Feminist Friday: Summer Reading List

It’s been a few year since I embarked on my own summer of Feminist books. That said, I wanted to share with you some great reads for the summer if you want to get started or just find some new reads.

 

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If you haven’t started reading Holly Bourne’s incredible Spinster Club trilogy this is where to start. Novels about friendship, love and feminism, there’s nothing better! Review here.

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Personally, I see this as a classic for modern feminists. Caitlin is funny, loud but gives a great view on feminism today. This was what I started with and I read it within 24 hours. Caitlin also has a range of other books about feminism too so you’re sure to find something you like. Review here.

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Have you ever felt pressured by magazines or the media? What about the whole ‘beach body’ thing? Then you’ve found the book for you. A fresh look at women, the media and how we react to it. Review here.

 

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You might have already read Laura’s first book Everday Sexism, this is her second and my favourite so far. There’s more intelligent thought and there’s also dancing vaginas, you’re welcome. Read my review here.

What would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

May Favourites!

We’ve gotten to May! I don’t know about you but this month we’ve had a bit of a heatwave. The summer is definitely getting there (although as I write this it’s raining, typical). So with another month done and dusted for 2017 let’s get stuck in.

Books 

I’ve had a little bit of a reading slump this month and struggled to get into fiction in particular so this month I’ve been reading a lot of memoirs and general non-fiction. I’ve fallen in love once again with Hannah Witton as I mentioned last month I love her videos and picked up her first book which is about sex and relationships although it’s aimed at a younger audience it’s a great read. I also read Drew Barrymore’s memoir Wildflower (review here) and it was an eyeopener into her life, when I knew little about her. I also enjoyed Luisa Omielan’s first book What Would Beyoncé Do?! Named after her hit stand up show, it was both funny and touching read my review here. I also looked at my feminism shelf and just felt so proud to have all these wonderful books in my possession, I can’t wait to get through them all!

Music

Ed Sheeran was incredible and going with my Mum made it all the more special.

Watching 

I finally finished Game of Thrones and my jaw dropped. I won’t spoil it for anyone but now class GoT as required viewing for all. I also went to see Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, it wasn’t as strong as the first film but I’ve still had the soundtrack on repeat. Also, Baby Groot is life.

Fashion & Beauty 

I’m finally adding in a Fashion & Beauty section, I know shock horror. This month I’m repping Lush’s Cupcake face mask which is the first lush face mask I’ve ever used and was great on my face and didn’t make it angry (everything makes my skin angry). I’ve also been in LOVE with Lottie London matte lip glosses and wearing them every day because the colour sticks well and the tones are great for an everyday look. I’m also featuring some beautiful vintage inspired fashion, a bag I made myself and my new dress from VJ Vintage Treasures in Basingstoke! Lastly, two of my new bikinis one from the Gok Wan for Sainsbury’s range and the other from the wonderful Ann Summers as I am now an Ann Summers babe!  Rocking those curves.

General 

First of all, shout to the Ice Cream man who parks up in the work car park when it’s boiling! I’ve definitely been feeling the sun this month laying out with my best friend (pre IKEA trip, another favourite). I also experienced my first Thai meal with work and absolutely LOVED it, I’m nervous about trying new food because of my IBS but I definitely made the right descision. Also, from working I caught up with my friend Sammy who also happens to work for the same company I’m temping for and has become my permanent lunch buddy. And finally my hair got a much needed cut, my Wicket is still adorable as always.

 

 

Finally… 

Miss VJ Vintage for May!

I’ve been named Miss VJ Vintage for May! I’m so excited to wear this sash for a wonderful local shop and thanks to everyone who ‘liked’ on Instagram!

What were your favourites this month? Let me know in the comments below!

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!

 

7 Ways to look after your skin in the summer months

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I have incredibly pale skin and red hair, some natural, some enhanced. It’s because of both of these things that I have to really look after my skin as it’s prone to burning. I wanted to share with you just some of the things that I do to help protect my skin in the summer time!

