Geeky bookish haul...

I was recently involved in a highly stressful incident at work and it caused my anxiety to rear it's head. In times of high anxiety I have a tendency to over spend and buy stuff... so here is the product of that stress! There are quite a few haul posts on this blog at the moment as after payday hit I kind of just went for it! Anyway here's some cool bookish stuff I bought!

I don't tend to go into Waterstones very often as I find them quite pricey but I got a bit carried away with their bookish gift section and bought this adorable mini book on The Brontes. It's a traditionally bound book and summarises all of the Bronte sisters novels as well as giving background info. It's also very cute and makes a lovely book shelf decoration! 

I also found a George Orwell essay I wasn't familiar with, which I look forward tor reading. My Dad got me a very cool DC Comics colouring book (packed with Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Batman and Batgirl) and an L.S.P. Adventure Time keyring to cheer me up. Oh, and that book nerd badge was by the tills at Waterstones and I couldn't resist...

Finally, I was highly amused to find this talking Batman bust. It came with a little book and when you press the button on his utility belt he says various phrases. This put a much needed smile on my face and my favourite of his phrases is "THE JOKES ON YOU JOKER!" Smooth, Batman, smooth.

My favourite fictional women...

This post was originally intended for International Women's Day but I didn't finish it in time, I thought I'd still post it though...
Enid Coleslaw (Ghost World)
Enid is a moody teenager not quite sure what she wants from life. She also has amazing style and a lot of snark. Ghost World by Daniel Clowes is my favourite graphic novel and the film adaption is also my favourite film. It's hard to believe her character was written by a man as Clowes captures the frustrations of being a teenage girl perfectly. Thora Birch also brought Enid to life perfectly and I can relate to Enid on so many levels. 

Selina Kyle aka Catwoman is the biggest baddass Queen ever. Fact. She is also my favourite comic book character. I love her because she has a dark side, and although she isn't always good she usually has good reason for what she does. She is hugely protective of the people of Gotham's East End and her stories often have a dark, noir edge to them. I also love the tense relationship she has with Bruce/ Batman and that she refuses to take any shit from him despite her feelings because lets face it he's a bit of a twat. In fact she doesn't take shit from anyone, and is always confident in herself and her abilities no matter what.
Wednesday Addams (The Addams Family)
I wish I was half as snarky as Wednesday Addams. She has a smart answer for everything and doesn't give a fuck what people think of her as she know exactly what she's about. I always wanted to be Wednesday watching the Addams family films growing up- she's the coolest kid I know, not that she'd want to be.
Furiousa (Mad Max: Fury Road)
To put it simply Furiousa is a straight up fearless badass. It is a joy to see a woman character in an action film being strong and tough, having emotions, making decisions, firing the shots whilst using Max as a gun rest (as he knows he couldn't do better). I love Charlize Theron, and am so glad she brought Furiousa to life in such spectacular style. 

Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
What I love most about Buffy is that she is not your typical hero, and she is far from perfect. Throughout the show she grows up from teen to adult going through lots of ups and downs whilst also fighting evil. She is not always likeable and doesn't always make the right decisions but that's what makes her so relateable. 

Rose Tyler (Doctor Who)
It's thanks to the character of Rose Tyler that I got into Doctor Who in the first place. I happened to turn on the TV and caught the episode Doomsday and with no prior knowledge of the reboot blubbed like a baby! I then went out and bought the box set and fell in love. I love Rose because she is down to earth, and real but also fearless. She is a perfect match to The Doctor who is able to start enjoying life again thanks to Rose's enthusiasm and humour and she's my favourite companion.

