Being Truthful On Galentines Day

Hello lovely lot!

I know this post is going out a little later than normal but I’ve been wracking my brains about what to post this week. A little bit of bloggers block has hit pretty hard!

You may or may not know that today is known as Galentines Day, February 13th is dedicated to our female friendships and celebrating them. I have some wonderful women in my life that I absolutely adore. Some of them I’ve known for years, others a few months. I realise as I get older that you don’t always need years to get to know a person, sometimes it feels instantaneous.

While I scrolled through my feeds today I felt a pang of sadness. I saw the #girlsquads, the pictures of groups of girls who went out together every weekend and seemed to spend every moment together, many of them since their school days.

Here’s the thing, I’ve struggled with friendships growing up. There has been around 2 times in my life I’ve had a group of girlfriends who were all close with each other. Once at school and once at university, neither worked out. Nowadays my closest girlfriends all get along and will come out for my birthday/ event but we’re not a big collective group.

I was born in 1994, which means I’m a Spice Girls kid. I grew up idolising these 5 women who were the best of friends. There were times when I’d watch the other groups of girls at school and desperately want to be a part of it a big group. That was the way it should be right?

In the books I read, the films I watched girls were groups. Groups who could talk about anything and do anything together. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t totally alone, I had close girlfriends but felt like something was wrong with me because I wasn’t part of something bigger. A squad, a team, whatever you want to do it.

As I got older and the Spice Girls were no more, I still had this longing. Years later, I tried to morph myself into someone I wasn’t to fit into a ‘squad’. I made some mistakes then I wish I hadn’t, including pushing other people I was close to away to feel included.

I tried to be what I thought I should. This could be my moment, right? But I still felt like I was trying too hard, at least deeps down. Now those relationships are gone.

This is a rambling post, I’m well aware but I started to think that maybe, just maybe, I didn’t need a squad. That I could have these wonderful friendships individually with women and it didn’t matter if we had a WhatsApp group or if I’d known them in my emo phase.

These girls, each of them unique and completely different are my friends and I love and cherish them.

What are your experiences? I’d love to know below.

5 Things I’ve Gained From Jobs I’ve Had Since Graduating.

When I left university I thought I would get a job, stay in that job for a few years and not even have to think about another one until I wanted to. With hindsight I laugh at myself then, because what I didn’t know is that it’s simply not the case. 

From the examples I’d had in my life you worked in one place for a long time, people in my family had worked at the same place for over 10 years sometimes – they might have changed roles but they were with that company. The thing is, that didn’t seem to apply with me. 

I’ve moved around a fair few times since graduating. For some, it was simply the fact that my position wasn’t needed anymore and so my contract ended, from others I wasn’t right for the role and let go and some were simply short term contract roles. In some of those I was miserable and leaving was the best thing I did…but when I was made to leave I couldn’t help but feel like a failure. But, with the gift of hindsight I realised I actually learnt a lot.

Doing a good job is important but so are boundaries.

I’ve always been an overachiever, but I had to learn about boundaries. I would work and work and work way past what I should have been.

I needed to learn to separate my work life and my home life. To know that my job wasn’t my entire life (although this gets a little more difficult when you are working for yourself). I learnt that I work to live, not the other way around! It’s an important lesson.

Learning what I want and what I don’t in my personal and professional life

I learnt that I love the world of digital, have a passion for social and like to be creative. Traditional marketing methods never spoke to me short-term and instead of managing campaigns I wanted to be in the thick of it! I wanted to be writing, making, creating.

I also learnt that a 45-minute drive every morning and every night made me miserable, as did a rigid 9-5.30. That the corporate scene bored me and that I needed to enjoy what I was doing.

I have to look after my own health because other people won’t

In more than one of my jobs I felt that I had to hide any health issues I had, even mentioning the word stress was looked down upon. As if I couldn’t do my job.

When I worked late and gave my all, it wasn’t noticed or acknowledged but if I was overworked and got ill or wasn’t my ‘normal self’ it was pulled up. I had to learn the hard way I needed to look after myself because no one in the working world was going to.

