Monday, 17 July 2017

Not goodbye...

Okay. This post is really hard for me. Like you have no idea. I'm not abandoning this blog permanently. But i am going to be taking a few weeks break. I'm hoping it's just a few weeks.

I'm still going to be writing behind the scenes. But not publishing anything for a while.

Why? There's a lot going on right now. I don't feel in a position to write positively about anything. And I'm sick of writing about how anxious or sad I am. So I'm taking some time out. Going to try practice some self love and get back to the great position I was in before.

I hope you guys have a great couple of weeks.


Friday, 14 July 2017

I am eating spaghetti

Well this might be the worst strangest title for a blog post, in the history of blogging ever. This is only going to be a short one, I think.

Hello and welcome to 'I am having a wobble today'. I've been doing really well for the past couple of weeks and I'm hoping that it is because I am tired that I seemed to have slipped.

Either way, I am sitting in the middle of my bed. I have some candles lit, and my fairy lights on. I am wearing my favourite t shirt and I am eating a bowl of tinned spaghetti. I am probably going to run a bath at some point before what I can feel is already going to be a late night. But right now I cannot be bothered to move. I am not freaking out, I just want to be still for a moment.  So I guess that's a good thing.

I'm still looking for something new to read.

I hope you all have fantastically positively weeks.

See you soon.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

In the spirit of self love...

Okay. Hello and welcome to another recap because I'm crap at keeping my blog up to date! I've not slept much again. I went to bed at five this morning and I was very very happy. Now, I have wasted my day in bed mostly. I have very little in the way of regrets. Right now, I am lying upside down on my bed and I am watching some Dodie videos. I am settled and content enough for tonight. I even have some candles flickering. A romantic evening for once- can I get any more pathetic? No, on a serious night it's been a pretty good and relaxing evening.

First of all I'd like to thank everyone who read my latest post about body confidence (whether I forced it on you or not!), who liked the link to it on Facebook or who messaged me about it or even spoke to me about it at work. Every one of those little things make me extremely happy and positive. So thank you to every single reader and I'm really glad that you guys liked it so much. It was really daunting talking about it at work for the first time. But sharing helps me. (Side note: Thank you to everyone who has checked on me with regard to how I've been feeling. I think I'm doing okay-ish now!)

I'm quite firm in my belief that you cannot possibly get any further if you are incapable of loving yourself even just a little bit. That doesn't mean loving what you look like, per say. Or loving everything about yourself. I just mean that sometimes respecting yourself comes in handy. And putting myself first and being kind to myself has improved my mood significantly over the past week.

In the spirit of self love I was thinking about cutting my hair (hell this post is as opposite of deep). And for once I did something kinda spontaneous! I had about an inch off but I love it. I feel fresh and fabulous (probably look less fab than I feel). And Chelsey dyed the new mop for me. So in line with my body confidence post, I currently like my hair (woohoo!) I can't tell you how good it feels to like something about myself. This doesn't occur very often so when it does I'm always pretty happy.

I've also been trying to read more, and it's really helped. I just finished How to Stop Time by Matt Haig. I don't even know where to begin with this book. Easily one of the best books I have read and will read in a while. Having Shakespeare, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald as characters was genius and so entertaining! I was thinking about what I would perhaps stop time for. Maybe not stop it but slow it down for. Days off- without a doubt. Just for some extended moments of peace. I'd slow down my panic attacks. I think if they were slowed down, they'd be less than an anxiety attack. Dodie suggested just experiencing panic and that would be easier to observe if they were slowed down. I don't know. It's later.

So this evening I've had a candle lit bath and I'm going to get an early night in (yes, one in the morning is still early). But first I'm just going to let you guys know that I am working on what should be a very long project for this blog. I'm hoping that it's going to be helping me in the process but it's going to be very honest and mental health related (of course. please don't roll your eyes guys). But I have some fairy loot posts to catch up on. So my hours have gone up at work but I will be much more active here from now on (YAY!). My tablet is living in my bag right now so this will help.

I also know that I'm behind on a Fairy Loot unboxing for last month; I'll just merge the two when this months box comes!

I hope you all have tip top weeks and I will return very shortly.

Good night!

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Body confidence and life lessons.

Okay so it is no secret that I have been incredibly down and anxious for the past few weeks. Maybe even a couple of months, I don't know. Because of that I've not been nearly as active here as I wanted to be this year. For that I can only apologise. But I'm here now and I wanted to write something really positive. So here I am with a mid year recap turned body confidence/self love rambling post thing. (Edit: I'm feeling much better now).

I know that a large number of people start every new year with the declaration that 'this will be my year!' and I can't help but wonder how many people have found this year to be a good one thus far. 2017 has seen a lot of political shit, for starters. That discourages me from saying anything positive about the year before we even touch on my personal life. But here goes nothing.

This year has seen me progress toward being a manager at work. Seen the birth of a new baby sister; Harper (congratulations to my dad and his girlfriend). This year has seen many arguments, and more panic attacks than I've ever experienced in my life. I'm learning how to move on, and how to get rid of the toxic people that seem to fill my life at the moment. I'm learning to let go, and it's one of the most important things I've ever learnt (side note one of my friends sent me this video earlier and my god, it is so so helpful). I'm letting go of grudges, and the little things that get to me day to day. Boy it is difficult.

Okay. So I think this may be a long one and I apologise in advance. I watched this video too and I loved the concept of being able to turn insecurities and self perceived flaws into positives. Why have I only just discovered this youtube channel?! Thank you Lauren.

I hate my nose. I have done for many years. My little sister has got the same nose, I think. And I just hope that she grows into it. I feel as though my nose takes up ninety percent of my face. It is too big and urgh. Okay, now to turn this into something positive (HOW DO I DO THIS). No. Okay. This nose is my dads nose. It means that I have a feature of one of my parents and I think that's a pretty damn good thing. It's like an identifier, I guess, so that's cool.

Okay. What else do I hate? My lack of boobs (I apologise for this one but anyone who spends any amount of time with me knows I make jokes about this pretty regularly but I do not appreciate other people making jokes about this). My sister does not suffer from the same misfortune! (SHE IS THREE YEARS YOUNGER THAN ME!) But yeah. I'll not go into much more detailing about this as I am uncomfortable with certain people reading about this. Okay, here I go attempting to turn  it into a positive. I guess I get to buy pretty underwear and I'm pretty tiny with regard to my entire form so I am proportionate. Small boobs aren't really a terrible thing, I suppose.

I hate the bags under my eyes the most of all just lately. But I guess the best way to turn them into a positive is to think of them as a sign of hard work. I didn't sleep much in my second year of university because I was working, and doing uni work at the same time. It was exhausting but really rewarding. So with passing my second year, I'm gonna consider those bags a small price to pay!

So what do I actually like about my body? I've learnt to like my legs (except knees. But knees are weird in general), over anything else. And maybe my waist line. I'm just going to point out that I feel uncomfortable saying I like something about my body. I feel as though it makes me vain if I admit that I like something. But loving my body, even in parts rather than the sum total, is a relatively new concept. I was happy starving myself and carving marks into various limbs for the most part of my teens. And if you'd have asked me a couple of years ago, I'd have said I hated those scars more than anything. Truth is, you can barely see them now. But it wouldn't bother me either way. Thinking about it, I think I appreciate my body more now. I don't deliberately mistreat it anymore so perhaps I am going up in the world with regard to self love.

I wonder if I have been conditioned to feel as though I should put myself down? I don't know. But I am used to rejecting compliments, like it comes second nature to me now. I'm not being modest. I genuinely don't believe said compliments. Some guy told me I had a nice smile last week and I laughed in his face. I feel for Chelsey who has to deal with my panic about what to wear every day and how to wear my make up. I have nothing but praise for her and Lauren, who constantly build my confidence. I really appreciate and admire women that tell other girls they are pretty (I'm not fishing for compliments, I just think this is a lovely idea. Everybody needs support).

Lauren suggested compiling a list of things that help me with my insecurities. This was really hard in general to think about. Do I combat my insecurities at all or am I simply just accepting of them? I don't know. I know a good skin care routine helps me feel a bit better, and physical exercise.

I think it will take me a very long time to love my body completely. I take very few selfies that without filters. I'll load up snapchat and look at my face, and think 'hmm. 4 or 5 out of ten. Not bad. Maybe this will be a decent selfie'. But then I'll load up a filter and my face will get thinner, and any spots will fade away and I'll feel as though my actual face has suddenly lost all of its credibility. When in actual fact my face is not fat, and the filter has not slimmed it down all that much. The only difference is that I have a flower crown on my head. Maybe the lighting is a little better with a snapchat flower crown. So why am I so favourable toward filtered selfies in comparison to those that are unfiltered? Who knows but this worries me, a lot.

The truth is, I don't think I am stunningly good looking but I've realised that I am okay with how I look. Have I accepted my insecurity? Is this defeating the object of me promoting self love? Am I simply accepting what I think is my lesser standard of looks? Probably. But I think it's a lot to ask to expect somebody to be okay with themselves entirely when a) they have anxiety and b) they are surrounding by many societal expectations, comparisons and prejudices. The world is a very negative place when you are trying to develop body confidence. I don't want to sit here and make out like its easy to feel good about yourself because it really isn't. But I feel like we should feel good about ourselves and its awful that there is no room to do this.

Oh! I just remembered that I recently saw on Twitter that ASOS hadn't edited out a models stretch marks! How great is that! Seriously though, the world needs more of that. I want to look at clothes online and not feel like 'oh man I am not going to look that good in that shirt' or 'my ass won't look as good in those jeans'. You go ASOS.

I guess the point of this post is to say that there will probably never be a time when I am completely happy and in love with my entire body. But right now I am content and okay. In all honesty I've spent the day in bed, I am still in my pyjamas and I don't have that much make up on. But in the spirit of being body positive I thought I'd take a picture and use the only one I took for this post. It has no filter on it at all. So here is a picture of me, standing in front of my book case. The picture quality is awful and my skin looks shite. But it was the first one I took, and I am accepting it. I look happy so I guess I'm good.

I leave you with a some final words of wisdom that I first heard whilst watching The Princess Diaries when I was younger (so here, have a gif!). But the original source was actually Eleanor Roosevelt. It's a multipurpose quote and I think it applies to appearance, personality and intelligence. Everything. The message is so important. You are in control.

I hope that you all have a happy and confident week and I will return very very soon with a June Fairy Loot unboxing.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

“You're a wizard, Harry.”

So there are a million and one things that I want to write about right now. But at the risk of over complicating my life even further with some pointless wonderings, I decided to go with a Harry Potter related post. So a couple of days ago it was twenty years to the day since the first Harry Potter book was published. Which means, yes, Harry Potter came into the world shortly after I was born. I am as old as the Harry Potter books. That feels pretty damn good.

Okay, I'm going to start by sharing my house. I am very proud to be a part of Ravenclaw! Sharing a house with Luna Lovegood would have been brilliant! I wish I had the bravery and courage of a Gryffindor but Luna is proof that yu can be both brave and courageous without being in Gryffindor.

I know it's unusual but I actually only finished these books earlier on this year at nineteen. I read plenty as a child but went straight from Roald Dahl to Meg Cabot, then onto Kim Harrison's Dead Witch Walking Series when I was about thirteen. I just seemed to have skipped over Harry Potter. I'm pretty glad about it now.  I appreciated them more than I perhaps would have a few years before,and I took my time working through them. There's so much that can be learnt from Rowling's brilliant series. I think if I am ever to have children, I would rather withhold this series from them until they are mature enough to appreciate it.

So what's my point with this post? To bring you a list of my favourite things about Harry Potter, of course! Here goes nothing;

1. Hermoine. She is one of my favourite literary characters ever. I adored Hermoine from the word go. For her intelligence and its coexistence with bravery most of all. I loved her because of her curly hair, for her compassion for the Elves. She is the perfect example of a girl with good intentions growing up in a really shitty world. She is conflicted, and passionate and a relatable character for any number of ages. And who doesn't love this particular line:

'It's Wing-gar-dium Levi-o-sa, make the 'gar' nice and long'.

2. Umbridge. Now if I were you I'd be reading this and feeling outraged. How can anybody like her?! I included her in this list because I think she is hilarious. She brings a whole new dynamic to the 'crazy cat lady' and a new dimension to the concept of a villain. She's a mature woman, who wears pink consistently and loves cats. Typically, she is the furthest thing from what one would expect from a villain. Yet she's one of the most sinister, terrifying, characters that I have ever come across. I love that we had some female villains. She and Bellatrix are pretty sinister and it's extremely interesting. Is it acceptable that there are equal oppurtunities even in villainy? (Does she remind anybody else of Theresa May?)

3. The possibility of defying the odds. These three characters have just about everything thrown at them. Their families are threatened and occasionally killed, they are left wondering the world alone and resourceless in search of means of destroying He Who Shall Not Be Named. Even when they are captured, they still manage an escape. Hope never loses its value in the Wizarding World. With this presence of hope, comes the unexpected nature of the universe. I'm sure a better reader than I could probably have predicted what happened in some of these books. But for me, the element of surprise was always present.

4. Snape. Professor Snape is one of my favourite characters. He's got one of the best character developments in this series I think. From my favourite villain to my favourite hero. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel a little bit of a strange attraction to Professor Snape (I'm sorry!). I think in the end I liked Snape much more than I liked Dumbledore.

5. Quidditch.  Do I even need to explain this? Wizards and Witches have their own sport, involving broomsticks and flying! It's awesome!

6. The political aspects to the series. There are so many political elements to the Wizarding World. I think the books would be really helpful to younger readers as an introduction to the Political World. The concept that torture is wrong. Dumbledore's Army. And do I even need to comment on the parallels between Miss Rita Skeeter and a certain red headed journalist in the real world? I think not! Rowling remains clever, entertaining and amusing with the introduction of politics though. But it isn't difficult for younger readers to acknowledge right from wrong.

7. A happy ending. I'm a sap, okay? I like a good happy ending. Harry and Ginny are a beautiful couple!

8. 'You're a wizard, Harry' and a squashed birthday cake. Simply Genius!

These are just some of my favourite elements to the Wizarding World. I absolutely adore this series and I cannot wait to start rereading them at some point; they are a series that I will always return to. I hope to someday make it to the studios in London. I hope you're all having wonderfully magical weeks and I will return soon.

Night night!

Saturday, 24 June 2017

With a bang, instead of a whimper?

Currently I am knee deep in the summer break from university. I'm pretty sure that I'm meant to be planning dissertation ideas and a future and I'll be honest, the whole thing is freaking me out. It has suddenly hit me that in a years time I will be finishing university. My degree will be over. Three years ago, I'm pretty sure it felt like it would drag on forever. And just as suddenly, I am faced with the abyss. A sickenly large void that is otherwise known as the future.

It terrfies me. Life right now is full of endings, and of new beginnings. And lots and lots of change. I'm wondering about what the end of my degree even means. Am I meant to finally start getting my shit together? But then, what does that mean?

But finishing my degree is the end of such a big chapter and I am worried about leaving it behind. I'm going to miss seeing friends every day and even announcing my panic in the safety of the lecturer's office. All of it.

