2010 Year of Culture: August

Alright kids!  Well it’s been a while I must admit.  I’m having the best summer of my life, doing many things I will forget and many things I will regret, but it’s incredible.  Excuse me if this is short, every second has been action packed and will be until I must formerly commit to education again.  (Yes, hello, got into Southampton Uni by the way!)  So here goes …

Week 31 I hit up the New Forest for a week (see previous post).  Week 32 was another week, another field.  In the form of Soul Survivor, a giant Xtian Festival in the heart of Somerset.  I had an amazing week working in a Cafe there, met some amazing people and had some crazy experiences!  Week 33 was a cheeky slumber party at my Mum’s Business’ corporate flat, with free jacuzzi, sauna and gym, of course darling.  Living the life of luxe.  1 of the most stressful turned into amazing Results Day ever was Week 34, and V Festival 2010.  Just amazing.  We saw Feeder, Paloma Faith, Newton Faulkner, Kings of Leon, Paolo Nutini, The Kooks, Faithless, Imogen Heap and The Prodigy.  Just amazing.

So I’m having the best Summer of my life.  And don’t intend to stop now.  I’m hoping my blogging will resume to normality with the return of routine, we got a while yet though folks!  Hope you’re loving every second of your life just as I am!  Stay tuned for more fun and frolics little ones.

Believe it or not this is one of the tamer shots.  Soul Survivor 2010 baby!

The carnage we made of The Flat …

… But hello Sauna!

Stay tuned for an actual V Fest post including crazy photos.  Love!


Field Of Dreams?

Field of Dreams?  Quite possibly.  Camp, otherwise known as Mid Wessex Christian Camps located in the heart of the New Forest which I have now been attending for 10 years, and it’s as incredible as it was a decade ago.  After a long drive home yesterday and a stupidly long, and warm, sleep I am now ready to write about it.

Not having a set role at Camp this year (I normally lead a tent for children aged anywhere between 9 and 15) I was pretty apprehensive about my week away.  I didn’t want to be a ‘Floater’ and I was so scared I nearly didn’t go.  As soon as I got there though, all my fears were put to bed.  My title was a ‘Hostess’, I did everything from organising mini bus logistics, to cooking, to cleaning out toilets to being in the worship band.  It was incredible.  I was busy every moment of every day and I absolutely loved it.  It was so amazing being involved in the practical side after 10 years and appreciating Camp for what it is and how it runs, and I’m so proud I could be a part of that.

One of the best bits of my week was running a Forest Adventure/Challenge … all by myself J  Normally, the 60 campers and 30 odd leaders trek it to the heart of the forest to be greeted by an authoritative looking, muscle bound, manly early 20 year old guy.  This time, they had me.  Armed with my Army rucksack and walking boots, I hiked into a clearing surrounded my horses, cows and even dogs (those of you who know me well will know what a big feat this was for me) to set up my Challenge.  Walky Talky in toe complete with code names (This is Caffeine, Roger that, over and out), 8 groups of people successfully completed my challenge, and enjoyed it!  It was so nice abolishing the standard and breaking through with the unconventional.  Girls can do it too!

The Camp Fire is always a special one.  Ever since I can remember it has been full of tears, testimonies and love.  There is something just so intimate and personal about sitting in front of a blazing fire in the dark with people you know and love, and feeling comfortable enough to share how you are, how you’re feeling.  Complete with songs, shakes and sermons the Camp Fire has been and will always be my favourite evening of the week to be both respected and appreciated together.

Line Dancing was pretty incredible.  Quite possibly the most hardcore workout I’ve had all summer, dancing and jumping about like a lunatic!  So much fun.  As every evening did, it led to 15 odd leaders sitting around laughing until we couldn’t breathe.  I will miss those people the most.  I could go into every event that happened in so much detail but to be perfectly honest I don’t have the energy, and have well and truly exhausted my caffeine supply for 2010.  Camp is always wonderful, as was this year.  I feel so much happier in myself and in Christ, I have rediscovered my love for jeans and I have fallen realised the beauty of caravans.  I have reconnected with old friends and made some amazing new ones.  I’m loving summer and that Field of Dreams was no exception.

