Friday, 23 December 2016

In The Running - Phil Hewitt | | Book Review

I'm a runner. I love running, It fills my body with immense joy and satisfaction. So, when lovely Abbie from Summerdale publishing got in touch with me about a non-fiction book all about the art of running I practically screamed yes. Plus it was a nice gift to come home to after returning from my first semester at university. Maybe Abbie knows me well, running has been my thing for two years now and this book has motivated me. Especially after eating a few too many mince pies and feeling joyful after glasses of mulled cider. Mulled cider is now my favourite festive treat.

In this magnificent collection of astonishing accomplishments and inspiring stories Phil Hewitt tells the journeys of some extraordinary runners. Runners of all abilities, ages and ethnicity's. Whether you like to run regularly or if you have never run before, it doesn't matter because In The Running is loaded with passion and motivation for the sport. You might find yourself buying running trainers in the Boxing Day sales.

Here we discover the history of marathon running and where it all began. Incredible stories of cancer patients running 26.2 miles during chemotherapy. Imagine running a marathon as a healthy being, difficult? Imagine running the same marathon battling a life threatening illness. Competitors often enter the run to raise money for their chosen charities, whether that be because the charity has helped them personally or someone they know. Charities including Sport Relief, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Society, Carroll Centre for the Blind and Cancer Research.

Would you believe women were not always allowed to register to run? This was brand new to me and shocked me to comprehend women being unaccepted in sports, I can't imagine a lifestyle without running, imagine a man telling you you are unable to compete!!!!

Achim Aretz runs backwards.

Several athletes have a vegetarian or vegan diet and prove it's possible to be healthy and strong.

Chris Brasher; the man who created the London Marathon.

Runners who battle their need for sleep to complete long distance runs.

Mauro Prosperi found himself lost in the Sahara Desert for 10 days. Torturous. At one point he resorted to killing bats and drinking their blood as a way of nutrition.

Of course there's some famous names you must be familiar with. Paula Radcliffe still holds the record for the fastest woman competing in the London Marathon after 13 years of holding it, she has even beat her own record. A pretty impressive sportswoman, inspiring female athletes and just women in general. Of course the legend Mo Farah is mentioned along with Radcliffe in the 'Modern Greats' chapter. Farah "the first athlete to win three long-distance doubles at successive world championships", not only is he a magnificent runner he has a heart of gold and motivates me to run just that little bit further!

In The Running is a book for runners. For the people who don't run (I hope this inspires you to try it out). For athletes. For anyone. Expand your non-fiction shelves! 

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Holding up The Universe | | Review

After the whirlwind of emotions All The Bright Places was, Jennifer Niven has just published her second YA novel with Penguin Random House. I knew after reading ATBP I would read anything and everything by Niven, ugh. she is absolutely fantastic and her words are beautiful!

Let's start with the cover, Holding up The Universe has the most gorgeous cover, it's simple and definitely pleases my aesthetic and has a place on my bookshelves among my other books with white spines. Dunno what it is about white spines but my books appear to be white quite often. Probably influenced by hours of Pinterest browsing. 

I have so many thoughts about this book, if this appears to be a word vomit blog post then so be it. Libby, our main character, who within the first 15 pages my thoughts were 'I am rooting for you'. There's something about Libby, she's incredibly confident and accepting of herself, finally. Just wanna dance with her and be happy about life despite its shittiness sometimes u no.

Libby has issues with her weight, after being titled 'America's Fattest Teen' and having to be carried out of her house by a crane she is accepting herself for who she is. Being positive about your body is a message that Niven flows through the book fantastically, for young influential girls and boys it's a very important message to be portrayed.  There's some beautiful paragraphs about dealing with weight issues that will make you think HELL MY BODY IS GREAT I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK.

"Our bodies are wondrous, miraculous things, and we shouldn't ever feel ashamed of them!"

Enter Jack Masselin with an incurable condition called prosopagnosia which means he can't recognise people's faces. Imagine coming home from school and not recognising your mum or brother? It must be so frustrating for Jake, you can feel his frustration as he walks through school hallways identifying his friends by what he calls their 'identifiers' which is something that stands out about them, whether that's crazy hair, their height or tone of voice. Jack seems to be a bit of an asshole, you'll grow to love him despite the trouble he gets himself into. Not only is Jack a bit of a jerk, so is his friend Seth. Both assholes. Ugh. And his on/off girlfriend Caroline is a girl I would have completely avoided in high school at all costs. 

Libby punches Jack which then turns into an unlikely friendship/relationship. Here we go. My absolute favourite part of YA is romance, despite the cringe and cheese, I just love it. Can't get enough of it. The young pair get off to a bad start but by the time Libby accompanies Jack to a research centre to find out more about his condition she thinks she might actually like him. And he thinks he might like her too. Adorable. Love it. So much.

Favourite character? Dusty, Jack's little brother. Just adorable and going against gender stereotypes. Likes the Jackson 5. Isn't afraid to wear a purse. Love him. Can I have him as my brother?

Favourite moment (s)? The car rides Libby and Jack share. Libby's dad and how wonderfully kind he is.

If you do one thing today, please read this amazing ya novel, fabulous, you won't regret it. You'll cry, laugh and fall in love with Niven's characters.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Autumn voices

Isn't there something about autumn that makes you feel at peace with the world? Like when you're stepping through piles of leaves nothing else matters except the crunches under foot and the colours.
Oh the colours. The colours of autumn make me so so excited. The trees are beautiful yet they are dying. Why do we find death in this form so beautiful? The pavements are gold, fire orange and red. And when it rains the leaves stick like paper mache.
The greenery has left for the year, it will be back in spring though I promise. It's refreshing like a snake shedding its skin, I can dust off bad thoughts.

Autumn is my new year. Autumn motivates me. I want to write about everything. On the bus I like to peer out and watch the colours change. I like to watch the transition from thin t-shirts to chunky knitted jumpers and hats and scarves. It's cosy. 
Autumn brings the warmth of hot drinks, especially all those new flavours that come with new seasons. Pumpkin spice and everything nice. 
I am a girl wishing she lived in a small thatched cottage in the open countryside surrounded by falling leaves and hills. Oh a girl can dream about her future home with an open fire and mugs of hot chocolate. 
The air is crisp, sharp and breathtaking. Maybe it's the beauty of nature that takes my breath away. Noon is warm but chilly and I have to tug my sleeves over my hands. I forgot my gloves. My ears are a little cold, I think I need a hat. 
Fog eats the city, even at midday the buildings are half dissolved in smoky fog and cars drive slow. But there's those autumn days where it's blindingly warm and you think maybe the season hasn't changed at all. The clocks have turned back, Halloween has passed and the nights are darker than before. 

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Moving out and pretending to adult

On Saturday I moved 120 miles away from my hometown and now, happily I am a resident of Bath.

Exciting. Everything is so god damn exciting! 

The move was stressful although preparation was well under way weeks before (packed my clothes eagerly the week before moving day) but you know, moving your life across country is a massive life event and accomplishment.

Saturday morning, bright and early my family and I departed to travel to Bath, my entire life packed into boxes, emphasis on the fact three boxes were filled with books. Could not leave my children at home. 

