What I Read In September 2019

It’s back to getting dark early and curling up with blankets which means my super charged reading months are coming! September, however, wasn’t my best reading month. I was crazy busy with work and birthday celebrations throughout September so audiobooks were my lifeline! I only finished 1 physical book in September which shows just how crazy busy things were! But let’s get into what I actually read.

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

Ah, Birdsong. What can I say about this book? It really wasn’t my cup of tea but it was my book club read so I had a bit of a struggle to get through.

I can appreciate why people do like this book but I didn’t like it. I felt it was too long and it could have been half the length and still made the point. I gave it 2.5 stars.

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

This was an Audible deal that I purchased with the intent to listen to then I saw it on Lauren Wade’s YouTube channel and listened to it a bit sooner.

I thought this was an excellent read focusing on the women who were murdered by Jack The Ripper. This gave so much information on each woman, where they came from, how they grew up, changes in circumstances and a lot of myth busting. A 5 star read for me.

The Other Mother by Jen Brister

Audiobook number 2! The Other Mother was excellent and super funny. This followers Jen Brister’s experience being the ‘other mother’ in a same sex relationship and chronicles parenthood for her. A great laugh and really interesting read another 5 star read.

Sex, Power, Money by Sara Pascoe

Aaaand another audiobook (thank god for being able to buy extra credits on Audible). I really liked Sara’s first book Animal and so picked this up too. As well as being an excellent comedian Sara is also a great writer. This is really in depth and I learnt a lot from it. It was a 4.5 star read for me.

Archie 1941 – Mark Wade

I really enjoyed this one I got for my birthday. I like Archie comics and they’re putting Archie and the gang in different decades, this one did have a lot of heart behind it and I wish it had been longer! 4.5 stars from me.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Artwork by Emily Carroll

I’ve heard a lot about Speak as a novel and it’s been one I wanted to get to and then I saw an early copy of the graphic novel at YALC this year and knew I wanted to read it in this format first. I didn’t regret it the words and illustration worked beautifully together and I still want to read the novel of Speak. A 5 star read for me.

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With MeMariko Tamaki & Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

My friend got me this for my birthday. I’d heard a little bit about this being a graphic novel with great LGBT rep and added it to another list (I know, there are a lot of lists). This was a great read and surprised me in places. Seeing as there is a big 1 on the side I’m hoping this is the start of a series, another 5 star!

What did you read in September? Let me know in the comments below! 👇

What I Got For My 25th Birthday!

I asked over on Twitter (@chlometzger, if you’re not already following) if anyone would like to see what I received for my birthday this year and 90% said yes, so lucky you. This year I had a truly wonderful time and felt so loved, so much so it knocked me for six. If any of you reading were a part of it, thank you so much.

So, let’s get into the gifts.

This was a huge surprise but SO exciting, I absolutely love Loungefly bags. I didn’t expect my Mum to find one so it was a big surprise when I opened the box it came in! An R2-D2 Loungefly bag!!

I also got the Lego Knight bus, within 24 hours of recieving it I’d finished building it and now I’m eyeing up the castle set again…my bank account does not agree with this decision. I also got a super cute balloon.

Now let’s get around to the books! From my friend Charissa I received Two Can Keep A Secret & The Confessions of Frannie Langton both of which I’ve been waiting to read for ages. My friend Sarah got me Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, an LGBT graphic novel I’ve heard a LOT about.

Next up are two books I bought with a gift card from a special rabbit (yes, you read that right) so I picked up the graphic novel of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and the City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab.

My parents got me A Very Large Expanse of Sea, another book I’ve been meaning to get to for a while. I also received a copy of Archie 1941 from my friend Joe because he knows I’ve been waiting for it to come out as a trade rather than single issues. He also got me a Saga pin for my jacket and another that says Birthday Stud…I proudly wore it around London.

Ali did good this year, I’ve been thinking about getting some better headphones for a while now and he found me these and they are a dreeeeeam. Also got them in my favourite colour – he’s going to be a good husband.

Next up my grandparents got me this beautiful shirt with animals all over, so damn cute. They also got me a Lush set which is perfect because as the weather gets colder I want to have ALL OF THE BATHS. It also included one of my all time favourites, Sex Bomb.

