August Favourites

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Welcome to another monthly favourites post, looking at all the things I’ve been loving in August! This month seems to have flown by and it’s mad to think that we are nearly in September. Bring on the cosy evenings in front of the fire, fluffy jumpers and Ugg boots. People who know me will know that I’m not a huge fan of summer and much prefer freezing cold winter days…I can’t wait.

Due to being pretty unwell over the past four or five weeks, this post is probably going to be a bit shorter than my usual monthly favourites posts, simply because in between a lot of sleeping and a lot of time being spent in hospital, I haven’t really done a lot to warrant favourites. But anyway, here we go…

Books

Last month, I talked about Holly Bourne’s first adult fiction book, How Do You Like Me Now? which has recently released and that I had fairly low expectations, as her last young adult fiction book which had been released prior to that, wasn’t that great and felt rushed. After reading her latest release, back under the YA fiction umbrella, I can confirm that Holly Bourne is back. Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes is possibly Holly’s best book, with a strong and unique plot line. As per her other books, Holly has focused on mental health, normalising it and reducing the stigma. The book follows Olive, a teenage girl living on the edge of a mental health crisis, who is given the opportunity to attend a summer camp for teens struggling with mental illnesses. Through her own experiences, Olive begins to put together a plan to not only solve her own mental illness, but the mental illnesses of everyone in the world. It is raw, compassionate and explores mental health in a sensitive but informative way.

Another book that I have enjoyed this month is Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow by Siobhan Curham. This is another book which has been beautifully written, looking at issues surrounding young carers and children and young people with refugee status in the UK. Stevie lives with her mum, on the poverty line, after her mum’s benefits are stopped. Hafiz is a Syrian refugee. Both are big dreamers and as their friendship develops, they begin to understand their similarities as well as their differences. Having experienced the benefits system, parts of this book really resonated with me: Siobhan highlights how powerless you end up feeling, when you are treated as nothing more than a statistical figure as opposed to a person.

Films/TV

Over the past few months, I have been watching Ackley Bridge and have ended up getting kind of hooked to it. When Waterloo Road was being shown on television, I was obsessed with it and now have the box set on DVD, which keeps me sane when insomnia strikes. Ackley Bridge is similar to Waterloo Road, in that it focuses on the lives of various students and members of staff at Ackley Bridge College. It’s probably not going to win any awards but it’s worth watching if you need something that doesn’t require much concentration. Series one and two are available to watch online now.

This month I did something very rare for me and went to the cinema to see Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again. My mum and I both love Mamma Mia, it is our go to film on rainy days, so it was only right that we went to the cinema to see the second film. I was a bit skeptical about it and wasn’t sure if it would live up to the hype and expectations but I loved it. It really is a proper feel good film (ignoring the gut wrenching scenes towards the end) and Lily James is beautiful.

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I am so excited that the line up to Strictly Come Dancing has been announced. Reminder to all my friends: don’t expect me to socialise on Saturday evenings once it starts!

The Great British Bake Off is also back soon. After just about getting over the move from the BBC to channel four, I am able to admit that actually, the new line up works well. I’m still loyal to Mary Berry but as the presenters and judges have gelled, it doesn’t feel as cringe to watch and for the most part, they are funny.

Spoonie Favourites

Let’s talk about pyjamas. I spent a lot of time in my pyjamas and if I got my own way, I would spent a lot more time in pyjamas. Because of this, I take pyjama buying very seriously. The majority of my pyjamas used to be M&S but recently, I’ve been disappointed in the quality of them, especially as they shrink in the wash and end up as angle swingers. That’s saying something considering how short my legs are. Having tried various other brands including Matalan, Tesco and Fat Face, I ended up buying a couple of pairs from Sainsbury’s and I can’t fault them. They are super soft, cosy and don’t shrink in the wash. They’re also fairly cheap, so any excuse to buy more!

Odds and Sods 

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Having gastroparesis means that food is something that I have come to dread, rather than enjoy, so finding foods that I’m able to eat without being sick and actually taste nice is fairly unheard of. I came across the brand Pudology, who make gluten and dairy free desserts, which is perfect for the diet that I have to follow. They taste so good and so far, I seem to have been able to eat them without any vomiting, which is great news!

What have your favourites been this month? I love finding out what other people have been loving and would recommend.

July Favourites

Welcome to another monthly favourites post, looking at all the things I’ve been loving in July! The hot weather continues, my cat has given up tormenting the wildlife (mostly) and I have gassed myself out using Deep Freeze spray a few too many times. My health has been a bit up and down this month: I am so thankful that I was well enough to spend just under a week in York, reliving my university days and pretending, badly, that I am still a student. However, there has also been some real low moments, involving a lot of vomit, infections, catheters and paramedics, meaning that I’ve lost quite a bit of this month to sleep and being a bit out of it on medication. Something exciting that has happened this month is that I have been nominated for a WEGO Health Award, under the best in show blogging category. This has shocked me so much and it would mean the world to me if you would endorse me (vote) by clicking HERE!

So, onto the favourites!

Books

Last month, Dear Chronic Illness, compiled by Pippa Stacey of Life of Pippa was released. This book features a collection of letters, written by people who have been diagnosed or affected by chronic illnesses, in their varying forms. I laughed and cried, sometimes at the same time, reading this. Often it can be really hard to explain what life is like living with a chronic condition and there are times when it feels like it has taken over your life: Dear Chronic Illness gives an insight into what life can be like and makes you feel less alone.

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I have possibly talked about Holly Bourne in previous monthly favourites posts; her first adult fiction book, How Do You Like Me Now? was recently released. I’ll be honest, I was a bit indifferent at the thought of reading this book, for the most part I have loved Holly’s young adult fiction, but felt that her last YA book, It Only Happens In The Movies was slightly rushed, and didn’t compare so well to the Spinster Trilogy. I had concerns that How Do You Like Me Now? would follow the same path and be rushed and forced. It has been dubbed the new Bridget Jones, for this generation and whilst it’s good, I wouldn’t go as far as that. In my opinion, nothing beats Bridget’s big knickers, vodka and Chaka Khan.

Films/TV

Much like last month, I am still obsessed over Love Island. With only a week and a bit left, I’m not sure how I’m going to cope in life without it. In case you missed it, I wrote a blog post recently about The Problems With Love Island, where I talked about being a feminist and if watching Love Island makes me a bad feminist. I don’t necessarily agree with the behaviours shown by some of the people in the villa, but Love Island is a winner for some summer evening TV viewing and I will be remaining loyal, babe to it.

Over July we were flooded with all the talk about football and whether England will produce a less shameful performance this time round. I’m not a fan of football, put simply, I don’t understand the appeal of watching grown men chase a ball and roll around on the floor a bit and receive thousands of pounds for doing so. Not being funny, but a dog can do that and it would be a lot cuter and more entertaining, so why aren’t we watching that on television? Anyway, personal feelings aside, I ended up watching two of the England matches, one very much not out of choice (cheers, Nikki…) and then I watched the semi final, because, you know, if could have happened. I’m not going to say that I’m a convert, but the matches passed some time and England getting to the semi finals was a nice change from our usual, shameful displays.

Thanks to being unwell, I have rekindled my love of Netflix and have been watching Good Girls. The series follows three suburban mothers, who suddenly find themselves in desperate circumstances and decide to stop playing it safe and risk everything to take their power back, buy committing armed robbery. As American comedies go, I have been impressed by this, it has just the right level of wit, balanced with drama and the actors are pretty good too.

To pass the poorly days away, I ended up purchasing the full box set of Nurse Jackie and made my way through series one within one day. I have no regrets. If you like Scrubs, Grey’s Anatomy or The Night Shift then this is for you. With a few more illicit drugs.

Spoonie Favourites

At the beginning of the month, I had an appointment with Dr Hakim, a consultant in Rheumatology, who has a specialism in Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. The appointment itself was helpful and I’ll probably talk about it in another blog post, but one thing he recommended was Nuun Tablets, to help with remaining hydrated and to potentially help with steadying my slightly wacky pulse. They are packed with electrolytes, as well as being low in calories and sugar and they have been brilliant at helping to prevent dehydration in this hot weather. Plus, if you purchase through the hyperlink that I’ve included, you get a sample of NipEAZE, which protects your nipples from abrasion while running, working, surfing or body boarding. Don’t say that I don’t spoil you with information and treats…what more could you want in life? 

Odds and Sods 

So, as I said at the beginning of this post, I went to York for a few days to catch up with university friends and some of my lecturers who I’m still in touch with. York is possibly one of my favourite places to visit and not just because of the memories it holds.

