My Weekend in Bristol!

I’m nineteen now, everyone. Almost at that big two-zero and of course, by this time nobody quite wants to get older. Right now I actually want to skip to my late twenties when I have my life a little more put together but, of course, it can’t be done.

I spent my birthday weekend in Bristol visiting my best friend TrayTray. I think I packed just enough for the trip but maybe overdid it by bringing along the pink bed socks. I love those socks, but it seems they weren’t important enough to remember to bring back afterwards!

On our first day, we went for a scenic walk around, visiting the suspension bridge, and some of the local shops. We got quite lucky with the weather. Although the skies were grey we got a few peeks of sun for a few snaps (I was, of course, the designated photographer) and we got some fantastic shots. For a good group selfie, the little mirror maze in the Royal Fort Gardens is great! For good views, the suspension bridge is a nice place to visit.

There’s a really nice bubble tea and frozen yoghurt place called Flavalanche. We wanted to visit a dessert place during the weekend but that didn’t happen, sadly. At least there is always next time!

I went to a nightclub for the first time, and I was there as the clock ticked over to my birthday. Nightclubs are strange places. I mean, I can see the appeal. It’s losing yourself a little to familiar tunes or just a good house beat, yelling conversation at your friends although you can’t even hear yourself, and pretending to be cool in a forest of people. I didn’t bring my heels, so I am 100% sure I was the shortest person in the club to the point that the guy at the computer picking the tracks kept looking over at me like I was a 12 year old in the wrong place. I did enjoy myself somewhat and really wore myself out, but I don’t think it’s the life for me. Not unless I can find a club near me that can do a K-Pop themed night.

My absolute favourite photo of myself ever!

On our second day, we slept in. Then we got to have a look around the shops. I picked up a green embroidered sweater on sale and baby pink velvety cap which wasn’t on sale but I bought anyway because it was just so cute. This turned out to be a good idea as it got a little chilly in the evening. I think Bristol’s Cabot Circus and general shopping area is bigger than Birmingham’s Bullring and extended city shopping, but Tray seems to disagree! Even if Bullring has a lot of shops I think that in Cabot Circus, all the shops have a lot more space. That’s just my first impressions, however. Birmingham is, after all, the second city of England.

I wonder what it was about the changes to my beauty routine, but I found myself rubbing my nose and feeling up all the clogs in my skin after the weekend was over. It just felt super clogged compared to usual. Perhaps it was the new heavy mask I was trialling, the sheet mask, the sunscreen, my period, or just the fact that I’d worn makeup all day for two days straight where I hadn’t done it in ages, even if I had done my best to cleanse it off my face thoroughly. 

I really enjoyed myself that weekend to the point of struggling to get out of the holiday mood once I got back! I had a fantastic birthday and it was wonderful to spend it out of my home city.

Thank you for reading! Until next time,

X

Needed: A Catch Up.

Hello, internet acquaintances!

As I type it has been a number of months since I last made a post. I did have posts lined up that never got past the posting line, and I say this a lot and you all know what’s up, but soz. Today I’m gonna ramble about:

  • exams and post-exams
  • makeup
  • The EU Referendum (sigh)
  • writing and that writing blog

This unannounced-but-we-all-saw-it-coming hiatus was, of course, due to the doomsdays of A-Level Exams. I might have warned you all earlier in the year – that entire month or two of stress has just blurred together in my head. I think I managed to keep it together long enough to go into my exams prepared, and coffee has been my indispensable new bestie. I was so out of energy by the time I finished my last exam that I had none left to wander the shops that afternoon with my friends… and I really like wandering and I really like my friends. But I was just so exhausted! I did get my sleep back, though.

Although I have a list of things to do in the holidays, I have been waking up and living my days mostly spontaneously. That said, I have made it onto my fourth anime series of the last three weeks, painting, knitting, cross stitching… and I am really loving it. I think I’ve finally let go of the urge to be revising all the time.

So here we are in that inevitable bit-in-the-middle time of the summer between Doomdays and The Doomsday, although this being my third year of Results Days I am both really apprehensive about it as my uni place relies on this, and also fairly chill. I am trying not to dwell on where my life might go if I completely flunk everything.

