Soulmates by Holly Bourne #Bookreview #Han

Soulmates by Holly Bourne

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The first book of Holly’s I read was Am I Normal Yet? It talked to me; I related with the anxiety portrayed in the book. She’s my go to writer and I’m off to her next book’s launch on the 20th September.
I devoured the Spinster Saga and I’ve handed them to anyone who was looking for something to read.

Soulmates is Bourne’s debut novel. It only pales because of her writing going from strength to strength. You can see Bourne’s Spinster characters being developed here in this novel and a lot of her style and tone is here too.
There’s what feels like a supernatural element to this romantic story. I had it in my head that Rain and his manager were angels and there was something larger at play. So I was surprised when it fell firmly into reality with a little artistic sudo-science. It was a nice touch. I just wished that I’d read it before the others as it didn’t gel with my expectations.
I liked Poppy; she was a good and well-rounded character. It was just a shame I didn’t really like anyone else, especially Noah who was too Edward Twihard for my liking.

GBBO ramblings #tvreview #Han

GBBO

I’m weak, I wasn’t going to watch; I was going to boycott. However, how can I say no to Noel Bloody Fielding!

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Hosts
We have Sandy and Noel replacing the irreplaceable Mel and Sue.

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Judges
Pru replaces Mary Berry.

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Bakers
Look… gender neutral cakes!

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Opening
“All newbies here, except old blue eyes.” Noel, Noel, Noel… you are amazing.
Close your eyes and Pru sounds like Mary Berry. Oh man, this is making me incredibly weird.
Signature Bake – Fruit Cake
Stacey- I actually would have preferred you to have called it a ‘Buzz Cake’
Liam- 19 years old. “But I like loafs.” I love him. He’s a classroom dream. I can’t wait to see him develop on the show.
Julia- Lemon and courgette cake. Interesting. “How do you squeeze the moisture our of a courgette.” Was that an attempt at an innuendo?
I love the chemistry between Paul and Scouser Flo.
Tom and his gilded pear- where’s the fun innuendo?!
“I don’t know what it is, but I want to stick my finger into it.”- That wasn’t the innuendo that I was after.
Noel attempting to eat the marigold was genius.
Flo- “I’m awfully please.”/ lemon KERD! I love Flo!

 

Technical Challenge- Mini rolls
I LOVE Noel. “Bare bottom”
I’m with Kate though; why would you make them when they’re so easy and yummy to buy?
Liam to comedian Sandy “Yeah, but joking can only take you so far.”- awkward!
Sandy “I can actually feel my hips widening as we do this.”
Liam’s rolls- “This is art.” Bless.

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Show Stopper- Illusion Cake
“Looking forward to the moist clutch.”- I’m only allowing this ‘close to the knuckle’ innuendo because it was Noel who said it.

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Julia! Oh Julia “Outside is Russian like me, the inside is British, well like me now.” I love her analogy of her Victoria sponge Russian doll cake. I love that GBBO is still at the forfront of celebrating Britain as a rainbow nation.
Sophie and that Champagne bottle. Eeeeek, that wasn’t innuendo, that was pure tacky.
Noel puts It right when he says the standards are high this year. Proven when Steven pulls that BLT sandwich and loaf of bread out the bag.

Final Moments
Star Baker– Steven
Home– Peter
Next week: Buiscuits
Predictions and final thoughts
It still feels the same and I am loving Noel. However, the humour, despite having two very funny hosts, isn’t quite right. The obvious innuendos are missing, and the ones that they do hit, they either fall flat or are a little too close to being sleazy.
Final 3 (This isn’t a Nadiya year, I don’t have the confidence in a single baker)- Steven, Flo and Kate.

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Rick and Morty Series 3 Episode 6 – Rest and Ricklaxation #tvreveiw #Han

Rick and Morty Series 3 Episode 6 – Rest and Ricklaxation 

From IMDB: Following a stressful adventure, Rick and Morty go on a break to a spa where they remove their toxins, which in turn take a form of their own.

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For me, this episode beats Pickle Rick. It has everything I want in an episode. The two-story arcs take place when Rick and Morty have their ‘toxic’ parts removed; each going on a journey to get things back to ‘normal’

Rick
I love this change in personality that the removal of toxins creates. Of course, it wouldn’t’ work in the long run, but I do expect there to be a development based upon what we’ve seen in this episode.

Morty
I love that the show acknowledges all the bits about Morty that I find incredibly annoying. It makes my opinion, that is ever changing, a little more validated.
The hatred I felt for sociopathic, Bateman-lite, Morty is way more passionate than regular Morty. This might be down to my current aversion to sociopaths, or the very fact it was a sociopath that got me into this show but I’m just so glad we got regular annoying Morty back by the end credits.

The ultimate thing that makes this my favourite episode is the Rick fight. It was the best, ever. Not too many Ricks, but their knowledge of each other made it genius.

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Keep an eye out on my twitter @hscptcrash over the next few days as I will be putting up a Rick and Morty giveaway.

American Made- 15 #filmreview #Han

American Made- 15
Release date- 25.8.17
Trailer
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The Good
From the opening, I knew I was going to like this Crime Drama Biopic. There was something a little hipster about its phase from fancy, shiny new age Universal logo to the static one of old. The film geek in me loves a gimmick when it comes to studio logos. (Side note- to this day Ralf hums along to every 20th Fox film. It’s head cannon to me now.) It sets the tone and the setting of the film. Got to love the meta of it; it’s harking back to an era in which the president was a former actor. I have much more insightful things to say about the progression of Hollywood during the Regan era, but now is not the time.
The humour from the get going is quirky, gritty and a refreshing change for a Cruise film. Once or twice I found myself being the only person laughing, or understanding the punch like a beat sooner than the rest of the audience.
The plot is given a clear narration with the same flare as 2015’s The Big Short. It’s narration is what ties the whole thing together.

