One Saturday Afternoon…

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Moved to Tears.”

I’m an incredibly emotional person and I’ll cry at a great deal of things, both sad and happy, some of which are quite stupid. I shed a tear when seven years ago, I met my new-born baby brother for the first time and I got ridiculous happy wet eyes when my rugby team won a competition last year.

I cry when I tell people about the scary thoughts in my head, and even harder as they hug me and tell me it’ll be ok. I cried as my heart was stomped into a thousand little pieces over and over and over and I could only helplessly watch.

I had tears streaming down my face as I watched Rhod Gilbert’s stand up comedy piece about Henry Hoovers for the first time and was absolutely hysterical when a mate of mine tripped and knocked over a girl in a night club and then proceeded to try it on with her while they were both in a heap on the floor. Now THAT was funny!

I was so upset reading the ending of ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ (so shoot me if you think it’s a terrible book, I disagree and think it’s beautifully written) and the most recent time I sobbed my heart out was last night watching the season five finale to Game of Thrones. 7/10 would not recommend watching it. My parents were moderately concerned until I sobbed out what was happening…they rolled their eyes and continued watching the news.

But when I saw the prompt yesterday asking me to describe the last time I cried at something beautiful, I was puzzled for a few minutes until I was transported to the exact moment that I was told such beautiful words that I couldn’t help but give myself over to the emotions that followed.

Allow me to take you back a few weeks; it was late afternoon one Saturday, deep in exam season and I was spending a few precious hours with a precious friend. We were talking, laughing, discussing life. We were incredibly, hilariously, sublimely happy.

The conversation took a more serious turn and we each aired our fears for the future and my uncertainty at my ability to cope with the rocky road of terrors laid before me. He took my hands in his, clasped them tightly and murmured the words: “I’m so proud of you”.

The simplicity of these words and the conviction with which they were delivered was the most beautiful thing I’d heard for a long time. It left me stunned and I took in the tide of calm that washed over me. The tears built up as I looked intently into his eyes and whispered “thank you”, words that never quite seemed adequate for the importance of the moment. Then I was vanquished by the hand of emotion and left damp spots on his tshirt as he gave me a comforting hug.

This may not seem quite as beautiful as a breathtaking landscape or carry as much emotion as your child grabbing your finger for the first time, but for me, the overly-emotional twenty year old, this was magnificent and gave me the strength required to go forth and take on the world. I was a happy Lizzie that day.

Now playing: Avenged Sevenfold – Seize the Day

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*WHISTLE WHISTLE WHISTLE* LIFEGUARD GOING IN!

For the last almost 4 years of my life, I have been a lifeguard at my local swimming pool, a job which I both love and find slightly dull. My mum always says it’s better to be bored rather than having to leap into action every 10 minutes, a sentiment with which I heartily agree.

I love this job mainly because of the people I work with every single day. They are hilarious, friendly, occasionally moany and full of some great stories. They welcome me back after a tough term at uni with the same enthusiasm and questions as they would if I‘d just had a week off. Going to work is comfortable and on more than one occasion I’ve fleetingly considered sacking in university life for the comfort and ease of this environment. But then I remember y’know, I quite like education.

I have spent nearly 4 years with these people and at times you forget why you’re there. It’s not exactly a thrilling job most of the time and often the swimmers are the worst thing about it. There are numerous signs around the pool baring the standard ‘no diving’ and ‘no running’ commandments but the amount of people who have deemed themselves too clever and important to follow these common sense rules is BAFFLING! If you are such a person, let me enlighten you. The side of the pool is very wet and slippery; if you run, you will probably slip and could either end up with a nasty bruise, a chipped tooth or a broken limb. So if you fancy dicing with a poolside injury, go forth and run, but expect to be yelled at to stop. If you dive in, the chances that you will end up with a head injury of some kind or even a spinal injury is relatively high. Are you going to risk it? I wouldn’t, so be sensible, yeah? If not for yourself, then for the sake of us poor lifeguards who will have to deal with the consequences of your stupid mistake because you couldn’t be bothered to follow the rules.

That said, my friends make fun of me regularly when I say that I’m going to work. I get jokes like “Oh cool, so you’re going to go and have a sit for a couple hours, yeah?”, or “don’t exert yourself too much will you, getting out of that high chair is quite tricky sometimes!” You get the gist, they think all we lifeguards do is sit around and blow a whistle every now and again, but I am here to tell you that this is not the case. Yesterday I actually had to do some work. I had to get in and perform a rescue.

