holiday recommendations

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merry pitchmas, @brittany-snodes! you are definitely my #gifspiration, so i’m glad i get to show my gratitude! here are a few songs i think we would find on the ipod of your (and my) favorite bella, & in case apple music isn’t your thing here is a spotify playlist that is fine-tuned to chloe beale’s taste :) happy holidays!

Booked for the Holidays: Book Lists with a Twist

‘Tis the season to give books - and these aren’t your grandmother’s book recommendations. Here’s a masterpost of our 2016 gift guides! 

(Note: we’ll be adding links as new lists go up every day - so if you’re seeing someone’s reblog of this and want to know if a particular list is up yet, click through to our original post!)

Don’t see what you need here? Click over to the Penguin Hotline to get personalized recommendations from real live PRH employees!

Mexican woman (born and raised)

I’ve noticed a lack of full-on Mexican perspective in the profiles and I hope this helps, before going starting remember that my experiences do not reflect a global view of the life as a mexican, nor does invalidate the Mexican immigrants or mixed-race people who identify themselves with their Mexican heritage around the world.

Language

Spanish is the main official language, but there over 50 indigenous languages all over the country, among the most commons are: Nahuatl, Maya, Mixteco, Zapoteco, Tzozil etc. (really there an entire Wikipedia article on it look it up)

Home/Family life

Family is really important in México, quality time with your family is stressed over since early life, and chances are that at least half of your best childhood friends will be your cousins, someone straying away from the family permanently is severely looked down and criticized, only if it’s by choice mind you, family will be understanding if it’s for causes beyond your control (job transfers and opportunities) and Christmas and New Year is usually the time of the year where every relative from every corner of the country (and even from other countries) will come visiting you.

Family roles are still seen in a very traditional way, with the mother being in charge of the home, and the father working, however given that family abandonment is sadly very common; in all places and economic backgrounds not just poor families; this tends to place an even greater responsibility for the mother, and is not uncommon that a grandparent, uncle or even older cousin steps in as a paternal figure.

Families where the siblings never move from the parents’ house and all live in with their own families are still around, such families usually have the grandmother as the center of everything and be the one calling the shots on important decision, this is however a dying tendency (at least in the Bajío)

Dating and Friendships

Despite its conservative ideologies, parents are surprisingly permissive when it comes to the dating life of their children, sure there are some really strict parents around but they’re usually mocked even by other parents for being so prudish. An interesting contrast with American parents that I’ve seen, is that while the americans want to know who their kids are going out with, their parents, their school, etc. etc. Mexican parent rarely concern themselves with these details, as long as you get to the house at the promised hour and not smelling like alcohol or cigarettes, you’re good, it’s a given that if you’re taking someone into the house and to meet the family it’s because is a serious relationship or an incredibly good friend, and a way of telling your parents that you (and by extension them) are gonna keep seeing them.

Food

Two key things about food in Mexico: tortillas and chile, sweet bread is also a must, but only for breakfast. Even the the most posh, stuck-up (or fresas as we call them) people will occasionally indulge into the nearest taco (or larguitas) stand for lunch, or dinner. A usual meal around here consists of soup, some steak or guisado accompanied by juice or water, dessert is not really accustomed either, unless you’re eating out.

 Another thing is that fast food (pizza, burgers, fries, etc.) is not really popular around here, unless you’re from one of the big cities (DF, Querétaro, and Guadalajara) is usually seen as either something you only do for your kid’s birthday, or when you just don’t have the time for cooking because of a tight schedule.

Education

In Mexico compulsory education is divided by 6 years of elementary school (primaria), 3 of middle school (secundaria), and three of high school (preparatora or bachillerato). Afterwards college lasts usually 4-5 years. If you graduated on medical career (nurses, doctors, dentists, psychologists and psychiatrist) are required to have in between 6 months or a year of social services before getting matriculated.

I should say that Mexicans value education A LOT, over here claiming that “college is for losers” will get you a smack in the head (by your parents) and rolled eyes from everyone else; even from people who were born before such requirement for a job were a thing, that doesn’t mean that everyone goes to college, but is usually seen as the ideal path for your children, if you don’t want to go, that’s fine but then you’re gonna have to work, and you will be expected to settle down with a family as soon as you can financially support yourself instead.

