Book Review: A Quick & Easy Guide To Queer & Trans Identities – Mady G & J.R. Zuckerberg

We live in an incredibly diverse world, one that should be celebrated. That said, to celebrate it we must first understand the people in it. The LGBTQ+ community are, in my experience, wonderful people but often people don’t know or understand much past the L (Lesbian) and G (Gay) parts of the spectrum. That’s where this graphic novel comes in.

When searching through Netgalley, I came across this graphic novel and was curious as to how educational it would be. It covers such a wide spectrum to help people understand the way that people identify. Importantly, this also covers the difference between sexuality and gender – something many get confused.

I’ll admit, when I was younger I didn’t know much about Transgender people and the variations of gender before I was 18. It wasn’t something that myself or anyone close to me had gone through. Of course, I understood about identifying as Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual but beyond that, I had a lot to learn.

This is a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to learn more about complicated topics without being bogged down in history and politics. While those things are incredibly important, they can seem very overwhelming. This is a good place to start and is easy to digest for a beginner.

I gave this a huge 5 stars. This is a really accessible graphic novel that could educate a lot of people. The fact that this is a little different and has fantastic art style adds to the experience of reading. Being taught about gender and sexuality by snails? Why not. Honestly, why not? This would be a great gift for someone who wants to learn more but doesn’t know where to start.

Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publisher for the opportunity to read this in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Pill

Why I Will NEVER Use An App For Birth Control

Don’t want to get pregnant? There’s an app for that…apparently.

So, you might have seen advertising for Natural Cycle lately, it’s an app that prevents pregnancy. Sound perfect, right? No pills, no extra hormones, no doctors visits. But all might not be what it seems as reports that the app is getting investigated, despite the fact it is now FDA approved.

Now, I’ve seen a lot of influencers talking about this and, personally, it was never something I was going to jump into. I know there’s science behind it but it just seems very risky. Hannah Witton did a very good video, explaining that there are a lot of different variables and it wasn’t for everyone.

Natural fertility cycling is something that’s been done for centuries, it’s not a new thing. This, however, has an app to track your data, learn your body and tell you when you can have sex without the risk of pregnancy. It can also be used to get pregnant.

For it to work you need to:

  • Take your temperature at the same time every day
  • Not drink alcohol (this will impact the reading)
  • Be healthy
  • Not be Jetlagged
  • Not have woken up 2 hours later than usual or had a bad nights sleep

All of these variables scream accidental pregnancy to me.

Do I like having to rely on hormonal contraception? Not really. Do I wish there was a male equivalent to the pill or implant? Yes, yes I do but that’s a whole other blog topic. For me though, taking the risk of getting pregnant right now isn’t something I want to play with.

I want to have children and I plan to, particularly after the trouble I had a few months ago. That said, accidents happen and they can be the best. I was a happy accident. I just want to do everything in my power to make sure I’m in a good position to have children and, right now, I want to focus on myself and my work. No risks where possible.

What do you think? Would you use an app like Natural Cycle? Let me know in the comments below!

10 Years in 10 Pictures

Today is a big day for me, personally. Today is 10 years since Ali and I got together as those slightly awkward teenagers that we were. Part of me can’t believe it’s been 10 years, the other part of me can’t imagine what life would be without him. Wow, soppy overload. So, I wanted to take a little trip down memory lane, 10 years in 10 pictures. Here’s to the next decade.

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The beginning 

We look so young, this was at school we’d switched jackets (no idea why). I can’t quite believe how different we look. I was 13 and Ali was 14 in this picture.

 

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Trip to Italy with Ali’s Mum. The first time we went abroad together!

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Hard Rock Cafe, London!

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In the UK you can only go to prom once and it is only with people from your year. So we couldn’t go to prom together but that didn’t stop Ali coming to see me off with a kiss.

 

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Off to Corfu this time for a weeks holiday. Ali’s always in a better mood when we’re away and much more likely to take stupid pictures with me. Including ones with cocktails.

 

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The summer before we both went to uni together!

