A Poetic Moodboard For The Non-Poet

I have a newfound interest in poetry. I’m studying the Chilean Pablo Neruda for college (the anthology we’re doing, 20 Love Poems and a Song of Despair, claims to be ‘one of the most celebrated and admired books of erotic poetry published in the last 100 years’, so it’s a little awkward) and for once I’m actually finding the poetry interesting. Some of the GCSE stuff was okay but I mostly only liked the simplistic stuff and Neruda’s isn’t the most abstract, but still is interesting to read and think about. I’m also studying one of his 100 Love Sonnets for coursework (I Do Not Love You Except That I Love You, in case you were interested) and I’ve honestly surprised myself with how much I’m almost enjoying (gasp!) studying it. When I was researching what to do for my coursework I also read a little bit of Maya Angelou, which I like, and yeah, I’m not talking earth-shatteringly profound or intellectual but I guess I’m starting to see the appeal of poetry, just a little bit.

So, seeing as Pinterest has been Pinterest and made a whole load of super pretty pictures to go with quotes and excerpts from poems, I thought I’d put a few of my favourites on here, mainly just so I don’t lose them…

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This is actually available as an Etsy print and it’s my birthday soon soooo…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A little depressing but I like it (source)

 

 

Have you got a favourite quote or piece of poetry?

 

 

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Catching Up

So, I just checked, and I haven’t posted on here since January, and sooo much has happened since then that I thought I’d try and catch you all up in a quick post. At the end of January I went to New York for six days which was a mega tick off the bucket list (though, spoiler alert, it’s actually really like London and although I loved it it wasn’t the life-changing experience I expected). At the end of March I then went to Spain on a college trip for a week which was possibly one of the best trips I’ve been on, and then I went to Brighton with my family for the Easter weekend. College has been getting more and more intense, with the launch of our Extended Essays (4000 word uni-dissertation-style essays, eek) and impending mocks, whoop. On a more cheerful note, I’ve finally started regular trumpet lessons again, my birthday is in almost exactly a month and there’s another bank holiday next Monday!

I’ve also finally got a little bit back into reading…I finished Perfume by Patrick Suskind which I’m studying in college as part of my World Lit, as well as binge-reading Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami which 10/10 would recommend, it was SO GOOD. Unusually for me I’ve also been doing some non-fiction reading for my aforementioned EE, which was Patrick Kingsley’s The New Odyssey, which is basically an overview of the European refugee crisis but super interesting because it includes interviews and follows specific refugees so yeah, that was good. Netflix has also become a major part of my life – lately I’ve watched the Hitchcock films Vertigo and Rear Window because I’m seriously intellectual (or had to watch them for film studies, you choose), started Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Girlboss, House of Cards and Designated Survivor. I feel a Netflix recommendations post coming on…

That’s about it, really. After being away from the blogosphere for so long I’m hoping to start being a little bit more active and posting a bit more but we’ll see what happens! What did I miss while I was away?

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20 Ways To Be In Charge Of My Own Happiness

One of my goals for 2017 that I’m trying really, really hard to implement and keep on top of is being in charge of my own happiness. (Another one is to make my college notes beautiful and I’m very invested in the success of that goal) It sounds kinda stupid, but I feel like I rely too much on external factors, like whether I have a bad timetable today or if I’ve scheduled a Wetherspoon’s lunch, and other people to make me happy and change my mood. So, inspired by this, I decided to make a list of things that make me happy, as a kinda safety net for when I’m feeling down…

  1. Getting so into a new book you can’t put it down.
  2. Finding new songs on Spotify.
  3. Singing along to songs you know all the words to (at the moment, this is my favourite singalong song).
  4. Knocking off at least 50% of my to-do list.
  5. Fairy lights.
  6. Having a tidy, clean room.
  7. Exchanging stupid Snapchats with my best friends.
  8. Exercise (Zumba!).
  9. A small bucket of tea.
  10. Lotus biscuits (54 for £1 in Poundland 😏😏😏)
  11. Planning all the places I want to visit.
  12. Making plans to see friends.
  13. Online shopping (H&M has been so dangerous for me the last few months).
  14. Food food food – there’s a new Mexican place near college and it’s so good.
  15. Netflix binging a trashy TV series.
  16. Chain-reading my favourite blogs/scrolling through my favourite Instagrams.
  17. Random Buzzfeed articles.
  18. Writing down everything I have to do so I finally feel like I’m on top of things.
  19. A bath, complete with Lush bath bombs (or similar), a book and no phone.
  20. Moving whatever I’m doing to my bed, because that makes it 10000x comfier.

2016 Meets 2017

Quick side note: I’ve not been on here in at least a month and whoa WordPress has changed, I was not ready for this. Are computers catching onto the ‘new year, new me’ thing now too?!

Anyway, I’ve not been on here in ages but I thought I’d drop in and try and write a bit of a 2016 in review thing. I know that globally 2016’s been labelled as one of the worst years in recent history, but it wasn’t so bad for me. I finished GCSEs, went to prom, went to BBC R1 Big Weekend, saw Bastille, Lucky Chops and Kygo live, visited Holland, Cornwall and Scotland and just had a pretty great summer altogether.

In September I left school to go to college instead of staying on for sixth form and it hasn’t been all easy, but I definitely think I made the right choice. I still miss school and all the familiarity that comes with it, but I finally feel like I’m getting to the point where I know who I want to stay in touch with (definitely not some of the people I thought I would), I’m developing a bit of a routine for staying in touch with them (ish) and I’ve got friends at college. And, even though I’m taking IB, I’m still alive so that’s also a plus.

Of course 2016 had its ups and downs – I’m probably guilty of romanticising it, especially as I’ve left school – but I think it was one of the best years I’ve had lately. And hopefully 2017’s going to be even better – I’m going to New York, one of my dream destinations, in less than a month, Seville for a week at the end of March with, among other people, one of my closest friends at college, and then playing at the Vienne and Montreux jazz festivals in the summer. So yeah, 2017 doesn’t look too bad so far!

And just to finish off this post, as I’ve not written anything in sooo long, here’s a few of my favourite songs from 2016…

And if you got this far down, Happy New Year!

I’m Not Really Freaking Out Anymore (+ things are changing round here!)

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You might remember that a few weeks ago, when I was just starting college, I wrote a couple of not-too-cheery posts about how I was feeling (original here and update here – short version, I was terrified and missing everybody and questioning my choice slightly). Now, a month on, I’m feeling very different indeed so I thought I’d give you a final little update bit, in case you were vaguely interested or felt like me when you first started college.

So, first things first – I mentioned I was thinking about it in my update post but I’ve now swapped from Environmental Systems & Societies to Biology (at standard level). I’m enjoying it so far – this sounds kinda twisted but I’ve always struggled a bit with biology, especially during GCSE and I kinda like having the familiarity of that challenge?? I don’t really understand myself but I’m finding it OK so yeah, that’s the main thing. Other than that, I’ve kept my subjects the same and am enjoying almost all of them – we all have a bit of an issue with our maths studies teacher but other than that it’s all good, especially Spanish and Film Studies! (I’m actually actively looking forward tomorrow because I only have two lessons – we’re writing and filming telenovelas in Spanish and then learning how to use the cameras and shooting our film noir we’ve been working on for the past few lessons in Film Studies so that should be fun.) I’ve got the beginnings of a group of friends within IB and a group in the extracurricular academic academy thing I do so that’s good, and the Co-op bags of 5 cookies for £1 are getting very popular.

The missing friends and school, which was a big issue for me to start with has really settled down. I keep in contact with my old friends to varying degrees and have been in to see them at school a couple of times, and I’ve actually found there are some “friends” I don’t miss at all now I’m not forced to see them. It probably also helps a lot of my close friends were from out of school anyway. I do occasionally get pangs of, weirdly, missing GCSEs – I think because the work was easier and there was familiarity and people you’ve known since forever? Idk, it’s weird. College and IB was definitely the right choice for me and obviously I still struggle occasionally but what I’m trying to say is it gets so much easier. Everyone says it and you never believe it but in the last week or so I’ve started feeling so much happier coming home from college and it’s great. I’ve also started trumpet lessons, choir and a thing called Jazz Project at college so I’m just getting to know so many people! So yeah, overall yay 🙂

Now onto the ‘things changing’ bit…I’m going to start being more organised. Or try to at least. So I’m going to try and post regularly on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, with a bonus ‘music of the month’ post at the end of the month. I don’t know if I’ll set a schedule of what I’m going to post, but I’ll see what evolves over the next few weeks and let you know!

Thanks for reading this mega rambley vaguely pointless post…

-AOT

PS this is my favourite song atm so you should definitely listen to it…

Summer In Songs

As some of you might already know, and might’ve guessed due to the lack of posts over the summer, I had a veryyy busy few months. It was one of the best summers ever, and as much as I want to (and may still) do a mega write up with tons of photos etc, I feel like as a lot of my memories from the summer are associated with music, it made sense and seemed more interesting to make a playlist of all the songs I have distinct memories of, and explain the stories behind a few. I’m still hoping to do a mega playlist post of all my favourite songs from the summer, but these have all been chosen with a specific even in mind…


All The Right Moves – One Republic

Raging – Kygo feat. Kodaline

Viva La Vida – Coldplay

This, as well as the previous two, were all chosen from the Radio 1 Big Weekend back in May. One Republic, Kygo and Coldplay were all amazing, and that weekend was just a real highlight of my whole year – Thursday was my birthday, Friday I had a birthday meal out with friends, Saturday I did a charity 5K with a friend and then on Sunday I went to Big Weekend with so many friends, which was amazing.

Talk Dirty – Jason Derulo

Anaconda – Nicki Minaj

This and Talk Dirty date back to prom specifically, but really encompass my last three years at school…Talk Dirty has a very specific memory from our Year 9 battlefields trip that involves some ~interesting~ dancing, and Anaconda has music GCSE memories and a lot more attached.

Lovely – twenty one pilots

Bonkers – Dizzee Rascal

I think this has been played at every party I went to this summer, and every time it was amazing. Such a classic.

Mr Brightside – The Killers

I remember everyone wanting to hear this at the end of one party, but not being able to find it, then it ended up making me cry at the last party of the summer because a) it always makes me emotional and b) ALL THE FEELS about leaving school and my friends and it all just kinda hit then.

Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen 

Same as Bonkers. And everybody always knows the words so it just turns into singalong squad goals.

Step Into The Light – Teminite feat. Jonah Hitchens

One Dance/Hasta el Amanecer – Alex Aiono

This and Step Into The Light remind me of a couple of days with two of my best friends between my trips to Holland and Scotland, when we went swimming at a local lido and absolutely froze and then had the best evening attempting hair chalking and just having a laugh. It’s hard to do it justice in words but it was just so, so fun.

hair chalk ➡️ real life 🦄 ➡️ too many tangles 😬🙎🏻

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Over and Done With – The Proclaimers

This is the product of a trip to Scotland and finally watching Sunshine On Leith…

XO – Eden Project

Middle – DJ Snake feat. Bipolar Sunshine

Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

This is for one of my best friends and her amazing talent that we discovered at a party – she can rap the entire thing, even under the influence of alcohol, word for word. It’s pretty impressive, ngl.

Dance Wiv Me – Dizzee Rascal & Calvin Harris

Same as above, except it was just aforementioned best friend and my boyfriend singing and we were all stood there like ‘how do you know these words’. Fun times.

Wonderwall – Oasis

Same party, but at this point we were all sat round the fire with a guitar singing a bit of Oasis, as you do.

Millionaire – Cash Cash & Digital Farm Animals feat. Nelly

Good Grief – Bastille

Nobody To Love – Sigma

For some reason I can remember that this was on the radio when we were coming back from a beach trip, and yeah, it just reminds me of that trip.

