Blogmas Day 22: What I’ve Read In 2017 so far…

Of course, this was coming! My annual Goodreads challenge is still going and there’s still 9 days to go. So far I’m at 98 books, yep 98. Last year I managed 120 and the year before I managed 80-something? I read, I read a lot. So I wanted to share with you all the books I’ve read in 2017… here we go! Also, links to any I’ve reviewed too!

January 

The Art of the Film: Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them

Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick

Illuminae – Jay Kristoff and Aimee Kaufman

February

Heartless – Marissa Meyer 

Falling Awake – Alice Oswald

Back to the Future: Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines – Bob Gale

How to Murder Your Life – Cat Marnell How to Murder Your Life – Cat Marnell 

Bad Feminist – Roxanne Gay

March: Book One – John Lewis

Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir – Stan Lee

Behind Her Eyes – Sarah Pinborough 

Here We Are: Feminism For The Real World – Kelly Jensen

Bullet in the Brain – Tobias Wolff

Happy Mum, Happy Baby: My Adventures in Motherhood – Giovanna Fletcher 

March

Without a Doubt – Marcia Clarke 

One of The Boys – Daniel Magariel 

Something in Between – Melissa De La Cruz

I Feel Bad. All Day. Every Day. About Everything. – Orli Auslanda

Nasty Woman – 404 Ink

April

The Princess Saves Herself In This One – Amanda Lovelace

Zenn Diagram – Wendy Brant 

Off Colour – Jackie Kay

Anne Boleyn: The Last 24 Hours – Marcell Mayfair

The Dead Inside – Cyndy Etler

In Contempt – Christopher Darden

We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Supergirl Rebirth – Steve Orlando

Cheer Up, Love – Susan Calman

The One – John Marrs 

The Best Awful – Carrie Fisher

Seriously…I’m Kidding – Ellen Degeneres

May

A Book For Her – Bridget Christie

Wildflower- Drew Barrymore 

Raising My Rainbow – Lori Duron

Brain On Fire: My Month of Madness – Susannah Cahalan

Doing It – Hannah Witton 

What Would Beyoncé Do? – Luisa Omielan

June

Mad Girl – Bryony Gordon

Nutshell – Ian McEwan

What the F*** is Normal?! – Francesca Martinez

The Girl Who Beat ISIS – Farida Khalaf 

Imperial Phase 1 – Kieron Gillen

The New Girl – Rhyannon Styles 

Alice in Brexitland – Lucien Young

All Things Kardashian – Kris Jenner

July 

You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain – Phoebe Robinson

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms – George R. R. Martin

Dreadnought – April Daniels

One of Us Is Lying – Karen M. McManus

Men Explain Things to Me – Rebecca Solnit

Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty

My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past – Jennifer Teege

August 

Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse: One Twentysomething’s (Mostly Failed) Attempts at Adulthood – Alida Nugent

Our Super American Adventure – Sarah Graley

My Shitty Twenties – Emily Morris

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Woman – Elena Favilli & Francesca Cavallo

Diana Her True Story, In Her Own Words – Andrew Morton

September 

The Wrong Knickers: A Decade of Chaos – Bryony Gordon

Fully Functioning Human (Almost) Living In An Online/Offline World – Melanie Murphy

Depression & Other Magic Tricks – Sabrina Benaim

My Lovely Wife: A Memoir of Madness and Hope – Mark Lukach

See You in the Cosmos, Carl Sagan – Jack Cheng

Making Faces – Amy Harmon

How Not To Be a Boy – Robert Webb

Riot Days – Maria Alyokhina

Feel Good 101 – Emma Blackery

October 

The Sun and Her Flowers – Rupi Kaur

Raising Ryland – Hillary Whittington

How To Be Champion – Sarah Millican

Turtles All The Way Down – John Green

Female – Sujata Balaram

Final Girls – Riley Sager

The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris

Lumberjanes Vol. 1. – Noelle Stevenson

November 

Wild Embers – Nikita Gill

A Trump Christmas Carol – Lucien Young

I Wrote This For You – Iain S. Thomas

Helium – Rudy Francisco

Rabbit: A Memoir – Patricia Williams

It Only Happens in the Movies – Holly Bourne

Still Can’t Do My Daughters Hair – William Evans

Nina Is Not Okay – Shappi Khorsandi

Selling Manhattan – Carol Ann Duffy

Unqualified – Anna Farris

A Pearl For My Mistress – Annabel Fielding 

It’s All in Your Head A Guide To Getting Your Shit Together – Rae Earl

Christmas Poems – Wendy Cope 

Making Cocoa For Kingsley Amin – Wendy Cope

December

The Diary of Anne Frank

Serious Concerns – Wendy Cope

Leave This Song Behind – Various

Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions – Russell Brand

Family Values – Wendy Cope

What I Know For Sure – Oprah Winfrey

How to be a Bawse – Lily Singh

Love, Grief and being Mum & Dad – Rio Ferdinand

The Ladybird Book of Mindfulness

Sex Object – Jessica Valenti

 

More to come…

My Holiday Essentials!

