Heading To The Aisle – Finding My Wedding Dress!

A few weeks ago my Mumma and I headed down to Brighton and Hove with one thing in mind, to try and find my wedding dress. I’ve been looking for a long time now trying to find a shop with dresses that I liked.

I scoured website after website and kept coming back to one based in Brighton, Ocean Bridal. They seemed to have a huge mix of dresses and more than a few that I liked the look of, it also helped that when emailing I was in contact with a wonderful woman called Simone. She made me feel so relaxed about coming when I had been tying myself up in knots over it.

We were originally due to go back in November but due to some personal reasons we had to rearrange, which was not a problem at all and made me even more determined to get to this shop.

The shop itself is in Hove, a 5 minute train journey from Brighton itself and just around the corner from the station. We were greeted with a huge smile and while we waited for a few minutes met some other lovely members of staff including 2 very cute dogs.

Once in we explained it was the first wedding dress shop I’d been in for myself and I’d never put on a wedding dress before. I’d sent a few in advance that I wanted to try but was encouraged to look around and pick a few more and during the process Simone would pick a few more she thought I might like.

For someone who is incredibly self conscious trying on new clothes and gets super anxious in changing rooms I had the best time. You know they say you know your dress as soon as you put it on? I knew. I knew that dress was the one. I put it on and my reaction was ‘oh’. I felt the most beautiful I had ever felt. Bare in mind this wasn’t in my size and the final will fit like a glove.

I tried on more dresses after that but kept coming back to the first one. Nothing made me feels as good or confident. I didn’t see my flaws in that dress I just saw me and I couldn’t stop smiling. I found my dress and more importantly I felt like a damn movie star with no pressure to lose weight to fit in in or change myself. I felt beautiful.

Now, this is a difficult post to write because I can’t tell you anything! It’s not just because I’m excited to for it to be a surprise for my guests but ALSO my super sneaky fiancé has been trying to do some snooping as to which dress I got! Thankfully, I have no pictures of it on my phone (at my own request) and I am more determined than ever to keep this a secret…but the below photo gives you an idea of how excited I am and how hard it’s going to be to keep this a secret for 11 months.

Anyone want to take a guess at the kind of dress I’ll be wearing? Leave a comment below!

How To Look After Your Mental Health When The World Isn't Helping

How To Look After Your Mental Health When The World Isn't Helping

Watching the news can stress anyone out and when you’re already got a battle in your own head sometimes it can feel like too much – trust me I’ve been there.

When I was in my late teens I would wake up in the morning and over my cup of tea I’d scroll through the BBC News app to see what had happened overnight (so, painfully British I know). It was a simpler time where the news didn’t make me want to cry. I digress, kind of.

From around 2016 I couldn’t do it anymore because it was making me incredibly miserable, I’ll leave you to work out why. In the past 4 years, I haven’t seen much improvement BUT I have come up with ways to help when the world really, really isn’t.

Don’t be afraid to take time out.

I want to know what’s going on in the world, of course I do, but if I’m not feeling great I don’t mind not reading or watching the news. If I do want to know I will make it short.

Surround yourself with the good in your life and the world

I’ll seek out good news, see friends and family that make me feel happy or fall into a good book where I can get away from the real world. Trust me, it works wonders.

Be considerate of who you’re following and how they make you feel

I’m a big believer in filling my feed with positivity and people I find interesting or can look up to. I’m not switching off from reality but things I can control I will, including my Twitter and Instagram.

Find comedy about the situation – or let someone else do it for you

In the UK I love The Last Leg and Have I Got News For You. I also watch a LOT of the late-night hosts in the UK via YouTube, I love the Jimmy’s and my fave Stephen Colbert to see the news in an amusing but still intelligent way.

Talk about how you feel

I can guarantee that other people will feel the same; overwhelmed and more than likely fed up.

Remember, it may look bleak but it won’t always be

It’s called a news cycle for a reason, we’re going to get through it.

