The Moon #2

Poetry
The Moon #2

We can only see
What the light shows us.
 
A slither you now are
To our eyes;
A small piece of the puzzle,
A slice of the cake.

Not the full picture
Nor the whole sponge.
 
A slither of light arched
Into a darkening void
Back bent, fading
From our sight-

Until the earth turns
And more is revealed.
 
More pieces of the puzzle placed
For us to see your rounded face
With its curious expression: 
(Shocked or shouting?

mocked or missing?)
Up to interpretation.
 
For we can only see
What we are shown. 

- Accalia Smith

This is my second poem on the moon, a follow up to the first which I titled ‘The many faces of the moon’. This one focuses less on the literal attributes of the moon but to what its story means to our lives. Are we the moon with only part of ourselves revealed to the onlookers? Are we only interpreting part of things because we’ve not been shown the full picture?

It’s also a commentary on poetry in this way – that everything is up to our own individual interpretation. Only you reading this now will have the experiences you have, have the childhood you had, have the life you have – we can only attempt to try and be in each others shoes and see different perspectives but we can’t fully live them all. It’s those experiences that make you have the interpretation you have depending on what matters most to you. Poetry is a ‘slice’ of what you want it to mean in a way, directed a little by its writer and the words they chose to use.

Similarly we are the writers of our own image but people will interpret what you ‘show’ them differently. Journalists can write what they want you to know, interpreting what is important for you. Marketeers decide for you what they think you’ll want in your lives, interpreting you. Politicians show you what they want you to interpret and they interpret you too.

Sometimes we misinterpret – although perhaps there isn’t a wrong way to interpret?

Perhaps there is if all the facts and opinions are not given to us. How can we make up our own minds about anything without the full picture of it.


A Chat about Resolutions…

Thoughts

To make or not to make resolutions, that is the question!

I believe that it is good to set goals and why not make new ones each year? You can set out your calendar for the new year and plan how you are going to achieve the goals you want to accomplish and how you can better yourself. I don’t, however, believe in the saying New Year, New You. I used to because I used to think it was useful to think of each year like turning over a new leaf, a fresh start but now I have realised that you are the same you – just like when your grandma asked you how it felt to be a new age, there was no immediate difference, no change but as the year began to go on and you got tasked with new responsibilities you began to feel older. That is how I think of the New Year, setting goals and plans in place to better myself because I am still ‘me’ even though the year has changed. I also believe reflection of the past year is good, the end of a year makes sense to use as a way to judge your own personal success on how much you have worked on being the ‘you’ you want to become.

So what are my ‘resolutions’?

  • To learn how to cook (I kinda know the basics but if I am going to university next year, I think I need to live on more than tomato pasta or beans on toast alone)
  • To be more consistent with my blogging – I love that I have got the opportunity to post my opinions on this platform and I would love to make the time to fit writing into my schedule.
  • To revise! I have got A levels this year and I really would love to get the best grades I can to get into the university of my choice.

As a student, and no ‘real’ career plan I’m really just basing my goals on my studies and doing what I love and hoping that that might bring me to where I want to be. I also have my yearly ‘reading goals’ to read more books outside of my lessons.

My top tips when making your goals / resolutions (whatever we are calling them!)

  1. Make a plan of how you are going to stick to it. If you are thinking of giving up smoking, begin by saying, ‘I’ll have 1 cigarette a day for a week’ then the week after that by saying, ‘i’ll have one every other day’, then ‘one a week’ etc. If you make a plan you are more likely to achieve your goal.
  2. Be realistic about what you can achieve in that year – if you have never really read for pleasure before and set yourself the goal of reading 20 books you are unlikely to achieve it (but set long term, so called ‘unrealistic’, plans too as Walt Disney once said, ‘If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough!’)
  3. Reward yourself. Every time you reach a milestone, no matter how small, be proud of yourself and give yourself a reward – perhaps your favourite food, or a break somewhere.

I asked some friends and family about what they thought about resolutions…

They consensus was that it is stupid to think that that a new year is the only time that you can change things in your life, if you can’t achieve them any other time of the year why will you now? Many feel fed up of making resolutions only to give them all up mid January.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you have an amazing new year and that you achieve all your goals! Spend New Year’s Eve happy about what you have achieved thus far, be proud of yourself!

See you for my 2018 review and what I am looking forward to next year up at midnight tonight!

 

10 Gift Ideas For Any Occasion

Beauty, Fashion, Favourites

With Christmas just around the corner you’re probably thinking about what to get for the special people in your life. It can be difficult buying presents for people for any occasion particularly if you are under a tight budget. Here are a couple of my favourite unique finds…

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For the Tavel lover – Scratch Map

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They can scratch off the places they’ve been on the map and plan trips they hope to go to. The idea is that they will try to scratch off as many places as they can. I have one of these my self and I love it.

If they are a student there are loads of gap year and bucket list books by lonely planet that you can get on amazon or any good book store.

For the book worm – Book cover locket

I think these are so unique, they do a variety of book covers so you could find their favourite classic novel to put on to the locket.

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For the film lover – popcorn machine and bags

I mean it is their own cinema at home!

or for the person who wants to get into movies… a scratch off 100 bucket list movies poster 

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(photo from amazons website linked above) 

For the music lover – (if they have vinyls) a vinyl frame, new earphones or portable speaker. For the person who I into hearing all the classics there is also a scratch off 100 albums bucket list poster.

For anyone – books

I don’t think anyone can go wrong with a book, it can be about anything they are interested in from gardening to traveling. There are loads of thoughtful books on Urban outfitters if you need some ideas.

 For the fashion aficionado – The new fashion rules by Victoria Magrath

I have followed Victoria’s blog for a long time now and she has the most amazing style and knowledge of fashion – definitely something a fashion lover would love to delve into.

For the Make up addict – Makeup storage or a set from their favourite brand. ASOS do some great ones by a variety of brands or if you want to go more upmarket SpaceNK do some beautiful sets as well from bath and body to lipstick and eyeshadows.

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For the foodie – something for the kitchen or you can get books of the best places to eat in different cities.

For the sentimental – A photo book

I recommend Snapfish as I have used them before – the quality is really good and they are the cheapest company I can find that do them. I did one for my Dad documenting all the places we had travelled to and adventures we had been on. You can customise the pages yourself, adding text, changing the layout of the pictures and the background.

For anyone – Candles or bath things

Everyone likes gifts that they can use to relax. My favourite bath oils are from Aromatherapy – they can be a bit pricy but smell amazing.

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I hope this little guide helps! Do you have any go to or unique gift ideas that you love? Tell me in the comments 🙂

Thank you so much for reading!

Sustainable Fashion

Fashion, Style

Sustainable fashion is a concept that I have recently been intrigued to find out more about, with the environment and what we can do to help being in the news so heavily in the past few years. I recently read an article by Marnie Woodmeade for Huff post In which she discusses how far the fashion industry has come in terms of sustainability, in which she claims ‘Is on the rise’ but ‘Is not enough’.

Wikipedias definition of sustainable fashion:

“Sustainable fashion, also called Eco fashion, is a part of the growing design philosophy and trend of sustainability the goal of which is to create a system which can be supported indefinitely in terms of human impact on the environment and social responsibility. It can be seen as an alternative trend against fast fashion.”

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Plastic and how we can reduce its use has been in the news a lot in the recent months, with the plastic bag tax and the reduction of plastic straws. However, another way in which we can reduce our carbon footprint is by reducing the amount of clothes we throw away. With shops opening that sell cheap quality clothes, we have become a throw away society – we buy things that are ‘In trend’ and throw them away after only a couple of uses due to the bad quality.

I hadn’t realised how much waste the fashion industry produces until doing a bit of research on it – according to Edge (used by Huff post) ‘the clothing and textile industry is the largest polluter in the world’. Apparently ‘Last year alone, 12.8 million tons of textiles were discarded’.

Reducing Waste

Vivienne Westwood was one of the first designers to be an advocate for reducing waste in the fashion industry and she recommends that consumers “Buy less. Choose well.” and to “Make it last. Quality, not quantity.” And she mentions that “Everybody’s buying far too many clothes.” Her recommendation is to buy good quality clothes that suit your own individual personal style, to buy items that you will still love in years to come and will last that time. Westwood has also been a pioneer and activist to climate change, openly talking about her concerns – she says to the guardian ‘I’m just hoping that people will realise that climate change is on our doorstep.’

