I have been rejected by Queen Mary's University and will not be going to university next year. This blog will be put on hold indefinitely.

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Last month I shared a post about the books that I had read during the month of June, a short summary of what they were about, and what I thought about them. I thought I would continue this little blog series, even though this post is a few days late. July was quite a slow month for me in all ways, and I actually only managed to get through three books instead of my usual four. But without further ado: here is my July Reading Wrap-up!



Holding up the Universe

By Jennifer Niven

Jennifer Niven is one of my favourite authors ever since I read her book "All the Bright Places". I read that book back in November and never got around to reading "Holding up the Universe" until now, despite it being on my To-Be-Read list since back in March. The story follows two main characters: Jack and Libby, as they navigate their way through high school. Libby used to be "the worlds fattest teen" and has just lost enough weight to be able to go back to school. Jack has prosopagnosia meaning that he cannot recognise faces. They both struggle to fit but in very different ways: Libby struggles physically due to her weight while Jack struggles with his own personality and how he presents himself to the world. It is a romance novel, so I imagine that you can figure out what happens in the end (πŸ˜‰). To be completely honest, I was kind of disappointed by the book as I found it to be very clichΓ©, unlike Niven's previous works. It was an enjoyable and easy read, but it didn't allow me any new perspective of high school that I didn't already know.

Rating: πŸ“– πŸ“– πŸ“–



Huden: Allt om vΓ₯rt stΓΆrta organ

"The Skin: everything concerning our largest organ"

By Yael Adler

This was a nonfiction book, written in Swedish, recommended to me by a family friend of mine. As I've said before, I am obsessed with skincare, Therefore, I imagine that I found this book more enjoyable than the average person would. It is very informative, discussing the different layers of the skin, different characteristics to look out for and what they mean, as well as the effects of sun, alcohol, diet and creams on your skin. I knew a lot of the information from before, but still found it interesting. However, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who wasn't actually interested in skincare, as I imagine they would find it extremely boring.

Rating: πŸ“– πŸ“– πŸ“– πŸ“–



The Name of the Wind

By Patrick Rothfuss

This book was recommended to me by my friend Wilma. I didn't know much about the story or the aithor prior to opening it. I knew that it was Patrick Rothfuss's debut novel, but that was about it. The story is about a man named Kvothe as he shares the tale of his life to a scribe. They live in a world of demons, dragons and fairytale myths. Kvothe explains how he ended up working at an inn in a small village to hide his identity and leave his past behind. He explains how and why he went to the University to learn sympathy and learn the name of the wind. I can't really say much more without spoiling anything for you. It is a very long book, with more than 700 pages. The first 200 pages are a very slow read, but after that it is such a page turner that I struggled with putting it down. This is the first book in the King Killer series, and Kvothe's story will continue in the next instalment. If you are looking for a thrilling and unique story, this is the one for you.

Rating: πŸ“– πŸ“– πŸ“– πŸ“– πŸ“–

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A few of you may have wondered where I have been for the past month or so. In truth, I can't really tell you. Physically, I have been at home, at my summer house and in Spain. But mentally, I have been scattered. The last time I blogged, was on the 12th of July. It wasn't a conscious decision to stop without any explanation. To be frank, I hadn't planned on taking a break at all. But I simply had no motivation or will to continue.

The main factor contributing to this break were my grades. For a week since the release of the results, I willed myself to continue blogging. Then I couldn't take it anymore. The reason that this blog got started was for me to share my experiences of moving to London and going to university. When my grades were released and I realised that I (narrowly) missed the offer, I was crushed. My dreams of moving to London shattered. Why write about my journey when there won't be one? So I stopped.

One month later, I have come to terms with my results. And I have come to terms with the fact that I missed my offer. I received a comment yesterday, asking me what happened to studying in London. Truthfully, I don't know yet. I have talked to the university and been informed that they try to offer a sensible degree of flexibility when it comes to narrow misses. However, they can't give any final decision until they have received all results from all students, on August 17th. Fingers crossed that I will be accepted. A little more than a week left, and then I will know for sure.

