Amsterdam Day 3|Art, architecture and nature :)

Amsterdam Rijks

Day 1| Day 2

Day 3!!!!!!! We all managed to get a much better sleep, and as we were planning to have a more relaxing day today, we weren’t in a rush to have breakfast and go out. I actually really enjoyed breakfast at the hostel, as I mentioned before the food was really nice, but also the general atmosphere of the hostel was very friendly, despite the mixture of ages and nationalities. Also the restaurant area was really artsy with bright, colourful patterns and words relating to Amsterdam written over the walls in big letters (looked nicer than it sounds, trust me!!).

Our first stop of the day was again the nearby Albert Heijn to buy lunch for the day – I bought some honey stroopwafels which were delicious!!!!! I’ve been obsessed with stroopwafels since my swap box with Michelle a few years ago, so thanks to her for introducing me to them! I couldn’t leave the Netherlands without buying some!

Our plans for the day were to visit the Rijksmuseum which is a museum of Dutch art and history across the past few centuries. Since we are under 19, our tickets were free which was cool! The actual architecture of the Rijksmuseum building is so beautiful (I attempted to draw it in today’s header but lol it doesn’t do it justice!!) and HUGE. When we were inside, we somehow walked past the desk where you could collect a map, so we ended up wandering around the various floors and exhibitions not really knowing where we were??

Rijksmuseum

I think we managed to see most of the Renaissance exhibition, which had many religion-based paintings and artefacts from France, Italy and Spain from what I can remember! I particularly liked these mourning statues.

Row of metal mourning statues

We then went on a hunt for the library as I’d seen photos online beforehand it was definitely worth having a look!! I mean, wouldn’t it be amazing to have your own library like this with spiral stairs?!?!?

Library
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We then ended up upstairs where we saw an exhibition about the Napoleonic era and some Vincent van Gogh paintings!! I was really excited to see the van Gogh paintings – I think these are probably the most famous pieces of artwork I have seen (I went to the Tate Modern years ago but can’t actually remember what art I saw as smol Em wasn’t as into art). I’d love to see Starry Night one day.

Van Gogh self portrait and other paintings

Finally we made it to the Hall of Honour on the top floor where famous Dutch paintings (I think they were just Dutch but as I didn’t have the guide I could be wrong) are displayed. Here we saw Rembrandt’s The Night Watch and admiring the huge stained glass windows at the end of the hall.

The Night Watch, Rembrandt

Somewhere in the museum, we also came across this Studio Drift exhibition which I believe is called Shylight. I think they’re meant to represent flowers opening and closing – they were really relaxing to watch and almost kind of hypnotic??

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Overall, I really enjoyed visiting the Rijksmuseum – my inner art-lover was happy although wishing we had more time to explore the whole museum and other art galleries in Amsterdam!

We ate lunch in Museumplein, watching the hustle and bustle of people around the i.amsterdam sign and desperately trying to shoo away pigeons that kept trying to eat our stroopwafels and fruit!! We did walk around Museumplein as well and almost went into the Moco Museum as there was a big Banksy exhibition there and Banksy is from Bristol (near home!!). However we didn’t have enough time to go in as we had other things planned for the afternoon. We also saw Stedelijk and the Van Gogh Museum, which I definitely want to come back and visit!

Our next plan was to try to find the bus stop that we would have to take the airport express from the following morning. The stop was by the Rijksmuseum but it took us ages to find it because for some reason, when we got off the bus there a few days ago, the bus didn’t actually stop near the bus stop so we weren’t sure if it was the correct one, but after checking timetables and signs we figured it out eventually.

As the sun had come out and it was getting warmer, we headed over to Vondelpark to walk around and explore. My friend showed us the hostel she stayed in last year that was in the entrance to Vondelpark, then we walked around a few of the lake areas and ended up just sitting down and chilling for a bit in the sunshine. I love parks and nature, so it was really relaxing to be out of the busy streets into a more peaceful area of the city!