Alana (Saga)
Alana is a tough, no nonsense woman fighting for her family no matter what. She's smart, not afraid to speak her mind and Does. Not. Take. Any. Shit. She is a fiercely protective mother and always stands up for the vulnerable. She also has amazing hair. There are so many briliant characters in the comic book series Saga, but Alan stands out as not only someone you wouldn't want to mess with but also a loving Mum to not just her daughter but anyone that need looking after!
Dana Scully (The X Files)
Not only is Scully a brilliant FBI agent, she is also a highly skilled Doctor. Need an autopsy? Call Scully. Need a transplant? Call Scully. Need a murder case solving? Call Scully. Need someone to come and talk some common sense into Mulder? Call Scully. 
Possibly my favourite thing about Scully is her perfect no nonsense reactions and eye rolls to Mulders bullshit, This woman has no fucks to give.

Other characters I love... Lisa Simpson, Lucille Bluth (Arrested Development), Clarice Starling, Scout Finch (To Kill a Mocking Bird), the 2016 Ghostbusters, Storm, Beatrix Kiddo (Kill Bill), Alex Drake (Ashes to Ashes), Lisbeth Salander (The Millenium Trilogy), Black Canary, Jackie Brown, Jane Eyre, Annie Sawyer (Being Human), Wonder Woman, Ursula, Liv Moore (iZombie), Princess Bubblegum (Adventure Time), Gwenpool, Lily Munster (The Munsters), Carrie Mathison (Homeland), Scarlett Witch, Norma Bates (Bates Motel), Cosima (Orphan Black), Jessica Jones, Martha Costello (Silk), Squirrel Girl, Stella Gibson (The Fall)... Ok, I'm stopping there!

Who are your favourite fictional women?
Next I'll be do a post on my favourite fictional men!

New books.

Payday + high anxiety = book buying!

After really enjoying Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard I decided to pick up her latest book A Quiet Kind of Thunder. This ones looks like it's more of a romance which isn't really my kind of thing but I loved her writing so want to give it a try. Seeing as I'm a bit of a new convert to YA I also picked up both of Sue Wallman's books- Lying About Last Summer, and See How They Lie. Both are YA type thrillers by the sounds of it (EDIT: I've read See How They Lie and loved it!) It turns out YA books seem to be great distractions for anxiety as they are easier reads.

I also picked up two adult thrillers. The latest Louise Doughty book Black Water, which hopefully will be just as suspenseful as Apple Tree Yard, which I loved. I read it a couple of years ago and for some reason have never read any of her other books. Blood Wedding was a bit of an impulse buy, but it's thriller by french writer Pierre Lemaitre about a woman who creates a new identity after being involved in a crime.  Finally, in Waterstones I picked up this cute Little Book of Wonder Woman which is packed with art, covers and the history of the iconic character.

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is an illness that is often misunderstood. Often when I've told people I have it their response is either "what's that?" or them attempting to wrongly explain to me what it is. I thought I'd share a few bits of information if you are curious or would like to learn...

Firstly this is  TED-Ed video giving a brief but informative explanation:

When I was at the beginning of my own diagnosis a documentary Stephen Fry made called The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive meant a great deal to me. It was the first time I recognised that I had a name for the symptoms I was struggling to live with. Stephen Fry is perhaps one of the most famous people with bipolar and talks about it often and openly, and his words meant a lot to me when I was coming to terms with the diagnosis. 

Here he talks about his experience with bipolar and explains it a little:

I hope now you have a bit of a clearer understanding of bipolar disorder :)

Free Comic Book Day 2017.

As usual me and my sister make a day of Free Comic Book Day and I post about it (FCBD16, FCBD15) and this year is no different. Above are the free comics I got from the two comic book shops we visited.  

 The past two years I had a bit of a shopping spree but this year FCBD fell the week before payday so I didn't go so crazy! I did however buy a stack of back issues and a Funko DC pets mystery mini. I got a cute Wonder Woman! Now I just need the Catwoman figure.
We stopped off at Cafe Chino which I have previously posted about (here) and had a vanilla iced coffee again and a delicious slice of strawberry cake, which was pink! 

This year was even more fun because my niece came with us, and she loves anything to do with comics- she's especially a big fan of Guardians of the Galazy, Harley Quinn and Black Widow. She was pretty overwhelmed in the comics book shops and wanted everything haha 

We stopped for some *cheap* lunch at McDonalds and opened up our blind boxes. Both me Scarlett got exactly the ones we wanted thanks to my sister picking them (Well done K!) 

