Remembering the good.

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If you haven’t guessed already I love pictures like the one above. I love words and slogans and nice backgrounds. I guess it’s because sometimes I don’t have the image that says what I want to say or sometimes I don’t have the words to say how I feel. It’s because of that I use Pinterest a lot because sometimes the words I need are already there. I don’t use the quote I picked today because I think I’m this brave, strong person. I’ve always said I’ve simply got on with my life the best I can.

I’ve thought a lot about the accident in the past few days, about my spine. This isn’t because I’ve had a lot of time on my hands, more because I’ve been in pain again and there’s nothing more frustrating. When my doctors say the scans look normal and my physio says there’s not much he can do and yet I’m still in pain a lot of the time. When I’m in the awkward part where I still can’t walk too far or stand up for long periods of time and have to explain that I’m recovering from a spine injury. When I have to call venues and explain why I need a seat and they have to decide if I’m ‘disabled enough’, because I’m not officially registered as disabled but at the same time I’m still struggling so much. Don’t get me wrong I do not want another label at all, but sometimes it’s what other people want so I can get the help I need at concert venues for example.

So while I was feeling pretty down about this yesterday, I had a conversation with Ali about how I was feeling and why. He reminded me that while the accident was shitty, awful and did change a lot of my life, a lot of positives came out of it too. I was reminded of these again when I went to see Joe tonight.

  • I’ve got a new appreciation for my body when it’s healthy
  • I’ve gotten better at taking me time and not doing things I don’t want to do
  • I’ve learnt a lot about friendship
  • I’ve got a much better relationship with food, portion sizes and exercise
  • I met Alice, who has come to be a great friend and support to me, I would never have set foot in a gym if it wasn’t for the accident
  • My relationships gotten stronger
  • I have a new sense of understanding when it comes to physical disabilities
  • I got a job I love that I might not have applied for if I hadn’t been spending so much time online when I couldn’t move
  • I got a lot of reading done
  • As a result of the reading I finally embraced feminism and found a new passion

There’s a lot there and I think, as with anything that changes your life when you don’t expect it, there’s a lot to deal with. Sometimes I forget all the positives because I’m just having a down day, that’s all. I worried about writing tonight’s blog because I have had people in the past saying I think too much about my spine, that it takes over my life. Then I shook the thought off because of COURSE breaking your spine is going to have a huge impact on your life, it changes everything for at least the first year – two years after it happens. I no longer care about the ignorant or negative people who don’t try and understand or make throwaway comments because my spine and how I handle it is a part of my life. The good, the bad and the ugly.

STRESS and what you can do about it

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Today I woke up early with butterflies in my tummy to go to my doctors appointment. I’ve been so nervous about getting these test results back after being ill on and off for the past month.  The good news is that it’s none of the things they were testing for like Crohn’s, Celiac disease, Diabetes and general bowel disease. The not so good news is that my body isn’t dealing well with the stress that I’ve been under and it’s made me sick. I read somewhere once that we shouldn’t talk about stress, that it was a very british thing to say when we are and we shouldn’t do it. I thought about that for a long time and I think it’s part of the reason I don’t like telling people I’m stressed, I don’t want to seem like I’m whinging.

After hearing from the doctor what being stressed is doing to my health though (and this isn’t the first time), I realised this IS something that needs to be spoken about. Especially with students, I’m in my final year at university and the stress is unbelievable. There is so much pressure to do well, work out what I want to do, find jobs, apply for jobs,  socialise, enjoy all the ‘lasts’, apply for postgrad schemes. On top of all that I have my spine stuff and my mental health. As my mentor said to me, it’s no wonder that I’m getting stressed out at the moment.

