16 October 2017

The Fanatic // Poem

You clearly don’t remember, but
I recall lying on the carpet of my old room
Looking at the pictures of you like plastered paper
And I saw myself smiling back from your eyes.

I would open magazines and search every page
For your red lips and winged eyes
Then scream in excitement when I found you
Almost as if I had found myself between
 the pages of Shout Magazine.

I gave up my Christmases for you. I didn’t
Listen to ‘Jingle Bells’ but to you on repeat
On repeat, and heard you promise me
You’d always be there in my ears.

I bought my first guitar at twelve, just like you
It was beautiful – bigger than me and midnight blue
The first song I played was painful and poor
But to me it was amazing because it sounded like yours

Nothing was more painful than your betrayal.
When you saw your sales stoop slightly
I could hear your fear in the electronics
Which replaced the familiar Pennsylvanian phonics
I once loved so much.
You will never understand how it hurts
Because you’re no longer writing for me
I can no longer hear my story in your lyrics
You’re writing for the cool kids, like a 12-year-old girl
Trying to fit in like thatch in tiling.
It doesn’t make sense to me any more when I hear
The words you really want to say in the voice break
On stage, make it through, just one more page…
Bathing in the screams of those who don’t even know who you are.
Not like I do.
I was there when you were fragile, when you wrote for me
When you wrote for her and you wrote for you,
Not when you wrote because your label wants you to.
Not when you only send out flowers when you have a new release
On the way to number 1.
Were you using me like you’re using that girl you gave
Thousands of dollars to for her tuition just for the
Publicity, not for her like you’re selfless, because you’re selfish.
Does he know he’s just a ken doll in your rise to something?
Does he know you’re a spider, leeching every penny out
Of his existence, just like you did to me?
Do you even realise that I’m here? I’m one of millions
To you, there was a time when you would go into broad daylight
Just to meet me, you thought there was nothing brighter
Than the ones who dedicated their Christmases to you
Who cried over you. Now you expect it, you treat us like
We are the charms on your bracelets, or the necklace
I once wanted because you wore it that time.
I don’t even know your message anymore!
It used to be 13 ways you can love yourself
That any dreams are achievable. But you never
Told me that your daddy paid to get you where you are.
You are proof that hard work and talent means nothing.
I wonder why I wasted words on why you are more than tales
Of woe because you weren’t worth any of it. You weren’t worth me.
You called yourself a feminist icon. You said you were there
For the girls that needed you, not just the ones who want to look like you
You swore to me that I was worth more than the guy I was dating-
Maybe that’s how you became who you are now, by believing yourself
To be above everyone else. Above me. Above him. Above her.
My mother calls me cynical. But I call it common sense
She knows I’ve watched your patterns for years, I know
That when a new guy is on the scene you’re working on
something immense.
I know that when you send goody bags to fans your plan
Is to get them to buy, and their friends to buy, their girlfriend
And boyfriend and his friends to buy. When did you become
This emotionless machine, just doing it for the money?
To get another million dollars into your account of
One billion views on YouTube, which is just me cursing
Your name over and over again when you didn’t play
The songs I loved at your concert in London. Just the
Ones which reached number one but they don’t mean much
At all the ones who really love your music. They’re just echoes
Of the misery of those who don’t.
What hurt more than any of this
Was trying to catch your eye,
It meaning everything to me, then
Realising
That to you
I meant nothing at all.



3 October 2017

My secret to SUCCESS // My Daily Routine + FREE routine template

Hey everyone!


Having just started sixth form, I have found myself over the last few weeks feeling stressed and disorganised. For a long time, I was confused as to why because usually I am on my game and on top of everything. Last night I realised that being at a boarding school meant I have abandoned the most important thing which got me through my GCSEs, the thing that helped me get majority A*s. I remembered last night that the secret to success is found in your daily routine.

I discovered this concept after seeing some videos on habit stacking. This is where you add certain habits to your daily routine e.g. after cleaning your teeth, you floss (flossing being the added habit). I have been asking myself "how do I fit all these extra things I have to do into my day?" and I realised that all I need to do is create a new plan!

At A level, you have your prep/homework, class work and individual study/what i call 'extra' which all needs to be done. Obviously, class work is done in class but you should once you get home (or to your dorm in my case) rewrite notes so that they are coherent or create corresponding flashcards. Doing all this in a day can seem overwhelming as there just isn't enough time. Or is there?

