//Why I Love Flying Tiger (ft. a mini haul)//

(This post is not sponsored and these opinions are my own).

Hello! Today I decided to write about one of my favourite stores ever – Flying Tiger, a Danish design store that has pretty much everything you could ever need – and things you didn’t even realise you needed! I first visited the store last month and I was amazed by all the quirky designs and products – it was love at first sight. There was so much stationary, homeware and random knick-knacks to look at, I had to do a few laps of the store to take it all in! I decided to take my friends there today, as they had never visited, and it’s safe to say they loved it just as much as I did – in fact it was hard to get them out of the store!
I think what makes visiting Flying Tiger such a lovely experience is how thoughtful their designs are – they really do put a smile on your face, and I love the fact that all the items are labelled in Danish too, as I adore languages and cultures. Thethe staff are always so friendly and helpful too. It’s quickly becoming my go-to store for anything stationary-related, and I’ll probably be doing a lot of gift-shopping there in the next few months! Next year I’ll definitely head straight there to buy my university supplies, as they had everything from kitchen utensils, to crockery to desk tidies, all for very affordable prices! 

I bought a few things there today, so I thought I’d share them with you so you can get an idea of what sort of stuff is available there. 🙂

USB charging cable £3

The first thing I picked up was this USB charging cable, because my current phone charger has a really short cable that’s a bit loose so I thought I’d buy a longer one, and found this cute fish design.

Twin-markers £2

As I’ve recently started bullet journalist, I felt inclined to purchase some proper markers, as at the moment all I have are felt tip pens and highlighters. These ones are double-edged, so one end is like a fancy felt tip pens and the other a chunkier marker. I thought these shades of blue were really nice, and I’ll definitely be going back to pick up some of their other colour sets when I can.

Chocolate Wafer, 2 for £1

The last thing I bought were two chocolate wafers bars as a sort of impulse buy, because I’d had a long day at college and was very hungry. I ate one and saved one for later, which I’m glad because they are absolutely delicious!

I’m really glad I got to go back to Flying Tiger today, and if there is one near you, I’d definitely recommend you check it out! It makes an interesting store to browse around as there is always so much to look at!

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//Last week; ft. Year 13, bullet journals and Dutch//

Hallo mein Freunds! Today I come to you with a little catch-up of what I’ve been doing over the past week or so since my last post. Last week wasn’t particularly busy for me, despite starting back at sixth form on Monday but I thought I’d do a little list of things I’ve done anyway.

  • Read Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I had mixed feelings about this book. I mean, it wasn’t written really well but some of themes were a bit heavy and perhaps it wasn’t the right time for me to read it, but I didn’t find it a particularly uplifting book…I don’t know.
  • Completed an introduction to Dutch course with the University of Groningen. I’m quite proud I actually finished this course, considering I started it at the beginning of august and only finished yesterday, so it took over a month, but it was really fun to get an intro to the wonderful Dutch language and I particularly enjoyed sinking my teeth into all the grammar rules.
  • Started Year 13. Of course I couldn’t do a weekly roundup without acknowledging the fact that sixth form existed. It was a bit of bumpy ride last week, some classes were good, others not and I can’t say I’m particularly happy to have returned to college despite initially not wanting to break up for summer. But I’m sure once I get back into the swing of things it won’t be so bad.
  • Got my new timetable. Obviously this links in with the last point, and maybe it should have come before it but oh well. Anyway my timetable is quite different this year from last year. Last year I was in Monday 9am-5pm, Tuesday 10am-3pm and Thursday 9am-4:30pm, so I had Wednesday and Friday off. This year however I’m in Monday 9am-12:15pm, Tuesday 1:15pm-4:30pm, Wednesday 9am-12:15pm and Thursday 9am-4:30pm. I get Friday off still this year but it’s hard to adjust to going in four days in a row instead of having a midweek gap. Having three 9am’s I’d not great but I think having shorter days will be better for me as I used to be exhausted on Monday’s and Thursday’s last year. However this year on Thursday afternoons I have a three hour break between lessons (a.k.a. an excuse to nap on the common room sofas) which is a bit of a nuisance as by the time my last lesson comes around, I’m not in study mode any more.
  • Took my sister back to uni. Well that was last weekend, but yeah we helped her move into her new house and met her house mates, who all seemed lovely, and hopefully we’ll be going down to visit next month.
  • Started bullet journalling. I decided to start a bullet journey today, because I love being creative and organised, so it’s the perfect combination right? I found an old notebook and ripped some pages out that I’d written in, and although the cover’s a little scruffy, it’s the perfect size for me and saves me having to buy a new one. Here are the spreads I’ve done so far:   You might be able to see that I accidentally gave February 29 days in the “year at a glance” section as I was talking to my mum and got a bit distracted 😂. I decided to make mine follow the acedemic year, as I’m starting September, so I’m planning on doing it from now until August. I’m trying to keep it quite minimalistic because I know later on in the year I won’t have so much time to spare making it look artsy, so a few photos from magazines here and there will probably be the extent of my embellishments 😂. I’m really happy with how it’s turned out, even if it took me a few hours to measure everything and make sure it’s all lined-up and evenly-spaced!
  • Excerised. Would you believe it…I went walking for about an hour and a half yesterday, then did a 45 mins cycle ride today. I have plans of running on Tuesday morning but I don’t know if my exercise streak will extend that far 😂.

That’s pretty much it for last week, and all I can say is hopefully I’ll have a stroke of inspiration next week and find something more interesting to blog about. But for now I hope you all have a lovely week!

//I went up t’ North; ft. Yorkshire Adventures and Leeds Festival//

Hello! (Excuse my attempt at doing a northern accent in that title) but last Sunday (20th), I traveled up to Yorkshire with my family for a week to stay with my grandparents and I thought I’d document my travels whilst I was there. I’ll take you through day by day, as I started off writing on each day but then got out of the habit of it, so wrote the last few days up on the long drive home.

Sunday

Sunday was such a long day. We had planned to leave early and stop off at Biddulph Grange Gardens in Staffordshire before going to Yorkshire, so we could split up the usual 4 hour journey a bit. However, as there were major roadworks around Birmingham, we got a bit confused, and hit delays and then once we’d actually got into Staffordshire, we got lost and Google maps was our only saviour in helping us actually find the gardens. After almost 4 hours we made it to the gardens, had lunch and looked around. It was actually stunning – the garden was split up into different countries, so there was a Chinese garden, an Italian garden, an Egyptian garden and so on. I managed to take some cool photos of flowers and we got to go inside a pyramid (made of hedges), go through various tunnels and over little bridges and explore Chinese temples.

Photo collage featuring a Chinese temple, a golden bull statue surrounded by flowers, a tree, and Egyptian pyramid made out of a hedge, a stone archway, yellow flowers, red and orange flowers, a stone archway covered in ivy and a lake with ducks
From left to right: Chinese temple, golden bull statue, tree, pyramid, stone archway, yellow.flowers, red and orange flowers, ivy covered archway, lake with water lillies and ducks

Once we’d left the garden, it was supposed to take just under two hours to get to my grandparents in West Yorkshire where we were staying for the week. However there were road closures again that we weren’t aware of and we got stuck in the middle of no where and had to ring them for directions. We thought we may have to make a massive two hour detour and go through Sheffield but we were directed down the ominous sounding Snake Pass, which actually turned out to go through the beautiful Peak District so the scenery was lovely. We went through some little towns in the Peak District too, like Buxton and Glossop, that were just sort of in the middle of nowhere?? It was strange. We also managed to go through Midhopestones and drove along the exact bit of road we watched the Tour de France fly (well…cycle) past in 2014.

Eventually we got there at about 7:30, so we’d spent around 6-7 hours traveling which was pretty exhausting, so it was nice to have e got there at last!

Monday

We were all pretty exhausted from Sunday’s travelling, so we had a relaxing day. We went for a walk around the village (which actually ended up in us walking to the next village because we took a wrong turn) and my sister and I spent the rest of the day doing a jigsaw puzzle, then once we’d done that we started a French murder mystery/escape “game” that I just discovered in the Ça M’intéresse magazine I bought in France! Basically you get clues and have to find the answers throughout the magazine to create mystery words which supposedly join together to make a sentence revealing who killed the mysterious murderee Sovère. We managed to do two out of seven (I think) parts to the “game” – it was really fun although a challenge for us both as I had to read all the French then translate it for my sister, then we’d search for the answers and solve French anagrams. I think I’m definitely going to ask for a French puzzle book for my birthday because it’s such a great way to practice my language skills and I love a good word game.

(Also I was so cold on Monday, I mean I’m pretty sure it wasn’t even that cold out but I think my brain was like “you’re up north, be cold” so I wrapped up warm in a winter jumper and fluffy socks haha).

Tuesday

We got up fairly early today as we were heading off to Manchester for the day. We didn’t actually venture into the city (other than driving round) but visited Quarry Bank Mill in a place called Styal near Manchester airport. We’d been recommended the mill by the relatives we were staying with for the week, as they had visited a couple of times.

On the way there, we drove through long winding roads surrounding by hills, lakes and heather (and of course drystone walls) – it was so great to drive through the Yorkshire countryside with Bastille blasting out the car radio.

The mill itself was set in a little valley with a river running through the heart of it, and the actual land owned by the mill owners was pretty big. At the top of the valley as you entered there was the apprentice house, where children who were taken on by the mill owners from as young as 9 to 18 years slept, ate and attended school (well, the boys did anyway). We did a little guided tour of the apprentice house, which was really cool as our tour guide was dressed up and she took us round the school room, bedroom, treatment room and kitchen, explaining to us what the daily life of the apprentices would be like.

After that we went to look round some greenhouses and a small garden area where again I couldn’t resist practicing my photography.

Then we ventured down into the valley and had a picnic on the mill meadows, next to the river and a hydroelectric dam that looked like a waterfall.

When we actually ventured into the mill itself, it was huge and there was so much to look at. They had running machinery on each floor taking you through the cotton making process, which was very noisy, and the tour guides were so insightful and full of interesting facts.

We also walked through the main gardens of the mill, outside the mill owner’s house, which had lovely flowerbeds, including one replicating the family crest in the stainglass window of the house.

Photo collage including a greenhouse interior, yellow flowers, a tudor cottage surrounded by white flowers, iron gates saying
From left to right: greenhouse, yellow flowers, cottage, iron entrance gates, the mill, classroom, loom machine, flower bed

It was a long day, but Quarry Bank Mill is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area! Especially if you’re interested in finding out about what life for mill workers would have been like in the 1800s. (I should add that both Quarry Bank Mill and Biddulph Grange Gardens are owned by the National Trust).

Wednesday

We were quite tired again from our day out the previous day, but we still wanted to go out and explore so we went in to Holmfirth, which is a little village in the Holme Valley (where Last of the Summer Wine was filmed if anyone knows that old TV series). Holmfirth is one of my favourite places in Yorkshire – it’s so quaint. I hadn’t been in a good few years as we haven’t gone up in summer for a long time (when we go up at Christmas we don’t tend to go on day trips much), so it was the first time since Le Tour de France passed through in 2014 that I’d been there and I was surprised that many shops still had painted bikes outside there shops and in there walls and Tour de France bunting.

We went to a little bakery and bought some cakes for elevenses, had a walk round then drove up to a viewpoint at Holme Moss to eat out cake. The views were amazing!!

Photo collage including shops in Holmfirth with bunting on the walls, views over the peak district through the car window, photos from the Holme Moss viewpoint featuring me and my yellow coat and pretty Yorkshire sunset
From left to right: shops in Holmfirth, views over the Peak District, Holme Moss viewpoint x3 and a Yorkshire sunset

We relaxed for the rest of the day and my mum and I started another puzzle, this time a circular one of the Lowry print “A Lancashire Village”. I love Lowry’s paintings and as he was born in Manchester, he has a lot of paintings of Yorkshire towns and villages which are so interesting to look at.

Thursday 

On Thursday we went out with my grandparents to the Peak District for a hike. We walked part of the Pennine Way and walked around various reservoirs. It was lovely – the hills were covered in beautiful purple heather and there were boats sailing on the reservoirs. We walked around 6 miles in all, which doesn’t sound that far but I’m not the most active of people 😂.

Photo collage including my family walking along a path, a stone wall surrounding the forest, purple heather, sheep in a field, a wooden sign saying
From left to right: my family walking, the forest, heather, sheep!, Pennine Way marker, more sheep and heather, views over the reservoir and some trees

After we got home I was so tired I had to have a nap for a bit.

Friday

I was a bit stressed on Friday because I was supposed to be enrolling at college and getting my timetable and bus pass but as I was 300 miles away from home there was no chance I could go and my friends were telling me the classes have been mixed around. However I still had a great day – we took the train into Huddersfield, the nearby town, which brought back so many memories because I used to go into town with my grandma and sister when we were younger. We looked round some of the markets there and visit the town art gallery where we saw a Yorkshire photographic society exhibition, a Peter Brook exhibition (he paints beautiful Yorkshire landscapes, often featuring his sheep dog), a sculptural exhibition entitled “Reproduction” with artwork made of images of cells and DNA and the permanent exhibition which features two Lowry paintings. 

Photo collage featuring canal tow path next to a college, a Lowry painting of Huddersfield, a square next to the train station with fountains, art gallery building, a statue of Harold Wilson with the station in the background, shelves of books at a market stall, DNA painting, another canal tow path
From left to right: canal tow path, a Lowry painting, St George Square, art gallery and library, statue of Harold Wilson, books, DNA artwork, canal again

We also ended up going stationary shopping at Ryman’s as we don’t have one at home and then got lost finding Sainsbury’s, ended up at Tesco’s and got lost trying to find the entrance 😂. We also walked along the canal tow path for a bit too where we were greeted with a “top of the morning to you” from a passing couple.

Saturday

On Saturday my sister and I were going to Leeds festival, which is basically the reason we came up to Yorkshire. We didn’t get up too early as we weren’t planning on getting there until 12:30. We left just after 10:00 to drive up to Leeds and it didn’t take as long as expected so we stopped at a service station in Wetherby for about 45 mins. The service station was packed with people – it was fun to try to spot who was going to the festival and who was going to watch the various football matches that were on that day. I saw several people in Bastille tops so they were definitely going to the festival haha.

The festival itself was absolutely amazing. The atmosphere was brilliant and it felt really well organised. We’d planned out before hand using the very handy Reading and Leeds app (because both the festivals happen on the same weekends but the acts play on different days in each location) all the bands we wanted to see so we know what times they were on and on which stages. The festival site itself was huge, although it was nice and spacious and it didn’t feel too crowded.

When we got there we came across the Alternative Stage (after having our tickets exchanged for wristbands – by the way how long is it acceptable to wear festival wristbands for? Because I’ve still got mine on a week or so later lol) and stumbled upon ‘WifiWars’. We didn’t know what it was but my sister recognised Steve from Go 8 Bit on TV and eventually found out that basically it was a massive video game competition with smartphones. So we logged onto the website and joined the blue team and played various games such as good ol’ snake, penalty shoot out, a sort of adventure game called ‘Dragons Lair’ and a first person shooter game, all with varying success. But we like to think we helped the blue team to victory as when we entered they were losing by about 300 points to the reds and in the end we actually won by 60 points (ish)!! It was really fun, I would definitely do it again.

The first band we wanted to see was The Amazons on the Festival Republic Stage (I should add all the stages except the main stage were in fact very large tents). Although we didn’t know many of their songs, they were still fun to listen to and the crowd was really getting into the music.

Next I think we decided to head over to the BBC Introducing Stage, where we saw Olly Chamberlain, and eat some lunch as it was around 2:00 pm. Olly was actually really good for such a young musician, and I would definitely recommend you check out his music!

I’m struggling to remember the order we saw everything in even though it was a week ago, but I’m pretty sure we went to the Main Stage and saw Rat Boy afterwards. I’d actually seen Rat Boy before in 2015 as they supported The 1975. I can’t really remember much of their music from then, I just remember not being able to hear very clearly as it was an indoor venue and the sound reverberated, distorting the music. Oh and I also remember me and my friend were like a few metres away from them whilst queuing to get in as their tour van pulled up round the back of the venue and they all got out for fans to take photos. However I really, really enjoyed their set at Leeds. It had such a summer-y vibe and watching live music in full sunshine is honestly the best thing ever. I mean, nighttime concerts re great but there’s nothing quite like festivals. Some of their songs I recognised from the radio so could sing along a bit, but all of the songs were jams. Since I’ve come up I’ve been listening to their music all week, which is surprising because I didn’t think I’d like their style of music so much!

After we moved closer to the Main Stage because one of our most anticipated sets was n afterwards. I was so excited to see Circa Waves – their music is the definition of summer! I have their vinyl at home and it’s just so upbeat and cheerful – I love it! I’ve been wanting to see Circa Waves for a few years now, as I couldn’t see them on tour last year 😦 I’d been eagerly watching their sets at Glastonbury and Radio 1’s Big Weekend online over the past couple of years, so finally being able to see them live was amazing! I loved how the crowd was so invested in their set too, and so many people were singing along which was great because none of my friends have even heard of them.

After Circa Waves finished their set I was a bit sad because I honestly didn’t want it to end, but the good thing about festivals is there is always more music to listen to, whereas once a concerts over, it’s really over. I think we went to watch Anne Marie next at the BBC Radio 1/NME Stage. I’m not the biggest fan of Anne Marie’s music, but it was worth going to hear the hits Alarm, Ciao Adios and Rockabye and dance along with the crowds. 

I think after that we headed over to the merch stand. Honestly there was so much band merch, not to mention the Leeds merch itself, but we settled on buying a set of Leeds pin badges because we didn’t bring a lot of money with us and are planning on ordering the Leeds t-shirts online when we’ve saved some money.

We went back to the main stage at around 6:30 I think and sat down on the sort of hill that looks down on it and ate some dinner whilst watching Two Door Cinema Club. I didn’t really know much of their music at all, but it was enjoyable to listen to and definitely gave out summer vibes.

When it got to about 7:30 we decided to head closer to the stage and get a good spot because Bastille were on at 7:50. We were both really excited to see Bastille as they’re a band we’ve loved for ages and ages. When they came onto the stage, I couldn’t believe that I was finally watching them perform. The whole set just felt like a dream haha, I didn’t want it to end! Dan was so good at interacting with the crowd (not to mention singing) and the stage set up/background graphics were so cool. I’d definitely recommend you go to see Bastille if you can because they really do know how to put on a show. I had a bit of a sore throat by the end of their set from singing all the words. What was even better was that as they were playing, the sun was setting and it was one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. It really made the moment more special.

We waited around after their set for the headliners of the day – Kasabian – to come on stage. The background graphics for their set were really cool too, and as it was properly dark by then the stage lighting sort of beamed out into the darkness. In the end we only watched half of their set as the crowd was getting a bit rowdy, but I’m glad I got to hear You’re In Love With A Psycho as it’s one of the few songs of theirs I actually know.

We headed away from the main stage and went to see Bear’s Den in another stage which I’ve completely forgotten the name of…ooops. There wasn’t a huge crowd watching them but it was so nie to watch a more intimate set, and their music was really relaxing and peaceful. After they finished, we made the long (well not that long but it feels long when your legs are like jelly from jumping to music all day) walk back to the car park where our parents were waiting to pick us up.

Photo collage including Bastille on the main stage, Circa Waves on the main stage, a poster with the festival line up, Bastille on the main stage again with red smoke over the crowd, Leeds giant red and yellow sign, Bears Den performing, our wristbands, sunset during Bastille and the camping fields
From left to right: Bastille on the main stage, Circa Waves on the main stage, a poster with the festival line up, Bastille on the main stage again, Leeds giant sign, Bears Den performing, our wristbands, sunset during Bastille and the camping fields

It was a long day, but I had an absolutely amazing time and I’d love to return next year if I can!

Sunday

As you can probably guess, Sunday was a lazy day. I didn’t wake up extremely late because I wanted to make the most of my last day up north. For the majority of the morning (after packing my stuff away), my mum and I powered through the Lowry puzzle because we were barely half-finished but wanted to complete it before going home (it was such a difficult puzzle but so worth it). Afterwards we had the (not so) genius idea of trying to turn the puzzle over (because it was a double-sided puzzle) as we wanted to see what the other side looked like. After getting the whole family involved and using various place mats to hold the puzzle together (and a couple of mishaps) we managed it.

We ate lunch outside as it was lovely and sunny – typically all the nice weather arrives on the day you’re leaving. We went for a long walk around the village and neighboring fields in the afternoon as I hadn’t done the usual walk yet that week, and it’s sort of something we always do whilst we’re staying there.

After having dinner, we said our goodbyes and started the long drive home. I was really, really sad to be leaving. I’ve grown so attatched to Yorkshire over the past 10 years that my grandparents have been living there, and I’ve made so many memories there. I felt so relaxed during the holiday it was a shame to come home to the stress of college again. But I definitely made some good memories this time which I will cherish until I can return again.

So, that concludes my adventures in Yorkshire. I’m sorry it’s been such a long post – but it was an action-packed week that I wanted to document here and share with you all. I was hoping to have compiled all my videos from Leeds together to share with you by now, but it’s taking longer than expected as my wifi is so slow it takes half an hour to upload each 1 minute clip to YouTube! So keep an eye out for that in the hopefully near future (I will post about it on here when it is up at last).

I hope you’ve all had a marvelous summer and best wishes to all those venturing back to school in the days to come.

 

 

//Sixth Form Stationary Haul//

Hello! As I’ve probably mentioned too many times already, I’m starting year 13 in September – my second year of Sixth form – so I’ve been stocking up on my stationary throughout August to make sure I’m prepared for the year ahead (also there are so many good back to school deals at this time of year, so I’ve bought *hopefully* enough stuff to last me the whole year).

Some of the stationary I bought last year I am going to re-use this year, so I’ll divide the haul into new stuff and reused stuff just so you can get the whole picture of what stationary I use at Sixth form.

NEW STUFF

I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a good stationary shopping spree?

Papermate Inkjoy set of 8 black pens – Sainsbury’s <£3 

I bought these in a sale so I can’t remember the exact price, but it was under £3 I think! Inkjoy just write so smoothly, and their triangular shape is so comfy to hold. As a leftie I love them because they don’t smudge loads, which prevents me messing up all my work and being covered in ink!

Pukka 400-page Refill Pad – WHSmith £3.49

Okay so at the moment these are on sale for £3.49 (down from £4.99), but I bought my a few months ago when they had a good two for one offer, so I have two of these pads and one 200 page pad. Obviously you can get much cheaper own-brand paper, but I love Pukka Pads becayse the quality is good and they read out well (which I find most own-brand don’t). I also buy some really cheap paper from a local diy sort of store to rewrite my notes onto (although maybe I should rewrite my notes onto the expensive paper and use the cheap stuff for rough notes?? Who knows).,

Extra strong file dividers 20 pack – Sainsbury’s £1.50 (down from £2)

These! Are! Honestly! An! Essential! They’re plastic so they don’t rip like some of the card/papers ones do, plus you can label the tabs with little stickers which you can peel of and replace so you can reuse your file dividers!!! Honestly they helped to keep my folders so organised last year and they’re nice colours as well! They come in packs of 20 and I use 10 per folder as they fit nicely, plus it’s an even number to divide units into. One thing I would advise is to stock up on them now (because last year I only​ ly bought one pack, so had enough for two folders and had to buy cardboard ones for the other five) as last year Sainsbury’s didn’t stock them anymore after the back to school period in August/September, so that’s something to bear in mind! (I still need to buy another pack as well so I have enough for French).

Staedtler Rainbow Ball 432 ten pack of pens – Ryman £3.99

I haven’t tested these pens yet, but I’ve heard many good things about them! When it comes to note taking, rainbow ballpoints are my go to (for some reason I just can’t get into fine liners??). I used to always use the Papermate Inkjoy set of 10 rainbow oensy, but now it seems they’ve decommissioned that set and you can only get an 8 pack or a 16 pack (or pay ridiculous amounts for the 10 pack on Amazon) so this year I had to switch loyalties and try out Staedtler. The good thing is, the colours are exactly the same as the Papermate ones! (Also the pens are upside down because I took them out the packet to look at them and couldn’t get them back in the right way).

REUSED STUFF

Sometimes you can save money on stationary by reusing stuff from previous years!

Blue floral pencil case – Sainsbury’s

I cannot remember how much this cost as I got it way back in year 10 for Christmas, but no matter as it’s not available anymore anyway. However I still love it and although it’s went on the corners, it’s still perfectly useable! It’s also just the right size to fit everything I need in but not be too bulky in my rucksack. I actually washed it recently because I didn’t want my new stationary to get dirty 😂 A pencil lcase is definitely an essential though to carry around all your pens, pencils, rubbers, rulers etc.


Stabilo Boss Pastel Highlighters 6 Pack – Sainsbury’s £5

I bought these last year for my revision as a treat and also because my other highlighters were running out. They are such lovely colours, are long-standing and really smooth to use! Would definitely recommend. I’ll be keeping them at home this year to use when I’m rewriting notes and revising as I always found that whenever I was doing homework, I would need my highlighters that were in my school bag in the cupboard under the stairs, and me being me couldn’t be bothered to go and get them all the time!

Ring binders (middle) – Wilko £1-£2

Slim ring binders (right) – Staples £1-£2

Lever arch files (left) – free!

All of these folders (+ more) were used in my filing system from last year. I experimented with different ways of organising my notes, and found that all three folder types worked best for me. I have one slim ring binder for every Sunday ject, which I use to travel sport my notes from the last few lessons to college on a daily basis (lessons dependant) then when we’d finished a unit/topic, I would transfer that unit (with it’s own dedicated folder dividers) into the normal width ring binders. I had two normal ring binders for geography (one for human and one for physical) and history (one for Britain and one for America) and one for French (because you take less notes). At the end of the acedemic year, my dad got hold of some lever arch files for me which his work was (and still is) giving away to employees for free. I transferred all my notes from my normal ring binders into these lever arch files, so I now have one lever arch file each for geography, history and French, meaning all my normal ring binders and slim ring binders are free to use for this year! I’ve but my lever arch files into storage under my bed, and my dad has kindly.got me three more lever arch files that I shall transfer my second year notes into next year. Now I’ve got a good set of varying folders, I’ll keep reusing them throughout my education.

Everyone’s filing system is different – some people keep current notes in notebooks before transferring them to ring binders, others just have one ring binder that they take all their current subject notes in on a day to day basis – there’s so many different ways of doing it! It definitely took me a month or so of trying different things to figure out which I preferred!

Well, that’s the end of my mini stationary haul. There are other things that I use such as post-it notes and index cards, but I thought I’d just cover the essentials (mainly because I need to stock up on the other things)! I hope you enjoyed reading 🙂

//Reflections On Writing//

You know, I’ve always admired the way that L can convey his thoughts and ideas by stringing words together in a way that makes them flow seamlessly across the page and become a work of art. They aren’t merged together in a higgledy-piggledy fashion like most of my rushed rambles and spools of thoughts turn out to be, instead it feels​ as if each word coexists with it’s neighbours in peace and is as deserving of it’s position as the next, and the next and the next.

When I did a poll on Twitter recently asking what my followers wanted to read on my blog, the winning option turned out to be “random thoughts”. Although polls are reletavely insignificant in the grand scheme of things, it has made me think about my own writing style. L’s writing is a joy to read and an inspiration, as are so many other bloggers within this community, but sometimes I wonder why it is that people read what I have to write here, in all it’s un-spectacularity.

I realised, after some thought, that it’s for the same reason that I enjoy reading other bloggers writing – because within words there is life. 

Thibk about it – a machine couldn’t craft sentences with such emotion and meaning as a human being – the art of writing is truly something that can’t be lost to the “digital age”. Not least because there is an army of bloggers here prepared to fight for it.

Writing is something truly special and unique, a glance through a keyhole into the inner workings of someone’s mind, a fragment of a window into another person’s life. I find it fascinating how we all have or own ways of writing and conveying our thoughts, how there are infinite possibilities and meanings of the order that words are placed in. Typing out each word is like taken footsteps through a thick forest – you don’t always know which way you’re going to go or which twists your writing will take, but you know that each person traversing that forest will take unique combination of twist and turns and leave a unique trail of footsteps, such as each blogger types out a unique combination of words, leaving their very own digital footprints.

On reflection of that Twitter poll, I’m not sure if this is anything like what people wanted to read when they voted for “random thoughts” because such as the forest there were many ways I could have gone about writing this. This is just one of many infinite outcomes of my writing and another trail of footprints documented here. So I very much hope you enjoyed reading this random train of thoughts and phylosophical style that I have got out of habit of writing in, and I wish my fellow bloggers on their various wordful journeys a happy day.

//Tips for starting Sixth Form//

Hello! As you probably know by now, I’m studying A Levels here in the UK at a sixth form college. This September I’ll be going into year 13 (eek!) so as I’ve been learning in a sixth form environment for a year now I thought I’d share some advice and tips with you for any of you who will be going into year 12 this September, or in years to come!

Before I start, I have written some posts giving advice about sixth for before, so if you would like some tips on how to manage your work load and revise for exams or want to read about my experience of year 12, then you may want to check out the linked posts as well!