Am I meant to start looking for a graduate job? I don't even know if I'm ready to do my masters or why I'm thinking this far ahead? I'm worried about being out of education; will my brain turn to mush?

Am I the only one who is worried about all of this?

I don't know. I'm hoping that all of these recent changes will bring about happiness and peace (probably a very unrealistic and stupid thing to hope for but here we are).

I hope you all have wonderful and stress free weeks

Friday, 16 June 2017

'Mierce's Marks'

So last night I decided to go along to a poetry event and it was pretty great. Mierce's Marks was organised by R. M. Francis, who is a PHD student at my university and prominent in the local poetry community, and Sam Roden. Sam is a graduate of The University of Wolverhampton and also my high school English Teacher. Together they gathered four other poets for this event and their choices were amazing.

I've seen both R. M. Francis and Willis The Poet perform before and they're both incredible entertaining and talented. Willis is hilariously funny and witty. However, the rest of the line up was entirely new to me. There were poems about parenthood, death, loss, love, heartache, the past, and the West Midlands. They were all so beautifully different. I laughed and smiled but sat in awe. I envy those able to perform their work. Especially so confidently! Maybe one day, eh?

I bought Sam Roden's chapbook, Catch Ourselves in Glass, at the end of the event and it is beautiful and witty. With regard to favourites, I'm currently torn between Shove Your Tissues and Zero.

I cannot wait to go along to another poetry event. They're always inspiring, and I cannot help but wish more people attended.

Have a good evening folks.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Wonder Woman!

Good evening folks.

I've been gone for a few days; partly because I've been working and I've been so very tired and partly because I've been trying to process the results of the general election. I think it is safe to say that
I am disappointed. I really thought that change was coming. I suppose that in a way change has come. Labour gave the Conservatives a damn good run for their money and I am proud to have voted labour. I do not regret my vote at all. I'm very worried about the next five years after today's outcome. I'm worried about the world that my sister is going to out into in a few short years. Worried about the world my children will grow up in. I am scared. And DUP?! What's that all about Mrs May?! I mean I'm pretty happy that Jeremy Corbyn hasn't given up. Oh and that Mexican wave from her this week guys- pretty crazy right? But the real question is: is the Mexican wave crazier than her running through fields of wheat? I think not. You simply can't top that level of cheeky.

Okay... last week I went to see Wonder Woman with Chels (dinner and a movie ready to be crossed off the bucket list for the summer). It was a pretty spontaneous and I only had about half an hour to get ready. But oh my god, and wow. Patti Smith's Wonder Woman is easily one of the best films of this year.

Okay, so the opening of the film depicts the Amazons; a tribe of women living on the isle of Themyscira. Diana is just a young girl when the film opens, and she is seen escaping her tutor in order to observe the other Amazons learning to fight. However, her mother catches her and explains their history. Their island was protected by Zeus, and hidden from the God of War that is Aries. Diana's mother discourages the little girl's dreams of joining the defense ranks by telling her this story; their origin story. She also introduces a young Diana to a room in which the gifts from the God's are hidden and includes objects such as the lasso of truth. The central gift within the room is what Hippolyta refers to as 'The God Killer'. I should probably mention that Diana herself is a gift from the Gods. She was fashioned from clay by Hippolyta and Zeus gave her life. Diana is already very unique.

Anyway, Diana's isolation is interrupted by Chris Pine. Now I haven't seen Mr Pine in anything since I battled my way through Into The Woods (ouch). But his role in Wonder Woman was amazing and much better than Into The Woods. I was very impressed and grew attached to his character quickly. Okay so Chris Pine, also known as the lovely Steve Trevor,  crashes a small plane into the ocean surrounding the island. Diana, after unleashing a strange power when engaging in combat with her Aunt, is stood on a cliff and sees the man break through the protective barrier. And she saves him from the water without a second thought. It was refreshing to see it reversed; a male in need of a woman's aid. The long and short of it is that Steve Trevor is a British Spy and has just blown his cover in Germany. Now, the young man must return to England with vital information that will stop the 'war to end all wars'.

From the very beginning there is chemistry between Gadot and Pine. Steve Trevor presumes Diana to be completely inexperienced and naïve in all aspects of life, after all she doesn't even know what a watch it. Yet he raises the topic of sex and her response is my absolute favourite. She admits that she has read about sex and is well informed, but the books she has been reading have informed her that men are not very good at it. She is brilliantly funny, strong and yet very feminine.

The World War One setting was very uncomfortable for me. I've sat through films such as Saving Private Ryan and the like, and not felt even half of the emotion that I did whilst watching this. I don't know if it's because I was seeing it from a female perspective or not. But this film was touching and I cannot disagree with Empire that it gave Jenkins 'a chance to play with themes of female empowerment, feminism and standing up against oppression'. From a woman walking out into no mans land to the same woman questioning the practicalities of female clothing. It covered it all. Diana repeatedly denies every male order she is given; she refuses to be instructed and confined. It was so refreshing and entertaining.Empire continues to state that Wonder Woman is 'a film about the evil that men do, from small, snippy stuff to the big, bad, bigoted bullshit that could destroy the planet'. I couldn't agree more but the film is about an underestimated woman who battles against all of these evils with her empathy. This was amazing to watch.

I guess it's important to mention that Wonder Woman was joining the ranks of female super hero flops such as Catwoman and Elektra and yet it blew all projections out of the water with its incredible sales, even in its second weekend. So I may not have not the election result that I wanted, but it seems that change is coming with regard to the role of women in cinema and the superhero franchises. It is inspiring and beautiful. Oh and her hair is pretty damn good.

Oh and on a side note, Remus Lupin makes an appearance. I will never be able to disassociate the actor from the character that is Lupin.

Have a good week folks!

Monday, 5 June 2017

A confession; I am anxious this week

I've been trying to write this post for a couple of hours now, because I couldn't sleep. I wanted to think of a clever and witty way to write about it. I wonder if this is because I wanted it to seem appealing as a blog post, whether I was afraid of admitting it, or because I fear becoming boring. I
don't know. But this week is sure as hell not appealing. This is not me challenging the universal stigma surrounding mental health, for once. This is me trying to be brave and admitting that I have had a bad week. The slightest little things have been making me anxious and teary. Like the fact that my Norton anti-virus is up in a few days. How crazy is that? I probably would have been better off staying in bed this week but I feel as though this evening I am coming out of an anxious episode. I've spent my day off relaxing, reading and shopping. And I'm quite happy to admit that I am feeling a bit better! I am on the road to being fully functional again.

Last night I rediscovered Eat Pray Love. I didn't watch all of it and I'm under no illusions; this film is soppy as hell! It's not your typical chic flick and it is what inspired me to want to go to Italy after graduation. Sometimes, it's helpful to me. Last night I watched to the point of Liz Gilbert's discovery of the Italian word 'attraversiamo'. I forget this word often, and I shouldn't. I think it's the whole reason I watch this every now and then. This beautiful Italian word means 'let's cross over'.

So I came here with some thoughts on self care. I know that I forget that I have the option to change and 'cross over' every single day. To me, this word means that just because you are walking one path it is never too late to look across the street and decide you would prefer to walk a different path, instead. For whatever reason that is, it is okay. You are never stuck. Right now, I want to express how important it is to accept that sometimes a person must be selfish. At some point one must learn to love and appreciate the sound of their feet walking away from the things that are hurting them. By god, I wish I had perfected this art by now.

So we all remember how my wonderful friend Lauren and I wrote those letters to our younger selves? Well I've been doing a lot of thinking today about the things I wanted to tell future me. I hope that future me will have so much more common sense and be a lot wiser than I. Right now I feel pretty stupid and naïve about the world. So I'm hoping that twenty five year ld, even thirty year old me, will be better at, erm, life.