 We also made a stop at the Chinese supermarkets in Chinatown to stock up on snacks. I am seriously addicted to the choco puffs.
Here's me and my niece reading the FCBD Wonder Woman comic in Cafe Chino 💜

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017...

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme this year is Surviving or Thriving. You can find some really useful and interesting information here as well as looking up the #mentalhealthawarenessweek and #MHAW17 hashtags on Twitter. 

I wanted to link some of my mental health posts from this blog if you feel like a read...

1. Study tips when you have a mental illness. Here are some tips I've picked up whilst being a student with mental health problems.
2. Telling your employer you have a mental illness. Here I discuss whether you should disclose your mental illness to your place of work as well as giving two personal accounts of what happened when I did.
3. The trouble with social anxiety and loneliness. In this post I talk about how having social anxiety has made it difficult to make friends.
4. Being honest about mental health. In this post I talk about my own experiences with mental health and where I am now.
5. Time to talk day 2017. Here I talk about misconceptions of bipolar disorder and the importance of awareness, and impacts of stigma.
6. What to do when you are having a panic attack. Tips I've picked up that may be helpful for dealing with panic attacks.
7. 16 Ways to practice self care. Self care is hugely important, especially if you struggle with your mental health... here are some ideas.
8. 8 Bipolar symptoms you might not know about. Here are some things you might not know about bipolar disorder.
9. Having a mental illness and staying positive. Exactly what it says on the tin!
10. Bipolar awareness day. Talking stats and facts about BD.
11. Panic: Dealing with anxiety. If you have anxiety finding things that help manage it are important- here are some things that work for me.

I hope you find these posts useful and if you blog about mental health please leave me your links!

I won a giveaway!

I am one of those people that is perpetually unlucky. If I buy a scratchcard the one after mine will be the winner. So I was very much surprised to find I had one a giveway on Twitter to win a bundle of thriller books from HQ Digital. If you read my blog often you will know I am a big thriller reader so I was extra excited. 

Here is the bundle I won...

I think if I had to choose, the two books I am most excited about are...

Sweet Pea by C.J. Skuse
"The last person who called me ‘Sweetpea’ ended up dead…

I haven’t killed anyone for three years and I thought that when it happened again I’d feel bad. Like an alcoholic taking a sip of whisky. But no. Nothing. I had a blissful night’s sleep. Didn’t wake up at all. And for once, no bad dream either. This morning I feel balanced. Almost sane, for once.

Rhiannon is your average girl next door, settled with her boyfriend and little dog…but she’s got a killer secret.

Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.

A kill list.

From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have got it coming, Rhiannon’s ready to get her revenge.

Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder…


Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
"My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:

1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie."

Both sound AMAZING!! 

Tips for studying and concentration when you have a mental illness...

Studying can be stressful at the best of times but when you have a mental illness it can be really difficult. You already have to contend with lack of concentration, poor memory, and fatigue. Since starting university I have found a few things help, so here are my tips...

Burn citrus candles
It may sound silly but citrus is known as an uplifting scent. I always burn a citrus candle when I am sat at my laptop essay writing and it really helps me to stay focused (and awake!)

Create a work area
Have a clear work space set aside specifically for studying. A desk equipped with all the pens and notebooks you need, any textbooks and minimal distractions. I find I definitely work better when I am sat at my desk rather than when I decide to try reading my text books somewhere else.

Establish a sleep routine
This is so important to mental health, regardless of whether you are a student or not but getting a good nights sleep improves your concentration, mood, and will mean you will find it easier to be more productive. Getting into the routine of having a set bed time and get up time will help hugely.

Take regular breaks and don't do too much at once
Ensuring you take regular breaks will help stop your concentration from waning as well as keeping you motivated. Set some goals and then whenever you reach one reward yourself with a break- maybe 20 minutes on Twitter or a couple of videos on YouTube.