As I do tend to rant quite a lot about A Levels on here, I’m going to be talking more about Sixth Form itself today, because the prospect of starting year 12 at a college or sixth form that isn’t joined to your secondary school can be quite daunting!

Try to relax – everyone is friendly!

know this is much easier said than done, but honestly I was so nervous about starting sixth form that it took me a while to settle in and I didn’t take advantage of the first few weeks as much as I should have done in terms of making new friends. Of course you’re bound to be a little nervous, but it’s important to remember that everyone else is in the same boat. If you’re lucky enough to have friends from secondary school at your sixth form/college, then that’s great – they’ll already make you feel a bit more comfortable, but if not, you definitely won’t be the only person who doesn’t know anyone. It may be hard to believe but people at college are a lot more friendly. For my first week – induction week – I literally didn’t know anyone in my group, and it was scary at first as I was the first to arrive in my allocated classroom for that week, but as soon as more people started to arrive I wasn’t the only one who was on my own and a group of friendly girls sat with me and we hung around with each other for the first week, which really helped! So I would say don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people and try not to let your nerves get the better of you!

Teachers aren’t always intimidating!

When I first started year 12, I did find most of my teachers quite intimidating, purely because I didn’t know them as my college isn’t joined to my old secondary school and the way that A Levels are taught was new to me, so at first it was a little overwhelming when they kept using complicated language that I didn’t understand and it felt like they had high expectations of us already. But really your teachers are there to help you, so if you’re stuck ask! Now I’ve got to know them better, my A Levels teachers are some of the best teachers I’ve ever had and you can have a lot more relaxed relationship with them than at school. Whatever you’re stuck with, they’re always there to help, not to mention they have an incredible knowledge of their subjects!

Enjoy the freedoms of being a Sixth Former

Something important to remember is that as a Sixth Former, you typically will have more freedoms than you had at secondary school. For example wearing your own clothes instead of a uniform and having free periods. I think sometimes this is what makes the whole sixth form experience more enjoyable as you have more freedom to express yourself and more responsibilities. It really helps you to mature and learn to manage your time better as well once you have to decide what the best use of your free periods are.

Try to buy your text books early on up

It’s best to try and get all of your required text books early on in September as otherwise there may be a sudden rush as every A Level student in the country tries to get their hands on the same books, so you have to wait for more copies to be printed (*cough cough* AQA French). Bear in mind that they are expensive though so maybe have some money saved if you can. If you can’t get your hands on the text books however, you could take them out from your sixth form library in the meantime as you don’ want to get behind in your learning.

Sixth form can be expensive

This kind of links in to the previous point, but as well as the cost of text books, there can be other significant costs that you’ll have to pay out when starting and during sixth form. To give you an idea, when I started last year I had to pay out around £120 on my textbooks (for three subjects) alongside £70 for a bus pass for the autumn term (as my nearest college is about an hour away). On top of that, I had to buy lots of stationary that I hadn’t previously needed at school such as ring binder folders, plastic wallets, tonnes of paper and refill pads, folder dividers, French dictionaries ect. and although I can’t remember exactly how much I spent on it all as I didn’t buy it all at once, it was probably around £50-worth of stationary. The good thing is that most of your stationary you can reuse for the next year of sixth form. As well as buyg the basics you need to do your course, there’s also the added cost of clothes to think about as if you go to a sixth form that doesn’t have a uniform like me, then you may find that you don’t have enough clothes to wear everyday or that your clothes (and shoes for that matter) wear out quickly. 

Now I’m not trying to put you off by outlining the costs, but it’s important to be aware of them so you can put some money aside and make sure you have everything you need for sixth form. However, it is worth investigating if your college offers bursaries for low-income families and to see if you are eligible. This has been very helpful for me as it means I get some money each term from the college to cover the cost of books and stationary, as well as them paying for my spring and summer term bus passes. They also paid for half of my trip to Marseille with college which I am so grateful for as although it wasn’t extremely expensive, it definitely helped my parents out to not have to pay for the whole trip. So bursaries are definitely something you should look into if you think you may struggle with the costs of college but as I mentioned before, teachers are friendly so if you are having any financial problems throughout the year, you should definitely seek advice from them and they may be able to help you by loaning you a text book until you can pay for it for example.

Look after yourself

My last tip would be to make sure you’re taking care of yourself too, as well as all your academic needs. Starting college or sixth form can be quite an upheaval and although you may think you’ll be able to cope as you’re older than when you started secondary school, sometimes the stress can affect you in different ways. So of course make sure you’re working hard and meeting deadlines, but don’t forget to schedule in times to meet up with friends or relax at home with a book, because everyone needs a break sometimes and you’ll be able to focus much better because of it!