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Evil Eye Lounge, Stonegate, York

York itself is a beautiful city, with individual and unique shops that I could happily spend way too much money in. I can’t write a monthly favourites post without mentioning Give The Dog A Bone. People who know me from my uni days will know who much I love this shop and how much money I spent in there on a weekly basis. I can’t really do the shop justice in a blog post: if you like stationary, cards, homeware and rude humour then have a look at their website. It’s free delivery on orders over £40, you know you want to.

What have your favourites been this month? I love finding out what other people have been loving and would recommend.

June Favourites

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Photo from spoonievillage calendar

 

Welcome to another monthly favourites post, looking at all the things I’ve been loving in June! At the time of writing this, it is exactly six months until Christmas and I’m not sorry to admit that I am somewhat pining for cold weather, fluffy jumpers and evenings with the fire lit. Hot weather doesn’t agree too well with my body. Anyway, on with my favourites for this month…

Books

Last month, I talked about I Am Thunder: And I Won’t Keep Quiet by Muhammad Khan and how much I loved it. It made me realise, however, how little I know about Islamic culture and a lot of what I did know, was based on new reports, which can give a very one-sided viewpoint. So, with that in mind, I decided to educate myself a little bit and find out more about Islamic culture, through the medium of books. After searching on Amazon, I came across Randa Abdel-Fattah, a litigation lawyer and human rights activist, living in Sydney. Her first book, Does My Head Look Big in This, follows the story of Amal, a sixteen year old living in Melbourne, who also happens to be a Muslim, struggling to honour the Islamic faith in a society that doesn’t understand it, following her decision to start wearing this hijab. The book is insightful, laugh out loud funny and at times, a bit of a tear jerker, and I’m not known for crying at books.

The second book by Abdel-Fattah that I read this month is The Lines We Cross. The book has a similar set up to Does My Head Look Big in This: it is set in an Australian secondary school and looks at how society perceives different cultures and religions, with anti-immigration rallies fighting against the raise of immigration into Australia. The flip side of this books looks at the story of an Afghani asylum seeker, who came to Australia on a boat, following besiegement of her home country and faces a negative reception from native Australians. Again, I would really recommend this book, despite it being a YA book, its themes are applicable to adults and teenagers alike.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard was another favourite this month. Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. Put simply, this book was beautiful and I loved the perspective from Rhys, looking at how deaf people feel and deal with the hearing world, as well as how Steffi manages her social anxiety and the assumptions made by people around her.

My final book favourite for this month is Because We Are Bad by Lily Bailey. Anyone who wants to know about OCD, and how to fight back, should read this book – it is an emotional, challenging read. Lily takes the reader deep into the heart of the illness but she is also a deft writer, and even the darkest moments are peppered with wit and wry observations. Having a diagnosis of OCD meant that, at times, this book was a little hard hitting but I appreciate Lily’s honesty and could really relate to aspects of the book.

Films/TV

 

Okay so I only have one favourite from film and TV this month which is…dun dun duuuunnnn…

LOVE ISLAND.

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I am obsessed with this series and the first thing that I do when I wake up in the morning is watch the previous night’s episode on catch up. My life simply would not be complete without the daily debriefs with friends. My standout moments so far are Hayley on Brexit (and trees) and Rosie’s sass towards Adam. I still haven’t got over Kendall being dumped from the villa and I don’t think I ever will.

Spoonie Favourites

 

The Body Shop has come up on top again this month, with their spoonie friendly makeup and cosmetic products. A lot of the time, I don’t have the energy to spend ages and ages doing my makeup of having a long beauty regime, but at the same time, I don’t want to get into a downward spiral of not making any effort. A complete life saver in hot weather has been their mandarin face mist, which hydrates skin and is makeup friendly. Great if you need a quick refresh without any effort.

Another life saver has been their aloe soothing moisture lotion, with SPF 15. If you’re anything like me, putting sun cream on your face will result in claggy and blocked pores and all the spots, so this is brilliant at protecting your skin without breaking out in twenty million spots. It’s designed for sensitive skin and is paraben and alcohol free.

Continuing on the theme of quick and easy makeup products, Soap and Glory Fake Awake has been a recent discovery and is brilliant at covering up my ever growing dark circles, with minimal effort and time.

 

What have your favourites been this month? I love finding out what other people have been loving and would recommend.