I'm going to aim for three pieces of advice and anything else is a blessing.

1. Okay, number one. I hope that you learn to put attraversiamo into practise. I hope you learn that crossing over and walking away is always an option. I suppose this comes under the much and simple phrase that is 'never settle'.

2. Never stop questioning. Seek adventure! I cannot wait to travel!

3. This is crap advice but be happy. Do whatever it takes to achieve this state.

Right now, I'm going to leave you with the mental image of me dancing around my kitchen listening to the Coyote Ugly soundtrack- Don Henley's All She Wants Do Is Dance is my absolute favourite song right now (I just finished watching the film!). I have cheese on toast cooking so I'm going to enjoy that! I hope you all have a wonderful week; I hope that they are anxiety free weeks. I should be back soon- probably after my interview tomorrow.


Evening all! So it has been a couple of days since my trip to London but I thought I'd finally post the pictures from the trip! First of all, I bring you a filtered selfie of me on the coach! The journey was so long and I totally underestimated the ability of my phone battery. The little thing let me down! I spent the whole journey taking selfies and playing scrabble with Chels across many miles. I had Courtney for company too. So it wasn't a bad four hour journey down there, all things considered.
Having never actually been to London, I was shocked by how much I liked the big city. The speed of the place was pretty cool. Kensington is so damn pretty! I wish we'd had more time to explore London but it has intrigued me enough to want to come back. The city seemed mostly full of other tourists which made me feel a little better!

The Globe Theatre was beautiful! There was something breath-taking about sitting on a bench, watching a Shakespeare play and being slightly anxious that the heavens were going to open at any moment, despite the consistent sunshine. Well the good news is that it didn't piss it down and my ribs hurt due to constant laughter. The performance of Twelfth Night was absolutely brilliant! I've not read it before, so it was a total surprise to me. It was hilariously funny and Olivia was by far my favourite character! Gender roles were quite radical, I thought. The cross dressing elements and hints are homosexuality were surprising! Totally sympathetic towards Olivia though, very sadly. Poor sod.

Exploring the city had me taking a lot of photos of the Thames. It's filthy but the view sure is pretty. Have another selfie of me amongst some pictures from the Millennium bridge! London is one impressive city and I cannot wait to go back! I was even fascinated by the red phone boxes and busses. It sounds so crap and lame, but I am super excited to get out of Wolverhampton and go see some more of the world. I cannot thank the University enough for putting this trip on and I wish I had gone last year! Also many thanks to Courtney for putting up with me for eight hours on the journey there and back.

I'm going to round up my appreciation of London with a picture of me stood next to a rather snazzy looking bin (why am I so awkward). I desperately wanted to express how much I wanted to go back to London when I got home, on social media. Yet very sadly I felt that I couldn't. Just as I got home and into bed there was a news update of another terror attack, in London not too far from where we'd spent the day. It hasn't even been two weeks since that god awful night in Manchester. I had a series of messages from friends asking if I was alright. Over the course of a couple of hours, two more attacks across London were reported. Chels and I sat there marvelling at the craziness of these terror attacks. I just cannot believe that we are in this situation and encourage everyone to stay safe. I caught the last half an hour of the One Love Manchester concert on television after work last night. That made me cry, it was so so beautiful.

Once again guys, I hope you all have a good week. Stay safe and be kind.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

The impending doom of the general election

Okay so I know that the election is looming over our heads right now and I'm sure that with this comes a lot of anxiety. Hell, I know that I'm anxious about it. I've spoken to lots of people thst still aren't sure who they're going to vote for. I could sit here all day and express my own political views. I've had several 'debates' with colleagues at work this week too and these conversations have made me question a lot of things about my views. But I'm comfortable with who I plan to vote for and it's no secret that I'm not a huge fan of the Tories. I would like to make something clear though, I am not planning to vote solely on the basis of university fees or based on my position as a student. Obviously this will be a factor in my decision because I am a full time student. But mainly I am voting as a young, working class, woman.

I wanted to write something that would seem less judgy with regard to who you are planning to vote for.

I'm hoping by now that more young people registered to vote. Because every vote counts. I've grown up being told that one vote cannot make a huge difference. This is not true. One vote can make a massive difference. Over ten million people all had this attitude in the last election and didn't vote. Imagine if all of those people had voted.

Research is so so important when considering voting. After the dreaded brexit vote, I spoke to so many friends that hadn't voted because they felt uninformed about it. I'm researching even more after my discussions at work this week. As I said, listening to somebody else's views at work raised doubts for me. I think it's really important that you make an informed choice. I would hate for anyone to feel as though they made the wrong choice or not vote because they didn't look into the options properly. Most politicians have Twitter, you can watch debates, etc.

I mentioned that i was voting as young woman from a working class back ground. Now my parents don't vote. Neither of them have ever voted.  But this is my vote. I sort of get where my parents are coming from. But ultimately I do believe that my vote will go toward making a difference. It would not sit right with me to be silent in the election as it's such an important event. There is so so much change that will follow these votes. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you shouldn't let somebody else's views automatically be your own. Everyone will vote for different reasons and it's important that you understand why you're voting and whos views you are voting for.

One final thing: be proud if you vote. As I mentioned, I grew up in a non voting house hold. And I'm learning now that politics is one confusing feild that just following requires a certain amount of commitment. So voting is a huge deal. Congrats in advance and I hope that you get the outcome that you were looking for.

I had planned something very different for this post. But in the light of the early morning sun I've opened for encouragement and no judgement.

I hope you all have a good day and I'll probably return in a few hours.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Social injustice of the sexist variety...

Afternoom folks and welcome to post two of the day (wow I need a hobby)

Okay, before I start, I'd like to make it clear that I did not bear witness to any of this. I am working on the words of somebody else. But the concept itself is not unheard of and it is unsettling to me as I'm sure it is to others.

Yesterday I was informed of something particularly disturbing. My sister is in her first year of sixth form; she is going to turn seventeen next month. She informed me yesterday afternoon that there are some girls in the year above her that have been sent home recently. When I asked why, she answered that it was because their tops were considered 'too revealing'. I asked my sister what the girl was wearing, despite the fact that I had already made my mind up with regard to my opinion, but I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt. She was wearing a vest top. I'd like to point out that the West Midlands has been blessed with a bout of blazing sunshine this week. There have been highs of 27 degrees. No wonder she was wearing a bloody vest top! I wouldn't turn up to university in a blouse, for fear of over-heating, sweat patches, and similar issues and embarrassments.

And yet she was sent home anyway. I wonder what the answer would have been if one of them had dared to ask why they so desperately needed her to change. I wonder whether it would have been an issue with the fact that it simply didn't adhere to the dress code. Or whether it would have been because it was distracting. My sister, however, pointed out that her boyfriend was always walking around school in vest tops and he's a sports student. What was different? And her teacher, jokingly, observed that he was well built and therefore had a right to show them off. Joking or not, this angered me. You have stopped a young woman from attending her lessons in a day, because of dress code. Yet you have accepted a young man's dress code as a service, almost. Very very strange. It's okay to objectify men, it seems.

I just visited the website of the same school, in which they celebrate International Women's Day? Like you can't celebrate something as amazing as that day, and then teach your women that they must remain covered up and worry about being a distraction to males. That is wrong, and disgusting. I'm just gonna bring in the same argument that Emma Watson employed when accused of showing too much skin. She stated that feminism was about liberation and freedom. It breaks my heart that women are still subjected to this crap and that it's still considered acceptable to objectify men like this. 

Society needs to take a long hard look at itself. But this disgusted me and I thought it was worth sharing. I'll confess I've had panic attacks over what to wear in a morning. It's part of the reason I'm rarely ever on time. I worry about whether outfits 'go' and whether this top makes me look fat or too skinny. Whether the patterned tights make me look 'slutty'. I often put the opinions of others and wider society before my own and I hate that this is the world we live in.

