Pride Month // i talk about queer things

pride month queer things.jpg

(A note: I use the word queer to describe myself and I’m going to be using it a lot in this post, just to let you know.)

I’ve said this approximately 192730 times already but IT IS JUNE, AND IT IS PRIDE MONTH, aka the month of the year where I not only think about queer stuff all the time but also talk about queer stuff all the time! And everyone else talks about queer stuff too! (Yes. I like Pride Month a lot.)

I thought that today it would be nice for me to talk a bit about my own — and I sort of cringe to call it this, but? — ~queer experience~. I know this might feel like a familiar topic, and I am definitely not super unique, but it’s cathartic for me to talk about myself. And who knows? Maybe it will help someone else. 🙂

The internet and by extension the blogging community have both been really formative for me in so many ways. One of these ways is that I essentially discovered that LGBTQ+ people existed and I could be a thing that wasn’t, like, a normative gender or sexuality. I initially thought I was asexual, actually. (And yes, fanfiction introduced me to this. It might sound weird but I think it made a difference to hear it described in terms of feelings?) I didn’t identify with what people around me were saying about crushes and attraction, and to be honest to this day I still don’t. But I’m really grateful to the blogging community for helping me to become more educated, and to discovering myself.

To be honest, I didn’t feel great about my identity for a long time. (I still often don’t.) But simply just talking about queer stuff and how I was feeling really helped me. I’m just looking back on my blog, and I think the first time I started blogging about LGBTQ+ stuff was early 2016? Yeah. In many ways I find it easier to talk to strangers over the internet, and it’s also cool that you can easily find other people who are similar to you.

The first time that I came out to my friends in real life was about a year ago — just after Brexit, actually. Anyway, one of my friends told me they were bisexual and then it turned out a bunch of my other friends were also LGBTQ+ which was cool! I don’t think I officially had, like, a proper coming out moment after that but somehow it’s sort of pervaded our friendship group that many of us are LGBTQ+ which is pretty rad. *finger guns*

I’ve had some people tell me they don’t like it when people put their orientation or identity as their defining feature. I really respect if you don’t want your identity to be a big thing, and of course I’ll try my best to not make a big deal of it! (I mess up sometimes, and I’m sorry.) But I do find it frustrating when people say that I should talk about queer stuff less so I can try and assimilate or something. I know that many people don’t want to talk about their identity a lot but personally I find it pretty stressful to keep everything inside.

Because I am always thinking about queer stuff. It might sound weird, but just being able to talk about it makes me feel so much happier. I know that I have so much privilege — because I’m white, living in the UK, able-bodied, I haven’t really experienced much homophobia or queerphobia — yet it still made me feel isolated to just not be talking about stuff I spent a lot of of time thinking about.

Of course this is something so many people have to do, and I respect you so much. I’m so lucky to be in a place where I actually can talk openly about queer stuff — I can go to a society at school and just chill being queer. And IT FILLS ME WITH SO MUCH INEXPLICABLE JOY. I LOVE TALKING ABOUT QUEER STUFF.

So, yeah, I’m really happy that in the last year or so I’ve been able to be more free with myself, and accept myself. I really hope that I can do that more in the future. One of the things I’d love to do would be to attend a Pride celebration! The nearest one to me is London, and currently I am planning on going, which I’m pretty excited about.  (If you’re thinking of going then and want to say hi then I’d love to hear. *nods*) I do hope that I can, and that I can be more happy with myself in the future, even if it isn’t always easy.

 

 

Post-General Election 2017

It feels a bit weird to be writing this post, about a year after I wrote these two posts about the EU Referendum, but the whole of UK politics has been weird for the past year, so. Here we go.

At the end of April I wrote about my thoughts on the snap election, what kind of result I’d be looking for and about how I wanted to be more informed. How did I do? Well, during May I kept track of how much I read the news, and I think I was doing pretty well! But once exams and revision started to creep up, I ended up having no energy to do anything. (Although I did still listen to Radio 4 sometimes when it was on.)

