15 September 2019

August reading wrap up

August reading wrap up - www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Last month was my best month of 2019 for reading so far this year: most of the books I read were great, I read a fair few of them and I finally finished reading the book on my kindle that has taken THREE MONTHS to get through ffs. I know this is going up a bit late, and I wish I could say that I've been busy, but, well that would be a lie. I've been reading, so that's something at least? 

12 September 2019

Autumn homeware wishlist

Autumn homeware wishlist  - www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

This post is me living vicariously for just a minute because wow the car broke this month and it turns out those things are EXPENSIVE and now I can barely afford a new candle to liven up my house for Autumn, let alone anything else.

1 September 2019

Back to Hogwarts - a day at the Harry Potter studio tour London

Back to Hogwarts - a day at the Harry Potter studio tour London

At precisely 11am each year on 1st September, the Hogwarts Express begins its journey for the start of the school year. So, it only seemed right to talk about the Harry Potter studio tour on this day. This was a Christmas present that I used on the weekend before my birthday (to squeeze that birthday week out for as long as possible), and was just incredible.

18 August 2019

June and July reading wrap up

June and July reading wrap up

It has been a WHILE since I sat down on here to write. I've been doing a tonne of reading over the past few months, mostly because it's summer and I don't want to do much expect laze around with a book in my hand. Naturally now that we're half way through August though the rainy/Autumny weather seems to have kicked in. 

25 July 2019

New-in books - big birthday book haul!

New-in books - big birthday book haul! - www.nourishmeblog.co.uk
I rarely ever buy new books. It's something I can't really afford to do, and if I'm honest, sharing books with friends or buying them second hand is what books are all about for me. It makes them come with a sense of community, and feel a bit more treasured. There's nothing like finding a signed(!) copy of something you're dying to read in a local charity shop (I almost fainted that day), or passing a book on to a friend knowing they'll adore it. The publishing side of me is screaming at myself right now because wow what are you doing?! But I love it.

16 July 2019

Turning 25 - did I complete my 25 before 25 bucket list?

Turning 25 - did I complete my 25 before 25 bucket list?

At 22, having just moved to a town where I knew no one and had no job, I felt a little ~lost~ to say the least. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be and I was at a bit of a crossroads where I really needed to get sorted, find somewhere to work and start living my proper *adult* life.

24 June 2019

(A Very Overdue) May Reading Wrap Up

(A Very Overdue) May Reading Wrap Up

I'm actually so behind on everything (my house is a mess, my blog is a mess and can I even use social media properly anymore? Unsure), that putting this up near the end of June actually almost feels like I'm on time. I read a LOT last month, because, well, mostly because summer's not actually arrived yet, has it? 

20 June 2019

'A Storm of Swords Part One: Steel and Snow' plot breakdown by character POV

After having a mini break from the GOT series because wow A Clash of Kings was LONG, I got totally hooked again with part one of A Storm of Swords. This is a bit shorter than its predecessor, coming in at just over 600 pages. The second part (which I've just started reading and omg is SO good) is another 600 pages, which is why the book is split.

7 June 2019

Citalopram: the first four months of saying goodbye

Citalopram: the first four months of saying goodbye
Citalopram was a bit of a saviour for twenty-year old me. Having struggled with self harm for a number of years I was finally in the headspace to consider the idea of getting some help and starting to sort my life out. The GP started me off on a course of Citalopram, taking 20mg a day, and it was an actual lifesaver. Of course, things took a while to kick in (and I've got a blog post here on what it was like starting to take citalopram), but the word I would use to describe my time taking them is 'stable'. 

19 May 2019

A Clash of Kings plot breakdown by character points of view

A Clash of Kings plot breakdown by character point of views

A Clash of Kings has fully dragged me into a world of only being able to talk about Game of Thrones at all times. And I have the BIGGEST book hangover from it. As soon as I put the book down, all I could think of is that no other book would ever compare to it and may never enjoy anything ever again (slightly dramatic, but I just have SO MANY FEELINGS about it).

5 May 2019

Spring 2019 book releases I NEED

Spring 2019 book releases I NEED
Okay, need is a bit of overkill, but deep down is it really? My heart/mind has a real need to see these books. So, as I've been getting more into actually updating things on Goodreads, I've been fully absorbed into the world of 'I wonder what's coming out this month'. It's a rabbit hole I've spent a lot of time down, but I'm not exactly sad I fell.

Here are the best (IMO) releases from this Spring that we all need to give a read because wow I hope they live up to all my expectations. They'd also all look beautiful on my shelves as a plus. 

Scar by Alice Broadway is pretty much at the top of the list. This is the third in Broadway's 'Ink' trilogy of books. I read the first one last year, immediately downloaded the second to my kindle and I've wanted to get my hands on the third ever since. 

The series is a set of fantasy novels set in a town where everybody's life stories are tattooed on their skins, and no one can truly keep secrets (or so they say ...).

There's Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon. Can we just take a minute to discuss that there's another book in the Rishi/Dimple world?! I cannot cope. When Dimple Met Rishi was one of my favourite books of 2017, and I still need to get around to From Twinkle, With Love.

After being dumped, Ashish finally agrees to let his parents set him up with someone they think will be his perfect match. Sweetie is determined to shake off the stereotypes that have followed her throughout her whole life, and being forced to see Ashish by her parents is the last thing she wants. But maybe, they both might find who they need to be ...

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams has the most BEAUTIFUL cover, doesn't it? This has been all over my insta and twitter feeds, and a bookish person whose recommendations I trust blindly has said it's fab, so I'm expecting incredible things.

Queenie is a 25-year-old Jamaican-British woman living in London. After breaking up with her white boyfriend, she comes face to face with the fact that she's been straddling two cultures, and must ask herself questions we all ask: what am I doing, why am I doing it, and who do I want to be?

Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi has been recommended to me a few times by Goodreads, but I haven't seen that many people talking about it yet. This has a bit of a fantasy aspect to it, with ties back to Hansel and Gretel.

Perdita Lee and her mother Harriet find that no matter what happens in their lives, they can always come back to the old gingerbread recipe that Harriet grew up with. When Perdita adventures out to find her mother's long lost friend Gretel, everything takes even more of a mystical turn.

Fierce Fragile Hearts by Sara Barnard is her second book set in the same world as Beautiful Broken Things (I love all this alliteration). BBT was the first YA book I've read in my memory that has focused solely on teen female friendships. A couple of crushes flitted in and out but that was it. We need more of this in YA fiction pls. This was a Feb release, but I'm totally counting it as Spring. 

2 years on from BBT, Suzanne is starting at rock bottom after a massive downward spiral. She needs her best friends Caddy and Rosie at her side, but with them about to leave for university, things are tougher than ever.

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas is probably my most anticipated release for the whole of 2019. I can't even begin to explain how incredible The Hate U Give was, but we should all read it.

A homage to hip-hop, a large part of Thomas' writing inspiration, On the Come Up tells the story of 16-year-old Bri, determined to become a rap legend. Bri wants to fill the shoes of her father, who passed away before making it big. But when her mum loses her job, and homelessness stares Bri in the face, she realises she HAS to make it big.

And that's a wrap! Let me know what new releases you really want to try too - I need a little addition to my TBR pile!

Spring 2019 book releases I NEED

22 April 2019

Easter baking roundup 2019

Easter baking roundup 2019

Baking is a massive part of my self care routine. It de-stresses me (even with the kitchen looking like an absolute tip afterwards), makes me feel productive and there's a tasty reward at the end. It even has the added bonus of giving me some easy Insta content *side grin*.

6 April 2019

2019 Spring book haul!

2019 Spring book haul! - www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

I haven't done a big ol' book haul roundup this year yet! It was an absolute staple of my blog over the last couple of years but I just hadn't worked my way up to gathering everything together, and I've also been buying a lot fewer books. 

1 April 2019

Take a peek into the March's Reading in Heels box

Take a peek into the March Reading in Heels sub box

It feels like forever since I've posted one of these Reading in Heels box write-ups because wow it's been forever since I've regularly posted anything at all. But I'm hoping that I'm actually getting back into the swing of things this month. I mean, I'm posting this on the first of April so all in all this month I'm on a track record for posting on 100% of the days!

28 March 2019

Trying out the Zoella x Colourpop range

Trying out the Zoella x Colourpop range

Until about a month ago now I'd never ordered any makeup from the US. I skipped out on the Kylie phase because wow the customs fees people got hit with and also wow the prices and also wow I just wasn't into the Kardashians enough for that. But the Zoella x Colourpop collab just got me. I've been wanting to try something from Colourpop for roughly forever and I got the chance to do so with free shipping and no chance of getting hit with extra customs charges.

19 March 2019

My 2019 Goodreads challenge (and an overdue 2018 roundup!)