My lovely Lucy and godkids got me Coda, I don’t know much about it but I’m looking forward to a new graphic novel. She also painted a picture of me and Ali which she’s still finishing up – it’s incredible and I’ll be sharing it on my Instagram (@chloemetz_) when it’s ready!

I was also lucky enough to get a new Pandora charm from my Mother-in-Law because she’s bloody adorable.

Next up some more gifts from friends Abbie, Ben & Sarah. I got some new fox socks, some new kick ass badges for my jacket. Also, can we take a moment to appreciate my friends love for my butt. Loving it.

I also got 2 new notebooks and a pack of yummy fudge! And I also got a handmade jumper (my friends Mum is secretly Mrs Weasley) it is so warm and snuggly. This is my second jumper like this and again, it’s in my favourite colour.

I’ve finally reached the age where my family will buy me chocolate and alcohol for my birthday hallelujah. 4 different type of Hotel Chocolate that I haven’t tried before and some Chocolate Gin? HELL TO THE YES. Also, so far, so delicious.

My sister came through too with new make-up. Another amazing Naked palette which is amazing and looks so good. She also got me some more brushes which she’ll teach me to use and some new lipstick to try.

What more needs to be said? My grandparents know. Also, look at this cute Fox they also go me! He’s called Basil.

I have wanted some of these cupcakes from this specific lady for a few years and as a surprise my Mum got these made for me. They didn’t last long but tasted so, so good.

Also there were some great Harry Potter gifts. My friend Corrie went and found me a new list pad and some badges as well as some lovely chocolaty goodies too.

My Mum also found these ADORABLE little Harry Potter plushies and aren’t they so cute? I love them.

She also found me a personal size Gryffindor cake. Currently, it’s survived all the eating but I’m sure it will disappear soon…

I was also lucky enough to receive money, although obviously there’s no need for pictures of that!

So there it is! The wonderful gifts I received for my 25th birthday! Are there any you like the look of? Let me know in the comments below!

25 Fun Facts About Me

25 Fun Facts About Me!

Today I have leveled up to 25 (!!), yep I’ve been on this planet for a quarter of the century now and while there is a mild panic that I am now closer to 30 than 20, I’m hoping this will be a good year. So, for tonight’s post I thought I’d let you in on 25 fun facts about me you might not know!

  • I once had a meal with Trevor McDonald as part of a uni event, we bonded over how much we enjoyed George Ezra’s music.
  • I have had 9 hamsters in my life Lampie, Hamski, Noodle, Wickett have all passed on to the rainbow bridge and currently I have BB, Artoo, Wompa, Nymeria and Ghost with Ali.
  • Speaking of, I met Ali at 13 years old, I’ve been a little bit in love with him ever since.
  • I didn’t realise I loved academics until much later for my GCSE options I chose Music, Art, Drama and Textiles – I wanted to take dance but it wouldn’t fit with my schedule (also my knees were buggered).
  • I have Hypermobility meaning my joints are super bendy – I still can’t do the splits though. 🤔
  • I would rather read than do almost anything else.
  • I don’t drink coffee.
  • Pop-punk is one of my favourite genres and Ali makes playlists for us full of awesome new stuff.
  • When I was a kid I dreamed of being in musicals on the West End stage… then I found rock music.
  • I didn’t have a Tequila shot until my 24th birthday…I wish I hadn’t.
  • If I had one moment to go back in time I’d go and watch Queen live at Wembley.
  • I have a BA in English Literature and while I was studying it was my ambition to get a PhD and become a lecturer.
  • I was in bands from the age of 16 to 21 as a vocalist.
  • My aim for every year is to read 100 books.
  • My first concert was in 1999, I saw the Spice Girls at Earls Court in London.
  • I love vintage fashion, 1950s style dresses are my favourite.
  • I once met Carrie Fisher, I was so excited she had her dog Gary with her that I said hello to Gary first. 🙈
  • I am desperate to have my own dog, it’s the first thing I’m going to sort out when we have a house. Thankfully, I have my lovely Lottie at my parents house and a load of dogs at Ali’s mum’s house so I’m covered.
  • My Myers Briggs result is an INFJ – most people are surprised I’m an introvert.
  • My Netflix account ‘watched’ list is a mix of stand up comedy, true crime documentaries and comedy tv shows I’ve seen a million times before.
  • I think the 80s was the best time for films, I’m also really keen on music from the time. Basically, I would have loved to have grown up in the 80s.
  • My big life ambition is to write a book.
  • It took me 5 attempts to pass my driving test.
  • My family are super into Disney. I grew up watching Disney films on repeat, have been to Disneyland Paris 6 times, Orlando 3 time and I’m going again for my honeymoon.
  • Being 25 makes me feel nervous, it feels a little bit too grown up for me!