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Okay, I’ll level with you here before I gush at the awesomeness. Cruise and Gleeson meet fairly early and yes, their initial scene would never stand up to that of Deniro and Pacino in Heat when it comes to a sit down; how would it, that was DECADES in the making.
However, Gleeson is once again showing his versatility as the unlikeable ‘CIA’ operative handling Cruise’s pilot Barry Seal.
I know I’m bias as Gleeson is my movie catnip, but I loved his sudo-command over A-list Cruise. It also gives you an insight into Cruise’s character. You know had this been Ethan Hunt the other side of the table, Gleeson’s Monty Shafer would have pissed his pants by the end of the first conversation.
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The Bad
I wasn’t a fan of the shaky cam. It certainly didn’t do the film justice on a Super Screen. I know it was trying to achieve a sense of realism, and aesthetically it makes more sense and you appreciate it more when you get to the final act. Had I watched it on a smaller screen, it might have been okay. However, as it stands, it left me a little dizzy.
I did also find it a little slow in places. Not as slow as other Colombian cartel movies (Yes, I’m looking at you Scarface… You’re long, you’re over rated and I hate you), and while it’s okay for a first watch I don’t think it’s a regular viewing film.

The Ugly
This is not about the film itself, but film etiquette and ultimate audience faux pas that led to me becoming a little bit more aware of the films pace; the couple next to me. (Side note: they shouldn’t have been next to us. I’d used my Cinema Magic skills to combine my Cineworld card and Meerkat movies to get myself and a friend in for free. I’d specified the later showing, but the grumpy twenty-something was too busy making her face express her wish to be outside, so she gave me tickets for the screening before… so a seat hop, or three, we find ourselves beside this couple)
The talked, at length and at volume. Throughout the entire film. I don’t get it?! It was central London; the tickets were £16.50 each (hence what I did being a magic trick). Why bother? From the little bits I did hear, it wasn’t even about the film. During the fight and flight sequences it wasn’t so obvious. However, during the quiet bits it was a little like torture… ergo slow pace makes the film fall a little for me.
People, be proud though, I restrained the inner Scouse and I actually let them chat away. I don’t know if it was because the sound system in a Super Screen was a little louder than normal, or if I’m just realising I gain nothing by allowing myself to be wound up by ignorant people. It really is an ugly side of cinema, but I don’t want it to stop me enjoying my time with friends.

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I’m just going to leave this last image of Domhnall here 

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer #bookreview #Han #Zoellabookclub

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer #bookreview #Han #Zoellabookclub

From Amazon: Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

Goodreads

download

First Thoughts
It was going to be a tough read for me. I always knew that. In fact, until Zoe announced it was this week’s focus for the Zoella book club chat I had no intention of reading this book. I thought it was too close to home and I buried it, much like my feelings about death and grief.
I’m really glad I did. Yes, it was a painful read. It was tough going, but there was something a little cathartic about the process.

 

Characters

I was able to engage and empathise with most of the characters. Brigid Kemmerer was able to create almost mirror-like characters that reflect the reader’s experiences that add depth to the characters. From the frustration and anger of Juliet, the warmth of the English teacher to the angst-ridden guilt of Declan.
The characters do grow throughout the narrative, but what I like most is that their growth does not end when the book does. You know that they have further to go, but they’ll get there.
I have more of an attachment to Declan. Perhaps it’s how long he’s had to grief by the opening of the narrative or his specific form of guilt. It could even be my love of his friend, Rev but what I love most of all is how genuine his character is; I’ve seen kids like him in my classes and it’s fascinating to see potential inner workings.

Plot

In what could have been a predictable You’ve Got Mail, grief by numbers I am delighted to say I had the rug pulled from under me a few times; and I was looking at it analytically trying to see the red herrings. I can’t really say more without spoiling the twist/s, but I can say that it helps develop a refreshing look at family, coping with death and living up to your own expectations.

Writing

It did take me a few more chapters than normal to get into the flow of which voice belonged to whom. I think this was perhaps owing to many chapters having the voices of Juliet and Declan both present; one as narrator other letter writer.
However, by the time the characters moved to other forms of communicating, I was well and truly hooked.
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If you’ve read the book, please join the wonderful @zcollins1994 (along with myself and Gem) on Saturday 2nd September 6pm as Zoe hosts her weekly #zoellabookclub chat on Twitter (http://www.nosaferplace.co.uk/2017/07/zoella-book-club-chat.html – Zoe explains it much better in her own words here). If you haven’t read the book, head over to Zoe’s YouTube channel at 5pm https://www.youtube.com/nosaferplace and you also still have time.

Look forward to seeing you there.

Solitaire by Alice Oseman

Solitaire by Alice Oseman
Buy it here
Goodreads
Han’s Review
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Full of wit, cynicism, sarcasm and humour, Solitaire is a fantastic début novel and I’m incredibly that Alice Oseman is only 19! Accurately depicting modern teenage life, this book is relatable yet original at the same time. I really loved Tori’s narration, and as the plot advanced it was fascinating to read her thoughts on the situation she was in, and I liked seeing how her friendship with Michael Holden developed. The Solitaire aspect was fascinating, I guessed who was behind it pretty early on but it was still great seeing what they would come up with next! I would recommend this to fans of Rainbow Rowell and John Green, it really is awesome!

Mental Health- Realising you’ve escaped an abusive relationship Part ONE #mentalhealth

Mental Health- Realising you’ve escaped an abusive relationship Part ONE
Trigger warning- emotional abuse, depression, anxiety
*names have been changed for obvious reasons.

I met Dick through a dating site. It wasn’t until after our first date I found out the name I knew him by was false. About a month in, he told me he was in love with me. A little too quick for my liking, but as he was the first bloke to ever use those words, I went with it.  By January, he’d informed me that he no longer loved me. That he’d ‘trained’ himself not to love me anymore. Strangely, that didn’t make me walk away; it made me try harder. It was my fault after all, right?

