My Top 10 Highlights of 2018

My Top 10 Highlights of 2018

We made it to the end of 2018 – wooooooo! It’s been a weird year of up and downs, but I’ve learnt a lot from it. I wanted to share with you just 10 of my highlights from 2018, it was hard to whittle them down! If you’re looking for my bookish favourites of the year you can find those here.

paramore - couple - 10 years - relationship - growing up

Paramore

We kicked off the New Year with another trip to see Paramore, our 4th time together. As you can see Ali still doesn’t want to smile for pictures. Despite how it looks we had a great time!

Becoming A Published Poet

Finding out I was being published and then recieving the final product! I’m a published writer!!! I wonder what I can publish in 2019…

London Book Fair 2018

Visiting the London Book Fair

I was invited to attend the London Book Fair as a blogger with my Mum. It was something I wanted to do for a while and it was an interesting day, even if I did feel a little like a deer in headlights.

Hammies

One became…three. I said no more and then Ali and I went to Pets at Home and we saw our little guys BB & Artoo. I’m now a hamster Mum x3 and I absolutely love my little buddies. They really keep me company when Ali’s away.

YALC

I got to go to YALC! A whole day of being around book people, buying books and it was magical. I also got a pretty impressive book haul, which I’m still making my way through. Hopefully I can finish tme all before next year!

Going freelance & starting my business!

I’d been toying with the idea of going freelance for a few months but thought it was something I would never be able to do, until I had to! I’m now living life as a freelancer and absolutely LOVING it!

Six The Musical

Musicals!

I saw not one but two new musicals this year which I didn’t realise how much I missed! When I was younger I was a total musical nut, I even wanted to be a musical theatre actress when I grew up (more on that in another blog).

I loved Heathers enough to see it twice and I’d happily see Six again when it moves back to London. I’m looking forward to getting more shows in 2019!

10 year anniversary

We made it to 10 years! I’ve been lucky enough to spend the past decade with this wonderful human. He’s pretty great.

Disneyland!

I got to go to Disneyland!!! DISNEYLAND. I loved it so much I wrote not one but two blogs. You can read the first one here and the second here.

I Read 115 Books!

After setting my Goodreads goal at 50 so that I didn’t feel any pressure, I managed to double it and then added some! I read some really amazing books (and some not so amazing books).

There are more things and people that I haven’t had a chance to add but here’s to hoping I have an even better 2019!

5 Things I Learnt in 2018

5 Things I Learnt in 2018

In a word, 2018 has been intense. I’ve felt like I’ve been pulled in every direction but I’m a world away from where I started the year. When I thought about how I wanted to write about the year I was a bit conflicted, I didn’t want to make it look like everything was perfect but didn’t want to moan.

So, why not put a positive spin on the crappy times from this year? Instead of thinking about how much things sucked, I wanted to look at what I learnt from them. Do any of you try to do that too? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

My own happiness is important

This seems quite obvious but it’s something I neglected for a long time. I thought the aim was to work as much as possible, that’s it. It didn’t matter if I couldn’t do anything at the weekend because I was so exhausted or my skin was an angry spotty mess because of stress. This was life right?

Wrong. I started prioritising what was important to me and what I wanted out of my life. I still don’t have the perfect balance (I probably never will) but I’m working on it.

Sometimes doing the scary thing is the best thing

Going freelance was slightly terrifying. When my job was no longer needed I didn’t know what to do. I did what I thought I was meant to do. Applying for more office based jobs, trying to find something closer to home.

I didn’t think anyone would hire me as a freelancer, and besides it was too much of a risk. But I posted on Linkedin, chatted to a few people I knew and within a month I had started in a job I could only dream of. I’m finally happy and the fear was worth it. Doing this comes with it’s own challenges but I’m ok with that.

Standing up for your own body is important

My body isn’t always kind to me but knowing when something is normal and when it’s not is so important, especially this year. I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, after knowing something wasn’t right. That was the first step. Similarly, knowing when side effects of medication was too much was also important.

Later in the year, I had to really push myself to disagree with medical professionals to get help. After a lot of misdiagnosis I had a few days in the hospital, we’re still not clear what exactly happened but I was firm with my doctors that something wasn’t right and needed investigation – or at least pain relief!

