Summer’s The Word #1: a new series + bucket list with a twist

Summer's The Word

Hello! I feel like I don’t know how to start posts anymore argh but I hope you’re all doing well! If you’re in the UK, you’ll know that we’ve been having a (bit) of a heat wave lately, which I have been loving – what a great way to start the summer (ha yes sunburnt and exhausted from the heat but it’s cool).

As you may be able to tell from the title (well done to all you observant people), I am starting a mini blog series for the summer called ‘Summer’s The Word’ (I know, I know. It’s a bit cringe-worthy). My thinking behind this is, I want to try to start writing for fun again about what I’m getting up to instead of writing about my thoughts and feelings. Although using my blog as an outlet helps me deconstruct my thoughts, I want my blog to be a more positive place, something I can look back on and be proud of what I have achieved. I’m hoping this series will act as a kind of virtual scrapbook of my summer that I can look back on and smile at all the good times I had.

So, to start of the series, I’m going to be sharing with you my bucket list for summer.

A Bucket List with a Twist

'summer bucket list' written on notebook page

If you’re wondering what the ‘twist’ is (now I’m doubting if this actually even is a twist – is there even a set definition or purpose of a bucket list?? Who knows), I have basically compiled a list of things I would like to do over the summer but prioritising self-care. The last few months have been a bit rocky for me mental health wise and I really want to use my summer to work on getting myself back into a happier state.

Lately I keep remembering things I used to do for fun but at some unknown point stopped doing, so I’ve put a few of things back on my list in the hope that they’ll help me to feel happier and more present, as connecting to the present has been something I’ve been struggling with.

  • Beach days!!! I live near several beaches, so I can’t not visit the beach.
  • Arty stuff. I’ve always loved art and I really want to get back into sketching and painting again. I’m hoping to do a whole post about my love for art (watch me never mention art again oops).
  • Reading. I really haven’t read much this year – I mean, I read half a book at Christmas and I read the set text for French A Level a few times, but I have many books I want to read.
  • Scrapbooking. As part of being arty, I love making scrapbooks. I try to make a scrapbook after every holiday abroad I go on, so last year I started one for my trip to Marseille, got halfway through and still haven’t finished it. So I definitely need to do that. I’m not sure if I’m going to make one after my trip to Amsterdam (9 days away!!), depends if I finish last years one!
  • Yoga. Again. So I started yoga just before exam season, and I managed to do it every day for a month. I really, really loved it. It made me feel at peace with myself and was great stress relief but during exams I just, didn’t have time for anything other than studying. I really want to get into the habit of doing daily yoga again!
  • Prepare for uni. I guess this isn’t really self-care, more of a necessity, but either way I’m looking forward to getting all the bits and bobs I’ll need when I move out in September. I’ve already got some stuff, so I’ll definitely be doing a haul soon!
  • Get back into blogging. I have missed blogging regularly so much!
  • Social media detox. I know this will rally help my mental health. If I can just spend a week or a few days away from social media, I will have time to collect my thoughts and fully relax. I usually have a detox of sorts when I go camping with my family, however this year unfortunately we’re not sure if/when we are going away.
  • Musical instruments. You may or may not know that I play the guitar and keyboard (or attempt to in the case of the keyboard). I haven’t been able to play regularly since last summer, so I’m going to dedicate time to practice and enjoy playing music this summer.
  • Cycling. There was a point where I used to have a weekly cycling routine but then, as with everything else, I just…stopped. But I do love cycling and the feeling of the wind rushing through your hair, so I want to try to cycle more often.

I think that’s it for now. I’ll probably add more stuff as the summer goes on. It’s strange, I didn’t realise how hectic my life had got or how many things I gave up in the midst of studying until I sat down to write this but I’m excited to start doing things because I enjoy them, not because I have to.

Have you got a summer bucket list?

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//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!

//Why I Love Me Tag//

The amazing Thoughtful Tash created this tag so us bloggers cna spend a bit of time appreciating what we love about ouorselves. I think this is such a wonderful idea, becuase self-love is something we all need to do more of and actually sittig down and thinking about what I do love about myself instead of dwelling on my flaws has actually been really beneficial to me, and I’m sure it will help others too. So. thank you very much to tash for making this tag, and you can read her post introducing it here.