I <3 NY

So good they named it twice … SO GOOD!  New York, New York for a week – one of the greatest weeks of my life.  My Mum and I jetted off after my last exam for a week of girly tourism, shopping and bliss.  Such an incredible time.  After 8am champers at the airport (of course, darling) and an 8 hour flight we arrived.  I fainted in the cab on the way to the hotel, not eating for 8 hours and 36 degree temperatures from being inside with my hoards of revision food isn’t exactly a good mix.  But the less said about that the better.  Our hotel was absolutely beautiful, located on 51st and 7th we were just 5 minutes walk away from both Central Park and Times Square – perfect!

The first night consisted of a bleary eyed walk around Times Square and Macy’s, just lapping up the atmosphere.  The lights, the smells, the atmosphere, the people = just incredible.  I walked into a shop and it was ‘Oh Hey Gurl, I’m Tiffany, Yall just give me a holla if you need anything!’  I loved the women.  So genuine, so friendly, so up for just helping you and being a good sales person.  I felt happy and secure around them, not at all as though they were about to mouth off about me in their little check out till pow wows.

Jet Lag came like a demon, I was up at 3am shaving my legs and reading ‘Seventeen’ magazine for an hour, fell asleep for an hour before heading to Grand Central Station for breakfast.  So surreal being there at 6am.  The business men were buzzing about doing their thing while we sat gormlessly eating bagels deciding our plan for the day.  Next, we headed up the Empire State Building.  Stunning views!  We could see for miles, it was just breathtaking, so overwhelming that we were actually there after months and months of planning, speculating, talking…  We got the bus down to Battery Park where we chilled out at the World Finance Centre at the yacht harbour.  I felt so elite!  With Hollywood bodies jogging past us and yummy mummies doing yoga it was The Apprentice meets 90210, New York style.  After a casual stroll to Trinity Church, I fell in love.  Now, those of you who know me well will be well aware one of my favourite films of all time is ‘National Treasure’, where the suspected treasure of the world is concealed in the Trinity Church basement.  I was just in awe, I had half a mind to ask the security guards if I could have a sneaky peek down to the cellar.  We headed down Wall Street to Federal Hall where a looming monument of George Washington stood, one of my favourite Presidents.  One Staten Island Ferry with prime views of the Statue of Liberty later, an incredible Planet Hollywood meal awaited us before tumbling into bed.

The second day was just as beautiful.  We strolled around Central Park for a good chunk of our morning before heading to the American Museum of Natural History (think Night at the Museum, but better).  Highlights were definitely the gigantic whale and the statue from Easter Island, no I’m not being sarcastic, these elements were genuinely very interesting.  Then we headed to Top of the Rock (Rockerfeller Centre), which was in my opinion, even more breathtaking that the Empire State.  There was a phenomenal view of Central Park and back to the Empire State Building.  We stayed up there for a good hour, why rush when you’ve got the world at your feet?

The next day was Saturday.  After a lovely Diner breakfast and a quick stroll around the Times Warner Mall, the Sex and The City On Location Tour awaited us.  3 of the best hours of my life!  We headed all around Manhattan, seeing all the famous locations for all the best scenes, not to mention hopping off the bus to visit the stunning SATC shopping area, complete with cupcakes!  We strolled through the 6th Avenue Saturday Street Market before hopping to a secret burger joint – quite possibly the best meal of my life!  One 34th Street shopping trip later we were well and truly shattered.

