Currently, I am studying French. It’s hard finding (free) ways of learning this languages online, because I’m not going to pay money for it! I’m currently using three main websites to help me learn. These three ways really work for me and my style of learning. However, I don’t think that these will work for everyone are everyone learns differently. Just for reference, I normally like to be able to hear things and say things to help remember them. I also like keep testing myself until I get it right as that’s, personally, the best way for it to embed into my brain. Ok so here are the three websites (click on the image to visit the website, it will open in a new tab)
Yes, the first one is good old bitesize. This is good for the basics as well as simple explanations for grammar rules. There are also some videos that really help you with your listening.
I love duo lingo because you can get it on your phone and it’s a really nice interface. It’s also not timed (unlike memrise) and is a testing app. The one thing that I don’t like though, is that on your phone app you don’t get explanations for grammar rules. This makes them almost impossible to learn. But the grammar explanations tend to be really good! Also, it has a speaking tool which is great as it means you actually speak the language.
I love memrise quite a lot as it works well for me. There are a lot of languages on there which is awesome! It uses really nice audio which really helps me learn. I like the steps it takes you to learning words and the phrases. However, I’m not so keen on the way that it’s timed because that really stressed me. But I think that it will be good exam practice for the future to have that time limit - it’s just not good when you aren’t taking an exam!
Saturday was a very exciting day for me and my friend and I went up to London to see new Scientist Live. It's basically a massive Science event where we just get to listen to various lectures and then look around some "stalls". So Siân came to my house and off we went to the train station to get on the train to London.
After a long train journey, 2 tube lines and a shorter train journey, we arrived at the centre. We went straight away to our first lecture which was on life in the deepest parts of the ocean.
(All of the photos are screenshotted from my story because I forgot to take any of my own)
We learned some really cool stuff about the ocean. Mostly that life in the deepest ocean isn't actually that weird. Most of the fish look the same as "normal" fish apart from the fact they are 100% cuter. There were a lot of fish murder videos though.
The next lecture we had was on black holes. It was interesting to see how the data was collected but I must admit I got very bored in this one - sorry!
It was time for lunch which wasn't a great affair. I lined up at the River cottage place for ages and then when I got to the front, they announced that they'd run out of veggie food. So I had to settle with an "ok" salad instead. Their cake was good though!
We wanted to go to a lecture on memories but we were doing this scanner thing instead where you could see the artery valves beating and so, by the time we turned up, it was impossible to get in. Instead we did an engineering lecture and I hate engineering.
I was actually very surprised. It was really good and was talking about the way that cities could repair themselves. It turns out that the roads aren't actually solid which is crazy. Also, there are these bugs that are placed in walls and when a crack comes they eat their way out by pooping! Then they die, poor bugs.
Then we went to a talk on robotics. Personally, I'm not a big fan of robotics but it was still so interesting.
We learned about how robotics and humans should work side by side and also had a few live demos. One was a robot doing press ups and let me tell you that they could do it a lot better than me. Also, we saw a robot getting its balance right to go over difficult terrain.
I was literally falling asleep in the last lectures but it was finally time to go home.
I would highly recommend the New Scientist live and I hope to go next year. It was a great atmosphere and I loved all of the stands and seeing so much cool stuff. Next year, I'd try to have more time to look around the stalls as there was so much to see and not enough time to see it!
****All photos included in this post are the undisputed property of @lushtoomuch ****
Recently, I've been obsessed with this thing called "lush cuts". Basically, it's when people cut up lush products and I just find it so relaxing and so cool to watch. Here's a photo of @lushtoomuch doing one:
When I first started watching these videos, I found it really hard to find a good account but @lushtoomuch is amazing. She does videos in rows of three. The first shows the products, the second shows the actual cut and the third shows a bath bomb. If you're into Lush and you like things like cutting kinetic sand, I would 100% recommend this account. Just a bored Sunday night post!
Autumn is finally coming but it’s not completely there yet. It’s that time of the year when Summer has left the plants drooping and dying but those beautiful reds and oranges are not yet present. Indeed, it’s a very forlorn time of the year. I hope that soon I’ll be crunching through large piles of fallen leaves smelling the woody-leafy smell that they bring with them. I can’t wait for the pumpkins and shorter evenings. I can’t wait to be able to snuggle down in the evenings once I’ve walked the dark walk home. So hurry up and get a move on Autumn!
I had this very poetic post planned about seasons fading and blah blah blah but then the seasons faded a bit too fast and it became dark too early for me to grab the photos! So, I'm going to write how the academic year is going so far.
Firstly, friends. I had a few friends from my old school coming with me but I've also met lots of new people which is cool. I've mostly been hanging out with someone that I met on the open day thing but she's not in any of my classes so I've been making friends mostly with the people sitting near me! So that's cool.
