A Not So Blue Monday

Monday, 5 October 2015

This week has been full of getting back into routine and being told that I have work due in two weeks already, fun! I know that I'm now in second year but two weeks is a little ridiculous, but ah well such is the uni lifestyles. Here are the things that have made me particularly happy this week:

- Returning to Yoga - I've really missed the vibes I get from this class and it was so nice to hear that my yoga teacher has missed me being around. We did frog bends and although I am now relaxed, I can hardly walk! 

- Student lock-ins and student discounts in general - Being a penniless student can sometimes have it's benefits, in the form of free things from nice people. It all changes after Christmas though!

- This is England - I know I never stop talking about it, but it was the final ever episode yesterday and I just, I just can't, I have so many feelings and so many un-answered questions. But it was still a magical piece of cinematography that is all. 

- Talking to my Mum and the cat - You know where your values lie when your Mum asks you to talk to the cat on speaker phone so he doesn't feel left out, I miss my whacky little family. 

- Sketching again - Emily gave me a sketch book and I haven't stopped drawing in it, I feel so relaxed when I finally lay pencil to paper of what's in my head. She was right it's a brilliant form of therapy, I drew my plants today because I love them. 

What I have been listening to:

The wonders of Oh Wonder, so relaxing when you're writing an essay and I think they're going to be my sound track to autumn, so easy listening and relaxing. 

How was your Monday?

Elizabeth is Missing | Emma Healey

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Oh my! A book review?! On this blog?! No?! I know it's been a while and when I began this blog I did apologise for my slow reading and I'm sorry to say, it hasn't improved. Although I think I did read this book slowly on purpose because I liked it so much.

Meet Maud. Maud is forgetful. 

She makes a cup of tea and doesn't remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is unrecognizable - or her daughter Helen seems a total stranger. But there's one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it. Because somewhere in Maud's damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about. Everyone, except Maud... 

As soon as I picked up this book and read the blurb I knew this was the type of book for me. It's psychological, emotional and tense, if you're a person that likes a more up-lifting book to read during the night I wouldn't recommend this one, especially when you read until 3 in the morning it can get a little creepy, not like a horror novel or anything but there is definitely underlying eeriness. The plot of this book is very original flitting between the past and the present, I wont go into too much detail because I don't want to create spoilers but this book really isn't what it seems at the beginning, there is a whole lot more to this story. 

What I will say about this book however, is how dementia as a mental illness is portrayed. Healey seems to know her stuff about the actual illness and how it effects the patient, but knowledge on how other people act around the protagonist is very old fashioned. The nurses in the book all don't seem to care about their job and follow the perfect cliche of the strict, impersonal nursing home staff we hear about in the media. When Maud begins to voice her concerns about Elizabeth's disappearance no character in the book listens to her or recognizes why she is so concerned. I spoke to my Mum about this who is an occupation therapist and has also read the book, she says that the events in the book do not portray the support that people with dementia do get which adds to the current stigma of the illness. However I do think, for the drama of the book and the relationships that are portrayed, the lack of understanding in the characters is understandable but still pretty damaging.  

All in all, without its flaws this book is incredibly clever and pulls you in from the first sentence, I am also a fan of a picture in an adult book now and again, and with every chapter of this book you get a little picture. The pictures tend to give you little clues into what happens in the chapters and I just think it's a nice little touch. I love how this book is written, Healey tends to holds back with her writing and lets the reader guess what she means, almost like your in the main protagonist's shoes. I like how the storyline isn't as obvious as it may seem and there are some hidden plot twists that will surprise you. Overall it's a very clever book that really makes you think, you almost take the role of a detective, with it's twists and turns and poignant moments it's a very enjoyable, yet emotional read.

8 moons out of 10 


A Not So Blue Monday

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Wow it's been a pretty long time! And I can only apologise, but as you can clearly see I have moved house and so the past few weeks have been full of organising and drinking plenty of alcohol with all the freshers (I now feel really old). I have finally got my room sorted to a cozy standard that I am happy with, however I do think it requires the warmth of a fairy light or two. I am very happy with my room and my whole house, it' nice and warm and we've got a big telly, can't complain really! We do though, have an unwelcome presence, I am sure of it, things go bump in the night and strange breezes occur in places where there should be no wind, also objects move into incredibly strange places (pennies on top of doorways). I do think that this visitor is nice though and has no intention of harming us, I think they just want a little bit of company. Ghosts aside, here are the things that have made me particularly happy over the last few weeks:

- Moving into my own space - It's been so great to just spread all my own stuff everywhere and have a completely blank canvas to work from. Also it's been great being able to shop for myself and cook my own meals now I'm a vegan. My wardrobe's so big and I've never had a proper wardrobe before so having all my clothes fit in one space is something I am very easily getting used to. 