It’s gotten to that time of year again where many of us are packing our bags to jet off to somewhere and enjoy the sunshine (although make sure you keep your skin safe in the meantime). So, what about the essentials I pack in my suitcase? Let’s take a look.IMG_4582.JPG

Suncream and Aftersun

Looking after my skin is one of the most important things to me. Keeping it burn free and healthy in the heat can be a pain but it’s much better than the alternative.

Bikini’s with good support

I have curves, which means I need support when I’m frolicking around in a bikini. I started shopping around over a month ago to make sure I got a bikini with good support! Most recently, I picked up the beauty at the top of this post from Sainsbury’s Gok Wan range!

Books, all of the books

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When I’m on holiday I can read a book a day. I like to sit by a pool with a cold drink and read to my hearts content. That is what a good holiday is to me. This year I’ve stocked up my Kindle for space saving, although I’ll probably still end up picking something up at the airport.

Three good pairs of shoes

One pair that are good for walking and seeing the sights, one for the pool and one for the evening. Sorted.

Lipstick

I don’t really wear makeup on holiday because I just want to chill, but applying a little lipstick can transform my look from day to day beach casual to going for dinner, I’m usually a little cheeky and buy a few in duty-free at the airport before I fly.

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Sunglasses

They look cool, help you see, why not.

Camera

Whether this is just my iPhone or a nice camera I need to capture the moments so that I can see the memories! I’ve always been like this, especially back in the day when my family first had a digital camera!

Chilled outfits

I’m a firm lover of a pool side chilled shorts and vest top, flip flops you know the drill. I often stock up in Primark for vests before I go, cheap and cheerful!

Summer dresses

Something chilled out, not too much fuss to throw on. Holidays for me are all about being casual and chilled out.

Sun hat! 

I resisted it when I was younger but now I know I need a good sunhat to keep myself covered. I’m not ashamed of getting a big hat, like this beauty I picked up in Athens a few years ago.

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Nail Varnish and pads

Some fun summer colours to embrace the holiday spirit! Although Ali HATES the smell so I have to sit on the balcony while painting and repainting.

Notebooks and pens

For as long as I can remember I’ve taken pens and notebooks so that I can write down whatever I feel like. Now I’m actually trying to be a writer I always have to have some way to write. Who know the relaxation might just help the book along!

Travel documents and insurance wallet! 

So, damn important. I like having a place where important documents go because I get super anxious about all that kind of stuff.

What are your holiday essentials? Let me know in the comments below!

 

15 Things I’ve Learnt Having a Sister

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Today is my baby sister’s 15th birthday, 15!!! In my eye’s she’s still the one year old I pushed to school on her first birthday present, still the 4 year old who wanted to follow me around school, never mind that she’s got a better social life than me now! For tonight’s post I wanted to write about 15 things I’ve learnt having the littler one around for 15 years.

Babies will throw up anywhere, so don’t hold them over over you with an open mouth

You can always prove doctors wrong

(Sum’s was born with bad hips, the doctors said she wouldn’t walk before she was 3…she was walking at just over a year old)

You always have someone to get opinions on outfits/hair just a phone call away

There is no fiercer love than that between sisters 

You deal with both of us when you hurt one of us 

There are more ways than I can count to annoy your sister 

No clothes, bags or make up is safe from being ‘borrowed’ 

You always have a secret keeper 

They’ll tell you when you’re talking BS 

They give the best hugs when your world isn’t going that great 

Very few other people can make you laugh to the point of nearly peeing yourself

You will copy each other and then deny it 

You, and only you, can insult your sister, anyone else needs to watch out

Never leave your phone unlocked around your sister. 

You never choose to be related but you choose to be best friends. 

Sunday Seven – Seven Reviews that are coming your way! 21st Feb

This week I’ve had a great response to my book reviews and as a result I got really excited about what’s coming up. For this week’s Sunday Seven I thought I’d share 7 books I have that will be reviewed in the coming weeks and months!

I have a lot more non fiction coming up in the coming months. People’s lives, particularly those who have faced adversity are fascinating to me. There’s a real mix in the books above from prison memoirs, to body, mind and soul and some which will leave your sides aching from laughing so hard.

  1. Orange is the New Black – Piper Kerman. A lot people don’t know this was a memoir first and it’s absolutely fantastic.
  2. How to Build a Girl – Caitlin Moran. Caitlin’s fiction is just as hilarious as her non-fiction, if you liked How to Build a Girl, you’re going to love this.
  3. Why Not Me – Mindy Kaling. One of the biggest blog posts of this week was my review of Mindy’s first book, all I can say is this book was even better than her first.
  4. Room – Emma Donoghue. This has been EVERYWHERE during awards season, I haven’t seen the film but I absolutely loved the book. Haunting, fascinating and brilliantly written.
  5. Strong Looks Better Naked – Khloe Kardashian. A lot of people will judge this book, literally by it’s cover but for someone (me) who’s going through a big transition and trying to make body, mind and soul more healthy, Khloe has a lot to say.
  6. After Auschwitz- Eva Schloss. The big selling point to this book is that Eva is Anne Franks step-sister. Anne’s father Otto married Eva’s mother after the war. As well as it being interesting to see how someone survives the horror of the concentration camps, it was also lovely to hear about Otto after Anne’s diary ended.
  7. Hope in a Ballet Shoe – Michaela & Elaine DePrince. This story is so important right now, because it shows what can come of taking in a child refugee. A story of determination, hope and love.