I have been liking most of the lessons. People are all at different levels which meant that maths and chemistry were both quite easy, but after we've warmed up I hope they'll get harder, so we'll see. Physics was particularly good because I didn't had a clue about it at the start but at the end I think I understood it - which was an amazing feeling.
Travel is the main issue right now. I'm not sure what bus to get on and things like that but, again, I hope that time will sort it all out.
It's that time of the year again where we must kiss our carefree Summers goodbye and welcome the rigid routine and stress of school. I haven't even had a proper bout of nerves yet, which is strange. I go back tomorrow so I have the feeling that the nerves will appear soon! The one thing that makes going back to school more bearable is the stationary shop, so today I want to talk you through my pencil case for this academic year (omg, that sounds so damn nerdy).
So let's get right into it! One thing I knew that I wanted this year was a clear pencil case. Last year, I had a translucent purple one which was good and is still alive and functioning (although now it's my Monthly emergency case!) but I really wanted a clear one to take into exams so I got this one from WH Smiths. It's clear with a "bobble" pattern so that it isn't too plain.
My main purchase this year was some coloured biros. In previous years, I have used crayons and felt tips but, as I started to use my colours less for colouring in and more for taking notes, I wished that they were easier to write with. I thought that it would cost a lot to get a big packet of coloured writing pens but I got a pack of 20 for about £3 from WHsmith which is really cool!
Then, of course, I have the practical stuff. All of my stuff (protractor, compass, pencil sharpener and set square (the other set square didn't make it)) from my math set as well as my Casio calculator which is the only one that exams boards allow, apparently. I also have half of my pink ruler from last year (the other half didn't make it through) and a bigger rubber because the small ones die in about 30 seconds.
Next I have some more general stuff. Your bog standard HB pencils and then some glue. I find glue so useful because teachers often give us sheets and then go "but I couldn't find the glue". So, you tuck the paper into your book and then, in your bag, it gets all dog-eared and ripped which means that, in the end, you throw the paper away because it's been wrecked so much that you don't want to stick it in your book! It's just the circle of life, ok.
Second to last, I have these pens which I haven't used before so I don't know if I'll like them. They're clicky ones so I can't lose the lid and they're medium tip. Also, they have a comfy grip which is important for me but they don't have "light touch" which I also like but I guess you can't have it all!
And finally, I have you average highlighters. I wanted some cool colours but just your normal ones were so expensive anyway that I thought I'd make do. These are super good for notes and things like that!
Thank you for reading my stationary rambles! My favourite part has to be the coloured pens haha :D
What's your favourite piece of stationary?
I was begging to try sea kayaking for such a long time! I have been in sea kayaks and I've kayaked on the sea, but I'd never put them together before. So, my Mum and I (my Dad couldn't join us as he needed to look after my sisters who are too young to paddle) booked a session with Sea Kayak Plockton. I was very excited but on the day it was very windy and rainy so we weren't sure that we'd go. But, after meeting the other person on the course and the instructor, we decided to go. So we hauled on our kit (and I got into the Tempest165, a really nice small but long boat with an adjustable seat) and paddled out into the gray sea...
We paddled around a bit and at first I found the wind quite scary because it snatched at my paddles and made me feel quite unstable, especially in an unfamiliar boat. But, after a while, I got used to the boat and felt a bit more confident. We (well I, because my Mum and the other guy on the course were both quite experienced) did some work on efficient forwards paddling and edging. Finally, the skies started to clear. It went from this:
Ignore my awful posture. After the wind had calmed down a bit, we stopped for lunch.
The beach was actually made out of tiny pieces of coral-like algae which was so pretty. Here's a photo of one:
We then paddled out to sea a bit more, picking up the swell which made it a lot more choppy. I was starting to go into "rapid mode" aka when I start feeling out of my comfort zone. After looking at some seal on a rock, I learned how to do a high wind turn where you put down the skeg and reversed backwards before finished it off with some sweep strokes. Then we tucked back into shelter for the way back.
Once we were back on dry land, it was time for the dreaded boat carry (or at least I dread it, because I'm weak). Before I got to tell my sisters all about the day!
Thank you Sea Kayak Plockton for the great day and thank you Mum for booking (and paying) for it!
Last weekend my canoe club had a trip going down the River Thames. I think it was from Whitney on Wye to Hereford. After we were all changed into our kit (you can see me in my bright green, purple and green gear to the left, I look great, I know, I know), we messed around while waiting for the adults to sort out the shuttle. This mostly meant saving the fish and sliding down a rail because why not?
