25 Things To Do With Your Friends (In Summer!)

  1. Create your own lemonade recipe
  2. Read your favourite poems aloud and talk about what they mean to you
  3. Make a playlist of songs that remind you of each other and listen to it on repeat
  4. Make daisy chains and wear them around town
  5. Go for a picknick
  6. Have a cherry stone spitting contests
  7. Crush the patriarchy
  8. Go for a drive and sing along to the Backstreet Boys in the car
  9. Write cute little notes for strangers and put them up around town
  10. Start a contest about who can make the most puns in one day
  11. Pick some wildflowers and give them to someone you love
  12. Go to a free concert in your city
  13. Climb a tree like you did when you were kids
  14. Make a day trip to a place you’ve never been before
  15. Exchange your journals for an afternoon and let the other person write in it
  16. Start a debate club
  17. Write down all of your inside jokes and favourite memories together
  18. Go to a flea market or even sell some of your own stuff
  19. Search for Question Tags on Tumblr and use them as conversation starters to learn even more about each other
  20. Go to a garden centre, get cacti and give them names
  21. Make your own jam
  22. Play boardgames in your garden or a park
  23. Learn a Shakespeare sonnet by heart
  24. Have different flavoured ice cream every day
  25. And don’t forget to tell your friends how much you love and appreciate them 🙂

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(Image: faebee.tumblr.com)

Wings (Poem)

you’ll be more

they say

you’ll be free

they say

you’ll spread your wings

they say

 

except i lost them a while ago

the glowing wings that once sat on my back so naturally

radiant

slowly lost their light and became dim

now just a faint memory

of stories and hopes and a child’s imagination

 

sometimes they appear in dreams

or for a hopeful second in the day

and make me believe

before they dissolve once more

 

go out and fly

they say

and i’m left here in the gloom

wondering how

 

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Note: I wrote this poem pretty much exactly one year ago, when I had just graduated, was still not sure whether the degree I applied for was actually right for me and generally felt very, very confused and afraid of the change that was to come. I know this poem is not exactly optimistic, but the reason I decided to post it today is that now, 12 months later I can look back at it and say that I don’t feel nearly as hopeless as I did then. Of course, there are still moments when I get scared of the future and wish I could stop time for a bit so that my brain can catch up and I can figure out what it is that I actually want, but I know I’m on the right track now. I’m fortunate enough to study something I truly love and care about, I am surrounded by wonderful people and sometimes I get so happy  that my metaphorical wings do not only glow brighter than ever, but seemingly take me high above the clouds. (Gosh, this was way too cheesy and pretentious, time to go now!)

(Image: Zsa Zsa Bellagio)

Mixtape for Trainrides

This is a mix I made for a friend, but I’ve actually listened to it myself a ridiculous amount of times – especially on the train to uni when it was way too early to read or let alone speak to anyone. Enjoy and let me know which songs you like best!

  1. Daytime Dilemma / Ramones
  2. Highway Child / Jimi Hendrix
  3. Tupelo Honey / Van Morrison
  4. Ruby Lee / Joe Cocker
  5. Just Like Heaven / The Cure
  6. A Sunday Kind of Love / Etta James
  7. Mess Around / Cage the Elephant
  8. All Shook Up / Paul McCartney
  9. She Bangs the Drums / The Stone Roses
  10. Painter Song / Norah Jones
  11. Denial / The Vaccines
  12. No Buses / Arctic Monkeys
  13. Daydreamer / Adele
  14. The Chain / Fleetwood Mac
  15. Meet Me In The Hallway – Harry Styles
  16. Flowers in the Window / Travis
  17. There is a Light That Never Goes Out / The Smiths
  18. Down to the Market / The Kooks
  19. Octopus’s Garden / The Beatles
  20. Already Over Me / The Rolling Stones
  21. Cherry Wine / Hozier
  22. Ain’t No Sunshine / Bill Withers

Dear University Freshers…

I recently looked through my journal and found an entry from about 2 weeks before I started university – and oh dear, I must have been absolutely mortified when I wrote that. I had nearly forgotten about the sheer panic I felt during those few weeks, but there was probably nothing about uni that I wasn’t scared of. Just the thought of my fellow students, my future lecturers, the confusing giant buildings, the high standards and the exams I would have to pass made me want to hide in a cave for at least a couple of months.