In all of my 20 years on this planet, I haven’t experienced adrenaline like it. I honestly had no idea that I could move so fast and react to something so quickly! A little boy of about 5 was in a swimming lesson, got out of his depth and lost his float. I remember noticing him struggling to keep his head above the water. I remember my heart stopping and a distinct ‘oh shit’ train of thought running through my mind. But, err, I don’t quite remember how I got out of the chair and into the water, but I remember the tunnel vision as my instincts kicked in and all that mattered at the moment was getting to the boy. Unfortunately this meant that some of my training went out of the window and I may have forgotten to blow my whistle, but hopefully this is excusable. I remember people staring and the code blue alarm blaring, which indicates to everyone in the centre that there is an emergency in the pool. That sound is enough to make everyone’s heart skip a beat and would’ve done the same for mine except for the fact that I think mine had already stopped. I carried the lad to the side and I remember emerging from the water completely drenched and shaking like a leaf and remained in this state for a good 15 minutes after. But it was done and I am now a proper real-life lifeguard. I have fulfilled the purpose I was trained for and that feels pretty good.

One thing I will learn from this experience is the need to take spare underwear to work with me from now on, because in the words of our amazing receptionist Mandy, I had to sit for the rest of my shift with wet boobs. Banter!

Now playing: Escape the Fate – Situations

HOOVERGATE

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Mad as a Hatter.”

‘Mad as a Hatter’ was the writing prompt for today and this incident immediately sprung to my mind. It’s something of a legend in our friendship group. Allow me to share it with you. But be warned, Lizzie + rage = swearing, if you’re overly sensitive to that kind of stuff maybe this post isn’t for you!

Now, if you know me even a little, you will know that I’m not an angry person – you can find me in the easy-going, ditheringly cheerful category. The sort that needs supervision in the kitchen when handling knives; on my second ever day at university I sliced my thumb on a tin of beans. Blood everywhere. No beans for Lizzie that day :(

There’s some background to why rage is particularly out of character for me, now to the event.

Last year, I was living in university halls with my brand new and awesome friends aka, my Canterbury family (LOVE YOU GUYS!). Any of you jolly splendid people reading this who have ever lived in halls know that they’re not the most soundproof of places to stay. You have to be pretty tolerant when your neighbours make noise as chances are, a skype session with your family of what seems like a decent volume to you, could be torturously loud for the poor soul living next door. As a student, you are wary of your volume, so you turn down your music slightly, but not too much because your mate next door likes to play guitar at half 11 at night and you CAN HEAR ALL OF IT.

On the night of the incident in question, I was already tired, I had a couple of assignments due soon and so had been working on them all evening, so when it was a reasonable time to call it a night (so after the thought process of ‘is 9:30 too early to go to bed? …maybe. I’lll leave it a bit longer’) sleep came on stealthy wings and transported me to dreamland where I was perfectly happy and comfortable.

And then it happened.

3am rolled around. My flatmates got back from an evening ‘working’ in the library…they keep strange hours, I know. They made noise and a helluva lot of it. They ruthlessly dragged me back to reality with their jeering and it disrupted my snuggles. I was not a happy bunny. Not at all. Bitches don’t interrupt my sleep!

But this was fine, I’d certainly made my fair share of noise late at night after a couple of drinks and they hadn’t flown into a frenzy then.

A couple minutes passed and I thought the drama had subsided and was drifting back to the land of unicorns and Channing Tatums but oh no, this was premature.

A certain house mate of mine by the name of ‘Louis’ had been locked out of his room by our dear friends ‘Joe’ (from a couple of posts back, remember?) and ‘Carl’ and decided that the only thing he could do to remove them from his room was to TURN THE HOOVER ON.

fuck-meme_00370790

I know!! I don’t understand! Did he think he could use the suction of the machine to suck them out?! I have no idea! Clearly it was the stupidest idea that anyone has ever had, so needless to say I flew into a rage and exploded from my room like an arrow loosed from a bow and poor Louis was about to feel my wrath.

“What the FUCK are you doing?!?!” I screeched mercilessly in his poor unsuspecting face. “It’s 3 in the morning and you’ve TURNED THE HOOVER ON TO GET THEM OUT OF YOUR ROOM?? WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?!?!”

Needless to say, Louis shat himself and Joe and Carl emerged from his room looking pretty sheepish. They all mumbled apologies and left me to stalk back into my room in a fit of rage with a cartoon storm cloud above my head.

In the morning, Joe and Carl thought the whole fracas was hilarious and Louis appeared terrified of me for about a week afterwards. But it all turned out for the better and the four of us are thick as thieves now and they do the washing up whenever I ask them to, for fear of a repeat of Hoovergate.

