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My Current Go-To albums.. #1

Well I have been saying that I want to mix up my content lately, and I thought this one would be a bit of a change. I have always been a music fan, but with the summer weather, and a quite a few long car journeys with my partner, we have been having some really amazing singing duets!

My top album for this has to be Badlands by Halsey. I have been listening to this for several months now and I must know all the words to everything apart from Drive. You may not of heard of this album, as it is not allowed to be played on the Radio due to the amount of bad language and some of the general themes in the lyrics. This aside, I love these songs and I just feel like I can relate to a lot of them.

‘I think there’s a flaw in my code
These voices won’t leave me alone’ Gasoline 

For the last few months, I have had many of the songs from Anne-Marie’s Speak Your Mind Deluxe album. The radio has butchered the remix of Friends though, I understand that they have to take out the swearing but for me, by just taking out a whole section, has left the song lacking something. For some reason this has really be frustrating me. Three best songs from this album are easily, 2002, Friends and Ciao Adios. This just feels like a perfect summer album to me.

‘F-R-I-E-N-D-S
That’s how you fucking spell “friends”‘ FriendsI know I said that this was going to be go to albums, but I have to mention this one song. To begin I had only heard it on tv during adverts, but then found the actual song on deezer, and that song is Leave a Light On by Tom Walker. Once again, the radio remix, which has upped the tempo, put in more base, and just added a very odd vocal to it, has completely butchered the original. If you want a beautiful song, with powerful lyrics and just something to make you smile, then definitely search for the original of this song.

‘If you look into the distance, there’s a house upon the hill
Guiding like a lighthouse it’s a place where you’ll be
Safe to feel our grace ’cause we’ve all made mistakes’ Leave a Light OnMy fourth and final album for this list is One More Light by Linkin Park. When this came out last year I was really not very sure about it, but since seeing it live before Chester sadly passed away, and then listening to it many many more times, I would now be lost without this album. Its one of those that really rocks the emotions inside you, and can leave you feeling both broken and empowered all at the same time.

‘Sharp edges have consequences, I
Guess that I had to find out for myself
Sharp edges have consequences, now
Every scar is a story I can tell’ Sharp Edges

So that is it for my first list of go to albums/songs. I think this is a blog post that I will do a new edition of every quarter or so, let me know what you think and what you’d like to see in the future on the blog.

What are your current go to albums?

Here are just a handful of the other songs that I have regularly been turning on to listen to this past few months.

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Books to read before 2019

I know, I know, its a bit of an odd time for this post. Normally its the sort of thing that you would see around the middle of the year, and as its now August, I have missed that. But with my current state of being in a reading slump, I find these posts to be useful for getting motivation back for reading.

In this list is a mixture of proof books, books that have been on my shelf for what feels like forever, as well as some new releases that I just cant wait for. I’m going to keep this list short as I don’t want to be too over ambitious, after all, I will need to get out of this reading slump to begin with. We will see over time how it all turns out.

My first has to be Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, I have this sitting on my shelf, looking at me longingly, I don’t want to pick this up until I know I’m going to read it cover to cover in just a couple of days. However I am truly hoping that this will be some point in this month.Lately I’ve been reading the Harry Potter books back in order, sadly though this is taking an awful lot longer than it needs to be. I cant even remember exactly when I started this but I’m only on Goblet of Fire. So I am determined to at least read this one, if not more of them, before it turns to 2019; this is just shocking, I’m almost embarrassed to admit how poorly I am doing with this series.

Although still dubious as to when I will manage to get my hands on a copy of this, I will be reading it this year no matter what; that book is Dance of Thieves by Mary E Pearson. I read the Remnant Chronicles back to back in February, and absolutely adored it, so when I found out there was going to be another book in the same world I just knew I would adore it. I have to admit though, I am very confused as to when it actually will be coming out in the UK, so I have two pre-orders for it as I refuse to wait longer than I have to.

I think the final book I’m going to put on this list is Lancelot by Giles Kristian. I grabbed this on one of my weekly food shops, and although I have heard nothing about this yet, I am truly excited to get to it. Giles Kristian is one of those authors that has always been on my list of authors to try, but this novel just sounded like the perfect one for me.

Do you have a list of books you want to read before the end of the year? What is on your list?

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Self Care for someone who forgets…

For as long as I can remember I have struggled with my mental health, more recently I have had to balance that with trying to deal with my physical health. Now trying to juggle several physical disabilities while also dealing with anxiety, depression and just generally very complicated mental health (read more about here), I sometimes forget just how important it is for me to find time for self care.

