7 Tips For Going To Events Alone

It may surprise the people that know me, but going to social events gets me all kinds of wound up. In fact, before going out I’m usually a completely anxious mess. As times gone on I’ve gotten better at dealing with it – a far cry from my student days when I would get stupidly drunk before going out so I wasn’t as anxious. Would not recommend.

As a result of Ali’s job he often has to miss events – whether that’s a birthday night out, dinners or family gatherings in the past year and a half I’ve had to get used to going alone. As much as I am independent, it is nicer going to an event with someone you love rather than on your lonesome. It doesn’t mean I enjoy it, but I have my own ways of either hyping myself up or having plans for if I’m not feeling great.

It got me thinking, I’m sure I’m not the only one having to face going to events alone! Whether that be social or otherwise so why not put down what helps me?

Make sure you feel confident and comfortable in what you’re wearing

If I’m going to feel good mentally, I want to feel confident in the way I look. Making the effort to go outside? At nighttime no less? You bet I’m going to look good! I quite enjoy making a fuss of myself getting ready with some good music blasting, taking time to do my make up and generally feeling good about myself. It puts me in a much better mindset.

That said I’ll also think about what I’ll be comfortable in, if I’m going for a big dinner I’m not going to be wearing tight jeans or a fitted dress! Hello skater dresses

Don’t be afraid to let friends know you’re feeling it a little bit

When I went out for my birthday last year I was really apprehensive. To be honest, I really missed Ali, it was my second birthday apart from him and I didn’t know if I wanted to bother. A few friends of mine had to cancel and I just felt down.

I didn’t make a secret of this to my friends. I simply explained that I was missing him, but I wanted to spend time with them, just give me a minute to get in the groove! And it worked!

Give yourself some ‘me time’ before or after

I’m an introvert and navigating parties and such alone can be exhausting! Because of this I try to make sure that I have some time to myself either before (a relaxing shower and pamper session) or the next day I might curl up with a good book and my own company!

Find something you’re looking forward to in each event

It could be that the place you’re going to eat does really good dessert. You might be seeing friends you haven’t spent time with in a while, there will be something in each event for you to look forward to! Focus on those rather than the things you’re feeling anxious about!

If you don’t want to drink, then don’t!

If you’re going out normally people are having a drink or two but sometimes you might not feel like it. And that’s ok!!! I’ve had to learn that just because other people are drinking, it doesn’t mean that I have to!

In the past I’ve drunk far too much when I’ve felt sad or lonely and you know what? It just made me feel worse, not better! Now I can be pretty comfortable to just not drink and mocktails are much cheaper!

Appreciate the time you’re spending with friends or family

I absolutely love my friends and family, when I go out I try to take pictures and remember every detail for later when I can excitedly share my day with Ali.

Going to these things alone can make me feel a little lonely but I’m not going to let that ruin the time I have with other people in my life! They know I appreciate them and their time!

Have an ‘escape plan’

I wondered whether to put this one in, but I want to be honest. There are times when I am struggling and the only way I can persuade myself to go out is knowing that if it gets too much I can leave or step out for a minute.

This might be as simple as popping to the toilet for 10 minutes if I feel anxious or driving myself to the event so I don’t have to rely on anyone else for a lift. It’s giving myself that feeling of having control over my anxiety rather than the other way around.

Is there anything else you’d add? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: The Boy Who Followed His Father To Auschwitz – Jeremy Dromfield

In the Nazi rule of 1930s Vienna, Gustav Kleinmann and his family were impacted like many Jewish families. Trapped in a nightmare that they didn’t know was only just beginning. Soon after Gustav and his teenage son Fritz are rounded up and sent to a Concentration Camp, where Fritz will do the unthinkable. 

Well, this was an emotional read. Reading a book about the Holocaust is tough, but needed. Last year I picked up The Tattooist of Auschwitz and this year I once again found a read that I almost couldn’t believe. It is a story of the bonds of family and the strength of the humans in the worst circumstances. 

This was an interesting mix of storytelling and a journalistic viewpoint. Dromfield has tried to include the climate of the world as well as in Germany. When reading I felt sick that so much of the world, the UK included, shut their doors to refugees. It’s something we’ve seen since. I truly think that is one of the reasons these books are so important – so we can recognise history repeating itself. 

What I also found incredibly interesting within the book is Fritz’s feelings of wanting change, even if it means risking his life. These are two men that tried their hardest not to give up, although in different ways. While they were father and son, seeing their different approaches to survival gave more of an insight into who they were and why they needed each other. 

