YALC 2017 Recap

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Okay, this post is going to be SUPER late by the time I’m able to post this, but NEVER MIND. On Saturday 28th July I was lucky enough to be able to attend YALC, the con in London for young adult books! And here is my round up of what I got up to!

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I attended YALC on the Saturday in 2015 but this year was SO MUCH BIGGER. The main difference I could see was that there were loads more stalls — publishers, authors, other bookish or nerdy companies — in addition to the panels and workshops. Although I’d been basically looking forward to it since the summer before when I’d missed it, I was pretty anxious. (Also, last time I went to a con I brought the wrong ticket which was yikes.) I think that did detract from my day a bit but I couldn’t really do anything about it.

 

When I arrived at about 9am, I basically just checked out the area. I managed to get my hands on the very last copy of Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz which I was very smug about. I also bought The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James and picked up a proof of The Fandom by Anna Day & Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! by Mariko Tamaki as well as SO MANY free samplers and other swag. I didn’t want to take all my new books away with me so sadly I’ve only read The Loneliest Girl so far but I ADORED IT, and I’m super excited to read the others! These actually ended up being the only books I got (apart from Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger from the book swap). I do sort of regret not buying more books to be honest, but I had just had a mini haul in order to buy books to get signed at YALC, so. I also purchased a YALC 2016 t shirt even though I wasn’t there in 2016 because, well, I wanted a t shirt and liked the 2016 design more. 😛

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samplers I picked up

Next I met up with my friend who was a bit late due to sleeping in (#relatable am I right) (or not for me because I wake up at like 7am every single day) we headed off to the Publishing 102 workshop in the Agent Arena. 5 different people working in the literary and oublishing industry, from editor to designer to librarian, told us about their jobs and answered any questions. To be honest I don’t think I’ll work in publishing but it’s good to keep my options open and I thought it was really interesting! It must be really cool to work on such iconic book designs like The Fault in Our Stars which have become very important & recognisable in fandom spaces and stuff.

Next up after a very long queue for the toilets (okay but…why did they only have like 4 toilets for such a busy convention) was the Genre Bending panel with Zen Cho, VE Schwab, Ben a, Samantha Shannon and also two other people I didn’t know. I found it a bit difficult to hear from where I was but it was very interesting to hear about different genres and what genres actually are. 

Right after this I attended the Unconventional Romance panel with Ayisha Malik, Paige Toon, Patrice Lawrence & Jennifer E Smith. I enjoyed it, and it was cool to hear from Ayisha Malik because I’d bought her book Sofia Khan is Not Obliged to read whilst away so that got me excited. (Also, oh my goodness, I really need to read Indigo Donut.) Some parts were better than others and also, hi, it is I a tiny ace teenager who has never fallen in love so that’s not universal but yeah.

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books I got signed

I wish that I’d understood more about the Virtual Queueing system and got my VE Schwab and Laini Taylor tickets in between those two panels as then I’d have been able to get my stuff signed, but sadly I had to skip getting my Laini Taylor books signed because the queue was just too long. However, I did get my books signed by Lauren James, Zen Cho, and later on VE Schwab which I’m so happy about!

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galactic makeover time

Whilst waiting I got a fun galactic makeover, themed to The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, so here I am all sparkly for you. Fun fun.

Now the Teen Bloggers Chat meetup! I was SUPER excited for this & I was very sad to arrive late, sorry guys. But, you know, I really did want those VE Schwab books signed. I was a bit of an awkward bean but it was so lovely to meet everyone, and I hope we can meet again at some point (???).

After this I headed off to the Books That Made Me panel with VE Schwab, Joanne Harris & Laini Taylor. I hadn’t realised it was going to be about, like, formative books you’ve read? So that was a surprise. But it was still cool. And finally I stayed to the end to watch Non Pratt shave her head for charity, and also to not see Benedict Cumberbatch because I didn’t realise what was going on. I thought I didn’t care but APPARENTLY I DO STILL CARE.

Overall I had a fab time, despite being a bit stressed and anxious, and I hope that I can attend again to see YALC grow even more. Now go check out some fab recaps by Jess @ Bookends and Endings and Amber @ The Mile Long Bookshelf, and you can also watch video footage of ME in the wild at the #teenbloggerschat meetup. Please do link your YALC recap below, I’d love to read it!

did you go to yalc? have you been to another book event? would you like to?

PS. I know I’m technically on hiatus, but I thought it would be a good idea to post this whilst YALC was still vaguely fresh in our minds. I plan to be fully returning at the end of August with my summer favourites. 🙂

Summer Bucket List (& Other Plans)

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I’ve just put on my summer playlist and for once the sun is shining here in the UK. Yep, it’s summertime again! AKA the time where I celebrate not having to do schoolwork only to end up being bored. I wish I was someone who could really take this time to relax and do nothing but unfortunately doing that just makes me feel TERRIBLE. By the end of the holidays I actually miss the structure and purpose that school gave me.

But, I am determined that I’m going to do FUN STUFF this summer and NOT MOOCH AROUND. I might be starting off with too high aspirations, but I’ve printed out a calendar and I’m hoping to get back into using my bullet journal as that really helped me structure my day.

I’ve made a to do list of all the stuff that I want or need to do — ranging LL from homework to visiting museums — so I thought I’d share the most interesting here with you. (Trust me, if I just shared my actual word document with the list it would be pretty incomprehensible.)

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activities

There are so many great museums in London & I don’t think I make enough use of them! I’m hoping to visit the Queer Art exhibition at Tate Britain, the LGBTQ+ history thing at the British Museum, maybe visit the V&A or the Science Museum. I have’t been there since I was about 8 so I’d love to see how it’s changed.

I’d also like to take some day trips for example to Brighton, since it’s pretty easy to get a train ticket places, and also I don’t think I’ve ever been to Brighton. SO I’D LIKE TO DO THAT. I’m still working on convincing my friends to come with me haha.

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For personal activities, I am hoping to dye my hair blue tomorrow. I actually dyed it blue earlier but it was a semi-permanent dye so washed out basically immediately. 😦 This is something I’ve wanted to do for ages so fingers crossed it works out!

I am also trying to practice more self-care at the moment. I think I’m doing a better job, and currently I feel…fairly good in terms of mental health? Which is nice for once? I’m using the app Smiling Mind to do short daily (or almost daily haha) meditations, and my mum & I are doing some yoga from youtube videos my aunt recommended us. (She’s recently got super into yoga.) And it’s nice to do something together! Especially a physical activity since I don’t really do much in summer and it does make me feel better. I HOPE to go swimming at my local pool but to be honest I’ll probably end up forgetting. I do use my bike to cycle places though, since my parents can’t take me.

Finally, I’m using Duolingo to learn Japanese. If you’ve been following my blog for a while you might know that I’ve been trying to learn Japanese for a while — I also did a bunch last summer. However, as I predicted school got in the way, so I am hoping to use Duolingo as an easy way to learn some stuff for my school trip (!!!) in autumn. I find I’m quite motivated since I don’t want to lose my streak haha.

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I’m pretty sure I say this every single holiday, but I’m going to try and write a whole bunch of blog posts so that I can have some buffer posts when school/life gets busy. (BECAUSE GCSE YEAR AAAAH I’M FINE.) We’ll see how that turns out.

I’ve also been considering rejigging my blog a bit in terms of design and the way I post. I do quite like my current theme, but I’m sort of feeling like it’s time for a change? And that I could make something which both looks nicer and has more consistent content. (Not that this is necessary for an amazing blog. Just something I’ve been thinking about.)

I’m vaguely considering doing some podfic — if you don’t know what it is, it’s like an audiobook except for fanfiction — since a) I love listening to podfic and b) now I have a mildly better microphone to record with but we shall seeee.

writing

In the last few months I’ve done basically no writing. I’d like to say school just took up all my time, but whilst that’s true to some extent, I also haven’t been feeling very motivated to write anything. This is the first year where I haven’t really got any new poems by the summer. 😦 However, I do have a new idea that I’m working on so I hope to do some of that!

One of my big problems with writing is that I get so worked up over THE NOVEL and how it has to be perfect. I find it a lot easier to view any writing projects from a different way — like, what would I do with this if it were a fanfiction? For me writing fic is really all about enjoyment  so that often gives me a way to feel excited about my story again. Or: what if this were a collection of short stories? a podfic? a webcomic? Obviously different stories work better in different mediums, but that’s just a weird thing I do.

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As all my friends know, I’m terrible at following up on the stuff they recommend me. So, I’m planning to use this time to watch a bunch of different TV shows (Steven Universe, Brooklyn 99, Jane the Virgin, Carmilla probably others I’ve forgotten) as well as various books, webcomics, and other things. I also want to watch some musicals like Heathers, A Very Potter Sequel and Spring Awakening. (I’M SORRY. I feel bad watching bootlegs but the production is done and I don’t know how else I’m going to see it.)

Along with all this there’s schoolwork, reading/buying books for YALC, read a bunch of watching movies like Star Wars. I adore Star Wars but my family doesn’t enjoy sci-fi so I haven’t seen them all. And I’m seeing the Angels in America at the National Theatre Live thing in the cinema over the next two weeks which I am SO EXCITED FOR. AAH. Hopefully I’ll write a post about it.