My 2019 Goodreads challenge (and an overdue 2018 roundup!)
I read a LOT of books last year, especially in comparison to the previous few years. I finally got back into the swing of loving my books and oh my god is it continuing into 2019. I also got on the Goodreads hype and I love it. The whole tracking of all your books gives me pure stats-based joy. And the emails letting you know when authors you've read before are bringing out new books are giving me life (and potentially bankrupting me) each month.

7 March 2019

The first six months of driving: fears, problems and independence

The first six months of driving: fears, problems and independence

I've actually been driving for a little over six months now (since July last year), and it's been an absolute whirlwind of excitement and deep belly-clutching anxiety. As a 24 year old, I was an older learner, but I'm glad I waited in a way, and not just because my first round of insurance wasn't as painful as expected!

24 February 2019

5 days in Amsterdam: 11 things to do, see and eat

5 days in Amsterdam: 11 things to do, see and eat

Amsterdam really seems to be the place everyone's got their sights set on at the moment, and heading there was one of the best things I've done in a LONG time. The city's infamous for its canals, coffee shops and red light district, but there's a whole lot more going on underneath the surface. We spent 3 full days here, with an extra afternoon/evening on the first day and a morning on day 5. 

16 February 2019

Getting a Fitbit Charge 3: one month on

Getting a Fitbit Charge 3: one month on

I've spent a good little while agonising over how to word the title for this post because wow everything I come up with sounds like I'm talking about a new boyfriend or dog or having a child?? But I wanted to chat about my experiences one (and a bit) months in to using a Fitbit because I toyed with the idea of getting one for the longest time before taking the plunge.

9 February 2019

Book of the month - 'This is Going to Hurt' by Adam Kay

Book of the month - 'This is Going to Hurt' by Adam Kay

It's been a long time since I've sat down to chat about my favourite book of the month, but it's something I really want to bring back to my blog for 2019.

This is Going to Hurt has been all over my Instagram and Twitter feeds for months now, and I'd put off reading it because I'm just not *that* into anything that resembles non-fiction or some kind of memoir. But I was surprised by how much I adored it.

6 February 2019

Smear tests, fear and why people aren't just ignorantly putting it off

Smear tests, fear and why girls aren't just putting it off from prudish nerves

Smear tests are never going to be the nicest thing in the world are they? No one really wants a tiny little brush having a good ol' swirl in your cervix. But, they're something that people with a cervix are encouraged to do at 25 in the UK, and the importance of doing it is stressed over and over again in the media. 

Just a little background in case you're not familiar with it: a smear test involves a doctor or nurse taking a swab of cervical cells which are then tested for abnormalities and for the HPV virus. The abnormalities can be pre-cancer cells, or ones that are a bit more serious, and the procedure is an important way to catch cervical cancer early. Around the age of 25 in the UK, a letter is sent out to book an appointment to have this done, and after that you'll either be asked to come in again in 3 years or in 6 months to a year, depending on the results of previous test(s). 

I've always been an advocate of 'wow why do people not go to these?! It's free and it could save your life, or a whole load of horrific treatment?'. That is, until I got my own letter through a couple of months ago. And I put off booking it in. I told myself it was because I didn't want it over Christmas, and then I had my period, and then I was on holiday, but if I looked deep down that wasn't the reason. In reality I was absolutely petrified.

There are so many places on social media where you see people reassuring you not to believe the horror stories/negative experiences you read. And whilst, yes, it's important to stress this, I've never actually seen anyone discuss having a horrible experience with it, but these 'reassurances' made me feel all OH MY GOD SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE HAD HORRIBLE EXPERIENCES.

There's also a whole lot of reminders that we all need to get a grip and get over ourselves because having someone look at your vagine isn't as bad as cervical cancer. Which again, is totally justified. 

The problem is that neither of these points tackle the truth that is that going to an appointment that is solely based around whether or not you have cancer is absolutely terrifying. Instead, girls who don't go are almost branded as lazy or ignorant or too concerned with their own vagina based vanity to get over themselves and let someone swab them. 

I was totally in that category of not understanding why people don't go, and it really did take it coming down to me having my own letter to realise it. Even down to a minute before I opened it you could have asked me if I'd book myself straight in and my response would have been something along the lines of 'well, obviously?!'. I've also had very similar tests done in the past for a different issue, so I knew exactly what to expect with it, how I'd feel during, and after (physically). Because of those tests I also don't have any qualms about letting a nurse at me because wow they see so many vaginas a day what do they care about your one? And I still didn't book it.