For more brutally honest examples of every day sexism, check out the their Twitter at @everydaysexism.

I hope you all have a sexism free day!

Another month, another Fairyloot unboxing...

Hi guys! So as you know I finished my second year of university last week! I'm going to be honest and admit that I have spent most of my time since finishing it in bed. I hope that there are some people that think me worthy of a rest. But thus far, I feel amazingly lazy. It doesn't sit right with me to do nothing. So I thought I'd get on with writing a blog post including the unboxing of the May Fairyloot box. So here goes nothing:

I didn't really have high hopes for this box. Fairyloot have been setting the bar pretty high in previous months and I honestly didn't think that they'd manage to top it again. The summary indicated that this months book would be a Mulan retelling and as much as I like Mulan, I wasn't all that excited or intrigued. But Fairyloot never fail to deliver an absolutely brilliant box! The theme for this month was Warriors and Legends and was said to be perfect for fans of The Lord of the Rings and other epic fantasy adventures. What's not to love right? Although I'll admit I've not seen or read The Lord of the Rings, nor The Hobbit. I'll get around to it eventually.

Anyway; the first couple of items were resting atop of the infamous purple curls and were tins. The bigger tin is a blend of green tea. I used to drink green tea all of the time and I don't know why I stopped drinking it. I will definitely be giving this a go pretty soon! The next tin was another candle! This months was by In The Wick of Time and mine was entitled 'Flame'. It smells absolutely beautiful.  From what I gathered, the candles varied from box to box. My friend Chels received a different candle. Before long I will need to keep an empty Fairyloot box for these bookish candles.

Beneath the purple curls was the wearable item they had mentioned; Celtic patterned socks! I've had socks from Fairyloot before and this new pair were equally beautiful and of a good quality. I don't think I'll wear either as I don't want to ruin them! Now following this was a couple of books. I was surprised by these as I don't normally expect more than one book. This time there was a chapter of a new novel and a book of summaries of myths and legends. It's such a cute little book and would have been so helpful in my first year of university; I took a module on popular myths. Both of these were absolutely adorable. There were three absolutely beautiful bookmarks also included in this box. One of which was based on The Lord of the Rings; but this is different. It is a woodmark! It's really beautiful.

My favourite item from this months box was the quill shaped pen! Mine was a pink, almost rose gold sort of, colour. I didn't realise that there were other colours but Chelsey got a gold pen, and there were even bright blue pens that went out! All of them were just so pretty. The pen writes beautifully and I've been using it to start my dissertation planning. It's now in the pen pot (which is shaped like the Mad Hatter's hat) filled with the novelty pens I seem to be collecting.

Okay, so this brings me to the book for this month. I was in Waterstones the week before the box arrived and had a feeling about the book. And I was right; The Flame and the Mist. The cover is gorgeous and Fairyloot included a print of the cover minus the title. I am saving this; I'm thinking of scrap booking all of the art that Fairyloot include. Right now it just sits around in boxes. It's such a waste.

Anyway, I started the book straight away and admittedly I'm only half way through. But that's because I started buddy reading Replica with Chelsey early on in the week. This book is one that I'm finding hard to follow, but I think that's because I'm only finding time to read a couple pages at a time. I haven't given myself chance to get fully submerged in it yet. But I do like it and have high hopes for it. The online reviews are positive, too. I'm excited to carry on reading and hopefully finish it this week.

Here's a picture of everything that came in this months box and I already can't wait for the June box!

I hope that you all have a lovely weekend and I'll hopefully be back later today, after yet another shift!

Monday, 22 May 2017

Reasons Why I Will Not Vote Tory

(I am currently half way through another blog post, but my god this needs writing).

I'd like to tip my hat to Theresa May, this evening. Why, you ask? On the basis that I didn't think she could stoop any lower or miss the point even more than she already has. Lady, you are laughable and you disgust me.

Right, I'll point out once more than I am not politically minded. Before last year, I didn't bother taking notice. But oh my god. I am shocked by the number of people that do not vote, and the sway they have over the election. It is appalling. It is two minutes out of your day, to really make a difference.

In case it wasn't already obvious, I wanted to list the reasons I will not be voting Tory in the general election on June 8th.

I'm going to start with something I read today. I found it on facebook. But it came from Theresa May's official facebook page. I link you to the post, here. Whether you read it or not, I found it disgusting and is full of reasons not to vote conservative. This was my favourite paragraph, though:

'Labour’s plan – with its fantastical promises and utopian vision – would drag this country back to the past. It would undo all the progress we have made, return us to the days when the trade unions held sway, and put our economic security at risk'.

Did anybody else feel the urge to laugh at this? I, for one, do not feel as though we have made progress at all. We are putting the vulnerable at risk in this country. Today, I read an article regarding May's ideas surrounding the elderly and health care and its limitations! I can only see the ways in which she and her leadership are targeting the vulnerable. The Fat Cats remain 'strong and stable' whilst the rest of us are on a steady decline.

She continues to state that they will fund schools- including new waves of 'selective schools' to ensure that young people have the best start in life. At this point I started wondering if she could hear herself. Education should not have the word 'selective' anywhere near it. Education should be universally accessible. I don't feel very supported, as a young person, in my journey toward a good life. Under her government, my tuition fees have gone up. The interest rate on these fees have gone up. And my stress levels have gone up with them. Oh, and it's worth mentioning that the threshold for paying your loans back was twenty five thousand pounds before this year. I reapplied a few weeks ago; and this has come down to twenty one thousand pounds. I will be now paying my loans back sooner than I thought and I'd be lying if I said that this thought didn't scare me. If I said that this change didn't have an impact on my wanting to do a masters. In comparison, Corbin is promising to abolish tuition fees. I don't think this is either possible or going to happen at all but you know what? The incentive is pretty damn good. The fact that this guy gives a shit enough about students to benefit them.

Theresa May wants children to have the best start in life, and yet she has announced that she plans to remove free school dinners for thousands and thousands of school children. Who in the hell does this benefit? This is madness.

Following this, May has proven herself to be a liar time and time again. Did she not campaign for 'remain' during the EU referendum? She argued that Brexit would 'risk Britain's future'. Yet now she is the face of Brexit, with her infamous slogan 'strong and stable' driving us all crazy. Do we all remember her saying that there would be no 'snap-election', yet here we are with the deadline to register to vote looming over us. Now, she introduces what the public are calling 'dementia tax'.

"Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s election co-ordinator, branded the Prime Minister “weak and unstable”, adding: “She is unable to stick to her own manifesto for more than four days".

Strong and stable is fine. But I want a strong and stable leader. A leader who does not refuse to participate in debates with other politicians and yet insists she is capable of leading us through Brexit and negotiating with something like twenty seven other countries. I want a leader who does not make so many damn u-turns. A leader with a clear vision that she is dedicated to. A leader with the best interests of this country at heart. Theresa May is not that leader. Sure it would be fantastic to have a strong and stable leader that was female; a elected female prime minister. I'm sure there will be those that argue this. But I am voting who I think is the strongest and the most stable leader. I am sure as hell not voting for a woman who voted against gay marriage, not just once but ten times. So on June 8th I will be voting Labour. I have no regrets.

There is so much uncertainty right now. I can only hope that the right choice is made.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Here's to tough weeks and perseverance...

Okay, so this week is mental health awareness week. You're probably thinking 'oh no. Not another post on mental health'. But I love weeks like this. Weeks that highlight mental health make me happy and comfortable. It's as though there are these days and weeks throughout the year where it is more socially acceptable to admit that you're struggling with anxiety, depression, and similar conditions.

