My first time away from home…

It’s still the scariest thing I’ve ever done. Walking through those departure gates after saying goodbye to my parents, knowing that my mum was tearing up at the site of me leaving and just trying to keep walking.

It was going to take me pretty much 24 hours to get there, with a stop over in Houston for a few hours.

That stop over was terrifying. Scared and sleep deprived I sat in George Bush airport and cried while strangers walked past and stared.

This was the beginning of my gap year adventure. Months of planning and working had got me to this point. Had earned me enough money to fly across the world to Argentina and away from home and anyone that I knew.

And now I was crying in an airport in the middle of America wishing I was on my way back home.

Where I was living...

Where I was living…

Needless to say things picked up a lot after that. I made it to Buenos Aires and somehow got to my student residence with my terrible Spanish and my tired brain.

I was staying on Plaza Del Congreso. There were noisy protests there everyday outside the beautiful political buildings. I stood on the balcony outside my room and watched them on the first few days I was there, before I got used to the noise.

I started my Spanish lessons and I made friends from all over the world, this was the gap year I had planned and it was wonderful.

A few weeks into my stay I was out at the local supermarket and somehow I got pick pocketed. I will never forget that feeling of horror as I reached round for my purse and found my bag wide open, everything gone.

Of course I had been warned. This is a country where people teach their children how to pick pocket as soon as they can walk. This is a place where there is poverty around every corner and, with my blond hair and pale skin, I stuck out as a rich and stupid tourist. Which I was to them on that day.

But apparently it wasn’t enough to teach me.

I dumped my basket filled with food I no longer had money to buy and ran home into the arms of my friends, who comforted and reassured me – ‘it’s more unlikely that you WON’T  get pick pocketed at some point while you’re here’.

The second time was pure stupidity and I won’t ever really believe that I was naive enough to do it. I went to the cinema with a friend and for a second time I was a perfectly ignorant tourist. I put my bag with my money and precious ipod, an 18th birthday present from my parents, down on the floor by my feet in the darkened cinema.

The end of the film came, I picked up my bag and checked my stuff, I couldn’t believe it. I cried over the ipod, over being so careless with a gift from my parents. Yet again my friends came to my rescue and made me feel better but I felt mortified.

baIt was from that day that I started to feel unsafe. It was little things like refusing to let go of my bag even for a second while I was out in public and not wanting to go out alone. Nothing really bad had happened, no one had hurt me but I felt extremely vulnerable.

I became much more aware of how obviously foreign I was. The culture in Argentina is very different to home and men murmuring sexual comments in Spanish to you as you walked past is something I would struggle to handle now, never mind when I was 18 and it was my first time away from home.

On the whole my experience of Argentina was very positive. It strengthened me as a person to know I was able to travel alone like that and made me grow up in a way that I really needed at that stage of my life. Feeling unsafe was a small part of it which in no way ruined the experience.

That feeling, however, has stayed with me in some ways. It’s made me much more wary about my possessions for one thing, 4 years later and I still feel horribly uncomfortable when I can’t check I still have all my things when I’m out in public. In a way, I suppose, that feeling helped keep me safe. When I first went I was under the naive assumption that nothing bad would ever happen to me and, of course, if the worst thing that did happen to me is that I got pick pocketed a few times then I can only feel extremely grateful. But those bad things made me aware that worse things could happen and made me take every precaution to make sure they didn’t.

That’s all for now


Written for a Daily Prompt about feeling unsafe.

Uni Life...

What do you see…

As international students who’d travelled to America with just a suitcase, none of us had any essentials when we arrived in Albany last year. On our very first day there we headed off to Walmart to get everything we needed and, among many other things, we all bought the same full length mirror. 

After we each got our mirrors home and installed them in our rooms we began to notice something. All of the mirrors either lengthened and slimmed or shortened and widened your reflection just enough to be noticeable – think ‘House of Mirrors’ at a funfair

We discussed this occasionally and whenever we were in each others rooms we would comment on how different the reflection was to our own Walmart mirror.

My mirror was one that lengthened and slimmed and, after a while, I would forget that it was making me look longer and thinner than I really was. I liked what I saw and was only reminded that it wasn’t quite accurate when I looked in my roommate’s mirror, hers being the opposite to mine.