It's important not to put too much pressure on yourself or you could risk feeling demotivated and will end up not getting much done. Some days I have brain fog and know I won't be able to concentrate so will do something else and go back to studying the next day. There's no point wasting a day sat staring at a computer screen and getting nowhere.

Eat some fruit
Try snacking on food high in energy like fruit. Something like a banana, some seeds, dried fruit or a smoothie will help your concentration. I also require a LOT of coffee to keep me awake!

Make time for something you enjoy
Don't get in the habit of working constantly- it will bring your mood down and you won't work as well. Make sure you set time specifically for self care and doing things you like. Reading, having a bath, going for a walk, seeing friends etc...

April reading round up...

What Goes Around by Julie Corbin
"What Goes Around is the story of two women - Ellen and Leila. Ellen is the ex-wife and Leila is the new woman, living in Ellen's house, sleeping with Ellen's husband. Each woman has her own secrets to keep. Leila's brother is back in her life and is determined to rake up their past while Ellen is out for revenge. She wants her home back and she wants Leila to pay for breaking up her marriage. Her plan will make her do things she never thought herself capable of - but it will also put her in danger. Because Ellen has no idea what sort of a woman Leila is and when she finally finds out, it could already be too late...

One of the women will end up dead. But which one?

Read my full review here.

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinsborough
"Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.
When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.
And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?
As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

I'd heard so many good things about this book that I couldn't wait to read what I expected to be a suspenseful thriller. The first half was ok- readable, plenty of intrigue but as it went on it got more and more unbelievable. Honestly I kind of wished I'd dnf'd it as the ending was just crazy. The book was written as a thriller set in the real world yet went off on an extreme fanatical tangent at the end where somehow [SPOILER] certain people where able to leave their bodies and take other other peoples bodies whilst lucid dreaming [SPOILER] I felt like chucking the book out of the window in disgust and bemusement. All the characters were infuriating, especially Louise who seemed to be completely lacking in any common sense. As a side note I also didn't appreciate how the author dealt with mental health in this book, relying on the tired crazed mentally ill person cliches. 

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard
"Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne’s past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realises, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own."

I'm not the biggest fan of YA but I bought this after seeing the beautiful cover. I enjoy books that have a coming of age theme or look at female friendship. This one covered both and I really enjoyed the writing style. The characters all had their faults and I liked that this was set in the UK (I rarely see UK YA!) I also felt that the subject of mental illness was handled really well here. As an aside the main character had a sister who was bipolar and it did not define her character in any way. She wasn't crazy, dangerous or erratic. Hooray! I defintely plan on reading Barnard's latest book.

Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine
"Killing and Dying is a stunning showcase of the possibilities of the graphic novel medium and a wry exploration of loss, creative ambition, identity, and family dynamics. With this work, Adrian Tomine (Shortcomings, Scenes from an Impending Marriage) reaffirms his place not only as one of the most significant creators of contemporary comics but as one of the great voices of modern American literature. His gift for capturing emotion and intellect resonates here: the weight of love and its absence, the pride and disappointment of family, the anxiety and hopefulness of being alive in the twenty-first century."

This was kind of a sombre read for me. I really enjoyed it and found certain stories oddly relateable but also quite sad. The book was brilliantly written and very real. I also enjoyed the change in art style for different stories. I will definitely look into more of Tomine's work.  

Saga Vol.7 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
"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. "

This series is flawless. There aren't many comics or books in general that can have me crying and laughing. This story is so epic in scale and so fast paced and has never lost it's brilliance even after seven volumes. 

We Can Never Go Home by Matthew Rosenberg & Patrick Kindlon
"The story of two teenagers, a mixtape, a stolen car, a fully loaded .45, strange abilities, dead drug dealers, and their money. A dark and modern story about getting lost and finding yourself on the backroads of America."