 

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Band photo shoot, photo by Sophie Hewett

We moved in together in 2014 while studying. We had our little flat in Kingston for 2 years in the end and now, not living together, just feels weird.

 

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Ah, my trip to Athens that was meant to be my first solo trip, then I broke my spine. Ali had to come with me and help me, featuring running through Gatwick airport with me in a wheelchair to make me laugh.

 

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We graduated one day apart. Couldn’t think of anyone else I would have liked to have shared those few days with.

 

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Our fab holiday in Majorca last summer and out first relaxing holiday alone.

 

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A little different to how things have been recently in this heatwave but here’s to 10 years.

 

 

 

 

Spending A Day With Sound Engineers

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that my partner is a Sound Engineer. I’ve visited him at events before, but I’ve never done a full day with him as he works on a job to this scale. He wanted to show me what it was like to do his job and I was not prepared. Could I be a Sound Engineer? No, no I could not – but why?

We left the house at 6.30am – I can’t remember the last time I left the house this early. That was just the start of the day – we didn’t get home for another 21 and a half hours…yep. A quick stop off at McDonald’s and picking up one of Ali’s colleagues and we were on our way.

Me in High Vis

Guys, I’m not kidding this is a serious days work. As much as I joke to Ali about pushing a few buttons it’s intense. There’s the getting set up for a start. Every event you go to there is so much prep. I’m not going to embarrass myself by pretending I know what I’m talking about or trying to explain it. I know that at least some of the guys have read my blog before, they’re going to find this hilarious.

Ali and I Ascot 2018

I’m really lucky that I get to go and see some really cool shows and see what Ali does. Not a lot of people get to go and see what their other half does. I spent the whole day watching, trying to understand and ultimately just being a bit amazed. There was three hours of music (as well as rain) and you’d think after that the day is done…you’d be wrong.

This was about 9pm, the plan at this point was for me to go back to the van while they got to work if I’d helped I would have made the process even longer. I went back to the van and slept, 3 hours later, the boys were back. Hometime? Still no, back to the warehouse so they could unload the trucks. We ended up getting home at 4am.

So, could I join the ranks? Not on your life! Even if I did have the talent that the boys do it is such a full on and intense job. So, next time you go to a show, spare a thought for the teams behind it, they’re pretty great.

 

 

The Pros and Cons of Long Distance!

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that my boyfriend and I have to make long distance work. He’s a Sound Engineer which means he can be away anything from two nights to two months, well, that’s the longest run so far.

If you’d have asked if a few years ago if I thought long distance could work for me I would have said no, but life changes and shit happens. I’m super proud of what he’s achieving but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. So, I thought why not let you know what think the pros and cons of long distance are.

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Pro: You really appreciate the time you have together

I am in such a good mood when Ali is home. I’ll hang out with him all weekend, sometimes we’ll get breakfast together, other times we’ll just do our own thing but like that the other one is in the house.

Con: You can end up having to go to a lot of events alone 

It’s only been a year since Ali started working as a full-time Sound Engineer but there have been a lot of birthdays, events and things that I’ve gone to alone or am planning to go to alone. I can be a little sad, particularly when there’s a lot of couples around.

Pro: You’re made to be independent and have your own interests 

I’m very independent and that’s something that’s been enhanced with Ali’s job. I’ll quite happily spend time alone, I can find things to do, go out and see friends. On the boring side, I  cook, clean, sort out my car etc.

Con: It can get pretty lonely at times 

On the flip side, it can get pretty lonely at times. The house can get really quiet, the bed can feel too big. I go visit my Mum and have a cuppa with her quite a bit when Ali’s away, message people etc. I might be introverted but I also need a bit of company sometimes!

Pro: You always have something to talk about each day 

When he’s travelling there’s always interesting things going on, stories from the tour bus etc so we always have things to talk about. On my end I have stuff to tell him too, although they’re normally not as exciting as his.

Con: There’s not always a lot of time to talk! 

There can be so little time to talk, I might be in meetings all day, he might have a double show day. Or if something really exciting happens (like when I got taken on permanently at work) I have to wait to tell him.

