Small pleasures.

Charity shops, jam doughnuts, Autumn weather, playing Red Dead Redemption 2, cherry and strawberry smoothies, a freshly changed bed, posca pens, making pom poms with the new rainbow wool I bought, Krispy Kreme, reading comics, making badges, pick 'n' mix, stationery, fresh coffee, Halloween, Listening to audiobooks, Black Mirror.

90s memories.

If you follow me on Instagram you will know I am on a real 90s nostalgia kick at the moment! Here are some of my 90s memories...

Being poised on a Sunday evening on the record button during the chart countdown on Radio 1 ready to copy your favourite songs on your blank tape (and always cutting off the beginning or getting the DJ talking over the end of the track).

Ice pops in the Summer! They didn't taste that great but they were cold. If you were being fancy you might have had those bottle shape ones where you had to bite off the top!

While were are on the subject of Summer, having epic water fights were the best, especially if you had a super soaker.

Keeping a close eye on my sister whenever she drank Sunny Delight in case she started to turn orange.

Saturday morning: The Racoons, The New Adventures of Superman, Rugrats and Live and Kicking.

Officially the best childhood fad was POGS! Especially if you had a fancy metal slammer. The playground was like a casino- lots of huddles of kids having tournaments surrounded by spectators. Best case scenario you won a shiny pog, worst case you won a TAZO.

Happy Meal toys. Some of the best included beanie babies, Sonic the Hedgehog, Barbie, the McDonalds food toys that were like transformers and Space Jam. 

Putting a tag protector on your Beanie Babies because reasons.

Reenacting Spice Girls performances. I was Sporty, high kicking in my Adidas popper tracksuit bottoms, my sister was always Baby in bunchies wrinkling her nose.

Collecting the Spice Girls photos to put in the album. Spice Girls merch was everywhere. My sister, Mum and I would sing along to the tape in the car. I remember buying the magazine with my pocket money- and Smash Hits when the free gift was the inflatable Spice Girl dolls.

Making up a gift basket from The Body Shop when it was your friends Birthday. Choosing a basket, bath pearls, animal shaped soaps and a little bottle of body lotion. They would wrap it up with shredded paper and cling film!

Changing my ink cartridge in my fountain pen at school, and getting excited when I bought a box of coloured ink cartridges. We would always try and get the little ball out of them for some reason!

Feeling like royalty sat on your blow up chair, playing your Game Boy with your Walkman headphones playing your favourite mixtape. 

If you were a 90s kid and love a bit of nostalgia you will probably love the 90s Nostalgia boxes I make for my Etsy shop!

Preparation tips for therapy or counselling.

If you are struggling with your mental health it's likely you have considered or have been referred to therapy or counselling. Here are some tips I have put together to prepare for your first session.

1. Plan beforehand if for instance you have to travel there so that you have enough time, or if it is at home/online make sure you have somewhere private and quiet for the session.

2. If it helps have someone with you for support, they could travel with you or be near so that once the session is over you have someone with you.

3. Write anything down you want to ask or talk about. When you are nervous it's easy to forget things!

4. Have tissues and water nearby in case needed.

5. If possible leave the rest of your day free. Counselling and therapy can be emotionally exhausting and draining and you might need some time after to recover and recharge.

6. Be honest with your therapist. Tell them what you want to get out of these sessions. Don't be afraid to ask any questions you have.

I hope those tips have helped. If you have anymore let me know.

Right Now: July 2019

Watching: I've been watching a lot of true crime stuff on netflix- recently finished The Keepers and The Staircase. Also new Black Mirror and iZombie.

Reading: Currently reading Sweetpea by CJ Skuse and listening to the audiobook of Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Listening: I love Ashley O and also Mother's Daughter from Miley Cyrus! Aside from that I have been listening to Cruel Youth, Dream Wife and a lot of 60s stuff, especially Nancy Sinatra, The Kinks, The Mamas and Papas and The Zombies.