I cannot stress enough how important raising awareness of these issues is. There is so much stigma that still surrounds them and I do not know why. I am sure that a lot of people would consider themselves to have a good standard of awareness of mental health issues. But I very much beg to differ. If we were as aware as we needed to be, then the world would not need shows like Thirteen Reasons Why. I have been so many pictures, tweets, and posts this week, and I started writing this post on Monday. I have read so much that the world has posted in support of this week. And it has made me feel so very happy and supported and I wanted to join in. I found Matt Haig the best at putting things into words.  This particular tweet was my favourite. It really sums me up as a person and I was very grateful for it. Matt Haig has a wonderful habit of making me feel very normal (I still hate this word).

I am much more open about my mental health than I used to be. When I was younger I couldn't even imagine being in a position where I wasn't hurting myself on a daily basis, never mind being able to reflect upon this so positively. Apparently being this open is a tad unusual and my lecturer informed me that I am much more open than he was at my age. But I had a teacher in high school that used to tell me that my experiences would one day come in useful. I don't know whether they are useful, per say. But I am not ashamed anymore. So why not write about it? I see no sense in hiding something that has contributed to my character. I would like to note that they have contributed, not defined, however.

I suppose you could count what I did this week as research. And I discovered something that I know I am very guilty of. I often separate my mental health from my physical health. But I think we all do! Okay, so if I get a cold it's a physical condition and it's just a cold. But if I'm having a day in which panic attacks are frequent, even though they physically affect me, I refer to it as a 'bad mental health day' or something alike. I wish that it were socially acceptable to state that 'I am having a bad anxiety day'. However frequent, or extensive these periods are, I would sure as hell be grateful for the opportunity and room in which to say it. Mental Health is more important, I think, than the majority think. In some places and situations, I do feel comfortable sharing. I have a wonderful group of friends at university, and I know I could turn to Chelsey or Lauren at any point and inform them of my anxiety. I am grateful for this. I just wish that I could do this more widely, and that other people could.

I have a friend at work who suffers with small bouts of anxiety. A couple of weeks ago we started to refer to these sudden, sometimes unexplainable, bouts as 'having a Walter'. Now, having a Walter can refer to anything from the smallest feeling of anxiety to the biggest panic attack one can have in the middle of a shift. Even if this friend and I do not share what is bothering us or what's caused the anxiety/panic, it is very helpful to be able to share what I am feeling and have somebody understand. More often than not, we hug and go about our shifts. This definetly makes me feel better and makes things more bearable. I know that it seems silly that the smallest acts of kindness can have the most impact, but it's true. It's the little things.

I know that I talk about self love and care a lot these days. But not so long ago I realised how important they were to prolonging a period of good mental health. Right now, self love for me is binge watching some series on Netflix in my room and eating some good food. Tonight, my poison is Pretty Little Liars and iced buns. I understand that it isn't always easy to provide love and care for your body, especially with a mental illness. But I also understand that because of this, it's important that I recognise my own small victories. I know that I am way too hard on myself, all the time. I am my toughest critic and I had another high school teacher that used to say that I was guilty of catastrophizing situations. This was my biggest problem. But now, at twenty years old, I would like to think I am better at being rational.

I know that I do not give myself or my body enough credit, and weeks such as these remind me that I am wrong for this. My body does a great job in keeping me going, and after the shit I have put it through it really deserves some love. As soon as my exams are over in six days time, I will be exercising regularly and eating properly and maybe even sleeping a bit better. I can't wait.

But I wish that more people knew that healing is the furthest thing from linear. I wish I could have planned out my recovery from self harm. I wish it had been smoother. It sounds clichéd but life does not work like that and recovery doesn't either. Some days are always going to be harder than others, whether you are recovering form something or coping with anxiety and/or depression. But the best advice I can give to anybody is to be gentle with themselves. Any mental health condition can make a person feel alone but it is so so important to remember that you're not. I think here is a good time to drop in one of my favourite Jennifer Niven quotes:

“Dear friend, You are not a freak. You are wanted. You are necessary. You are the only you there is. Don’t be afraid to leave the castle. It’s a great big world out there. Love, a fellow reader” 

If you're into poetry, then Rupi Kaur has a hell of a lot to say about self love and in some ways has inspired me. Also, I wholeheartedly recommend The Mighty! It has so much on there including personal accounts of experiences with mental illness and that help me feel a little bit more normal. (A few paragraphs down, still hating that word!) I know that I suggested Rupi Kaur and The Mighty but I wanted to share a picture of helpful books. Of course I am going to recommend both of Jennifer Niven's young adult novels. But there are books such as Liz Gilbert's Eat Pray Love, Gayle Forman's I Was Here, Matt Haig's Reasons to Stay Alive, Holly Bourne, The Bell Jar and even The Catcher in the Rye.

I guess what I've been trying to say in this post is that I am not okay. I am not okay more than I care to admit. But that is okay. I am not a failure, or a mess, or crazy because of it.

This week is tough for me and full of varying degrees of Walters for a number of reasons. But most deadlines and a lack of sleep. I am getting there though and every day that I do a little bit of prep for my exam is an achievement. I was really happy with my Shakespeare essay. Who knows what it will come back as though. Honestly the terms feel so so short these days and that does not help with anxiety.

Okay, last couple of things before I return to my university work. If you can do one thing consistently, then be kind. It can save lives. If you can remember one thing, it should be that you are not alone and you are worth more than you think.

We must step away from this sickening ignorance and stop the stigma.

To all of you having a tough week, students and beyond, you can do this.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

On turning twenty and practising self love

Good evening folks. It's my last few hours of been a teenager, so I thought it warranted a blog post of sorts. I'm a little bit excited to be turning twenty, and yet a little scared. I feel as though I should have, for want of a better phrase, my shit together. I feel as though I should be more together. I don't know. Twenty just suddenly seems very adult, and very real. Instead of getting my life together, I am drinking a mango capri sun in the aftermath of a pizza and cheesy fries. I've always been told I am an old head on young shoulders, but drinking juice from a carton does not seem very mature.

I've finally finished a book! I started re-reading A Court of Mist and Fury whilst I was writing my last post. I had forgotten how much I loved that book and had actually confused the endings. I, for some reason, thought that Rhysand had almost died or something. Turns out Feyre is trapped in the spring court with Tamlin. Who knew, right? Anyway, A Court of Wings and Ruin is released in 3 days! I repeat, 3 days! I finish work at four that day and am planning to boycott any of my responsibilities in order to read it in one sitting.

I've also been intermittently reading some Rupi Kaur. Milk and Honey is one heart-wrenchingly beautiful collection of poetry. I have her collection in Kindle edition and was reading it in Waterstones this morning. If reading Milk and Honey has taught me anything, its about self love. I am learning sometimes things are simply beyond my control and the best thing I can do for myself is to put myself first. Sometimes I will have to respect and love myself enough to walk away from things that are no longer causing me to grow. I think more often than not I mistake self love for selfishness and the two are so different.

My twentieth year will hopefully see some more self love.

Right, it's only a short one for tonight as I have some more essay work to do, a short nap to take, and some make up to put on before going out to celebrate. I hope you all have a week filled with happiness and books.

Good night guys, and let's all pray that I don't wake up with the mother of all hang overs tomorrow morning.

Monday, 24 April 2017

April Fairy Loot

Happy Fairy Loot unboxing guys!!

I have been beyond excited about this box for the last few weeks. Partly because last months box was so wonderful and because I am really struggling for something to read at the moment. I'm not sleeping very well and I'm very stressed about university assignments. It is not that I am struggling for something to read but rather I am struggling to read. I cannot get invested enough in a book to get past ten percent. I am hoping that this book will get me out of this rut. Fingers crossed, eh?