As I type, my Y13 prom is in two days and I am doing my own makeup for it. I like my makeup these days (my past selves would be very very shocked) but I’m still very much an amateur and not to be trusted, therefore it has been a steep learning curve to get my face to look decent. Surely all this new makeup is an investment rather than a one-off, and I’m having a lot of fun experimenting with eyes and learning how to work with concealers. This coming from a girl with thirty (ish) lipsticks – the rest of my makeup stash is non existent, evidently.

I now have my first eye palette and a bunch of concealers, and I previously did get my hands on more lipsticks during exam period, so if the sun ever comes back here I’ll get some photos together for reviews. We had flooding a while back as well – that was interesting! I mean whole roads getting submerged and I still had to go into school for exams as a river formed in the middle of the school grounds.

In the last few months I have voted twice – one in the local elections and one for the EU Referendum. If you haven’t been aware, Britain has voted to leave the EU and its implications are far reaching for the future of my generation – many of them not good, as we are losing opportunities and freedoms previously available to other generations. What shocked me was the idea of people ‘protest’ voting. This means people voting to say ‘screw you’ to the government by voting against what the government are supporting. Like… why? That’s surely not how voting works. Petitioning, letters to your MP, that’s the regular route, no?

I think the entire referendum campaign was badly timed (Euros, anyone?) and executed. It was mostly scaremongering and there was a heavy emphasis on immigration which I think was not appropriate. It also seems that the consequences of Brexit are only being properly discussed now that the vote has gone through – a discussion that should have happened during the campaign.

My mom was expressing her shock at the result to me in an attempt to make herself seem informed of the topic but I am ashamed to admit that not only did she not vote, she was in the US spending dollars whilst the value of the pound plummeted against the dollar to reach a 31-year low. But anyway, here we are with a new prime minister about to take her place in No 10 and I am not feeling optimistic about what’s next. Here’s to the future – good luck to all of us, I guess.

This blog post is one of the first steps I’m taking now to get into the swing of writing regularly again. I realised after trying to write creatively after months of exam answers and essay writing that, whilst this blog is not going to be a novel, it just helped to get words out there regularly. So… I will keep doing that.

I really need to update the writing blog before its first-year anniversary! I maybe posted twice last September, and never got back to it… I’ll dig out the prompts and get something up there eventually. In the meantime, my NaNoWriMo writing group and I have written up prompts here that are all pretty awesome so do check us out!

Until next time, then!

X

 

 

A Year of Twenty Swans!

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Hello everyone!

First of all, since I missed the chance, I would first like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, which I hope is much better than 2015 was for me. I am very happy to see the back of it, personally.

Today’s an extra special day for 20S, which is officially a year old. I didn’t think I would stick at blogging this long. At first, I was worried that no one was listening to my rambling, but somewhere along the line I let go of the numbers and just carried on talking to myself. It’s what I do.

I finally rustled up a new header for the blog during a break from Psychology revision. It’s nice! I mean, I promised it half a year ago and only got it done a few days ago, but I like it. It’s my birthday present to the Blog, in a way.

I’m currently using the WordPress.com theme, Plane. I know it can be a struggle to find something unique if everyone is using free themes, but you just gotta work with it. Plane’s customisable options are pretty varied and the layout is standard but accessible. Besides the dark blue default colour scheme, there’s only the brown that is free, and I worked with that to add blue to my header so it matches.

The header itself is made with my graphics tablet and the program Paint Tool SAI. I figured I would be more comfortable making it on PTS than the new, free(!!!) software called Krita that I recently downloaded and have yet to experiment with.

It strikes me that around this time last year, I was supposed to be doing mock exams. How on earth did I manage to start up and run a blog in that time whilst studying?

Ah, hold on. I didn’t.

This year I have learnt a lot, from blogging, and every single one of my downfalls in different shapes and forms, so many of my aims and ‘resolutions’ for this year seemed self-explanatory to me. They’re less like resolutions and more like things I just want to do or keep in mind as the year goes on.

