March in review: We are running with this diary thing

It is the final day of March and I’m a bit dazed. It has been pretty non-stop, and April promises little chance of recovery as I head off to Kent on Friday to begin my steward work for Snowbombing festival – by the end of the week I will be in Mayrhofen, Austria, working 8 hours a day into the early hours of the morning, then hitting the slopes with my free ski pass. I’m a little bit (very very very very very…) excited.

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I went to Durham: A tale of coffee shops, schnapps and friends

Ramblings from a coffee shop
I have begun writing this post sitting in a coffee shop of which this will be my third visit, partly because it is just so good and mainly because I don’t know where else to go as a non-resident of Durham. It feels a little bittersweet to write a post about how brilliant Durham is as I had my heart set on studying here for so long, so I already knew what a wonderful place it is. In fact, I did have concerns it would be a little upsetting to be here and be so involved with the student lifestyle I once thought I would be living. However, this visit has so far reassured me that although Durham is wonderful, Bristol is the city for me after all and I can continue to write this post about my wonderful trip with no bad blood or dramatic sobs of ‘WHY OH WHY?!’. So now I’m going to carry on sipping my raspberry tea whilst I wait for my friend to join me and enjoy the rest of my time here with a refreshing sense of contentment that everything has worked out for the best.

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2014 – Time to Reflect

Weird year. It has been a very weird year. I really can’t quite say whether it has been a good or bad year overall, but I suppose that is because things are never just black and white. I have never set myself resolutions before, but I feel like I should this year . Here are some of my silly reflections about 2014 – Get ready for a lot of rambling…

Studying Pays Off.
I have always been a geek and enjoyed studying and learning, but I have enjoyed it more than ever this year and studied like crazy for my final A-Level exams. I started the year with 4 university offers which soon became 5 (WHICH WAS CRAZY COOL), and after a bit of a rough time at AS level, I was feeling a lot better about my second year and was learning so many interesting things in my courses. Geography really got me back into current affairs, English got me reading more than ever and discovering writers who have got me ridiculously obsessed with metaphysical poetry (fun fact: I got pretty drunk when celebrating my 18th birthday and tried to get all of my friends to understand why metaphysical poetry could change their lives – I’m pretentious I know but John Donne is my main man… After Mr Wilde) and I got so much more confident with my French and was introduced to philosophy and French film. College (I should clarify, college in England is the school system prior to University) in general was a very fun experience for me, and I did a lot of things I am very proud of during my final months of college; and opening my results to see 2 A*s and a B in my A-Levels , and A* in an extended project that I really loved researching and writing, was one of the most relieving and happiest moments of my life.

New Year’s Resolution: Read at least 12 books. This number is very low, but the reason behind this is I want to read a lot of Russian literature next year (wish me luck), and I feel like they are worth about 5 books each in length and difficulty, right? I am pretty certain I will surpass this number, especially when I get to uni, so to make this more of a challenge I want to read at least 5 books in French, because I really do not read enough in the language I will be studying.

I Just Need to See the World.
This year has been a pretty good year in terms of travel – I got go to Vienna on an orchestral trip, London twice, each time with people I love lots, Amsterdam which was one of the best trips of my life – maybe the best – along with an interesting family holiday to Pembrokeshire (another fun fact: Scarlet fever is NOT fun, especially when you are trapped in a caravan in south Wales with it…) and trips to Bristol, Durham and Cardiff. But now I just yearn to travel more than ever – I am dying to just get out there and explore. My obsession with Europe has rocketed, and I cannot quite get over how much I loved Amsterdam. Amazing, amazing city.

New Year’s Resolution: Travel more. Specifically visit at least 5 countries next year.

Friendships and Relationships.
I’ve learnt that friendships and relationships are sometimes very hard. I’ve learnt that sometimes they are very easy. I’ve learnt that sometimes they can go from one to the other and back again. I have gone from being best friends with people, to not quite knowing where we are, and I am still struggling a bit with that at the moment. Most of my friends have gone to University this year and it feels like nothing has changed with so many of them, but there are few friendships that feel a little different, and I find it hard to really know what to feel about that. I’ve also been in love this year, and with that trusted another person very deeply, but then see the cracks show and felt alone and seen that relationship weaken, and eventually come to an end. That was really tough, and if I am quite honest, still is at times. Trying to rebuild a friendship from that is a very strange experience. But that makes it sound like I regret it all, which I certainly don’t – I have some wonderful memories, and some are the happiest memories I have. My friends mean the world to me, and I hope they know that.