Eating: Cherries, cold brew coffee, chocolate covered Oreos.

Wearing: Sunglasses, my maroon velvet leggings, big earrings.

Doing: Playing Xbox with my niece and Dad, making & planning lots of stuff for my etsy shop, being in the garden.

Feeling: Kind of ok! Feeling good about my Etsy shop and looking forward to a family holiday at the end of the month.

Achievements: I reached 100 sales in my Etsy shop and I am so happy! 

Goals: To keep doing what I am doing. Be more active and move more.

book haul.

This book haul is so old I've read quite a few of them now but I didn't want to just delete the pictures so here is a wordless book haul post!

Check out my Goodreads for ratings and reviews

Money and bipolar disorder.

Having a mental illness, particularly bipolar disorder can be bad for your bank account. Feeling anxious? buy something. Feeling low? treat yourself. Feeling reckless? shopping spree. 

There's a direct link to shopping addiction and depression and anxiety. Over the years I have used spending as a way to cheer myself up and find I get a buzz from finding a bargain, or buying something I have been lusting after. Once that initial feeling has gone I am left feeling guilty, deflated and broke. Here are some tips I've picked up along the way that have helped...

1. Don't go to the shops unless you need something. If you do need something write a list and stick to it.
2. Be mindful of your social media. Unfollow brand accounts and leave facebook sale groups so you won't be tempted. Unsubscribe from sales emails.
3. Don't be tempted to 'just browse'. Whether this is online shopping or at actual shops: don't do it! Find a distraction, maybe go for a walk at the park instead or do some reading.
4. If you feel like you need to buy something have a tidy up first. Reorganise your belongings- sort your wardrobe, tidy your bookshelf etc... This might put you off and make you realise you don't need to add to it.
5. If you do need to satisfy a spending craving try looking round some charity shops or go to a car boot sale, that way you won't be spending too much money and you can still get a buzz if you find a bargain.
6. Ask yourself: do you need it? Where will it go in your home? When will you use it? Picture it. Give it an hour and then come back again and decide.
7. Something I've found that helps is to make a folder on my laptop which I fill with things I want to buy. Strange as it sounds having a picture of the item is sometimes enough and eventually I find I don't want it anymore and delete the photo. I also find the save feature on Instagram is good for this too.
8. Budget all your outgoings- if you can see your spending written down clearly it can make you more mindful of what you buy. One of the problems I had was that I wouldn't look at my bank account as I didn't want to know. It made it easier to keep on spending and sometimes the only thing that would stop me was when the card declined.
9. Cut up all credit cards. This is an obvious one but they are bad news if you are feeling spendy. Some people find drawing a certain amount of cash on and only carry that helps too.
10. Once you have paid bills and bought essentials transfer the rest of your money to a seperate account/savings account/ premium bonds etc... Anything that is no risk and where your money is safe but is harder for you to get to.
11. Find less reckless ways to satisfy the urge to spend. Try some self care techniques, take up some hobbies.
12. If all else fails ask a trusted family member/ partner etc... to help you take charge of your money. They can help you make sure you stay on top of your bills, have money for food and be tough when you are tempted to have a spree of make an unnecessary purchase.

Useful articles:
Shopping addiction guide
Shopping and the brain
Money and Mental Health
Impulse Spending and Bipolar Disorder

June Pride TBR.

June is pride month and I am reading only books featuring characters or written by those in the LGBTQIA+ community. I have pulled together this tbr from books on my shelf...

We Are Okay by Nina Lacour
"Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart."

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
"The 50 contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras.
But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner. 
What’s a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program - or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan - or learn to run wild? And what should happen when the sexy pirates show up?

Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness."

Pulp by Robin Talley (not pictured)
"In 1955, eighteen-year-old Janet Jones keeps the love she shares with her best friend Marie a secret. It’s not easy being gay in Washington, DC, in the age of McCarthyism, but when she discovers a series of books about women falling in love with other women, it awakens something in Janet. As she juggles a romance she must keep hidden and a newfound ambition to write and publish her own story, she risks exposing herself—and Marie—to a danger all too real.