Resilience

Every time I got knocked down I got back up again vowing to do better next time. Once, after being told my job wasn’t going to exist anymore I cried, drove back to my home town and immediately got online and started contacting people who might know of some leads.

Did I cry when these happened? Of course, I did, I’m human! Did I have times where I thought I just couldn’t do it and wanted to give up, duh! Somehow I did it.

There are good people in every company, organisation, etc

Ultimately in every single job I’ve had I met wonderful people. People who I’ve stayed in touch with to varying degrees. No matter what there are good people in the world and that’s always a good thing to be reminded of.

What have previous jobs taught you? I’d love to know in the comments below!

What I Read In January 2019!

It’s time for the first reading wrap up of 2019, yippie! January is not a great month so I try to read as much as possible to escape the horrible outside, boo.

This month I managed to read 9 books; 4 physical books, 2 graphic novels, 2 audiobooks and 1 kindle read. Not bad, not bad at all. So, let’s get into what I thought.

Becoming Michelle Obama

Becoming – Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama just seems like a wonderful human and as soon as I heard this was being released it was on my wishlist.

Originally, I tried the audiobook but just felt it didn’t work for me so I switched to a physical copy. This is a really inspiring story and although the beginning was a little slow I still enjoyed it and gave it 5 stars.

You Are A Badass At Making Money

You Are A Badass At Making Money – Jen Sincero

There are few books you can claim changed the way you think, this is one of them. After a friend sent me this to listen to I was obsessed with it. Sincero talks about money, how we view money as a society and how to get past those mental blocks.

I appreciate it’s not for everyone but I loved this and gave it 4 stars.

Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng is one of those authors I kept hearing about, so seeing this for £3 I thought I might as well pick it up.

This is great if you like family based drama and mystery. Lydia, the perfect girl of the family is found dead in a possible suicide. We see how this impacts the family and try and find out what really happened.

This was okay, a decent plot but not something that got me super invested in the characters and I did feel the ending was a little lax. I gave it 3 stars.

Unnatural Vol 1

Unnatural, Vol 1 Awakening – Mirka Andolfo

A new graphic novel with themes of segregation, the idea of the ‘perfect family’, oh and they’re all animals. This also gets pretty steamy, but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone! 4 stars.

Saga Vol 8

Saga Volume 8 – Fiona Staples and Brian K Vaughan

It’s number 8 in the series so I can hardly say anything at all but this broke my heart at times, I’ve heard the next in the series will crush me. 5 stars.

Notes to Self Emilie Pine

Notes To Self – Emiline Pine

A full review to come but this is a thought-provoking and altogether wonderful collection of essays. With difficult topics and brutal honesty, I’m a big fan of Emiline Pine now. 5 Stars

Born Lippy How To Do Female

Born Lippy – How To Do Female – Jo Brand

A fun insight into womanhood thanks to none other than Jo Brand. This is dry, witty and at times made me laugh out loud while listening. I would definitely recommend the audiobook for an extra kick. 4 stars.

An Absolute Remarkable Thing

An Absolutely Remarkable Think – Hank Green

I’ve been waiting to read this for so long, so of course, I was super excited to get it for Christmas. Buuuuut, it fell a little short for me, I really struggled with the protagonist for the majority of the book.

Not a bad debut and I probably will pick up the next book in the series just to see where it goes but right now this got a 3.5 from me.

Pop Star Jihadi

Pop Star Jihadi – Nick Tyrone

I received this book from Midas PR after being asked if I would be interested in reading. This is an incredibly well written and intelligent piece of fiction.

How would we react to a teen superstar blowing themselves up at their own concert, killing nearly 100 fans. Who would we believe? Would mob mentality take over? 4.5 stars.

My Top Shows On Netflix

10 Of My Favourite Shows On Netflix

I like Netflix, mostly for having something on in the background unless I am really hooked! It’s normally difficult for me to get into films/shows at home but when I find some I like I will watch them again and again.

So, why not share with you some of my favourite shows on Neflix? Some are exclusive to Netflix, some I watched on TV and am so happy that I now have a place to watch them over and over again. Please note these are only shows rather than films or documentaries!

