Sad Feelings and Exam Stress

Hi everyone! I hope you’re doing okay. This is just a little update post to let you know what’s going on with me, because I’ve been rather sad recently and blogging hasn’t been quite the fun activity I want it to be.

These few weeks are very weird for me because I’m in a strange liminal space between ‘normal school’ and actual exams. I used to enjoy school a lot, especially in Year 10, but currently I just feel like I’m preparing to pass an exam. And I know that’s what I’m doing, but it still frustrates me. It makes me feel like what I’m doing is pointless. Yet the same time, I feel very very stressed about getting good grades and living up to people’s (and my own) expectations of me. And then I feel stressed about stressing when I should be revising, AAAAAH. IT IS TERRIBLE.

Other things have also been contributing to me sadness like my compulsion to read transphobic articles which make me feel bad, stressing about what to do in the future, friend group politics etc. etc. Just: a lot of things are happening right now.

I don’t know, the summer weather makes me feel better. But I’ve also been crying a lot. I’m not sure where this post is going, but the most important thing I’d like to say is that I need to take some time out. I still have some blog posts lined up, but I don’t want blogging to be a chore. I need to take care of myself, and I need to let myself not do stuff — and that includes not blogging as frequently.

But I’m still around! If you’d like to talk to me then you can of course still comment on my blog or tweet me @appletaile. Like I said, I still have some posts which will be going up soon.

 

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7 Things on the Internet That Make Me Smile

Hi everyone! So…I am feeling slightly overwhelmed at the moment. I thought I would share a few things on the internet that have made me smile recently. (And here I’m talking about small things rather than big general things, because the internet is TOO BIG.)

1. Good as Hell by Lizzo

This song is SUCH A TUNE honestly!!! It fills me with joy and strength!! The video is also SO GOOD — it features lots of awesome women getting their hair done and being happy and it is honestly the best.

2. The McElroy brothers call a secret society

This short excerpt from the My Brother My Brother and Me TV show of the McElroys calling secret societies still made me laugh when I rewatched it for this post. I know it doesn’t sound that funny but…IT IS FUNNY. Or maybe I’ve just listened to too many McElroy products at this point, who even knows. (Bonus: this video of Griffin McElroy eating a banana AKA cronch origins.)

3. Cats meowing at each other

Two kitties! Meowing at each other! So pure and beautiful!! I mean, there’s so much good good cat content out there. But I do like this one. You can check out my whole cats tag on tumblr if you like.

4. This online purr generator

OK, I’m just going to put all the cat content together: it is a purr generator. For your computer. I love cats purring so this is just the BEST for me!

5. The Ladies of Hamilton #Ham4Ham

This is a video from back when Hamilton cast on Broadway did little bonus things outside the theatre. That whole run produced lots of very very good content, but in particular I love this one. I’ve probably watched it at least a dozen times, OOPS. I’m just too queer… I cannot handle the beauty.

6. Girls Like Girls by Hayley Kiyoko

This still makes me real emotional. I love Hayley Kiyoko so much. Just a VERY GOOD song and video.

7. The time Joe Johnson livetweeted reading Check, Please!

Maybe this is too niche but OH WELL. NEVER MIND Firstly, if you haven’t read the webcomic Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu then you should because it is very very good. Anyway, the subject in question is when the ice skater Joe Johnson read the comic and livetweeted it back in December which produced many, many excellent tweets.

Other quality content is this, this, and this tweet. And no, I absolutely did not just go back through his entire twitter to find those. (The things I do for you.) (But also MUCH #relatable content on there haha.)

Anyways. I hope you enjoyed this rather random post and I wish you a wonderful day!

what are your favourite things on the internet? do you also greatly enjoy looking at cute cats or is it just me??

 

Do Study Blogs Really Help Me Study?

A yellow pencil, pencil sharpener and pencil shavings on a blank lined notebook. The words 'do study blogs really help me study?'

Hi everyone! As you might know, I’ve been busy with school lately, hence the many school-related posts. I was busy over the winter holidays for mocks in January, and I’ve also been spending quite a bit of time in general looking around study blogs like studyblr, Youtube, and such. I’m here today with a discussion post on whether study blogs actually help.

Firstly, I have to say that I just love looking at pretty aesthetic things. (SORRY BUT I DO.) It makes me SO happy to watch videos of people making pretty bullet journals or pictures of cute revision notes. These fill my with an intense, inexplicable joy, and they also make me go ‘Wow, I really want to make something as pretty as this!’ So I find it a lot of fun looking at those.

But does appearance translate into any real life effects? Personally I’ve found it pretty difficult to replicate what I see online. Sometimes if I get so focused on trying to make something beautiful that I’m less concentrated on learning the actual content. This probably isn’t helped by the fact that I’m not actually very artistic so I just. Can’t. I CAN’T.

I do find study blogs motivating. They make we want to go out into the world and do all the productive things. However, I think that’s only true up to a point, because productivity and schoolwork are NOT the only things that matter. Personally, I’m a motivated person anyway; in fact, I think that sometimes I make myself feel worse by trying to do too much work.

Recently my mental health hasn’t been great, and I think that part of that is due to a constant feeling, made worse by looking at all these blogs, that I’m not working hard enough, not being productive enough, not making the most efficient… Hell, I even feel bad for not RELAXING enough. Which is ridiculous, right? But although this ableist idea that productivity equals worth might have negative effects on me, it hurts disabled people way more. (Thank you @StealthClock for tweeting this thread on the topic back in January.)

Even self-care gets turned into a chore, something that I have to complete, which, well, it just kind of sucks. So although I like looking at pretty pictures and working my bullet journal, it’s not always good — and I think it’s important to approach these blogs with caution.

Finding useful revision resources is really cool, and some resources have absolutely changed the way I work, but searching for them can also just be a way of adding to my procrastination. Sometimes just doing some questions from the textbook is the way to go, you know? Another thing is that I find it can be quite hard to find specific resources for what you’re looking for. I don’t see that any GCSE things and also there are sooo many different exam boards with slightly different courses. IT’S SO FRUSTRATING. Also, my school is really extra and my year is doing some really weird things like Maths iGCSE? Why are we doing iGCSE? Does anyone know?? I’m pretty sure the younger years are doing something else.

So, overall, although I think study blogs can be really helpful, they should be used with moderation and caution. I feel like I’m just repeating all the stuff that adults complain about, the internet doesn’t show an exact representation of real life.

what do you think of study blogs? do you use them? how are you today?

By the way, I’m planning to post my Q&A next week so if you have any more questions then do let me know! They can be on anything (books, school, LGBTQ+ stuff etc.) as long as they’re respectful and not weird. 🙂

Monthly Mixtape #3: Petrichor

A cassette tape with the words 'monthly mixtape' in a brush script above and below.

Hey everyone! I’m back with the March edition of my music feature Monthly Mixtape. (You can check out the earlier prompts here.) I’m definitely enjoying this opportunity to discover new music in addition to making playlists of my own — check out those on The Writing HufflepuffScattered Delusions and by my co-creator Evi on Adventuring Through Pages. If you’d like to share a playlist I didn’t see do let me know. 🙂

Monthly Mixtape is a music feature created by me, Eve @ Twist in the Taile, and Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages. Here’s how it works: each month, we give you a one-word prompt, and you make a playlist. We welcome you to interpret the prompt however you want and with whatever music you’re into.

Please link back to the original Monthly Mixtape prompt whenever you make a playlist. We welcome you to use the title image for your blog post if you wish. You can create a playlist in response to any of the prompts going forward, not just the current months, but you won’t be able to add your link once the new prompt is up. The next Monthly Mixtape will be up in the first week of April! And this month’s prompt is…

#3: petrichor

petrichor, noun: a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.

Add or view playlist links HERE 

I hope you enjoy this prompt and, as ever, I look forward to listening to your playlists! You can view other playlists or add a link to your playlists above — of course it’s not obligatory, but I’d love to be able to see your posts!

A close up of two green leaves with water droplets on them. The word 'petrichor' in a script font.

for walking through the forest after a summer rain.
listen on youtube / spotify

undan hulu – ólafur arnalds
mercury –  sufjan stevens, bryce dessner, nico muhly, james mcalister
amar pelos dois – salvador sobral
soothing – laura marling
moon river – frank ocean
february air (acoustic) – lights
naked as we came – iron and wine
featherstone – the paper kites

I’m really happy with this final playlist — the first song, Undan Hulu, was actually used in my school play last year so it brings back very vivid memories for me. Also Frank Ocean’s cover of Moon River is SO. GOOD. ASDFGHJK I CAN’T.

Anyway, I’d love to hear any music you’ve been into lately! Have you ever smelt petrichor?

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.

The Orchestra Book Tag

The words 'orchestra book tag' with a music note icon beside. A photo of the books The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, Radio Silence and Warcross in a pile on a checked blue duvet cover.

I love creating new tags even more than I enjoy doing them so I HAVE A NEW TAG EVERYONE. It’s a book tag based on instruments in the orchestra, because I am kind of a music nerd and definitely a book nerd.

Unfortunately I couldn’t include every instrument since a) I didn’t want the tag to be too long and b) I probably couldn’t think of that many things but no personal offence is intended to any instruments. I couldn’t find any tag similar to this so I just decided to go for it — I have no intention of copying another tag but if you find another one around let me know!

How the tag works: link back to this post, if you were tagged then link back to the person who tagged you, do some or all of the questions, and then tag as many more blogs as you like. 🙂 You can also tag it on WordPress with ‘the orchestra tag’ so that it can be found more easily. I’ll put all the questions in a nice, easy-to-copy list at the end.

Conductor

a character likely to mastermind an evil plan

I mean, Kaz Brekker is an obvious answer, but it’s CLEARLY Kaz Brekker. He literally already did this in Six of Crows.

Cover of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Half-burnt matchsticks arranged in a simple house shape (a square with a triangle on top). The title in a brush font inside the house.

 

Violin

a popular book you enjoyed

I read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (which I believe is a Sunday Times bestseller) for my school book club and I actually…liked it a lot? It’s one of my favourite books I’ve read for school book club.

Cello

a character who surprised you

Daniel from Radio Silence by Alice Oseman! I mean, I love this book DEEPLY so obviously must include it in as many posts as possibly. I didn’t pay too much attention to Daniel at the start of Radio Silence but as the book continued some stuff happened and now I love him a lot.

Viola

an overlooked book

The comic Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat! written by Kate Leth and illustrated by Brittney Williams. I absolutely ADORED this comic and I’m so upset that it got cancelled?? I understand it might not be for everyone but I can’t understand the multitude of negative Goodreads reviews because, man, it just clicked with me SO MUCH and I deeply wish more people would know about it so they can love it too.

Cover of Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz. Two fish hooks arranged in a heart shape over a white scaley background. The title within the heart and the tagline 'Miracles aways come at a price.'

Oboe

a book with an unusual premise

This immediately calls to mind Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz, which is about gay magical fish. It sounds weird, and it definitely is weird, but it’s also VERY good. Just trust me.

Clarinet

a book you’d recommend to anyone

(I am personally a clarinetist so obviously I had to include us. Clarinets are very versatile, folks.) The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James. I think this could apply to so many books (and versatile doesn’t necessarily mean a book is better or  anything) but The Loneliest Girl was just such a gripping read for me. Sci-fi has a reputation for being a bit dense but I think this is super easy to understand and enjoy. (Bonus piece of music: have you heard the Saint-Saens clarinet sonata? Isn’t it lovely?)

Flute

a character who stands above the rest

I just read Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence and I loved Indigo, she was such an engaging & interesting character. (Bonus piece of music: Carillion from L’Arlesienne by Bizet. You might have already heard bits of it but it has a Very Nice wind section in the middle which I played in my orchestra.)

Cover of Love, Hate & other filters by Samira Ahmed. A person with brown skin and dark hair in a bun taking a photo with the camera pointed at the reader. They stand in front of a red wall with colourful tessellating patterns at the bottom. The title and author above.

Trumpets

a talked-about book on your TBR

I’ve heard so much about Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed and I just downloaded the eBook to read this week! I’m super excited! (UK readers, it’s on sale on Amazon for only £0.99 which is an amazing deal. This isn’t sponsored, I just love a bargain haha.)

Horn

 

a historical book

I don’t read much historical fiction, but the last historical thing I read was the novella Caroline’s Heart by Austin Chant. It’s a historical fantasy which really gave me Howl’s Moving Castle vibes. Also! I love reading books with multiple trans characters! Please give me all the sweet sweet trans books!!

Tuba

a book which strongly informs how you are as a person

(Because tuba is the bass, like a basis for you, get it? I don’t know. Maybe that’s a bit tenuous.) Probably Les Miserables by Victor Hugo? That might sound pretentious but getting into Les Mis has had a really big effect on my life in terms of affirming my own beliefs and identity.

Cover of The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman. An old-timey engraving-esque illustration of a boat with two figures riding a wave under a stormy sky. Two animals climb over the gold title text.

Piano

a very long book

I mean, I already banged out the longest book I’ve ever read which was Les Mis (oops), but I wanted to keep this one open for both already read books and those on your TBR. So I’ll go with The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman. I loved His Dark Materials when I was younger but I haven’t yet got round to this because I’d like to reread the original trilogy first. I guess I’d better get going… (Bonus piece of music: we’re doing this movement from the Beethoven Pathetique sonata for GCSE music and it is a TUNE.)

Timpani

book which finished with a bang

Hmmm. HMM. (Don’t you just love it when I have to think real hard about answering my own questions?) OH OH I KNOW. Warcross by Marie Lu! This one had me VERY shook. Obviously I don’t want to spoil it but you should 100% read it.

Anyway, during the course of writing this post it has become apparent to me that the left and right alignment of images does not work on my actual blog webpage anymore which is rather annoying. Anyone else getting this?? Or is it just my super old theme?

Never mind — I do hope you enjoyed this tag! Once again, the questions are as follows:

Conductor – a character likely to mastermind an evil plan
Violin – a popular book you enjoyed
Cello – a rich, nuanced character
Viola – an overlooked book
Oboe – a book with an unusual premise
Clarinet – a versatile book you’d recommend to anyone
Flute – a character who stands out from the rest
Trumpets – a talked-about book on your TBR
Horn – a historical book
Tuba – a book which strongly informs how you are as a person
Timpani – a book which finished with a bang
Piano – a very long book

And I’m tagging Lia @ Lost in a Story, Michelle @ The Writing Hufflepuff, Jess @ Bookends and Endings and anyone else who wants to do it! But there’s absolutely NO pressure, please don’t worry. 🙂

GCSE Science Resource Masterpost // #evestudies

The words 'resource masterpost for gcse science #evestudies' over an image of coloured pens on a journal with colourful lists.

Hi everyone! Today I’m sharing with you my favourite resources for revising GCSE Science. As you might know I’ve had mocks recently — I’m just coming to the end of them — and I thought it would be useful to share what I use to revise so that you can all use them if you still have exams ahead of you. I’ll be covering resources from the exam board, videos, other websites and books.

I take AQA triple science, so whilst what I find is targeted at that course, it definitely applies to other courses and also to general science revision anyway. 🙂 Almost all of these are free except for the books at the end.

exam board resources

Specifications (Biology, Chemistry, PhysicsFirstly I’d very strongly urge you to get a copy of the spec which is free to download from your exam board. I base all my revision off this as it tells you exactly, point-by-point, what you need to know. If you take only one point from this post it’s that you should LOOK AT THE SPEC.

Required practicals (Biology, Chemistry, PhysicsThese will give you the exact methods AQA want you to know for every single practical. Especially useful if you can’t quite remember doing it or don’t have class notes.

Scheme of work (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) This goes into further detail on the spec points and — what I find most useful — provides links to other websites where you can learn about the topic. I’m only annoyed I didn’t know about these earlier!

Science skills There are a lot of questions in the exam on experimental procedure so don’t forget to revise that.

videos

There are MANY, MANY informative videos out there on the web. These range from videos directed specifically at GCSE science courses to general informative videos. The ones here are some of the ones I’ve found useful.

My GCSE Science This is one of my personal favourites. It clearly explains topics with a voiceover and illustrative diagrams. In particular I love their Physics video on the motor and generator effect; I found that topic hard to get my head around and it absolutely SAVED ME. However, their videos do NOT cover all the course content, particularly triple and higher content; they only publish a selection of videos as the rest are available on their website as a paid-for subscription. Also, this might be inaccessible to some people as a lot of the videos need both the diagrams and voiceover to understand. They have videos for AQA, Edexcel and OCR.

Freesciencelessons My other favourite channel! What I love about these videos is that they are very well organised and follow the spec extremely closely so you know that you’re getting everything you need. He hasn’t yet covered every topic, but I believe they’ll be done in time for GCSEs. In particular I like the Required Practical videos. Although these videos do have diagrams, they’re not necessary for all topics; most of content is in the voiceover and text on screen.

Science With Hazel I haven’t watched loads of these; personally I found the one I watched didn’t cover the topic I wanted in enough detail. However, she does provide recaps of the whole specification for each science for both AQA and Edexcel iGCSE which may be useful to you.

Revising Science Another GCSE recap channel similar to Freesciencelessons, with very very short and condensed videos.

Fallibroome Required Practicals Videos are a great way to remind yourself of required practicals if you want to actually watch someone doing them rather than simply hear an explanation. I like that these not only show you a clear method but also explain potential errors and how you might improve the experiment (which you will be tested on!).

Crash Course (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) These videos are NOT directed at GCSE students and generally provide more detail than you need, but are useful to help explain stuff anyway. I recommend you search for particular topic videos if you need them such as this Physics one on sound.

Science songs There are many amusing and catchy science songs out there. Ones I know and have used are: the photosynthesis song, the other photosynthesis song, the osmosis song, the adaptation song and the EM waves song. But don’t use these as the only method of your revision!

other websites

Phet Colorado simulations These are laboratory simulations which help you model topics. I especially like them for Physics where some topics are hard to get around; I recommend circuit constructor, Faraday’s Electromagentic Lab, Magnets and Electromagnets. Simulations are available for all 3 sciences.

BBC Bitesize (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) Ah, the saviour of students everywhere! I love BBC Bitesize; it provides easy-to-follow explanations with diagrams and covers a wide variety of topics. But it’s a general resource for all GCSE students and not targeted towards an exam board so approach with some caution. There may be some topics which aren’t on there as well as some additional topics not in your exam, and it might not cover exactly what you have to learn in the right words.

Chem Collective virtual lab and notes A virtual lab for if you want to practice your practicals which also provides notes and practice questions for some topics. (Though again, not specific to GCSE.)

Passmyexams.co.uk This website contains notes on almost all of the topics. However, I haven’t used it massively myself and although it is for GCSE, it’s not targeted towards a particular exam board so again I would approach it with some caution.

Spolem Biology quizzes This website provides great interactive Biology quizzes to test your knowledge. It also has links to Biology and Chemistry resources such as online notes and videos, but these are directed towards the Edexcel iGCSE.

Compound Chem infographics Beautiful infographics which you can stick up around your room to remind you of Chemistry, or use as a model to make your own. I use their ones for properties of Group 1 and Group 7.

Quizlet I love Quizlet SO MUCH. In terms of science I find it particularly useful for Biology as it’s very content-heavy. (You can find my Biology quizlets here.) Although you can of course make your own, there are many excellent sets already created for GCSE Science so do have a search. I normally find a set, copy it, and then go through and edit with my own notes to ensure it measures up with a spec, changing anything I need.

books

AQA textbooks (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) We were issued these at the start of our GCSE — I don’t know if everyone does, all the people I know do have one but if you don’t for whatever reason I would HIGHLY recommend it. It covers everything in the spec and also has some great exam questions for revision practice.

CGP revision guides (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) Our school sells these to us at a cheaper price. I know many students use the revision guides to do almost all their revision so they’re worth a look, but remember that they do NOT substitute for your own notes or the official specification. I generally only use CGP if I can’t get what I need from the textbook, or as a last-minute summary. These are available for AQA, Edexcel, OCR, and a limited range for iGCSE.

CGP exam practice workbook and practice papers (Biology, Chemistry, PhysicsThe workbook has more exam-style questions if you want them. I haven’t yet tried the practice papers but I’m sure they’ll be useful, especially as we are the first year of this GCSE so there aren’t any past papers for our specification. The exam practice workbooks are available for AQA, Edexcel and OCR but the practice papers are only available for AQA.

I hope you find this post useful for learning and revising science; I had a lot of fun making this and I’d love to hear any feedback you have. 🙂 Please let me know if any of the links don’t work. I wish you good luck with your studies!

Monthly Mixtape #1: Luminescence

A cassette tape with the words 'monthly mixtape' in a brush script above and below.

Hey everyone! I’m really excited in this new year to begin a new feature that I’ve been wanting to introduce for a while… and without further ado, I welcome you to Monthly Mixtape!

Monthly Mixtape is a music feature created by me, Eve @ Twist in the Taile, and Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages. Here’s how it works: each month, we give you a one-word prompt, and you make a playlist. We welcome you to interpret the prompt however you want and with whatever music you’re into. You can link to your Monthly Mixtape below!

