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Why I Write a Journal

When I was younger, I made several failed attempts of writing a journal.  As a girl who read the Princess Diaries books about six times each, I would always keep them religiously, updating every few hours in painful detail and each try lasted a maximum of about two weeks.

Recently, I stumbled across an old diary that I thought I had thrown away in a fit of 14-year-old embarrassment the last time I found it and I was over the moon to discover it was somehow still in my room. I sat for ages reading every page, remembering my final days at primary school, finding it hilarious how jealous my eleven year old self was at not being cast as Alice in the Alice In Wonderland play. It was such a great collection of memories, no matter how small, and I found myself sending quotes from it to the friends that I had been talking about. It was also interesting to see how my outlook on life had, unsurprisingly, changed as I’ve grown up and the things that I’d predicted that were completely wrong- for example, my apparent hatred that I don’t remember at all for one of my best friends.

This inspired me to give it another go. I went in with the expectation of it lasting maybe a month but here I am four months later and I haven’t missed a single day and I can’t see that happening any time soon. For the first week or so, I nearly forgot pretty much every night but I forced myself to write something, even if it was just a few short sentences about my day, every single night and before long it became part of my routine. Even only a few months later, I so much enjoy looking back on each day and remembering how I felt, because even if you don’t go into details about your emotions every day, if you write down the things that happened, you will remember the way you felt and even more tiny details about the day that you would have otherwise forgotten.

Personally, I tend to keep my diary because I have such a terrible memory but love looking back at old photos and scrapbooks and remembering specific days with forgotten jokes and meals and friends, so I usually don’t write much more than a recount of my day. Sometimes I talk about emotions and all the big stuff but I tend to keep it mostly factual.

I’m no expert, I’ve only been going for a few months, but here are some of my top tips if you want to get started which I highly recommend you do!

 

Don’t censor yourself

If you want to spew out a spring of expletives to get your point across- do it! This diary is for your eyes only and you don’t even have to tell anyone about it, let alone show them. If something horribly embarrassing happens, such as a period horror story on your first day of work- something I am grateful I have documented now, don’t leave it out because it feels too real. It might make you uncomfortable to go through all the details of it but before long you’ll be able to laugh about it- otherwise, you could just briefly outline what happened and if it’s that horrible, trust me, you’ll remember anyway.

 

Make journaling part of your routine

Every night before I get into bed, I put on some music and write in my diary, usually at my desk because I personally have found I tend to write more then than if I’m in bed because if I’m in bed then I want to go to sleep. On average write about one and a half A5 pages a day, but never set yourself constraints of how much and how little to write- for example, if I’ve had a pretty boring day or if I’m just exhausted, I tend to bullet point a few main things that happened and leave it at that. Most days, however, I think back on my day in chronological order and simply write down the main things that happened.

 

Don’t miss a day

Once you skip one day, it’s so difficult to get going again and to get back into the routine of writing. I recommend, if you go somewhere and forget to take your diary, or you’re staying with a friend and don’t want them to read over your shoulder, open a notes page on your phone and write what you normally would write there and transfer it first thing when you get back to your diary.

 

Choose the right notebook

This may seem unimportant, but after suffering with the ring bound fox cartoon notebook I bought because it was the only one I could buy with the change I had, trust me, it’s important. I would avoid ring bound notebooks because the spines start to come undone if you open them a lot or try and transport them somewhere. My new diary is a composition notebook and I prefer it a lot more. I would also recommend getting an A5 size journal as anything bigger takes up a lot of storage space once you’ve filled it up and is a bit of a nightmare to transport.

 

Have a countdown

At the end of every diary entry, I have a small ‘tracker’ section where I write down the days until something I’m looking forward to happens and I also write down a song I’m currently listening to or one that’s been in my head all day. I find it satisfying to end the entry with something optimistic like a countdown, mine have included the days until my last exam or the days until my holiday, because even if the day was bad, you manage to end on a high note. I write down songs because I really like looking at how my music taste changes over time and looking back and remembering a song and associating it immediately with a period of my life.

 

Use shorthand- it doesn’t have to be pretty!

As much as I would like my handwriting to be calligraphic and my diary entries to border on poetry, they don’t. I unashamedly abbreviate your to ‘ur’ and there are a few hashtags in there for comedic emphasis (that I am a little ashamed of). This means you can get more down in less time and really, you’re the only one who will see it, so there’s no need to write in full sentences with correct grammar as long as you know what you mean. As long as your handwriting is legible, you’re good.