It was unfortunate the election was right in the middle of exams, really — I can’t imagine how it would have been if you were taking public exams. (Kudos to you!) Especially in the last two weeks I started to feel pretty horrible, and I just decided that it would be better for me to spend time doing nice things for myself. I had an exam the morning after the election, and I was pretty worried about how I was going to concentrate. I tried to avoid the news until afterwards, although some of my friends did try to convince me there was a Tory-UKIP coalition. *glares*

Yeah. The last little while has been difficult. Words don’t feel adequate, but send my love to anyone affected by conflict. ❤ I don’t really know what I can do but continue.

So. Yes. The election. I’m not going to pretend that I know loads about politics, but I am pleased that the Tories are weakened? If you couldn’t really tell, haha, I just…don’t really agree with many of their policies. I think the government has really messed up the NHS, and I don’t think we should be focusing on reducing immigration instead of like, improving public services, or not cutting disability benefits. I also don’t see how the hard Brexit the Tories are currently going for can be positive.

I also watched some interviews with Theresa May and it really struck me that sh doesn’t seem like a great public speaker? This doesn’t mean she’s necessarily a bad PM in and of itself, but even I can tell that repeating the same thing robotically in answer to every question is not a good option. Who knows what will happen with Tory leadership now. I’M NOT EVEN GOING TO TRY AND PREDICT ANYTHING. There will probably be many dramatic developments by the time this post actually goes up, since I’m scheduling it, but there you go.

However, although Labour’s result was unexpectedly positive, and I’m especially super happy that there was a high youth turnout, it’s still not amazing. The Tories are still the biggest party and the DUP seem pretty awful in terms of islamophobia, homophobia, climate change denial, anti-abortion and stuff. I admit that I sort of forget abortion is still illegal in Northern Ireland? (And also Ireland.) Which is not good, and I’m sorry.

To be frank I just don’t quite know what to think. I’m frustrated that one year on we still basically don’t know anything about Brexit. I have no idea how talks which are about to start will go. I’m still upset about it.

There was probably some more I wanted to say in this post that I’ll forget later, but I don’t want to just write random stuff to pad it out so HERE WE ARE. A messed up collection of thoughts on the election, much like the messed up thing politics right now is! *finger guns* I hope you’re all well, and I’d love to hear any thoughts you might have.

Revision Week & Self Care // #evestudies

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I’m currently in the middle of my school half term, which is also what ends up being my revision week for exams. (Next week I have 5 days of internal exams, as well as two extra English exams the week after because there is just Too Much English.)

So… how has my revision been going? I’d been intending to do about 4 hours a day; whilst I know these are internal exams, I’m also about halfway through my GCSE course and I thought it would be good to consolidate information. But I think this is also partly down to me putting pressure on myself to do well, since I just…feel like I need to do well? I am trying to do that less, but I’m not very good at letting go. I always want to do my best, even at the expense of other things.

But I’m trying really hard to be more kind to myself! Revision was pretty difficult, especially at the start. I felt pretty horrible and overwhelmed. I still do feel a bit overwhelmed, since I’m covering topics from last year too for many subjects. I’m currently still going to be doing revision into exam week which isn’t ideal, but I don’t want to do any more than I need. (Also: yes, since you asked, this post is pretty much going to be me talking over my thoughts.)

Probably my most stressful subject to revise is History. For me, I feel so overwhelmed with all the content — there’s always more that you can revise and learn. The exam is also a very condensed test of all the skills and knowledge you’ve learnt over the course so far. I find that pretty daunting. However, I’ve been trying to really break down the detail into only the very necessary stuff so that I can actually learn something instead of just feeling bad.

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History revision (of my Russia course)

Although sciences, in particular Biology and Chemistry for me since we have more content, have also been quite stressful, I find them a lot easier to revise. I get to make pretty mindmaps! Which is GREAT. So I think they’re subjects I look forward to.

I mentioned that I’m trying to take care of myself more… I’ve been feeling pretty tense and gross at times. I’m trying to do more exercise like swimming in the morning and jumping up and down to songs I love. I have been thinking a lot about London Pride, which I think I’m going to be able to attend this year!! I’m also motivating myself with chocolate between revision. (I LOVE DARK CHOCOLATE SO MUCH Y’ALL.) I’ve been doing some meditation and yoga too — which I’m sort of new to, but I think they’re helping. Yes.

