Hogwarts Houses Study Tips: Slytherin

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Hi and welcome to the last instalment of my Hogwarts Houses Study Tips series. This time around I’m going to talk about my own house (once again sounding way too geeky) which is the house of Draco Malfoy and Merlin himself. Slytherins are known to be resourceful, fraternal and careful. We’re brave but smart at the same time so we’re good at discerning when it’s worth being brave and when it’s not. I genuinely do think that Slytherins are a mixture of all the other houses.

In this post, I am going to talk about ways in which a Slytherin (and anyone else, really) can use any means to achieve their ends.

Slytherin

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Resourceful

Fraternity

Preservation

Use any means

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My first tip is to use any method that is useful to you. Everybody learns things differently and so making use of different resources will not only allow you to discern which study method works best for you but it will also allow you to gather more information and get a deeper understanding of the subject you’re learning. You can do this by trying out different learning styles such as mind-maps, reading out loud or teaching the material to other people or simply by using your school’s library. I personally like to use websites like JSTOR which is a digital library created in 1995 which I can access through my school’s website. I also use ebooks and articles I find in my school’s library and by using all these sources I can make sure my notes are extensive and detailed.

Work with others

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This is where the idea of fraternity comes into play. Slytherins are mostly seen as selfish and mean but I genuinely think that’s because nobody really likes Slytherin. It’s a mode of self-preservation, I presume. However, I think that the fraternity within the Slytherin house is a very strong one and so I imagine in the Harry Potter books groups of Slytherins studying together in the common room until the early hours of the morning. I think that working with others is useful because it allows people to share information and further solidify their learning by teaching the material to others.

Take care of yourself

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Self-care is such an important thing and a lot of people either forget about it or don’t do it properly. Self-care won’t work if you’re not in the right headspace for it – you can put on a face mask and soak in a bubble bath but if your head is swarming with anxieties and worries, well, you’re not getting the best out of your self-care routine. To me, self-care means ridding myself of all worries and just caring for my physical and mental health. I have an entire list of self-care activities which you can check out *here*. Some of the ways I practice self-care are things such as meditating, walking outside without listening to music (I always have my earphones in my ears so this is a big improvement for me), tarot reading and working on my bullet journal/kpop journal. These activities are awesome because they allow me to rid myself of everyday stressors and just live in the moment, something I struggle with.

So here it is! The last part of my back to school study tips. I had so much fun writing this mini-series so thank you for reading and I really hope the tips are useful! Feel free to let me know how you study and what works for you. Also, make sure to check out my last blog post which is a list of all the TV/literature tropes I hate.

With love,

Peach xx

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(GIFs ARE NOT MINE! CREDIT GOES TO WHOEVER CREATED THEM!)

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Worst TV/Literature Tropes

trope (n)

1 A figurative or metaphorical use of a word or expression.

‘both clothes and illness became tropes for new attitudes toward the self’
‘my sense that philosophy has become barren is a recurrent trope of modern philosophy’
‘perhaps it is a mistake to use tropes and parallels in this eminently unpoetic age’
1.1 A significant or recurrent theme; a motif.
‘she uses the Eucharist as a pictorial trope’ Source

As we have already established, I am a big book person. I love books, I love reading and I love ingesting stories. It’s a form of escapism for me. I feel the same way about TV shows – I get to know unique characters that I can relate to or learn from, I get to understand someone else’s mind and how they work as a person through the way they wrote the book/script for the TV show. I just love it.

What I don’t love, is when that source of escapism is tainted by bad tropes. It ruins everything, the stories, the characters and the entire universe that has been built. I think that’s definitely one of the reasons why I’m so picky with the way I consume any type of media. I’m selective about the books I read, I never liked those cheesy romance novels, about the shows I watch (I don’t like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones) and I even do that with anime! I’m so particular about the things I don’t like because it helps me pick and choose what to spend my time on (and my energy, let’s be honest).

The first trope I hate is the best friends turned lovers trope. I hate how unrealistic it is, how it doesn’t let our main girl, because let’s be honest, it’s usually the girl who ends up crawling back to her childhood best friend, grow into the person she can be. I believe this trope is a comfortable way for an author to write a novel which a lot of people will enjoy. It’s all about comfort, about being secure and not stepping out of the comfort zone. People find it easier to digest a story about a girl who’s infatuated with two boys but in the end chooses the childhood best friend because it’s easy. She doesn’t have to get to know this new guy, she doesn’t have to see if it’s going to work or not because it’s safer to go with the comfortable choice, even though that choice might not be a good one. Urgh, this trope pisses me off so much that I could write an entire essay about it.

