Exams Are Over and I’m Back!

Hi there everyone! Oh wow, it feels so weird to be sitting in front of my computer without any revision to do… I literally haven’t felt this in SO LONG. Everything just feels so strange at the moment.

Anyway, yes, as you may have gathered from the title of this post — I’ve just finished my GCSEs and I’m so excited to be making a proper return here! Honestly, this entire school year, particularly since January has been pretty tough. I’m amazed that I managed to make it through exams mostly okay. Sadly, the tension hasn’t gone away immediately as I’d have liked; finishing yesterday just felt like rather an anticlimax if I’m honest. A lot of other people finished at the end of last week (and a few of my friends still have more exams) so it isn’t exactly like we can all celebrate.

I’m not really sure how the exams went? I tried my best to forget about them because if I didn’t then I’d just be constantly worrying over my mistakes and what I could have changed. (Which is what’s currently happening for my terrible final maths exam, ARGH. I wish I could have ended feeling okay but I guess OCR just didn’t want that for me, thanks for that.)

I feel like I’ve basically had to push aside any feelings and responsibilities that aren’t either a) revising for exams or b) trying to recover from revising exams so now EVERYTHING IS COMING UP AT ONCE. AAAH. The summer and work and sixth form loom on the horizon! Oh dear!

As you may have already gathered, I didn’t begin this post with much direction; it’s essentially just to let you know that I’m back on the blog and I plan to be writing more posts for the summer. 🙂 And I’ve missed reading all your blog posts, my friends, so do link your latest or anything else you just want to share — I’d love to read it!

 

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GCSE Posting Schedule and Q&A

Hi everyone! I just wanted to let you know my plans for this blog over the next few months.

As you might know (because I talk/scream about them loads) I have my GCSE exams coming up in May and June. I want to do my best in these so I’m probably going to be a studying A LOT around that time, including April.

Since September I’ve been posting a bit less than I previously had — posting around once per week instead of every 4 – 5 days. I take great pride in my blog but I just haven’t been able to keep up that kind of schedule, and I especially don’t expect to over GCSE period.

At the moment, I plan to post once per week on the weekend. I love writing posts and they’re a great way for me to have some fun. However, I don’t want to burn myself out trying to do too many extra things (which I sometimes do). So that might change. I just wanted to let you all know. 🙂

Anyways! I’m hoping to do a Q&A soon, and I would LOVE to hear your questions. (PLEASE SEND SOME IF YOU WANT TO. I really need some to answer haha. Also I’ve never done a Q&A which is kind of wild.) These might be book-related, musical-relared LGBTQ+ stuff, any questions you have about school or GCSEs, or just random questions. Anything! Go for it! Just comment below or tweet me before the end of February; I’ll be looking over all the questions on 1st March.

2017: Year in Review

Photo of a hand holding a lit sparkler, with the words '2017 year in review'

It’s that time again when everyone posts their yearly round-ups… That’s right folks, I am here with yet ANOTHER new year themed post! And slightly late! Oh well. 2017 has been a weird one for me. Even Photoshop was being weird whilst I was trying to make this picture, so clearly it agrees.

Looking back at 2017

  • To  begin with, I want to recap my goals from 2016… Firstly, I think I’ve definitely succeeded at doing more LGBTQ+ related things! I can see this concretely in that: I attended my first ever Pride parade, starting going to school LGBTQ+ society, and generally just felt a lot more positive in my queer identity. 2016 was a year of discovering myself, and I feel that 2017 has been me actually kind of living that. I mean, I still have a LOT of stuff going on (especially re: my gender which is CONFUSING) but, yeah. I’m so happy about this.
  • Secondly, I feel that have made some strides forward in making positive changes in the world. This year the podcasts Witch Please and Secret Feminist Agenda were SUPER important to me; I really do feel that they have given me hope and inspired me to strive to be a better person and ally. I also continued with my Action for Change project on LGBTQ+ history which I enjoyed a lot. 🙂 I still have a long way to go (I mean it’s kind of an eternal process) in being a good ally but I hope that I’ve educated myself more this year.
  • In terms of self-care and mental health, this year has been pretty rocky. To be frank, I’ve experienced some of my biggest lows ever in 2017. I’ve had several breakdowns and even this holiday I’ve been feeling very sad. I’ve tried to take care of myself, but I want to do this even more going forward in 2017.
  • Blogging has also been patchy. Year 11 has been hitting me harder than I’d thought, leading to me taking a hiatus, and I also haven’t been great at commenting. But you know what? That’s okay. Sometimes we don’t achieve our goals, because things change, and it doesn’t make us terrible people.
  • My most popular posts this year were LGBTQ+ History in Schools, Yes, I Love YA, and The Spring Has Sprung book tag. My collab post Les Mis v Hamilton (with Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages) from last year was also pretty popular, which is cool to see. Bonus posts: queer girl media recs and 7 #relatable clarinet things.
  • However! I have consumed some WONDERFUL art this year: I’ve continued to read many great books, got way more into podcasts, also got into comics, and of course kept listening to rad music. I am so grateful for all this art because, honestly…it keeps me going. I need art so much.

