Photo Diary: Birthday in Barcelona

 

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First off, I hope everybody had a really lovely start to the new year, if you’ve already seen my Instagram and Snapchat spams then you’ll all know that I blooming had the best start to the year!! My family only went and took me to Spain for my birthday! Like what?!?! Absolute crazinesssssss! It was the best birthday of my life, besides the fact of how old I was turning – but let’s not dwell on that…
I can’t thank my sisters and brother-in-law enough for taking me – also for being my personal photographers and videographers – had to keep up-to-date with OOTD’s guys! This post is kind of a lengthy one but only because it’s jam-packed with pictures and very little writing so for now I’ll shut up and let you enjoy my little(ish) gallery of all the places I visited and things I did in beautiful Barcelona.

Saturday 7th January (My Birthday!)

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We stayed at the beautiful Vincci Mae Barcelona Hotel  which is situated towards the centre of the city and walking distance from a lot of attractions. The staff were so lovely, always greeted with an “HOLA” from the desk every time we were leaving or arriving and the rooms weren’t too shabby either!

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Sunday 8th January

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Barcelona Zoo

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Camp Nou (New Camp) Stadium

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So, I’ve never been much of a football fan apart from when something big his happening in the footy world like the World Cup or something, but oh my, I fell so in love with the Barcelona football team – and the stadium too! Now, I’ve always been a fan of Lionel Messi, he’s one of the few footballers I know (and that’s only because he’s the greatest footballer in the world, debatable I know but he’s the best in my eyes). Anyway, we were able to see all the many, many, many, MANY trophies and cups that the Barcelona team have won over the years, many photos of the footballers too 😉 Then there was the chance to walk out onto the sidelines of the pitch, visit the press pit and even take a gander into players’ locker room!

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ALSO, it’s not every day you get to have an Outfit of the Day photoshoot in an empty football stadium – apparently I had amused one of the tour guides by taking pictures whilst sitting on the stairs rather than using the pitch as my backdrop… he clearly did not understand the ways of an OOTD shoot.

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Monday 9th January

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Sagrada Familia

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All I can say about this building is that it is so so sooooo beautiful, I cannot even express in words or do it any justice in pictures of how beautiful. My sister (Adeeba) and I had already visited it the night before – only being able to see it from outside – but even then when we could just see it in the light of the street lamps, it  quite literally took our breaths away. You just don’t expect something so grand and gorgeous to be in the centre of all the hustle and bustle of the city. Just from looking at the pictures I remember how bad my neck hurt from having to crane it all the way up to take in all the beauty… so worth it though. Gaudi, you bloody genius.

Gothic Quarter

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Park Guell

To carry on with the Gaudi guide, we visited Park Guell. Just see for yourself how amazing it is…

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I still remember making my own little fantastic and strange building out of clay from studying Gaudi in Year 7 Art and from then on, I’ve always wanted to travel to Barcelona to see his work in real life. Also, when I was younger I was a huge fan of the Cheetah Girls – please, please tell me that people remember the Cheetah girls –  and to this day I still remember the scene they filmed in this very park in their second movie – anyone else remember? It was basically my 10/11 year old self’s dream come true, so of course I geeked out – but I was totally here for the art and culture too, not just because Raven Symone had been dancing on these stairs, okay?

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Tuesday 10th January

And this was the sad, sad day where we had to say our goodbyes to Barcelona and head home 😦

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But oh my word, it was such an amazing trip, the perfect birthday and the best start to the year. I cannot thank my family enough for spoiling me and all I keep thinking about now is…

“Where are you guys taking me next year?” 😉 😉 😉

 I .. x

*All photos taken with an Olympus PEN

Published, Baby!

Happy New Year, Guys!

So, I’ve been working on this post for some time but with Christmas, work, assignments and the New Year getting in the way it got really delayed. Also, it took a while for me to wrap my head around what actually happened and it was something very very VERY exciting! If I haven’t already spammed your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram news feeds, (sorry about that) you may have guessed from the title, that yes, I’M PUBLISHED! One of my short stories – The Cores – that I began writing in my first year of University has been printed in the pages of The Young Writers’ Anthology 2015 by Electric Reads – exciting! This is Electric Reads’ first ever anthology and that just made me feel even more honoured to be a part of it! It’s publishing companies like these that I absolutely adore because they search for those unknown British writers lurking in the shadows just waiting for opportunities to strike and they give them that chance to put a foot in the door of the world of writing – as it has done for me! And right now I feel like the luckiest girl in the world! What a lovely way to end 2015 eh?

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The paperback version of The Young Writers’ Anthology and also in Kindle format!

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I highly recommend you all to pick up a copy of the anthology, not because my story is in there (who am I kidding, of course it’s because my story is in there!) But there is also a huge variety of raw, young, British talent out there that is featured in this one publication. As I was reading some of the other short stories within it I was immediately asking myself how I was considered to be chosen to be in the same category as this gifted bunch! Of course my mum will argue that mine is the best, so to keep the peace let’s all agree with her. Agreed? Good.  😉

On a more serious note though, if any of you are aspiring writers and want a platform such as this to get your name out there somewhere, here’s what I did.

*Cue my publishing journey*

I was lucky enough to stumble across the Electric Reads ‘Call for Submissions’ article on my creative writing university blog (Beyond the Walls) If you’re in school/college/university then taking a look at their creative arts programs for competitions and submissions is a good place to start. I saw this article in early September and when I saw the closing date was the 31st October I quickly jumped at the chance to apply for it!