 

I hope you have found this helpful and if you are considering starting to keep a diary- don’t wait! It doesn’t need to be a special day, just get going and you’ll understand the benefits right away. Good luck!

Freddie’s Netflix Recommendations

Here are some recommendations for TV shows that are on UK Netflix and a bit about each one. Some are the typical shows you’ve either seen or think you should see- in which case I will try my best to convince you, however, some are pretty obscure but brilliant I promise.

Red Dwarf

One of the most charming shows I’ve ever seen. Originally from the 80s but set three million years in the future, the show follows a small collection of three, then later four, characters, the only ones still alive, on the spacecraft Red Dwarf. It’s so lighthearted and the characters are so very lovable and the stories make very little sense anyway so you can dip in and out but it will always have a special place in my heart.

The Mighty Boosh

Probably my favourite of all of these shows. Essentially, a surreal comedy with extraordinary story lines but with a good few songs and a crew of ridiculous characters, pretty much all portrayed by the same few people. Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt write the show and also play the two main characters and their dynamic and comedic timing still has me in stitches although I’ve seen it at least six times through.

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day Of Camp

Although I would recommend watching the Wet Hot American Summer 2001 movie first, the 2015 Netflix show (set a month or so before the film) is just as genius on it’s own. A cast consisting of Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Chris Pine as well as Michael Showalter and David Wain, who wrote the show, and who are probably definitely too old to be playing 16-year-olds (and are very aware of this) make this surreal spoof of 80s camp movies unforgettable.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Either you’re sick of people talking about this show or you’ve never heard of it. This is the most recent discovery on this list but Rachel Bloom’s genius comedy-musical is not at all as cliché as I thought it would be based on it’s title. Her brilliant character creations are scarily relatable sometimes and perfectly reflected in the fantastic music- especially the main character Rebecca, the feminist dedicating all her time chasing her ex-boyfriend through ridiculous, yet hilarious schemes.

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

A hilarious show, one of my favourites, about four friends and Danny DeVito, all of whom are completely terrible people, that run a bar and come up with senseless schemes for their own gain and will not have each other’s backs in any situation. Don’t dismiss it because of how awful and offensive the characters are- it’s the best satire on TV that, if nothing else, will make you feel a lot better about yourself.

How To Get Away With Murder

I always compare this show to Sherlock, because it really is that good. It follows law students in Viola Davis’ ‘How To Get Away With Murder’ class who end up working for her and also find themselves entangled in the murder of a local girl. The show begins with flash-forwards to (no spoilers, I promise) to VERY intense moment that is even more intense when you catch up with them. The cast are flawless and the show is so intricately thought out and well written- I couldn’t recommend this one enough.

Bad Education

The first series of this show is probably the funniest thing I’ve ever seen and honestly I think I know every word. The second season is great too but the third isn’t really my cup of tea. HOWEVER, the first series is genius. Jack Whitehall stars as a man-child who is teaching the most dysfunctional class of teenagers who end up going to an ink museum and having the world’s funniest sex education class. The jokes and timing are just brilliant and it’s definitely worth binge-watching.

That ’70s Show

Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Laura Prepon getting high in a basement in the seventies- do I need to say more? I won’t lie, the comedy on this show is funny but it’s not hilarious- however, it will keep you hooked to the point where you don’t care about the jokes, you just really want all the precious characters to be happy. This show is so much fun and will give you serious wardrobe envy- in my opinion it’s a must.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I think I started watching this by accident but I’m so glad I did. Our title character, Kimmy, was kidnapped for 15 years and emerges as a teenager in a thirty-something-year-old’s body and watching her navigate her way through the modern world is both hilarious and heart-warming. Quirky characters and satire throughout, this show is gold.

Merlin

I missed the Merlin bandwagon when it was actually on TV but a friend of mine forced me to watch it on Netflix and I really do love it. Endless magic and fun with characters you don’t realise you care about until something happens to them. The setting of Camelot is also so gorgeous and I could rave about the score for hours- this is a great one to completely immerse yourself in.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS GO TO:

  • House of Fools
  • Cuckoo
  • Hustle

 

Now I have two recommendations of shows I found via Netflix that are sadly no longer on there (in the UK at least) but I would definitely suggest you watch if you can!

Misfits

The most random concept you could possibly think of- a group of teenagers doing community service find themselves with various superpowers after they’re caught up in a storm, leading to various relationships and maybe murder? (It’s been a while I’m genuinely not sure- that’s part of the mystery). The sort of show that will make you laugh until you cry and you’ll find yourself quoting it all the time.