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I’ve probably left out some other stuff I want to do, as I always do, but this post has somehow reached 1,000 words and it’s getting hot in this room so I shall end here. 🙂 If you like you can check out my summer bucket list from 2015 (I didn’t do one last year); I just did and woAH what a throwback. I do hope my writing style has developed a bit since then ahaha.

what are your plans for the next two months? doing anything nice? what do you think of the ink squiggles??(it’s an experiment)

7 Less Touristy-y Things to Do in London

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Whenever I go away to places, I like to try and find actual advice from people who live there. I think it’s really cool to try and get more authentic idea for what the place is like, and it’s one of my favourite parts of travelling! I also think London is pretty cool, and I think it has some really underrated activities, so I thought it would be fun to share some things that I like to do up and about town. 😀

1. Do a scavenger hunt

If you’re with a group of people and have some time to kill, them scavenger hunts are a super way to get out and about! You can find a selection for different areas and themes here, and once you’ve picked one you’re good to go. As well as little tasks like finding street names or counting things on the outside of buildings, the hunts that I have done also give you some information about the area you’re in. You can check the ones that i have used here — you have to buy them, but it’s not much, especially split between a group. There are also some free ones here!

 2. Visit the Southbank Centre

In general there are just SO MANY good things to do spread all along the south bank of the river. Stuff happens in the Southbank Centre all year long, from the Festival of Love to fountains to Women of the World to the Christmas market. The National Theatre nearby has some great shows — if you haven’t booked you can queue up on Friday mornings (I think?) for tickets if there are any left, or try and get a Friday Rush one — as well as some free things to look at and somewhere warm to sit. You might also want to pay a visit to the Globe Theatre, BFI, Tate Modern, or second hand book fair thing. Just. SO MUCH STUFF NEAR THE SOUTHBANK. It’s always on my list for a day out!

3. Go to a book event

I am an ENDLESS ADVOCATE for book events! I love them! They’re normally really cheap or sometimes even free, and they really give me something to look forward to. I don’t think everyone always knows that they exist, so…? Of course it depends on which events are on and whether they coincide with your visit, but a quick browse on the Waterstones website will do you no harm. (Basically all the events I attend are run by Waterstones, since they tend to have the YA ones. But there’s other stuff out there too, including various cons!)

 4. Enjoy some art at the Tate(s)

I know I already mentioned Southbank, but there was too much squeezed into that short space and I LIKE ART THINGS. Some things are better than others at the Tate — the descriptions can tend to overanalyse a bit in my opinion post-capitalist modern critique or whatever I DON’T CAAARE @ CONCEPT ART but there’s so much choice as well as great permanent collections. The buildings are well worth a visit on their own, too! Tate Modern is home to the Turbine Hall which has different installations inside, and the new Switch House building is cool too. If you visit the Tate Britain then your #claimtofame can be standing at the site of Lauren Aquilina’s live Echoes video, ayy. 😉 At the moment Tate Modern has a really good Rauschenberg exhibition, by the way! I like going to see art just on a day out because I don’t feel any pressure to analyse it or whatever; I just like to try and enjoy it and consider how it makes me feel.

5. Visit Covent Garden

Covent Garden has a bunch of shops, from the wonderfully cute Moomin shop to the Whittard’s tea shop where I normally just go around testing EVERY SINGLE ITEM in their cute plastic glasses. (I have actually bought stuff from Whittards so I don’t feel too bad. It is fun to taste all their things.) Sometimes there’s street performers or market-y stalls, and in general it’s just a nice place to visit! There are also some cool quirky shops around the general Covent Garden/Seven Dials area such as Tofu Cute and Tatty Devine.

6. Do a fandom tour

London is the home to lots of cool fandom things! Of course it depends what you’re into, but some internet searching can prove very useful should you want to explore some fannish London locations. For Harry Potter, you can go on a self-guided tour or an actual professional walking tour, which  really sounds like a job I should be applying for haha. A Doctor Who tour is available (though I hear it’s more focused on Classic Who), and as well as visiting the Sherlock Holmes museum you can take a look at one of the Sherlock tours. (That link is really good; it has locations for a self-guided one as well as organised tours.)

7. Trawl through the bookshops of Charing Cross Road

Charing Cross Road is well known for its second hand bookshops — even if some of the prices might make your eyes water, it’s so atmospheric to look around them at all the old books. (I love old book smells.) Sometimes you can find real gems! ayyy my 19th century copy of Les Mis The really big Foyles is also there if you want a different selection to Waterstones, and Forbidden Planet is around the corner on Shaftesbury Avenue. 🙂

have you been to london? done any of these things? do you have any underrated activities for where you live?