The man who showered me with affection, who insisted on going out on our 2nd month ‘anniversary’ and proudly wore a matching t shirt for our Christmas was a fake. At the time I didn’t know what a sociopath was, or how they worked through a relationship. I was the proverbial frog in the pan, rising my temperature until I was compromised. It led to my darkest rabbit hole journey.

Before you read any further, please understand that this will not be an easy read. I do not mean to offend, upset or anger anyone. This is not attention seeking or story writing. Everything you read here is the truth, as I saw it. I wasn’t perfect and my actions towards the end of the relationship were desperate and certainly not something I am proud of.
This candid look at a sociopathic/narcissistic relationship is perhaps a little selfish. While part of me is putting it out there so that other people will recognise traits in this man and save themselves from the pain I endured, there is a bigger part of me having to put this out there so that it never happens to me again.

 

Why am I doing this? Firstly, I had a heart to heart with my best friend and admitted to her (and social media), that I’m still very much broken over Dick. I don’t want him in my life, I want my memory wiped of him. Secondly, while searching for a photo for a blog post I found this:

 

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I look like shit. But what struck me most about this photo was how miserable I looked. My eyes are dead, when they normally have that little bit of a sparkle. Even I can tell that my smile is fake. It’s a portrait of pain and abuse. Scars I’m worried that will never heal.

To give you an idea of what was going on in my head within 12 hours of this photo being taken I have found notes I’d made on my way to Copenhagen with a friend. Someone who didn’t know I was still with Dick. The secret was taking its toll, because I trust these people who I kept it from. I knew what they’d said in the past was the truth; there was something fundamentally wrong with the man.

He’d gone away on a business trip and he’d pulled out a trick from the Sociopath’s bible: ghosting. At this point we’d known each other 5 months, and I’d had a text from him EVERY SINGLE DAY. Good morning, good evening, even a ‘meep’ when I hadn’t text in a while. However, this week was strained and cold. Rather than annoy him with my thoughts about what was going on, I wrote this out;

Han’s Heart – I miss Dick, I want to text him… just because. (Well… no. Like a muppet, I want him to text me)

Han’s logic brain- but he’s not text you first in weeks. You need to back off so he can miss you. You can do it. Just don’t text him till he texts you.

Han’s Gollum brain- but… but… but… what if he doesn’t text back, ever because he thinks you not texting is actually a good thing and feels relieved that he’s not hearing from you. He just doesn’t know how to tell you that you’re horrible and repulsive.

Han’s logic brain- you know he doesn’t love you any more so he doesn’t think about you as much; it’s normal for him. Stop poisoning me Gollum.

Han’s Heart- but I want to be normal. Normal for me is texting him when I want to and not caring if he texts back.

Gollum brain- but he wishes your texts were from someone else. ANYONE else but you.  No one likes you. You can’t keep the weight off. You’re shit in bed and he never wants to touch you. He doesn’t care if you get off.

Logic brain- it doesn’t matter. He’s a good person. He likes you.

Gollum- he lies

Logic- for good reason

Gollum- I bet he uses the condoms you buy on other girls. He won’t even think about it. You gave him a great out as well when you brought the new ones. 

Heart- why hasn’t he text?! He must be waiting for his plane now. What did you do wrong Hunter?!

Gollum- you’re being punished because you’re evil and horrible. I bet he doesn’t even smile when he sees your name any more. He groans and puts his phone away. He wishes he could have the orgasms you give him without seeing you. I bet he’d rather Nel was the one he fell for. That’s if he ever loved you.

 

He text just before I got on the plane. It didn’t make me feel any better. Not too long after that, I found this in the Notes section of my phone. I don’t think this is one I’d sent to him.

So…. I think I know what it is that’s putting me on edge. I don’t want to lose you. The man you were right at the beginning (bringing sushi randomly to mine was WAAAAAAAY better than any rose), the things you said (why am I so lucky to have you?)… I couldn’t want for anything more and the best thing; I don’t think any of that was an act. I literally thought I’d found my dream man and in all honesty?! I still think I have.

At the start, you were doing things that came naturally to you. Now you second guess everything and while I know you’re doing it to ‘protect’ me and keeping me at arm’s length, it’s coming across as apathy and almost like I’m a chore that is making you miserable.

If you want to spend time with me, just do it. Stop thinking about this stupid ‘once/twice a week rule). You want to stop worrying about me being hurt; start inviting me to things yourself. Not leaving it me to ask and get the response that you’re with someone else. (Yes, I know you’ve said it’s always her that asks and you just say yes… but I’m not part of it. I don’t know. I am always worrying about whether I’m asking too soon, too late or worse, if I don’t ask I won’t see you at all. It’s exhausting.) you have ideas, you just need to go ‘Hey Han, can I see you Wednesday this week. Meet me in Ealing and we’ll go for food.’ You can’t tell me that’s not something you can do; because it’s EXACTLY what you ARE doing by being on the dating apps. You’re actively seeking company.

Honestly. I think you want me more than you’re letting on and what is stopping you is the fear of being alone. The fear that we won’t work and that you might lose me. I think you’re scared of your feelings.

 

It’s making me feel so ill reading these. Even at his cruelest, I was making excuses for him and trying to massage his ego. The sad thing, I think I believed all of this.

Any normal person would feel some sort of remorse for knowing the pain they were causing someone. Nope. It made him angry. It bored him and made him want to be with one of the other girls. How do I know? He told me! Said I was the better girl, the best girl… but I just didn’t behave right.

Why wasn’t I behaving? Because I didn’t know all the rules. Not one for failing, I tried to learn the rules. Please believe me, I tried. So hard. However, the rules would change and I’d be punished. To be clear, I did tell Dick at the beginning that I take things literally.

I’d not been in a relationship for a long time, so I thought telling Dick things like this would make things easier. What I hadn’t realised though, was I was giving him a blue print to my undoing; I handed him his gaslighting road map on a plate.

Hopes for the Next Decade (Written in 2009) #Han #ramblings

updated Sometime in 2012 8.12.2013 and 8.11.2014 and 26.8.2017

Lose the four stone I’ve put on since Uni (One down, three to go) (2.5 lost… but a further 2 put back on! D’oh) [8.11.14 Heaviest I’ve ever been- double d’oh]

Have Labyrinth ball for my thirtieth birthday (David Bowie being a guest would be the ultimate bonus) (Have a garentee that people will turn up and not stand me up like my 13th or my most recent leaving do. Seriously, almost 28 yet I still feel like that damn 13 year old that everyone hated)  Didn’t happen, I had an awesome 30th anyway.

Attend Hallowheadon (Buffy themed Halloween convention) at least once No longer exists.

Spend the summer holidays in America doing a theme park tour.

Go on holiday with Gem Gem

Go to the following gigs-

  •                 Alice Cooper (Going with a friend in November!)
  •                 Paramore (2013)
  •                 Muse
  •                 Daft Punk
  •                 Pink
  •                 Bon Jovi
  •                 My Chemical Romance (highly unlikely now)
  •                 Snow Patrol
  •                 Eddie Izzard (2015)
  •                 Mark Thomas (He was in the audience of a play I saw)
  •                 Panic! @ the Disco (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
  •                 The Pretty Reckless
  •                Christina Perri
  •                 Lady Gaga
  •                 Katy Perry
  •                 The Who (had a chance this year and missed it) [Had yet another chance and passed up on it]

Have cooking lessons

Run at least a half marathon

See the Northern Lights (Ideally Alaska but anywhere really)

Go camping (2013)

Go to a festival- not bothered as long as it’s not Glastonbury (2014- Summertime thing in Hyde Park with McBusted as headline 2016- Slamdunk)

Go to Ireland

I want a Snood like the one Carrie has in Sex and the City when she goes for the Sleigh ride with the Russian.

Well, on that note I’d like Sarah Jessica Parker’s hair from that episode too.

To at least be paying a mortgage for my own house.

And because that’s too serious I want to spend the weekend at Alton Towers

Get through all of the Lord of the Rings books

Get out of debt (overdrafts and what not) and begin saving for wedding and what not

Break the world record set by the Fox network and 24 by having a marathon of either Supernatural or Red Dwarf!!!!

Go to London to see a West End Play- Ideally Little Mermaid! (Summer 2013: Rock of Ages)[2014- Coriolanous, Blithe Spirit, Holy Warriors, The Crucible… to name but a few]

Go back to New York to go Ice Skating [to see theatre]

Have ice skating lessons

Learn to sing

Get married to a man who meets my intensive criteria set out by myself and Gem Gem years ago and briefly revised tonight:

  •                 No shorter than Seth Green (5’4), no taller than John Corbett (6’5)
  •                 Ideally in a band, but must at the very least appreciate music
  •                 Must not have Ernie issues
  •                 Must not be confused or indecisive
  •                 Must be funny
  •                 And be able to cook
  •                 Must not have stripper best friend that he maintains he ‘could have’
  •                 Understand that I’m an insecure fuck-wit (like most other women)
  •                 Understand that I’m quirky as hell and I’m not to be change.
  •                 Accept that they may be my boyfriend/partner/husband but Gem Gem is my twisted sister soul mate!!!!
  •                 Be prepared to wear converse for the wedding
  •                 Allow me to watch Buffy for the millionth time.
  •                 Understand and support my obsession with Jurassic Park
  •                 Love Red Dwarf
  •                 Have a cool accent
  •                 Have longish hair
  •                 Be outgoing and impulsive

Additional criteria 2011

  • Be able to grow a decent beard
  •                 Into his music and at least tolerate MCR
  •                 Artistic
  •                Cannot believe that ‘money buys you happiness’ or brag about money
  •                Must be humble
  •                At least accept my geeky-ness (added bonus- be a cool geek himself)
  •                Must love Dr Who
  •                Know that I want a huskie Or a dog! Any dog will do
  •                Must accept that first born daughter will be names Evelyn
  •               Must accept that we’ll have a GemGem room in our house.
  •                Still want to have date night when we’re 60
  •               Must like Nandos
  •                Must like dinosaurs
  •                Must not be ‘festival Ken’, ‘Ernie Problem Ken’ or ‘Pretentious Twatbag Ken’
  • Must not be a sociopathic fuckwit with a god complex

2014- I’ll settle for falling in love.

 

be thinking about having a baby

Have my a-symmetrical/ Thelma hair again 2011

Written a fictional novel

Published a book that will help other aspiring RE teachers

 

Additional criteria 2013

 

Be head of department ish 2014 ish 1026/17 (I don’t want it any more)

Go to the London Premire of Star Wars

Now London based, I would like to meet (and get photos with):

  • Tom Hiddleston
  • Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Emma Thompson [Easter 2015]
  • Martin Freeman [Seen him in a play…. that sort of counts]
  • Peter Capaldi [potentially at the Paddington prem in a few weeks]
  • Matt Smith (Damn me not getting that ticket to American Psycho before I knew he was in it) I got to see it 😀

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera #bookreview #Han

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera #bookreview #Han
Release date: 7.9.2017
From Amazon: On September 5th, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: they’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: there’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure – to live a lifetime in a single day.



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Initial thoughts
Another competition win that I very gladly received. Having read History is All You Left Me as part of Zoella’s book club, I was very excited for the release of this. Not only does it not fail to disappoint, it surpasses History in its engagement and concept.

It kept me calm while waiting for my first counselling session on Thursday. Believe me, when my anxiety is high it is hard to keep my attention so that is a true testament to Silvera that not only did he keep my attention, his words soothed my soul.