Here is the routine I devised last night for myself:


The secret to success is in your daily routine

06:20 wake up
        read news
06:30 bathroom
06:50 makeup
07:10 get dressed
        extra
07:30 dry hair
07:45 breakfast
08:20 do school bag
08:45 form
          lessons
03:30 English extra
04:00 history extra
04:30 french extra
05:00 admin (rewrite notes etc)
06:00 dinner
06:20 light prep
06:50 roll call
07:00 serious prep
09:00 read

As you can see, I have managed to squeeze in my extras, my prep and my admin. The secret is to do little bits of work often, every day. You will find that it becomes so easy to complete your tasks.

Can you be successful? Easily! Just adapt your daily routine to accommodate everything you need to do. Make it work for you. Below I have included a FREE template routine so you can create your own.

Opt in for FREE gift

* indicates required


// Jeani

25 September 2017

How I went from a 5 to a 9 at GCSE + FREE GCSE gift // GCSE mock exams



Hey everyone!

Hope you're all doing well! A few of you out there (not many) may be starting to think about mock exams that may be happening in your school. If you are already thinking about this, you are probably the type of person who yearns for those high marks and may actually die if you don't get them. Don't worry, I'm that person too.

Being that person ended up paying off for me as in my GCSEs I got a grade 9 in English Language and a grade 8 in English Literature. Look no further, the expert is right here.

However, If you can't be bothered to watch this video, in summary...

HERE ARE THE 8 THINGS YOU MUST DO TO GET A GRADE 9 IN GCSE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

1) Know what the examiners want

  • Learning objectives
  • Get teachers to mark your papers
  • Exemplar essays

2) Techniques and vocab

  • Go over important terms you have forgotten
  • Have a complete understanding of your basic vocabulary
  • Make sure you name that technique in your questions

3) Use techniques throughout

  • Show understanding of techniques by using them in your answers to questions
  • Also use these techniques in your question 5
  • As in, use ALL of techqniques
  • All the time
  • Have variation in your sentence length and language to show an abundance of skills

4) Surprise the examiner

  • Examiners are PEOPLE and they are really bored
  • Think outside the box 
  • In both your comprehension questions and your q5
  • Choose subtle things with lots of explanation e.g. structural features
  • Make them feel something, remember there's a person at the other end

5) Mr Bruff


  • Provides different interpretations
  • Can help you understand your texts and exams better
  • Goes into a lot of depth
  • Simplifies your learning

6) Focus on question 5 more

  • It is worth HALF the marks
  • Begin and end your q5 with a technique e.g. rhetorical question
  • Variation, variation, variation
  • Impressive vocabulary (learn some snazzy words)
  • Think of an interesting concept first BUT
  • Don't focus too much on the storyline, focus on the techniques
(tricks I love)
  • Throw in a reference to childhood
  • Throw in a one word paragraph
  • End on a rhetorical question

7) Time Management

  • 1.5 minutes per mark (at most)
  • Spend as little time as you can on 4-12 mark questions to allow yourself more time for the larger questions
  • Still do them well though
  • Spend more time than you are on q5, I spent 20-30 minutes on q5

8) Multiple interpretations

  • Gives you a way to surprise the examiner
  • Often forgotten
  • Either: a different meaning for the same technique in the sentence OR what a different technique in the sentence could mean

So, there you go! I really hope you do well in your exams this or next year, and if you've already done your exams, tell me what you think! Is there anything I could add to this?

// Jeani


Opt in for FREE GCSE gift




18 September 2017

My First Week at Boarding School / Sixth form // + FREE first morning checklist for going to a new school or sixth form


Hey everyone!

For those of you who don't know, for the majority of my life I have attended a state school, but this week I began boarding at a private (or public) school.

So, I thought I would tell you a few things that happened in my first week of boarding school in light of back to school season!

1. It is completely like Wild Child


It is true that, even in your first week, you get very close to your room mates. I have one roommate but the other girls in our corridor are in our year and a few of us are already very good friends! This is inevitable as you live together and see each other a lot throughout the day. 

Plus, I've already been compared to drippy!

2. Extra curricular activities are expected


As well as your general classwork, it is expected that you will participate in extra curricular activities such as societies or learning an instrument. For my extra curriculars, I will be doing dance (which will be interesting as I can barely stand without falling over), marketing hub and choir as well as continuing to play guitar in my spare time. While this can seem like a drag, it's good to continue doing things that you enjoy, not only for personal statements, but to enjoy your time as a teenager. 