Religion

As with the majority of Mexicans, even though I’m no longer practicing (I’m atheist) I was raised as Catholic, with moderated requirements, so I had to go to mass on Sunday (which always last the same 45 min. or 1 hr. tops) with formal wear, I prayed the “Padre Nuestro” and “Ave Maria” before going to bed (this usually only last ‘til puberty hits, they stop forcing you by then) thank God for the food after each meal, but the whole thing about not eating meat on Fridays is usually only on the Cuaresma, and it only applies to red meats, so most people eat fish and chicken during those days anyway. I had to do my confirmation, my first communion, and do confessions with the local church.

Holidays

These are 5 important Holidays in Mexico (in order of importance):

  • Independence Day (September 16th) – National off the school (and the job) day, there are parades all over the country and on the midnight of the 15th the President will give the Bell Ring to commemorate the Father Miguel Hidalgo and lots, lots of fireworks, usually the decorations and festive moods last all September month.
  • Day of the Dead (November 2nd) – Depending on the region, some places celebrate the 1st too as the “All Saints Day”, it’s also depending on the region the level to which is celebrated, in the Bajío we get an off-day, there are altars contests and Catrina parades, and we go the Cemetery to clean and adorn the graves of our families, but I know there are other places where they treat it like a regular day, leaving the visit for the most close weekend, and then there are some other places, where it’s such an important day, that everything is closed, stores, hotels, restaurants, to give off the ‘mourning’ more weight than the celebrating part, even the parades are done in silence.
  • Christmas’s Eve (December 24th) – No Santa here (kids know about it, but most don’t ask presents to him), it’s exclusively a religious and family day, it’s tradition to put a manger of the baby Jesus. Family dinner at midnight, ALL the family is gonna travel to their childhood homes with their kids and spouses, a longer Mass is also attended too at night, some more religious families also perform several prayers before said dinner, and attend to the morning mass of the 25th day in which usually everything is closed down (except in bigger cities)
  • The Wise Kings Day (January 6th ) – This is the day kids get their presents, the 5th is usually used for kids to hang their letters in the tree or in some places to a balloon into the air with the things they want, and wake super early and everything, that same night we get the “Rosca of Reyes”, which has several figurines of the baby Jesus in it, and anyone who gets one, has to make a meal (traditionally tamales but it can be anything) on the February 2nd for all the assistants, in schools is also done, and the expenses of are shared by the people who got the figurines as well.
  • The Mexican Revolution (November 20th) – Similar to the Independence day, except that is less prominent, and depending on which weekday falls is less likely to get it as an off-day from school (usually never for jobs, unless you work in a school) the parade for this day is different from the Independence day one, because this one is less militaristic and more sporty with schools having an athletic or dancing routine for it.
  • Mother’s Day (May 10th) – Usually not an off-day, but people tend to leave both school and jobs early that day to spend the day with their mother (or at least give them a call in case they can’t), it’s more…about the publicity and gifts than any other holiday

Beauty Standards

Mexican beauty standards vary according to the region, I grew up in the “Bajío” the mid-land of the country, where most of the population range from brown to white-passing of skin-color, and my family like many others in the area has sprinkled this range in the whole family, case in point, me and my siblings: my little sister is pale as they come and definitely white-passing (she has been told as much by our mexican-american cousins), my older brother is dark-skinned and really really hairy, I’m in the middle of them being light-browned:

  • Skin tone: Colorism is definitely a thing here, since birth you’ll hear how pretty and cute pale babies are, and how ‘funny’ darker babies are, this is something that never really goes away as one gets older people will just stop being polite about it seeing as negroandprieto (black) are common derogative words to describe a particularly dark brown person, sometimes even calling them chango (monkey) whereas the neutral term would be “moreno (a)“ 
  • Hair: You’re gonna have a hard time finding anyone who is doesn’t have brown or dark-hair, personally I can count with one hand the number of naturally blond people I’ve met in my 20-something years of life, I’ve met more red-heads than blonds honestly, I mentioned natural blond, because what you’re gonna get a lot are dyed blondies here, (and yes it does have to do with American-european beauty standards and prominence in the media) still, this is starting to change and it’s far more common with older women (over 35-40)
  • Body Types: Despite the stereotype of the voluptuous latina, Mexican women have a wide array of body types, from petite to XXL (bigger than this is rare though) The curvy but still not-really-overweight is preferred over skinny, especially if said skinny girl doesn’t have full bottom, hips and legs (which are seen as waay more appealing than big breasts), she will often be called out for having “patas de pollo” (chicken legs) or “huesuda” (boney) in case she’s not pale.
  • Make Up: There’s something you should know, 90% of Mexican women will always grab their make-up (especially the lipstick) when going out even for a mere errand, I was thought how to use make-up before learning about periods. The only schools that will not let you wear it are usually the religious ones and of course the elementary level.
  • Clothing: As of late, Mexico is a place where casual clothing is the norm, even for most jobs and schools dress-codes are really lax and even then rarely enforced (unless you really push your luck of course, no one is gonna go to work wearing yoga pants and sneakers), but there are still subtle hints and differences, you can often tell people’s family background, income and even occupation by the way they dress: people from poorer families tend to favor sports clothing and sneakers (they’re easy to move in, cheap and comfy), middle-class people will have jeans and dress shirts of all types, colors and styles, formal shoes, sandals, and boots, only wearing full formal attire if the job requires it, or on formal occasions, even then richer people favor  casual fashion styles, but they can be spotted because they are the ones wearing super tall high heels, jewelry brand clothing and purses etc.

Things I’d like to see less of

The spicy Latina, the illegal immigrant or the stereotypical poor Mexican family with little to no education, also the jornalero too.

Tropes/Stereotypes I’m tired of seeing.

Also I’m tired of seeing the Latinx community as a monolith, where the Mexicans, the Colombians, the Chileans, the Argentines, the Brazilians etc. etc. 

Things I’d like to see more of

Educated mexicans, hard-working mexicans, legal and born into America Mexicans, indigenous Mexicans.

Following the above, I’m not saying that we should erase the presence of the undocumented Mexicans, I want to see the follow up to that story, do people even understand the reason why Immigration is so common in Mexico? Do they know that more often than not, it’s only the father of the family that goes away and send money to their family in Mexico? So they can have a better life, a better education? Where is the following to that?

I’ve seen tons of depictions for the immigrants and their struggle for that better life, which feel more often than not, as a way for americans to have sob story about how “bad” our lives are and how we seek the better, richer ‘American dream’ in order to what? Feel sorry for us? But why don’t we see them having that result which is often reflected on their children? Did you know that Education is the most valued asset in Mexico? Did you know that most jornaleros won’t even risk bringing their kids with them, because they tell them to stay in school, to be better? (I always found that ridiculous, children labor exist and is a problem, but virtually no parent in gonna do that unless they are irresponsible or non-caring about them), where are the doctors? The lawyers, the engineers, the writers, the teachers. Why are we always singers or dancers, narcos or cops? We are not ‘entertainers’ at heart for you to have fun, nor dumb muscle for your gang problems.

Book Recommendations

I know this isn’t part of the POC Profile but if you want to have a better view of the Mexican way of thinking and our culture I highly suggest these titles:

  • The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz
  • The Broken Spears by Miguel León-Portilla
  • Psychology of the Mexican by Rogelio Diaz-Guerrero
  • The Book of Lamentations by Rosario Castellanos
  • Mañana Forever?: Mexico and the Mexicans by Jorge Castañeda
youtube

What to watch this holiday season? Take it from an expert … 

I got tagged by @byjillianmaria , thank you!!