Finally, I had to deal with a dismissive Gynaecologist who refused to acknowledge my own feelings about the Coil. After talking to a brick wall, I thought about my options and replaced my implant – as I knew the pill would impact my mental health and was pleased I listened to my body as it was exactly what I needed!

I’m allowed to say no or walk away

I used to feel like I owed something to the person who employed me, loyalty and positivity at all times no matter what. I thought jobs were meant to be for the longest amount of time possible. Wrong.

Much like being in charge of my own happiness, I’m allowed to say no to things! I’m allowed to walk away if I don’t feel like I’m being respected. At times, these had consequences but I’m proud of myself for actually putting my own sanity first.

I am a badass!

There, I said it and I’m going to keep saying it! I haven’t given up or given in this year when things got tough and I’m pretty damn proud of myself.

What have you learnt in 2018? I’d love to know!

My Top 12 of 2018

My 12 Top Books of 2018!

I have been dithering over this post for SO long. I head over 100 books this year and trying to decide which ones came out on top was really hard. 

It is because of that there have been many drafts of this post, at one point it had over 30 books in it…yep. I’ve managed to whittle it down to 12, I mean there are 12 months in the year… 

A Court Of Thorns And Roses
A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas 

In 2018 I found one of my favourite new series’s. I’d heard all about this online and I fell in love and devoured the series as well as getting 2 of my closest friends hooked. 

This was initially a Beauty and the Beat retelling but becomes so much more. I couldn’t put these down and I can’t wait for the next in the series. My review for the first book is here

The Exact Opposite of Okay - Laura Steven
The Exact Opposite Of Okay – Laura Steven

Laura Steven’s debut was incredible. The protagonist, Izzy, is an aspiring comic and screenwriter whose life is turned upside down after a picture of her with a politicians son goes viral. 

This was not only a really funny read, but it also had a heart to it. What was unique to this novel is that the protagonist takes hold of what those are saying about her and keeps herself going with a ‘screw you’ attitude – without being robotic. Oh, and it has a kick-ass Feminist vibe. I wrote all about my love for this book here

Vox
Vox – Christina Dalcher 

I made it my mission to a get copy of this at YALC this year. A dystopian future America where women are limited to 100 words a day and confined to their homes. Until one of them is needed.

This was pretty dark and incredibly relevant to what’s happening to women’s voices and something we cannot ignore. I wrote a review after I stayed up way too late finishing it. 

This Is Going To Hurt
This Is Going To Hurt – Adam Kay 

A non-fiction book I think that everyone should read, in particular those making decisions about the NHS. Adam Kay was a Doctor in Gynaecology, taking us through the highs and the many lows this was a huge eye opener. 

I laughed while reading this, but I was also in tears at other moments. All I wanted to do when I finished was thank each and every one of my doctors. An incredible book that deserves all the praise it is getting. Review here

Orbiting Jupiter - Gary D. Schmidt
Orbiting Jupiter – Gary D. Schmidt 

When I bought this at YALC I had no idea I would be so emotionally invested in the story. A family take in a teenager who has been in a juvenile facility and is a teenage father, told through the perspective of a young boy who becomes his foster brother. 

The ending truly shocked me and it was incredibly well written as well as being quite short. You’ll love it, I want to read it again but I don’t think I’m ready for the emotions. Here’s my review.

Notes on a Nervous Planet - Matt Haig
Notes On A Nervous Planet – Matt Haig

Matt Haig’s first book was brilliant, and then he released the follow-up. Matt has a way of speaking to you through whatever is going on in your life.

Feeling anxious? Ill at ease with the state of the world or what’s going on around you? This is the book for you. More info here.  

New Erotica For Feminists
New Erotica For Feminists 

Three words. Satire. Feminism. Humour. 

That’s all you need to know to fall in love with this collection. I laughed so hard but also felt really empowered after reading – all my thoughts are here.

Feminists Don't Wear Pink
Feminists Don’t Wear Pink And Other Lies

This is an amazing collection from women across all backgrounds about not just Feminism, but also what it means to be a woman. 

Not only was this a joy, it was also easy to read and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone. You can read my review over here

Girl Made of Stars
Girl Made Of Stars – Ashley Herring Blake 

Something within this book spoke to my heart. Following the unimaginable pain of being caught between a best friend and brother – she has accused him of rape. She wouldn’t lie, but how could he do that? 