Independance Day!  Yes, such an awesome experience being able to be in New York for 4th July.  We got the bus down again to Battery Park, where we visited Ground Zero.  It was very moving actually.  Despite the fact that work has now begun on the Ground Zero site, think cranes and builders, you could still feel the overwhelming emotion of something greater.  It was well worth a see.  Then we headed back to Trinity Church for the Church Service.  So beautiful!  There was an incredible sermon plus some marvelous hymns, including one titled ‘America’.  I’ve never felt so patriotic!  Then we headed to Pier 17, one of the liveliest of the Piers, for Lunch and an atmospheric soaking sesh.  We got a cab over Brooklyn Bridge before walking back across it.  Astonishing!  Walking from Brooklyn to Manhattan in 36 degree heat, seeing first hand the hazy smog encompassing the city combined with all the scents and sights of heaven was just, amazing.  We got the subway to Bloomingdales where I picked up quite a few bargains I must say!  The evening was glorious.  After cooling off in our hotel pool we headed over to Times Square where we watched the fireworks.  We weren’t too fussed about being by the river.  Seen one firework, seen them all.  Times Square was the perfect place to be, police horses and buskers galore, to be amongst the people of the greatest city on Earth on the greatest day of their year.  Not even thesaurus.com can give me the words to describe that one.

The Monday of our trip was the hottest day New York City had received in a decade, so yes, was pretty warm.  After a stroll around the gorgeous St Patrick’s Cathedral and the purchase of my Christmas present (I couldn’t afford it, okay?!) in Saks, we went to MOMA, The Museum of Modern Art.  I felt very cool wandering around, with all the super arty, geek glasses, tattooed lovelies.  We caught the bus up to Columbia Uni – so Gossip Girl it was unreal!  I loved it, the American equivalent of Oxford no doubt.  We sat in the heat watching all the Preps wandering about with their Starbucks, I honestly felt like I was on a movie set.  Next we headed to the Lincoln Centre, ‘the cultural hub of the city’, I was right at home.  We sat and watched some of the Juliard Students in an open air concert which was so relaxing.  I really felt like a New Yorker in that moment.  The sun was shining, we were sat with our smoothies enjoying the talented youngsters of tomorrow sing their dear little hearts out, I felt so relaxed.  It was lovely.

Our last day was spent as though it was our last.  We headed to the USS Intrepid which was just awesome.  The nerd in me was the reason we went there really, the Air, Sea and Space Museum, but we loved it.  Going down in a submarine, watching a Kamikaze show and learning SO much about Vietnam.  We headed to Bryant Park for a coffee before the New York Public Library.  Cue me running around like a loonie in the ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ and ‘Sex And The City’ film set.  I was so excited!  But the best was yet to come … The Declaration of Independance!  On display for a beautiful 10 days, so beautiful!  I literally stood and looked at the 2 pieces of paper for a good half hour, scrutinising every word.  And the best part … Josiah Bartlet was a real person!  I’m well aware that won’t mean much to most of you, but basically it’s that the fictional President from hit US Politics Show ‘The West Wing’, was actually a real New Hampshire Congress Man in 1776.  We headed to the General Post Office for a wee look about before strolling around the Upper East Side once more in true Gossip Girl fashion.  One Central Park walk, Manicure and Chocolate Shop later we had lots of beer and went to bed.

Our last morning consisted of a Bloomingdales Brunch before a super long stint at the Airport, but lots of Duty Free Purchases!  Congratulations if you’ve made it to the end of this blog, thought, travelogue splurge.  You deserve a medal.  So yes New York, so good they named it twice.  I’ve exhausted thesaurus.com but really, there are no words to describe how amazing my week was.  I’ve only just begun to do it justice.



On my monthly www.tweetstats.com check up, I was surprised to find that my most tweeted word is ‘Love’.  Tweets such as ‘Love Junior Apprentice’, ‘What heights of love, what depths of peace’ and ‘Love a bit of Student Night’ have prevailed over my twitter profile for a good few months now.  It made me think, am I too laid back in my mentions of love, or am I just far too positive about everything for my own good?