Snooping Around #3: Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Exams are still being pesky little things, so apologies. Here, in light of the somewhat depressing General Election news – have a nice post of me fangirling about architecture!

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Snooping Around is my somewhat erratic series where I spot cool things on my travels and share them with you.

If you’ve heard of Shakespeare (because Shakespeare) then you might have at least heard of the Globe in passing. It was the theatrical home of many of Shakespeare’s plays, and it’s still there to attend shows – although the current one is a reconstruction. Much of its rebuilding is due to an American actor and director called – you guessed it – Sam Wanamaker. (Yes! Parent of the actress who played Madam Hooch! My ability to reference fandoms in supposedly serious posts is never ending 😉 )

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The project took over 20 years and was finished in 1992, the year before he died. We don’t really know if it’s an exact representation, but it’s still an awesome place to go and see some theatre.

sam wanamaker playhouseWhilst the Globe is a bundle of fun, it isn’t actually my focus today. Instead, I wanted to talk about slightly newer building: the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. It’s been a work in progress for some time; the shell of the theatre was built during the reconstruction of the Globe and before construction for the Playhouse began was used for workshops. It’s based on Jacobean theatre drawings originally thought to be by Inigo Jones by now known to be the work of John Webb. And look! It’s. Candlelit.

Not only is this awesome because, hello, interior decoration and dramatic chandeliers, but it also means that you don’t get wet whilst going to see a production. Hopefully it’ll allow the Globe to continue their performances even through the rather unwelcoming British weather. All that groundling business is lovely, but it isn’t awfully comfortable. (Plus, it means a lot of interesting stage effects and asdfjkl awesomeness.)

Just being inside the theatre is an experience. It’s above the kind of shop/modern area of the Globe, but walking inside is absolutely insane. It’s just…ARGH. Amazing. I’ve only been to one show – that was the Passion Play, but it was with cool lady God and Singing in the Rain Noah’s Ark and the spread of Christianity as a hand clapping game, so – but I’d love to go again. I don’t know if they let you inside just to take a look (I don’t think they allowed photos), but if you’re ever in the area then I’d recommend. Maybe buy a manga Shakespeare play whilst you’re at it, because why not? 😛

Have you seen any cool buildings recently?

Snooping Around #2: Movember Express

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(I can’t believe I’m actually writing a number two in the title.)

Snooping Around is a series where I spot cool things on my travels and share them with you. This time, we’re taking a look at the Movember Express.

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It’s a train! Made in Movember! Look! The internet informs me that it had a moustache on the front, but I was too busy running to the end of the platform to catch it to notice.

Movember is the name for the month of November (surprise surprise) when men are invited to grow a moustache to raise awareness of health issues. Many trains around the UK also grew moustaches.

Have you spotted any Movember trains around, even though it’s not November any more?

I’m trying a bit of a internet-free week at the moment, considering I’m away and I don’t really have WiFi to begin with. So far it’s not that different…? I’m basically just reading loads. I should be back to usual posting, commenting and whatnot at the weekend. Hope you’re having a nice week! 🙂

Snooping Around #1: Street Piano

I’ve been spotting and snapping some interesting things on my travels about town, so I decided it would be fun to share them with you. First up is the street piano! (Yes, you do indeed spot a number one there. I’m hoping – note I say hoping – that there will be more to come, but only time can tell. Let me know your thoughts.)

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Every so often, I take the train into the City for my choir, and at one of the stations there’s a piano. I never have enough time to play it – yep, I’m one of those people who always gets there just in the nick of time – but I really wish that I could. I’ve resolved that someday I’m going to learn a beautiful piece so that I can play it in the station, just as others have done from me. There isn’t always people there during rush hour, but at weekends it’s pretty busy; the great thing is that it’s often normal people just stopping by and having some fun with music.

And maybe I could even sing. My friends once gave an impromptu rendition of Lorde’s Royals on the tube and it was amazing. It’s hard to explain the thrill of watching someone make beautiful music out of nothing. (Take Lauren Aquilina’s cover of Stay With Me in St. Pancras station. Awesomeness.) I was too embarrassed to join in with my friends at the time, but I wish I had.

But back to the street piano. A sign above the piano informs the reader that this is London’s longest surviving street piano (it’s two years old) and is part of a worldwide project called Play Me, I’m Yours by the British artist Luke Jerram. You can view the website here – who knows, maybe there’s one near you?

Credits: videos found via Street Pianos website, map background in the public domain due to the expiration of its copyright. (I feel so weird doing this. But hey.)

Oh, and one more thing: Deep Blues and Sea Foam Greens has gone private. I hope everything’s okay in there!