Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded – a book review

Book Reviews

I always say I’m not one for YouTuber books. It would really have to speak to me. I’ve bought some YouTube vegan cookbooks and one other biography. Hannah Hart’s book was always on my radar but due to preconceived ideas I never picked it up. That was until I wanted to read about someone’s path with mental health. Living in the centre of off kilter mental health I was desperate to reach out to someone else’s story. I have watched Hannah for years now, not regularly but there has always been something enticing about her abundant happiness – it’s infectious. I had so many ill preconceived notions about Hannah’s life – I assumed she had no problems, I assumed everything worked for her and with the help of hard work and positivity she got to where she is. Wow, was Buffering eye-opening for me!

From the first chapter we were introduced to her family. We got to know Annette, her mother, Naomi and Maggie, her sisters and the other prominent figures in her life. Her mother struggles with schizophrenia and due to that they lived through hardship that no child should experience. What stood out to me the most was how Hannah stepped forward to take care of Maggie. The strongest story in my head is Hannah as a child rushing home to find toddler Maggie eating cigarettes off the ground. Every time Hannah recounted an experience like this or telling the cops about her situation hoping her younger sister could have a better life it showed the immense courage and foresight Hannah had as a child. 

I related to Hannah in parts; mostly her struggle with guilt around religion and family as well as struggling with mental health. When Hannah spoke about flying on the plane and she was sure she was going to die because she enjoyed herself at Burning Man. I had this experience hugely through my teens. If I was able to enjoy myself without thinking of God then why shouldn’t I be punished for it? This is something I am coming to terms with but it has taken years. Hannah perfectly explained that overhanging guilt when it came to religion. Like Hannah, it took world experiences to question my thinking and realise something wasn’t adding up. It wasn’t comforting me and making me happy – it was terrifying me. 

When Hannah spoke about her struggle with coming to terms with her sexual orientation due to her ideas about sexuality it really opened my eyes. As a straight woman I never thought about the fact it was celebrated when I had a date to prom or when I had a first kiss. Hannah was expected to supress and ignore any feelings she had. That internal struggle with “right” and “wrong” must have been immense. Although I can’t understand the struggle it takes to come to terms of being gay, I can understand the strength and bravery it takes to be true to yourself and not become overwhelmed by the opinions of others. 

All in all this book is a gem. It is filled with knowledge and mistakes and love and hate and respect and emotions and self realisation. When I think of a biography I think of someone pouring their soul into it even if it is tough. Hannah did exactly that and more. Any ill preconceived notion I had about Hannah Hart was wiped away and now I see her as a hard working, determined, strong, caring individual. When she is struggling, she seems to struggle but not let it overwhelm her. That is something I am trying to learn. 

If I could talk to Hannah I would ask her what it must feel like bearing your thoughts on paper for the world. How she came to terms with religion ruling her thoughts and how she gets on with life even when it seems overwhelming. 

Going cruelty-free beauty

Beauty

After watching a few blog posts and videos by bloggers going through their makeup bag I knew it was my turn. I had an inkling that my bag was filled with products from companies that tested on animals but ignorance is bliss so I pretended I didn’t. Yesterday I laid my usual makeup out and went through each one. I was honestly surprised with the brands I had assumed were testing on animals and those that I thought were cruelty free. 

I started researching each brand that was in front of me. The first statement I became aware of was that China requires imports of beauty products to be tested on animals and many larger corporations abide to that law. That means brands like MAC “does not test on animals and we never ask others to test for us. If a regulatory body demands it for its safety assessment, an exception can be made.”. This is a very roundabout way to say they are, in fact, not cruelty free. So many brands follow suit like Benefit, L’Oreal, Rimmel and more. I started to get discouraged, these large brands had or are parent companies which meant the cruelty list is expansive. Thanks to CreultyFreeKitty, I found a list of brands that are cruelty free, brands that have amazing makeup products and those for all different budgets. I realised things are changing in the beauty world and brands are switching to become more conscious of their impact. Though in the beginning I naively thought it would be restrictive but there are both indie and mainstream brands that are cruelty free, and within those two brackets there are thousands of individual brands.

As I set out my makeup, this was my daily makeup bag with both cruelty and cruelty free brands.

And then this was my makeup with just the creultyfree brands I have. 

So what has changed for me?

A lot. This was eye opening and I realised ignorance only gets me so far. Although I’m not going to throw out these products (it would be a waste), I for sure won’t purchase from these brands again unless their policies change. I will replace them with cruelty free brands and I am going to be more conscious when buying makeup which will be a good thing for my wallet as well as doing my small part for animal welfare. I absolutely encourage you to have a look through your makeup bags. It is not impossible to find a dupe for your favourite products if they don’t follow quality and safe guidelines, actually in the age of information and the internet it’s simple. 

Paper Me – part two

Introductions

Nearly two years ago I introduced myself to this blog as paper me. I told you a bit about me and what I looked like. This is part two. 

I am nearly 26, I am a Gemini and I am creative. I suffer from an invisible illness (which I’ll write about soon). I love music, art and cooking/food in general. I started this blog to document my thoughts and creativity. I want to create content everyday, not just on this blog. I am a third way through writing a novel for young adults. I will have the first draft done by the first week of June. I love to write, especially creatively.  I stated at the start of this blog I wanted to work in the magazine industry but I really want to be an author. I have for so long but ignored it because I thought it wasn’t viable. I’ve flipped that and I am now going for it. You’ll never know until you try!

I am learning Italian with the hope to be fluent in the future but I’ve a while to go yet! If you want to talk about the weather or my likes/dislikes in Italian then I’m your girl. 

Selfcare

Life, thoughts

Selfcare is so important for your well-being. There is something so luxurious about taking time out and pampering yourself but in reality we should all put more effort into selfcare. If you’re wondering what I’m harping on about, selfcare is exactly what it says – caring for yourself. When you’re working or in school it is so easy to become rushed off your feet and unable to step back for a moment but your body needs it. These are my favourite things to do when my soul and body need extra care. 

Bath


It’s cliche and it’s everywhere but a Lush bath is everything. There is something so comforting and something so soul-appeasing about a bath filled with bath bombs. The colour, the scent, the warmth, the bubbles – everything needed to wash away stress. My favourite bath bomb is Lord of Misrule which is only a seasonal addition. I always mean to stock up but I always forget.  

Stock up

That leads me onto the point of stocking up on your faves. I’m not talking about going ‘Extreme Couponing’ but have three extras. I like to do this with bath bombs and face masks. Two things I never use together but always want one or the other. You’ll never know the day that just went wrong in more ways than one and you’ll crave something unwinding. You’ll thank your past self for thinking of this! I like the simple, cheap peel of masks. How good they actually are for your skin I haven’t a clue but I love them.

Smooth over

One routine I have tried to get into for years is moisturising before bed but I am always too lazy. (Quick anecdote; I did moisturise yesterday and ended up only doing one leg because I was so lazy…). My skin is very good at telling me when its needs something extra. It is lovely to sit after a shower and just slather on moisturiser. You’ll be happy and so will your skin!

Get out

Sometimes I find you just need to move to get rid of these thoughts. Whether that is going for a walk, run or doing yoga it is important to move. Put on earphones if you want but there is something liberating seeing everyone else plugged in and you are just there with your thoughts. I find this most helpful when my mind is in a stressful place. 

Tune out

I find listening to the radio or an audiobook is a great distraction. If you can’t listen to someone just talk then turn on music and just lie down. Let’s the melody or the words wash over you and try, for a few minutes, to not worry about anything else. I’m currently sick with vertigo and I am listening to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, it is so enjoyable to lie back and focus on words only. When I get sick I can get so obsessed with how I am feeling that I can’t focus on a show or music but with an audiobook I can imagine it all happening while the words are read to me. (Bonus points when it is Stephen Fry reading it!)

Be nice

We need to hear nice things from ourselves too. When I have messed up in work, felt inadequate or felt low I sat myself down and spoke kindly to myself. I do this internally but nothing is stopping you shouting it. You know your true intentions and this is important. 

Deep breathes

When things get stressful or when you need a break just take a moment and breathe. Breathe in and out slowly, and do so consciously. It helps to calm your mind and body as well as promote mindfulness. 

Do what you love

Do you love to knit or is singing tunes in the shower more your thing? Take a while out of the regular schedule and do it. For me I love writing so I’ll sit down and write while listening to music. It feels great to get it all out. (Though I am partial to Mariah Carey-ing it in the shower. Specifically to the song ‘Obsessed’.)

I’ve written these down but it is easier said than done. I am a huge culprit for ignoring myself until I am so stressed I could explode. That being said I have gotten better. It takes a while to form a habit but even if it was taking three deep breathes while in the queue for the post office it helps. Take care of yourself!

Losing someone

Life

It’s take a lot of energy when you lose someone. 

My uncle was diagnosed with Pick’s Disease (frontotemporal dementia) and Motor Neurone. It took him a year and half  of suffering until he slipped away in his sleep. It started in August of 2015. When he came home from New York it was like he had a stroke – he was slurring his words and wasn’t able to speak properly. I remember him calling me into the kitchen to tell me. I really didn’t think it was too bad, “there is rehab and occupational therapists that can help” I tried to comfort him and myself. I had no clue what was coming next. He went back to New York and came back to Ireland in April when he could only say maybe five or so words. This was hard to deal with but we all did deal with it, so did he. The progression from April 2016 to January 2017 was incredible and ferocious and extreme. Nothing stayed the same for very long. There were shifts in the house and shifts in everyone’s morale and emotions. Mike struggled with the dementia side, his behaviour changed and he got frustrated but never mad. In reality, we were so lucky, he was so content. As time progressed so did his symptoms. He soon choked on food because the muscles in his throats couldn’t work as they should. Then that turned to only eating soup, which turned to only drinking milk which turned to not eating. He was so big his whole life to see him as practically a skeleton was hard. It was difficult to watch someone you love just waste away and there was nothing to be done. Near the end he was unrecognisable in appearance and demeanour but there were moments that he was himself. They were fleeting unfortunately. 

Mike was always so caring, he put everyone first. I often think of the day we flew to New York to visit him. My sister had fainted on arrival so she was a bit worse for wear. The very next day he brought us to Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken (Cake Boss). It was the hottest recorded day for some time (I think it was 114F). He brought us into CVS, got us water and fans and he stood with us for two hours in that heat. I’m surprised my sister didn’t faint for a second time. When we got in the door the cashier asked him what he wanted. He replied “a birthday cake”, she asked to who will she make it out to when he replied “I’m buying it aren’t I? ‘Happy Birthday to me’.” 

The hardest part about losing someone is not the death, it’s that they were here and there are constant reminders of that. Four weeks ago my uncle was alive and that thought blows my mind. We are currently taking the photos off his phone and up to three days before he died he was taking pictures (although most seemed to be accidental). I sent three photos to my phone – one of my cousin’s partner and Mike being tourists, a picture of a sunset he took, and lastly the last photo he took of New York City (the first picture on this post). It’s easy to think he’s not gone, he’s just not here but the reality is I can’t text him or email him. When it is so close to death it feels like the veil between here and there is slightly more transparent. It was so soon, it really has been no time at all. Sometimes it is unbearable to think that he’s gone and other times I am so relieved because he wasn’t living a life for the past year and a half. I have never felt something so bittersweet before. 

It’s frustrating he’s not that strong in my memories – he’s there but I can’t hear his voice and I really can’t remember him being so big. The memories of him are filled in with memories of him being sick and that upsets me. 

When I start crying and think of everything I have written down I think of what he always said to me. I think of the time we were going to Italy – I told him he would have to hold my hand to which he replied no way but I know he would have. It makes me glad and simultaneously upset to think I’m hoping to move to Italy by the end of this year because I know he would have been one of the first over. I think of the time I was learning to drive and he said “when you’re driving at night you can only focus on the 200m in front of you, that is all you need to worry about”. I don’t think that was confined to driving. I think of when he would come home for Christmas and we would be so excited. I think of when he was upset with me because I seemed more excited about my other uncle being home than him. I think of when i asked him did he know we love him a week before he died and he nodded his head. I held mild resentment over the years, emotions that I didn’t even realise until he passed away but when something happened a month ago I realised he forgave me, it was very comforting. 

Honestly it breaks my heart that he won’t come home from New York again or he won’t be there for family reunions or weddings and he won’t be there for our milestones but I’m so glad he’s not suffering because he really did for a long time. I loved and love him so much. 

His last picture from the Empire State Building, New York

Terminal illnesses are harrowing and to be directly affected by one contains an unexplainable hurt. If you’d like to read more on Motor Neurone or Pick’s disease I’ve made a short list. 

Pick’s disease – New York Times

Pick’s disease – The Huffingtin Post

David Baddiel’s documentary on Pick’s disease

Motor Neurone – IMNDA 

Albums + Feelings

Introductions, Life

I was thinking about five albums that mean a lot to me but aren’t necessarily my favourites. These albums all captured a moment in time during different periods of my life. When I think about them I can feel my thoughts, the colours, and hear the sounds. I can almost see what I was wearing and I can remember where in the world I was standing. I hope I can teleport you to those times too.

From Under The Cork Tree – Fall Out Boy

My strongest memory of listening to this album was when I had finished a day in school. I went back to my grandmother’s house to do my homework. I was up in my bedroom in that house. It was a bright and airy day. I was standing in my school uniform but I had taken off my jumper and my shirt was untucked. I was enthralled by these four guys. It was such a good album, the first album that made an impression on me. This was the start of my FOB obsession. I don’t know why this album meant so much to me, maybe it was down to feeling like an angsty teenager. Whenever I listen to this album I feel youthful and energetic. Maybe even a bit rebellious (as rebellious as I can get which isn’t very). This album will always mean a lot to me and I will always think of it as my first. 

Most memorable song – Dance, Dance


Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not – Arctic Monkeys

First of all I never can say/write this title properly unless I look it up and I don’t know why. When I was planning this post I wrote ‘Whatver you say I am’. From day one of buying it I don’t think I’ll fully ever remember it. My strongest memory of this album is sitting on the fooor by the stereo after I bought it. The blinds were closed and it was nearly completely dark. I instantly became obsessed with this album. It made me feel infinity cooler than I was previously. I loved the lyrics and I loved the British indie scene that I was never a part of. I just loved the aesthetics, the smoking, the Fred Perry, the white sneakers. All things that I never did/wore. This is a great walking album, everything about it makes you stand taller. 

Most memorable song: From Ritz to Rubble



Trilogy – The Weeknd

This album I experienced in college. I was enveloped in it after a few listens. For months this was all I listened to and I honestly can’t believe that Abel is the same person who is currently writing what he’s writing. There was something so raw about Trilogy. It was about real things and The Weeknd’s voice was hypnotic. My favourite song was Montreal – I think I could listen to him speak French all day. The most prominent memory is cooking the kitchen, it was dark out but I remember it to be warm. My housemates came in and asked who I was listening to and was I emotionally okay that day. Abel’s lyrics were definitely not something I could relate to but I loved for that insight into his life. I think of that album and I am filled with emotion – the sign of a great album. 

Most memorable song: Montreal 



Graduation – Kanye West

I don’t know what made me buy Graduation but I’m glad I did. I don’t remember many people in my friends group listening to it but maybe it was the apparition of shutter shades. I remember going into HMV in limerick and seeing it. How could you miss it with its beautiful cover art created by Takashi Murakami. I also remember getting in our old silver Passat CL and playing it for I would say around two minutes before my mother told me she had a headache. It was another album my friend and I listened in the bus. The bus was our version of blaring the songs in a car. I would bring my iPod classic and we would share earphones only to speak when we wanted to say something about the album. It is a pivotal album for my teen years. 

Most memorable song: Barry Bonds



B’day – Beyoncé

This album as my first real introduction to Queen Bey. I had the Destiny’s Child album Destiny Fulfilled but this was fully Beyoncé. I remember buying this album in a record store not too far away. I never really listened to her solo music but something told me to grab it and I’m glad I did. I like every song on this album, my strongest memeory listening to it was in my grandmothers house where I learned all the lyrics to Upgrade U and acted it out as if I was in a music video (thank God I had no access to a video camera). This album makes me feel euphoric and like I am a great dancer (which I am definitely not). This album was the start of my long life love for Bey.

Most memorable song: Suga Mama

Sober

Life, thoughts


My last drink was my 21st birthday. I stopped drinking because I became ill (there will be another post on that). I never liked drinking that much but enjoyed one every now and again. I’m pretty sure if I hadn’t become ill I would still drink socially but for now I’m temperate in my twenties. 

It is strange growing up and adapting to a drink culture only for it to stop suddenly. Drinking and going out go hand in hand and that is something I never realised until I stopped drinking. Being sober for the first time out was bizarre. I had never been as self conscious my entire life as I was in that moment. I was conscious that I couldn’t dance, I was conscious that I looked like I wasn’t enjoying myself, I was conscious of my words, and I was really conscious my termper was so much shorter than usual. I battled with these very superficial internal issues until people started to confirm them. 

I found that when I went out I made people nervous by being sober. This sounds strange but in the first year of being sober I spent a night out with a housemate at the time. The morning after I walked into the kitchen to make breakfast and she was sitting there. I started a conversation about the night before when she said “I couldn’t enjoy last night because I was too conscious of you there not drinking. I just felt like you were judging me for drinking and I couldn’t relax”. I actually apologised for this at the time for some reason. 

