Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Journal Inspiration

Journaling is such a great personal tool. I've been keeping a creative journal for about two and a half years. It's tiny, from MUJI, with dotted pages. My mum got it for me when she was in Taiwan, so I wanted to find a special use for it, and I think I did. Using a journal is great because it can be whatever I want it to be. It's an ideal place to stick memories like tickets and photos in, when you don't know where else to keep them. I like to write down my thoughts in a poetic way too. Sometimes I'll find something I've jotted down in the margin of a school book and transfer it to my journal to immortalise it. I stick in pieces of art I've made- I let the journal speak of me.

Something that I did not necessarily expect going in was how it would display to me the differences in my interests as I got older. The early pages have song lyrics and happy thoughts about music artists I used to love, and names of friends I used to be closer to. In this way it can map out a journey, an emotional and physical one as plane and train tickets line the pages in between.

The cover has a kind of zip lock mechanism, where I've put a decorative piece of paper, but I also like to hide pages that I haven't yet included in the notebook, but would one day like to. Sticking lots of things into such a notebook does take up a lot of room, so you can either go for the chunky look, or use the other pages for shopping lists and the like. I'm happy to rip out pages when I'm not happy with how they look- I really want this paper space to reflect my innermost thoughts, as well as to be aesthetically pleasing.

As you can see above, I also stick in pretty things that others have made. Les Parapluies by Renoir is one of my favourite paintings ever, so I wanted to include it. It's fun to coordinate pages side by side, even when the themes don't always have much to do with each other. In a way, what this is is a cross between journaling and scrapbooking. Either way, it's lots of fun, and I'm happy with how it's coming along.

1. the cover // 2. the opening pages (though not everything in the journal is happy!) // 3. a taylor swift lyric & a dog i found in a magazine // 4. a poem i wrote & a madeiran cable car ticket // 5. a croissant i painted // 6. les parapluies by renoir & more poetry

Do you journal or scrapbook?

Anna x

Friday, 14 July 2017

when i felt most beautiful

He asked me to dance,
And with every twirl,
And every shoulder glance,
A small piece of glitter
Stuck to his big navy sleeve.

And then, when I saw him
Later, with another girl,
His arm a new glittery limb,
That was the evening 
I felt most beautiful.

Because, when, in the morning,
I would be clean (and gone),
His big navy sleeve would forever hold
The sparkle that had shone.

Anna O

Taken with the iPhone 4

Monday, 10 July 2017

thoughts on being nineteen

Yesterday, I turned nineteen, and it just doesn't feel like a year since I turned eighteen. I felt so nervous about being an adult, I didn't want that year to begin because I had a horrendous torrent of State Exams to come. And to be honest, it definitely was not the best year of my life. Much of the year, especially the second half, was taken up by either studying or feeling guilty about not studying. It was tiring, emotionally draining, and tore me away from casual enjoyment of life. That sounds quite intense and melodramatic, but really, by the end of it, I had barely spoken to my friends in a weeks, and hadn't spent any time with my wider family.

I also made some pretty stupid mistakes in my first year of adulthood. I got sunburned twice, and felt guilty about it each time. Now I'm tanned and have new freckles on my face. I never really had freckles on my forehead before, so it's definitely taking some getting used to. I think I was under confident a lot of the time too, too afraid to ask for what I really want, and too afraid to show my 'true colours'. I think there are a lot of things I could have done better, but I don't suppose there's any use in dwelling on them.

Even though I don't have the results of my exams yet, I do feel proud of how I handled them, and how dedicated I was to my studies. I think that I had to grow up a bit this year, because of the commitment, and definitely feel far from defeated or sore now. I know that in that area, I tried my best, and am very happy with that.

I had some great opportunities, too, to do some really great things. I went on holidays with my best friend (twice), have been growing an instagram account for my dog. I got to do what I've always dreamed of in my internet career- I got sent things to review and promote, one on my instagram, and the other on my blog. That was a lot of fun, and again, something to be proud of. Hard work pays off!

I also became incredibly comfortable with my group of friends, which has diversified over the years. I feel sad now, to have graduated. I won't miss secondary school- I'm glad that I won't have to go back to a place that holds very strong good and bad memories. However, many of my friends now live in different countries across the world, and will do for college too. I'll miss having the security of the school walls, and the great friends I made there.

As I'm sure you can gather, I'm not sorry to be saying goodbye to this year. I can't deny that I had some amazing, fun times, but it's nice to leave this chapter as is.

So, in terms of this year, I will be starting college this autumn. I'm excited and nervous about it. I can't wait to study subjects which I love, forgetting about maths which I am hopeless at. I'll make new friends, I'll experience endless new things. My life looks like it's going to change a lot this coming year, which I'm sure I'll discuss with you a lot more as all those changes come over the next few months.