New Year’s Resolution: Some stuff has been hard this year, but I have friends who have always been there and I want to return the favour. Be there for them, and try to not let things get too hard – it will all feel okay eventually.

Embracing the Unexpected.
If you had said to me a year ago that I would not be going to University in September 2014, I think I would have thought you were mad – and a bit creepy for knowing my future. If you had also said I would be teaching a GCSE I think I would have laughed in your face (mainly because the thought of a job after applying to hundreds seemed a bit impossible). I have been really lucky this year. For a while I felt very unlucky because of my rejection from Durham and the accommodation mess up in Bristol, but I don’t see it that way at all anymore. I am not someone who believes in fate, but I do believe in trying to make everything that is thrown at you an experience to learn from and try to make as positive as possible. I personally think being rejected from Durham and not having anywhere to live in Bristol this year was one of the best things that could of ever happened to me because I love my job, I love teaching and I feel like I have been thrown into a challenge that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I have also got a bit healthier recently (yeah, that is probably more to do with the fact I had no money for gym membership until a few months ago, but still) with going to the gym, DRINKING SO MANY SPINACH BASED DRINKS BECAUSE WE GOT A NUTRIBULLET AND IT IS AMAZING (I’m so obsessed with it) and thinking about what foods I eat a bit more.

Oh, and I started a blog.

New Year’s Resolutions: Keep going to the gym, staying healthy and feeling positive about myself – I haven’t felt good about the way I look properly for a long time, and I really want to be more positive about my body. Embrace whatever is thrown at me; I’ve already proven to myself that I can do that, so I don’t want to let that stop. Write at least 2 blog posts a month. I might fail at this, but I want to give it a go because I do enjoy it a lot.

Well, wasn’t that a journey? If you got through all that, I am very impressed and if I could give you a biscuit I definitely would. It really has been the weirdest and most emotional year of my life (aw, bless). Let’s hope 2015 is a fantastic year – I have a feeling it will be a very interesting one!

Happy New Year! 🙂

The Full(ish) Story

So I think I have only touched on why I am on a gap year very, very briefly in my first post many moons ago, and I feel like I want to explain what happened just a little further, now that I can look back and think, in a very weird kind of way, I’m so glad that it did.

Today, (I am writing this on Saturday, just to confuse matters) I finally sorted out where I was going to live in Bristol next year. If you don’t know already, I will be heading off the Bristol University next September to study French and Russian, and wow, it’s been a long time coming. I’ve know I wanted to study French and Russian since I was about 14 and I was introduced to Russian for the first time, and to be honest, I’ve never really considered any other degree after that. Yes, I momentarily thought ‘ooh, well I am much better at English and Geography, maybe I should do them‘, but as much as I’m sure I would have loved studying them, they both just lacked something for me. I love both those subjects a lot, but they didn’t feel as flexible as a language degree, and I also have always found languages that bit trickier, which is something I personally enjoy.

I know it seems a bit strange that I would choose to do a degree in something I find harder than the other things I study, but I just prefer the challenge. Even my A-Level results show that I’m not as strong at my French, which is partly why I’m not at uni now… Nice segway there.

I actually applied to Durham University as my firm choice for uni (firm basically means top, insurance is your second choice if you don’t get into your firm you go there provided you have the grades). It was a tricky decision as I was set on Bristol for a very long time, and had fallen in love with the city, but after a second visit to Durham, I decided I wanted to push myself to the slightly more prestigious University, with the, in my opinion, better course and more traditional feel. But luckily, I would have been happy with Bristol, because I actually preferred the city itself much more than Durham (although Durham is stunning, don’t get me wrong).