That moment stood out the most but there were others. What I learned was that people didn’t enjoy me being sober on nights out. The amount of people who asked “if I buy you a drink would you have one?” or “are you on antibiotics?”. (The second always made me laugh as if no one in their right mind would choose to be sober unless they were medically advised to be.)

I’m glad I experienced sobriety on a night out. Although being sober has gotten me into arguments I never would have entered if I was drunk, it was definitely interesting. I now fully accept I cannot dance. Not in the slightest. I also realised I am very poor at small talk. I am very bad at talking to who I want to. I also realisde I miss a glass of wine with my friends or a cold pint of Bulmers on a summers day but I’m happy where I am with it all now. I do however need to work on my tolerance for drunk people. I have been watching a few videos where the people are trying sobriety for various reasons, mostly different than my own here they are if you’re looking for something to watch:

https://youtu.be/kiITUkmvRks & https://youtu.be/UDMvgxHW22k & https://youtu.be/RY2yvRY0I5w

This sounds like I’m moaning, I’m not (well I am a bit). I’ve come to realise that people who get agitated about me being sober, well, it says a lot more about them than it does about me. Being able to drink in moderation but choosing not to is liberating. Though saying that there are times where I wish I didn’t seem to stand out so much. That’s for another blog post. 

All The Bright Places – a book review

Book Reviews

I was intrigued by this book for quite some time, I think I heard of it first from Zoella’s Book Club. I ordered it and it sat on my bookshelf for months until my sister took it to read and suddenly my interest piqued again (siblings evoke that lifelong feeling of “I want what you have)”). I will admit it took me some time to read it because my focus dropped during the middle of the book but I really am glad I read it to the end. This is my first book review so I’m going to break it into: summary (no spoilers), design (mild spoilers), and thoughts (spoilers). 


SUMMARY

The book focuses on two teenagers, Finch and Violet who meet at, what initially seems like, an unlikely place. The chapters vary from perspectives between Violet and Finch as we follow their lives and how they inevitably intertwine. Both characters are intrigued by death; Finch is consumed by thought, while Violet is enveloped by experience. This book looks at their relationships and the progression of that. The book focuses around topics on suicide and death, both are being experienced by teenagers with very different personalities.


DESIGN

The book is well designed with an attractive bold and vibrant blue with, what I have come to realise, are post-it notes placed across the book. The font is well thought out as it is reminiscent of careful handwriting with a marker. The use of blue and yellow is very strong and it makes the cover seem youthful. Before I read it I liked the cover but since reading it I think it was definitely the right choice. In the book Finch covers his walls in post-it notes with words that mean something to him, throughout the book he also paints his room a strong vibrant blue which is reflected on the cover of the book as the blue on the cover is textured like a painted wall. I like that the cover has some symbolism in relation to the story and that it is not a mundane, tell-all cover either. It looks at the progression of the plot and the progression of Finch which is summarised on the cover through graphic design.


THOUGHTS

I enjoyed this book and I am looking forward to watching it when it comes to cinema but I wasn’t entirely enthralled by it as much as I thought I would be. I think my issue came with Finch – carefree people and I don’t gel purely because I am so rigid in life. I find it difficult to imagine someone who has no ties whether that is to their family or their education or life in general. Finch was, in a sense, carefree except for the fact he was consumed by death. He wanted to feel it and research it until he could quote it in a moment. He was interesting for that fact, most of us ignore death. We experience it, then quickly get back to the grind. Finch, however, looked at death as a welcomed end but Violet kept him going. 

Violet, the other main character, lost her sister in a car accident while on the way from a party and suffers from PTSD due to it. She is terrified to get into a car, she doesn’t have the motivation to commit to school, and she has an aversion to her old gang of friends.

Violet meets Finch in the Bell Tower where they are both there to experience the moments before death. Finch ends up saving Violet but because he is labelled as the ‘freak’ everyone assumes Violet saved him. Their relationship forms and he becomes obsessed with her. I enjoyed their relationship more at the end of the book rather than the start where he was chasing her. I felt she looked at him with caution but she was utterly intrigued. I assume she had spent her life, before meeting him, thinking he was Freak Finch. She seemed cautious to love him or to even entertain him but he grew on her. I really liked Violet as a character, she was hardworking, studious, creative but was really hurt by losing her sister (as anyone would be). She was interesting because she had everything going for her; she was going to NYU, she set up her own website, she was safe and secure. Then everything changed and she was left with a shell of a person rather than the original Violet. 

