Winter Book Haul

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

I got a lot of books over Christmas and so I decided to make a separate post to talk about them. It's a real big mixture but I'm so excited to get my teeth into them! Also compared to last year  my reading speed has definitely increased because of having to read so much for Uni, this means that I can probably read these all in 6 months instead of like 2 years, yeyyy! Here are the books I will be reading across winter, between other books for Uni of course, let's start from the bottom shall we:

Anxiety for Beginners A Personal Investigation - Eleanor Morgan__________________________

"Anxiety for Beginners offers a vivid insight into the often crippling impact of anxiety disorders, a condition that is frequently invisible, shrouded in shame and misunderstood. It serves as a guide for those who live with anxiety disorders and those who live with them by proxy."

This was a gift from a close friend who is actually friends with Eleanor and he thought this would help me a lot, which was really kind. I'm not usually into self-help books about things that are so personal to me but from what I've read already it's written in a really empirical and understanding way and not patronising or clinical at all. I think I'm going to save this one to flick in and out of on my bad days and not read it all at once, I might feel a bit overwhelmed by all the info and I want to be able to apply the things she talks about slowly to my own life. 

Happy Why More or Less Everything is Absolutely Fine - Derran Brown_____________________

"Everyone says they want to be happy. But that's much more easily said than done. What does being happy actually mean? And how do you even know when you feel it?"

This was a thoughtful Christmas gift from my mum to help with my reading for my dissertation. I asked my academic supervisor if I could actually use Derran as a reference seems as some are now saying he's an actual philosopher and she said in proportion, yes. This book also contains so many helpful references to help me review the literature and I always wish for Derran Brown's opinion on anything so it's perfect! It's so strange that one of my favourite philanthropists/incredible-psychic-magic-men writes a book about the thing I'm studying for 8 months. What a spooky coincidence (although Derran would see it as a string of probability and events).     

A God in Ruins - Kate Atkinson _____________________________________________________

"The life of Teddy Todd – would-be poet, heroic World War II bomber pilot, husband, father, and grandfather – as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have."

This is the sequel to Life After Life a book I read about 2 years ago. I really enjoyed Life After Life and I love Atkinson's writing style although it is pretty lengthy and it will probably take me a long time to read. I was also really invested in Teddy, the main character's little brother in the first book. He was my favourite character and the way the last book ended he was just out of his teens so hearing about him being an old man I imagine will be pretty sad and poignant and I love a good poignant read, aw sweet little Teddy!

Go Set a Watchmen - Harper Lee _____________________________________________________

"Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch – ‘Scout’ – returns home from New York City to visit her ageing father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise’s homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a MockingbirdGo Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past – a journey that can be guided only by one’s own conscience."

I've been in two minds about this book for a while. I've heard some reviews about it that are quite negative and I'm a little apprehensive to  read it because Atticus Finch is one of my favourite fictional characters ever I don't really want to read about him turning into a racist! But Emily got me this copy for Christmas and I am curious to read what everyone else has been talking about and hopefully it's much more positive than what people have been saying. 

Everything Everything - Nicola Yoon__________________________________________________

"Madeline Whittier is allergic to the outside world. So allergic, in fact, that she has never left the house in all of her seventeen years. But when Olly moves in next door, and wants to talk to Maddy, tiny holes start to appear in the protective bubble her mother has built around her. Olly writes his IM address on a piece of paper, shows it at her window, and suddenly, a door opens. Maddy is certainly going to fall"

Because I'm doing a lot of academic and extensive reading for Uni, I wanted to get a few books that were YA because I just find them easier to read. I went into WHSmith to check out the Zoella book club stuff because I watched her video and some of her recommendations looked really interesting, so I picked up 2 because there was a deal on or something. Anyway, I've read reviews of this book and they've all been positive and apparently it's a very unique story line which I'm excited to learn more about.

A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness ______________________________________________________

"Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don't quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there's a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth."

I've actually already read this book this week, I'm going to do a full review of it at some point soon. But let me tell you, it's amazing! So beautiful and poignant and everything I love in a book, it makes you think and feel and cry and laugh and I can't wait to see the film, that's why I read it so fast!

Milk & Honey - Rupi Kaur _________________________________________________________

"The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose; deals with a different pain; heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look."

I've also already read this book and I can safely say it's my favourite book of poetry I've read in so long. The problem with poetry books that are not put together by the poet is that they don't flow very well and I tend to nip in and out of them. But as soon as I read the first poem I had to keep reading, it's like she learns a new lesson as she writes each piece and it's beautiful and ethereal and magical and real at the same time. I love this book so much and the lessons she learns are lessons that everyone needs to learn at some point. Like the blurb says she shows you that there is sweetness in everything  and it also shows you how much power you have as a woman, although not just women should read this, everyone should! 