Forest – twenty one pilots

Bouncy Ball (from High School Musical) – Bad Lip Reading

I know this isn’t technically a song, but it was such a big part of my summer I couldn’t resist…the specific memories involve me, two friends and my boyfriend, blowing up balloons, my friend and I walking back from Waitrose to discover the other two bathing their feet in our (admittedly amazing) bath  and then attempting basketball and smashing a light in the process. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination…

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Take On Me – a-Ha (Kygo remix)

That moment my friend and I discovered someone else who liked Kygo at my party and just added half his album to the Spotify queue. Whoops…

This Girl – Kungs vs. Cookin’ On 3 Burners

Hair – Little Mix feat. Sean Paul

This reminds me of driving back when my sister picked me up from work on a really sunny day and we got McDonalds and this song was on the radio or we were talking about it or something and for once we weren’t really arguing.

If You Got The Money – Jamie T

How Would You Like It – Lauren Aquilina

I had to include this because a) Lauren’s debut album finally came out this summer and omg it was amazing and b) I had the best time reviewing it with Eve.

Manhattan Skyline – David Shire

The most recent addition, I played this in jazz band yesterday. It’s 70s disco from Saturday Night Fever and the strings are just amazing and it’s just amazing.

Are there any particular songs you associate with your summer? Which of these songs is your favourite?

I’m Freaking Out: An Update

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After all the many seriously lovely comments on one of my recent posts about my college-joining nerves, I thought I owed you all an update, now that I’ve done my two days of induction and two days of lessons too.

Looking on the bright side to start with, overall college is great. So far I’m enjoying the courses I’ve started already (except Environmental Systems & Societies…the teacher isn’t great and I’m thinking about swapping to Biology), the work generally seems doable, I’m *beginning* to make friends and get to know people (the IB cohort is only 50 people so you get to recognise people pretty quickly, even in a multi-building college of 4000 people) and my tutor’s really nice. Plus, where else can you get 80p tea and £1 sausage rolls? (probably quite a lot of places, shhh.)  Altogether I don’t think I regret my decision to go to college, which is always a good start!

But…probably naturally, it’s all slightly terrifying and I miss all my friends and my old school so, so much. I miss knowing everyone’s names and knowing the teachers and the teachers knowing me and knowing how stuff works and where to go and everything like that. I just miss the familiarity, the routineness and even the people who I was never really friends with but who were just part of the scenery until suddenly, in the space of a day, they’re not.

I am starting to get to know people, but I’m stuck in that awkward limbo where you’re trying to figure out who you’re drifting away from and who you want to stay in touch with, and you can’t call someone you’ve known for max four days a friend just yet. Add to that the stress of finalising my course choices, a residential to London with a bunch of people I’ve met exactly once next week, all the catch up work from that and the impending doom and stress of ‘when will the mountain of work we’re supposed to get hit’, coupled with all the extra elements of IB like CAS (shoutout to my new photography/writing blog for my creative section), nerves over starting college enrichment next week and general September back-to-school blues and you can probably imagine just how cheery I’m feeling at the moment.

I get that all this is normal – I’ve barely been there properly for two days, I can’t exactly expect to be settled in already – but, and I think it’s especially because I wasn’t forced to leave school, most of my friends left and I actually quite liked it, it’s still making me feel pretty shitty at the moment. I can cope OK during the day, but two days in a row now I’ve had mini meltdowns after college (at least I’m getting into a routine – get home, talk about how great day was (and it genuinely normally is), deny anythings wrong, do homework, freak out, bulk eat chocolate or other sugary substance, hide in cushion fort with duvet and blanket). I know it wouldn’t be the same if I was at school because two of my close friends also left, and the thought of doing A-Levels (my school doesn’t offer IB) makes my stomach feel vaguely sick and fluttery and anxious and panicky, but it’s still not easy.

So yeah, there’s a bit of an update. Not the cheeriest, but accurate. And I know things will get easier, probably even by the end of this week, but until then, things are feeling a little bit bleh. But I promise to update you again sometime, hopefully when I’m feeling a little more settled!