This was ok but didn't keep me interested enough to make me want to continue with it. It's a story been told many times before and nothing new was really added. I did however enjoy the design and liked the mixtapes and nod to super hero comics and I also enjoyed the surprise ending. 

Green Lanterns issue 15 by Sam Humphreys and Tyler Kirkham
I don't usually mention single issues of comics in my reading round ups but I loved this so much I had to include it. I picked up a copy after hearing about it on Nerdburgers YouTube channel and am so glad I did. This issue is a day in the life of Green Lantern Jessica Cruz who has anxiety. It gave a realistic and genuine look at the day to day struggles of having anxiety and It's the first time I have encountered a mainstream superhero comic depict a mental illness. Humphreys also writes one of my favourite comics- Jonesy and after reading this issue I definitely want to pick up the trades. 5/5

The Beauty Vol. 1 by Jeremy Haun & Jason A. Hurley
"Modern society is obsessed with outward beauty. What if there was a way to guarantee you could become more and more beautiful every day? What if it was a sexually transmitted disease? 

In the world of The Beauty, physical perfection is only one sexual encounter away. The vast majority of the population has taken advantage of it, but Detectives Vaughn and Foster will soon discover it comes at a terrible cost. Now, they'll have to find their way past corrupt poiticians, vengeful federal agents, and a terrifying mercenary out to collect the price on their heads. "

This was an interesting concept and I do enjoy dystopian stories but it moved a little slow for my liking. I probably will read the second volume at some point but I'm not in a rush to. 3/5

Salad Anniversary by Machi Tawara"Machi Tawara's first book of poems, The Anniversary of the Salad combines the classical 'tanka' form with the subject of a modern love affair. It became a sensation, selling over 2 million copies - and the 'salad phenomenon' in Japanese culture was comparable to the 'bananamania' that followed publication of the first novel by Tawara's contemporary Banana Yoshimoto."

This is a translation of a collection of poetry written in a classic Japanese style. Tawara writes beautifully about her relationship and her words invoked Spring, new beginnings and the excitement of something new. The subject was very modern and I enjoyed the many mentions of food there was also a bittersweet edge to this book. I really want to get back into poetry again and am so glad I picked a copy of this book up (which incidentally is beautifully presented too). 4/5

Recently watched...

 Logan (2017)
"In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X somewhere on the Mexican border. However, Logan's attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces."
Hands down my favourite X Men film by a long mile. I loved the dark grown up tone of this film and enjoyed seeing an older and more jades Logan coming to terms with his role in life. Charles was adorable and Laura was a badass. 

The People V. O.J. Simpson (2016)
"Season 1 of this crime drama and anthology focuses on the OJ Simpson murder trial as portrayed in Jeffrey Toobin's book "The Run of His Life: The People v OJ Simpson."
When I was ill a couple of months ago I decided to give this series a go on Netflix and was hooked. The acting in this series was brilliant and as soon as I finished it I went straight to Youtube to watch clips of the real court case. It's impressive how well the actors captured the real people they were playing. 4/5

The Replacement (2017)
"Three-part psychological thriller about a woman who goes on maternity leave only to become increasingly paranoid about the motives of the person covering for her."
This was really meh. The first episode started out well but then it just went downhill and became really predictable and silly. Vicky McClure was as usual brilliant in it though. 2/5

Teenage Cocktail (2016)
"Two young women plan to run away and try webcam modeling to make enough money to survive. At first the money comes rolling in, but the girls quickly learn that the consequences of their actions can blindside them."
This was quite strange and quirky but I really enjoyed it. The film captured the stupidity of youth and being a teenager and lead actress Nichole Bloom was excellent in it. 4/5

Get Out (2017)
"Now that Chris and his girlfriend, Rose, have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family's overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter's interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could have never imagined."
I am a fan of Jordan Peele so was looking forward to his directorial debut and this was everything I expected. Effective as an atmospheric and sinister classic inspired horror film with an important underlying social commentary on race in 2017. Daniel Kaluuya was perfectly cast (he was also great in Black Mirror). This is a must see. 4/5

Life (2017) 
"Astronauts aboard the International Space Station are on the cutting edge of one of the most important discoveries in human history: the first evidence of extraterrestrial life on Mars. As members of the crew conduct their research, the rapidly evolving life-form proves far more intelligent and terrifying than anyone could have imagined."
Although this didn't really offer anything new to the genre I did really enjoy it. There was plenty of action and suspense and a really good twist at the end. I also really enjoyed the music. Definitely worth a watch if you are looking for something entertaining that doesn't involve any deep concentration! 3.5/5

Book review: What Goes Around by Julie Corbin...

