Formerly 'The Mile Long Bookshelf'

Saturday, 23 March 2019

What does 'Academic' Really Mean? | Online Course Recommendations

Would you say you're academic? I didn't think I was until recently. When I was a kid, I didn't enjoy school for a number of reasons: I was bullied, the teachers were abusive, and education-wise it was certainly under-performing. When I left that school to become home educated for the next few years, I enjoyed the projects we did and the places we saw, but I didn't seem particularly academically driven (not that that is necessarily needed in home education, but maybe that's a blog post for another time.)

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Climbing the O2 Arena!

I'm adventurous but only a little. I like to leave my comfort zone sometimes but not too much. New experiences make me nervous even if I end up enjoying them. So when I was asked if I wanted to climb the O2 last summer... I didn't particularly, but I made the leap anyway.

My main worries were that I wouldn't be able to do it, or that I wouldn't be good enough, or that I'd lag behind everyone else, or make a tit of myself in some way. I'm petite, not very strong, I have anxiety, and I have issues with my knees, so climbing the O2 which is 52 metres high? Um...

We got to the box office which is in a small building to the left of the O2's main entrance. From here, you can see the walkway that goes up and over the dome, and due to the amount of time slots they offer, you'll probably see a group already on their way up.

We entered a room for our induction where we were shown a safety video and how to use the equipment. And then I got my super stylish climb suit, boots and harness, which could only mean one thing... it was time to start the ascent.

Our guide clipped us to a rope in the middle of the walkway, with us commoners on one side and the guide on the other to help us along. There was no going back...

And I wasn't the slowest of the group! It was hard work, especially on a hot day, but when we got to the top the views of London were so worth it. Bloody windy though.

Surprisingly, the way down was most difficult, although even with my shit knees it was fine. Slightly scary though, going forwards down a practically-vertical slightly bouncy walkway... but when I got down, I truly felt like I'd achieved something. I'd done something I would never usually do, and it was such an incredible experience. In fact, writing this post is making me want to do it again!

I really, really recommend the Up at the O2 experience. Everyone's in the same boat, and the guide's job is literally to get you through it. So if you're looking for something slightly wacky and exhilarating to do in London, this should definitely be somewhere on your list. It's nice to feel like you've achieved something not for any financial/career reason, but solely for yourself.

I'm thinking sunset, next time...


Saturday, 9 March 2019

Ask Italian

I am a huge fan of Italian food, and I imagine that when I finally get to go to actual Italy I'll put on about 3 stone. For now though, while I'm stuck in the UK, my favourite Italian restaurant is most definitely Ask Italian.

I've been to Ask Italian a countless number of times, and the food has always been impeccable. My first visit was actually in Birmingham, when I met up with my friend Charli before going to see Lorde. We couldn't decide which delicious-sounding dessert to have, so we ordered a couple and split them both. That's the way to go, people, I'm telling you.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

How I Completely Re-branded My Blog

When I realised I was absolutely, 100%, no-going-back certain that I wanted to give my blog an overhaul, I knew it would be a massive job. The longer you blog, the more of a trail you have, and the more there is to change: from fairly easy things like the design and the URL, to the little things like changing your email address, your social media accounts, re-formatting everything, and much more.

Transforming The Mile Long Bookshelf to what we have today took me a couple of weeks. I had to...

Saturday, 23 February 2019

New York Diaries: Day 6

At last, the dreaded day arrived: our final few hours in New York. We packed, checked out of the apartment at 10:30am, and struggled across the city with our suitcases to put them in luggage storage for the day so we could fully enjoy ourselves.

Our first stop of the day was New York Public Library. You know me - how could I not go in a beautiful library given the chance?


Saturday, 16 February 2019

New York Diaries: Day 5

Thursday began with the Flatiron building, built to fit an accidental triangular gap in New York's grid system. Coincidentally, the Flatiron building is on the same street as an IHOP, and we just so happened to be there in time for brunch. INTERESTING. Not planned at all. 👀

After that, we did a bit of shopping. I had a look in Bath and Body Works (which in my opinion did not live up to the hype...), Victoria's Secret, and Century 21. Oh my god, Century 21. Why don't we have this in the UK? It's like T.K. Maxx but actually good! I got a Tommy Hilfiger jumper reduced from roughly $60 to $29.99 (£22) and a Michael Kors jumper down from $80 to $20 (approx. £14), as well as a couple of Christmas presents. I also went in a Target which was basically all of my dreams come true. Does anyone else obsess over foreign supermarkets when on holiday or is that just me?