 

May Favourites

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Welcome to another monthly favourites post, looking at all the things I’ve been loving in May! I can’t believe how quickly this year is going, I feel a bit rubbish that so far, I’m yet to really achieve anything in 2018, but the additional free time that I have had, has allowed me to discover new things, which I guess is a good thing. As you will have seen by the blog posts that I have been posting this month, May is Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month, so some of my favourites from this month will be continuing with that theme.

Books

Like last month, I’ve mainly stuck to young adult (YA) fiction this month because I’ve been massively struggling with brain fog, which has affected my ability to concentrate and take in anything where I am required to think.

Last month, I received my first “payment” for writing, in the form of an Amazon voucher. In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t massively exciting but I’m pretty proud of myself. After some consideration, I decided to buy myself some books, because you can never have too many books. So, thanks to my Amazon voucher, I discovered Non Pratt, a fab YA author and I have made my way through Second Best Friend, Trouble and Unboxed. Second Best Friend and Unboxed were a pretty easy reads, for me, having only just over 100 pages, so I started and finished them both within the space of one afternoon. Neither of the books were especially stand out, although they were witty in places, but my reason for mentioning them is down to the fact that they are perfect for readers with dyslexia, with yellowed pages and a unique font. Not enough books are published with dyslexia suffers in mind but these books are accessible and age appropriate: struggling with reading does not mean that you should be stuck reading children’s books.

If you’ve read any of my previous monthly favourites blog posts, you’ll know that I am a huge fan of Cat Clarke, so it was a happy coincidence that I stumbled across Non Pratt, as a recommended author for people who love Cat Clarke’s books.

Speaking of Cat Clarke, her latest book We Are Young came out this month resulting in me sending a very excited message to Life of Pippa to inform her. I read the book in one day and I loved it. It’s a close call between We Are Young and Girlhood over my favourite Cat Clarke book. We Are Young was emotional, raw, powerful…I could continue, and I can’t wait until Cat’s next book is out. No pressure Cat!

One of my stand-out books of the year (bold statement, I know) has to be I Am Thunder: And I Won’t Keep Quiet by Muhammad Khan. Put simply: this book was amazing, literally the only fault that I could find with it is that it finished too soon. Despite this book again coming under the YA category of fiction, I honestly feel that everyone needs to read it. Muhammad Khan is a teacher in a British secondary school. He is also Muslim and writes about growing up as a British Muslim in the 21st century, having been inspired by media reports of the three Muslim girls who fled east London to join the so-called Islamic State. I don’t want to go into too much detail over the plot, however I will say that I learnt a great deal from the book and there needs to be more books ASAP by Khan. Go and buy a copy and educate yourselves.

Films/TV

I have finally watched The Greatest Showman, after months and months of wanting to see it. It didn’t disappoint and is now on my mental list of films that I will watch when I’m feeling a bit rubbish.

This month, I feel like I’ve gone back in time to the noughties and am reliving my childhood through films. I’m not ashamed to say that this month I have happily watched The Princess Diaries 1 and 2, Cheaper By The Dozen and Matilda more than once.

Since becoming unwell, I’ve been watching more videos on YouTube to keep me entertained. The Mandeville Sisters are great and I especially like how open they are around disability, mental health and their own body insecurities. The added bonus is that their videos are normally quite short so I don’t lose focus half way through.

Spoonie Favourites

This month, I had been planning on going to my second EDS meet up, held locally to where I live. These groups are run by EDS UK and I honestly cannot recommend them enough. However, my body had other ideas about going to the meeting and I was struck with a bad infection, but I wanted to mention the groups anyway, for people who might be reading this and are unaware of the groups. Living with EDS can be very isolating at times and whilst I’ve “met” plenty of people online with EDS and am very lucky to have my best friend, who also has EDS, the group has allowed me to connect with more people who live close to me. Having EDS is an on-going journey and I think I’ll always be learning about the condition and the best ways of managing it, but ideas and advice are shared in the group meetings and I’ve been given advice and support that I hadn’t considered myself.

At the start of this month, I was officially diagnosed with Gastroparesis. As my list of medical conditions grows and grows, I decided that the time had come for me to purchase some awareness cards, which I can carry around with me, in the event that I should fall ill away from home.

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These  cards are on top of a new medical ID bracelet that I purchased a few weeks ago. Funny story, I was a bit off my face on morphine at the time of buying my ID bracelet,

I didn’t realise that 1) it was an American site and that I was paying in dollars, not pounds, 2) it cost over $80 3) there would be a hefty customs  charge when the bloody thing  arrived in England. Don’t go shopping after taking morphine, kids. Although, as my friend pointed out, I managed to spell everything correctly and write the correct name for myself, so that’s one positive.

Whilst there is still a level of anxiety over leaving the house alone or being with people who don’t have a good understanding over my health, but the combination of the Stickman Communications cards and my ID bracelet has made me feel more at ease, should something ever happen to me.

Odds and Sods

Along with buying books with my Amazon voucher, I also bought a CD. Retro I know, but I prefer to listen to music in the car, as opposed to radio. Since seeing Pitch Perfect 3 in the cinema at the beginning of the year, I have re-discovered my love of The Cranberries, so I bought their greatest hits CD. The result of this is I will drive out of my way on journeys so that I can listen to more of the CD.

Towards the end of last month, I went to stay with my best friend for a few days. She had already introduced me to the wonderful pyjamas at Matalan, so when she suggested that we went on a trip to Matalan, I was not going to refuse. A girl can never have too many pairs of pyjamas. Sadly their pyjama range wasn’t that great but I fell in love with their home wear section and could have bought half the shop, had it not been for my small suitcase and needing to cross London to get back home. The quality of their products is so good and are fairly inexpensive. A quick Google later and I discovered that there’s a Matalan fairly close to me, which I have now visited a couple of times. A definite convert.

It’s been a while since I talked about how much I love The Body Shop, so I should probably rectify that. The Body Shop have recently brought out a new body lotion, which they are calling a body yogurt. I bought the almond flavour, as I’m finding that I’m struggling with sensory overload a bit and the almond scent is very mild and doesn’t invade my nostrils too much. Would definitely recommend.

My final favourite for this month is the general blogging community over on Facebook. Through this community, I have met so many like-minded people, learnt how to develop my blog and writing for an audience and had the space to talk about content and what people want to read about. Big thanks to the people who give up their time to facilitate the groups which allow this to happen.

 

April Favourites

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Welcome to another monthly favourites post, looking at all the things I’ve been loving in April! Compared to previous months, this is going to be pretty short and sweet: I’ve been a bit rubbish at discovering new things and this month seems to have flown by before I managed to achieve anything.

Books

 

This month, following a couple of recommendations, I discovered Juno Dawson, who used to write under the name James Dawson, before transitioning to female, hence being known as Juno. On the whole, I’ve really enjoyed reading her books, getting through on average one a day. Her earlier books took some getting used to, in particular Under My Skin. In fact, my reaction after finishing that book was “that was weird!“Don’t get me wrong, it was a good book, however the concept of a tattoo overtaking and becoming the controlling force on someone’s body really really freaked me out.

Juno Dawson is  storytelling genius. Whilst her earlier books are under the thriller genre, which I love, they are so much more than just thrillers, looking at LGBT* issues, friendship, bullying, confidence and expectations. So, as well as reading Under My Skin, I have also made my way through Clean, Hollow Pike, All of the Above, Say Her Name and The Gender Games. Clean sees Juno Dawson taking a different route in fiction (think Gossip Girl meets Girl Interrupted as one reviewer puts it) and I actually have this book to thank for my introduction to Juno’s work, after I picked it up on a whim in Tesco.

Whilst I have mainly read Juno Dawson’s books this month, I have also read Sunflowers in February which was heartbreakingly perfect.

I’ve stuck to young adult fiction this month because I’ve been massively struggling with brain fog, which has affected my ability to concentrate and take in anything where I am required to think. Fingers crossed that next month, I can make a start on the growing pile of crime and thriller genre books that I have on my book shelves.

 

Films/TV

Pitch Perfect 3 came out on DVD this month. Need I say more? I love the Pitch Perfect franchise and the films are often my go-to films when I feel rubbish and need cheering up.

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I’ve realised that I haven’t watched much TV or seen many films this month. I’m hoping to see Love, Simon soon, fingers crossed that it lives up to the hype.