When I came back to England, coincidentally receiving comments about how much weight I’d lost while I’d been away (unintentionally, I might add, thanks to bad dining hall food), I looked happily at the reflection in my mirror in my bedroom and trusted that what it was showing me was real. For the whole summer I happily saw my reflection and felt good about myself.

Since moving back to Nottingham I’ve started to feel less confident about my body, I’ve started to make that wincing face when I see my reflection again. I’m not putting on any weight, I’m eating healthily, I couldn’t work out what was going wrong. That is until I went home this weekend and realised that the mirror in my bedroom at home is much more flattering than the one in Nottingham and as a direct result my self-esteem has taken a hit.

This has given me the disconcerting feeling that even what I thought I knew; that looking in a mirror will show me what I look like, might not be the case.

All I can think is how strange it is – that the slightest difference in a mirror, the smallest bend or curve that warps the reflection just a little can have this much of an impact. I keep thinking back to the more confident person I was over summer and wondering if there’s a way I can get back to that.

Maybe this is an opportunity to free myself from the scrutiny I give my body everyday.

What I need to do is adjust my way of thinking. So what that I don’t always like what I see in the mirror, who knows if it’s showing the real me anyway? As soon as I walk away I should assume I look great. We all should.

Of course, in an ideal world I wouldn’t be bothered about being ‘skinny’ at all, I’d be happy with the strengths of my personality and wouldn’t care what I looked like. But this isn’t an ideal world, I am the product of a society obsessed with image and that has placed my appearance as a factor which influences my happiness. Trust me, I’m working towards that ideal, but for now I’ll settle for being healthy, happy and trying to believe that the girl I saw in the mirror this summer is the girl that everyone else sees.

That’s all for now


Daily Prompt


Top Fives..., Weekly Posts...

My top fives of this week…#5

I’m not even going to pretend like this is a weekly thing anymore. Although I am kind of disappointed in myself. I started this weekly post so that I’d have something to post about at least once a week along with whatever other nonsense I felt like writing about. But, as it turns out, my life hasn’t really felt interesting enough to write a post just about what I’ve been doing.

Does anyone really care that I’ve been spending most of my time working or that the rest of the time has been spent seeing my boyfriend or watching TV? No, I don’t think so.

That’s not to say I’m dissatisfied, I’m actually quite enjoying those three activities at the moment (yes, even the work!). For the first time in a while I feel what I guess I would call contentedness.

That is apart from this huge looming worry that is getting a good degree/graduating/finding a job/living the rest of my life. So I guess it’s contentedness with a time limit on it, but still I’m content nonetheless.

Despite this, I’m convinced I can muster up five cool things that have happened since I last did one of these…

1) I joined the Her Campus Blogger Network  – I started writing for the Nottingham Her Campus chapter this semester and now I’ve joined this network where loads of other bloggers get together and give each other advice etc. It’s really fun and helpful. If you want to take a look at the other blogs involved then follow the link to see them all!

2) My boyfriend’s sister had a baby – Does this even count as news about my life?! I’m not sure but I can’t help being excited because babies are cute.

3) I read The Poisonwood Bible and loved it – One of the things I love about doing literature courses is that they remind me how much I love reading. I realise this one’s been out a long time but if you haven’t read it then you should, it’s fantastic.

4) Saw some old friends – I caught up with one of the girls I lived with in second year who’s still in Nottingham a few weeks ago and then another one came to visit us last weekend. It was so nice to see both of them and rekindle old friendships. Even more are coming up next week…and we’re going to TGIs so things couldn’t get much better than that!

5) I published my 50th post on this blog! – Yesterday saw my 50th post here on My Top Fives. I’d say at least 40 of those were Top Fives which is pretty cool. Somehow I’ve managed to think of that many things to write lists about! So, here’s to the next 50…hopefully.

What do you guys think about my theory that being content is making it harder to blog? Do you agree? Or maybe being happy means that the words flow more easily for you?

That’s all for now



Family & Home..., My Year Abroad...

My top five tips for having a long distance relationship…

I’ve been in a long distance relationship for nearly a year now (although we weren’t technically, and by this I mean Facebook, official until December). So maybe I’m not quite an expert in the field yet but I feel like I’ve learned a few things.

