New Camera & a Castle

Thursday, 19 May 2016

This week has been grand, I turned 21 and Gareth moved into his new workplace up the road from my house. This makes me excited for summer and what's coming around the corner, I love that we are living so close to each other but we're still living separate lives and working separate jobs. Also did I mention that the place where Gareth's volunteering is a castle? A bloody real, massive castle! And being good friends with the owner means I can come up and down to the castle as I please, so I get to see my boyfriend and sleep in a massive bed and eat nice food in a bloody massive castle, you jel yet? There are also plenty of animals at the castle to talk to and look after and did I mention it's massively haunted, I haven't seen anything yet but I've heard stories and I'm just glad that I'm okay with the paranormal because if I wasn't I don't think I would be able to stay there with the spooky vibes it gives off at night, but I have been told that all the ghosts are friendly and positive spirits, so that's all well and good. 

For my Birthday I was given a brand new camera, I've had my Sony for around 5 years and it was time for an upgrade, so I chose a Canon 100D and I've already fallen in love with it. The quality you get from this little DSLR is amazing and it's so simple to use. It's really brought me up to date with my photographs and I now want to pick up my camera on a regular basis and capture everything! It's definitely my new baby and I can't wait to take it everywhere with me this summer and the summers to come. I'm still getting used to all the high quality setting that my camera didn't have, but here are some shots I've taken so far from the castle grounds:

  I literally feel like a princess at the moment, might buy myself a ball gown to sail down the huge stone staircase in the morning awaiting my servants to get me some orange juice. This is the life. 

Reasons to Stay Alive | Matt Haig

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Can I first begin by saying that this is the kind of book that will change your life, just so you're prepared for that when you read it because everyone should read this book!

Aged 24, Matt Haig's world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again.
A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.

Although this is essentially a self help book, I believe that it has broken through that boundary. It's a book that tells you things and also tells you how to get out of those things. Matt writes in first person, bringing up painful memories of the beginning of his depression and the warning signs he ignored. At the beginning each section shows us how fast he spiralled and how quickly he decided he wanted to die. It's terrifying, reading about a man, a successful man in his mid twenties falling so ill so fast and not realising what was happening to him. But this is not an autobiography, as I said before it is a self help book, as well as Matt's painful battle with depression and anxiety he gives us facts, pretty scary statistics about suicide rates in the UK and why he thinks this is happening. He opens up about the personal stigma he has experienced  and why we need to stop it, he has brief chapters dedicated to conversations with himself now and his past self who desperately wanted to die and reassuring him that he'll be okay. It's just a very clever, down to earth, straight to the point book about mental illness, he touches on everything, nothing is left un-scathed.

I haven't suffered with severe depression, but I do have an anxiety disorder and he touches a lot on anxiety. I have even bookmarked pages to come back and read when I'm having a bad day, Matt doesn't make you feel inferior, a lot of self help books, especially about depression and anxiety are not written from experience, more scientific experience, which can be frustrating for someone who just wants to read about their illness in human terms. It is positive and written incredibly tenderly, you can really tell that he has thought about his words and his metaphors for mental health are some of the best I've read, there are even funny moments, of course there are funny moments, living with a mental illness does not mean you have to live a life of humourless metaphors, of course you can poke fun at the thing that is trying to ruin your life and Matt teaches us how you can use your humour to do just that.  

Even if you don't suffer or have suffered with depression and anxiety, even if you feel like your mental health is at 95% and in tip top condition. Please read this book anyway, it tells you how to steer away from stigma, it advises you on how to be around someone with a mental illness and it is always wise to educate yourself on something as big as mental health and this book is the perfect gateway for that to happen. Thank you Matt Haig and thank you for being so strong to show others that they can be too. 

It's safe to say this book has changed my life and it will be passed on to others until everyone I know has read it, I'm not even joking, this book is so important. 
If you've read it I'd love to know your opinions, especially if they are as passionate as mine. 

Treasure Hunt | April

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

This month I have discovered quite a few treasures that have changed my life in a good way, so I thought I would share. Let's crack on:

1. Master of None 

I was browsing for a new Tv series and because new Orphan Black had just came out which can be quite violent and harrowing, I wanted something lighter. I found my feel good Tv series in Master of None, I watched it all in one day and I just loved it, nothing much happens and it's just about the life of this American Tv extra trying to get through life in New York with friends but the humour in it and the satire is something I haven't seen before in this kind of Tv series. It's like a mixture between a sitcom and a satirical comedy and Aziz Ansari's script writing really shines through. There is also a tiny cast which makes it easier to keep track of characters and the plot lines of each episode revolve around a theme which I found really clever. It was a perfect uplifting Tv series but I don't think I want anymore because of the ending (no spoilers don't worry) and I think it's perfect as it is as a little uplifting, quiet corner of Netflix, if you haven't watched it yet I would thoroughly recommend. 