Finch on the other hand had a very tough life with an abusive dad who left him for another essentially more “complete” family. His mother was there but near to vacant. He struggled with his mental health (maybe in another sense of it he didn’t struggle and it actually consumed him). The thing is I find these stories a dime a dozen, good girl finds bad boy and they fall in love but there was something different with ATBP. Yes, Violet tried to change him near the end but the theme of suicide and death was so strong that it wasn’t a typical good girl/bad boy scenario. I don’t think I read such topics when I was a teen. I read about death but never suicide. I never read a potentially suicidal dialogue such as Finch’s. ATBP approached such a heavy topic but Niven did so with respect. She wrote about the gritty, real side of mental health, not the glamourised version which is often at the root of YA novels.

ATBP is a great book and maybe my issues were that I am simply too old for it. That being said I would recommend it, especially to a younger demographic. Mental health needs to be an open topic and books like this, who introduce us to the topic as a teen, utterly aid in the conversation being ignited around mental health.

“This is my secret—that any moment I might fly away” – Finch

Music

thoughts

Music is so universal; it is a language we all speak. I constantly listen to music and my music tastes vary quite a bit. I adore that music can transport you to a moment in time. Whenever I read, as a teen, I would listen to an album on replay. Rihanna’s Good Girl Gone Bad instantly brings me to the time I was lying on my bed in my Grandmother’s house reading Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison.

If I take a moment and properly think about it I can remember how the air felt and how bright the room was. I can almost feel the mattress underneath my body. I can feel the paper and I can smell the library pages. Everything about it is warm and the thought feels pink and yellow in my mind. The thing is because it is a memory it is a bit fuzzy around the edges. That is where music comes into play. I listen to that album and I am in instantly in that moment even though it was around a decade ago.

Music, for me, is an instant time machine. If I hear Clean Bandit’s Rather Be I think of a weekend in London in 2014. These memories are endless and the more I indulge in, the more that will be created.

 

2016

Life

Let’s be real, 2016 was difficult for a lot of us and I was no exception. Between dealing with my own health, losing my job, and helping to care for a terminally ill relative, 2016 really tested me. As we come to an end I have already spoke about my resolutions but now I want to talk about the highlights of the year for me. This is an eclectic mix so bare with me.

Getting hired

I graduated college with a Bachelor of Science degree in something that I knew from week one I had no intention of pursuing. I finished college and was left with the prospect of “well if you’re not doing this, what are you doing?”. I managed to get an interview with a start up and from there got the job. I couldn’t believe I was working as a digital designer and writer in the centre of Dublin. Even though my health caught up to me I really enjoyed working in the city while I did.

Internet

I started a website, Mettle, with a friend. We started it because we both love to write but we felt media was focused on celebrity culture and negative connotations around that. We created Mettle to not only showcase our ability to write but also create content we felt people would enjoy. It has been very interesting to run something like this and has taught me a lot. Although it is going through a transformation at the moment (and if I’m honest I’m not sure what is planned for 2017 in relation to Mettle) I really enjoyed writing for myself. I also reached a rut in my personal Instagram account but after I reopened this one, I am excited to start over. If you fancy following it, you can find it here.

Writing

Besides Mettle I have been writing a lot. I actually finished a manuscript of a novel I have wanted to write since I was 16. It was absolutely bewildering to hold a thick bundles of pages in my hand and hopefully in the new year I will finish editing it and see if it is any good. I have enjoyed dabbling with poetry though I am not very good at it. Writing has been a great solace for me this year. Creative outputs are vital for me.

Music

It was a pretty tiring year but one thing that was consistent was new music. It all started with ANTI and it just continued to get better. My favourite albums of the year are;

  • ANTI – Rihanna
  • Views – Drake
  • Joanne – Lady Gaga
  • Dangerous Woman – Ariana Grande
  • Lemonade – Beyoncé

You could be sure I was usually listening to a mix of all these. There are some I want to listen to properly before adding them to the list; Starboy, Blonde, Glory, Coloring Book, Untitled Unmastered, Awaken My Love.

Books

I have always loved getting lost in a good book but at the beginning of this year I gave myself the challenge to read 12 books. I fell short of that resolution but I definitely increased the amount of books I read. This year I am starting up the challenge again but this time I am starting a mini book club with a friend. We haven’t decided on our first book yet but keep an eye out in January because I’ll be blogging it all.

I really resented this year, it has been my toughest in a very long time but looking at the positive aspects has been very therapeutic