The reason that I am starting now again is that this is also part of the journey. The path to university may not have been as smooth as I had planned for (or wished for), but neither has it ended. I once again feel the desire to share my thoughts and feelings, so I will.

I can't share much of the month that you missed. I didn't take photos to record my experiences in Spain or at my summer house. My month has had its ups and downs. I did something really stupid a few weeks back that I have had to deal with as well. Lets just say that I am ready for summer to be over, and get back to routines and reality. I hope that you have had an amazing summer and are as excited for the autumn as I am! Fun fact: autumn is my favourite season.

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As much as we might like to pretend that first impressions aren't all that counts when we meet someone new, we all have to admit that they still are a big deal. First impressions are affected by both our behaviour and our appearance. Something that I am alway conscious of regarding first impressions is my skin. When I was younger, I struggled slightly with acne (which I thankfully no longer do). I used to worry so much about the appearance of my forehead, the roughness of my hand and how the person I met would perceive me, that I never ever learned anyones name as I greeted them. Undoubtedly, due to this I now have an obsession with skincare.

Regarding skincare, I am both great and awful. The reason that I am awful is because I always pop my pimples. I no longer have acne, but that doesn't stop pimples from showing up when they feel like it. From the moment they appear, I can think of little other than popping it. The un-poppable ones nag me. I know that I shouldn't pop pimples. I know it can leave scars, and leaves germs on top of your skin making it more likely to develop new pimples. But I can't stop.

On the other hand, I never go to sleep without taking off my make-up, I moisturise twice a day and wash my face at least ones a day. I use both a cleanser and a toner when I wash, and try to scrub my face ones a week. The best feeling in the world is going to bed with a newly washed and moisturised face. I just love it.

Yesterday I went to a launching party for a company created by a friend of my mom. The company is a branch of "Forever Living" and will be selling their skin and health products. I had never heard of the products before and was quite sceptical to buy anything prior to the event. They had a presentation during the evening to discuss their best-sellers and inform us (the possible buyers) of the company. Aaaaaand now I am completely sold. Yes, I fell right into their trap. "Forever Living" products use 100% natural products and is plant based. The main ingredient is aloe vera and their products use the purest form of it. All skincare products are vegan-friendly and some of their products aimed for animals are even tested on humans (oh the irony). Basically, "Forever Living" stand for the same principles as I do on all accounts. I argued with myself that NOT trying the products would be to go against my own values (especially since the products that I use currently are not vegan-friendly, chemical-free or natural in any way, shape or form).

So here is what I ended up buying:

  • A gel for scars (fitting due to the new scar on my knee)
  • A deoderant
  • A scrub
  • A toner
  • A cleanser
  • A thiner lotion (to use as a day cream)
  • And a thicker lotion (to use as a night cream)

I am really excited to test all these new products out when they arrive. Maybe I bought too much but I feel like all of these products are good for everyday use and work as a starting kit to introduce me to the brand. I am really hoping that I will love them. From what I saw yesterday, I am not disappointed. I definitely recommend checking out "Forever Living" if you are obsessed with skincare like me.

These pictures are not mine, and can be found on "Forever Living's" website.

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Back again with another storytime. This story is more recent than the two previous storytimes. This story actually took place this Saturday. There is also a moral to this story, something that I had to learn the hard way. My hope is that by hearing it, you or someone else reading this, can learn from my mistake.

This story is centred around my friend Julia. There are three things that you need to know about Julia before this story begins. Firstly, Julia is a very tough person and will play down pain. Secondly, Julia is allergic to peanuts. I have known Julia for many years now, and all of our friends know that Julia is allergic to peanuts. When she was younger she almost died from eating them. Over the years, it has seemed like she was growing out of her allergy to a certain extent. She said she was okay with us eating peanuts from a nut mix or peanut sauce at a thai place in her presence. It seemed like she no longer reacted to the airborne peanut, only the ingested. Thirdly, Julia doesn't carry allergy medicine.