Hopefully with my new obtained, fast reading skills I can read all of these during the winter months and have a new pile ready for spring!

Which books are you hoping to read this winter?

A Not So Blue Monday

Monday, 9 January 2017

I went for a dull, windy walk to clear my head today, isn't this Cathedral beautiful? This week has been a bit difficult motivation wise for me. I think I'm still stuck in 'Chrimbo' (the days between Christmas and New Year) and I just feel like everything's still on hold and if I don't do the work there will be no consequences, which I need to snap out of my head pretty sharpish because there bloomin' will be! I was meant to read loads of books this week and I only managed about 2, lets hope next week my brain comes out of Chrimbo mode pretty quickly so I can actually get some decent work done because I am streSSed! Here are the things that made me particularly happy this week:

Reading about Happiness___________________________________________________________

When I did force myself to read I really enjoyed it. I'm writing about happiness for my dissertation and I find it absolutely fascinating, especially how it's described academically compared to how say 'self help books' portray it. It's interesting how we are constantly told to reach and strive for the one emotion that is the most fleeting and, the one that makes us feel best but those feelings are temporary and they have to be in order to feel them. The literature around happiness is quite scarce which surprised me a lot because I thought there would be so much more, it seems because it's so complicated psychologists tend to shy away from it but that doesn't help anyone, especially the poor girl that's currently trying to write about it for a study! I just find it so interesting and I'm so happy (or am I really though? Psychologists would say otherwise) that I get to write about something I am interested in and fascinated by, it makes the work 10x more fun!

The OA__________________________________________________________________________

Now I'm still in two minds about this show but for the most part I really enjoyed it. It just stunned me a bit really because it's so unusual and strange but the plot was great and all the themes were right up my street, wasn't too sure on the ending though but I did enjoy the contemporary universe dancing!

This Video_______________________________________________________________________

If you're having a bad day or even if you aren't just watch this bloody video. I watched this in the morning after applying all my makeup, it's safe to say I had to re-apply my eyeliner because I was crying with laughter my god!  

A Monster Calls___________________________________________________________________

I read this book in a week which is a record for me and I enjoyed every page! I will do a full review of this book but for now let me say that it was beautifully written and so poignant and powerful, I cried all the way through!

Listening to: Ed Sheeran ___________________________________________________________

I'm so happy he's back, so, so happy. I am however still a bit iffy about his new sound especially Shape of You but I do love Castle on the Hill that's just classic Ed, good song writing that tells a story with an extremely catchy chorus, I love the raspy voice as well, I'm so excited for 'Divide'. 


How was your Monday?

Treasure Hunt | December/Christmas

Friday, 6 January 2017

I'm not normally into these kinds of posts really, because I don't want to be bragging about what I got and things. But looking back I did do it last year and it was quite popular and I like to look back at them as well so fuck it, here we go. Here are a few of the treasures I collected in December:

1, Dairy Free Cheese Sauce _________________________________________________________

This was a stocking present from my mum and it just makes me laugh because I told her I wanted mostly practical stuff this year and bless her she kept to her brief! This is the depiction of adulthood for me, a jar of cheese sauce in my stocking and I was actually genuinely happy with it, can't wait to make a badass mustard macaroni with this!

2. Clear Pressed Flowers Photo Frame________________________________________________

This was a present from my best friend Emily  and it's so cute, it's just the right size to fit a polaroid and that's exactly what's going in there, just need to find one first!

3. Himalayan Salt Lamp____________________________________________________________ 

No that is not an ominous glow from the depths of hell you can see in this photograph, it is my new Himalayan salt lamp I got for Christmas, it's very difficult to photograph. I got this from a fair trade website that guaranteed that the salt was taken ethically and there was no child slavery or mining because I know that happens a lot with the salt lamps you can cheap on ebay and things. It is supposed to clean the air and give you all sorts of good vibes and I am bloody obsessed with it, I just keep staring at it and touching it, it's so cool! Here's a better picture:

4. White Cat Mug__________________________________________________________________

Gareth got me this and I love it, it's so adorable and has a massive resemblance to my two snowflakes, it also holds just the right amount of tea which is great!

5. Rupi Kaur - Milk & Honey _______________________________________________________

This was a request I made because I have heard so much about this book. I read it in a day, on Christmas day actually and loved it, her writing style is so raw and beautiful. I am doing a winter book haul soon and I will talk about this in much fuller detail because my god, these poems. 

6. Zoella Things ___________________________________________________________________

I've been reading and watching Zoella for a long time (that sounds well creepy) and I like to support her by buying her things and also because her things are lovely. I got the planner from my mum because I've been crooning over it for a while and it will help me get my shit together for this semester. And I picked up the body cream because I needed a new one and oh my that body cream is luxurious! I fell like a supple goddess after popping this all over my skin and it's vegan and cruelty free, cheers Zoe lass!

7. Crosley Cruiser Vinyl Turntable in Marble with Records ______________________________

This was my big Christmas present and I'm so happy with it! I did have a record player but it was my dad's old one and it was getting skippy and creaky and I wanted one that I could call my own. My mum showed me this Crosley marble one and I fell in love with it, it's so unusual and I'm usually not a fan of the block colours that Crosley's come in so this was just perfect. She also got me Rumours and Hatful of Hollow to go with it and I nearly cried when I saw Rumours because I've wanted it for so long! This will definitely be a big help when I'm writing my dissertation, because I'll be spending a lot of time in my room and with the sound of The Smiths and my salt lamp I'm good to go with the good vibes that will get me through!

I would love vinyl recommendations if you have any, what albums sound the best and what should I buy judging my taste? What's your favourite treasure?

A Year of Slight Self Actualisation

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

If you're a regular reader of this blog you will know that I study psychology at University, I also have a keen interest in how psychology effects people's lives in particular moments. New year is a strange time in society, it's the time for expectation and change. I was wondering whether or not to write down some resolutions but I've never been a fan of setting targets as such. Instead I have thought about things that will benefit me and my life and my general demeanour. But first lets have a little reflect on my accidental self actualisation year:

I didn't set any resolutions for 2016 I don't think, but I did accidentally do some things to improve myself. I became vegan, I began therapy and I focused on myself more. If we're talking Maslow's Hierarchy for all my psychology nerds out there, these things can only be good because they are a small step towards the top of my pyramid which for every human (according to old fashioned white man Maslow) is self actualisation. Realising my place in the world and being happy with my self, self love for all you none psychology nerds out there, it's simple really. It has surprised me though that I have done this without really realising and that makes me happy because I'm subconsciously learning to love myself innit'. 

Now onto 2017. I'm going to just carry on as usual really but add a few more things that I can hopefully subconsciously work on:

Do more yoga_____________________________________________________________________

I stopped going in the summer and just haven't got back into it. I've found that when I'm stressed my body needs exercise and relaxation so it's a given really. 

Worry in a week __________________________________________________________________

I worry a lot and I've decided, after reading through my CBT work books to perform this mantra when something is worrying me: 'Will this matter in week ? If not why are you worried about it now?' I tend to worry about things that lose their significance in a day or so, so I think this will be a healthy thought process for me to practice. My own mental pensieve if you will.


After watching the Minimalism documentary on Netflix this morning I've decided to take part in Project 333, a clutter clearing challenge in which you choose 33 pieces of clothing, only wear them for 3 months and see if you can wear only them. If you can, the premise is that you now have a capsule wardrobe and you can give the rest of the clothes you kept away. I found choosing the clothes quite easy and things I've picked are very versatile so I think this will be quite easy, one more step towards cosy minimalism!

I know I said that I didn't do resolutions but I ended up listing some, soz'. But I think these will continue my theme of self actualisation and all that. Always remember though, just because society says we have to make changes doesn't mean you have to comply. If you're happy with yourself that's fine and if you change your mind, you don't have to wait until next year to do something about it. 

What did you subconsciously change in 2016?

A Not So Blue Monday

Monday, 2 January 2017

Ahh everything's becoming normal again. Don't get me wrong I absolutely love Christmas, Chrimbo' (the weird week between xmas and new year) I think might be my favourite time of the year, more on that later. But it's nice to be back and getting back to normal, this week I now need to focus solely on my dissertation and I'm quite excited actually. I will be doing a post about my 'sort of' resolutions later but for now; here are the things that have made me particularly happy this week:

Boxing Day and Chrimbo' __________________________________________________________

I had the most wonderful Boxing Day of doing nothing. Everyone I love the most was in the same place, on the sofa watching the same films. We rose late, watched shitty telly, ate pickles, cheese and crackers, watched some great films and soaked up each other's good vibes and laughter. The week continued to be great, we visited the people we wanted to see, we ate amazing food and we watched more shitty telly and great films. I was off work for the whole week and I could truly relax and spend time with people without worrying about something in the back of my brain. I think that's why I love it so much, it's the only time of year where society actually wants us to relax and spend time with our loved ones. It's a strange time of year and I know many people hate it but I think if you really use that time given to focus on things that you had no time to do the rest of the year, that to me is 'the most wonderful time of the year'. 

New Years Eve Party_______________________________________________________________

You've probably heard me mention my good friend who lives in a castle, on New Years Eve he threw a party and it was fabulous! It was fancy dress and I went as a fairy, I wore all black and then some tiny pink age 7+ fairy wings and I had the best time. It was so nice to actually be in one place on New Year's because normally we would go out and spend the time counting down in tiny crammed pubs full of people you don't really want to talk to in the first place. This year I spent it with my loved ones and like minded people, dancing around to Fleetwood Mac dressed as a fairy. This to me is a key signifyer that 2017 is going to be as magical as that moment. 