1) The absence of the label means nothing

So we started off as ‘seeing how it goes’ and ‘we’ll wait ’til I get back’. Realistically, if you’re going to talk everyday, not see other people and make plans for the future then you may as well admit that you are a couple despite the distance.

All not having the official title does is make for awkward conversations where you don’t really know what to refer to each other as and neither of you really know where you stand. If you want to be together, just do it, you can figure out the rest later.

2) Try not to go completely insane

This is a tricky one.

By the time I’d spent a few months living 3000 miles away from my boyfriend I was definitely beginning to question my sanity. Apart from missing him a lot I also found myself just getting pretty pissed off with him somewhat irrationally.

I’ve subsequently found out from talking with other people that this is pretty normal, still, try and avoid it if you can. Remember that it’s hard for them too and just take a few deep breaths or something…I don’t know, I pretty much did go insane last year so I’m not sure I’m qualified to help with this one.

3) Plan the time of distance when one of you isn’t going to be going through a particularly stressful period

I moved away when my boyfriend went into his final year at uni. This meant a lot of pressure, regular deadlines and  a 10,000 word dissertation to write. I like to think I was as supportive as possible but it’s a lot harder to do that from 3000 miles away than from the same city, or at least the same country when you can actually pick up the phone and call each other.

I think that we’re a bit more prepared for it this year, now that it’s me dealing with all that pressure, but in an ideal situation we’d be able to see each other more often than a weekend here and there! Obviously a long distance couple may not have much control over when the distance is taking place so when dealing with added pressures refer back to tip #2.


If you don’t trust the other person and you’re living far away from each other then you will drive yourself insane. Either sort yourself out and work out why you don’t trust them or break up, it’s never going to work and it’ll be torture. Actually that’s kind of true of all relationships.

5) Try and look at the positives

Yeah yeah so it’s really hard and miserable and you’d do anything to see them sometimes BUT there are actually some good things about have a long distance relationship.

All that missing each other means that when you do finally see them it’s super great and way more exciting than if you just saw them everyday. Despite being together for nearly a year I don’t feel like we’ve really left the really embarrassing sappy stage of the relationship…which I suppose is a little unfortunate for those around us. Not only that but, as cheesy as it sounds, if you can get through this, you can get through anything.

Urgh I’m cringing so hard at myself right now but this is what love does to you…apparently.

That’s all for now


Top Fives..., Uni Life...

My top five reasons you should look forward to graduating…

Hey guys!

Just a quick one today to tell you that I’ve written a top fives for the Nottingham University chapter of Her Campus all about graduating.

You can find it here so give it a read!

Proper post coming in a few days…

That’s all for now


Family & Home...

My top five things about Halloween…or not

As you can see, I was going to write a post all about the things I like about Halloween but then I got kinda stuck because Halloween just isn’t that big of a deal is it? So instead you’re going to get a bit of a rant about how much I don’t like Halloween, yeah enjoy this!

First of all, I still have to go to work/school/uni (although not today because my lecturers are striking wahoo). I don’t get any presents, there’s no massive celebratory meal…it just feels like a regular day.


Also, I’m a massive party pooper and hate dressing up. It’s such a lot of effort and I’d rather just go out and look, you know, nice. This was particularly well exhibited when, in my second year of university, I went to three different events, including Halloween and one earlier in October, dressed as a Santa’s helper because it was the only costume I owned. Speaking of, that’s what I’m wearing in my twitter picture if you’d like to see what a boring and crappy costume it was.

Still, I do have some fun memories of Halloween when I was little. Where I lived wasn’t really the kind of place you’d go trick or treating. I was always a little jealous of my friends that lived on cute little estates where they could play out after school and knew all their neighbours but, alas, I lived on a main road so none of that for me.

Even so, my parents were quite good at making Halloween fun. Every single year when I was little I’d get dressed up as a witch, wearing one of my mum’s old long black skirts over my head as a cloak, and hide by the kitchen window waiting for my dad to come home. And, as any good father does, he dutifully pretended to be terrified when I jumped out as he came through the front door.

There was also apple bobbing and pumpkin carving which were a great excuse to make a mess which means I obviously enjoyed them immensely. Maybe there was other games too, I’m not sure.

The first time I actually went trick or treating I was about 15 and couldn’t even be bothered with a costume apart from some pretty scary monster gloves. Unsurprisingly we weren’t very successful, I guess three 15 year old girls turning up at your door who haven’t even really bothered to dress up don’t deserve treats, I think someone gave us some chewing gum maybe.