So concludes my tale of anger and hoovers and lack of sleep. It may seem like an irrational thing to rage about, but anyone gets in the way of me and a good night’s sleep without good reason runs the risk of my own personal Hulk coming out and scaring you witless. You have been warned.

Now playing: Shinedown – Devour

Spring has sprung!

Picture an animal emerging from its hibernation place. It might take a couple of attempts but after waking up fully and assessing the temperature, it might emerge from its resting place, sniff the air and shake off the dust of the winter months.

It is with the same caution that I am going to make an announcement: I THINK SPRING IS FINALLY HERE!

It flirted with us for a few weeks but then the heavenly weatherman decided he wanted us to have biting winds, overcast skies and rain for just a bit longer. It was the kind of weather when you think you might be able to get away with not wearing your waterproof coat but then halfway through the day, the skies open leaving you dreading the walk home with nought but a laptop to cover your head.

But now, the cloud that gave us such a great view of the eclipse last week (please note my sarcasm…I inherited it from my dad) has lifted and we have been treated to blue skies and sun that warms the backs of your legs. It’s not too hot, still hoody weather which I’m totally ok with but I finally feel safe leaving my coat at home, opting instead for my Glamour Kills jacket.

I love the spring time. The winter gloom has been cast off and the evenings are getting lighter – it’s quarter to seven now and it’s still light outside. The sun wants us to stay out longer and make the most of these new-found hours of daylight. The bare brown branches of the trees are dotted with green buds that promise new life. The bulbs of daffodils and other springtime flowers are breaking free of the oppressive ground and starting to display their colours. I love daffodils. Apparently it’s not normal that they’re my favourite flowers, but I don’t care – there’s nothing like seeing a sea of yellow and sometimes orange flowers bobbing their heads in the breeze. You know what else I like? Seeing clumps of primroses on the sides of roads. From a distance, I always think they look like big ol’ blobs of scrambled eggs…too weird? Got it.

Look how happy and in-your-face they are!

Look how happy and in-your-face they are!

But what I really like about spring is that my mood seems to improve and I start to feel a bit happier. Winter can be really miserable – it’s horrible outside a lot of the time, it’s dark for more hours than it is light and it’s so cold. Too many shadows can fester in the depths of winter. It can be all too easy to fall into these shadows and become stuck in the winter that doesn’t seem like it will end. The winter seems to stretch on for eternity with no chance for escape or the rejuvenation of spring, with you being swept up in it’s all-encompassing wake.

But it will always arrive. As sure as the sun comes up in the morning, spring will come, and you too can be reborn and escape the clutches of winter. Today might be a really bad day, but your own personal spring will always come and you will learn and grow with it. Look around at it. Isn’t it beautiful? That’s what I love the most about the spring I think; the opportunity for new growth.

That, and the fact that I’ve managed to sneakily turn off the central heating in our house without my flatmates knowing or moaning about it being cold! Score!

Now playing: Myopia – Enter Shikari

Best. Valentine’s. Ever

You may or may not be aware, but last Saturday was Valentine’s day.

Don’t panic, I’m not going to go off on a romantic tangent about the as yet undiscovered love of my life or highlight why Valentine’s is the ultimate social construction designed to make the proletariat spend money. Instead I’m going to describe to you what I’d consider to be the best Valentine’s I’ve ever had. I spent it with one of my dear friends Katherine and 9 men. Oooh err, Lizzie, get in there! ;)

Relax, on Saturday night, I travelled an hour or so from Canterbury to the O2 Arena in London for one of the most eagerly anticipated tours of the year so far; the You Me At Six and All Time Low co-headline tour! When I told my house mate about this tour and how amazing it was to get two of my favourite bands in the world on one bill, he called it the rock version of the 2011-12 Kanye West and Jay-Z tour…he doesn’t understand my music but the sentiment is there.

The tour was a short 5 date affair hitting some of the biggest arenas in the country including the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff and the Birmingham LG arena and finishing in the O2 on the 14th of February.

From the pictures and comments I’ve seen on various social media sites, the other shows were as fantastic as the one I witnessed on Saturday.