And that’s 25! What are some interesting facts about you? Let me know in the comments below! 👇

I'm not where I thought I would be - are you_

I’m Not Where I Thought I Would Be – Are You?

Next week I’m going to be 25 years old and while it might not be a landmark birthday (although my next one will be 30 *shudder*) it has made me think quite a lot about where I am, where I want to be and what I’m doing. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that my life looks very different to what I thought it would be like when I was a child/teenager.

So I thought why not have a look at those expectations

I thought I would…have bought a house.

*laughs, laughs, cries* I don’t know anyone my age who went to university and can afford a house. The only people I know are those who have been working since they were 18 and saving hard. I’m happy for my friends who have their own houses, I’m also jealous. I am a long way off of owning a home so for now, renting it is.

I thought I would…be married.

25 is aaaaaaaaagggeeeee away and so grown up right? Haha. So I thought. Although, on my 25th birthday I’ll be a little over a year away from getting married! So I guess this one was close.

I thought I’d have…at least one child

My Mum was 21 when I was born, my Dad was 22 so for me I thought this was a great time to have a baby. In 1994 it wasn’t such a bad idea but both of my parents left school at 16 and worked quite soon after.

So, I assumed I’d also have my own rugrat in my early 20s. But instead I packed up my life went to university and spent my 21st birthday in a Wetherspoons with a bunch of friends and was carried home by Ali and my friend Lex.

There was a little while where I doubted whether I’d be good at being a parent, whether it was something I really, really wanted. After a few issues and a little scare something might be wrong (thankfully it’s all fine) I know I want children but I’m not in a rush.

I thought I would…be working for someone.

From being a little kid to my early twenties I had a LOT of ideas about what I would do with my life. There was a musical theatre actress, singer, teacher, Dr of Literature, Marketeer. It kept changing so, that’s one thing I didn’t have a solid idea for.

But I was never one of those people who thought that I would go off and build my own business, my own empire – now that’s the dream. It just didn’t seem like something I could do but at this point in time I don’t know how I could do anything else. Funny how time changes things.

Looking at all of these, I think that I definitely based what I thought my life would look like based on my parents – I mean didn’t most of us look at a grown up in our lives and go that’s what my life will be like or that’s who I want to be. But, even though the gap between me and my parents is 20 years, the world has changed so much. I can’t get a 100% mortgage, we’re fighting more for jobs and having children later.

So while I’m nowhere near where I thought I would be at 25, I’m not unhappy. I have a flat I’m renting, a fiancé I adore, my own freelance job and beautiful hamster babies. It might be a little different but it’s still pretty good.

Are any of you nodding along with any of these? What did you think you’d be doing at 25? Let me know in the comments below. 👇

Unpopular Opinions Book Tag 2019 Edition

Unpopular Opinions Book Tag 2019 Edition

A while ago I did the Unpopular Opinions Tag and you guys seem to have really enjoyed it so how about a round 2? Brace yourselves guys, this might just get ugly. I’m kidding but I might just hit you in the feels.

What is a popular book or series that you didn’t like?

My Sister the Serial Killer – I listened to the audiobook and was bored. I’d heard so many good things about it but I just couldn’t get on with the plot or narration. But it’s up for a load of awards so other people seem to like it.

What is a popular book or series that everyone else seems to hate but you love?

I’ve gone back a little bit here (I couldn’t find anything recent that would fit this) – there is so much hate online for Looking For Alaska by John Green. Now, it has been a long time since I read it but I really, really enjoyed the book.

I think it was the second book by John Green I ever read and I thought it was well written and can’t remember having any issues with it.