The Fix

This is new to Netflix and I absolutely love it. So much so I binge watched it and really hope for a season 2! A lot of what I watch regularly is comedy (most of my recommendations are stand up specials) so this was a great mix!

American Crime Story: The People Vs OJ Simpson

I wrote a blog post about this when it was on TV, saying how interesting I found it (post here). It’s no wonder that after it came to Netfli I may have watched it once or twice…and then many more times after that. I was an interesting trial and so well acted!

How I Met Your Mother

I’ve loved HIMYM for years, so much so I had every season on DVD while I was at uni and watched it almost every day. This is one of my favourites to put on in the background and just catch up on old episodes.

Friends

Come on, you didn’t really think I’d leave Friends out did you? This was a staple for me growing up. I had all the VHS tapes as an early teen, then bought all the DVDs and now sweet, sweet Netflix. It’s a classic TV series and I love it.

Star Trek Discovery

This is an excellent story and has really got me interested in Star Trek. An incredible cast and moments that made me gasp out loud. This is also great if you weren’t an original Trekky (I’d only seen the newer films) you’re not expected to know too much and the first season is all new characters.

I dare you not to be hooked, and if you start now you can binge the whole of series 1, you are welcome.

Bojack Horseman

For me, this is a show I can have on in the background. I’m slowly making my way through, particularly when Ali goes on tour. You don’t have to concentrate too much, it’s something you can absorb and enjoy and sometimes that’s all you need from a TV show.

Rick & Morty

This makes me laugh, it is silly and ridiculous but that’s kind of the point. Ali and I will watch this together while eating sometimes or I’ll make him put it through the speakers of his computer if he has it on.

The Crown

The best Netflix series ever produced. This was a masterpiece, I loved it and I’m so excited for the next season to see what they will do with it. Claire Foy is such an incredible actress too, plus I do love the Royal family!

Next season, for those of you who don’t know, we’ll get a whole new cast replacing those we have come to love including Helena Bonham-Carter and Olivia Coleman.

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman

This was a great series. Although Letterman isn’t as big over here in the UK I loved his way of interviewing. The Malala interview was my favourite, closely followed by Barack Obama and Tina Fey. More please!

Doctor Who

Matt Smith is my Doctor. I still need to work my way through the earlier episodes of Eccleston and Tennant but I love curling up and putting on old episodes of the Smith era. Everyone has their favourites, don’t @ me.

And that’s that! What else should I be watching on Netflix? I’d love to know your favourites below!

Concerts I'm looking forward to this year

Concerts I’m Looking Forward To This Year!

I absolutely LOVE live music. When I was at uni I went to so many gigs with Ali, I used to play a lot of live music, it’s something I’m still in love with and whenever I can I’ll go see some of my favourites live. 2019 has ended up being full of concerts that I booked last year…and I haven’t even booked any smaller shows with Ali yet! So let’s take a look at what I’m going to be up to…

George Ezra Tour 2019

George Ezra

Since I the first time I heard George Ezra’s voice I’ve wanted to see him live but have never been able to get tickets. That all stops in March when I take my sister to see him as part of her Christmas present. Buzzing!

The Vamps

A free ticket and the promise of a meal before hand? Of course I was going. I’ve taken my sister to see them a few times and it’s actually been quite a fun show!

The Spice Girls Tour 2019

The Spice Girls

I’ve been a HUGE fan of the Spice Girls since I was 2 years old and they were my first concert in 1999. I wasn’t sure originally but I couldn’t really turn it down. After Ticketmaster crashing a few times I finally got tickets and will be dusting off my Spice gear in June!

Ariana Grande Tour 2019

Ariana Grande

Sweetener was probably my favourite album of 2018, I played it constantly from when it was released and then Thank U Next dropped. I tried 3 times to get Ariana tickets and ended up paying a bit more than I originally planned but I am so excited.

Little Mix Tour 2019

Little Mix

LM5 was another amazing album last year and the last time I saw Little Mix they were really good. I love the positive self-love vibes from the album, so this is going to be a good one!

Aaaaaand that’s all of them for now. I don’t doubt there will be more gigs, although a lot of my favourite Rock and Pop Punk bands have recently toured or are heading back into the studio next year so we’ll have to see!

