I know I have it in the title, but here is a massive trigger warning for this post. I'm going to be talking about self harm, and talking about something that triggers me most: people asking me about it.
I came so close to titling this 'I didn't get a proper job after uni, and that's okay', but I had to hold right up before I full on raged at myself. So let's get this out here in this post anyway: any kind of job is a real job or a proper job, okay? Just because someone doesn't work 9-5 or earns the minimum wage, doesn't make their job less valid than yours.
Yep, it's the big half a decade anniversary today. Me and my partner have (somehow?) been together for five years as of today. So, instead of doing a super outdated post on some LUSH picks that aren't even festive, I thought I'd reflect on what I've learnt from being in a long term relationship.
I've been wanting to get involved in a tag I love the sound of for a long time now, mostly because I'm hella nosy, and reading them is fab. So when Rebecca from Meadow Daisy tagged me in this I couldn't say no. I mean, bedtime is my favourite time of the day. Okay okay, second to nap time. But honestly, is there anything better than knowing you have nothing left to do for the rest of the night other than sleep? Also, yes, I'm totally wearing socks with Mr Burns on in the top picture (Primark FYI).
I've been thinking a lot recently about how much pressure there was in my last two years of school, especially at this time in my last year, to get everything ready to go to University. It was time to nail that perfect personal statement (the one that makes you seem like the best student, with top grades, three hundred hobbies and you-know, not full of yourself), finalise my uni choices and knuckle down to get the grades I needed. And I mean NEEDED because failure meant that I'd fall into a pit with no future, right?!
I've made no secret of the poor state of my 2017 skin. Over summer I tried out a Garnier micellar face wash and it made things ten times worse. It was just straight up awful. I really hate not finishing products, but I've put this in the back of my bathroom cupboard in an attempt to forget that it ever existed because it gave me major spot explosions.
I spent an embarrassing amount of time searching my local B & M last year to pick up one of these Essence candles. I was am obsessed with Bath and Body Works and wanted to own one of these dupes SO BADLY, but they'd all sold out by time I got anywhere near a store. So, this is my friendly little PSA: GO AND GET THESE NOW BEFORE THEY SELL OUT.
This is a bit of an ironic post for me to make, because guess who hasn't told their new boss about their mental health issues yet? *Waves hand frantically*. But, as I have some (upsettingly) obvious self harm scars, I imagine it's only a matter of time before I get asked, or *hopefully* my boss has chosen the tactful route, noted my scars and realised that there may be some underlying issues.
I watched The Nightmare Before Christmas at the weekend, so in my house at least, this means that Halloween is nearly here. Gothic books are some of my favourite to read, mostly because the early ones really broke free from Victorian writing contraints and kinda put a big 'fuck you' up to the expectations of society. There's no Pride and Prejudice in this literary canon (thank god). So, here's a selection of some of the best - in my opinion - Gothic reads out there to pick up this October.
1.) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. This is one of my all-time favourite books, ever. It's set over the misty moors of Yorskhire, features a terrifying little ghost child and has characters that subvert expectations every step of the way along the plot. Heathcliff is pretty much a monster from the offset. Cathy's love for him, which btw totally extends into her marriage to another man, is almost as shocking for writing of the time as her belief that she doesn't care if she goes to hell as long as she's with Heathcliff. This is one of the best Gothic love stories and if you haven't read the book you NEED to.
2.) The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. This is quite a quick read to whizz through, but a powerful one. Dorian Gray is an A* creep who makes a pact with the devil to stay young forever. Dorian parties, acts licentiously and does pretty much whatever the hell he wants, whilst a portrait of his becomes more rotten and terrifying with each vile act he commits. Oh, and there's a fab undercurrent of the suggestion that he has homoerotic feelings that kinda reminds me of an early fan-fic, where everything is so subtle you almost miss it.
3.) Dracula by Bram Stoker. Because duh, the OG vampire book. It's not the first okay, but a LOT of our modern ideas about what vampires are all about come from this. There's a lot of bloodsucking of white-clad virgins, creepy castles and the whole bat thing pops up too. It's truly a Gothic classic and had me HOOKED. Which reminds me, I need to reread this asap.
4.) The Monk by Matthew Lewis. This is the one of the earliest books that's recognised as being part of the Gothic canon, but that doesn't mean it's reserved or less well developed than the others I've mentioned so far. It's amazing, and yet so much less well known. It really attacks the Church - the book contains both a pregnant nun and a girl who pretends to be a man to become a monk in the monastery of the man she loves. It's hella juicy and filled with SO many Gothic tropes. I could read this one over and over again.
5.) Poetry by Edgar Allan Poe. 'The Raven' is such a good one to get into Gothic poetry with. It has an amazing rhythm - I mean, you can't read the poem without imagine the Raven tap-tapping away at the chamber door. It's set on a gloomy December evening and is definitely spooky enough for an All Hallows Eve read. Plus the Simpsons parodied it in a Treehouse of Horror episode so, y'know, it HAS to be good. 'The Raven' isn't actually my favourite of his though - if you want a short Gothic-esque poem, then Annabel Lee is such a gorgeous one to go for.
6.) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Another classic here. Frankenstein is so far removed from modern media interpretations of it (if ya still don't know, Frankenstein is the name of the scientist, not the monster. I bet Shelley's turning in her grave over that one) that you need to read it to understand its importance. I feel so much empathy for the poor creature and so much rage at Frankenstein. It's one of those books that remind you of how damaging the patriarchy can be, and it's one of the oldest books I've read that presents a Muslim character in a positive light. Shelley's mother, Mary Wollstonecraft was a key first wave feminist, and Frankenstein really draws on some of the early ideas that M.W spoke about.
7.) The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. This is another one that attacks the patriarchy, and is a little less well known. It's also a short story which you'd be able to whip through in a day. The main character is forced to stay trapped in her room because she's a feeble woman who is prone to sickness etc etc. She wants to leave but the windows are barred and the door is locked. Her husband plays it off as him 'protecting' her, obvs, and as time goes on she starts to lose her mind. It's trippy and Gothic and mostly scary because somehow things haven't changed too much over the last two centuries.
I'm going to end this here because I kinda want to go and re-read all of these now, and hunt down an illustrated book of Poe's poetry because oh my god can you imagine how beautiful that would be? I'm going to be hella disappointed if there isn't one out there!
Before I start this post, I'm putting it out there that I would 100% not recommend deciding to cut down on anti-depressants at this time of year. It's a tough time with darker mornings/evenings on their way, and those who suffer from SAD especially will be finding heading into winter pretty tough.
I've been feeling a little 'meh' about writing a blog post over the last few days because I've dipped into an anxiety-ridden rut. So, I figured there's no better way to get back into the swing of things than to catch up on a tonne of blogs, both old favourites and new ones I've found, to take a look at what I've been loving over the last month or so.
I'm fairly sure I say this every single time I write one of these posts, but this book haul has some full on GEMS in it. After starting my new job, I've been loving sitting down with a book to relax in the evening and it's inspired me to pick up some new reads. All of these books came from my local charity shop and come in at £2 or under, so take this post as a friendly reminder to check out your local charity shop whenever you want to get a new book!
I don't like ice cream. There, I said it. It's a real thing guys. So banana splits aren't really on my radar as enjoyable dishes. But I love the idea of them, so I've created my own version that makes for a hella yummy breakfast and is totally vegan. It's warm and filling and I love having it in the morning at this time of year.
The NHS is a wonderful thing, and I feel so grateful to live in a country in which healthcare is accessible to me no matter what my payslip says. But, mental health is such a tough thing to discuss and to diagnose because things just aren't simple or visible or something that can be determined by a test. Sometimes doctors get it wrong, and sometimes they get it right and the appointment is still upsetting.
Time to sit down and grab a cuppa - this is a bit of a storytime post and I'm *hoping* to avoid the waffle but it's gonna be tricky. Mostly because I've avoided ever airing this in public and I'm still trying to procrastinate it with every little thing I possibly can (even this intro tbh). BUT, it's an important thing to talk about.
Can you believe that this is the eighth part of my lil series about dealing with weight gain? You can head back through the times via my last post on it here. This one's a crossover into another mental health chat; I've been absolutely loving delving into these on this blog recently.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that this soup has been saving my life over the past month. Okay, okay that might be a slight exaggeration. BUT, it's been making my life a hell of a lot easier, and helped me fight off the god awful cold that plagued me at the start of September. I make this in a massive bulk, freeze it out and have it as my lunch at work. It's perfect because it's filling and healthy and I still haven't got sick of it. Sorta. 13 portions in and I'm starting to get a little overwhelmed.