Saturday was the last day of Partille Cup. Most teams had already been eliminated by this point as mainly the semifinals and the finals took place. My friends and I went to watch the finals and walked around in the city all day, Julia included. Towards the afternoon, we felt the hunger creeping in and decided to have lunch at one of our favourite thai buffets. Julia being Julia told us that it was fine to take peanut sauce if we wanted to. I didn't, but not because I was thinking she might react, but because it didn't suit the food that I was eating. Some of the others did take peanut sauce. As we were eating, things seemed fine. We talked and laughed like we usually do. Julia ate a large amount, and seemed unaffected by the peanuts all around her. The thing is that she wasn't.

Towards the end of the lunch her eyes started to itch and water. She played it off but we noticed. We asked her if she was okay and she told us that she was fine, but admitted that her eyes were a little itchy. Five minutes later, her eyes were puffy and she started to cough. At this point we decided that she needed to leave. She and Tilda walked out a little before the rest of us in order for Julia to get some air. They went to Tilda's apartment that lay close by and we followed them there. While we were walking I called Tilda and asked how Julia was feeling. Tilda told me that she was feeling better and that the air had helped her.

When I entered the apartment and went into Tilda's room, I saw Julia lying in the bed with the window open next to her. I told her I wanted to call 911. She told me no. She was feeling better and said she wouldn't need help. She did allow us to call her mom. While two other girls called her mom to tell her what happened, Tilda and I stayed with Julia and talked to her. After a few minutes she tensed up and said she needed to go outside because she could no longer breathe. We rushed her outside to the balcony and lay her down on her side. Her throat was itching and she had rasping breaths. The other girls gave her water and tried to clear her airways while I called 911. It took the ambulance five minutes to reach Tilda's apartment from the time that I hung up. Five minutes where Julia went from rasping breaths and barely able to talk, to barely able to breathe or hold my hand.

When the ambulance came, we were rushed out from the balcony, allowing the ambulance staff room. Soon after, they left for the hospital where Julia's mom met them. She is okay now. She survived. She was given medicine in time.

Everyone kept telling us how well we handled it, as we were calm and made sure Julia received help when she needed it. The thing is, that it was a close call. Had the ambulance arrived five minutes later, I'm not so sure things would have worked out as well as they did. We waited to call 911. We listened to Julia when she said she didn't need it, against our own better judgement. We should have called as soon as we realised that she was having an allergic reaction and not wait until she was having trouble breathing. We were lucky that this time it was enough.

Moral of the story: if you ever feel like you need to call 911, then do it.

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Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, know that I recently graduated from high school after having completed the International Baccalaureate. For those of you who don't know what the IB is, or haven't followed my blog: the IB is a high school program where you choose six different subjects to study for two years. In May in the final year, you take several examinations for each of your subjects that then determine your grade. Even though I was done with the exams by May 15th, the results and grades weren't released until last Thursday. Waiting for almost two months was close to torture.

3 reasons why the wait was torture:

  1. You knew the date and time of your doom (aka July 6th at 15:30).
  2. The more time that passed the less you remembered of the actual exam paper and your answers, and the more your imagination was allowed to convince you that you failed each and every exam.
  3. The exam results determined whether you would get into university or not. Hence, I couldn't allow myself to plan for next year and dream of university as I knew there was still a chance I wouldn't be able to go.

Despite this, I have been successful at pushing aside most worries of results and just focus on summer. The closer it got to July 6th, the more anxious I got. However, this was nothing compared to the exponential curve of emotional experienced on July 6th. When I woke up, I was calm but dread quickly snuck up on me. By 10:00, I was nauseous. By 12:00, I couldn't eat. By 14:00, I experienced symptoms of a high fever and common cold.

My mom drove me home before the release of the grades, where both of my parents and I sat around waiting anxiously. By 15:27, I opened my computer and logged in. By 3:30 pm, I refreshed the page and saw...

... that I didn't meet my university offer. The offer consisted of two components, where I far exceeded one but lacked one point on the other. My reaction: I cried.