The second trope that I hate is diversity for the sake of diversity. We are in 2018, we live in a *mostly* diverse world, in a global world, but some authors still choose to stick to one type of character (the white cis heterosexual male/female). When they do choose to write diverse characters, they don’t write them because these characters are just that, humans experiencing the contents of the plot, but because that’s what’s expected in 2018. I really dislike this because even though it is 2018, a lot of people still can’t relate to the characters they read about/watch on screen. Everyone wants to feel represented, to feel heard, to not feel invisible. And so when so many books and TV shows attempt to be diverse, it almost always comes across as disingenuous. These diverse characters never get a normal plot of their own, their stories almost always revolve around their diversity. The LGBTQ+ character’s story is almost always about their struggle as an LGBTQ+ character, they’re rarely just people with a different sexual preference. This trope is so disappointing, even though we are making a lot of good progress, it’s really not enough.

The third trope I hate is the 1000-year-old monster dating a 17-year-old girl. I have to preface this by saying that I have read these types of books and I have watched TV shows that revolve around this trope (Twilight, Vampire Diaries) and came to find this trope creepy. I understand why it’s the way it is. People are dreamers, they want the impossible, they want to feel unique and adventurous and what’s more adventurous than vampires and beasts and zombies? The part that I don’t understand is, why do they have to be so damn old? How is it normal for a 200-year-old vampire to pursue a high school girl? Would people be alright with this trope if the love interest wasn’t a vampire and was just a plain old guy? Of course they wouldn’t because it’s gross! Just because the 200-year-old vampire looks like a 25-year-old student, it doesn’t make the situation better – it makes it worse.

Lastly, I hate the plain-jane trope. Writing characters for the sake of relatability is such an overused trope, especially in YA, that I can’t even begin to describe how much I hate it. It doesn’t necessarily stop me from reading the novel because when it happens I tend to focus on the story rather than the character, but at the same time, I believe that a story is incomplete without a good, well-rounded character. Women are always written either as the blonde bimbo who sleeps around a lot, the geeky girl or simply, with no personality because it allows people to insert themselves into the story. If the author writes a story where the main character is very detailed and real, people who haven’t found themselves yet cannot relate therefore the book doesn’t sell. It’s as simple as that. The male characters don’t get it any easier though. It’s always the nice guy who’s not really nice, the geeky guy who can’t get the hot girl and when he does he doesn’t change at all (but when the geeky girl gets the popular guy she has to change completely) or the mindless hunk who can get any girl but somehow falls in love with the geeky girl.

While I don’t like these tropes (and many others, I might make a second post), it doesn’t mean you can’t like them. Everyone views the world differently and everyone is allowed to have their own opinion, their own likes and dislikes and I respect that!

I hope you enjoyed this long, ranty blog post. Feel free to tell me all about the tropes you hate or love. Thanks for reading and make sure to read my last blog post which is a list of my favourite BTS songs.

With love,

Peach xx

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(GIFS ARE NOT MINE, CREDIT GOES TO THEIR CREATOR)

Top 7 Songs: BTS + Solos

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As I have mentioned in one of my earlier posts about kpop, one of my favourite groups at the moment is BTS. BTS has had such amazing success both in their home country and abroad which I find very impressive. Not many groups have been able to break into the international market and stay there for as long as BTS has. Personally, I like BTS’ more upbeat songs and I think my favourite album of theirs is WINGS so you’ll see a lot of that in this post. I think the reason why I decided to do this is 1 because I wanted to share my love for BTS and their amazing discography and 2 because I think it would be cool if I could show some people who maybe don’t know much about kpop or BTS, some awesome songs!

Without further ado, here are my seven favourite songs from BTS, including their solo songs!

BTS – Coffee

J-hope – Mama

BTS – Spring Day

Jimin – Serendipity

BTS – Mic Drop Remix ft Desiigner

Jungkook – Euphoria

BTS – Not Today

Bonus

V – Stigma

BTS – Dimple

Jungkook – Begin

So here it is, my top seven BTS songs! Thanks a lot for reading and feel free to let me know what your favourite songs are and also check out my last blog post which is my to-do list for my second year of university.

With love,

Peach xx

(videos and photos are NOT mine, credit goes to their makers!)

Time Crawlers by Varun Sayal – Book Review

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This book was sent to me for free by the author in exchange for an honest review. Time Crawlers by Varun Sayal is an anthology of six short stories depicting alternating universes. Varun Sayal discussed at length what it means to be human and how our humanity, flawed or not, can affect our lifestyle be it in the past or the future.

In this review, I will take a different approach to review the book because it is so short, 120 pages or so. I will talk about each one of the stories without giving away any spoilers and whilst remaining honest. Before I start talking about the book, I want to say that these are MY opinions, not yours. I am speaking solely from the way I see and read the book and this is in no way meant to offend anybody. Without further ado, here’s the review.

