Friday, 14 July 2017

Riding the Wave of Procrastination



So, as you will have seen the past few months, I have not been blogging an awful lot.

And sure, I've been busy with university work and my actual job and musical theatre on the side.

But there is something else always lurking in the shadows...

Procrastination.

This has become a bit of a dirty word. Either it makes people believe that you are lazy and do not have the ability to stick to anything, or it is a word that gets thrown around by "the kids these days" to make them seem cool and relatable. But my procrastination comes from kind of a darker root.

Up until I was 16 years old, I was meticulous with everything I did in my life. I spent hours on pieces of homework that really didn't require it, I would study for exams way longer than I needed to, and I would pretty much make myself ill with the worry of being perfect. My GCSE's took all of that energy out of me, and by the time I had finished my A-Levels and left school altogether, I was burned out.

This is a real thing that happens to people. These days, there is so much pressure to be perfect and achieve the highest grades or be better than everyone else in your life that your body literally shuts down. It only takes so much and then its hasta la vista, motivation! 

And that is what happened to me. At 16, I was juggling school, dance lessons, my book blog, choirs, orchestras (yes, several), musical theatre, and even a volunteering position with kids. This is too much for a young person to handle! (Or anyone of any age.)

I'm 20 now, and my motivation still hasn't fully returned. I'm not dealing with as many things these days, and some of the pressure is off, but I procrastinate a hell of a lot. I make plans and end up doing something completely different, because the thought of doing the thing that I planned to do can be too overwhelming. Sometimes, its easier to watch youtube videos for 8 hours and shut your mind off. 

Fortunately, I am getting better, but its been a slow process. Today, I decided to reply to all of my outstanding emails, update my bookstagram, and write a couple of blog posts. And I did it! This is a big achievement for me even if it doesn't feel like it. When my body shut down, I developed severe anxiety and depression, so feeling motivated is a rare and beautiful thing. Having the ability to stop procrastinating is a major accomplishment.

So what is the point of this post? Its actually kind of a PSA and apology. I'm sorry for not being as active as I used to be, but my body is healing, and life is always getting better. And for anyone who is experiencing the same as me or have not heard of it, here is an information page:


I'll leave you with a song to brighten your day.

See you soon (hopefully)!



Thursday, 6 July 2017

My Ideal Reading Space (ft. Arhaus)



Hi everyone! Today I have teamed up with Arhaus to bring you this blog post, all about my ideal reading space. They do gorgeously chic homeware for all around the house, and lots of their stuff is perfect for creating your own ideal reading space!

Okay, so I have a couple of ideal reading spaces. The first one is when I'm on a plane. Think about it; you can't go anywhere, and unless you're in a really fancy futuristic plane you don't have wifi, so checking your phone isn't an option. The journey itself is usually quite quiet, and the tranquility of the city lights below you create the perfect atmosphere for settling down and reading a book. Plus, with the lack of wifi you aren't preoccupied with wondering what's going on in the cyber-universe, so you can really get stuck in to that bestseller you've been dying to read. 

Photo courtesy of Arhaus

I get that some of you probably hate planes and so this would be a nightmare situation for reading, so I'll share another place that I love to read - hotel rooms. I personally love hotels, because every single one is different. You are having a new reading experience with every hotel room you stay in. Whether the bed is a blast-from-the-past four poster situation, or a modern cushioned number, it makes the perfect ship to sail the waves of your imagination.

If you're lucky, your hotel room might even have a writing desk, where you can peruse books at your leisure (or even begin your own masterpiece!) in a new country or city. If you're not a big writer, a hotel's bedside table can be the perfect buddy for your book, and since its right next to the bed it means your book is always staring at you, begging to be picked up again!

Photo courtesy of Arhaus

A book is my favourite travel buddy, but its the decor of the rooms I read it in that make all the difference. A beautifully furnished hotel room can become a home away from home.

Do you have an ideal reading space?

Let me know in the comments!

I hope you enjoyed this post - be sure to check out Arhaus for beautiful home and outdoor wares (follow their Twitter for updates) and come back soon for another post!

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Introducing the new Waterstones Children's Laureate!

Sadly, Chris Riddell's time as the Waterstones Children's Laureate has come to an end. Chris is responsible for books such as the Goth Girl series, the Ottoline series, and 100 Hugs

But, with every goodbye we say hello to a new face. And that lovely face happens to be... Lauren Child!



Yes, the wonderful author of books such as Charlie and Lola (which was made into a tv series) and one of my personal favourite children's book characters Clarice Bean has stepped into the role of inspiring young people to read. And, more importantly, inspiring them to love it. 

Waterstones created this role to celebrate the achievement of writers that work their entire lives to make sure that young people have interesting and fun content to read, which in turn encourages them to carry on reading as they get older, which makes them more likely to do well in school. 

Lauren will be the store's 10th Laureate, and I can't wait to see what she achieves in this time!

On the Waterstones website, Lauren says that she wants to “focus on building stronger links between the world of children’s literature and other art forms such as fine art, film, music, television and design… I want to inspire children to believe in their own creative potential, to make their own stories and drawings and ignite in them the delight of reading for pleasure.”