THE RULES (as stated in Tash’s post)

  • Post the award on your blog
  • Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you
  • Leave a link to the original tag creator (ThoughtfulTash) to get a bit more info about WHY this tag has been made!
  • Write 10 things you love about YOURSELF and WHY
  • Nominate at least 5 other bloggers
  • In the comments of the blog post, spread more self-love with compliments to each other! THE MORE LOVE THE BETTER!

Why I love me:

1. My love of life

One thing I love about myslef is how much I love life, it’s the main thing that gets me through hard times becuase I know I’ve got my whole life ahead of me and it doesn’t matter if I’m struggling now because I will get through it and one day I can look back on what I’ve been through and be proud of reaching my goals and fulfilling my ambitions regardless. Also remembering and thinking of all the good times makes me realise how much I do love my life and how  iwouldn’t have it any other way.

2. My passions

My passions are part of me and always will be, they are the one thing that stays the same as I grow and change as a person and I’m really glad to have these passions like blogging and photography and politics and reading etc that make me happy and make me who I am.

3. My creativity

I love the fact that although I haven’t chosen a creative educational path, I still keep up with the creative things that I’ve always loved like painting and sketching and that although I don’t want a creative career, I haven’t closed that part of my life off.

4. My optimism

Although I don’t regard myself to be a constantly optimistic person, I do have a lot of optimism for the future and that helps to motivate me to keep working hard to get where I want to be.

5. My personality

Most people would think of me as quite an introverted person, which is true, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a personality! I love the fact that I’m quite introverted actually, as it means less people get to know the real me and when they do it makes the friendship more special. I love the fact though that I can be myself around my family because we’re all a bit mad!

6. My way of thinking

Another thing I love is the way I think. I think we all have our own unique way of thinking about things and I find it fascinating the way we all percieve things differently. I love how I can read about something or see something and my brain will make all these millions of connections ot different things, or I’ll suddenly be inspired to do something. Although I don’t like overthinking so much, it’s still a part of me and I’m growing to love the fact that I only overthink because I care so much about other people.

7. My height

I’ve always felt a bit awkward being so tall – I think I’m currently about 5 ft 8″, which isn’t huge but I’m still very tall compared to most of my friends – but as I’ve got older I’ve grown to love my height becuase again it’s just a part of me that I can’t control and if I can’t change it, I’ve gotta embrace it.

8. My love for the world

I honestly find the world so fascinating and just want to constantly learn about the people that live around the world and all the different countries and EVERYTHING!!!! I’m so interested in how we all live in the same world but there is so much variation between different cultures and countries, and I love the fact that I’m not just invested in my own life and ‘world’ and want to know about others.

9. My music taste

This is a bit random??? But honestly I love my taste in music because it varies so much! I can go from listening to 80s music, to French electro, to pop, to rock, to indie – I’m just interested in so many different styles of music and I love it!

10. My drive to learn

I sort of mentioned this before, but I just really want to be learning all the time. SOmetimes doing homework or revision isn’t even tiring and monotonous because I want to do it so I can learn, and I love that I love learning as it definitely helps to motivate me to study and work hard.

So there’s the 10 things that I love about me. I’m going to nominate some bloggers below so they too can explore what they love about themselves. 🙂

Nominations:

Regina 5000

Ivy and Em

Lyss and Dani

All the Jazz

Bamboo Chewer

 

//Haiku’s against racism//

A few weeks ago the wonderful Gracie from Gracie Chick’s Blog came up with the idea of writing haiku’s (short three-line poems, the first and third lines having 5 syllables and the second having 7) and using our blogs as a platform to spread the message – and our support – of anti-racism. As Gracue explains in her post about her campaign, words can be very influential and powerful tools and, if used in the right way, can make a positive difference to people’s lives. So I’d like to share a few haiku’s I have written with you and hope that you’ll join me in participating with Gracie’s campaign and taking a stand against racism. 🙂

Humanity is 

Knowing we’re all flesh and blood

In different skins.
————-

Why should respect end
At borders between races

We are all human.