Lately I have read a few blog posts all about the importance of self care and the various things that people do in order to care for themselves; one of my favourites has been Laura’s post over at Laura Spoonie, you can see the post here.  After reading it the other day it reminded me just how much I need to find my own ways to practise self-care, especially while I am struggling day to day with mental and physical health. So this is what this is all about, getting over my excuses and focusing more on ways I can do it. DSC_0202

MY top and favourite way for self care has to be reading, but it has to be reading something that Im reading for myself, not just for a review or study. This is something I often do daily, and sometimes for much of the day; however whenever I start to feel ill or struggling with mental health, I find that I just stop and don’t pick up a book. I’m in that situation at the moment, I’m having issues with pain and fatigue which is having a knock on effect to my depression and anxiety. I’m sad to say Ive not picked up a book for more than a page or two in over a month. It upsets me as I have so much I want to read, you can see my overly ambitious TBR for this month here. Now I am going to focus on trying to get back into a book tonight.

You can not beat a hot bath with bubbles, music on, and a book in hand- oh and did I mention a good cuppa tea! At the moment I cant do this as I have no use of one of my feet- its a long story, but basically I fell down the stairs. So currently, Im having to wait for my partner to be over so he can help lift me into the bath- yes its embarrassing and awkward but oh well its life. However I am still managing to soak my feet in hot soapy water, which at least makes me feel a bit better.DSC_0208For me, going and getting my nails done is something that can make me feel so much better about myself. I, for a long time, stopped doing this because ‘I couldn’t afford it’, after about six months, a depression flare up, and several viruses, I started again. Its £25 for 3 weeks, that’s the price for me to feel human even when I cant get the energy to brush my hair or clean my teeth. In the long run, I think that’s a price worth paying.

Finally, something I am finding my love is growing and growing for, photography. I’ve always enjoyed it every now and again, but lately since getting my nice camera, I am loving taking every opportunity I can. Recently I went on holiday with my partner, and I have to say I think I have found the perfect photography partner, but that’s a different story. When I’m out in nature taking photography, I find myself getting lost in the focus of what Im doing, and that gives me such a sense of achievement. DSC_0224

So they are just some of my favourite ways to make time for myself, to make sure that I am taking care of myself to give me the best chance of keeping on top of my mental health. Some of these work better than others, and work better at various times. If it involves going outside then it normally means that I cant when Im overly anxious, it will just lead to me getting worse, but other times staying inside can do the same thing. I have a wide array of self care activities and these are just some of my favourites, in future I would love to possibly do more posts like this with some of my other techniques.

All images used are all photography shots I have taken.

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July WrapUp & August TBR

This is the first month of me combining these two posts, and I definitely chose a good time for it; I managed to read the grand total, of a whole zero books. Yes you heard that right, I didn’t manage to finish any books at all in the month of July. Admittedly it was a bit of a crazy month, what with moving, falling down the stairs, a holiday and my partners baby’s first birthday party. But I have high hopes for August, so lets get started.

So this month, I have a few things going on that will make less time for reading, but it should still be better than July. With my Dad’s birthday, partners daughter’s birthday, a wedding and another weekend away; I definitely will be a touch busy, but should still get plenty done. Plus have I mentioned that most of my books are still in storage from where we moved, which does limit my book choices.

In July I did manage to get half way through at least one book, and that was Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo, not too sure why I didn’t manage to finish it to be fair, but I am confident I will finish it in early August. img_0755Ive also started The Light Between Us by Katie Khan. I absolutely adored her debut novel, full review here, and although only a chapter in I can tell that I’m going to love this one just as much.

With the upcoming release of Bright Ruin, I have decided to do a reread of both Gilded Cage and Tarnished City. I honestly cant remember much of anything but I do remember that I truly enjoyed these books. Hopefully by rereading, I should fly through these. Who knows, I may also pick up Bright Ruin by Vic James straight away. We’ll have to wait and see.

How I have not already flown through this next book I do not know! I have been waiting for this to come out for so long, longing to get my hands on a copy of it. And yet somehow with the move, I just haven’t gotten around to picking it up. But I am certain that I will be picking up Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. A fairy tale retelling of Rumpelstiltskin I believe, I am adamant that this will live up to Novik’s previous novel, Uprooted.

Finally, I am hoping to get time to dive into Marc Elsberg’s second novel, Zero. To be honest, I know nothing about this, I only know that I adored Black Out, full review here. I have only heard good things, and if its anything like the previous book then I will be flying through it.

I am very excited to have a month of rereading and new release books, I just hope that I don’t turn out to of slipped into another reading slump!

What are your August reading plans?

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My Experience- Psych Reassessment

Its no secret that I have been under a psych team for over three and a half years now, but have had mental health issues for most of my life. From anxiety as a child, paranoia, and then the psychotic symptoms in my teens, depression in my 20s, its been a constant issue in my life, but one I have worked hard to control.

During my time under the psych team, Ive been labelled with the diagnosis of Schizophrenia. On this blog I have written about it many times, its a diagnosis that has always made sense to me to some degree. No it was never easy to accept, or to be completely open about, but it ticked the box for helping me understand what was happening to me.DSC_0041

However after such a long time in treatment I really should of been seeing an improvement, and I just never did. So at my last routine appointment they suggested that I saw a completely different doctor and had a full reassessment. This sounded like a great idea, as my symptoms have changed slightly over time as well.

