Life Update: Kidney Stones

I wasn’t planning on a post today, I haven’t actually been able to concentrate on much today because I was told yesterday that I have Kidney Stones. Yep, that’s now a thing. I’d never really thought about them, I don’t think most people will until they have them and then they give you absolute hell.

I’m now towards the end of my third day of pain and it’s hard to describe. When it first started happening at work on Thursday I told my colleague I thought I was going to die. In the past 3 days I’ve had numerous calls with my GP, two misdiagnosis’s, tests and a hospital visit and not a lot of sleep through it all. It’s pretty rough.

So, why am I writing about this? I don’t know how long this will take to get sorted. Hopefully, it can be dealt with quickly and without any procedures or surgery but it’s a waiting game. If you’re a regular reader you have nothing to fear, scheduled blogs will carry on, I might just be a little quieter on Twitter.

That’s where I’m at and I wanted to keep my lovely readers updated so you know I haven’t disappeared!

Love,

Chloe

Does Positivity Work With Pain Management

Does Positivity Work in Pain Management?

Hello, my lovely readers!

Today I want to talk about managing pain. It will come as no surprise to my regular readers I think about this more than most people after an accident a few years ago. I live with chronic pain and most people don’t know when they meet me it can be pretty surprising because I’m very positive as a person. And that’s central to today’s post, does positivity work?

I’ve met with a lot of doctors and multiple times I’ve been told ‘your positive attitude will pull you through pain’. A few years ago I would have scoffed and I definitely think this doesn’t apply to every situation. When I first broke my back positivity wasn’t happening, I was in agony and when I wasn’t I was asleep. Then it came to recovery and my attitude did play a big part.

In Recovery 

This was probably the hardest time to be positive. There were a lot of things up in the air at this time, I was obviously in a lot of pain and having to navigate what was going on. That said trying to keep some positivity was important, particularly in physiotherapy because that shit can get tough! I kept focused on getting better and other positive things and it definitely helped.

In Diagnosis 

Diagnosis was weird, I was happy to have an answer, horrified about what it meant for me and wanting to look at what I could do next. It was a mix of emotions. No matter what I had this determination not to give up, I had to still live my life. I got told time and time again the determination and all the positivity I could muster would get me where I wanted to be.

In Life

Ah life, it does like to give you a kick when you don’t need it. Life is hard, people try and say it’s not but let’s be real. So, staying positive in life when your body hurts all over? I take it one day at a time. That’s honestly it. The only future things I try to focus on are things I’m looking forward to, I try and write down one thing a month and when I’m in a lot of pain have the mentality that this will pass and once it does I’m a bit closer to the thing I’m looking forward to.

 

So, yes I do think positivity plays a huge part BUT having time to be upset, to struggle and to be furious is a big part of recovery. Do I have days where I’m pissed off or I cry because things changed? Of course, I do. Sometimes I have weeks where I feel this way. THIS IS NORMAL! That said, I do feel that, if and when you can be trying to be positive is important.

How do you stay positive? Let me know in the comments below!

Illumicrate Unboxing – June 2018

Illumicrate 2018 unboxing

It’s time for another illumicrate unboxing! I absolutely love getting these boxes by monthly, it’s like a little present for myself and it’s not my ONLY subscription box going! So this is the June 2018 box. As always this is an unboxing so there are going to be spoilers! If you don’t want to be spoilt then pop back when you’ve seen the box yourself!

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Light Years – Kass Morgan 

Our first book this month is set in space with some forbidden love and a space boarding school. Now, this isn’t something I would pick up for myself, but I’m going to give it a flick through and give it a try, you never know! The full blurb of this is here.

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A Thousand Perfect Notes –  C.G. Drews

Now, this is much more my kind of book. Again we have another book focused on love. This time following a guy who is forced to play the piano by his violent mother, who is within touching distance of love. I’m really interested in this because of the author C.G Drews – also known as PaperFury online. I’m really looking forward to reading this one.

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Box designed by Alice Oseman (Exclusive) 

So Alice Oseman isn’t just a fantastic writer, she’s also an artist? Is there anything the amazing lady can’t do! This little lunchbox (that’s what I’m going to use it for) is adorable and I am in love with the design.

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Black Panther Inspired Book Sleeve (Exclusive)

Ok, time for a confession…I haven’t watched Black Panther. I know, I know I’m so late to the party. That said I like this, I’ve really wanted a book sleeve because I like my books being pristine. So I’m just going to have to watch it so that I can use this!

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Camp Half-Blood Pin (Exclusive), I Was Born For This Pin and Elements Page Markers (Exclusive) 

So, it seems to be a month for ‘things Chloe has never experienced’ Percy Jackson isn’t something I’ve read, it was around when I was younger but I never picked it up. That said it is a wonderfully made Pin and I love the detail. Next up a badge to promote Alice Oseman’s latest book I Was Born For This which is currently on my TBR pile and I’m really looking forward to. And then on to the Elements page markers

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How Do You Like Me Now Sample and Grey Sister Bookmark

Next up some paper goodies, a sample of Holly Bourne’s new adult novel which I actually received an early release of so I can think of someone who might like this snippet. We also had a dagger-shaped bookmark to celebrate the release of Grey Sister, a follow up to Red Sister which was a novel we received last year.

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Bookish Postcards

We also had our bookish postcards, as seen. I really likes the From Twinkle, With Love postcard, it is such a sweet quote and is making me more interested in picking up the novel when it’s released.

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Infernal Devices Cards (Exclusive) – designed by @anotherstudio_

Well, you’ve guessed it, I haven’t read the Infernal Devices series! I have no idea what’s going on this month I feel like I’m so behind with my YA reading! That said I really like these cards, they are beautifully designed and I like the artwork style.

Illumicrate 2018 unboxing

Overall

Well, this was a packed box indeed! Another box full of great quality items. Every two months when this box arrives I’m so pleased because it is always worth the money, which is important because I’ve ordered so many boxes that turned out to be tat. I will say I would have loved to have seen something Pride month related in this box with all the amazing YA out there but that’s just me!

Is there anything that has caught your eye? Or maybe you got our own Illumicrate box! Let me know in the comments below.

The Friendship Evolution

The Friendship Evolution

Ah, friendship, something important and lovely but not many people talk about how friendships need to change and evolve to survive. I’ve had quite a few friendships that have broken down for various reasons, we’ve grown apart, grown up or found out we’re just not compatible. So I wanted to write about some of my friendships and how they’ve evolved in certain situations.

 

Me and Joe London MAy 2018

After Graduating

I don’t quite know how I would have gotten through uni without my friend Joe. We’ve been best friends for years now and we went from seeing each other multiple times a week to graduating and being lucky to see each other once a month. It’s tough because there are times when I just want to hang out but one of us has to get a train and we have to organise it and, don’t tell him, but I miss him like hell.  Our friendship had to evolve and we have to communicate, which luckily for us isn’t a problem but we’ve needed to be more organised.

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Friendship Additions

When Abbie and I became friends a few years ago we were happy just the two of us, and then two became three and it only got better! So, it went like this. I have been friends with a guy called Ben since I was 17, Ben meets Abbie and they get together and we become friends. Still with me? Ok. Sarah, is Ben’s cousin who met Abbie at a family gathering. Now we are all close friends. So Abbie and I had to make room to become a three and it did take adjusting, not worrying if one talked to the other more etc. I for one am just happy we now have Sarah in our lives, she’s amazing and fits with both of us so well.

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Babies

I’ve known my friend Lucy since I was eleven years old. I was the kid with a school fleece on the first day (I still blame the terrible woman in the school shop, they clearly hadn’t sold one in years and smelt my weakness), she had a mass of frizzy hair that earned her the nickname, Frizz. Now we’re very similar, which meant we fought a lot, teenage hormones will do that. We drifted apart a little as we got older and didn’t become best friends until we were seventeen, after the birth of her daughter.

Luce will be the first to tell you that being a Mum of two at twenty-three wasn’t the plan she had at eleven, but you only have to watch her to know she’s damn good at it. So Lexi came and we were a pair of seventeen-year-olds, still trying to work ourselves out but now with a tiny person who I loved so, so much. We had fights still, we were still stubborn but was always came back because there was a little person. Then, while I was on a bus a few years later at university I got a text: ‘ I needed to tell you something’, I joked back ‘you’re not pregnant are you?’ and then a picture came back of two blue lines. That’s how I found out about Ollie.

Our friendship isn’t what we thought it would be at twenty-three, because neither of us saw this coming but we’re closer than we’ve ever been. We are different people but love each other so much and don’t pretend we know exactly what the other is going through but we’re always there for each other.

 

How have your friendships evolved over the years? Let me know in the comments below!

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2018!

I hate to alarm you guys but, we’re halfway through the year… It’s fine, it’s cool, I’m not freaking out, you’re freaking out. That also means it’s time for the Mid-Year Book Freak Out and I am so ready! I’ve watched and read these tags for years and finally wanted to have a go myself.

