The 2020 mood board

We’re almost through February, and I’m sat pondering this year; the months that have been and the months that are to come.

I love traditions, rituals, small things I can implement into my life to create patterns and familiarity. Sometimes a pinch of gung-ho spontaneity is needed, but I really appreciate small things that celebrate and mark the every day. Christmas (which, once again, I’m aware was a while ago) is one of those times a year that is seeped in tradition; most things done from late November to the 28th of December are done because “it’s Christmas, and that’s how we Christmas.” And I’m so here for it.

However, I’ve never really had any traditions or rituals around New Years, and wishing the new year welcome. I love the celebrations with friends and family, the fireworks and the not-champagne-bubbles swirling in champagne glasses, but I haven’t found a tradition that I’ve either started for myself, or that’s really resonated with me before.

This year I celebrated New Years in Swanage with Harvey and his family, and his mum introduced me to the New Years Mood board, and let me tell you; this is my new New Years Tradition with a capital T.

It’s a really simple idea: get a big piece of paper (I found A3 to be the perfect size, big enough to fit what you want on it, but not so big that it feels overwhelming to fill the empty space), get some of your favourite magazines and spend some time browsing, flicking through the pages. Look for images, colours, patterns and quotes that resonate with you and how you want the next year to be. I found this process a lot more interesting than sitting down and deciding on New Years resolutions, because it felt like getting a different view on things, a different perspective, some new input. I cut out images and texts I liked, put it all together just because I liked it, and then discovered what it “meant” as the process went on.

The process in itself was also nice. It was sitting down, quietly, for a couple of hours, listening to music and just being alone with my own thoughts. Saying thank you and good bye to the year as it quietly snuck out the door, and welcoming the new one, the one that burst in through the window.

And now we’re here. This little piece is now framed in a very simple, narrow, black frame and resting on my dresser; the perfect place for it to blend into the interior, but also for it to be somewhere where I can throw a quick glance at it in the morning on my way out the door, giving a little thought to “how can I make this moodboard happen today? What have I done to implement these elements into my life?”

My 2020 moodboard isn’t mysterious and filled with hidden riddles and symbols. It is the moodboard of someone who wants to feel a bit more comfortable in their own skin, who is on the brink of finishing her education and dreams of a job and a flat where I’ll actually be able to put things on the walls (hence the image of the mugs hanging on the wall), a place I’ll stay for more than the typical student year. This year I’ll hopefully be able to start crafting a life for myself, a life built on those strange BAs I’ve acquired, on my interests and on my skills and abilities. If I squint my eyes, I can kinda see the moodboard reflecting that. It is also the moodboard of someone who wants to learn to prioritize her own wellbeing while still staying active and engaged with the local community, politics, work and volunteering. It is the moodboard of someone who wants to get better at creating small moments of peace in her everyday; moments of books and mugs of tea and knitted blankets bunched up under my chin. My moodboard is my reminder to myself that there is so much I want to do, but all of it doesn’t have to happen right now. It’s also a reminder that unknown, but wonderful, things are yet to come. Things I’ll be excited about, but that I don’t even know about yet. I want 2020 to be a softer year; a year where I’m a bit more kind to myself and where I try to worry a bit less.

I am excited to get back to this moodboard in December of 2020, and to give it another proper think at the end of the year. I am curious to see whether I’ll be able to look back and see specific moments where this little piece of paper has impacted my life. That’s not really the case yet for this last month and a half, but who knows. Maybe soon.

-Andrea

#iweigh a love of tea and a BA I’m proud of

Sometimes it’s so easy to get stuck in this cycle of not feeling good enough in your own body, especially when you’re constantly bombarded with images of what you’re supposed to look like and how you’re supposed to act.

Daily, multimillion dollar industries play at our insecurities, making us spend more money on their products by showing how happy glossy hair and smooth skin will make us. For many, the number on the scale feels like a punch in the stomach when standing alone in the bathroom, wet hair up in a tattered towel, in nothing but underwear, looking for affirmation in dead numbers. But it’s enough now.

#Iweigh is an initiative on Instagram, and the internet in general. It was started by British actor Jameela Jamil and has been embraced by women all over the world! The goal of the movement is for women to feel empowered by and measure themselves in their accomplishments and what they appreciate and are proud of.

A hashtag isn’t going to fix everything. A hashtag won’t immediately change the fact that 7 out of 10 girls feel like they don’t measure up, but if this movement teaches us anything, it is that we are so much more than our appearance and the number on that bathroom scale. We are worth the world just by existing, and we are worth every single proud moment we have ever achieved. We are worth the big crescendo in our favourite piece of music, coffee dates with our friends and good night messages from our loved ones. We are worth the compliments we give to others and the praise we hesitantly receive.