So me and my Dad went to this reassessment at the beginning of July. The new doctor was really friendly, allowed my Dad into the appointment which is against the norm; however he did not understand my mutism. I nearly always go mute when I’m around new people, its something I have struggled with for most of my life. Some people say its because I’m shy, some see it as rude; but its actually an involuntary response to my voices that spike around unknown people.DSC_0010

Eventually I managed to get around it, when this happens I can answer basic questions or talk about subjects I know about, so it works for appointments. We spent a good hour discussing my life basically. From childhood, school, relationships, and family; we discussed it all.

By the end of the conversation and in turn the appointment, he was really rather stumped.

The conclusion was that I do not have one specific diagnosis, I have a combination of many. I have aspects of schizophrenia, aspects of OCD, aspect of EUPD, along with depression and severe anxiety.DSC_0051
Moving forward, I’m going to stay on my anxiety, depression and psychosis medication, but now I am going to try a mixture of CBT and psychotherapy. In my doctors words, I have very complicated and delicate mental health; ultimately I may never get over it, I may never work a ‘normal’ job, or be able to socialise with new people. But time will tell, and I will be sharing my thoughts when my therapy is moving forwards.

Have you ever had either of these treatments? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

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Getting a new fluff ball…

If you have me on twitter than you will probably of noticed that Ive had a new four legged friend around lately. Throughout much of December we were visiting dog shelters trying to find one who we felt we could help and could become a member of our family. We found that in my gorgeous boy Barney, who has quickly become my shadow and best friend.
Myself and my Dad have had dogs all our live, so shortly after losing my Star last December 6th, it felt very empty in our home. Therefore we thought it was time to look at rescuing another dog that was in need of a loving home.

We contacted several charities, Dogs Trust, Luna, and PPBC. As Star was deaf, we felt that we would like to rescue another dog that maybe needed some extra work again as I have the time to do it and the skills from working with previous dogs. To begin with we thought we were going to get a border collie cross from Dogs Trust, but on one of the final visits this all fell through (I’ll have a post up about that at a later date).

In the end I fell in love with my Barney from PPBC. He is again a border collie, but is very oddly marked, being a tricolour who is predominantly brown. But at 6years old, 7 on 23rd of July, he is an amazingly trained, calm and affectionate boy. He’s only issues are that he is very reactive so barks a lot at shadows or cars going past; as well as not liking other dogs. Im working with him on both of these.

Back in March when he arrived here, he was a super timid, very unsure of him self character; but time and attention has turned him into a hyper little hooligan at times. I just cant help but love him. He leaves the rodents alone, tells me when he needs to pee, and generally just follows me around on a daily basis. By far his favourite toy is his tennis ball, well to be fair he doesn’t seem to really understand how to play with any other toy- so of course I’ve stocked him up with loads of tennis balls. Although he still has access to my old dogs toys, as I just cant part with them.

I am hoping to mention he more in future posts as his training continues, but for now I thought I’d just give you a quick introduction. Anything you’d like to ask Barney?

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GIVEAWAY- ‘The War in the Dark’ by Nick Setchfield

I’m so excited to once again be working with Titan Books, to bring you the chance to win one of two copies of this fabulous, genre blended novel. Mixing thriller, with fantasy, woven together in a historical fiction setting. This is a book that you really do want to get your hands, and what better way than through a free giveaway.

Now if you haven’t been following the blog tour for this fabulous book, then that’s a good place to start to convince you that you really do need a copy of this. This tour has been filled with some amazing bloggers, and some really worthwhile content all about this book.

war in the darkEurope. 1963. And the true Cold War is fought on the borders of this world, at the edges of the light.
 
When the assassination of a traitor trading with the enemy goes terribly wrong, British Intelligence agent Christopher Winter must flee London. In a tense alliance with a lethal, mysterious woman named Karina Lazarov, he’s caught in a quest for hidden knowledge from centuries before, an occult secret written in the language of fire. A secret that will give supremacy to the nation that possesses it.
 
Racing against the Russians, the chase takes them from the demon-haunted Hungarian border to treasure-laden tunnels beneath Berlin, from an impossible house in Vienna to a bomb-blasted ruin in Bavaria where something unholy waits, born of the power of white fire and black glass . .

Have I convinced you yet? Well then I should tell you how to enter, its very simple really. There is two ways this time around. You can either comment on this blog post with your email address so I can contact you if you win; or if you aren’t comfortable with that, then you can follow me on Twitter and RT my pinned post.

This competition closes at midnight on Wednesday the first of August, winners will be announced and messaged on the Thursday. Everyone is open to enter, International okay.

Good luck to all..