A-Level results day came, and I opened my UCAS Track to find I hadn’t got my place at Durham confirmed, meaning I hadn’t got the grades. Immediately I was sad and worried about what my grades would be, and with my friends all posting that they had got into their top choices (two of which actually going to Durham), I was feeling pretty rubbish. I presumed I’d got really bad grades as my AS grades hadn’t all been what I wanted the year before, so my confidence was pretty low about achieving good grades this year even though I felt my exams went really well.

So I opened my results, and I was surprisingly over the moon. An A* in Geography (from a C at AS, I don’t know either, I sold my soul to Geography), and A* in English Lit, and a B in French. I was so happy with getting two A*s that the B didn’t feel like too much of a disappointment, I mean, how could I be sad with grades like that? I was incredibly lucky and proud. My placed and Durham may have not been confirmed, but it also hadn’t been rejected, so there was still hope on the Durham front.

So after coming to terms with my results, I went off to my college to get some guidance on what to do next. I called up Durham, and they told me that I was on a ‘near miss’ list, and they were still deciding whether I would be accepted and it could take up to a week. Which was awful, but ho hum. I was optimistic, as my offer for Durham had been AAA and A*A*B was technically higher in UCAS points. All proud and happy with my results, I went out partying and clubbing the night away with my friends, not too worried about the fact I still didn’t know where I would be living when September came.

The next day was a bit tougher, as it sort of hit me that I might not get into Durham. I chatted to lots of other near miss students on a Facebook group, and loads kept getting in with lower grades than me, so I stayed hopeful and positive. Next thing I knew, my track updated and it was a rejection.

I cried like a baby, oh my word.

Thing is, if I had just been rejected the day before and not had that wait, I think I would have been okay. I just had got my hopes us; everyone had said that I would definitely get in, and I kind of thought, well yeah, if they think so, I am sure I will. But I didn’t and it felt like I had completely failed, especially with my two best friends both getting in – I felt like I was silly to have even tried.

I got over it though, because I knew that Bristol was an amazing uni, and I still was, at the end of the day, so so proud of my results. I really couldn’t complain with two A*s and a B, again, I felt so ridiculously lucky to have such good results. So I got onto applying to accommodation for Bristol, that was guaranteed for your first year by the Uni.

The way Bristol work is, you can only apply for accommodation when you firm it, so as I had to wait extra time to firm, most of the accommodation had gone, and what was left was not ideal. It was all so expensive, but I thought, oh well, I’ll just have to see what I get and hope for the best.

What I got, however, was a vague email from the University, saying I would be put in a ‘temporary share’ possibly for a whole term. I had no idea what was going on, and I got this email on the way home from a camping trip to the Lakes with my friends, so I was worried and told by my friends that it wasn’t the worst thing ever and just to see what is was all about.

Turns out it meant I’d be sharing someone else’s single room, with no wardrobe to myself, possibly no desk and a bunk bed. I’m fine with the idea of sharing with someone to be honest, I could cope with that. But after everything, and getting grades I was proud of, I just felt like I shouldn’t have to compromise, and I live many hours away from Bristol, so being told I should ‘travel light for the first few weeks, then pop back home to get the rest of my stuff’ was kind of the final straw.

I was told if I deferred my offer, I could have my first choice accommodation next year and after quite a lot deliberating, I thought, let’s do it. People have asked me why I’m not retaking my French and applying to Durham again, or somewhere else, which is a fair point, but to be honest, my heart is back with Bristol. I’ve got so excited about living in such an amazing city, and I think going back from that again would just mess me up.

So now, my accommodation is chosen, and it is actually the accommodation I visited earlier this year on my second visit to Bristol, when I wasn’t even considering Durham. It is so stunning, and is also where they filmed the wedding in BBC’s Sherlock, so has a bit of a claim to fame.

Everything seems to have just worked out for me, and I feel so so so so lucky. It didn’t feel like it was working out well for a while, with the unis seeming to not want me at all (sob), but I’ve ended getting a job I would have never expected at such a young age, got the dream accommodation that is notoriously tricky to get and I’m feeling super happy and positive. So thanks for rejecting me Durham, and thanks for messing up your accommodation Bristol… It has lead me to some amazing experiences, and my gap year has still really only just begun!!