Well, that’s all my tips for today, all that’s left to say is good luck to anyone starting sixth form and everyone else who’s heading back to school in the next few weeks! If you have any questions about sixth form, then I’m happy to answer them as always. 🙂

//Exploring London; East To West//

Hello! After visiting Royal Holloway University back in June, I decided that I loved being near London and haven’t explored the capital nearly as much as I’d liked to. To be fair, I do live on the other side of the country to London, but now I’m (almost) and adult, it’s much easier for me to travel. So, this summer I’ve been lucky enough to go to London twice – the first time to East London and the second to West London (hope you got that from the title lol).

Some of you may know that in July, London hosted the Parathletics World Championships at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (built for the 2012 Olympics). My family and I love watching sport and as we hadn’t managed to get tickets for the Olympic Park during the 2012 games, we decided to go and watch some Parathletics, and the Olympic Park definitely lived up to it’s hype – the grounds are beautiful and the stadium itself and the atmosphere from the crowd during the Parathletics was magnificent!

Olympic Stadium
Olympic Stadium
Parathletes lining up for the 5000m race
Parathletes lining up for the 5000m race

As the Olympic Park is located in Stratford,East London, we drove past the East London Docklands – Canary Wharf – and through several areas of East London such as Poplar, Newham and Hackney. Whenever I’ve been to London before we’ve always stated in the centre in the tourist-y areas, so going to East London felt completely different. Although East London is considered to be the more deprived region of London, and many of the streets surrounding the bubble of the Olympic Park were covered in more graffiti than I’ve ever seen before in my life, I loved the feel of the region – it had character and after studying East London in geography, it was so interesting to actually see it first hand.

Canary Wharf skyline from a distance
Canary Wharf skyline from a distance

I really enjoyed the time we spent in East London although we didn’t venture far from the Olympic Park (other than when we were driving there and back). I’d definitely love to go back and explore more of the culture there!

After going to London for the Parathletics, I’d definitely caught the London bug and wanted more than anything to return to the city – I just love how it’s so vastly different in all the boroughs and regions and it’s so full of culture and life. So a few weeks ago me and my sister booked tickets with Megabus to go to London again for the day, but this time West London.

After waking up at 5:30 to get the bus at 6:30 then the Megabus itself at 8:15 (because they Megabus left from Bristol so we had to get to Bristol first) last Wednesday, we spent a lovely day in London exploring Chelsea, Westminster and Kensington. We’d never travelled without our parents before so it was a completely new experience, and it was a bit nervewracking, but I’m so proud of us for managing to navigate our way across West London as we walked from Victoria Coach Station to the Natural History Museum – an area we hadn’t been to for about 10 years.

We did get a little lost on the way there but we eventually arrived outside the stunning museum (I couldn’t get any good photos of the architecture though as there were so many trees in front of it!). There were huge queues for the entrance – and I mean huge I’d never seen so many people queuing for something! But we managed to find the back entrance which had a much shorter queue.

Back of the Natural History Museum
Back of the Natural History Museum

The museum was really interesting! Some bits I remembered from when I went years ago,like the human biology bit, but we went in a really cool exhibit about volcanoes and earthquakes (which kind of made me like geography a bit more) and everything space-y. We went in an earthquake simulator (where I attempted to film it but almost fell over when sorting out the camera because the floor started moving unexpectedly). It was set out like a Japanese supermarket and the lights went out and everything was shaking on the shelves, it was quite scary but having never been in an earthquake I’m not sure how realistic it was.

Part of the earthquake simulator shop
Part of the earthquake simulator shop

We also saw the blue whale skeleton which has replaced the diplodocus that had been in the main hall for years previously – it was really cool! We didn’t manage to look round the whole museum because it was HUGE, despite spending hours in there!

Blue whale skeleton
Blue whale skeleton

After we’d finished looking round, we had about an hour before we needed to head back to the coach station, so as it was sunny and hot we wandered down the road past Imperial College London into Hyde Park. We didn’t venture far into the park but it was so nice to sit in the shade by the Albert Memorial and Royal Albert Hall and relax.

Albert Memorial in Hyde Park
Albert Memorial in Hyde Park

I think my favourite part of the day was walking back to the coach station, as we used Google maps to navigate our way and it took us a different way to we came in the morning. Honestly I felt a bit out of place because we were walking through what felt like a really posh area of London. I mean, there streets were lined with towering white houses with balconies covered with plants and flowers (a.k.a. what I imagine Paris to be like).

Also there were hotels with posh cars outside and chauffeurs. Not to mention we walked past Harrod’s which LOOKS LIKE AN ACTUAL PALACE (we had to look it up on Google maps because we couldn’t work out why there would be a palace in the middle of the highsteeet and then ofund out it was Harrod’s). All the shops were really posh too – I loved this Harvey Nichols window display with suticases with wings.

I was sad to leave the city behind at the end of the day but I was shattered after getting up so early and spend 8 hours in total traveling. However I was so impressed with the Megabus coach service,considering it’s so cheap! We also stopped off at Heathrow airport to pick people up on the way back and as I’d never been before I was overwhelmed by how huge it was! I was glad to get home at last and go to sleep but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in West London,which was so different in comparison to East London, but I enjoyed and loved both visits to the city just the same!
Have you been to London recently? Where’s your favourite place to go?