//Blogiversary!!//


It feels like only yesterday I typed my first post on this blog – Adventures of a Lost Teen – but in actual fact, it’s been a year! The 1st blogiversary of this blog means that I’ve been blogging in total for nearly two years, as I started my previous blog back in March 2015 (so long ago eeek!)


Blogging for me is a lot like playing Scrabble (bear with, this analogy is going somewhere…I hope??). I try to fit letters and words together in the hope that they make sense. A lot of the time I have lots of ideas that I want to write and share, but can’t find the words to express them! Which also happens to me a lot during Scrabble – I never end up with the letters I need. But I think blogging (and Scrabble) has made me realise that we don’t always get what we need handed to us, and we have to make do with and appreciate what we’ve got. And I’m very grateful to have this space to share my thought and ramblings, even if it is sometimes frustrating that I can’t put my thoughts in coherent sentences.

I don’t know what I expected to get out of bloggng when I first clicked onto WordPress and typed my first blog post, so I can certainly say I’ve gained more than I could ever imagine from blogging – I’ve learnt so much more about the world through the diversity of the blogosphere, I’ve been welcomed into an amazing community and gained friends who mean the world to me, and I’ve also discovered more about myself through my writing. 

So thank you all for supporting me in my blogging journey throughout the year and for welcoming me into the blogging community 😊💞 
 

//Heart & Mind; anchor and sail//

Yesterday I visited my nan and something she said sparked off a whole chain of thoughts in my mind about emotions and interactions between our minds and our hearts and just about life in general (nan-spiration at it’s finest 👌). We were discussing ageing – or rather the feeling of ageing – when my nan mentioned that although her body feels old, her brain still feels active and young and just…not aged. Being a young person myself, it’s never something I really considered myself, the brain not ‘ageing’. Obviously, as the brain is part of our body it does age, but the mind itself ages differently. 

Whilst our bodies age in years, and as time goes on, we can notice physical changes to our bodies capabilities, our brains age in intangible units: memories, knowledge, attitudes, opinions etc. Our minds are maps of our pasts, guides to our presents and stepping stones to our futures. What lies within cannot be determined by a numerical value of days, months or years, cannot be given an ‘age’. 

This got me thinking about the relationship between the heart and the brain, not in a scientifically way as such, because my brain isn’t scientifically inclined, but more in a sort of philosophical way. About how the mind and the heart act equally and simultaneously as anchors to our roots and values and as sails, leading us off in different directions, wherever the heart, or mind, chooses.

Sometimes, when our hearts are full of emotion, of love and happiness, we become lighter than air, propelled along by this force like a sail billowing in the wind. Suddenly the horizon is in plain view; we know how to get where we want to be and have optimism for what lies ahead.

Other times, our feelings may be clouded with sadness and sorrow, knocking the wind out of us as it were and we become disorientated. When the wind drops, there is nothing to propel the boat along. We can’t see the way forward because the ‘now’ is obscuring our view. But, just as quickly as the wind drops, it can pick up again and we can get back on track with our lives. Emotions are very fluctuating, especially as a teen, and although this may seem a nuisance, it’s just part of life and it’s important to remember that just like the boat out at sea, our feelings are not trapped in one state and will change, just as the tides do.

Just as the heart can be described as the sail of our lives, leading us off down the various routes of life and carry us over calm and stormy seas, the mind can be seen as the anchor, tethering us to our core beliefs and values yet allowing us to venture safely into the realms of our hopes and dreams. Our minds hold all of our memories after all, everything we’ve ever done, thought and been. Like the archives of our lives, something we know, something true and something we can hold onto. Sometimes, our minds can not allow us to drift as much as we want to and restrict the power of our hearts too much, but that’s only because they remember the outcomes of all our actions and want to protect our hearts and emotions from suffering. But also, our minds can be the driving force behind our hearts. All our hopes and dreams, all the knowledge we learn everyday,can inspire us and propel us on through life.