I am living off campus, a 10 minute bus journey to the university. It's modern yet there's a Victorian feel to it. There's a selection of accommodations that form a courtyard in the centre, it feels homely and safe. My accommodation is a flat shared with 4 other girls, we have en-suite bathrooms and a bed that isn't a double bed but it isn't a single either, it's in between and so much space, I am in warm, comforting heaven. 

The night before leaving I made a batch of chocolate cookies to greet my flatmates because cute and friendly. If I do say so myself as a pretty mediocre baker they are delicious, rich from the excessive amounts of dark chocolate (vegan downfall is dark chocolate) and the chocolate chunks melted inside so if you ate one hot, it was a gooey chocolate mess, a bloody good one too. 

When deciding to go to university and going through the hell process that is UCAS one thing ingrained itself into my mind, I knew I wasn't going to participate in all the late night clubbing events that Freshers week at university is well known for, that's not to say I'm avoiding it completely, I made myself go to one event the first evening just because everyone seemed excited to be in a new area and to be creating new friendships.

Never having been to a silent disco before I had no idea what to expect, it was amazing!!! Everyone in the bar wore headphones, there was the option of two channels, one of them played older music - 80's and 90's etc, and the other was relatively new chart music. I went with my flatmates and honestly I had the best evening, it was hilarious, fun and different, not something I'd normally go to. Dancing to S Club 7 with my flatmates is definitely something I'll always remember. The only downfall was the stuffy heat, it was sweating and by the end of the night (although I don't remember getting home. Oops) my hair was gross and sticky and begging for a shower.  The drinks were cheap *awaits cheers for other university students* and it was surreal to take off your headphones during a song, listening to everyone singing together without any loud music blaring, also hearing the divide of channels being listened to, half of the people dancing were listening to Justin Bieber whilst the other half were dancing to Bon Jovi. Such an enjoyable, memorable and weird experience.

Being in a flat without my family there are lots of adult responsibilities that I never realised had to be done or I relied on my mum to do the washing up, so now I am an ACTUAL adult making my bed, doing my washing up, cleaning, food shopping and doing the laundry, and the responsibility of not losing my key card to get into my flat. Everything is manic yet exciting, I feel genuinely happy and motivated for the future, for beginning my creative writing course and exploring Bath city. 

Monday, 5 September 2016

Asking For It - Louise O'Neill | | book review

"She has no face. She is just a body, a life-size doll to play with."

Reserving this book from the library, I knew Asking For It would be a tough read, prior to my reading the recognition and reputation it has gathered with its themes and messages looking at society from a social perspective. 

Asking For It targets rape culture, brutally, truthfully and emotionally. 

It discusses sexual consent, a major topic spoken about everywhere from social media, to news articles to real life situations. 

The story follows 18 year old Emma O'Donovan, my first impressions of her were rude, selfish, nasty and shallow, however by the end of the book I wanted to hug her, I wanted to wrap her in a blanket and provide a safety bubble to protect her. 

Emma is beautiful, she gathers attentions from everyone, meaning she gathers a lot of male attention too and she likes it, she lives in, she is confident in herself and she knows girls are jealousy and she knows boys will do anything to get a little peak at what's underneath. 

She likes to enjoy herself, like most young adults, she likes socialising, dressing up and partying. She's the 'IT' girl. But when a night out in her small Irish town goes terribly wrong, her life is turned upside down and she is vulnerable, scared, a victim of rape. 

Asking For It made me feel too many emotions. I shook with anger. I cried. I felt nervous. I hoped for a better outcome for Emma after her ordeal. After she was violently sexually assaulted by her male friends and extremely revealing photos are uploaded to the public eye. 

It's humiliating, horrifying and unfortunately, something that happens often.

A heartbreaking book I'm considering reading again because it's so real, as it comes from personal experiences of sexual assault. These things actually happen! It is a shocking read, but one you will never forget.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

August Book Haul

To say I enjoy books would be an understatement, surely if you are a reader, follow me on social media accounts or are simply my friend, you will understand my love for the English language, fiction and writing, oh and pretty much everything bookish. 

This month I have exceeded myself and bought 9 books in one week.

One week.

Crazy. Mental. Losing the plot.

Here's a lil summary of a few of them!

They have been piled next to my bookcase ready to be organised and slotted into my shelves by the colour of their spines. Oh boy.

That's the most exciting part about getting a new book - first, what colour is its spine?

Yellow? Okay, lets find the yellow section.

What shade of yellow? This means comparing the already existing yellow books and finding its place on the colour scale.

A process I take very seriously.

The Sky is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson.

Published in 2010 this is Nelson's debut novel. A story of American young girl Lennie experiencing high school whilst struggling to cope with the sudden death of her older sister. A piece of fiction looking at grief, loss and romance. I am looking forward to read this young adult novel after reading I'll Give You The Sun also written by Nelson. 

The Rest of Us Just Live Here - Patrick Ness.

Ness in my opinion has a growing reputation in the young adult community, yet this is my first book ever purchased by him. If I am honest I've read synopsis' of the novel and I'm not entirely sure of its plot or themes so the plan is to jump in the deep end, read it and be pleasantly surprised.

Purity - Jonathan Franzen.

Discovered this beauty through a Booktuber, fell in love with the colours on the cover and added it to my reading list. Described as a novel intersecting several stories of different characters from varying ages and backgrounds, this seems a book that is right up my street, despite its thickness (I find thick novels quite scary so stepping out of my comfort zone) it's a mix of different stories and lives.

Dear Amy - Helen Callaghan

One of my favourite genres is psychological thrillers, novels that keep me gripped and unable to put it down until it's finished. An agony aunt called Margot Lewis receives a letter for her advice column, the letter is not your usual agony aunt criteria, instead, it's chilling, scary and urges you to keep reading and discover what might have happened to this pleading young woman. The sticker on the cover "If you liked The Girl on The Train you will love this!" had me put it in my basket, I enjoyed the suspense and shocking plot twist of The Girl on The Train so, I guess now, I have high expectations.

A Little Life - Hanya Yanagihara 

This has been on my reading list since it came out, previously avoiding it because of its length, ugh what is that all about?? Need to get over my fear of lengthy novels, however on a FOOD shopping trip I happened to disappear into the book aisle of Tesco' and found A Little Life. After hunting down my family again I was greeted with "Bet you were in the book section!" Oops. It follows the lives of four friends in New York City after graduating. A spectacular tale of friendship, career building, sexuality, love and addiction.

Francis Plug: How To Be A Public Author by Paul Ewen

A novel exploring what it is to be an author in 21st century, documenting a series of events at real author events that the author has fictionalised. Never before have I heard of this until I came across a box of books reduced to sale prices in Waterstones, if I'm honest, I was drawn by it's black cover and its focus on writing and being an author (My ultimate ambition and goal for life).


Shakespeare: Staging The World by Jonathan Bate and Dora Thornton 

An absolute prize possession I also found in the box of books reduced to sale in Waterstones. From studying English Literature at A-Level like most literature students I have developed a taste for Shakespeare. He's fantastic, a legend among writers, an inventor of language and all those wonderful insults "Thou art as loathsome as a toad".  This beauty is an illustrated collection of objects showing how Shakespeare developed the stage for art, performance and literature among creatives and writers. I am sure I squealed at the till and cashier when she placed it delicately in a bag for me.