How old are you? 23

What are you talented at? Writing, I guess?? Procrastinating, complaining, annoying my friends

What is a big goal you are working toward (or have already achieved)?
Write my first book

What’s your aesthetic?
Leather jacket, crop top, ripped jeans, boots, red lipstick and rock songs

Do you collect anything? Do failures count? lol

What’s a topic you always talk about? Tv shows and ships lol

What’s a pet peeve of yours? People who talk shit about others or are ignorant about a subject i care about and just like to generally diss everyone.

Good advice to give? If you feel like giving up, remember how strong you’ve been until now.

What are three songs you’d recommend? Roman Holiday, Last Kiss, Thinking Out Loud

I tag @deepcoffeedreamer @lhzthepoet @excerptsofstories @feellng @words-she-will-never-say @kjpoems

So for the Gravity Falls Secret Santa I got assigned @billciphering, who requested Bipper, which was great for me since I love getting to draw him.

They also mentioned they were fond of Deerper, so as a bonus here’s a transparent Deerper!

Happy holidays billciphering!

darknesshadows  asked:

Hi! I'm currently watching The Young Pope (Jude <3 ) and I wondered what are your favorite performances of Jude? I haven't seen him in too many things (Cold Mountain and Sherlock Holmes only) but he is a brillant actor! What would you recommend to someone who wants to discover more of his roles?

He certainly is! Thank you for seeing that. I’d say The Young Pope is certainly his best performance yet, simply because Lenny is such a demanding character, but he certainly is always a pleasure to watch - even if the film itself isn’t all that great.

My favorite performances, apart from the ones you already mentioned, in no particular order are probably:

  • Side Effects
  • Genius
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley
  • Gattaca
  • Alfie
  • Dom Hemingway
  • A.I. Artificial Intelligence

If you are into voice acting, definitely check out Rise Of The Guardians as well!

(just film-wise I’d also recommend The Holiday, I ♥ Huckabees, Repo Men*, eXistenZ, Spy, Closer and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow*)

Holiday romance - imagine

*Harry’s POV*

When this holiday resort was recommended to my family and I by one of our closet friends for its long, golden beaches, beautiful weather and kind resort staff, I never in a million years thought I would meet someone like her.

The boys, our families, some friends and I have been here for a week now and each day I was greeted by undoubtedly the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. She was one of the newest staff members I had been told, working here for little over 2 months. She was young, 18, 19 at the oldest, and my god she was breathtaking. She was the first person we met here, day one. She welcomed us, showed us to our rooms and gave us a tour of the resort. Her personality is what caught my attention to begin with. She was bubbly, bright and no matter what always seemed to have a smile on her face. Her face was the next thing that drew me to her. She had kind eyes, they were large and held the most beautiful shade of blue, like the ocean but lighter. She had a petite nose and full, pink lips. Her mid-length brown hair was always held in a ponytail as was the resort policy, but by the loose waves that fell down from the bobble, I could tell there was a slight curl to it.

She was head of children’s entertainment, a job that suited her personality well. Each day she would take the children, Lux often included, around the island and introduced them to a number of new activities. Lou and I tagged along once, eager to see why Lux always made such a fuss about going along with her each day on their activities and it didn’t take long for us to realise why. That day, she had been showing them some of the different wildlife on the island, from the small green tropical forest in the centre, to the blue lagoons on the outskirts. She gave each a checklist of animals to find. I had never seen young children give so much attention to one young girl, they loved her, hanging off her every word, listening to her rules and obeying when she told them to be careful or stop if something was too dangerous. Lux and her partner won, finding all the animals before the other 5 teams returned and their reward, individual snorkelling lessons with her in a small section of water just off the shore. Lux was beside herself with excitement, coming home and raving to her mother and the rest of us about how amazing fish were and how she wanted to do what Y/N did when she grew up.

I didn’t think is was this possible to be so infatuated with one person after such a short space of time and after having so little contact with them, but Y/N had me hooked, and it didn’t take long for the boys to notice my lingering glances in her direction.

“Alright mate?” Niall asked, taking a seat beside me with a large pint of beer and a book. I looked at him and nodded with a small smile. It was the start of our second week on the island, we wouldn’t be leaving until the end of next week. That meant a whole 14 days for me to gaze at Y/N and still not speak to her because I’m a pussy.

Niall and I struck up an easy conversation about the coming week and our plans to venture out from the resort and explore some of the small native settlements that the island had to offer. Lux came ambling across the small patch of grass from her cabin and sat opposite Niall and I.

“Hey honey, what are you up to?” I asked.

“I’m waiting for Y/N so that we can go do activities” she said. I frowned.

“Baby I think you need to go and wait by the fountain with the other kids where she usually comes to pick you up” I said and Lux shook her little head.

“Nope, Y/N and I are going to do activities by ourself today. She told mummy that kids club had been cancelled today and that she had 2 hours free so we could do something if I wanted. She is going to teach me snorkelling again” she beamed. I smiled at her and Niall chuckled.

“You really enjoyed that huh?” He asked and Lux nodded her head.

“Yeah, Y/N even said if we are lucky we might see a sea turtle, she said there are lots around at the moment” she beamed and Niall and I both ‘oohed’ to show our interest. We continued to listen as Lux rambled about how excited she was and none of us noticed the fourth body heading towards us.

“Hey guys, Lux” she beamed. Oh god she’s gorgeous, the breath caught in my throat and I think Niall noticed because he subtly elbowed me in the stomach.

“Hey” Niall and I said at the same time.

“Y/N!” Lux cheered, leaping up from her chair and running in to Y/N’s awaiting arm as she scooped her up in to a hug.

“You ready to go?” She asked in her beautiful soft voice. Lux nodded and then mumbled an ‘oh’.

“I just need to get my towel” she said before rushing back into her cabin. Y/N smiled before turning to face Niall and I. I couldn’t speak. I never could when she was around, I always had so much to say but the second her eyes met mine my insides went to mush and I became mute. What was this woman doing to me.

“Alright lads” she smiled.

“Good thanks” Niall smiled and I just nodded my head.

“Great, enjoying your stay so far?” She asked and once again I nodded but couldn’t speak, Niall took the lead.

“Yeah it’s been great thanks. We are planing to explore the island within the next couple of days, visit some local villages and see the sights” he said and I nodded along. Jesus I look like a god damn nodding dog. What the hell is wrong with me? She’s just a person. Oh who am I kidding, she isn’t a person, she’s a goddess.

“That sounds great, if you want I can stop by later and show you some of the places that you absolutely have to go to. There is this little village about 30 minutes away that has the most amazing market. I can circle them all on a map if you want?” She said and this time both of us nodded, Niall thanking her kindly and smiling. I attempted to do the same but failed and looked like an absolute idiot. Niall took a sip of his beer and Y/N’s eyes met mine and she smiled. My insides erupted but I managed to return the gesture, a small smile sneaking it’s way on to my lips as we kept looking at each other. If I had been standing I’m sure my legs would have buckled beneath me. Niall observed the small interaction from above the rim of his beer glass, a small smirk playing at his lips.

“Ok I’m back” Lux called, running down the wooden steps of the cabin and across the grass towards us. Y/N adjusted the bag over her shoulders and smiled.

“Great,” she smiled, “then we better get going”.

“I’ve just had the most amazing idea” Niall beamed, glancing between Y/N and I with a mischievous look his face. I looked at him with a 'don’t you dare’ expression but he simply shot me a subtle wink before continuing.

“Harry why don’t you join Y/N and Lux? You love swimming and I remember you saying how much fun it looked when you watched Lux do it the first time” he said. I’m going to kill him.

“What are you doing?” I mumbled, so that only he could hear but he simply winked again.

“Yeah that could be fun, how about it Harry?” Y/N said. Oh my god I am going to have to answer.

“Erm-” I said before Lux interrupted.

“Oh please uncle Harry that would be so much fun” she beamed.

“I have a spare snorkel in my bag” Y/N said with a kind smile.

“Eh, y-yeah, sure why not” I stuttered, mentally slapping myself. I’m such an idiot.

“Great” she beamed before taking Lux by the hand and beginning to walk towards the beach along the small path. I hit Niall in the arm.

“OW! What the hell was that for?” He asked, rubbing his arm.