Plot
I have to talk about the plot first, as it is ‘high concept’. This is a world in which you are informed the night before that you have 24 hours left to live. No other details or specifics are given; just that you will not be around for the day after and that you should get your affairs in order.
I love that there is no explanation about how the system works. I don’t need to know, it exists and that’s all good to me.
Social media has hooked into this phenomenon and have introduced apps to help people through their last day, and that’s how two boys, on the cusp of adulthood, find themselves meeting. The are each other’s Last Friend and they do amazing jobs in helping the other live for the day.
You know how it ends; the clue is in the title. However, you don’t ever find yourself wishing it wasn’t true. At least I didn’t, it would have cheapened the experience.

Characters
I loved the joint protagonists; Mateo and Rufus. Not only were they able to pull me into their lives and make me care, they helped me live along with them. I liked the approach both took towards their deaths.
As I said before, I didn’t want them to survive. That sounds harsh and makes it sound like the deserve it. They don’t, but for me there is still hope at the end of the book for both of them and that’s the important part.
With death, it’s very rarely about the people who die, but those left behind. I found it an important factor to have chapters from their perspective, it’s what some of the recent books I’ve been reading have lacked because you don’t identify with those people and they’re left feeling a little flat. Not here, you find yourself identifying with those people. A subtle touch, but it makes all the difference.

Writing
The writing was addictive. The chapters were a perfect, digestible, length and had circumstances been different, this would have been a one sitting read.
There were subtle differences between the voices of the characters participating within the narrative. There’s nothing worse than having a book that requires a different font to distinguish between characters. For the two protagonists, you didn’t even need the chapter titles to keep up with who was speaking.

Without being specific, Silvera was able to convey the emotions of both boys clearly. I found that quite a refreshing read and makes me want to read more with male protagonist.


Final words

It is a book that will leave you thinking about what you would do and how you would live your life each day; whether it be because you know you are not set to die that day, or even more importantly, you knew any minute it could be your last.

It’s a book that will stay with you long after you finish the last page. Slvera has done an amazing job once again, and I look forward to reading more from him.

Harry Potter Tag – #Gem #Han

we got the tag

So… we got the call! I’ve attempted to complete it a few times over the last few weeks. But weddings, overgrown toddlers and books have gotten in the way. So with a drink in hand and my best friend at my side, we finally got to grips with the questions.

Big thanks to https://nevernotreadingblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/09/hogwarts-tag/amp/ for tagging us.

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AM I A PUREBLOOD, HALF-BLOOD, OR MUGGLE BORN?

H: Total Muggle.
G: Same as Han, total muggle!

WHICH WAND CHOSE ME?

H: Picture1

G: Alder and Unicorn Hair, 10 and ¾ inch

DID I TAKE AN OWL, CAT, RAT, OR TOAD WITH ME?

H: I picked a cat, ideally a ginger cat. I have a soft spot for gingers in all walks of life, so it was the natural choice. It would be a male, very friendly and loyal. Only I’d spot this beautiful creature in the shop and I’d name him Janus.

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G: I picked a snowy owl. I think they are stunningly beautiful and I remember seeing one on my porch roof when I was 3 or 4 years old. It stayed there for a day or two and then we never saw it again, I’m pretty sure it must’ve escaped from someone’s aviary, although as a child I just remember thinking it was magical because I’d never seen such a nice white bird (as seagulls are clearly evil chip stealers, even at a young age I knew this!)

WHERE DID THE SORTING HAT PUT ME?

H: Ravenclaw– it lies. When I did this years ago, it put me in Hufflepuff. All the quizzes put me in Hufflepuff, but in the last year I’ve been getting Ravenclaw. Have I really changed that much?

G: Ravenclaw, and I’m stunned. Every quiz I’ve previously done, including this one years ago, have put me in Slytherin. Therefore I’m going with Slytherclaw from now on.

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WHAT HOUSE DID I WANT TO BE IN?

H: Hufflepuff and proud. I have the t-shirt and everything. I’m a Hufflepuff and you can’t make me move!

G: Slytherin, but Ravenclaw would be my second choice so I’m happy to be Slytherclaw!

WHAT LESSONS ARE MY FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE?

Favourites:

H:The year in which Professor Lupin was running Defence Against the Dark Arts, it became my favourite. I secretly had a crush on the Professor. Okay, so it wasn’t so secret. I think this makes me a hipster Huffle! After all, I didn’t join the many fawning over Lockheart the previous year.

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I prefer my men brave, moral and good hearted. So, his clothes were threadbare; that’s what happens when society is prejudiced against afflictions people have no control over.

It might surprise people to hear, but I really enjoyed potions lessons. I got the impression Snape didn’t like me all that much; mainly because I was too clumsy and flighty but that didn’t stop me having a blast in his class. Still, I had a lot of respect for the overgrown bat. He knew people didn’t like him, but he didn’t care.

 

G: Potions was my all-time favourite. The idea that you could mix a few ingredients together to create something so powerful was intoxicating. Snape himself is clearly a legend. I don’t think I’d have necessarily been a popular student, but I’d have certainly been an attentive one.

I also love the idea of being able to transfigure, particularly to the level of the Marauders and be an Animagus  – and probably like them I’d have been unregistered. It always surprised me that it was never revealed in the books that Snape had the ability to transform into an actual bat, it seemed to me so likely that he would have added that to his repertoire.

Least favourites:

H: I didn’t enjoy Muggle Studies. I lived it, I didn’t need to study it. Weirdly, I’d get things wrong as well, not because I was wrong (It was how baking a potato would be done in my house), but it wasn’t what was in the text book!

G: Divination. Absolute nonsense and a waste of time that could be better spent learning something that had an actual use.

 

THE FORM MY PATRONUS TAKES:

H: A bloody Wild Rabbit. I bloody hate rabbits. If I’d have a choice mine would be a hippo.