Time Crawlers by Varun Sayal

“Billions of universes run slightly parallel to our own universe; worlds full of infinite possibilities. There are many humans living in those parallel worlds, leading their lives, in a very similar way to how we are leading ours. But their respective realities differ from ours in some very peculiar ways.
Inhabitants of some worlds have already been visited and are being ruled by aliens. Some travelled through time, back and forth, and some have taken their space exploration to advanced stages using their powerful spaceships. Some created ruthless artificial intelligence that are fulfilling dark, human desires. Some developed advanced weapons technologies thousands of years before we did.
I believe a writer’s brain can somehow tap into this multitude of universes and take a peek into the events happening in each of them. This book, comprised of six stories, is my attempt to narrate to you tales from six different parallel universes. These stories are events that my brain somehow tapped into and captured in detail.
Let me know if your unconscious mind visited the same universes as mine. “(Goodreads)

#1. Nark-astra, The Hell Weapon

“The weapons he possesses make him the destroyer of worlds, and he burns for revenge. A high-tech take on ancient Indian mythology.” (Goodreads)

One of the first things I noticed about this little story is how imaginative it is and how easy it is to picture the events in my mind. Even though the story is short, the description makes it so that all the characters are well rounded and easy to follow through their decision making. Another thing I noticed is how dialogue-heavy this short story is. I understand that is because it’s a short story and thus it needs to be packed full of information, but I think the dialogue was overwhelming and gave everything away too easily. This might be because I am not used to reading such short stories. Another thing I didn’t really like was how things were handed to our main character with a smile, I would have liked him to work harder for said things but once again, the author probably didn’t want the story to be too long.

#2. Death by Crowd

“The dark desires of the masses; darknet websites fueled by a crypto-currency. What lurks in the background – an advanced artificial intelligence?” (Goodreads)

This story is my favourite by far, even though it’s the most gruesome out of all of them. The long dialogue fits perfectly with the interview style and makes the abundance of information digestible, which I enjoyed very much. I also enjoyed the concept as a whole and how the gruesomeness of the person being interviewed was not approached with disgust and resentment but rather with curiosity – I think it makes for a better discussion about the human instinct and the dark web. The A.I. theory also gave me an existential crisis, that’s how you know this was GOOD!

#3. Genie

“He rubbed a lamp alright, but what he got was the shock of his life. An entirely sci-fi take on the djinn myth.”(Goodreads)

I get the feeling from other reviews that a lot of people enjoyed this story for its humour which I can appreciate, but I think I was so involved in the second story that I couldn’t enjoy the light, breath of fresh air this story was meant to give the reader. I know for a fact that my opinion of this story is based solely on the type of reader I am, so I am now going to talk about the things I liked and disliked. I really enjoyed the character of the genie, she was funny and smart and witty and I like the sci-fi take on the whole djin myth, I think it makes the entire concept more interesting and easy to believe. I disliked the character of Marco, who I think was symbolic of the greed of humanity and to an extent how society objectifies women. I do wish there was a bit more prose but I think since the story is meant to be a short, funny story Sayal gets away with all the dialogue and in the end managed to produce a great story.

#4. Time Crawlers

“There are individuals who existing in multiple time periods at once, and there are those who know about them….” (Goodreads)

I think this might be my second favourite story in this anthology, simply because I appreciate the plot twist. I’m not gonna lie, I actually giggled when I read that twist, I was that impressed. This story was interesting and fun so much so that I wish it was a longer story so I could read more about these characters. I like how this one ties elements of the last three stories together and thus creates a bigger picture for us readers as well as the LGBTQ+ representation which was not made a big deal out of, just normal characters being normal human beings. Furthermore, I really love how detailed these theories are, it goes to show of Sayal’s ingenuity. I am looking forward to his next book!

#5.Eclipse

“No attacks, no blood-shed, yet there was an invasion and a conquest. Who are these shape-shifting aliens being hounded by an eclipse?” (Goodreads)

I think out of all the stories, this was my least favourite stories simply because I don’t really like the main character. I dislike main characters who put so much work into something only to give up with no fight *cough*Winston from 1984*cough*. However, I did enjoy how action packed it was and it did have me gasping and wanting to see the resolution of this short story so that is a big bonus.