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*I definitely don’t own any of those pictures! 🙂

I’m feeling sentimental, (this post will make you cringe)

It has been a weird day. It feels like the realisation that the majority of my closest friends are going all over the country, and our friendships will be tested through Skype calls, Facebook messages and occasional visits for the next few months has hit me again, as I haven’t had the distraction of my job. I’m lucky that I know I will stay in contact with a lot of those friends, and I honestly don’t think I’m naive in saying that. There is something about my lovely group of friends; we all just click, and want to support each other all the time – it’s like we’re each other’s fan clubs, with the amount of supportive (often drunken, I will admit), pep talks we give each other.

The majority of my friends have been my friends for an incredibly long time – I’m talking primary school years (which, when I’m only 18, probably doesn’t seem that long to a lot of people, but shhhhh, I’m trying to get sentimental and soppy). Then there are the few who I was lucky to meet at high school. They have put up with my awful hairstyles, Muse obsession and general loudness, and are somehow still my friends (sorry, guys). Then there are the one’s who I met in the past couple of years of college. These last two years with such a great group of friends have been some of the nicest – and sometimes slightly most dramatic and stressful – two years of my life. But even though there has been some silly, petty drama, I have never been so close to a group of people as I have been with my lovely, crazy friends.

The other night I went out for some cocktails and nachos (you know, I love my Mexican food) with a few friends as they aren’t going to uni until tomorrow. It was the first time I have really cried like a baby about my friends leaving, as I hugged one of my best friends, and oldest friends, outside my house and we sobbed a lot cause we are emotional fools, and she is the best ever (we are going to handwrite letters to each other, we’d make an adorable couple), and it scared me a little because I realised she wouldn’t live 5 minutes away any more, and very few of my friends would be a bus trip or less away from me. Sob.

But from recorder concerts to the interact show, from Wales to Amsterdam, from 30 Seconds to Mars to Muse, and from primary school to this in-between year, I’ve had some brilliant friends there to keep me happy, positive and call me out on my ‘hipster’ ways. I don’t really know what the point of this post was, other than to get a bit sickly and make everyone cringe whilst reading it, but I know that a lot of my friends read this blog, so I hope they know that they are awesome, I will miss them a ridiculous amount this year, but I am incredibly excited for them all. You guys rock x

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Rolly for life ❤

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Christmas 2012

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Summer 2013

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Jan 2014

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Ice Skating 2014

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Love this one 😉

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🙂

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Cheese!!!

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😀

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Harrods!

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HP Studios!

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Love these guys

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We will have many more Skype calls, I’m certain (Also, coolest fancy dress ever, right?)

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Where’s Wally?

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Sob, sob, sob, miss this one lots.

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🙂 🙂 🙂

I give everyone permission to throw up now. We got through the cringe together, we made it.

First Day, First Skype, First Award! (One Lovely Blog Award)

First day on the job, and I’m already loving it. I can tell already it is going to be a tiring one, but worth it, as I’m getting stuck in and it feels pretty rewarding. Still can’t believe I have got such a fantastic job, I’m too lucky.

I’ve also had my first (Uni) Skype conversation with my friend who is in Cardiff, and it wasn’t until she said “Your miles away up North” that it hit me that I’m miles away up North. Freshers photos have been slowly popping up on my news feed on Facebook, which are both hilarious and a little surreal. I’m super excited to hear about it all though, and it is so nice to hear them all loving it (they’re missing me loads though obviously, crying every night, I’m sure).

And finally, to cheer me up after a rough week, I was nominated for the ‘One Lovely Blog Award’ by the lovely Sian of dreamsandsunsian (Professional Dreamer)! Thank you so so so much, I’m so chuffed! It has made me ridiculously happy that people have been reading my little blog, and it spurs me on even more to keep writing it. I started it only expecting my mum and dad to read it, and it has been far from that – I’m so grateful!!! Definitely check Sian’s blog out, it is wonderful and fairly new, and she writes some wonderful posts which give an insight into her lovely thoughts. Thanks again!!!