Flower bed and statue

After a few hours, we headed back to our hostel as we wanted to head out for dinner earlier as it was our last night. We chose to go the De Carrousel Pannenkoeken for dinner, which was a really cool pancake house on an old carousel. It was in an area of Amsterdam that we hadn’t explored yet, so it was nice to see a different area of the city! (Plus pancakes are delicious!!!!!!!!). I had a ham and cheese pancake and then poffertjes (which are a Dutch speciality, kind of like mini-pancakes???) with cherries and cream – it was sooo nice!!

Finally we went back to the hostel and packed our things as we had to check out early for our flight the next day. We spent the evening in the hostel bar watching the England/Croatia game, which was possibly a bad idea as most of the guests were supporting Croatia so we just hid in a corner haha.

I was kind of sad it was our last day, because I was really enjoying the trip and the freedom of being able to do what we wanted to do that I hadn’t experienced before on family holidays or school trips – I actually felt like a responsible adult for once! However as I loved Amsterdam so much, I knew I would be coming back some day! 🙂

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How To Bullet Journal

Hello dear people of the interweb. I have unfortunately come down withsome sort of cold/flu thing (urghh) and although I am falling behind on college work, I don’t have the strength or focus to tackle much of it, so I decided to blog instead, because that’s still productive right?

I’ve been saying to various people that I will write a post about bullet journalling for a while now, so I’ve finally got round to it!

Disclaimer: the photos aren’t great quality because I couldn’t stand around for long without feeling dizzy this morning, so sorry about that!

My bullet journal

I’m going to start off by talking about my bullet journal. I started journalling back in September a few weeks into the new school year because I thought it might help me to be more organised and the creativity of a bullet journal would help me relax. Those two things have proven to be true, as I will explain further into the post.

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This is my bullet journal, the one with the green/blue/beige zig-zag pattern. It’s a bit smaller than regular bullet journals, as you can probably see compared to the other notebooks in the image. I bought it from TKMaxx (because they always have awesome notebook collections in store) but it was actually made by a German company (of which I can’t remember the name).

Bullet journal set-up

When I started my bullet journal I had to do some research into the general set-up of a bullet journal (what pages you need, what layouts you can use etc.). I started mine off with an index page as you can see below that I add to as my bullet journal grows. I just write the title of the page/section and then put the page numbers in brackets.

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Next I have my future log, which is where I write down events/plans for the future in a list so I remember to add them in to my weekly spreads. Once an event has passed, I cross it off.

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I should add that after the index and future log, I left a spare blank page in case I need more room to add to them.

Then I have my “year at a glance” which spans across two pages and has each month laid out like you would find on a calendar. I’ve highlighted national holidays in one colour and birthdays in another, just so I can have an overall view of what’s happening this year.

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These three sections are the basic set-up for a bullet journal, and after that there are a variety of different things you can do. I decided that I would do a sort of “month at a glance” page at the start of each new month, where I would write out all the dates and fill in things I have going on on each day. This is my January one, which is next to my “Hello 2018” page. I haven’t got much going on this month as you can see, but some months are busier than others!

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I also use the month at a glance page to set out the colour scheme for the month. January’s colour is red, so I used red pens/pictures to decorate the page. This means that all the weekly spreads in January will have a red theme too, it helps me keep structure to my bullet journal and when it comes to making the spreads, it’s a lot easier as I know I just need to find red materials to make the pages.

Here are some of my weekly spreads from previous months that show the different colour schemes:

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September and it’s orange theme.

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October was blue.

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November was purple.

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December was red/green (alternate weeks) for Christmas.

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And as you can see again, January is also red.

Using symbols

As my bullet journal is mainly used for academic purposes, a lot of what I write on the weekly spreads is homework or revision, so I use a square symbol to signify that it is something that I need to do and when I’ve completed that task, I’ll tick the square or if I haven’t managed to do it, I’ll put a cross in the square so I know I need to reschedule it.

I also use a triangle symbol to signify events such as birthdays and meetings. I tried using heart symbols for memories, but I didn’t keep this up very long as I decided to use my bullet journal mainly for college.

Bullet journal materials

To be honest you can use any sort of pens and pencils for your bullet journal, and it can be as artsy or basic as you want. Sometimes I don’t have time to do complex weekly spreads so I just take a biro and do a basic set-up.