Are you booked to see any gigs next year? Let me know in the comments below!

WBP 10th anniversary blog tour

Happy 10th Anniversary To The Wellcome Book Prize!

Last year I was thrilled to be a part of the Wellcome Book Prize Blog Tour, reviewing We Need To Talk About Death by Kathryn Mannix and so, when I was asked to take part in the 10th Anniversary I happily obliged.

For my post, I will be focusing on the shortlist from 2010, and what a year it was! Shall we get stuck in?

WINNER! The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot

After dying from Cancer in 1951, Henrietta Lacks was not a notable woman, however, she would change history. Her Cancer cells, taken without permission, would be used by scientists and make millions. Read more here.

Angel of Death -The Story of Smallpox – Gareth Williams

Exactly what it says on the tin, this is a history of the disease smallpox, once a deadly disease it has now been wiped out. Gareth Williams tells us how in this book.

Teach Us to Sit Still -A sceptic’s search for health and healing – Tim Parks

A look at our own perceptions on how we view illness and what our own perceptions mean when we are ill. Inspired by Tim Parks own illness and what helped him recover instead of traditional medicine.

So Much For That – Lionel Shriver

A novel about love, life and how sometimes it’s not fair. After selling his business for $1 million it’s time for the Knacker’s to enjoy their lives. That is until Glynis receives a cancer diagnosis.

Medic -John Nichols and Tony Rennell

A look at this history of the army medic from Dunkirk to Afghanistan, with stories from both men and women who helped to save lives on the front line.

Grace Williams Says It Loud – Emma Henderson

And finally, the novel that I received for this post looks at the institutionalisation of people with mental and physical disabilities.

While this does make not of the horrific conditions and the way patients were treated, it also shows how friendships and relationships can blossom, even in the worst of places. Truly a novel that will make you think and based on the author’s experiences of having a sibling in such a place.

Which of these would you pick up? Let me know in the comments below!

Using A Walking Stick In Your Twenties

What It’s Like Using A Walking Stick In Your 20s

This year I want to talk more about living with a chronic health condition. I’ve decided I’m done with it being a secret – this is me! Something that I found difficult at first was using a walking stick in public – and I don’t think I’m the only one!

As with many invisible illnesses people can misinterpreted why you need that seat on the bus/tube/train. Even with a ‘please offer me a seat badge’ I always felt that people were questioning me with their stares. I look young and healthy, ‘too young to have those problems’ as people have told me.

When using a walking stick, in theory, this should make people a little more understanding, although in my experience people are still questioning as to why someone young is using a walking stick.

Walking Stick in Disneyland

Way back when I initially broke my back, walking was a struggle and while I was recovering I still found a numbness in my legs that came and went. When I had to go out for the day I used a crutch to try and balance myself, hoping that with time and exercises the feeling would come back properly.

After a period of time I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and a big part of living with it is finding ways to make you illness more bearable and control the illness rather than the other way around. One of my friends used a foldable walking stick, so I hesitantly ordered one.

I’ll admit when I first got it I hid it away. I was embarrassed – there weren’t many nice designs and it felt so old. That was until I knew I was headed into London – I’d need the support, so I took it with me folded in my bag ‘just in case’. And, you guessed it I ended up using it.

Wheelchair in Disneyland

I’d love to say after that I didn’t feel self-conscious, I still do sometimes! Going to Disneyland in September was the most I’d used it in one go, as well as a wheelchair. I was suddenly self-conscious, I didn’t want people to think I couldn’t do stuff for myself or feel sorry for me – and I think that was my biggest fear. That this would take my independence.

It did nothing of the sort, in fact it made me feel prepared. Because I have one that folds down it means that I can see how I feel and if I do need to use it, I can. The biggest block for me was mental. It worried what people thought and now I’m happy enough to tell them why I use it and if they don’t like it that’s their problem.

Using a walking stick in my twenties wasn’t exactly how I thought things would go but I really have 2 choices. I struggle to walk and am in a lot of pain on days I would like to enjoy myself, or I use the damn stick. Which would you choose?