Saturday, 29 August 2015

The Other Side of Silence - Linda Gask | | Review

In partnership with Summersdale Publishers  I responded to a tweet the company put out about reviewing a non-fiction book that is in the final stages of publishing, I took up the opportunity and lovely Abbie from Summersdale sent me a copy of The Other Side of Silence written by Linda Gask which is due to be published 10th September 2015. The last few days I have been reading and taking notes before producing this review. I hope this is an informative read for you and that you might decide to buy it, because I know that when it's released I'll be getting myself a copy because I loved it.

The Other Side of Silence
Linda Gask

The Other Side of Silence documents psychiatrist Dr Gask's experiences with mental health and depression in particular. In form of a memoir, readers see depression through the perspective of doctor and patient unfortunately Gask being on both sides of the spectrum.

It delivers a funny (Not a comical funny, rather a bizarre funny!) point of view because being a psychiatrist and knowing how psycho-therapy works first hand and then ending up as a patient to another psychiatrist could seem like failure to the victim. There's almost this assumption that doctors cannot get ill and if they do, they can treat and heal themselves. It's an ideology that society has concluded. However, readers are able to see this is not necessarily the case. The Other Side of Silence records Gask's own battles before finally coming to a conclusion of what factors of her life have made her who she is today. 

Gask tells her own stories about her patients revealing and explaining all the possible factors that can trigger depression and other mental illnesses. Patients struggling with eating disorders, attempted suicides, self harming, alcoholism and underlying psychological problems; her job being to unravel her patients problems and find their root cause.

This memoir sheds light on depression and fights the stereotype of what depression really is and how it affects its sufferers in different ways. The idea that is developed effectively through-out is that one singular case of depression is not the same as the next. Numerous factors come into play with the progression of mental illness, including loss, grief, fear, loneliness, lack of trust, past toxic relationships and the long lasting affects of one's childhood. 

A popular craze in terms of therapy lately is mindfulness, Dr Gask covers it as well as other types of therapy. She confidently tells readers that asking for help and talking to somebody is okay. It doesn't mean you're weak. It's acceptable more widely in society nowadays to ask for help.

Dr Gask lays bear the demons in her mind in this insightful, inspiring and important memoir. Her own experience of the pains of mental illness, her visits to various psychologists, the over-whelming pressure of performing in the medical profession and her turbulent relationships with her mother and father.

The Other Side of Silence is a positive read, one containing typical medical jargon and up-lifting quotes about fighting mental illness,  never the less an informative book I couldn't put down (Or in this case, I don't have the physical copy yet, I couldn't close the document).

Being a bookworm myself I don't normally dabble into non-fiction, however combining my passion for awareness for how mental health is portrayed in society and this fantastically written piece I am now a full convert to the non-fiction world. This powerful memoir is recommended for someone with minimal knowledge of mental health, those who are interested in mental illness and the way the brain works, those studying a medical profession and most importantly, those suffering or know of somebody who is suffering. 

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Things I Did When My Internet Was Down

My internet went down for nearly a day!!!! (What a drama) and here's what I did.

  • Cried.
  • Panicked because I'd have hours of Instagram scrolling to do.
  • Actually spoke to my siblings because we had to.
  • Discovered that Flakes (the chocolate bar that you get in your 99 ice creams, although 99 is a lie. They are no longer that priced and are stupidly overpriced when I could go to Tesco and buy a 2L tub of ice cream for two quid) don't melt. I repeat, Flakes do not melt. Put a Flake in the microwave and watch it get hot and burn, but hell no, it won't melt like normal Cadbury's chocolate. Are you noting how bored I was without Internet? This is like a scientific break-through. 
  • I cried again.
  • Board games. Actually played board games with my siblings, or rather we argued over who was winning and who was cheating. FYI I'm not a cheater. 
  • I had to listen to consistent moaning that "life is boring" without Internet connection. Damn the 21st century obsession with WiFi, Internet and social media. 
  • Cried one last time before triumphantly cheering when the wireless router was resurrected. 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

A/W Wish List

Jumping ahead of time, I am thinking about those hot drinks, fluffy knitted jumpers and the crunchy leaves on the floor. You might be thinking "Oh what is she talking about? It's August!" That's very well but have you seen this typically awful British summer weather? 

