//A Weird Kind of Happiness//

Hello! As you can probably tell from the title, I am in an oddly happy mood today. The past week has been quite stressful so it’s nice – yet surprising – to end it on a positive note.

I don’t know why but everything about today just seems so…perfect? Well, maybe not perfect (I don’t really know what I’m trying to say here so just bear with) but just lots of nice things have been happening.

Firstly, I Skyped the lovely Elly last night. There’s always something *magical* about Skyping blogger friends, hence I’m still in that kind of ecstatic mood where I can’t believe I actually talked to one of my internet friends face-to-face. I really enjoyed chatting to Elly and it helped me relax after a stressful week, so thank you very much Elly for always being so amazing ❤

Secondly, I’m wearing my favourite jumper ever today. It’s a knitted mustard-coloured jumper and it’s soooo comfy I just love it so much. It does make me feel very much like a Hufflepuff but I don’t mind because I really admire Hufflepuff house. Even though I am a proud Ravenclaw, I feel like I can relate a lot to Hufflepuff too so I think it’s nice to acknowledge my other, less obvious traits from time to time.

Another great thing was that my hair actually managed to stay in a bun today, despite the fact that I’ve recently had it cut to just below shoulder length. I also managed to go shopping between doing homework and buy a notebook and a candle (two of my favourite things ever) then proceeded to spend an hour or so taking photos of them (bc aesthetics amiright?).

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The candle.
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The notebook – on the spine it says ‘Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures’ and on the front it says ‘Explore’ and has a really pretty pattern.

This morning there was this aesthetic board tag thing going round on Twitter and even that made me happy to see other people’s aesthetics and make my own (which you can see below).

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That inspired me to go through my old phone photos and find pictures to make aesthetic boards with so I spent a fair bit of time doing that.

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Here’s the ‘Daydreamer’ aesthetic I made.

Then I decided to make a Tumblr account because I need more aesthetics/just generally cute and fandom-y things in my life and I want to make things and share them with people but I haven’t got very far in setting it up yet as Tumblr is very confusing lol. I have managed to choose my blog name and design though and upload my avatar image so that’s a start! I just need to figure out how it actually works.

Whilst doing all that, I’ve been listening to Bastille’s ‘Wild World’ album on repeat and fell in love with Bastille all over again (lets be honest, I never stopped loving Bastille).

So all in all, it’s just been a very lovely, relaxing day and the first time I’ve felt genuinely happy for a while. 🙂 I keep thinking throughout the day about how wonderful all you guys are. I really couldn’t have wished for better friends than the ones I’ve made on here and on Twitter and I love you all so, so much ❤

Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend!!

 

 

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//Lets Talk About…Bisexuality//

Earlier on this week, Victoria wrote an important post about bisexual myths in aid of supporting #BiWeek. Before reading her post, I didn’t even know bi week was a thing (being relatively new to the lgbt+ community) and as soon as I heard of it I just had to get involved.

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GLAAD – an organisation that uses the media to educate society about the struggles LGBT people face and helping them overcome them by promoting equality.  (Graphic is from here).

As part of #BiWeek – co-created by GLADD – today, 23rd September 2016, marks annual Celebrate Bisexuality Day so I though it would be fitting to talk about my feelings towards bi-erasure which is something that, sadly, often goes hand-in-hand with bisexuality.

Bisexual erasure can be defined as:

the tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or reexplain evidence of bisexuality in history, academia, news media and other primary sources. In its most extreme form, bisexual erasure can include denying that bisexuality exists.

As you can probably guess, bi-erasure can take many forms. The one I have come across most, however, is the misunderstanding that sexuality is determined by the gender of the person you are in a relationship with. For instance, if you are in a relationship with a member of the opposite sex, it is automatically assumed you are straight, and if you are in a relationship with a member of the  same sex, it is automatically assumed you are gay.

I think the basis of this misconception boils down to lack of awareness as to what bisexuality actually is. So here’s a quick definition:

Bisexuality – being attracted to both members of the same sex and the opposite sex but not necessarily equally or at the same.

