November 2016 - Rachel Ellen

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Stressed, But Happy

I started my Masters degree nearly 2 months ago (I actually can't believe it has been that long) and I have been through so many emotions over it that I can't even express them all.

Everyone knows that a masters degree is going to be harder and more work than an undergraduate degree, and yet my little brain still wasn't quite prepared.

In about 3 weeks time, I have 8 articles due in, an essay, and in January I have an exam. I think the most I had at one time in my last degree was five essays, and that was hell.

I realise articles don't seem nearly as bad as essays, and that's true in some respects, they're much more fun and your topic is much more free. But you also have to do so much for it. You need your initial idea, you need to develop it, choose an audience, choose a platform, find the information (which a lot of the time can mean interviewing someone), write it, re-write it, get feedback, basically start it again, take pictures/videos/sound, edit, hit word counts (and you have to be very close to your word count.)

I know I sound like I'm complaining, but I'm not. This is all the most exciting, exhausting, draining, fulfilling thing I have done. I spend each day going through such a wide range of emotions

I have never done a "creative" course before. Since school, everything could be done from the comfort of my own laptop. It's so exciting now that I get to have so much hands on experience.

I can't wait until all of my efforts start coming together, some of them are really exciting and I can't wait to share them with you all

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx

Monday, 7 November 2016

The Red Poppy

Wearing a poppy at the beginning of November is something that has always been important to me, but over the recent years there has been a lot of controversy about it. Controversy that has confused me.

There have been increasing numbers of scaremongers amongst us, telling us who is offended by the poppy and why. But with my understanding of the poppy, the only reason you would be offended would be if you had the wrong end of the stick.

In the simplest of terms remembrance day and poppies are a symbol of respect and remembrance of the fallen. But I have always been taught that it is more importantly remembrance of the loss and devastation caused by war.

I do not believe that it is for patriotism, I do not believe that it is for pride, I think it is the opposite. I think it is to remind each generation what once was, in the not so distant past. And what could be if we're not aware of our past. Now don't get me wrong, I know there have been wars since the world wars, and that is devastating. It is heartbreaking that the people making these decisions are the same people that wear poppies every year without thought.

There are rumblings currently of white poppies to represent peace, but to me the red poppy should represent our future peace. The red poppy was the first flower (or one of the first) to grow on the battle grounds, the fields of blood red flowers to remind us of the past, to hope we can stop it from happening in the future. I understand the sentiment of the white poppy, and I know it goes back way before my lifetime, but to me the red poppy gives the true impact of the consequences of war.

So this poppy day, as with any other, I will wear my red poppy as a sign of my political stance against war and all its devastation. I will use my two minutes of silence as thought, not only to the fallen, but of hope that no more will fall. I will not narrow my thoughts to only this country. I hope you will all do the same and not stain the meaning of the red poppy.

"Lest We Forget"

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx

Image taken from : here

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

What is a Bullet Journal?

What is a bullet journal? I know many people already know but for a while I didn't, and then for about the past year, I'd seen them around but never really looked into them much.

But this week, in an odd, over-tired decision I decided I was going to start one, so cue the googling, youtubing, pinterest-ing etc.

You will find loads of information all over the web about these things, but in the simplest terms, and you may have already guessed, it is a journal. In longer terms, it is a creative outlet and an organisation system. With a lot of uni stuff going on for me at the moment, I decided I needed something to do that wasn't high pressured and is just a bit of fun. Whether I keep up with it or not, I'm not entirely sure!

On there is a lovely video for basic set up of these journals, however you can still do whatever you want. The video and the website (and everyone on pinterest) seem to use the same kind of notebook, but I went for a small A5 sketchbook, firstly because I had one, secondly because I like that it opens easily.

First they tell you to set up an index (although, I'm sure it's a contents page, but I'm not the expert) and you will number every page. Next The Future Log which the video says to do 6 months, but I did a year. And then a monthly log;
List all the dates of the month on one page, and all your tasks for the month the other.

After that, a daily planner, which I haven't taken a picture of because it looks boring, but this is where the "bullet" name comes from, you bullet all the things you need to do/have done in the day, it becomes a nice reference point to work from. I plan on using a double page spread for a week. In that spread I am also including any money I spend, money for me is on a very tight budget at the moment, so if I can see every penny I'm spending, and wasting, this might make me spend less.

Next, because, again of my money situation I have created a meal log;

On the left, I have listed all the food I have, I know I look like I have a lot at the moment! At the bottom of the page I have included two boxes, extra food I buy in the week and wasted food. This way I'll know what I should buy more of and what I should stop buying. On the right, I have broken down into days and meals, this way I can track what I'm eating and what I'm using. I have colour coded the days (cos it's pretty, no other reason) and any food I buy rather than make, I am putting in black eg Tuesday Lunch Hot Roast Pork Sandwich (although totally worth it.)

I hope to keep up with this journal when I can, and I'll be scouring Pinterest for new ideas!

Let me know what you think, and link me to any of your own posts about journals of any kind!

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx