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.

So, What Was It Like To Work In A Bookshop?

So, What Was It Like To Work In A Bookshop?

At the end of 2019 I got to tick off a teenage dream of mine – I got to work in a bookshop. Yes! Almost 10 years after my work experience in the local bookshop I was offered a 6 week contract over the festive period – woo! So, did it live up to my expectations? What was it like to work over Christmas? Keep reading and all will be revealed…

Being surrounded by books all day every day was wonderful and dangerous.

I spent a fair amount of the money that I earned in the shop on more books. I also go ARCs and trades from other booksellers. Ali wasn’t best pleased that I’m now in need of another bookshelf but he knew who he was moving in with!

Also my mental ‘to buy’ list is even longer.

Regular customers are the best

The absolute best and generally really nice people who loved recommendations, which leads me on to my next point…

Giving recommendations was so much fun

Probably my favourite part of the day, which I got to do a lot. I particularly liked the challenge of someone who had read a lot. I even managed to get a few people to pick up YA books who wouldn’t normally.

Kids still read – a lot

And I love it. One of the departments I helped most with was Kids and Young Adult. So many people say that kids don’t read and I’m here to tell you that they really, really do!

As with anything there are readers and people who prefer other things. There was nothing that warmed my heart more than a kid telling me about their favourite books and what they liked. I also loved the challenge of trying to find books for people who ‘don’t really read’.

Sometimes you will get asked baffling questions or comments and you question the majority of the human race

I once had a friend who was asked if they sold sports equipment…in a bookshop. I also had a lot of people telling me their conspiracy theories about Greta Thunberg. Trying not to react was the haaaaardest thing. So hard.

The people you work with make or break the job

I’ve worked in retail before, from the age of 16 up until I was 19 I had some retail jobs and I didn’t really enjoy them. Some of them I’d go as far as to say I couldn’t stand BUT this was completely different.

As I write this I still talk to a lot of the team, I go in regularly and they all know I miss them like mad. They’re an incredible team of people and I’m pleased that they’re still my friends who I can go and bug and they can’t escape haha!

There are parts of your feet that you don’t know exist until they are throbbing in pain

Oh my goodness my feet. Shout out to Sketchers because before I started wearing them (thanks Nanna!) I was in horrific pain with not just my feet but my ankles and my knees because of Hypermobility.

Even after I started wearing them I would come home at nice and my feet would throb. There were a lot of baths, a lot of painkillers and a lot of wincing.

People can be arseholes for no reason

Most of the customers we had were lovely people, then you got some who treated you like you were stupid or were just generally unpleasant. I had someone shout at me because they hadn’t found the book they wanted and I was daring to go home (literally had my coat on and was getting a lift home). I had another person throw a tantrum because they ordered something too late. Some people were just rude because…people.

It’s a physically tough job

I have so much respect for my friends who work in the shop who do it say in day out. Anyone in retail actually. Physically it’s an incredibly demanding job, mentally it can be too and a lot of people in retail do a lot of work for not a lot of pay.

Would I recommend it?

Mostly, yes I loved my time there. I do think that, in general the people in the store every could and should be treated with more respect because they literally keep the business going! They’re also human which is forgotten.

My 7 Top Tips To Read More

My 7 Top Tips To Read More

I have had a lot of messages recently about how much I read and how on earth do I read so much. Partially, it’s because I’ve been posting my reading updates on Instagram (don’t forget to follow me here) with everything I finish and so far, so good for 2020!

So I thought why not pop it in a blog and share with you guys how I get through an average of 100 books per year.

Read short books to get you in the swing of things

There is no point in starting War and Peace if you’re not a regular reader of you’ve been in a bit of a slump. Shorter books are a great way to get into a story and feel a sense of accomplishment that you’ve finished a book!

Read what you enjoy!

Love romance books? Go for it. Think YA is incredible? I agree? Or maybe you want to read about farms in the 1800s? You do you. There can be a lot of snobbery over what people read but, honestly, it’s no one else’s business if you enjoy it.