The best book you’ve read so far in 2018:

Only Child - Rhiannon Navin

This is so, so hard… probably Only Child by Rhiannon Navin, her debut was incredible. Absolutely incredible. It is a pretty tough novel about a school shooting seen through the eyes of a child who loses his brother. A novel about family and grief, through the innocent eyes of a little boy.  The writing is incredible, the story heartbreaking and it’s a book that stays with you. I can’t wait to see what Rhiannon does next. My full review is here.

Your favourite sequel of the year:

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This was an AMAZING follow up to A Court of Thorns and Roses . There was excellent character development, the plot was brilliant and I wish I could say more but I don’t want to ruin the series. I just didn’t see the twists and turns coming and I loved it so much.

A new release that you haven’t read but really want to:

Tyler Johnson Was Here

Tyler Johnson Was Here has been all over Booktube and I hadn’t seen it anywhere in my local bookshops and then I went to Foyles and there it was. Not only is this a really important novel about race the cover is beautiful. I really, really hope this lives up to the hype. Full blurb here.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:

The Curses - Laure Eve

I loved The Graces last year and the publication date for the second novel keeps changing so I’m really hoping we do get this in 2017, even though it says the scheduled release is currently the 6th September 2018 according to Amazon. I need this book in my hands after the end of The Graces. Need, need, need.

Your biggest disappointment:

Clean Juno Dawson

I try not to be negative but I really hated this novel. I made me so angry and irritated as someone who has and does live with a mental health condition. This was just very privileged and I don’t think it did the recovery process justice. Reading about a rich girl who gets whisked to a rehab that gives you Calvin Klein pjs just didn’t appeal to me when most people wouldn’t have that opportunity. Obviously, these are just my feelings.

Biggest surprise of the year:

Saga Vol 1 - Brian K Vaughan

Saga was something I meant to get around to, but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. It was absolutely amazing and I’ve been making my way through all 8 volumes ready for volume 9 to come out in October.

Favourite new-to-you or debut author:

The Exact Opposite of Okay - Laura Steven

I definitely fangirled when Laura Steven replied to me on Twitter. I tried to get all of my friends to read this as soon as I finished. This is the kind of YA voice that we need! This looks at sexism and double standards but also manages to make you laugh the whole way through? You can read my full review here and then get on and buy it people!

Your fictional crush:

Rhysand – the ACOTAR series. Do I really need to say more?

New favourite character:

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Feyre – A Court of Thorns and Roses

I think Feyre is an absolutely amazing character. I read all three of the ACOTAR books in a month and I just found her to be a great protagonist. She’s not perfect, she has her own mental battles to fight. I think she’s ace and I wish I could go into more detail as to why but I don’t want to ruin the series.

A book that made you cry:

With The End in Mind - Katheryn Mannix

With the End in Mind: Death, Dying and Wisdom in an Age of Denial by Kathryn Mannix

A book about death making me cry? Not exactly a shock. I read this for the Wellcome book prize and it was beautifully written. The kindness, compassion and intelligence of this book is nothing I’ve ever seen before and it will definitely get you talking.

A book that made you happy:

A Court of Frost and Starlight - Sarah J Maas

This book just felt like coming home. This is the novella to accompany the ACOTAR series which, I know, I’ve gone on about a lot in this blog. This is a short read with all the feels. I can’t wait for the next novel in the series!

Your favorite book-to-movie adaptation that you’ve seen this year:

I haven’t seen any book to movie adaptions this year! None that I can remember anyway…

Favorite book post you’ve done this year:

Hmmm, tough one. I actually think it’s the unpopular opinions book tag! It was good to get a few things off my chest!

The most beautiful book you’ve bought/received this year:

The Surface Breaks - Louise O'Neill

The Surface Breaks – Louise O’Neil

Just look at this cover, isn’t it so, so beautiful! Even without the dust jacket, it was beautiful.

What are some books you need to read by the end of the year?

I wrote a post about the books I wanted to read in 2018 and there are only two on there I need to read to meet my goal. I’d also like to get around to the following 2018 releases:

(Don’t) Call Me Crazy – Anthology

Notes on a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig 

How to Be Famous – Caitlin Moran 

Just wanting to point out that, obviously, I didn’t come up with this tag, it has been floating around forever! If you do this tag yourself, I’d love to see your answers so link me below!

 

What I Read in May!

Another reading month been and gone! This month I managed to read a total of 8 books, which isn’t bad but is slightly less than I’ve read in previous months. Still, two a week is great and I had some cracking 5 star reads! So why not just jump right in and see what I’ve been reading this month!