Therefore, a bisexual person can be in a relationship with a member of the same sex, knowing that there is the possibility of them being attracted to a member of the opposite sex in the future and vice versa. When bisexual people enter relationships with members of the same sex, they don’t magically ‘become’ gay, the same as they don’t ‘become’ straight when they’re in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex.
Although it’s great that society is coming to accept lesbians and gay men more, we need to clarify that there aren’t just gay people and straight people, that there are many other sexualities in between, bisexuality being one of them.

So, when a bisexual person is in a relationship with someone of the same sex, they are bisexual. And when a bisexual person is in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex, guess what? They are still bisexual.

I understand the concept of bisexuality can be confusing to some people, but I hope my post has helped to show you just how straightforward it is, or should be. 🙂

By spreading the word and helping people understand bisexuality, the issue of bi-erasure will (hopefully) be tackled. Because it’s hard enough trying to figure out what your sexuality is, then find the confidence to identify as that only to be told that your sexuality ‘doesn’t exist’ or is ‘just a phase’. So to all my fellow bisexuals, lets spend today celebrating our sexuality and fighting against bi-erasure and the various forms it can take. 🙂


//Why I’ve left Scouts…//

It makes me really, genuinely, sad to have to write this. Scouting has been a HUGE part of my life for the past 8 or so years. I never thought I’d voluntarily stop Scouting but here I am, giving it up. 

The truth is, I never really fitted in at Explorer Scouts. I’ve been at my Explorer Scout unit for over two years now and have seen many people come and go yet I never really felt like I fitted in with anyone there. I just couldn’t be myself around those people which is what drove me to leave in the end. I don’t feel as if I fit in anywhere at the moment, not even with my friends and family but that’s another matter.
So I didn’t see the point of carrying on going to Explorer Scouts when I just felt so out of place and couldn’t enjoy myself because of this. I think  it’s a good time to move on from something when you stop enjoying it, or at least that’s what I’ve been telling myself since I decided to leave.

Leaving Explorer Scouts, however, means that I also have to stop volinteering with Cub Scouts, which is something I love and am deeply sad about giving it up. I do feel like I’ve gained a lot from the past two years I’ve been volunteering there. I’m more confident in my socialising skills for one thing and I like to think that maybe I helped to make those kids lives a little better and a little happier. I’ll miss them all, especially as I never got to say goodbye, but I’ll always remember them.

I do feel as if a part of me is sort of missing now that Scouting is no longer a part of my life, but I am ready for the challenges that my next adventures bring, whatever they may be, and will always cherish the memories and friends I’ve made over the years. I just need to keep telling myself that I am NOT giving up, I’m just moving on to find something that makes me happier, and that’s okay. 🙂

//How To Fall (Back) In Love With Reading//

Short answer: pick up a book and just read it because OMG THE COVERS ARE SO PRETTY AND THE BEST FEELING EVER IS WHEN YOU GET EMOTIONALLY ATTACHED TO FICTIONAL CHARACTERS (except from when/if they die) AND START TO IMAGINE YOURSELF LIVING IN THEIR FICTIONAL WORLD (totally not referring to a certain poplar ~magical~ realm here…).

But for some people, falling in love (or back in love with reading, as I’m sure there are others out there who fall in and out of phases of reading ALL THE BOOKS then not reading much at all. as I tend to do) with reading – and therefore books – isn’t so easy (*sighs* what a miserable life that must be…) so here’s a longer, more helpful answer!

Try out different genres.

It took me ages to work out what genres of books I like – in fact I’m probably still trying to figure it out now! Finding the right genre for you can be hard, and often requires you to read a variety of books of various genres, some you’ll find will interest you, others will not. But once you’ve found a book that you do love, explore other books in that genre. Sometimes I go off reading for a while because I’ve spent a lot of time just reading books from a particular genre. It’s easy to forget that there are other genres out there when you’ve had your head stuck in various historical fiction books for months for example (as happens to me often) so sometimes trying a new genre can help you get into reading again. And you never know, you may discover a new genre that interests you on your quest back to loving reading!

Visit book stores.

This sounds pretty obvious, but never underestimate the power of a trip to a good book store. Seeing shelves upon shelves of shiny, colourful covers, each enclosing their own unique, exciting stories, waiting to be discovered always makes me fall back in love with books and if you’re new to reading, or haven’t been a big reader in the past, then book stores are a great place to start! The sheer multitude of books available in bookstores means you’re BOUND to find something that catches your interest, so don’t be afraid to spend time browsing through the books on offer and finding a story that interests you.

Make use of your local library.

Libraries can seem very daunting at first. I mean, there are stacks and stacks of books and everyone seems to look very purposeful in a library, knowing exactly which shelves to go to, picking up the first book they see, and leaving within the space of 5 minutes. But take your time to look around and explore all the FREE books that are on offer to you. The great thing about libraries is that you can borrow, and read, the books, without paying anything so then if you end up not liking the book, you haven’t wasted your money on it. I’d also suggest to take a look at your libraries website, where you can search for books and see which libraries have them on the shelves and place reservations on books you’d like to read but are not currently at your library – the library will then deliver these to your local library for you to pick up. If your library doesn’t happen to have the book you want to read, then you can request the library service to buy it, so you and others can enjoy that book.

Use Goodreads.

Goodreads is amazing. I only started using it properly a few months ago and I’m so glad I did! It as many wonderful features that help you discover new books and keep you motivated to read. For example you can display which book you are currently reading and update your progress on that book as your reading it. It really motivates me to keep up my reading, even if it’s just to see the little progress bar move along.

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My ‘currently reading’.

You can also set yourself a goal of a set amount of books to read in the year. This year I set myself 20 books, as I started pretty late through the year, and I’ve currently read 11 – I’m reading the 12th at the moment and bought two books last weekend, which will make my total up to 14 once I’ve read them. I’m determined to reach my goal by the end of the year and set myself a higher target for next year! As I mentioned previously, Goodreads is great for finding new books. You can select the genres you are interested in, and Goodreads will recommend you books based on those genres and books you’ve already read.

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Some of Goodread’s recommendations for me.

I also find the listopia feature quite useful. You can, for example, type ‘young adult dystopia’ into the search bar, click the ‘listopia’ tab, and it was show you lists have of ‘young adult dystopia’ books,ranked in order of popularity.

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A YA dystopia list.

Goodreads also allows you to rate and review books, as well as reading others reviews. I always find it intriguing to read my friends reviews of books and see how they felt about them. Okay, that’s enough about Goodreads for now. I could ramble on about it FOREVER. It’s just so amazing.

Use Amazon’s book store.

I tend to use Amazon’s book store more than Goodreads for finding new books, purely because I find their filtering options more specific.

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Amazon’s book store homepage.

As you can see, there are various different genres on the left side bar. When you click on a genre, it then displays a variety of sub genres so you can narrow down your search for books as much as you want and it will then list the results for you.

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Young Adult sub categories.

Another thing I love about Amazon’s book store, is that you can order your search in order of publication date, meaning that it will show you a list of books starting with upcoming releases (up to two years in advance) so you can plan which books you want to pre-order/read in the future.

As with Goodreads, Amazon also shows you reviews of the books, although I personally prefer the reviewing system on Goodreads. What I find useful about Amazon though, is that it tells you the prices of the books and you can buy them straight from there.

I tend to use both Amazon and Goodreads in conjuction with eachother – I look for new books on Amazon, then add them to my ‘to read’ shelf in Goodreads, so I can keep track of all the books I want to read easily.

Part of falling in love – or back in love – with reading is discovering new books, so I’d highly recommend both Goodreads and Amazon’s Books Store for this. Obviously there are various other bookstores where you can discover new books on their website, which is handy if your prefer to buy books in stores, instead of online, but my personal favourites are these too.

I hope I’ve given you some useful tips about falling in love with reading. If you have any other tips, feel free to share them below!