  1. Nice natural lighting during the British Winter is non-existent.
    Sorry, friends, but all of my beauty and skincare reviews are either going to have terrible photos or are all going to be posted in the summer. If it’s any consolation, I will have tonnes of free time after my exams are finished, which will hopefully translate into even better posts this summer.
  2. Speaking of beauty reviews, they need to improve as well.
    After a year of scrolling through blogs I have identified the things that I love about my favourites and the things that can be a real turn-off (bad spelling is an instant no-no, personally). Sadly, I see some of those things in my own reviews and this needs to change. For skincare, I’d like to incorporate ingredients lists and COSDNA analyses and so forth, and learn more about skincare in general. For makeup, I want to take my time to get great swatches in natural lighting and with flash, along with proper wear-testing. Again, definitely a summer thing.
  3. I am my own person, and not THAT kind of person. 
    This one resonates throughout my entire existence. I am not the one that can revise the night before and get an A* (curses). I am not the one that has enough stamina to run well, or can write three sides of an essay in the fifteen minutes that my Psychology exam will allow. I am surrounded by people who can do those things, but I have to accept that I am not part of that clique. Realising it last year and hammering it into my head has taken some effort, but now I can focus on what might give me a different edge.
  4. I want my total personal spending to be less than £200 by the end of the year. 
    Oh, this will be a hard one. I spent a crazy amount of money on beauty and stuff towards the end of 2016 and have already clocked up close to a quarter of my aim this year (two weeks, I know). Hence I am on a no-buy until the end of my main exams this year, and the summer when I can earn more… I just don’t need any more at this point to justify buying more. Unless I run out of an essential which I don’t think will be happening any time soon.

I think by this point you can all tell exactly how much I am looking forward to the summer. I am doing my A2 exams this year and afterwards I will have a two month holiday! If I get into my first choice of university, then my course starts in October giving me yet another month of holiday. Isn’t that great??

Of course, that means I have to make it to the end of the rough exam period in one piece. It will be a long and arduous journey. I will do my best to keep the blog updated with thoughts and playlist updates, but posts are going to be scarce for now.

Thanks for sticking with me, and here’s to another year.

Lots of love,

X

P.S. I have been treating Instagram like a micro-blog recently so for all the updates before I update the blog itself (!) feel free to check it out! My username is @swanzig_x.

 

Inktober Weekly Round Up #1: Days 1-10

I may have mentioned in passing that I’m taking part in Inktober 2015, which is a social media hashtag project thing in which artists everywhere draw an ink piece once a day. This could be a doodle or a huge thing depending on time constraints, and in biro, india ink, pen or brush, whatever, but pencil is outlawed unless it’s for the outlining/under-sketch-thing. Ink is a very bold and versatile medium and definitely requires its own set of skills that I need to work on.

Even if you don’t have instagram, search up #inktober2015 wherever you can hashtag things, because some of the works people so are absolutely stunning. It’s a good way to find amazing inkers for inspiration.

Anyways, this weekly round up is really late as I did run behind on the drawings themselves…

If there’s anything I have learnt so far, it’s that I don’t have a specific style. I can draw chibi figures and semi-realistic faces, and my ‘style’ takes a lot of influence from the large variety of manga out there. Basically, my definition of manga drawing has broadened as I’ve read through series like Assassination Classroom (close, but with a sort of twist that makes it different) and Claymore, both having a manga feel but definitely not the style you are likely to see almost everywhere. Now my drawing style kind of reflects that variety.

Speaking of which, there’s an Anime Club at my school now, and we watched the first episode of Ouran High School Host Club. I love the manga series, and the anime, whilst it doesn’t quite follow the same plot, is just as entertaining. I haven’t watched the anime since possibly two years ago, so watching it with my friends was a new experience. As in, I almost choked on my lunch because I was so excited! A surprising number of people came to the club and filled the classroom, and although it was a teeny bit chatty (but we all shushed each other), everyone else laughed at the right places and.. it was fun. We’ll probably be regulars now.