I started the month by finishing an audiobook or Unbroken by Martine Wright. Martine lost both her legs in the 7/7 bombings, despite thing she went on to be one of the London 2012 Paralympians. This was such a tough but worthwhile read that got 5 stars from me and there will be a full review soon! Following this, I got my hands on the new ACOTAR novella by Sarah J Maas and it was just a nice warm story to bridge the gap towards the original trilogy and new books coming up, which I am SO excited for, this also got 5 stars a strong start.

Next up I continued my Saga journey with volume 3, so far this is my least favourite volume but it still got 4 stars because I could see why but read on for my volume 4 thoughts. I then read Orphan Monster Spy a historical fiction novel and I absolutely LOVED it. It’s about a teenage Jewish girl infiltrating a Nazi boarding school, standard. This also got a 5 star rating from me!

Next up was Light Filters In by Caroline Kaufman which I was kindly sent by the publisher. I hadn’t come across Kaufman before and liked the idea of the collection and what it had done and it was a good first collection, but not entirely to my taste so I gave it 3 stars. Next up Saga volume 4 and I loved it, it’s taken the series in a different direction that I didn’t see coming. I can’t wait to get to volume 5!

Next up I finally finished the final few chapters of With The End in Mind which is just so emotional, hence me finally reading the last few chapters this month. I loved it and gave it 5 stars, you can see what all the fuss is about here. And last but not least I got my hands on the stunning new novel by Louise O’Neill, The Surface Breaks. This is a feminist retelling of the Little Mermaid and I think I’m going to give it 4 stars because the ending was so great, there will be a full review to come!

What did you read in May? Have you read any of the books I have? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

monthly favourites lifestyle blogger

May Favourites!

May and all of it’s wonderful Bank Holiday goodness has gone but that means it’s time for my monthly favourites! I’m gonna get started because this is going to be a big one.

Books

This month the books I’ve picked up have been emotional reads and I have no idea why, it just kind of happened? My top non-fiction book this month is Unbroken by Martine Wright who lost both her legs in the 7/7 attack. I listened to the audiobook for this and found it to be incredible, a great read. I also read Dear Martin inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement in the USA, racial profiling and youth. Full review to come! The next in the ACOTAR series came out, a novella set after A Court of Wings and Ruin and I loved it so much, this novel felt like coming home. I also read debut Orphan Monster Spy and oh wow, I didn’t know if it was for me but I loved this and I can’t wait for the sequel. And finally, I’ve been carrying on my journey through the Saga universe too!

Watching

This month I have to give a huge shout out to comedy. On Netflix I watched Ali Wong’s second Netflix special Hard Knock Wife and it was just as, if not funnier than the first. I also went to see Deadpool 2 as I loved the first one so much. I felt like this tugged at the heartstrings a little more but I still loved it and would definitely see it again.

Hair, Beauty and Fashion 

Umm, new hair who dis? Ok, sorry, that’s my attempt at being cool. I had a hair transformation with a new fringe and beautiful colour thanks to Grace at LK Hair. There have been some changes in my life so I changed my hair, because could I be more stereotypical? Also, I’m loving one of Next’s own fragrances it’s sweet, it has coconut and reminds me of holiday. I also picked up a Stitch t-shirt for only £6 in Primark and some nail varnish in a summery colour. I also picked up this really cute skirt from New Look it’s denim, high waisted and something a little different for me. I’ve also got a new Kimono but no pictures to share so far, sad times.

Life

Well, I couldn’t forget to mention the sunshine which lead to some Cocktails…maybe too many cocktails. I was also treated by my parents to some lovely treats such as Flip Flops, Sharpies, a new Notebook AND amazing lipsticks and nail varnish that was discounted, hence why there is so much. I also got to see my bestie Joe and have another trip to London this month (sorry bank balance) for a pub trip and comic book fun. I have to mention how happy I am that Ireland voted yes in May to legalising abortion, a great step for women’s rights.

 

Blog Posts

You’re Doing Better Than You Think

I Have, I Am – Talking About Mental Illness 

How Am I Doing Right Now? 

Clothes Sizes are BS 

 

The Sugar Tax Screwed Me Over

The Sugar Tax Screwed Me Over!

Ok, ok that might seem a little dramatic but hear me out. The new sugar tax introduced in the UK in April got a lot of kickback, some accused it of targeting lower-income households, others saw it as a side step from bigger issues that the government should be dealing with. But there was one thing that I didn’t see mentioned and it’s about poop…stay with me here.