The thing is that I actually received amazing grades which I am so proud of. Before actually seeing the grades, I would have never believed it if someone told me that I scored as high as I did. I had not expected that I would be able to do so well nor that I had done that well.

But the turn of events leading to my inability to meet the offer caught me by surprise. It was one of my strongest and best subjects, that I was most confident in after the exams, that let me down. I still don't understand what happened or how I could do as "badly" as I did. I have spent the past days laying in bed doing absolutely nothing (way more than healthy). I have eaten way too little. I have slept very poorly. I have been, point blank, extremely sad. I have doubted myself and my own ability. I don't know what bothers me more: the fact that I might not be able to go to university, that I didn't get enough to meet my offer, or that my favourite subject was the one that let me down.

So what happens now?

I don't know. I am not guaranteed a place at university, but neither is it certain that I won't be able to go. I guess that I am waitlisted. Now I have to wait until August to know for sure. I am just so disappointed in myself. I know that this is not the end or the world, or that I am not the only person in this situation. But that still doesn't stop it from hurting.

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This past week has been spent at Partille Cup (which is an outdoor handball tournament in Gothenburg every first week of July). I haven't been able to play, but instead I have been the number one supporter by waking up early in the morning, to be at all games for both my brothers and my old team as long as the time of the games didn't clash. Just considering Partille Cup, the week has been amazing. This is a tournament that we have played every year since we were very young. It starts on the Tuesday and the games continue until the Saturday. It's common to have multiple games a day, and when not playing, to walk around and just watch games going on around you at the other fields. It's sort of a social event alongside a handball tournament. This is the second year ever that I have not been able to play.

This year provided widely mixed results. For my old girls team, it went less well. They struggled slightly with teamwork, and lost a lot of games with one ball down. It was very unfortunate but we/they had a good time anyway. My brothers' team did really well and managed to reach the semifinals, where they lost in a sudden death against the winner's of the tournament. I personally think that their loss was unjust due to incompetence of referees, but that still changes nothing.

Due to how busy I have been, I decided not to blog last week (partially due to other reasons as well which will be explained in the next post), and instead make a vlog. As I came home late at night, I didn't have time to edit in the evenings and therefore did not notice that the GoPro I was using stopped working. So the whole week which I thought I vlogged, I have no footage from. The limited material that I did get is not enough to make a proper vlog, and there therefore (sadly) won't be one.

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Ever since my summer vacation started, about one and a half months ago, the days have passed inexorably quickly. When your daily routine becomes monotone and you stay at home, relaxing for the majority of the time (which I am extremely guilty of), the days start to just flash by. Sometimes I make a plans, but then never really get around to doing any of them. Therefore, I have come up with five little things that you can do which will help you save time in a day.

  1. Wake up early. And by early, I mean around eight or nine, but definitely no later than ten. The morning hours are when you are able to do things for yourself. You tend not to meet people before lunch, which therefore leaves the hours for you to go to the gym, do your nails, buy something that you may need etc. Although it can be a difficult thing to do, it can give you up to an extra four hours in a day. Note: for this to work, you will need to go to bed a little earlier in order to get enough sleep.
  2. Make a daily to-do checklist. When you wake up, you will usually have some idea of want you want to get done in that day. Write it down to have a concrete plan. This will reduce the time that you spend roaming around and lounging on your phone before you figure out something to do.
  3. Don't watch the next episode. It is so easy to fall into the Netflix trap. Unless you had planned to spend the day watching Netflix, then don't wait for the next episode. If you had planned on watching one, then watch only that one. It is so easy to loose an entire day in the "short" 40 minute episodes. Don't do it. It's not worth it. Break the addiction.
  4. Do all your chores at one time. Although it might be boring to spend an hour or two in the morning doing chores, it's better to get it all done in one go. If you choose to spread it out over the day, it's can be very hard to get back to the active mode after the relaxed mode. Even during the relaxed period between chores, it's unlikely that you will get anything done, other than wait until the time for the next chore. Do them all, do them early, and then start you day properly.
  5. Turn off your phone. This is such a classic but I do think that it's the most helpful trick as well. The thing about phones is that we don't realise how much time a day we loose on them. Every time you get a notification and take a small break in what you are doing to check it, you loose several minutes. Lying in bed with your phone for hours before finally falling asleep isn't productive either. Going to sleep earlier instead of watching that extra cat video will save you time, allowing you to be more productive the next day. Just turn off your phone, or at least keep it some distance away, so that it will not distract you as easily.