Opening the show was Walk The Moon, a small four-piece from Ohio, who were completely pumped and unbelievably grateful to have been given the opportunity to play a venue with such prestige as the O2. They buzzed around the stage during their short 6 song set and interacted well with the audience who were gracious enough to give them the time of day considering that no one really cared much because what was to follow promised to be full of excitement. Realistically, it could’ve been the band that plays in the pub down the road from your house jumping around up there and people still would’ve been happy. But Walk The Moon entertained us well with an infectious mélange of pop and rock with a dash of gyrating hips courtesy of the front man Nick Petricca…seriously though, the guy has MOVES and his hips have their own twitter account!

I was already familiar with these guys and they did not disappoint! I first heard of them through a friend who sent me an acoustic version of their own song ‘Anna Sun’, which they played to end their set and which firmly set us on the road to good times.

After a short break, we were antsy for All Time Low and they took to the stage in a frenzy that has become synonymous with an ATL show. They jumped around, interacted well with the audience and made a lot of dick jokes. All Time Low have a really unique ability to be able to take one of the best songs from any of their albums and turn it into something even more powerful and fantastic. The example that immediately springs to mind is the song ‘Weightless’. This song is the ultimate pop-punk anthem and is the reason that I and I’m sure many other ATL fans got turned onto them in the first place. Now, on the record ‘Nothing Personal’, it’s a stand-out track and a real crowd pleaser. But on this particular night in the O2, Alex Gaskarth introduced the song saying that they wanted to try something new and what followed was magical. The song was given a new lease of life through a beautiful acoustic-sounding first verse until the chorus when it took off and became the song we all know and love. ‘Therapy’ was also an emotional highlight for me. This song was just Alex alone on the stage with his guitar, his voice and a spotlight. This song is stunning anyway, but between Alex and the audience (all of whom were singing along) the arena became one of those rare places where you really feel as though you’re in the centre of the world, where thousands of people are united and the room is pregnant with emotion. The phone lights were out looking like stars and Alex even said at one point ‘wow you guys are going to make me cry!’

All Time Low

All Time Low

However, this wasn’t the only such moment from the night. You Me At Six brought the whole of the feels parade and marched it around the arena so that there was not a soul in the whole place left unaffected by the emotion of the songs ‘Crash’ and ‘Fireworks’. These were just two of the highlights of YMAS’s extraordinary set. They’re blistering, powerful and take no prisoners as they command the stage and make the whole of the arena swirl like a living creature during songs like ‘Loverboy’ and the ferocious ‘Bite My Tongue’ . The jumping people down in the pit look fucking cool from above.

Every time I’ve seen YMAS live I’ve been staggered by how good they’ve been, and particularly on this occasion. You can really tell that they’re on the cusp of something huge and especially with the success of their latest album ‘Cavalier Youth’, you really get the sense that YMAS will continue to climb.

You Me At Six

You Me At Six

There are many points in the night in which we are reminded of the significance of such shows for both of these bands. Alex particularly highlights the hard work and dedication required of bands of the sizes of YMAS and ATL to make it into venues such as these in a world such as this where rock tends to be shoved to one side. He is right when he says that there is a core of huge bands who can get songs of the radio and play arena tours with complete ease (think Foo Fighters status) but for these comparatively young bands, the way is not paved in gold and they have to work incredibly hard for such opportunities. This evening was a display of the hard work and dedication of these bands and the shining future that lies ahead of them and hopefully the others alongside them charging down the bolted gates of the segregated compound to which they have been previously been designated. The musical revolution is coming.

Now playing: Mallory Knox – Heart & Desire

A new year and Dry Januarys

So, we’re deep into the new year now and already I’m wondering who’s dipped out of their New Year’s Resolutions. Who has shelled out some of their hard-earned cash for that gym membership, pledging to go three times a week and so far has only been once. Which of you has been loading on carbs despite assuring your sceptical family that you were cutting them out for good. Has anyone kept inside those private thoughts? But your resolution for the New Year was to always say what you’re thinking, wasn’t it?

Why is there a pressure for everyone to make a change in the New Year? Surely if you know you need to change something about yourself that much, then you wouldn’t wait for the starting gun of Jan 1st? Ha, sorry for the pessimism!

However, I suppose it’s become a social norm now and I, along with everyone else, have adopted a resolution or two for this year.

You may have heard of the Dry January campaign in which for the whole of the month of January, not a drop of alcohol is touched. My parents decided that this would be a FANTASTIC idea for them, and swept me up in their tidal wave of sobriety. I too, am dry this January.

‘But Lizzie’, I hear you cry, ‘you’re a student! This will never work!’ Ha, you’re probably right! After all, according to the media, all young people do is drink. But this is not all we’re good for, thank you very much, sir.

For the first time ever, I had a sober night out.