"Two women, two secrets, one murder...

What Goes Around is the story of two women - Ellen and Leila. Ellen is the ex-wife and Leila is the new woman, living in Ellen's house, sleeping with Ellen's husband. Each woman has her own secrets to keep. Leila's brother is back in her life and is determined to rake up their past while Ellen is out for revenge. She wants her home back and she wants Leila to pay for breaking up her marriage. Her plan will make her do things she never thought herself capable of - but it will also put her in danger. Because Ellen has no idea what sort of a woman Leila is and when she finally finds out, it could already be too late...

One of the women will end up dead. But which one?"

The best way I can describe What Goes Around is very readable. It flows well and pulls you into the story of two very different women. The narrative is split between the two as we see two contrasting sides of a marriage break up- the women he left and the women he left her for. I was worried this was going to go down a tired cliched route of two women hating each other and much eye rolling but I'm glad to say it didn't. Of the two women I personally found Leila the most interesting. She was a unique character who came across as quite cold and calculating but under the surface there was a dark past that went some way to explaining her character. Although Ellen could be a little bland at times her OCD and anxiety was explored well- it was clearly researched and was written in a sympathetic and realistic way.

The book threw up a lot of twists. I must admit a lot of them were fairly predictable and a few of them seemed on the unrealistic side but if you like juicy full on drama then you will enjoy the twists and turns of the story. 

Overall this was an enjoyable read about revenge and the reality of it. It perhaps wasn't the most unique story I've read but I enjoyed the writing and found it very easy to get into and towards the end was pretty gripped. I think I'll definitely explore Julie Corbin's previous books at some point. 

If you are looking for an enjoyable, easy-read psychological thriller with intriguing characters then definitely pick up What Goes Around. 

What Goes Around is available now in paperback here.

I gave this book a 3/5 on Goodreads.

[Thanks to Jenni at Hodder for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.]

10 good things from this week...

In an effort to be more positive, appreciate the little things and celebrate small victories I've decided to do a semi regular (as in when I remember...) series talking about the positive things from my week.

This week mainly involved working early shifts, and also being ill again so it wasn't the best but here are 10 good things...

1. Hanging out with my niece who's on her Easter break
2. Receiving my amazing book prize from a Twitter giveaway. I usually never win stuff so I'm super chuffed.
3.  Googling 'cat burrito' and feeling instantly more cheerful.
4. Getting my exam results back from Uni: 85% which I'm really happy with.
5. The twitter account No Context Louis, for all my fellow Louis Theroux fans out there :)
6. Rahul Kohli on all social media. A.K.A Ravvi from iZombie. This man is just a joy!
7. Cadbury Oreo chocolate eggs. I wish I had more.
8. Charity shop shopping with my 6yo sister. I got books, she got a furby.
9. I bought an amazing Batman dress from EMP.
10. Having a lazy Sunday reading and relaxing.


Watching Cazz from Nerdburgers thrift haul on Youtube and wanting to go in search of 90s toys.

After the announcement of a general election this list is pretty handy if you want to know where your vote would be most useful in getting the tories out.

Some of my favourite recent blog posts:

1. The Ghost of Me- My Experience of Psychotic Depression
2. Toy hunting in Manchester
3. Thank You, anxiety
4. An outfit inspired by The Manic Street Preachers
5. Loneliness 

So that's my week :)

Huge book haul!

