I’m sorry LoveFilm Instant, but it’s over.

I know, I know. We had some good times, we laughed. Gnomeo and Juliet was much better than I expected and I finally managed to watch Miss Congeniality. But I feel that this relationship was too one-sided to pull through. I was giving so much more to you than I was getting back. I’ll be honest, your lack of variety and choice was at the root of our troubles. Things became stale after I’d watched the one or two films I genuinely wanted to see.

I can tell by the fact that you still post offers through my door 6 months after I told you it was over that this isn’t getting through to you. Well let me put it this way – remember the very first film we watched together? How my face lit up when I saw that I could stream Blue Valentine? Well, just like in the film, we have come to the end. Please don’t try to be the Ryan Gosling to my Michelle Williams and stop pestering me.

It’s time to admit you need to move on. I know it’s been tough with Netflix moving in on your ground in the UK but I’m sure you can pull through. Take some time to cry yourself to sleep listening to Zooey Deschanel if you have to. Love hurts.


Bye bye GCSEs! I’ll miss you!

So how does it feel to have completed an archaic qualification? (I pose this question assuming that most people reading are close to my age…)

I can imagine us talking in the future to our children who do exams with brain machines…

*shakes fist* ‘I remember back when we had to use pencils! PENCILS!’ Slowly, like the batty, bitter old person you’ve secretly always wanted to be, you lean in and hiss ‘You kids have it so much easier now. Back in my day we got slapped if we even had the audacity to THINK about bringing blue pens into the exam hall!!’

or at least that is a pretty ramped up version of what the older ‘O-Level’ generation seem to think of our exams (I mean, doesn’t the language the politicians use to describe something we worked so hard for annoy you? The ‘dumbing down’, the ‘decline’, the ‘race to the bottom’. Thanks guys!). I don’t blame them to be honest, I think people have a natural instinct to defend their education against the newer, ‘better’ qualifications that have since been introduced. If the ‘Flynn effect’ is anything to go by, insecurities about the younger generations succeeding our own intelligence may be justified! This is actually quite an interesting area, and is perhaps something that should be taken into account by papers that treat students like buffoons managing to bluff their way through idiot-proof tests.

I’m not sure how I feel about the new GCSE substitute qualifications. I like the emphasis on languages being one of the 5 key subjects (because with transport becoming more efficient the world seems smaller all the time- we can’t just sit and twiddle our thumbs behind the borders and wait to be spoken to any more) but I hate the idea of coursework being abolished. My friends will know about my disdain for science coursework of any kind, but at the same time I think it is necessary for essay subjects such as English. Some people that love writing and are able create neat essays to perfection at their own pace can then really struggle and break down under the pressure of one massive exam at the end of the year (like me!). It provides that nice balance. Similar thoughts on the scrapping of retakes.

Also not too keen on the lack of calculators, periodic tables and source materials. In the real world, people that work in these areas DO have access to these, so in a way it’s just more stuff to remember that won’t come in too handy later down the line. Or perhaps I’m just lazy.  Oh well, at least I’m not the one that’ll have to pull a Daniel Radcliffe for my exams!

But hey, it could have been worse. We could have gone back to a *shudder* two tier system.


Wake up and smell the music!

I’ve been finding it difficult to get up in the morning these days. Not in a depressed way, fortunately. It’s more the fact that I’m in a kind of no-man’s land of motivation- I don’t need to get up to go to lessons or study or sort out accommodation or anything like that. In terms of my overall life plan, I’m mostly on track! The problem is that for half the week I do have a 6:10AM start and a full 8 hours work ahead of me – it’s pretty difficult to gather the will to flip out of bed and get a wriggle on sometimes. So I made a playlist on 8tracks (so much love for that website. It’s just amazing that you can listen to playlists from people around the globe, finding those with similar tastes, discovering new artists and it is so gratifying when you get people listening to playlists of your own!).

My get-up-and-go:


The day I make an origami crane mobile!*

*and I mean the pretty dangly stuff kind of mobile, not a really crap version of the batmobile.

I saw this image the other day-

I thought ‘It’s very beautiful! and ‘Hey, I can make cranes!’, inspiring me to try my hand at my own bastardised version! I thought it could be a nice personalised touch in my dorm room, as I can’t exactly cover it in pictures like I do now (though obviously I’ll still pop a few up). So this is my take-

a little more colourful (because I didn’t have enough paper of a single colour) but I think it adds to its charm 🙂 I think it’ll hang nicely in my room. So if you’re at all interested in how I made it or want to try it out, here is how I did it :

First, you make the cranes. Obviously. If you don’t know how, I’ve put together a little guide but I know how difficult it is to follow pictures on a screen so feel free to look around on youtube or wherever if you can’t make out certain bits.

One down, just 17 more to go! (or however many you plan to use. A Japanese legend promises that if you fold 1000 you will be granted a wish by a crane. Like a kind of feathered genie with a penchant for folded paper.)

Here’s how you make the garland:


Stuff I learnt at The Imperial War Museum

My weekend kicked off in rather bizarre fashion. My brother & I volunteered to tag along with my dad to go south for a meeting with a Canadian multi-millionaire and the curator of the Imperial War Museum (I gathered it was something to do with manufacturing figurines for an anniversary of some sort for the Airborne Forces…). Stuff I learnt there:

1. Meetings can end up in unexpected territory.

It was the first time I’d been to anything even resembling an army barracks so that was rather interesting in itself. But I think perhaps the stand-out moment was when the curator produced this from a drawer in the office:

That, my friend, is Hitler’s private bathroom key (my dad asked me if I wanted to pose next to it but I’m not sure there is a correct way to pose with a swastika). Apparently some paratroopers scavenged around for some souvenir at his bunker after he’d killed himself and this was the only thing they found, still stuck in the keyhole, after everything else had been nicked. It was unnerving seeing it, not only because it belonged to the most evil man in the world but because it was just such a personal item. This is the key he would have been hunting down when he was really desperate for the loo, and it’s tangible proof that he was a human just like anyone else. THAT is, in my opinion, what makes it scary. As much as anyone likes to pretend that he really was just the ridiculous pantomime villain that British propaganda made him out to be, it’s also important to remember (as stupid as this sounds) that he was a real person, and that the Second World War was the result of a powerful force being put in the possession of a very angry, very twisted, human. This still happens today. And that’s scary.

2. Spitfires are awesome.

After the meeting we parked up at the museum and were fortunate enough to see biplanes and World War-era aircraft take off in preparation for an airshow. It all gave me a new-found respect for these amazing machines but, in particular, the Spitfire:

It really is a spectacular sight and you can see how it has caught the public’s imagination somewhat, despite it being the Hurricane that was the dominant force in those famous Battle of Britain dogfights. I think this was a special two-seater variant, and a ride would cost you a few thousand pounds (as well as a pilot’s license of your own!). I still think it’d be worth it though.

3. My dad is old enough to be in a museum.

Because he is: