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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Leeds chapter.

Episode ten marks the end to my Her Campus series: (BA) Creative Mind, in alignment with the end of the education term and the beginning of the summer holidays. On this basis, I have decided to write an article on the ways in which you can have a creative summer, as if you’re a student like me, this holiday is a long one and I’m always looking for fun activities to fill my time. 

If any of your friends are summer babies and therefore do not get to celebrate their birthdays during the university term, a wholesome way to make them feel special this summer is to start with some cake decorating. Picture this: a dining table laid with wine glasses and cake forks, each place equipped with a round, medium-sized (or large for the birthday individuals!) cake. The idea is to purchase a few classic supermarket cakes – these are usually round-shaped and cost somewhere between £3 to £5 depending on the shop, and come in various flavours: Victoria sponge, chocolate, coffee, red velvet and more. Alternatively, if you’re intending on making the cake decorating a part of a casual event such as a picnic, it’ll work just as well with one big cake for all participants to collaborate on. All you need from here is icing, sprinkles, fruits, and any other confectionary you’d like to dress your cake with, and you’re all set. Having completed your masterpiece, make sure you don’t forget your wine glasses as this is the best part: Each person uses their glass as though it is a large spoon to scoop up a section of the cake(s). Then, after a group cheers of course, let them eat cake! This is a perfect way to keep it classy while scoffing your delicious designs, and works a treat as both hosting entertainment or for a creative picnic. 

Next on the list is a makeshift movie night – why pay extortionate prices to visit the cinema when you can create your own big screen at home, with no more than a cheap projector and a bed sheet? I wouldn’t know how to answer that one either, so allow me to lay out the simple instructions: choose a spot in your home where there is plenty of wall space and hang a light (ideally white) bed sheet against this backdrop. Don’t worry if you do not already own a projector – the price tags aren’t as scary as you might think if you shop around (I recommend Amazon and Urban Outfitters as retailers, because they offer miniature projectors that are designed for ideas such as these and do not need fixing to your ceiling!). If you can select a room where you can fit comfy furniture or beanbags and cushions in front of the sheet, this would be ideal. Once you have your projector set up and placed on a sturdy surface, simply follow its instructions on how to play recordings or download films onto it, and bob’s your uncle – you have a homemade cinema room! Now all that’s left to do is invite some friends round, buy some beers, and get ready to watch as many films as you all desire. If you have a long extension cable, this idea could theoretically transfer as an alternative for an outdoor film screening in your back garden – peg the sheet to the washing line and let your imaginations run wild! 

My last suggestion for a spark of summer creativity consists of painting in the park. A simple but largely enjoyable and relaxing activity that requires minimal effort and only a little artistic talent – what more could you ask for? When I did this in the past, my friends and I grabbed some old sketchbooks from our school art classes and some watercolours – these can also be bought for low prices on Amazon and from most stationary stores. If you are a student staying in Leeds for a proportion of the summer holiday, why not head over to Hyde Park and set up a picnic blanket, lean against one of the trees and forget about the world while you paint for a few hours? I find watercolours to be the most efficient medium for painting outdoors, as the palettes are easily transportable and usually have lids to cover any wet colours when you have finished, whereas acrylics and oils could get a bit messier. They also dry quite quickly and only require water as an extra element, rather than oil and turps liquid. When you have finished, you can use your paintings as cards, bookmarks, or decorative prints for your university bedrooms.

Do remember to take some photographs in the process of fulfilling these activities – this way you can make a scrapbook at the end of summer to look back on all the memories you have (literally) created. If there are any photographers reading this who are looking to capture the moment this summer, I recommend the Canon digital cameras – these are affordable and great investments for that ‘instagrammable’ disposable effect. 
I hope you find these suggestions helpful and decide to try some (or all) of them out! With this, I want to say that I truly appreciate anyone who has been a regular reader of the series and hope it has spread some creative energy around Leeds. Now go out there and be a creative mind!

Written by: Ella Gale

Edited by: Harsheni Maniarasan

Ella Gale

Leeds '24

Calling all creative enthusiasts and NP personalities… I give you the (BA) Creative Mind series, where I talk about seeing university life in Leeds through imaginative eyes. As a Bachelor of Arts student, I'm always looking for instagrammable places, unique style and artistic hobbies to fill my life in the city and on social media! Do you consider yourself a creative person, inside or outside of your degree? Take a look at my articles and uncover the inspired side of Leeds.