tutors that I feel don’t really understand or even try to understand what I write, but these are all in the minority to what is otherwise a great and motivating course. There are times where I question the expense of uni, particularly with the creative degree and somewhat limited  career prospects (at least in the eyes of many creative degree doubters). I still think there are many ways in which my uni and my course are failing. That being said, for the most part, my uni course only fuels the fire I have for creative writing and fills me with hope for the future. I attend one of the top unis in the country for my course and I’m extremely grateful for that opportunity.

So that’s my experience with a creative writing degree. If you have any questions feel free to shoot them at me. What do you guys study if at all and would you ever consider a creative degree?

Leigh-Ann

september favourites

Reader,

Autumn is here and I like Autumnal things so I thought I would be rather unoriginal and just do an Autumn favourites because, well, I like talking and writing about the things that I like. After some more thoughtful posts with a bit of a sad or questioning undertone I thought it would be nice to talk about some of the things that made me happy last month.

Mustard Yellow – My new favourite colour. I don’t know what shifted, possibly the fact that I love all sorts of Autumnal type colours, but suddenly I decided it was gorgeous. It’s warm and earthy but somehow still bright, you can wear it with just about anything because it’s bold enough to act as a statement and I bought the cosiest mustard yellow jumper that I basically lived in last month. Now I just want a yellow dress, like in La La Land.

Headspace (App) – Meditation has always seemed a little ridiculous to me but when things really started to get on top of me last month I thought to hell with it and downloaded an app. With YouTube Ads everywhere I’m sure you’ve already heard of it, but the app basically just talks you through a moment of quite reflection and helps you catch your breath. I’m not completely sold yet but I’ve definitely enjoyed trying it out.

Peanut Butter – I’m not sure what more needs to be said about this one aside from the fact is gooey and delicious. Pop it on a bit of toast and I’m done for the evening. It’s a cosy form of junk food perfect for me during the beginings of Autumn.

Candles and Oil Burners – So thanks to an ASMRtist I follow on YouTube, during September I took an interest in crystals and aromatherapy. Though it’s not a belief of mine, I’ve loved delving into it and I bought a cute little oil burner that’s been sending me to sleep with a lovely lavender smell. It’s actually very soothing to have soft and familiar scents in my room and on my clothes and it’s done a lot to give me that little bit of calm in a stressful day.

Tom Rosenthal (Musician) – If you haven’t checked on Tom’s music on Spotify or YouTube then I suggest you do it right now. His voice is beautiful and warm, his lyrics are both hilarious and moving and the vlogs he does with his children just make my heart melt. When I’ve needed something uplifting and soft in terms of music, Tom’s music has been right there. I’ve been a fan for years but recently I was reminded how wonderful he is. He even liked a tweet I wrote about him!

Letter Writing – I love kicking it old school and writing people letters and I’ve been doing it since the beginning of last year when I moved away to university. In September I finally started to get letters back rather than texts of thanks and it really made me smile. My friends and family picked out some adorable cards and filled them with kind words and receiving them in my new house was a lovely feeling.

So those were the things that made me happy in September? Do you have any favourites? What are you looking forward to this month?

Feeling spoopy yet?

Leigh-Ann

imperfection

Reader,

Let’s talk about self image for a second, shall we?

I wanted to talk specifically about imperfection and start by talking about it in a wider sense. Imperfection is everywhere; in places, concepts and people. It’s imperfection that makes our world unique and well beautiful. Let’s think about this.

Think of yellowed book pages and the tea cup with a chip. Think of the height marked spot on the kitchen wall.

Sounds pretty cosy and nice doesn’t it? These imperfections show signs of use and love and experience.

Now lets think about chipped nail polish and girls with freckle covered noses and stretched marked tummies, the boy with a crooked smile, twiggy arms and kink in his hair.

Imperfections in people make them beautiful. Imperfections in things make them beautiful. When we think of our favourite person, there will always be something about them that might be unconventional or “imperfect”. Something that they hate about themselves but we’re attracted to and love.

This is the same even beyond physical imperfection. Jealousy, perfectionism, a snorty laugh, a tendency to cry, a fragile soul, an argumentative temper. Seeing someone’s true beauty is knowing that these things are part of who they are and what makes them beautiful. We all know that. We all see that in the people we love. I could write thousands of words, attempt beautiful poems, about why the boy I love, or my best friend or my sister, is completely imperfect and why I love every single one of their stupid imperfections anyway. Most people could.

So why is it that we’re so unwilling to see our own imperfections as beautiful? This is an open question. I don’t have the answer. All I know is that we all do it and that we should stop. We beat ourselves up for not looking like the magazines, but more than that, for not being happy all the time or being the best at everything we do or making mistakes in life. We don’t forgive ourselves like we forgive the people we love. We don’t want to see ourselves through the same lens as we see the people we love or even with the kindness we often offer to complete strangers.

