Monday, 27 June 2016

Books // Watching Edie


Watching Edie by Camilla Way

I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this book, so obviously read it straightaway. There's something about reading a book in which the rest of the world doesn't have access to yet, which makes it feel more special. Don't ask me why, that's just the way my brain thinks.

Before - Edie is one of those girls who was popular, had dreams, didn't care what anyone else thought of her. Edie and Heather make for an unlikely friendship, but a friendship nevertheless. Heather is a smart girl, dreaming of studying medicine at Uni with not many friends, but Edie and Heather do look out for each other. However, Edie starts a relationship with a new boyfriend named Connor. One who is into drink, drugs and crime, and soon begins to drag Edie down into the mess he lives in.

After - Edie is in her early thirties with a baby girl. Suffering from postnatal depression, she thinks she's all alone but Heather turns up and helps her out considerably. Edie recovers from her depression and now wants to mother her child by herself, but with so much history between Edie and Heather, it's difficult to just ask Heather to leave.

Eventually, Heather does leave, but we soon learn that there is more to Edie that we first think, and that Heather wants an explanation for what has happened between them. 

Although a little slow to begin with, this book makes for an excellent psychological thriller, with the last 100 pages being pages you just cannot stop reading. The ending is a huge shock actually, and my thoughts on Edie changed completely, which I didn't expect would happen at all. The book is a little disturbing at times but one which leaves you both shocked and satisfied with the reasons for the insane behaviour of a certain character.

This book is published on the 28th July, so one to look out for!
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Friday, 24 June 2016

Thoughts on the EU ref


I've actually been really ill this week, and it's wiped me out a little which is why it's been a little quiet here this week. However, as my english readers know (and for the international ones who don't), today Great Britain chose to leave the EU, and I didn't want it to go unmentioned.

Regardless of my decision, as far as I can see, today has seen some pretty awful, ugly and disturbing comments from a lot of people - all of whom seem to think they are now an expert in politics. I am all for encouraging healthy, political debate but throwing nasty comments around left, right and centre doesn't show me anything other than that our generation appears to be one which throws it's toys out of the pram when we don't get our own way.

Yes, be upset if you voted to remain. We are all entitled to feel the emotion which comes with being let down, not having something go your way or feeling hurt by others.

However, personally I think it's shameful to think that for those who didn't get what they want, now turn to calling others names such as 'racist', 'pleb' or 'uneducated' (examples). Unfortunately, life doesn't always give us what we want and we can't always have our own way yet it doesn't mean we have to turn nasty.

Whether we belong to the EU or not, it doesn't mean any of us are any less human. I've seen arguments regarding how inhumane we are for closing our borders, but somehow we can't seem to show dignity and respect for other peoples opinion during the course of one day. That doesn't sit right with me somehow.

Of course, this EU referendum is historically important, but we've forgotten what's actually important to us right now. Yes, things may change but what won't change is the fact I have a wonderful family, great friends, I'm starting a masters in September and overall I'm still fairly excited for the future because none of those things will change as a result of today's EU referendum result.
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Sunday, 19 June 2016

It's always the quiet ones


Do you remember when you were in high school? Can you remember which 'group' you belonged too?

One of the popular girls, with perfect hair and makeup, setting the newest trend?

One of the geeks, who got straight A's and was destined to do amazingly well?

An Athlete? Musician? Dancer?

Or perhaps one of those who were slightly different and wrongly bullied and/or disliked by everyone?

I didn't really fall into one specific category. I was one of those who could be friends with anyone. I wasn't popular, I wasn't a straight A student, I wasn't good at sport; but I was one of those people who could blend in anywhere. I had friends but was by no means popular. I was smart but not the smartest, and although I was in top set P.E, I was also a size 20 who couldn't run 2 yards let alone run around a field. However, where I sat in the 'hierachy' was something I enjoyed actually, and probably contributed to me loving high school.

Despite saying all of this, my final year at 6th form saw me become very ill and I isolated myself resulting in me not really talking to anyone from school now. However, I have recently spoken to a lovely girl I did go to school with, and also happen to admire because she's done amazingly well for herself. Like me, she wasn't the smartest (although she is smart too and was is stunningly beautiful and fashionable), and I don't think she'd mind me saying, but people didn't think she'd do as well as she has (FYI, she does PR for sweaty betty and I have every faith in her that she'll do PR for a well known designer brand in no time). In fact, we both agreed that we have done amazingly well since we left, especially as we were never grouped into the 'doctors/lawyers' expectation.

The one thing myself and this girl agreed on, was that the people we expected to excel or those we knew who thought they were better than everyone else, follow the path of mediocre job, teenage pregnancy and council house. I'm not saying that these are bad things - just not what was expected. Sometimes, I just find it incredibly ironic that people who think they sore above the rest of us, actually turn out to be pretty average.

What I am trying to say though, is that you shouldn't long to be smarter or prettier, or be jealous of someone else. I always say that comparison is the thief of joy - I always wanted to have the latest fashionable handbag to fit in, to be one of the dance girls and to get straight A's. But actually, when I look at everyone now, it's the one's who were quiet and unlikely to do incredible things, who really have become extraordinary.

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Thursday, 16 June 2016

Popcorn, done properly


So, I was on a train home the other day but before I got on, I picked up a bag of Propercorn's almond and peanut popcorn as a little snack for the journey. Turns out it is the best popcorn I have ever freakin' tasted so after a short message online, expressing my love for the stuff, here I am happily collaborating with them!


Propercorn popcorn all began in 2011, after years of Cassandra watching her Dad create interesting and wonderful flavours of popcorn in his own kitchen. The aim was to create popcorn which tasted both amazing, uses high quality corn and is healthy (using only natural ingredients).

There are now six flavours of popcorn;

  • Sweet & Salty
  • Lightly Sea Salted
  • Sweet Coconut & Vanilla
  • Sour Cream & Black Pepper
  • Fiery Worcester Sauce & Sun-dried Tomato
  • Smooth Peanut & Almond
And there isn't one that I don't like. I think Sour Cream & Black Pepper is my least favourite though (but I still eat it), with Peanut & Almond being my all time favourite! But, to be fair, they all taste amazing - and perfect for so many things - with lunch, an afternoon pick me up, movie night, train journeys.. just any excuse really!



Today, Propercorn are actually launching their new campaign called the institute of flavour, which is all about getting people to create their own flavours of Popcorn. Hopefully, one individual will see their flavour as a limited edition flavour, in supermarket shelves - which would be pretty cool, right? I think personally, I'd for chocolate and raspberry!


So if you've not already tried Propercorn, I can safely say that you're missing out and definitely need to get your hands on this stuff. I'm now off to eat yet another bag..
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Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Books // The 'C' Word



The 'C' Word by Lisa Lynch

I wanted to read this book as soon as I finished watching 'The C Word' documentary a few years ago on BBC, however I've only just gotten around to it. And just to clear the title up, 'C' refers to cancer and not see you next Tuesday...

Lisa was 28 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer - an exceptionally young age to be diagnosed. She has an amazing job, set of friends, family and husband, which just goes to show that cancer (or any illness for that matter) really can just come into our lives and p*ss on your bonfire at any moment. With an attitude of 'it won't happen to me' - admittedly very similar to my own - Lisa was totally shocked when she went to collect her results from your average cyst biopsy.

Essentially, this book follows Lisa's fight against cancer. However, it's completely honest and that's what I love about it. It's realistic, telling it like it is instead of painting a rose tinted picture of what it's  like to lose your hair or feel like sh*t after a chemo session. She tells us what it's like to not be able to live the life you once had, try for a baby any more, or even taste the flavours of your husband's cooking.

Despite how morbid that sounds, Lisa's voice is exceptionally sarcastic, and although sometimes heart breaking, this book is also hilarious and will make you smile. Lisa also set up a blog as her outlet during her fight, which has now obviously attracted tonnes of readers from all over the world.

I wouldn't usually reveal how a book ends but in this case, I will. Because even though Lisa beat her breast cancer, a few years later Lisa was faced with stage four cancer - this time in her bones. Incurable yet manageable. And so in 2013, Lisa sadly passed away despite giving it all she had.

I haven't read her blog much but I have had a dabble, and already know from her book that Lisa was an extraordinary woman who clearly wanted to help others in every way she could. Her book is inspirational, and really does remind you that life is short - we should be grateful for what we have and embrace every single moment.
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Saturday, 11 June 2016

The Mae Deli




 The Mae Deli - 21 Seymour Place, London, W1H 5BH

Ever since Ella Mills (Deliciously Ella) revealed that she was opening a deli with her husband, I knew I wanted to visit. I really do love Ella, have both of her books, love her recipes and have followed her blog for years, so I knew that the next time I was in London, I'd definitely have to go to her deli!




The deli covers breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks (breakfast being served all day), and all of the food follows on from Ella's philosophy. The only difference being that some meat is served, which would definitely help attract a wider audience as a oppose to just plant based eaters. For lunch and dinner, you can have a 'Mae Bowl' which is either a cold salad or hot dish. The cold salads are compromised of 4 things - each of which you pick. For example, you could pick from maple roasted sweet potato, minty quinoa, roasted veg with paprika; basically whatever the dishes happen to be that day! The hot dish could be something like Thai green curry!

Even though we went for lunch, I actually chose to have breakfast. Breakfast is my favourite meal, and as I was only there once, I went for porridge with almond butter, fruit compote and banana slices - which was amazing. Again, the breakfasts work in a similar way in that you pick the toppings you want when you get there.



There is also a range of juices, smoothies, milks, coffee, and sweet and savoury treats, which all looked too good to eat really!

I think the only problem I have with this deli, is that it's only a small place and I can't go to London every time I want to go so hopefully this could be something that could branch out further north? Fingers crossed, eh?!
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Wednesday, 8 June 2016

A Little Trip to London

I think the thing I miss most about uni, is no longer living with your housemates. So if I want to see my best friends (including Emily, who I met in Sri Lanka), I usually have to take a long trip somewhere.

However, that's not always a bad thing, especially when Emily's mum happens to live in London meaning you get somewhere to stay. So last weekend, that's exactly what Emily and I did - went to London to stay with her Mum, who was so lovely I may add! We got there and she'd bought cookies and prepared breakfast in the morning for us, it was so cute.



I could sum this whole post up by saying I had great company, spent way too much money and ate incredible food but that would be a little dull (and short). It is kinda true though!

We both arrived in London about lunchtime so went to the nearest cafe in Covent Garden, before hitting the shops. I wanted to check out Victoria's pop up collection with the British Heart Foundation   - although we didn't buy anything, it was kind of cool to see the clothes of all the 'big' bloggers in the shop #INTHEFROWxBHF. Following that, we hit Oxford street and then Ealing for the evening.


We went to a little american diner for dinner, after looking around Ealing, and then spent the evening watching a film because we were both SO tired! Either that or we are both 22 year old Grandma's.. both probably applicable!




Then on Sunday, we had a leisurely morning before going to the Mae deli for lunch. I'm going to do a  separate review but I'd wanted to go for ages because it's Deliciously Ella's deli, and it didn't disappoint. We ate out and took it to Hyde Park because the weather was just glorious! Oh and then we spent the afternoon spending more money that I seem to be pretending I have.. but at least I'll look good right? That's my logic right now, anyway.



One of the best things that came from Sri Lanka was my friendship with Emily and I can honestly say, I had such a lovely weekend. I just know that this is one of those friendships where it will last a lifetime, and I'm so glad we were both on the other side of the world at the same time <3
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Sunday, 5 June 2016

Practicing what you preach


I wasn't going to write this post.

But I'm someone who always tells my friends that I'm there for them 24/7; that they should always come to me if they have a problem, even if it doesn't seem like one. It's fair to say, I don't always practice what I preach, however I'm learning.

The best way in which I can describe anorexic recovery to someone, is that you have a radio in your brain. That radio only plays one channel and it's continuous. Over time, that noise becomes quieter and more muffled, until eventually it's on mute. It's not switched off though, it's still playing. It's just not heard because the volume has been turned down.

Having said all of that, sometimes there can be certain situations which cause the volume to rise. The only difference between me now and me when I was ill, is that I don't choose to tune in any more. It's just there, crackling away in the background. A bit like an annoying buzz that you just can't seem to locate.

And so I've learnt that that's what happens when you put me in an office.

Don't get me wrong, I can't grumble at my new job. I'm working for the NHS Continuing Care department, learning so much that I know will help me with my future in social work. I have great hours and good pay for the work I'm actually doing. The people have been lovely and welcoming, and I've made some really good contacts which will be ever so useful in the future.

But being in an office is quite claustrophobic for me. Going from travelling to being stuck at a desk has been a hard transition, and I don't feel that same sense of freedom. I hate feeling trapped - it simply reminds me of the years in which I was trapped inside of my own mind - it's too familiar. I also struggle with the constant talk of dieting, calories, weight loss, fit bits, exercise.. you name it, it's covered.

The thing is, I miss not being able to join in. Not in a way that I miss calorie counting or going hungry but I miss not being able to tune into that radio channel when it's my way of coping when I'm bored with life, deflated or don't feel comfortable with a certain situation. I miss that sense of control, being 'safe', feeling empty, numb and in my own little bubble where nothing else mattered.

It's almost as if I'm grieving. Maybe grief is the right word? In the same way that you miss a passed loved one when you see an old photo, I miss my old coping mechanism.

I'm not saying I blame the office, but I do think it's important to point out that sometimes, what we say really can impact on someone else - and that's not necessarily just with food or weight.

Nor am I saying that I'll ever go back to being ill because I won't. I just think it's important to write this down and note that grief is 100% normal, and when things do creep up on you, it's OK to discuss it.
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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Bank Holiday Walking




I genuinely cannot remember the last bank holiday weekend I had off. It did feel a little bit like one of those moments where you have no idea what to do with yourself! However, as the sun was out, my Mum, Step-dad, brother and myself drove to Ilam in Derbyshire for a good old countryside walk.

It took us about an hour and a half to drive there from where we live, and when you arrive, there a number of walks in which you can choose from to do. We chose to do the 5 mile walk because most of them were just an hour in length and we wanted something much longer.




And, it turned out to be a really scenic route! It was mostly flat, except for one bit in the middle which was around half an hour of walking up steps/rocks, which I would have gladly done without - but oh well! Probably good for the 10k training and all that..

We also stopped and had a little picnic, which was quite cute, and managed not to get attacked by cows or sheep when walking through numerous fields - which is always a bonus.

It was also quite nice to have NO signal or 3G whilst walking. We were pretty much in the middle of no where, so it was so nice to just switch off and enjoy the company and surroundings. I only used my phone to take photos, which is a rare occasion these days.


There isn't much more I can really say about simply walking, so I'm just going to leave the photos of the beautiful scenery and idyllic houses. I'm so glad we took advantage of the weather and fresh air, because it really was a lovely day. If you're ever after a countryside walk and haven't been to Ilam, it's definitely one place worth visiting.
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