These ‘good quality’ clothes don’t need to be expensive, there are many reasonable priced shops that do some great quality, unique clothing too. My personal favourite is Zara, sometimes little rips can form in the clothes but I have not brought anything yet that I couldn’t sew back together easily.

If you do have items you no longer want, why not make a bit of money by selling them online. My favourite is depop, its easy to use and is mostly used by people who want to sell and/or buy clothes but there are many others out there too such as eBay or shpok, Or you can give the items to a charity shop – one mans trash is another mans treasure.

For some other ways to think about how to shop more ethically heres a great article by ‘ELLE’ titled the lazy girls guide to sustainable fashion.

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Brands That Focus On Sustainable Fashion

There are also certain brands who are making an effort to be more conscious of where they’re sourcing the materials to make clothes, who is making them and the chemicals that are being used to make the materials, here is an article by the independent highlighting some of last autumns best sustainable fashion brands. And here is another by Marie Claire. I found these really interesting because some of these brands are ones that I’ve never heard of before and I will certainly consider shopping in some of these in the future.

These aren’t all high end brands, many high street stores now are making an effort to keep the environment in mind, for example, H&M came out with a collection a couple of years ago called H&M conscious that focuses on ethically sourced materials.

Being conscious of your clothing choices and reducing waste of clothing is only a small step but it will certainly make a huge difference to the environment.

Fact Or Fiction

Thoughts

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‘Fake news’. I by no means mean to quote Trump here, but certainly much of the ‘truth’ has been contorted by journalists and social media in recent years.

We have, now, got most information at our finger tips. With thanks to the internet we can find out the breaking news and the height of your favourite celebrity; any kind of information that will satisfy your curiosity and allow you to figure out how to build that Ikea coffee table. The internet has been an incredible invention that I doubt many of us can imagine life without. However, as with all things, it has its downsides. We can get brand new information quicker then ever before which means journalists are biting at the bit to get out the next news story; this often means that much of the information has not been backed up and that it could, in fact, be just a rumour. And it’s not just the information we are given, it’s the information that news broadcasters can choose not to give us. After all, as Sir Francis Bacon once said ‘ipsa scientia potestas est’ – Knowledge itself is power.

I recently read an article from a couple of years ago by Katherine Viner (editor in chief at The Guardian) entitled ‘how technology disrupted the truth’ it was a fascinating read and really got me thinking about the society we live in now and our dependance on technology.

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Viner talked about how “In the digital age, it is easier than ever to publish false information, which is quickly shared and taken to be true”. Not only does this mean that some of the information is censored but that rumours can be quickly spread just like in high school movies. She is referring to the use of social media. It is easy for anyone to read a post and share it to let everyone they know about this information, or for anyone to make up information and share it without any evidence. And with our busy lives we tend not to have the time to check the facts, we just assume and trust that the information we are provided with is true.

Social media is not only a place to spread information but according to many articles the companies can censor what information we are presented with online. So unless we are actively searching for a piece of information, it won’t be shown on our social media feeds. Viner writes about how “Algorithms such as the one that powers Facebook’s news feed are designed to give us more of what they think we want – which means that the version of the world we encounter every day in our own personal stream has been invisibly curated to reinforce our pre-existing beliefs.” This can be particularly an issue in Politics. If we are given information about a campaign or about someone running for prime minister then that information may sway our decisions about what or who we vote for, if after the decisions have been made and we find out that that information was in fact false then we may look back on our vote and regret it – then we have the issue of whether there needs to be a revote. (Just like we are having now on the Brexit ‘vote leave’ allegations.)

Facebook has pledged to begin to do something about this ‘filter bubble’ (as Eli Pariser, the co-founder of Upworthy, coins it). Although some think even this is ‘Fake news’ too. (Facebook ‘fake news’ article here)

Many people now rely on social media to gain information on current affairs and to help construct opinions but how can we do that if that information may just be a rumour? We are unlikely to check these ‘facts’ and just regard them as the truth without any further investigation, after all the news should be something we can trust in.