So it can be said, that the heart and the mind work in conjunction with each other, like the anchor and the sail of a boat. They both contrast and compliment each other to guide us through our lives. Without each other, they would be left to flounder in the open sea and although they may sometimes disagree with each other, we’d really be lost without them.

Artwork inspired by Bastille’s song ‘Laura Palmer’ and ‘The Anchor’ and also by the conversation my nan. The paper planes flying between the brain and the heart are meant to signify communication between the emotional and logical parts of our brains, the heart symbolises our emotions and feelings, metaphorically speaking, as obviously our emotions are part of our brains. I decided to make this artwork symbolic rather than scientifically accurate!

(Disclaimer: I don’t really know anything about boats or sailing so might not be qualified to make a boat analogy but this is just for metaphorical purposes and the imaginative part of my brain was on a roll so I didn’t exactly want to stop it! Also I feel like my writing style has changed recently? Might be because I haven’t really written imaginatively in a while, but hopefully it’s interesting to read! I’m trying to get back into blogging again because I’ve really missed it and I don’t really have an explanation to why I’ve been writing so intermittently lately. Anyway thank you for reading ☺)

//A Love For Languages//

​Languages are beautiful; the way the same group of letters can be arranged in a different order, said in a different way, and mean something completely different depending on where you are in the world, is honestly fascinating. The fact that to each letter of every alphabet, a certain sound is assigned and when you connects series if “sounds” together, a longer sound – or word – is formed and it means something to someone somewhere, never ceases to amaze me.

Languages are not just form of communication, but a key to the culture and values and history of a country. By learning a language, you’re learning a way of life and gaining an understanding of how the hundreds of billions of other people on the earth live and breath. 
Sometimes, when learning or reading about another country, I find myself daydreaming about how there are people living their lives completely differently to me, on another part of the world, speaking another language and am in awe of how diverse a planet we live on.


How different languages came to be also intrigues me, like how there is so much variation – or similarity – between two different languages, or how languages are all interconnected, taking leaves from each others branches and tweaking them a bit. Languages remind me of patchwork quilts, formed of different words and phrases from different countries stitched together to create something that a whole population of people can use to make themselves understood, and yet is still different to the voice of a neighbouring nation or community. 
Since I started learning French in school about 5 years ago, I’ve been gradually falling in love with languages. Languages are part of who I am, or who I aspire to be. I’ve always had a curiosity for the world and it’s people, and how things came to be the way they are today, and languages is just another part of that, another adventure. 
The more I’ve become invested in studying languages – and the more my language skills have developed – the more I have discovered about the world we live in and about different cultures. Languages really do open doors, the are the key to civilisations past and present and possess a wealth of knowledge and history and roots that help tie down communities to the ever changing world.

It’s no surprise that because of this, languages are difficult to learn. Hundreds of years of generations of people have shaped and remade each language into what we know them as today, and in order to learn them – to truly understand them – we have to respect the fact that languages are constantly growing and changing. From the moment a means of communication is established, however primative, the seed of a language is sown. And as more and more people use words, phrases passed in through generations, the seed grows, branching out from it’s stem and developing into a language, a tongue. 

The rewarding thing about languages though is the constant journey of discovery they lead you on. With every word and rule you learn, you uncover more and more about a country and it’s culture, and, most importantly, the power of words. And the feeling you get when you are able to speak in another tongue is worth all the hours and years of hard work. 
And that’s why I love languages. They are as much a part of me as my emotions and thoughts; they are my voice and the voice of millions and billions of others. Sometimes, we just need to take a step back and admire the beauty of our languages. 

It can seem impossible at times to master a language and encompass the culture and nature of a country within it’s words, spoken or heard or written; shared. To unlock the door into another world, another life, that languages offer can seem but a distant dream. The real key to language learning for me is not being able to speak or write fluently, or understand every single word belonging to that language, but to be able to feel the language. To feel the weight of centuries of generations of speakers roll off my tongue with each word I say or to feel the buzz of another culture make the hairs in my skin prickle at the sight of foreign words, that’s really understanding a language. And that’s the best feeling ever.