Welcome back to The Jack Experience! It’s now late September, meaning we’ve officially reached THAT time of year where it’s sweater weather in the morning but by mid-afternoon you’re dying of heatstroke. With this in mind, I wanted to reminisce a little bit and look back at what a brilliant summer 2015 provided. Here is a compliled list of 11 things I did this summer:
30th September 2015
1. Left School (Prom and Results Day)
On Thursday the 18th June 2015 I officially left my secondary school following a painfully long Statistics exam. I walked home with a spring in my step; finally, exam season had come to a long-anticipated end. The following week was mostly spent catching up on some well-deserved rest. At the end of the week was my prom, a chance to celebrate all of the hard work of the previous months and a jovial wave goodbye to GCSEs.
I’ve got to admit, I approached prom with a sceptical mind-set after hearing numerous rumours that it’s not all it’s hyped to be – however the entire experience was fantastic. I spent my evening with all of my best friends and couldn’t think of anywhere I’d rather be. It’s really nice getting to dress up in our finest suits and dresses (personally, I opted for a suit rather than a dress) and be treated like royalty for an evening.
Arguably more important than prom is the after party. My friends and I popped home from the prom venue, ate burgers, packed our bags full with *very responsible drinks such as fruit shoots and J2Os* and headed back out. For those who asked on social media, my suit was from Topman!
Fast-forward two nervous months of anticipation and it's Results Day. I somehow managed to achieve 7 A*s and 6 As in my GCSE exams which I'm incredibly proud of. Hard work really does pay off.
2. Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Italy
While on my family holiday to Sardinia, I decided I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone. I took a break from relaxing on the Italian island’s talcum-powder beaches to try my hand (and legs) at stand-up-paddleboarding. I can’t think of a better place to experience this than the Mediterranean’s crystal clear seas… I just wish someone had actually taught me how to do it.
Pushed from the sanctity of the beach with two quivering legs aboard the paddleboard, I found myself far from safety with absolutely no idea what I was doing. Eventually I worked out a basic technique, but not before assuming death and brainstorming ideas for what my last words should be. Once I’d formed a rudimentary idea of what I was meant to do, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would recommend it to anyone. Just make sure you know what you’re doing before being pushed out to the abyss.
3. Saw The X Factor Auditions Being Filmed in London
Ever since The X Factor burst onto our screens back in 2004, I’ve always wanted to see the production filmed live. Thanks to Applause I was able to live out my childhood fantasy and head to Wembley Arena with my friends Lauren and Amy to see the first round of auditions. Despite queuing for what seemed like an eternity, the show was excellently entertaining and worth every second.
This series is set to be a good one, with a fresh-faced judging panel who have brilliant chemistry. Newbies Grimmy and Rita Ora make brilliant viewing, with a genuine bond which emanates well with the audience. They join the show’s quintessential returning judges Cheryl Fernandezmarchinivisachebikini-Versini and Simon Cowell. We witnessed all of the typical clichés; the “you have no idea how good you are”, the notorious sob stories, the “do you have a second song” and, of course, the infamous “I didn’t like it, I loved it”. If you haven’t tuned in already, I’d highly recommend the new series on ITV every Saturday and Sunday for the foreseeable future.
4. Watched Ed Sheeran Perform at Wembley
Across the road from Wembley Arena is the empowering Wembley Stadium, where singer-songwriter megastar Ed Sheeran performed to a sold out crowd of 9,000 for three consecutive nights. With support slots from both Passenger and One Republic, the show was simply incredible. You can read my full review “A pub-sized ego but stadium-sized talents” here: LINK
5. Visited Art Galleries in London
In case you were worried I’m just a typical crass and uncultured-youth, then allow me to restore your faith. Not only do I have a Spotify playlist featuring the musical crooning of both Kanye West AND London Grammar, I also enjoy visiting art galleries in my free time. Over the summer I visited London’s Tate Modern and Saatchi Gallery which were both fascinating and absolutely bonkers.
The photograph in the top left is from King Road's infamous Saatchi Gallery - an incredible room filled with oil. The bottom right is also from the Saatchi; this time a room filled with 97,000 plastic bags. I'm not entirely sure what either of these things are meant to represent as the Saatchi doesn't actually provide an explanation. This allows you to admire the art and draw your own conclusions - either that or it's just really unhelpful. The Tate, meanwhile, provides plaques explaining the meaning behind each creation.