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G: A vole apparently. I literally have no idea why or what this means! I do remember being on a family day trip to Matlock and sitting by the river (or canal? It was water anyway!) and me and my brother feeding the water voles with the remnants of our Sonic the Hedgehog biscuits. That biscuit reference alone indicates quite how long ago this was!

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WHAT DOES A BOGGART LOOK LIKE FOR ME?

H: My boggart takes the form of an empty room. My biggest fear is isolation so a room in which I am alone would suffocate me.

G: A Pennywise from IT type clown, and as a muggle I’d have been aware of this reference.

DO I PARTAKE IN ANY MAGICAL HOBBIES OR SCHOOL SPORTS?

H: I think I’d be involved in something underground, like the DA! I’m not sporty in the slightest, but I would attend Quidditch matches.

G: As much as I’d love to be on the Quidditch team I am massively uncoordinated. Uh, so Duelling Club?

WHERE WOULD I FIND MYSELF HANGING IN MY FREE TIME?

H: The library or Hufflepuff common room (not Ravenclaw! You can’t make me)…. Reading, writing or listening to music.

G: I’m assuming Gem would be with me with this.

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WHAT WOULD I MOST LIKELY GET DETENTION FOR?

H: Either being clumsy and making a mess; annoying Filtch or forgetting to complete my homework. I’d start it, get distracted and completely forget about it.

G: Cheeking the teacher, wandering around after hours or arguing with fellow students who disagreed with my opinion!

WHAT CAREER DO I WANT AFTER LEAVING HOGWARTS?

H: I would work in muggle relations and education. I’d reform Muggles Studies and ensure that it’s kept up to date to ensure wizards don’t freak non-magic folk out by brushing their hair with forks.

G: I love the idea of being an Auror and capturing and putting away the truly dark wizards. I think there are various levels of power, and whilst it’s perfectly ok to seek to further your knowledge in a particular subject (such as potions) it is unacceptable to use that power to discriminate against people, or to take it as far as Voldermort’s loyal Death Eater’s did.

I think other than that, I would probably just end up in a random role within the Ministry of Magic and try and work my way up!

 

So there we have it, we’ve finally sat down and completed it. Phew!

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Mental Health: Know Thy Self

I found these 25 questions for personal growth. I figured it was a good way to spend some time reflecting upon myself. I think I intended to answer them with a comedian’s mind-set. However, I don’t think I’ve been all that successful.

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  1. What does your ideal day look like?

My ideal day would involve starting the day by sitting and reading in a comfy chair with a good cuppa. The rest of the day would involve a mixture of walking alongside a canal (ideally not one strewn with rubbish), stroking any passing dogs, cats or even cows before having an afternoon in a nearby pub where I could work on my writing.

(side note- I spent a week last summer in the Outer Hebrides and I became adamant I was going to stroke a cow. Alas, they gave me the eyes and got away as fast as they could. Some even turned their rears and emptied their bowels in protest. I wondered why I was ensuring cows joined the ranks of cats in the fight to give me a complex about my self-worth. I recently realised why I’d come to my conclusion that they were more like large dogs; Jurassic Park. “Just think of it as a big cow,” Encourages Grant. “I like cows.” Lex goes in to stroke the dinosaur. Damn!

I’d end the day with a good film, good company and an excellent bottle of wine. Or two.

  1. What did you want to be when you were younger?

I wanted to be an author, a chef or a dinosaur tamer (that was back when I thought the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park were really and needed taming. I’m sensing a theme here). When I was 8 though, I knew I was destined to be a teacher. I didn’t know what subject, or even which level. I just knew I would spend some time the other side of the classroom desks.

I had hoped that teaching would enable me to write during the holidays. As half of my holidays are now expired, I can quite clearly say that it’s not quite working out as I hoped.

  1. Who are you most inspired by? Explain.

29thu2web-master768Carrie Fisher.

She’s a new inspiration to me, but because of her battle with depression I have found her openness and honesty refreshing and needed in the current social climate. If everyone had the attitude that she had about accepting that people need help for his or her chemical imbalance, those affected wouldn’t feel so ashamed and, as a result, have one less battle to face.

Carrie faced her demons, she did it with charm, with clout and with a little bit of bite. She didn’t make any apologises for her mental health or behaviour as a result.

Considering she was acting royalty, she’s carved out her own mark in the industry. Carrie raised her daughter as a single parent and she whipped the arses of trolls when Force Awakens came out. She was beautiful, inside and out. I only wish I’d gotten the chance to have said that to her face.

  1. Who would you love to meet? What would you ask?

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I would love to meet Richard Schiff, again. Properly. I’d love to sit in a quiet coffee shop and set the world to rights with him. I’d ask, if he was open to it, about his faith and its impact upon the roles he’s picked and his participation within politics.

 

  1. What habit would you most like to break? What habit would you most like to start?

Break- my love and addiction for cheese and bread. They both keeps me from losing weight and don’t make me very happy. Start- I’d love to enjoy going to the gym, or running. I was at the gym about a month ago and I realised, I want a partner who’ll be my gym buddy.  

  1. Think about a person you truly admire. What qualities do you like about that person?

They are funny, honest and well balanced in their happiness. They can be sad, and they are not ashamed to cry. As someone who finds it difficult to hide my emotions, it’s good to see someone embrace them.

  1. How do you like to relax?

I read or watch a tv show. Fresh pyjamas, fresh bedding and a good cuppa after a shower. It’s why autumn is my favourite season; it’s the perfect time for nesting.

  1. When was the last time you did something you were afraid of?

When I came home to Liverpool last week. I left my socks off, revealing my tattoos to my father. I was petrified of his response thinking he would get in a mood, shout, then give me the silent treatment.

