Why I Haven’t Blogged For A While (Anxiety Update)

I know there are very few people (if anyone) who will read this post since I’m not a regular blogger as it is, and I’m not exactly Zoella. Even so, I felt like I needed to explain myself to anyone who will read this.

Blogging is a hobby and it started purely as a hobby and a way to openly praise books I loved and felt deserved more praise. I love doing it, I love talking to other bloggers and I love feeling like I’ve made an author happy by writing something nice about their book. At the same time though, I feel anxious every time I post a blog. It’s like I’m releasing a small bird into the wild, only to see it to be caught by an eagle as it tries to fly home. On some level, I want my blogs to be popular, but I don’t want attention because then my anxiety gets worse.

Sometimes I blog regularly and I’m happy with it and I’m proud of how I’m doing. Last year I was nominated for an award and I was so happy, but then other times I just feel like it’s not worth it. The words don’t come out right, nothing sounds good enough and I feel like it’s a waste of time and that no one will care anyway.

I’m going to blog again and I’m going to get myself out of my own slump because if I don’t, I have very little chance of getting out of it. I just wanted to explain that I’m not lazy, I didn’t forget to blog and I do still love reading. I just didn’t have the energy or motivation to do it because my anxieties were fighting me.

But I want to blog and I want to beat my anxieties because they have no right to tell me what I can and can’t do. So here I am, blogging. And I’ll be blogging for a while. If you have the same problems I do (please tell me so we can bond over our problems – I have no friends), then you should do the same. Fight it. Own your anxieties. Without you fighting back, you have no chance. Do the things you want to do. Tell your head it’s wrong; people do want to talk to you. People do want to read your blog. You matter and you’re important.



Review: Shift (Em Bailey)

file_004-4Title: Shift

Author: Em Bailey

Publisher: Electric Monkey

Release: 2012

Genre: Thriller, contemporary

Which animal is similar to this book? To me, this book strongly resembles a saltwater crocodile. Many animal-lovers will tell you crocodiles are very unpredictable and there’s genuinely no telling what they’re going to do. In the same way, this book had so many twists and turns it’s unreal…Saltwater crocodiles are also notoriously aggressive and dangerous (obviously there are exceptions in domestic cases etc etc) but this book made me feel on edge and concerned for the characters in the same way the threat of a giant potentially murderous reptile would make you feel.

The blurb says: There were two things everyone knew about Miranda Vaile before she’d even started at our school. The first was that she had no parents – they were dead. The second was that they were dead because Miranda had killed them. Olive used to be the school queen-bee. But that was before her breakdown. Now she’s the class loner, and can only watch as new girl Miranda latches onto Olive’s ex-best friend Katie. Soon Miranda is talking like Katie, dressing like Katie – even going out with Katie’s boyfriend. And then Katie dies. Everyone seems to believe it was a tragic accident, but Olive isn’t so sure. What if the wild rumours are true? What if Miranda really is a killer…?

Firstly, I think I’m still in shock a little bit over the twists in this story… I can normally predict twists or see roughly what’s going to happen but with this book, I was genuinely shocked. I think I actually gasped. Out loud! And I couldn’t put it down (I read this in around two days.?) because the whole story is just tense and there’s not one part of it anyone could describe as dull. It’s so gripping and I just wanted to know what would happen next.

I love that, through Olive, the reader can experience the world through that ‘queen-bee’ persona as well as the ‘loner’. It really added to the story since she explained why Katie was behaving the way she was. I also really liked that, due to her breakdown, Olive was seeing things differently and could experience school life through a new attitude, and seemed to care less about more materialistic things. The way mental health was represented was great and I really appreciated that the story didn’t encourage any of the stigmas/bad representation mental illness receives.

I honestly really loved everything about it. I loved the pace since it moved quickly and it kept me interested; I loved the characters because I could either relate to them or I found them interesting and I loved the actual plot because it was so clever and worked 20160804_163103really well. I love that all the loose ends were tied up well in explanations throughout the story.

I would recommend this to anyone looking for a dark thriller that’s impossible to put down. This gets 10 out 10 paw prints from me!

Geeky Clean February Crate (Wonderland)

file_001-5I’ve never had a Geeky Clean crate before and the only things I’d bought from there were two Grisha lipbalms for my Mum at Christmas (which she loves and still uses) so I was pretty much completely new to the company. I’d seen a few people praise them and describe them as though they’re the best thing in the fandom/bath products world so I decided to give them a go. The January box was based on gaming and I didn’t want to buy the crate and not understand any of the references, so I decided to wait and see what the next one was and then they announced Wonderland. I also saw a post where it was said that the theme was chosen because the creator of the boxes had read Heartless (Marissa Meyer) and that is one of my favourite books in the whole wide world so I knew this was the box basically intended for me, so I ordered it. It arrived on 1.3.17 and I can honestly say there were no mistakes made in that decision…

file_003-4The first item is the White Rabbit Shower Tablet which is a kind of palm-sized bath bomb for the shower. You throw it into the shower, but at the opposite end to the plug and it fizzes away, releasing its lovely smell/vapors into the bathroom. This particular one is white with small flecks of blue and pink, and smells of basil and peppermint. Personally, I like it because it’s very strong and smells very grown-up and mature, if that makes any sense.

The next product is the Mad Tea Party Bath Tea Bag which is a teabag for your bath, as the name suggests. You hold it under the tap and let the water push out all the sfile_005-4mell, then drop it in to fully infuse with the bath water (or that’s what I do anyway, you may just be supposed to drop it into the bath and leave it). This one smells of sweet rose, tea and woody notes and I love it because it smells very fresh and outdoorsy. I love bath tea bags like this since they usually don’t add bubbles to a bath but make everything smell really nice. Sometimes there’s colour too (although I don’t think there is with this one since it looks very natural).

Next is the Jest Soap Sample which just excited me because Jest is my favourite character in Heartless and I really hoped there’d be something associated with him. And there’s this soap, so I’d be happy file_004-5no matter what it smelt like, however it does smell of mint, basil, white tea, musk and woody amber (which is a lovely combination by the way). To me, this smells pretty masculine, strong and mysterious (all qualities Jest possesses, surprisingly), so I really liked the link to Heartless here and thought it fit well. file_002-6

Next we have the Hearts vs Chess Soap Pop which is a big old pink heart on a stick which immediately excited me because it’s novelty soap and I am easily pleased…You’re supposed to remove the stick before using but I intend to leave the stick in for as long as possible, and if that means not using it for a while then so be it! This soap smells of violet, grapefruit and kumquat which is such a pretty, girly fragrance that I kind of want to never use up the soap but also kind of want to use it everyday.


The final, and easily my favourite item in the whole box, is the Queen of Hearts Soy Wax Candle which is actually incredibly stunning. To be honest, when I saw the tin, I thought it’d be a plain red candle, or maybe have a heart pattern across it. Nope; it’s a white candle with a red heart essentially stuck onto the top, letting the red bleed beautifully into the white of the main candle. It’s gorgeous, and I didn’t think I’d be able to use it because of that, but then I sniffed it and realised I have to use it. It smells of watermelon, jasmine and violet which is completely lovely and end up smelling very sweet and (to me) like the haribo heart sweets from the starmix packets.

The next box’s theme is ‘Be My Guest’, probably because of the new Beauty and The Beast film which is out this month, and I would love to order one but alas my bank balance disagrees with my need for this box. I will be buying another crate in the future, just not yet. I’ll definitely use up all these products but I’ll be sad to see them go. 10/10 would buy again!


Review: Unconventional (Maggie Harcourt)

26484720_unknownTitle: Unconventional

Author: Maggie Harcourt

Publisher: Usborne

Release: 1st February 2017

Genre: Contemporary/Romance

Which animal is similar to this book? To me, this book is a cheetah, partly because of the pace at which the story moved (in case you didn’t figure that out, it moves at a fast pace). I love books which move quickly through the story (I can get bored quite quickly otherwise…) and because of the way the chapters were arranged, there was nothing unnecessary in the story, the plot was pushed forwards at a speed which kept me well and truly engaged. Also though, cheetahs are fantastic mothers (usually) and will protect their young to the death, will teach them to hunt, will teach them to run, help them climb trees when they’re too young to use their own strength to do so. All in all, they won’t leave young behind and there has been some evidence that they mourn their family too when they die. They’re emotive, caring animals who will nurture young until they’re fully ready for the world; in the same way, Unconventional is fast and it keeps you interested, but you won’t get confused or left behind, and the story is a lot more nurturing and gentle than your typical fast-paced books (fantasy, action etc). There isn’t a whole lot of action (apart from a dog-search early on!) and the story is softer and kinder and there’s a lot of emotion and you will feel things. Unconventional = gorgeous cheetah mother.

The blurb says:  Lexi Angelo has grown up helping her dad with his events business. She likes to stay behind the scenes, planning and organizing…until author Aidan Green – messy haired and annoyingly arrogant – arrives unannounced at the first event of the year. Then Lexi’s life is thrown into disarray. In a flurry of late-night conversations, mixed messages and butterflies, Lexi discovers that some things can’t be planned. Things like falling in love…

The story follows Lexi and her Dad as they host a few conventions each season – six conventions overall, I believe – (each chapter is a different convention/month spent at home planning conventions) so it really does focus on the convention aspect of the story. That’s not to say you won’t like it if you’ve never been to one (I’ve only ever been to YALC but none of it was confusing or hard to understand) and I really like how each chapter is so different to the last just because it’s set in a completely different part of Lexi’s life.

Firstly, the characters are so defined and well-built that I feel like I genuinely know Aidan and Sam especially. Nadiya is up there too of course, but Lexi is so easy to relate to that it slightly scared me… But the way that all the characters have their own distinctive voices really works, probably because there are quite a few characters, so they needed to each be strongly separate. It’s likely that if you read this book (which you definitely should!), then you will become connected at least one of the characters; for me, it has to be Sam because she’s so honest, outgoing and everything I wish I was.

I also love that this book not only follows Lexi and Aidan through their romantic ups and downs, but it also touches on friendships within the convention staff and Lexi’s family. I love her mum because she’s just such a lovely character, always saying the logical thing and helping Lexi through everything, but I also love her dad and the way he’s so good at planning things and is yet so scatter-brained.

I think one of the best parts of this story is that it focuses on a teen girl working (and doing it well!), not having to be helped/saved by a handsome male hero. I thought that in that way, it was empowering but without being obviously feminist or having that as the main plot which can sometimes put people off books.

I couldn’t even compare the plot to any other book I’ve read, but I will say that Lexi reminded me of Harriet Manners (Holly Smale’s Geek Girl series) with her organisational skills, lists, love for clipboards and sense of authority, but minus the clumsiness and inability to properly speak to people…I would recommend it to anyone who feels even vaguely interested in the story I’ve attempted to describe, because I guarantee you will love it! 10 out of 10 paw prints from me and my furry friends!

How To Make Enrichment for Rodents

file_006-1So it’s February and obviously I’m only just clearing out leftover boxes etc from Christmas and I received a lovely little gift set from Zoella’s Beauty Range which contained four little cardboard crackers which each held a small bottle of something gingerbread-y. I had planned to create little parcels for my pets so that they could enjoy their fun as well, so of course, two months later (woops)file_000-24, that’s what I did.

Important note: if you don’t already know, enrichment is a way of making an animal in captivity’s life more interesting and it can be via food choices/presentation, toys or a change in environment. If you want to give an animal the best welfare and happiness, enrichment is key in achieving this.

Firstly, I stuffed around half of the crackers full of hay (I packed it in tightly) which was quite easy, except I would advise on cramming it in with a pen or pencil so that you know it’s tightly packed and there’s enough in there.

Next, I dropped arofile_002-5und a handful of food into each cracker, along with two small rodent biscuits from Pets At Home. I have guinea pigs and gerbils so I made two crackers for each of them, meaning I put gerbil food in two and guinea pig food in the other two.