- Getting a new phone - I kept getting sent emails saying that I was entitled to an upgrade on my iPhone 4s but I just popped it to the back of my mind, it wasn't until my ancient phone started mis-behaving that I considered an upgrade and was incredibly surprised to hear that I was entitled to the new 6s! Because it was the sameprice as my current contract I thought why not, so now I am with new, shiny and gold (did I mention it was gold?) iPhone 6s and I am already in love with it. I'm not materialistic at all! 

- Being back with friends - I haven't been able to see a lot of my Uni friends this summer, some have been off working in America the lucky buggers and others are just too faraway and too expensive to visit. So it's been lovely to catch up with all of them and spend some quality time, I feel like a fresher again. 

- This is England - Can we just take a minute to appreciate the artist that is Shane Meadows. I have always been a huge TIE fan, even when it began in 2006 with the film, even though I was a little too young at the time. The storylines are cut throat and the characters are so lovable (well some of them are) I love how TIE90 has much more comedy in it because of 88's horrific storyline, but it's still got the same sense of intense drama. I love how the characters have grown and the way they have used to same people throughout the film. I just have a lot of love and respect for this particualar Tv series and I'm so, so excite for the feature length episode next week!

- Dates (The fruit) - Yes, I like dates now when I never use to, this vegan lark is really changing my taste buds.They've become my replacement for chocolate, sometimes I'll have the occasional piece of dark chocolate or an Oreo but I'm more likely to be found gnawing on a date, they might look shriveled and weird but I tell you, they taste like toffee!

What I have been listening to:

At the end of August I met this girl and she introduced me to the wonders of Kate Nash, I didn't realise her song writing was such genius and I am so thankful for this introduction because it has spurred a great love in my heart for this woman and her quirky song writing abilities. 

How was your Monday?

Dear August...

Thursday, 3 September 2015

August, you've been very kind to us weather wise, especially towards the end of the month. You began with hard work and a big party, in a big castle down the road, what a way to kick off the month, playing cards against humanity with your actual neighbours and being able to actually walk home drunk, instead of having to get an hour long bus. August was also the time that I signed my first gig, it is coming up in a few weeks and I feel more than ready, been practicing almost everyday. However August, you haven't all been fun and games, you've played a little game of cat and mouse with us really, when it comes to organising some important things, it's nearly sorted now though and we can finally look to better times ahead. When I haven't been at work I've been trying to pack for my new house, however as I have stated before, it's pretty hard to pack for something that is weeks away, without having to un-pack everything. I can't start seriously packing yet until the time is nearer and that's frustrating when I have free time on my hands and can't seem to fill it with anything productive. August, even though I hate the summer weather, you do always bring something along with you at the end of the month, I live for this little local festival and have been going since 2009. When I was in school it would always be the mark of the end of the summer and a way to either celebrate or commiserate my exam results. And as I get older, it's importance hasn't faded away, it's now a way to spend quality time with the people I love the most, usually the last time before people go off to Uni and jobs. Yes it's a tiny festival compared to the others and yes the bands and music aren't well known, but Solfest will always have a special place in my heart and it's probably where most of my best memories have been made. So August, you've been grand and you always have a perfect end, now time to start wearing hats and scarves and burning spicy candles, I cannot wait. 

How was your August ?


Treasure Hunt | August

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

First of all let me apologise for the shoddy phone-camera picture, I left my camera at Gareth's didn't I. This month I have been trying out some new things and this treasure hunt is the result of the things I have loved the most, a strange array of categories but anyhow, shall we crack on?

1. Solfest Festive Blanket 

Every year my friends and I head to this little, hippy festival down the road from us. We always buy a lovely blanket from this lovely stall, however Solfest wasn't on last year,which meant no new blanket for me (cries). With a house full of cat hairs, white cat hairs that is, it's hard to withhold a lovely soft blanket without it becoming stuck with hairs and all itchy. So the last, lovely blanket I bought from Solfest was defiled by my cats. Solfest was back on this year and now a new lovely, hippy blanket is in my life again, this one however will be kept away from said cats until I move into my new Uni house!