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child Parts One and Two - A script written by Jack Thorne based on an original story by J.K Rowling

Last but not least. *SCREAMS* This is maybe every child of my generations dream, new Harry Potter material, however it has gathered mixed reviews. Spoken about as the 8th instalment to the Harry Potter series, 19 years after the battle of Hogwarts. You remember where the last book left off right? 19 years later, the trio with their families sending their own children off on The Hogwarts Express just like they had so many years ago. The Cursed Child is Draco Malfoy and the trio's children experiencing Hogwarts and magic. OBVIOUSLY. I have already read this before this haul goes live, being the potterhead I am I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. It's a script, not a fully planned novel so yes, it's different and intended to be seen as a performance rather than read as a play, it's like reading a Shakespeare play, it's a little confusing until you see the real life production on stage with real actors and emotions.

What books have you been loving this month? Any recommendations? 

Would you like a longer review of any of these books mentioned? Let me know!!!

I hope now after reading this you treat yourself to a few books, you know? You deserve it. 

Friday, 12 August 2016

Friends, coffee and Wagamamas

Cathartic is the word to describe the day I have had. I woke after a restless 3 hour sleep, feeling groggy and unmotivated for my plans - dragged myself out of bed nonetheless, ate a healthy breakfast and had a mug of coffee. 

Avoiding phone calls is my speciality but I am glad I answered the phone today. It was my therapist. 

After 8 months of seeing two therapists, engaging in both one to one and group sessions and finding myself coming home with piles of handy documents about managing panic, anxiety and depression, my last session is booked for next week. 

In my therapists words "You have changed your life".

I am happy, so happy to be doing well, to have someone else validate my progress and motivate me to keep getting out of bed in the morning, to keep running, to keep breathing and to keep making plans to see friends. I am overwhelmed by emotions, you know when you just cry tears of genuine happiness? That is me right now, especially when the first person I told was my best friend (More below) and her telling me how proud she is boosted my happiness a little more.

To continue the day on a high I met with Emma. I met her during my A-Levels at college and we go together like strawberries and cream. She's my little pink cupcake.

After not seeing her in two months it was wonderful to catch up over a meal at Wagamamas. FYI this was my first visit and on entrance the smell of noodles was incredible. We ordered a starter to share of steamed vegetable gyozas and juices to drink - mine was called Positive (Definitely a representation of my emotions and attitude to life) made of pineapple, lime, spinach, cucumber and apple. For mains I ordered yasai yaki soba, minus the egg and it was fantastic - noodles with mushrooms, beansprouts, peppers, spring onions, shallots and pickled ginger. Will 100% be visiting again!

Emma is also a book worm so an adventure to a book shop was always on the cards. I picked up a couple of YA books on her persistent recommendations - The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson and The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness.

We found ourselves in Topshop, my all time favourite high street store and I fell in love with Beyonce' recent clothing line Ivy Park, I'll be treating myself soon to some new gym wear. Emma being one of my best friends and all, and what with us moving to different locations for university next month we're going to be apart.

However, you know those best friend necklaces you'd buy your constantly changing best friend in primary school? We got those! Ours are the Yin Yang symbol split into two, she got the Yin (The black side with a white spot) and I got the Yang (The white side with a black spot). The necklaces are dainty and delicate. I'm not massively a fan of wearing much jewellery because it's a lot of fussing about and fiddling, idk I find rings and bracelets all annoying, but this is a sentimental necklace so it's a keeper!

Yummy food and clothes shopping aside it was a lovely day, one to treasure forever.

In all the day ended with my sister and I outside in the garden at 12am giggling and attempting yet failure to watch the meteor shower. Damn clouds. 

Saturday, 6 August 2016

The Girls - Emma Cline | | Book Review

The Girls being Emma Cline's debut novel, Emma is twenty seven and from California. 

First impressions from the cover is a feeling of summer beach vibes with faded colours, similar to a Polaroid photo, however contrasting the darkness portrayed throughout the novel. It contains a misty air, an unsettling atmosphere that leaves you physically unable to put it down, each page leading you wanting more, craving more information, a power surging through your body to find out about The Girls.

Set in California, flashing back from Evie's childhood in 1969 to the present day and remembering what happened. Her adolescence filled with sex, drugs and odd friendships. 

Cline's style of writing is intriguing, compelling, powerful and rich.

It explores girlhood and womanhood, how women are treated in society by men. If looked upon in a feminist perspective, which I did because lately I've been hunting for books with feminist themes so slightly obsessed, then this book is a strong representation of the patriarchy in society. Cline's vague way of describing men and their power, especially over the girls, highlighted by the staring, the gaping at the female body and how susceptible it is for women to experience this uncomfortable ogling. Although there's the other side, Evie is a girl who doesn't particularly get much attention, she's not an IT girl and any sign of attention from anyone is appreciated, yearned for even. 

Continuing its exploration of girlhood it delves into sexuality and it becomes the centre attention, the act of sex detailed in erotic ways so easily, so safely that is normal and it reminds you that a girl masturbating is normal. (Yes feminism working!)

The story of Evie going off the rails as such, she finds herself fascinated by a unconventionally beautiful group of girls. Meeting Suzanne, Donna and Helen, the main girls of the group, the most important anyway. She is struck by their ways of live at the ranch and is pulled in by their cult like forces. The ranch becomes a safe haven until it turns sour.

Cline builds up to the climax, hinting continuously throughout the narrative to an act of violence and perhaps, satanic rituals.

She creates suspense, as you read you will feel it in your bones that a dreadful event is approaching, you will be gripped by the storytelling.

Favourite bit? Cline's talent of description.

Favourite character? I felt attracted to both Evie and Suzanne despite their completely opposite personalities. I could see parts of myself in Evie, but I loved the mysterious ways of Suzanne.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016



I am genuinely happy within myself for the first time in a while.

Depression does this excruciating thing of telling you life will not get better or you will not get out of the hole you're currently in.

Depression lies. Remember that.

Depression strives for you to become the shell of the person you used to be. You forget who you are. You don't feel real. You float through the days in an emotional pain that is difficult to explain.

On the bad days She, the depression nags at my brain telling me tomorrow will be worse, the next day after that will be terrible. Life is going to be bleak for the rest of your existence. 


I am out of the dark (or out of the woods if you're a T Swift fan) and it feels wonderful. My concentration levels are high, I can read a book and fully concentrate on the words and I can watch a two hour film without getting distracted. Silence is enjoyable because my own mind is now quiet. I am calm and content. 

Falling back in love with exercise has happened, I mean, I never felt out of love with running, my motivation to get out of bed was zero. Urges to run come every day however when you are trapped in your mind and you can't physically do anything exercise is a no-go. 

I can run! My legs can run! My body hasn't forgotten how to function, how to keep going one foot in front of another and how to allow oxygen into my body and brain. 

Euphoric feelings burst through me after a run. It is rewarding. I am on top of the world after I run. 

I like feeling sweaty, only in the context of running or general exercise. I like going back into the changing room and physically being able to see the evidence of a run, the dripping sweat, strawberry red face and damp clothing. I like replenishing my body with water and a carby meal.

Things are coming up Milhouse...

Blog post ideas are sprouting left, right and centre, notes everywhere in numerous notebooks. Results day is soon and now it's August I can officially say I will begin university NEXT MONTH. Much excite.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

How to Successfully Waste Your Summer Holidays

Waiting for summer after a stressful, tortuous year of A2 education was just as painful as sitting my exams. I longed and longed for relaxation - time to enjoy reading books for my own pleasure, creative writing and watching films without the added guilt of needing to revise. 

It is a case of setting up high standards, and high expectations for myself, adding extra unhelpful anxiety to make the most of my time, we all do it? Right?

I expected my summer to be fun filled, constantly happy and surrounded by friends.

Don't get me wrong I am having a wonderful summer, it is relaxing and calm but the anxiety pounding in my head is telling me I am wasting my time, I'm not making the most of three months off.  

Three months is an excessive amount of time to entertain yourself. There's only so much Netflix you can binge before my thoughts wonder into the deep recesses of my mind. The little segment that I've been trying to push to the back of my mind that leaves me feeling exhausted, unsociable and unmotivated. it creeps back on me unexpectedly.

There's ways of solving my summer issues. Planning ahead means I have to do things, creating a weekly activity diary to keep me occupied, because in my mind once an activity or a errand is in my diary  I have to do it - it is set in stone.

Make time to meet my friends for coffee and book shop exploring, taking 30 minutes to take a walk through the local park breathing in trees, sunshine and flowers, baking the chocolate cake you saved to your Pinterest board months ago and finishing the TV shows you stupidly started halfway through exam season.

Now, it's results day in 23 days. I am trying not to think about it.

Trying being the most important word here.

Keeping myself busy and distracted is the only way I can stop thinking about grades. I know I'm going to pass but WHAT IF.

To make the most of the seven or eight weeks or so I have left of summer before moving to Bath and beginning university, I'm going to make a to-do list, or rather a short bucket list.

  1. Catch up on Game of Thrones - yes, don't roll your eyes at me or yell, I'm only halfway through season 5 :(
  2. Use my vegan baking Pinterest board!
  3. Run more - running is my love, it clears my mind and relaxes me. Feet pounding on the pavement. Concentration fully on my breathing. 
  4. Stop buying books (hahaha next joke) until my current To-Be Read pile is completed.
  5. Clear out my room in preparation for what I actually need to take to university with me... Going to have to leave some of my precious babies at home (books, sigh)
  6. Spend valuable time with my siblings because, DAMN I am going to miss these annoying slices of cake. 
  7. Let my mum read the beginnings of my novel... Scary stuff.
  8. Learn how to successfully make a bed. Useful university skills.
  9. New wardrobe. With weight change and perhaps a style change, I feel I need an upgrade to feel f9.
  10. Write. Write. Write. Nothing ELSE matters.
What are your plans for summer?? 

Monday, 18 July 2016

How to Build a Girl - Caitlin Moran | Book Review

Never have I felt such a surge of emotions towards a book since reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

How to Build a Girl is phenomenal, influential and real. Real for every girl who has experienced being a teenager, real for every young girl approaching their teenage years, although the book is explicit for a child, yet it is the most truthful book about being a girl. The taboos of being a girl are gone. You can talk about sex, periods and masturbation as much as you want, please do, take advice from this fantastic piece of fiction and TALK about everything that means being a girl. 

Written by the utterly superb Caitlin Moral, her second novel and one of a series of connecting novels as you witness the protagonist Johanna Morrigan go through childhood all the way through to adulthood. Moran is an established author, journalist and broadcaster. She is an out-spoken, confident and hilarious figure for girls and women in the 21st century. She is an inspiring voice in the feminist community. She has no limits. She writes the real, gritty stuff.

How to Build a Girl documents a young girl under transformation, to create herself the way she desires to be, stemming from years of bullying at school Johanna Morrigan transforms into the alter ego Dolly Wilde.

Following her dreams of being a music journalist, she extends up her musical knowledge and lands herself a job in London enabling her to attend gigs of famous bands and write about them.


Why you should read this book? It is stomach achingly funny, quirky and a truthful experience of how it is to be a teenage girl. Moran normalises being female, this book (if you're a girl) will make you feel normal and like you belong. It will make you believe you can achieve absolutely anything. Nothing is impossible, even in a world dominated by males, you can write, you can run the world, you can be an athlete. Be whatever the hell you want to be. Regardless of gender.

Favourite quote? (Sorry for the expletives but it's okay because it's fiction, and from the Queen that is Caitlin Moran)

"If you want to be a fucking writer - then be a fucking writer. Just fucking write."

Have you read this book, or anything else by Caitlin???

Sunday, 10 July 2016

What I've Been Reading This Week

Similarly to most bookworms my To-Be Read pile doesn't stop growing, at this rate I might need another trip to IKEA for another bookcase, oh and that's an excuse to satisfy my stomach with their meatballs. And to pretend I am Summer and Tom having a trip for cutlery or a sofa, to find a Chinese family in my kitchen. 

Over the course of the past week I have disconnected myself from reality and delved into three books and finished all three. It is a fabulous feeling to have no responsibilities to rely on, to lay in bed reading eating avocado bagels and savouring the soft quiet of my house, as my parents work during the day for long hours and my siblings are still at secondary school. 

So my days flow like this, from waking up and eating chocolate, banana porridge to laid back reading to writing (Remember that best selling novel I'm working on???) to reading again, to making myself something worthy of goodness for dinner - read falafels, rice and beans, before settling back into bed, bathed, fresh bed sheets with a book. 

Education over the past few years has prevented me from appreciating reading as much as I used to, unless it was a classic novel, play or a collection of poetry required for me to study A-Level English Literature, I sadly, barely read anything, a couple of chapters here and there on my bus journey to college. Now, it's,beautiful, relaxing and guilt free, so here is a little, brief review of the three books I've lost myself in this week, no spoilers, just a short summary and what I thought!

The Versions of Us by Laura Barrett. 

Recommended to me a few months ago by my creative writing teacher. The Versions of Us, perhaps you could say it's a love story, or several versions of the protagonist Eva's romance throughout her life. The Versions of Us plays on fate, how if one event in our lives had not happened then where would we be? You can follow Eva through 30 years of her life, from being at university and meeting a few suitable partners to three different versions of how those meetings could have turned out. The versions are powerful, all very different from each other but also intertwining each potential partner.

The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins.

Most anticipated read of this year so far. A book I've heard EVERYONE talking about. It is chilling, shocking and absolutely fantastic, with all it's thrilling twists, especially the final one which left me wanting to throw the book under a train. A powerful plot told in multi perspectives, the protagonist Rachel experiences alcohol related blackouts, and after one situation where she can't recall anything, unfortunately a night where something utterly tragic and frightening happens, showing the negative side to one unexpected character, Rachel tries to piece together that mysterious night. Full of mind-blowing revelations, violence, manipulation, alcoholism and romance. Possibly everything you could want in a thriller. I read this in under 24 hours, I just couldn't put it down, and kinda wanted to try gin and tonic...

Before I go to Sleep by SJ Watson.

Another book I wanted to throw under a train after it's unbelievable plot twist, to be honest - I did throw the book across my room. (I apologised, I'm not normally a bad mum) but this book had me in complete shock and fully gripped all the way through. The protagonist Christine suffered an accident in which she lost her memory, she is unable to form new memories and every day she wakes up forgetting everything that happened the previous day. A heartbreaking and distressing story. Christine begins keeping a journal to help assemble her past, however the journal reveals astounding truths about the man she is supposedly married to, the man she's being lead to believe she's in love with. Expertly written with impressive medical knowledge, closed the book feeling I knew a little more about the complexity that is our brain.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

Here's to another week of reading...

Monday, 4 July 2016

What If

What if's fill my head on a regular basis - your decisions lead you to where you are now and if one event had not happened I might not be the same person I am today. Like the butterfly effect, all the small causes in our lives can cause large effects, directing us towards certain paths of life.

There is a reason for my questioning of fate today. What if I hadn't realised I was dreadfully ill? What if my parents hadn't made the decision to have me admitted to hospital at the precise moment they did? Quite frankly, and sadly, I would be dead.

Today, the 4th of July, ironically America's Independence Day the day I lost my own independence as a fully functioning human being. RIP my once perfectly functioning pancreas.  

Three years ago I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This year, I am feeling emotional about it. The last few years it hasn't bothered me, but something about this year, perhaps the fact I've been struggling to manage and control my blood sugars has got me upset. 

If I don't write about it I will probably spend the remainder of the day in bed feeling sorry for myself.

It is a day of bad memories, although the experience now is a little hazy in my mind. Leading up to my hospital admittance I was drinking litres of water - waking up in the middle of the night with the driest mouth you could possibly imagine and drinking excessive amounts of water making me urinate frequently and needing more water. It was a vicious and scary cycle, an exhausting one too. My body was weak, the previous week spent in bed, unable to move, unable to eat minus several pieces of toast which hurt to swallow. My body was fighting against me, eating away first at the fat on my body and then the muscle, by the time I was in hospital I had lost three stone in weight and was dangerously underweight.

What happened next was a blur, in the back of the car surrounded by pillows on the way to the hospital, not entirely sure what was happening or what was going to happen to me. All I can remember is waiting surrounded by the hospital's piercing bright lights, needles, medical machines beeping around me and the worry on my mum's face.

To be diagnosed with an illness I had never heard of before, or never paid any attention to because it's one of those things you never expect to happen to you is difficult. It is harder than difficult to deal with everyday life with type one diabetes. It is painful, confusing, unpredictable and gruelling. 

It is every negative word in the English language.

There is no way to sugar coat (accidental diabetic pun) this illness, I wanted to initially weigh out the pros and cons - unfortunately, there's more cons than pros. In attempt to be positive, I am alive. I was seconds away from dying but I am alive. I eat healthier, most of the time but let's excuse today because my sister made me a vegan chocolate and raspberry cake to celebrate and dear lord, it is delicious.  I fully intend to eat the entire cake to myself (and go to the gym tomorrow) and hope diabetes will forgive me. 

Diabetes is injections whenever I eat. It involves pricking my finger and testing my blood before I eat, anxiously waiting for a good number, then counting the carbohydrate content of my meal before adjusting my insulin ratio to carbohydrate ratio. Then it's considering all the factors that can affect my blood sugar.
  • Will I be exercising anytime soon? What kind of exercise?
  • Am I stressed or upset?
  • Am I unwell?
  • Am I on my period?
  • Is the weather hot or cold?
  • Am I eating more or less carbohydrates than normal?
  • Will I be drinking alcohol?
  • Have I slept well?
Not only is there that, hot baths make my sugars drop and likewise to Sylvia Plath there isn't much a bath cannot cure. Brushing my teeth lowers my sugars - I don't know how or why but it does. There's the persistent voice in the back of my head making me feel bad for a high sugar or an uncontrollable day. Waking up every day feeling like you don't want to do this for the rest of your life but still getting out of bed and giving yourself insulin because it is literally do or die. 

There's being scared of sleeping in case I don't wake up in the morning because my sugars have dropped severely. Waking up at 3am high, thirsty and able to feel the pain in your kidneys. Waking up again 3am the next night low, trying to find your way, stumbling with blurry vision looking for a pack of biscuits to scoff or just something with goddamn sugar in. The low blood sugar aftermath requiring me to have an nap and feeling hungover when I wake up again. Not getting up in the morning because of my night of highs. Making sure I have my blood sugar monitor with me 24/7 and making sure I have enough medication, equipment and supplies. Being in charge of putting in my prescription requests on time.  There's needles, blood and tears. Bruises from injection sites. Feeling like a burden when I go out because I need to be sure I can access food and drink. Having food in my bag all the time. Leaving your classroom midway through a lesson because you're sugars have dropped and you're acting weird and drunk at 11 in the morning and you're embarrassed. Injecting in a public place and feeling all eyes on you. Being irritable and angry when I am high. Resembling a zombie when I'm low.  

This is a full time job, without the pleasures of monthly pay, yet it is manageable most of the time and something I'm still learning to accept I have 3 years on. 

Monday, 27 June 2016

Guess Who's Back, Back Again?

Impromptu Eminem lyric.

Two months have passed since I last blogged, I promise you I have a reason for my absence. A-Levels. After months of intense revision, sleepless nights, stress eating and generally being a grumpy person. (Apologies to all the people in my life who had to deal with me moaning and crying 24/7)

But it's over. English Literature was my final exam around 10 days ago now. The relief I feel is immense. Back to eating my 5-a-day and not living off snacks and porridge. Sleep is now a blessing. Happiness has found its way back into my life, a stress-free summer is ahead of me.

The luxury of Summer has arrived, before university begins in September, bringing an ever-growing bucket list, but one over the period of summer, including my expanding To Be Read List (which will be a blog post in the upcoming week). I can lay in bed, or in the sun, or take myself to a coffee shop for some solitude with a book. I can go to the gym more frequently and consistently, more importantly maybe work on the issue of exam weight gain. Ugh, we all know what I'm talking about? I can binge watch TV shows without enormous guilt, I can have lie ins, start baking again and spend time with all my favourite people.

Treat this post as a bridge into a regular posting schedule, now time is free and accessible to me. I plan to post a few times a week, not promising anything but hopefully I can build everything up again, get involved with other bloggers and produce content!

Saturday, 23 April 2016


Today marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death, positively regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. 

For the last two weeks my excitement for today has been unreal, I have been telling everyone I happen to see that Shakespeare died 400 years ago. The responses from people outside of my literature class have been a mixture of eye rolls, raised eyebrows and blank faces. Unless like me you are a literature fanatic, or book lover, or just in general a Shakespeare fan then I can imagine it is hard for outsiders to understand the excite, but for reals I love Shakespeare. I'll admit I haven't read enough of his works, what I have read through my literature lessons I have enjoyed and delved into and it's brought out a deeper passion and understanding for the talent that extraordinary man had.

Some of his works include Macbeth, Hamlet, the very famous Romeo and Juliet with the film adaptation starring a beautiful and youthful Leonardo Dicaprio and an extensive collection of sonnets. 

I am fortunate to live close to London and have found the opportunity to visit The Globe Theatre several times. The theatre is impeccable, full of fantastic history, incredible stories and the building itself is simply exquisite. If you ever find yourself in the city of London, The Globe Theatre is a place that will certainly broaden your mind and throw you deeper into the world of literature! 

Now after thinking about the playwright for a long, long time, I'm going to settle down tonight, turn on BBC2 to watch the exclusive Shakespeare Live, celebrating the anniversary as a national event!

Just a quick short post about my obsessive love for everything Shakespeare, soz.

What are some of your favourite quotes from his works?

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

6 of my Favourite Book Covers

Admiring my bookshelves every day, I want to share with you my favourite book covers. The books I have chosen, you'll probably be able to tell I like plain, simplistic and aesthetically pleasing covers. The phrase 'more is less' comes into play. 

This glorious cover for Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone is just so perfect - Bloomsbury's new children's editions. Its illustrations are adorable, the cover feels more inviting for children to pick up a HP book. The magic held within the Harry Potter tales flow through this cover with its sparkles. It makes you want to dive right in, plus the feeling of the cover in your hands is wonderful. It is sleek magical to run your fingers over its smooth appearance.

A Brilliant Madness by Robert M.Drake is a extraordinary collection of poetry and writings. The cover is hot pink with unique illustrations that are amazing to simply stare at, these illustrations continue through-out the collection, they are divine and add to the messages conveyed in M.Drake's writing. There's something about books that are satisfying to touch, I can describe it like suede or rubber, but gentle, it's soothing and sometimes I take it from my shelves just to admire the cover. 

Another simplistic cover for Firecracker by David Iserson. It is perfectly plain considering the adventures inside the book. The faceless figure and the style makes me believe it's a girly girly book, it reminds me of Zooey Deschanel's character in New Girl. 

American Psycho is light and effortless, it immediately draws you in, especially that little splodge of smeared blood. The colour palette is aesthetically pleasing for me, the power this cover holds is incredible. Just look how tiny the title is! A hint of blood sets the tone for the contents of the book, the irony of the tiny drop of blood considering how much blood the book involves (Spoiler, soz) 

We Were Liars by E.Lockhart reminds me of summer, floating around in the sea, ice creams and enjoying time with friends. The sun shining, adventures to be had and places to explore. However, that starkly contrasts the plot, it's dark and some tragic events occur over the characters summer. 

Last by not least, my absolute favourite because doughnuts. How can you go wrong with doughnuts? This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M Holmes attracted me because of the cover, I judged a book by its cover. We are all guilty of it, but I am glad I picked this book up. Again, the cover is basic and makes me crave mouth watering, rainbow sprinkled doughnuts.

So, that was a round up of some of my favourite covers. 

Have you read any of these books?

What are your favourite covers?

I hope spring is treating you all well. x

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

How Talking is Good for You | Update on Therapy

Today is therapy day and the lead up to the appointment leaves me racked with nerves. Sleep the night before my session is a myth, I toss and turn like the plastic flying fish you win in a cracker at Christmas. It's not because I don't like therapy, don't get me wrong, my sessions are informative and helpful in aiding my recovery, it is the getting there that makes me tense up slightly.  

Once I'm in the building, I'm okay, my nerves settle and I feel slightly relived at the fact I can tell my therapist everything, without fearing judgement. Although, the building could be brighter and a little more inviting - recovery isn't sunshine and rainbows but it would be nice to feel like the walls around me aren't block white and closing in on me. 

In movies mental illness and therapy are portrayed in different lights. A few movies that include the protagonist receiving professional help are Perks of Being a Wallflower, Girl, Interrupted and It's Kind of a Funny Story. 

FYI all wonderfully written books too! (Bonus!)

It seems enjoyable and a lovely place to be. Reality is, the waiting room is tedious. Everyone walking in knows why you are here, or it's pretty obvious that you are suffering with some form of mental illness and you require someone else's help. Remember, we are all in the same boat.

Not that help is a bad thing but sometimes, anxiety affects me to the point where I feel like exploding when someone looks at me in that waiting room. 

However, talking to someone provides a sense of relief. All the comes out of my mouth, all my thoughts and emotions stay in the walls of the room, even if the room is unbearable and makes me more nervous, with its emptiness and unwelcoming atmosphere. 

Therapy makes me talk. It's easier to talk to somebody about how you are feeling when you don't know them personally, when I don't know my therapist's back story or any information about him. The only information I have is his name. There's nothing connecting us emotionally or physically, his job is to listen to me and write excessive notes about my emotions and behaviours.

Which, BOY, he had a lot of note down this session. My mind has been racing with thoughts for weeks because I missed a session because I didn't feel up to, so it had been a while and everything had been building up. But it's good, so good to talk. You build up a trust with your therapist, they might not have experienced anything you have themselves but they are there to give advice, help you find new coping techniques and just god-damn listen to you. 

Sometimes all someone needs is someone to talk to.

I leave the building feeling lighter, all my worries are gone, even just for a short while. It is amazing how much simply sitting in a room talking about my feelings releases every inch of tension in my body. To use a cliche, as light as a feather is what I would use to describe the feeling. 

All in all, therapy was successful; my next session is booked. 

Instead of being plain Jane and always sticking with simple soya cappuccinos, I opted for a roasted almond cappuccino from Costa which was delicious. I'm not normally a fan of flavoured coffee and sweet tastes but this has changed my life, and made therapy pleasant. 

The day finished with lunch from Pret, new Topshop jeans (Topshop's Jamie jeans are the best fitting jeans on the high street in my opinion, stretchy and make my booty look peachy) and a coral orange matte Barry M lipstick. Feeling fab U L O U S. 

I hope you enjoy my words and brain ramblings. I'm heading back to revision now...

What are your thoughts on therapy? Do you have any experiences? I would LOVE to feel some comfort in not being the only one.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Spring Starbuck Cups

Travelling to Bristol on Monday morning, first day of my Easter break from college and I was awake by 6am after a measly 3 hours sleep. Loving life. Not. 

Although, excited for my two day trip to Bristol and Bath.

Two hour drive, a little nap. Feeling mildly human again.

First stop, Bristol city centre, Cabot Circus.

Starbucks was vital after minimal sleep. The day before I had seen an advertisement on Starbucks Instagram advertising their new collection of Spring themed takeaway cups, specially designed by the baristas themselves. A different design for each sized coffee.

Staying in Bristol before the travel to Bath the next day to visit the university, mainly because my cousin lives in Bristol and it was lovely to visit her. Her home is beautiful, she shares a house and lives in the first floor with her husband. The decor was hippy chic, it felt super cosy and inviting and I could smell pancakes on arrival. 

Eating out is sometimes an issue because I get hangry (Lol and can't handle not knowing how long my food will be) and I'm vegan. My family enjoy traditional pub dinners but there aren't many pubs offering vegan food yet. However, we tried out the restaurant Las Iguana's and BOY, I was not disappointed.

The vegan menu is incredible, literally perfect, so many choices. 

I opted for a starter of tortilla chips, guacamole and all the sides, a main of chilli and a dessert of mango sorbet. Delighted I could have a dessert!

Food was exceptional. Company was wonderful. 

Back to the hotel after a quick supermarket run for late night snacks. (Cashew nuts and apples for me and an abundance of sweets for my sister).

Unfortunately exam period is looming so some revision materials came with me on my travels and I sat in the hotel room at midnight studying language change.

English student problems.