This was a 4 star read for me. I feel like saying I enjoyed this was wrong. You can’t enjoy a book about the Holocaust but there was a heart to it. The fact that you could feel the family bond and fight for survival the whole way through. You are rooting for this father and son, for the entire family. I can see this becoming a very well known and read book. 

Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

We Need To Talk About Travelling

We Need To Talk About Travelling

Over the last few weeks we’ve heard in the news time and time again about women who have gone missing while travelling, the most recent being Grace Millane. Grace, a 22-year-old graduate, was found dead this week in New Zealand, while travelling. Before that, 36-year-old Carla Stefaniak was dead found in Costa Rica. 

It hasn’t taken long for the old cries of ‘what was a woman doing travelling alone’ came out. While I wasn’t surprised by this reaction, I was saddened – these two women have been killed and yet people are focusing on the fact they wanted to see the world rather than their killers.  

While it’s true that travelling can be risky this isn’t just the case for women – and the belief that it is is where the problem lies. The age old idea that a woman should behave in a certain way rather than those in the wrong taking accountability for their actions. Instead of teaching young women to be scared of travelling – why don’t we teach everyone to look out for each other? Just a thought. 

It’s logical in these situations that people get scared and when people are scared they point fingers. But telling women that by travelling they are putting themselves in danger just isn’t the right step. This could have happened in the women’s hometowns, home countries. 

So, let’s feel the emotions we need to feel. Let’s remember these women and take on this idea that women can’t travel and instead hold those that commited crimes accountable. Travelling didn’t kill those women, murders did.  

Book Tour – Tales of Ramion by Frank Hinks

Ramion. A magical place full of creatures, colour and stories that will excite your imagination.

When I was contacted and asked if I’d like to read these books I jumped at the chance. Now, I might not be the target audience exactly. No, I am not a child and I don’t have any myself BUT that only amplifies the magic of these books. I’m a 24 year old woman that was completely and utterly drawn in.

For this tour, I was sent 2 of the 4 books in the series The Dream Thief and Creatures of the Forrest. am I going to have to go and buy the other two? You bet I will be!

Firstly I read The Dream Thief where three young boys, Julius, Alexander and Benjimin and their cast Snuggles (who is also a Dream Lord) go on a quest to save their mothers dream. For me, this was reminiscent of a mix between the types of stories I read growing  by Roald Dahl and the magic world of Alice in Wonderland.

The story itself had a good balance of adventure and heart, which I think we all need more of in modern times! What is more impressive is that author Frank Hinks, created these stories from tales he would tell his own three sons.

Next up was Creatures of the Forest this time encountering more of the creatures that inhabit Ramion such as Venomous Vampires, Scary Scots and Mystic Mummies! This time, however, they are accompanied by Scrooey-Looey the rabbit.

This was a little darker I think, but in a way that children would find cool rather than terrifying. The magic and mischief these boys get up to would be a fantastic story for children and adults alike!

I will be honest and say that, initially, the drawing style wasn’t to my taste, it felt a bit messy. That said, as I carried on reading it grew on me and seemed to match the style of the way the stories were told, a little different and a little wild!

I absolutely adored these books and cannot wait to read the next two! I loved them so much I plan on getting them for my Godchildren as they get a little older…mostly because I don’t want to lend out my copies!

Thank you to Frank Hinks, Perronet Press and Midas PR for this opportunity in exchange for an honest review.

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What I Read in October

What I Read In October

October was a BUSY month (if you’re wondering why, check out my favourites here). With that in mind, I didn’t read as much as I would have liked! I did, however, read some absolute crackers, so let’s jump in.

I Hope My Voice Doesn’t Skip by Alicia Cook is a collection of poetry with heart and a love for music. I really enjoyed the collection because of the honesty through the writing – I gave this one 4 stars.

Next up is the new collection of poetry and prose by Nikita Gill, Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul. A collection of Feminist inspired retellings and poetry with a beautiful cover? Umm yes please! One of my best friends fell in love with it and eagerly waited for me to finish. The idea of this and the execution was incredibly well done and I look forward to rereading this – 4 stars!

Following the excitement at YALC this year The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M Danforth was also on the TBR pile in October. I enjoyed this novel, there were some issues that I will cover in my review, but on the whole, I think it’s an important read dealing with sexuality, religion and family. I gave it 4 stars.