She also wants to focus on equality in children's books.

What a brilliant choice of Laureate! I wish Lauren all the best in her new role.

Lauren Child will be Children's Laureate from 2017-2019, and you can find her on her website.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Let Kids Read What They Want

Today, I saw one of the ugliest polls I have ever seen in my life.

A poll, quite surprisingly, from the Sunday Times.


The poll came as a general question after this article was published, describing a head teacher (note: a middle-aged, white, presumably heterosexual, upper class male) who is banning 'low quality' books in his school including the Twilight series, the Percy Jackson series, and the Skullduggery Pleasant series. He called them, and many others, “so simplistic, brutal or banal”. 

This, as you could probably guess, rustled my jimmies to perhaps a new height in the stratosphere to which my jimmies have never reached before. I am a HUGE advocate for letting children, especially young children in primary school, read whatever the hell they want. As long as they are reading, this should be enough.

Of course, you could argue that this just wouldn't work. Young children definitely need some level of guidance on the books that they can read during school hours. But, there is a more compelling argument that as long as they are reading books that match or begin to excel their individual reading age, then the genre really doesn't matter. In fact, allowing them to explore more contemporary books and giving them this free choice will encourage them to read more enthusiastically on school grounds and at home. 

There was another series of books that this very privileged man has decided to ban from the school premises, and those are... you've guessed it... Girl Online by Zoella. 




Zoella gets so much criticism from the traditional media outlets about her books. No matter what your opinion is on the current surge in books by Youtube content creators, the facts still stand: Zoella has completely smashed the sales records for books (beating JK Rowling and EL James in the process) which means that she sold more of her books in the first week of release than any other book every written since records begin in the 1980's. 

What can we conclude from this information? That more young people are taking an active interest in reading than ever before. They are taking initiative and asking parents to buy them a book that is appropriate for their age range, or saving up their own pocket money and buying the books themselves. THIS IS WHAT I CALL A RESULT!

And would you seriously rather more Fifty Shades of Grey books get sold than wholesome and funny books like Girl Online


At the end of the day, school libraries do have a responsibility to supply books that will not cause psychological harm to students or prevent them from developing their reading skills further. But this is a primary school we are talking about. Let the kids read their fantasy books about pirates and vampires and keep their imagination burning. After all, we need more budding authors for the future.

Zoella will not harm your students. Letting your personal taste about what is 'high quality' and 'low quality' literature will. 

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Females that Inspire Me

Let's talk women. And drag queens!

Since its International Women's Day, I couldn't go without writing about some of my favourite women on the planet. However, some of my favourite women only identify as women in spirit! It is important to recognise that not all women have vaginas.

Here are some queens and queens that I respect so damn much, in no particular order.

1. Ellen DeGeneres: because she's Ellen, and she never fails to make me laugh.



2. Michelle Obama: BECAUSE SHE IS MICHELLE OBAMA. Not "Obama's wife". Michelle Obama. In her own right.



3. Michelle Visage: another Michelle. Fierce supporter of the LGBT+ community and a feminist forever.



4. Bianca Del Rio: one of the hardest working drag queens and her talent is enough to stun you into silence (or non-stop laughter).



5. Katya Zamolodchikova: one of my all time favourite drag queens. She is crazy and creative and her character is a stroke of genius.




6. RuPaul Charles: MAMA RU! The queen of all queens. Made drag what it is today and created a platform for LGBT+ voices to be heard.



7. Adore Delano: her Twitter feed makes me think about life and she is SO TALENTED.



8. Holly Bourne: her books are like feminist bibles. Always consult them for your equality needs.



9. Keris Stainton: an all-round fabulous woman and is, like mothers generally, always right.



10. Ruby Tandoh: Bake-Off star and writer in her own right. An incredibly insightful person.



11. Kate McKinnon: one of my favourite human beings on this planet. Talent runs through her veins, not blood.



12. Sarah Schneider: a writer for SNL who helps to create the funniest sketches on television.



13. Juno Dawson: amazing author-y human being, who deserves all of the success in the world.



Who inspires you?

Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Girling Up by Mayim Bialik

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly spot hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine and is meant to showcase the books that a blogger is anticipating in the next couple of months. Today I'm going to be talking about Girling Up by Mayim Bialik.


INFORMATION

Title: Girling Up: how to be Strong, Smart, and Spectacular
Author: Mayim Bialik 
Page Count: 192
Publisher: Philomel Books
Release Date: 1st July 2017

Format Available: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio CD
Original Language: English
Genre: Young Adult Lifestyle 



DESCRIPTION

Mayim Bialik, star of The Big Bang Theory, puts her Ph.D. to work as she talks to teens about the science of growing up and getting ahead. A must-have book for all teenage girls. 

Growing up as a girl in today's world is no easy task. Juggling family, friends, romantic relationships, social interests and school sometimes it feels like you might need to be a superhero to get through it all! But really, all you need is little information. 


Want to know why your stomach does a flip-flop when you run into your crush in the hallway? Or how the food you put in your body now will affect you in the future? What about the best ways to stop freaking out about your next math test? 