Saturday, 9 February 2019

New York Diaries: Day 4

Let me take you back to 2011. My mum is an artist (you can snoop on her Instagram here) and that year, when I was thirteen, she submitted a piece of her work to The Sketchbook Project, run by Brooklyn Art Library. Along with lots of others, that sketchbook toured multiple countries, and we got to meet up with it when it was displaying at London's Southbank. However, that was the last time we saw it, as shortly after it returned to its permanent home in Brooklyn, NY, a place none of us ever planned to go.

Fast forward to 2018, a week from turning twenty years old, and - yep - I went to visit my mum's sketchbook! I always said that I would go and see it if I went to New York, and I did. It made me so happy to be able to do this for my mum who will never see it again, and I took loads of pictures for her so she could experience it as fully as possible.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

New York Diaries: Day 3

Welcome to the next post in my New York Diaries! Day 3 was Tuesday, and it was probably our busiest day. We began with the High Line, a 1.5-mile elevated urban park on a former railway track. We enjoyed the walk and the opportunity to see the city from a different angle. The four different lenses we had between us were also very pleased...

Saturday, 26 January 2019

New York Diaries: Day 1 & 2

Plane wing at sunset

Dudes, I did it: I went to New York! If you've been here since what I call the Golden Days of Blogging (cough, 2013) you'll know that I have always had an interest in the city and always dreamt of experiencing it for myself rather than through books and films. But there was a problem; well, several. 1) No one wanted to go with me, and I wasn't old enough to go alone. 2) Money. 3) Hello, fear of flying!

Yes, a fear of flying despite having never flown before. That'll be down to watching movies about plane crashes as well as an abundance of 9/11 documentaries when I was a kid. Thanks, past Amber.

But, come the end of 2017, the first two problems became less of an issue, and so... I did it. I booked it all. And on 14th October 2018, I got on that plane and I flew - horrifically, traumatically - to the Big Apple!

Monday, 21 January 2019

Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Other Lies by Scarlett Curtis

Buy the book: Amazon | Waterstones | The Book Depository • Penguin, 2018

Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Other Lies by Scarlett Curtis drew me in by its cover. I know, I know, don't judge a book by its cover -- but I do, and I was bored as shite in Tesco, and a really nice shade of pink caught my eye from the shelf. My sudden need for it must've been pretty obvious because lo and behold there it was under my tree on Christmas Day: a glorious matte-pink hardback, pleasingly sized and satisfying to hold, with foil and bold lettering just daring you to argue with the women inside.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Kew Gardens Light Trail | #ChristmasAtKew

How did you spend New Year? On New Year's Eve I had to be up at 5:45am for a nine-hour shift, which meant I promptly fell asleep at 9:30pm like the lightweight I am. Set an alarm though so I still woke up briefly enough to watch the London fireworks -- just. On New Year's Day we had tickets for the light trail at Kew Gardens, so after a lie-in and a Quorn sausage roll and Pringles for breakfast (I clearly don't give a shit about January's weight-loss culture) we headed out.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Well hello there, shiny new year. What am I going to do with you?

Parts of 2018 were a bit rubbish. My anxiety hit me over the head with a sledgehammer just when I thought it had left me alone completely, which led to me being signed off work for a couple of weeks. A knee injury I obtained last winter still hasn't healed, and having practically lived at the hospital this year seeing various physiotherapists and podiatrists, and even having an MRI, I'm wondering if it ever will. I fell out of love with blogging for a while, I had to go through two very unpleasant ordeals at work that I can't expand on here, and we had some sad family news.

But it's also been a great year. It took a while but I started to manage my anxiety again, and eventually I got back to work. I'm blogging again. I ticked off all the places on my travel wish list, having been to Brighton, Edinburgh, Paris, Amsterdam and New York in 2018. I got over my fear of flying. The two incidents at work seem to be over, and I've really developed myself there, being given more responsibilities. More recently, I've started volunteering again, this time at a local food bank - increasingly important in today's political climate, and something I've always wanted to do but never got round to doing. I've also been working on driving in unfamiliar places, something I've struggled with for years. That one is going to take a while, though.
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