The real, deep down reason that's very hard to admit (especially in the face of the media shouting at you for being wrong in not booking an appointment immediately) is that I was simply scared. When I was a kid my sister had cancer and since then other family members have suffered with it, with my granddad passing away a few years ago because of the dreaded c-word. And although, yes, I'm fully aware that it doesn't mean any result I get would be positive, it does mean that I've seen the effects it has, and the idea of having it myself is terrifying. That idea isn't one that you have to face very often, but a smear test is one thing that forces it on you, or at least it did for me. 

The fact that it's mentally challenging isn't explored enough or stressed enough: you're not weak or stupid for not booking in as soon as you get your letter. It's so important to do (and I'm so relieved I went today), but taking your time to come to terms with it is okay. It's also not only tough for a lot of people who have dealt with cancer first hand, but also those who have suffered from sexual assault, or even OCD/anxiety around cleanliness and medical procedures.

Today I felt brave for heading to my test, and I think everyone who goes should feel the same way. The nurses are incredible, and every one that has performed a similar test on me has been great, with today's experience fitting right in to that trend.

The first thing the nurse did today was talk me through the different processes of what would happen after the test in terms of how the cells would be tested, when I'd hear results, and what would happen in each possible test result. She went through talking about any concerns I'd had, if it was my first one, and explained all of the instruments that would be used. I was then asked if I'd like a chaperone for when the test was conducted to ensure I felt safe and as comfortable as possible with what was happening. 

On to the actual test, she pulled the curtain around the bed, with her on the outside and asked me to take everything on my lower half off, pop on the bed and place some paper over my stomach. If you wear a skirt/dress it can feel more comfortable to not have to strip down completely, and a little more in control if you're nervous. After that, it was go time. You shuffle your heels close to your bum, open your knees and the nurse pops the speculum in. This isn't overly comfortable (especially when they winch it open a little), but it's not painful. The little brush is swirled around your cervix for 15 seconds and then it's all over. This basically feels like a period pain, and can last for a couple of hours afterwards. Once this was done, she removed the speculum, gave me a pad (the test can cause a little bleeding), and warned me that it might set off a period as I'm due on fairly soon. The whole time she let me know I could stop for a breather, or a chat or just completely end the whole procedure, and I really was on and off the chair in a minute or two.

Now I've got a couple of weeks to wait until I get my results, but I'm not feeling too anxious: there's nothing I can do about it in the meantime. A smear test isn't the most comfortable thing in the world, but I think we should all be proud of ourselves for going and getting something genuinely scary done. I've spent the rest of the day treating myself, taking things slowly and making sure I feel okay (mentally and physically), and I think we should all have a special day after our smear tests to thank ourselves for getting through it. 

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27 January 2019

2019 Reading Bucket List

Two stacks of colour-coded books side by side

Every year I convince myself that I'm going to read a few books that have been sitting on my shelves for way too long, and every year I end up forgetting what I wanted to get through. Last year I got sick of this and challenged myself to read a whole set of classics/long books/books that intimidate me, and writing it down really helped me to keep this in check. I mean, I only read seven of them, but I'm pretty sure that's seven more than I otherwise would have done. So, let's get into it: here's my big reading bucket list for 2019!

20 January 2019

Big bullet journal catch up: themed months and seasonal spreads

Big bullet journal catch up: themed months and seasonal spreads

I had this grand plan for the second half of 2018 to create intricate themed spreads for every week of every month, with a whole host of progress pages (habit trackers, stats trackers etc) included. I'd even do a monthly blog post on how things went with a look into all of the spreads and what they meant. I didn't even get one month properly completed the way I wanted to. 

15 January 2019

My top ten books of 2018

My top ten books of 2018

I've actually got it together to get a post up for the first time in a couple of weeks and I just?? The flu absolutely knocked me for six and I so wanted to attempt at making January productive. But I've got another 16 days to go and life isn't all about putting words out there. 

6 January 2019

Last book haul from 2018 - everything I got in November/December

End of 2018 book haul - thrillers, YA fiction, fantasy and more
I almost got through Christmas without getting a single book and it all felt very weird, but never fear - the sales and a strange addiction to the sweet smell of used books in charity shops had my back. I hope you're all having a fab start to 2019, and I can't wait to share this first bookish post of the year with you!

1 January 2019

2019 goals and a recap of 2018

2019 goals and a recap of 2018

2018 has been the quickest year of my life, but also one of the best. I've not spent the whole year in a whirlwind of OH MY GOD LIVING MY BEST LIFE, but as I look back over the year, nothing truly traumatic has happened, and I've really conquered some big challenges, so this is a big win of a year.