First day at school

2m spray painted signs

This week I went back into school for the day. It was very weird to be back after 107 days without being inside the building. Yes, you read that right, 107 days defeating Phineas and Ferb record of ‘104 days of summer vacation and school comes along just to end it …’.

When I arrived at school, there was a strict layout in place and so we entered through the main school gate. We were always 2 metres apart and even got to wear our own home clothes! On top of that, it was a late morning start at 9:30 am compared to the usual 8:30 am start.

Kahoot winner

For the first half of the day we did some well being activities discussing how working at home has been going and how it differs from being at school. We had a one-on-one with our form tutors and also did a kahoot about lock down news (where I placed first). The second part was creating SMART targets within each of our subjects.

Some signs placed around school

For lunch, we were able to sit outside in our bubble and caught up over the past 3 months.

For the second half of the day we completed some UCAS work. We also discussed what we needed to do over the summer holidays such as writing our personal statements and researching universities as well as different courses. During this I also had a quick EPQ meeting with my supervisor. This led to the end of the day where we used the one way system to leave school.

Sitting outside at lunch

Our classrooms were set up with desks being 2m apart as well as only having a small number of students (I had 7 other people in my bubble). Overall, the day was very useful allthough it was very weird being back at school again after so many months of learning from home.

Online Stravolution

Blue looking at the online site

Over the past weekend I completed online Strategy and Evolution. For the past 2 years I have helped out with Strategy and attended Evolution as a participant. The weather has usually been warm and sunny during this camp and this year also lived up to the warm weather.

Blue painting my nails

During this weekend we would complete different activities on the Saturday earning points as a team. Different activities would include; nail painting, obstacle course, wire maze, first aid, bag check, ring toss etc. For the online version we were set 15 activities to complete. These included; spending a night outside, nail painting, first aid, drinking a pint of water, designing a new weapon, making ice cream, creating your own campsite, etc.

Blue and I both participated together and Blue tried to paint my nails in triple blue. I really enjoyed participating and so did Blue and we cannot wait until we can go camping again.

84 days since school…

So, today marks 84 days since I last was at school. I have been ‘home schooling’ myself since being set work online as well as competing various assessments. Since this, I have been reading lots of books as well as binging Netflix a lot. I have also been catching up on a few of my TV shows and am very happy as I’ve got the crossover I’ve been waiting for on DVD – Crisis on Infinite Earth’s (I am an avid fan of the Flash). – 84

VE Day, 75 years on

Today we have been celebrating VE Day. This morning we had a two minute silence at 11 O’Clock to remember all those who lost their lives. After this we enjoyed some time out in the sun eating Danish Pastries for a late breakfast.

At 3 O’Clock we listened to Winston Churchill’s Speech before having a tea party. We had Scones, Tuna and Cucumber as well as Cheese Sandwiches, Jam and Cream biscuits, Jelly Babies, Sausage Rolls as well as Cheese and Onion Rolls.

In the early evening I read some of my book and also played some Animal Crossing. We then ate dinner before joining in with our counties ‘We will survive’ camp. This included a ‘pass the boot’ video, learning how to pack our kit, a spot the difference quiz as well as general Scouting knowledge and finally making smores using tea lights. We also watched the Queens speech before heading to bed outside in the garden.

I had a thoroughly enjoyable day and enjoyed decorating my tent in the garden as well as our house.

EJ2020 Update

Today’s blog is going to be slightly different- it is an update on EJ2020. A few weeks ago we were told that it has been postponed until next year due to the current pandemic however, due to turning 17 recently, I will be over the age of 18 next summer. At the time, we had to wait for our national organisations to respond with what they will do and on Saturday (2nd May) I discovered that UK Scouting decided that over 18s will not be able to attend as participants whom if the Jamboree was put on this summer would have been.

I am very disappointing by this decision made due to having spent the last year fundraising with many of my peers. This action has not been taken very well by all year 12 students as other national Scout organisations are still allowing those who will turn 18 to attend including UK Girl Guiding.

I would like to challenge this as why should we be disadvantaged after all our hard work fundraising?