Early morning and a buffet breakfast. Could have been worse. Again I was pleasantly surprised at the vegan options. Soz to be mentioning veganism continuously but if you're in the same boat then you know sometimes all the options are either chips or a side salad. The day began at 7am so I filled my tummy with toast, veggie sausages and beans. Very happy despite the early morning. 

Arriving in Bath with a full stomach and the sun shining. The reason for my being here is Bath Spa university is my firm choice. I have a conditional place to study Creative Writing in September.

The campus is beautiful, architecture both modern and traditional, and sheep. Stunning scenery, spacious and there's a Starbucks on campus. (This post is not sponsored by Starbucks, unless they want to give me lots of free cappuccinos I won't complain).

The creative writing course talk has confirmed to me that all I want to do in my life is writing. Writing is my happiness and I want to make other people happy with my writing, or at least feel something. The talk became a massive motivation to continue working hard, more specifically revising over the Easter holidays because, god DAMN IT  I want to go to Bath Spa university more than anything else. 

During the talk, my head was filling with story ideas and character descriptions. To say the visit has inspired me to continue writing and doing what I love is an understatement. The whole journey home I was planning blog posts and new stories. So inspired!

Now, I'm home and my hair is washed. I'm cosy in bed surrounded by fairy lights, fudge scented candles and a mug of peppermint tea. 


Friday, 1 April 2016

March Madness | Where is This Year Going?

At this very moment, I am basking in the warm, natural light of Spring, sipping a peppermint tea because I kinda ate an entire tub of ice cream last night and am hoping it cancels it out. Who cares though because it was salted caramel flavour and it was the bomb.

March is over!

First and foremost, I cannot believe it's April. The year is going so fast and time is kinda scary to me. I sometimes feel like I'm running out of time, or there's not enough time to do everything I want to.

I need to chill. I'm 20, not 80.

Some of my favourite things of last month

Rainbow Rowell (most treasured YA author) has favourited several of my tweets.

Completed all of my A2 coursework. FOR GOOD. Never will I be up all night panicking and crying whilst hitting that relief of a word limit on three individual sets of coursework again!

Coffee dates with my mum. She's been putting in long hours as a carer and I haven't been able to see her much. So when the opportunity arose we went for coffee and chatted (and gossiped). It's finally spring meaning I can enjoy iced coffees without freezing to death, there's nothing like a cold icy coffee in the summer! (It's not summer yet, I know but I'm so ready for it)

Girly sleepovers with a friend from college. We made pizzas, a vegan special for me and pepperoni and olives for Emma. Have you ever met someone who is you in every way possible, just in another body? That is Emma. We share a massive love for books and poetry. When we were arranging to have a sleepover, I was more excited to browse her bookshelves. She buys me peppermint tea on our college breaks, she makes me cry laugh, I can tell her everything and not feel judged and we can still in comfortable silence.

Second-hand book shopping has become a new favourite. There's something about used books, knowing someone else has hopefully loved it and cherished the pages as much as I will. Classics are making their way onto my shelves lately so I bought 3 totalling a price of £2.10!!! One of these included an annotated edition of Frankenstein -  you might have already seen this if you follow my instagram, if not then self promoting you can find me @brigeorgie

World Poetry Day; 21st March. I celebrated reading some of my favourite poets including Rupi Kaur (Check out her poetry collection called Milk and Honey), Sylvia Plath and Charles Bukowski!

Tickets to Ellie Goulding were booked before Christmas. The day came around so fast. My mum and I explored Camden for a while before travelling to Greenwich. We went to Cookies & Scream - a vegan bakery in central Camden that I highly recommend for warm, gooey peanut butter brownies and chocolate chip cookies. The weather was beautiful, it felt like summer, people were everywhere enjoying the hectic atmosphere of Camden town. Ellie Goulding's performance was flawless, need I have to say that.

During an English language lesson, English linguist Mark Forsyth came and spoke to our class. He spoke about language change, how words change meaning over time and why, it was fascinating.

Getting back into fitness and regular gym sessions has been one of my priorities for the last couple of months. Running is my all time fav exercise and I'm slowly getting back to running long distances. Feeeeels good.

March marked 6 months being vegan. Doesn't seem like very long but the difference in my health is incredible. My hair grows at an excessive speed, my skin is pretty clear except for you know, that time of the month or when I've stupidly forgotten to take my make up off. I feel healthy. 

If you've read my previous posts, here and here then you might know that I've been sorting out the mess inside my head. March really saw a massive change in me. Well, I think so. The last year of my life I felt like I had lost myself, I wasn't sure who I was, I didn't know what I enjoyed doing, etc etc. I don't feel like I had a personality. But now, something has changed and I feel like I'm learning about myself again. 

What have been your favourite things about March? Or are you looking forward to anything in April?

Friday, 4 March 2016

I Spend All My Money on Coffee

This post is a spur of the moment kinda thing, I don't have much to talk and blog about but I felt an overwhelming urge to write, and probably another method of keeping myself busy.

I have spent a good amount of time this week by myself, in coffee shops madly writing essays and dissolving myself in the whirling of the coffee machine. 

I have an annoying timetable at college where I basically have one lesson a day, involving a total of a 3 hour bus journey for a two hour lesson, so to make my time productive... 

I have been getting out of the house, setting myself up in coffee shops and drinking warm, frothy soy cappuccinos. Pretending I'm all so cool with a laptop, a novel and a folder of notes. So yes, I've been spending the remnants of my poor, screaming bank balance on liquid goodness and I regret nothing. Caffeine might possibly be the reason  I pass my exams this year, which may I add are in 3 MONTHS TIME. 

Learning from last years mistakes I began revising at the end of January. I have been so productive these last few months I can feel my brain exploding with English language and literature terminology. Literally going to explode. 

I mean, do you know what assimilation is? (Don't google it)

You probably don't unless you're a massive English enthusiast like I am, It's that time of year again where I lay in bed at night reciting quotes from the novels I'm studying.

Spending time alone this week has been all I've done and I don't feel lonely. I enjoy my time alone, maybe too much. Finding a cosy spot in a coffee shop and getting lost in my writing and reading is calming, it matches the feelings I get when I exercise. Also being alone in a public place is an ideal opportunity to people watch. 

I write, I love to write and it will always be my thing. Writing is constantly on my mind, creating new characters and stories from my own experiences and the people around me. I saw a woman probably my age this week, enjoying a hot chocolate topped with cream and sprinkles, she was knitting and I was so fascinated by the way her fingers weaved around the threads of wool.

She is to become inspiration for a character in the novel I'm writing. I am so excited to write more.

Also, some little other things this week

1. I got an A grade in my English language coursework. YAY
2. I made vegan ice cream from frozen bananas and cocoa powder. Ugh yes. So good.
3. Rainbow Rowell (Author of Fangirl, Eleanor & Park and Carry On) favourited my tweet!
4. I finished reading I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson. Feels.
5. It is three weeks today until I see Ellie Goulding live. 

Lolz. Enjoy my scramble of words...

Monday, 22 February 2016

First Sessions of CBT

I have been trying to articulate my feelings towards my first introductory sessions of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for the last few weeks, however my mind is a bit of a mess and spinning like a washing machine, so forgive me now if this post end ups becoming a poorly structured essay. 