Book Review: Dear Girls - Ali Wong

Book Review: Dear Girls – Ali Wong

‘Ali Wong’s heartfelt and hilarious letters to her daughters (the two she put to work while they were still in utero), covering everything they need to know in life, like the unpleasant details of dating, how to be a working mom in a male-dominated profession, and how she trapped their dad.’

After watching Ali Wong’s two Netflix specials and her recent interviews I can say that I am a fan (so much so I am gutted I can’t afford tickets to her London show in June!). So when I heard she’d released a book for her daughters – and the rest of us I knew I needed to read about life and the world according to Ali.

This is absolutely hilarious, and would you expect any less? When picking it up I knew I had to listen to the audiobook that Ali herself narrates because it felt like a 3rd Netflix special and I am so here for that! I had to stifle quite a few laughs while listening because her signature humor is there!

There is a mix of truly hilarious stories that she makes clear her daughters aren’t to read until they’re MUCH older and really heartfelt pieces. I was particularly touched by her vulnerability about her miscarriage and how she felt. I really hope after reading more women can feel able to open up.

It’s clear from this book that Ali Wong is much more than a stand up comedian, she’s an absolute boss. You can see that’s she’s worked hard, stood up to misogyny and is balancing being one of the funniest comedians and a good Mum at the same time. Also, the chapter by her Husband is adorable, absolutely bloody adorable.

This was a solid 4.5 starts for me. Incredibly funny, well written and I think Ali’s daughters will really love reading this as they get older. Also, as I said before, if you get a chance listen to the audiobook because it really is a treat.

Book Tour: Always Here For You – Miriam Halahmy

14-year-old Holly is lonely. Her parents are never around after Gran’s Crisis and best friend Amy to Canada, loved-up with her new boyfriend, Gabe. Holly has no-one to hang out with at school apart from moody Ellen and misfit Tim.

Home alone in Brighton with no-one to talk to, Holly is at rock bottom. That is, until she finds Jay. Caring, funny and with so much in common, Jay is the perfect guy. They chat online, but Holly knows to be careful, she’s heard the horror stories. As they grow closer and closer, chatting with Jay is all that makes Holly happy. Mum and Dad’s rows get more intense and Amy’s radio silence continues; the only one who understands is Jay. As Holly lets her guard down, is Jay all he seems? Is Holly in too deep? And is it too late?

Today I’m taking part in a book tour for Miriam Halahmy’s latest young adult novel tackling the online world and how people may not be all they seem.

This novel reminded me of the kind I read growing up, one of my childhood heroes was Jacqueline Wilson who also took on tough topics and broke them down for younger audiences. I can see this being a great read for younger teens and can be a good opener to talking about who is really behind the screen.

I was one of the internet babies and by the time I started my first year of school we already had a computer in the classroom. As I got older and spent hours on MSN Messenger (rest in peace old friend) these kinds of issues were more prevalent. I will say that I was terrified of strangers on the internet and my Mum was pretty hot on checking what I was doing online but, that said, it was a lot easier then when the only computer was in the living room… wow I sound old! Anyway I digress…

This is a great read to get the conversation going but also, I think, for parents giving them insight into how a young person may fall victim to this kind of situation.

I really enjoyed seeing the other characters grow and develop through the story as well as Holly, I think it would be really interesting to learn more about each of their lives (personally, I think it would be a great series!). They all seemed very real and it helped that the descriptions of Brighton were very easy to visualise.

The only thing I would mention is that some of the language seemed a little outdated at times. There were a few occasions where I stopped and thought I don’t think that a teenager today would say this! Also the word hussy is mentioned – I’m not sure that the young teens I know would know what that meant! These didn’t take away from the book for the most part, just something I noticed while reading.

I gave this book 4 stars. A solid read and one I think young people should be encouraged to read. Thank you to Miriam and ZunTold for sending me a copy in exchange for this review and for inviting me to be a part of this book tour.

What I Read In January 2020!

A new reading year and a new Goodreads challenge. I was so, so excited to set my goal this year, it hasn’t changed – it’s still 100 books, but what will they be? Will I find a new favourite? Will I read more or less. THE EXCITEMENT GUYS.