I hope that some of these tricks to save time may help you. To be honest, I wrote this as a way of chastising myself, as I have been an excellent time-waster this past week. It's time to pull myself together. Hopefully, I'll be able to follow my own advice, frankly I really need it.

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It's easy to convince yourself that you are a fearless person when you are without obstacles. I believe that there are several kinds of fears and that people have a tendency to misclassify them. Firstly, you have your phobias. A phobia: an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something. You have your common phobias such as: acrophobia (fear of heights), arachnophobia (fear of spiders), claustrophobia (fear of small spaces), and mysophobia (fear of germs). If you were to ask me, I would claim to have arachnophobia and trypophobia, because I hate spiders and clusters of small holes and bumps make me extremely uncomfortable. The things is that I don't really fear either of them. Do I avoid them? Yes. Do they cause me uanessacry distress? Yes. But do I start to fear for my life or cause me any actual pain? Genuinely not. I'm not claiming that phobias are nonexistent. However, I think that phobias are exaggerated for the average person. A phobia has become the socially accepted word for anything bringing an individual unease.

A second fear that most anyone will tell you that they possess is the fear for the lives of ones family and friends. When asked what your biggest fear is, nine out of ten people tend to answer that they are afraid that some kind of ill fortune will befall one of their loved ones. The thing with this again is that I have a hard time actually classifying it a fear. It certainly isn't one of my fears. I care about my family and friends and dread the fact that something could happen causing them any sort of harm. Thoughts of their deaths make me crestfallen and distressed. But I do not actually fear for their lives, because I do not truly believe it likely for any such thing to occur. I understand that there are people out there in our world, who at this very second fear for their own and their families lives. People who are fleeing their homes due to war and unrest. They can claim to own this fear, but I find it highly unlikely that the nine out of ten people who will call upon this as their biggest fear truly understand how it would feel.

I started to wonder if there is such a thing as a fear. Fears are derived from emotions which are experienced in a combination of physical arousal and cognitive classification. Rationally, fears would have to cause a quickening of your heart rate, sweating, shortness of breath, initiating a fight or flight primal response and exclusively occupy ones thoughts. To be a fear, it would have to:

  • be an imagined or real threat
  • cause physical arousal
  • cause uncontrolled emotional responses
and
  • presumably result in danger, pain or harm

I find there to be very few things that would qualify as fears with regards to this checklist. Anything that would check off one or several of the item can result in being scared. But being scared and having a fear are two very different things. Watching a horror film will make you scared, reading devastating world news can make you scared, and seeing a snake can make you scared. But you can be scared and still be fearless. To have a fear, you would have to have experienced something traumatising.

I believe myself to be fearless, because I have yet to experience an obstacle resulting in permanent danger, pain or harm. The closest thing I have to a fear is the anxiety which arises whenever I consider my grades, which will be released in four days. The grades which to some extent will determine my future. The results are constantly on my mind, and no matter how much I try, I cannot forget "the impending doom". My heartbeat quickens and I have difficulty breathing. I am anxious, excited, empty and settled all at the same time. I know that it can cause me a great deal of pain and harm if I do not get the results that I desire. But there is no threat. I'm scared for what is to come and I am afraid of what will happen. Yet I do not fear my grades. I used to think I did. I used to find it unfair that I had to experience such emotional trauma. After having broken down what a fear actually is, I realise that I should count myself lucky. I live a life in which I do not have to fear for mine or other's lives, pain, emotional or physical harm, disrespect or danger. I need to appreciate it as long as it lasts.

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