Anyway this months theme was Dreams and Wishes and only had two literary influences that were Sarah J Maas' A Court of Mist and Fury and Samantha Shannon's The Bone Season. Naturally, I was beyond excited given the named influences!

Okay so I knew that this box was going to feature a mug and this was the first item that I pulled out of the box. It came in a cube shaped black box with the Fairy Loot logo on and the box was adorable on its own! But then I pulled out the mug. It features possibly one of my favourite quotes from A Court of Mist and Fury: 'To the stars who listen and the dreams that are answered'. It is a really good quality and is so so pretty! I think it is possibly my favourite item in this months box. A Court of Mist and Fury is one of my favourite books and Rhysand is one beautiful character.

Okay, so the next item took some digging amongst the signature purple curls. A candle by Meraki Candles. This one is called Reverie, referring to the action of being lost in thoughts and daydreams. It smells absolutely beautiful and has pink glitter blended in. Like everything else I am now building up a collection of bookish candles which have mostly come from Fairy Loot and Owl Crate. The tins are always absolutely beautiful too. I really don't know if I'll ever light them but I do like having them.

There were a couple of promotional pictures in the box, one of which was Spindlefire. Oh my god I cannot wait to read this book. My student loan just came in so I think I might have to invest. Though I am still trying to persuade myself to read Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas, purely because I am waiting for an ebook version. I have some reservations about it, and I am rapidly running out of space for hardbacks, or books in general.

The next item I came across was one of the most beautiful A6 notebooks that I have ever seen. It is purple and has the word 'ruby' printed on the front and the inside cover was red and sparkly and pretty. Again, I don't know if I will ever actually write in it. I have a terrible habit of buying notebooks and not using them, because they are too beautiful!

 The next thing I found was folded up. It was a beautiful purple colour and I was fascinated. It turned out to be a tote bag. Okay, so anybody that knows me well knows that I have an unhealthy obsession with bookish totes. I have so many Pride and Prejudice tote bags of all different designs. I have a Virginia Woolf penguin tote bag. My most recent tote is one designed by Johanna Basford; the lady who illustrates the Enchanted Forest colouring book. It is absolutely beautiful. But this one? Came with a quote on from Samantha Shannon's The Mime Order. I think I squealed! I absolutely love this item. It is perfect. I couldn't not share a picture with you guys.

The second item in this picture is a fridge magnet. My fridge is like the most impersonal item in the house. Very few magnets or anything. I actually only have one magnet; a big bang theory inspired one. It has the lyrics from Soft Kitty on it and is so cute. This one is so sweet! I am once again saving it for a new flat but I cannot wait to put it on the fridge!

Okay, the third and final item is one that I missed the first two times that I went digging in this box. I only realised it was there when I read the summary card in the box. For the first time ever, Fairy Loot included a pin! It's a little jar of dreams and wishes and it is cute. It has gone in my box of bookish pins. One day I want to decorate a tote bag in them.

 This months book was one that I had never heard of before. It was called Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis. It has a beautiful cover and you can see what its about here. Whilst in the middle of writing this post I decided to reread Sarah J Maas' A Court of Mist and Fury as the third book in this series is released on May 2nd. I have missed these characters so so much. But I cannot wait to start reading this book.

A pile of books is growing up to reach my bed. I am seriously running out of room. But I am still counting on books for my birthday on sunday. I am a little excited.

I apologise for the mess that is my bookshelves too!

On a side note I had two assignments back today, and I had been convinced that I was going to fail them. I managed two firsts and I am so so very happy. It's shaping up to be a good week. Congratulations to everyone that passed today. Especially Soph who literally couldn't get over the shock of her grade.

Have a good week guys. I'll be back soon!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Thirteen Reasons Why review (...part two)

So last night I finished Thirteen Reasons Why. It has taken me about a week. You can find the first here. I was incredibly grateful for Chelsey being here whilst I watched it.
part of my review  At this point I'll post a spoiler alert. Like if you haven't got beyond episode six of this series, do not carry on reading. I will ruin it for you and you will hate me.

The tone became so much more sinister as I continued to watch from episode six. We went from sexism to sexual assault. To brutal, horrifying scenes of rape that made me cringe. To violence, and we watch as Bryce beats Clay to a pulp for asking the right questions. The second half of this series was even more painful to watch than the first.

There were so so many controversial scenes in these last seven episodes. Like why does Justin practically let Bryce rape his girlfriend? Justin lets that b****rd into the room, knowing that Jessica is drunk and vulnerable. Okay, so bro-culture?! Justin made it sound as though he had given Jessica to him, briefly, as a thank you for all that Bryce had done for him. For all the shoes he had bought him to play basketball in. No amount of shoes, or free lodgings, in the world could make me sell a loved one out in such a way. Then to deny it to Jessica? The transition in Jessica's character was astounding and she was played amazingly well. From the minute she is told that she has been raped, she starts to wear baggier clothing. to wear short skirts less and less. And she pushes Justin as far away from her as he can get. I would have liked to know what happened to Jessica.

I began to like, and have so much sympathy for Hannah Baker. I cried for her. I wanted the end to be different. I wanted her to not die. I also found that I had a favourite character; Tony. Tony was intent on carrying out this final act of distributing the tapes, for Hannah. It is Tony that aids Clay through processing his own tape. Tony is probably the only good person left alive in this series.

Did I hate anybody? Bryce. Who thinks that every girl in school is asking to be raped. Courtney. Ashamed to be gay. It was so easy to hate Courtney when female characters such as Sherri were facing up to their crimes. Sherri reports herself to the police, and faces a sentence! While Courtney conspires against a dead Hannah Baker in order to prevent her two homosexual parents from finding out that she might be, wait for it... gay! Good god. Courtney Crimson is one of most ridiculously disgusting characters I have ever come across. I also reserved a special spot for Mr Porter, the school counsellor who ignored the signs.

Mr Porter is the last person that Hannah Baker confides in and attempts to ask for help. Hannah opens the last episode, and her final tape with the statement that she has decided 'to give life one last try'. And even though I knew she had 'failed', as she put it, because we are listening to these tapes, I began to hope.

Instead, Mr Porter questions her about whether or not she asked her rapist to stop, or told him no. Then he states: 'maybe you consented and then changed your mind'. A young girl is sat at his desk, after being raped. And this is where I began to understand why these teens are so close knit. Why they insist on dealing with things on their own. Because either the adults don't understand, or don't want to understand. Before asking for the name of her attacker, Mr Porter questions whether or not Hannah has been around alcohol or drugs at the party. Okay, why is this relevant?! If a young woman is telling you that she has been raped, then you should be doing your best to help her. Not questioning the credibility of her statement. The victims are never 'asking for it' and to imply otherwise is damaging and a disgusting attitude to have. The victims are never to blame.

Both rapes that occur, those of Hannah and Jessica, are significant with regard to their cinematography in that they both prevent the male gaze. We see the true effects of Hannah's rape in extreme close ups of her clenched fist, that slowly releases itself as something dies inside her eyes. We see her face in a close up, with her eyes wide open as if they are taped that way. She is stuck, and does not move an inch. I am disgusted to think that the words 'no' or 'stop' are the only way a woman can express a refusal to have sex. She must verbalise these thoughts otherwise she has given consent. I'd say the fact that she tried to run away, and literally lay there motionless pretty strongly implies a lack of consent. Wouldn't you?!

Jessica's rape is shown from Hannah's point of view, and then from Jessica's point of view. The opportunity to see this as sexy has been removed and the brutality of rape shines through. I guess a lot of people are questioning whether the graphic nature of these scenes is really necessary. Jay Asher has admitted that they are quite graphic, and a little severe. But he does believe that this is necessary, because the very discussion of rape makes us uncomfortable. This, among many other reasons, is why victims are hesitant to come forward following an attack. I couldn't agree more. Maybe it is about time society stopped being so squeamish.