So I’ve had IBS for years now as part of Fibromyalgia and it’s fine, I know what makes my stomach freak out (goodbye American Cheese) and I don’t eat it. I know how to manage cramps and most of the time I know my body and the signals well enough to try and help myself before it gets too bad. I’ve been living well and not had too much trouble for the past 2 years. But what does this have to do with the Sugar Tax?

When the tax came in it meant that in particular sugary drinks were put at a higher rate to curb obesity. Sounds good? Not really. Because of this a lot of places switched out to diet or sugar-free substitutes. These substitutes contain Aspartame. Back when I initially got diagnosed with IBS and was cutting out foods that made me ill diet drinks were the first thing to go. Now, because of the sugar tax,  whenever I want to go out with friends I have to be careful that full fat isn’t substituted.

Is it the biggest problem in the world? No, but it can ruin a good time. Not only do I have to check, I’m also paying more for a reason I can’t help. A recent example I found was when ordering Cocktails. As a money saving tactic pubs and bars have been using sugar-free alternatives and not making it clear. I absolutely dread having to try and explain to them why I do need full fat and can definitely tell when someone thinks I’m lying!

I completely understand what the logic behind the tax was, even though I do agree with critics that it will only impact those on a lower income, but that’s a whole different blog post. This is just something I’ve noticed and partially serves as a warning to those of you who might have more sensitive stomachs.

Do you have IBS, has the Sugar Tax been a pain for you too? Let me know in the comments below!

You're Doing Better Than You Think Mental Health Lifestyle Blog

You’re Doing Better Than You Think

Hey you,

Yes you, reading this for whatever reason. I’m going to tell you something that you need to hear right now. You’re doing better than you think you are. Hear me out. I’ve had shitty times in the past few years where I’ve felt like a giant failure, hey, at the time of writing this there are parts of my life I feel like I’m not where I thought I would be. BUT you are your biggest critic, I am mine and that’s not a terrible thing.

We do have a word with ourselves but think about what you’ve said to yourself. Would you say that to a friend about their lives? That they were a huge fuck up and things weren’t going to get better because they don’t deserve them. I know you’ve had those thoughts because I have to.

Sometimes the voices in our own heads take over our thoughts. They shout so loud with comparisons look what they’re doing, why aren’t you doing that? or perhaps you just think what am I doing? Am I doing what I’m meant to right now?

Last month I was in a funk, I was really struggling with myself. Well, I thought I was doing terribly, I’m not close to buying a house (are any 23-year-olds with student debt?), I’m not getting married and the books I’ve been working on for the past few years still aren’t finished. My mind was full of anxiety and self-doubt and just struggling, even though I was reminded by various people I’d been doing great and am still doing great in different areas of my life.

I didn’t write this to tell you how much better I feel. In fact, the opposite. This post doesn’t end with bragging about how wonderful I’m doing because that my lovely readers would be a big fat lie. I still have thoughts and days where I think I’m doing terribly. This was written to let you know that we all feel like that and chances are you’re not giving yourself enough credit.

You’re doing better than you think, you’ve got this.

Self-Care Update

Recently I wrote about my own self-care slip and you guys were amazing! I know that I’m a workaholic, I love to get things done and achieve as much as a possibly can…so relaxing takes a back seat. BUT, I have a great update for you all, there’s definitely been a change.

In the past week, I’ve started tracking what I’m eating to make sure I’m not over or under eating in line with my emotions. I’ve been filling up with a lot more protein when I can and trying not to binge on chocolate…that’s something I’m working on. I also haven’t weighed myself because I don’t want to get in a negative cycle. I will do it eventually but right now it’s not a priority.

I’ve also started doing Yoga every night! I know, hold fire. I was sceptical at first it’s just stretching, right? Wrong. So, so wrong. I can feel my muscles working and I’ve seen a difference in my stress levels. I look forward to that 20 or so minutes every night where I switch off and try to only focus on Yoga. I still get distracted and fall down at times but it’s a healthy start!

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And, finally, I went and got my hair done after much thought I just want and booked. This time I went to LK Hair in Newbury after wanting to since I started my job as I work with one of the owners. It was amazing. Not only are excellent at their jobs but they’re also the best in the UK, I have no chill.

In short, I hope this lasts. I hope I can be a little kinder to myself and make sure no matter how busy I get I make some time. There’s no doubt I’ll have slip ups but I’m trying and it’s definitely a start.

What do you do for self-care? Let me know in the comments below!