Until next time,

X

Field trip: Stiperstones and Heathers

Yesterday morning, I was up half an hour earlier than usual and sluggishly got out of bed. After washing my face and going to the windowsill to begin my skincare routine, this view totally uplifted my spirits.



Its it not glorious? The photos are a bit blurry due to morning condensation on my window, but when I retook the photos after it was all wiped away, I found that the harsh just-risen sunlight had gone and it was less impressive.

Anyhow. Yesterday’s trip was a compulsory Biology field trip in order for us Biologists to get some experience… Doing practical stuff. We hadn’t heard much about the place (Stiperstones in Shropshire) besides that it was in the countryside and that there were going to be mating pheasants. We only saw two pheasants, a barking dog, multiple cows, sheep and horses, and a dead dormouse.

We were meant to set off at 7:45 but we didn’t leave school until 8:30… All because of a few late individuals.  It was irritating for early birds such as myself who arrived at 7:20!
Of course,  I brought some knitting along to do on the coach – Project Ilene – and would love to give you a photo only I was half asleep both during the morning trip and the evening journey home, and not much progress has been made as it’s just row on row of the same lace pattern.

After an introductory session and another half hour coach ride, we had to walk uphill to get to the fields of heather. The so called ten minute walk brought up lots of complaints we’re a very unfit bunch.  I persevered but ended up falling to the end of the group pack.
The view was lovely, which made up for it (ish.)

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My view from the hill!
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You can barely make this out due to awkward sunlight angle, but at the top of that hill is this block of rocks called the Devil’s Chair… interesting.
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V. bright caterpillar on EC’s coat. She nearly squished it by accident. There’s RZ also snapping away…

(Speaking of RZ, she barely made it to the field trip as she wasn’t well at all – I won’t specify – and now she’s in hospital, so send her ALL your well-wishes, okay?)

We studied the heather in different stages.  The mature heather (which, by the way, is older than me) was quite tall and I had to wade through it with my short legs, getting stuck at one point… Oh, the embarrassment. Here is a photo demo of how tall the heather was against my tiny height – it reaches my hips! I am wearing some hand knits and carrying a bunch of sampling equipment. It was quite cool up there and luckily I thought to bring those knits along.

I am breaking my semi-anonymous law but hey, I really really like this photo.
I am breaking my semi-anonymous law but hey, I really really like this photo. Plus you can barely see my face.

On the walk down from the hill we spotted the dead dormouse.  I didn’t take a photo of that.
Then we carried out some line sampling from dry land to pond marsh, catching regular whiffs of the countryside air (read: poo-ey). But by this point of the day we were all out of energy… probably the uphill walk that did it!

I was especially grateful for the hot food Dad cooked today – boiled chicken, without the bones today, in sour seasoned broth  – as I totally needed it to re-energise.

Field trips can be fun, right? Right?

X

Must Knit to Quell the Urge to Eat during GBBO…

Okay, so when I started writing ‘weekly thoughts’ it was because the things that happened in my life were far too momentous to put into their own posts. Then all of my personal writing became the weekly thoughts so now I’m trying to switch it back a bit.

I guess I am still finding my feet with this blog by experimenting which can be a bit annoying (you can contact me to tell me what you like, though! That’s why I set up an email and Twitter! Just sayin’.) but it’s also quite exciting as well. 

The Great British Bake Off is back, if you didn’t know. I was super excited all day and did a bunch of things to prepare. I roughly tidied up my room, made a hot drink, had a new knitting project ready, and BBC iPlayer in live mode because Dad and Aunt were actually using the TV for something for once- and there was none of the usual WiFi lag and quality problem, I got a crisp image almost all the way through the program and it. Was. Great.
I learnt that morning that more people watched last year’s final than those that watched the Fifa World Cup Final, which I think is amazing, and #GBBO hit #1 on Twitter’s worldwide trending list that evening. If I remember correctly, GBBO has racked up the first episode views every year by about 2 million and this year it was no different is it gathered about 9.3 million/43% viewers! It has become an essentially British thing and I love it.

Oh yes… I did just say I started a new knitting project just to celebrate.