Sixty-two years later, Abby Zimet can’t stop thinking about her senior project and its subject—classic 1950s lesbian pulp fiction. Between the pages of her favorite book, the stresses of Abby’s own life are lost to the fictional hopes, desires and tragedies of the characters she’s reading about. She feels especially connected to one author, a woman who wrote under the pseudonym “Marian Love,” and becomes determined to track her down and discover her true identity."

The Big Lie by Julie Mayhew
A startling coming-of-age novel set in a contemporary Nazi England.
Jessika Keller is a good girl: she obeys her father, does her best to impress Herr Fisher at the Bund Deutscher M├Ądel meetings and is set to be a world champion ice skater. Her neighbour Clementine is not so submissive. Outspoken and radical, Clem is delectably dangerous and rebellious. And the regime has noticed. Jess cannot keep both her perfect life and her dearest friend. But which can she live without?

THE BIG LIE is a thought-provoking and beautifully told story that explores ideas of loyalty, sexuality, protest and belief."

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
"Two boys. Two secrets.
David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl. 
On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in year eleven is definitely not part of that plan. 
When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long…"

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
"When Cameron Post's parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they'll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl.

But that relief doesn't last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both.

Then Coley Taylor moves to town. Beautiful, pickup-driving Coley is a perfect cowgirl with the perfect boyfriend to match. She and Cam forge an unexpected and intense friendship--one that seems to leave room for something more to emerge. But just as that starts to seem like a real possibility, ultra religious Aunt Ruth takes drastic action to "fix" her niece, bringing Cam face-to-face with the cost of denying her true self--even if she's not exactly sure who that is."

Her Body & Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
"A wife refuses her husband's entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store's prom dresses. One woman's surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella Especially Heinous, Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naively assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgangers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes.

Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction."

More Than This by Patrick Ness
"A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies. Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive. How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place?

As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?"

Between You and Me by Marisa Calin
"Phyre knows there is something life-changing about her new drama teacher, Mia, from the moment they meet. As Phyre rehearses for the school play, she comes to realize that the unrequited feelings she has for Mia go deeper than she’s ever experienced. Especially with a teacher. Or a woman. All the while, Phyre’s best friend—addressed throughout the story in the second person, as "you"—stands by, ready to help Phyre make sense of her feelings. But just as Mia doesn’t understand what Phyre feels, Phyre can’t fathom the depth of her best friend’s feelings . . . until it’s almost too late for a happy ending. Characters come to life through the innovative screenplay format of this dazzling debut, and unanswered questions—is "you" male or female?—will have readers talking."

The Gender Games by Juno Dawson
"'It's a boy!' or 'It's a girl!' are the first words almost all of us hear when we enter the world. Before our names, before we have likes and dislikes - before we, or anyone else, has any idea who we are. And two years ago, as Juno Dawson went to tell her mother she was (and actually, always had been) a woman, she started to realise just how wrong we've been getting it.

Gender isn't just screwing over trans people, it's messing with everyone. From little girls who think they can't be doctors to teenagers who come to expect street harassment. From exclusionist feminists to 'alt-right' young men. From men who can't cry to the women who think they shouldn't. As her body gets in line with her mind, Juno tells not only her own story, but the story of everyone who is shaped by society's expectations of gender - and what we can do about it.

Featuring insights from well-known gender, feminist and trans activists including Rebecca Root, Laura Bates, Gemma Cairney, Anthony Anaxagorou, Hannah Witton, Alaska Thunderfuck and many more, The Gender Games is a frank, witty and powerful manifesto for a world where what's in your head is more important than what's between your legs."

Over You by Amy Reed, Any Other Mouth by Anneliese Mackintosh, If I was Your Girl by Meredith Russo, The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, Batwoman and Young Avengers!