2017 Releases I want to read...

The White Road by Sarah Lotz  (Released 4 May)
"Adrenaline-junky Simon Newman sneaks onto private land to explore a dangerous cave in Wales with a strange man he's met online. But Simon gets more than he bargained for when the expedition goes horribly wrong. Simon emerges, the only survivor, after a rainstorm trap the two in the cave. Simon thinks he's had a lucky escape.
But his video of his near-death experience has just gone viral.
Suddenly Simon finds himself more famous than he could ever have imagined. Now he's faced with an impossible task: he's got to defy death once again, and film the entire thing. The whole world will be watching. There's only on place on earth for him to pit himself against the elements: Mt Everest, the tallest mountain in the world.
But Everest is also one of the deadliest spots on the planet. Two hundred and eighty people have died trying to reach its peak.
And Simon's luck is about to run out."

I LOVED The Three and Day Four by Lotz and didn't even know she had a new book out until I saw this post on Imogen's blog. Lotz is a master at writing intense and thrilling reads so I can't wait!

Saga Volume 7 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples (Released 4 April)
"From the worldwide bestselling team of FIONA STAPLES and BRIAN K. VAUGHAN, “The War for Phang” is an epic, self-contained SAGA event! Finally reunited with her ever-expanding family, Hazel travels to a war-torn comet that Wreath and Landfall have been battling over for ages. New friendships are forged and others are lost forever in this action-packed volume about families, combat and the refugee experience. "

I feel like it's forever since I've caught up with Saga and can't wait for this to be out so I can disappear back into the story.

This is the Noise that Keeps Me Awake by Garbage (Released 4 July)
"Garbage are known around the world for songs that mix pop sweetness with the dour thunder of industrial music and the rhythm punch of hip-hop. Now, for the first time, the four band members tell the story of that music in their own words. Packed with rare photos and personal snapshots, this book examines how Garbage make their music, and how they've kept it together (or not) for more than twenty years.
The beautifully designed, large-format coffee-table book is bound with an embossed cloth hardcover and finished with a dust jacket. The edges of the text pages, printed on luxurious matte art paper in six colours, are finished with a stunning pink spot colour. This Is the Noise That Keeps Me Awake is a must-have (and perfect gift) for Garbage's fans."
I can't express how excited I am for this book, I've been a fan of this band since I was around 12 and can't wait to see the rare photo's and experience the beauty of the design which they are always so spot on with.

The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen by Hope Nicholson (Released 2 May)
"Sure, you re familiar with Wonder Woman and Batgirl. But what about Tomboy, the sweet teenaged gal-next-door by day and masked crook-pummeler by night? Or the Jaguar, an exchange student from Brazil coping with both feral animal powers and baffling American culture? Or Street Angel, the 13-year-old skateboarder who outfights ninjas and outsmarts demons? From tough-talking detectives and sarcastic social critics to cape-wearing crimebusters and ordinary teenagers, female protagonists have filled just about every role there is in comics. Yet too few have achieved the high-level pop-culture status of their male counterparts. Now is the time to give these successful, but largely unknown, characters their due, proving that not only do strong female protagonists belong in comics, but they've always been there. With vintage art, publication details, and enthusiastic commentary, comics publisher and researcher Hope Nicholson brings these lost ladies of the comics world back to life."

If you are a regular reader of my blog you'll know that I'm a big fan of female superheroes and comic book characters so this book sounds pretty perfect.

Some Possible Solutions by Helen Phillips (Released 13 June)
"What if your perfect hermaphrodite match existed on another planet. What if you could suddenly see through everybody's skin to their organs? What if you knew the exact date of your death? What if your city was filled with doppelgängers of you?

Forced to navigate these bizarre scenarios, Phillips' characters search for solutions to the problem of how to survive in an irrational, infinitely strange world. In dystopias that are exaggerated versions of the world in which we live, these characters strive for intimacy and struggle to resolve their fraught relationships with each other, with themselves, and with their place in the natural world. We meet a wealthy woman who purchases a high-tech sex toy in the shape of a man, a rowdy, moody crew of college students who resolve the energy crisis, and orphaned twin sisters who work as futuristic strippers - and with Phillips' characteristic smarts and imagination, we see that no one is quite who they appear.

By turns surreal, witty and perplexing, these marvellous stories are ultimately a reflection of our own reality and of the big questions that we all face. Who are we? Where do we fit? Phillips is a true original and an exciting new voice."

I heard about this on a booktube channel and it sounded fascinating. I love short story collections but hardly read any so this is a must read!

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (Released 2 May)
"With the same propulsion that captivated millions of readers worldwide in The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins unfurls a gripping, twisting, layered story set in a small riverside town. Once again Hawkins demonstrates her powerful understanding of human instincts and the damage they can inflict. 

Into the Water is an addictive novel of psychological suspense about the slipperiness of the truth, and a family drowning in secrets."

I read Girl on the Train a few years ago and actually wasn't the biggest fan of it mainly because I felt the story was a little silly and predictable. I did however enjoy Hawkins writing style so look forward to giving her new book a try.

What to do when you are having a panic attack...

The first time I had a full blown panic attack I thought I was dying. I was convinced I was having a heart attack, it was the most petrifying experience and I had no idea what to do. Fortunately I was with people who were able to help calm me and control my breathing. Since then I have found certain things help during an attack and I wanted to share them.

1. If you can get to somewhere quiet and uncrowded then do. 
2. control your breathing. The best way to do this is to breath into a paper bag or something similar. I always carry a folded up paper bag that pharmacies give prescriptions in- it's perfect for this. If you don't have that then count as you are breathing to steady it.
3. Look at your surroundings and name things you can see, smell, touch and hear.
4. Alternatively you could name street names where you live, Spice Girls songs or animals... anything that occupies your mind and helps to ground you. Or you could listen to a particular song or audiobook to give you something familiar to focus on.
5. Have a sit down and rest, drink some water, don't rush yourself to move until the anxiety has passed.
6. Remind yourself that this is temporary and will soon pass.
7. Don't feel embarrassed or ashamed.
8. You got through it, you are a warrior!

Recently watched...

Room (2015)
"A unique and touching exploration of the boundless love between a mother and her child. After 5-year-old Jack and his Ma escape from the enclosed surroundings that Jack has known his entire life, the boy makes a thrilling discovery: the outside world. "
I read the book this film was based on last year and didn't really enjoy it but I felt the film was much more enjoyable and Brie Larson was brilliant in this. 3/5

Experimenter: The Stanley Milgram Story (2015)
"In 1961, social psychologist Stanley Milgram conducts controversial experiments designed to measure conformity, conscience and free will."
I've been studying Milgram's work for uni and found his experiments fascinating and heard about this film through my student group. The was brilliant! If you have any interest in social psychology then you need to give this a watch and Sarsgaard did a great job of playing Milgram. 4/5 

Brooklyn Nine Nine Season 3
"Detective Jake Peralta, a talented and carefree cop with the best arrest record, has never had to follow the rules too closely or work very hard. That changes when Ray Holt, a man with a lot to prove, becomes the new commanding officer of Brooklyn's 99th precinct."
I LOVE this show, and was very excited when season three finally went on Netflix. I raced through it pretty quickly, if you like Arrested Development or Parks and Rec give this show a go it's hilarious. my favourite character is Holt but they're all great. 5/5

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
"After surviving a car accident, Michelle wakes up to find herself in an underground bunker with two men. Howard tells her that a massive chemical attack has rendered the air unbreathable, and their only hope of survival is to remain inside. Despite the comforts of home, Howard's controlling and menacing nature makes Michelle want to escape. After taking matters into her own hands, the young woman finally discovers the truth about the outside world."
This was really good, it built the tension up brilliantly, although I think then ending could have been done a lot better rather than being so over the top. I didn't enjoy the original Cloverfield film (I hate found footage stuff) but after seeing this I'm excited for the third film in the trilogy which is out soon! 4/5

The Good Neighbour (2016)
"A pair of mischievous high school kids create the illusion of a haunting on an unsuspecting neighbour. While keeping his every reaction under surveillance, they see much more than they bargained for, and discover that the man they're tormenting is not the easy target they'd expected."
This was a random Netflix watch that felt very made-for-TV. The two boys in this were really annoying dicks and the twist at the end was actually really depressing! 2/5

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016)
"Singer/rapper Conner4Real faces a crisis of popularity after his sophomore album flops, leaving his fans, sycophants and rivals all wondering what to do when he's no longer the dopest star of all."
Filmed in the style of a mockumentary this wasn't quite as good as I thought it would be but there were still some hilarious moments. If you like Andy Sambergs SNL digital shorts then this is worth a watch. 3/5

Some books I want to read in 2017...

Here are some of the books I really really want to get round to reading this year. All of these are books that are already on my shelf and don't include any new releases or books I want to buy. You'll notice there's a mix of genres as well as novels, graphic novels and non fiction. Although I always like to vary my reading I found that the majority of the fiction I read last year was thrillers so this year I want to be much more adventurous! I also plan to read a lot more non fiction this year too.

16 ways to practice Self care...

1. Relax in a hot bath. Maybe use some fancy bath salts or a bath bomb, light a candle, play some music.
2. Read a book (or a comic or magazine). Combine that with a nice cup of fresh coffee or whatever your preference.
3. Put your pyjamas on and watch some episodes of your favourite TV show (or find a new favourite on Netflix).
4. Get some air and go for a walk. If it helps put your headphones in a listen to some music whilst you do.
5. Make a smoothie. I love the frozen fruit bags Tesco do blitzed with a banana and some apple juice.
6. Go to the cinema (and get some popcorn!).
7. Buy yourself a little treat for getting through a stressful week. Your favourite chocolate, a new book, some nice bubble bath.
8. Put your headphones on, close your eyes and listen to an audiobook or podcast- or for the ultimate relaxation some asmr videos on YouTube.
9. Take a nap. If you are exhausted then listen to your body and get some rest.
10. Cook a nice meal. Maybe try a new recipe or cook an old favourite.
12. Do some colouring in. There are so many great adult colouring books out there and it's incredibly relaxing.
13. Do a face mask or paint your nails. Anything that's pampering.
14. Do some yoga or pilates- there are some great videos on YouTube that have follow along sessions for beginners or for relaxation and anxiety.
15. Reorganise your book shelf (is it just me that finds this incredibly relaxing?!)
16. Make a photo album of pictures from happy times and of people you love.