 

Spoonie Favourites

 

My first spoonie favourite for this month is a bit of a different one: Tesco jeans. Okay, stay with me on this one. I have really short legs – being just over 5ft is a bit of a curse in that sense – so I find buying jeans a very painful process. Once I find a brand that I like, that’s it, I’m on a convert and buy all the jeans in different colours (I say different colours and I mean dark blue and black). I had a slightly unfortunate vomit situation which resulted in me needing to buy some new emergency jeans and the nearest shop was Tesco. I picked up a pair of their contour jeans in denim colour, with ripped knees. And I love them. They are so comfy, they fit perfectly, with a slight stretch which is perfect for when my hips and knees swell up. Plus, they are so much cheaper than my usual Jack Wills/Oasis/Top Shop jeans and they wash well as well, which is always a bonus. I love these jeans so much that I went out and bought another pair in dark indigo a few days later. Who knew that Tesco jeans could be so good?!

My other spoonie favourite for April is the brand Happy Naturals. I actually discovered Happy Naturals just over a year ago and got very excited at finding another skin care/cosmetic company that not only is cruelty free, but doesn’t cause an awful reaction on my sensitive skin. Their muscle soak bubble bath is wonderful for those days when my body is all-over-hurting. Maybe it’s a psychological effect but I’ve found that it eases muscle pain and makes me feel super pampered.

 

 

 

 

March Favourites

How is it possible that we are almost a quarter of a way through 2018?! March has been a funny old month, we’ve had the Beast from the East and the Mini Beast from the East, bringing more snow than I’ve seen in years and we’ve also had some fleeting, glorious sunshine. And in case you were wondering, my cat is terrified of snow and this month saw him chew through two of my makeup brushes. Thanks Louis.

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Image from Spoonie Village 2018 calendar

 

So, without any further ado, let’s move onto my favourites from March.

Books

I’ve been trying to make a concerted effort to read a little bit more this month. I have a fear that not working is going to make my brain shrivel up, so I figured that reading is one way that I can try and prevent that.

Continuing my theme from last month, I have been loving Cat Clarke  this month. At the time of writing February’s favourites post, I had just started reading The Lost and The Found. Initially, I was finding it to be slower in pace but I have had a complete 360 turn of thinking. It was brilliant and with an unexpected plot twist. Plus it kept be sane during a two and a half hour gastric scan!

Along with my efforts to read more, this month has seen me try and break my really bad habit of watching TV or films before I go to sleep and practising some good old sleep hygiene. I know, who am I? By the time I’m going to bed, I’m usually absolutely exhausted and unable to read, so I’ve branched out into audiobooks. I’m quite fussy when it comes to who narrates audiobooks: really unpopular opinion but I can’t listen to any of the Harry Potter audiobooks because Stephen Fry’s voice grates on me. The narraters of Cat Clarke’s books have my seal of approval and I have listened to Undone and A Kiss in the Dark. Both are good but I think Girlhood is still my favourite Cat Clarke book so far.

 

The next book that I have been loving this month is The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven. Basically, if you identify as a feminist or are interested in the feminist movement, this book is for you. It sees the main character become a  victim of revenge porn as well as looking at what is deemed accepted in society, in terms of gender and sexualised behaviour. It was brilliant and I cannot recommend it enough.

All About Mia by Lisa Williamson has also entered my bookshelf this month. I had high expectations for this book, having read Lisa’s first YA book, The Art of Being Normal. Honestly, I was a little disappointed. All About Mia is a good book, don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t as standout as The Art of Being Normal. It’s what I would call a generic rite of passage book, with themes of acceptance, friendship and family. It’s relatable and quick paced and worth reading if you need something gossipy and easy going.

I think possibly my favourite book so far this year is Misfit by Charli Howard. I picked up a copy on a whim in Tesco and it then sat unread on my bookcase because after reading the blurb, I was too anxious to read it. The book is a personal memoir, looking at life growing up with an eating disorder, anxiety and depression and how Charli dealt with this (or tried to) by focusing on becoming a model and trying to meet the unachievable standards held by modelling agencies. It is a hell of a powerful book. I wanted to give Charli the biggest hug possible when I finished reading it. Most importantly, the book wasn’t triggering and actually gives information and advice without going into the nitty gritty details. If you care about mental health, this book should be your bible.