What is a love triangle in a book or series where the main character ended up with the person you did not want them to end up with?

I actually can’t think of any, I guess the closest I can think of is Katniss and Peeta in The Hunger Games. Peeta was so pure and kind and I just don’t see it working with the two of them. Sorry not sorry.

What is a popular book genre that you hardly reach for?

Horror isn’t something I choose to read, I think if it had a really interesting plot I might try it but I just can’t seem to get into it! That and I have a really vivid imagination for that kind of stuff and will probably have the worst nightmares.

What is a popular or beloved character that you do not like?

There is a lot of love for Draco Malfoy in the Potter fandom and personally I don’t get it. He was a brat and a bully throughout the series and ultimately he was a coward. Nope, no love for Draco although a LOT of love for Tom Felton because he’s amazing.

Who is a popular author that you can’t seem to get into?

Rainbow Rowell. I tried to read Fangirl and I just really struggled to care and none of the other books interest me.

What is a popular book trope that you are tired of seeing?

Quiet girl who has been a nobody catches the eye of the most popular guy in school, romance ensues *swoon*. Nope, nope, nope. It gets so boring.

What is a popular book or series that you have no interest in reading?

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, I tried Fangirl and found it really boring and when I tried to read it it just seemed like a Harry Potter rip off – oops!

What is a movie or TV show adaption of a book or series that you like more than the book/s?

Only because of the length but Game of Thrones. The first book took me so long to get through and there were so many names and so much going on. I might change my mind when I pick them up again.

Did you agree with any of my unpopular opinions? Or do you have any of your own? Let me know in the comments below!

10 Things Not To Say To Chronically Ill People - And What To Say Instead

10 Things Not To Say To Chronically Ill People – And What To Say Instead

Having a chronic illness can be a bit of a minefield in itself. I’ve been thinking a lot about things that people say that isn’t helpful and what could be said instead.

A lot of the time people don’t intend to hurt someone’s feelings when they say these things but when you’re already fighting with your body 24/7 the words of someone else can make it that bit more difficult.

So, I thought I’d write a handy guide from my perspective about things not to say to a chronically ill person and what you might be able to say instead.

But you look healthy!”

First of all, thank you. Second of all, ‘looking’ healthy can take a lot of effort. I have showered, sorted my hair and maybe even put on some make up most of which makes me tired. There are many invisible illnesses, just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Instead, you can comment on how great someone looks without mentioning the illness – everyone loves a boost!

You should exercise more, that’ll help

Believe me I would love to be able to exercise every week without fail. Before my accident I was horse riding at least once a week and probably in the best shape I’ve been in as an adult.

The fact of the matter is I can’t do that anymore. I have to weigh up what I’m doing that week (Do I have any big deadlines? Do I need to go somewhere for work or with friends?) with the kind of exercise.

Currently I’m trying to do something every week but when every part of me hurts like I have the flu simply walking around my flat can be pretty painful. That said, I do try and get light exercise in no matter what.

Instead, why not ask them what activities they enjoy, if they’ve found anything that helps them and offer to go with. Some of my friends are excellent at this – we might go for a light work out together and I’ll just take a book so they can carry on if it gets too much!

Have you tried going to bed earlier?

Really Susan? I hadn’t thought about going to bed earlier to be less tired! Can you detect the sarcasm? Fatigue is a bit part of some chronic illnesses. When I’m in a flare I could sleep for 12 hours and still wake up feeling exhausted. Even when I’m not in flare if I have a busy weekend socialising I probably won’t be back to my version of normal for about a week.

Instead, maybe just don’t question their habits. It’s a bit of a dick move.

How come you can go to work/go out but you can’t come to my thing?”

I work because I need money to live. If I’m low on energy that’s my priority. Next question Janet.

Instead, be understanding let them know that it can’t be east to try and manage expectations and maybe recommend doing something together that’s less energy consuming.

You’re so boring”

Here’s the thing, when you’re chronically ill you might not have the most exciting life. I know that normally I’m in my pjs by 7pm if I can be just to be comfortable.

I know that for me, personally, being called boring drives me mad and sometimes hurts my feelings. I miss being able to do fun things and not think about how long it will take for me to feel better after doing any kind of activity.