– featured image via unsplash

I’m Freaking Out

I’m sorry that this isn’t a very fun or happy post but I’m freaking out and I need to get some stuff straight in my head, and writing feels like the easiest way to do that.

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Maxime Staudenmann / unsplash                                                                                                                   

Today all my friends start sixth form at my old (?!) school, whereas I don’t start college until tomorrow (and then there’s two days of induction before teaching starts next week). And I guess it’s finally hitting me that I’m not with my friends anymore. Almost all of them have gone back to school, ones at a different college which started last Monday and then there’s just three of us waiting to start tomorrow, all doing different subjects and in different tutor groups.

I guess I’m just scared of being replaced, of my friends getting new friends and forgetting about me, which is all kinda expected and natural when moving school but still terrifying. I guess I’m almost a bit jealous of the new people at school, who get to join this friendship group whilst I’m leaving behind seven years of in-jokes and history. Even if you’re not such good friends with someone that you especially want to stay in touch, leaving behind someone you’ve known and who’s been part of your life for seven years is scary and kinda sad.

I know staying on, school would’ve changed – after all, three of my friends also left – and I know I have to at least try college, or I’ll spend the next two years wondering what I missed out on, but I’m nervous about how it’s all going to work, about being slowly separated from all the chat and gossip about school as new, unknown people infiltrate and I slowly become separated. I’m scared that as much as I want to, conflicting schedules or travel complications or just a lack of time and motivation is going to mean I drift apart from all my friends, even the ones I desperately want to stay in touch with. And even though I know I’ll make new friends at college, I can’t just drop my old ones like hot potatoes. Just thinking about all these possibilities is making me so, so tempted just to throw in the towel with college before I’ve even started, and stay on at sixth form. But I’ve said I’m leaving, and I have so many reasons for that, I just have to get through these first few days.

Add all these feelings into nerves about starting college tomorrow and restarting hockey tonight (I feel like I should be more nervous about college but nope, anxiety levels about hockey are way higher) and you can imagine what a bundle of joy I am right now, imagining my friends school routine as I stay at home, thinking about everything I’m missing out on.

I know that within probably a week, everything will feel very different. I’ll probably feel a lot more confident about college and friends and hopefully less jealous and worried about staying in touch, but I guess I’ll find out soon enough. It’s just so scary that the situation I’ve been thinking about (/avoiding thinking about) for the last six months+ is finally here, and about to start for real tomorrow. But today I’m just going to concentrate my nerves on hockey (totally healthy) and try and relax.

 

15 Things I Learnt This Summer

As I mentioned in this post, I’ve had an incredibly busy, incredibly fun summer. Amazingly, even more has happened since I wrote that post – GCSE results day, having some Danish people stay with us, four more parties (including one of my own), two more shifts at new jobs as well as some at my old job, some college induction stuff and another horror movie evening (we watched Insidious then turned around and saw a freaking huge spider on the curtain and all freaked out a teensy bit, especially when it RAN AWAY AND DISAPPEARED). I’ve also got hooked on another Netflix series, Jane The Virgin and found even more music I love, but I’m planning on saving all that for a bumper ‘favourites’ post in the next week or so.

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me @ all spiders everywhere (via)

Anyhow, over the summer I guess I’ve learnt a few things, and I figured I’d be a nice person and put them all in a post to share my wisdom…(in the loosest sense of the word)

  1. Your closest friends may not be exactly who you think they are and you may drift apart from some people, but that’s OK. Everyone changes and your friendships evolve to reflect that.

2. Black and white filters flatter everyone, no matter what the situation is.


3. Carling lager is gross, gets better the more you drink it but is then absolutely disgusting warm.

4. Tents are bloody uncomfortable, especially when there are 16 teenagers in a 6 man tent and the tent starts leaking in the middle of the night.

5. Crunchie spread is A+ 10/10 would eat again (which is handy, as I’ve got a whole jar of it).


6. Liquid eyeliner is just as hard to apply as everyone says, if not more.

7. On that note, putting an eyeliner pencil in the freezer because it’s a bit melty won’t have much effect.

8. And eyeliner pencils can stain carpets.

9. Crappy Netflix series (Jane the VirginPrison Break, the marginally less crappy Making A Murderer) take up so much time but are amazing, especially with a duvet on hand.