#6. The Cave

“The fate of an advanced imperial race hangs in balance as a dark celestial entity meets a legendary protector.” (Goodreads)

Lastly, I quite enjoyed this story and I like the concept of this one I like the gender representation in The Cave. The imagery is nice and easy to picture however I do find Kaaljeevi a bit unrealistic. She’s meant to come across as all powerful with no flaws but while she’s fixing Earth’s problems she’s explaining everything eloquently, without breaking a sweat. I think that’s rather unrealistic, and yeah, I know this is a sci-fi story but it doesn’t allow the reader to connect to this amazing character at all so while I enjoy the gender representation, I think she could have been written better – kind of like the hero from the first story.

So here it is, my honest review of Time Crawlers by Varun Sayal. I have to say that I really enjoyed this book, even though I am not a big sci-fi fan. I liked how easy it was to discern the mental state of the characters, their morals and values just through these six short stories and I liked how all the stories, although different, linked together in some way or another to create a big universe. One thing I think can be improved is the lack of well written, strong female characters – up until the third and sixth story there were few female characters and they were always either mistresses, virgins or prostitutes – even the genie, although smart and witty was treated badly by the man she was granting three wishes for. While I understand how this can be a creative choice, I don’t think it was done on purpose but it is something to keep in mind. Overall, I really enjoyed all the stories and I really think it doesn’t read like a debut book!

Star Rating out of 5: ★★★★☆

Thanks a lot for reading my review, which you can also check out on *Goodreads*. Also, make sure to check out my bookstagram *here* and my last blog post which is all about spending more time with family. Have a lovely day!

With love,

Peach xx

Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – Book Review

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Given that I have finally started my own bookstagram (Instagram for books), I decided it would be awesome to keep some sort of a diary with all my bookish thoughts. Goodreads could suffice, of course, but I’m not really fond of leaving reviews on Goodreads so here I am, with the first of the many book reviews to come. I will try my best to post a review for every book I read, but I am sure that more often than not life will get in the way so I’m not making promises that I cannot keep (much like my monthly TBRs).

The first book I am going to discuss is the first book in the Raven Cycle series; Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. I have tried reading Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater before and it just didn’t work out for me so I was a little apprehensive when all the big booktubers (youtube for books) started raving about this series. After a while, I bought the book and after even more time I decided to read it. (One of the) best decision of my life! This book was not necessarily a roller coaster nor did it make me fall in love with our leading lady but here is why I enjoyed it so much:

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“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.” (Goodreads)

Themes

I really enjoyed all the themes portrayed in this first book and I think they were done really well but I will only focus on my favourite three. The first one is the supernatural/witch elements of this novel. I am all about magic, crystals, tarot reading and psychics myself which in turn made me love this aspect of the book. I thought it was done beautifully – the psychics in this book didn’t have all the answers all the time and they weren’t all-powerful witches that had no flaws. I also like the fact that our main character is not as gifted as the rest of her family – it’s a step forward from the perfect protagonist we see in a lot of literature.

I also like the way domestic/child abuse was represented in this novel in a respectful and realistic way. Maggie Stiefvater didn’t make Adam the hero that saved himself and his family nor did she make him come across as a character that can’t move forward – instead, she wrote him somewhere in the middle which I think is very realistic. I like the fact that he’s flawed too and the way he handles the abuse is not conventional or how people expect abuse victims to handle their traumas.

The last theme I enjoyed was the portrayal of wealth or lack of it, to be exact. I love that none of the characters are stuck in their own little bubble. Instead we have characters like Adam who is insecure about his lack of wealth to the point where it affects his thinking and behaviour, we have Blue who is slightly bitter about her financial upbringing but is proud of herself nonetheless, Gansey who doesn’t want to be like his father but ultimately is, Ronan who really doesn’t care much and Mr Whelk who is obsessed with wealth. I think the variety of opinions on wealth and the way each character handles this subject really made this book a good read for me.

Reception

I mentioned reception a bit earlier in the post but I will expand more on it here. I am the kind of person who doesn’t like hype – books/tv shows/bands that are too hyped put me off. I’m not entirely sure why maybe because I don’t want to be disappointed but that’s just how I am. I am, however, trying to change that. I tried reading Fifty Shades of Grey after being put off by the hype and I still hated it, but hey, I’m trying. With Raven Boys, everyone and their mother was hyping this book up and I just lost interest in trying it out. After a while, I was walking through Foyles, saw this book and picked it up. It then took me another year or so to actually read it. Moral of the story? Don’t let yourself miss out on things because they are too hyped! Make your own opinion!

Point of View

This is something that put me off the book at first. Personally, I enjoy writing in third person omniscient while mostly focusing on one character. This book does a similar thing but instead of sticking to the same point of view throughout, it switches POV every chapter. This would normally be fine, only the names (Gansey, for example) confused me so much at the beginning that I had a hard time reading it. After learning the characters and their weird names and the action started picking up the pace it became easier to enjoy this point of view.

