☀ Summer Holiday 2018

Love a bit of summer… not as much as I love Winter but that goes without saying. Give me a ridiculously oversized jumper and a mug of hot chocolate over a bikini and suntan any day. Be that as it may, I do love my holidays. This year we went to Italy with the whole family- that’s 8 Wilcox’s + my brothers friend, Chris. As a group of 9, we travelled in 3 groups and met in a villa in the beautiful area of Lake Como in Northern Italy. I journaled a lot of the trips and these were the best bits… Enjoy!

01/07/18 – 03/07/18

I love taking the ferry. I really am not a fan of the security stresses and general faffing around when one takes the plane. No, thank you. I’ll stick with a smooth ferry crossing that gets me from A to B, Dover to Calais, home to holiday. Our first night was at Chez Francoise. A classic margarita pizza was our  meal to end the day of travelling. Can’t go wrong. After a nice l’il sleep, we travelled to Guibiasco, Switzerland. The stunning view from our balcony was picturesque. We drove through more mountain ranges to our next equally idyllic destination of Verona, Italy. ♡

03/07/18 – 07/07/18 

Our apartment in Verona was quintessentially Italian with a balcony and colourfully painted exterior. We stayed here for 4 nights in the pink building on the corner. Loved It. We had the excitement of exploring Verona in the most authentic and genuine way thanks to the host, Pietro. Situated in the heart of the city, we spent the 4 days walking around and absorbing Verona with that holiday spirit I LOVE. We were a few minutes walk away from the city centre and the famous Juliet’s house- Casa di Giulietta. I would say this was worth the visit if you arrive there early enough to avoid the tourists that crowd the gates of the 14th century residence. Of course, you can’t go there without a cheeky picture with Juliet Capulet (the statue, obviously) after many people had done so whilst touching the bronze breast of the statue. The legend goes, as google informs me, that your luck with love will turn around. I didn’t bother. So, that was an interesting way to wrap up a great few days in the city of love *cringe*. In all seriousness, Verona is an underrated city in Italy. Though it’s not as famous as Venice or Florence, it is just as captivating with its Italian charm. Anyway, enough waffling…next stop: LAKE COMO and to meet up with the rest of the family! xoxox

07/0718 – 14/07/18 

I had never been to Lake Como, only Lake Garda which I couldn’t really remember- as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before- shocking memory, me. Anyway, from the photographs I had seen from previous trips to the Italian lakes, it did not disappoint . The pictures above fail to do justice to the incredible views. Idyllic. The peace we all sought by simply being outside was what made the holiday so memorable. The day we arrived was an important one for us and for England, actually. Sweden V England- the match that would determine our country’s place in the semi–finals of the World Cup. It was dramatic… to say the least. When Deli Ali scored, Harry ran to the pool and jumped in which, of course, went on my snapchat. What a moment. The score of 2-0 to England put everyone in high spirits for the amazing week ahead of us. We spent our first full day looking around the markets, I added to my holiday haul with a 2019 diary- just had to be done. I never really write in an actual diary. I’m more inclined to grab whatever paper available and scribble down events of a day and then forget about it, typical lyds that. So hopefully I’ll become a bit more organised and consistent with a diary to hand. Also, I’m trying to up my general organisation game next year so here’s hoping a diary will help me with that goal. One of the days we woke up bright and early at 5:50. Yes, you heard right, 5:50… on holiday. To see the sunrise. I was actually really looking forward to this, though my face likely expressed a different emotion given the time of day. Half the group went for a much longer shall we say trek, whereas the group I was in opted for the shorter walk to see the sunrise. Sadly, it was too cloudy to be seen and so pretty much a wasted trip. I got straight back into bed at 7am when we got back. Love that. The rest of the day was productively spent exploring the beautiful towns around the lake- Bellagio and Varenna by a small ferry. Both towns had particular quirks to them, however we all agreed that Varenna was simply stunning. I reckon I took over 100 pictures that day, so the ones included here are a minuscule collection of my favourites from the day. I think you’ve likely gathered that I loved Lake Como. The last day was one of my favourites. Everyone, except mum and dad, went out for a boat ride for a couple of hours. I attempted to steer the boat but i suppose the limited time I spent behind the wheel reflects my skills as driver. I suppose everyone was far safer with someone else navigating around Lake Como, anyway. Although there were many ups and downs along the way- what is a family holiday without the arguments anyway?- we all had an insane holiday in the beautiful location of Lake Como, Italy. ♡

14/07/18 – 18/07/18 

We spent the remainder of the days in France (primarily the Somme region) to visit both WW1 War graves and museums. On one of these days we went to Wilfred Owen’s grave and I read one of the most famous War poems from his collection: Anthem for Doomed Youth. I found this such a poignant moment of the day, reading a poem next to the authors grave, surrounded by fellow soldiers and thus presented as equal. Despite Owen’s notability today, as a soldier of war he was treated with the same respect as his comrades. This was something keenly felt when we visited his grave. We also visited the site of the Battle of Pozières, an animal WW1 memorial and a museum in Albert. I love history, so this was a really lovely and poignant way to conclude the holiday. By the last day, I definitely felt ready to go home. You know when you get to that point of the holiday when you’re just missing home comforts and ready to be back in England. Yes, I can completely believe I am saying this, I started missing England. So, I guess, bye France!