Last year I was fully prepared for the onslaught of Halloween excitement that I’d come to expect from America. It was pretty fun although I think I only made it to one Halloween party. I do find it a little weird when people claim that Halloween is their favourite holiday…first of all it’s not a holiday, secondly refer back to my earlier points…no presents and you’re telling me it’s your favourite?!

Ok, I think I’m done being grumpy and hating on Halloween for today. Having said all this I hope you all do have a very fun day and do some scary stuff.

Feel free to comment and tell me why you love Halloween…who knows maybe you’ll convince me!

That’s all for now


My Favourite Things..., Top Fives...

My top five observations about the world of Grey’s Anatomy…

Towards the end of my year abroad one of the girls I went travelling with became obsessed with Grey’s Anatomy. Having never watched it myself I thought little of it apart from occasionally teasing her about her inability to tear herself away. Then I came home and a few weeks later my parents and I finished watching House. Suddenly my long time love affair with Gregory House was over and I had a doctor sized hole in my life.

And so, I did the only thing I could think of to ease the pain, I started watching Grey’s Anatomy. Some amount of time has passed since then, I’m not sure how long, it’s just gone by in a blur of surgeries and various Mc-attractive people but now I’m beginning the eighth season and already the end is too close for my liking. The moment when I won’t be able to end one heart wrenching, unbearably tense season finale and start right on with the next episode a minute later is a terrifying thought.

Back in the early days

So yes I’m not quite up to date with it yet and I’m trusting that all you lovely people will not comment with any spoilers, possibly destroying my life in the process. I’ve managed this far with only one major story line being given away and I think that’s pretty good going.

Anyway, although I’m not quite finished with it (and therefore sorry if any of these points contradict future episodes) I thought that there was a blog post to be made that couldn’t wait a minute longer cataloging the things we can learn both about Meredith Grey’s world and the world of medicine.

1) If you work in a hospital then you will have slept with at least 3 other staff members within a relatively small space of time

I’m not judging but these doctors get around A LOT. I guess it’s fair enough; they’re under a lot of pressure and need to let off steam some how but thier complicated sexual histories do occasionally impact on patient care. Also, those on-call rooms must be disgusting.

I guess he is a little dreamy…

2) Doctors drink too much and then go and operate on people

I don’t know if maybe they’ve matured now because the further I’ve got into it they don’t seem to do this as much. Or maybe the creators realised they were damaging people’s faith in the medical profession by showing it’s surgeons to be continually drunk. But Jesus H Christ in the first few seasons I would not have wanted these surgeons coming near me for fear of being vommed on, never mind letting them sticking anything sharp into me in the hopes of saving my life.

3) Musical episodes are a bad idea…a really bad idea

So last night I was settling down to watch the fall out from a car accident involving two main characters, one of whom was pregnant. As you come to expect with a show like Grey’s Anatomy, I was fully prepared to cry A LOT. Honestly that’s part of the reason I love it so much, all that crying is very cathartic. Anyway, what I got was something so hilariously cringeworthy that I was almost crying FROM EMBARRASSMENT. For some reason the people over at Grey’s Anatomy HQ had decided it’d be a great idea to turn this into a musical episode, with various characters bursting into emotional renditions of overplayed pop songs. It was just so bad. Never again please.

4) If you are Meredith Grey or anyone close to her then everything that can go wrong will go wrong

With any drama you’re expecting a fair amount of bad stuff to go down but every now and then I feel like someone should cut Meredith a break. I mean, just listing off the top of my head, (DON’T READ THIS BIT IF YOU’RE BEHIND ME AND DON’T WANT SPOILERS) her mother’s died, her step mother died, her father became an alcoholic and almost died, her husband’s been shot, she’s had a miscarriage, she adopted a baby only to have it taken away, various friends have died/left in terrible circumstances…well the list could go on but I’m depressing myself.

Not gonna lie, I’m kind of in love with her

5) Nothing beats an inspirational monologue

For those who aren’t addicts such as myself, each episode begins with a character, normally Meredith Grey although occasionally others step in, making some philosophical statements in a voice over. It’s repeated at the end of the episode when normally whatever issues have been resolved and you’re left feeling inspired and ready for the challenges in your own life. Or to watch another episode. It’s when that ending monologue leaves you feeling downhearted, that’s when you know some bad shit’s gonna go down.