Finally, I stuffed the remaining part of the cracker with hay and closed it again. They went down really well with all the animals, however I would definitely recommend that if you plan to give these to guinea pigs, you either cut along the entire cracker so that there’s some give in the shape of file_000-25it, or fully supervise them whilst they’re playing with them. The guinea pig I tested them with is quite podgy (and so couldn’t get her head in very far) but the smaller one got her head trapped in the cracker (they have cardboard on the inside which acts as barbs and traps their heads) and if you don’t keep an eye on them, they could be trapped for hours and it could impact on their hydration levels, food intake and could stress them to the point of fatality. So just be careful! The gerbfile_004-3ils had no problems with them and just chewed them up, ate the food out of them and made them into bedding, so they were happy.file_005-3

Thanks to Zoella for making Christmas gift sets which are so perfect for rodent enrichment! How thoughtful of her to think of small critters at Christmas…


Review: Letters to the Lost (Brigid Kemmerer)

file_002-2Title: Letters to the Lost

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Release: 6th April 2017

Genre: Contemporary

Which animal is similar to this book? Has an animal ever made you cry? Or made you come close to crying? Or made you feel so much emotion you just didn’t know what to do with it all? Well have you ever been to a rescue centre and read the descriptions about each dog? Rescue dogs can have horrible backstories; one was abused, one was neglected, one grew up in a puppy farm and forced to breed puppies for years, one was a stray…the list goes on, each story as tragic and sad as the last. Then, a family comes along; each dog finds the perfect home. The dogs’ stories are emotional and unless you’re pretty heartless, you’re likely to cry or at least smile a lot…This book is so emotional (heartbreaking and heartwarming) that I would genuinely compare it to a rescue dog. If it makes you both laugh and cry, then it’s got to be a dog, but this is just a bit more sad than your standard dog’s story, so it’s a rescue dog.

The blurb says: 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.

As I said, this book was emotional af. I wanted to cry (I did a little, shhh…), I laughed, I felt sorry for the characters and towards the end, I was a little heartbroken. It was just so heartbreaking and powerful; I wish I could re-read it over and over with the same shock and emotions. Juliet and Declan couldn’t be more different on the exterior, so it makes it hard for them to have that connection in person, but online everything can be anonymous. I loved how their personalities were so completely different, yet had small things in common online where they could be themselves.

To me, this book is a powerful statement of how different people are anonymously where they can be themselves. It’s also powerful in that it shows how much people feel they have to hide despite there being logical reasons behind their reactions and behaviours. I love that the chapters alternate between the two characters; I feel like I know them both well now and honestly I definitely want to be friends with both of them.

Revelations, drama, secrets, mystery, friendship, difficulties, cars and photography; what more could you possibly want from a book? I sped through this in two sittings and I was actually sad when it was over, although the ending was good and summed everything up (something I definitely prefer in a book); I just simply wanted more stories of Juliet and Declan’s lives.

It is sad, but cleverly and only necessarily. I love that there’s so much backstory to both the main characters (and even some of the minor) because it means there’s th20160804_163103at added mystery in the story. I honestly don’t think I can say enough good things about this because I really don’t read books like this often, yet it was so amazing and so beautifully written that I feel I should be singing its praise to anyone who’ll listen. I think I felt every emotion possible whilst reading this and I feel like I would connect to both Juliet and Declan if I knew them in real life.

Brigid Kemmerer writes beautifully, making anyone fall head over heels for her characters. You’ll want to read it over and over again and it will make you feel. Definitely 10 out of 10 paw prints from me, and I can’t wait to read more from the author!


To celebrate the release of A Quiet Kind Of Thunder (Sara Barnard), some bloggers are doing silences and other things to experience the impact selective mutism actually has on a person’s life. On Thursdays, I have work experience at a dog kennels and then agility with my dog in the evening, so it’s not very easy for me to do a silence (yes, I realise I could do it another day, or just note how hard it is to stay silent all day, but since everyone knows me there, it would be a little awkward and I’d rather write this). The story follows Steffi, who has selective mutism, and Rhys, who is deaf. It follows their relationship triumphs and struggles and their life at school, home and in the big, scary world. It’s out today (12th January) and I would recommend it to anyone, you can read my review here: Review.