Latest in Beauty box January...

 Latest in Beauty subscription service have had a recent rebrand that allows you to curate your own box each month and as I am so picky I was instantly interested and decided to see what was on offer. It turns out there was tons of great stuff- if you fill out a short survey they show you the products tailored to your tastes too. You can choose from either 3, 6 or 9 products and delivery is free if you subscribe. I went for 6 products and it cost me just £15 which I think is a complete bargain! 

I chose...

Sally Hansen Insta-dry... (full size) I'm running out of top coat and this is supposed to be a great one.
Benefit Roller Lash... I find Benefit mascaras hit and miss but I've already tried this and love it. It lifts and curls my lashes and makes them huge!
Burts Bees lip crayon in Sedona Sands... (full size) This alone has an rrp of around £10 and it's a lovely everyday shade that is nice and moisturising. Another hit :)
Bee Good Hydrate, Smooth & Prime Serum... (10ml) Made with natural ingredients and really smoothing.
The Organic Pharmacy Lip & Eye Cream... (full size) I've tried a few things from this brand and really liked them so looking forward to testing this out. (This has an rrp of around £12)
Malin + Goetz Trio pack... This has samples of their grapfruit face cleanser, lip moisturiser and vitamin e face moisturiser. Love trying out new skincare.

They also chucked in a Latest in Beauty pouch and a tube of Beverly Hills Formula Charcoal toothpaste (happy to get this as I love this stuff!)

Overall I am really happy with this box. So many great products and such good value. The only downside was trying to just pick 6 products, but every single item here is something I will get good use out of.

If you are interested their website is here

8 bipolar symptoms you might not know about...

When most people hear the word bipolar they tend to think it is *just* a case of having mood swings. Which of course it isn't. Having bipolar is a lot more complex than that but today I though I would write a post about some of the symptoms you may not be aware of....

1. Finding it really hard to make and keep friends. When your mind is racing it is really hard to remember to reply to that email or message. Sometimes you get so wrapped up in your own changing moods you forget to check in with your friends.

2. Bad memory. I have the memory of an 80 year old. Sometimes I can watch a film then a few months later have zero recollection of it. I've forgotten whole conversations before. That is why I love making lists and why I am fond of reviewing books and films I have consumed!

3. Nightmares. This is mainly a not so nice side effect of my meds. Every so often I will have the most vivid and petrifying nightmares and will wake up sweating and shaking. It's like being in my own horror film.

4. Being obsessive. Obsessive personalities go hand in hand with bipolar. I have obsessive compulsive tendencies when it comes to a number of things including everything in my room having to be organised in a certain way, checking the doors are locked every night and I also have to do things in eights (or multiples of). 

5. Trouble sleeping.Having a rigid sleep routine is really important if you have bipolar as it can have a huge impact on your mood. I go through phases of not being able to sleep at all (my mind will be too busy trying to argue the ten best albums of all time or what that person meant in that conversation we had last week or sometimes my thoughts move way too fast to keep track of). Other times I can sleep too much and still have trouble getting out of bed. Most mornings after forcing myself to get up I feel as if I haven't slept at all.

6. Exhaustion. The above point is kind of connected but I'm not just talking about feeling a bit sleepy I'm talking about your-whole-body-aches-and-hurts type of exhaustion. I'm talking about doing one shift at work and coming home barely able to walk up the stairs.

7. Anxiety. Another thing that goes hand in hand with bipolar is anxiety. This is something I've had since a kid and for me is mainly social anxiety but also busy places, appointments, using the phone and going to places I'm not familiar with. (I've written a post about tips with dealing with anxiety here).

8. Weight gain. With the meds amongst other many side effects* comes weight gain. I recently added another medication to my roster after having a bad episode and this has caused my weight to balloon to the highest it's been. Although I would like to loose some weight I reason that I would prefer to be heavier and not feel the crippling pain I felt without meds.

*headaches, stomach aches, nightmares, dry mouth, fatigue, dizzyness, pounding heartbeat, constipation, feeling weak, swelling arms & legs, fainting, blurred vision, high blood sugar levels, feeling more hungry, feeling irritated, disturbance in speech and language, worsening depression, fever, shortness of breath, vomiting, irregular periods, decrease in certain blood cells. (this is just some of the common side effects of my mood stabiliser meds).

If you would like to read more of my mental health post check out these...
mental health and my comfort zone (here)
Having a mental illness and staying positive (here)
Bipolar awareness day (here)