My First Smear Test!

This year I got a letter I’d been waiting on. It was time to book my smear test, also known as a cervical screening. The letter came a little earlier than I expected, about 6 months before my 25th birthday. There wasn’t a question in my mind that I was going to book it as soon as possible.

Now, you’ve probably seen the adverts, you might have even got a letter and you’re a bit nervous. That’s normal but a little bit of embarrassment/feeling uncomfortable for a few moments could save your life.

So, to keep the conversation going I knew I was going to write about having my first smear test. Of course, I didn’t take a camera in to get the gory details, nobody needs to see that unless they’re a medical professional! Either way here’s my experience and answering any questions you might have.

So what happens?

After getting your letter you need to book an appointment, I had mine with a practice nurse, you can request to have a woman if that makes you more comfortable. The only thing you need to make sure of is that you’re not on your period/have just finished it and you can’t use Lube for 24 hours before I think. You get a handy leaflet with everything in it so take a read of that.

What happens in the appointment?

During your appointment you’ll chat with your nurse/doctor first about what’s going to happen, to make sure you consent and let you know the process for results. You will then be asked to go behind a curtain, take off your underwear and sit under a sheet.

Then comes the bit people are a little embarrassed about. It’s worth keeping in mind these people see so many vaginas, yours probably isn’t anything special (sorry!). Then they will use a tool called a speculum to open your cervix which can feel a little uncomfortable but try to relax as much as possible. Then they’ll use a little tool to get some cells from your cervix. It’s over in less that 2 minutes.

Can I have someone come in with me?

Yes! You can have someone in as a chaperone to make you more comfortable, just tell your doctor or nurse.

What about after?

I felt a little discomfort and had a little bit of bleeding but nothing major. I did go and get myself a treat after because, c’mon I did a good thing!

Now, where I live there was a backlog so I had to wait 4-6 weeks for my results. Hence why this blog is late – I wanted to make sure I knew my results before writing about it. Mine came back fine BUT as a note, if you do have abnormal cells this doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer – but there will be further investigation to check everything!

So, there we have it. My first smear is done and dusted and I won’t be having another for 3 years! How did you find your smear test? Let me know in the comments below!

The Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag 2019

As of the morning of 1st June I had read a total of 47 books this year, according to Goodreads I’m 6 books ahead of schedule for my 100 book goal (although, really I’d like to get 120). I feel like that’s a good variety to post the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag! I also did this tag last year and it was really fun. So let’s see what I’m loving this year.

Best Book Of The Year So Far

So far I think it’s The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo! I know I’m so late to the party and I actually read Daisy Jones & The Six first but Evelyn is my favourite.

I listened to this on Audible and the narration was absolutely perfect, I was listening to it every waking moment and got through it super quickly and now I recommend it to everyone.

A New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

Red,White and Royal Blue is probably my most anticipated read of the summer. I’ve been watching everyone in the US raving over this book and I am so desperate for my copy! An LGBTQ romance with a royal element? Gimme, gimmie, gimmie!

Most Anticipated Release Of Autumn/Winter

I loved P.S I Love you and the fact that there is going to be a follow up made me so happy. So, of course I’ve ordered Postscript by Cecelia Ahern which comes out the day after my birthday. Seems like a good start to turning 25.

Biggest Disappointment Of The Year So Far

I hate this questions but it has to be The Mermaids Voice Returns In This One by Amanda Lovelace. I loved her previous 2 poetry collections in the series The Princess Saves Herself In This One and The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One and I love mermaids but this just seemed rushed to me unfortunately.

Biggest Surprise So Far

Your Heart Is The Sea was sent to me by the publisher and I’ve read Gill’s poetry before and it was okay but then this came in the post. This is the first collection I’ve felt a deep connection with, I felt like this was written for me. I related to every page and really hope to read more of this from Gill in the years to come.

New Favourite Author

Taylor Jenkins Reid

I’m obsessed with Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books. I got through 2 full novels and a shorter story within a matter of weeks. The characters are so alive and lived within my head for a long time after I finished reading.

So, I’m slowly making my way through all of her books and I’ll be watching her social media for her next amazing book, although as Daisy Jones came out not so long ago I know it’ll be worth the wait!

Your Newest Favourite Character

There is no character that jumps out as my new favourite so far!

A Book That Made You Cry

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton is about a man who spends decades in prison not only for a crime he didn’t commit, but could not have been involved in at all. His only crime was being poor and black and this was a tough read. A beautifully written book that broke my heart.

A Book That Made You Happy

Are you ready for one of the CUTEST books you’ve ever read? Heartstopper by Alice Oseman made my heart so happy it’s a really sweet graphic novel about friendship and love. So, so, sweet.

The Most Beautiful Book So Far

Out of books I’ve read it’s Five Feet Apart not only is this a beautifully written (and emotional) book, this cover is absolutely beautiful it’s such a delicate design too. Love, love, love it.

What have you loved so far this year? I’d love to hear your recommendations below!