For me, (not having selective mutism myself), having anxiety has really given me a very brief experience of the kind of emotions the main character, Steffi, feels throughout the book. I have social anxiety and I have good days and bad days. On good days, I’ll smile at you and say hi if we pass on the street. On bad days, I’ll pretend to look at my phone, avoid eye contact or even cross the road to avoid you.

I worry about what people think of me, I worry about what they say and I worry about how I come across to people I do and don’t know. When I have bad days, I don’t speak to people I don’t know at all/very well. Yet, when I don’t speak and people look at me funny, or even if they don’t acknowledge me, I worry that I’ve offended them.

As it’s mentioned in the book, I too worry that when I get off the bus without saying ‘thank you’, the driver thinks I’m rude. Or I worry that people think I’m rude when I wait outside fast food restaurants while friends buy the food, or worse still if I go in with them and they order on my behalf. But that worry can’t motivate me to talk; if anything it makes it a lot harder to talk.

Everyday, those of use lucky enough to be able to talk and hear, speak hundreds of words. We take it for granted; we can thank the bus driver, we can call a friend, we can say hi to someone walking past with a cute puppy, we can order food, we can buy books, we can ask directions or opinions or questions and we can give answers or advice or encouragement. Everyday, we choose how we use this voice. We can be kind, we can help people or we can be cruel and we can bring other people down for no reason other than pleasure.

If you had a limit on your oral wordcount, if you had days you couldn’t say anything, would you use your voice for good things? Or would you insist on proving your point, forcing people to see things your way and essentially just hurting people?

To be silent encourages thinking. Thoughts which can’t be spoken are difficult and complicated since often, those thoughts would help explain a situation “no, I’m not rude, I’m just extremely shy”, or they’d save a friendship “I’m not ignoring you, I’m just stressed and can’t talk at the moment”. Next time someone doesn’t thank you for holding a door open and instead glues their eye to the floor, or you see someone ordering food for someone else, think about how they might be feeling.

Your words matter, even if they’re not said out loud. Use them for good, because you’re lucky to be able to communicate.

Lush Products Review

I love Lush and I have done for a very long time and I’ve recently been ordering quite a lot so it’s possible it’s become a bit of an addiction… I thought I’d write reviews for a few of them sincfile_002-1e I feel like a lot of the time, people can be buying them essentially blind. Also I like Lush a lot and want to share pretty pictures of them…
So the first one is the Cinnamon Reusable Bubble Wand which smells so beautiful I can’t even describe it. It’s very strongly cinnamon and I’ll probably get two baths out of with a good amount of bubbles. The stick is a cinnamon stick and there are little pieces of sage embedded in it. It’s part of the Christmas collection and is obviously very festive and I would personally recommend it to anyone wanting a fun bath with a festive, strong scent.

The second product is the Nevermind The Ballistics bath bomb which is part bath bomb and part bath oil I think (the pink half is soft and waxy). It made my bath so soft and it smelled amazing. It has a sort of sweet/fruity scent and turned the bath a beautiful orange colour once it had fully dissolved.

The last product is the Damaged Hot Oil Hair Treatment which you melt in boilingfile_008 water then put onto your hair for a while and then you wash it off. My hair is very damaged so it seemed like a good idea and it did help my hair! My hair felt super soft after I’d washed it off and the ends of my hair especially felt a lot better. The softness didn’t last a very long time for me, but I think if your hair wasn’t as damaged as mine is, you’d be fine and it’d work wonders on your hair. It didn’t smell particularly amazing but it didn’t smell horrible either; it’s purpose really was just to fix hair.