There were a couple of things I couldn’t fit in the picture, and so I’m adding them here:

#iweigh
-An affinity for experimenting with laundry detergent and washing up liquid
-The way I deal with emergencies
-My library job and everything I’ve learned through it
-All of my earlier jobs, volunteering opportunities and work experiences
-Three years abroad
-That I try to make the days good for the people around me
-That I can make you a really good cup of tea

And so much more!

I chose to use this picture even though I always feel a bit awkward posting selfies. However, this one was taken on my first day back at my new uni after taking a week off to attend the graduation ceremony at my old uni, I was drinking my favourite tea (Dorset Tea’s Strawberry and Cream), jamming out to the Hamilton soundtrack in my head, and the leaves were turning yellow all around me. It was a wonderful moment, one of those where you’re 100% convinced that everything will work out in the end. It’s an image it feels right to use in this situation.

I hope you measure your worth in all the things that make you you, today x

Until next time,
-Andrea

“First snow”

My garden’s been eaten by fresh bedsheets of snow,
it’s covering every inch of grass,
blanketing the city,
hushing it,
making it move a little slower than normal.
Winter tires, snow boots, layers of scarves to keep out the chill.
“It rarely snows like it used to,”
we say most winters, and we solemnly nod,
“global warming and the environment and all that.”
But for now, the sky is glittering,
with a million frozen dancers
who twirl and curtsy
like they did in the old days,
to an orchestra only they can hear.

-Andrea

 

The Bookshelf Tag

Time for another tag! And this time I’ve actually been tagged in it so it’s twice as exciting this time! I know I also quite recently did the Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt tag, but this tag’s different, it’s just the Bookshelf Tag, which means that we’ll chat a bit about organizing bookshelves and stuff like that.
This tag was created by Sajiid from Books are my Social Life and a huge thanks to Ceri from Bookmarks and Postcards for tagging me!

A note before we start; I have already accepted that this tag is going to expose me as the book hoarder I am. It’s not that I get all that attached to the books I read, but I really like the feeling of having books in the room, if that makes sense? Like, I feel like a shelf filled with books you’ve read and loved gives the room a chill and cozy vibe, and so the books do pile up a bit. I’ve also been able to keep my shelves in my room at my parents’ house while I’ve been away studying and moving around, so I haven’t had to have any proper clear outs yet either, meaning there are a lot of old favourites in there. Now let’s get started!

1. How many bookshelves do you have?
I’ve got two proper book cases and then four shelves in two other cases. Not the best solution but it works. In our old house I used to have these really beautiful “floating” bookshelves lining the top of the walls, framing the bed room. Here the ceiling is too low for that, and I’m just happy I’ve got enough space for all of the books.

2. How many books are on your bookshelf?
I’ve never actually counted them before, but doing so really surprised me! Turns out I’ve got exactly 450 books on my shelves right now, a lot more than I thought!

3. How do you organize your books?
Very badly. Let’s have a look:

My bookshelf is a a chaotic mess, and I’ve gone through so many different ways of organizing it throughout the last couple of years. Colour-coordinated, organised by genre, height, alphabetical order, year of publication – you name it, my shelves have probably seen some attempt at it. I also originally tried to have one Norwegian and one English shelf, but quickly discarded the idea. As you can see, I’ve got a little Norwegian shelf on the top there, but that’s only Norwegian children’s books. I’ve got both English and Norwegian editions of a lot of books, and I wanted to keep those together, plus I like having the different languages together, as it kind of represents how languages can mix in your head! Now, most of the books I care the most about (I’m big on nostalgia, gotta be real with you) are organized by authors (not alphabetically, though) there is a poetry-and-fairytales-shelf, a shelf for old “fandom” books (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Supernatural, etc.), all of my uni books are sitting together on the bottom shelf there, and there is a top shelf filled with both well-loved and unread classics.

4. What is the oldest book on your bookshelf?
The answer for this one is already featured in the Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt, but I love this book and am excited to talk about it a bit more:

The Journey to the Christmas Star by Sverre Brandt.

Published in 1925 and given to my grandmother as a Christmas present when she was a child, this is one of my favourite books. Every time Christmas comes around I have to get it out and have a read of the story about the little girl who travels on the northern wind to find the Christmas star that the evil count has cursed. It’s a wonderful book and I cherish this illustrated version of it.

5. What is the newest book on your bookshelf?
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I talked about this book in this www Wednesday-post, and it’s so good!! You should definitely read it, right here, right now.

6.What is the longest book on your bookshelf?
Bringing back Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, here.
This book is too much book. What I’ve managed to get through is really good, it’s just a lot of book.