Thirteen Reasons why also handles the subject of self harm, very well I think. Skye, when talking to Clay, states that the rest of the teenagers handle their lives and get on with it, instead of killing themselves. Clay grabs her hand, and reveals her bloodied and scarred wrist. He declares that self harm is not coping. This made me smile a little bit. Thank god, finally somebody said it! Like rape, we are funny about issues of mental health. There is a hell of a lot of stigma still floating around, so to have this very clearly on camera was refreshing.

Episode Thirteen was an interesting one, for want of a better word. Ill warn you that it is graphic. Really graphic, and comes with a warning before the episode. I thought I'd cry. At first I covered my face with my hands, only to peak through my fingers. Not because I wanted to see Hannah's demise. But because I felt like I owed it to her, after all that I had seen. I felt as though, in a weird way, I needed to see it. As soon as she made that first cut, my body seized up. I drew my legs a little bit closer to my chest and everything locked. It was a pretty strange feeling at the time. I didn't know whether I wanted to cry, throw up or laugh awkwardly. Why would I want to laugh? Because I felt so uncomfortable, as if I was entreating on a private moment. I don't know what it was. But I know my entire body went through an experience whilst seeing Hannah Baker commit suicide. And I know that I never want to relive it. I will never rewatch this series, though I will reread the book after this.

My eyes only started to fill up when Mrs Baker finds her. She kids herself that her baby girl is still alive and it broke me. A literal blood bath.

I questioned in my first review, whether or not these kids were to blame. I think some of them are, yes. But not all. People like Sherri, who were just worried about saving their own skin. She did not mean to hurt Hannah. But Courtney Crimson, who even after Hannah's death is still willing to sell the girl out and blame her for her own suicide? She isn't even mature enough to accept that she might have been in the wrong somewhere along the line. Of course I blame characters like Bryce. I felt sympathy for characters like Clay.

But you have to question where they're skewered ideas come from. They are growing up in a world where women are 'asking for it' and slut shaming is very very difficult to avoid. I read this article from The Huffington Post today, and it discusses the effects of slut shaming. To call a woman a 'slut', a 'whore', or whatever, is to make her a target for sexual assault. Tanenbaum states that 'slut shaming is really just a catchy way to signify old-fashioned sexism'. It's wrong and one list declaring that Hannah Baker has the 'best ass' in her class ends up making several male characters thinking she is fair game. It ruins her high school experience and results in something very severe. I'm not suggesting that slut shaming drives people to suicide every day. But I am stating that it is a very dangerous concept. It just warrants some thought, I think.

There were so many unanswered questions at the end of the episode. But I find myself comfortable with these questions. I do not want them answering, and I feel I have seen enough. Though I can't help but wonder about the people that are stating, on social media, how much the show has touched them and had an impact on their opinions. I wonder how many of these people have said self harm is attention seeking. I wonder how many of them are the people I shared my break with a couple of weeks ago.

Thirteen Reasons Why is brutally honest and captures our wilful ignorance on camera, for once.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Thirteen Reasons Why... (I'm only on episode six but I'm going to review anyway)

'You can't stop the future.
You can't rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker--his classmate and crush--who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah's pain, and as he follows Hannah's recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever'. (Taken from

So I read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher many many years ago. One of my oldest friends lent it to me when I was about thirteen or fourteen, and it was quite possibly the first YA books I ever read. At the time, I would have been self harming (okay, I said it. Bye bye readers! Oh, and hello to the people I had to sit with the other day at work whilst they deemed self harm attention seeking. This is for you guys). So this would have been of a comfort to me, and something I would have liked to think that I understood properly. Boy, was I wrong! Watching this again, six or seven years later is simultaneously the best and worst decision I could have made with regard to my viewing habits. I know so much more about the world now, and this has really affected by viewing experience of the series.

Thirteen Reasons Why is packed full of so many controversial topics. Sexism, the perils of social media, suicide, self harm, homosexuality, and teenagers in general. I think they get a bad rep in this novel/series. But on the other hand it is about time we got to see something hard hitting. We can't keep sticking with the idea that they're not all bad. Technically, I am still a teenager. But the teens presented by Jay Asher resemble more of a high school cult. All of the adults are presented as over emotional, protective and yet half assed outsiders. It is quite terrifying and made me a little uncomfortable. These teenagers are of the opinion that they can handle things alone, and refuse to consult an adult on issues of rape, sexual assault, and bullying.

I find Hannah Baker quite terrifying and always have done. I fear her and I am not entirely sure why, because I feel an immense about of sympathy, for her, simultaneously. She is subjected to a whole variety of rumours and labels including 'slut', 'whore', 'lesbian', 'crazy' and 'best ass' in the sophomore class. When Hannah Baker explains to Clay why she is upset about being put up against her best friend on the list for best ass, he presumes she is ungrateful. That she doesn't understand how much of an honour it is when there is some pretty stiff competition. I was outraged by this, as you can expect. Hannah Baker points out that teenage girls are much less likely to make a list like this about teenage boys., But what she neglects to point out is that the reason for this, is because the same teenage girls are too busy objectifying other teenage girls along with the teenage boys. Nobody gives a shit which teenage boy has the best ass. These labels are only applicable to young girls,apparently. This is so disgusting. Even Hannah's friends are of the opinion it is okay to fuel these labels, because she already has them. She is consistently betrayed in the worst ways. Slut shaming is not okay, ever and neither is subjecting anybody to this kind of objectification.

I wonder what other viewers think about the questions I have. Are these kids really to blame for Hannah Baker's suicide? Or are they simply just acting in the way that has been demonstrated to them. These teenagers can only at in the way that has been prescribed to them. They conform to expectations. God only knows what their role models were like. And is Hannah Baker really a reliable source, is she a liar? Nobody really knows but I do consider her to have some credibility. Perhaps that's because of her circumstances, because she killed herself. Maybe I believe she is more genuine because of this. Because I don't believe that people kill themselves over lies.

I think my problem with this novel/series is that I feel a great distance with regard to the characters. It's a distance, though, that I think I have put there myself rather than Jay Asher deciding I needed to remain at a distance from these characters. I don't find any of them endearing. I feel sympathy for each and everyone one of them. Especially Hannah and her parents, and clay. I wondered if their flawed nature is what makes them so appealing. What I mean to say is that I don't root for any of these characters. Not even Clay. Maybe this will change as I reach the end of the series.

The events of Thirteen Reasons Why originally took place in one night. However, I enjoy that it takes place over a time period. It is impossibly unreasonable to expect somebody to play tapes that are as traumatic as these in one night.

There are quite a few trigger warnings online for this series, and apparently it's not difficult to see why. Chelsey has been sending me updates, as she's much further ahead than me, identifying where the triggering bits may be. (Thank you so much Chels!) I had to sit back and really consider if I find this show triggering. Erm I think there might be a difference between finding something uncomfortable and finding it triggering. I think it makes me feel uncomfortable and very sad, but not to such a severe degree. Though I can see why other people would consider it triggering. I am somehow dreading her suicide scene.

So I found this little message on facebook. I really appreciated that such an important thing was being shared online. But it broke my heart a little bit, all the same. How many people have to die before we understand this, truly? Before we comprehend how serious words are, and how much power is behind them. It should not need spelling out that you could seriously hurt somebody. How many more people (including fictional characters) have to die, and be subjected to such carelessness.

I still hate the label 'crazy'. And slag and slut.

I'm trying not to preach. I'm just asking for you to remember to be kind, always. Words have a bigger impact than you think.

Night night guys.