Looking forward to 2018

  • I want to do things with love. I don’t want to do some crappy ‘love saves everything’ thing because that’s just wrong, but personally I want to bring more love and care into my life. By this I mean: bringing a sense of love to caring for myself, putting in time and effort in my relationships, criticising things I love because I love them and not in spite of it.
  • Further elaborating on the theme of self care, I want to look after myself better. The next year is going to be hard and I need to practise self care ESPECIALLY when I feel bad to stop me spiralling into terribleness. I’ve designated specific phone-free times because constantly scrolling through social media does not really help me. But at the same time I don’t want self care to be a chore, so. UGH it’s hard!
  • I want to keep enjoying art! I’m super excited to be able to experience new things in 2018 — I’m seeing both Hamilton and the Cursed Child which I am EXTREMELY excited and grateful for. I hope to read some wonderful books — I am currently very excited for Alice Oseman’s book 3, hopefully out in spring — as well as comics, movies, podcasts, music, TV and so on. This also includes making my own art, which has rather been put to the back burner due to school & mental health, but nevertheless I hope to continue with it.
  • I want to make new friends & meet old ones. I hope to be attending YA Shot and YALC in 2018 and I want to meet up with bookish friends! I’d also love to make some new friends, and if possible meet some internet friends in real life because I think that’d be super cool. 🙂
  • This one is rather vague, but I want to experience new things. I have a lot of ~new and exciting~ things coming up in the future, like going to sixth form, big exams, prom, a bunch of people leaving school, my trip to Ecuador with Guides (!!), turning 17… It’s gonna be a WILD TIME, y’all.

wow that was a deep dive into my brain! how was your 2017? do you have any goals for 2018?

A Life Update #2

Hey folks! So, yeah, remember how I said I was going to try and post more? That didn’t happen. I’ve had a bunch of ideas but sadly I’ve had absolutely ZERO time over the last two weeks.

However I’m working hard at…not punishing myself for that, because I need to stop punishing myself for taking rests. One of my lovely friends told me that I seemed like I was taking care of myself, which was sweet, but I feel like I often give off the impression that I’m fine when I’m actually just not. It’s so much easier for me to practice self-care at the times when I don’t actually need it.

YEP. So: what have I been doing? And what is in store for the next little while? Well, friends, I have mostly been consumed by my school play and then frantically trying to catch up on school work. I’m not actually an actor — a few of my friends and I are members of the tech team, which means I was basically sorting out props, set, and just doing the stuff that no one else wants to do.

Instead of a big play, this was a series of 6 short student-directed plays from only my year group. It was super rewarding and I am so proud of everyone, but there was a LOT of pain and stress along the way, especially since this is the first year my school had done this so we had a massive learning curve the night before the play was due to open. *winces* I was one of the people bringing stuff on and off in between each play which sounds easy but IT WAS SUPER NOT. Also, we didn’t get much rest for about 2 and a half hours.

Yes. I had a pretty big anxiety episode when I dropped some breakable glasses and everything was going badly and just felt ALL TOO MUCH. I felt pretty sick on opening night. But, yeah, it was great when things mostly worked out.

So what’s going to be on my blog? Well, it’s the holidays fairly soon, but unfortunately I have to be revising for mocks. However I’ve got some posts planned that I am VERY excited to work on, and I hope that you’ll be excited to see them! Love you all, and thanks for sticking around. ❤

how is your december going? have you ever helped with a school play?