Films/TV

So, last month I said that I was a bit rubbish at discovering new TV programmes, tending to sticking to what I know and rewatching the same programmes over and over. But thanks to being a bit bored, I had a good look through Netflix and discovered Girls Incarcerated, a documentary of a girl’s secure prison in Indiana. All I can say is that the girls featured were Hard. Core. I’ve come across some tough girls in my various jobs, but they have nothing on the girls in Madison Juvenile Correctional Facility. I am not ashamed to say that I binge-watched all eight episodes in one day and am currently rewatching them.

Another Netflix discovery, after a friend’s recommendation is The Night Shift. If you like Scrubs, Casualty and Grey’s Anatomy then this is for you. I’m a sucker for medical comedy dramas and this ticks all the boxes, with some additional eye candy to look at.

I also watched To The Bone this month. Much like my feelings about Misfit, I was a bit apprehensive about watching this. Did I find it triggering? Not especially, but I would recommend watching with caution. The toll that eating disorders place on family and friends was well portrayed and personally, I didn’t find that it glamorised or glorified eating disorders.

I’ve also spent an unhealthy amount of time watching Four in a Bed. Okay, so I know that it’s not new and I’m about ten years behind the rest of the population in discovering this but I love it, especially the Friday evening showdown. I now time my afternoon naps around the 5pm episode of Four in a Bed. Sorry not sorry.

This month I did the unheard of, for me, and ventured to the cinema to watch Ladybird. I’ll be honest, the ending was a bit of an anticlimax and I was left thinking “oh, is that it?” but overall it’s a good film and my inner psychology nerd enjoyed analysing the relationship dynamics within the film.

After waiting all month for Wonder to come out on DVD, I have now finally seen it. As with all adaptions, I was a bit skeptical about whether the film version would be as good as the book (I really love the book) and this film didn’t disappoint. We can all learn a lot from Augie. Everyone should have a standing ovation at least once in their lives.

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Spoonie Favourites

I don’t have that many notable spoonie favourites for this month.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my hair is really suffering due to malnourishment and is unfortunately coming out in handfuls. Because of this, I have purchased the banana hair mask from the  Body Shop to try and nourish and protect my mop. As with most Body Shop products, it has a strong scent, so if you don’t like banana then this probably isn’t for you but it has left my hair feeling softer.

 

Odds and Sods

And finally, a few things which have made my March a little bit better but don’t fit neatly into any of the above.

My friend Beth Sandland runs a self-name blog which literally has it all: fashion, beauty, travel, lifestyle, mental health…you name it and Beth writes about it. Beth has been blogging for just over a year and has built up her own “little slice of the internet”. She has done exceptionally well and I’m proud to call her my friend.  She has recently been shortlisted in the Cosmopolitan Influencer Awards as Best Newcomer – you can vote for her here until the 2nd April.

On a similar note, I want to direct your attention over to Molly Christopher’s youtube channel. Molly uses youtube to document the highs and lows of chronic illness, in particular Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrom (ME/CFS). Before e-meeting Molly, I was naive of the impacts from ME/CFS has on a person’s life and I have learnt a great deal from her videos.

My final favourite for this month is MS – The Good Life blog run by my wonderful friend Claire. As the title suggests, Claire blogs about life with multiple sclerosis, having recently been diagnosed. On top of being informative, her blog is also laugh-out-loud funny in places, especially when she wrote about unintentionally high when having treatment in hospital. She’s a strong cookie.

February Favourites

February might be the shortest month of the year but for me, it seems to have lasted forever. Winter is by far my favourite season however, even I am getting a little bit fed up with the spine chilling temperatures, snow and falling arse over tits after slipping on ice if I dare to leave the house. So, to shine a little bit of positivity on The Coldest Week Ever, I thought I would do a round up of some of my February favourites.

Books

Not working and being unwell means that I have had more time than normal to read. One of my resolutions for 2018 is to read at least 52 books, I’m a little behind but I’m slowly starting to get through my to read list.

Cat Clarke is a recent discovery, thanks to Life of Pippa and her book recommendations. I have read Girlhood and Torn and absolutely loved them. I’ve just started the audiobook of The Lost and The Found and it’s a little slower in pace, making it harder to get in to, but I’m sure that I will enjoy it. Cat is a young adult (YA) author, but the themes of friendship, bereavement and grief, transition of adulthood, isolation and guilt are relatable and she has a beautiful writing style.