Join a Book Club

I took a chance, joined a book club and met some of my closest friends as well as being introduced to some of my new favourite books like A Winter’s Promise.

Book clubs are great to encourage you and introduce you to books that you might not have tried otherwise. Also the good ones also have sweet treats, just saying.

Absorb books in the best way for you

Hardback, paperback, ebook, audiobook – they’re all ways of enjoying a book. Some people enjoy listening and get more from it.

Take a book with you wherever you go

This is where the Kindle app is great because you’ve always got a book on you as long as you have your phone and you can get books for as little as 99p!

Or just put a read in your bag so if you get delayed/ are waiting for something/ have a quiet lunch break and are in the mood to read.

Set time aside to read

Whenever works for you but if you really want to read make time for it. For me, it’s normally in the evenings so I can get away from screens and chill out.

I also used to use any time I was on a train or bus because the only other thing I could do was sit on my phone. I’d probably read a lot more if I didn’t have my phone…

Goal orientated? Set that goal!

If goals work for you – set one. Even if it’s 1 book for the whole year or , if you’re completely mad like me, 100 books. I love having a goal and tracking them on Goodreads and it really motivates me to keep reading when I’m in a slump.

Do You Really Have To Get Up At 5am To Be Successful?

Do You Really Have To Get Up At 5am To Be Successful?

We’ve all seen it, the days of multimillionaires that start a 5am with an intense workout, a mix of strange ingredients in a smoothie, micro meetings and switching their phones off at 7.30pm for meditation throughout the evening before going to bed at 9. But these people are deemed successful so they must be doing something right. Right?

Maybe not. Hear me out.

This way of living, first of all, sounds very boring – it also sounds like something that is steeped in privilege. We can all work on ourselves and develop good habits, eating better, getting more exercise and getting off of our phones – I think everyone could benefit from those. But, most of us have jobs, families, housework, commitments etc. This isn’t me creating excuses but think about it for a second.

A lot of these ultra wealthy people we’re doing all of these things in their 20s, in the start of stages of their career. They were doing whatever they could to get themselves where they wanted to be. Now they have the means they can have the best food, they might even have a cook. They could spend hours in the gym with personal trainers who are specialists. They can run a business with a team behind them.

We see these ideas and schedules a lot. While before it was in magazines (I can’t remember which one had the ‘what’s in a celebrities fridge section but ugh) now it’s on our social media. It puts a new wave of pressure on us to strive to these ideals that are exactly that – ideals.

While I’m obviously not writing from my mansion and private library (I wish) people have called me successful in the past. Most of the time I’ve brushed them off BUT I do know people who in my mind are successful. They have 8 hours of sleep, they do like having a takeaway pizza, they also like going out with friends.

It’s easy to get sucked into the idea that there is one formulae for success and if we do it then we’ll get the result we want. Life doesn’t work that way so instead why don’t we make the changes we can.

I’m trying to go to the gym twice a week and increase my vegetable intake. Because I have work, friends, family and other parts to my life I’m doing the smaller things to contribute to being a better version of myself and hopefully more successful. Also if I got up at 5am every day I would not be a nice person, or a well person – just saying.

What do you think? Let me know below!

What I Read In December 2019

What I Read In December 2019

December was a funny old month, I thought I hadn’t read anything and then all of a sudden I browse my Goodreads and realise I’ve actually done pretty well in a super busy month.

So here’s what I read in December!

The Perfect Dress – Louisa Leaman

This was a sweet but intriguing read. I haven’t read a book about weddings for a long time but as I’m starting to try and find my own it seemed fitting that I would read this novel and I’m so glad I did. Romance, history, intrigue I absolutely adored this book! A solid 4.5 stars from me

I was sent this by the publisher in exchange for an honest review which is coming soon!

Tunnel of Bones – Victoria Schwab

The second in the Cassidy Blake series and another that I had to keep reading at every spare moment I had thanks to my Secret Santa (thanks Izzy!). Even more creepy than the first and made me just want to read more, the 3rd novel in the series comes out this year and I am SO here for it!