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So there are a few rules to this lovely award, so here we go!

Award Rules;

1. You must thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.

2. You must list the rules.

3. You must add 7 facts about yourself.

4. You must nominate 15 other bloggers and comment on one of their posts to let them know they have been nominated.

5. You must display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.

So time to write facts and do some nominating! 🙂

7 Facts About Me:

  1. I collect thimbles. No seriously, my dad made me a lovely thimble holder and it still wasn’t big enough for them all. I’ve even received thimbles off various friends. My mum used to collect them, so they must have got me into it when I was little, and I tend to buy one or two thimbles every time I go away… I do have certain rules though; No more than one thimble of the place, city etc… and one thimble from a landmark. E.g. I can have one ‘Rome’ thimble, and one ‘Colosseum’ thimble. It’s a serious business, guys.
  2. I play a few instruments. Music geek here, and proud. Violin is the posh one, Acoustic Guitar is the most played one, Bass Guitar is the cool one, Piano is the one I play quite badly, Ukulele is the one I never know whether to admit to. And I like a good sing, but I’m not anything special. Lalalaaaa.
  3. I had an unhealthy obsession with the band Muse for quite a while. And I’m still not fully over it. I got excited in Costco the other day because one of the TVs was playing a Muse video, and I made my mum and dad come over and watch it. My dad hates Muse.
  4. I have a lot of Oscar Wilde stuff because he is totally cool. I don’t know, I really like Oscar Wilde. I think it just happened after I read ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ when I was 14/15, and got really into his works. I just fell a bit in love with his aesthetic obsession, and even did my final piece of A2 Lit coursework partly based on ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray‘. So now I have quotes of his on my wall, an Oscar Wilde bag, t-shirt, quote book and a beautiful copy of all of his works off my best friend which I cried when I received. Oooh, and I saw ‘The Judas’ Kiss’ in the West End and it was amazinggg. I’m weird, I don’t know.
  5. Ummm. I wear glasses. I’m quite blind in one eye, which actually doesn’t bother me that much because the other eye isn’t too bad, so I’m naughty and don’t wear my glasses as much as I should. But that’s partly because my prescription in my right eye is so strong that it magnifies my eye a bit, (and I look a bit dodgy).
  6. Mexican food is the best thing ever. Although I have a feeling I won’t be having it as much as I used to any more.
  7. I’m really sad because I won’t be baking birthday cakes much this year. BECAUSE I WAS THE BAKER AND ALL MY FRIENDS ARE GONE. WOE IS ME. I’ll just have to eat all my own cake.

I Nominate:

  1. Cooking Up The Pantry
  2. Tasha Henson
  3. Ali’s Adventure
  4. I Am A Honey Bee
  5. Phils Poetry Poppin
  6. Gap
  7. Beautiful Life With Cancer
  8. Living My Choice
  9. Natalie’s Lovely Blog
  10. 1001 Scribbles
  11. kelzbelzphotography
  12. Tom-ToDo

I am ashamed to say that I am actually struggling with this, as I’m still pretty new to blogging so although I follow a fair few blogs, I don’t follow many that have a similar following as I do, so any suggestions would be FAB! Also, please do not feel obliged to follow up on this, as I understand I’m just a teeny, weeny blog… But I’d love it if you did!!!

Thank you again for the nomination, and thank you to all those who read my silly, little blog! Rhiannon 🙂

It’s been one of those weeks

And by ‘those weeks’ I mean, up and down and up and down. I’ve had some really lovely days this week, but also had to say goodbye to some of my closest friends as they go off to Uni, hear some things that made me question how valid a friendship I have with people and see a relationship, that has meant so much to me, end.

It all sounds very dramatic, and to be honest, in my current state, it feels it. I’ve had my final coffees with some friends this week, my final open mic at the pub until they all get back from uni, my final kiss off someone I care about a lot. And it kind of sucks.

But what I have learnt from this week is that:

1. No matter how long it is since you’ve had coffee with someone, sometimes, if you are lucky, you will have that person that you always have plenty to talk about and it will be like nothing has changed. If you are really lucky, you will have a few of them.