Currently I’m watching Brooklyn Nine Nine, which I’ve just started — I like it a lot so far! I don’t really watch many (or any) comedy shows so it’s kind of fun for me. Plus, I’m watching a Spanish show called Cable Girls with my mum which I’m loving. The production is just SO AESTHETIC and I can pretend to learn Spanish haha. Everyone is just, like, really attractive, and it is unfair?

My exams start Monday, and I don’t think I’m going to be very active on the blog during the next week, so here is some advance notice. I’m least looking forward to Tuesday (which has both Physics and History, yikes) but the other days are mainly okay. I’m also nervous for the election, and I’m frustrated that I’ll probably be extra worried about that on top of my exams. If you’re doing exams, I hope they’re going well, and good luck for any future ones you might have! Take care of yourself, my friends. ❤

 

Les Mis: A Crash Course

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This April marked two years since I fell down the rabbit hole of Les Miserables, and by extension many other musicals. TWO YEARS. It feels like a long time ago. I’ve changed a lot since then. Les Mis became, and still is, a really important part of my life!

Thus, to mark the occasion I bring you my guide to Les Mis, for people who know nothing about Les Mis. I am currently listening to the musical and I am READY FOR THIS.

so what is it???

Les Mis refers to the book Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, covering a failed revolution and a reformed convict in 19th-century Paris, and its subsequent adaptations, most notably the Broadway/West End musical.

les misĂŠrables, the book

les miserables book

Our journey begins with the novel Les MisĂŠrables-with-the-e-acute novel by French author Victor Hugo, published in 1862. The main characters are:

  • Jean Valjean, an escaped convict leading a life of extreme coincidences. Stole a loaf of bread.
  • Javert, the policeman hunting him for breaking parole. He was born with scum like you. Lawful but…well. Misguided.
  • Fantine, a kind & lovely girl who got abandoned by this guy and ended up in prostitution.
  • Cosette, her blessed daughter and my wife. Sappy, but hates not being told stuff. Deserved better from the musical.
  • Marius Pontmercy, a rich boy who get thrown out by his family and then lives as a poor student in Paris. He’s an absolute nerd and he loves Cosette. One time he hit his head for two hours against a tree.
  • Eponine Thenardier, a girl born into a not good family but doing her absolute best to kick your ass and overcome her unrequited crush on Marius.
  • Also some students called Les Amis de l’ABC. If you’ve seen the musical, you’ll probably only know their leader, Enjolras. (He’s the guy in red.) However, if you go into the book internet fandom, you’ll probably find it focuses more around these students. If you only know the musical you probably haven’t heard of them, but never fear. I’ll cover them in more detail later.

It’s a pretty long book, but I do think if you love Les Mis then it’s worth it! Lots of people call it The Brick due to…well, its very brick-like nature as a book. (That is to say, it’s very long.) Other things you might need to know are the Infamous Waterloo Section, which is an essentially an essay about Waterloo,  and the time that Valjean broke out of a convent in a grave. There are many different translations, ranging from modern (Donougher, ose) to old-timey but free (Hapgood). You can even do a Les Mis tour of Paris in which you visit the original sites. DON’T WORRY, I’M COMING TO THE STUDENTS.

les amis de l’abc

Yeah, I’m giving them a separate section because I LOVE THESE KIDS. The main things you need to know are that they have an extremely minimal/sometimes even non-existent part in the musical and…still quite a comparatively small part in the book. HOWEVER THEY ARE VERY IMPORTANT SYMBOLICALLY. (Or so I hear.)

Anyway. They all like jokes, and their name is a French pun (for l’abaisse which is apparently like the abased/degraded, thanks internet). They have so many French puns. I don’t even understand them most of the time. From the sometimes few information Victor Hugo gives us, the fandom has sort of interpreted personalities, which somehow absorb into one’s brain through Collective Fandom Knowledge, which is pretty epic.