This weekend just gone, I hit my Saturday night regular spots with a friend (who was drinking) and experienced the wonders that my hometown has to offer, without the aid of beer goggles. When I’m not at uni, I live in rural mid-Devon, in a small town where the people don’t change and said people are 99% white British. My friends at university like to make jokes on a semi-regular basis about everyone down here being inbred and they all get a kick out of it. I’m just setting the scene for you: it’s the kind where you don’t want to admit it but sometimes rumours are true. Everyone here knows everyone or is third cousins with Reg from the shop that used to be a bank and before that it was a pet shop next to the church. These kinds of stories are regular occurrences during my family gatherings and it always makes me chuckle.

This is what I experienced sober.

While under the influence of alcohol, the clubs don’t appear as dated, the prices seem reasonable and the people are friendly. But this changes when sober and the décor is quite hideous, a small glass of lemonade seems ridiculously priced and some of the people seem too old and creepy to be on a night out.

Funnily enough though, this doesn’t set the scene for a bad night out. I very much enjoyed supplying my friend with shots and watching his behaviour disintegrate rapidly from being completely in control of his body to whirling around the dancefloor in a frenzy of elbows and hip-rotations. On reflection, this seems a bit weird, but I can assure you it wasn’t and he had a good night too!

I also enjoyed having a bit of a dance too, but when you’re sober, you still have those inhibitions that no amount of cranberry juice can shake.

I wasn’t a particularly good sober person due to being exceptionally tired, but it wasn’t a bad effort and did the ‘mate, she’s looking at you, go for it!’ eyes at him every now and again, when his furious gyrating caught the attention of a female.

All in all, I had a good time and spend so much less than I would have if I had been partaking in the jagerbombs too. My Dry January is on track to last the month! Winning! We’ll see what happens when I’m out of the comfort and sanity of my family home and move back to Canterbury for my fifth term at university. Updates will come!

Now playing: Forever the Sickest Kids – We Found Love (Rihanna cover)

It’s the most wonderful tiiiiiiiiime, of the yearrrrrr!

I love this kind of year. The weather is cold, sharp and crisp; the Christmas lights and decorations light up town centres both big and small; people bustle around shops with a frantic sense of purpose (“I MUST find something for great aunt Sue because she won’t have anything to open!!”) and what I find really amusing is the fact that all of a sudden, it’s customary and appropriate to ask everyone you see, whether they be family or strangers, about Santa and their plans for the big day. This might just be because I’m from a small town in rural Devon, but whether you’re being served in a shop or chatting to your boss at work, it’s the easiest small talk in the world and everyone has a similar answer. Most of the time it revolves around spending time with family or people they love which is the part I always look forward to at Christmas.

Being some of the youngest in our family, my cousins are all grown up with spouses and children of their own and rarely travel down to the shire, so Christmas is a perfect time to see all the family together and we can get 4 generations under one roof. We have a wonderful time all squashing into my aunt and uncle’s house and parking ourselves on a variety of mismatched chairs, tables borrowed from the bowls club amid cries of people shouting ‘stop hogging the prawns!’ The house is cosy from the fire and too many bodies wearing too many layers and the table is scattered with decorations including snowflake table confetti which can be very easily stuck to faces when you lick it. I know it sounds a bit gross, but when you’ve got fully grown adults with pockmarked snowflaked faces it’s hard to not smile.

Another crazy tradition we have is the infamous breadstick eating contest. My sister and I compete with whichever of our cousins are sitting nearest to us to see who can eat a breadstick the fastest. We seem to let the side down every year! My breadstick seems to end up being chomped in one side of my mouth and falling straight out the other leaving me in a crumby, giggling mess. This year, I’m going to try taking bigger chomps…I’ll report back with the results of this new technique!

After food, we’ll walk around the hills nearby all bundled up in new jackets and sometimes wellies and attempt to burn off a fraction of the deliciousness consumed but when we return, the exercise is deemed pointless as we’re bombarded with offers of more mince pies or turkey sandwiches.

By the end of the day, and after many games of cards, we return home sporting generous food babies and absolutely exhausted and ready to sleep for a week. We all have had a wonderful day and just like that, it’s all over for another year. The post-Christmas blues suck!

Christmas for me is spending time with family and that’s probably what makes it my favourite time of year. Well, that and the fact that during Christmas time, it’s perfectly acceptable to have a nap mid-afternoon and people don’t ask whether you should stop procrastinapping and do some work!

I hope that whatever you’ve spent your day doing has been marvellous, Christmas love :) x

Now playing: Ed Sheeran – X (album)