2. Mandala clear iphone 6s case 

I was sick of my boring but protective phone case. So I decided to try and look for one of the same brand but with a little colour on it. Because I love the colour of my phone I wanted to stick to a clear phonecase with only a little image on or something, I found this mandala one on Amazon and didn't realise it was slightly pink, but I don't mind because it's so beautiful and summery. It's also really protective and has a raised front to protect your screen if you drop it so really it's the best of both worlds!

3. Asda Free From choc crispie bar 

I've been a relatively un-healthy vegan this month. I don't know why, just a lot of craving for that sweet stuff and so to reward myself I bought one of these in Asda for 43p! The next day I went back and bought 4 more! They are so mourish and the none dairy chocolate is wonderful and not plastic or tacky at all, also they are filled with rice crispies so you get that lovely crunchy texture which most vegan chocolate bars don't have, safe to say they're the first thing to go in shopping basket now!

4. StylelikeU Youtube channel 

As you know I have been discovering a lot of people on Youtube at the moment and my subscription feed is getting bigger and bigger! But when Gareth showed me this particular video  about a wonderful human called iO I fell in love with this channel and the message they are delivering. They have been on Youtube for many years but have just began to gain the reception they deserve. They started a project called the 'what's underneath project' where they invite people with different stories into their studio and ask them to undress whilst being interviewed. The concept is to show that our style does not define us, instead we as a person define our style. I think this is so important and should be talked about more and I'm just so glad this channel exists, when I feel down about the world or about myself I watch a tonne of these videos and they make me feel so much better, I would love to work with them one day, thank you to this channel for existing.  

5. Lush Eau Roma toner water 

The women in my family have been blessed with a thing called spider veins and redness and now I am nearly 21 I have been noticing small veins on my cheeks appearing and although I'm not too bothered, I would like to stop them in their tracks before I'm 50 and bright red! My mum told me to start now because she didn't, Gareth told me to stop taking long hot baths; sacrilege! I can't do that. I went to my lovely friends at Lush and told them about my predictive problem and they told me about this rose toner water that tones down redness and keeps spider veins at bay. They told me to use it along with my cleanser and after I have done any exercise or gotten out of my beloved hot bath. I don't know if I can see any differences yet but if it stops anymore veins appearing then I know it's doing its job. It's also incredibly refreshing on the skin and I'm looking forward to spritzing it in summer.  

6. Naval Oranges 

Talking about redness, the ladies at Lush and my mum also told me to uptake my orange consumption. Oranges are famous for reducing skin redness and spider veins and from what I've read if you eat at least one a day it will keep those pesky veins at bay! I also love oranges and normally tend to go for the little easy peel satsumas instead of these big boys but now I am a changed woman who will eat a whole orange for breakfast and it will keep me full until lunch. It's also almost orange season meaning they will be much juicier and full of nutrients, meaning my summer snack will be oranges, oranges, oranges. Have I said oranges enough? ORANGES. 

Bit weird this bunch, but these are all my treasures of April. 
What's your favourite treasure?

Dear April...

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Can we at first just appreciate the fact that I have kept this orchid alive since Christmas not last year but the year before! That is a world record for me and plants and I can't believe it's started blooming again after a few months of me thinking it was dead, I think it might be my prized possession. 

April, you've been great! You actually brought some sun, I mean it was a tiny amount but it was still some sun. It's been a pretty quiet month apart from a few memorable nights out where I had a full on discussion with two cats on a curb and a slow motion game of pool. I also had two gigs this month and it feels really good to be performing again to more than a friend or a depressed bar tender. You also brought along many, many deadlines for Uni, but with my new lease of positivity I worked through it without any actual serious stress (shock horror) and now I've actually left Uni for summer and you could actually say that I'm now a third year, which is terrifying and exciting at the same time. I've been putting a lot of thought into my dissertation recently and the plans I have so far is making me really excited and because I know I'm going to enjoy my subject, I don't think I'm going to hate it as much but we'll consider that on a later date. Knowing I have some extra time in summer I have decided to take up the #100dayproject on Instagram, it's a project that runs for around 3 months (well 100 days) where you create something everyday and because I have to create a visual portfolio for my next Uni course I think it will be a great idea to start up and channel my creativity to make things on the regular. I've been doing it for a week and a bit now and I'm really enjoying it so far. 

So April you've stemmed a lot of creativity and I am greatful for that. I'm now looking forward to May and the rest of the Summer with our exciting plans! Thankyou for being a great opening month to those plans April. 

 How was your April?