Using scientific facts, personal anecdotes, and wisdom gained from the world around us, Mayim Bialik, the star of The Big Bang Theory, shares what she has learned from her life and her many years studying neuroscience to tell you how you grow from a girl to a woman biologically, psychologically and sociologically. 


Want to be strong? Want to be smart? Want to be spectacular? You can! Start by reading this book.


Why I can't wait


If anyone has read my blog from the early days, I used to describe myself as having "a totally non-creepy girl crush on Mayim Bialik".  And even though four years have gone by, that statement still stands.

Mayim was a huge inspiration for me as a teenager. She managed to have a career in show business as well as juggling her education, even going on to complete a PhD, and she continues to educate young people in her spare time when she isn't Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory. Being a woman in science isn't easy, but Mayim has paved the way for changing the game for women in STEM subjects. 

I think Mayim is such a modern feminist icon, and it is worth buying this book just to hear her insights on how to grow up a woman in your own way. I would have killed for this book when I was younger, because Mayim was a real influence on me when it came to chasing my dreams and finding the motivation to carry on when I had nothing left in me. 

I know I'll be checking this book out, so will you check it out too?

Leave me a comment and let me know!


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Living a Perpetually Lonely Life

The truth of the matter is this; I love doing things alone.

But that is not the same as doing things lonely.

I am a loner by nature, and that sits really well with me. It makes me really happy to go to dinner alone, go shopping alone, go and see and film by myself, or go to gigs by myself. Just yesterday I went to see Bianca Del Rio, a drag queen, perform her one woman comedy show by myself. I had purposely bought one single ticket, and sat between strangers as I watched her. It makes me feel independent and I don't have to answer anyone - so no one questions my choices on what I eat, wear, and watch. 

Most of the time, this really works for me. I have friends who I spend a lot of time with and I find it really healthy to spend some time alone in order to be self-reflective and to better myself as a human being. But there are often times when I feel loneliness.

Loneliness, for me, feels like a depression in the pit of my stomach. And the catch is that I don't even have to be alone when I feel this loneliness. Sometimes, when I am with company, there is an element of the situation that makes me feel different and detached from the people I am in the company of and the places I reside. You see snapshots of an alternate realm in which everyone is happy and fulfilled except for you. And no matter how much you attempt to participate, sometimes it is worthless. Some days, social interaction brings no satisfaction to the loneliness you are burdened with.

I am learning to love the company of others every single day. From a young age I was lonely in school and other outside activities, so I grew up with a comfortableness in the presence of my self. Nothing would make me happier than jumping on a plane and exploring the world as a solo gig. However, there is always a part of me that wishes I could share the cool things I experience with another person.

Don't get me wrong - this is not me whining about being alone on Valentine's Day and still being bitter about it the day afterwards. If anyone has been reading my blog since the beginning, you will know only too well that I have never been a 'relationship person'. Work comes first. Always. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it would be cool to have another human to share things with. I have a best friend, I have friends, and I have colleagues. But sometimes you need a human. You know? I don't know how else to describe it. They don't have to be a romantic partner, but someone who you can enjoy the sensory nature of the external world with. 

Okay, that got a bit too philosophical a bit too quickly. But to conclude this pointless post, it is completely and utterly fine to do most things alone. There is only a problem when you become lonely

And how do you find a human? You can probably answer that better than I can. But I think you'll know the human when you see them.


Monday, 6 February 2017

2017 Resolutions

The Christmas elf has retired for the year!


I realise this is late compared to all of the other bloggers in the world who are 10000000000% more organised than I am, but I thought it was worth me talking about my resolutions for 2017!

I am not someone who makes resolutions, mostly because I don't ever stick to them. Last year's resolutions were more practical - take my meds, take time out for myself, take mental health days if I need to... but this year I am much more in control of the physical side of my mental health. That's kind of strange to say - its a bit of an oxymoron - but this year I need to focus on maintaining a stable mental state, and allowing myself to love me!

So, with this in mind, here are my 2017 resolutions:

1. Remind myself that I am worth it

I spent so much of my life doubting myself and being influenced to believe that I am not like other people, so therefore I am not worth the same as everyone else. But I am here to tell past me that this is absolute crap! Just because you are different, does not mean that you are below everyone else in the grand hierarchy of life. Different does not mean bad.

2. Stop saying I am bad at things that I am not bad at

We are all guilty of doing this at some point in our lives. Whether it is due to humbleness or genuinely not believing in ourselves, we often say aloud that we are not good at things. We will not allow ourselves to take any credit for our hard work! I need to stop this and recognise that thinking I have skill or talent in an area in which I have worked hard in my entire life does not mean I am suddenly this egotistical villain. 

I am good at singing, performing on stage, writing, and have a good philosophical mind. I will not apologise for those things anymore.

3. Allow myself to feel more


This is definitely going to be the hardest resolution of them all this year. I often shy away from my feelings about pretty much everything, but I am naturally a passionate person! Whether I'm obsessing about a new book or television show, or just appreciating my friends, I am not going to apologise for feeling the feels. 

That's it! What are your resolutions for this year?

Have you got similar resolutions to me? Let me know in the comments!

I shall leave you with an inspirational song - My Shot from Hamilton.