So if you have similar feelings about going off to uni or college – I understand. But I also know that 100% of my worries turned out to be completely unnecessary. I’m now about to finish the first year of my degree and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been in a better place in life than I am now.

Of course, I’m still far from being an expert and what I’m going to tell you now is only based on personal experience, but here’s a few pieces of advice I would give to any university fresher!

 

Get all the information you can

Especially when you’re feeling a bit anxious about uni anyways, it can be very tempting to skip welcoming lectures and information evenings to hide in your room and watch Netflix instead. However, putting together your timetable, finding your way around the university and getting the hang of how your online student account works can be quite tricky, so you probably need all the info you can get. Don’t hesitate to ask other people as well – they’ll either be in the same situation as you or they’ll know how overwhelming things can be when you’re new and have no clue what’s going on, so they’ll be happy to help you with any problems you might have. And once you get the hang of how everything works, it suddenly won’t seem that complicated at all.

 

Fresher’s Week

Fresher’s week is a brilliant way to make your first friends and get to know your university, and for many students it’s a really fun and exciting experience – but don’t be too upset if it isn’t for you. I’m quite introverted and I struggle with speaking to a lot of new people at the same time, so fresher’s week was an absolute nightmare for me. I’m not sure if that’s always the case, but my Fresher’s week essentially revolved around getting pissed and nothing else – which shocked me so much that I seriously thought about dropping out before classes had even started.

But what I’m trying to say is, don’t let this first week intimidate you. Have a few beers if you want to, but don’t give into the pressure if you don’t, and always make sure to stay safe. Maybe you’re lucky and you’ll meet people you get along with right away, but if you don’t, don’t give up! Everyone is super insecure in those first few days so it’s perfectly normal if you’re struggling, and it will get easier.

 

Making friends

First of all, don’t worry if it takes a while until you find the right people. My courses were all really big in the beginning, which made me feel like making friends was nearly impossible. I spoke to about 20 new people every day during the first week of classes and most of those first conversations were even more awkward than I was afraid they would be. The other problem was that, if you did get along with someone, you probably wouldn’t see them for at least another week because the university was so big.

Quite soon though, I noticed a group of people who seemed really cool and secretly planned to make friends with them. Now, if you’re braver than me, you should probably try and actually speak to people you find interesting, but all I did was sit near them a couple of times until one of them, now one of my best friends, started talking to me – and it sort of just took off from there. Later on, I actually found out that they had sat next to me on purpose too, and had wanted to speak to me since the first week – so if you feel like you might get along with someone, maybe don’t be a chickenshit like me and start a conversation right away, that’ll save you a lot of time and worries.

If you don’t want to speak to people first though, I’d recommend wearing shirts with band logos, references to tv shows etc., that’s always a brilliant conversation starter! Also, remember that you already have a mutual interest with every single person in your course – you all study the same thing!

 

Do your reading

I know that some of the texts you have to read for uni seem like the most boring piece of literature you’ve ever come across, but it really is worth at least having a proper look at them nonetheless. Most lectures are based on texts and knowing your material in advance will make following what your prof is saying a lot easier. Very often, the knowledge you get from reading your texts is simply assumed and you can feel really lost (and ultimately, bored) during lectures if you don’t know what on earth your lecturer is going on about. Additionally, all the texts you have to read could come in very handy when you need some secondary literature for an essay or term paper!

 

Talk to lecturers

Some lecturers and professors can be pretty intimidating at first, but speaking to them and asking questions is always worthwhile. If something they said in a lecture interests you, go and ask them about it! They’re usually really chuffed when they see that their students are passionate about their subject area, and it’s always helpful if they know who you are as well.

If you struggle with an essay, don’t be ashamed to ask them for advice. One of my lecturers actually personally gave me and some others a tour through the library when we mentioned we were still confused by how big it is, helped me pick out a title for my paper and recommended me literature to use as a reference.