Songs for // April

Thursday, 28 April 2016

April's been a great month for music, full of new bands and older people on the scene coming out of the woodwork once again. Obviously the new music that everyone is talking about is LEMONADE Beyonce's new visual album and if it was on Spotify, I think every single song from that album would be on this playlist, but alas it is not but this playlist does include a cheeky Kanye track!

Tom Odell's back. I'm so happy about this, he is one of my faves, especially on a rainy day when everything feels a little glum, his dulcet tones really suit those moods. Although his new singles Wrong Crowd and Magnetised are much more upbeat than his older stuff and I am looking forward to hearing his new album to see if he sticks to this theme. Issac Gracie has been on my new favourites list for a while now, his music really reminds me of Jeff Buckley. I love the echoeness' of the guitar and the lyrics are wonderful, he has such a gentle yet still powerful voice and he's another one of those artists that are perfect for those slightly blue days. Picking up the pace abit are my new favourite indie rock band VITAMIN, I read about them in NME and then gave them a listen, their new song This isn't Love is all you need to get you out of bed in the morning, their music is in a way like taking your morning VITAMIN (see what I did there). Kanye's back everybody incase you didn't know! I finally got to listen to his new album and I was pleasantly surprised, there are a few tracks that do make my skin crawl but there are a few I really love, especially his new single Ultralight Beam, I thought this track however is such a clever intermission to an album, Kanye is known for being obnoxious and arrogant and hats off for someone with a personality like that to take the piss out of themselves and that's what that song is about and it's hilarious. Another band that are back on the scene are The Lumineers, I was always abit meh' about their last album and once I heard Ho Hey for the 1000th time it put me off them abit. This album is kind of the same to be honest it's abit meh' I wouldn't listen to it all the way through again, however there are some songs in there that I would pick out and my favourite is Ophelia I think maybe because I've always felt connected to the character of Ophelia because of the painting and all that but it is a really catchy folk song and I find myself humming it through the day, lets hope it's not going to be the new Ho Hey! I have just discovered Mystery Jets I know, they've been around since what the 90's maybe the 00's? But they've never slipped into my Indie radar and I wish they had, I'm now obsessed. They're such a good walking-down-the-street-thinking-you're-in-an-indie-movie kind of band and their new song bubblegum is poppy' and great and the guitar riff tho.   


If there isn't one of these posts for May, just know that I can't stop listening to Beyonce and yes also The 1975 still, sorry about it. 

What music have you been enjoying through April?

A Not So Blue Monday

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

This week has been filled with decisively dodging all my responsibilities and then letting them clump up into one great horrible mass until I had to recognise them. I wouldn't say that's the best way to deal with things, but my bed limbo is behind me now and after finishing another whole Tv series in a day scenario I finally sprang out of bed with the energy I needed to proceed with Uni coursework and all the other more mundane tasks that mounted up over that period of time. I had a gig on Sunday and being an ambivert; once I got home I realised I was extremely emotionally exhausted from talking to strangers all day and performing infront of a big group of people, so I took a day or two to hibernate and now I can carry on as normal! (I have a weird brain) Here are the things that have made me particularly happy this week:

100 Day Project- Because I have to create a 1 year portfolio for my future art therapy course, I have taken up the 100 day project on Instagram where you create something for 100 days. You can follow my portfolio instagram here if you want, so far I've just been randomly painting which I don't normally do so that's been interesting.

Another year of Uni down- That's right, second year of Uni is over and my gosh it's going so quickly! I'm basically a third year now and that's terrifying but also pretty exciting.

LEMONADE- Oh my good gracious Bey's back and her new visual album is bloody fabulous. I've watched the hour long film three times now and can't stop listening to the songs. This album I believe we needed and the issues it addresses are very important for 2016, she came and she slayed, so much respect.

Game of Thrones- Look what else is back! I watched it yesterday and as soon as I heard the music I felt all fuzzy inside, the first episode was great, I have so many questions, so many.

Flowers- A Tv series that started last night on channel 4. It's poignant and hilarious at the same time, Jullian Barrat and Olivia Coleman are brilliant and it's definitely got those Tannenbaums vibes, rather like if Wes Anderson ever created a Tv series, I'm obsessed.

What I have been listening to:

LEMONADE- All day, everyday. My favourite songs are Hurt Yourself ft Jack White (Jack White tho), Daddy Lessons a weird upbeat country song in the middle of this album of hurt and anger and Freedom ft Kendrick Lamar I'm obsessed with this song and I love the message but being a white, privileged westerner I feel like I can't sing along to it, I think it's very important to recognise the demographic this album is for, as someone tweeted the other day 'us white girls are only mere eavesdroppers' and I think that's very important.

How was your Monday?