  • Enjolras, who as Victor Hugo goes to great pains to tell us about is Very Very Handsome. His girlfriend is France. (I’m telling you. This is a canon joke.)
  • Combeferre is very chill, but will outsmart you. His main book attribute is just be SUPER SMART.
  • Courfeyrac sometimes acts like a douchebag but has a good heart. (This part is also actually canon. Maybe paraphrased, but.) Probably would be the lead singer of an indie band if he was alive today. Ray of annoying sunshine. These first three make up the ‘triumvirate’, which seems to basically just be a fancy word for group of 3.
  • Grantaire, the drunk cynic who goes on long drunk rants about intellectual things that I don’t understand. In unrequited love with Enjolras. (I don’t want to spoil you, and you know, interpretation and all, but there are some pretty gay moments.)
  • Jean Prouvaire, or Jehan, is the shy poet who actually has Many Opinions, probably would wear a flower crown.
  • Bahorel, who would probably either get in a fight or do other dumb stuff for the memes.
  • Feuilly, an optimistic orphan who works super hard. (Not actually a student, but still part of the group.)
  • Bossuet, whose name is based on another obscure French joke and can’t grow any hair. Always smiling but has terrible luck. Also known as Lesgle, L’aigle de Meaux… I mean, I don’t eve know how we got here.
  • Joly, a hypochondriac medical student who is a cinnamon roll.
  • Musichetta, a ‘superb and literary girl’ whom Joly is wild over. She can wreck you.
  • Oh yeah, Marius is also part of this gang but he’s definitely not the leader as the musical suggests. He’s a TERRIBLE revolutionary.

Excuse me whilst I feel a bit emotional here. This hasn’t included Eponine, Gavroche, and Cosette, who I sometimes group with them just for ease even if they’re not technically of the ABC, but OH WELL. MY KIDS. ;-; And just for good measure, here is an amusing post of “Les Amis as stuff the students living next door to me have done”.

les mis, the musical

les mis musical.png

This is probably the more well-known and accessible form of Les Mis. It’s a very popular sung-through musical now, but when it was released the critics were like OMG NO IT’S TOO SAPPY AND TRAGIC. I Dreamed a Dream and Do You Hear the People Sing? are among the best-known songs. The Confrontation, a duet between Valjean and Javert, is also very much a jam in my personal opinion. However, the musical does cut a lot of the book, in particular Les Amis, the details of Valjean’s life and Cosette being an absolute badass.

Some things you should know about various different forms and productions:

  • The original French concept version is SUPER different and even features a…disco version of Red and Black? Which is pretty hilarious to be honest.
  • Original cast is rad. I would recommend.
  • Other cool things to watch/listen to are 10th anniversary and 25th anniversary, although a word of warning: Nick Jonas plays Marius is 25th anniversary and he is nOT GOOD.
  • The 2012 movie made the musical a lot easier to follow than just listening to a cast album, which is great! Personally I think that after listening to cast recordings, the musical singing definitely isn’t as good *coughs*Javert*coughs* but you can get a solid idea of the story. (I saw this before I saw anything else.) I actually think Eddie Redmayne is a solid Marius. Sadly they cut some parts from the musical, but. Grantaire has a veeery small part in this but his actor George Blagden appears to be, like, a complete Les Mis nerd? which I still find amazing? (Like, is that an Enjolras/Grantaire fansong on Youtube? IS IT??)
  • It did produce this TRULY EXCELLENT VIDEO, which I am just going to embed for good measure:

  • I’ve also listened to some of a Spanish version, Los Miserables and I liked it a lot! I still think this version or Red and Black is super excellent. (I’ve fallen into the hole of watching Les Mis in different languages, and now I’m watching Daniel Diges in Les Mis Brasil? I mean, who even knows anymore.
  • I haven’t watched many Les Mis Broadway things since of course I’m nearer to the West End production, but this performance at the Tonys is wonderful! I particularly think Eponine, Marius, Enjolras, and Valjean are great. ❤ (That was like…half the people haha. THEY’RE ALL GREAT.)
  • There’s probably a lot more stuff I could say, to be honest, and I will undoubtedly regret not putting something in later, but OH WELL. Here’s an In The Heights/Les Mis mashup.

tv series???

Last year the BBC announced they were making a (non-musical) Les Mis miniseries, written by Andrew Davies, and in February this year he stated that he had just finished writing the first draft. It’s due to air next year, and for one I am very interested to see what it comes up with! I even wrote about the stuff I’d love to see them put in if you want to check it out. 😉 Other Les Mis-related content of mine includes a Jehan cosplay tutorial, Les Mis v Hamilton fandom battle, and the Les Mis book tag.