This post follows on one of my last posts. If you haven't already read, it's here

Before my initial session I had spoken on the phone to the practitioner I was due to meet. We planned an early appointment, although I am twenty and an adult my mum came along with me which probably stopped me from having some kind of nervous breakdown in the waiting room. Before our meeting, I had been sent some documents to fill in detailing my feelings over the last two weeks and now every session I do the same questionnaire to track how my weeks have been - which I find helpful and positive to see some minor change in how I'm feeling although I'm worried for my next session because there has been no progression. (Too many pessimistic feelings at the moment, sorry sorry sorry!) 

Recalling something my practitioner said, I think we'll name him now because saying practitioner is already frustrating - Tom. Okay so in my last session we spoke about this experience of mental health as a learning curve.
Nothing will be a straight line. I may feel good one day or have a good, positive few weeks but I might crash down 10x harder the next week and he reassured me that it is completely okay to fall back down. 

Funny that, since my last session I have crashed back down but through recognising my triggers using models such as the Hot Cross Bun or ABC model which makes you think about what triggers your feelings, my body sensations when I'm feeling those emotions, how I coped or more, how I didn't cope with those feelings and my thoughts during the situation.

Our sessions are 25 minutes long, or rather they seem short and at first I thought perhaps pointless. I mean, how much could you talk about in 25 minutes? I was being pessimistic about the sessions because I was nervous, and worried that they wouldn't be of any use. I have had three sessions now and I am learning a lot about how my mind processes my feelings and how my body reacts to my feelings. Our sessions are currently working on changing my behaviours towards my low moods.

To help combat my moods Tom gave me a workbook to fill in first creating a hierarchy in my daily activities, this includes the tasks I do routinely (Going to college, cooking for myself etc) then tasks that I find pleasurable (Gym, cinema and reading) and last but not least tasks that are necessary (Administrating diabetes medication, paying bills and attending doctors appointments). With the list of tasks I then categorised them into what is the most difficult ones to complete, through medium to easy.

A massive part of my depression and anxiety for me is losing routine. I am normally a very structured person, probably obsessed with control in my life. I like getting up early, having breakfast at around 8am, lunch around 12pm and dinner around 5pm and a bath around 6pm, however depression prevents me from having the energy to do anything. My sleeping pattern gets out of control, not sleeping at night leading me to sleeping all day therefore not eating nor going to college or doing any of my daily responsibilites. I have learned it's a vicious cycle that I'm constantly feeding.

My sessions have been helpful in teaching me how to break the cycle. Tom gave me planners to pre-plan my upcoming weeks to start re-gaining control over my life. Just your typical planner from Monday to Sunday with morning/afternoon/evening slots. Having control and structure is important to me so having these plans as guidance has been beneficial to me; it's helped me attend more social events because I have them written down in front of me and anxiety can't stop me backing out, however it can be difficult because last minute plans throw me off.  Just in general, getting my life back on track, mostly. Simply noting down the days and times of what I need to do, sessions to the gym, revision time etc etc. It all sounds straightforward and something a lot of people do, I mean organise your friggin' life gurl, but depression steals all my energy and motivation to do anything - to the point that going to the toilet is too much of a task. Hahaha.

I'm looking forward to my next session. I come out of the building feeling light, having spoken to someone about everything and anything feels so good.

I kept quiet about how I felt for far too long so now to be able to talk to someone, and not feel guilty or ashamed feels amazing and it's also allowed me to open up to more people about my problems. My friends are more aware, as are my tutors at college who are probably the most helpful in pushing deadlines for me and sending me any missed work.

To end this post somewhat positively I'm going to list/set myself some little goals to aid my life getting back on track and back to normality.

  1. Go for more walks because the fresh air clears your mind and your dog will probably be grateful for a run through the mud.
  2. Read one book a week.
  3. Cook dinner every night (I have been living on porridge for breakfast, lunch and dinner lol)
  4. Talk to somebody when you're feeling down instead of shutting everyone out.
  5. Get off social media, other than #TheGirlGang ;) 

A post full of rambles and hopefully some useful information if you're considering getting help from professionals or are in therapy sessions already.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

50 Facts About Me | | Get To Know The Blogger

Hello! I haven't posted in nearly a month! I have had a crazy, weird and fast few weeks that I plan to write more about another time regarding my last post about health. However to keep you entertained and to remind you I am in fact ALIVE I'm going to try and think of 50 decent facts about myself - only because I'm sure you don't know THAT much about me...

  1. I'm a dog person.
  2. I have no hearing in my right ear.
  3. When I was younger I collected the weekly subscription of Harry Potter chess. It is my greatest possession.
  4. My hair has been probably ever colour under the sun, unfortunately even green and vomit yellow. 
  5. With regards to that, I don't dye my hair anymore.
  6. My favourite TV shows are New Girl, Pretty Little Liars and Girls.
  7. I like to listen to podcasts whilst I'm at the gym.
  8. Cliche but I want to go to New York more than anything, so dreamy.
  9. I have always loved books and anything to do with writing and literature.
  10. I read Anne Frank's diary when I was 8 and didn't fully realise what was happening to Anne and her family until I re-read it last year. 
  11. Jacqueline Wilson and J.K Rowling are the authors that begun my love for reading.
  12. Ellie Goulding is my favourite musician.
  13. I am going to university in September
  14. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 17 (3 years ago).
  15. Since then my life has changed massively, I love eating healthily and exercising.
  16. Apples are my favourite fruit.
  17. Filling my eyebrows in has genuinely changed my life for the greater good.
  18. I'm 5ft 1. 
  19. My ambition is to write novels and it has been since I was 8. 
  20. I have been a vegan for 5 months.
  21. Before that a vegetarian for 18 months.
  22. I will never eat meat again.
  23. My books are organised by colour.
  24. I have size 5 feet.
  25. Porridge is my favourite breakfast.
  26. I can't tie my shoelaces.
  27. The Kardashians are the funniest, most wonderful people in the world. Khloe is my favourite.
  28. If you cut me open I would bleed Pepsi Max.
  29. I have a fear of lifts - as in elevators
  30. I love all the indie films on Netflix or the films 'pretentious' idiots watch. 
  31. Sheep are my favourite animal (How exotic).
  32. I have a dog called Lily.
  33. I also have 5 chickens.
  34. You Me At Six were my favourite band during my 'scene' days. 
  35. Not wearing socks creeps me out.
  36. I'm always hungry.
  37. If I could go on any holiday anywhere it would be Austria or Switzerland to ski.
  38. Topshop is my favourite high street store.
  39. I'm currently writing a novel. Or trying to.
  40. I don't have any tattoo's.
  41. Amsterdam is one of the first places I want to travel to.
  42. I have never been on a plane before.
  43. My birthday is three days after Christmas.
  44. (500) Days of Summer and Juno are my favourite films. 
  45. I would like to have two children. 
  46. I only started drinking coffee last year. 
  47. I worked at McDonald's for a short period when I was 16.  
  48. My goal of books to read this year is 75. Aim high right! Last year I read about 60 I think. 
  49. Pre-diabetes my favourite chocolate bar was Yorkie (Not meant for girls but stuff the patriarchy)
  50. Last but not least, I can't swim. 

So that was a random selection of things about me, hopefully you don't think I'm a weirdo now!