What I Read In May 2019

May turned out to be a pretty good reading month, even if I was a little slower with some of my books. I got through a total of 7 books this month, 1 audiobook, 5 physical books and 1 ebook.

I read a fair few books about the Holocaust this month, I don’t know why. I picked up Questions I Am Asked About The Holocaust by Heidi Fried, a short read that answers questions that are commonly asked after her talks. A great start if you want to find out more about the Holocaust.

The Cut Out Girl was one of my audiobooks this month. Again it is based on the holocaust and the live of a young woman who was hidden multiple times and the impact that this had on her and the rest of her life. A really harrowing read and from a perspective I haven’t read about before.

I also read White Rose which was a pre-order, this tells the story of Sophie Schroll and the White Rose Society. The society was a part of the nazi resistance and this was a really interesting way to tell their story as it is written in verse.

Every month I try to add to my poetry collection so I wanted to try Lang Leav as there is quite a collection of her poetry in my local bookshop. I picked up Love Looks Pretty On You, I liked it – however I want to read more of Leav’s work before making a decision on how I feel about her poetry.

I was sent How Not To Lose It : Mental Health Sorted by Anna Willamson to have a read during mental health week. This is aimed at younger readers and I think it would be a great book for all 11-14 year olds to have access to. It answers a lot of questions about mental health that young people have but might not know how to address.

My next read was one I have been so excited to read and that’s The Paper & Hearts Society by Lucie Powrie. Lucy runs UKYA Chat and is absolutely lovely and I was gifted an early release copy – it turned out to be such a sweet and uplifting read. Admittedly, at 24 I wasn’t the target audience but I really enjoyed the development of the friendships and all the bookish references!

And my final book for May was The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life And Freedom On Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton. I was also granted to be for review by the publishers and wow was this emotional. He spent nearly 20 years on death row for a crime he was in no way connected with. I felt angry, upset and frustrated with the lack of justice. A really interesting read.

What did you read last month? I’d love to hear your recommendations below!

April & May 2019 Favourites

April & May 2019 Favourites!

Ok, we’re playing catch up a little bit! I could say there wasn’t enough in April to be excited about but in all honesty I forgot. I thought I’d written it, then I was too late. You guys know how life gets. BUT we’re back with my April and May favourites. Let’s jump in

Books

April was the month I discovered Taylor Jenkins Reid one of my new all time favourite authors! I read three of her books in less than 2 weeks. Daisy Jones and The Six was an incredible look at a band in the 1970s and it just felt so real, I’ll have a review on that soon. Following that I listened to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and was transported to old Hollywood – I would 100% recommend the audiobook.

I also read the next book in the Izzy O’Neill series by Laura Steven and I loved it so much! I laughed, got emotional and have been recommending it to everyone. I also got my order of White Rose on the day of release this is a novel about Sophie Scholl written in verse and was a interesting way of looking at The White Rose society.

And last, but not least, I was able to get an advance reader copy of Lucy Powrie’s The Paper and Hearts Society. It’s absolutely adorable and a book for book lovers. I was sent a copy of this for review and I can’t wait to share that with you this month!

Watching

I’ve been actually spending more time than usually watching TV and movies because two of my favourites have ended. It’s been emotional guys. One I haven’t watched yet was the end of the Big Bang Theory – one of my favourite shows as a teenager, I’ll get to it eventually.

Firstly we got to the final of the Avengers films as we know them, I was in a cinema at 8am on a Friday morning to watch and cried so hard I gave myself a headache. I loved it. That said, I think I’m going to need a bit of time before I watch it again because, boy, was that emotional.

Then the following Monday we had the end of Game of Thrones and, I thought it was ok – not exactly how I would have ended it but the series itself had some of the best cinematography I’ve ever seen. I definitely think we needed a longer season or another 2 seasons so it didn’t feel as rushed.

I also had a bit of a Netflix binge and finally watched Bodyguard, yes I’m well aware I’m a year late to the party. I really enjoyed it and am keeping my fingers crossed for a second season. Next on the list is Killing Eve before the second season is released in the UK in June.

Life

April

April was pretty quiet and I spent most of my time either working or at home BUT I did end up with some new glasses 🤓. I also found my wedding venue! It’s absolutely beautiful and more than I could have imagined. I’m absolutely in love with it!

Unfortunately, April was our last month full month with Wickett, as he passed away in May but I love this picture of him nibbling on some Broccoli. I also picked up these beautiful earrings from local designer Hannah Viner (her website is here). I’ve been wearing them constantly and they’re so sweet.

May

May on the other hand was pretty busy. My lovely Mum bought me a set for my business with branded goodies, I absolutely love it. Next up I FINALLY got my first Loungefly bag which I’ve wanted for ages and, of course, it has Ewoks on it including Wickett.

I also had my friend Sarah’s Hen Do in London, the Wellcome Book Prize ceremony and a meeting that deserved a Lola’s Cupcake. I got my hair coloured so hello red and we bought home two new hammies, Ghost and Nymeria.

What did you get up to in April and May? I’d love to hear below!