Pro:  Getting the bed to yourself 

Spreading out with no one stealing the covers, I’m not mad about it.

Con: Distinct lack of cuddles 

Although cuddles are lovely and I miss them a lot.

Pro: You realise what really matters  

I think it’s changed our relationship a lot. There’s no point in me getting angry because he’s away on my birthday. He doesn’t get irritated when I don’t spend every second of time with him when he’s home. We don’t need fancy meals or an Instagram worthy couple shot because it is such small stuff to worry about.

Con: Big life decisions can be difficult 

People ask me about kids a lot, and I get a lot of weird sympathy which makes no sense at all to me. I wouldn’t want Ali to change a job he loves for kids, I wouldn’t change mine so to make that decision I’d need a big support network. It’s not something we’re thinking about for a long while but it is just a part of how long distance works.

 

What are your pros and cons for long distance? Let me know in the comments below!

Music Growing Up With Paramore

Growing Up With Paramore

Friday night I was lucky enough to go and see Paramore for the fourth time. I’ve been a Paramore fan since I was 13 years old and coincidentally since I met Ali, but Paramore isn’t about just that.

I think everyone has a band or artist that impacts their life, for me that was, and still is, Paramore. Hayley talked a lot on stage about how the band and fans have grown up together and it made me think, a lot about what the band meant to me. If I’m honest, I got a bit emotional.

When I was that 13-year-old who first heard Riot I was just getting into my own identity and working out, as a teenager, who I was. A friend recommended this band, Paramore. I loved it and I loved the lead singer she was short, a redhead with a big voice. She was everything  I wanted to be.

I listened to Riot on repeat and I met a boy that I really liked. I waited for Brand New Eyes to come out and it was like nothing I’d ever listen to. I fell in love with each and every song and they made sense. Brand New Eyes came out in 2009, it was around this time I was struggling with Depression, it hit me hard and that album got me through, The Only Exception became ‘our song’.

 

Couple Paramore 2010, 2013, 2014, 2018

When Zac and Josh left the band, I was devastated, I thought the band I loved was over. And then the singles came out, and then ‘Paramore’. At first, I didn’t get it, it seemed petty, it didn’t measure up to Brand New Eyes, all of these thoughts went through my mind. Then my band broke up, I was leaving for uni and the unknown. Suddenly it all made sense. The lyrics, the music it all made sense. My heart soared and it felt like the music held me together for the next few years.

Then another album and another part of my life, ‘After Laughter’. I’d graduated I was an ‘adult’ now but things weren’t going to plan. The single ‘Hard Times’ was released on the 19th April and it seemed to be the perfect thing for me, I’d lost my job 2 weeks earlier and graduate life wasn’t great. I listened to that song obsessively, again the tracks made me feel a little less alone, a little more capable. Then the album came out and ‘Rose Coloured Boy’ and ‘Fake Happy’ became my anthems.

Hayley was right the other night when she said we’re not the same people we were when ‘Riot’ was released and ‘Misery Business’ was all I listened to on repeat. I felt so many emotions watching. I was proud of this band and proud of myself for overcoming so much shit in the past 10 years and still being able to smile.

This might be fangirling, might be OTT but I really feel like I owe Paramore.

What band is it for you?

Blogmas Day 12: First Christmas in Our Own Home!

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2017 is a special Christmas for me, it’s the first time Ali and I have had our own place for the holidays! While we’ve lived together since the second year of uni we’ve never been somewhere, just the two of us, for the festivities. So we have a tree (at my insistence), we’ve been finalising what our plans are for the day itself and I’ve been generally annoying him with my Elfish tendencies.

We’re very different when it comes to our attitudes towards Christmas Ali’s not really a big Christmas person whereas I have had Christmas songs on in my car since *cough* October *cough*. I couldn’t wait to get us a tree and lights and wrap presents and get the candles on and EVERYTHING CHRISTMAS. Over time, I’m hoping that I can get him to be a little more Elf and a little less Grinch, slowly.

I’m so excited!