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Yorkshire Tea With Alys

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These last couple of weeks have been a really nice holiday. I went to the Lake District with Alex’s family and then stayed with them for a week in York. It was really nice to just have a break from everything. I even took a break from the internet while I was in the Lake district! (It wasn’t optional, there was no internet, but it didn’t bother me) It was so nice and simple to just be able to spend time with people and talk to them and spend time walking and reading and playing with the dogs. I enjoyed it a lot. Obviously living in a tent for a week isn’t always plain sailing, but other than some damp clothes and the occasional grumbly tumbly (and a sore ankle after climbing Stickle Tarn) it was wonderful.

I’ve always liked camping, or, I have good memories of liking camping- maybe I wasn’t actually so keen as a child, you’d have to ask my parents. Either way it was a really nice trip. We went walking, we were surrounded by beauty, and there was a really nice pub up the road from the campsite!

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Blue Smoothie With Alys.

plant, succulent, moving house, university, packing, friends

This week has been a week of reading and watching netflix. Tom moved house this week. Not properly, just he got his keys and we’ve all been over there to have a good look. It’s a really nice place, he has a lovely little room, with an ensuite and it’s going to look really cool when it’s all done and he’s all moved in. It’s made me excited for my new place. I know that I have to move back to my parent’s house first, but I can’t wait to get in there and start making it my own. I want to bring all of my plants and put up fairy lights and just have my things there. It’s going to be lovely and cosy.

I will actually be moving at the start of next week. Back home, and there will be a book cull. I have SO many books at my parent’s house, and I have to give them a good cull. I know there are some book people that keep every book they own forever, but I can’t do that. I have this idea that the way that I will die is being buried to death by an avalanche of books. Probably after they’ve been pushed over by my cat. Because I’m exactly that kind of person. But I won’t let that happen. My bookcases will be properly secured to the wall and my books will be limited to a manageable number. I can’t do much about the cat, cats will do what cats will do. If you follow me on Instagram you might see some of the process, I have a LOT of books to get through, as well as organising my entire bedroom again now that I’m moving back home, so that might be interesting. (Or at least amusing, when you see the state of my shelves)

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Ice Water with Alys- Summer and Moving House.

minimalism, yin yang, moving house, summer

I normally post these on Friday, but last Friday I was packing everything I owned into boxes and bags and sending it home to my parent’s house. So I didn’t really have much time. Moving house is a weird thing. It’s almost humbling to see your whole life in boxes, and when you’re packing it all up and you have to fit it into one car (and one small trailer) you have to decide what stays and what goes. Do you really need that dress that looks almost identical to that other dress? Do you really need all of these books? What is important to you?

It brings to mind all that stuff about minimalism again. I’m very aware that I wouldn’t be considered as a minimalist because of the sheer amount of stuff that I own, but it is interesting to think about which items that I own are bringing me enough joy to keep carting them around the country, and which ones don’t make the cut. It’s interesting to learn about yourself that way. I learned that I don’t need all of my books; the ones that I haven’t read, or will not read. I have learned that I can make do with a lot less clothes than I currently own. I have learned that I cannot do without my plants and the books that I do read/will read again. I have learned that I refuse to go without my nice skin cream that I use for my skin condition. I could use a cheaper cream, but I don’t want to. The cream that I use has a touch of luxury about it, it has a nice scent, it is not tested on animals, and I buy it from a company that I don’t mind giving my money too. My morals are something that mean something to me, and so I will continue to buy that cream that is a little on the expensive side, and instead save the money from all the clothes that I don’t need to buy.

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Peppermint Tea with Alys. (Voting and Reading)

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So I’m still a student. I got the email the other day saying that I’m able to re-sit my third year so I’m just taking some time to let that piece of information settle in and find its place in my brain. i bought some books to celebrate. Cheap ones from The Book Depository, but good ones nonetheless. Or at least I hope that they will be good! I have high hopes. The first one arrived today and it’s a sort of sequel to the one I’m reading right now, so it’ll be good to be able to start reading it as soon as I finish what I’m reading. Which is what I have been doing this entire week. I have been reading Homo Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari and The View From The Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman. Both are non-fiction and I’m enjoying them immensely. The first is a history of humankind; a biological, anthropological, sociological view of humans throughout the life of our species. The second is a collection of speeches and essays that Neil Gaiman has written on a variety of subjects, mainly pertaining to fictions that he and other people have written. I have really enjoyed reading them alongside each other because the Gaiman book illustrates rather nicely a lot of the ideas in the Harari book. Harari discusses the ‘Thing’ that separates humans from other animals, and concludes that it is our capability to imagine.