Break The Fall – Jennifer Iacopelli

You guys are going to want to read this when it’s released because it’s bloody incredible. This is focused on an abuse scandal in the USA gymnastics team (similar to what we have unfortunately seen recently). A stunning debut with incredible chronic pain representation. 5 star read without a doubt.

Love Her Wild – Atticus

I’ve been intrigued by this collection of poetry for a while, partly because it’s a hardback poetry collection and partly because it has beautiful images. It’s very short and some wouldn’t consider it poetry but I thought it was beautiful. 4 stars from me.

Journey to The Rise of Skywalker: Allegiance – Ethan Sacks

This was ok, but that was about it for me. I understand they couldn’t give much away before the films release but I just didn’t care much for it so it only got a 3 star rating from me.

The Truth About Magic – Atticus

The third collection of Atticus’s work, although I thought it was the second. I wouldn’t say this was hugely different to the first but I still found it very enjoyable and a great book to dip into. 4 stars.

Drawing Europe Together – Various

I got this from my friend Charissa for Christmas and it was a lovely, although slightly sad read. Beautiful illustrations and wonderful ideas. 4 stars.

This is How You Lose the Time War – Amal El – Mohtar & Max Gladstone

I’m going to put it out there that most of the time while reading this I had no idea what was going on through a lot of the book but I adored it. Beautifully written and full of a strange kind of love but so, so wonderful. If you don’t mind me confused while appreciating great writing then I’d definitely read this one. 4 stars from me.

Did you get much reading done in December? Let me know what your favourites were!

Welcome to the 20s!

Happy New Year! Well that’s it we’re into the 20s!

Going into a new decade makes me feel excited and nervous. Of course a lot usually changes in a decade but this one seems more grown up…it’s the decade that I’ll hit my 30s. I’m going to get married, I plan to hopefully be a Mum and move to a house at some point. Although, I’m not making any solid plans or promises.

That said, I’m taking it day by day, month by month, year by year. I have things I would like to do/ to happen in this decade but I don’t want to put a huge amount of pressure on myself if that makes sense? I’m going to hit 30 and that’s making me freak out a tiny bit because there’s this big idea of everything you should have done.

Anyway, I digress. I’m looking forward to this year, to seeing what happens and trying my hardest!

So, in 2020 I’m aiming to

  • Work on my fitness but also love my body in the process
  • Actually start on my bloody book
  • Be kinder to myself in regards to my mental health
  • Save, save, save for our honeymoon
  • Work hard on my freelance career and projects I enjoy

What are you looking forward to in 2020? Let me know below!

Everything I Read in 2019

Everything I Read In 2019!

Well, what a reading year it’s been! I smashed my goal of 100 books (although at times I wondered if I would!). I’ve read some absolutely incredible books, found some new favourite authors and had my heart broken by words more than once this year.

So, here’s all the books I read in 2019…

January

Becoming – Michelle Obama

You Are A Badass At Making Money – Jen Sincero

Everything I Never Told You – Celest Ng

Unnatural Vol 1, – Mirka Andolfo

Saga Vol 8 – Brian K Vaughan

Notes To Self – Emilie Pine

Born Lippy: How To Do Female – Jo Brand

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing – Hank Green

Pop Star Jihadi – Nick Tyrone

February

Soho – Richard Scott

Hard Pushed: A Midwife’s Story – Leah Hazard

Some Girls Survive On Sourcery Alone – Thiahera Nurse

Royals (Prince Charming) – Rachel Hawkins

Snotgirl Volume 2 – Bryan Lee O’Malley

What Would The Spice Girls Do? – Lauren Bravo

Standing Female Nude – Carol Ann Duffy

Heartstopper Volume 1 – Alice Oseman

Camouflage: The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women – Sarah Bargiela