“What are you playing at? Why did you do that?” I asked, looking at him with wide eyes.

“Because I’m sick of you two making lovey dovey eyes at each other and not doing anything about it. This is your opportunity” he said, forcing me to my feet.

“Do something about what?” Louis asked as he and Liam walked towards us.

“Great” I sighed under my breath.

“Harry needs to talk to Y/N and not just gaze at her in silence” Niall said and the others nodded their head in agreement.

“Harry?” She called from down the path, stopping and looking over her shoulder when she realised I wasn’t following her and Lux.

“Coming” I called.

“'Coming’” all the boys mocked in a high pitched voice before laughing.

“Piss off” I grumbled, flipping them all the middle finger before jogging to catch up with the two girls. She smiled when I caught up with them before we all started to walk down the path together.

“Have you ever been snorkelling before Harry?” She asked. And I shook my head before I realised that I couldn’t get through the next few hours by just nodding or shaking my head, I would have to speak to her eventually.

“No, never” I said, clearing my throat after. She smiled.

“Well I’m sure Lux can show you, she’s very good” he beamed and Lux giggled, covering her mouth with her small hand before taking hold of one of my hands and one of Y/N’s.

“Yeah I’m sure she can, think I learned the basics when I was watching a few days ago. Basically keep the tube above the water and don’t breath through your nose” I said and she laughed, a bright and loud laugh. I smiled. I made her laugh. I made this brown haired beauty laugh. It was now I noticed that her hair was not tied up in a ponytail like I was so used to, it was hanging in loose waves around her slender face. If fell just past her shoulders and it was surprisingly glossy for someone who swims everyday with the kids. I had the sudden urge to run my fingers through it and see if it felt as soft as it looked, but I held myself back. Wouldn’t want her to think I was weird now would I?

“Yeah those are the basics” she said, still giggling. Lux looked up at her face in admiration.

The rest of the walk to the beach fell in to a comfortable silence. Once our feet reached the golden sand, Lux let go of both of our hands and ran across the shore to the small section of water that had been approved for snorkelling. There were two others already swimming in the area but they wouldn’t cause us any problems. Y/N laughed as Lux ran away from us.

“She sure is a little bundle of energy that one” she smiled and I nodded in agreement.

“So, Niall isn’t exactly the most subtle when it comes to trying to set his mate up with someone is he?” She asked and I froze. Shit, she knows. She knows what Niall is trying to do, which means she must know that I like her. Oh shit I’m so screwed. I could feel the heat rushing to my cheeks as Y/N stopped walking and turned to face me, a cheeky smile on her face. I opened my mouth to speak but then closed it again when no sound came out. Y/N laughed loudly again. I blushed harder.

“It’s ok Harry, no need to get embarrassed” she said but that only made things worse and I blushed harder, by this point, I was certain that I looked like a damn tomato. She continued to laugh.

“Don’t worry, my friends have been trying to get me to talk to you for a week too” she said with a small shrug. I took in a sharp breath and caught her eye.

“Really?” I breathed, calming down slightly and she nodded.

“Of course, I was just too much of a wuss. I mean come on, you’re Harry Styles, what the hell am I supposed to say to you?” She said and now it was my turn to laugh.

“'Hi’, is always a good place to start” I said and she smiled.

“Ok then, hi” she said with a small wave and a cheeky smile. I giggled.

“Hi” I said cheerily. We both laughed. Lux’s voice broke us out of our little trance.

“Are you coming?” She called and we both turned to look at her.

“Yeah, just coming” Y/N called before catching my eye and sending me a small smile which I was more that’s happy to return. We began to walk towards Lux. Y/N opened her bag and took out three snorkels, handing one to Lux and I before taking one for herself. She showed us how to put them on and how to create a seal around the mask by breathing in through your nose to stop any water from coming in. Lux followed her instructions and I quickly tied my hair up in a bun before copying her. Once Lux and I both had our masks on Y/N fitted the snorkel. She placed on Lux’s first and the second she was done Lux was off and in to the water in her little swimsuit. Did I fail to mention that Y/N had stripped down to a bikini. She was in a bloody bikini! And a relatively revealing bikini at that. It was at that moment, when she slipped off her t-shirt and shorts, that I realised how hard it is to hide an erection when you are wearing a tight pair of yellow swim trunks. Good choice Harry, good choice. On top of that, I’m certain Y/N noticed by the little smile that crept on to her face but she didn’t say anything. Next she came over to me with the snorkel in her hands, fitting it to the side of my mask, her body unbearably close to mine.