There are some pens I do tend to use in my bullet journal though, including Stabilo Pastel Highlighters, Zebra Mildliners “Cool” Pack, Flying Tiger Brush Markers (£2 for three double-ended markers is a bargain let’s be honest) and Staedler Rainbow Ball Point Pens.

This is just stationary I’ve accumulated over time and most of it stays in my pencil case so I use it on a daily basis for college and revision, but they do come in handy for bullet journalling too!

Alongside stationary, I also cut out pictures form magazines and newspapers that fit with each months colour scheme or I’ll use post-it notes or paint colour swatches from the local hardware store to decorate my pages. Occasionally I’ll draw or paint something, but that is very rare!

Fitting bullet journalling into your life

The ironic thing about using a bullet journal to organise and schedule your life is that sometimes your life is too busy to find time to journal. I have to admit, if you want to make some really creative weekly spreads then it can take a lot of time, but ti doesn’t have to! I usually set out my weekly spread for the following week on a Sunday afternoon when I’m having a bit of a break from college work. Typically it’ll take me about 20-30 minutes to do a spread but it can be less if I do a really basic one. If I have enough time, I’ll try to do the spread for the week after as well so I can have a weekend off if things get busy.

It can take a lot of commitment to stick to it – to be honest I’m surprised I’ve managed to keep going for so long! But it really does pay off because I feel so much more organised since I started bullet journalling and doing something creative for half an hour a week is really relaxing!

I think that’s just about ti as far as my guide to bullet journalling goes. If you have any questions and tips, please leave them below! Otherwise, happy journalling!

//Tour de Bristol; an artsy guide to the city//

Hello! I’ve always been a creative person, however since A levels became such a major a part of my life, I’ve neglected my arty side and found myself reaching for a paintbrush or my sketchbook much less then I’d like to (*sobs*). 

But! The wonderful Michelle from The Writing Hufflepuff recently started a new series called The Artsy Hufflehoe, where she discusses art exhibitions she has visited recently in Amsterdam, and I absolutely love it! Although there aren’t as many art  a galleries where I live because I don’t live near a capital city, I do live near Bristol, which is such a multicultural city with a vibrant art scene. Michelle’s​ posts have inspired me to explore Bristol’s artsy side (instead of just staying in the shopping quarter haha – when your friends don’t appreciate art rip me) and as Bristol has become my favourite place to relax and escape the small-town-bubble that I usually live in, I was excited to see a different side to the city.

I’ve been to Bristol many times, due to living in Somerset, yet I still haven’t seen the entirety of it! But recently I ventured into the city with my mum and we visited a few of the museum’s and galleries, as well as discovering some of the outdoor art and just general pretty places! 

However, my artsy adventure is no where near finished, so as well as sharing some places I have already been, I’m going to share some things I would like to do and see over the coming months.

The MShed

The first place we went was the MShed (there’s a bit of a theme in Bristol – there’s an MShed, a Cashed, a Watershed – I could go on – basically, all the “sheds” line the harbourside which used to be part of the busy dockyard there and vital to trading, and they’ve now been converted and modernised). The MShed is a free museum documenting the history of the city. You may be wondering how this is artsy, well, let me explain. The way exhibits are presented in the museum is very modern and intuitive – my favourite but is the little model boats in glass blocks in the shed doors, so when you look out you can see the harbourside. (The boats were painted but it was hard to get a photo to show that!)

There was also an exhibition in the second floor, about democracy, fighting for minority rights and a slave trade memorial. Throughout the exhibits there were artworks, often with a political message behind them, this was my favourite!

On the third floor they house temporary exhibits. When we went it was an exhibit on skeletons, which was a bit gruesome, but sometimes they have art exhibitions there!

The Arnolfini

Next we headed to one of Bristol’s most renowned art galleries. I hadn’t been to many galleries before – I have vague recollections of going to the Tate Modern when I was quite small, and a gallery in Cardiff when I was at secondary school, but I guess I was too young for them to have made an impression then. However I really enjoyed the gallery. I loved how one artists exhibition takes over the whole gallery, and there’s loads of little – and big – rooms to explore. 