Imagery

This is a very important aspect of reading for me. One of the reasons why I absolutely adore reading and even chose to study literature at university is because I like the imagery behind the words. Raven Boys really didn’t disappoint when it came to imagery! The descriptions weren’t overwhelming but were still very expressive and easy to visualise. This, in turn, made the action scenes truly breathtaking and deliciously overwhelming.

Star Rating out of 5: ★★★★☆

So here it is, my first book review on this blog – how exciting! I just want to put this out there that these are purely my opinions and everyone is entitled to their own opinion! Thanks a lot for reading and make sure to check out my new bookstagram (@koyas_bookself on IG) as well as my last blog post which is all about Hufflepuff study tips!

With love,

Peach xx

Hogwarts Houses Study Tips: Hufflepuff

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The third part of my Hogwarts Houses Study Tips is all about helping hufflepuffs finding different and maybe even better ways of studying. This week I will be focusing less on study strategies such as ‘teach it to others’ and ‘ask for help’ and more on the reasons why some of us have a hard time concentrating on our studies. I think we can all agree that as students in this modern age, our attention span gets shorter and shorter as technology and social media gets better and better. I personally have days in which I sit down at my desk, ready to read a text from the 18th century and I just can’t seem to focus – or I focus for the first five minutes and then I suddenly catch myself staring at the wall and daydreaming about Sandra Oh. It’s not like I am underprepared, I have all my essentials right next to me – a notebook to jot down notes, coffee/water, snacks and my phone is far away on my bed. Still, I can’t concentrate.

I think people deal differently with this situation. Some of us get annoyed and take a nap, others persevere, maybe they even find ways to make the content fun and interesting. But I genuinely think that before we do any of that, we should come to terms with the reasons why we’re having such a hard time studying. Here are a couple of tips that might help with that.

Hufflepuff

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Patience

Loyalty

Dedication

Kindness

Unafraid

Be patient and kind with yourself

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You know how some older people tell us that our generation is lacking independence and focus? Well, don’t listen to them. Times are changing, society is evolving and technology has a very big impact on our day to day lives, even though we might not realize it at the moment. Back in the day, people had to buy newspapers to get their news, now it’s all at our fingertips. Back in the day research was done in libraries by reading tons of books, now it’s at the push of a button. Of course, we would find it harder to focus, we don’t have to sit down for hours just to accomplish one task. So be kind and patient with yourself, don’t stress too much and you will succeed.

Spend some time understanding why you’re having trouble

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Instead of just diving into whatever you have to do or study, take some time to analyse the situation. Why do you lose focus so easily? What’s distracting you and how can you make sure you keep focused for as long as you need to. Naturally, our minds can only focus for twenty minutes before our minds start to wander. I personally found out that because of my very active imagination, I tend to slip into this land of daydreams whenever I lose focus. So instead of sitting down for hours, trying to concentrate on a subject that I might not even like, I study in bursts of 20 minutes and take 5-minute breaks in between. This way I can give into my wandering mind and keep focused for those 20 minutes.

Don’t be afraid of change

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I wrote a blog post about how I stopped fearing change which you can read *here*. Change is such a natural phenomenon and it’s normal to be afraid of change because it means stepping out of our comfort zone. But change is essential to living a productive and active lifestyle – a life worth being proud of. If you really, really want to get that degree or become a doctor/lawyer/photographer/etc. then being a proactive learner is worth changing your habits for. Instead of resigning yourself to bad study sessions and going to class confused, take this opportunity to change the way you study and focus in order to achieve your dreams and your goals!

So here it is, the third part of my Hogwarts Houses Study Tips series. I hope these tips helped you understand and work through the frustrations of not being able to hunker down and learn. Thanks a lot for reading and make sure to check out my last blog post which is a list of my favourite kpop groups as well as the other parts in this series: Gryffindor and Ravenclaw!

With love,

Peach xx

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(GIFs are NOT MINE – credit goes to their creators)

My Favourite Kpop Groups

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About a week ago I talked about my kpop journey and my kpop journal and how much I enjoy kpop. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I would want to write a list of my favourite kpop groups since I’m obviously a fan of Korean music and entertainment but to recap on the things I mentioned in my last post about kpop, I became a kpop fan in the spring of 2012 and have been an on and off fan ever since then. I started out with groups like BigBang and 2NE1 and although I am a soft stan (someone who doesn’t spend a lot of time streaming music videos and obsessing over comebacks) I very much enjoy this new generation of kpop groups – even though I will always prefer the second generation.

Here are a couple of my favourite groups, my bias and favourite song from each group.

