London hedgehog

I see you, perching on your favourite spot, same time, almost on the dot, daily.  I don’t know you but I’ve come to know your habits – the way you flick your hair back and scroll through your apps with a great deal of annoyance, how you look upwards when there’s no view to be seen, your stroking the house plants on the balcony. Seeing you makes me kind of sad, I think you incorporate the feeling I sometimes get Continue reading

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ONE FOR SORROW, TWO FOR JOY

When I was in the middle of exams last year, one of the things that I remember the most vividly is the countless hours spent aimlessly gazing at the tree outside my bedroom window. I used to have friends come over to my room, both of us under the illusion that somehow doubling the presence of people within a room would also double our concentration levels.  I’ve never been good at idioms Continue reading

A retrospective note on Oxford finals (and why you, too, will survive them)

An introductory anecdote: last summer, holed up in my room in Florence as August came to an end, air conditioning blasting into my face, I found an Instagram account. It belonged to a student at Corpus Christi College, and they made embroidered stands, customised with different designs or quotes. One caught my eye: “What if something wonderful happens?”. After a couple of weeks of panicking at the prospect of a final year packed with work and stress ahead of me, which had been filled with “What if something terrible happens?”, this quote seemed both ironic and apt. I made a note about it and asked them to make me one over the Easter holidays. It took its place above my bedside table for the rest of my time at Oxford. And it turned out to be true. Continue reading

Chicken soup for the tormented soul: a music remedy for trials and tears

There’s nothing as great as Spotify’s “private session” function. You can indulge in all the tunes you normally pretend to hate (cough, cough, One Direction), put on a cleaning playlist, an embarassingly soppy film soundtrack – the options are endless.

There are reasons that are far from embarassing to make use of this function, though. I had a Spotify playlist this year that was called “if you need to cry”. I had many a reason to listen to it frequently, Continue reading

On loss and lychees

One of the things I’ve made mine, in the 22 years I’ve inhabited this planet, has been my love of all things cold.  I won’t drink water unless it’s absolutely freezing, I keep every fruit in the house in the fridge – including bananas and avocados – and I love nothing more than a sudden spray of cold water when I am in the shower (I have the feeling this is connected to an article I read years ago about it being good for your circulation: it isn’t).

My taste for coldness extends to the environments surrounding me. Continue reading