Over the past month I have accumulated quite a pile of books so thought I would do a book haul post as who doesn't like looking at lovely new books?! 

Keeping with my 2017 book resolution of reading more varied genres I've got quite a mix :D

These Dividing Walls was kindly sent to me by Hodder and is the story of a mix of people who live in a building in Paris (this is out May 4th and I will hopefully post a review around that time!)

The Girl Who Was Saturday Night has an amazing cover- I love anything that features neon lights. This is a coming of age story about twins in Quebec who have been forced into the limelight as children and are now grown up. I've heard a lot of good things about this one!

The next three are impulse buys from the Amazon three for £10 section. I got The Women in Black as I've been wanting to read more classic horror (and that cover 😍) also The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea which is a Japanese modern classic (and again the cover sold it to me...) and finally Unbroken which is a true life story about a woman who is dealing with sexual assault throughout her teen years and how she overcame it. 

I don't tend to usually read true stories but wanted to try this as I am studying psychology with the hope of eventually working in mental health and thought this could be interesting.  

Whilst is Tesco (supposedly getting food, but mainly getting books, coffee and blind bags...) I got a copy of Moranifesto. I've read all of Moran's books and loved them. This one is a collection of her columns and extra stuff about all sorts of subjects including films, the UK class system, feminism, politics and popular culture.  

I also got a YA: Beautiful Broken Things, about a toxic female friendship. The cover totally sold it to me! Nina is not ok is an adult contemporary about a young woman who wakes up after a night of heavy drinking knowing that something bad happened, but is not quite sure what. This one is looks at slut shaming and social media so should be interesting. 

I finally decided to pick up Illuminae after being undecided. This has had so much hype and is a YA Sci-Fi about a planet that is being evacuated only for a virus to break out in the evacuations ship and a young girl realising there is more to it than it seems. What interests me with this book is that it is written in mixed media (which I love) and I also enjoy post apocalyptic stuff. 

The Lonely City is a non fiction look at loneliness and different creative people in New Yorks experience with it. Finally Milk & Honey is a book I've been wanting to get for a long time. You are probably familiar with it as Kaur's beautiful and honest poetry is often shared on Instagram. I have a feeling I will love this one, and I haven't read much poetry in a while.

So that's my new books! Have you read any of these? 

Telling your employer you have a mental illness...

If you have a mental illness one of the biggest decisions you have to face is whether to tell people or not. Should you tell your employer? Or is it best to keep it secret? 

Most people with mental health issues will have different answers depending on their own experiences. When I was applying for jobs a few years ago I asked people in a bipolar support group I am part of and most people said that it was best not to say, and a lot of people had their own stories of where they'd told employers and it hadn't gone well. Although it is against the law to discriminate for a disability it doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Unfortunately stigma surrounding mental illness is still a huge problem, and due to ignorance- and people just not understanding or educating themselves on what it is people don't always get treated fairly. 

Today I have two stories for you from my own personal experience of telling employers about having bipolar disorder and anxiety. One didn't go well, but one is positive.

The first time I told an employer I had a mental illness was when I worked at Asda. I wasn't going to mention the company but I've decided fuck it, I want to name and shame. I went through a particularly bad depressive episode and was as yet undiagnosed but began the process. Because the depression got so bad I had to take sick leave. My employer required me to go in for regular meetings to keep them updated. They constantly just wanted me to commit to a date in which I would return to work despite me telling them my health was no different and I was in the process of a diagnosis. The meetings were hugely stressful and would involve two managers sat opposite me. They acted as if I was making the whole thing up and they were impatient with it. The final straw was when I started receiving messages from work colleagues asking me what bipolar was and that they heard I'd got it. At that point I was only starting the diagnosis process and stressed to management I wanted this kept private as I didn't want anyone to know. This hadn't happened. When I replied to the messages asking who told them the response was some guy I barely spoke to. The thought of everyone gossiping about me and my mental health was enough for me to take the redundancy that the management were desperate for me to agree to. 