The exhibition we saw was The Stars Were Aligned For A Century Of New Beginnings by Egyptian artist Basim Magdy. Magdy is a visual artist, so a lot of his works comprised of video clips of his travels where he used different chemicals on the film and experimented with light leaks to give the clips different overlays of colours and patterns. The first thing I noticed about his artwork is that it was quite pessimistic about life, and it was interesting to see the world from that perspective. My favourite clip was on rules of life, where he used tulips with faces drawn on and many other interesting objects as props. The rule that was most poignant to me was along the lines of “don’t pretend to love nature and the environment, we’re all aliens here” – it really made me think.

Another of my favourites was this collection of his works – some of the captions were very interesting, for example:

Sometimes I wish the sky above was a mirror, he said, instead, all the facism, impression and lost lives evaporate into clouds that are only capable of reflecting massive fires.

It just really made me think about the world in a different way, and how much we can learn by reflecting on ourselves.

In the reading room at the top of the gallery, there were questions asked by Magdy on the walls, and people had left there responses on little cards, which I loved reading!

College Green

After visiting the gallery, we wandered round the city, exploring places we wouldn’t normally go. Collage Green is in the university quarter, and when we went it was graduation, so there were tonnes of graduates in their gowns and mortar boards chilling on the grass in the sun. Whilst College Green is very pretty, it’s only once a year it gets turned into a work of art as graduates hang their old shoes from the branches of trees – it was actually quite pretty to look at.

May have just taken this​ photo because there was a pride flag in the distance (that you probably can’t see, tragic)

St Nicholas MarketMarkets are always full of creativity, with people selling handmade goods at every corner, and this was no exception. St Nicholas Market is a permanent market housed in a lovely building (honestly, the curling was so pretty with sculptures and fairy lights, I wish I’d taken a picture!). I went to a little textile shop, because I needed some lace edging for the hem of a dress I’d made into a top, and there was so much choice! It was so lovely.

The Watershed

I actually visited this a few weeks earlier, but thought I’d include it as well! The Watershed is an independent cinema, that shows films from all around the world and is certainly a hub of cinematic arts. I watched a french film here with a friend, and it was brilliant! Plus, the staff are really friendly!

Future visits

So, that’s just a small selection of Bristol’s artsy attractions, but there is so much more I want to see!

  • Spike Island (a contemporary art gallery on the edge of the city centre).
  • Grayson Perry’s The Most Popular Exhibition Ever! (Which is coming to The Arnolfini in September I think!)
  • Bristol Museum and Galleries (I’ve been before but haven’t been in the galleries).
  • Banksy street art tour (Bristol is home to Banksy and if course many other amazing street artists – I’ve seen a few and they are incredible, so I think I’m well overdue a tour).

That’s it for now! Have you ever been to Bristol? Or explored art in other cities? Let me know below!

//What to do with old jeans (and way too much spare time for someone who is in the middle of exams…)//

So today I strangely found myself with loads of spare time on my hands – I woke up quite early and managed to cram in all of today’s and tomorrow’s planned revision in the space of an hour and a half (oops). Considering the weather has been very warm and summery for the past week, I suddenly found myself in need of a more summery wardrobe. Then I remembered a pair of old jeans I had lying in the bottom of my wardrobe that had got too short and decided to make some shorts:

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I’m actually quite pleased with how they turned out (sorry about the rubbish photo by the way, I have no clue how to take decent photos of clothes). They didn’t take too long to make – all I did was cut the jeans in half and sew up the hem. But then I was left with a load of spare denim and thought it would be silly to let it go to waste.

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My cutting in a straight line skills are just amazing, aren’t they?

So then I decided to make some decorations for my room because I love making my room look nice and themed. I decided to make some little hanging heart thingys and write a quote on them.

First I drew out the hearts on the jeans using a template and a permanent marker:100_8340.JPG

Then I cut out all the hearts so I had 12 hearts, then I paired them together so I had six hearts, each with a front and a back.