Fantastic Four // blog birthday+ giveaway

A photo of dozens of balloons in a blue sky, with the words 'Twist in the Taile blog birthday + giveaway' on top.

That’s right, folks, it’s that time of year again: PARTY TIME! *dances* I mean, one might say that party time is all year round, but the only time you can truly have a party is obviously on my blog birthday. No other parties count. (I joke. Please feel free to party whenever you like.)

Further down in this post I’m holding a bookish giveaway, but before I get onto that I’d like to say a little something about the last four years. (Do imagine that I’ve done that thing  where you tap the champagne glass to announce a speech, or something else equally fun.)

I’m pretty sure that I’ve said this before, but when I started this blog I really didn’t think I’d still be blogging four years later. I’d already had several failed attempts at a blog and I didn’t see why this would be any different. But! As you can see, here I am. I’ve gone through many reincarnations over here at Twist in the Taile, and of course I’m still evolving, but mostly I AM STILL WRITING THINGS. I am still talking to you all!

There is so much that I love about blogging — from writing funny posts to making pretty graphics — but I do still think that above all, my favourite thing is being able to connect with other awesome people. Although perhaps this blog might not be the fastest-growing it has given me a special and important place to share my thoughts, and some amazing friends. This wouldn’t be a blog if you readers weren’t here reading it. Thank you so much for supporting and educating me. ❤

Here are some things I have done over the last year:

  • Started listening to podcasts! Now they’re such an important part of the things I love & I can’t imagine what I’d do without them. It feels super weird that I only started them last year… (Among my favourites are Witch Please, The Adventure Zone, and The Penumbra Podcast.)
  • Started reading more comics which is very fun!
  • Actually, I’ve just read a lot of great books like When the Moon Was Ours (which I just reread, maybe even more woah that the first time), The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, The Hate U Give, Release, Queens of Geek, A Conjuring of Light… and SO MANY MORE. Y’all, I just really love books.
  • Went to my first Pride parade, which was kind of scary but also very cool. I’m so glad I went.
  • Also probably a lot of other stuff. But I am itching to get onto the giveaway and I know you are too, so LET US GO THERE.

ink swash divider

giveaway time!

To celebrate my 4th blog birthday, I am giving away one YA book from the following selection:

The winner of the giveaway will be able to pick any one from these six books, which are either a) books I have read and loved or b) books I think sound great and would very much like to read. You can click on the titles for more info. The giveaway is open to any country The Book Depository ships to; hopefully that includes you, but please check their list here.

Enter the giveaway HERE

The giveaway will end at midnight on 25th October (that’s two weeks’ time) so make sure you enter now! I wish you luck, and thanks for celebrating my blog birthday here with me today. If you have any memories or thoughts about my blog you’d like to share, then I’d love to here them. (And with your permission, I might include them in a follow-up post!)

which book would you pick? if you’re blogger, what’s your favourite thing about blogging? any thoughts about my blog?

Three is the Magic Number // giveaway + blog party!

blogoversary book giveaway.jpg

This Thursday my blog turns three. THREE! I know, I know, these are crazy times. And because three is a super cool and aesthetic number and I think I am basically superhuman for making it this far, there is virtual CAKE! And a GIVEAWAY! (Yes, all the caps and exclamation marks are here today. I am in an excitable mood. *coughs*)

It feels very strange to have come this far… I didn’t really start out thinking I was going to keep blogging. I just kept writing posts, and then it sort of happened. My blogging style has also changed massively — I mean, even from my blogoversary last year it has changed! I feel like that comes hand in hand with me growing as a person, though. (This is getting really deep and emotional. I DIDN’T MEAN FOR IT TO BE THIS WAY. Never mind. *hands out handkerchiefs for everyone*) It’s like I’m just sort of changing more and more every year… Like one of those annoying graphs where you have to draw the increasing curve. oh no we’re onto the science similes

I’ve continued to make loads of awesome new people over the last year, and I have also done fun stuff like:

  • Became very obsessed with musicals.
  • VISIT NEW YORK AAH !!! Which I am still flailing about, to be honest.
  • Go to more fun cons.
  • Listen to Lauren Aquilina’s first LP.
  • Read a ton of cool books including stuff like Radio Silence and Six of Crows and The Raven King.
  • Er…sort of did some writing? *shrinks away* I have still procrastinated a lot and I definitely haven’t completed a first draft. AH well.

But mostly I just talked to people who are 1000% cooler than me. So YAY THANKS FOR THAT GUYS.

giveaway time!

Esteemed people, the moment you’ve been waiting for… the pride of Mount Vernon, gEORGE WASHINGTON the actual giveaway! Once again I’ve decided that it would be really nice to have a bookish giveaway, because books are always good and spreading the bookish love is also always good.

The winner will recieve a book of your choice from The Book Depository up to the value of £12! And that includes preorders, hurrah. If you don’t know what book you would get then don’t worry, I’m happy to recommend some things ahaha. I decided to do this one using TBD again because it has free shipping to loads of countries and I wanted to try and make it more available to everyone 🙂 (Also I am a smol person with limited money, alas.) So as long as The Book Depository ships to your country then you can enter, which hopefully should be most places. You can check here!

giveaway

The giveaway will be open for two weeks from when I post this, yay. Once again thanks youu to everyone, and good luck! 😀 Now you may take your virtual slice of cake, or if you don’t like cake then another confection. Because no one should go hungry at a blog party. 😛

Why is My Blog Like This? // my aversion to niches & stats

I am a very jealous person. It’s my least favourite trait of mine. It comes on fairly randomly and can stop me reading a blog or being in a fandom for months. (I’m trying to get better at that. I think I am, a little. It’s disgusting.) I hate that it can make me feel so awful; so that I feel awful for feeling awful. If you know what I mean.

I try not to look too much at views and followers and likes… I do look at the topics that are most popular. And of course I love to go and read the blogs of people who follow me. But I don’t really promote my blog that much. (First of all, I’m quite embarrassed by my own self-promotion.) I tend to just use my social media as — well, social media. I’m not a big Twitter person anyway, but it’s not like my Tumblr is actually that blog-oriented either. Instead it’s full of all my fandom and writing and visual edits stuff. I talk to people not necessarily about books and blog things. I might talk about Hamilton and social justice and my displeasure at the English syllabus instead. (Not that I don’t necessarily talk about these on the blog instead. Because I absolutely do.)

It’s weird to see how assuming a different writing style feels like slipping on another identity. The more I feel talking to you, the more I’ll abandon spelling and grammar to the depths of my brain. There is blog-me, blog-comments-me, lower-caps-with-capitalised-I-me, all-lower-caps-internet-slang-me. It’s just like how I speak to people! (I totally speak in different ways to different people. Irritating acquaintances get monotone sarcasm, for instance.)

I’m sure many of use read the ‘you need to find a niche’ tip for new bloggers. I went through an INSANE period of blogging research where I found all these useless things. To be honest, I think it’s just easier to practice rather than all of that. I always say that, though, and I’m still a crazy researcher.

I should probably make myself more of a niche. I don’t feel like my writing style is individual enough for that to be a connecting theme? It changes all the time; recently I have caught myself using a ridiculous amount of ellipses. I just want to write ANYTHING and EVERYTHING, because I am an indecisive person and also I am a person with changing interests. Objectively, I do realise it would be more efficient to focus on one thing and then another. But I have so many directions I want to spread myself in. And I am just disorganised. I want to blog AND write books AND write poetry AND record podfic AND play the clarinet AND sing AND make cosplays AND learn languages. (Phew. That was a lot of ands.) I’m not very good at any of those things — but I still enjoy them enormously, and hopefully that counts at least for a little bit. I’m still building them up slowly.

I can’t be completely sure how my blog comes across. I do write some sensible and structured posts. But very often I will just sit down and randomly wail about things. There are super blogs with all kinds of styles! But I know I could never completely rely on spontaneous blogging about my life. I would be TERRIBLE. My life just isn’t very interesting. I know I could never be a completely writing or books blog, because a) I am quite frankly a terribly inconsistent writer and b) I have an intense dislike of writing book reviews. I just…I CAN’T. I have too many things I want to talk about.