So I did what I always do, I wrote a list of things to help me deal with stress and hopefully some of them can help you too

  • Write things down, what you need to do, things that are worrying you, things to look forward too. Everything is a lot better when you write it down. I usually do it in fun colours.
  • Be honest with the people around you.
  • Learn to say no, when things are too much or you don’t want to do them. Saying no is ok!
  • Listen to your body! That’s probably the most important
  • Find a stress reliever, I always feel better after a workout if my spine would let me I’d be in the gym every day.
  • Try and get a good nights sleep.
  • Whenever you can, be around people who make you feel good!
  • Treat yourself to something you want
  • Allow yourself to be a little selfish.

I plan on doing all of these on my week off to try and recharge my batteries and get ready for the final 6 weeks of lectures (!!).

Let me know what some of your stress busting tips are in the comments.

Book Review: Extraordinary Means – Robyn Schneider

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The life you plan isn’t the life that happens to you’ 

Lane’s a hard worker, he’s getting perfect scores, in the model UN and looking at a straight streak into Stanford, internships and Wall Street, that is until he gets a drug resistant form of TB which gets him sent to a boarding school for sick teens. While Lane thinks his life is over, it’s really just beginning and it teaches him something he’s never encountered before. Meanwhile troublemaker Sadie has has more than enough of Latham House and thinks that nothing will change until a past face catches up with her.

I have to start this review by saying that I am in love with this novel and I’m kicking myself for not picking it up earlier. While some people have hailed it the new The Fault in Our Stars I think that’s a brush off, not only is this novel completely different but it also doesn’t do Schneider’s writing justice, this is not a rip off of John Green although I think fans of his will appreciate it. I picked this up in a book haul and completely fell in love with it from the first chapter. It’s perfectionist characters like Lane (our protagonist) that I really fall in love with because I recognise them and I understand them, being a total perfectionist myself.

Extraordinary Means has a host of characters you can see walking around your head while reading. There are very few books that I get this emotionally involved in, that I pour over and finish in a matter of hours rather than days. What Schneider has managed to create is not one but four lovable characters, each with their own individual personalities that you can hold in your heart from the first page they’re mentioned to the last and I for one like to imagine after the novel and what the future holds.

This kind of novel is tricky, a lot of teenagers locked up for their own good dealing with being a teenager as well as being sick. There are a lot of people who write about illnesses but TB is something we no longer considered as a threat, it’s mostly wiped out, right? In this novel it’s very real and I for one sat and thought long and hard about what it must be like living with a contagious disease, taken away from everything and having to start a new. This is the power of these types of novels they make you think not only about the plot in the novel, but also about the wider world and the people in it. Would we react as people in the novel do? Would we care about the people living without a cure? It’s definitely worth a think, especially after seeing it through Lane and Sadie’s eyes.

I have to say that was one of the best parts of the novel, having two different perspectives was a nice change to a lot of YA literature. Seeing the side of a boy and a girl and their different reactions and emotions. While Lane is newer to the boarding school and a more relaxed way of life this is all Sadie has known for a long time, the differences are what makes this novel fantastic.

I have to give Extraordinary Means 5 stars *****. I read some Goodreads reviews that I felt were quite harsh on a novel that was superbly written. I finished this book in a matter of hours, it’s always going to have a place in my heart. Beautifully written and incredible…don’t try and compare this to any other book because you won’t find one.

Review by Chloe Metzger

Deadpool

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Ever felt like Superheroes are just too, good? Well, meet Deadpool he’s super but he’s certainly not about to let anyone call him a hero. He swears, he has a fondness for knives and swords as well a great sense of humor. Hooked yet? You should me.

So to replace valentine’s day, Ali and I made a deal a few months ago that we won’t go to some super dull restaurant because that’s what couples are supposed to do, we’d go see Deadpool instead. That, my friends was the right choice and if I didn’t have uni I would have gone to the midnight showing last night. To put it simply, Deadpool is a masterpiece. I can honestly say that it’s one of the funniest films I’ve seen in my life, non stop laughing from the minute the screen comes up to the extra scene after the credits (yeah, stick around for that). I also have to say the marketing team have been genius with their campaign, absolutely genius.