In January I got on it. I decided that every evening I wanted to switch off my laptop and read, not just spend my whole evening watching YouTube or scrolling endlessly through my Instagram. That means I got a lot of reading done! Here’s what I read in January…

My first book of the year was one I started at the end of December after seeing everyone say what a great book it was and it held up. The Only Plane In The Sky by Garrett M. Graff was incredible, moving and, of course, heartbreaking. Hearing what happened from the people who were there was something I’ll never forget. A 5 star read.

Next up, I needed something a little lighter with more humor which is why I picked up a copy of How To Have Feminist Sex by Flo Perry. A graphic guide with a lot of laughs as well as making you contemplate how women are viewed in terms of image, desire and sexual preference. A 4 star read for me.

I received an ARC of The Recovery of Rose Gold on NetGalley and it seemed like such an interesting premise. While I did read it very quickly I felt pretty let down by it because of the hype I’ve seen. The ending just wasn’t for me. A 3 star read for me.

I’ve been looking at getting Sunday’s Child for ages as a woman looks at her Grandfather’s past as a child in Hitler Youth. I really wanted to learn from this and for it to be a great read but it was a bit flat for me – 3 stars.

I got an ARC of Strangely Wrapped Gift via NetGalley. It’s a poetry collection where the author considers her life with OCD. I don’t like being negative but this one just wasn’t for me and I couldn’t gel with the style of writing 3 stars.

Jasmine Warga’s previous book My Heart And Other Black Holes was a really strong read so when I found a copy of Here We Are Now going cheap I picked it up. I’m kicking myself for letting it sit on my shelves for as long as it did. A girl meets her rock star Dad for the first time and embarks on getting to know him and the family she didn’t know. A 4 star read and now I’m trying to find more of her books.

I got A Good Time To Be A Girl on Audible. I didn’t know anything about Helena Morrisey but I’m always willing to hear about awesome women who want to change the system. This memoir wasn’t exactly that, instead it looked at Helena’s career and life and while it was interesting I didn’t really gain much from it, 3.5 stars.

I’ve seen We Are Okay on BookTube a lot and was intrigued I mentioned it to a friend and because she’s great she remembered and got it for me for Christmas. I absolutely adore this book and definitely need to read more Nina LaCour in the future. 4 stars from me.

I’ve been saying I wanted to read a Stephen King book for ages and Carrie appealed to me, as did this epic cover. I can see from this book why people love Stephen King so much and I’ll definitely be reading more. Carrie was fantastic and I could not stop thinking about it 4 stars from me.

So, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse was the Waterstone’s book of the year and I was intrigued, mostly because of the gorgeous illustrations. Old school illustrations, a heart-warming story and also one you can pick up for a little boost. 4 stars from me.

After a trip to Limited Edition Comix I found a copy of Violent Love Volume 1 and oh this series is great, I’ll be picking up volume 2 soon because the ending was absolutely brilliant and I didn’t see it coming. A 4 star read for me.

I picked up a copy of Sleeper and Spindle with my staff discount over Christmas because the cover was so beautiful. The art was stunning and from that respect it couldn’t be better but I just felt a bit let down by the story. It was pretty odd and I genuinely thought from the cover it was LGBT so that was a little disappointing. A 3 star read for me.

So, I thought I loved Heartstopper volume 1 & 2, then I read volume 3 and oh my word. This is the sweetest series! Charlie and Nick are adorable and this volume does get a little more serious…so pleased we have more to look forward to!

I’m keeping track of my reading all over the place at the moment so make sure to follow me on Instagram, Twitter or become a friend on Goodreads to keep up!

What did you read in January? Let me know your favourites!

Book Review: It’s Not Ok To Feel Blue And Other Lies – Edited By Scarlett Curtis

It’s OK if everything might feel a bit overwhelming.
It’s OK to talk about it.
It’s OK to not want to talk about it.
It’s OK to find it funny.
It’s OK to be human.”

Back with another book of tackling taboos Scarlett Curtis is talking about mental health and she has even more people coming to write this time.

I pre-ordered this as soon as I found out about it because I absolutely adored the first book Scarlett put together Feminists Don’t Wear Pink And Other Lies , it was a real eye opener and one of my favourites about Feminism. And while this collection is bigger, I can understand why – the topic is something that impacts everyone whether it’s you or someone close to you.

With names such as Emilia Clarke, Adam Kay, Matt Haig, Bryony Gordon, Emma Thompson and Naomi Campbell lending their personal stories and essays to the collection it was going to be interesting. We see these people on the TV, online, out in the world doing great things but knowing that even those who are great have struggled or continue to make people feel less alone.

This is definitely one to pick up and read as much as you can because there are some really heavy subjects in here, obviously, and I definitely think that you need to consider how you’re feeling before you read it. That said, there really is something for everyone in here, no matter what you’ve been through or felt.

About half way through the book I found myself struggling to differentiate between the stories so I switched to the audiobook and found it so much better. A mix of voice actors and those who could read their own stories were recorded. Personally, that made it for me and, stangely, made it more real.

I gave this 4.5 stars. This is the kind of book that we need more of in the world so we know that people are not alone and keep the conversation around mental health going. I think this will be impactful, partly because Scarlett has managed to get well known names that people look up to.

2020 Releases I'm Looking Forward To Part 1

2020 Releases I'm Looking Forward To Part 1

There are set to be some absolute bangers this year in books. While most of these are YA, I am going to try and expand my reading (which is why this is part 1) BUT most of these I’ve been looking forward to for a long time and are part of a series I’ve been reading.

All of these dates are what’s currently listed on Goodreads and may change!

House of Earth and Blood – Sarah J Maas

I absolutely adored A Court of Thorns and Roses and so I’m really excited for this series. There are demons, fallen angels and despite the fact it’s going to be over 800 pages (eek). I’m super excited for this one.

Released: 3rd March

The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue – V.E Schwab

There’s no cover for this yet but it’s a new V.E Schwab so of course I’m super hyped! She’s been talking about this online for a while and in her own words it’s about ‘A French girl makes a deal with the devil, ends up cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. Until 300 years later, when she meets a boy who remembers her name.’

I’m so, so in.

Released: 6th October

Loveless – Alice Oseman

I think Alice Oseman is not only an excellent writer but seems like a pretty great human being. Loveless is a really important book to her with Ace representation and I’m really excited to read it.

Released: 9th July

The Gravity of Us – Phil Stamper

So, I met Phil while we were both studying at Kingston and both up for awards a few years ago and he’s such a lovely guy. There’s a lot of hype about The Gravity Of Us and for good reason, there’s space, there’s social media and a first romance between two guys. So excited.

Released: 4th February (out now!)

Heartstopper Volume 3 – Alice Oseman

I’ve talked about Heartstopper a lot in the past year, it’s one of my favourites and just makes my heart so happy. I’m so excited for volume 3 to see what Nick and Charlie are up to. Roll on February!

Released: 6th February (out now!)

Bridge of Souls (Cassidy Blake #3) – Victoria Schwab

I started this series in 2019 and both books made it into my favourites of 2019. If you haven’t heard about it Cassidy can see ghosts, her best friend Jacob is a ghost and her parents travel around the world making documentaries (although they can’t see them) they also have an adorable cat called Grim. Have I sold it to you yet?

Released: 1st September

Clap When You Land – Elizabeth Acevedo

Two girls who both adore their father are devastated when he dies in a plane crash which soon turns to shock when they learn about each other. I’ve heard a lot about this on American BookTube so I’m looking forward to getting hold of a copy.

Released: 14th May

The Love Hypothesis – Laura Steven

Laura Steven is one of my favourite YA authors and she’s got a pretty great Instagram too. The Love Hypothesis is about a girl who is all about the academics and an over-achiever (guilty) who can’t quite work out love. She also happens to be in love with her best friend. We’re in for a hell of a ride.

Released: 5th March

What else should I be looking out for? Let me know below!