I had a smashing holibobs with the best people. They drive me insane, but I do love my family. In all probability, this was the last holiday we would share with everyone together. For this reason, It was such a special one. Lots of love to my crazy fam and thanks for the memories. xoxo
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⋆ My University application:

floral-header.jpgFor my ‘firm choice’ University, I had to complete a creative writing portfolio as part of the application process. The course I will hopefully be studying is English Literature and Creative Writing…

1.  Write a creative piece on the subject ‘A place where I grew up’.

On the subject ‘A place where I grew up’, I recollect with fondness many memories created from countless experiences. I look back on the last 18 years, with a mind overcome by nostalgia, and am filled with excitement for the future ahead. Growth is a tender journey of development and understanding, fostered in this place I call home. My childhood was lived with a care-free mind; because of this I can now look back with an overwhelming sense of appreciation for this special place. A place where I could enjoy the beauties the world has to offer without fully recognising the complete worth of the free-will I once thought would last forever. Of course, you never truly appreciate the boundless wonder of childhood until you are no longer a child. It was with this limitless spirit, with a free body and mind that I grew up, in the place I call home.

This small piece of rural England, although insignificant and invisible to so many, was my whole world. The village playing field opposite our home was often the place in which memories of fun and happiness were made. For weeks on end, time was ceaselessly spent playing in the park, running around with all the energy in the world. No worries. This place was the heart of my childhood and a refuge for children seeking an escape, no matter what season. I remember one summers day, when the skies were covered with clouds of white and, as Grandma so often said, there was ‘just enough blue to sew a pair of sailors shorts’. My friend and I spent a long while in the park, sitting under the slide and likely talking complete nonsense about nothing of consequence. Making up names for each other and pretending we lived another life, we spent hours in that spot wasting the day away. Again, no worries. I miss the carefree days I spent as a child running stories in my head. These are some memories of the place where I grew up.

Living on the doorstep of such beautiful countryside, the place where i grew up has been a source of inspiration for many reasons. For one, it was where my love of writing was born. Keeping a diary may seem a cliche, however it was how I felt best to relate to my surroundings. Putting pen to paper and jotting down experiences of a day. They would begin with the same action of opening the curtains to wake myself up. My writing started in a very matter of fact way, before I discovered the ‘oh so wonderful’ literary devices of similes and metaphors which brought this place in which I lived alive. There was a sense of peace that I attempted to maintain, however no matter how hard I tried to preserve a perfectly gift wrapped version of what my life was, it was simply not realistic. A brother bursting in the room screaming and shouting is one senseless example of how my diary entries were so rudely interrupted. The day had begun.

When I think of this place, I am not transported to a memory of complete and utter joy, nor a specific emotion… I feel all the feelings of home. The mornings completely dominated at weekends by football matches and training, the madness of seven people getting ready for their day. In and out, in and out, in and out. People would come and go incessantly. On a Sunday, that sense of home attached with the smell of Mum’s roast dinner; each smell travels tauntingly into every room as we wait for the most important part of the day. Growing up as the second youngest of five, I quickly learnt to take as much food as you felt you possibly could devour at the time. The end of dinner time signals time for a classic brew of Yorkshire tea by the resident tea maker: Dad, in order to recover from all the food. Even now, wherever I am in the world, this unique homely goodness of a proper English brew evokes a profound sense of ‘home’.

My village was home, until quite recently, to one of the best sweet shops in the business. An old Italian lady called Josie ran, surprisingly enough: Josie’s. A typical occurrence was to gather as much change as possible during the school week and go to Josie’s on a Friday afternoon with every intention of filling the sweet bag to the brim with unhealthy sweets. A fond re-occurring memory of these times was walking down the lane that lead to the farm where Josie’s sweet shop was, to be greeted by the beautiful sheep dog: Lady. Bearing a broad smile, Josie would soon open the door, welcoming us for sometimes the second time of the same day. Her warm hearted spirit made her a dearly loved member of the village, thus her passing was felt keenly.

I find myself focusing on my family and these quintessential village things that made up this place where I learned to grow. It must be said that learning is a fundamental part of life; it begins from birth and continues through the course of ones time in this world. My growth was nurtured through this place. As a child, I would play all day long in the field and in the garden, getting to grips with the rules of the world and how to interact with the people around me. Eager I was, to develop my mind and to learn. This was fostered through pre-school and my first and middle school of which, lucky enough for me, were only a short walk away from my house. Though pre-school memories are hard to recollect thanks to my abysmal memory, I can remember the joy I felt in an environment of fun, laughter and play. In the place where I grew up, I discovered so many amazing things about the world, the people within it, and, above all, how to read and write.