I’m needy and jealous and I worry about everything. I’m a neat freak, I’m going through a tough time and I hate admitting to not being happy, and I have a terrible relationship with food. People I love will tell you I care, and I’m organised, I put too much pressure on myself and I like sugar. The comparison of their words and mine is a simple demonstration of how harshly we view our own imperfections compared to those of others.

This isn’t supposed to be a high and mighty post and I’m not suggesting that this is a new revelation; of course people have talked about this before. But I wanted to talk about it in our space, think about it myself, and try to make myself realise that even our best qualities falter sometimes. Even the things we love about ourselves can too become imperfections. Everything has a flip side and we have to be okay with realising that it’s not a bad thing. It’s a balanced thing.

How do you remind yourself to view yourself with kindness? Let me know.

Leigh-Ann

why i’m such a morning person

Reader,

I am such an annoying little morning person. Yep, I like being up early(ish) ready to start the day; a day that’s still full of possibilities. Lying in feels good in the moment, sure, but I always wake up feeling like my day has been wasted and it’s a horrible feeling for me.

I’m always at my most productive in the morning. I never snooze my alarm but drag myself up and out of the covers with as much get up and go as I can muster (which isn’t always as much as I would like, granted). There are so many motivating factors when it comes to the morning from the fact that breakfast has always been my favourite meal of the day (so many good food options!) to the fresh morning air or the songs on morning radio or playlists. Morning is before all the chaos and possible disappointment of the day, it’s the breather you have before the day starts. It’s the time to sit with your thoughts and organise your to dos without having to worry about the lack of time to do them. I mean you have all day, right?

When I get things done in the morning, no matter how little these things are, I’m left with that self-satisfied productive buzz all day and even if by the end of it, the day hasn’t been so good after all, I always have that little bit of time I took to myself and the things I needed to do that morning. If I’ve had an energised morning, I usually feel good about rewarding myself with a very chilled evening and can do so with the knowledge that I took and experienced every moment of the day that I could.

When I think about a cosy future, the kind that I would like to have some day, my head always skips to a morning. I wake up next to the person I love, pull myself sleepily out of bed to drink warm coffee and watch them lazily slip into a shirt. And maybe as I get older and have a family the mornings get more hectic but if I’m going to a job I love and I get to kiss the person I love goodbye every morning over the chaos of the food splattered table then I’ll be happy.

A made bed, an alarm clock reset and a somewhere between healthy and sugar rot breakfast is a thought that just brings this sort of complete and content feeling to the forefront of my mind. It’s that I crave. And yes sometimes things go terribly wrong after this, but morning is my reset and I’ll do the best that I can to make sure it’s not tainted by the previous day.

Morning is my moment. What is it to you?

Leigh-Ann

i’m a hufflepuff

Reader,

I am a Hufflepuff. A newbie one to be exact. See having only read and watched the Harry Potter series under two years ago and not having read or watched them since, I’m very much new to the Harry Potter fandom, houses and all of the other things Potter heads are involved with. I realise that some people see Hufflepuff as the less desirable house and that many Hufflepuff’s have spent their time attempting to defend and promote their house. Instead of doing that today I want to talk about my thoughts on being a Hufflepuff. I.e my reaction to my sorting.

I don’t have the same nostalgic connection to Harry Potter that many people have but I did absolutely devour and love the books and completely understand how it played a part in defining a generation, so I was excited to find out where in the books I could find myself.

I always thought Neville was very Hufflepuff like and so when I found out he wasn’t I was a little disappointed. That being said there are still some really cool Hufflepuff’s in the series like Tonks and Sedrick. Even so I didn’t want to base my thoughts on that. If that were the case Slytherin wouldn’t be viewed very well would it? I wanted to see what the so called traits of a Hufflepuff were.

From what I can gather the general idea of a Hufflepuff is someone who is loyal and kind and warm and understanding, someone who is concerned with doing the right thing. I can’t be mad at being considered that. In fact I’m lucky enough to say that many of my friends very much see me that way and so I wasn’t surprised with how I was sorted.

I don’t think HufflePuff’s are often considered very brave despite the fact that many Hufflepuff’s within the books demonstrate this trait. Then again, I’ve never seen myself as particularly brave either; emotional and just, but not so much brave. I like to think of Hufflepuff’s as being less likely to run into silly situations than a Gryffindor for instance. Once again, I can’t be mad at that.

I love the yellow colour that represents Hufflepuff. I think it says a lot about their bright can do attitudes.  I also think the badger is pretty neat too. J. K. Rowling really knows how to put a little symbolism in there doesn’t she?

You know the only reason, I concluded, that there was to be upset about being a Hufflepuff is that the merch is seriously lacking. When someone tell’s you they’re a Hufflepuff, I don’t see how you can jump to any sort of real negative connotation. If anything it seems a good sign they’re alright, you know?

But I still think Neville was a Hufflepuff at heart, don’t you?

Leigh-Ann