 

Exams

Writing my first exams was an extremely scary thought, and it didn’t help to have lecturers tell you how many people usually fail every other day. However, you’ve got to remember that if you go to class regularly, do your reading and do even just a little bit of revision, you will most probably be fine. If you have procrastination issues like me, I’d recommend forming study groups with people you know are responsible and revise together – that’s not only a lot more fun, but you’ll also get things done a lot quicker.

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I hope this was at least a little bit helpful and I wish anyone who’s starting uni this year the best of luck and a lot of fun! University is such a wonderful time because you get to learn about something you’re passionate about every day while meeting lots of amazing people along the way, and  I really hope you’ll all enjoy it as much as I do x

7 Of My Favourite Poems!

Since yesterday was World Poetry Day, I had a look through my poetry notebook and rediscovered some of my favourite poems, so I thought I’d share a few of them with you!

1. i carry your heart with me by E.E. Cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

2. Dreams by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

3. Variation on the Word Sleep by Margaret Atwood

I would like to watch you sleeping.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head

and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun and three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear

I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center. I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and you enter
it as easily as breathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
and that necessary

 

4. Eternity by William Blake

He who binds to himself a joy

Does the winged life destroy;

But he who kisses the joy as it flies

Lives in Eternity’s sunrise.

 

5. Caged Bird by Maya Angelou

A free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wing
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

6. Daffodils by William Wodsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

7. Hope by Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

Be proud of your softness (Poem)

Be proud of your softness

Don’t let the world make you hard

 

There’s flowers of kindness inside you

Don’t let them wilt and die

Plant them in the best soil you can find

Water them

And look at them bloom

 

When the cold and the storms come to destroy them

– and they will –

Build a greenhouse to keep them safe

 

You’ve got all the love in the world within your very own heart

So take a basket of seeds

Throw them in the wind

And watch the flowers grow

6 Ideas for creative and personal Christmas presents

There’s only one more week till Christmas and you still don’t know what to get for your friends and family? Don’t panic, here’s 6 ideas that might save your bacon!

Self-designed tote bags

Do you feel like getting creative but don’t have much money to spend? Just get some fabric markers and a plain tote bag and make your own self-designed bags for your friends! You can find lots of cute images online, come up with your own ones or simply write down a quote from your friend’s favourite book if you’re unsure about drawing.


Photo mug 

This is, again, a very personal gift that’d be great for a family member or close friend – and is surprisingly not even that expensive! (around £5) Choose a cute picture of you and your friend, a screenshot from their favourite movie or even a photo of their celebrity crush and print it on a mug. (You can order them online or sometimes at your local drugstore.)

With such an amazing gift, they’ll enjoy their Christmas tea even more than usual!


Mixtape

Music always makes a great gift, but if you don’t wanna get your friend a regular CD because you’re not sure which albums they already have, making your own little mixtape is the perfect solution. Put together a playlist of songs you want to recommend to them and add some that you’ve listened to together during the past year so they can relive all those wonderful memories every time they listen to the mix!


Customised planner

Since the year is coming to an end, lots of people need a new calendar or planner anyways, which makes it work perfectly as a Christmas present. Instead of buying a ready planner, you could go for a normal notebook that either already has a nice layout or that’s front page you could design yourself by putting together a collage or drawing something. Then, write down the months and days of the upcoming year and add little photos, stickers, quotes or jokes for each day or week to make it even more special and give your friend something to smile about whenever they open their planner!

Write them a story/ poem

If you’re good at writing, coming up with a story or poem for a friend is possibly the best gift you could give them. This is especially great if they’re in a fandom, because you could simply write a fan fiction including their favourite characters or celebrities. Is there, for instance, a book your friend absolutely loved but didn’t like the ending of? Make them happy by writing an alternative one!

A jar full of positivity

Again, this one is brilliant if you’re a bit short of money because literally all you need is a glass jar, a pen and some paper. Simply cut the paper into smaller pieces and write down little compliments, motivational sayings, cute reminders or anything else that you think would make your friend happy, fold them and put them all into the glass jar. This way, your friend can take out and read one of your notes whenever they’re having a bad day and will hopefully feel slightly better afterwards.