Blue feeling blue

Yesterday I received the news I’d been waiting for; the European Jamboree has been postponed until next year.


To be honest I was expecting this outcome but it’s still a big disappointment, mainly because I now have the added uncertainty of whether I’ll be able to go next year as I will be turning 18 before the event.


I had a good chat to Blue about it all and he’s sure that whatever happens next will be just as amazing. He’s also feeling blue about the situation but is excited by the prospect of a new adventure.

Anyway back to the revision for my year 12 assessments – 84

My sunny weekend

Due to the current lock down within the UK, I am currently at home camping in my garden. You may wonder why and I’m here to tell you. A couple of weekends ago I was due to attend another European Jamboree pre-camps with my unit however it got cancelled. Nevertheless, a few days later we saw this challenge set by Northumberland Scouts to camp out for the whole of April in order to gain 30 more nights away. I was quickly onto it.

Tonight, I am on night 5 and needless to say we have turned back garden camping into a luxury; with Wi-Fi, power, an air bed, pillows and millions of duvets we are very comfy. The last few nights have been clear and so I have been trialling night sky photography as well as spotting hedgehogs!

This weekend has been JOTI which is an online Jamboree across the world. World Scouting organised an extra JOTI this year (as it is usually held within October) to help postpone boredom. It has been very fun on the chat rooms talking to people from Australia, Lebanon, Germany, Mexico, the Philippines and even the hearty Scotland – and England!

Other than JOTI I have been enjoying the sun throughout this weekend enjoying sitting in the garden reading as well as learning how to make waffles. I also caught up on some TV seasons as well as creating my revision timetable. I’ve been keeping up with my school studies and in some evenings I’ve been attending online dance lessons via Zoom. I have also been going on walks in the evenings during sunset or later in the evening when the stars are out.

How to prepare cyclohexane.

A while back in A level Chemistry we have been completing a practical on preparing a cyclohexane. Today’s blog post I will show the practical instructions with photos of our set ups and final product. This is to celebrate the ending of British Science Week 2020!

Part 1: preparation

Distillation apparatus
  1. Add 10cm3 of cyclohexane to a small round bottom or pear-shaped flask (CARE: don’t get it on your skin. Don’t inhale it. Keep away from naked flame.)
  2. Slowly add 4cm3 of concentrated phosphoric(v) acid and mix thoroughly (CARE: don’t get it on your skin. Mix slowly to prevent it getting too hot due to it being an exothermic reaction.)
  3. Add a few anti-bumping granules to the mixture, then set up the apparatus for reflux alongside an electric heater or sand bath (CARE: avoid splashing when adding granules.)
  4. Heat the mixture under reflux at 70oc for 15 minutes, adjust the heating and cooling rates to ensure that all condensation occurs in the lower half of the condenser (CARE: avoid water contact with electricity.)
  5. Stop heating and allow the glassware to cool for a few minutes (CARE: don’t touch the hot glass whilst it cools.)
  6. Rearrange the apparatus for distillation
  7. Raise the temperature and distil very slowly, collecting the distillate which comes over between 70oc and 90oc (CARE: don’t raise the temperature too fast. Don’t touch any apparatus which is hot.)

Part 2: purification

The pure cyclohexene we made
  1. Add an equal volume of saturated sodium chloride solution to the distillate in a separating funnel, shake gently and release any pressure build-up (CARE: avoid pressure build up and hence an explosion.)
  2. Allow the layers to separate and then discard the lower aqueous layer
  3. Wash the organic layer with an equal volume of water and discard the lower aqueous layer
  4. Run the remaining organic layer into a small conical flask
  5. Add a few lumps of anhydrous calcium chloride and swirl the mixture – if the liquid does not become clear, add more anhydrous calcium chloride and swirl again (CARE: avoid skin contact.)
  6. Finally decant the clear liquid into a weight container (CARE: avoid skin contact.)
  7. Reweigh the container and find the mass of cyclohexane that you have prepared (CARE: avoid skin contact.)
Using Bromine water to confirm that the product was an alkene as the bromine water should turn form orange to colourless when an alkene is present.

Part 3: organic functional group identification

  1. Test for the presence of carbon-carbon double bond in the product