I’m not someone who wants to spoil anything about the movie so this is going to be fairly short, because, depending on what trailer you watch there are different levels of knowledge before watching the film. I’ve added one at the bottom but there are others online, I’d seen them all before because I’ve been waiting to see it since the first one came out. I need to add here that while I LOVE comic books and have a good collection I’m still fairly new and had only read one Deadpool comic before going to the cinema today. From what I’ve heard it matches the comics really well and you can be sure as hell I’ll be going to pick up a few next week. Oh and Ryan Reynolds is absolutely brilliant, has great comedic timing and I couldn’t think of a better actor for Deadpool.

So there you have it, I am in love with this film and now I’ve seen it can’t wait to pick up some awesome merch and wait for the next Deadpool movie, because that’s happening you’ll be pleased to know. I’ve attached the trailer below, check it out, I doubt you’ll be dissapointed.

ALSO! If you like this trailer, make sure you look up the redband trailer, it’s a lot funnier, a lot more like the movie itself. It’s just freaking awesome.

I’m a Feminist.

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A lot of people may see the title of this post and think, so what? I’ve thought about writing this for a while and put it off for no reason other than I didn’t want to get this wrong. I am publicly declaring I am a feminist and anything I thought or wrote before is now over written. I’ve always been a feminist but I hadn’t always liked or used the word. I’ve been a feminist since I was a little girl where I’d shout GIRL POWER at everyone while wearing girl power temporary tattoos and would play armies at school and take charge. I’ve been a feminist since I got bored of barbie and used to sketch out my own dolls who could do anything and be anything. I’ve been a feminist since I was a passionate and angry teenager and later and excited 17 year old who saw a poster for the feminist society at university. Then something changed. I came to uni and got in an argument with a male feminist about how oppressed and angry I should feel. As a rule I hate being told what I should and shouldn’t do or feel, more people tried to fit me into a mold so I decided I didn’t want to be a feminist if that’s what people expected of me.

For a long time I, like a lot of young women, refused to call myself a feminist. I didn’t like the way the word had ugly connotations of man hating, being angry and not wanting to shave or wear a bra. I hate body hair on any human and I love a good bra. I’d say I was a humanist and other things like that, I got in arguments at uni and a lot of ‘feminists’ made me feel like I had to conform to their way of life. Fast forward to when I broke my spine and had a lot of spare time on my hands and something changed. I picked up a copy of How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran for my Writing Women class and it spoke to me. I suddenly felt like I belonged and I could be a feminist and still be myself.

I read and continue to read every book on feminism and strong women that I could get my hands on. I got more interested in politics and women in an international context. I was happy talking about feminism and debating with others. I wanted to be part of a great group of men and women who wanted positivity and empowerment. I’ve said too many that I feel feminism is something you need to discover for yourself and not just tell people WELL YOU ARE, that just pisses people off. I found, fell in love and embraced feminism. I love women like Roxanne Gay too who question what it means to be a feminist in her book ‘Bad Feminist’, because I don’t think there is one true way of being a feminist.

I’m all for women going out and getting a career but I’m also totally supportive of stay at home Mums. My first female role models who I spent time looking up to were my Mum, my Aunt and my Nanna all three are incredible, powerful, kick ass women and all three were stay at home Mums. I also admire working women too, I’ve learnt a lot from my boyfriend’s Mum, who’s always worked. They’re all different and all deserve to be respected for different things.

I also feel that a woman can do what they like with their bodies. I’m not against glamour modelling or the porn industry. Don’t get me wrong there are issues and that’s a whole new blog post but if women WANT to do that to their bodies then who is anyone else to dictate to them? Because to me feminism is all about having a choice.

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I could go on and say all the things we need to fight and put right in the world gender stereotypes, rape, female education around the world, the children debate, etc. I could write about all the men on Twitter, when I posted about equality, who told me I was wrong that the pay gap was a myth and feminism wasn’t needed anymore. I could apologise for being young and naive when I said I wasn’t a feminist. Really though, I just want to say that I’m a big fan of feminism and other women. I don’t want to get angry and compete with them or knock them for every little thing. I certainly don’t want to stand up and go well women are better and men suck, I love men!