SHINee

Shinee (/ˈʃaɪniː/ SHY-nee; Korean: 샤이니; Japanese: シャイニー; stylized as SHINee) is a South Korean boy band formed by SM Entertainment in 2008. The group is composed of four members: Onew, Key, Minho, and Taemin. Originally a five-piece group, vocalist Jonghyun died in December 2017. The group’s popularity in their native country has earned them numerous accolades and the title “Princes of K-pop” (Wikipedia)

Ah, SHINee… They truly are the princes of kpop! I fell in love with SHINee almost immediately after I fell in love with kpop as a whole. The first song I heard from them was Lucifer and then Ring Ding Dong which then led me to watch Hello Baby and the rest is history! My first bias was Taemin simply because of his long hair in Lucifer, then Minho because he was so sweet with the toddler from Hello Baby. Then my bias switched to Key because I really liked how he wasn’t ashamed to be a bit more feminine but ultimately, my heart really always belonged to Jonghyun (it still does today). As you’ve read from the quote I got from Wikipedia, Jonghyun died in December of 2017 which of course affected me in ways I cannot even begin to describe but what I do have to say about him is that he was always such a big part of my life, even if he didn’t know it. You know how when you’re a teenager and nobody really gets you and you’re moody and upset, you find solace in music or celebrities because they seem to understand? Jonghyun was that for me. His music was legendary and the way he stood up for minorities and his open-mindedness, well, I really truly believe that he shaped me into who I am today. To me, SHINee will forever be five.

Favourite song: SHINee – The Reason

BTS

BTS (Hangul: 방탄소년단; RR: Bangtan Sonyeondan), also known as the Bangtan Boys, is a seven-member South Korean boy band formed by Big Hit Entertainment. They debuted on June 12, 2013, with the song “No More Dream” from their first album 2 Cool 4 Skool. (Wikipedia)

I have to say that I pretty much watched BTS grow into the group they are today right from the beginning – not because I want to gloat or anything but because the more they gained popularity and confidence, the more I fell in love with them. At first, I didn’t really like their music, hip-hop is not necessarily my style although I do enjoy some songs here and there, as the years went by they began evolving and growing up. Their music changed, their creativity started showing through their lyrics, their music videos and their overall presence in the Korean music industry. As for my bias, well, it’s super hard for me to choose a bias in BTS for some reason. I love all of them equally even though sometimes I lean more towards one over the others.

My favourite song: BTS – Spine Breaker

Mamamoo

Mamamoo (Hangul: 마마무), sometimes stylized as MAMAMOO, is a South Korean girl group formed by RBW (formerly WA Entertainment) in 2014. The group officially debuted on June 19, 2014, with the single “Mr Ambiguous”. Their debut was considered by some critics as one of the best K-pop debuts of 2014. They are recognized for their retro, jazz, R&B concepts and strong vocal performances. (Wikipedia)

Uh, where do I begin? I am soo in love with Mamamoo. Their energy is absolutely insane and their vocals slay me every single time they open their mouths. I don’t even think there’s a member in Mamamoo that doesn’t have talent – they are all so genuinely amazing, it’s insane. I learnt about these queens from a friend back in college and although I liked their earlier songs, I am not a big jazz person but as they evolved, I started falling more and more for these four amazing ladies. I really recommend listening to their entire discography because it’s honestly a gold mine. As for my bias – Moonbyul really has my heart at the moment. I love how badass she is, her rapping always gets me and her singing voice is so unique, it’s amazing!

My favourite song: Mamamoo – Starry Night

So here it is, three of my favourite kpop groups as of now. Feel free to let me know what your opinions are on these three groups and what your favourite groups are! Also, make sure to check out my last blog post which is a list of useful tips to get over a writing block. Thanks a lot for reading! (GIFs and videos aren’t mine – credit goes to the owners!)

With love,

Peach xxlarge

Writing Blocks and How to Get Over Them

I am a creative person, I have always been a creative person ever since I was a kid. I used to paint with watercolours at four years old (that’s how I learnt to spell my name) and I was constantly in my own head, dreaming up an endless list of scenarios from being a princess in space to being a bratty yet trendy teenager like Sharon from Braceface. The universe has always been endless for me. I especially loved the creative writing aspect of my lessons in school – I took great pride in my stories and wanted everyone to read them. That hasn’t changed much.

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Then I became a pre-teen and I moved to the UK and my imagination kept flourishing. It has helped me through tough times, laying in bed with my eyes closed, just living my best life away from my real life. Then I got into anime and music, I started writing stories about the things that I liked such as Naruto and Tokio Hotel and as I grew up my writing improved and so did my love for this creative outlet. It wasn’t just a hobby or a passion anymore, it was my safe place. It allowed me to bend rules to a breaking point, to experiment and grow up with my characters. I then took two years of creative writing in college and to this day I believe that those lessons were the best lessons I’ve ever had.