3. Sport (Ugh)

Everybody cry with me and Leo, I have to do sport.
As well as doing a sporting 'activity' i.e. after school club, sixth formers have to continue to do PE (I know; I'm dying). I do aerobics, which, while fun, is extremely painful and for two days after my abs just died every time I moved.

However, this provides a good opportunity to get fit and keep healthy in a life where academia, aka snacking and sitting on the computer, is usually the priority. Furthermore, it provides a break from all the studying and a way to relieve stress, plus the sports kit is cute (or something else positive).

4. Change in uniform



For many of you going to sixth forms across the country, you will suddenly be given the liberation to wear your own clothes. I, on the other hand, have been given a much less liberating uniform as I now wear a kilt that reaches my ankles as opposed to a lovely little black mini skirt which has been known to resemble a belt (state school kids know). However, I am pleased in the quality of the uniform and it provides an excuse to not have to think about anything in the morning, and just get dressed!

4. Extra lessons/uni prep

Something introduced in sixth form is the beginning of uni preparations e.g. UCAS personal statements, helping you to make decisions and informing you on what to do to help. Further to that in our school we have a leadership and life skills class as well as PELTS, which is essentially study skills. While these extra lessons may seem like a waste of time sometimes, they teach valuable lessons that can come in very handy 

5. You won't have a clue what is going on


On my first day of sixth form I was 100% sure that I was going to be fine. I was prepared, I don't get homesick, I can do this, school is easy. Three days later I cried because I wanted to drop a subject and I was too scared to tell the teacher (the above gif is relevant here as I was literally stressed over relieving stress).

So, as it turned out, I was not 100% fine and truth was I didn't completely have it together as I had previously thought. To let you all know, this is completely normal and no one goes into sixth form and succeeds straight away because it is really hard and everyone is scared and confused, even if they seem 100% fine. 

6. Even though you're confused at first, everything slowly starts to fall into place


After the first couple of days, you slowly learn where your classes are, where people go to eat, what jokes are funny and what jokes aren't, the history of the other students and where you are going to fit in. This time last week, I had no idea where I belonged here and slowly I'm beginning to establish my role in this community.  It is a long process, fitting in, but it happens naturally and you will be fine.

7. Classwork = a brick. falling on your head. ow


There's an enormous amount of work that has to be put in to get anything out at A level. It is the expectation that you will participate 100% in classes, in your work outside the classroom and in your assessments. While a lot of people say the jump from GCSE to A level is big, I see it as just doing it for real. For example, at GCSE you can just about manage to scrape an A in music with a very basic knowledge of music itself, but at A level you have to actually understand both the theory and practical sides at a high level, because you can't just pretend anymore and get a good grade at the end of it.  While this can be intimidating, it just means you get to be thoroughly involved in your subject and become an expert!

8. It is really great to study the subjects you love

The best bit about doing A levels as you no longer have to do the subjects you are not invested in as you get to choose what you do. The reason the level of expectation in sixth form is so high is because the teachers are aware that it is your choice to be there and you should want to be studying your subjects. I study English Literature, French and History and while these three are intimidating, I enjoy them so much and it is fantastic to have the opportunity to study them in depth without the restraints of GCSE. 

9. It is FUN


Majority of sixth forms don't do this, but at this school we had a Freshers' Week to introduce us to each other. This meant doing a lot of team building exercises and climbing in the Peak District, which was painful and tiring, but kind of fun admittedly. 

Hadley Butler's film of Freshers' Week

Also, at the end of our first week of a levels, our school arranged a formal dinner where everyone got the opportunity to dress up and have some fun. If your school hasn't arranged anything like this, suggest it or arrange it yourself as it is really good to get to know each other better outside of the learning environment. 

Hope you enjoyed finding out about boarding school/sixth form! Subscribe to the mailing list for a FREE checklist for your first morning at sixth form, boarding school or any new school!

Opt in for FREE first day checklist


28 August 2017

What I read this summer 2017 + FREE Summer Book List 2017

Hey everyone!

The Summer Holidays are nearly over with only a week to go, so I have decided to share with you what books I have been reading. Starting from nearly 10 weeks ago when I was in sunny Samoa, to now, in bed, all the time - here are all the books I have read!