Far From The Tree – Robin Benway

If My Body Could Speak – Blythe Baird

A Story About Cancer With a Happy Ending – India Desjardins

Saga Volume 9 – Brian K Vaughan

March

You Do You – Sarah Knight

The Burning – Laura Bates

Eye Level: Poems – Jenny Xie

Five Feet Apart – Rachael Lippincott , Mikki Daughtry (Contributor), Tobias Iaconis (Contributor)

Ctrl, Alt, Delete: How I Grew Up Online – Emma Gannon

Mind On Fire: A Memoir of Madness and Recover – Arnold Thomas Fanning

My Solo Exchange Diary Vol 2 – Kabi Nagata

Voices of Powerful Women – Zoë Sallis

Internment – Samira Ahmed

That’s Not What Happened – Kody Keplinger

April

Your Heart Is The Sea – Nikita Gill

Daisy Jones & The Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Mermaid’s Voice Returns In This One – Amanda Lovelace

I Found My Tribe – Ruth Fitzmaurice

Evidence Of The Affair – Taylor Jenkins Reid

Blossoms in Autumn – Zidrou

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

A Girl Called Shameless – Laura Steven

May

Questions I Am Asked About The Holocaust – Hédi Fried

The Cut Out Girl – Bart van Es

White Rose – Kip Wilson

Love Looks Pretty On You – Lang Leav

How Not To Lose It: Mental Health – Ana Williamson

The Paper and Hearts Society – Lucie Powrie

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row – by Anthony Ray Hinton (Introduction), Lara Love Hardin

June

Saved as Draft by N.D. Chan

Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling

This Is The Journey by Alison Malee

Everything’s Trash But It’s Ok by Phoebe Robinson

The Hormone Diaries – The Bloody Truth About Our Periods – Hannah Witton

Red, White and Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

The Hidden Power of F*cking Up – The Try Guys

July

Heartstopper Volume 2 – Alice Oseman

[Dis] Connected edited – Michelle Halket

Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want To Come – Jessica Pan

Look Closer – Stewart Lewis

 The Power – Naomi Alderman

Calm the F**k Down – Sarah Knight

Misfit – Charli Howard

There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé – Morgan Parker

Vicious – V.E. Schwab

August

Eat, Drink, Run – How I Got Fit Without Going Too Mad by Bryony Gordon

The Disconnect – Keren David

Birthday – Meredith Russo

The Truth About Alice is – Jennifer Mathieu

American Royals – Katherine McGee 

The Stolen Ones – Vanessa Curtis

Can Everyone Please Calm Down? A Guide to 21st Century Sexuality – Mae Martin 

Aphrodite Made Me Do It – Trista Mateer

The Good Immigrant edited – Nikesh Shukla

The Flat Share – Beth O’Leary

September

Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed – Jack The Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

The Other Mother – Jen Brister

Sex, Power, Money – Sara Pascoe

Archie 1941 – Mark Wade

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Artwork – Emily Carroll

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me – Mariko Tamaki & Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

October

Postscript by Cecelia Ahern

It’s Not Ok To Feel Blue And Other Lies by Scarlett Curtis

Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield

The Liar’s Daughter by Megan Cooley Peterson

Over The Top by Jonathan Van Ness

Freedom by Jaycee Dugard

Truth To Power by Jess Phillips

 Twas The Night Shift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

Heartstream by Tom Pollock

Dear Girls – Ali Wong

November

Full Disclosure – Camryn Garrett

Our Super Canadian Adventure – Sarah Graley and Stef Purenins

A Winter’s Promise – Christelle Dabos

City of Ghosts – Victoria Schwab

They Called Us Enemy – George Takei

No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference – Greta Thunberg

December

The Perfect Dress – Louisa Leaman

Tunnel of Bones – Victoria Schwab

Break The Fall – Jennifer Iacopelli

Love Her Wild – Atticus

Journey to The Rise of Skywalker: Allegiance – Ethan Sacks

The Truth About Magic – Atticus

Which books did you read in 2019 and what are you hoping to read in 2020? Let me know in the comments below!

Please note: A number of these book I was gifted or sent for review. This does not impact the rating or review they have been given.