So, I hope you’ve enjoyed my in depth look into Grey’s Anatomy, I’m off to watch a few more episodes.

That’s all for now



Family & Home..., Top Fives...

My top five things about my big sister…

Yesterday was my sister’s birthday but I won’t say how old she is because I don’t know whether she’d be cool with that.

I was planning on writing this yesterday but yesterday turned out to be a bad day and I was too busy wallowing to write it so you’re getting it today instead.

Also, today’s Daily Prompt was about someone who deserves being commemorated…I don’t know if I’d go that far but I do really like my sister so that’s cool.

So yeah, my sister. Her name is Sally and she’s 11 years older than me. Maybe that’ll help you work out her age if you’re that interested and happen to have paid enough attention to know how old I am. When I was little me and Sally weren’t that close but as I got older we got much closer. She lived with us after she graduated and I was in secondary school so I spent a lot of time with her. Now I’m at uni and she’s subsequently got married so we don’t get to see each other as much which kind of sucks.

Anyways, I won’t bore you any longer with my family history. Here’s five of my favourite things about my sister. Oh and HAPPY BIRTHDAY SALLY.

1) She’s really smart

Yeah she’s the sibling that makes the rest of us look bad. You know that one? Despite the fact that me and my oldest sister are actually super clever too, Sally comes along with all her perfect grades and overshadows us. It’s ok though cus that brain makes her really fun to have interesting chats with.

2) She’s an incredibly talented artist

For my 16th, 18th and 21st birthdays my sister has made me a picture. They’re all so different and they’re all really special. I have them up in my room here and I will in every other place I live. Unfortunately I can’t do anything cool like that so all she gets is a blog post about her. Now that she’s a real grown up she’s an art teacher and I’m sure she’s amazing at it.


…and I got to make the cake!

3) She let me be her bridesmaid

Like most girls, it was a lifelong dream of mine to be a bridesmaid. FINALLY, when I was 20 years old, Sally got married and I got to be her bridesmaid. It was a really fun day and I got a really awesome brother in law out of it.

4) She gave my family a reason to go on a really awesome holiday

A long long long time ago, back when my sister was at university, she did a year abroad just like I did. Except she went to the West Coast and my parents and I took a trip out to see her. Even though I was only 10 at the time I still remember it being a really fun holiday and it was so nice getting to go back to those places as an adult this year.

5) She was a really entertaining child

Ok so obviously I wasn’t actually around for this but I’ve heard the stories plenty of times as parents do love to embarrass their children. In fact, these days Sally thinks she’s too old and mature to be reminded of these stories so I won’t tell any here. But she is one of those people you can just tell were really adorable when they were a kid, I really wish I’d known her back then.

So there’s five great things about my sister on top of her being just an all round lovely person and great sister.


That’s all for now


Top Fives...

My top five things that scare me…

Today’s Daily Prompt asks about being scared, about how it feels and whether you like it or not.

I HATE being scared. The feeling of being full of adrenalin, of panicking, it’s one that I can’t stand. I also have a pretty low tolerance for things that I deem ‘scary’ so I easily get worked up. Fortunately, the things which actually do scare me are fairly easy to avoid, I don’t have any actual phobias these are just things which get my heart pumping.

1) Rides

Pretty much all rides scare me. I was the one that was still going on the little kids rides at theme parks when all my friends were going on roller coasters. Now that I’m 22 and that option is pretty much closed off to me I just don’t go to theme parks, ever. Unfortunately for me, my boyfriend absolutely adores theme parks, we often talk about me going with him but I know that I can’t do it.

The first time I remember going on a ‘scary ride’ I was about 10 and my sister (who was in her mid-twenties) took my to the fair that’s held every year on recreation grounds near our house. We were there with a load of her friends and, despite my pleading not to, she made me go on a ride with her. The ride was a typical fairground one with lots of flashing lights and high speed spinning. I remember the ride vividly, I remember not wanting to make a fuss and trying to pretend I was enjoying it and I remember my sister screaming and laughing while I just clung on and tried not to panic. When we talk about it now she says when I got off she’d never seen me look so pale. I think that was the first and possibly last time I ever went on a scary ride.

I think it was a ride like this…horrifying!

A few years later I was at a theme park with my best friend and her family. I got all the way to the front of the queue of the biggest ride there, determined to face my fear, but then the panic set in and I knew there was no way I was getting on that ride. I ran out of the queue and waited with her mum and sister while her and her dad went on.

2) Televised murder/death/detective things

Obviously real murder and death also scare me but if I manage to avoid watching TV shows about them I can kind of pretend that they don’t exist. Yet again, unfortunately for me, my mum loves detective shows. Often I’ll walk into the living room to be confronted with the gory sight of a dead body or someone being murdered. Even if it’s just for a second I won’t be able to get the thought of it out of my head for a good while after I’ve run back out the room. I know that it’s not real of course but I don’t like to be reminded that it could be real. That it could happen to me or someone I know.

3) Violence

I rarely, if ever, came into contact with violence when I was growing up. I didn’t really watch films and TV shows that were too old for me, there were no video games that normalised violence to me. I just didn’t ever see it. So now when I come into contact with any violence on TV, film or in real life I find it extremely difficult to see. It’s not just that it disturbs me or upsets me, it actually does scare me. I get the same feeling as I do when I’m thinking about going on a ride.

4) Being alone

This is probably the most irrational of fears. The thing that I have nightmares about sometimes. And I don’t mean being alone in a room or a house, I mean ‘there’s been an apocalypse and I’m the last person in the world’ alone. I used to worry about this much more when I was younger…I have no idea why. I think I accidentally watched a TV show about a zombie apocalypse once.

Still, when I was a child I was scared of lots of bizarre stuff as I’m sure most are. I don’t know where I got these ideas from but it would be things like I couldn’t sleep with my wrists exposed in case someone came in and tried to slit them or with my mouth open because someone might come and put poison in it so that when I woke up and swallowed I’d die. I used to creep downstairs after I’d been put to bed to check if I could hear my parents talking in the living room in case a murderer had come in and shot them. There’s probably some strange psychological explanation for all these neurotic behaviours but fortunately I just grew up and stopped freaking out so much!

5) Looking like an idiot

Probably the fear which I come into contact with the most is looking like an idiot in front of people. I guess no one enjoys looking stupid but I’m just convinced that I always will.

What scares you? Do you remember any strange fears you had when you were a child?

That’s all for now


Politics..., Uni Life...

First Lady love…

I’m currently in the process of beginning research for my dissertation which is handed in next year. I’m writing mine about the role of the First Lady (I study American Studies).

From the small amount of research I’ve done so far I’ve learnt some things about them which I didn’t expect at all.

Things like…I don’t like the sound of Jackie Kennedy nearly as much as I thought I did and yet Nancy Reagan sounds a lot nicer than I was expecting. Or the heartwarming fact that these women have something of a support network with previous First Ladies assisting and advising the new one to the role. This comes regardless of differing political views.

And I’ve been saddened by the sacrifices some of these women have had to make. Whether it be staying with a man they didn’t love for the sake of the presidency or losing the man they love to the stress and pressure that caused their ill health and eventual death.

I guess it’s easy to forget that these women are just ordinary people who, in most cases, didn’t choose to be there. I’ve found myself going in with a certain expectation which comes from nothing other than what I know of their husband, exactly the problem they were facing while they were First Lady and something I should know better than to do.

The concept of the First Lady is so very American to me. Here people care very little about who the Prime Minster’s wife is or what she’s doing or wearing or saying. Unless she does something horrendously wrong she can live her life fairly unnoticed by the general public. The difference between her and the First Lady is startling.

The First Lady and her family are under the watchful eye of the country constantly. The First Lady must be the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect hostess. She is under immense pressure to fulfill those roles along with the knowledge that her actions could help or hurt the country’s opinion on the man she’s doing it all for, the man she happened to fall in love with (or not in some cases), the man she married.

The idea that these women are ‘just a wife’ is bizarre if you learn a little about them. The vast majority of them have worked full time at being the First Lady. They spend hours working for their chosen causes, replying to letters, making visits.

I guess all I’m trying to say is that there’s so much to learn about each of these First Ladies and I’m excited to find out more!

The more I read the more I’m in awe of these women. I certainly couldn’t do it.

That’s all for now