 

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Prison Break feat. ice cream and blankets

10. The only limit to the amount of tea you can drink in a day is your level of mental preparation.

 

11. New things are scary and horrible but most people are actually pretty nice and/or equally terrifying.

12. It’s perfectly possible to bond with people over a mutual fear of icebreakers, a lack of willingness to talk to other human beings and social anxiety.

13. Outdoor swimming in a bikini in a non-heated pool in Britain in July on an overcast day is absolutely freezing and a really bad idea but really fun anyway.


14. Ditto for the sea, even on a sunny day.

15. Time really, truly does fly when you’re having fun.


 

What did you do this summer?

– AOT

 

 

Since I’ve Been Gone


I realised last night that its been a long time since I wrote anything other than a list or a bunch of photos, so waking up this morning to the sound of rain and nothing other than an unspecified number of hungover teenagers to deal with (results day…) I decided to postpone getting up for a while longer and have a go at writing something a bit different and a bit more chatty. After all, I was absent from here for about two months, and a lot happened in that time…but for now, I’m back. (try and stifle the depressed groans, pls)

I went to Cornwall with my best friend, which was one of the best trips to Cornwall I’ve ever had…a personal photographer and Disney fan made everything better, and who wouldn’t want to spend three days straight with their best friend when they haven’t seen them in a few weeks?

Straight after Cornwall, I headed to Holland for a week to have a look at universities in Rotterdam, Groningen and Maastricht. I still don’t know if I want to study in Holland or if I can even do the subject I want at a place I like but I know that I still love Holland, especially Rotterdam and Maastricht.

After Holland I had a few breather days where I did my first shift at one of my new jobs (I was so terrified before I genuinely thought I was going to throw up but it went alright in the end)(mainly because there was a lot of free food). I also caught the train down to Plymouth to stay other with two of my best friends and go swimming in the absolutely freezing Tinside Lido. Only in Britain would you willingly freeze to death in a bikini because it’s above 15 degrees and not raining…(yet).

Then I headed to Scotland with my sister to spend five days in Edinburgh with my godparents, which was really fun (and no murder or even too much violence occurred, you can tell my sister and I are getting closer to being responsible adults!), and although apparently my mum requested we were introduced to Prosecco, we were more interested in Pokemon Go. (Heads up, Edinburgh Zoo has an insane amount of Pokestops)

I still didn’t relax after Scotland – within two hours of landing, I was on the train to the beach with friends, then ended up having a sleepover where I was forced into watching a horror movie. SO MUCH STRESS IT WAS SO NOT FUN. (but on the bright side I made a deal that if my boyfriend made me watch a horror movie I could make him watch Frozen. He’s now convinced Olaf is massively depressed and suicidal and has a fully developed theory for how Elsa can take over the world. Alrighty.)

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So apparently this really cute bit just illustrates Olaf’s suicidal tendencies? (via)

I’ve also, in my incredibly exciting summer, made it onto season 2 of 90210 on Netflix without realising it, and finished series 1 of Prison Break. Now to start Making A Murderer

Oh, and I spent a couple of days in Exmouth with friends and met another for lunch at Pizza Express, which was all fun but is making me more and more nervous about leaving the in September. I’m so looking forward to college but it’s hard to deal with the idea that argh I’m not going to have lessons or spend half my day with these people I’ve been chucked together with for seven years but instead I have to make new friends which is terrifying. If this is my last post on here just assume I turned into a weird jelly Thing of Fear. (alternatively I just got really lazy and unmotivated again, that’s probably more likely).

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me when I think about leaving school (via)

Oh, and in the most important news of this whole post, I made rocky road last night, in order to defend my title as Rocky Road Goddess. Some people have never tried mine and don’t believe it is absolutely the best, so I’m going to prove them wrong. Rocky road is my signature dish and I am the best at it. End of. I’m also very modest about my baking abilities, if you hadn’t noticed.