Not only am I getting ahead of myself in terms of seasons, I'm also ahead of myself because I'm planning my first pay day. I started a new part time job yesterday (Much excite!!!!) and although I've only done one shift at the minute I'm probably a little too enthusiastic about pay day. I haven't had a job since April, therefore broke *breaks out in that song, you know the one... She ain't got no money in the bank* and my wardrobe needs a complete overhaul because unfortunately you cannot go through winter with a rail of crop tops.

So, I've been browsing both high street and online stores for a couple of staple pieces and I thought I would share my finds and pray that when I get paid in a months time they'll still be in stock! I apologize briefly in advance for items coming from Topshop on a regular basis but I am and will always be a Topshop whore.

Topshop - Check Cape
This is a little out of my price range at £85 but it's a coat and a beautiful one at that. It reminds me of an 80's mod style, you know like This Is England which by the way, there's a brand new series of that next month!! To be honest, I don't need a new coat because the one I brought for last winter is still in good condition and it was from Topshop as well. 

ASOS - Slim Coat
Wildly keeping my options open, this coat is definitely all my dreams in an item of clothing. I'm loving this style of coat right now, my only worry is that because I'm 5'1 the coats will be too long but let's hope, right... My wardrobe is full of dark colours, even in summer so this coat might actually inject some life into my outfits and make me feel like a fashionista. Not only is it a cute candyfloss colour, it's also in my price range at £55. 

I am lusting over the a-line style skirt, however I don't own one and I doubt they'd suit my figure (Wide hips, big thighs, oh well it's worth a try) and I also have no idea what so ever what I would wear with it because as much as I can joke about it, I know absolutely nothing about fashion. *floats off to Pinterest for endless scrolling about a-line skirts* My comfort zone belongs in skinny jeans and slogan tee's. I need one of these skirts, whether it's this one exactly or not I feel this skirt would change my life and style for the better. £28 from Topshop? Yes please. 

ASOS - Chunky knit
A chunky knit for autumn/winter? GROUNDBREAKING. Sometimes I think the clothing I wear during winter is purely for my comfort, not fashion. When you have to get up at 5am to get to college in time, it's cold and dark and you want nothing more than an over sized thick jumper and this hits all the spots. It's also grey, which FYI is my favourite colour or shade... Priced at £42 I am willing to pay the price for warmth and comfort. 

This reverts me back to my childhood and a silly love for stupid looking ponchos, if I could find one I would so have posted a hideous photo of me. When I was a child I had this poncho that I would honestly wear everywhere so it's natural that I've fallen in love with a poncho. A poncho probably 110% more fashionable than the garments I used to wear. I think this colour is perfect for the beginning of autumn, you know all those autumnal colours. Ahh, the leaves. Again, I'm not sure if roll necks suit my figure (Stop being so pessimistic Brianna) but I'm willing to push the boat out of my comfort zone and try out some new styles. Priced at £16 you literally cannot go wrong. 

I love boots, especially the style of Chelsea boots and last year I never brought myself any, however discovering these on ASOS at such a decent price £40 I know that I need to buy them. I mean, they are fabulous and versatile, you can wear them with almost anything.  

ASOS - Chunky boots
I own several pairs of chunky boots and I will always go back to them. I live in mine because I'm only small so the extra bit of height is always welcome. Finding the perfect chunky boot is important to me because they have to be comfy. I've owned pairs that after wearing them all day my feet hurt but the ones I currently wear 24/7 are from River Island and they hit the spot. So comfy. But, I feel as if I should maybe get some new ones and these look super cute with the lacing. Priced at £30, they are hopefully a bargain for a long lasting chunky boot. 

I hope you enjoyed my brief pay day A/W wishlist. What's your favourite piece? :)

Friday, 21 August 2015

Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov | A Book Review (Contains spoilers)

Vladimir Nabokov

That I loved her hopelessly? That she was only fourteen?