My creative writing class was a second home to me, even though I was there only twice a week. It symbolised the way my creativity rolled in waves of pure excitement. I started writing poetry and plays and I came up with so many great ideas that I don’t think I’d be able to write them all in this lifetime. In fact, my creative writing teacher at the time encouraged me to start my own blog so thanks to him I am here, doing something I love.

I always knew writing was my passion but as I grew up I became addicted to it, I began seeing it as a source of comfort in hard times and good times and all the time, to be honest. I spend my days and nights jotting down ideas and writing poetry and while that might sound boring or redundant to some, it’s usually the highlight of my day.

I think it was necessary to preface this post with this very (very) long story about how I grew to love creative writing because it explains why I have such great trouble with writing blocks. I think because I put so much effort and love into my stories and poems and plays, I tend to burn out pretty quickly. I can write five chapters for one of my stories and come up with ten different poems in between seminars but by the end of the day I would feel so tired and burned out that the mere idea of being creative annoys me. This would go on for a couple of days, maybe a few weeks even but after a while, that dependence kicks in and I find it hard to get back into writing right away.

I realize that I am not alone in this – many great writers, if not all of them, dealt and still deal with writer’s block but this is my way of pulling myself out of a writing funk. Here are a few of my tips:

Get inspired

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I guess it’s easier said than done, right? Personally, I get inspired by everything, especially music. I can listen to Cherry Pie by Warrant or Barbie Girl by Aqua and somehow I’ll make a drabble out of it. People watching is also great, although I advise being casual about it, not creepy. Just sitting in a coffee shop with a notepad or whatever device you write on will be enough to spark some sort of interest and creativity in that beautiful brain of yours.

Carry a notebook everywhere

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This works with mobile phones or laptops as well, of course. One thing that we were told over and over again in my creative writing module at university (yup, I did creative writing at university as well as college) was to always carry something where you can jot down ideas – even words that elicit some sort of creativity. I usually use my phone’s memo app for this since I already carry half of my belongings around with me but to each their own.

Write daily

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Yeah, yeah, I know that everyone and their mother will tell you to do this but it is true. No matter how crappy your writing is that day, you should write something. Be it a poem or a song or even a short story. This will allow you to get into the mindset and focus on writing. Let yourself be creative! In fact, one of my favourite things to do back in the day was to sit down at my desk, take a random word/phrase/song and just write a page of A5 about it. It could be any form or theme but it gave me such great joy.

Write drabbles / 7 Minute Writing

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(FYI – it’s almost impossible to find a GIF of Deb without her swearing xD)

Something I learned in college was to just let go. We were told to take out a pen and a paper, we were given a prompt such as ‘The last thing I told my best friend…’ and we were given seven minutes to just write. The idea was to write whatever came to mind, even if it was the word ‘boring’ repeated over and over. I think that allowing your hand to write down your stream of consciousness you allow yourself to be free of expectations of what you writing should be like. I mean, let’s be honest here for a moment, we all have expectations. I’ve been writing since I was ten years old, for nearly a decade, and I still read the works of some of our greatest authors and I compare myself to them because that’s just human nature but by knowing you’re allowed to just word-vomit onto a page you are putting away your expectations and focusing solely on getting your point across. This works amazingly well if you do it every day!

Just do it

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I think that with a lot of things in life we always look for some sort of sign or we think we need to plan things before we do them. The same applies to writing or any other form of a creative outlet. Whenever I’m in a writing funk I have to remind myself that sometimes motivation can be a method of procrastination because it keeps me in that safe space of knowing I’m doing something towards my goal but in reality, I’m not actually achieving anything. Instead, I just focus on being determined and disciplined because if I’m determined enough to tell a story then I’m going to be disciplined enough to pull through.

So here are a couple of my tips on how to get over a writing block. I really love writing for this blog, it’s almost as therapeutic as looking for GIFs to fit my posts! Let me know what you think about the GIFs and whether they should stay or go? Also, disclaimer, all of the GIFs used in this post are NOT mine – credit goes to whoever created them. Thanks a lot for reading and make sure to check out my last blog post which is about how I stopped fearing change.

With love,

Peach xx

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How I Stopped Fearing Change

I think this blog post could have very well been a part of my ‘Be Present’ blog post from a few weeks back, and of course, change is a big part of us moving through the different stages of our lives. Change is a natural phenomenon but it’s also something we fear or avoid. It’s also something I’ve been struggling with for the better part of my life.