There are, of course, many other adaptations, including several movies, radio plays, and TV series, and it’s very easy to fall into the hole of internet searching. As you can perhaps see by my myriad of links and 1.5k post on this topic. (Me, a Les Mis fan? I mean, maybe a bit.)

do you like musicals? what do you think about les mis? is there a particular fandom which is important to you?

Bullet Journalling & Revision Techniques // #evestudies

bullet journaling revision evestudies

Yes! It is officially exam period and I am back again with study updates. (Even though I am writing is while I probably should be working. The irony. OH WELL.) If you missed my last #evestudies post, I’m not taking public exams this year but I still have internal exams and I’m hoping to keep a record of how I revise for them. 🙂

It’s two weeks until half term, which is going to be my main revision week. But I’ve already been doing a bit of organisation and revision because some subjects *coughs* History *coughs* have a lot of stuff to learn.

The main thing that I have been doing is keeping a bullet journal. I’d heard of them before, but I after I spent an afternoon looking at pretty pictures of them I thought it might be fun to start one! I’ve always found to-do lists helpful, and basically my bullet journalling is just a slightly more formal and pretty to-do list.

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As you can see in this picture: I mark off every new week with the date and week of the school term. Then I draw in things that I want to do each week; currently I’m trying to engage with the news at least four times a week, and I was also trying to do clarinet practice. For each day I write everything I have to do in colours corresponding to various themes (school, blog/online) and…well, tick them off as I go along.

I know it’s not very beautiful compared to some people’s, but I think I’d just spend so much time trying to make it look a way that isn’t achievable for me haha. And it’s still nice to look at! In general I do feel as though writing this has made me more able to manage my tasks, especially when I have a lot, and I feel a sense of achievement when I cross them off.

The other thing that I want to chat about today is revision techniques, and the various ways I revise  for different subjects. I’ve mainly so far been working on sciences, so I’ll probably be focusing on them more!

1. Note taking and adapting my notes style for the topic

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My way of revising mainly consists of looking through my lesson notes and then making condensed notes from that, and this is the style I’ve gone with in the past. I use a colour scheme for each subject and write key words/equations in a colour that stands out, but otherwise I basically just adapt them for the topic and what I think works best. I might illustrate a diagram, draw a mind-map, and then for the next little chunk of information use a different style.

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2. More mind-map-y notes style

Here I’ve got two different mind-maps. I used mindmapping for the poems we’ve studied in English because I think so many parts of them link together, and it makes it easier for me to look over the major themes of one poem. I’ve also started using more of a mind-map style of notes for sciences; I’m still writing similar things to before, but formatting it in smaller chunks of information. 🙂

3. Using Quizlet for vocab

Quizlet is my NUMBER ONE lifesaver for vocab during the year. I think I’d find it really difficult to work without it! It’s a great way for me to test myself and keep all the vocab I need to learn stored in one place. I’ve also used it to learn definitions and key words in the past.

I’ve also been reading some useful things online about revision which I’ll for sure using in the future: a guide for revising Maths by Megan @ Probability Reading (whichI definitely need!), how to study for the new linear A Levels by Em @ Adventures of a Lost Teen (not directly relevant to me but still some great general revision tips) and an alternative to flashcards for learning key vocab (I’m not a massive flashcard fan because I find them fiddly so this appeals to me). I enjoyed this A – Z study tips post by Nusha too. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed reading this update on my various school and revision things, and good luck to you if you’re doing any exams right now! ❤

do you have any revision tips to share? what techniques to you life to use?

General Election 2017

As you might know, here in the UK there is due to be a snap General Election in June. The next one was due to be held in 2020, but the PM and then Parliament have called for an election early. Thus: an election we have.

So, this is all very new and a bit of a surprise. It seems pretty crazy that there’s going to be an election in under two months from now; I haven’t had all the time to mentally prepare for it as I might have. To be quite honest with you, politics over the last year has made me feel a little numb. But I don’t think switching off is something that I personally should do, because so many can’t.

I’m a little sad because this means I probably won’t be able to vote until 2022 — I would have been able to vote in the 2020 election — but I still want to be engaged and form an opinion of my own. 🙂 To be honest, the only thing I know right now is that I don’t want a Conservative majority, although currently it does look like it might be that way. I don’t yet know which I’d vote for out of the other major political parties. (UKIP is discounted because it is gross and also currently is not really a major party.)