Lolita tells the story of a 30 something man Humbert who's obsession both mentally and sexually with young girl Lolita leads to murder. The story is told by Humbert himself recalling events of his life from the confinements of a “psychopathic ward”. He writes in a mixture of 1st and 3rd person narrative his point of view of his adult life and personally directing his audience as “you readers” in what he calls a “sinister memoir”.

Humbert born in France in 1910, his story begins with his mother's death when Humbert was just three. The story enfolds his first love; Annabel, a surprise but a female actually his own age. “My little Annabel was no nymphet to me; I was her equal” As Humbert grows into an adult, readers see his passion for young girls develop, from prying in public places and through use of sexualized poetic language and descriptions “her lips as red as red licked candy”. The story prevails and Humbert finds himself a lodger in the home of widowed Mrs Haze.

This is where the plot thickens and becomes a complex novel about sex, sexual attraction and murder. Humbert meets the daughter of Mrs Haze, Lolita. Instantly as Lolita enters the story, she becomes an object of his desire, he sexualizes the young girl through his vivid descriptions of her “school girl thighs”. A relationship forms between himself and Lolita, almost one that mimics a real father/daughter relationship. Lolita is a problem child for her mother, but Humbert sees past her opinions.

After receiving a letter from Mrs Haze, Humbert makes the decision to marry her in a bid to get closer to Lolita. Not only does he reveal himself as a sexual predator but he constructs plans to murder Charlotte (Mrs Haze). He ends up drugging his victims (Another crime) after falsely receiving a prescription for sleeping pills for his 'insomnia'. Humbert keeps a black pocket diary locked away recording his scribblings about life, however Charlotte discovers it!

The discovery ultimately leads to her ever so unfortunate death. On her way to post letters, she's struck by a car and dies! Humbert claims Lolita is his daughter, takes her out of her summer camp and embarks on an adventure around the States, telling her simply that her mother in undergoing a major operation until later on she discovers the harsh truth.

Part two of the novel details their adventures from motel to motel. Vladimir uses powerful descriptive language through listing places and locations, alliteration that flows so poetically “pharisaic parody of privacy” and beautiful similes “my heart was like snow under thin crimson skin”. Humbert never describes their sexual relations other than vague hints “particularly violent morning in bed”. Paranoia somewhat sets in after numerous occasions of the pair narrowly missing being caught.

The pair rent a house and Lolita begins attending a private boarding school. They live a somewhat mundane 'normal' life. Humbert having chess playing sessions with his neighbour and Lolita involving herself in acting, tennis and swimming and making friends with the local girls. Lolita, the budding teenager ends up rebelling against her 'father figure' and claims he “violates” her and accuses him of “murdering her mother”. Protesting she wants to leave school, they continue their adventures across the States.

Paranoia traps Humbert again when he's convinced the red convertible is following himself and Lolita and making an investigation about the suspected pair. Lolita unfortunately takes ill in hospital and 'someone' discharges her and Humbert doesn't find her again for several years when he receives a letter from her. The letter reveals she's expecting a child and requests a sum of money to help her and her family along. Humbert successfully tracks her down despite no address being on the sent letter, he pleads with his love to leave her partner Dick and “come to live with me, and to die with me”, on her decline Humbert almost seems psychotic.

Gun in tow, he murders the man who originally discharged his Lolita from hospital. Humbert is eventually arrested after deliberately going against the laws of traffic, driving down the wrong side of the road and running a red light.

A world known classic, Lolita wasn't a novel I expected to enjoy (considering the nature of the novel being about paedophilia) however I got drawn in by Nabokov's style of writing, through the frequent use of poetic language and how some parts could actually resemble poetry. The progression from “nymphet” into teenage to expectant mother was one of beautiful yet tainted growths, affected by a childhood of sexual exploitation.

A truly remarkable piece of work.

Friday, 14 August 2015

10 Things I Hate About You (Period Style)

I'm sure you've all seen the iconic scene in the 90's film 10 Things I Hate About You starring Julia Stiles and the late Heath Ledger where the main female character Kat (Julia Stiles) declares her love for Patrick (Heath Ledger) in an unconventional way listing ironically all the features she hates about him.