Free art galleries and museums are one of my favourite things about London. Mind you, once you've paid out half your life savings and sold some of your internal organs on the black market in exchange for a National Rail train ticket, you've earnt it.
6. Tried My First Ever Cornish Pasty… in Cornwall
In July I headed down to Cornwall for Ben Howard’s Eden Sessions performance. The concert was stunning (you can read my entire review HERE) but what was arguably more incredible was the Cornish Pasty I tried after the concert. My pasty of choice was a steak and ale concoction which was delicious to the last bite.
I was, of course, there for slightly more important reasons than culinary delight; I was promoting the new ASUS Transformer Book Chi T100 (spon). I’d like to express my appreciation to all of Cornwall for creating heaven-on-earth wrapped in pastry form and also to ASUS for sending me down to The Eden Project.
7. Watched The Sunset with My Best Friends
Picture the scene; it’s a warm summer afternoon and the soporific sun hangs low in the sky. A group of friends sit on the bank of an open lake lost in conversation. They skim stones across the previously stagnant water and enjoy a picnic of sugary snacks as they sit together to watch the sunset. No, this isn’t the plot to a Disney Channel Original Movie, it’s my life. This is one of my fondest memories of summer; surrounded by my favourite people with not a single care in the world.
Sometimes a camera just can’t capture the beauty of a moment – not because it isn’t high-quality enough or because the deep amber sky doesn’t quite match the reality, but because a camera simply can’t capture such a pleasant atmosphere and the feeling of admiration for every breath of oxygen in your lungs. If I could live in that moment forever, I certainly would. OH GOD NOW I MISS SUMMER SO MUCH.
8. Held a Festival-Themed Party
Rewind back to the beginning of summer now, where I held an ‘exam survivors’ garden party for my friends to continue our celebrations after finishing our GCSE exams. The party was ‘festival’ themed (mostly because I planned it while lustfully flicking through pictures from Coachella) and I had far too much fun decorating my garden. I created fun wooden signs (purchased in Hobbycraft and decorated by me) and hung copius amounts of bunting. This created a really fun and vibrant mood, fit for a proper celebration!
9. Visited My Family in Spain
In early July I headed over to Spain with my grandparents for a relaxing week in the scorching sun. Having found a passion for the Spanish language during my school-years, my Uncle Gary took me out for the day to visit a few of his native Spaniard colleagues. I tried my hand at some broken-up conversations – one lady even told me about her passion for sucking fish heads – and finally got to learn Spanish the real way; from the natives, rather than from a textbook.
The photograph in the bottom left of this little collection was taken while driving home from Puerto Banùs. We were driving along the motorway, overlooking the mountainous horizons as the sun began to bring the day to a close. It was the perfect end to a wonderful trip. Gracias, España!
10. Boarded a Mediterranean Cruise
At the end of August we were whisked away to Iberia on an enormous cruise ship. I was lucky enough to visit La Coruña, Seville, Cadiz, Porto, Lisbon and Guernsey on my travels, each of which is a beautiful place which I am blessed to have experienced. A cruise is a great way to explore different cities and cultures in a short period of time and you can read my full write-up “wanderlust without the youth hostels” HERE.
Likewise, if you'd like full details on the lovely tux I'm wearing in the photograph on the bottom right, click HERE for my Suit Yourself lookbook and campaign with ASOS. I actually felt like James Bond and it was epic.
11. Made Memories
If you’re a dedicated The Jack Experience reader (hey, Mum and Dad!) then you may remember that at the start of summer my one ambition was to be happy. I can safely say that I spent almost all of summer with a smile firmly tattooed onto my face. From pizza parties to movie nights to beach trips and pool days, thanks to everyone who made it brilliant, you know who you are!
How was your summer? What did you get up to? Let me know! I’ve just started a new college so my blog posts and social media have been lacking a little as I adjust to my new surroundings, so bare with me! I’ve got something exciting coming in the next few weeks so don’t forget to subscribe at the bottom of the page and follow me on Twitter and Facebook for updates! Thanks for reading and, until next time, goodbye!
By Jack Edwards