Another book that I have loved this month is The Unpredictability of Being Human by Linni Ingemundsen. I very rarely cry reading books, but oh my god, this book had be crying actual real life tears on more than one occasion. One of the main characters has Autism Spectrum Disorder and it was well portrayed throughout the book.

One of my most frequently read genres is thriller/crime. Kimberly McCreight is one of my go-to authors and I am currently half way through Where They Found Her: full review next month but it is a real roller coaster of a book!

My final book for this month is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. Put simply, I adored this book, Eleanor is a complex character with a dysfunctional relationship with her mother, facing difficult decisions and changes. I am so excited to see how this is adapted into a film.

Films/TV

At this point, I want to give a huge shout out to Wilson, my friend Nikki’s dad who very kindly pays for the Netflix subscription that I leech on to. Not all heroes wear capes.

I’m a bit rubbish at discovering new TV programmes, I tend to stick to what I know and rematch again and again and again. But, I hold my hands up and admit that yes, I am now bored of Line of Duty, Happy Valley and Silent Witness. Although series 17-20 of Silent Witness did keep me entertained for a good week (that’s 30 hours of Emilia Fox cutting up bodies and getting herself into all sorts of dramas).

This month, after a recommendation from YouTuber Hannah Witton, I discovered Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. It is so bad that it’s good, I love the random outbursts into songs, even if they don’t always make sense. Rebecca Bunch is literally the ex-girlfriend that nightmares are made of. Note to self: never move to the other side of a country to stalk your ex-boyfriend…

I’ve also spent an unhealthy amount of time watching The Vicar of Dibley. I know, I know, it’s not new, but the recent death of Emma Chambers has meant that my mum and I dug out my Vicar of Dibley DVDs and binge watched ALL the Dibley. Dawn French is a comedy genius, am I right or am I right?

I had hoped to see Wonder, The Greatest Showman, Ladybird and Three Billboards in the cinema but I haven’t been well enough, so I’ll be nabbing them on DVD when they come out.

Spoonie Favourites

It seems only right to include a few things that make my life as a spoonie/professional sick kid a little bit easier.

After spending the majority of February in my pyjamas, I feel that I have become a bit of an expert in loungewear. Some of the best pyjamas that I have purchased have been from Matalan. Not what I was expecting either! They are super soft, reasonably priced and they wash well, unlike Marks and Spencer pyjamas which seem to shrink after one wash and leave me wandering around in ankle swingers with blue ankles because they’re so chilly.

Anyone who is close to me will know that I’m a little bit obsessed with The Body Shop. Around a year ago, I made the decision to change my makeup and cosmetics to cruelty free ones, and whilst The Body Shop has some questionable ownership, their products are cruelty free. I have fallen in love with their Fuji Green Tea Shampoo: at the moment, I’m not well enough to be dealing with long hair washes and deep conditioning, but using this shampoo has left my hair feeling all softy soft.

Not wearing makeup is doing wonders for my skin, however the cold temperatures and wind have left my skin feeling a little drier than normal. The Vitamin E Moisture Cream, again from The Body Shop has rehydrated my skin and a little really goes a long way. I use it twice a day and the pot seems very ending, in a good way! For some extra TLC, I’ve been using the Tea Tree Night Mask and Tea Tree Pore Minimiser. If you aren’t a fan of tea tree, these probably aren’t for you because they are very…tea tree-y.

 

Odds and Sods

And finally, a few things which have made my February a little bit better but don’t fit neatly into any of the above.

I want to give a huge virtual round of applause to Spoonie Village. As a spoonie herself, Hayley’s artwork is fantastic and so relatable for Spoonies. I could spend a small fortune on her Etsy store and receiving packages from her makes my day.

Another virtual round of applause goes to Elle Darby, YouTuber extraordinaire. She is one of the few vloggers who genuinely cares about her followers, shown by her willingness to interact with everyone and the fact that she hosted a huge Angel Party for her followers, once she reached 10k on YouTube. I’m gutted that I wasn’t well enough to go, here’s holding on to the potential summer party. Elle’s videos have got me through some bleak hospital visits and I’ve gone from crying with utter depression to laughing at some of the stuff she comes out with.

My last favourite of this month is IV/IM cyclizine. Cyclizine is an anti-sickness medication and it has been a saviour this month. Unlike my lovely friend, Claire, who can’t be dealing with the head-fuck it gives, I love the stuff and would happily lead a trippy life, constantly off my little head on the magic drug!