7.What is the shortest book on your bookshelf?
New American Best Friend by Olivia Gatwood

On the other side of that spectrum, this book could be a bit more book. Gatwood’s poetry is hard hitting and gritty, witty and smart, and the end of the book just leaves you with this longing for more like it.

8.What is the predominant genre on your bookshelf?
It’s either YA fiction or fantasy. Like, not high fantasy (even though I really enjoy high fantasy as a genre), more realist, modern fiction.

9.Have you done a bookshelf tour?
I have! It’s here if you wanna take a look!

10.Go on a random number generator and talk about the book that corresponds with that number.
I used this number generator, and got the number 199. This corresponds to the book
How to Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee.

This was the first classic I read when I was about 16, and I remember really liking it. I’ve never read it again since, though. Might have to get on that sometime soon.

11. Do you have fan merch or any other decorations on your bookshelf.
I do have a few book-y fandom decorations in and on top of my shelves, but one of my favourites is this Jane Austen pendant-thingy.

I got this at the Jane Austen House museum in Chawton with my sister and I really like it. It’s a quote from Sense and Sensibility that says “Know your own happiness. Want for nothing but patience – or give it a more fascinating name and call it hope.”

12. Show us your bookshelf!
Sure! Here we go again, + the four extra shelves.

13. Tag someone!

I got so excited when Ceri tagged me, and now I’m excited to tag other people! Of course, if you’ve already done this or you simply don’t want to do a post like this, that is perfectly fine and nothing to worry about at all. If you do want to do this though, please leave me a link so I can check out your bookshelf! It’s my favourite thing ever to look at other people’s bookshelves. Also, if you’re reading this and I haven’t tagged you, this very much applies to you too! Just do it and comment a link if you want to!

For now, though, I’m tagging:
Molly from Silver Button Books
James from Real Life Protagonist
Mary from Sophril Reads
and Inga from Journey In Bookland

This post also got pretty long, but it was a lot of fun, and if you managed to reach the end of this, cheers to you.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a lovely day!

-Andrea

Journal #8

Shakespeare wrote about a Midsummer night’s dream, and on June 23rd (in Norway, at least) we celebrate midsummer night’s eve. Not the longest day of the year as I’ve always believed, but one day past the sun turning; when the night is one minute longer than it was the day before. We celebrated yesterday the same way we’ve always done, and I spent the day pondering how traditions stay the same, how we appreciate the things we’ve always done; my own midsummer night’s dream.

I dream of what I’ve always seen on an evening like this, of bonfires and burnt popcorn, of dogs off their leads and children learning to swim. I dream of grey haired locals playing saxophone from the back of a truck and gulls swooping down to peck at waffle crumbs left on the ground. I dream of shoes put away to dip our feet in the water and the taste in your mouth of knowing that you have all of summer in front of you, endless possibilities for tan lines and sun burns and morning teas on the veranda. I dream of post cards sent and letters received, breakfasts with the ones I love and skype calls with the ones I miss. My midsummer night’s dream is of those nights that never end; when you bring blankets and lanterns and candle light out into the garden, to watch sun sets and sun rise, when you watch the bats soar and smell the jasmine flowers, when life is floating and there is nowhere you need to be.

Midsummer’s night is a night when you remind yourself of how strong nature’s forces are, that we’re all part of nature, and in later years, that we can’t control it no matter how hard we try. On midsummer night’s eve we gather our families and celebrate that we’re out of the cold winter months and that we’ve got all of summer ahead of us. We sing songs passed down to remember that those we have lost are always with us, in the wind and the trees and the stars.
It’s a day where you pick wildflowers and put them under your pillow and where you’re grateful for what you have, what you’ve lost and what you’ve yet to gain.

We are a family of four, and my favourite time of all, is all of us together around the table outside. Yesterday, we sat there for the better part of three hours. There was tea, there were blankets being shared, words floating through the air. There is nothing you can’t talk about when it’s past midnight and it’s warm enough to never go to bed.
My midsummer night’s dream is a wish for many more eternal light like this one.

-Andrea

The Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt

It’s finally here; The Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt!
Okay, I know it’s not “finally” for you, as I haven’t really told you about this, but I’ve been planning this post for ages.

The Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt is quite an old challenge, created by TheLibraryOfSarah, but I’ve never done it before, and thought maybe this post could work as a loose recommendation post, to remind you of books you’ve left forgotten at the back of your bookshelf, or maybe the covers will make you curious and eager to try something new? I also hope this post can work as a reminder to myself about what these books mean and why I keep them around, that they’re not just a static collection on a shelf, but items I cherish.

This post’s gonna be a long one, so go make yourself a cup of tea and hit that “Continue Reading” bar and lets have a good chat about some books!

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