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I decided to make 3 darker blue ones and 3 lighter blue ones by turning some of the hearts inside out so the inside of what was the jeans was showing. Then I wrote the quote onto the hearts – ‘Be where you want to be’ – I saw it on Pinterest and it really caught my attention so I thought why not? My room has a travel/adventure theme anyway.

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Then (this is by far the longest, most tiring part) I sewed the hearts up, attached part of the seam of the jeans as a little handle and stuffed them using the remainder of the denim. I didn’t take any photos of this stage because I was too lazy to go and find my camera, oops.

Anyway, this is the finished product!

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Here are some close ups of individual hearts because that picture isn’t very clear:

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So that’s basically all I’ve done today but I feel like it’s been a very productive day! I have to go to school tomorrow which sucks because it’s supposed to be the half term break…

Yesterday I had a lovely barbecue with two of my friends and we had a board games evening too which was awesome (although I officially hate the income and super tax in Monopoly as I must have landed on them about 50 times, I couldn’t go past ‘go’ without landing on income tax)!

Hope you’re having a lovely week! 🙂

Oh also I reached 100 followers yesterday!!! Yay! Thank you guys for being so awesome! 🙂

//A little prom update!!!//

So today I have spent a grand total of 4 hours doing politics, maths and physics revision and I think it is fair to say I am absolutely exhausted! I still have about another hour of maths to do later today too so I’m giving myself a break in between.

Since my hand is killing me from writing like crazy for the past 4 hours – here is the evidence of all my hard-work:100_8027.JPGOh the joys of being left-handed…

Anyway, since my hands were aching and I can’t physically write anything without getting cramp, I decided to try out some hairstyles. For some reason braiding or just generally doing stuff with my hair helps to relax my hand muscles after writing for long periods of time (although it does make my arms ache so kind of a win-lose situation).

I’m still trying to decide what to do with my hair for prom so was searching on the internet (as you do) for some braided half up-do’s and came a blog called Twist Me Pretty and instantly fell in love with this particular hairstyle:15.jpgIt’s called a twisted crown braid and you can find the tutorial here.

So I decided to give it a try and it surprisingly not that hard once you get your head around it! Here is my attempt:100_798811.jpg100_799812.jpgI’m pretty pleased with it for a first attempt!! I actually really love this hairstyle and I THINK I might use it for prom but knowing me I’ll probably change my mind by then! But for now I’m thinking I will do the twisted crown braid but before I actually do that I’ll braid my hair to make it curlier because as you can see it is a little unpredictable and today is one of those days where it has decided to not be very curly. I do need to practice it a bit though as getting the bobby pins to stay in at the back is quite hard when you can’t actually see what you are doing.

Sticking with the subject of prom, yesterday I bought my bracelet for prom!!! So that means I have everything now: the dress, the shoes, the clutch bag (you can see all of these here), the jewellery…now all I need is to buy the ticket!!

Here is the bracelet I bought:100_8021.JPGAnd here are the earrings in case you don’t remember. I bought them a while ago and I’m so happy I managed to find a bracelet that has similar beads to my earrings so they kind of match!100_8020.JPGI’m so relieved to have finally got everything – at least that is one less thing to stress about!

Also this week I have gotten back into art a bit. I did a sketch of some fire tulips (not what they are actually called, but that’s what they look like and I don’t know their actual name) in my living room which I am actually quite pleased with. I don’t normally do still-life sketches so didn’t really know where to start but I got there eventually!
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And also yesterday I finished painting the cover of my sketchbook – I painted the front cover a few years ago but have only just got round to painting the back cover! It is inspired by this t-shirt I bought last summer and I am in love with pattern so much I NEEDED to paint it!

This is the t-shirt:
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Here is the back of the sketchbook and my version of the bird print:
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Here is the front of the sketchbook:
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Anyway, so that’s what I have been up to for the last couple of days. It feels odd still being on spring holidays when pretty much everywhere else is back at school. I keep waking up and thinking ‘oh no I’ve overslept – I should be at school’ then realising I don’t have to go back until Monday! It has really messed up my body clock but I guess it will all be alright when I go back to school (didn’t think I would ever write ‘alright’ and ‘school’ in the same sentence but there we go).

Hope you are all ok! Bye! 🙂