Monday, 31 March 2014

Mother's Day Weekend

My parents came up to visit me at university this weekend and honestly I had the best time! My parents are my best friends and being away from them for weeks on end can get pretty rubbish, so the fact that they came up for mum's birthday and Mother's Day made me very happy indeed.

When my parents arrived, it was mum's birthday and so I gave her a pretty English Strawberry scented Copenhagen Candle (which I think she loved) as well as these completely lame but adorable heart shaped cookies that I think she may have even loved more than her other present!

We shot straight off to the huge shopping centre nearby and spend the whole afternoon browsing shops and buying things we all definitely didn't really need before the three of us sat down for a lovely meal at Coal Grill and Bar (which was absolutely heavenly).

The next day the three of us went up into the Peak District to explore Stanage Edge (which is a Pride and Prejudice filming location, and mum and I are preeeeetty big fans so it was extra exciting) and Castleton, a picturesque countryside village that I instantly fell in love with.

This day was honestly my idea of a perfect day, with wonderful company, beautiful scenery and of course cream tea galore. I feel so blessed to live this close to such gorgeous places.

On my parents last day up here, my dad was feeling pretty poorly, and so wasn't up for doing much and since it was Mother's Day, he urged mum and myself to go out and do something anyway.  Rather reluctantly (as it didn't feel right leaving him to feel rubbish alone), me and mum went on a drive and came across a lovely place called the Longshaw Estate. We spent the afternoon having a lovely lunch and then walking around the grounds of the beautiful house (which sadly wasn't open to visitors) and taking too many photos. Then after exhausting ourselves, we decided to go for a relatively early dinner at an eatery called Bungalows and Bears I'd been dying to go to ever since I moved away (and it didn't disappoint!!!).

It's safe to say I've had one of the happiest weekends in a long time and now I'm even more excited to get home for Easter on Friday and spend 3 whole weeks with my wonderful parents, I'm very blessed to have them.

I hope you've all had a wonderful weekend!

All my love, 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Listen & Love

Since I've had a pretty dull week full of essay writing and uni work, the only thing that has kept me going is music so I figured I'd start a weekly post about the 5 songs I've been listening to and loving this week. Click on the (x) for a link to the song and enjoy!

  1. Matt Corby // Resolution (x)
  2. The Oh Hello's // The Lament of Eustace Scrubb (x)
  3. I Am Oak // On Trees and Birds and Fire (x)
  4. Luna // Bombay Bicycle Club (x)
  5. Boy & Bear // Part Time Believer (x)
My parents are coming to visit tomorrow and we're gonna spend the weekend exploring the Peak District so expect a post all about that in the coming days. 

Until next time, all my love

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Leeds and films and shopping, oh my!

This weekend I was definitely in need of a break! So I decided to head up to Leeds to visit my best friend (more like brother who isn't actually of blood relation) so we could hang out and have a proper catch up since I hadn't seen him for a few weeks. Arriving in the pouring rain, we decided food and a trip to the cinema would probably be a more enjoyable option than going out and drinking too much and being miserable because of the rain!

First stop was Nandos. Ryan works in Nandos so practically lives off the food there, but since he hadn't eaten it for a whole (!!!) month, we decided we'd eat there. I always forget how good it is! I ordered a medium spice chicken pitta with peri-peri salted chips and coleslaw and daaaaaaarn it was good.

Next up, we headed upstairs to the cinema. Both of us are real cinema lovers and hadn't been in a while so we were probably a little too excited. Ryan was more keen on going to see Non-Stop, but I really didn't fancy it and since I had been desperate to see The Book Thief since I heard they were making it into a film, we decided (or rather, I pleaded and he agreed) to go and see that instead. I can't even express how much I loved it. 

I've been waiting and waiting for a film to affect me in the same way that Atonement, one of my absolute favourite books/films, did and this film did just that. I fell so in love with Leisel and Rudy, with Max and with Hans and Rosa and teamed with beautiful cinematography and a wonderful story, this film has shot straight into my favourites. I would 100% recommend it to anyone who hasn't had the chance to see it yet.

After the film finished we headed back and, being the gentleman he is, Ryan let me hog the bed whilst he slept on the floor, and we ended up talking for a good 4/5 hours in the dark about everything and nothing before falling asleep.

The next day, we decided we'd head into town and have a proper look round as last time I visited it was Christmas and too busy to do anything! I wasn't looking to buy anything but as soon as I found this dress in River Island I couldn't not buy it, I think I'm in love!

It just needs to be summery and hot now as I have so many summer dresses that I am absolutely dyyyying to wear! I also saw a beautiful skirt/blouse combination in New Look but sadly they didn't have my size in either, so I've promised myself that if I get all my work done early this week, I'll order them online and treat myself as a reward!

After walking our feet off and having a drink in the university's union bar, we headed back for an evening of crappy wonderful food and Saturday night tv. An early night was in order so we could get up and get me to the train station to catch my train this morning.

