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The Amazing Truth About Harry Potter

A month ago, midway through my end of year exams and while surrounded by revision, I found solace in my favourite fictional world. After months of being unable to properly read for my own joy, I was struck by the unerring need to sink my teeth into a story. Something familiar and somehow comforting. 


Harry Potter books

The first time I read the Harry Potter books, I was of the age they were originally aimed at; around the 7-9 age range. They sparked a lifelong love of books and started my admittedly modest but ever growing collection. In such tender youth, and the extra 400 pages leap between books three and four, it isn’t until now that I am actually reading the fourth book, the Goblet of Fire. Nor have I ever read from cover to cover the fifth book, the Order of the Phoenix. Shame on me, I know.  

With the film franchise being one of the most successful in British history, both financially and in terms of remaining true to the books and casting decisions (with the exception of Lily’s eyes not matching Harry’s but I will not go down that road), Potter has become somewhat a national treasure; with spin offs in development now and wonderful casting decisions such as Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander it is sure to remain in our collective hearts in the future. It is certainly a personal treasure of my own. 

The amazing thing about Harry Potter is although it was originally a children’s book, it tackles such adult themes (orphanage, death, torture, prejudice, discrimination and war to name a few) and is so loved across generations. The first book was published in 1994, and so the original readers are adults now. But they carry the story, morals and love within them, to learn from and pass on. I even recently came across research, which suggested that we take in traits of our favourite fictional characters much the same as we adopt traits and similarities of our close friends.

And so, with my bedraggled original copies accompanying me in my handbag most places these days, I can delve into the depths of the extraordinary Wizarding World and inherit some bravery, loyalty, wit and cunning wherever I am. 

JK Rowling was right; “The stories we love best do live in us forever. So whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

Tenuous links: Lilies


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9 Lessons I Learnt in 19 Years

Monday morning brings the dawn of my 20th birthday and the start of my twenty-first year on Planet Earth.
Today, I’m sharing with you the 9 lessons I’ve learnt in my 19 years. Philosophical, educational, and I hope a bit witty, this is my advice to those who seek it.
1. Strive to be a good friend.
It is a sad truth that some friendships don’t last as long as your best intentions might hope. Some are strictly weekdays, 9-5. While others survive through the rockiest times in each of your lives.

From Pinterest

2. Life is short.
Appreciate your family, by choice or blood. They are are the ones who will support your choices and pick you up from metaphorical or literal gutters.
3. Those who mind, don’t matter. Those who matter, don’t mind.
4. Love your body.
In the words of Baz Luhrman, “Don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it. It is the greatest instrument you will ever own.”

Myself, at the age of about 3 years.

5. Disappointment doesn’t last.
When I reviewed my GCSE results I was disappointed in myself. I thought I could have achieved better if I had put my mind to it.  But almost 4 years later I’m studying for the degree I wanted to do at a university that last year achieved the prestigious Times High Education University of the Year, 2014. I’ve learnt that I did my best throughout my GCSEs. And now, my best is even better.
6. Attend as many concerts, gigs and shows as possible.
I love the theatre and concerts. The sense of unity you get from being part of an electric audience is unlike anything else. It enriches who you are and teaches you more about a culture than anything else.
McBusted in concert. 2014.

McBusted in concert. 2014.

7. Find comfort in music.
My iTunes varies from Abba to Led Zeppelin and contains the poetry of lyrics “to help me cope with anything”.
8. Read widely.
Invest in that bestseller, seek out the dusty unbroken spines of little known volumes or search for new bloggers and columnists. Always go back to your favourites, they become part of who you are.

A selection of some of my favourite books

9. Be kind to yourself.
Self-care is paramount in my option. Take the time you need to unwind, relax and treat yourself. Wallow in a bubble bath and not in self-pity. Run yourself fit so you can run (read: fly) towards your goals. 
Happy Monday, ladies and gentlemen. Have the best week!

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Ted Talks the Truth

For the past two weeks I have been writing an essay and reading extensively around the topic of different relationships through life affecting social development.  During this reading, I have come across an very interesting book called ‘The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem’ by Nathaniel Branden.

I fully intend to read the whole book, regardless of my assignment.

Branden speaks of nurturing children’s self-esteem in a school environment and how uncaring teachers can lead to uninspired pupils.  Branden succinctly describes the threat of punishment and ridicule, either by the teacher or by peers, as “They [teachers] do not light fires in minds, they extinguish them.”

This got me thinking about a Ted Talk I once listened to, about how with their academic focus and push towards universities, schools are extinguishing fires of creativity in children’s minds.  The talk is by Sir Ken Robinson, and I thought I would share it with you.

For those of you who are unaware of Ted Talks, it is an annual, non-profit conference based on ‘ideas worth spreading’, which invites people from all walks of life to give inspiring and thought provoking short talks.