Don’t underestimate the level of suncream you need.  

I groan every time I need to pick up a factor 30 or factor 50. That said, it’s important to make sure you do use the right factor for you.

Cover up or stay in the shade!  

It’s easy to be tempted to strip off in the summer (I often do), but if it is super hot and super sunny then covering up is an option. If, like me, you don’t cope well with heat, staying in the shade is a great alternative, you’ll often find me hiding on holiday.

Drink plenty of water  

Water is great for the skin, I’m lucky that I love drinking water but if you’re not you can pick up bottles with fruit infusers to give it some more taste.

Hats may be annoying, but they’re necessary 

Yep, yep and yep. I hate wearing hats but if I’m not going to be able to stay in the shade then I don’t have a choice.

Reapply, reapply, reapply! 

One lot of sun cream isn’t enough, keep reapplying as much as you feel you need to. If I can feel the heat on my skin directly, I’ll reapply.

If you do get burnt, use some moisturising after-sun lotion

It sucks when you get burnt and I get caught out every year no matter how careful I am. In that case, I make sure I use an after-sun lotion to moisturise my skin.

Get to know your skin 

I’m covered in freckles and moles, I know where they are and what they look like. It’s good to get to know your skin so you can check for any abnormalities, you can find out more about that here.

 

 

 

Book Review: When We Collided – Emery Lord

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“My dark days made me strong. Or maybe I already was strong, and they made me prove it.”

Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along. Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.
Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.

In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.

Well, what can I say about this novel? While initially, I wondered if this was going to be another novel about teenagers falling in love and everything is magical and great forever. I can’t read books like that anymore because there are so many. This was a refreshing read focusing on real issues and how we cope with them and showing teenagers as people.

I got this with my Illumicrate back in May and have only got around to reading it now. I am kicking myself for not reading it sooner! Emery Lord is a fantastic writer and can write thoughtful, funny and beautiful words that will suck you in. I could not put this book down, I was constantly thinking about Vivi and Jonah, their lives, their futures. Also, it’s rare that I love an ending as much as I did this one. It was absolutely perfect and just created a sense of peace for me at the end.

While the blurb hints at mental illness, it doesn’t show the extent of how the novel manages it. Both Vivi and Jonah are so real and incredible because they have flaws, they make mistakes and, for me, you can see yourself in their decisions and mistakes. The novel has so many elements to it family, friends, reflection and how people live through challenges in mental health. Jonah’s grief is explored, as are issues in Vivi’s past.

With all that said the novel is uplifting, I loved every single page. Vivi is a breath of fresh air and Jonah took my heart from the very first page. I’d love to go into the list of reasons why but I don’t want to spoil anything because it really is a treat.

Of course, I gave this novel five stars, for a while I thought it may be four but the ending bumped it up. I loved the pace, characters and plot it was absolutely incredible and I can’t wait to get myself reading anything else that Emery writes because she is truly talented.

My Topshop Dress Wish List

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Recently I’ve been getting a little bit obsessed with finding clothes to wear when I’m either working or going to nice events. It cropped up on me that I only have a few smart dresses and more than a few smart events that I have to attend. While I’ve picked up a small set of working outfits for as soon as I get a job (which I’m hoping will be sooner rather than later). I decided to try something a little different on my blog tonight (part of my new blog plans, I can’t wait for you to see!) and show you my Topshop Spring/Summer 2016 wishlist.

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I love this cute little dress! Now, I am partial to a good black dress but I also love colour, so this is the best of both worlds. It’s also something that I could be comfortable in whilst still looking smart. I would definitely pair this with either a pair of converse or Doc Martens for everyday and then some black pumps for work.

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Something a little smarter and brighter for the next dress on my wishlist. I find this shape really flattering on my body shape, i.e. having a set of boobs and a bum. It’s something I’d have to try on but would look great with a pair of low heels for something a little more formal. Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 19.18.42

This is definitely the most feminine of the dresses on this list. I’m not really a girly girl but I could definitely see myself wearing this to a wedding or summer party. I love the rose design and the fact it look painted, yet expensive! It definitely looks very expensive too so I’m impressed with the price!