It took a true talent to write this book. Also, plus points for a bisexual protagonist where their sexuality isn’t the plot. My full review is here

Only Child - Rhiannon Navin
Only Child – Rhiannon Navin

I could not stop thinking about this novel after I read it. Set during and after a school shooting we see the world through the eyes of six-year-old Zach after he survives, but his older brother doesn’t. 

This will break your heart but it’s such an important read. I couldn’t believe this was a debut novel it is so well written and I think Rhiannon Navin is one to watch. I was also part of the book tour.  

Love, Hate And Other Filters
Love, Hate & Other Filters – Samira Ahmed

The first book I finished in 2018 made it to my top 12. This was an incredible debut that spoke out in defiance of hate and Islamophobia. 

I also fell in love with the protagonist Maya and her coming to terms with her own identity. This is also an own voices novel. I wrote a review about why I love it so much here

Moonrise
Moonrise – Sarah Crossan

Well, did this break my heart? Yes it did. I’d read one of Sarah Crossan’s novels before and couldn’t get on with it but the premise of this was too incredible not to try. I’m so glad I did. 

Written in poetry and telling the story of a family facing the execution of a loved one, it not only made me tear up but also want to give it to everyone I know.

There we have it, my top 12 of the year! Did any of your favourites make the list? Let me know in the comments below! 

Top Posts of 2018

My Most Popular Posts Of 2018!

I don’t know about you but I find my analytics absolutely fascinating. Stats might not be everything but year after year I love to see what my readers have been getting up to on my site. So, I thought, why not make a post out of it? 

I’ll always write what I want to write but, at the same time, my blog – and the opportunities I get from it is down to my wonderful readers. On that note I’m going to stop babbling and let you actually read! 

Number 10: Fibromyalgia And Me 

I’m really pleased this post made my top 10, because it was one I was very nervous about posting. I only got diagnosed with Fibromyalgia earlier this year and my reaction was…complicated.

I didn’t want people to see me differently BUT needed to reevaluate parts of my life. Now I feel much better and can be much more open about living with Fibro. The post that started it all is here.

Number 9: I’m Starting Again 

In July I found myself job hunting again and it knocked my confidence. This post was just chatting about how I felt, what I was trying to do and a general update. You can read about it here

Number 8: I’m In A Funk 

Another one of my mental health posts to hit the top 10. I wanted to get out there that I was struggling and comparing myself a lot to others. It was a to the point post about how we look at ourselves and comparison. 

Number 7: Carrying On: Surviving The Past Year 

A post from April about the previous 365 days that had been pretty tough (little did I know this year would have a LOT of ups and downs too!). I like to keep you guys in the loop and this was looking back on how far I’d come.

Number 6: I’m Obese? 

I really wanted to write about body image and expectations because of a few knocks I’d had. Following on from a doctors appointment where I was deemed overweight-obese by my BMI, despite being a size 12-14 I decided to get my feelings down once and for all! 

Number 5: Why I Will NEVER Use An App For Birth Control 

Responding to a worrying idea that people were using a fairly risky app as a way to try and prevent pregnancy got in the top 5. I made my feelings very clear and, actually, had a lot of great conversations about it! 

Number 4: The Pros and Cons Of Long Distance 

I’m in a long distance relationship for chunks of the year. I get asked quite a lot of questions, some weird sympathy and so I wrote about what’s it’s like – and you can check it out here.

Number 3: Taking The Plunge – I’m A Freelancer 

Not something I entirely planned for this year but it happened! I’m planning to do an update on being freelance in the new year too! The blog about how it all started is here

Number 2: Harry Potter Haul: Updated 

One of my most popular blogs EVER was a Harry Potter haul I wrote while at university. So, when I went to London for a Potter filled day shortly after Christmas I came back with a little collection and wanted to share! The updated version is here.

Number 1: Stressed, Depressed, But Well Dressed? 

This is one that really, really surprised me. I wrote the post a few years ago about a top I saw with the slogan on and how I felt about the phrase. Next year I really want to talk more about Mental Health! You can read it here.

So, that’s my top posts of 2018! Thank you to each and every one of you who head read, liked and commented on my posts – it means so much. 

Which of these was your favourite? I’d love to know in the comments below! 

*please note these were the most popular at the time of writing.

July Favourites!

July hasn’t been an easy month! I recovered from my cyst, found myself redundant and well, I think that’s enough to knock anyone BUT there are still things to smile about and here are some of my favourites.