Finally, we got onto the river. My Mum and I were back in our dream team - sharing a canoe. You'll probably see us swapping paddles a bit as I started with my whitewater paddle which made my arms SO tired because it's BIG so then I stole my Mum's flat water one when my flat water one was just chilling under the seat - but oh well.
As you can see, the weather wasn't great so everyone was very happy when we arrived at the lunch stop and it had finally stopped raining. My Mum and Dad seem to have purchased these snazzy new chairs so while we sat on the wet ground, they just sat smugly on them, telling us we could always buy our own!
We set off again down the river. Lots of people were getting tired and although I was VERY happy to see the campsite, I didn't actually feel that bad. In this photo you can see I've stolen my Mum's paddle.
At last, we turned the corner and boom, the campsite was there. After a big scurry to get the canoes out the water, we set up our tents and got out of our kit.
We had dinner (and lots of other snacks - canoeing makes you hungry) and read a bit in the tents.
Then the most intense game of man hunt started. I'm going to give you a play by play of what happened and it literally ended up with my heard beating so fast because it got so intense.
First, my sisters, my friend and myself ran down a long field and hit behind a bush. We were there for ages but then the tagger came. The field was so long that we didn't even have to run but it was thin so there wasn't really a way to get around him. I went up the field but my friend just ran for it - which worked and she got out. After a lot of dodging and waiting, my sister and I decided just to run for it. I kept running like hell and made it out of the field but my sisters were caught and never made it. I ran down to my friend's tent and we hung around there until the attackers came. I went left down towards the river and she went right - she survived a bit but most of the attackers followed her so she was caught. I hid down by the river and, then my sisters found me. Even though they were caught they were on my team so we ran up and hid in the ladies toilets BECAUSE THE BOYS COULDN'T GO THERE! However, we could hide there forever so we all ran up to our car and hid in there but then the boys found us. The other boy who wasn't yet caught was in the car as well and when we all ran out of it, I think he got caught. But I ran across the field and hid in the long grass and then that was pretty much the end of the game. SO MUCH FUN.
We then sat around a fire and messed around the field (which was getting misty). We went to bed very late (and I was reading fan fiction on my phone until later) so when we got up the next morning, I didn't look very awake...at all...
But it was back into the paddling kit and getting the canoes set up before a mad hassle to get everyone on the water.
It was time for Monnington falls. Sounds scary? Well it wasn't. Basically, it was just a tight bend and a little wave train. In higher water making the bend could be a lot harder so you would be swept into the trees but we didn't have that issue so it was easy as pie. All good!
It was nice and raining, just in time for lunch. After lunch, I swapped boats and if you think it looks still in that photo, the one below shows as bad as it got, not very. It was only grade 1 which means it's just "riffles with small waves with few obstructions that can be easily missed with little training". But I wasn't there for the whitewater (if you're wondering why I have a helmet then, it's there to see the rain off).
There might not have been much whitewater to see, but there was some cute bird things (I've forgotten the name - like a pro).
FINALLY, we reached the end it was time to get back to civilization and internet. It was fun though!
Over the weekend, my family and I, with our club, did a 23 mile paddle down the River Wye, just for two days. It wasn't that far but it was quite fun and relaxing. I was in a boat, mostly, with my Mum and while paddling we started joking about all of the different boats that kayakers/ canoeists need. So here in the incomplete (and most likely inaccurate) list of boats required by every paddler!
(This is a complete joke and I doubt anyone actually has all of the following boats. Although, wouldn't it be the dream!)
That's all I can think of right now. I'm sure that some of those cross over but I don't know a lot about them. For example, I'm not sure how similar a boat you use for slalom and wild water racing because I don't know a lot about them. I also didn't include anything about sea racing besides the sea kayak. This is mostly because I know nothing about racing in kayaks or canoes.
Anyways, so once you've got all of the needed kayaks, you just need to find somewhere to keep them!
Good luck xx
Wow, end of year exams have literally been taking over my life. I'm so happy that they're finally over and I only have one more week left at school before I (finally) get to chill for six weeks including a 2 week holiday - eeek. Anyway, so being the person that I am, I was browsing YouTube and I came across this really awesome YouTuber. I would love to be a YouTuber but I don't have anywhere to film so it would just look really horrible - ah, maybe one day. But I found this YouTuber, Mandi Grace, and her channel is amazing! There's just a load of amazing content that's updated weekly but she only has 4K? I mean, that's good, but I think she deserves a lot more. She has a lot of life style, clothing and dance related videos and here is one:
This video is the undisputed property of Mandi Grace and I'm not claiming credit for any part of it!
She also has an amazing Instagram, @mandi.gracee - her feed is actually goals.