I had taken a look-see at the submission guidelines – I can’t emphasise how important this is, for any aspiring writers, you could write an epic, amazing piece for a magazine/journal/anthology/article or whatever and it won’t be what they are looking for! So they’ll simply dismiss it and it will break your heart. Luckily, Electric Reads were looking for prose (my speciality!) and something unique, creative and original (not as easy to achieve!) Oh, and I had to be 25 and under and British so, from reading this I seemed to be ticking all the boxes that the submission guidelines consisted of – debatable about the originality part – and I instantly thought that my short story The Cores would be perfect for it. After drafting and re-drafting what I had wrote a year and a half ago I finally thought it was acceptable to submit (well, I wasn’t perfectly happy with it but then again I never am when it comes to my own writing!) So I submitted it a few days prior to the deadline.

A few days later. . .

To my surprise I received an email to say my piece had been SHORTLISTED! So that’s when I thought, wow! Okay, that’s it that’s as far as I’m going to get, to be shortlisted is such an honour and it’s something I can still put on my CV, always thinking ahead me! But as a shortlisted writer I was told by the publishing company that I still had to provide some details about myself like a short bio and a photograph! Believe me, the hardest part about this whole experience was trying to find a photograph of myself that didn’t make me look like a mug. We got there in the end, well, kind of.

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After I sent all that the next step was just to wait. Yes, it was painful because whilst waiting I was thinking to myself ‘OMG, what if I was too ego-centrical in my bio? What if I really did look like a mug in my photo and they don’t want anything to do with me now?’ I’m an over thinker, okay? So after what felt like a year (I think realistically it was like 4 days) I received an email to say that I had been chosen within the top 25 to be PUBLISHED!!! That’s when it all started to feel completely surreal and everything moved really quickly. I was assigned an editor to work with and he read over my piece and returned it to me with feedback and suggestions of what he thinks I should change/add. This was a process I didn’t mind doing because I love constructive criticism, this guy is just trying to make my story better, how could I argue with that?! So within the course of about 2-3 weeks my story had evolved massively. After a final proof-read it was ready for print!

THEN, IT WAS THE DAY WE HAD ALL BEEN WAITING FOR! The release date came about on the 11th December and the anthology was first available in an e-book and then the paperback version followed it a few hours later on Amazon. Of course, mum was already on the job ordering her own copy and arrived at our door a couple of days later. The whole thing just felt so surreal (it still does!) I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet. When we opened the book to my page (the biggest shock was seeing my face take up a whole page on all its own) but they were MY words printed in that book, MY story, and I don’t think I’m ever going to get used to that feeling.

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ALSO, I also had the privilege to be published alongside a fellow York St John Creative Writing student and friend, Bryony Eilish Porteous. She has had her short story The Drude printed in this anthology too and I have to say it is such a unique, stunning read! This girl is crazy talented in story-telling which is why you need to pick yourself up a copy!

And I think that’s about it! Hope you guys enjoyed the post and have an AMAZING New Year! All the best for 2016!

I xo

 

 

 

 

 

RISE

Happy Friday guys! I’ve realised that it’s been a while since I’ve posted a poem and considering that poetry was my least favourite form of fiction, I surprisingly have a notebook full of them just waiting to be shared! Weird how things change eh?

The majority of them still need a tweak here and there until I can be completely satisfied with them and here is one that I submitted as part of one of my uni assignments. I’ve always had a huge interest of the parallel and unknown worlds which I have read about or seen in movies and now I have set my heart on creating one for myself. My poem Rise is just a small creation drawn from this influence and to quote from my creative writing tutor, he stated Rise is more of an exciting place in the extent to which it gets the reader involved in making sense of the more fragmented and unexplained imagery.’

With that in mind, hope you enjoy! x

RISE

Wind creaks and cracks the ground
It starts with an eruption from the earth.
A tower that would reach the trailing tune of the
birds
then continue to cough and
splutter its excess waste into the
heavens.
An outbreak of several more, then another several,
they stand hand in hand
line by line,
some stand grand
some cower sheepishly.
Like the pipes of an organ
blowing off steam
against the orange flames that lick the atmosphere with

a fiery glow
and the wind continues to blow.

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Reflections

Experiencing the role of a Creative Writing  student in an undergraduate level –  where everything begins to fly your way at the speed of light. You take in the information  that has been given to you, but has it really sunk in? You experiment with things outside of your comfort zone, but have you continued this?

You’re still absorbing the environment. You feel new. But everybody’s new. Scanning the room to see what others are doing, gathering influence as you feel the atmosphere beginning to buzz with excitement, amongst your peers, your tutors and secretly yourself. Why? Because you are free to write whatever you want to write, your pen is at the ready. This is your chance to be expressive. But somehow this adds the pressure that what you want to write has to be…right?

Wrong! – There is no ‘right’ when you write. When writing the topic of ‘originality’ cannot be emphasised enough. Not at University anyway. No limitations. No boundaries. We begin our reflections by reflecting on our own writings. The thought of somebody else having to read your creative work slips away gradually. As confidence evolves, so does your writing.

Then there are other writers, perhaps better writers? Maybe not, but they are ‘professional’ writers. The work of these writers we analyse thoroughly. Become influenced, and then incorporate their ideas to our own work. Every word written on a page is thought about, then re-thought about. We interpret meanings, expand onto asking further questions and even link texts together in comparison. Is what the ‘professional’ writer has written a perfect piece. We will never know, only the writer can answer that. What we do know is that the end result is a beautiful one. Why? Because the words just fit together, drawn together and meant to be together like the pieces of a jigsaw. It may take a while to get there, but you do get there.

I.A.