2. Tiger Tiger Dairy/Egg Free Mayo 

As you probably know I am now a vegan, which means I was lacking mayonnaise in my life. Because I have mayonnaise with literally everything, I was really at a loss. I went on a search for the best free mayo I could find, that wasn't too pricey and tasted like normal mayonaise. I tried the EggFree brand from Holland and Barret and it was okay, but it was still a little vinegary. I tried another brand called Mayola, which again I found too vinegary and more like salad cream, which was a score if you like your salad cream but I am more of a mayo fan. My Mum then picked this up for me from Morrisons and I think I may have found my dream free mayo, it tastes just as creamy and flavorsome as normal mayo  and goes brilliantly with all my meals, so I can be un-healthy again hoorah! You can get this mayo in almost any supermarket, I even found it in Asda the other day, which is the worst supermarket for finding vegan food, so it is pretty common if you want to get hold of some. 

3. Hannibal Seasons 1-2 

Oh my goodness, this is my new fave Tv series, I know I talk about this quiet a lot but we've nearly finished it now and I have fallen in love with the depth of the characters and the story lines. I love how it links to the older films and books, but if you haven't watched them you can still keep up. I love the unusual camera angles and effects they use and last but not least, I think I'm in love with Will Graham and all of his dogs!

4. Violife Vegan Soft Cheese 

Another foodie favourite, but I've found with making this transition, it's very important to find your replacements to make you more comfortable. Cheese was a big one for me, because I still believe as a vegan, I still have the right to cheese on toast okay! Like the mayo I tried a whole array of vegan cheeses before I settled on one I would buy again. After trying the Tesco soy free-from cheese I thought all hope was lost (that stuff tastes like actual vomit). But after a little trip to the vegan stall in the market I found Violife and with hope in my heart, bought the soft and solid cheeses. That night I had both cheeses on toast and yesssss, I loved them both. The solid cheese has the taste of actual cheese, like it's so blummin' realistic and it melts great on toast. And the soft cheese tasted just like Philadelphia. I am so happy, now I can make mac and cheese again I'm so excited!

5. H&M High Wasted Jeans 

I went on a quest to find a proper fitted jean thinking that I would have to spend rather a lot of money on a pair of Joni Jeans. But even before I hit Topshop I found a pair in H&M that fitted like a glove and were still incredibly comfortable. I went and bought two pairs didn't I,one nice blue pair and one black, I currently am wearing the black ones non-stop so that's why the blues are the only one in the photo. I just love how they fit and also not gonna' lie, love how my arse looks in them too!

6. Silver Jewelry 

Silver jewelry and I have always had a little bit of a disagreement, I think it's because of my skin tone and maybe my hair, I just didn't think the colour sat right on my complexion. For years I have only worn gold, brass and rose gold jewelry, but this summer I had a change of heart and began, slowly to wear silver again and now I do, a whole new world of jewelry has opened it's doors and I was in New Look not so long ago and saw this beautiful set of silver rings, I was mostly attracted to the triangular one with a green stone, I now wear it almost everyday. It's great to know that I don't have to be too picky with my jewelry anymore, now I can pick up something silver and not say 'oh I can't have this I only wear this colour' and that's a great and up-lifting feeling. It's the little things. 

7. Sainsbury's Candle in White Fig and Patchouli

These candles look beautiful, burn for hours and are really affordable.I love the smell of this one and the little pot it comes in. Now I'm moving into a house and not halls for Uni I will be able to burn candles, so this one will definitely be getting re-purchased. 

What are your treasures this month?



A Not So Blue Monday

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Today I am currently trying to recover from a strange stomach bug that has taken over two days of my life, however I am about to go outside, so I must be feeling better. This week has been full of new experiences and getting drunk in the rain. These are the things that have made me particularly happy this week:

- New Hair - Yes, I bit the bullet and decided to get the ends of my hair ombre'd, it's subtle but I can see a difference and that's all that matters, it has made me fall in love with my hair all over again. I currently however, trying to get the ends back to normal, this is requiring a lot of coconut oil and 6 hour deep conditions.

- A set list plan - I have finally gathered the songs I have been practicing into a set list for my first gig, I practice them almost everyday in preparation and I think the songs I have chosen are a mixture for everyone, from recent songs to Johnny Cash, it's fair to say I'm very excited. 

- Bread week on Bakeoff - I love bread and I love watching people bake it, because I can't bake for the life of me! 

- Dark chocolate - Yes, I like dark chocolate now. Being vegan, I have definitely noticed that my tastes are changing, I now like broccoli whereas about a year ago I thought it tasted like feet. I just hope soon that I can end my feud with cauliflower and avocados. 

- Being off work for a week and a bit - Today was my last day of work before a lovely break just in time for our yearly festival and myself and Gareth's four year anniversary, lovely. 

How was your Monday?