New Years Resolutions For A More Positive Outlook On Life

This past year hasn’t been fabulous for me; assignments coming out my ears, a job that didn’t last, anxiety, OCD-related problems and stress brought on by myself. I’ve decided that this year will be better and this’ll start with me having a better attitude and coping mechanisms. I put together a short list of five New Years Resolutions to help me do this, and I thought I’d share them with you, in case you wanted some inspiration too.

  1. Blog regularly. Tweet. Talk to people. Don’t be afraid of what people may say because if the worst happens, you can delete the stupid tweet, apologise and if need be, block whoever isn’t being kind. I’ve let my blogging go, forgetting to blog and putting it off because so few people read them and to me, that feels like a failure. However I realised this is my own fault since I don’t talk to people and I don’t tweet at all really. This is because I’m scared people will ignore me or just straight-up not be nice to me…Twitter is full of strange people, weird tweets and unique photos. I’m not going to be afraid to tweet, because it might well make things easier for me, and I might even make some friends in the process! I also realised the amount of people who read my blogs doesn’t matter. I’m doing it for fun and I don’t need to feel so pressured to do well since the only person who is judging me, is me.
  2. Exercise. Exercising makes people feel good about themselves, and although I know it’s unrealistic to expect myself to go the gym or run four times a week, I would like to do some form of exercise at least once a week; whether that’s yoga on my bedroom floor, jogging around the block with my dog or hiking with my dogs. I’m not as such doing it to be fit or healthy, just to feel better.
  3. Stay on top of your goals/tasks. If I do assignments/homework as soon as I get them, it’ll make life much easier and probably make them better quality work anyway since I won’t have rushed it. Also if I know what my goals in life are, it’ll make it easier to keep up with them and it’ll make them more likely to happen sooner.
  4. Ignore negativity. If someone’s moaning that they’re behind on their work, or that their life isn’t going well, don’t let it bring you down or make you feel guilty because you actually finished that work a week ago or you just got a promotion at work. It’s not your place to be ‘behind’ everyone else; of course be sympathetic towards them, but don’t let them guilt you into not being proud of your achievements. They all matter.
  5. Finally, give yourself a break once in a while. Yes, it’s nice to be productive and it’s nice to feel satisfied with the amount of things you’ve got done in a day, but working hard every single day will wipe you out and it’ll make things worse in the long run when you need a week off from college because you’re ill and stressed. Do a few hours of work in a day, then spend the evening relaxing; have a bath, go for a run, bake a cake, watch Netflix aimlessly for hours. Just take the time to relax and breathe once in a while and you’ll feel better for it.

Obviously these are things you’ve probably heard before, and they’re all a lot easier said than done, so it might be a good idea to use something like a gratitude journal to write down successes. It’ll make you feel better and make you notice positive things more.

Good luck this year, may it be the best it can be!

British Books Challenge 2017


I’ve decided to sign up for the British Books Challenge…This means reading twelve books by British authors throughout 2017! My blogging’s been quite non-existent for a while, so this should motivate me to write/read more! I love supporting British writers and I loved events like YALC and the UKYA/MG extravaganza in past years, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find books I’ll love and enjoy!

The books I’m thinking of for the challenge at the moment are:

  • Wing Jones (Katherine Webber) – Wing Jones
  • Frozen Charlotte (Alex Bell)
  • Unconventional (Maggie Harcourt)
  • Lying About Last Summer (Sue Wallman)
  • Sunny Side Up (Holly Smale)
  • Girl Online: Going Solo (Zoe Sugg)
  • Songs About A Girl (Chris Russell)
  • How Hard Can Love Be? (Holly Bourne)
  • The One Memory of Flora Banks (Emily Barr) – The One Memory Of Flora Banks
  • Silence is Goldfish (Annabel Pitcher)
  • Good Me Bad Me (Ali Land)
  • Paper Butterflies (Lisa Heathfield)
  • All Of The Above (Juno Dawson) – All Of The Above

Good luck to everyone attempting this, it’s my first challenge so who knows how/when it’ll end for me, but I shall try! Thanks to Tales of Yesterday for hosting it this year, I can’t wait to see if I manage it!