The IT Crowd

In my opinion, probably the best British sit-com. It’s about an IT department consisting of “a genius, a dynamic go-getter, and a man from Ireland” and their interesting, but hilarious boss and the goth who lives in their cupboard. The writing of this is exceptional and Richard Ayoade honestly makes it just as brilliant as it is.

All we expect is a little respect

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They tell us that we’re lucky

For their ‘equality’ we should be grateful

Then they ask us why we’re hateful

When we’re catcalled on the street

 

‘Equal opportunities’ are bullshit

When female heroes are only for sex appeal

And they tell us that we’re getting a great deal

When our paycheques are so much smaller

 

There’s nothing cute about princesses

Weak and helpless, in need of a knight

If no-one teaches the young girls to fight

Then what the hell do you expect.

 

You complain about the ‘friend zone’

As if her body should be yours without question

And you have to write history with discretion

To hide that we were important too

 

Was I wrong to think that a basic human right

Was having control of your body?

But of course she is at fault isn’t she

For wearing a skirt that she liked

 

And when you say motherhood is a ‘duty’

Don’t expect us to fall to our knees

And do whatever we can to appease

Your repulsive misogynistic ideals

 

~ From Bea

flower boy

flower boy – from weheartit
oh, dandelion boy 
pick up your petals
someone may see you’ve dropped them

oh, sunflower boy 
stand up taller 
make your presence known

oh, forgetmenot boy
look at yourself
you could be so much stronger

oh, lily boy
hold your breath
no one should see you cry

oh, thistle boy
you shouldn’t hide your thorns
lest someone try to hurt you

– betsy

Sonnet #3

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An Ode for my One and Only ~

At first you are often passed by,
A tragedy for them, not for you.
For if they knew what they’d missed they’d cry
Because people like you are too few.

Each day I keep learning new little secrets,
These pieces of magic you wield,
Your words, your art, your impeccable wits,
Past your humour, your endless talents revealed.

You shine as brightly as the Sirius Star,
So brightly I can no longer see
How anyone could ever be on parr
With the wonders that reside within thee.

You’re a discovery I delight in making
And my heart, I believe, is yours for the taking.

~ From Bea

Sonnet #2

kindness-pictures-tumblr-tumblr-mzkc40zyge1sisd0ho1-1280

A Ballad for my Beloved ~

Never before has the world been so gifted
Than with your heart, so endlessly giving
And the joy in your soul like pure gold sifted
Down to the essence of all that is living.

Not money nor love makes the world turn ’round
But, in the sincerity of your smile,
The reason for living is found
And angels learn their angelic style.

No words can portray your grace or beauty.
No artist’s brush can capture your eyes.
But to you every knight shall swear their fealty
For your charm and kindness, none can despise.

Your good heart has shown no limitations,
And my love for you seems to span constellations.

~ From Bea

Sonnet #1

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A Sonnet for my Symphonist ~

Songwriting you truly excel at,
But your talents are not there confined
It is the great strength of your friendship that,
At heart, proves the strength of your mind.

Your words, so artfully crafted to tune
Do mimic the song that my heart sings
And the world becomes brighter than the moon
When your fingers upon strings start dancing.

Your beauty, the cause of Helen’s envy,
Does strike me down with every glance
But when you’re away, and my heart is empty
My love, by you, I am kept in a trance.

I love you so deeply I could never leave,
Not ever, not you, my beloved Eve.

~ From Bea


•Baymax, Big Hero 6•

~ From Bea

fragments

 

#1, 12th february 2012

i think you must know
i don’t know how you couldn’t.
i’m trying to stay away from you for
ten
more
seconds
counting down in my mind so i
don’t
look
desperate
but you reach out before the sand in the hourglass is gone.

 

#2, 2nd september 2012

after weeks,
months,
of building my own four walls brick by brick
you knocked it down like a sandcastle
and we built a fortress together.

 

#3, 31st december 2012

with you
i forgot
what i used to be sad about

 

#4, 21st september 2013

i’m starting to find my left hand boring
i keep doodling
imagining something lining the knuckle on my fourth finger;
how about you?

 

#5, 7th january 2014

you were taken away from me,
not in the worst way;
but in the way that left me alone
with long nights and empty days
waiting for your phone call.

 

 

#6, 2nd october 2014

time zones aren’t the same as time travel
sleep comes easily to the strong

 

#7, 18th july 2015

who do you blame if no one’s in the wrong
but it’s all you can do just to get along?

 

#8, 12th february 2016

every  brick of our fortress,
our castle
was pushed down
and i don’t think we can rebuilt it
with sticks from the ground.

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