To create fictions is inherently human (on this planet). It has been argued that language is the answer to what separates us from other animals, but scientists have proved that other animals use language. It has been theorised that it could be currency, but aside from the fact that other animals trade items, money is something that emerged from our root ability to imagine. I can’t explain it as well as in the book, so it’s something that I recommend you all to read. Fiction and imagining things extends from telling stories around the fire, to the imagining of big corporations as entities separate from the people that work for them. It’s a big business, this imagining thing.

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Ribena With Alys

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These last couple of weeks I have been working on confrontation. I don’t find confrontation easy, I don’t think many people do, but I seem to have a bit of an issue with it. I have to work really hard at confronting problems and not running away from them. Small things will upset me and my first instinct is to shut down and avoid them completely. So I’ve been working on not bottling things up, it only ever causes trouble. Sometimes that means that arguments happen, or difficult discussion, but I’d rather that these days. It’s better in the long run. And so I’m saying this because I’m proud of myself. It’s hard work to re-train how I think and react to everything. So although I’m still not very good at it, I’m proud of my little self.

I read Frogkisser! by Garth Nix this week and really enjoyed it. It’s important to remember that it is aimed at children though. I’ve read a lot of bad reviews comparing it to his other books that are aimed at an older audience, and frankly, I don’t think they were fair. It’s a children’s book and the main criticism was that it was too simplistic in both plot and character development. Whilst it IS simplistic in these areas, I don’t think it’s outrageous to have a simplistic plot for a seven year old reader. It wasn’t a patronising read, it didn’t assume that children were stupid and could ‘only understand so much’, it seemed to introduce them to ideas and words that they may not have come across, whilst giving them a fun story to read at the same time. A story that was at their level of understanding without treating them like children- many children’s books have a nasty habit of patronising children and not challenging them at all in the name of ‘they’re children, they won’t understand’. That’s one of my biggest bug bears. (I also, incidentally, don’t like the phrase ‘bug bears’)

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Dandelion and Burdock With Alys.

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I’m a couple of days late this week, I guess I was too busy reading! This week I had my last counselling session and it went really well. It’s good to talk out stuff with someone that isn’t going to judge. It’s definitely worth finding a counsellor that you gel well with too, my first counsellor was awful and judgemental and we just didn’t gel. But I stuck at it and found one that is lovely. And she really helped me get some things straight in my head. Good stuff.

For pretty much the rest of this week I’ve just been reading. I’ve let my room get messy, and just sat and read. It’s actually been really nice. I’ve tidied today, and got everything all nice again, but tit was nice to just read for once. It had been a long time since I had been able to sit and get so absorbed in a book.

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7up With Alys.

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I’ve been organising this week. I’ve re-potted a few of my plants, and then I completely moved my room around so that my plants can get more of that sunshine that has finally made an appearance in the North of England. I’m liking it, there’s a lot more light coming through my window now because I’ve moved my TV. It’s rather nice. I still need to do a lot of organising and tidying through everything. I’m moving out of this house in one month. ONE MONTH. That’s going to start stressing me out very soon. But on the plus side I have applied for my extenuating circumstances now, so I can stop stressing about that. I mean, I still won’t know if they will let me come back next year, but I’ve done all the things now, it’s out of my hands, so there’s no point in me worrying about it. In the meantime, I will stress out about moving house. I have so much crap!! I need to pack it all up sometime very soon, and I have no idea how I’m going to be able to fit it all in my bedroom at my parents house. It’s a serious problem! I need to go through all of my books again aswell. I don’y like getting rid of them, but actually, when I get started, it feels quite cathartic to just get rid of all of the things that I don’t need or use. I suppose that there’s something to be said for the principles behind minimalism. I think that if you have too much stuff that you keep for no real reason, then what’s the point. Half the time someone else will get pleasure from owning that thing that you just shoved to the back of your wardrobe. So that’s what I’m doing. Getting rid of all my rubbish.

And now we shall talk about books.

This week I read ‘The Fall of Icarus’ by Ovid (obviously) and translated by Mary M.Innes.