The Marvel Avengers Book Tag

Seeing as the glory that Endgame has been released, I thought why not have a go at the Marvel Book Tag? I found this over on RiverMoose-Reads and, well, it seemed fitting. FYI I loved Endgame, it’s currently my favourite film of the year and it deserves ALL of the awards.

So, let’s go.

Iron Man – a book that made you laugh out loud:

a-girl-called-shameless-laura-steven

A Girl Called Shameless

I laughed so much and so hard at this book. Izzy O’neil is an amazing protagonist and Steven’s comedy writing is absolutely fantastic. The first book was also hilarious, you can find my review of it here.

Captain America – a book that sends a positive message:

Heartstopper

Be still my beating heart for Heartstopper. This was a graphic novel all about friendship, kindness and a blossoming relationship. It’s my go to for a feel-good read. I have a review all about it here.

Thor – a book with a characters strength you admire: 

Daisy Jones & The Six

Camila has my whole heart. She is a mother and a wife, sure, but she’s an incredibly intelligent and strong women. In all the madness of Daisy Jones & The Six, she is the calm that is needed as well as being SO kick ass.

Black Widow – a book with a kick-ass female protagonist: 

Book Review: Moxie - Jennifer Mathieu
Moxie

Moxie girls fight back. Feminism and fighting back at the patriarchy, Vivian is absolutely incredible. She had the right balance of passion and still being a teenager. Definitely one to pick up if you haven’t already.

Hulk-  a book that made you incredibly angry:

The Cursed Child

Do I even have to explain this one? Closest I’ve ever come to launching a book across a room. In my opinion it was bad fan fiction that completely trashed the books we come to know and love.

Hawkeye – an underrated book you think more people should pay attention to

Orbiting Jupiter - Gary D. Schmidt
Orbiting Jupiter

Before I picked this up at YALC last year, I had heard nothing about it and after reading I think everyone should have picked it up. There is so much packed into such a small book. I absolutely fell in love with it.

{BONUS} Loki – a book with a twist or surprise that tricked you: 

My Sister’s Keeper

I read this when I was around 15 and the end completely threw me off, I did not see it coming. Luckily I also hadn’t seen the film (the film and the book have completely different endings). But, without spoilers it’s hard to explain why I was so shocked and so emotional. Picoult knows about to pack a punch in a twist.

What would you choose for these? I’d love to know in the comments or even in a tag post!

Blogging Struggles

Hellooooooo blogging friends!

Let’s be real here, trying to write a blog regularly can be damn hard work. This isn’t a post to complain with a ‘woe is me’ attitude. But, it is one that’s going to be pretty damn honest.

I’ve honestly felt so unmotivated. While there are pages of ideas for posts I’m kind of deflated. While everyone gets like this and, real talk, it can feel incredibly frustrating to be blogging for years and then see newbie bloggers getting great sponsorships and collabs. There’s no shade in that but it can really make you question yourself and your blog.

So, I thought, why not write a blog about not being able to write a blog. There we go. What an idea! I guess, part of this is me forcing myself to write and publish something no matter how I feel about it and, quite frankly, getting over myself and this writing thing. The only way I’m going to get out of this damned slump is by writing myself out of it.

I’m fully aware this has become a storytime/pep talk for myself/ word vomit situation and you know what? I’m okay with that. I’m okay proving that I’m not a perfect blogger, I’m just doing the best I can with what I’ve got.

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day 2019

Today is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day! If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know that I have and live with Fibro. I was in a horse riding accident which caused me to fracture one of my vertebrae and damage 3 others. The trauma of that accident lead me to developing the illness, which is chronic – I will now live with it for the rest of my life.

So, what are some of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia, the NHS describes them as:

“As well as widespread pain, people with fibromyalgia may also have:

  • increased sensitivity to pain
  • extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • muscle stiffness
  • difficulty sleeping
  • problems with mental processes (known as “fibro-fog”), such as problems with memory and concentration
  • headaches
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a digestive condition that causes stomach pain and bloating”

I tick off each and every one of those. It’s a super fun party lifestyle!

I thought I would write a post about how to live with the illness, about how I am thankful I am and the positives I have found. I will do a post like that, in fact, I’m pretty sure I have written posts like that. When I write those posts I’m in a good place and they are truthful, but there are times when, like today, I’m not grateful I’m just tired.

My life completely and utterly changed because of this illness, a ‘normal’ 9-5 meant I couldn’t do anything else other than work. I needed a job to pay the bills, which eventually lead me to freelancing (see, there’s one of those silver linings).

I had to plan rest days, think about how my plans would impact me for days or even weeks after, get a walking stick. The hardest part though? For me it has been the mental struggle adjusting myself to not being able to do absolutely everything for myself. I’ve an incredibly independent person and knowing that, sometimes, I need a little help has been tough.

I don’t think that when I was diagnosed I really processed or dealt with the illness I’d been diagnosed with. It’s something that I’m trying to work though now – I’m getting help with how I feel and the anxiety I have about the future.

While this might not be a super fun or happy read, it is truthful about how I feel at this current moment.