Alas, I cannot vote due to still being a Child™, but I can still choose someone to support. Even if I’m not really too keen on any of the options. My own constituency has been Labour for AGES, and also they seem like they have the best chance of keeping the Conservatives out….? But I am also not a very big fan of Jeremy Corbyn and some of the current stuff the party. :/ I didn’t really have an opinion when he was elected but now I’m just???? annoyed at his actions?? Yeah. Lib Dems seem okay, but I don’t know much about them. I need to research that. I NEED TO RESEARCH EVERYONE. Please don’t hate on me for my vague unformed thoughts haha.

Yeah. One of the things that I would really like to do more this election is GET INFORMED. Having been comparativrly quite politically aware in the run up to the EU Referendum, I didn’t read the news much after that because of feeling sad and also doing stuff over summer. But I would like to have an opinion based on fact which isn’t just looking at social media trends, because I’ve slipped into that and it’s not great. So, I’m going to try and read the news at least three times a week! Hopefully more, but I also don’t want to start checking the news 24/7 and feeling crap about everything, so.

Frankly, I don’t feel great about the current state of the UK, but the only thing I can do is to keep learning and keep talking to people. With that in mind: if you are over 18 and eligible to vote, PLEASE REGISTER TO VOTE. Especially if you’re a young person, since the EU referendum turnout wasn’t great for the younger age group. The last date for voter registration is 22 May, which is only a month away. Of course I would hope that you would vote for something I support but I know that loads of people won’t. Above everything: get informed and make a choice. USE YOUR DEMOCRATIC POWER.

I am eternally sad that I can’t yet vote, but that is our current system. I’m so passionate about people using their ability to vote — you have the option to have a say! Please take it! I’ll probably be posting again about the election, whether during or after, so stay tuned.

An Attempt at Organisation // aka #evestudies

an attempt at organisation evestudies

It’s getting close to that time again, the one we all love…exams! *manic laughter* I’m not taking any life-changing exams this summer, but I do have some GCSE mock sort of things, and I also need to be consolidating my work from the last year since we’re halfway through the course already. ARGH.

I’ve done internal exams every summer since I started secondary school, and I’ve vaguely developed an exam technique, but since work has got more serious this year I thought it would be a good idea to ACTUALLY PLAN WHAT I’M GOING TO DO during the Intense Revision Period™. And what better what to cement my plans than by writing a blog post about them? (I also plan to take some pretty pictures of revision materials, because mmmm fineliners.)

If you’re a little curious, the subjects I’m taking in addition to English and Maths are triple Sciences (or whatever it’s called now, I’m not sure haha), Latin, Spanish, Music, and History. Out of all of these, I think I’m probably going to have to work the most on History, Maths, and Latin, but that’s just a guess!

So it’s currently the Easter holidays, and over this period I’m hoping to:

  • look at all the revision lists & specifications, marking how confident I feel about topics
  • check what revision resources my school has put up and, if necessary, print them out
  • organise my folders in a logical manner (not looking at my maths folder….ahaha…)
  • ensure I have all my notes or ask a friend
  • sort out what and how I am going to revise during the Intense Revision Period™ (i.e. revision timetable)
  • write some blog posts for when I get super busy and don’t have the time to love you all *cries*

In addition to this, I also have some homework for various subjects — which includes memorising these summaries we call blob sheets for one of my History topics, eek — but that’s basically what I’m doing for the next little while.

Because I was feeling ~artsy~ this morning, I got out one of the many journals I have sitting in my drawer and made a list of these things for all my subjects! And then I spent like half an hour looking at pretty pictures of bullet journals, productivity amirite. I’m hoping to keep a vaguely regular list of things I need to do in there, and with any luck I’ll also put my revision timetable in there when the time comes. I may as well make work at least a little fun, right?

This has been a fairly short post, but hopefully I’ll be updating you with what I’ve been doing and various methods for studying I’m using in the future! I mean, maybe. I am hoping that writing this will sort of motivate me to keep vaguely organised and not just manically try to scribble down stuff.

how do you study? are you taking any exams soon? do you also have a love of pretty stationery?!?