  1. What are you most proud of?

Getting around 30 year 10 students through their RE GCSE in one year, after school and with no support. While a lot of it was the student’s motivation and ability to work independently I was also able to prove something to myself and many others; I’m amazing at my job and I know what I’m doing… Right before the government decided to change the blasted rules and playing field.

  1. What are you most afraid of?

Finding out I’m evil. Sometimes, when people turn on me I wonder if I blackout and do or say things to them that cause it. It’s probably just that I’m a nice person with a shelf life and they’ve bled me for all they can.
I’m afraid of being alone for the rest of my life. Not in the romantic sense; I think people mistake that with me. I mean in the physical sense. I hate spending time with myself, so I assume others think the same.

  1. If life stopped today, what would you regret not doing?

Flirting more and telling men when I fancy them. I learnt from getting my courage up with one person that if they mean anything to you, things won’t be awkward. It’s a good way of weeding out the genuine people, I guess. Plus, what if I go ‘Hey, you’re cute, I like you… let’s get a coffee?” and they say yes? It uncomplicates things.

  1. Who would you like to connect (or reconnect) with? Why?

I don’t think there is anyone. I’ve either made connections, they have, or I’m feeling much better without them in my life. I think because I give people so many chances before I break the communication, I don’t think there is anything to be gained.

  1. What qualities do you admire in others?

Honesty, transparency, creativity and humbleness. I admire intelligence too, so long as it’s not used to put others down.

  1. What practical skills do you wish you had?

The ability to make origami and to drive. Both of which an intelligent person should be able to master. Alas not me; I can understand, just not execute.

  1. Imagine you’re in your 90s. What memories would you like to have? What stories do you want to tell?

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I’d like to be able to bore my grandchildren with all the celebrities I’ve met. Some will mean nothing to them, others they’ll have a vague recollection. But Alexander Sidding? Oh, they will love that story and know exactly who he is, mainly because they’ll have watched lots of Star Trek with me.

  1. What is your favourite book/movie/song?

Book- Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Movie- Jurassic Park. It’s by no means, not the best made film but it’s my favourite film, now and forever.

Song- The Man Who Sold the World- David Bowie

That’s not to say there are more! This was probably the hardest question of the lot.

  1. If you could make one change in the world, what would it be?

I can’t answer this question. It’s too hard and from watching/ reading 22.11.63 it makes me wonder what the impact would be.

  1. What do you love to do for, or give to others (not an object- something from you personally)?

I love cooking, good homely and filling food. A little selfish, but it’s something I don’t enjoy doing just for myself (something I need to work on).

  1. What excites you?

New films, books and being creative. People often talk about me ‘lighting up’ when I’m talking about films they need to see.

  1. What do you wish you had more of?

Gut instinct. Or at least the ability to reflect on it and follow it. Self-control when it comes to food.

  1. Pretend money is no object? What would you do?

I would have a Central London apartment with a library and gym. I’d have a chauffeur to take me to work (yes, I’d still work, but probably part time). I would input money into the World Book Night fund so they can return to the old way of giving out the books. I would also start up a podcast and buy a slot at the Prince Charles Cinema in order to film it live after a screening of the film or TV show I’d be talking about.

  1. What area of your life, right now, makes you feel the best? Which area makes you feel the worst? Why?

Best- reading for pleasure. Having time to decompress after a difficult school year and traumatic time in my personal life.

Worst- anxiety. It stops me from enjoying certain things, going to certain events and sometimes traps me inside my own head.

  1. Let’s jump forward a year, what would you like to have achieved in the past year?

I would like to have gone on a date. A date! That’s it, not looking for a relationship here. Nothing too… filled with expectations. Ideally without using a dating app. I don’t want to stay in this state of picking the same sort of men.
I want a successful year in my job, where my anxiety and depression are managed and don’t make me struggle.

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  1. What piece of advice would you give to five-year-old you? Sixteen-year-old you? Right now?

5- You are not a monster. Something is going to happen in a few years, it’s going to change the rest of your life because you will always blame yourself. Just remember, you are not the monster. Try not to take things so literally.

Keep talking to people. You’re a bubbly person and people like you; don’t hide away because of this.

16- Please get help; open up to someone, anyone. These feelings are normal, but they don’t have to be there. Learn to be okay alone; it’s not a punishment. It’s freedom; start seeing it like that and it’s half the battle.

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  1. How do you want to be remembered in life?

Kind, fun and eccentrically beautiful; at least on the inside.

Mental Health- The Rabbit Hole and the App that saved me #mentalhealthmatterso

 

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I suffer from depression. I’m medicated for it and I’m happy to say that. Now! I never used to be. When I first started dating my ex, I had been on my medication for about 6 months. I’d been following my 3 positives a day for about 2 of those months and I felt fabulous.
The weekend I met him, I was meant to have 4 dates. It was the first time in my life I’d had dates with multiple people without about 6 months between them. However, in hindsight, I misread the signs (I didn’t, but owing to him being a massive sociopath, he convinced me I did) and thought we were heading for a relationship. (And we were officially boyfriend and girlfriend for about 12 hours until he told me he couldn’t bring himself to stop sleeping with the other women in his life; ones up until this point I had no knowledge of)

I digress. One of the things I stupidly did was I discontinued my medication. He was staying over most nights (hence it being a total shock when he informed me of two other lovers) and I couldn’t bring myself to tell him I was on anti-depressants. My anxiety kicked in and told me if he knew, he’d run a mile. It was okay at the start; we were in the honeymoon stage and I was blissfully happy.

By Christmas though, I was having massive side effects to not taking my medication. (Side rant- why don’t GPs set up alerts for when patients don’t return for anti-depressants. I’m not saying I need them to be concerned, or remember themselves, these are volatile drugs that can lead to serious consequences if not taken properly.)  Upon having a fake Christmas weekend as we couldn’t spend the holidays together (We were in an Open Relationship at this point. One that was never actually followed properly) I was told ‘You’re making me feel weird about sleeping with other people, so I can’t see you as much anymore.’ I had a meltdown. I returned to the doctors and I got some medication.