“There” she said once she had done. “So just take that end and put it between your lips and breath normally” she said, taking the clear plastic and and placing it just in front of my lips. I took the end gently from her hand, my fingers grazing hers while I kept my eyes locked on hers.

“Got it” I said softly and she kept her eyes on mine before clearing her throat and stepping away.

“Good” she said, a slight edge to her voice before she turned and began to walk towards the water. I forced myself to not look at her body and instead followed behind her. To say the experience was amazing would be an understatement. For 2 hours Y/N, Lux and I swam around a beautiful little coral reef, watching as a variety of fish and other creatures swim and crawl between the rocks. The colours were extraordinary, each one so different from the next it was difficult to describe each one. Y/N would often grab my arm and pull me towards her, pointing at one beautiful fish that had caught her eye. I would glance at the fish before looking at her face without her noticing, watching as her wide, amazed eyes followed the creature as it swam between the corals. She looked even more beautiful like this. He loose hair flowing freely around her face, the strands being pushed back and forth by the gentle waves, her smooth tanned skin glistening with the reflections from the sun and the water. Every now and then she would catch me looking at her, but I never looked away, only winked which caused her to blush before she would swim over to Lux who was having the time of her life. And sometimes, just sometimes, I would catch her looking at me, but she would always turn her hair away quickly once she realised she had been spotted.

It was all over far too soon, Y/N announcing that she needed to be back to work in 30 minutes and in that time she would need to go back to her cabin, shower and get changed. The three of us waded out of the water and on to the warm sand, the small granules sticking to our wet feet and legs as we towel dried our bodies and slipped our clothes and shoes back on.

“Thanks Y/N, I had so much fun” Lux said and giving her a tight hug which she quickly returned.

“You’re welcome gorgeous, how about next time I have a break you and I do something else yeah?” She asked and Lux nodded her head eagerly before starting to skip off down the sand. Y/N leant down to pick up the snorkels and her towel and placed them back in her bag before standing up straight again.

“Actually, I was thinking next time you have a break I could take you for a drink or something, get to know each other better?” I said and she smiled.

“Really?” She asked and I nodded.

“Yeah, no use us just making lovey dovey eyes at each other and not doing anything about it right?” I said and she giggled.

“Yeah I’d like that” she said.

“Good” I beamed. She fixed the bag on her shoulder before leaning up and giving me a feather light kiss on the cheek, my knees nearly buckling beneath me.

“I’ll see you later Harry” she said before taking a separate path back to her cabin. I waited until she was out of sight before I did a little jump with excitement and started to head down the beach to catch up with Lux, making a mental note to buy Niall a drink when I got back.

Holiday non-fiction recommendation: 

John J. Robinson - Dungeon, Fire & Sword the Knights Templar in the Crusades (1992)

A friend who gave this to me said: “There is more intrigue, excitement and blood in here than in the entire GoT.” He was absolutely right. It’s so well written. Just an opening paragraph for instance:

ON A SABBATH DAY in the middle of the eleventh century, the patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church was celebrating a solemn mass in the great basilica of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, as three booted men entered the church and stomped down the center aisle to the high altar. The leader slammed a document down on the altar at which, without saying a word, they turned and marched out. The three men were cardinals, princes of the Church of Rome. The document was a decree of the Roman Pope Leo IX, which declared the excommunication of the emperor of Byzantium and all the patriarchs, priests and monks of the Orthodox Church, as well as all of the citizens of the Eastern Roman Empire. The choice was eternal damnation or submission to the overlordship of the Church of Rome.

That should be enough to get you going.