2. Nero is a great place to talk; whether that is gossiping, opening up or saying goodbye. They also have earl grey tea to make everything better.

3. Wallowing in bed for many hours – although necessary, I feel – is not going to make you feel much better. A shower, strong coffee and focusing on a new job, however, will.

4. Even when your best friends are leaving, it is okay to be weirdly excited for them. It is okay to not actually feel too sad when you hug them goodbye, because it doesn’t mean it is the end, it just means they are off to have fun. And that is great.

5. And having a vase of sunflowers in the window really does cheer you up. They look so cheerful when you reach your house after a tough afternoon, and brighten up your morning when you open your curtains with swollen eyes after a night of sobbing like the melodramatic teenager that you are.

So yeah, bit of a depressing post, but I’m in a very thoughtful mood, hence the pretentious sunflower nonsense. But honestly, I highly recommend getting some.

Keep cheerful – I’ll try if you try 🙂
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Bittersweet selfies and headbanging tales

It’s funny how scary you look when slightly intoxicated in a sweaty club. Last night I went to a ‘pre uni bash’ held by one of my best friends, and it was so worryingly typical for a load of 18 year old British kids, it could have been an episode of Skins. Hmm. Maybe not actually, we aren’t quite that risqué.

Oh dear.

Oh dear.

I can’t say that I drunk a lot last night, but when we got to the clubs the music seemed to intoxicate me more than any amount of tequila ever could. Muse, Kasabian, Two Door Cinema Club, The Fratellis… All blasting out as I jumped around shouting “THESE ARE ALL MY FAVOURITE BANNDSS!!!!!!” and continued to headbang (my neck isn’t too sore today however, as it is surprising how regularly I end up headbanging).

It was quite a bittersweet night however. The name of the event itself meant something different when I first said I was going, to when I actually attended. That is to say, when it was first organised I was also off to uni and this would be one of the last times with all my friends before we all went to various corners of the country. But last night, it was a chance for me to say goodbye and wish my friends good luck for their new adventures, whilst I explained what I would do on this gap year… With no actual clue, myself.

So in between all the rapping to Kanye, dancing to Girls Aloud and ‘Ring of Fire’ fun, I listened to my friends confess all their worries, their hopes and how excited they were for University which is so scarily close now. And I’m so so excited for them too. And surprisingly okay about it all. In fact, last night proved to me that I have so much to look forward to, and I’m not missing out even slightly.

I will miss those crazy weirdos though.

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It’s a shock, but we’re going with it…

Hi! I’m Rhiannon. 18. Travel lover. Baking fanatic. Music nerd. And I take way too many pictures of my dog, Harvey.

So here’s the story. My uni sadly let too many applicants in and could not offer me my own permanent room for the first term. Sucks. I’m not one to be put off straight away, so I investigated further, but as more and more things went wrong I decided to do something that I didn’t imagine I would ever be doing, as someone who has dreamt of going to uni for so long. I decided to defer my offer and take a gap year (Dun, dun, duhhh).

Dramatic, right? Bet you’re on the edge of your seat with that exciting tale. But on a serious note, this was a big shock for me, I had never considered a gap year; I was meant to be going to uni in a couple of weeks, not a year. Luckily, I’m the travelling type. The degree I will eventually pursue will be French and Russian, therefore I am going to try my hardest to use this year to visit some brilliant places, especially France. So it’s not all bad!

In fact, it is pretty cool. I have a year to do whatever I like. I don’t have to impress any uni’s as I’ve already got my place. I don’t have to study for terrifying A-Levels. It’s exciting – and I really don’t want to waste this opportunity. So that’s the story behind the blog. My friend told me I should start one (Thanks, Tom!) to document my year, and all the adventures (finger’s crossed) I have. I’m not promising it will be all fun and games however. As I hadn’t planned for a gap year, and saved to go on numerous holidays with friends over the summer, I am a tad broke. Time to get a job and get saving, but it is going to be worth it.

I go to Oxford with my boyfriend tomorrow, and although this was planned well in advance of the gap year fiasco, I am going to class it as the start to my completely unplanned year. It is going to be an interesting one.