1) The Handmaid's Tale // Margaret Atwood

This was the first book I read this summer after being inspired by the TV show that my mum was watching. I thought it was brilliant. Atwood brings beautiful language to a truly horrific story, centering around a dystopian future where women are second class citizens, to highlight the mistakes being made in our own world.   I found the criticism of the dictatorship very interesting as Atwood shoes the flaws in the system through the weakness in the Commander, Moira and Offred herself, as well as the frequent flashbacks to a time where Offred was happy.
I would recommend this novel to someone interested in feminist literature as this book provides a fascinating take on misogyny and what it could mean for women.  However, if you're not into books which have flashbacks then I don't recommend this book as you may find it hard to follow. 

2) The Girl Before // JP Delaney


This new thriller was absolutely captivating. It flicks between the two similar stories of Emma and Jane, who both get involved with the same man and live in the same in the house. Emma comes first, and the end of her story is slowly revealed through Jane who lives in the house after her. It is told very cleverly, with insights into each woman's character through their relationship with Edward and their relationship with the house. The ending is satisfying as it doesn't necessarily go where you expect.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good thriller centred around female leads. The story really grabs you and you are desperate to know what happens! I do not recommend this book to people who aren't keen on novels with the structure where characters switch from chapter to chapter; however, this factor really compliments the story and I would not say it complicates the book or takes away too much from one characters story. 

3) Everything I never told you // Celeste Ng



A shorter story in comparison to the previous tales, Everything I never told you is succinct and very satisfying.  The part of this story which stood out to me was the complexity of the characters and their relationships. Celeste Ng really explores every character in the tale in a lot of depth in a way which makes them seem very human. The characters are taken away from their stereotypes and the author then really plays with every expectation of each member of the family to show their capability for emotion and a complex history. In a similar way to thirteen reasons why, this book critiques both teenage and adults societies by showing the pain the characters feel in response to racial and gender discrimination.

4) Sense and Sensibility // Jane Austen


Sense and Sensibility was the first book I read when I got home from my holiday as my boyfriend bought me a beautiful set of Jane Austen clothbound classics from Penguin.  I found it truly fascinating to read the story of these three sisters, as I believe that through Jane Austen's portrayal of the lives in upper class society during the early 1800s, I gained an insight into the real lives of  women during this time.

The story constantly divulges into the roles of women and the most obvious is the contrast between Elinor and Marianne. Elinor, the eldest sister, is headstrong and forward thinking; she doesn't rush into love from romance and puts her future, and her family's future first. Marianne, contrastly, allows herself to let her emotions control her and she falls in love very easily, She values people with energy, and passion for books and music as she does. Both have characteristics of a modern woman, but they are completely different through marianne's bubbly personality and elinor's kind but sensible nature. She also explores the role of women through the acquaintances reactions to the girls emotions and the men they fall in love with.

I would definitely recommend if you're interested in feminist icons such as the wonderful Jane Austen. She is a wonderful story teller and satisfies the readers wants in a way that modern authors often do not. 

5) 1984 // George Orwell

1984 is a book I have been interested in for a long time. I watched animal farm in school whilst learning about Russia and wanted to know more about Orwell's writing.  Again, this book is dystopian but in this world there is no truth except for the truth of The Party and Big Brother.  The character of Winston interests the reader as he is made very human by the author, who explores his sexuality and defiance against The Party.  

I would recommend this book to people interested in political literature as well as horror books, as although this isn't a horror novel, it grips in you in a similar manner. 

6) To Kill A Mockingbird // Harper Lee


This story is told through the naive eyes of an 8 year old girl, similarly done to the boy in the striped pyjamas. This leaves the reader to fill in the gaps with the knowledge of racial tensions in the 20th century regarding Tom's case. This book touches on the role of women and girls through Scout as well as the implications of having a lawyer as a father on a childs life. The character of Boo Radley acts as a symbol of how society misjudges broken people, touching on mental health and more. Such a complex tale told simply and brilliantly!

7) Carrie // Stephen King
I cannot even begin to discuss how clever this story is! King begins by introducing Carrie as a character that the reader can sympathise with and slowly unravels her dark and twisted mindset induced by her mother and peers. The frightening thing about this novel is not the horror that Carrie inflicts, but how he makes the reader almost want them to feel pain as Carrie does after seeing the pain they put her through. This book really plays with the mind and I enjoyed it immensely.


Opt in for FREE GCSE gift





// Jeani


24 August 2017

My GCSE results 2017 + FREE GCSE gift of your choice


Hey everyone!

For those of you who don't know, today is GCSE results day for those of us in the UK, which means I got the results I have been working towards for years!!!

I wanted to open results with my mum, but I opened them at school in the end, which ended up being very exciting as I got one of the best results in my school and got my photos taken with my boyfriend and one of my friends

Opening my results

It was a special year as our exams officer is someone I know quite well as she is my friends mum so it was nice when she took these photos of us. It was a really great experience!

The above video is a vlog of today found on my YouTube channel. In summary, I did very well and I am ecstatic! I got two 8s, a 9, 2A*s, 3As and a B.

For those of you who don't know, this is the rough conversion of old system grades to new system grades:

9 - high A*
8- A*
7- A
6 - B
5 - Strong C
4 - Standard pass
3
2
1
I am very pleased with my results. There were a few surprises such as an A* in the physics paper that I was sure I would get a C in, a D in the controlled assessment I was told would be an A* and an 8 in Maths which seemed impossible considering I was getting sixes a few months ago! 

My GCSEs have been an incredible experience. I have discovered a lot about myself and my work ethic, as well as what is really important to me.  I discovered strength in myself that I did know that I had - enough to work continuously for weeks to get the results I wanted. I discovered that I really love school and I never want to give up learning or academia. I discovered that I am capable of achieving things that some people never thought I was capable of. I worked my arse off and I am so glad I did because I got the results that I really wanted. 
 I worked really hard to get my results and I hope to give advice to the next set of GCSE students who are about to face the hardest exams 16 year olds have taken in a long time!

I don't think there's anything else I can say other than good luck next year. Please subscribe to my mailing list for reminders to my blog posts which will give advice and help to those of you who need it. 
If I can get these results, I guarantee that you can too.


// Jeani

My GCSE gifts:







Opt in for FREE GCSE gift




22 August 2017

How To Monitor Your Grades on Excel + FREE Spreadsheet Template


Hey everyone!

If you're receiving your GCSE results tomorrow, I wish you the best of luck!

For those of you in year 9 or 10, I thought I would share with you how I monitored my grades from year 10 mocks through to year 11 mocks (and GCSEs soon!) to record my progress.

Why is it important to do this?

-I hear you ask in a slightly cynical and "I'm too busy for this" tone! Well:  It is important to keep on track during exam season of how well you're doing as you can get lost in the sea of subjects. I found that keeping all my grades in one place cleared my head a little and meant I didn't have to try and think of target grades, what I used to get, what I get and what I want to get. In short: minimal effort long term, quite a bit of effort for half an hour!


How to do it
1) First of all, you need to open up Excel (or Numbers on Apple). You're going to be faced with a lot of blank boxes and a slight hint of panic if you've never used this software before as it looks very complicated! (it's not, don't panic).

2) To start with, create a vertical column of your subjects as you can see in the picture above. Make these bold to distinguish them as titles in the future.

3) Under each subject, leave a row for each individual paper as well as a total/final column and an average column.

4) In the top horizontal row, label each column as follows: x, x, Target, Predicted, Grade,  Possible Mark, Mark, Percentage, Final Grade (and past mock results if applicable)

5) In the first column titled "x" you will have your subjects from step 2, and in the second "x" column you need to title your individual paper names, including total/final marks and averages.

6) In the next two columns you will insert your target and predicted grades. In my school, target grades were generated by a system using results from SAT and CAT exams taken in year 6 and year 7. Predicted grades were based on both classwork and mock results. If this is not the way it is in your school, edit as required. 

7) The next column is your grades column, i.e. where you put your grade for each paper. For your final/total, you should make an estimate - or literally use an average as you will be doing the 9-1 exams! To create an average on Excel use this formula (but with boxes selected in place of x) : (=x+x+x/number of boxes selected)

8) The next two columns are quite simple: How many marks the paper was out of in the first column and how many marks you actually got in the second column. This is really where average and total marks come in as you get a better overview for that subject.

9) In the percentage column, do a percentage for each paper, including average and total. The formula for this on excel is: (=your marks/available marks *100) 

10) For your Final Grade column, insert the final grade you got for each subject! 

11) For each set of mocks, I created a new tab, so a new spreadsheet within the same file. This means you can flick between your results easily. As you can see in the example above, I also included the results from my first set of mock results so I could see how my results varied from first to last set of mocks to see where I had improved.

12) If you like, you can now go through your results and colour code them to show whether you felt like it was a good result or whether you think you could do better next time.


Can't be bothered to do all that? Use my FREE, editable spreadsheet template!

Opt in for FREE Spreadsheet Template


Good luck!

// Jeani