10 Reasons to Keep Smiling

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We all have days where we need a little pick me up, sometimes for no reason. I decided to write 10 reasons to keep smiling, even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing. The days are getting shorter and I for one know I have had a bit of  rough time lately so I hope you enjoy!

1. Smile at others 

This really does make you feel better! I usually like smiling at old people because you just see their whole face light up and it makes me feel good as well as them! Just one smile can change another persons whole day as well as yours!

2. Do something you love 

We all have loves, hobbies or just little things we enjoy doing. Since I’ve had to give up horse riding (which is really, really hard but not worth the risk to my health) I’ve had to find other things to do to unwind. Now I’ve started to write and draw more.

3. Be around people who make you feel good 

There is nothing worse than being around people who put you down or make you miserable. If your having an off day then staying away is a must! Stick around the people who make you smile just from their company and you’ll feel much better.

4. Write a list 

Write a list of things you need to do, things you’ve done, anything! If your struggling breaking it down can make you go ‘oh okay that isn’t as bad’. If you’re feeling happy anyway why not write a list of things you enjoy, places you want to visit etc (my top tip write in funky colours!).  If I’m really down I try and write down things to be grateful for.

5. Think of 5 things you are grateful you have 

I used to do this on the way to school to cheer myself up, it would make me focus on the positives in my life and then the negatives didn’t seem so bad at all. There are really simple thing to be grateful for for me they’re things like having a family to love and support me, that I can make music, that I have my education and a strong and solid relationship.

6. Comfort food IS OK!!!! 

I hate fad diets, if you want to eat then go eat. I can’t stand people talking to me about calories or trying to make me feel bad. Don’t let others dictate to you what you should eat if I want to go to McDonalds or get some chocolate I will, regardless of anyone else!

7. Turn the music up and dance like nobody can see you 

This is great especially when your cleaning just dance around like your bonkers and make yourself laugh. I like doing this with my sister when we agree on music 🙂

8. Give someone a hug 

Hugs are great, I love hugs.

9. Read a good book 🙂 

Oh come on could I really leave this out?! Reading just takes me away to an entirely different place.

10. Laughter is really the best medicine

I will watch funny Youtube video, stand up comedy and movies. That or I’ll be around people I know I love to laugh with.

Laugh lots. Laugh while you love. Laugh while you live.  

What are your reasons to keep smiling?

10 Reasons being a student is the best.

We all know that being a student is that beautiful time between being a teenager and becoming an adult (gulp), so here are just 10 of the reasons being a student is THE BEST.

1.  You actually get to study what you want 

No more P.E! Can I get a woohoo! There is nothing worse than the classes you hate at school (for me P.E and Maths) and at degree you get to study what YOU want to!

2. More independence! 

Whether you’ve moved away from home for the first time or you’re commuting, you get to be independent. Sorting yourself you is actually a lot of fun. I know most people really enjoyed their first food shop on their own while lying to their parents that yes they had bought fruit…strawberry ice cream is kind of fruit 😉

3. Taking up new things 

You might take up things you’ve never thought of before in societies, I took up horse riding, I have friends who do rugby, fencing, and once I knew someone who attended Wine Society, no word of a lie! It’s cool you can try something out and make friends along the way.

4. Being able to explore 

Whether that be the world, new culture,yourself, your sexuality, university is the time to explore!! You can try new things and see what you like and don’t like.

5. You can eat what you want….seriously

Want cake for breakfast? Go for it. Want a bowl of cereal for dinner, why not? Ok so it might not be that nutritional but it is fun.

6. You make friends! 

Ah making friends. Something which before we all come we’re absolutely terrified of. I met my band mates and some really good friends since being at uni, all of which accept me for the things that I used to get called weird for.

7. You learn some life lessons 

Like going out on an empty stomach and downing shots all night…don’t think you’re going to want to see daylight in the morning.

8.STUDENT DISCOUNT! 

I love student discount to the point that I’m a total dork about it. Most places offer a student discount, even 10% can make a difference, my NUS card was totally worth it and nice shops will check if you have it so you can spend money. I got a damn good haircut at a great salon with my discount that would have cost me nearly £50 at home !!!

9. You can decide what you want to do with your life

Most of us don’t know what we want to do at 18, so having 3 years to work it out is a good idea…even if most of us still don’t completely know at the end of it.

10. It’s  fun. 

I never thought I’d be this in love with uni. It is definitely not easy but it’s a great thing to do and I feel like a different person 2 years in!

Have I missed something off? Add with your comments below!