Either I'm about to gross you out or make you laugh because I'm going to produce a funny about periods. Yes periods. *Cue all boys saying ewww*

I hate the way your products make me sound as if I'm sitting on the toilet eating a packet of crisps whilst emptying my bladder. I hate the way you make me feel every single emotional under the sun ALL AT ONCE. I hate the fact it feels as if there's a demon inside my uterus, turning to cannibalism and eating me from the inside first. I hate the cramps that make me want to projectile vomit over everything I love. I hate the timing and the way you arrive just as I'm about to go to a party or on a holiday that requires bikini wearing and swimming. I hate the bloating. I hate the fact you make me cry for no reason what so ever. I hate how you basically force feed me that entire bar of Cadbury's chocolate (the sharing one in fact), the large pot of Ben&Jerry's, oh and the cheesecake in the fridge. I hate waking up in the morning in what feels like a pool of blood. I hate when I unexpectedly start my period in a public place and have no access to the required products so I have to awkwardly makeshift a sanitary towel in the toilet (You ALL know what I'm talking about girls, don't deny it and if you haven't had to experience that, then well you're lucky!) 

But most of all, I hate that I don't hate you at all... Scrap that. I do hate you. Everybody hates you. I think I know if I've engaged in the coitus and could perhaps be pregnant so don't make my life hell for X amount of days. 

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Things That Make Me Happy

I've been in a bit of a funk lately, results day is looming and I'm anxious about it. However, to try and take my mind off of it, I was thinking about the little things that make me happy and thought I'd share.

  • The avocado bagel I'm currently eating.
  • Those cute little chocolates you hang on your Christmas tree.
  • The welcoming feeling of entering a bookshop, a sense of belonging.
  • Cinema trips.
  • Seasons: Autumn and winter.
  • Cake. All forms of cake. Chocolate cake. Carrot cake. Cheesecake.
  • Deliveries. In the form of clothing and books etc. No bills please.
  • Frothy coffee's. 
  • Late night or is it early morning silence. Being up late and your house being dead quiet.
  • New lipstick that hasn't yet been applied. So fresh. So clean.
  • Clean bed sheets. 
  • Running.
  • Perfectly ripe avocado's.
  • The smell of old, well read books.
What makes you happy?

Thursday, 6 August 2015

July Reflection

I'm fully aware that it's currently the 6th of August and this post probably should have been posted on the first few days of the month, I've been extremely busy (For once!) so apologies. A favourites post? You mean what every other blogger/youtuber/social media fanatic does? Yes one of them. I don't plan on doing these every month but I feel like I have a few things to talk about from this month, things that have made me happy, valuable family time and new adventures.

It's more of a 'What I Did in July Post',

1. Miley Cyrus - Nightmare - This song is an unreleased single from Miley. Nightmare popped up on my Tumblr dashboard one evening and since then, I've been hooked. Constantly on repeat. Although the lyrics are somewhat dark I think you'll find yourself humming along to it and dancing in your bedroom in your underwear. It's catchy, I'm listening to it now as I write this paragraph and my head is bopping up and down in rhythm. It's just so damn good. 
2. I won a free medium pizza from domino's. (You can't say no to free pizza)
3. Started a work experience thing/helping out a local in her newly opened bakery making cakes, which I must add is the perfect job for me, it involves cake and coffee...
4. Bangor University open day - Traveled to Wales with my family and explored Wales. This university looks a little like Hogwarts and the English Literature course looks pretty amazing.
5. Wedding - My cousin got married in the most beautiful location in Bath (Post about that here)
6. Diaversary - You probably have no idea what on Earth this is. Diaversary is the anniversary of when you were diagnosed with diabetes and the 4th of July is my diaversary which led to me treating myself to a mint chocolate cupcake!! This year marked my 2 year anniversary.
7. New shoes - I found these beauties in the Topshop sale from £48 to £15.
8. Family time at the steam fair.
9. Selfie/flower crown loving - July has been a confident month for myself, I feel fab in myself which ultimately leads to my camera roll looking like selfie, selfie, selfie, food that looks good, selfie, selfie. Plus I'm loving this massive flower crown (From Topshop)