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Although I would say this is more of a Autumn/ Winter dress, something I’d pair with some thick black tights or leggings and some boots. Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 19.18.02

This on the other hand is very cute and summery, something I’d love to add to my wardrobe to give it a bit of a lighter tone. There’s so many colours on here too there would lots of choice for accessories too. Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 19.16.51

This feels like it is a great staple piece. I’ve seen these absolutely everywhere and I was so happy because you can do so much with them! Want a laid back look? Throw  on a band t-shirt and some Doc Martens. If I need something a little smarter for work or an event then I could just wear a stripy long sleeved shirt. Sorted.

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I love this so, so much. It’s a cute 1940s kind of style and a beautiful simple design too so that it’s pretty but not to in your face. This would definitely be a great dress for smart casual.Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 19.11.33

Again this is something that can work both ways depending on accessories. In the summer it can be a light dress just to chill out in and then in the winter a thick roll neck or long sleeved t-shirt.

 

What do you think? Have you seen anything you like or have your own wishlist? Let me know in the comments below!

What have I done this summer?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the expectations of summer today and for the past few weeks. As we creep closer to September and the evenings start getting darker that little bit earlier summer is scampering away before our very eyes. While I was lying on the bed at my appointment yesterday, as my physio was telling me to slow down and not push the muscles too hard something in me snapped. NO! I wanted to scream in my head, No I’m done, I want a summer do over, I want to go and explore the world and write books and go all over London. Just give me a do over. But I was sat slowly trying to pull my knees towards my chest and having my reflexes checked every week to make sure that I wasn’t getting worse. I was waiting on doctors appointments and adjusting medication levels every few weeks. What the hell was I going to say once I got back to uni?

Almost on queue my anxiety  kicked in today, with a days of depressive thoughts too. What if everyone just ignored me when I couldn’t keep up or go on nights out properly? What if I just sat in the corner while everyone talked about how awesome their summer plans were and how they were glad they spent their last summer before graduating having fun and being young? All I could say was that I fractured my spine, got to go in an ambulance and slept a lot.

So I got sad, got angry, and tried to convince myself getting out of bed and getting dressed was going to be a good move. I threw on some clothes after a while and scraped back my hair, intending to take some pictures of Kingston in the sun. The short story is that it didn’t happen, the long version includes a lot of muscle spasms and swearing. So I moped even more and did housework. Now I bet you’re thinking why do I want to read her moaning about life being sucky, WAIT, this bits almost over, I promise.

I thought the words, what have I done this summer? After waves of negativity I had a lightbulb moment, I managed to get my spine to heal back together. I realised how awesome and amazing my body had been this summer. I might not have done anything that other people I know will have done like a trip to Australia or going to Reading Fest, but my body has managed to piece itself back together and escape never being able to use my legs again.

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I realised that it was pretty awesome that I’ve gone from needing help to get out of bed, to walk even the tiniest bit and helped out of the bath every time (now it’s not as often) to having the independence to go to work and my physio appointments without everyone being anxious about it. I’ve learnt to deal with doctors and have a love for nurses. I’ve learnt that I can handle levels of pain I wouldn’t imagine and that if my determination ever needed testing this would do it. I didn’t back down on going to Athens or performing at Basingstoke Live, as people keep telling me I’ve been pretty bad ass.

I still have a long way to go, more appointments, more physio and having to adjust my plans but your body healing itself is a pretty awesome thing and it even makes me forgive the stretch marks that have caused me so much upset lately. Even with all that and the chance I’ll never be able to ride again/ it will be too much of a risk, the experience has made me grow, as cheesy as it sounds. I’ve picked myself up from lows I never thought I’d have and I’ve seen the beauty in the people around me.

So that’s what I’ve done this summer, how about you?