Many writers in the past have talked about issues with misinformation, the most famous of all being George Orwell in his novel ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’. The phrase Orwell uses to sum this up is “Freedom is the freedom to say 2 plus 2 equals four” in other words, freedom only exists if all the information we are given is actually true. He comments on how easy it is for those in power or those we trust to say that “two plus two equals 5”. The sales of his best selling novel he wrote in 1948 shot up when Trump ran for president, with people making links between society now and the dystopian world Orwell presents for us.

Also in Margaret Atwood’s ‘A Handmaid’s Tale’ she writes that ‘there are 2 kinds of freedom, Freedom to and freedom from’.

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Im not saying that all the information we are told is false only that perhaps we need to be wary of what allegations being made by the media are true. This can only be done by checking on the sources and by reading around – To ask ourselves if the information we are being provided with is Fact or Fiction?

Book club: On My 2018 To Read List

Book Club

One of my resolutions was to read more. I have always loved reading but over the last couple of years schoolwork seems to have taken over and my passion for reading diminished a little. I am currently reading Origin by Dan Brown, an author whose books I have come to love, I’m about half way through and I’m hooked. Now it may be reading over schoolwork!

This is my  ‘to read’ list for the rest of the year…

Sense and sensibility – Jane Austin

I’ve been wanting to read one of Jane Austins novels for a while, I’ve seen the films and I really enjoyed Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austin apparently writes in a similar style. Its also one of those classics that I think will be really interesting to read.

Hidden Figures

The film was incredible, Looking at the women in Science who were behind making the Apollo mission possible but were never recognised at the time. Its supposed to be a really empowering read and a compelling look back into history.

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine

This is currently one of the best sellers on Waterstones and looks like a thought provoking story line.

To kill a mocking bird

This is one of my friends favourite books and she’s been urging for me to read it for a while. Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties through one man’s struggle for justice.

The Da Vinci Code

I am currently reading Origin, which is Dan Browns newest book of the Robert Langdon series, and I read inferno last year but I have never read the earlier books so I really want to read the first book to see where it all started. A lot of people say this is the best one too so really looking forward to reading it later this year.

Wild

I really enjoyed the film and it was a really poignant story about a woman who backpacks across America to find herself. I had wanted to read it before watching the film but I never got round to it – better late than never… right?

The Road

I think I am going to be reading this in English next year along with A handmaids tale and its always good to be ahead 😉 haha

A pair of silver wings

My dad recommended this book to me – he claims it to be one of the best books he’s ever read so i’m looking forward to seeing if I find it as good as he claims it to be.

If you have any book recommendations please let me know! It is such a struggle to find a good book and I hope that my reading list may have helped you. For my other recommendations please see my ‘book club’ section xx

 

How to get an A in GCSE Art

Art

Art. Art is not as easy as many think it is, there is a lot to do and a lot to think about. I looked at a lot of blog posts and videos whilst doing my GCSE art about sketchbooks and how to achieve the best grade which is why I wanted to do a post like this to see if I can help anyone doing GCSE art now because it can be tough. These are a few of my tips and a little look into 2 out of 4 of my sketchbooks over GCSE, I got an A in both of the ones here and my earlier ones are B grade.

Our exam topic was Beginning and or end, my final piece was a portrait of my friend shouting ‘ maybe you should change your perspective’.

Our mock topic was Past present and/or future. This was one of my favourite topics because I could be more creative with it and explore different ways I could portray people. I painted on people, experimented with palette knife painting and began to find myself more as an artist.

And then we had two other topics; Object and structure. Object was my worst sketchbook because I hadn’t really got into the flow of GCSE structure, by year 11 I had a bit of a routine; Artist, photography, responses. Sometimes I wold respond directly from the artists work to get the colours and techniques more accurate.

My top 5 tips:

  1. Take lots of photos.
  2. Develop your work until you don’t feel it can get any better or have a better idea.
  3. Explore lots of different materials; sewing, painting, drawing, ink, texture etc.
  4. Choose a subject matter you enjoy painting. For me it was people but yours could be anything from flowers to city scenes to cars.
  5. Write about your thought processes as to why you choose this particular artist and about what you like or don’t like in your own work – be critical.

best of luck if you’re doing GCSE Art, I’m sure you’ll do amazing! Just keep doing what you love above anything else, if you love what you’re doing it will show in your work xxx

Have you got any tips for doing art at gcse?