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    Travel Diary: Barcelona

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    Ciutadella Park / on the metro / Cuitadella Park / lunch at Juice Dudes / Arc de Triomf / Jardins de Laribal

    Warning: very long, photo-heavy post ahead.

    One thing I absolutely should not have been doing right before the most important exams of my whole degree, was go to Barcelona for the weekend. That said, I did it anyway and I have absolutely no regrets.

    I have been meaning to post this for several months now, as it was all the way back in April that I visited, and I had got to the point that I wasn’t going to any more. But, Barcelona is of course still there and people are still going to visit the same places as I did, so in a way it is a bit of a timeless post that I figured I may as well anyway. Plus I got to enjoy looking over all of my Barcelona photos again which now means I want to go back.

    My best friend from university (and former flatmate until she ditched me) was on a year abroad in Spain as a requirement for her course, since she studies Spanish. Of course, this is very sad because it means that I had to go a very long time without seeing her when I was used to seeing her practically every single day of my life and sharing a bathroom with her. But it does have it benefits, mainly that I got to travel to Barcelona for the weekend a few weeks ago to meet up with her. She got a bus in from Logrono in the north of the country where she was staying at the time and we met in Barcelona.

    I have never visited Spain with a person who actually speaks the language before, and let me tell you it makes the absolute world of difference. I absolutely love the Spanish language and have always wanted to learn it, and that weekend had just made me want to do it even more. Because she had visited Barcelona once before with her boyfriend a few months ago, she already had a fair idea of what there was on offer and what kind of things we could do. Plus, she has a far better sense of direction than I do and I would probably still be wandering aimlessly trying to figure out how to get the metro back to the airport if I hadn’t made her send me detailed instructions.

    I did a photo diary of my time in Hamburg in January, which turned out to be a popular post, so I thought I would do the same for Barcelona. Read more

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    book review, books, feature, how to

    How to write the perfect book review (by ignoring all the “rules”)

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    I have seen quite a lot of blog posts recently detailing the “Seven Steps to Writing the Best Book Review Ever!!!” They tell you how to lay it all out and what should and shouldn’t be included, which sounds like a pretty good idea at first.

    But, the more of them I see and the more I think about it, they are really starting to get on my last nerve.

    Blogging is all about expressing yourself, right? So how can you do that when you have to abide by a specified set of rules?

    I don’t know how other people do it, but no extensive planning goes into any of my blog posts. I know roughly what I want to say, and so I sit down at my desk (or in my bed, more like) and start typing. Sometimes this means that it turns out as the biggest load of crap you would ever read in your life, but that is what editing as for. I am a big believer in just getting it all down and then sorting it after. I write all my essays and stories this way, and it has been working pretty well so far for me. I do a giant brain dump onto the page/screen, and then sort through it all to find what I was really trying to say in there. You don’t have to do it this way, of course, but this is the method that works for me.

    So how can I then work through a set of rules? That would be changing my writing process entirely.

    This is why I am here to tell you – in an equally unplanned ramble – that I don’t think there can or should be a step by step guide to writing a book review, or any kind of blog post. Sure, it might be helpful if you are starting out and need a helping hand. If using these guides works for you, then great! I don’t want to stop you or tell you you are wrong for doing so.

    What I am trying to say is that things like this feel to me like they are taking the creativity and spontaneity out of blogging, which is part and parcel of the fun. If I don’t want to list the five million places you can buy a book, then fine! If I want to say that I can’t decide whether or not I like a book, cool. If I do or don’t want to use some sort of star rating system, great.

    We all have our style of writing and our own process for getting our thoughts out there, which is why no two blogs are the same. It would be pretty boring if we were all regurgitating the same few things on every blog you clicked onto.

    I, for one, am going to continue abiding by own blog “rules” – and that is that there are none.

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