 

Books 

This month has been a small reading month, but varied. I’ve picked up poetry, a graphic novel, non-fiction and one fiction novel. Of course, you’ll get my full wrap up soon!

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Getting Better  

You probably saw that I was in hospital in June with a suspected burst ovarian cyst, I got these beautiful flowers from my Grandparents while I was recovering.

Night Out 

I got to spend a great (sober) night out for one of my besties birthdays! It isn’t often I go on a night out so this one was definitely needed, even if I was back home in bed by 11.30!

IMG_9548 (1)

Becoming a published poet! 

I am a published poet! I still can’t quite believe it but I hope it’s the first of many.

 

Pop Vinyls!

Three new Pops came this month, two I’d pre-ordered from Australia the Basilisk and Tom Riddle and Amy Pond, my favourite Doctor Who character. I don’t buy these as much anymore, even though I love them, so when I do I get really excited!

 

Lottie and Ed July 2018

House Sitting! 

I spent 10 nights house sitting for my parents with these little monsters. I might not have slept but they were great for cuddles when I lost my job.

 

YALC! 

I finally got to go to YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention) this year! It was so incredible, I’m writing not one but TWO blogs for you guys this week. Keep your eyes peeled!

My Mental Health Goals For This Year

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about mental health, and that’s mainly because I haven’t known what to write. I’ve had so many ideas for other type of content that I’ve kind of tried ot focus on all the positives. That’s not to say that mental health posts can’t be positive, which leads me on to this one…

Last year was incredibly tough for me mentally, my confidence took a few beatings and my self esteem got smashed. I had to build myself back up quite a few times in the space of 12 months (my 2017 in review is here), so I’m proud of myself but want to take better care of my mental health in 2018.

So, here are my goals…

To be able to celebrate everyday achievements 

I’m way too hard on myself. That’s a fact. I want to try and celebrate everyday achievements and be pleased about the small things to try and get a more positive way of thinking.

To work on managing my anxiety in a healthy way 

I get anxious, I’ve had anxiety for years and I want to focus on healthy ways of tackling it. Whether that be through writing, listening to music or simply talking about it rather than letting myself get so stressed and worried that everything seems 100 times worse.

To look after my body better 

Ok, ok, I’ll admit last year I wasn’t great at looking after my body. I know that when I get a bit of exercise I feel better. I’ve also been making steps to drink more water and having a skin care routine too! Fingers crossed!

To accept rough patches as part of life, rather than defining life

I need to stop panicking when I hit a rough patch and thinking this is where it’s all going to go wrong. It’s a known fact anxiety can do this, but I’m stronger than my anxiety.

To make time for self care every week 

A bath, a good book, getting away from a screen, whatever I need to do! It’s really easy to burn yourself out so I’m trying to give myself a little bit of time each week to keep myself in good shape!

What are your mental health goals for this year? Let me know in the comments below!

2018 so far

How’s 2018 going so far?

Getting towards the end of last year I was nervous, I didn’t know what 2018 was going to bring and I was a little scared. I had a really shitty time last year and I didn’t know how much more I could deal with. So, how’s 2018 been so far? 3 weeks in.

In the last 3 weeks, I’ve started to feel something that I haven’t in a long time, and if I’m honest I’m almost afraid to say it, but I’m feeling hopeful. That’s not to say I’ve gotten into a ‘new me’ phase, I certainly haven’t, I have just carried on living my life as it is but it’s been ok.

So far I’ve already seen positive steps in where I want my career to go. I’ve been working on my blog and thinking about what I want to do and where I want to go with it. I’ve had conversations about the future. Am I optimistic? I guess, but I’m more cautiously optimistic than anything. I’m just working my hardest and hoping that it’ll get me where I want to go this year.

As my readers know, I set goals at the beginning of the year and I’m working towards them in a chilled out way. I’ve been working on my goal of getting to 5000 Twitter followers this year and I’m already a quarter of the way there (you can follow me here). I’ve noted down a few ideas towards my novel and I am working my ass off.

I don’t know if this year will be better or not. I don’t know if this is a great start leading to an even better year. For me though, having hope after a really tough year is a great thing. I’m moving forward and I have a game plan, so 3 weeks in I’m happy and hopeful.

How has 2018 been for you? What are your goals? Let me know in the comments below!