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Beer with Alys (May the Fourth be with you)

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I went home last weekend, it was okay, I got some stuff done. It’s May. The sun is shining, at least some of the time, and there are leaves on the trees again. I have started a photo challenge on Instagram that is about taking photos of books that are just good. There are a lot of these kinds of challenges on Instagram, but this one is kind of cool. It’s celebrating books that show diversity and awareness of mental health issues. It’s quite interesting because I can get book recommendations from the other people that are participating and I just find it interesting. There have been some good books that people have written about and it’s something I’d recommend you have a gander at if you’re looking for something to read. It was started by @bookmarks_for_kindness so if you want to find it, it’s over there.

I finished reading ‘Goldenhand’ by Garth Nix on Sunday. I really liked it. I don’t know if it’s the last book that will ever be in the Old Kingdom series, but it was good. I think if it were to be the last one, then it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. I want more as I love that world, but if it ended here then it would be a good ending.  There was a nice conclusion to the original trilogy and the prequel of ‘Clariel’. I liked the way that it ended and although I would love to see more of those characters and the world, I don’t think I would ever not want more, so maybe it is a good place to end. I don’t want to talk about it too much because I’m not sure that I can without ruining it. If you’ve read it please let me know!

I read a review of Clariel the other day that said that she was an inconsistent and boring character, and that she ruined the plot because she was so inconsistent and unlikeable. I think that they completely missed the point of the whole book. They called the book a ‘failed tragedy’ because although most of the characters ended the book in a negative way, Nix set Clariel up as a

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Lemonade With Alys.

 

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I tidied the shit heap that is my bedroom!! Yay! (Sort of) I tidied, but then made it messy again. Wah! It’s a constant struggle! Ah well, isn’t that part of life? The constant cycle of mess/tidying/mess. We have a viewing tomorrow, so I need to tidy again, which is okay. At least it gives me some incentive to get that done. In other news, I’m going home this weekend. I’ve been trying to get home for about four months, but I have no bedroom there anymore, so I’ve had to wait until my parents are away. My brother is still there, obviously, but now I at least have a bed to sleep in while I’m there. So that might be fun. I’m going to be sorting out my mum’s wardrobe because she’s not had one for ages. They had to refurbish one of the walls in their bedroom, so they’ve been staying in the spare room and now they finally have a wall so they can start moving back in to their own bedroom. Anyway, that’s what I’ll be doing this weekend.

I’ve been reading Clariel by Garth Nix this week. I think I’ve managed to kick the reading slump a little as I’ve almost finished it in the last couple of days, it’s nice to be able to read again.

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Apple and Mango Juice With Alys

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I spent a lot of time watching TV this week. Watching TV and knitting. Which was actually incredibly boring. But I suppose that’s a good thing because it’s made me bored of just sitting and watching TV for a while! It sounds a little pathetic that Alex went away for a week and all that I did was watch TV. But really, it’s all that I was doing before he left too! It’s the Easter break, so I’ve had nothing to do for quite a while and it’s only just now starting to drive me a little stir crazy. On the plus side, I’ve watched some pretty good TV. I made my way through all the episodes of Once Upon a Time, and started on catching up on Pretty Little Liars. I know, they’re guilty pleasures, but I try not to feel guilty about things that I enjoy, even if I know they’re a little questionable, or downright badly written…

I also watched the rest of the episodes of 3% that I hadn’t seen yet. It’s a Brazilian show on Netflix and it’s amazing. It’s a sci-fi set in a society where there is a divide between the have’s and the have not’s, no big deal right? But this time the distinction between them is so extreme that the two are separated by an ocean. On the Inland people are starving, wearing rags and trying to scrounge together enough to live off. Crime is everywhere as people try to survive. On the Offshore they live in the lap of luxury, wanting for nothing and living without crime in a society that has much more advanced medical facilities that are denied to those on the Inland. It’s your basic dystopian world vs utopian world story, with only 3% of the Inland population being able to eventually move to the Offshore. However, before they can get there they must pass the Process, a series of tests, like the Hunger Games, designed to ascertain whether they are worthy to live in the Utopia that has no crime. They only want the best people to live there, and not many make it. If they don’t pass the Process they must return to the Inland and try to live out the rest of their days there. They don’t get a second chance. They can enter the Process when they turn twenty, and only then. That sounds a little unfair, but there’s nothing wrong with it, right? Well, that’s because that’s just the theory of how it works. In practice the Process is rife with corruption, spies, unstable moderators and investigations from the Offshore. They have to try to run this Process whilst contending with pressure from their side, and also opposition from the Cause on the Inland.

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