Maybe this is a bit too deep and meaningful, perhaps I’m overcomplicating it but I really was shocked!  I feel I might be using the term too loosely, such a powerful emotion being thrown to the dirt by me loving nearly everything.  Maybe I should divert to the Facebook ‘Like’ button, but then I think it wouldn’t have nearly the same effect.  ‘Like Junior Apprentice’, alright, cool, so do most people.  ‘What heights of like…’ God doesn’t just like us!  and ‘Like a bit of Student Night’ must be one of the greatest understatements I have ever written!

So after a little thought splurge on my blog as I know and ‘love’ it, I think I’ll continue as I mean to go on.  Perhaps in my articles love doesn’t exist as the patient, kind, not envying emotion but it exists as my emotion, which is positive and stupidly happy about most things.  Love this.

Life List

I love lists.  I literally make them for everything; what I’m going to eat, what I’m up to, what to do when I get home.  I find they make me more productive and constructive, especially around exam time.  So yesterday, I attempted to embark on making a ‘Life List’.  Everything I want to do, everything I want to acheive.  I’m pretty sure God was laughing his socks off.

So I sat there with a little notepad, thinking about all the things I’ve ever wanted to do.  Hell, I even looked at some ‘Things to do before you die’ websites.  Go skydiving, drive across America, go in a hot air balloon, run a marathon … the list goes on.  Sure, they all sound incredible and I would love to feat all of these at one point or another.  But then I got thinking.  What about all the things I have done?  I have a different Life List, I have a list of achievements.

I’ve had my portrait painted, been in a music video, seen a lunar ecplise and swum with dolphins.  I’ve road tripped across Canada, slept under the stars, sung in front of a huge audience and been to every continent except South America.  I’ve lived hard in my 18 years, I live hard each day.  So what have I learnt from this?  Sure, make a list of things you want to do, but even better – make a list of things you have done.  It’ll inspire you to do more, to seize the day and fall in love with life again.  What are we waiting for?!

Writing a Book

I must have started about 6 or 7 books, as in, long haul novels in my time.  And finished how many?  Zero.  I love to write, I carry my notebook with me everywhere, jotting down ideas for characters, settings, narration.  Loser?  Perhaps, perhaps not.  I’ve written about promiscious doctors, lonely terrorists, Christian football players, murders … and not one of these stories has been completed.

I think I got the furthest with my promisicious doctor story.  Classic holiday chic-lit, which I completed about 30,000 words of.  I would rush home every day after school and sit with my laptop and my notepad, and refuse to stop until I’d written another chapter.  Next came the terrorist story, thinking my It Girl London doctor was a bit too shallow, that I needed some depth to my writing – cue middle east desert, a topic which I have no understanding or experience of.  I found I was beginning and stopping stories all the time, never finding myself, finding my true writing style in any of them.

So what next?  I am still determined to complete a book one day.  But perhaps I just have to accept and embrace the fact my writing style may not be suited to any one character for 300 pages.  Maybe I’m better with the fast paced, live, up to date articles I one day hope to publish.  This Summer I’m going to give it a go.  Three months of doing nothing but travelling, and discovering myself.  I have New York, epic amounts of camping and road trips planned plus plenty of ‘finding myself’.  I’m sure I’ll be able to whack out a novel along the way.  At least I’m sure as hell going to try!

Do Not Fear

So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. – Isiah 41:10

On attaining some A Level results this morning my immediate reaction was fear, fear if the future, fear of the unknown.  I opened my Bible.  This is what I found, DO NOT FEAR.  There is no point.  Your life is set out, your life is planned, all you can do is do your best.  There is no point comparing yourself to anybody, you are different, you are special, Do Not Fear.

With regards to work, college and exams you can only remember why you are in the position you are.  As for me, I am working my hardest for God.  My work, college and exams are in God’s hands, I can only work my hardest, the rest is decided.  So Do Not Fear.  It is already decided.