So, here we go.

Do you have any advice for a nineteen year old? Or any birthdays coming up yourselves?

Anna x

also- please follow me on my personal instagram! I've only made it recently, so would love to find some new people to follow! x

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

REVIEW: Saal Digital Photo Book

I have always loved the idea of photo books, ever since I was a young blog reader and heard all about them from Ashley Ann. It's been a thought in my head for a really long time, that I should get one. I've been really into photography for years now, and have amassed a collection of photos that I really like. So, when I saw that Saal Digital was looking for people to review their photo books, I jumped at the chance. Thankfully, they approved my application, and I was given a £40 voucher to use against a purchase of any of their photo books. The choice was all mine! In the end, I went with a 30-page, A4 book with an off-white linen cover. This currently retails for £44.45, though it was cheaper when I got it as these particular books were on promotion.

Saal Digital is German-owned, and based in Germany. Shipping was £4.95. After designing my photo book, it took a good number of days to produce (linen covers take longer than regular ones) and a few more days to ship out to me. I ended up waiting a week and a half for the product, which is not too bad, but I did hope it would get to me sooner!

Saal Digital has software which you can download and use to create your photo book. I found the controls quite confusing at first, and ultimately opted to have each photo take up a full spread. I'm still glad that I did this, because the overall effect is fantastic, but have since learned that there are numerous templates and styles which you can choose from. Alternatively, you can use your own software to design it. All prices are displayed within the Saal Digital program, so you always know how much you're going to end up spending.

Personally, I'm thrilled with it. The cover is really stunning, and definitely adds to the quality of the product. I chose to have "Zu Hause" along the spine, as this book would not have happened without this blog! I wrote my name on the cover, and chose 15 of my most favourite photos from the blog to be the spreads. I also opted for matte pages because I didn't want that extra shine. Each photo came out really, really well, stunning quality. Some of the photos that I thought I wouldn't like turned out to be my favourites.

I was worried when ordering that the pages might be too thick. The idea is that the company uses "lay flat binding" so that each page can be examined flat. The pages are definitely stiff, but they're amazingly thin, and I'm quite satisfied by them.

Overall, I would highly recommend this company. I would tell you if there was anything wrong with the product, but I seriously cannot fault it! I am delighted to have a physical copy of my work, which I can use as a miniature portfolio, or simply show to my friends and family. My parents are so impressed with it, that they've asked me to compile a family album. I couldn't be more happy with this book, and really wish to thank Saal Digital for allowing me to participate in this review.

There is also a £15 voucher against your first purchase of a photo book should you choose to go with this company.

Have you ever gotten a photo book, or any of your work printed?

Disclaimer: I was sent this product for review by Saal Digital. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, 30 June 2017

when blogging bites back

You might notice that like 80 percent of all of my posts are missing.


It kind of sucks.

Basically, Photobucket (absolutely naming and shaming) decided to update its terms of service so that you can't use it as a photo-hosting service without paying for it. And I would be okay with this, totally, if I'd been given some forewarning and a chance to either switch service, or pay for Photobucket if it wasn't too expensive.

The issue is that, if there was a warning e-mail, I didn't get it. This morning when I went to post a book review, I was greeted with the horror of all of my photos being gone, or more so replaced with a really stark image screaming "PLEASE UPDATE YOUR ACCOUNT TO ENABLE THIRD PARTY HOSTING". Embarrassing much?

I mean, maybe Photobucket was never the right choice for this blog. The website has always been painfully slow on my ageing devices. I should have known they'd only allow their service for free for so long, but still, it's a pain. A pain that will take a few hours to fix.

There's one positive thing about this whole mess though (and it's not that I can't remember the order of photos in posts. I'm sincerely sorry if they're disconcertingly different). That positive thing is it is making me reflect on every post I've kept up. I've deleted a few boring ones over the years that I have no loving feelings towards, but I never really considered the value of most. This has given me an opportunity to delete the extremely lazy ones, where there are a couple of old photos with the words "s0rrY 4 n0t BLogG1ng" but a little bit more eloquent.

I guess I want to make this place more beautiful, and more me. You've probably noticed that I essentially don't put up pictures of myself. Just the odd vague side view. I suppose I'm still kind of scared to do that, but I would like to try to inject much more of myself, much more personality into this space.

I realise now how much I value this website. And now I want to make it even better, higher quality, more sincerity.

Until I get some old favourites up and running, there are a limited amount of posts live, but I hope you don't mind.

What's the biggest blogging disaster that's ever happened to you? This is most certainly mine. And yeah. I'm reusing an old photo- but it's so cool and the post I had it in was decidedly crap!

Anna x