10. More selfies - I'm not going to apologies for the self loving lately, I feel really, really great and it makes a change from how I've been feeling the last couple of months.
11. Coffee shops - Since starting to drink copious amounts of coffee, I find myself alone reading a book, sipping my soy cappuccino and enjoying the typical sounds of a coffee shop.
12. Food - Delicious plates of food have been finding their way on my Instagram page now, instead of large amounts of selfies my Instagram is just food, food and food. I can't help it. I love food too much to care.
13. Oh look, more food - Helping out at a bakery means I have been baking continuously, this was a banana loaf which was devoured in less than 10 minutes, my family didn't even allow for it to cool.
14. MORE FOOD - I'm not even sorry, a beautiful plate of vegetarian food at my cousin's wedding.
15. Family time - One weekend my family went to a pick your own farm and my brother was pretty happy with his bag full of carrots.
16/17. Coffee and cake and breakfast one morning at 'work'
18. Selfies. Need I say it again...

After a busy few weeks I need a recharging session in my bed with Netflix binge watching, probably more cake and coffee and the comfort of my duvet. 

This wasn't intended to be such a long post, I was trying to make it brief but I got carried away and quite frankly July was a great month.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Top Running Tips

(Photo credit to Pinterest)

I'm a runner and I've been working on a goal of 10km since the beginning of the year. It's been a long process, I'm not quite there yet but that's not the only reason I run. I run because it clears my mind, when I run all I think about is what my legs are doing and the oxygen getting to my body. After my run this evening I figured I could put together a list of tips. I'm not a fitness expert or professional runner but I enjoy running and I've learnt a lot during my progress.

  1. Comfortable shoes - This seems like a given, but comfortable shoes are SO important, preventing injury and providing you with general comfort as you run. Trainers don't have to be top brand, as long as they do the job, who cares? My trainers were £11 from Primark, from their fitness section and they may be cheap but they are perfect.
  2. Wear clothing you feel comfortable in - This is also very important, if you're heavily interested in exercise and fitness like I am then you probably follow fitness guru's on your social media accounts and this can be dis-heartening. To see these fitness guru's running in sports bras and very short tight shorts might make you feel pressured to run in minimal clothing, however please don't feel as if you have to wear the same things. If you don't yet feel confident enough in yourself to wear a tight sports bra and no t-shirt then don't do it. Not only wear clothing you're comfortable in but wear suitable clothing too. 
  3. Don't compare yourself to others - Relating to my previous tip, you may follow other fitness guru's or runners and compare your progress to their progress. Comparing yourself to others hinders your own progress, it will lower your self esteem and bring you down. 
  4. Every run is a good run - No matter how far you run, how fast you run, if you don't notice any progress from your last run, don't worry about it. If you ran a shorter distance than last week, it is okay because either way, you got yourself out the house/work/life etc and exercised. 
  5. Change your route - Running the same route for every run becomes repetitive and eventually you'll get bored of running. Depending on how often you run, change your route every 1-2 weeks. 
  6. Eat. This seems stupid to say but you need energy. I'm not an expert on what foods you should eat before and after you run (Google it!) but make sure you've eaten. Also important, running on a full stomach is never a good idea, talking from experience it's just painful and uncomfortable. If you have an energy boosting snack before your run, wait 15-30 minutes before you leave your house just to prevent an unpleasant feeling fun. 
  7. Drink water - Lots of it too, before you run and most definitely after you run. Working up a sweat means you need to re-hydrate yourself when you stop, or again talking from my experience not drinking plenty before/after my run can cause me awful headaches. 
  8. If you feel tired, stop. You're allowed, there's no strict running protocol. If your legs are hurting, have a break. If you need to catch your breath, stop and breathe.
As I've said, I'm no expert I simply enjoy running and how it makes me feel and to be honest, I'm still a beginner. Beginner or not, I've learned about my body since I began running and these tips have come from my mistakes. I hope these tips help you, whether you run often or if you're considering it.