I was that child kicking and screaming when her mum dropped her off at nursery in the morning and I was that kid who hated having to leave her country to be with her parents at the age of eleven because the prospect of change terrified me. I know that anyone would be anxious if they were to go through what I did but I think I took it especially hard. I practically isolated myself from everyone I knew and I can count on two hands the times I left my house to go out in the first six months of moving to the UK. It’s safe to say that I don’t fare well with change.

This fear of change followed me to this day – from finishing secondary school and starting college to beginning my journey at university, I am still just as afraid of change as I was on my first day of nursery. That’s not to say that I am always on the safe side, I certainly have my moments when I forget all rationale and dive straight into whatever’s in front of me, no matter the consequence but sometimes, well, sometimes I have to really think about my decisions because the fear of making a bad decision is so overwhelming that it paralyzes me.

Because of my fear of change I started noticing things about myself. I started noticing how small changes make me feel compared to big changes. Small changes like going vegetarian and then vegan (small for me, big for others – everyone has their own journey) compared to moving countries at the young age of 11 are certainly hard to compare even though they both affected my lifestyle and how I now view the world. I noticed that I can accept small changes, changes that don’t have a huge impact on my day to day life, a lot easier than major changes and I began asking myself why. Of course, because major changes like starting university and moving to another country are bound to throw me into new situations and out of my comfort zone – I can’t control the impact these changes have on my life the way I can control my diet for example. That’s when I realized that I am not really afraid of change because obviously, small change doesn’t bother me, but that I am afraid of losing control and I believe this is something very common, especially amongst young people.

The next step for me was to want to get over my need to be in control of everything which was the difficult part because on one hand, I thought that being in control of everything meant that I was safely in my comfort zone and nothing could shake me out of it. In reality, I wasn’t nearly as safe in my comfort zone as I thought I was because that’s not how life works. Life doesn’t wait for anybody to be ready for change and so by not accepting change and needing to be in control all the time, I wasn’t protecting myself, I was actually holding myself back from learning how to handle losing control of everything so when something big happened I didn’t know how to react. That’s when I realized that in order to live a more fulfilling, less scared life, I needed to figure out why I wanted to be more spontaneous and less controlling.

One of the main reasons why I went on this little journey of self-reflection was that I knew that I wanted to experience life at its fullest capacity and since then, I’ve been working hard on accepting change and losing control from time to time. Of course, nothing happens overnight and I am still very much set on some things, but I am glad I took that step forward and allowed myself to work on becoming a better person, even though I am not there yet.

So here it is, a whole blog post about one of my deepest insecurities, just two months after launching this blog. It really doesn’t take me a long time to feel comfortable enough to over-share. Anyway, I think that as long as this is out there and has the potential to inspire at least one person or to even just spark a bit of interest, then that’s good enough for me. Thank you for reading and make sure to check out my last blog post which was the second part of my Hogwarts Houses Study Tips series – the Ravenclaw edition.

With love,

Peach xx

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Hogwarts Houses Study Tips: Ravenclaw

Welcome to the second part of my Hogwarts Houses Study Tips series! This time, I am going to give you some studying tips and advice that relates to Ravenclaw. As I mentioned in the first instalment of this series, Harry Potter is still very much relevant in today’s society even though it’s a fiction story about a teenage wizard. A lot of people relate to the Hogwarts houses system and some people even base some of their decisions and beliefs based on that.

This list is not meant to come across as law – people are multidimensional which means that what works for one Ravenclaw might not work for another. (I realize that I’m taking this way too seriously but bare with me).

Without further ado, here are three Ravenclaw study tips.

Ravenclaw

Engaging

Helpful

Competitive

Talented

Productive

Teach it to others

Learning is a layered process for a lot of people. When we first learn something we add the first layer which we then revise and add the second layer. To really consolidate our learning, it’s useful to teach the knowledge we just acquired to others. Not only does it point out the parts we didn’t understand but it also forms mental cues through repetition.

Discuss

It’s easy to learn something from a book or a lecture and then dust our hands because it’s all done but just as we are multidimensional, the subjects we study are too. It’s worth studying subjects in depth, analysing and deepening our understanding not only because it helps secure those extra points in exams and projects but also because it builds confidence in our knowledge and our ability to listen to others with an open mind.

Quiz Yourself

This particular point doesn’t work for me but a lot of my friends swear by it. Quizzing yourself, whether by using apps or covering the answers with an object or your hand is useful because it lets you know whether you really understood the concept and it further consolidates your knowledge through repetition.

So here it is, three study tips for all you lovely Ravenclaws out there. Thanks a lot for reading and please make sure to check the first part of this series which is all about Gryffindor study tips as well as my last blog post which is about my kpop journal.

With love,

Peach xx

(GIFs are not mine, credit goes to whoever made them)