A Walk in the Lakes________________________________________________________________

Before heading back to smelly Carlisle we decided to head to the Lakes and take in the fresh air and clear skies. We went to 'Surprise View' probably my favourite view of The Lakes because it's not very well known and not littered with tourists like many of the prime viewing spots. 

Pie & Cake_______________________________________________________________________

After our walk we went into Keswick to a vegan cafe Kat's Kitchen. I ordered a vegan shepherds pie and a slice of chocolate cake and of course a cheeky hot chocolate. I can honestly say it was the best vegan meal out I've ever had, the shepherds pie was made with pui lentils and sweet potato and it was so flavoursome and the chocolate cake was perfectly fluffy with orange flavour icing and not forgetting the hot chocolate had vegan squirty cream which I'd never tasted before and it was so bloody delicious. I now need to make it my duty to myself to try and make my own version of that shepherds pie.  


Now I know there have been mixed reviews but I am so invested in this show that I think they could do anything to the show and I would still be in awe of the editing and the cinematography. I cried like a lil' bitch and I am very excited for next week's episode, I'm just so happy it's back okay. 

Getting Organised_________________________________________________________________ 

As much as I loved Christmas and New Year it can't last forever and now it's time for me to get back into a routine. I have a new diary so I spent the evening jotting in important dates, I'll probably write a post about it. I love organisation and before I can begin with writing and doing work I'm going to have a big clear out. I'm a budding minimalist and I feel like January is a great time to take another step towards that goal, I'm currently watching the Minimalism documentary on Netflix and it's giving me a lot of inspiration to create a space where I can think and write that is free of clutter so it doesn't clutter my brain, you get me? 

Listening to: Nothing New Really 

I've been listening to a lot of 2016 round ups and my old playlists before they get deleted to make room for the new music of this year. 

How was your Monday?

Dear December...

Friday, 23 December 2016

December you've been a busy ol' month, I feel like I've started all of these letters with that sentence but it's been so true. It's been a busy ol' year to be honest. Even though you've been busy with work and things I've still been able to enjoy myself.

You started with a presentation, a presentation I was so nervous for but I did pretty well and I'm quite proud of myself for standing up and speaking in front of that many people, even though I do like singing in front of crowds, speaking is a lot different. After our presentation we let our hair down and had a little social together which was really nice because we know that when January comes around it's dissertation go time and we wont be able socialise anymore, so a last drink before the craziness begins was lovely.

December, you made me ill this month, well, let me rephrase that. I made myself ill because I was stressing over work and my tonsils decided to swell up once again, but in a way, it was actually quite nice to have a few days of bed rest and it really did me good and stopped me developing full blown tonsilitus. I think it was a sign from my body to say that I need to relax and take a breather now and again. Speaking of taking a breather, my anxiety was worse this month, I kind of knew it would be but it was quite disheartening when it arrived. But because I know how to handle it, I only had one full blown panic attack which is a record for when I feel that way, I also managed to carry on with work and Uni and the rest of my bust month, which never normally happens I normally have to stop everything, so I'm proud of myself for that. I wrote a post about my anxiety at Christmas time and what I do to feel better.

Speaking of blogposts Blogmas has gone incredibly well December! We're at the end now, this is actually my final post and I can't believe I have been able to put up a post everyday for a month. I only went off schedule once and I still managed to post something. I've enjoyed Blogmas so much and it's been so nice to go on this journey with many fellow bloggers, I've also discovered some amazing blogs along the way and I'm actually going to miss posting everyday. I would continue with the daily thing but I've ran out of ideas and I I do need a break and focus more on my dissertation. I am going to bare in mind doing May Everyday though and see if I can do it this time because I completed Blogmas, wooo! 

December you remember the presentation I did at the beginning? I got a 1st for it, a 1st! My first 1st I think ever, in third year. I'm so proud of myself  December, I've done quite a lot this month and I've just about managed to stay afloat. Blogmas is over and it's nearly time to turn a new leaf over, I don't have many new years resolutions but I think I should think about being present on my blog more I've enjoyed it so much and I know a few people have really enjoyed my posts which makes me feel so weird and warm inside. Thank you for being such a productive but stressful month December, it's now time to eat myself silly and celebrate with the people I love most in the world. 

If you've kept up with my Blogmas thank you so much for sharing this journey with me, it's been so fun and inspiring reading everyone else's posts as well. I'm definitely going to do it next year too! December you've been brill, but you're not over yet, Christmas is fast approaching and then it's time to bid farewell to 2016 ,a pretty chaotic year for everyone; for once and for all. Here's to new leaves and pages and what not, thank you so much once again. 

(It's strange using my old outro, I miss the Santa hat already)