Please link back to the original Monthly Mixtape prompt whenever you make a playlist. We welcome you to use the title image for your blog post if you wish. You can create a playlist in response to any of the prompts going forward, not just the current months, but you won’t be able to add your link once the new prompt is up. The next Monthly Mixtape will be up in the first week of February. 🙂 And the first prompt is…

#1: luminescence

luminescence, noun: a light which is not produced by heat; a soft light. 

I hope you enjoy making playlists from this prompt, and I really look forward to listening to them! You can add your link or view other playlists here:

Purple watercolour swash with the word 'links' in a script font.

I’ve also made my own playlist which I’m rather excited to share since it has a lot of songs I love on it, yay! And remember to check out the playlist that my wonderful co-host Evi made here.

Three circular lamps hanging down over a white wall with hanging leaves. The word 'luminescence' in a script font.

a playlist for sitting by the lake at night. for meeting a forgotten friend. for the soft and bittersweet glow in your chest.
listen on youtube / spotify

wonder – lauren aquilina
secret for the mad – dodie
compartir – carla morrison
young – frankie cosmos
i will – mitski
all that – carly rae jepsen
cool blue – the japanese house
rainbow – kesha

Please do share any feedback you have! (I didn’t find any other blog link-ups like this and I sincerely hope that I’m not accidentally taking it from anyone?) I hope you enjoy, and I’m really looking forward to listening to your playlists and sharing the music I love. 🙂

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?

Bullet Journal With Me

A brown notebook on a green and pink quilt, with the words 'Bullet journal with me' on the left.

Hey everyone! Recently I’ve been quite into bullet journaling so I thought I’d talk about how my journal works and how it helps me.

I started journaling earlier this year, but that was in a blank page notebook so I found it more difficult to do some stuff! Mostly it was to do-lists, which is still what I use my journal for on a day-to-day basis, but I do have some other spreads I like to do as well. (Spreads is such a bullet journal buzzword haha, I have been watching too many videos.)

An open notebook double page. On the left page a key listing categories such as 'school', 'blog', and, 'activity' in different colours. On the right a contents page listing months.

OKAY. Let’s get started. My current notebook is a Muji notebook that I got for my birthday in September; unlike my previous notebook it has the classic bullet journal dots which I find VERY useful. I started out with a key – which I admit has changed a little since some of my pens started running out – and then we have contents for important pages and a year plan. I didn’t use the year plan as it was too small so in 2018 I’m hoping to try something different like maybe a page for each month? I DON’T KNOW. But my 2017 Hamilton calendar is finally running out so I need to get something else.

An open double page of a otebook. On the left a scrapbook page for Japan with a photo of a golden pavilion, stickers, and tickets stuck in. On the right a page for November with long rectangles for each day of the month, some of which are marked off with colours.

At the start of every month I create a month page, which basically just has stuff that I track which is usually meditation and my Spanish vocab. Recently I’ve also added money which I’m liking so far as I sometimes forget how much money I’ve spent and then don’t know whether I can buy something.

 

At the start of the week I put a little thing to track my music practice. (Which I actually forgot to take a picture of, oops.) My style of writing the days has changed a bit, especially since my first bullet journal, but my daily lists have remained essentially the same;  I just write the day and jot down all my lists using the colour categories. Sometimes I add subtasks for big things I have to do such as multi-part homeworks.

A notebook open on a double page. On the left a list in diferent colours titled 'Half term to-do list', written inside a red banner. On the left to-do lists with the words 'Monday' and 'Tuesday' inside smaller banner illustrations.

More recently I’ve started using stickers and washi tape to decorate and make a little scrapbook page for each month with photos. I have a bunch of craft stuff lying around my house from when I was younger and I thought it would be good to make use of it. 🙂 I always feel sad that I don’t have physical printouts of photos as I enjoy looking at old photos of my parents, so I thought it would be nice to look back on in the future!

I just LOVE looking at videos of people’s bullet journals and stationery. I can’t overstate how much joy it brings me. Whenever I want to add a new feature or change up a style, I just go online and copy something from someone else, for example the banner I did for my half term to-do list. (I like arty things. But I am not very good at, like, NEAT arty things. Or really any neat drawing. Thus: I prefer to use something else as a reference.)

PLUS, I bought some of these super cute cat page markers which I love so much! I just adore anything related to cats, to be honest.

I find that my bullet journal really helps me to organise my thoughts and what I have to do – which is usually a lot of things – and I find it relaxing to make pretty scrapbook-like pages. 🙂

do you have a bullet journal? or would you like to start one? do you like stationery as much as i do??