I walked away from that experience feeling disheartened and adamant I wouldn't tell any future employer. 

Fast forward a number of years. I was fully diagnosed and on medication. I began working at a company I currently work for. Last year around October my health took a dip and I experienced another depressive episode. I had to take a month of leave where I adjusted to a medication change. After a lot of anxiety I decided to tell my manager the reason.

And this is where this post gets positive. My manager listened and was very understanding. It turns out he has a friend who is going through a diagnosis for bipolar and knew what the illness was. He was hugely supportive in my return to work and I feel I can talk openly about it if I need to. My colleagues have also been supportive too! This experience has given me the confidence boost to not have to hide my illness anymore, I'm not ashamed and I am happy to talk about it. I wish it was like this for everyone but if you experience something like my first story I'd recommend finding another job. Living with mental illness is hard enough without having to deal with stigma from your place of work. It should be somewhere where you feel comfortable and supported.

So should you tell people you have a mental illness? Well that's up to you but since I've told my employer I feel like a weight has lifted and I don't have to hide who I am anymore. 

Book Review: The White Road by Sarah Lotz...

A cutting-edge thriller about one man's quest to discover horror lurking at the top of the world.

Desperate to attract subscribers to his fledgling website, 'Journey to the Dark Side', ex-adrenalin junkie and slacker Simon Newman hires someone to guide him through the notorious Cwm Pot caves, so that he can film the journey and put it on the internet. With a tragic history, Cwm Pot has been off-limits for decades, and unfortunately for Simon, the guide he's hired is as unpredictable and dangerous as the watery caverns that lurk beneath the earth. After a brutal struggle for survival, Simon barely escapes with his life, but predictably, the gruesome footage he managed to collect down in the earth's bowels goes viral. Ignoring the warning signs of mental trauma, and eager to capitalise on his new internet fame, Simon latches onto another escapade that has that magic click-bait mix of danger and death - a trip to Everest. But up above 8000 feet, in the infamous Death Zone, he'll need more than his dubious morals and wits to guide him, especially when he uncovers the truth behind a decade-old tragedy - a truth that means he might not be coming back alive. A truth that will change him - and anyone who views the footage he captures - forever.

In many ways this book is reminiscent of the very dark but very brilliant horror film The Descent (in fact after finishing The White Road I rewatched it.) The first part of the book sees our protagonist attempting his way through some very dangerous Welsh caves. The book was written with such clarity and was so visceral that it felt like I was there. I could feel Simon's fear and dread. 

As with Sarah Lotz previous two books (The Three and Day Four- of which I loved) fear is a strong theme throughout this novel. PTSD also features heavily as all the central characters are dealing with some sort of loss or past incident that still haunts them. Two of Sarah's biggest skills are suspense and ambiguity which are very much present here- I was questioning every twist and turn of this book. I really didn't know where it would end up as I know from her previous books Lotz will literally go in any direction and make it mind-blowingly good. 

Simon was not the most likeable person but I still rooted for him. He pushed himself to his limits first in the caves and then on his Everest trek. This was probably my favourite part of the book. We got to follow him and his trekking companions as they gradually acclimatised themselves to the altitudes in order to reach the summit. More than once I found myself focusing on my breathing as they struggled in their environment. It looked at why people would take such a life threatening risk- just reading about it was scary enough! 

This was a story of survival and a look at how people handle grief. Although I wouldn't say this was a horror per se there were definitely classic horror elements to it (the tell tale heart springs to mind.) I'm trying to type this review without giving any spoilers and too much of the plot away as I think it really is best going into this book not knowing too much about it. One thing I will say is if you want a thrilling and suspenseful read about someone pushing themselves to their literal limit and haunted by their past- a book that will take you on a journey you won't forget then pick up a copy of The White Road. You won't be disappointed. 

I gave this book 4/5 on Goodreads.

The White Road is out May 4th and is available to pre-order in hardback here.

[HUGE thanks to Louise, Vero and Jenni at Hodder for providing me with a review copy.]