If you have not already ascertained from this short piece, I love where I grew up. As I said, I recall with fondness. It is the place which taught me to fall, to get back up again and to be the best version of me. In amidst the growing conflict and uncertainty of this world, the place where I learned to grow will always be there for me, no matter how far away I am. Home can never let you down. But for now, I await with eager anticipation the next chapter.

2.  Write a creative piece in response to : ‘a journey or a series of journeys’.

Inspired by ‘From a railway carriage’ Robert Louis Stevenson
↝ side note: I really didn’t enjoy reading poetry at school or Sixth form, however writing it offers an entirely new vantage point, creatively, that I hope will spur me into appreciating poetry for its depth and meaning. 

Stars are alight, Stars out of sight,
Driving and turning, left and right;
Arguing the whole way you may say,
Cattle and horses on fields do lay.

All of the sights mankind can see,
Fly their way to and from me;
Soon it’s heard, Dover’s doves call,
The White Cliffs standing ever so tall.

From black skies to yellow sunrise,
To awake this early we were wise;
Birds of above and ferry sounds;
Top deck! Wind and Rain surrounds.

Now we come to my favourite part
So long ago did we depart;
See sea waves of blue and green:
Chip chop Calais- what a scene!

Trawling, hauling back to the car,
This must resume to travel afar;
A pause on our journey, sun bliss;
The picnic stop, sweet sun kissed.

Hours disappear, hours so long,
Passed the sea we are gone.
Suddenly stop. The journey is over,
It seems an age since we were at Dover.

That’s that for this li’l post and I hope you enjoyed. ♡ xxx

♡ 3 of my favourite books:

#1 Pride and Prejudice. An Austen classic.

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A good old portion of classic English literature may be the something you never knew you needed. So sit down (with a cuppa, of course) and start reading…

Now I know what some of you might be thinking… boring, old English literature. Let me stop you right there. You needn’t be disheartened by the outdated themes of social class and gender conformity of Austen’s society. Jane Austen’s style is refreshing and not as arduous as you may think. I’d go so far as to label it a romantic comedy. This novel encapsulates the social movement of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, through the perspective of a female writer. The protagonist of the novel, witty Elizabeth Bennet, portrays a strong-minded female and her honest perception of what love is. Her independent spirit and sense of justice paints an inspiration to many women today, as it did to me when I first read the novel. 

Such preconceived notions of this world-famous novel may have also prevented you from giving any other classics a try. Let this be the first.

 Let me know what your favourite classics are (if you even read them), and if you have ever read this one.

#2 Lord of the Rings. J.R.R Tolkien trilogy.

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Everyone had heard of the Lord of the Rings- right? If you haven’t then I don’t know what to say other than continue reading…

Phrases and places within the book are entrenched in today’s society. Perhaps tainted by the label of ‘nerdy’, this trilogy can, likewise to Pride and Prejudice, be perceived as boring. Yet, with the mystical creatures of dwarves and elves setting up a storyline of myth, magic and legend, Tolkien’s writing is truly captivating. The Lord of the Rings is one of those novels that removes you from your reality and places you into an entirely new one. Yes, it is a hefty book (you’re looking at over 1000 pages), but why should that stop you from giving it  go? 1000 pages is plenty of reading time to stop you from binge watching a new Netflix series. Although, on that subject, let me know if you have any good Netflix recommendations!

I can’t praise this novel enough. Whatever words I could use to do so wouldn’t be enough to do credit the world Tolkien has created within this immersive trilogy. 

➳ So, yeah I’m a bit of a nerd. I could ramble on about this some more, but it would get really boring. Moving on…

#3 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

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Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Utter classic. Yes, it’s a children’s book and yes, it’s one of my favourites of all time.  A story of complete nonsense. How can you not love it?

Carroll depicts a unique world through wondrous narrative, down the rabbit hole and beyond. It is confusing to say the least, but I suppose Carroll intended it to be so. Yet, Alice’s adventures are too magical to not read about. As a reader, I am drawn into this fantasy world. So… what makes it so great? To put it simply, the overly eccentric characters are unforgettable, as are the situations Alice encounters. From the talking caterpillar to the mad as a hat hatter, this book is completely captivating as nonsensical, yet great, literature can be. To make it even better, it’s been re-created into a live action film adaptation starring Johnny Depp, need I say more?

If you haven’t already, pick up this book for a tale that will leave you confused, yet intrigued. It just gets curiouser and curiouser.

➳ There you have it. 3 of the long list of fave books! Please leave a like and a comment if you enjoyed and please keep updated for more blog posts very soon!