Instead, have a bit of empathy, c’mon.

You’re too young to be ill/ have that illness.

HAHAHAHAHA. I wish! I get this a lot and I know some of my fellow spoonies do too. I’ve had old people look at me in disgust with my walking stick and people eye me suspiciously and refuse to give me a seat on the tube.

Being chronically ill can impact anyone no matter what their age and because, without make-up I’m told I look 17 it does not help my case. Either way, age has nothing to do with it.

Instead, ask polite questions if they’re ok with that and ask them how it feels to be chronically ill/disabled by an illness at a young age. Also if you hear someone else making this comment, sassy replies are appreciated.

Have you tried…”

People love to recommend things to those who are chronically ill and most of the time they want to help but sometimes those recommendations can be a little ridiculous. What worked for your brothers, nephews, girlfriends turtle probably won’t work for me.

Instead, if you have heard about something they might not have – think about how you phrase it. It’s all about the phrasing, try saying something like – “I heard about this thing, it made me think of you I don’t know if it would be of any benefit?” That way you’re letting them know that you respect that they know their own body.

Think positive!

I try my damned hardest to be positive where I can but living a life full of pain definitely wears you down. Telling someone to think positive can not only be irritating bust also hurtful. Think about why they might be so down and how you can help before saying it. Also word to the wise, comparing it to another illness is also not a reason to be positive.

Instead, let people have their moment – life with a Chronic Illness can suck! But also remind them of the things they’re good at, you can feel totally useless when you’re in flare.

I know how you feel “

Unless you have a chronic illness, I’m sorry but you don’t. As much as people are trying to be empathetic here it can be so frustrating. You might be tired/ aching/ feel run down after the weekend but I promise you it’s not the same.

Instead, ask them if there is anything you can do to help or if they want to talk through stuff. Or just acknowledge that you don’t know how they feel exactly but you can empathise.

Don’t take XX/ Does medication really work?”

Ah, commenting on someone else’s medication or treatment plan. This is a big one that, again, is often well meaning. A lot of the time people have heard horror stories of a certain drug and some don’t believe in taking medication at all.

From personal experience finding a medication that even remotely helps your symptoms can take a long time and causes a lot of side effects. For me alone I’ve had to try medication that has made me vomit, have headaches, increased my anxiety to the point of having panic attacks, have heart palpitations, night sweats and lots of other wonderful things.

Instead, if you really want to talk medication ask them about their experiences but honestly? I’d just leave it alone – it’s a deeply personal thing!

Is there anything you’d add or do you have any questions? Leave them in the comments below!

Heading To The Aisle: Finding Your Venue

I’m back with a bit of wedding chat – hooray! Now, things have ramped up at little bit since I last wrote about feeling overwhelmed about where to start and what to do. We now have a date, a registrar and a venue, yep check me about! I’m going to become a Mrs on the 16th January 2021, eek!

With no doubt one of the biggest things is getting your venue right. When we got engaged I was reluctant to look at any big venues, I was worried about the money we would spend but thanks to a bit of gentle nagging my Mum got me to visit two of the bigger and more impressive venues in my hometown and, don’t tell her, but she was completely right.

To say I’m in love with my venue is an understatement, I got a gut feeling as soon as we walked up that this was the place for me. The first time I saw it I went with my Mum and got a full tour – I’d recommend going on an open day/evening as they will set it up for how it may look for a wedding.

My wedding venue!

There are a million posts online about what questions you should ask but my main advice is ask about things that are important to you as well as the boring admin things. For me the important things were that the ceremony and evening were at the same place, accessibility, the guests rooms and what we would be eating, for Ali the sound, the way it was lit and layout were important.

It has to be said that without our parents wanting to help us I would have set my sights on a smaller venue. I’m aware how lucky we are that our parents want to help. That’s something I will say, don’t assume either way. I didn’t want to assume our parents would help, so I didn’t look at the beautiful venues. Have a conversation with everyone involved and see where things stand – you might be pleasantly surprised.

Really, your venue should make you feel happy and comfortable. I could visualise myself saying I do in the room where our ceremony will be held. Also, take your time! I only booked ours so quickly because I knew it was right for us, if you haven’t found it yet then take your time to look around and see what’s available.