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As a person who has never been married, had a baby or even, as of yet, graduated, I have yet to feel the grander pleasures in life and instead have experienced only the simpler ones. Here is a list of the top ten!

#1 That glorious moment before kissing someone- you know what’s coming, the silence and racing heart declares all, when suddenly two faces become one in a warming frenzy of mutual appreciation.

#2 Compliments from strangers- whilst this is flattery in perhaps the purest of forms, it also draws attention to the marvel that is the kindness of strangers which is all too little recognised in a world fixated on the bad.

#3 Playing cards- without a doubt one of my favourite past times, nothing quite compares to the jovial participation in a game of cards-  surrounded by and appreciating friends, folly and (in the case of Irish Snap) fractured fingers!

#4 Realising it’s Saturday- whilst Monday morning may be a killer for many, the looming prospect of Saturday can always raise one’s spirit through the drudgery of a long week.

#5 Hearing a favourite song on the radio- I’m not sure what it is about hearing a song on the radio which makes it just that little sweeter, nevertheless, cranking up the volume at the immediate surprise is a feeling that must be experienced! (Seated dancing is, of course, advised to maximise this rare occasion!)

#6 That first sip- when feeling utterly parched, not even the finest champagne can compare to the gloriousness of that first gulp of any liquid that is intensely chilled and magnificently refreshing.

#7 Dancing– although my dance moves have a great deal to be desired, the euphoria of dancing; with or without company, with or without music, is disastrously fun and equally therapeutic.

#8 Hugs– as the owner of a rather lengthy list of people who I long to hug, (see ‘Hug list’ above!) it is probably unsurprising that one of my favourite hobbies is this arm-sharing wonderment. Whether it is exchanged through love, sadness or anything in between, one should never refuse a good hug!

#9 Poetic shivers- I refuse to believe than any drug is as powerful, or as satisfying, as the shivers that soar through my spine when I read a beautiful piece of literature.

#10 When the milk turns chocolatey- not only a wonderful metaphor for the pleasures of life (i.e. there are always more Coco Pops to be had!), this phenomenon is perhaps as marvellous as the natural wonders of the Northern lights or Solar eclipses, if only just a little sweeter.

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As a seventeen year old, it is only natural that I think I know more than I actually do. However, the following list of life tips have stemmed from first-hand experiences and I whole heartedly believe in the importance of all of them.

#1 Never Settle For Less

Perhaps an obvious one for many, but I can shamefully admit that I learnt it the hard way. Of course one must always leave room for compromise, but if you find yourself falling short, whether it’s in a relationship or even a school project, don’t be afraid to make that change because it may only lead to your own downfall.

#2 ‘Don’t regret what you do, regret what you don’t do’

I love this motto and not just because it is wonderfully catchy. For me, at least, this phrase means I don’t have to beat myself up too much about mistakes I have made, which is handy since I certainly make my fair share! Never fear regret in the face of something you wish to do, unless, of course, it involves mutilating your neighbour’s pet cat Muffin!

#3 If you’re 7 years old, do not watch ‘Jaws’

At the ripe young age of seven, my greatest fear was walking into my pantry and being eaten alive by a Great White shark. Although I may have been unaware of the basic living requirements of fish, I was certainly nothing less than emotionally scarred after my mother convinced me to watch a ‘nice film’ about the severing of arms and blood-ridden beaches. Even to this day, entering the sea requires an abnormal amount of courage.

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Call me a typical ‘arty-farty’ literature student, but there’s nothing greater in a novel or film than the presence of a jolly good character. Lately I’ve been thinking about such matters (must be why I’ve not posted for yonks!) and I have come up with a list of -what I believe- are the top traits that seem to exist in an array of characters across many a genre.

#1 The one who always knows what to do

I recently saw the latest Star Trek film (call me a nerd all you like, I really enjoyed it!) but what I found particularly endearing about it was how a number of the characters seemed to always know exactly how to solve a crisis. This was, of course, pretty useful when they seemed to always be ten seconds away from certain death and/or heading straight into Earth. Perhaps this trait is especially appealing to me because of the many day-to-day crises I seem to befall. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that everyone could use a Spoc in their life, at least from time to time.

#2 The sarcastic one

Not only does this trait apply in the fictional realm, but a friendship circle simply isn’t complete without that sarcastic friend who’s always equipped with the quips! Although they say that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, I would argue that, for me, Chandler Bing and his sarcastic witticisms pretty much make the classic TV show ‘Friends’.

#3 The eccentric

This is a fairly open-ended trait but I’m mainly referring to characters, particularly in novels, who have a voice that is notably distinctive and peculiar. Inspired by the character of Holden Caulfield in the infamous ‘The Catcher in the Rye’, this trait is mostly apparent through the narrator’s voice in the novel- the nonstop peculiarities of it, which, for me, almost completely made the novel.

#4 The loveable ‘dummy’

Perhaps it’s my motherly nature (pah!) or our ‘collective’ instincts as humans, but it seems as though the innocent, often slightly dim, characters seem to acquire most of our affection, (or at least, it’s slightly more painful if they happen to get killed!). Who knows, maybe there’s a tiny bit of ‘Forest Gump’ or ‘Baldrick’ in all of us!

#5 The gloriously funny one

The technique of ‘comic relief’ is almost a necessity in successful stories- they provide, as their title suggests, relief for a reader or audience who are otherwise immersed in an intense, or ‘full-on’, scene. Nevertheless, I would say that a character capable of creating such humour is certainly an admirable one.

‘Nobody tosses a dwarf!’

 



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