The anti-depressants didn’t quite work as well as they should have. On top of this the GP encouraged me to go back onto the contraceptive pill. FUCKER! Despite asking about its impact upon my mental health, I was told it would be fine. Word of warning to anyone out there; avoid microgynon at all costs, never mind if you’re being treated for depression. It is notorious for increasing depression in women. I felt like I was going insane.

Yes, I was still seeing my ex. No one knew except my house mate. Why didn’t I tell anyone? Because I knew he was bad for me. He was like a drug though. When I was with him, things were okay. So long as he didn’t bring up the others. At this point, he’d also started gaslighting me; “That’s not what I said.”, “I was drunk, I didn’t mean it. You can’t hold it against me.”, “We didn’t set that in stone. I can’t cancel on B.” so that didn’t help with my mental health.

I guess at a certain point, I wanted out but I didn’t know how. Cutting someone like that off is always the best move. However, every time I’d distance myself he’d become more affectionate and loving. I felt like a failure, unlovable (literally, he told me he no longer loved me after being the first one to say it) and trapped. It led to hospitalisation. That prompted a month-long silence from him. “I’ve dealt with girls like you before. You all do it to me.” He told me.

He got back in touch, told me he missed me that I was beautiful. I fell for it.

Within a month, there was a new girl on the scene. Someone from his past. I was told not to worry, she was just a friend. A fight ensued when he sent me away for the first time ever after telling me about her when we were at the cinema. He couldn’t be bothered with me told me sometimes and he wouldn’t want to see me. I just had to accept that. Being one of my strong moments I questioned the arrangement “So we only meet if YOU want me?” Apparently, that wasn’t fair and it wasn’t my fault that I always wanted him. I felt so cheap. Dirty. I knew it was because he’d seen her that day, and arrived to me late. It was actually my mum’s birthday (death, issues… another post) and he actually got angry with me for being upset about this. I hadn’t told him for this very reason.

A week later, he’d slept with her, loved her and was probably going to be his girlfriend so he couldn’t talk to me anymore. The crushing blow, I don’t know what made me ask but his response to ‘am I not beautiful anymore?’ was “you have always been ordinary looking.”

Now, any normal, well-adjusted person would have ditched him back in October when all her friends were screaming there was something off about the situation. They certainly would have walked away when the efforts of creating an awesome Christmas knowing he’d be alone on Christmas Day was essentially ‘fuck off while I bang other women without feeling guilt’.

Back down the rabbit hole I went. I thought I was certifiable. Doctors claim not. Just a bit of sleep is needed; medication change and sleeping pills rammed down my throat. This wasn’t what helped me move on. Hell, even now if I’m drunk I miss him. Not him really. The idea of the romantic man from the start who said ALL the things I’d never heard or believed would be said to me.

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What helped me was an online community. An app called LYF.

I’ve been reluctant to share this, because I like the anonymity of the site. I had hidden my identity completely, as the app gives this option. However, the stronger I’ve gotten the less I’ve wanted to hide. This is MY journey, MY pain and I must embrace it. I went through most of it alone. So me publishing it here opens me up to you all finding me and reading my story. I must be okay with that. (The biggest fear is not being believed)

Now, what is amazing about this app is what the anonymity brings with it. You can be truthful and candid. There are things posted there that I would never tell my friends and I’d certainly not post here.
It also helped me reach out in times of weakness. For example, I was petrified that last weekend, at my brother’s wedding he would get in touch. Mainly because it was the ONE TIME I didn’t want him to. The last time I felt okay about not hearing from him a box of my things arrived at my door with a formal typed out note. Set me back, I can tell you.

I also told the community who were following my journey when I’d have a slip and try and reach out. (Hello! I’m fucked up. Drunk me makes stupid, crafty choice… such as signing up to a postcard app and sending him a qwerty tee. I was very pissed with myself the morning after I did that because I WANTED THAT tee!) They remind me that’s part of the process and to be kinder to myself. I try.

There’s a discover section if you’re not quite ready to delve into your own journey. You’ll very quickly see that you’re not alone. Sometimes that’s all people need. When you’re ready, it’s painless to follow and I’ve yet to have any trolls. (When I posted an eye infection, someone did unhelpfully tell me they thought it was a tumour but I put that down to individual eccentricities rather than a deliberate attempt to upset or cause me stress)

It does seem to be a new app, and therefore there are some teething problems. For example, I’ve not been able to access the app for the last few days while at home with my father. It does need wi-fi to access the content. I’m not sure if this is to do with data protection.
Also, I’m often finding that because of its layout people give me advice based upon the one post. They don’t go back to read the whole story; mainly because it is hard to reach those early posts. There’s not page jumps but a reach the bottom of the page and more uploads.
For me, now being of sound mind and strong resilience (I only get a pang when I see something Rick and Morty related) when someone responds with ‘reach out to him, tell him this.’ My voice is able to go ‘fuck that. It’s a bad idea AND you don’t WANT that.’

Thanks to this app, I’ve now blocked him from everything I can. It doesn’t matter that he blocked me first, he’d have gotten back in touch eventually once the novelty of this new girl had worn off. I have deleted that pesky postcard app (drunk Hannah is a menace) and I’m making a conscious effort to drink less. Aside from last weekend, at my brother’s wedding. Only, that was the first time I didn’t attempt to contact him.
I also left at a decent hour, knowing I had enough to drink, and watched a film at his house with one of his friends. I had a bad hangover the next day but it still didn’t stop me being happy that I’m now free to have what my brother has; love, family, respect, partnership and trust. All things I threw out the window, along with a part of myself I’m building back up; my self esteem.

Until then, I will still be seeking the support of the community of LYF and I hope, should you need it, they’ll be there for you.

Be strong, be happy. You are loved!

H