It is being made to the Lael Cowl pattern (I will give it a personal name related to baking as it is my GBBO knitting project – but it’s not quite a Black Forest Gateau *wink*) using Stylecraft’s Life Chunky in Colourway ‘Mixtures Bracken’. This colourway is acceptably close enough to chocolate and a great neutral colourway for this winter. No reason not to start early with my knitting speed, though.

I underestimated the big-ness of it – it is also supposed to be my short break between bits of the Ilene Bag, but now I’ve finished the cast on which took me the best of half the GBBO episode, it feels like it will take a bit longer. I think I’ll just switch again when I am bored or literally just knit this on GBBO days and the Ilene Bag on the other days.

Hopefully I can get this cowl finished by the time the final rolls around!

X

Thoughts #7

Did you know Sunday was my 6-month Blogiversary?
I did post something else on the day, but it was unrelated and in truth I had totally forgotten about it!

On January 12, 2015 I started this blog up just because I felt like it, and I’m proud to say that I’ve been updating it fairly regularly and enjoying it too. I’ve settled into a routine of sorts where I publish something every other day, and when the week is uneventful I will, at the very least, do a ‘Thoughts’ post like this one to reflect on what did happen. Anyway, I thank you dearly for reading, and there’s still more to come!

So, without further ado….

  1. I think I may have figured out a way around this blog logo thing. Fingers crossed.
  2. I also started playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf again, and my-oh-my, I missed this. I share the game with Derp and Twerp, and of course, I am the mayor of our splendid town, Smileyz. I’m sure we could’ve thought of a better name, but this one was more nostalgic for us given that it was the name of our Wild World and Let’s Go To the City towns as well. Our flag is simply my own version of the Strawhat Flag from One Piece…
  3. Listening to 2008-2012 music… and rediscovered this song. (Chipmunk and Esmee Denters – Until You Were Gone)
  4. Also discovered this cover of Cheryl Cole’s Parachute for the first time (although this artist was the one who originally wrote it!!)
  5. Adele’s cover of Promise This is also great.
  6. Finally, BigBang came back again with the MV for ‘Sober’. It’s possibly the first track of theirs in a while that I’ve loved straight away from the first listen. It’s catchy, happy pop with a bit of rock guitar, which reminds me of ‘Crooked’ from GD’s solo album.
  7. Hmm, as I type I think a 2008-2012 themed music post (or multiple) is needed.
  8. I finished reading this – Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews. Apparently it was controversial back when it was first published. I distinctly remember the Headmistress walking by as I read this on the hills by the school field, and saying something about it being outrageous or horrifying or something like that (after she made a comment about how wonderful we were – for not partying and doing something productive, although she didn’t say that directly, of course). I thought the characters were interesting and the plot okay, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re expecting something horrifying – no gore, but socially unacceptable… You know, like child abuse and incest. Hint, hint. The incest, I thought, wasn’t even unacceptable considering their situation, having grown up together with no contact with anybody in the outside world… Just me? Okay.
  9. We are very close to the summer holidays. I can almost taste the rubber soles and leather scent of Clarks, which is where I’ll be working this summer… Although I’ve never been so sad to find out that my working hours weren’t as much as I expected.
  10. Shoutout to Whatsapp for updating the android version of the app and making the old version obsolete (unusable) right before the summer holidays, when I need it to keep in touch with my friends! Even worse, the new update cannot be downloaded on my old phone, and I can’t get a new one until after the holidays. Great timing, much?
  11. We tried clout shooting in Archery club yesterday and I won sweets. We used a huge orange cone as the target, which the guy running the club managed to hit twice – and he wasn’t very modest about it! It was a lot of fun, and I’d love to do it again… if only it didn’t rain. I have also been upgraded to heavier limbs, 2lb heavier, so 22lb now. I can feel the weight but it’s quite comfortable, still!
  12. I lost my colour-changing umbrella and I am very upset about it.

Finally, Happy Birthday to Derp. 16 years and, as someone said today, still a baby, although you’re like the older brother I never had. I hope you enjoyed getting girl’s shoes fitted onto your feet during job training today… *wink*

X