This weekend has absolutely been what I needed to rejuvenate and recharge my batteries before a week of pretty hefty essay writing!

I hope you've have a wonderful weekend too! 
All my love, 

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Unusual creative writing tasks and a night of well-earned relaxation

Creative writing is one of the things I love the most about my course. I'm so glad I had to guts to sign onto the module, even though the thought of having a class full of people discuss my work was terrifying I thought as I want to be a novelist in the future, it would be invaluable.

Today was the first week we'd focused on Prose (since the start of the semester we've been writing poetry) and today's task was pretty out of the ordinary. We were expecting our usual workshop format of talking about writing and reasons behind it, then discussing each other's work.. But oh no, not today! My seminar tutor is wonderfully eccentric and so decided that perhaps it would be better if we all grabbed our coats and ventured out into the windy/rainy streets up to a park about 5 minutes away. When we arrived she told us to find someone we thought looked interesting for whatever reason, sit somewhere and write about them in detail without them noticing, and to try not to get into trouble for stalker behaviour. Just your average lesson then really! The task was actually really fun and I ended up writing about an intriguing woman in a painting of the park's museum (we were allowed to write about any kind of "character" so a painting was acceptable) and I found it so so useful and eye-opening. These abstract lessons are definitely one of the perks of studying something as subjective as English.

So as you can imagine after being battered by rain and practically swept off my feet with the wind, I'm pretty glad to be back in my room with my book and a big cup of strawberry and raspberry tea, ready for an early night.

I am heading off to visit my best friend/brother tomorrow evening and won't be back 'til Sunday when I'll do a post talking about everything we get up to in another one of my favourite cities! So until then, I hope you've had a beautiful day.

All my love,

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Avoiding Tuesday blues..

This semester at university is fairly slow and chilled, with me only being in for 7 hours a week. Tuesday's are my second busiest day (..I have a lecture and a seminar.. and that's it) but it still manages to be the day that I dread getting out of bed for. My Celtic Languages and Literatures lecture is usually full of semi-conscious confused fellow students and as there is only 15 or so of us, there is nowhere to hide our evident and obvious lack of understanding. I then have a seminar for Studying Poetry with a seminar tutor I am convinced hates me. I just get really bad signals from him, plus he has a real knack of making everyone feel inferior (although I genuinely don't think he does that mindfully), and so with these two classes to go to, I always feel particularly lacking in enthusiasm when my alarm goes off in the morning.

However, I have been making a concerted effort lately to view things positively and today and I tried that and it worked! Instead of focusing on the classes I dread to go to, I saw them as obstacles to overcome before I could claim my reward when I got home later, and that is exactly what I did.

..Well, after I got caught in a torrential downpour and my already curly hair turned into Hermione Granger c. Philosopher's Stone era.

When I got in, I made myself a strawberry and raspberry tea in my favourite cup and saucer (that my wonderful best friend Jess bought me for my birthday), some toast and noticed that the daffodils I had bought a few days ago had finally opened! Daffodils remind me of my mum, so I've made a habit of always having them in my room so even when I'm homesick I can look at them and be happy.

 I can now happily curl up in bed with my current literary venture; a wonderfully lame and lovable YA novel, the second in the Caster Chronicles series, Beautiful Darkness. I definitely feel glad I got out of bed this morning, even if it's only because I feel like I've earned my right to do nothing but read and drink tea for the rest of the afternoon, listening to the rain pour and desperately hoping the sliver of blue sky in the distance clears the whole sky soon!

I hope you've had a lovely Tuesday! All my love,

Sunday, 16 March 2014

An Oxford Adventure

(This is likely to be a very long post. You have been warned!)

As soon as I found out my university was running a trip to Oxford (aka the most beautiful city in the UK), I could not resist signing up, especially for the tiny price of £18. I wanted to make this a belated birthday trip with my three best friends at university (my birthday was last weekend) but sadly Jess and Bethan had prior engagements, so Rosie and I decided we'd embark on this trip together anyway.

For me, Oxford isn't just the most beautiful city I've ever been to, it is also, in my opinion, the literary capital of the UK. JRR Tolkien (author of my absolutely beloved "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy) and CS Lewis (author of the great "Chronicles of Narnia"), amongst other lesser known writers used to gather in an Oxford pub called The Eagle and Child to informally discuss their new plot lines and their group was called "The Inklings". Philip Pullman's protagonists in "His Dark Materials" Lyra and Will also lived in Oxford (albeit, separate Oxfords in alternate universes but I won't get into that because it tends to make me tear up a little), Lewis Carroll lectured at the university, and Alice Liddell was the daughter of an Oxford dean and was the namesake of Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" (another one of my absolute favourites). So as you can imagine, Rosie and I, as two Literature students were a little bit over excited when we arrived.