I’m writing this because I felt like it was the right time for me to say. I’ve been thinking about feminism instead of sleeping and looking up more books to add to my collection. I know there are some fantastic women out there who I’ve yet to meet and I also know there are people who will judge me first on being a woman before anything else, but you know what I’m excited. I’m excited that I’m a part of this community and that we live in a time where there are so many people working for equality and hopefully less hatred.

So there you go, I’m a feminist, how about you?

Missing Motivation

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I don’t know if it’s just me, or if it’s third years in general but I’m starting to really struggle with my motivation. I’m not usually like this, I like to sit down and get stuff done and out of the way. For some reason, recently I sit down and just procrastinate, I just want to read books that aren’t related to my course and do anything but my uni work.

I have a lot of ideas and I’ve been getting bits done here and there but I need to start motivating myself again, getting some work done and my head back into everything. Part of me wonders if this is me trying to avoid the fact that these are some of the last assignments of my undergrad degree.  I’m not someone who’s counting down until I graduate, I love university and I love studying. Either way the assignments need to be done, luckily I have a week off of uni next week so hopefully I can sit down, get on and get it all done.

For now though, there’s no getting this brain to focus right now so there’s a book and an early night calling me.

Sunday Seven: 7th Feb 2016

As promised I’m starting a new weekly post about my favourite 7 things of the week! Some weeks it might be themed, others it will just be my favourite 7 things of the week, like this week! If you’ve got an idea of what you’d like to see in Sunday Seven then let me know in the comments!

One – Having my face plastered across the Uni 

Last year I won an award for Overcoming Adversity and to promote this years award there has been a very embarrassing picture of me and the other winners  all over Facebook, Twitter, the student paper and all around the screens at the uni. I’m nominated for 3 awards this year too which is awesome, but doesn’t make this picture any less embarrassing.

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Two – My Hamsters 

Hamski and Noodle are my fur babies and have been really active this week. We’ve had a lot of hugs, some lessons in not biting (Noodle) and a few mini photo shoots. I’m completely besotted with them both.

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Three – Fresh Flowers 

I’m a sucker for fresh flowers. I just love the smell and the way they brighten up a room, even if it’s rainy and horrible outside. My grandparents got me these on Monday to say get well soon, because they’re adorable.
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Four – New Books! 

I had some books I needed to exchange this week and came home with three that I’ve been desperate to read. Sex Criminals is a graphic novel and nothing like the title suggests, well it is but not what you think a sex criminal would be, it’s volume 2 out of 3 and so far, so good. The next two books are by authors I adore and have reviewed  before, both are Young Adult fiction and look to be brilliant.

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Five – Primark’s Star Wars Game 

The Force is strong in Primark. I absolutely love anything Star Wars since watching the original trilogy over my birthday, then of course the new film was fantastic. I popped into primark and got a kick ass pair of shoes for a fiver (!!), R2-D2 cup for £3.50, Storm Trooper knickers for £2.50 and the socks for about £2. This badass stuff and the Harry Potter stuff they normally have is one of the reasons I only let myself in there sparingly. IMG_6340

Six – American Crime Story 

Now, I don’t normally watch a lot of TV. There are a lot of ‘cult’ shows that I’ve never watched or I have watched and haven’t seen the appeal, I’m much more of a book girl. That said, I watched the first episode of American Crime Story and I am hooked and can’t wait for the next episode on Tuesday. It’s also made me interested in the trial itself, meaning I have a lot of reading to do after pouring over documentarys last month.

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Seven – Harley Quinn 

All hail Harley Quinn! This is the graphic novel that started my obsession. I absolutely love the character of Harley and today picked up another novel, making it my third. There’s another two I need to buy and of course I’m excited about the new Suicide Squad movie. I have to admit so far I like this version of Harley better, but we shall see when the movie comes out in August. IMG_4616