Yes. I suppose what I am trying to say is: I AM DIVERGENT. I cannot be contained. My blog has changed and will probably change and that is absolutely okay. I have a lot of different interests that are all fighting for my time, which is both silly and exhilarating. Also, I am a jealous little special snowflake who needs to not spend all her time thinking about success. hi

Me, Me, Me // Personal Blogging?

I don’t think my blog is very personal. School is far too dull for a day-by-day diary. Instead, I like to write structured posts with lists that have been written and edited over several days with lots of book photoshoots and pretty fonts. No, really: I find it very difficult to talk about my own life!

Usually, I’ll only get Strong Feelings The Capitalised Edition to write about anything really happening to me if I’m a) upset or b) super excited. Although I’m not sure if my friends actually read my blog, they know what it is and where to find it. And I think that insecurity scares me. I’ve also built so much of an identity around this corner of the internet that I feel scared to change it. I want everything to be consistent, but people change.

THIS IS SO WEIRD. Normally I’m terribly angsty when I talk about this and I keep having to take the out the passive-aggressive words, because I actually feel quite calm. Collected, even. 😉 If that applies to me. I feel like I’ve grown quite a lot over the last few months, but I don’t know where to put all of that new brainpower. It doesn’t seem to fit it anywhere.

It’s a lot easier shouting into the void, right? I know I’m 100% more comfortable, like, asking anonymously on Tumblr if I say anything personal, because I don’t want it to be tracked back to me. I think quite a lot about my image, and what people can view, and it sometimes annoys me that I can’t say what I want. No one is stopping me, really — I’m just, like, scared to have a conversation about queer representation in books with my friends even though I know they’d probably agree with me. And instead I end up sending them the links to cute webcomics and trying to gauge their reaction. I am so scared of people’s reactions that I never want to take the risk.

I like to think that recently I’ve been a lot more open on my blog  — I have an actual name and a face to go with my words.  (It’s strange to look at that picture of me. Especially now I have a haircut. I’m also wearing my lovely Eleanor & Park t-shirt, even if you can’t see it.) I can’t decide whether I like being less focused on anonymity… In some ways, I think being less private leads to me being more private in my posts. I don’t want to ruin the identity I’ve made for myself. I never really specify the cause of my feelings when I write posts; instead, I spend too much time googling my fears to feel like my response is valid. I don’t want to join in on groups I haven’t been part of before. Looking back over some of my personal posts, I can see myself dancing around a lot of ideas and emotions. Hoping someone will pick up on them? WHO KNOWS. Right now, it seems like a pattern is appearing from the various drafts of a post about love that has been cropping up over a year now. But as some things start to make sense EVERYTHING ELSE GOES MAD. *shakes head* Ugh, this sounded so much better in my head. On the page it reads like a splurge of my usual. (To be fair, I am still being quite vague. I can’t seem to get out of it haha.)

On the whole, I AM REALLY BAD AT CHANGE. I want to change a lot of things about myself, but I never quite get to where I want to be. (That sounded very negative. It’s more actually my hair, but I guess that could be a metaphor for my life?) There’s been a lot going around about the negative effects of social media lately, and whilst I think that can be true, I’ve experienced mainly positive ones! But I do connect with the idea of a ‘created’ identity. I don’t document my every thought online — you only ever see the side of me that sits behind a keyboard. I’m scared of changing your view of me; of changing <em>everyone’s</em> view of me. It’s a lot easier to stick to what you know. I don’t want to be so scared of change anymore. I want to…<em>change</em> my opinions on <em>change</em> <del>so I’m not <em>shortchanged</em> oh my god Eve DON’T EMBARRASS YOURSELF AT THE END OF THIS MEANINGFUL POST</del>.

I felt like I was slightly trying to put jokes into this. I don’t want to make it, like, a <em>thing</em>. It’s not really a thing. I am the picture of serene calm. 😉 (Seriously.) But isn’t it odd how much easier it is to confess to a stranger halfway across the world?


Alsooo! Whilst I was writing this, I realised that some other lovely people had also written posts along a similar topic.If you want to explore this kind of topic a bit more, please do head over to Mixolydian Musings or Quenching the Quill.