Unexpectedly for a mid-March day, the weather was glorious, which made this stunning city a real treat to explore. Our first stop, or rather the first thing we accidentally fell across when we were a little bit lost, was the architectural triumph that is the Radcliffe Camera.
Now I definitely don't claim to know a single thing about architecture so from an amateur's perspective, this building really is stunning. And HUGE. It's slightly hidden away off the main road, you turn a corner and suddenly this giant spectacle is towering above you. Definitely a "wow." moment. (side-note: in Oxford, there are bikes literally everywhere. Rosie and I got a little lost in our imaginations thinking about how wonderful it would be to attend this university and to ride a cute bike with a basket on the front filled with books and flowers.. *sigh* the dream.)

Next stop was the Bodliean Library, but sadly you had to pay for tours which were around an hour long, and on our tight schedule (we only had 5 hours to see the city) this wasn't possible. For the Harry Potter fans (not-so) hidden inside us, we were pretty gutted, as apparently the hospital wing scenes in the Harry Potter films were filmed in here, and other than the obvious pull of seeing a beautiful, huge library full of old books, this was the main reason we'd been keen to pay this place a visit.  

After this slight disappointment, we fell upon the Bridge of Sighs. I was lucky enough to see this bridge's sister in Venice last summer, so seeing it in Oxford brought back all of those memories. I couldn't resist getting a photo in front of it (although I was quite a way in front of it as the tourists behind me were all stood in the middle of the road and I didn't fancy taking my life into my hands and risking getting run over!).
I also really really loved the metalwork on this gate, another reason I'm stood here!

Next stop on this mission of Oxford exploration was the Botanic Gardens. I'd be lying if I said Rosie and I just wanted to visit here because of the attractive variety of flora and fauna. As beautiful as the collection of plants here is (..they even have a cannabis plant?!), the main reason we wanted to visit here was because of the bench made famous my Philip Pullman's Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry, and the relevance it has to their relationship. Some wonderful soul has carved "Lyra + Will" into the arm of the bench, and whilst I don't condone graffiti of any sort, I couldn't help but feel a little emotional when I saw it, and my arms were covered in goosebumps. Complete fangirl moment. And I felt ever so slightly ridiculous that these reactions were brought about because of a bench. (I am deliberately avoiding explaining why this bench is so pivotal as I don't want to spoil it for anyone who now wants to read it, and for Jess, one of my best friends who is reading them currently and the last thing I want is for the ending of the most beautiful books in the world to be ruined for her.)

The next (and last main) stop of our adventure was Christ Church College, an active college in the University of the Oxford. Fun fact: this college alone has produced 16 Prime Ministers. That's more than Cambridge University in its entirety has produced.  Pretty impressive huh? But you've probably guessed that  I have very little interest in the college's ability to produce names of consequence. We were here for one thing and one thing only. Harry Potter filming locations. To our utter dismay, the Great Hall (the inspiration for Hogwarts' own Great Hall) was closed to the public. Thankfully, at least the staircase leading up to it was open and we could take pictures in between occasional squealings of excitement, eg "Oh my god, oh my god, DANIEL RADCLIFFE HAS STOOD HERE". In the first film, this staircase is used when the first year students first enter Hogwarts and are awaiting sorting outside the Great Hall main doors. It is also used at the end of the film, when Ron and Hermione are stood on the balcony looking down onto a battered and bruised Harry who asks them how they are. You'll know what I mean when you see the photo.

And that concludes this absolute monster of a blog post about my visit to the beautiful Oxford. I'm going to end it with a few more photo  I took during the day of bits of pieces of the city that I thought were pretty (even if I had no idea what they were..). Thank you for reading if you've managed to get all the way down here!

Enjoy the rest of your day!

An introduction..

After much deliberation and after many requests from my followers over on Tumblr,  I have decided to create a blog here in order to properly write about my life and the things that I love as I way of giving myself a therapeutic medium to write (and write.. and write..) that isn't restricted or controlled, so I could have the freedom to express myself somewhere other than in my scruffy little diary.

So, hello there,  I'm a  first year student at university studying English Literature with the hope of becoming a teacher and, at length, a full-time writer. Here are a few facts about myself:

Name: Katy Louise
Age: 19
I'm a strange mixture of introvert and extrovert.
I like fictional characters more than most people.
I like to read, a lot.
I absolutely hate negative people, and people who are just plain mean.
If I could afford to eat everything off the menu at Patisserie Valerie, I would.
I have a part-time job as a bartender and waitress at a local pub back home.
Home is Lancashire, university is Yorkshire (it's like the War of the Roses all over again)
I like period dramas and romance films/books as much as I enjoy sci-fi and fantasy films/books.
I pretty much only ever wear dresses and skirts (unless I'm in my bedroom, then it's pyjamas, always.)
Luna Lovegood and Lyra Belacqua are my literary best friends.
I like a range of music, but at the moment I absolutely adore indie/folk.
I don't have a favourite season, I like them all for different reasons.
My favourite book(s) is the His Dark Materials series by the genius Philip Pullman.

I think that will do us for now, so before I bore you to death (unless I already have, then I'm terribly sorry), I will leave this as my first ever post on the slightly embryonic blog that is "What Katy Louise Did Next".