 

Next is my favourite book of the month, so much so that once you are done reading this blog you NEED to go buy it. Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies) is an incredible collection of essays from a variety of women on various topics to do with being a woman and a Feminist. My personal favourite was from Kiera Knightley. Full review to come but, of course, I gave this 5 stars.

Finally, we have a Manga, new territory for me! My Lesbian Experience of Loneliness by Kabi Nagata was a birthday gift and it was a brilliant story. Following a woman in her 20s as she tries to live with depression as well as figuring out her sexuality this was a great start – I can’t wait to read the second part when it comes out.  I gave this 4 stars.

And that’s it! That’s all the books I read in October – we’re creeping closer to the 100 book mark! What did you read in October? I’d love to know in the comments below!

 

Book Review: Orphan Monster Spy – Matt Killeen

Orphan Monster Spy - Matt Killeen

Sarah doesn’t look like the Jewish girl that the Nazi’s want people to hate. With her blonde hair and blue eyes, she could easily pass for part of the ‘superior race’ that Hitler has planned for 1940s Germany. After a chance meeting with Captain while on the run, Sarah is given the opportunity to make a difference for all those like her, to become a spy. Locating herself within a Nazi boarding school for daughters of the elite couldn’t be more dangerous. Her fair appearance and fierce intelligence and ambition are what can make her the ultimate weapon, but can she survive?

It has been a long time since I’ve read a historical fiction novel but I am so glad I did. This is a debut novel by Matt Kileen and I can tell you now that he is one to watch. This was an incredibly well thought out, thrilling read. I immediately fell into the world that Killeen had created and cared for Sarah, I wanted her to win. I also enjoyed the relationship between Sarah and Captain and its no-nonsense approach.

One of the things I was most impressed by was the research that was clearly undertaken here. Details of Nazi boarding schools, the ways in which a spy could operate within the time and personalities of the young women really stood out to me. This is not a novel about wallflowers, from Sarah to Captain to the school bullies each and every one was incredibly well detailed and that, to me, is the sign of an excellent writer.

Were there points when I thought, well this is a little convenient, yes there were. BUT that said, I’ve read accounts of the Second World War where it is unbelievable that people were clever or kind on the worst situations, so I can’t be too harsh about that. This novel was certainly a page turner and weeks after reading I’m still thinking about it.

I gave this novel 4.5 stars. It really was an excellent debut and I’m already eagerly awaiting the next novel. I would really recommend picking this up if you have a love for historical fiction, it’s been a long time since I’ve found one that I devoured and Killeen is one to watch!

 

Book Review: Moxie – Jennifer Mathieu

Book Review: Moxie - Jennifer Mathieu

 

Meet Viv, she’s a quiet 16-year-old who doesn’t break the rules. She works hard, hangs out with her friends and is the perfect daughter, the opposite of her mother as a teenager. Viv’s Mum was a Riot Grrl in the 1990s, all about Feminism and ‘zines, rebellion and riots. Nobody expects Viv to follow in her footsteps until she gets pushed a little too far.

Sick of the sexism in her high school, dress checks, disgusting football players and the expectation of women, Viv decides to start a quiet revolution. Taking a leaf from her Mum’s book Viv starts Moxie, a zine for the girls at her high school. As she anonymously writes and distributes the zine, things heat up. Can one ‘zine make any difference?

Well, this book. This book, what can I say? This is a rebellion in a couple of hundred pages. I finished this, created a playlist of kick-ass women and started planning the reboot of my Feminist Friday series. That’s the impact this book had.

I loved the fact that the author didn’t make the challenge easy either. She looks at the reputation feminism has, the feelings of being overwhelmed, having to try and convince people that Feminism is a good thing. She does it incredibly well and I loved all the Riot Grrl references and the fact that Bikini Kill was mentioned (listen to them here).

I will say, the only thing I didn’t enjoy about this novel and one of the reasons it didn’t get the full 5 stars was the romance. I just felt like it wasn’t needed and it made things a little too cutesy? Obviously, I know people did love it and it was good to see a male feminist but it just seemed a little too perfect timing to me.

Overall I gave this an amazing 4.5 stars! This was a breath of fresh air and while it took a little while to grow on me, once it did it was amazing. This is the kind of book that can inspire, that can make people realise that they have power in their voices. That feminism is still here, it’s still relevant and important. More than that it shows young women as saving themselves and that’s important.