These aren’t actually footnotes, I swear. They’re more I-love-your-blog-and-I-want-to-send-others-your-way notes. 😛 And if you’ve written anything, then I’d love to read it!

Here, Have Some Cake! // Blog Party

blog party

WELCOME TO THE NEW BLOG! I know, I know — I finally changed something. I’ve been wanting to change my theme for positively aeons, but that came with a healthy dose of procrastination. I’m still twiddling with several things, but I’m 89% sure the general feel will be staying the same.

Also! It’s my two year blogoversary. And I (fairly) recently reached 400 followers. I really think it was excellent timing. 😉 To celebrate all these things: I HAVE FILMED A VLOG. *hides*

A couple of people suggested this in the comments, so I may as well do it now. Even though it is my face, and also me talking and being very very sentimental. The things I do. *shakes head* (Just kidding. It was actually kind of fun. If scary.)

Some things that have happened over the last year:

  • I went to my first ever con. Actually my first two cons — and they were both so fabulous that I’m going to MCM London again in October. If any of you guys are going, I’d love to say hi!
  • I wrote poetry. I haven’t posted any since spring, but I’M REALLY HOPING TO SHARE SOME SOON. I promise. Otherwise, nudge me because I’ve probably forgotten again.
  • I liked Les Mis a lot. Um, in case you missed it. (I absolutely need to show you the looovely illustrated edition I got for my birthday. PLUS, I WENT TO SEE IT AT THE THEATRE ASDFJKL I think I need to write about that soon.)
  • Actually, I just liked a lot of books.
  • I discovered a ton of awesome new blogs. And I am STILL discovering them.
  • I completed my first actual NaNo during Camp NaNo. I’m actually hoping to rewrite that for this NaNo, but I STILL COMPLETED AN ACTUAL GOAL. Of the same project. Which is not something I usually do.
  • I listened to a lot of new music. Spotify and 8tracks have basically made me realise THERE IS A LOT OF MUSIC THAT IS NICE TO LISTEN TO WHAT IT IS THIS COOL NEW SONG?!? etc. etc.

People who make blogging more awesome!

I love the social aspect of blogging. It’s the nicest thing to read blogs and fangirl/discuss like sane humans together instead of alone at a keyboard. Thank you so much to all the lovely blogs that I read, and all the people who comment. YOU ARE ALL FABULOUS. *hugs*

Adventuring Through Pages / Books and Bark / The Devil Orders Takeout / A Hufflepuff’s Thoughts / Musings From Neville’s Navel / Mixolydian Musings / Nut Free Nerd / Quenching the Quill / The Writing Hufflepuff / Six Impossible Things / Starry Stories / Stay and Watch the Stars

I am very indebted to you. Here, let me hand you a slice of cake. (Or something else nice; perhaps a book? XD) Actually, LET ME HAND YOU ALL SOME CAKE. Even if I have forgotten you off this list, which will undoubtedly happen because I can have the memory of a goldfish — my cheesy gratefulness to all my followers is in no way lessened. 😉

Plus, since I’m not confident that any cake I send will make it through the computer screen: I’m hosting a giveaway! The winner will get receive a book of their choice, up to the value of £10. It’s open to all countries The Book Depository ships to. (Hopefully that covers most of you.)

giveaway

What do you think of my new theme? What blogs do you love reading?

A Long-Overdue Blog Survey

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ALERT, ALERT, CONINUE FOR ANNOUNCEMENTS!

Sorryyy if the photos mess up! Phew. The new WordPress reader is seriously stressing me out. It’s like a new computer but way too irreversible for comfort.

Today’s post is rather boring, I’m afraid, but MAKING MY BLOG MORE AWESOME can’t be that bad, right? Anyway, if you lovely people could fill out this blog survey then I will be eternally grateful and send you boxes of chocolates over the internet. I don’t think I’ve done an actual blog survey…ever? Congratulations! You’ll be making history! *shoos in the direction of the form*

I also wanted to let you guys know that I’m off to YALC at the weekend – are any of you going? I’m afraid that my excitement has rather wreaked havoc on my blogging schedule, but hopefully it’ll be good fun, haha. I’m not cosplaying this time round, but I am wearing my Carry On Simon shirt. Ahem. I live in the hope that this will initiate my bookish conversations for me. 😉